וכדברים האלה ממש בדמותם כצלמם הם כל הברואים לגבי שפע האלקי מרוח פיו השופע עליהם ומהוה אותם, והוא מקורם

The exact parallel [to this illustration] is the relationship between all created beings and the Divine flow [of the life-force that emanates] from the “breath of His mouth,” which flows upon them and brings them into existence and is their source.

והם עצמם אינם רק כמו אור וזיו מתפשט מן השפע ורוח ה׳ השופע ומתלבש בתוכם, ומוציאם מאין ליש

However, [the created beings] themselves are merely like a diffusing light and effulgence from the flow and spirit of G‑d, which issues forth [from Him] and becomes clothed in them, and brings them from naught into being.

ולכן הם בטלים במציאות לגבי מקורם, כמו אור השמש שבטל במציאות ונחשב לאין ואפס ממש

Hence, their existence is nullified in relation to their source, just as the light of the sun is nullified and is considered naught and utter nothingness,

ואינו נקרא בשם יש כלל כשהוא במקורו, רק תחת השמים שאין שם מקורו

and is not at all referred to as “existing” when it is within its source, viz., the sun; the term “existence” applies to it only beneath the heavens, where its source is not present.

כך כל הברואים אין נופל עליהם שם יש כלל, אלא לעיני בשר שלנו

In the same manner, the term “existence” can be applied to all created things only as they appear to our corporeal eyes,

שאין אנו רואים ומשיגים כלל את המקור, שהוא רוח ה׳ המהוה אותם

for we do not see nor at all comprehend the source, which is the spirit of G‑d that brings them into existence.

ולכן נראה לעינינו גשמיות הנבראים וחומרם וממשם שהם יש גמור

Therefore, since we do not see nor comprehend their source, it appears to our eyes that the physicality, materiality and tangibility of created things actually exist,

כמו שנראה אור השמש יש גמור כשאינו במקורו

just as the light of the sun appears to exist fully when it is not within its source, and is found within the expanse of the universe.

In truth, the Source of all creatures is constantly found within them, our failure to perceive this notwithstanding. Hence, their existence is totally nullified in relation to their source and they cannot be said to truly “exist”.

רק שבזה אין המשל דומה לנמשל לגמרי לכאורה

But in the following respect, the illustration is apparently not completely identical with the object of comparison.

שבמשל אין המקור במציאות כלל בחלל העולם ועל הארץ, שנראה שם אורו ליש גמור

For in the illustration, the source — the sun — is not present at all in the expanse of the universe and upon the earth, where its light is seen as actually existing.

Since the sun itself is not present upon the earth, its rays are able to assume a seeming reality of their own. It is therefore readily understandable why they are perceived as existing independently.

מה שאין כן כל הברואים הם במקורם תמיד

By contrast, all created beings are always within their source, the Divine activating force, which is continuously found within them, constantly creating and animating them ex nihilo,

רק שאין המקור נראה לעיני בשר

and it is only that the source is not visible to our physical eyes.

Since in reality they are indeed within their source at all times, —

ולמה אינם בטלים במציאות למקורם

Why are they not nullified in their source?

Why are creatures not nullified within their source in an obvious and revealed manner, so that there is no mistaking them as independently existing beings?

אך להבין זה צריך להקדים

To understand this, some prefatory remarks are necessary.

The Alter Rebbe will go on to explain that the Divine power of concealment and contraction is responsible for hiding G‑d’s light, so that it will not be perceptible to created beings. This enables creation to be perceived as possessing “existence”, whereas in reality it is totally nullified within its source.