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As Divided for a Regular Year
Tanya for 22 Tamuz
Even one who has never violated a sin punishable by excision or a sin incurring death by divine agency, such as vain emission and the like, but other less severe sins, nonetheless, since they cause a defect in the spirit and Divine soul, as in the analogy of the fine strands of rope that are defective or severed, as noted above - [in chapter 5, which describes the 613 strands that together comprise the lifeline of the soul, and when one transgresses one of the 613 commandments, one of these strands is severed], - therefore, through an accumulation of sins there can eventually be a defect as grave as from one prohibition involving excision or death.
This would be true even when a single sin is repeated numerous times. 
[Far from merely damaging the selfsame strand repeatedly, the repetition of even the same sin weakens and jeopardizes the rope as a whole].
In this manner the prophet compares sins to a cloud that dims the light of the sun.
As the verse states,  "I have erased your transgressions like a thick cloud" [that can dissipate].
This refers to the grave sins  (that are barriers) between the internal aspect of the power flowing forth from the Tetragrammaton, and the Divine soul.
This is like the separation of a thick, dark cloud that stands between the sun and the earth with its inhabitants. 
[The above verse continues:] ".... and your sins like a cloud." These are the lesser sins that man tramples under his heel, [sins] that obscure as does a thin and wispy cloud.
In the illustration, if one obscures the sunlight streaming through a window with many fine and flimsy curtains, they will darken as much as one thick curtain will, and even more.
This is exactly so in the analogue, with all those [cloud-like] sins upon which man tramples indifferently, [because they seem to be of little import: they obscure the Divine light by their multitudinous repetition as do many fine curtains, "darkening as much as one thick curtain will, and even more"];
And certainly with those sins that our Sages often warned against, that are actually like idolatry, immorality and bloodshed.
Beliyaal [here translated "unworthy]" is used in reference to idolatry ......, from which we learn that ignoring the needy is likened to idolatry].
Or talebearing, the evil tongue, that is equated to idolatry, immorality, and bloodshed. 
There are many such cases described in the Talmud - [of sins whose punishment is not as severe as that of idolatry and the like, but which nonetheless effect a similar spiritual blemish], and [the sin of neglecting] the study of the Torah equals them all.
As our Sages assert,  "G-d has overlooked idolatry, [immorality and bloodshed, but has not overlooked the sin of neglecting Torah study]."
[Thus, sins such as ignoring the needy, talebearing, and so on, though not carrying the punishment of excision or death by the hand of heaven, nonetheless sever the soul from its Divine source].
For this reason it was ordained that in the course of Keriat Shema at the bedside  one should accept the four executions of the court, and so on.
[This acceptance is recited even by those who have never committed capital sins, because many other sins blemish the soul to the same degree as do those which are punishable by any of the four executions administered by the court].
Besides, according to Sod, [the mystical dimension of the Torah], causing a defect in the yud of the Tetragrammaton is like incurring lapidation; causing a defect in the hei is like incurring burning; [causing a defect] in the vav is like incurring the sword; and [causing a defect in] the latter hei is like incurring strangulation.
Neglecting the Shema impairs the yud, and tefillin the hei, tzitzit the vav, and prayer the latter hei, and so on.
[We thus see that according to the Kabbalah the soul can be blemished through other sins just as by a capital sin. Undertaking the "four executions" clears the soul of these blemishes].
From this a thinking man can infer for other sins and transgressions
[The Rebbe Shlita adds: "..... which one of the letters of the Tetragrammaton they are related to, and thus, to which manner of execution"].
And for [the sin of] neglecting the study of the Torah, which is equivalent to them all.
[All the above lends the thinking person a contrite heart, as he grows aware of the blemish caused even by his supposedly lesser sins.
This contrition is the second preparatory step along the "true and direct" path to the lower level of repentance. For contrition crushes the kelipot and sitra achra and enables a man to repent truthfully, earnestly regretting his past misdeeds and firmly resolving to better his future ways.
- (Back to text) Note of the Rebbe Shlita: "The proof of the Ran is well known (and it appears as an actual point of law in the Shulchan Aruch of the Alter Rebbe, Orach Chayim 328:16)-that the repeated transgression of a prohibition of the Torah involving a quantity that is less than the minimal punishable amount, is more serious than transgressing a prohibition that incurs death by lapidation!
(Incidentally, this serves to prove (cf. below) that a multitude of seemingly lesser sins can `darken as much ....., and even more.")"
- (Back to text) Yeshayahu 44:22.
- (Back to text) Parentheses are in the original text.
- (Back to text) Note of the Rebbe Shlita: "This phrase would appear to be superfluous. Possibly it relates to two details in the analogue: the lower hei (Malchut, earth); the divine soul (`with its inhabitants')."
- (Back to text) Note of the Rebbe Shlita: "Ketubbot 68a."
- (Back to text) Devarim 15:9.
- (Back to text) Note of the Rebbe Shlita: "Until here, as in the Gemara, loc. cit., and Sanhedrin 111b."
- (Back to text) Note of the Rebbe Shlita: "Arachin 15b."
- (Back to text) Zohar II, 182b; Rambam, Hilchot De'ot 2:3.
- (Back to text) Cf. Sotah 4b.
- (Back to text) Introduction to Eichah Rabbah, beg. of Sec. 2; Yerushalmi, Chagigah 1:7.
- (Back to text) Note of the Rebbe Shlita: "Even though it is not the function of Iggeret HaTeshuvah to explain the prayers, this comment is relevant here because one of the themes of the bedside Keriat Shema is stocktaking and teshuvah. (See also Part I, end of chapter 7.)"
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