Vol 17.24 - Acharei 3 Spanish French Audio Video
L'ilui Nishmat Michoel B"R' Avrohom Yehuda
(5738) "For we have all sinned...This is the essence of the confessional prayer." (Rambam Hil. Teshuvah 2:8)- even though sins are inadvertent (Shegagot) (Tal. Yoma 36b). Discussion of the statement: "four types of atonement
.. they are three, and with each is repentance connected" (ibid 86a). Difference between the Mitzvah of Teshuvah and atonemnent; Difference between "three" types of atonement and "four"according to Kabbalah and Chassidut.
1. Regarding the Vidui confession of the Kohen Gadol on the Seir HaMishtalach (the goat sent into the desert), the verse states (Lev. 16):
“(Aharon shall lay his two hands on the head of the live he-goat) and confess on it all the iniquities (עונות) of Bnei Yisroel and all their rebellious transgressions (פשעיהם) for all their sins (חטאתם), and put them on the head of the goat and send it away with the man (so) designated, to the desert”.
From this R’ Meir derives that the order of the Vidui is:
“(How does he confess?)
The Sages however, do not maintain like R’ Meir because:
They further state:
“Once he confessed the willful transgressions, and rebellions, does he then confess the unwitting sins?” (ומאחר שהתודה על הזדונות ועל המרדים חוזר ומתודה על השגגות)
Rather, the order is (אלא כך היה מתודה חטאתי ועויתי ופשעתי):
Regarding the Vidui which every person is obligated to recite when he repents, Rambam rules (Hil. Teshuvah 1:1):
“How does one confess: He states: "I implore You, G-d,
before You by doing the following. Behold, I regret and am embarrassed for my deeds. I promise never to repeat this act again. These are the essential elements of the confessional prayer. "
(כיצד מתודין אומר אנא השם חטאתי עויתי פשעתי לפניך ועשיתי כך וכך והרי נחמתי ובושתי במעשי ולעולם איני חוזר לדבר זה וזהו עיקרו של וידוי)
However, further on (ibid 2:8), Rambam writes (concerning the Vidui which everyone is obligated to recite on Yom Kippur):
“The confessional prayer customarily recited by all Israel is: "For we have all sinned ...." This is the essence of the confessional prayer.”
This is also the ruling in the Tur and the Rema, and in the words of the Alter Rebbe in Shulchan Aruch
“If one . . merely said, “I have sinned,” ("חָטָאתִי") he has fulfilled the Mitzvah of confession.”
From the plain wording of the Alter Rebbe it appears that Vidui using the word “I have sinned,” (“חָטָאתִי”) alone, sufficiently covers all sins, even Willful transgressions (זדונות) and Rebellions (מרדים)
However, why, seemingly, should the Vidui of, “I have sinned,” (“חָטָאתִי”)
(that he unintentionally transgressed (בשוגג))
be sufficient over Rebellions (מרדים) and Willful transgressions (זדונות)?
2. Even though Primary Vidui is through saying, “I have sinned,” (“חָטָאתִי”) and he has fulfilled the Mitzvah of Vidui with this, nevertheless in the first instance (לכתחילה) one must recite (like that which is mentioned in Rambam):
"I implore You, G-d,
before You by doing the following. Behold, I regret and am embarrassed for my deeds. I promise never to repeat this act again”
Moreover, in Sefer HaMitzvot, Rambam writes that one should ask for atonement (as it states: “he should ask for atonement (ויבקש כפרה) (Note: alternatively in the printed versions, “He should ask for forgiveness” (ויבקש המחילה בזה הענין)).
Thus, it comes out that there are two aspects in Vidui:
Similarly, we find so regarding the general Mitzvah of Teshuvah:
There is a Mitzvah of Teshuvah, and the completeness of the Mitzvah of Teshuvah (as will be explained in Par. 5 etc. at length).
One could say that since the aspect of Vidui is (not a supplementary thing (זייטיקע זאך) in the aspect of Teshuvah but) that rather that heartfelt Teshuvah must be expressed in speech – therefore, in the Vidui, there must be these two aspects:
3. To understand this one must beforehand explain the debate between the Sages with regard to the “categories of atonement” (חלוקי כפרה):
The Talmud states:
“R’ Matya ben Charash asked R’ Elazar ben Azaria, when Rabbi Elazar was in Rome: Have you heard the teaching that there are four categories in the process of atonement that R’ Yishmael would derive? He said to him: They are not four but three distinctions, and repentance is necessary with each one.
(These are the categories:)
The commentators ask:
Even R’ Elazar ben Azaria counts four “categories of atonement”. Therefore, why does he state that there are “three”?
On this, there are two explanations:
(For “the dead do not enter into the number of the “categories of atonement”. Rather it is for Baalei Teshuva (penitents) who are alive”)
Therefore, Chillul Hashem is not included in the number of the “categories of atonement”, since Chillul Hashem is a thing that is “not absolved until death”.
One of the difficulties in the explanation of the Maharsha is:
According to his explanation, it comes out that the difference and innovation of R’ Elazar ben Azaria (that “they are three” – not four categories of atonement) is not an aspect which concerns Halacha, and not an innovation in the aspect of atonement. For both the questioner R’ Matya ben Charash and the respondent R’ Elazar ben Azaria have the same opinion, namely that regarding “transgressing a Positive Commandment”, Teshuvah alone is sufficient.
The difference between them is only with regard to the number, in general - whether Teshuvah is also 'counted' among the “categories of atonement”, or not.
One must also understand:
What is the reasoning for the view of the debate between R’ Matya ben Charash (which is also stated in the Tosefta) who maintains that “there are four “categories of atonement”, for Teshuvah is among the categories, and R’ Elazar ben Azaria who maintains that “there are three”?
Therefore, the Akeida learns that with “there are three”, R’ Elazar ben Azaria negates Chillul Hashem, by which he indicates that atonement is solely for the living. Whereas after death “atonement is not applicable”.
However, even this requires explanation:
Since even regarding Chillul Hashem, it is just that it is “not absolved until death”. This means that through death indeed there is (even according to R’ Elazar ben Azaria) an atonement (at least) for the soul, and that
“No charge nor semblance of an accusation is mentioned against him . . so that he should be punished for his sin, G‑d forbid, in the World to Come”.
Accordingly, what is the difference (even according to the explanation of the Akeida) between R’ Matya ben Charash and R’ Elazar ben Azaria?
4. The Alter Rebbe in the beginning of Iggeret HaTeshuva states:
“It has been taught in a Beraita at the end of Tractate Yoma: There are three types of atonement, and repentance (must) accompany each of them.”
He then cites three cases:
And concludes, “Thus far is the wording of the Beraita”.
However, the Alter Rebbe does not cite, at all, the case regarding Chillul HaShem (and does not even allude to it by stating the word “Etc.”, after the case of “If one commits a sin (punishable by) excision or execution by Beit Din etc.”)
Therefore, it is understood that the Alter Rebbe learns, that by R’ Elazar ben Azaria stating, “there are three”, he means to negate (not “If one transgressed a Positive Commandment etc.”) like the explanation of the Maharsha, but rather) Chillul HaShem (like the explanation of the Akeida).
Seemingly, why is it relevant in “Iggeret HaTeshuva” –
where the Alter Rebbe explains the “Mitzvah of Teshuvah” and the Avodah of Teshuvah according to the exoteric part of Torah (niglah) and according to Sod (secrets of Torah) etc. –
to preface that there are only “three categories of atonement” and with the emphasis that Chillul HaShem is not included in the categories?
One could say that, it is for this very reason (היא הנותנת):
By citing the “categories of atonement” immediately in the beginning of Iggeret HaTeshuva, the Alter Rebbe is emphasizing that the completeness of Teshuvah is that which it brings atonement.
(Which is why he brings in Iggeret HaTeshuva also the fasts etc., which help to complete the atonement. For all this is included in the purpose and completeness of Teshuvah), as will be explained in Par. 7.)
By emphasizing that there are just “three types of atonement”, and that Chillul HaShem is not among them –
he explains that the aspect of atonement, which is a part of the (completeness of the) Mitzvah of Teshuvah
(and therefore, must be explained in Iggeret HaTeshuva), namely, that which atonement is the epitome of Teshuvah –
is just this very atonement which is accomplished when one is alive
(and not the atonement on Chillul HaShem which comes after death)
For one of the principles of the Mitzvah of Teshuvah is that which its aspect is specifically from one who is alive, as will be emplaned in Par. 8.
5. The explanation of all this is:
Immediately after citing the Beraita at the conclusion of Tractate Yoma, the Alter Rebbe states (in Iggeret HaTeshuva):
“Now the Mitzvah of Teshuvah as required by the Torah is solely the abandonment of sin . . that he must resolve in perfect sincerity never again to revert to folly . . and that he will never again violate the King’s command etc.”
From the precise wording, “the Mitzvah of repentance as required by the Torah is solely the abandonment of sin” (עזיבת החטא בלבד), it is understood plainly that with this, the Alter Rebbe negates all the other aspects (that are not in the category of “the abandonment of sin”) – even remorse and Vidui (חרטה און וידוי)
In Chovat Halevavot it states that even remorse and Vidui, together with the abandonment of sin (and the resolution for the future) are from the boundaries of Teshuvah (גדרי התשובה).
As a “condition of the “boundaries of Teshuvah” he counts there, twenty aspects.
(Moreover, even Rabbeinu Yona in Shaarei Teshuvah, counts these three things as “foundations of Teshuvah” (יסודות התשובה) and twenty aspects as “principles of Teshuvah) (עיקרי התשובה).)
However, from that which the Alter Rebbe states that the Mitzvah of Teshuvah is “solely the abandonment of sin”, it proves that the Alter Rebbe maintains that:
Although remorse and Vidui are from the “boundaries of Teshuvah”, and “foundations of Teshuvah”, they are, however, not the essence of Teshuvah (עצם התשובה). For the essence of Teshuvah is “solely the abandonment of sin”. Therefore, by abandoning sin, one fulfills the Mitzvah of Teshuvah.
6. The reason why Mitzvah of Teshuvah is primarily (not the remorse over the past etc., but rather) the full resolution, in one’s heart, for the future, not to revert again to sin (באגיין מער קיין זינד) – is because the Mitzvah of Teshuvah is expressed in that which:
This means that, although in actuality, through doing Teshuvah, atonement (also) comes for the past. However, it is not a part of the essence of Teshuvah. Furthermore, one could say that it is just that G-d desired that when the person does Teshuvah, it (the past) is also absolved.
(Therefore, even Rabbeinu Yona,
Whose view is that remorse and Vidui over past deeds, are indeed from the “foundations of Teshuvah” (as aforementioned Par. 5)
nevertheless does not count this, in the “request for atonement” (בקשת כפרה). For “the request for atonement” is an aspect of prayer. When repenting, one requests from G-d, that he be granted atonement for all the sins. This is however, not from the part of the “boundaries of Teshuvah”).
It is even not a necessary outcome of Teshuvah. And it is certain that it does not withhold the fulfillment of Teshuvah (מעכב בתשובה). This is proven from that which there are certain sins, among them, for example, “one who has an incestual relationship that produces an illegitimate child (mamzer)” – which is not atoned for through Yom Kippur and sufferings etc. Nevertheless, immediately when one repents for this, he goes out of the category of an evil-doer – he again, “acts according to the deeds of your people” (Note: i.e. he again is considered as one whose acts are befitting of a Jew).
7. Nevertheless, the Alter Rebbe brings in “Iggeret HaTeshuva” even aspects regarding atonement (as aforementioned Par. 4). From this, it is understood that even atonement is related to the Mitzvah of Teshuvah.
This aspect of this is:
There are two aspects In Teshuvah:
(However, even though the objective of Teshuvah is atonement (for the past), nevertheless, as stated previously, even when the Teshuvah does not bring atonement, it does not withhold (מעכב) from the fulfillment of the Mitzvah of Teshuvah and even not its main accomplishment (which is from now on)).
8. As is known, the fulfillment of Mitzvot is specifically in this world, in physical bodies, and not in Gan Eden after one leaves the body.
This is like the homily of the Sages on the verse (Tehillim 86:6):
“I am considered among the dead who are free”,
that just as the fulfillment of Mitzvot is when the soul is in the body. So too, must be the main accomplishment of the fulfillment of Mitzvot,
(Not the reward that comes after the fulfillment– to the soul in Gan Eden, but)
that he should fulfill the purpose of his creation – as it states, “I was created to serve my Master”, and “you shall be for Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation”.
In the words of Chassidut this means to become attached (the word Mitzvah is the same root as attachment/Tzavta - מצוה ל׳ צוותא) and connected with G-d, the Commander of the Mitzvot, and to draw down light into the soul as it is enclothed in the body. So much so, that it refines the body itself, that it should be a receptacle for G-dliness.
From this, it is understood with regard to the “Mitzvah of Teshuvah”, that although its objective and purpose is “atonement” – nevertheless, it is (mainly) the atonement which affects the soul, as it is enclothed in the body and in the body itself.
Which is not so regarding the atonement that comes through the “cleansing of death” (מיתה ממרקת).
(Although even this aspect, namely, that there should be atonement through death, is effected through Teshuvah).
This is the innovation of R’ Elazar ben Azaria who says, “There are three”:
(Or more than this: He speaks regarding the aspect of Teshuvah, which through Teshuvah, it effects the “absolving of those who repent” (מנקה הוא לשבין)).
He therefore counts just three “categories of atonement” - only those whose atonement is while alive. For this expresses the (main) accomplishment ( (אויפטו (העיקרי) of (all Mitzvot, including the Mitzvah) of Teshuvah, as aforementioned.
This is why in “Iggeret HaTeshuva”, where the Alter Rebbe speaks regarding the aspect of atonement from the perspective of its relation to Teshuvah, he cites “three categories of atonement” and Chillul HaShem is not included among them.
9. Just as in Teshuvah, there the two aspects:
So too, does it relates to the Mitzvah of Vidui.
(Which is how the Teshuvah of one’s heart comes down into speech, as aforementioned Par. 2),
For even in this there are two aspects:
However, this does not however reflect the true remorse for the past. For by saying “I have sinned,” (“חָטָאתִי”) – which primarily means “inadvertently sinning” – he does not recognize that he transgressed a sin with will and knowledge, that he should be truly at fault (שולדיק) in this.
(It is just that, through him – albeit without his knowledge – there was a mishap (תקלה) in the world, a sin; and a sin which is against the command of the King, the King of the world. Yet even on this, he can also have different excuses).
Moreover, when he does not feel culpable in this, it does not evoke within him any feeling of remorse ().
(the completeness of Teshuvah -)
remorse for the past. So much so that (according to many) he requests forgiveness on this from G-d.
From this, it is understood why, by solely saying, “I have sinned”, one fulfills the Mitzvah of Vidui even over willful sins (). For this expresses the “Mitzvah of Teshuvah as required by the Torah (which) is solely the abandonment of sin”.
10. All aspects of the exoteric aspect of Torah (niglah) – the body of Torah – are connected with the soul of Torah. Moreover, they emanate (נשתלשל) from their aspects in Pnimiyut (the soul) of Torah.
Therefore, it is understood that the two opinions in the Beraita –“three” and “four” categories of atonement – have a counterpart in Pnimiyut HaTorah – according to kabbalah and Chassidut.
Regarding the two numbers – three and four – the Tzemach Tzedek states that:
This is why worlds/Olamot are divided, in general, into three levels: Beriah, Yetzirah and Asiyah.
For the aspect of Olamot is Keilim/receptacles
(Whereas the world of Atzilut, which primarily is Orot, is not included in this counting)
According to this, one can understand the two opinions of R’ Matya ben Charash and R’ Elazar ben Azaria:
It states in kabbalah that the four categories of atonement correspond to the four worlds: Atzilut, Beriah, Yetzirah and Asiyah:
R’ Matya ben Charash speaks regarding Or/light which contains four levels. Therefore, he counts four categories of atonement.
Whereas, R’ Elazar ben Azaria speaks of Keilim. Therefore, he counts three categories of atonement.
(and does not count Chillul HaShem which corresponds to Atzilut).
This fits with the aforementioned explanation in Niglah, in the view of R’ Elazar ben Azaria, that he does not count Chillul HaShem since its cleansing is through death.
For the soul and the body are drawn down (and are in this example) from Orot and Keilim
(The soul - corresponds to Orot; the body – corresponds to Keilim):
The reason that he does not count Chillul HaShem,
since its cleansing is through death – the exiting of the soul from the body –
fits with the explanation according to kabbalah. Namely, that Chillul HaShem corresponds to Atzilut, which is the level of Or/light which is above being enclothed into Keilim.
12. It has been mentioned previously that in the Talmud Yerushalmi
(And according to the Maharsha, this is also the interpretation of the Talmud Bavli),
R’ Elazar ben Azaria enumerates Yom Kippur, suffering and death – but not Teshuvah.
In the aforementioned words of kabbalah (אותיות הקבלה), he counts Atzilut, Beriah, Yetzirah yet not Asiyah (to which Positive Commandments (Teshuvah) correspond to).
The explanation of this is:
The numbers “three” and “four” are sometimes explained
(Not like as aforementioned in Par. 10, but rather, (the opposite)) –
As is known, the Ten Sefirot are divided into four levels:
The first three levels are at the level of a “Mashpia/influencer” (משפיע).
Whereas, Malchut is the level of a “Mekabel/recipient” (which is why the main Keilim are in Malchut).
According to this,
This is also is manifest in Olamot (For the four aforementioned levels correspond to the Four Worlds)
Thus, it comes out that even the number of three categories of atonement, in the Talmud Yerushalmi
(Where Positive Commandments that correspond to Asiyah – are not counted)
fits according to kabbalah .
For the three levels depict (according to this explanation):
12. All explanations of Torah that are in one subject, are related to each other. Accordingly, the two aforementioned explanations,
(whether with “they are three”, R’ Elazar ben Azaria negates Chillul HaShem (Atzilut), or Positive Commandments (Asiyah))
even though they appear to be contradictory explanations, are, nevertheless, related, one with the other.
On the verse (Isaiah 43:7): "All that is called by My name and for My glory, I created it, formed it, also I made it." (כֹּל הַנִּקְרָא בִשְׁמִי וְלִכְבוֹדִי בְּרָאתִיו יְצַרְתִּיו אַף עֲשִׂיתִיו)
It states in Likkutei Torah that with the word “also /Af” (a word denoting inclusion) the verse includes another aspect which is higher than (the three levels): “I created it etc.” – namely, the level of Atzilut.
Moreover, the inclusion of “Af” (referring to Atzilut) is specifically stated next to the word “I made it/ עֲשִׂיתִיו”. For the revelation of Atzilut comes specifically through the Avodah in Asiyah.
This is the relation of the two aforementioned explanations . For specifically Asiyah is connected with Atzilut.
13. One can say more than this:
The relation of the two explanations is
(not just in the fourth category which R’ Elazar ben Azaria negates – Atzilut or Asiyah – but)
even in the three categories which he does count.
This means that that three levels which depict on Keilim (like the explanation of the Alter Rebbe in the Talmud Bavli) are connected with the three levels which allude to Orot (like in the Talmud Yerushalmi)
The explanation of this is:
Regarding the number thirteen (the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy), the Pardes states two explanations:
(Note: In the rectified world of Atzilut, the Sefirah of Keter develops into two distinct partzufim (Configurations),
Three levels, arising from the overlapping of the two Partzufim of Keter, form three Reishin (Heads) of Keter:
(Alternatively; “the Unknowable Head”; “the Skull”; “the Concealed Brain”) See: http://www.inner.org/worlds/parketer.htm
(These two explanations fit with the two aforementioned explanations in three and four:
The Ten sefirot of Atzilut are divided into four levels, as aforementioned.
Chassidut states on this aspect that:
“There is no debate at all, that the source of the three Olamot, Beriah, Yetzirah and Asiyah, is specifically from the three Heads of Heads which are above Atzilut”
According to this it comes out that both of the explanations in the level three (three which depict on Keilim; and three which depict Orot) are related to each other.
On the contrary, the true aspect of light, which is completely higher than Keilim, are the ‘three Heads of Heads’ which are above Atzilut. This light is specifically received through the third level which depicts the Keilim which are below Atzilut.
14. Just as the three Olamot, Beriah, Yetzirah and Asiyah, are connected with the ‘three Heads of Heads’ which are above Atzilut, so too is it with the three categories of atonement – whose aspect is atonement for a soul, specifically in a body.
(which is why R’ Elazar ben Azaria does not include Chillul HaShem in this, as aforementioned).
Namely, that they are connected with a level that is higher than the four levels of the soul - Nefesh, Ruach, Neshama and Chaya – solely as they are divested from the body (מופשטת),
(a level is called) a “Far Makif” (מקיף הרחוק) is Yechidah –
so much so, that it is one with Yachid (יחיד) - the spark of the created being with the spark of the Creator, as it were. (ניצוץ נברא מיט ניצוץ בורא, כביכול)
For specifically through the Avodah of a soul below in a body and the fulfillment of Torah and Mitzvot specifically in physicality –
and as aforementioned (Par. 8) that also the Mitzvah of Teshuvah must be done (as all Mitzvot) specifically with a soul in a body –
is there accomplished an elevation in the soul that is higher than it was before its descent into the world, higher than the level of “It is pure” (טהורה היא) (Atzilut)
MSichas Yud-Tes Kislev and the farbrengen that followed, 5729
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