Precisely so, by way of analogy, are G-d’s “speech” and “thought” absolutely united with His essence and being even after His “speech” has already become materialized in the creation of the worlds, just as it was united with Him before the worlds were created.

וְכָכָה מַמָּשׁ, דֶּרֶךְ מָשָׁל, מְיוּחָדוֹת דִּבּוּרוֹ וּמַחֲשַׁבְתּוֹ שֶׁל הַקָּדוֹשׁ־בָּרוּךְ־הוּא בְּתַכְלִית הַיִּחוּד בְּמַהוּתוֹ וְעַצְמוּתוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ, גַּם אַחַר שֶׁיָּצָא דִּבּוּרוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ אֶל הַפּוֹעַל בִּבְרִיאוֹת הָעוֹלָמוֹת, כְּמוֹ שֶׁהָיָה מְיוּחָד עִמּוֹ קוֹדֶם בְּרִיאַת הָעוֹלָמוֹת,

Thus, for G-d, nothing whatsoever was changed by the revelation of His creative power in Creation. The change wrought by Creation exists only with regard to the created beings, who receive their life-force from G-d’s Word when it proceeds (from concealment) to actualization with the creation of the worlds.

וְאֵין שׁוּם שִׁינּוּי כְּלָל לְפָנָיו יִתְבָּרֵךְ, אֶלָּא אֶל הַבְּרוּאִים הַמְקַבְּלִים חַיּוּתָם מִבְּחִינַת דִּבּוּרוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ, בִּבְחִינַת יְצִיאָתוֹ כְּבָר אֶל הַפּוֹעַל בִּבְרִיאַת הָעוֹלָמוֹת,

For the created beings, the revelation of the creative power contained in G-d’s Word represents the greatest possible change—the passage from nonexistence to existence, since they come into being only when the Divine Word begins to actually create worlds,

at which time it clothes itself in these worlds to give them life.

שֶׁמִּתְלַבֵּשׁ בָּהֶם לְהַחֲיוֹתָם

This process takes place through a gradual descent from level to level (with the higher level referred to as the עִלָּה, the “cause,” and the lower level the עָלוּל, the “effect”) and a downward gradation by means of numerous and various contractions (tzimtzumim, i.e., a progressive decrease in the intensity of the revealed Divine powers).

עַל יְדֵי הִשְׁתַּלְשְׁלוּת מֵעִלָּה לְעָלוּל וִירִידַת הַמַּדְרֵגוֹת בְּצִמְצוּמִים רַבִּים וְשׁוֹנִים,

G-d’s Word descends and is contracted to the point where the created beings can derive their life-force and existence from it without losing their identity.

עַד שֶׁיּוּכְלוּ הַבְּרוּאִים לְקַבֵּל חַיּוּתָם וְהִתְהַוּוּתָם מִמֶּנּוּ וְלֹא יִתְבַּטְּלוּ בִּמְצִיאוּת,

An undimmed revelation of the G-dly life-force would create beings whose identity would be utterly nullified within their life-force. It was G-d’s intention that His creations perceive themselves to be separate from Him and that through their own efforts, they achieve a spirit of self-nullification vis-à-vis their Creator. To this end, G-d revealed His creative power only through a series of contractions, whose effect the Alter Rebbe now goes on to explain:

All the contractions constitute a “veiling of the [Divine] Countenance”; that is, they veil and conceal the “face,” i.e., the essential aspects of the light and life-force that are derived from G-d’s Word, so that it should not reveal itself with an intense radiance which the lower worlds would be incapable of receiving.

וְכָל הַצִּמְצוּמִים הֵם בְּחִינַת "הֶסְתֵּר פָּנִים", לְהַסְתִּיר וּלְהַעֲלִים הָאוֹר וְהַחַיּוּת הַנִּמְשָׁךְ מִדִּבּוּרוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ, שֶׁלֹּא יִתְגַּלֶּה בִּבְחִינַת גִּילּוּי רַב שֶׁלֹּא יוּכְלוּ הַתַּחְתּוֹנִים לְקַבֵּל,

Therefore, too, because it is thus obscured through tzimtzum, the light and life-force of G-d’s Word that is clothed in them appears to them as if it is something separate from G-d Himself

וְלָכֵן גַּם כֵּן נִדְמֶה לָהֶם אוֹר וְחַיּוּת הַדִּבּוּר שֶׁל מָקוֹם בָּרוּךְ־הוּא הַמְלוּבָּשׁ בָּהֶם, כְּאִלּוּ הוּא דָּבָר מוּבְדָּל מִמַּהוּתוֹ וְעַצְמוּתוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ,

and as though it only issues from Him, just as the speech of a human being issues from him but then becomes separated from him.

רַק שֶׁנִּמְשָׁךְ מִמֶּנּוּ יִתְבָּרֵךְ – כְּמוֹ דִּבּוּר שֶׁל אָדָם מִנַּפְשׁוֹ.

This false perception of the G-dly life-force as something separate from G-d is possible only because the life-force is hidden from creation by means of the tzimtzumim.

Yet, in regard to G-d, no concealment or veil hides or obscures anything from Him; to Him, “‘darkness’ (concealment) and ‘light’ (revelation) are alike,”8

אַךְ לְגַבֵּי הַקָּדוֹשׁ־בָּרוּךְ־הוּא, אֵין שׁוּם צִמְצוּם וְהֶסְתֵּר וְהֶעְלֵם מַסְתִּיר וּמַעֲלִים לְפָנָיו, וְ"כַחֲשֵׁכָה כָּאוֹרָה",

as it is written: “Even the darkness does not obscure [anything] from you.”8

כְּדִכְתִיב: "גַּם חֹשֶׁךְ לֹא יַחְשִׁיךְ מִמֶּךָּ וְגוֹ'",

This may also be interpreted: “Even the darkness does not obscure because it derives from you”, i.e., the veil of tzimtzum is itself of divine origin, and therefore, it cannot obscure G-dliness. For as the Alter Rebbe goes on to say, only a foreign body can constitute an obstruction; one cannot hide from his own self.

For the tzimtzumim and the “veils” are not things distinct from Him, heaven forfend, since nothing is separate from G-d, but are “like the turtle (or: ‘snail’), whose garment i.e., its shell is part of its body”9; so too, the very “shell”—the process of tzimtzum—that hides G-dliness is itself G-dly.

מִשּׁוּם שֶׁאֵין הַצִּמְצוּמִים וְהַלְּבוּשִׁים דָּבָר נִפְרָד מִמֶּנּוּ יִתְבָּרֵךְ חַס וְשָׁלוֹם, אֶלָּא כְּהָדֵין קַמְצָא דִּלְבוּשֵׁיהּ מִינֵּיהּ וּבֵיהּ,

Thus it is written: “G-d—He is the L-rd,”10 as is explained elsewhere.11

כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב: "כִּי ה' הוּא הָאֱלֹהִים", וּכְמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר בְּמָקוֹם אַחֵר.

In Hebrew: “The Divine Name, HavayahYud-hey-vav-hey—He is Elokim.” The Four-Letter Name of G-d denotes Divine revelation and transcendence, while the Name Elokim refers to G-d’s power of self-concealment by which he vests Himself in creation. The equation points out that they are one; Elokim is G-dly just as is the level of G-dliness signified by the other Name. Thus, Elokim does not act as a veil obscuring G-d, since it is essentially one with Yud-hey-vav-hey, the power of revelation.

Therefore, in His presence, all else is of absolutely no account.

וְלָכֵן קַמֵּיהּ – כּוּלָּא כְּלָא חֲשִׁיב מַמָּשׁ:

Since G-d is not affected by the tzimtzumim which make it possible for a created being to feel separate from Him, He perceives all the creations brought into being by His Word as being still within their source—Himself. There they are in a state of absolute nullification. From His perspective, they are still nonentities, and the fact of their creation in no way detracts from His absolute unity—He is One alone after Creation just as He was before Creation.