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As Divided for a Leap Year
Tanya for 4 Menachem Av
As to the fact that we praise and bless G-d as being "the gracious One Who abounds in forgiveness," - the verb chosen is marbeh ["abounds", implying a quality unique to G-d].
In Ezra  [too] we find that G-d "pardons abundantly."
In the mortal world, if one person harms another and asks his pardon which is granted, and then repeats the misdeed, it becomes more difficult to grant pardon again, and certainly a third and fourth time.
By the standard of G-d, however, there is no difference between once and a thousand times.
For pardon is a manifestation of the attribute of mercy, and Divine attributes are not bounded and finite; they are infinite, as in the verse,  "For His mercies have not ended."
Relative to infinity there is no difference whatsoever between a small number and a large one.
Therefore  "He removes our sins every year."
As to all the sins for which we confess in the Al Chet annually, though repeatedly violated, we again confess for them on Yom Kippur in the coming year, and so on always.
"Every year" does not necessarily imply a yearly pardon; rather, three times every day we likewise say, "Blessed are You, O G-d, Who is gracious and abounds in forgiveness."
As our Sages teach,  the prayers were instituted in place of the daily sacrificial offerings.
The daily morning sacrifice would atone for the sins of the previous night, and the daily evening sacrifice atoned for the sins of the past day, and so on, day by day, constantly.
[Just as in former times atonement was secured by the regular altar offerings, so too nowadays, our prayers and repentance bring about forgiveness.
What, however, is the difference between the forgiveness granted on Yom Kippur and that granted daily?]
["Every year" means only that] Yom Kippur atones for the grave sins, while the regular offering of the olah sacrifice atoned only for the violation of positive commands.
In our time, worship with repentance [substitutes for offerings, atoning only for violations of positive commands], as noted above.
However, this [thrice-daily recitation of G-d's assurance of forgiveness] is not [the attitude of one who says,] "I will sin and [later] repent," [concerning whom our Sages say,  "He is not granted an opportunity to repent."
For that is relevant only if while committing the sin he could have overcome his evil impulse, but depended in his heart on repenting [later].
Since it was [the opportunity for] repentance that caused him to sin, "He is not granted an opportunity [to repent]."
And even then, he is not granted an opportunity.
But if he pressed forcefully and overpowered his evil impulse and did repent, then his repentance is accepted.
[This all applies to a situation where a person indeed says, "I shall sin and [later] repent]."
But we, who plead daily, "Forgive us," preface that prayer by saying, "Bring us back with a perfect repentance before you," so that we revert no more to folly, [and sin no more].
On Yom Kippur too we ask, "May it be Your will that I sin no more."
[Hence, since one does not rely on one's ability to repent later]:
Opportunity is abundantly granted for repentance.
As our Sages teach:  "Whoever comes to purify himself [of his sin] is given assistance."
The expression "whoever comes" [indicates that he is granted assistance] as soon as he comes, and the pardon and forgiveness are thus also granted forthwith.
- (Back to text) The reference is not to the term but to the concept; see explanation of the Rebbe Shlita in the Yiddish original of the present work (Shiurim BeSefer HaTanya), p. 1212 ff.
- (Back to text) Eichah 3:22.
- (Back to text) Cf. Zohar I, 11b; cf. Daniel 4:32.
- (Back to text) Vechol Maaminim, in liturgy of Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur.
- (Back to text) Machzor of Yom Kippur.
- (Back to text) Berachot 26a.
- (Back to text) Yoma 85b.
- (Back to text) Shabbat 104a; Yoma 38b.
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