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As Divided for a Regular Year
Tanya for 10 Elul
Now, it is well known that Jews by their very nature act compassionately and perform deeds of lovingkindness.  [This is so] because their souls issue from G-d's attributes, in which Chesed prevails over the attribute of din, Gevurah, and tzimtzum, as it is written,  "His Chesed prevails over those who fear Him," [alluding to the fact that the Divine attribute of Chesed prevails over the Divine attribute of Gevurah.]
The soul is therefore called "daughter of the priest," since it derives from the attribute of Chesed which is called "Kohen", as is written in the sacred Zohar.  [Since the soul derives from the Divine attributes which are dominated by kindness and compassion, Jews by their very nature are kind and compassionate.]
Now, the charity that issues from this source - [from the soul's inherently kind and compassionate nature] - is referred to as "the act of charity," for the term "act" (maaseh) applies to that which is already done, or which is constantly being done spontaneously; thus, something existent, common and constant.
Here, too, [with regard to tzedakah that is motivated by the soul's innate sense of kindness and compassion,] the trait of kindness and compassion is implanted in the souls of the entire House of Israel from aforetime, from the time that they were created and that they evolved from G-d's attributes, as it is written  [in regard to Adam's soul entering his body,] "And He blew into his nostrils [a soul of life]," [and we likewise say]  concerning the entry of each and every soul into its individual body, "You blew it into me," and  "He who blows, [blows from within him]," [from his innermost being.
So, too, in the analogue: Since the soul emanates from the inward aspect of the Divine attributes, it is infused with them as well, so that the attribute of kindness dominates the soul even as it finds itself within the body.]
Furthermore,  in His goodness [G-d] renews the act (maaseh) of creation every single day, and this includes the supernal attributes.
Likewise, with regard to souls below, [it is written],  "They are new every morning...."
["Act" (maaseh) thus refers to a constant process, such as the renewal of the soul with its characteristic traits of kindness and compassion. The "act of tzedakah" hence refers to the tzedakah which a Jew practices by virtue of these innate character traits.]
The term "service" (avodah), however, applies only to what a man does with immense exertion, contrary to his soul's inclination, [Indeed, it is his very disinclination for a particular task that works against him, and necessitates such exertion.] but he overrules his nature and will, out of deference to the Supreme Will; exhausting himself, for example, in Torah and prayer, "to the extent of pressing out the soul...." [Since the soul is not naturally inclined to such a situation, a great deal of toil and effort is required.]
In our case, too, with regard to the commandment of giving charity, [to "serve" entails] giving far more than [would be prompted by] the nature of one's compassion and will. As our Sages, of blessed memory, commented  on the verse,  "Give, you shall give": "...even a hundred times."
- (Back to text) Yevamot 79a; see Tanya, Part I, end of ch. 1.
- (Back to text) Tehillim 103:11.
- (Back to text) Note of the Rebbe Shlita: “II, 95a.”
- (Back to text) Bereishit 2:7.
- (Back to text) Morning Blessings (Siddur Tehillat HaShem, p. 6); cf. Berachot 60b.
- (Back to text) Cited above (Part I, ch. 2) in the name of the Zohar.
- (Back to text) The clause that follows paraphrases a statement in the morning prayers (Siddur Tehillat HaShem, p. 44).
- (Back to text) Eichah 3:23.
- (Back to text) Note of the Rebbe Shlita: Iggeret HaKodesh, Epistle 1.
- (Back to text) Note of the Rebbe Shlita: Sifri, Devarim 15:10; commentary of Rashi there.
- (Back to text) Devarim, loc. cit.
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