Glossary for this chapter:


Generally translated as “faith.” That word, however, bears connotations of ignorance and naiveté for most of us. In Tanya, emunah is described an innate conviction that transcends, rather than avoids, reason. Indeed, “wisdom, understanding and knowledge” further enhance this conviction. See chapters 18–19.

Sitra Achra:

Literally, “the other side.” There are only two sides: One side lets the truth of G‑d’s oneness shine through, the other opposes it; one side tells you—or at least admits—that there is nothing else but Him, and the other side denies it. This phenomenon is personified as a force whose domain encompasses almost all of the material world—although in truth it is only an artifact of a vacuum of divine energy.


Singular: Kelipah. Literally, “shell” or “husk.” Used to describe forces that obstruct the divine light.

The Text:

Here’s another way to inject genuine happiness into your life—especially at those times when you see your soul needs to be lit up with a joyous sparkle and shine:

Think deeply; picture in your mind and in your understanding His true unity, blessed be He—how He fills all worlds, higher and lower. Even this entire earth is His glory. Contemplate how there is nothing else but Him.

And all of it is absolutely nil relative to Him. There is just Him and only Him in the higher worlds and the lower worlds—exactly as there was nothing but Him before the six days in which He created everything. Even in this space in which this world was created—the heavens and the earth and all that populates them—there was just Him alone pervading this entire space. And so too now there is only Him alone without any change at all.

How could this be? Because the very existence of all He has created adds up to absolute zero relative to Him.

One way to better grasp this idea is to think of the articulations of speech—or the words you hear in your thoughts—and their relationship to your own self. Think of how those articulations emerge from within your core being—meaning from your ten core faculties of chochmah, binah, daat, etc.Two analogies: the emergence of speech and sunlight Yet within that context they are nonentities. There is nothing about them that can be called “words”—not until these faculties take on the garb of conscious thought. Only there, in the context of conscious thought or verbal speech, do these nonentities emerge as entities of their own. 1

There is another analogy from the physical world: the null state of a ray of the sun’s light within its origin. Obviously, this light shines within the actual sphere of the sun in the sky—and with far greater intensity than it shines in the space outside the sun. Yet there, within the sun, the distinct existence of any particular beam of light is annihilated, as though it does not exist at all.

That’s exactly the way it is, metaphorically speaking, with the world and all it contains. When seen within the context of its origin—the Infinite Light—its very existence is null and void (more on this later).

Now, when you think deeply and persistently about these ideas, your heart will celebrate and your soul will rejoice. The ultimate celebration: G‑d at home in your worldYou will rejoice and sing out with all your heart, soul and might with this emunah, it is so immense. This is the real closeness to G‑d. And this is the entire person, why you were created and why all the worlds were created, higher worlds and lower worlds—so that He could have a home in the lower worlds. (This idea of G‑d’s desire for a home in the lower worlds is something we’ll discuss in detail later.)

Think of how much a common, lowly person would celebrate his closeness to a mortal king who came to lodge with him and is now moving into his place, together with him in his home. Now multiply that ad infinitum when it comes to G‑d, the ultimate King, being close to you and being at home with you. As G‑d Himself says, “For who is this whose heart stirs him to approach Me?” And yet, in your home and your life, He is there with you.

This is why they prescribed that we praise and thank Him every morning, saying, “How fortunate we are! How goodly is our portion! How sweet is our lot and how beautiful is our inheritance!” Just as a person would celebrate an inheritance—let’s say an unimaginable treasure of wealth that fell to him without any labor on his part—that’s how we need to celebrate the inheritance our parents left us, but infinitely more so. What is that inheritance? Our emunah in G‑d’s true oneness, that even upon this earth below there is nothing else. And this emunah itself is G‑d’s home in the lower worlds.

This is what our teachers, of blessed memory, meant when they said, “Six hundred and thirteen mitzvahs were given to Israel. . . . Habakkuk came and placed them all on a single base when he said, “And a righteous person lives on his emunah.” How is that a single base? Because it really is as though there is only one mitzvah, and that is emunah alone, since with emunah alone you will end up keeping all the mitzvahs.

How? Emunah: Celebration: Empowerment When you will celebrate your emunah in G‑d’s unity with the most exquisite joy in your heart, as though you have nothing else on your shoulders other than this mitzvah—because, after all, this alone is the ultimate purpose of your creation and the creation of all worlds—then, powered by the vital energy of your soul in such boundless celebration, your soul will transcend higher and yet higher, beyond all those things that hold you back from keeping all the 613 mitzvahs, whether those be your own personal issues or whether they be external circumstances.

This is why it says that a righteous person will live by his emunah—like the revival of the dead, so too this boundless joy will revive his soul.

This is a doubled and redoubled celebration. Aside from the celebration of your own soul when you contemplate the closeness of G‑d—how He dwells alongside you and with you—there is yet another thing to doubly celebrate: G‑d’s Celebration: Darkness becomes Light G‑d’s joy and the great pleasure that He receives through your emunah. Because with your emunah, the sitra achra is actually suppressed and darkness transformed to light. The darkness is the darkness of the kelipot of this coarsely physical world, which will darken and cover up His light until the end of days, as it says, “He has set a time limit to darkness.”2

This is especially so outside of the Land of Israel, since the air of the lands of foreign nations is spiritually contaminated and full of kelipot and sitra achra. For G‑d, there is nothing to celebrate more than the brightness and joy of the most special light—that which is generated out of darkness.

This is one way to interpret the verse, “Israel should rejoice in his Maker”: Every Jewish person should celebrate along with G‑d as He rejoices and celebrates His dwelling in the lower world. That is why the word “Maker” is used—because it refers to His relationship with a world made of real action. That’s also why the word is written in the plural form (“Makers”)—since it is referring to His making this physical world, full of kelipot and sitra achra, called the “domain of many and divided mountains.” All this is transformed to light and becomes a singular domain for His oneness—all through your emunah.