In the previous chapter, the Alter Rebbe began to expound upon the theme of the indwelling of the Shechinah, which resided in the Holy of Holies and likewise in other places. He asked: “Is not the whole world filled with His glory?” Since there is no place void of Him, what do we mean when we say that G-d chose a specific place for the Shechinah to rest?

He explained this according to the text: “From my flesh, I see G-d,” using the analogy of the soul, which pervades all the 248 organs of the body, yet its principal habitation is in the brain. This cannot be said to apply to the soul’s essence, for that is found equally in all 248 organs, from the highest, the brain, to the lowest in the feet. Rather, this refers to the general flow of the soul’s vitality into the body and its revelation there before it is diffused and drawn down into all the bodily organs, each according to its particular capacity.

Concerning this general aspect, we say that its principal province and indwelling is in the brain; from there, a mere glimmer of this vitality is drawn down and revealed in the other bodily organs.

The same is true, the Alter Rebbe explains, in the analogue of G-dliness and the world: The core and essence of the Ein Sof is the same in the higher and lower Worlds—He is concealed from them all equally, for even in the higher Worlds, no thought can apprehend Him at all. At the same time, He is equally to be found both in the higher and lower Worlds.

The difference between the higher and lower Worlds—as in the analogy of the bodily organs—subsists only with regard to the stream of vitality which flows and is revealed from the Ein Sof in order to create and vitalize the Worlds and their creatures. Concerning this level of revelation, we say that in the higher Worlds, G-dliness is revealed to a greater degree and in the lower Worlds to a lesser degree.

In the present chapter, the Alter Rebbe goes on to further explain how the analogue of G-dliness and its place in the world relates to the analogy, in which the individual’s vitality in its undiffused state resides in the brain.

And just as in the human soul, the principal manifestation of the undiffused vitality is in the brain while all the organs receive merely a light and potency which radiates to them from the source of the manifestation of the said vitality in the brain,

וּכְמוֹ שֶׁבְּנִשְׁמַת הָאָדָם עִיקַּר גִּילּוּי כְּלָלוּת הַחַיּוּת – הוּא בַּמּוֹחִין, וְכָל הָאֵבָרִים, מְקַבְּלִים אוֹר וְכֹחַ לְבַד, הַמֵּאִיר לָהֶם מִמְּקוֹר גִּילּוּי הַחַיּוּת שֶׁבַּמּוֹחִין –

so indeed, figuratively speaking, is the essential manifestation of the general stream of vitality, animating the Worlds and the creatures therein, clothed and contained in His blessed will, wisdom, understanding, and knowledge, which are called the “intelligence,”

כָּכָה מַמָּשׁ, עַל דֶּרֶךְ מָשָׁל, עִיקַּר גִּילּוּי כְּלָלוּת הַמְשָׁכַת הַחַיּוּת, לְהַחֲיוֹת הָעוֹלָמוֹת וְהַבְּרוּאִים שֶׁבָּהֶם – הוּא מְלוּבָּשׁ וְנִכְלָל בִּרְצוֹנוֹ וְחָכְמָתוֹ וּבִינָתוֹ וְדַעְתּוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ, הַנִּקְרָאִין בְּשֵׁם "מוֹחִין",

The sefirot of keter (will), chochmah, binah, and daat as they exist Above are collectively called “intelligence.” Within them is enclothed the stream of undiffused vitality, which is the first revelation of the Ein Sof in the Worlds.

and these (will, chochmah, binah, and daat) are clothed in the Torah and its mitzvot.

וְהֵן הֵן הַמְלוּבָּשִׁים בַּתּוֹרָה וּמִצְוֹתֶיהָ.

This is their abode, for Torah law and the mitzvot are themselves the will of G-d, desiring as He does that the law in a particular case should be specifically one way and not the other and that a particular mitzvah be performed in a certain manner and not otherwise. Understanding the laws and knowing the reasons for the mitzvot—this belongs to the divine levels of chochmah and binah. Thus, within Torah and the mitzvot is enclothed the “intelligence” of Above, and in it is to be found the undiffused stream of vitality that descends into the Worlds.

The manifestation of this general flow of life, which is similar to the undiffused stream of vitality found in the brain, takes place—as the Alter Rebbe will soon say—when the flow from “intelligence” descends into the sefirah of malchut. This manifestation

וְגִילּוּי כְּלָלוּת הַמְשָׁכָה זוֹ –

is the source of the vitality which the Worlds receive, each one in particular receiving but a diffused glow that shines forth from this source,

הוּא מְקוֹר הַחַיּוּת, אֲשֶׁר הָעוֹלָמוֹת מְקַבְּלִים כָּל אֶחָד בִּפְרָטוּת. רַק הֶאָרָה מִתְפַּשֶּׁטֶת וּמְאִירָה מִמָּקוֹר זֶה,

This refers not to the general stream of vitality found in “intelligence” but to its revelation. This revelation is the source of the vitality received by all Worlds and their creatures, each according to its particular level. The diffused glow that shines forth is:

in a similar manner to the light that radiates from the sun, by way of example, where the rays are but a diffused glimmer of the sun’s essence, or as the faculties of the organs of the body derive from the brain, as discussed above, in the previous chapter.

כְּדִמְיוֹן אוֹר הַמִּתְפַּשֵּׁט מֵהַשֶּׁמֶשׁ עַל דֶּרֶךְ מָשָׁל, וְכֹחוֹת אֵבְרֵי הַגּוּף מֵהַמּוֹחַ הַנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל.

It is this source (this source being a revelation from the general stream of vitality found within “intelligence”) which is called in the Kabbalah the “world of manifestation,” because—as the Alter Rebbe will soon say—it is here that G-dliness first becomes manifest in the Worlds,

וּמָקוֹר זֶה, הוּא הַנִּקְרָא "עָלְמָא דְאִתְגַלְּיָא",

and it is also called matrunita (Aramaic for “queen”), for the “queen” receives her vitality from Kudsha Brich Hu (Aramaic for “the Holy One, blessed be He”), the “king,


and it is also known as the “nether mother,” the lower level of “mother”—for binah, too, is known as “mother” (as the verse says, “Allude to binah as mother”1). Binah, however, is the higher level of “mother,” while malchut is the “nether mother,”

וְ"אִימָּא תַּתָּאָה",

and is called the Shechinah, from the Scriptural phrase, “…and I will dwell among them,”2 for its Hebrew root means: to dwell and be revealed.3

וּ"שְׁכִינָה" מִלְּשׁוֹן "וְשָׁכַנְתִּי בְּתוֹכָם",

As the Rebbe explains, the Alter Rebbe now goes on to explain the meaning and character of each of the above-listed names as well as their particular effect.

The abovementioned source is called the “world of manifestation”: For this source is the beginning of the revelation of the light of the Ein Sof, and since the source itself constitutes a revelation, it is itself known as the “world of manifestation” because of its own nature and not because it vitalizes the revealed Worlds.

עַל שֵׁם, שֶׁמָּקוֹר זֶה הוּא רֵאשִׁית הִתְגַּלּוּת אוֹר־אֵין־סוֹף,

It is called “queen” because it is this level which extends to and illumines the Worlds in a revealed manner—similar to a queen, for through her, the wishes of the king are revealed.

אֲשֶׁר מַמְשִׁיךְ וּמֵאִיר לָעוֹלָמוֹת בִּבְחִינַת גִּילּוּי,

Thus, the source of life, i.e., the first revelation of the light of the Ein Sof, is first manifest in the “queen.”

From this source, there extends to each individual thing, World, or creature the particular light and vitality suitable for it, for which reason it is called the “nether mother,” for it is the “mother” and source of the particular form of vitality of each and every creature,

וּמִמָּקוֹר זֶה, נִמְשָׁךְ לְכָל אֶחָד הָאוֹר וְחַיּוּת פְּרָטִי הָרָאוּי לוֹ

and it (the light) dwells and is clothed in them (in the Worlds and their respective creatures), thereby animating them.

וְשׁוֹכֵן וּמִתְלַבֵּשׁ בְּתוֹכָם לְהַחֲיוֹתָם.

Since it dwells, animates, and is enclothed in every World and creature, it is called Shechinah, which as previously explained means “indwelling.”

Until now, the Alter Rebbe has clarified how the light is the source of the Worlds and creatures in general. He now goes on to explain how it is also the source of Jewish souls.

Therefore, it is figuratively called “mother of the children’’ i.e., of Jewish souls, and is also called “community of Israel,” for from this source, the souls of Atzilut have emanated, these being “emanations” and not “creations,” and the souls of Beriah have been created, and so forth,

וְלָכֵן נִקְרָא "אֵם הַבָּנִים" עַל דֶּרֶךְ מָשָׁל, וּ"כְנֶסֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל", שֶׁמִּמָּקוֹר זֶה, נֶאֶצְלוּ נְשָׁמוֹת דַּאֲצִילוּת וְנִבְרְאוּ נְשָׁמוֹת דִּבְרִיאָה וְכוּ'.

all of them—all the Worlds, creatures, and souls—being derived only from the extension of the vitality and light which extends and streams forth from this source, which is called Shechinah,

וְכוּלָּן אֵינָן, רַק מֵהִתְפַּשְּׁטוּת הַחַיּוּת וְהָאוֹר מֵהַמָּקוֹר הַזֶּה הַנִּקְרָא "שְׁכִינָה",

in a manner resembling the radiance of light from the sun, this radiance being but a ray from its source.

כְּהִתְפַּשְּׁטוּת הָאוֹר מֵהַשֶּׁמֶשׁ.