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Shabbat, 19 Sivan 5776 / June 25, 2016
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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Shaar Hayichud Vehaemunah, end of Chapter 6

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Shaar Hayichud Vehaemunah, end of Chapter 6

ולכן הוצרך הכתוב להזהיר: וידעת היום והשבות אל לבבך וגו׳

This is why it was necessary for the Torah to warn, “Know this day and take it unto your heart” [that “in the heavens above and upon the earth below there is none other],”

שלא תעלה על דעתך שהשמים וכל צבאם והארץ ומלואה הם דבר נפרד בפני עצמו

so that it should not enter your mind that the heavens and all their host, and the earth and all it contains, are separate entities in themselves, i.e., distinct and apart from their Creator and the Provider of their life,

והקדוש ברוך הוא ממלא כל העולם כהתלבשות הנשמה בגוף

and that the Holy One, blessed be He, fills the whole world in the same way as the soul is invested in the body,

ומשפיע כח הצומח בארץ

and that He causes the flow of the “vegetative force” into the earth, this being the life-force revealed within the earth,

וכח התנועה בגלגלים, ומניעם ומנהיגם כרצונו

and the power of motion into the celestial spheres, and moves them and directs them according to His Will,

כמו שהנשמה מניעה את הגוף ומנהיגתו כרצונה

just as the soul moves the body and directs it according to its will.

Though the body is a totally separate and different entity from the soul, the soul is nevertheless able to direct it according to its will, because it provides it with life. One might mistakenly believe that G‑d animates and conducts the world in a similar manner, and conceive of the world as being separate from Him, just as the body is separate from the soul. Anticipating this, the verse therefore points out that the relation between the soul and the body is entirely unlike the relation between G‑d, and His creation and vivification of created beings.

אך באמת אין המשל דומה לנמשל כלל

In truth, however, the analogy of soul and body bears no similarity whatsoever to the object of comparison — G‑dliness and the world,

כי הנשמה והגוף הם באמת נפרדים זה מזה בשרשם

since the soul and the body are actually separate from each other at their sources.

כי אין התהוות שורש הגוף ועצמותו מנשמתו, אלא מטפות אביו ואמו

The source of the body and its essence comes into being not from the soul,1 but from the seed of one’s father and mother;

וגם אחרי כן, אין גידולו מנשמתו לבדה, אלא על ידי אכילת ושתיית אמו כל תשעה חדשים

and even afterwards — after its creation — its growth is not from the soul alone, but through the mother’s eating and drinking throughout the nine months [of gestation],

ואחר כך, על ידי אכילתו ושתייתו בעצמו

and subsequently, through his own eating and drinking.

The body is thus a truly separate entity from the soul, inasmuch as the soul only provides it with life.

מה שאין כן השמים והארץ, שכל עצמותם ומהותם נתהוה מאין ואפס המוחלט

This is not so, however, in the case of heaven and earth, for their very being and essence was brought into existence from naught and absolute nothingness,

Before creation there was no space at all (as it were) for the existence of created beings, by virtue of the Divine Ayin which is ultimately responsible for creation.

רק בדבר ה׳ ורוח פיו

solely through the “word of G‑d” and the “breath of His mouth.”

וגם עדיין נצב דבר ה׳ לעולם, ושופע בהם תמיד בכל רגע

And now, too, the word of G‑d still stands forever in all created things, and flows into them continuously at every instant,

ומהוה אותם תמיד מאין ליש, כהתהוות האור מהשמש תוך גוף כדור השמש עצמו, דרך משל

constantly creating them anew from nothing, just as for example, the coming into existence of the light from the sun within the very globe of the sun.

It has already been explained that the light of the sun as it is found within the sun-globe does not possess true existence, for it is completely nullified within the sun. Only after it leaves the sun-globe can it be said to possess independent existence. Created beings likewise are always wholly nullified in relation to their source, since they are constantly found within it, i.e., within the Divine life-force that creates them.

ואם כן הם בטלים באמת במציאות לגמרי לגבי דבר ה׳ ורוח פיו יתברך, המיוחדים במהותו ועצמותו יתברך

Hence, in reality they — created beings — are completely nullified out of existence in relation to the “word of G‑d” and the “breath of His mouth,” which are unified with His Essence and Being,

כמו שיתבאר לקמן

as this union will be explained later,

Thus, created beings are completely nullified to the “word of G‑d” and the “breath of His mouth,” as well as to G‑d Himself,

כביטול אור השמש בשמש

just as the light of the sun is nullified in the sun.

Why, then, are created beings unaware of this, considering themselves instead as possessing independent and true existence? The Alter Rebbe answers this by saying:

רק שהן הן גבורותיו, במדת הגבורה והצמצום, להסתיר ולהעלים החיות השופע בהם

Yet these are His restraining powers, to hide and conceal, through the attribute of Gevurah and tzimtzum, the life-force that flows into them,

שיהיו נראים השמים והארץ וכל צבאם כאילו הם דבר בפני עצמו

so that heaven and earth and all their host should appear as if they were independently existing entities.

The effect of tzimtzum is to conceal from created beings the source of existence continuously found within them. This is why they are able to think of themselves as possessing independent existence.

אך אין הצמצום וההסתר אלא לתחתונים

However, the tzimtzum and concealment is only for the lower [worlds],

אבל לגבי הקב״ה, כולא קמיה כלא ממש חשיבי, כאור השמש בשמש

but in relation to the Holy One, blessed be He,2 “Everything before Him is considered as actually naught,” like the light of the sun within the sun.

ואין מדת הגבורה מסתרת חס ושלום לפניו יתברך

The attribute of Gevurah does not, heaven forfend, conceal for Him,

כי איננה דבר בפני עצמו, אלא ה׳ הוא האלקים

for it is not an independent entity; rather, Havayah is Elokim.

The concealment resulting from the Divine Name Elokim and the attribute of Gevurah are one with the Divine Name Havayah, the attribute of Chesed and revelation. Thus, from the Divine perspective there is no concealment, for “an entity cannot conceal its own self.”


The following question was asked of the Rebbe: What does the Alter Rebbe add by saying that [“the soul and the body are actually separate from each other at their sources” inasmuch as] “the source of the body and its essence comes into being not from the soul, but from the seed of one’s father and mother,” after having already stated that the soul merely animates the body but does not bring it into existence?

The Rebbe replied: As stated explicitly in the beginning of ch. 3, here, too, the intent of the Alter Rebbe is to demonstrate that the created being is naught and absolute nothingness in comparison to the “breath of His mouth” which is found within it. This is because the “breath of His mouth” derives from the Divine Name Havayah, while the concealment of the created being derives from the Name Elokim. Since Havayah and Elokim are truly One, the concealment is not a true concealment: Elokim does not conceal Havayah.

However, it has just been stated here that the life of the body — the soul — derives from the Name Havayah, and the body itself derives from the Name Elokim. This being so, why is the body considered to be secondary and subordinate to the soul; why is it not considered to be totally nullified in relation to it (since the soul — the life of the body — derives from the Name Havayah)?

The answer to this lies in the fact that the body and soul are separate from each other not only in their manifest existence, but also in their sources. For the creation of the body’s source and the essence of its being — the level of the Name Elokim within the body — does not derive from the soul (and the level of Havayah of his soul), but from the seed of the father and mother.

These particularized levels of Havayah and Elokim (as found in soul and body) are indeed not truly one (although the general aspects of Havayah and Elokim are one), except in a “secondary” and “subordinate” manner, as it were.

The same applies to the sun’s shield, or sheath, each part of it being subordinate to the entire sun. However, the shield actually obscures only those rays that shine through each individual portion of it, and likewise, only with those particular rays is it unified.

Zohar I, 134a.

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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