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As Divided for a Regular Year
Tanya for 27 Tamuz
Since prayer is an expression of teshuvah ila'ah, [the higher level of return], it must be preceded by teshuvah tata'ah, [the lower level of return that is reached by the contriteness of a penitent heart].
This is what the Sages intended in the Mishnah:  "One should embark on worship only in an earnest frame of mind."
Rashi explains this to mean "humility".
This is the state of teshuvah tata'ah, in which one arouses Divine compassion [for oneself], as noted above, [in chapters 7 and 8].
At the same time we must note the Beraita there:  "Our Sages taught, `One should embark on worship only with joy.'"
[Thus, while the individual is to begin his preparations for prayer by achieving a state of bitterness of spirit, he is expected to begin his actual prayers in a state of joy].
In our bereaved generation, however, when not all are capable of turning their hearts instantly from one extreme [to the other, from humility to joy], it is advised that teshuvah tata'ah be practiced earlier, at Tikkun Chatzot.
[This is an especially appropriate time for the spiritual stocktaking that leads to the humility of a "broken and contrite heart]," as noted above. 
Whoever cannot do this nightly  should maintain an absolute minimum of once every week, before the Shabbat.
It is familiar to the initiates [in the mysteries of the Torah] that Shabbat is of the order of teshuvah ila'ah; indeed, the very letters of the word Shabbat spell tashev ["You return",  as in the phrase],  "You cause man to return."
For on Shabbat all the worlds ascend to their Source ...., [and this, too, is the time of the ascent of the soul to its Source - which constitutes the act of teshuvah].
The prayers of Shabbat in particular - [even more than the weekday prayers - are an act of teshuvah ila'ah]. This will suffice for the perceptive.
For since [as in the preceding phrase] "I have erased your sins like a thick cloud," removing the sitra achra, and "I have redeemed you" from the evil [lit., "extraneous"] forces through the arousal of Supreme compassion following the initiative taken by man below in his teshuvah tata'ah, as explained above, therefore, "Return to Me" - with teshuvah ila'ah.)
- (Back to text) Berachot 30b.
- (Back to text) Ibid.
- (Back to text) I Samuel 1:10.
- (Back to text) Berachot 31a.
- (Back to text) Note of the Rebbe Shlita: "See above, chapter 7."
- (Back to text) Note of the Rebbe Shlita: "As explained in chapter 11 of Kuntres HaTefillah, this applies only to great tzaddikim..... For most people, however, it need not be nightly...."
- (Back to text) Conclusion of Torat Natan.
- (Back to text) Tehillim 90:3.
- (Back to text) Parentheses are in the original text.
- (Back to text) Yeshayahu 44:22.
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