The Alter Rebbe has explained that the activating force of the Creator must constantly be vested within creation, ceaselessly recreating and reanimating created beings ex nihilo. This force consists of the creative “letters” which emanate from the five supernal organs of verbal articulation.
והנה אחרי הדברים והאמת האלה
Now, following these words of truth concerning the nature of creation, namely, that the activating force must continually be vested in created beings and create them ex nihilo,
כל משכיל על דבר יבין לאשורו איך שכל נברא ויש הוא באמת נחשב לאין ואפס ממש
every discerning person will understand clearly that every creature and being, even though it appears to have an existence of its own, is in reality considered to be absolute naught and nothingness
לגבי כח הפועל ורוח פיו שבנפעל המהוה אותו תמיד ומוציאו מאין ממש ליש
in relation to the activating force which creates it and the “breath of His mouth” which is within it, continuously calling it into existence and bringing it from absolute non-being into being.
Since this function must be continuous, it follows that the creature’s activating force is the true reality of its existence; the being itself bears no comparison to the activating force which is wholly responsible for its existence.
ומה שכל נברא ונפעל נראה לנו ליש וממשות
The reason that all things created and activated appear to us as existing i.e., self-subsisting and tangible, and we fail to see the Divine activating source which is the true reality of any created being,
זהו מחמת שאין אנו משיגים ורואים בעיני בשר את כח ה׳ ורוח פיו שבנברא
is that we do not comprehend nor see with our physical eyes the power of G‑d and the “breath of His mouth” which is in the created thing.
אבל אילו ניתנה רשות לעין לראות ולהשיג את החיות ורוחניות שבכל נברא
If, however, the eye were permitted to see and to comprehend the life-force and spirituality which is in every created thing,
השופע בו ממוצא פי ה׳ ורוח פיו
flowing into it from “that which proceeds from the mouth of G‑d” and “His breath,”
לא היה גשמיות הנברא וחומרו וממשו נראה כלל לעינינו
then the physicality, materiality and tangibility of the creature would not be seen by our eyes at all,
כי הוא בטל במציאות ממש לגבי החיות והרוחניות שבו
for it (this physicality, etc.) is completely nullified in relation to the life-force and the spirituality which is within it
מאחר שמבלעדי הרוחניות, היה אין ואפס ממש כמו קודם ששת ימי בראשית ממש
since without the spirituality within it it would be naught and absolute nothingness, exactly as before the Six Days of Creation, at which time the creature was utterly non-existent.
והרוחניות השופע עליו ממוצא פי ה׳ ורוח פיו, הוא לבדו המוציאו תמיד מאפס ואין ליש ומהוה אותו
The spirituality that flows into it from “that which proceeds from the mouth of G‑d” and “His breath,” — that alone continuously brings it forth from naught and nullity into being, and this spirituality gives it existence.
אם כן אפס בלעדו באמת
Hence, there is truly nothing besides Him in any created being, apart from the Divinity — the only true reality — that brings it into existence.
The created being does not constitute a true reality, inasmuch as it is wholly dependent for its existence on the continuous flow of Divine life-force. Indeed, its existence verily consists of that activating force.
The Alter Rebbe proceeds to demonstrate how this is true of creatures that appear to be tangible, by means of an illustration: