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As Divided for a Regular Year
Tanya for 6 Adar
He will then arrive at a true joy, as follows: In order to comfort his heart in double measure, let him - in the wake of the above words of truth [concerning his lowly spiritual stature] - tell himself the following.
Let him say to his heart: "Indeed, without a doubt, I am far removed, utterly remote from G-d, and am despicable, contemptible, and so on. But all this is true only of me - that is, my body and the animating soul within it.
Yet within me there is a veritable `part' of G-d, which is present even in the most worthless of my fellows, [so that even if I am no better than he, I still have this `part' of G-d within me], namely, the divine soul and the spark of G-dliness itself clothed in it, animating it.
It is only that [when the body and animating soul are in such a lowly state], the divine soul is in exile [within them].
"If so, then, on the contrary, the further I am removed from G-d, and the more despicable and contemptible, the deeper in exile is my divine soul, and all the more is it to be pitied.
"Therefore, I will make it my entire aim and desire to extricate it from this exile, and to `return her to her father's house [i.e., to restore it to its source and its original state] as in her youth," i.e., as it was before being clothed in my body, when it was completely absorbed in G-d's light and united with Him.
[The comfort (attained by this) is dual: not only is his depression eliminated, but he will also attain a joy which he would never experience were it not for his earlier depression].
"Now too, will it [the divine soul] likewise be absorbed and united with Him once again, when I concentrate all my aspirations on the Torah and the mitzvot, [in an effort] to clothe therein all [of the soul's] ten faculties; [i.e., by applying my mental faculties to Torah study, and my emotive faculties to the performance of the mitzvot with the vitality lent them by the love and fear of G-d, as explained above in chapter 4. Thus will my divine soul be reunited with G-d].
"Especially in [fulfilling] the mitzvah of prayer [will I try to release my divine soul], by crying out to G-d because of the distress of its exile in my loathsome body, so that He release it from captivity and bind it to Himself."
This [service of G-d, in which one seeks to restore the soul to its source], is referred to as  "teshuvah *with* good deeds."
[This is an oft-used Talmudic expression denoting the mitzvot (as in the statement, "One hour of teshuvah with good deeds in this world is better than all the life of the World to Come").
At first glance, the juxtaposition of the two seems incongruous; teshuvah deals with atoning for one's past imperfections, while "good deeds" are performed in the present and would seem to bear no relation to one's past.
According to the Alter Rebbe's statement, however, that one's performance of the mitzvot should be motivated by a desire to return his soul to its source within G-d, the connection between the two is clear: the "good deeds" themselves actually constitute teshuvah, which means "return." As the Alter Rebbe continues]:
This denotes the "good deeds" which one does with the intention of returning the soul which is part of G-d, to the [Divine] source and root of all the worlds.
- (Back to text) Avot 4:17.
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