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.

וְכַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה מַמָּשׁ, בִּדְמוּתָם כְּצַלְמָם, הֵם כָּל הַבְּרוּאִים – לְגַבֵּי שֶׁפַע הָאֱלֹהִי מֵרוּחַ פִּיו, הַשּׁוֹפֵעַ עֲלֵיהֶם וּמְהַוֶּה אוֹתָם, וְהוּא מְקוֹרָם,

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.

וְהֵם עַצְמָם, אֵינָם, רַק כְּמוֹ אוֹר וְזִיו מִתְפַּשֵּׁט מִן הַשֶּׁפַע וְרוּחַ ה' הַשּׁוֹפֵעַ וּמִתְלַבֵּשׁ בְּתוֹכָם וּמוֹצִיאָם מֵאַיִן לְיֵשׁ,

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,

וְלָכֵן הֵם בְּטֵלִים בִּמְצִיאוּת לְגַבֵּי מְקוֹרָם, כְּמוֹ אוֹר הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ שֶׁבָּטֵל בִּמְצִיאוּת וְנֶחְשָׁב לְאַיִן וָאֶפֶס מַמָּשׁ,

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.

וְאֵינוֹ נִקְרָא בְּשֵׁם "יֵשׁ" כְּלָל כְּשֶׁהוּא בִּמְקוֹרוֹ, רַק תַּחַת הַשָּׁמַיִם – שֶׁאֵין שָׁם מְקוֹרוֹ,

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

כָּךְ כָּל הַבְּרוּאִים, אֵין נוֹפֵל עֲלֵיהֶם שֵׁם "יֵשׁ" כְּלָל, אֶלָּא לְעֵינֵי בָשָׂר שֶׁלָּנוּ,

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

שֶׁאֵין אָנוּ רוֹאִים וּמַשִּׂיגִים כְּלָל אֶת הַמָּקוֹר, שֶׁהוּא רוּחַ ה' הַמְהַוֶּה אוֹתָם,

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,

וְלָכֵן נִרְאֶה לְעֵינֵינוּ גַּשְׁמִיּוּת הַנִּבְרָאִים וְחוּמְרָם וּמַמָּשָׁם שֶׁהֵם יֵשׁ גָּמוּר,

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.

כְּמוֹ שֶׁנִּרְאֶה אוֹר הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ יֵשׁ גָּמוּר כְּשֶׁאֵינוֹ בִּמְקוֹרוֹ.

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.”

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

רַק שֶׁבָּזֶה, אֵין הַמָּשָׁל דּוֹמֶה לַנִּמְשָׁל לְגַמְרֵי לִכְאוֹרָה,

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.

שֶׁבַּמָּשָׁל, אֵין הַמָּקוֹר בִּמְצִיאוּת כְּלָל בַּחֲלַל הָעוֹלָם וְעַל הָאָרֶץ שֶׁנִּרְאֶה שָׁם אוֹרוֹ לְיֵשׁ גָּמוּר,

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.

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,

מַה־שֶּׁאֵין־כֵּן כָּל הַבְּרוּאִים, הֵם בִּמְקוֹרָם תָּמִיד,

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

רַק שֶׁאֵין הַמָּקוֹר נִרְאֶה לְעֵינֵי בָשָׂר.

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

Why are they not nullified in their source?

וְלָמָּה אֵינָן בְּטֵלִים בִּמְצִיאוּת לִמְקוֹרָם?

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?

To understand this, some prefatory remarks are necessary.

אַךְ לְהָבִין זֶה – צָרִיךְ לְהַקְדִּים:

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.