True repentance requires awakening divine compassion and subduing the evil within. Through this process, we not only transform our own lives but also contribute to the collective teshuvah that leads us closer to the redemption brought about by Moshiach.
In today's daily study in Tanya (20 Tammuz), we discover a profound insight into the process of repentance. The chapter emphasizes the two essential elements of true and direct repentance: awakening divine compassion and subjugating evil. These elements not only pave the way for genuine repentance but also hold significance in the context of the ultimate redemption heralded by the arrival of Moshiach.
AWAKENING SUPREME COMPASSION
The first element of genuine repentance involves arousing supreme compassion from the Source of mercy for one's soul and the Divine vitality that has fallen into the depths of impurity (kelipot and sitra achara). The descent of the soul's vitality into the realm of impurity is caused by one's deeds, evil schemes, and even transient evil thoughts (Tanya, Ch. 20).
This revelation lies in the depth and breadth of the Divine compassion that needs to be awakened. It is not limited to the soul alone but extends to its Source, the Four-Letter Name of God. This profound compassion reflects the infinite measure of mercy inherent in God's essence. Understanding the connection between sin and the degradation of the soul's Source awakens a deep sense of compassion within us (Tanya, Ch. 20).
The second element necessary for true repentance is the subjugation and nullification of evil, particularly the kelipah and sitra achara. These forces represent grossness and arrogance, the antithesis of holiness and humility (Tanya, Ch. 20).
By crushing and subduing the kelipah and sitra achara, one achieves their death and nullification. This crushing is accomplished through a broken and contrite heart, a recognition of personal unworthiness, and a sense of repugnance towards evil. When the heart is humbled, the animal soul associated with kelipah is also humbled, leading to the subjugation of evil (Tanya, Ch. 20).
THE PATH TO TRUTHFUL AND DIRECT REPENTANCE
These teachings highlight the essential nature of genuine repentance and emphasize the need for the awakening of divine compassion and the subjugation of evil. Without these elements, repentance lacks truth and directness. True repentance requires permanence, a resolution that endures and remains steadfast (Proverbs 12:19).
The preparatory steps of awakening divine compassion and subduing evil make repentance lasting and truthful. They ensure that our return to God is not only sincere but also enduring. Repentance that is founded on these elements brings us onto a direct path, unlike an indirect path that may arise from external circumstances. It allows us to experience a profound transformation within ourselves (Tanya, Ch. 20).
REPENTANCE AND THE COMING OF MOSHIACH
The concepts of awakening divine compassion and subduing evil hold profound implications for the ultimate redemption brought about by Moshiach. In the Messianic era, the entire world will experience a collective repentance and return to God. The process of repentance on an individual level mirrors the path to universal redemption (Jeremiah 49:16; Tanya, Ch. 20).
As we awaken supreme compassion and subdue evil within ourselves, we contribute to the collective teshuvah (repentance) of humanity, bringing the world closer to the Messianic redemption. Our efforts to restore the Divine vitality to its rightful place and to nullify evil align with the mission of Moshiach, who will ultimately lead us to the complete revelation of God's presence on Earth.