Sefer HaChinuch, (mitzvah 295): Not to do anything that will cause the desecration of G‑d’s name,

שֶׁלֹּא לַעֲשׂוֹת דָּבָר שֶׁיִּתְחַלֵּל בּוֹ שֵׁם שָׁמַיִם,

as it is written (Vayikra 22:32): “And you shall not desecrate My holy name.”

שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וְלֹא תְחַלְּלוּ אֶת שֵׁם קָדְשִׁי (וַיִּקְרָא כ"ב ל"ב) (רצ"ה):

The concept of the desecration of G‑d’s name is the opposite of that of the sanctification of G‑d’s name, which we have explained previously.…

וְעִנְיַן חִלּוּל הַשֵּׁם הוּא הֵפֶךְ קִדּוּשׁ הַשֵּׁם שֶׁנִּצְטַוִּינוּ בּוֹ שֶׁקָּדַם בֵּאוּרוֹ

This transgression is divided into three categories:… (Rambam, Sefer HaMitzvos, negative mitzvah 63).

וְהֶעָוֹן הַזֶּה יֵחָלֵק לְג' חֲלָקִים כוּ' עַד כַּאן לְשׁוֹן הָרַמְבַּ"ם לֹא תַעֲשֶׂה סִימָן ס"ג

See also the citation of Rambam’s statements in Sefer HaChinuch, loc. cit.

יְעֻיַּן דְּבָרָיו בְּחִנּוּךְ שָׁם:

Selections from Derech Mitzvosecha (SIE)

Derech Mitzvotecha dives into reasons behind mitzvot such as tzitzit, tefillin, prayer, belief in G-d, loving a fellow Jew, starting a family and many others. Five generations later, the author`s grandson and successor, the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, has often advised those seeking to begin study of Chasidic philosophy to study this fundamental work.

As is well known,1before the first tzimtzum, Or Ein Sof, G‑d’s infinite light, filled the entire cavity in which the worlds now exist.

הִנֵּה יָדוּעַ דְּאוֹר אֵין סוֹף בָּרוּךְ הוּא הָיָה מְמַלֵּא כָּל הֶחָלָל שֶׁעַתָּה בּוֹ הָעוֹלָמוֹת

Afterwards, when it arose in His will to create our world,

אַחַר כָּךְ כְּשֶׁעָלָה בִּרְצוֹנוֹ לִבְרוֹא הָעוֹלָם

He contracted Himself,

צִמְצֵם אֶת עַצְמוֹ

bringing into being a cavity and an empty space.

וְנַעֲשָׂה חָלָל וּמָקוֹם פָּנוּי

Subsequently, He drew down into the midst of the cavity a vector (kav) and strand from His light that transcends the cavity.

וְאַחַר כָּךְ הִמְשִׁיךְ קַו וְחוּט מֵאוֹרוֹ שֶׁלְּמַעְלָה מֵהֶחָלָל לְתוֹךְ הֶחָלָל

The source for all of the oros (“lights”) emanates from this vector of light,

וּמִן הַקַּו הַזֶּה שֹׁרֶשׁ כָּל הָאוֹרוֹת

The Tzemach Tzedek mentions “the source for all the oros,” because this vector of Divine light (the kav) is transcendent in nature and is too lofty to be enclothed directly in the realms that come into being from it. Further contractions are necessary until lights that are limited to the degree that they can be enclothed in the Sefiros come into being.

and from the cavity and the vestige (reshimah) of the original Divine light comes the source for all of the keilim (“vessels”).

וּמִן הֶחָלָל וְהָרְשִׁימוּ שֹׁרֶשׁ הַכֵּלִים כוּ',

To explain: This tzimtzum does not involve a complete removal of all the Divine light, Heaven forbid.

וּפֵרוּשׁ צִמְצוּם זֶה אֵינוֹ הִסְתַּלְּקוּת גָּמוּר חַס וְשָׁלוֹם

Instead, G‑d’s intent is that this light will not shine in a revealed manner,

אֶלָּא שֶׁלֹּא יָאִיר בְּגִלּוּי

but rather as an encompassing light.

רַק בִּבְחִינַת מַקִּיף

This refers to the dimension of light which is sovev kol almin.

וְהוּא עִנְיַן סוֹבֵב כָּל עָלְמִין

It is called “holy,” as explained above in the mitzvah of Kiddush HaShem.2

הַנִּקְרָא קֹדֶשׁ כְּמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר לְעֵיל בְּמִצְוַת קִדּוּשׁ הַשֵּׁם

The kav of Divine light which shines in a revealed manner is the source for the Divine life-energy that is memale kol almin.

וְהַקַּו הַמֵּאִיר בְּגִלּוּי הוּא שֹׁרֶשׁ עִנְיַן מְמַלֵּא כָּל עָלְמִין

These concepts have already been explained thoroughly in another source.3

וּכְבָר נִתְבָּאֵר זֶה הֵיטֵב בְּמָקוֹם אַחֵר.

Drawing down this kav of Divine light is accomplished through the medium of G‑d’s name Havayah,

וְהִנֵּה הַהַמְשָׁכָה זוֹ שֶׁל הַקַּו הוּא בְּחִינַת שֵׁם הֲוָיָ'

for it follows the motifs of contraction, outward expression, and communication of influence,

דְּהַיְנוּ צִמְצוּם וְהִתְפַּשְּׁטוּת וְהַמְשָׁכָה כוּ'

which are the mystic secrets associated with the letters Yud, Hei, and Vav respectively, as stated in another source.4

שֶׁזֶּה סוֹד הַיּוּ"ד וְהַהֵ"י וְהַוָּי"ו כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב גַּם כֵּן בְּמָקוֹם אַחֵר

The final Hei refers to receiving that influence.

וְה' אַחֲרוֹנָה הִיא בְּחִינַת מְקַבֵּל הַהַמְשָׁכָה כוּ'

All of the 248 positive commandments are called “the mitzvos of Havayah,”

וְכָל הָרְמַ"ח מִצְוֹת עֲשֵׂה נִקְרָאִים מִצְוֹת הֲוָיָ'

i.e., they are dependent on the name Havayah,

שֶׁהֵם תְּלוּיִם בְּשֵׁם הֲוָיָ'

and they serve as channels to draw down the infinite light from G‑d’s essence

לְהַמְשִׁיךְ בּוֹ אוֹר אֵין סוֹף מִבְּחִינַת עַצְמוּתוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ

that transcends the kav and strand of Divine light that serves as the source for the light that illuminates our existence.

שֶׁלְּמַעְלָה מַּעְלָה מִן הַקַּו וְחוּט

This relates to the mystic secret of the original light that exists before the kav.

וְהוּא סוֹד הָאוֹר שֶׁלִּפְנֵי הַקַּו

In general, the intent is, as explained above,5 that G‑d’s infinite light which transcends Chochmah and understanding

וּכְלָלוּת הָעִנְיָן שֶׁאוֹר אֵין סוֹף בָּרוּךְ הוּא שֶׁהוּא לְמַעְלָה מַּעְלָה מִן הַחָכְמָה

should shine and be revealed within Chochmah.

וְהַהַשָּׂגָה יָאִיר וְיִתְגַּלֶּה בְּחָכְמָה כוּ' וְכַנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל,

The name Havayah reflects the spiritual pattern that brings our existence into being. Thus, in this context, it is referred to as the light which is memale kol almin. Its intent, however, is to reveal the level of G‑dliness that transcends our existence and which existed before the tzimtzum, i.e., the light which is sovev kol almin, in this world. Thus, as the Tzemach Tzedek mentions shortly afterwards, the light which is sovev kol almin shines within the light which is memale kol almin.

Accordingly, one must take care at least not to desecrate G‑d’s name,

וְלָזֹאת עַל כָּל פָּנִים צָרִיךְ לִזָּהֵר שֶׁלֹּא לְחַלֵּל שֵׁם שָׁמַיִם

i.e., that one’s actions not cause an impediment to the revelation of G‑dliness.

דְּהַיְנוּ שֶׁלֹּא לִגְרוֹם דָּבָר שֶׁמּוֹנֵעַ הִתְגַּלּוּת אֱלֹקוּת

Whenever a person sins, his sins create obstacles that prevent the G‑dly light generated by the mitzvos he performs to be drawn down to our world. In particular, the sin of Chilul Hashem, the desecration of G‑d’s name, has an effect of a general nature.

For by doing that, Heaven forbid,

שֶׁבַּעֲשׂוֹתוֹ זֶה חַס וְשָׁלוֹם

firstly, he will not draw down the revelation of G‑d’s infinite light which is sovev kol almin

הֲרֵי מִלְּבַד שֶׁלֹּא הִמְשִׁיךְ גִּלּוּי אוֹר אֵין סוֹף הַסּוֹבֵב כָּל עָלְמִין

and have it shine in a manner of memale kol almin through the mitzvah of Kiddush HaShem.

לִהְיוֹת מֵאִיר בִּמְמַלֵּא כָּל עָלְמִין עַל יְדֵי מִצְוַת קִדּוּשׁ הַשֵּׁם,

In addition, by nullifying this mitzvah, one causes even the ray that shines in a manner of memale kol almin, which is the mystic secret of the light of the kav described above,

וּבְבִטּוּלוֹ אוֹתָהּ הֲרֵי גַם הַהֶאָרָה דִמְמַלֵּא כָּל עָלְמִין שֶׁזֶּה סוֹד הַקַּו כַּנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל גָּרַם

to also withdraw from the keilim.

גַּם כֵּן לְהִסְתַּלֵּק מִן הַכֵּלִים

For these sins cause the keilim to become abhorrent and unsuitable

כִּי עַל יְדֵי הָעֲוֹנוֹת הָהֵם גָּרַם מִאוּס הַכֵּלִים

for the ray that shines in a manner of memale kol almin to rest within them.

מִלִּהְיוֹת בְּחִינַת הַשְׁרָאַת דִּמְמַלֵּא כָּל עָלְמִין בָּהֶם

In this vein, it is written (Yeshayahu 59:2): “Your sins separate,”

וּכְדִכְתִיב עֲווֹנוֹתֵיכֶם הָיוּ מַבְדִּילִים (יְשַׁעְיָה נ"ט ב')

i.e., they create a separation within the name Havayah itself,

וּמַפְרִידִים בְּשֵׁם הֲוָי'

setting the letters Yud-Hei apart from the letters Vav-Hei.

י"ה מִו"ה

This creates an empty space in which even the ray that shines in a manner of memale kol almin,

וְעָשׂוּ עַל יְדֵי זֶה חָלָל רֵיקָנִי מִבִּלְתִּי הִגָּלוֹת נִגְלוֹת גַּם בְּחִינַת מְמַלֵּא כָּל עָלְמִין

i.e., the kav that is drawn down into the cavity, cannot be revealed.

שֶׁהוּא הַקַּו שֶׁנִּמְשָׁךְ לְתוֹךְ הֶחָלָל

And as a result, it is impossible for the light that is sovev kol almin to be revealed,

וּמִמֵּילָא שֶׁאִי אֶפְשָׁר לִהְיוֹת גִּלּוּי אוֹר אֵין סוֹף הַסּוֹבֵב כָּל עָלְמִין

for the light that is sovev kol almin shines within the light which is memale kol almin.

כִּי הֲרֵי הַסּוֹבֵב מֵאִיר בִּמְמַלֵּא

Since the light which is sovev kol almin is revealed through the medium of the light which is memale kol almin, when the light which is memale kol almin is not drawn down to our world, the light which is sovev kol almin also cannot be revealed.

Therefore, before the positive mitzvah of Kiddush HaShem, the Torah first mentions the prohibition not to desecrate G‑d’s name,

וְזֶה שֶׁמַּקְדִּים הַלַּאו דְּלֹא תְחַלְּלוּ שֵׁם קָדְשִׁי

i.e., not to create a separation in G‑d’s name Havayah that shines in a manner of memale kol almin,

שֶׁלֹּא לַעֲשׂוֹת דָּבָר הַמַּפְרִיד בְּשֵׁם הֲוָיָ' דִמְמַלֵּא כָּל עָלְמִין

for it is a channel for the revelation that is sovev kol almin.

שֶׁהוּא כְּלִי לְגִלּוּי הַסּוֹבֵב כָּל עָלְמִין

Once the potential for such separation is negated, then it is possible that “I will be sanctified in the midst of the Children of Israel,”

אֲזַי יָכוֹל לִהְיוֹת אַחַר כָּךְ וְנִקְדַּשְׁתִּי בְּתוֹךְ בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל

i.e., that through the good generated by the observance of the mitzvos,

עַל יְדֵי הַטּוֹב דְּמַעֲשֵׂה הַמִּצְוֹת

we can draw down the revelation of G‑d’s light that is sovev, here, on the physical plane.

שֶׁמַּמְשִׁיכִים גִּלּוּי הַסּוֹבֵב לְמַטָּה

This is reflected in the blessings we recite before the observance of the mitzvos.

כְּמוֹ שֶׁאָנוּ אוֹמְרִים בִּבְרָכָה שֶׁלִּפְנֵי הַמִּצְוָה

In these blessings, we praise G‑d with the words: “Who sanctified us with His mitzvos.”

אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו כוּ'

The implication is that the mitzvos bring man in contact with the light that is sovev kol almin, the level of G‑dliness that is kadosh, holy and distinct, as explained above.

Certainly, this applies with regard to the mitzvah of Kiddush HaShem, for it is a light of a general nature, as explained above.

וְכָל שֶׁכֵּן עַל יְדֵי קִדּוּשׁ הַשֵּׁם וּכְמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר לְעֵיל: