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Monday, 25 Sivan 5777 / June 19, 2017
Chabad Chassidus is an all-embracing world outlook and way of life which sees the Jew's central purpose as a unifying link between the Creator and His world. Written by the Alter Rebbe, the founder of Chabad, Tanya is the central text of Chabad Chassidus. It shows the reader a path to realizing their purpose and developing a deeper relationship with G-d. Choose from one of the two formats available: through Lessons in Tanya - a profound and clear explanation of the Alter Rebbe's writings, or through an audio class.

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Daily Tanya

Shaar Hayichud Vehaemunah, end of Chapter 7

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Shaar Hayichud Vehaemunah, end of Chapter 7

כי מקור החיות הוא רוח פיו של הקב״ה, המתלבש בעשרה מאמרות שבתורה

For the source of the life-force is the “breath of the mouth” of the Holy One, blessed be He; it becomes enclothed in the Ten Utterances of the Torah, from which all created beings come into existence.

ורוח פיו יתברך היה יכול להתפשט לאין קץ ותכלית, ולברוא עולמות אין קץ ותכלית לכמותם ואיכותם, ולהחיותם עדי עד

The “breath of His mouth” could have diffused without end and limit, and created worlds infinite in their quantity and quality, and given [them] life forever, unlike their present state, in which they are limited in all these respects,

ולא היה נברא עולם הזה כלל

and this corporeal world, all of whose beings are limited and finite, would not have been created at all.

It was the contraction of the life-force that made possible the creation of this physical, limited world with its finite creatures.

The reason why the “breath of His mouth” — were it not to have been contracted — would have created worlds without end, is now explained by the Alter Rebbe in the parenthesis.

שכמו שהקב״ה נקרא אין סוף, כך כל מדותיו ופעולותיו, דאיהו וגרמוהי חד

(For just as the Holy One, blessed be He, is called “Infinite”, so are all His attributes and actions [infinite], “for He and His attributes are one”;

דהיינו החיות הנמשך ממדותיו, שהן חסד ורחמים ושאר מדותיו הקדושות, על ידי התלבשותן שמתלבשות ברוח פיו

i.e., the life-force that emanates from His attributes, namely, Kindness and Mercy and His other holy attributes, [emanates from them] through their being enclothed in the “breath of His mouth,” which refers to the Sefirah of Malchut.

כי הוא אמר ויהי

For creation results from G‑d’s speech and the “breath of His mouth,” as Scripture states,1 “For He spoke — and it came into being.”

ועולם על ידי חסד יבנה

Moreover, creation came about through Chesed, as it is written,2 “The world is built through Chesed,

But how is it that the world is created both through Chesed and Malchut (the “word of G‑d”)? This means: the attribute of Chesed vests itself within Malchut,

בדבר ה׳ ורוח פיו, הנעשה כלי ולבוש לחסד זה

so that creation takes place through “the word of G‑d and the breath of His mouth,” which becomes a vessel and “garment” for this creative attribute of Chesed,3

כהדין קמצא דלבושיה מיניה וביה

“like the snail, whose garment is an integral component of his body.”)

The “word of His mouth” is thus a garment and vessel that unites with the attribute of Chesed, from which the world was created. The life-force emanating from the “breath of His mouth” is thus capable of creating worlds which are infinite both quantitatively and qualitatively.

אלא שצמצם הקב״ה האור והחיות שיוכל להתפשט מרוח פיו

The Holy One, blessed be He, however, contracted the light and life-force that could diffuse from the “breath of His mouth,”

והלבישו תוך צירופי אותיות של עשרה מאמרות וצירופי צירופיהן

and invested it in the combinations of the letters of the Ten Utterances, and the combinations of their combinations,

בחילופי ותמורות האותיות עצמן, ובחשבונן ומספרן

by substitutions and transpositions of the letters themselves and their numerical values and equivalents.

שכל חילוף ותמורה מורה על ירידת האור והחיות ממדרגה למדרגה

For each substitution and transposition indicates the descent of the light and life-force degree by degree,

דהיינו שיוכל לברוא ולהחיות ברואים, שמדרגת איכותם ומעלתם היא פחותה ממדרגת איכות ומעלת הברואים הנבראים מאותיות ותיבות עצמן שבעשרה מאמרות

so that it will be able to create and give life to creatures whose quality and significance is lower than the quality and significance of the creatures created from the very letters and words of the Ten Utterances

שבהן מתלבש הקב״ה בכבודו ובעצמו, שהן מדותיו

within which is enclothed the Holy One, blessed be He, in His Glory and Essence — which are His attributes, since they are one with G‑d Himself.

והחשבון מורה על מיעוט האור והחיות, מיעוט אחר מיעוט

The numerical value — even when it is not calculated through the substitution and transposition of letters — indicates the progressive diminution of the light and life-force,

עד שלא נשאר ממנו אלא בחינה אחרונה, שהוא בחינת החשבון ומספר כמה מיני כחות ומדרגות כלולות באור וחיות הזה, המלובש בצירוף זה של תיבה זו

until there remains from it only the final level, which is that of the sum and number of kinds of powers and grades contained in the light and life-force invested in a particular letter-combination of a particular word.

The extent of the remaining life-force is indicated by the sum, which reflects the progressive descent and the constant diminution of the life-force.

ואחר כל הצמצומים האלה וכיוצא בהן, כאשר גזרה חכמתו יתברך

(4It is only after all these contractions and others like them, as [G‑d’s] Wisdom has ordained,

הוא שהיה יכול האור והחיות להתלבש גם בתחתונים, כמו אבנים ועפר הדומם

that the life-force could invest itself even in the lower created beings, such as inanimate stones and dust in which no life-force at all is revealed, inasmuch as they represent the lowest levels of the nether created beings.

כי אבן, דרך משל, שמה מורה כי שרשה משם העולה ב״ן במספרו

For example, the name אבן ("stone") indicates that its source is in the Divine Name ב"ן which numerically equals fifty-two (נ"ב) i.e., the numerical value of the Divine Name Havayah when spelled out phonetically in a particular way,

ועוד אלף נוספת משם אחר (לישעם) [נראה שצריך להיות: לטעם] הידוע ליוצרה

with an alef added to it from another Name, for a reason known to its Creator.

והנה שם ב״ן בעצמו הוא בעולמות עליונים מאד

Now, the Name ב"ן, itself relates to very high worlds, and in its pristine state it can in no way serve as the source of physical stone,

רק שעל ידי צמצומים רבים ועצומים ממדרגה למדרגה, ירד ממנו חיות מועטת במאד מאד, עד שתוכל להתלבש באבן

yet through numerous and powerful contractions, degree by degree, i.e., from higher to lower levels, there descended from it a life-force so exceedingly diminished that it could clothe itself in a stone.

וזו היא נפש הדומם, המחיה ומהוה אותו מאין ליש בכל רגע, וכמו שנתבאר לעיל

And this very greatly condensed life-force is the soul of the inanimate being, which gives it life and brings it into existence ex nihilo at every instant, as has been explained previously — in ch. 1, where it is stated that even inanimate creatures possess a soul that brings them into existence at every instant.

וזו היא בחינת ממלא כל עלמין, מה שאין כן בחינת סובב כל עלמין

This greatly condensed life-force is the level of “He fills all worlds,” as opposed to the level of “He encompasses all worlds”),5 wherein the life-force is not contracted in proportion to the spiritual capacity of created beings.

In summary: The Divine life-force is capable of creating worlds that are infinite both in quantity and in quality. Finite beings are created only when this life-force garbs itself in the letters and transpositions of the letters of the Ten Utterances and in their numerical values.

וכל כח ומדרגה יכול לברוא ברואים כפי בחינת מדרגה זו, גם כן לאין קץ ותכלית בכמותם ואיכותם, להחיות עדי עד

Each power and grade [of the life-force] — after it has descended and undergone contractions, so that there remains only the numerical equivalent of the letters of the Ten Utterances — would be able to create beings according to its own level, even unlimited in quantity and quality, giving [them] everlasting life,

מאחר שהוא כח ה׳ המתפשט ונאצל מרוח פיו, ואין מעצור כו׳

since it is the power of G‑d that diffuses and emanates from the “breath of His mouth,” and there is no restraint [to His ability to create unlimited worlds].

אך שלא יהיה איכותם במעלה גדולה כל כך, כאיכות ומעלת ברואים שיוכלו להבראות מבחינת כח ומדרגת האותיות עצמן

Their quality, however, would not be on a level as high as the quality and level of the creatures which could be created from the power and degree of the letters themselves.

I.e., the created beings resulting from the transposition of letters, and surely from the numerical value of the letters, would be inferior to the beings which could be created from the letters themselves

Commentary of the Rebbe On Chapter Seven

1. Among the explanations and innovative interpretations of the Alter Rebbe in Shaar HaYichud VehaEmunah, two major points stand out:

(a) The explanation of the “comment of the Baal Shem Tov” on the verse,6 “Forever, O G‑d, Your word stands firm in the heavens”; namely, that7‘Your word’ which You uttered, [viz.,8] ‘Let there be a firmament...,’ these [very] words and letters stand firmly forever within the firmament of heaven…to give them life…. For if the letters were to depart [even] for an instant, G‑d forbid, and return to their source, all the heavens would become naught and absolute nothingness, and it would be as though they had never existed at all,…exactly as before the Six Days of Creation.”

From this it will be understood9 “that each creature and being is in reality considered to be naught and nothingness in relation to the activating force and the ‘breath of His mouth’ which is within it, continuously calling it into existence and bringing it from absolute non-being into being.”

(b) The tzimtzum is not to be understood10 “literally — that the Holy One, blessed be He, removed Himself and His Essence, G‑d forbid, from this world, and only guides from above, with individual Providence, all the created beings which are in the heavens above and on the earth below.”

It could be argued (see below) that this statement — that tzimtzum is not to be understood in its literal sense — proceeds from the explanation of the Baal Shem Tov’s comment by way of corollary.

2.What is novel about the comment of the Baal Shem Tov is not only that the word of G‑d must constantly create all beings, but that the words “Let there be a firmament” must be11 “forever clothed within all the heavens to give them life.”

The same is true of all other created beings: the words and letters of the Ten Utterances which create them and provide them with life must be continuously vested within them.

(Thus indeed the Alter Rebbe explains at length12 how within every creature there is “a soul and spiritual life-force.” For even those beings not specifically mentioned in the Ten Utterances in the Torah also receive a spiritual life-force which descends from them by stages “by means of substitutions and transpositions of the letters, and by gematriot…until [the life-force] can be condensed and enclothed, and a particular creature can be brought forth from it.”)

Hence, rather than the Divine Utterance constantly creating a creature, which then becomes sundered from it, the Divine Utterance is actually vested within the particular creature itself — within its “space”, so to speak — to the point that the life-force (and soul) of every individual created being is the Divine Utterance that is clothed within it.

It may thus be understood how “every creature and being is in reality considered to be naught and nothingness in relation to the activating force and the ‘breath of His mouth’ which is within it, continuously calling it into existence and bringing it from absolute non-being into being.”

Accordingly, it would seem that the nullification of the created being is not total, for the life-force that permeates and enclothes itself within the created being is attenuated and limited (to suit each individual creature). As such, it “allows for a being’s existence.” Consequently, the nullification resulting from this life-force is also not complete.13

However, according to what the Alter Rebbe goes on to explain — that tzimtzum is not to be understood in its literal sense, G‑d forbid — this difficulty is resolved. For even in the “place” (i.e., level) in which the light and life-force contracts and enclothes itself within created beings,14 “There is no place devoid of Him,” and15 “His Essence and Being…completely fills the whole earth temporally and spatially.”

Thus the following two opposites coexist within each created being: Every created being possesses its own “soul and spiritual life-force” which it receives through the tzimtzum and vesting of the Divine Utterance within it; at the same time, every created being is bound up with the very Essence of G‑d, for in the same “place” in which it is found, G‑d’s “Essence and Being” is also to be found.

And the fact that G‑d’s Essence utterly transcends the world makes it possible for one to perceive that the existence of the world itself is G‑dliness (as in the classic phrase,16 “The created being is True Being”) —17 “There is none else apart from Him.”

From Likkutei Sichot, Vol. 25 (Kehot, N.Y., 1987), p. 193 (Parshat Vayeishev, Yud-Tet Kislev, 5744)

Footnotes
1.
Tehillim 33:9.
2.
Cf. ibid. 89:3.
3.
Note of the Rebbe: “As mentioned above, in Part I, end of ch. 21; quoted from Bereishit Rabbah 21:5.”
4.
Parentheses are in the original text.
5.
Parentheses are in the original text.
6.
Tehillim 119:89.
7.
See above, ch. 1.
8.
Bereishit 1:6.
9.
See above, ch. 3, where this is explained at length.
10.
See above, ch. 7 (s.v. “In the light...”).
11.
See above, ch. 1.
12.
See above, ch. 1.
13.
See Hemshech Taf-Reish-Samech-Vav (Kehot, N.Y., 1984), p. 224.
14.
Tikkunei Zohar, Tikkun 57, quoted above in ch. 7 (s.v. “In the light...”).
15.
See above, ch. 7.
16.
Biurei HaZohar, Parshat Beshallach (43c ff.); On the Essence of Chassidus, chs. 15-17.
17.
Devarim 4:35.


Translated from Yiddish by Rabbi Levy Wineberg and Rabbi Sholom B. Wineberg. Edited by Uri Kaploun.
Published and copyright by Kehot Publication Society, all rights reserved.
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