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Tanya
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Glossary for this chapter:
Havayeh: We never pronounce the four letter name of G‑d as it is written, so we say Havayeh instead, changing the order of the letters.
Elokim: An adaptation of the name of G‑d that describes His power and might.
Klipot: Literally, shells or husks. Singular: Klipa. Used to describe forces that obstruct the divine light. Klipat Noga is a translucent shell—a form of klipa that can be inducted to the service of good.


We already know from our sages that the purpose behind creation of this world is G‑d's desire to dwell in the lowest realms. But what did they mean by lowest? If G‑d existed in some higher realm, then we could say that some worlds are higher because they are closer to Him, and others are lower because they are further from Him. But for Him there is no higher and lower, since He fills all worlds equally.

Here is the explanation: Before the world was created, there was only Him alone in perfect oneness filling all the conceptual realm in which He would create this world. And from His perspective, so it is even now. True, there was an act of creation in the interim, and what could be a greater change than that? Yet even this change was only in the consciousness of the beings that receive His vitality and light, for now they receive it through the medium of many filters that conceal and obstruct that light. As far as He is concerned, nothing has changed.

This is one interpretation of the verse, "For no man may see Me and live." If a human being could see the Infinite Light, he would of necessity cease to exist—for his existence is contingent on concealment of that light. Our teachers, may their memory be for a blessing, went even further and interpreted that even the angels—who are called "living beings"—have no existence within that light.

So this is what is meant by lowest realms: That although from His perspective He fills all space and time, yet from within the creation, there is a series of worlds that degenerates from level to level through a multitude of filters that negate the light and vitality that extends from Him until this tangibly physical world is created. This world, then, is the ultimate descent in terms of negation of His light and multiple layers of darkness. The descent is to such an extreme that it is full of klipot and a sense of otherness that actually opposes Havayeh, saying, "I and nothing but I!"

Yet what could be the purpose of this series of worlds and their degeneration ever lower and lower? It could not be the higher worlds. After all, as high as they could be, they are still a descent from the light of His presence. Rather, the goal must be this lowest world. But what could be gained from a lowly world?

It must be that this goal does not arise out of any need or to profit any gain. It simply was His decision that He would have pleasure when the sense of otherness is suppressed and darkness transformed into light; when the light of Havayeh, the Infinite, shines in the place of darkness and otherness throughout all of this world, shining with greater intensity and greater power—with the advantage of light that emerges from darkness—than the mere reflection of His light that shines in higher worlds.

For in those higher worlds it must shine through filters and obstructions to negate and conceal the light of the Infinite so that these worlds will not dissolve from reality. Our world, however, is capable of sustaining this light unadulterated because G‑d has given us the Torah, which is called strength and power. This is what the rabbis meant when they said that G‑d empowers the righteous to receive their reward in the Time to Come—meaning that they will not dissolve out of existence into the light of Havayeh, since it will be revealed without any filter at that time.

This is the meaning of the verse, Your Master will no longer cloak Himself from you—meaning that He will no longer be covered from you, as a cloak or garment covers—…but your eyes shall see your Master.

Also: Eye for eye shall see... for Havayeh will be an everlasting light for you... and The sun shall no longer be your light by day… for Havayeh shall be your everlasting light…

The messianic era—and especially once the dead are resurrected—is a state in which the world has achieved its purpose and wholeness for which it was originally created. Yet the world already has been in a similar state, at the time when the Torah was given. It is written about that time, You were shown so that you will know that Havayeh is the Elokim, there is nothing else besides Him. Meaning that we were shown visibly, to our physical eyes, as the verse states, All the people saw the sounds. They saw that which is generally only heard or understood.

The rabbis also state, They stared towards the east and heard the voice emerge, saying, "I am…" And so also to all four directions and from above and from below—as they explain in the Tikunei Zohar, There was no place from which He did not speak with them.

Why did it occur this way? Because, whereas all else that exists locks in His light and conceals it from us, within the Ten Statements that were made at that event His will stands out openly. After all, these Ten Statements comprise the entire Torah and the Torah is His innermost will and wisdom. Therefore, there was nothing to negate His presence there at all, as we say, For in the light of Your face you gave us the Torah of life. Where there is nothing obstructing His presence, He can be found as He truly is, within all space, even in the physical realm.

This is the reason that the people who experienced the giving of the Torah repeatedly expired from existence, as the rabbis taught, "At each utterance, their souls flew out…" Yet the Holy One, blessed be He, returned their souls to them with dew, the same dew with which He will revive the dead in the future.

What is this dew? It is the dew of Torah, which is called strength, as the rabbis said, "Anyone who occupies himself with Torah, the dew of Torah gives him life." This is what we said earlier, that Torah fortifies the person to exist within the Infinite Light.

After this, however, the sin of the golden calf had its effect. The people and their world were coarsened, returning back to their mundane physical state. This will last until the end of days. By then, the physicality of the body will be purified and so too that of the world, so that they will be able to receive the revealed light of Havayeh.

That light will shine to Israel through the Torah which is called strength. From the extra intensity of light that will shine to Israel, the darkness of the nations will be illuminated as well, as it is written, Nations will walk to your light. And, The glory of Havayeh will be revealed and all flesh will see together… And, To go into the clefts of rocks and the folds of cliffs due to the fear of Havayeh and the glory of his majesty…

And as we say in the High Holiday prayers, Shine out in the splendid majesty of Your strength over all those that dwell on planet earth…

Translation by Rabbi Tzvi Freeman
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Peter Spiro WA December 22, 2013

Is this word used in any Bible verse? Reply

Chabad.org Staff April 25, 2013

Chochmah literally means "wisdom; conceptual knowledge"; in Kabbalistic-Chassidic terminology, refers to the first of the ten sefirot, or divine emanations and the first of the intellectual powers of the soul. More on chochmah here: chabad.org/k2450 Reply

Sherman Pryor Dallas, TX April 25, 2013

what is Chochmah Reply

Anonymous Worcester, MA March 4, 2012

This is so clear. When will it be completed and published on line in full? Reply

Moishele Fort Dix, NJ December 20, 2009

You are in possession of volume 1 of Lessons in Tanya, which ends with Chapter 34. Volume 2 picks up where volume 1 leaves off. Reply

Paulette Millander San Diego, CA December 9, 2009

In my book, "Lessons in Tanya" published by the Kehot Publication Society , (7th printing 1999), there is no chapter 36.

I'm wondering why? Reply

Anonymous Dunedin, Florida December 9, 2009

Once this process is completed will it be published in book form? Reply

albie rosenhaus (malachi) morristown, nj/usa December 7, 2009

long an admirer of your work, i am blown away by what you are doing here to spread the wellsprings outward...can't wait for the remainder of tanya to be rendered through your "filter"...may G-d Al-Mighty bless your efforts with much success! Reply

Carmen September 6, 2009

So, does this all mean that all - those who will remain by not being reabsorbed into Light - will live in the state of Atzilut (I am not sure if it's Atzilut - I mean ,beyond the 10 Sefirot)?
We will not have to "capture" the various Truths that come in the form of concepts through Chochmah, following the whole process of Implementation, Application..., because we will be immersed in Truth?
So this is the "Time to come"?
Will we work - may He, blessed be He, permit - in another level of Torah? A level that is beyond of the Ten Statements?
Will we not live anymore under the 10 Sefirot's actual reality?
Is that it?
Does it also mean that the Klipot that we have created (delusions), as wrong metaphors of the Klipot created by Him, will disappear?
And what do the Sages say about the swifteness of this? Is this a process we are already under or will this happen all of a sudden?
In another thought... Why is this conclusion different, a shift of paradigm in Jewish thought?
What's the shifting point? Reply