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As Divided for a Regular Year
Tanya for 19 Shevat
Here below, however, this [union] is within the limits of time, [for in this world the soul is under the dominion of time], and [the soul is united with G-d] only while it is engaged in Torah study or in the performance of a mitzvah.
For if he engages afterwards in anything else he becomes separated, here below, from this Supernal union - [that is, if he occupies himself with absolutely unnecessary matters that are in no way useful in the service of G-d].
Nevertheless, when he repents and resumes his service of G-d through Torah study or prayer, and he asks forgiveness of G-d for not having studied Torah at the time [of his occupation in vain matters] when he could have done so, G-d forgives him.
As our Sages have said,  "If one neglected to perform a positive precept and repented, he is pardoned forthwith," [and is thus reunited even here below, with G-d and His Will].
For this reason [i.e., because such a request for forgiveness is immediately effective in reuniting the soul to G-d, so that it will not be parted from Him even momentarily], the Sages ordained that the blessing beginning "Forgive us ...," [in which we beg forgiveness] for the sin of neglecting the study of the Torah, be recited as often as three times daily, since no one escapes this sin even a single day.
This [blessing] is like the daily burnt-offering [sacrificed in the Holy Temple], that atoned for neglect of the positive precepts.
[Yet it may be argued:
Since this sin is repeated constantly, begging forgiveness for it is similar to saying, "I will sin and repent, sin and repent." Our Sages have said  that in such a case, G-d does not grant the sinner the opportunity to repent; why then should the request beginning "Forgive us ...." be effective in the case of neglecting Torah study?
The Alter Rebbe now differentiates between the two cases].
This is not the same as saying, "I will sin and repent, sin and repent," unless at the very time when one commits the sin he relies on subsequent repentance, and sins because of it, as explained elsewhere.
[Since he perverted the idea of repentance by using it as an excuse for sinning, he is not give the opportunity to practice it.
However, in our case of the oft-repeated sin of neglecting to study Torah, the offender does not rely on teshuvah at the time of his sin, and he is therefore granted the opportunity to ask for forgiveness thrice daily in the blessing of "Forgive us."
At any rate, we see that the union of the soul with G-d that is effected through the mitzvot is eternal. When one considers that he would gladly give up his life so as not to be (even momentarily) parted from G-d by practicing idolatry, he will realize that he surely ought to exert himself in performing the mitzvot which bind him to G-d forever.
The Alter Rebbe has thus demonstrated how being aware of one's willingness to sacrifice his life for G-d, affects both the areas of "turning away from evil" and "doing good," i.e., the observance of the negative and positive commandments respectively.
It follows that this awareness should constantly be on one's mind, so that he will always be ready to apply it to his performance of the mitzvot].
In light of the above, it will be understood why Moshe Rabbeinu, peace be upon him, commanded in the Book of Devarim - [not in the earlier Books of the Bible addressed to the generation of Jews who wandered in the desert,  but] to the generation that entered the Holy Land that they [too, and not only the subsequent generations]  recite the Shema twice daily, [the intention in the Shema being] to acknowledge the Kingdom of Heaven with self-sacrifice; [i.e., the Shema teaches us to accept martyrdom for the sanctification of G-d's Name.
Now one may ask:
Why was it necessary for our forefathers to prepare themselves for martyrdom]?
Had they not been promised that  "G-d will lay the fear and dread of you [upon all the inhabitants of the land"?
[They had no reason to fear that anyone would attempt to force them to deny the Kingdom of Heaven, necessitating self-sacrifice to resist such efforts. In this sense, they were as well protected as the Jews who traveled the desert with Moses (who were not commanded to recite the Shema. 
We must therefore conclude that preparation for martyrdom is necessary not only to ensure that it will be put into practice if and when necessary], but because the fulfillment of the Torah and its commandments is contingent on one's being constantly aware of his readiness to surrender his life to G-d for the sake of His unity,
[i.e., that a person remember that he would be willing to sacrifice his life for the sake of G-d's unity, if the situation would warrant it - which is the message contained in the Shema; he must therefore recite it twice daily, morning and evening], so that this awareness will be fixed permanently in his heart, and will not depart from his memory night and day.
In this way, one is able to withstand his Evil Inclination and to vanquish it at every time and every moment, [even after Moses' passing, whenever Jews are engaged in an intense struggle with the Evil Inclination, as it is written:  "G-d said to Moses, `Behold, you are about to sleep with your fathers, and this people will rise up and stray ...,]"  as explained above - [that when one remembers that he would be prepared to suffer martyrdom for his love of G-d and his belief in G-d's unity, he will surely be able to overcome his Evil Inclination and perform all the mitzvot].
- (Back to text) Based on a comment by the Rebbe Shlita.
- (Back to text) Yoma 86a.
- (Back to text) Ibid. 85b.
- (Back to text) Devarim 11:25.
- (Back to text) Ibid. 31:16.
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