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As Divided for a Leap Year
Tanya for 14 Tamuz
In Temple times this sacrifice was offered (even) for transgressing a positive command, in order to make the former offender once again acceptable and beloved of G-d.
Accordingly, the AriZal derived from the Kabbalah the number of fasts to be undertaken for numerous transgressions, even those that are not subject to the punishment of excision or death by Divine decree].
The latter Mussar sages - [those who lived after the Ari] - were divided in their opinions about one who repeated a sin many times.
Some contend that he must fast the number of fasts appropriate to that sin according to the number of transgressions.
For example, the number of fasts prescribed in the penances of the AriZal for wasteful emission of semen is eighty-four.
If someone commits this sin ten or twenty times, say, he must fast ten or twenty times eighty-four, and so on in all instances.
This is comparable to the chatat offering [Note of the Rebbe Shlita: "i.e., all the chatat offerings"] required for every instance of violation.
Others compare these fasts to the olah offering brought for neglect of a positive command. .
The violation of a number of positive commands is atoned for [and the individual finds favor in G-d's eyes] by one olah, as the Talmud explains in Tractate Zevachim, chapter 1. 
The accepted decision in this dispute is to undertake three times the number of fasts prescribed for that particular sin, i.e., 252 fasts [three times eighty-four] for wasteful emission, and similarly for other sins [oft repeated].
This is based on a teaching in the Zohar, at the end of Parshat Noach:  "As soon as mortal man sins once against the Holy One, blessed be He, he makes an impression [Above; should he sin a second time, the impact of his sin is even greater]; the third time he commits the sin, the stain penetrates from one side through the other; ....." therefore the number of fasts ought also be three.
- (Back to text) Note of the Rebbe Shlita: "As distinct from other olah offerings; see the various types of offerings in Maimonides' preface to his Commentary on the Mishnayot of Tractate Kodashim."
- (Back to text) 5b, 6a, 7b.
- (Back to text) 73b.
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