Until this point the Alter Rebbe has explained the Talmudic teaching that the World to Come was created by the letter yud: the Sefirah of Chochmah, which this letter represents, is the spiritual source of Gan Eden which is in the World to Come.

However, according to the above, since the letters of the Supernal creative speech derive from Chochmah, it would seem that this world, which was also created by the letters of Divine speech, was likewise created from the letter yud that represents Chochmah. Why, then, do our Sages teach that only the World to Come was created from the letter yud, while this world was created from the letter hei?

The Alter Rebbe therefore now goes on to explain that the letters of speech are composed of “matter” and “form” — the “body” and “soul” (or: the external and internal aspects) of the letters. While the “form” of the letters does indeed derive from Chochmah, the “matter” of the letters of speech merely derives from the heart.

So, too, Above: the internal aspect of the letters derives from Chochmah; from this aspect are created the higher spiritual beings which are able to apprehend G‑dliness. However, the external aspect of the Supernal letters of speech derives from the “breath” — the hei of the Divine Name. It is from this lesser level that this physical world was created.

In the words of the Alter Rebbe:

אך האותיות הן בבחינת חומר וצורה, הנקרא פנימית וחיצונית

However, the letters exist on planes of “matter” and “form”, which are also referred to as their “internal” aspect (i.e., the “form”, which is their “soul”) and their “external” aspect (i.e., the “matter”, which is their “body”).

כי הגם שמקורן הוא מקדמות השכל ורצון הנפש

Although their source is the primordial stage of the intellect and the will of the soul, for as soon as the soul desires to speak these letters are formed, as explained above,

זו היא בחינת צורת שינוי המבטא שבכ״ב אותיות

this is but the “form” of the differentiation in the pronunciation of the twenty-two letters.

אבל בחינת החומר וגוף התהוותן, והוא בחינת חיצוניותן, הוא ההבל היוצא מהלב

The “matter” and “body” of their formation, however, i.e., the aspect of their “externality”, is the breath issuing from the heart.

שממנו מתהוה קול פשוט היוצא מהגרון

From this breath is formed a simple sound which proceeds from the throat,

ואחר כך נחלק לכ״ב הברות וביטוי כ״ב אותיות

and which is then divided into the twenty-two kinds of enunciation and expression of the twenty-two letters,

בה׳ מוצאות הידועות: אחה״ע מהגרון

[these divisions taking place] through the five known organs of speech: alef, chet, hei and ayin1 through the throat;

גיכ״ק מהחיך כו׳

gimmel, yud, kaf and kuf through the palate, and so on; e.g., beit, vav, mem and pei from the lips, and so on;

ומבטא ההבל הוא אות ה׳, אתא קלילא כו׳

while the breath itself, which has its own sound independent of the letter being spoken, is uttered by the letter hei2 — “the light letter,” inasmuch as it lacks the substance of a complete letter,

והוא מקור החומר וגוף האותיות טרם התחלקותן לכ״ב

which is the source of the “matter” and “body” of the letters before their division into twenty-two.

The hei is thus the source of each letter’s “body”.

ולכן אמרו רז״ל שעולם הזה נברא בה׳

And that is why our Sages, of blessed memory, said that “this world was created by the hei”: it was created by the external aspect, or “body”, of the Supernal letters whose source is the hei of the Divine Name.

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והנה הגם שהיא ה׳ תתאה, ה׳ אחרונה שבשם הוי׳

Now, though this is the “lower hei,” the latter hei of the Four-Letter Name of G‑d,

Supernal speech is of the level of Malchut, as alluded to in the verse, “The king’s utterance reigns.”3 The hei that is the source of speech is thus the lower hei of the Tetragrammaton, the letter which denotes the level of Malchut.

ורז״ל דרשו זה על פסוק: כי ביה

while our Sages, of blessed memory, expounded this — that the World to Come was created by the letter yud and this world by the letter hei from their reading of the verse, “For by yud-hei [did G‑d create the worlds],”

Since these are the first two letters of the Divine Name, how are we taught here that the statement that “this world was created by the letter hei” refers to the lower letter hei, the source of the breath of the letters of speech?

היינו לפי שמקורה וראשיתה לבא לבחינת גילוי מהעלם היו״ד

this is because its source and the beginning of its progress into a state of manifestation from the obscurity of the yud

הוא מושפע ונמשך מבחינת ה׳ עילאה

is influenced and drawn forth from the level of the upper hei.

The obscurity of the yud of Chochmah is the source of every manner of revelation, both of the World to Come as well as of this world. As this relates to the letters: it serves as the source of revelation both for the “form” as well as the “matter” of the letters. It is only that in the resulting revelation of the letters, the “form” of the letters and the revelation of the World to Come emanate from the letter yud — from Chochmah — itself, while the revelation of the “matter” or external aspect of the letters emanates from the “breath of the heart,” from the latter hei of the Divine Name.

שיש לה התפשטות אורך ורוחב

[The form or shape of the letter hei] has dimensions of length and width

להורות על בחינת בינה

to indicate the faculty of Binah, for the upper hei of the Divine Name denotes the level of Binah,

שהיא התפשטות השכל הנעלם בבחינת גילוי והשגה, בהרחבת הדעת

which is the expansion of the “concealed intellect” into a state of manifestation and apprehension, extending into Daat,

והשפעתה מסתיימת בלב

and its diffusion — the diffusion of the flow of Binah culminates in the heart.

וכמו שכתוב בתיקונים, דבינה לבא, ובה הלב מבין

Thus it is written in the Tikkunim4 that “Binah is the heart, and by means of it the heart understands.”

Thus, the diffusion of Binah takes place within the heart.

ומשם יוצא ההבל מקור גילוי גוף האותיות הדבור

From there issues the breath, the original manifestation of the “body” of the letters of speech

המתגלות בה׳ מוצאות מהעלם היו״ד

which become revealed from the concealment of the yud through the five organs of speech.

ותמונת ה׳ תתאה בכתיבתה גם כן בהתפשטות אורך ורוחב

The shape of the lower hei which, in its written form, also has dimensions of length and width,

מורה על התפשטות בחינת מלכותו יתברך, מלכות כל עולמים

indicates the extension of [G‑d’s] blessed Sovereignty, “the sovereignty of all worlds,”5

למעלה ולמטה ולד׳ סטרין

which extends upward and downward, and in the four directions,

המתפשטות ונמשכות מאותיות דבר ה׳, כמו שכתוב בקהלת: באשר דבר מלך שלטון, כמו שכתוב במקום אחר

[all these directions] extending and issuing from the letters of the “word of G‑d”; as it is written in Kohelet, “The king’s utterance reigns,” as explained elsewhere.

Just as a king of flesh and blood rules through his faculty of speech, by issuing commands, so too does Supernal speech extend G‑d’s reign in all the dimensions of the created universe.

[ולהבין מעט מזעיר ענין ומהות אותיות הדבור באלקות, שאין לו דמות הגוף ולא הנפש, חס ושלום

6[As for understanding somewhat the concept and nature of “letters of speech” in relation to Divinity, inasmuch as [G‑d] has no form of a body, nor of a soul, heaven forfend,

כבר נתבאר בדרך ארוכה וקצרה (בלקוטי אמרים, חלק ב׳, פרק י״א וי״ב, עיין שם)]

this has already been explained comprehensively yet concisely 7(in Likkutei Amarim, Part II, chs. 11 and 12; see there).]

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