However, all we have said refers to the culmination of the atonement and the "polishing" of the soul before G‑d after repentance, as cited from Zevachim, where the olah offering is described as a presentation after the intercessor's successful plea ... But the beginning of the mitzvah of teshuvah, its fundament, is the return to G‑d in truth and with a complete heart. We must explain this fully and discuss it comprehensively.

Let us begin with the Zohar's statement interpreting teshuvah according to sod, the mystical approach. "Teshuvah is tashuv hai, returning the hai; the latter hai is teshuvah tata'a, inferior teshuvah; the upper hai is teshuvah ila'a, superior teshuvah." We must also note that the Zohar states several times that teshuvah is ineffective for violation of the covenant and for wasteful emission. This is rather surprising, for "Nothing can withstand teshuvah, even idolatry and immorality .. ." The Reishit Chochmah explains that the intention of the Zohar is that inferior teshuvah is ineffective, but superior teshuvah ...

To comprehend even a mite of this let us see what the Scripture and our Sages say about excision and death by divine agency. A violator of an excision sin would actually die before his fiftieth year. In the case of death by divine agency he actually dies before sixty, like Chananiah ben Azur in Jeremiah. (Indeed, there were instances when the punishment of death by divine agency was meted out instantly, as with Er and Onan.) But, in every generation there are so many guilty of excision and death who enjoy extended and pleasant days and years!

The key will be found in the passage, "For part of G‑d is His people..." a part of the Tetragrammaton, the Ineffable Name. We find, "He breathed into his nostrils the breath of life," and, we are told, "Who exhales, does so from within ..." Though He has no bodily form ..., G‑d forbid, the Torah does "Speak in the language of men."

There is a vast difference in the case of mortal man between the breath issuing from his mouth while speaking and the breath of forceful blowing. When speaking there is embodied within the breath only the smallest amount of the speaker's power and life-force, and even that is only of the superficial aspect of the soul that dwells within him. But when he blows with force, he blows from deep within himself. That breath embodies the internal power and life-force of the vivifying soul...

Precisely so in the analogy of Creation, allowing for the infinite differentiations involved, these two profoundly different states exist. All the hosts of heaven, even the spiritual beings like angels, were created ex nihilo. They derive their existence from the external aspect of the life-force issuing from the Infinite (En Sof) to vitalise creation. This external aspect of the life-giving power is called the "Breath of His mouth," as it were, in the verse "By the breath of His mouth all their hosts." This is the creative power embodied in the Ten Utterances (that are instruments for this power and the extension of the power ... as explained in Likutei Amarim II,ch. 11).

In contrast, the soul of man derives initially from the internal of the life-force and flow issuing from the Infinite, as in the verse quoted above, "He breathed ..." Subsequently it descended through ever more concealing planes, also through the letters in the Utterance, "Let us make man ..." in order that the soul could eventually be invested in a body in this inferior physical world.

The Scripture calls the angels "Elokim," as in "For the Lord your G‑d is the G‑d of G‑ds (Elokim)..." and "Praise the G‑d of G‑ds (Elokim) ..." and "The sons of G‑d (Elokim) came to present themselves ..." They derive their nurture from the external of the life-force, which is merely the state of letters. Similarly the name Elokim is an external state compared to the Tetragrammaton.

But the soul of man, deriving its being from the internal of the vivifying power is a "Part of G‑d (Tetragrammaton)." For the Tetragrammaton indicates the internal of the life-giving power, which far transcends the state of letters, or articulation.

To explain: there is a passage in Tikunei Zohar, Maamar Eliahu. "You are He Who elicited the ten tikunim called the Ten Sefirot, to conduct by them the concealed worlds.

... You are Wise, and not by the known wisdom. You understand, and not by the known understanding..." All the attributes, the Ten Sefirot, are included and represented in their source, the Tetragrammaton.

The Tetragrammaton is composed of four letters: yud, hai, vav, and hai.

The yud, a simple point, symbolizes His Wisdom, the state of concealment and obscurity, before it develops into a state of expansion and revelation in comprehension and understanding. (The "thorn" on the yud indicates the Supreme Will, far superior to the level of chochmah ila'a, the higher wisdom, as is known.)

When the "point" evolves into a state of expansion and revelation of comprehension and understanding in the concealed worlds, it is then contained and represented in the letter hai. The shape of the letter has dimension, expansion in breadth, which implies the breadth of explanation and understanding, and expansion in length, to indicate extension and flow downward into the concealed worlds.

In the next stage this extension and flow are drawn still lower into the revealed worlds. This may be compared to one who wishes to reveal his thoughts to

another through his speech, for example. This stage of extension is contained and represented in the final letters vav and hai. Vav, in shape a vertical line, indicates downward extension. Also, this flow downward is effected through the divine traits of benevolence and goodness and His other sacred traits, included in general terms in the six attributes in the verse, "Yours O G‑d is the greatness..." until "Yours O G‑d is the dominion...", until, but not inclusive. His seventh attribute, malchut or dominion, is called the "Word of G‑d," as in the verse, "Wherever the word of the king holds sway."

This attribute of dominion is contained and represented in the final hai of the Tetragrammaton. The internal aspect and the source of speech is the breath that rises from the heart, then is molded by the five oral articulations— alef, chet, hai, and ayin from the throat... The hai implies this internal aspect of speech, for it is the pristine unvocalised breath, "A light letter without substance." Though He has no corporeal form, G‑d forbid, the Torah speaks in the language of men. The word of G‑d, with its twenty-two letters, would separate into the five articulations and thus were all beings created. (For a discussion of these letters, see Likutei Amarim II, ch. II.)

Analogously, again considering the infinite separation between the two cases, these same four stages apply to the soul of man, i.e., the divine soul that "He blew from within Himself." There is the initial state of hidden concept symbolised in the letter yud, with its potential of being revealed, thus understanding and conceiving of His true being and His greatness ... each person according to his measure, according to the breadth of his intellect and understanding.

As man deepens his intelligence, as he broadens his mind and comprehension, to contemplate His greatness, his now-developed understanding is indicated in the letter hai, that has breadth. The hai also has length to indicate downward extension, that from his understanding and contemplation of G‑d's majesty, he arouses love and fear and their ramifications in his mind and in the recesses of his heart.

In the following stage these emotions would actually become manifest in his heart. This leads to the true service of G‑d, in Torah study and mitzvah observance, with voice and speech or with deed. This is the import of the letters vav hai...

Another meaning behind the four letters as applied to man: the contemplation endeavouring to understand and conceive of His true being, derives also from Torah, for Torah proceeds from chochmah, Wisdom, represented by the yud of the Tetragrammaton...