Having explained in general terms why the creation of a substantial yesh from spirituality can only come about in a manner of ex nihilo (and not in a manner of ilah and alul), the Alter Rebbe now goes on to explain that the first stage of the created yesh is the kelim of the ten sefirot of the Worlds of Beriah, Yetzirah, and Asiyah.

For though they are considered sefirot, and as such they constitute the Divinity in these three worlds, the kelim of these sefirot already comprise an element of yesh. This is true even within the World of Atzilut, except that there, the kelim are emanated (as a yesh hane’etzal, implying connectedness to their Source), rather than created (as a yesh hanivra, implying separateness from their Source).

As the Alter Rebbe will soon state, the creation of yesh as a distinct entity derives primarily from the sefirah of malchut in the World of Atzilut: it is specifically through this sefirah that G-d’s infinite ability to create yesh me’ayin is revealed.

Now, the kelim of the ten sefirot of Beriah, Yetzirah, and Asiyah, and also the orotnefesh and ruach—are the first stage and the beginning of created substantiality (yesh).

וְהִנֵּה, רֵאשִׁית הַיֵּשׁ הַנִּבְרָא וּתְחִילָּתוֹ, הֵן הַכֵּלִים דְּי' סְפִירוֹת דִּבְרִיאָה־יְצִירָה־עֲשִׂיָּה, וְגַם הָאוֹרוֹת נֶפֶשׁ־רוּחַ,

The orot (“lights”) that vest themselves in the kelim and thereby animate them consist of nefesh, ruach, and neshamah, which are simultaneously three levels in the soul and three levels in the life-force (“light”) that animates the worlds at large.

The lower two of these, nefesh and ruach, also comprise an element of yesh.

[The kelim] were created from the category of neshamah of the ten sefirot of Beriah, Yetzirah, and Asiyah, this [neshamah of the ten sefirot] being Divinity.

וְנִבְרְאוּ מִבְּחִינַת הַנְּשָׁמָה דְּי' סְפִירוֹת דִבְרִיאָה־יְצִירָה־עֲשִׂיָּה שֶׁהוּא אֱלֹקוּת,

I.e., the G-dliness of the sefirot creates the yesh of the kelim of the sefirot and also their nefesh and ruach.

And these [orot of the sefirot] are the thirty kelim of [the sefirah of] malchut of [the World of] Atzilut.

וְהֵן הַלַּמֶ"ד כֵּלִים דְּמַלְכוּת דַּאֲצִילוּת.

In the World of Atzilut, even the external aspect of the kelim of malchut is G-dliness. It is this external aspect of the kelim of malchut that vests itself in the Worlds of Beriah, Yetzirah, and Asiyah and becomes their soul and life-force. These external kelim are composed of three tenfold levels—the innermost kelim, the intermediary kelim, and the outermost kelim—thirty in all.

It is likewise in Atzilut that the emanated yesh derives from the external aspect of the kelim of Atzilut.

וְכֵן בַּאֲצִילוּת,

From the chitzoniyut (the external aspect) of the kelim of the ten sefirot of Atzilut, which are G-dliness, were created the Heichalot (the Celestial Chambers) of Atzilut,

מֵחִיצוֹנִיּוּת הַכֵּלִים דְּי' סְפִירוֹת דַּאֲצִילוּת שֶׁהֵן אֱלֹקוּת, נִבְרְאוּ הַהֵיכָלוֹת דַּאֲצִילוּת

Unlike the kelim and sefirot in which there is vested the internal level of the orot, these Heichalot are an external aspect of the World of Atzilut.

in which the category of the Iggulim of the ten sefirot vests itself,

שֶׁמִּתְלַבֵּשׁ בָּהֶן בְּחִינַת הָעִיגּוּלִים דְּי' סְפִירוֹת,

The term Iggulim (lit., “circles”) refers to the “encompassing” mode of influence (or makif) of the sefirot, which does not permeate the created beings which it illuminates. A penetrating mode of influence (or pnimi) would make the animated object resemble the life-force that animates it. The exterior or encompassing mode of influence called Iggulim, by contrast, allows the animated object to perceive itself as a yesh, albeit an emanated form of yesh.

and also the bodies of the angels of Atzilut, which are a form of yesh, are created from the external kelim of the sefirot of Atzilut,

וְגַם גּוּפוֹת הַמַּלְאָכִים דַּאֲצִילוּת שֶׁהֵן בְּחִינַת יֵשׁ,

as it is written, “And His angels He charges with deficiency,”27

וּכְמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב: "וּבְמַלְאָכָיו יָשִׂים תָּהֳלָה",

The phrase “His angels” implies those nearest to G-d, viz., the angels of the World of Atzilut. Yet even these are deficient in that they are yesh and not Divinity.

because they are not wholly in a state of nullification as the alul is in relation to its ilah, for they are created in a manner of yesh from ayin.

שֶׁאֵינָן בִּבְחִינַת בִּיטּוּל לְגַמְרֵי כְּעָלוּל לְגַבֵּי עִילָּתוֹ.