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Wednesday, 7 Tishrei 5775 / October 1, 2014
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Tanya

Tanya

Iggeret HaKodesh, middle of Epistle 20

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Iggeret HaKodesh, middle of Epistle 20

אמנם מציאותו ומהותו של אור האין סוף אינו בגדר מקום כלל

However, the essence and nature of the [infinite] Ein Sof-light is in no way subject to space; hence it cannot be said that this light is to be found in Atzilut in one manner, and in another manner in the lower three worlds of Beriah, Yetzirah and Asiyah and all their ramifications:

וסובב כל עלמין בשוה

rather, it encompasses all worlds equally.

ואת השמים ואת הארץ אני מלא, בהשוואה אחת

[Thus G‑d says,1] “I fill the heavens and earth” — uniformly.

ולית אתר פנוי מיניה, אף בארץ הלזו הגשמית

Likewise,2“There is no place — or spiritual level — devoid of Him,” even in this physical world.

רק שהוא בבחינת מקיף וסובב

[The Divine light is present,] however, [only] in an “encompassing” and “encircling” manner — not in a palpable indwelling, but in a concealed transcendence,

וכמו שכתוב הפירוש בלקוטי אמרים

as this concept (i.e., makkif, or Sovev Kol Almin) is explained in Likutei Amarim.3

ולא התפשטות והתלבשות החיות, להחיותם ולהוותם מאין ליש

As to the presence in the worlds of the very essence and nature of the [infinite] Ein Sof-light, this is not by way of an extension and investment of the life-force, thereby animating them and bringing them into being from ayin to yesh.

For even creation ex nihilo, though it involves a concealed power of the Ein Sof-light, is by definition an act of revelation and expansion that takes place by means of the Sefirot and spiritual levels that draw down and reveal this concealed power. This cannot result directly from the essence of the Ein Sof-light that is utterly concealed within creation.

כי אם על ידי הארה דהארה דהארה וכו׳ מהקו, כנזכר לעיל

Rather, [this extension of life-force and creative power emanates] only by means of a radiation from a radiation of the radiation, etc., from the Kav, as discussed above.

וגם מאור הסובב ומקיף לארבע עולמות, אצילות בריאה יצירה עשיה, בשוה

Also, from the [transcendent Ein Sof-] light that “encircles” and “encompasses” the Four Worlds — Atzilut, Beriah, Yetzirah and Asiyah — uniformly,

מאיר אל הקו הפנימי, דרך הכלים דיו״ד ספירות דבי״ע

there is a radiation to the inner Kav, by way of the kelim of the Ten Sefirot of Beriah, Yetzirah and Asiyah. The kelim thus encompass and transcend the light that is vested within them.

ובהארתו תוך הכלים, נותן בהם כח ועוז לברוא יש מאין

By its radiation within the kelim, it endows them with power and strength to create yesh from ayin.

It has already been explained that the creation of the respective beings of each of the Four Worlds comes about through the kelim of the Sefirot of that particular world. Their ability to create yesh from ayin (which can come about only from the essence of the Ein Sof-light that encompasses all worlds) results from the radiation of the encompassing light within them.

ומאחר שהבריאה היא על ידי הכלים

Now, because creation takes place by means of the kelim, which are finite and diverse, and the infinite light radiates within and through them,

לזאת הם הנבראים בבחינת ריבוי והתחלקות וגבול ותכלית

created beings are numerous and diverse, limited and finite,

ובפרט על ידי האותיות, כנזכר לעיל

especially since [the Divine radiation which brought them into being is revealed] by means of the letters, as explained above, for these letters (of speech) are even more finite and more diverse than the kelim.

To summarize: Both the indwelling aspect (the Kav) and the transcendent (“encompassing”) aspect of the [infinite] Ein Sof-light are present not only within the Sefirot, the Neshamah, Nefesh-Ruach and the kelim, of each of the worlds, but also within all the created beings of these worlds. The difference lies only in the degree of manifestation — whether it be a “radiation”, a “radiation of a radiation,” or a “radiation of a radiation of a radiation.”

When the creative light is present at the first and most direct level (“radiation”), though it is not the essence of the [infinite] Ein Sof-light that is manifest, the light will still be of the same nature; it retains the same mahut. When it manifests as a “radiation of a radiation,” the creative light will be essentially different, and merely bear some external resemblance to its source in the manner of its manifestation; only its metziut remains Divine. When, however, it is manifest as a “radiation of a radiation of a radiation,” as is the case with all created beings, it does not retain even the metziut of the original radiation; the Divine radiation merely descends into the metziut of the created being.

***

FOOTNOTES
1. Yirmeyahu 23:24
2. Tikunei Zohar 57:91b.
3. Tanya, ch.48.


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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The number seven represents the cycle of creation; the number eight represents the "circumference" -- that which lies beyond the perimeter of time and space. This is why the Divine Presence came to dwell in the Israelite camp on the eighth day. This is also alluded to in the saying of our sages (Talmud, Erchin 13b) that "The lyre of Moshiach has eight strings"
  –Keli Yakar
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