Updated: Jul 18
The feminine aspect of the divine and the transformative process of Teshuvah and Redemption * On Tanya for the 7th of Tammuz.
by Bing AI
T'shuva is a fundamental concept in Judaism, involving the process of returning to G-d and seeking forgiveness for transgressions. The Talmud states that "Great is repentance, for it brings healing to the world" (Yoma 86b). Teshuvah is not just about feeling remorse for past actions, but also about making a commitment to change and improve one's behavior in the future.
The third part of the Tanya, Iggeret Hateshuvah, delves into the concept of Teshuvah and its various levels. The lower and higher levels of Teshuvah are respectively indicated by the lower and higher letters Hei of the ineffable Name of G-d. These two letters are feminine: both are receptors, with the higher Hei representing the level of Binah being impregnated by Chochmah and the lower Hei representing Malchut being impregnated by the six emotive sefirot.
In Jewish thought, there are two levels of Teshuvah: Teshuvah Tata'ah (lower repentance) and Teshuvah Ila'ah (higher repentance). These two levels are characterized by different motivations and goals. An analogy that can help us understand the difference between these two levels of Teshuvah is that of a child who cleans their room. If the child cleans their room because they are afraid of being punished or because they want to receive a reward, this can be compared to Teshuvah Tata'ah. If, however, the child cleans their room because they love their parents and want to make them happy, this can be compared to Teshuvah Ila'ah.
The feminine aspect of these two letters can be understood as representing the receptive nature of Teshuvah. Just as the letters Hei are receptors, with the higher Hei being impregnated by Chochmah and the lower Hei being impregnated by the six emotive sefirot, so too does the process of Teshuvah involve being open and receptive to change and growth.
The feminine aspect of the letters Hei in the ineffable Name of G-d can also be connected to the concept of Moshiach (the Messiah) in Jewish thought. In Kabbalistic teachings, final redemption and Moshiach's coming are associated with Malchut, also known as Shechinah (Divine Presence). Malchut is considered divine's feminine aspect as it receives and actualizes creative energy from higher sefirot. The lower Hei in the ineffable Name represents Malchut and thus can be seen as representing ultimate redemption and Moshiach's coming.
The higher Hei represents Binah's level associated with understanding and comprehension. In Kabbalistic teachings, Binah is considered lower sefirot's "mother" as it gives birth to and nurtures their creative energy. In this sense, Binah can be seen as representing growth and development potential.
In relation to Moshiach, the higher Hei can be understood as representing spiritual growth and development potential that will be fully realized in Messianic era. In this time, it is said there will be a great increase in knowledge and understanding of G-d and His ways. The prophet Isaiah states: "For earth shall be full of knowledge of Lord as waters cover sea" (Isaiah 11:9).
In engaging in both levels of Teshuvah - Teshuvah Tata'ah (lower repentance) and Teshuvah Ila'ah (higher repentance) - we can draw closer to G-d and strengthen our connection with Him. Through our actions and spiritual growth, we can help bring about final redemption and Moshiach's revelation.