We learned above that the Zohar teaches: “Who makes the Holy Name every day? He who gives charity to the poor.” The relevance of this answer, however, remained obscure. Now, therefore, equipped with the foregoing insights, we revert to the question with which this epistle opened: How does giving tzedakah to the poor “make a Name” for G‑d?

The Alter Rebbe explains as follows:

והנה באדם התחתון, למשל, מי שהוא חכם גדול להשכיל נפלאות חכמה

Now with terrestrial man, for example, when one who is so great a sage as to comprehend the wonders of wisdom

ומצמצם שכלו ומחשבתו באות אחד מדבורו

contracts his conception and thought into a single letter of his speech,

הנה זה הוא צמצום עצום וירידה גדולה לחכמתו הנפלאה

this is a stupendous contraction and a great descent for his wondrous wisdom.

ככה ממש, על דרך משל, ויתר מזה לאין קץ, היה צמצום גדול ועצום ורב

Precisely as in this analogy but infinitely more so, there was an immensely great and mighty contraction

כאשר בדבר ה׳ שמים נעשו בששת ימי בראשית, וברוח פיו כל צבאם

when during the Six Days of Creation “the heavens were made by the word of G‑d, and all their hosts by the breath of His mouth,”1

היא אות ה׳ של שם הויה ברוך הוא, אתא קלילא

i.e., by the letter hei — “a light letter” — of the Four-Letter Name of G‑d.

This is not only a single letter, but also an insubstantial one.

כמו שכתוב: בהבראם, בה׳ בראם

Thus it is written,2 “[These are the chronicles of heaven and earth] behibar’am(i.e., ‘when they were created’). By revocalizing the Hebrew letters of this word, the Sages3 read it as if it were simultaneously pronounced b’hei bra’am. The verse would now mean, “These are the chronicles of heaven and earth; with the letter hei He created them.”

היא מקור הט׳ מאמרות שנמשכו ממאמר ראשון: בראשית, דנמי מאמר הוא

[This letter hei] is the source of the nine creative utterances which issued from the first utterance: Bereishit (“In the beginning”), which itself is a creative utterance,4

היא בחינת חכמה, הנקראת ראשית

and identical with the Sefirah of Chochmah,5 which is called reishit (as in the phrase, reishit chochmah — “the beginning of wisdom”6).

The descent of Chochmah, the source of the other nine creative utterances, into Malchut, the lowest of the Sefirot, involves an intense degree of contraction.

אך אז היתה המשכה וירידה זו בלי אתערותא דלתתא כלל

But at that time, at the beginning of creation, this downward flow from Chochmah to Malchut occurred without any arousal from below whatever,

כי אדם אין לעבוד גו׳

[as it is written,]7 “For there was no man to work”8 and bring about this arousal;

רק כי חפץ חסד הוא

it occurred solely9 “because He desires [to act with] kindness,”

ועולם חסד יבנה

as it is also written,10 “The world is built by kindness.”

וזהו: בהבראם, באברהם

And this is the meaning of [another interpretation of the verse, “These are the chronicles of heaven and earth] behibar’am(i.e., ‘when they were created’). By transposing the Hebrew letters of this word, the Sages11 read this word as if it were simultaneously pronounced beAvraham(i.e., 'through [the attribute that characterizes] Abraham’),

כי חסד לאברהם כו׳

since12 “kindness is to Abraham.” Since Abraham embodies the attribute of Chesed, the verse thus intimates that heaven and earth were created through the attribute of Chesed.