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As Divided for a Leap Year
Tanya for 20 Nisan
This capacity and this quality of attaching one's Daat to G-d, [so that he not only understands, but also feels G-dliness and so becomes wholly united with Him], is present in every soul of the House of Israel, by virtue of its nurture [yenikah, lit., "suckling"] from the soul of our teacher Moses, peace unto him.
Only, since the soul has clothed itself in the body, it needs a great and mighty exertion, doubled and redoubled, [in order to feel and be attached to G-d.
While it is true that the soul has this capacity by dint of its being nurtured from the soul of Moses (for were the soul lacking this capacity, then even the greatest effort would be of no avail, for how can a created being possibly comprehend and feel its Creator? How can a soul enclothed in a body feel and be bound to G-dliness?), nevertheless, even after possessing this capacity, it requires a prodigious effort to actually comprehend and feel G-dliness].
First is the "exertion of the flesh," [to throw off the bodily shackles], to pound the body, [i.e., to weaken its corporeality], and gain its submission, so that it shall not obscure the light of the soul, [thus making it possible for one to understand and feel G-dliness], as has been mentioned above  in the name of the Zohar, that "A body into which the light of the soul does not penetrate should be crushed," this being accomplished by means of penitential reflections from the depths of the heart, as is explained there.
[When one has weakened the grossness of the body, so that is hinders no longer, it becomes possible for the "light of the soul" to be manifest.
This, then, is one manner of exertion, known as "exertion of the flesh]."
- (Back to text) Beginning of ch. 29.
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