How much more so is it in the creation of something out of nothing, which transcends nature and is far more miraculous than the splitting of the Red Sea,

וְכָל שֶׁכֵּן וְקַל וָחוֹמֶר בִּבְרִיאַת יֵשׁ מֵאַיִן, שֶׁהִיא לְמַעְלָה מֵהַטֶּבַע, וְהַפְלֵא וָפֶלֶא יוֹתֵר מִקְּרִיעַת יַם סוּף,

that surely with the withdrawal of the power of the Creator from the thing created, G-d forbid, the created being would revert to naught and utter nonexistence.

עַל אַחַת כַּמָּה וְכַמָּה שֶׁבְּהִסְתַּלְּקוּת כֹּחַ הַבּוֹרֵא מִן הַנִּבְרָא חַס וְשָׁלוֹם – יָשׁוּב הַנִּבְרָא לְאַיִן וָאֶפֶס מַמָּשׁ.

Rather,2 the activating force of the Creator must continuously be present in the thing created to give it life and ongoing existence.

אֶלָּא צָרִיךְ לִהְיוֹת כֹּחַ הַפּוֹעֵל בַּנִּפְעָל תָּמִיד, לְהַחֲיוֹתוֹ וּלְקַיְּימוֹ.

[Activating forces such as the above] are the selfsame letters of speech [that constitute] the ten utterances by which [all beings] were created.

וְהֵן הֵן בְּחִינוֹת אוֹתִיּוֹת הַדִּבּוּר מֵעֲשָׂרָה מַאֲמָרוֹת שֶׁבָּהֶם נִבְרְאוּ,

This is why the above-quoted verse states, “Forever, O G-d, Your word stands in the heavens.” G-d’s speech, which is the force that brings a created being into existence, must be present there forever so as to give it life and existence.

Concerning this, Scripture says, “and You give life to them all.”3 I.e., G-d provides the heavens and earth and all the creatures found within them with life. Read not “give life,” but “bring into being,” i.e., ex nihilo.

וְעַל זֶה נֶאֱמַר: "וְאַתָּה מְחַיֶּה אֶת כּוּלָּם" – אַל תִּקְרֵי "מְחַיֶּה", אֶלָּא "מְהַוֶּה", דְּהַיְינוּ, יֵשׁ מֵאַיִן,

It is written in Reishit Chochmah, as well as in the Shaloh (Shaar Ha-Otiot, pp. 48b, 70a), that although the verse uses the phrase “give life,” this does not mean that G-d only provides created beings with life in the way that the soul animates the already existent body. Rather, the verse implies that this provision of life also serves to create them and to be responsible for their continued existence.

The word אַתָּה (“You”) indicates all the letters from alef, the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, to tav, the final letter of the alphabet,

וְ"אַתָּה" – הֵן בְּחִינוֹת הָאוֹתִיּוֹת מֵאַלֶ"ף וְעַד תָּי"ו,

and the letter hey of the same word alludes to the five organs of verbal articulation, i.e., the larynx, palate, tongue, teeth, and lips, which are the source of the letters.

וְהַהֵ"א – הִיא ה' מוֹצָאוֹת הַפֶּה, מְקוֹר הָאוֹתִיּוֹת.

This, then, is the meaning of the phrase, “and You (אַתָּה) give life to them all.” The spiritual letters that emanate from the five supernal organs of verbal speech provide life ex nihilo to the whole of the created universe.

Although He has no bodily likeness,4

וְאַף שֶׁאֵין לוֹ דְּמוּת הַגּוּף –

How, then, can we speak of letters existing in the worlds above and indeed add that it is through them that creation takes place ex nihilo?

Scripture itself explicitly applies [to Him in anthropomorphic terms such as] “G-d spoke” or “G-d said,” thereby ascribing to Him letters and speech,

הֲרֵי מִקְרָא מָלֵא דִּבֶּר הַכָּתוּב: "וַיְדַבֵּר ה'", "וַיֹּאמֶר ה'",

and this—the meaning of “G-d spoke” or “G-d said”—is the revelation of the twenty-two supernal letters to the Prophets.

וְהִיא בְּחִינַת הִתְגַּלּוּת הַכ"ב אוֹתִיּוֹת עֶלְיוֹנוֹת לַנְּבִיאִים,

[These supernal letters] are enclothed in the intellect and comprehension which is to be found in their prophetic vision

וּמִתְלַבְּשׁוֹת בְּשִׂכְלָם וְהַשָּׂגָתָם בְּמַרְאֵה הַנְּבוּאָה,

[and are enclothed] as well in their thought and speech, as it is written, “The spirit of G-d spoke within me, and His word is upon my tongue,”5

וְגַם בְּמַחֲשַׁבְתָּם וְדִיבּוּרָם, כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב: "רוּחַ ה' דִּבֶּר בִּי, וּמִלָּתוֹ עַל לְשׁוֹנִי",

as has been explained by the Arizal (in Shaar Hanevuah). Clearly, there exist letters and speech above which are capable of being garbed in the thought and speech of the Prophets.

וּכְמוֹ שֶׁאָמַר הָאֲרִ"י זִכְרוֹנוֹ לִבְרָכָה [בְּשַׁעַר הַנְּבוּאָה].

Similar to this is the investment of the letters in created things, as it is written, “By the word of G-d were the heavens made, and by the breath of His mouth all their host,”6

וּכְעֵין זֶה הִיא הִתְלַבְּשׁוּת הָאוֹתִיּוֹת בַּבְּרוּאִים, כְּדִכְתִיב: "בִּדְבַר ה' שָׁמַיִם נַעֲשׂוּ, וּבְרוּחַ פִּיו כָּל צְבָאָם",

except that [the enclothing of the letters in created beings] comes about through numerous and powerful descents,

רַק, שֶׁהִיא עַל יְדֵי הִשְׁתַּלְשְׁלוּת רַבּוֹת וַעֲצוּמוֹת,

until [the letters] reach the corporeal World of Asiyah, which contains corporeal beings,

עַד שֶׁיּוֹרְדוֹת לַעֲשִׂיָּה גוּפָנִית,

whereas the apprehension of the Prophets is in the World of Atzilut as it becomes clothed in the World of Beriah.

מַה שֶּׁאֵין כֵּן הַשָּׂגַת הַנְּבִיאִים, הִיא בַּאֲצִילוּת הַמִּתְלַבֶּשֶׁת בְּעוֹלַם הַבְּרִיאָה:

It is from this lofty level that the spirit of prophecy descends upon the Prophets.

In similar fashion, the supernal letters descend and are invested within created beings, providing them with life and creating them ex nihilo.