“And David made a name.”1

"וַיַּעַשׂ דָּוִד שֵׁם".

The simple meaning of the verse is either (as Rashi explains) that David gave the Jewish people a good name by burying the dead of their enemies or (as other commentators explain) that David made a name for himself through his heroism.

The holy Zohar 2 relates the above phrase to the verse: “And David executed justice and tzedakah with all his people….”3

וּפֵירֵשׁ בַּזּוֹהַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ, מִשּׁוּם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: "וַיְהִי דָוִד עוֹשֶׂה מִשְׁפָּט וּצְדָקָה לְכָל עַמּוֹ כוּ'",

The “name” that he thereby made is thus the Divine Name. In the words of the Zohar:

“Rabbi Shimon wept and said: ‘Who makes the Holy Name every day? He who gives charity unto the poor….’”

"בָּכָה רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן וְאָמַר: מַאן עָבִיד שְׁמָא קַדִּישָׁא בְּכָל יוֹמָא מַאן דְּיָהִיב צְדָקָה לְמִסְכְּנֵי כוּ'".

Two questions, however, present themselves: (a) How can we possibly say that the Holy Name is “made”? (b) How is the Name “made” through the giving of charity?

This may be understood in the light of the comment of our Sages, of blessed memory, on the verse, “For by [the Divine Name that is composed of the letters] yud-hey, G‑d is the strength of the worlds.”4

וְיוּבַן, בְּהַקְדִּים מַאֲמַר רַבּוֹתֵינוּ־זִכְרוֹנָם־לִבְרָכָה עַל פָּסוּק: "כִּי בְּיָהּ ה' צוּר עוֹלָמִים" –

The Hebrew word here translated “strength” (lit.: “rock”) is צוּר, whose root letters imply an additional meaning, namely (in this context): “By means of [the Divine Name that is composed of the letters] yud-hey, G‑d formed (or created) the worlds.”5

On the above-quoted verse, the Sages comment: “This world was created by the letter hey [of the Divine Name yud-hey]; the World to Come was created by the letter yud [of the Divine Name yud-hey].”6

"בְּה' נִבְרָא עוֹלָם הַזֶּה, בְּיוּ"ד נִבְרָא עוֹלָם־הַבָּא".

In what respect is this world connected with the letter hey and the World to Come with the letter yud? The Alter Rebbe answers this question by first explaining the concept of the World to Come and Gan Eden, the Garden of Eden.

This means that the delight which the souls of the righteous experience, as they enjoy the splendor of the Shechinah which radiates in the Upper and Lower Gardens of Eden,

פֵּירוּשׁ, שֶׁהַתַּעֲנוּג שֶׁמִּתְעַנְּגִים נִשְׁמוֹת הַצַּדִּיקִים וְנֶהֱנִין מִזִּיו הַשְּׁכִינָה הַמֵּאִיר בְּגַן עֵדֶן עֶלְיוֹן וְתַחְתּוֹן,

consists of their pleasure in their apprehension and conception,

הוּא, שֶׁמִּתְעַנְּגִים בְּהַשָּׂגָתָם וְהַשְׂכָּלָתָם,

for they conceive (with the faculty of chochmah), know (with the faculty of daat), and understand (with the faculty of binah)

שֶׁמַּשְׂכִּילִים וְיוֹדְעִים וּמַשִּׂיגִים

some degree of apprehension of the light and vitality which effuses there, in a revealed manner, from the blessed Ein Sof unto their soul and their spirit of understanding,

אֵיזֶה הַשָּׂגָה בְּאוֹר וְחַיּוּת הַשּׁוֹפֵעַ שָׁם מֵאֵין־סוֹף בָּרוּךְ־הוּא, בִּבְחִינַת גִּילּוּי לְנִשְׁמָתָם וְרוּחַ בִּינָתָם,

Spiritual life-force finds its way down into this world in so concealed a manner that all we know of it is the mere fact of its existence (yediat hametziut). In Gan Eden, by contrast, the spiritual life-force issues forth in such a manner that its very essence is apprehended (hasagat hamahut),

so that each and every one can understand and attain some perception according to his level and his deeds.

לְהָבִין וּלְהַשִּׂיג אֵיזֶה הַשָּׂגָה כָּל אֶחָד וְאֶחָד לְפִי מַדְרֵגָתוֹ וּלְפִי מַעֲשָׂיו,

Likkutei Levi Yitzchak, authored by the saintly father of the Rebbe, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Schneerson, explains the distinction between “his level” and “his deeds” as follows.

“His level” alludes to those souls which are to be found in the Upper Garden of Eden, whose comprehension is commensurate with the level of their devout intent and the level of their re’uta deliba (lit., “the desire of the heart”), i.e., the unbounded yearning of the innermost point of their souls to cleave rapturously to their Maker. This state of Divine service results from intellectual endeavor, which is denoted by the term “level.” (In ch. 9 of Shaar Hayichud VehaEmunah, for example, the Alter Rebbe adds this term to the phrase that speaks of the intellectual activity known by its acronym as ChaBaD.)

“His deeds,” by contrast, refers to those souls in the Lower Garden of Eden, which earn the above-described spiritual delights through the actual performance of practical mitzvot. These souls, therefore, are rewarded “according to their deeds.”7

In either case, it is clear that the delight that souls experience in Gan Eden is the intellectual delight of the apprehension of G‑dliness.

That is why in the Zohar,8 the World to Come is referred to as binah (“understanding”), for that world is permeated by the light of the sefirah of binah,9 which enables souls to apprehend and understand G‑dliness.

וְלָכֵן נִקְרָא עוֹלָם־הַבָּא בְּשֵׁם "בִּינָה" בַּזּוֹהַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ.

This flow issues from the plane of supernal chochmah,

וְהַשְׁפָּעָה זוֹ נִמְשֶׁכֶת מִבְּחִינַת חָכְמָה עִילָּאָה,

which is the source of the conception and apprehension known as binah.

שֶׁהוּא מְקוֹר הַהַשְׂכָּלָה וְהַהַשָּׂגָה הַנִּקְרָא בְּשֵׁם בִּינָה,

Chochmah is the initial, intuitive, seminal flash of perception; binah is the process of mental gestation that systematically develops and expands that inspiration into comprehensive understanding.

For [chochmah] is the primordial stage of the intellect, before apprehension and understanding become manifest;

וְהוּא קַדְמוּת הַשֵּׂכֶל קוֹדֶם שֶׁבָּא לִכְלַל גִּילּוּי הַשָּׂגָה וַהֲבָנָה,

rather, [chochmah] at this stage is still in a state of obscurity and concealment,

רַק עֲדַיִין הוּא בִּבְחִינַת הֶעְלֵם וְהֶסְתֵּר,

The Alter Rebbe is speaking here of the particular level of chochmah that transcends intellect and comprehension. It differs from the more external level of chochmah, which is the germ of intellect and is already illumined by it, though it too is as yet the unparticularized seminal point of a concept which is still to be analyzed and comprehended by the faculty of binah. Preceding this, the primordial level of chochmah discussed here utterly transcends revealed intellect; it is still obscure,

except for some minuscule measure that here and there flows forth and issues from it to the faculty of binah,

רַק שֶׁמְּעַט מִזְּעֵיר שָׁם זְעֵיר שָׁם שׁוֹפֵעַ וְנִמְשָׁךְ מִשָּׁם לִבְחִינַת בִּינָה,

The dual form of the Biblical idiom borrowed here implies that the light of this primordial level of chochmah undergoes two distinct stages of tzimtzum, or self-contraction. The first stage limits this light; the second attenuates it so that it is able to descend into binah,

making it possible [for a soul] to understand and apprehend a concept which is [intrinsically] concealed.

לְהָבִין וּלְהַשִּׂיג שֵׂכֶל הַנֶּעְלָם,

This higher form of supernal intellect is the “radiance of the Shechinah,” a ray of G‑d’s infinitude that illuminates Gan Eden. Ordinarily, no created being, even a soul of such stature that it inhabits the Upper Gan Eden, could possibly fathom this degree of intellect. In order for it to be understood by mortal man’s soul, it must undergo the twofold descent mentioned above. Nonetheless, even after this descent, it still pertains to the very essence (mahut) of G‑dliness that is comprehended by the soul in Gan Eden.

In the holy Zohar,10 therefore, [chochmah] is referred to as “the dot in the palace.”11

וְלָכֵן נִקְרָא בְּשֵׁם "נְקוּדָּה בְּהֵיכָלָא" בַּזּוֹהַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ,

Chochmah is the “dot” or “point” of intellect that illumines the “palace” of binah. Nevertheless, even when already housed in binah, it still remains a seminal point of intellect that transcends the details that constitute the comprehension of binah.

[Indeed,] this is the shape of the yud of the Four-Letter Name of G‑d.

וְזוֹ הִיא תְּמוּנַת יוּ"ד שֶׁל שֵׁם הַוָיָ' בָּרוּךְ־הוּא.

The letter yud is shaped like a point, alluding12 to the sefirah of chochmah, which is a mere point.

[Chochmah] is also referred to as Eden, of which it is said: “No eye has beheld it…’’13; i.e., it is a kind of illumination that transcends and defies comprehension.

וְנִקְרָא "עֵדֶן", אֲשֶׁר עָלָיו נֶאֱמַר: "עַיִן לֹא רָאֲתָה" כוּ'.

Moreover, [chochmah] is referred to as “the ‘father’ who founded the ‘daughter.’”14

וְנִקְרָא "אַבָּא יָסַד בְּרַתָּא".

Chochmah is the “father,” or source, of the letters of speech, which are called the “daughter,” the level of malchut.

One might have expected the letters of speech to derive from the emotive faculties (the middot) or from binah, for surely a person articulates letters of speech when he seeks to express an emotion or to speak of an idea that he has comprehended. The Alter Rebbe, however, now goes on to explain that the letters of speech in fact derive from chochmah, which transcends comprehension.

This means: The formation of the letters of speech which proceed from the five organs of articulation15 is not an intellectual process.

פֵּירוּשׁ, כִּי הִנֵּה הִתְהַוּוּת אוֹתִיּוֹת הַדִּבּוּר הַיּוֹצְאוֹת מֵה' מוֹצָאוֹת הַפֶּה אֵינָן דָּבָר מוּשְׂכָּל

The letters do not emanate from the soul as a result of any intellectual imperative.

It is also not inherent in the nature of these organs [that they must] pronounce the letters

וְלֹא מוּטְבָּע בְּטֶבַע מוֹצָאוֹת הַלָּלוּ, לְהוֹצִיא מִבְטָא הָאוֹתִיּוֹת

—by means of the breath and the sound that strikes them—

עַל־יְדֵי הַהֶבֶל וְהַקּוֹל הַמַּכֶּה בָּהֶן

by either a natural faculty or by an intellectual faculty.

עַל פִּי דֶּרֶךְ הַטֶּבַע וְלֹא עַל פִּי דֶּרֶךְ הַשֵּׂכֶל.

With the lips, for example, by means of which the letters beit, vav, mem, and pey are uttered,

כְּגוֹן הַשְּׂפָתַיִם, עַל דֶּרֶךְ מָשָׁל, שֶׁאוֹתִיּוֹת בומ"פ יוֹצְאוֹת מֵהֶן,

Since the lips are the most visible of the organs of speech, the Alter Rebbe chooses for his example the letters which they form; one can readily see that pronouncing these letters is impelled neither by the nature of the lips themselves nor by the faculty of intellect.

neither nature nor the intellect compels the utterance of the four varying types of pronunciation of these letters in accordance with variations in the movement of the lips,

אֵין הַטֶּבַע וְלֹא הַשֵּׂכֶל נוֹתֵן לִיצִיאַת מִבְטָא אַרְבַּע חֶלְקֵי שִׁינּוּיֵי בִּיטּוּי אוֹתִיּוֹת אֵלּוּ, עַל פִּי שִׁינּוּיֵי תְּנוּעַת הַשְּׂפָתַיִם,

which are moved by the same breath and the same sound that strikes them equally.

שֶׁמִּתְנוֹעַנְעוֹת בְּהֶבֶל אֶחָד וְקוֹל אֶחָד הַפּוֹגֵעַ בָּהֶן בְּשָׁוֶה,

Since the letter beit and the letter vav, for example, are both formed by the same breath and the same sound, the distinction between them must be made by the movements of the lips: when the letter beit is pronounced, the lips are pursed in one way, and when the letter vav is pronounced, they are pursed differently. This being so, one would expect that it would take a conscious mental effort to move the lips in one specific manner to pronounce the letter beit and in another specific manner to pronounce the letter vav.16 Alternatively, if it were dependent on nature, the speaker would naturally want to move his lips in the different ways necessary for the formation of one letter or the other.

On the contrary: the change in the movements of the lips depends on the difference in pronunciation of the letters the soul wishes to utter by means of the lips,

וְאַדְּרַבָּה, שִׁינּוּי הַתְּנוּעוֹת שֶׁבִּשְׂפָתַיִם הוּא לְפִי שִׁינּוּי בִּיטּוּי הָאוֹתִיּוֹת שֶׁבִּרְצוֹן הַנֶּפֶשׁ, לְבַטֵּא בִשְׂפָתַיִם כִּרְצוֹנָהּ,

when it desires to pronounce the letter beit, or vav, or mem, or pey, and the lips will instinctively and spontaneously move accordingly.

לוֹמַר אוֹת ב' אוֹ ו' אוֹ מ' אוֹ פ'.

It is not the other way around, that it is the will and intention of the soul to make a change in the motions of the lips

וְלֹא לְהֵיפֶךְ, שֶׁיִּהְיֶה רְצוֹן הַנֶּפֶשׁ וְכַוָּנָתָהּ לַעֲשׂוֹת שִׁינּוּי תְּנוּעוֹת הַשְּׂפָתַיִם

as they are moving now in the utterance of these four letters.

כְּמוֹ שֶׁהֵן מִתְנַעַנְעוֹת עַתָּה בְּבִיטּוּיֵי ד' אוֹתִיּוֹת אֵלּוּ,

As is empirically evident, the soul does not at all intend or know how to intend the change in the motions of the lips [which articulate] those distinctions [between the various letters].

וְכַנִּרְאֶה בְּחוּשׁ, שֶׁאֵין הַנֶּפֶשׁ מִתְכַּוֶּונֶת וְיוֹדַעַת לְכַוֵּין כְּלָל שִׁינּוּי תְּנוּעוֹת הַשְּׂפָתַיִם בְּשִׁינּוּיִים אֵלּוּ.

Since the soul neither intends nor even knows how to direct the lips to move in the manner required to form particular letters, it is obviously the mere desire to utter certain letters that results in the automatic movement of the lips in the appropriate manner.

This is even more evident with the pronunciation of the vowels,

וְיוֹתֵר נִרְאֶה כֵּן בְּבִיטּוּי הַנְּקוּדּוֹת,

for when the soul wishes to utter the kamatz vowel, the lips spontaneously become compressed,

שֶׁכְּשֶׁהַנֶּפֶשׁ רְצוֹנָהּ לְהוֹצִיא מִפִּיהָ נְקוּדַּת קָמַץ אֲזַי מִמֵּילָא נִקְמָצִים הַשְּׂפָתַיִם,

and with the patach vowel, the lips open17of their own accord,

וּבְפַתָּח נִפְתָּחִים הַשְּׂפָתַיִם,

and not at all because of the will of the soul to compress or to open [them].

וְלֹא שֶׁרְצוֹן הַנֶּפֶשׁ לִקְמוֹץ וְלֹא לִפְתּוֹחַ כְּלָל וּכְלָל.

There is no need to go any further into a matter which is simple, comprehensible, and intelligible to every intelligent person,

וְאֵין לְהַאֲרִיךְ בְּדָבָר הַפָּשׁוּט וּמוּבָן וּמוּשְׂכָּל לְכָל מַשְׂכִּיל,

namely, that the pronunciation of the letters and vowels transcends the apprehended and comprehended intellect,

שֶׁמִּבְטָא הָאוֹתִיּוֹת וְהַנְּקוּדּוֹת הוּא לְמַעְלָה מֵהַשֵּׂכֶל הַמּוּשָּׂג וּמוּבָן,

but rather derives from the hidden intellect and the primordial stage of the intellect, which is in the articulate soul.

אֶלָּא מִשֵּׂכֶל הַנֶּעְלָם וְקַדְמוּת הַשֵּׂכֶל שֶׁבַּנֶּפֶשׁ הַמְדַבֶּרֶת,

This is why an infant cannot speak, even though it understands everything, for speech does not result from revealed and apprehended intellect but from the more rarefied “hidden intellect,” which in the infant has yet to be developed.

וְלָכֵן אֵין הַתִּינוֹק יָכוֹל לְדַבֵּר, אַף שֶׁמֵּבִין הַכֹּל:

We thus see that the letters of speech derive from chochmah. This, then, is the meaning of “the ‘father’ who founded the ‘daughter’”: chochmah is the “father” or source of the letters of speech, which are called the “daughter,” or the sefirah of malchut.

Until this point, the Alter Rebbe has explained the Talmudic teaching that the World to Come was created by the letter yud: the sefirah of chochmah, which this letter represents, is the spiritual source of Gan Eden, which is in the World to Come.

However, according to the above, since the letters of the supernal creative speech derive from chochmah, it would seem that this world, which was also created by the letters of Divine speech, was likewise created from the letter yud that represents chochmah. Why, then, do our Sages teach that only the World to Come was created from the letter yud, while this world was created from the letter hey?

The Alter Rebbe therefore now goes on to explain that the letters of speech are composed of “matter” and “form” the “body” and “soul” (or: the external and internal aspects) of the letters. While the “form” of the letters does indeed derive from chochmah, the “matter” of the letters of speech merely derives from the heart.

So, too, Above: the internal aspect of the letters derives from chochmah; from this aspect are created the higher spiritual beings which are able to apprehend G‑dliness. However, the external aspect of the supernal letters of speech derives from the “breath,” the hey of the Divine Name. It is from this lesser level that this physical world was created.

In the words of the Alter Rebbe:

However, the letters exist on planes of “matter” and “form,” which are also referred to as their “internal” aspect (i.e., the “form,” which is their “soul”) and their “external” aspect (i.e., the “matter,” which is their “body”).

אַךְ הָאוֹתִיּוֹת הֵן בִּבְחִינַת חוֹמֶר וְצוּרָה, הַנִּקְרָא פְּנִימִית וְחִיצוֹנִית,

Although their source is the primordial stage of the intellect and the will of the soul, for as soon as the soul desires to speak these letters are formed, as explained above,

כִּי הֲגַם שֶׁמְּקוֹרָן הוּא מִקַּדְמוּת הַשֵּׂכֶל וּרְצוֹן הַנֶּפֶשׁ,

this is but the “form” of the differentiation in the pronunciation of the twenty-two letters.

זוֹ הִיא בְּחִינַת צוּרַת שִׁינּוּי הַמִּבְטָא שֶׁבְּכ"ב אוֹתִיּוֹת,

The “matter” and “body” of their formation, however, i.e., the aspect of their “externality,” is the breath issuing from the heart.

אֲבָל בְּחִינַת הַחוֹמֶר וְגוּף הִתְהַוּוּתָן, וְהוּא בְּחִינַת חִיצוֹנִיּוּתָן, הוּא הַהֶבֶל הַיּוֹצֵא מֵהַלֵּב,

From this breath is formed a simple sound which proceeds from the throat,

שֶׁמִּמֶּנּוּ מִתְהַוֶּה קוֹל פָּשׁוּט הַיּוֹצֵא מֵהַגָּרוֹן,

and which is then divided into the twenty-two kinds of enunciation and expression of the twenty-two letters,

וְאַחַר כָּךְ נֶחְלָק לְכ"ב הֲבָרוֹת, וּבִיטּוּי כ"ב אוֹתִיּוֹת

[these divisions taking place] through the five known organs of speech: alef, chet, hey, and ayin18 through the throat;

בְּה' מוֹצָאוֹת הַיְדוּעוֹת: אחה"ע מֵהַגָּרוֹן,

gimmel, yud, kaf, and kuf through the palate, and so on; e.g., beit, vav, mem, and pey from the lips, and so on;

גיכ"ק מֵהַחֵיךְ כוּ'.

while the breath itself, which has its own sound independent of the letter being spoken, is uttered by the letter hey19—“the light letter…,” inasmuch as it lacks the substance of a complete letter,

וּמִבְטָא הַהֶבֶל הוּא אוֹת ה' "אָתָא קַלִּילָא כוּ'",

which is the source of the “matter” and “body” of the letters before their division into twenty-two.

וְהוּא מְקוֹר הַחוֹמֶר וְגוּף הָאוֹתִיּוֹת טֶרֶם הִתְחַלְּקוּתָן לְכ"ב,

The hey is thus the source of each letter’s “body.”

And that is why our Sages, of blessed memory, said that “this world was created by the hey”: it was created by the external aspect, or “body,” of the supernal letters whose source is the hey of the Divine Name.

וְלָכֵן אָמְרוּ רַבּוֹתֵינוּ־זִכְרוֹנָם־לִבְרָכָה, שֶׁ"עוֹלָם הַזֶּה נִבְרָא בְּה'":

Now, though this is the “lower hey,” the latter hey of the Four-Letter Name of G‑d,

וְהִנֵּה, הֲגַם שֶׁהִיא ה' תַּתָּאָה, ה' אַחֲרוֹנָה שֶׁבְּשֵׁם הַוָיָ',

Supernal speech is of the level of malchut, as alluded to in the verse, “The king’s utterance reigns.”20 The hey that is the source of speech is thus the lower hey of the Tetragrammaton, the letter which denotes the level of malchut.

while our Sages, of blessed memory, expounded this—that the World to Come was created by the letter yud and this world by the letter heyfrom their reading of the verse, “for by yud-hey [G‑d created the worlds],”

וְרַבּוֹתֵינוּ־זִכְרוֹנָם־לִבְרָכָה דָּרְשׁוּ זֶה עַל פָּסוּק: "כִּי בְּיָהּ",

Since these are the first two letters of the Divine Name, how are we taught here that the statement that “this world was created by the letter hey” refers to the lower letter hey, the source of the breath of the letters of speech?

this is because its source and the beginning of its progress into a state of manifestation from the obscurity of the yud

הַיְינוּ לְפִי שֶׁמְּקוֹרָהּ וְרֵאשִׁיתָהּ לָבֹא לִבְחִינַת גִּילּוּי מֵהֶעְלֵם הַיּוּ"ד

is influenced and drawn forth from the level of the upper hey.

הוּא מוּשְׁפָּע וְנִמְשָׁךְ מִבְּחִינַת ה' עִילָּאָה,

The obscurity of the yud of chochmah is the source of every manner of revelation, both of the World to Come as well as of this world. As this relates to the letters: it serves as the source of revelation both for the “form” as well as the “matter” of the letters. It is only that in the resulting revelation of the letters, the “form” of the letters and the revelation of the World to Come emanate from the letter yud—from chochmah—itself while the revelation of the “matter” or external aspect of the letters emanates from the “breath of the heart,” from the latter hey of the Divine Name.

[The form or shape of the letter hey] has dimensions of length and width

שֶׁיֵּשׁ לָהּ הִתְפַּשְּׁטוּת אוֹרֶךְ וְרוֹחַב,

to indicate the faculty of binah, for the upper hey of the Divine Name denotes the level of binah,

לְהוֹרוֹת עַל בְּחִינַת בִּינָה,

which is the expansion of the “concealed intellect” into a state of manifestation and apprehension, extending into daat,

שֶׁהִיא הִתְפַּשְּׁטוּת הַשֵּׂכֶל הַנֶּעְלָם בִּבְחִינַת גִּילּוּי וְהַשָּׂגָה בְּהַרְחָבַת הַדַּעַת,

and its diffusion—the diffusion of the flow of binah—culminates in the heart.

וְהַשְׁפָּעָתָהּ מִסְתַּיֶּימֶת בַּלֵּב,

Thus, it is written in the Tikkunim that “binah is the heart, and by means of it, the heart understands.”21

וּכְמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב בַּתִּיקּוּנִים, דְּ"בִינָה לִבָּא, וּבָהּ הַלֵּב מֵבִין",

Thus, the diffusion of binah takes place within the heart.

From there issues the breath, the original manifestation of the “body” of the letters of speech

וּמִשָּׁם יוֹצֵא הַהֶבֶל מְקוֹר גִּילּוּי גּוּף הָאוֹתִיּוֹת הַדִּבּוּר,

which become revealed from the concealment of the yud through the five organs of speech.

הַמִּתְגַּלּוֹת בְּה' מוֹצָאוֹת מֵהֶעְלֵם הַיּוּ"ד.

The shape of the lower hey, which, in its written form, also has dimensions of length and width,

וּתְמוּנַת ה' תַּתָּאָה בִּכְתִיבָתָהּ גַּם כֵּן בְּהִתְפַּשְּׁטוּת אוֹרֶךְ וְרוֹחַב,

indicates the extension of [G‑d’s] blessed Sovereignty, “the sovereignty of all worlds,”22

מוֹרָה עַל הִתְפַּשְּׁטוּת בְּחִינַת מַלְכוּתוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ, "מַלְכוּת כָּל עוֹלָמִים",

which extends upward and downward, and in the four directions,

לְמַעְלָה וּלְמַטָּה וּלְד' סִטְרִין,

[all these directions] extending and issuing from the letters of the “word of G‑d,” as it is written in Ecclesiastes, “The king’s utterance reigns,” as explained elsewhere.

הַמִּתְפַּשְּׁטוֹת וְנִמְשָׁכוֹת מֵאוֹתִיּוֹת דְּבַר ה', כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב בְּקֹהֶלֶת: "בַּאֲשֶׁר דְּבַר מֶלֶךְ שִׁלְטוֹן", כְּמוֹ שֶׁמְּבוֹאָר בְּמָקוֹם אַחֵר.

Just as a king of flesh and blood rules through his faculty of speech by issuing commands, so, too, does supernal speech extend G‑d’s reign in all the dimensions of the created universe.

23[As for understanding somewhat the concept and nature of “letters of speech” in relation to Divinity, inasmuch as [G‑d] has no form of a body, nor of a soul, heaven forfend,

[וּלְהָבִין מְעַט מִזְּעֵיר עִנְיַן וּמַהוּת אוֹתִיּוֹת הַדִּבּוּר בֵּאלֹהוּת, שֶׁאֵין לוֹ דְּמוּת הַגּוּף וְלֹא הַנֶּפֶשׁ חַס וְשָׁלוֹם,

this has already been explained comprehensively yet concisely 24(in Likkutei Amarim, Part II, chs. 11 and 12; see there).]

כְּבָר נִתְבָּאֵר בְּדֶרֶךְ אֲרוּכָּה וּקְצָרָה (בְּלִקּוּטֵי אֲמָרִים חֵלֶק ב פְּרָקִים י"א וְי"ב, עַיֵּין שָׁם)]:

We now come to an exposition of why our Sages, of blessed memory, said that specifically this world was created by the hey.

אַךְ בֵּיאוּר הָעִנְיָן, לָמָּה אָמְרוּ רַבּוֹתֵינוּ־זִכְרוֹנָם־לִבְרָכָה שֶׁעוֹלָם הַזֶּה דַוְקָא נִבְרָא בְּה'?

According to the explanation provided above, not only this physical world but all of creation resulted from the letter hey, i.e., from the sefirah of malchut as expressed in Divine speech.

The Alter Rebbe resolves this apparent anomaly by explaining that it is indeed true that all creation derives from the infinite variety of permutations and combinations of the letters which constitute Divine speech. Nevertheless, the loftier and more spiritual created beings derive from the internal aspect of Divine speech, which stems from chochmah, and they therefore have an intellectual perception of G‑dliness. Physical creation, by contrast, is of too lowly a level to be able to receive its life-giving Divine light and energy from the “soul” (i.e., the internal aspect) of the letters of G‑d’s creative speech; it merely receives this from the “body” (i.e., from the external aspect) of these letters.

The creation of physicality thus resembles the breath emanating from the heart that forms the physical voice. Above, in like manner, the physical world is formed from supernal breath, the “body” of the letters.

Hence, our Sages teach that this world was created by the letter hey—for this letter denotes the Divine breath, as explained above.

It is this that the Alter Rebbe now goes on to say:

This is known to all the wise of heart25

הִנֵּה יָדוּעַ לְכָל חַכְמֵי לֵב,

concerning the multitude of worlds and heichalot, palaces or chambers, which are innumerable,

כִּי רִיבּוּי הָעוֹלָמוֹת וְהַהֵיכָלוֹת אֲשֶׁר אֵין לָהֶם מִסְפָּר,

as it is written, with reference to these countless worlds and heichalot, “Do His regiments have a number?”26

כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב: "הֲיֵשׁ מִסְפָּר לִגְדוּדָיו",

Each heichal and regiment comprises [a finite but prodigious number of angels, as it is written,] “A thousand thousands [serve Him] and myriads of myriads27 [stand before Him].”28

וּבְכָל הֵיכָל וּגְדוּד אֶלֶף אַלְפִין וְרִבּוֹא רִבְבָן מַלְאָכִים,

Likewise, incalculable like the above heichalot and regiments are the levels of [souls, belonging to the five general categories of] nefesh, ruach, neshamah, chayah, and yechidah, in rungs to no end, for each of these five categories branches out into levels of inexhaustible number.

וְכֵן נֶפֶשׁ־רוּחַ־נְשָׁמָה־חַיָּה־יְחִידָה מַדְרֵגוֹת לְאֵין קֵץ,

And likewise [there are numberless levels] in all the worlds and heichalot from among the multitudes of heichalot that exist in the Worlds of Atzilut, Beriah, and Yetzirah.

וּבְכָל עוֹלָם וְהֵיכָלוֹת מֵרִיבּוּי הֵיכָלוֹת שֶׁבַּאֲצִילוּת־בְּרִיאָה־יְצִירָה

The three abovementioned worlds are “higher” than the World of Asiyah (“the World of Action”), which includes both the spiritual and physical worlds of Asiyah.

All these hosts [of created beings], then, one multitude beyond another ad infinitum,

הִנֵּה כָּל רִיבּוּיִים אֵלּוּ, רִיבּוּי אַחַר רִיבּוּי עַד אֵין קֵץ מַמָּשׁ,

all issue and flow from the multitudinous combinations of the twenty-two letters of the “word of G‑d,”

הַכֹּל נִמְשָׁךְ וְנִשְׁפָּע מֵרִיבּוּי צֵירוּפֵי כ"ב אוֹתִיּוֹת דְּבַר ה',

which, in turn, divide into a further profusion of combinations, truly ad infinitum.

הַמִּתְחַלְּקוֹת גַּם כֵּן לְצֵירוּפִים רַבִּים עַד אֵין קֵץ וְתַכְלִית מַמָּשׁ,

As stated in Sefer Yetzirah, “Seven ‘stones’ (i.e., letters) build five thousand and forty ‘houses’ (i.e., words);

כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב בְּסֵפֶר יְצִירָה: "שִׁבְעָה אֲבָנִים בּוֹנוֹת חֲמֵשֶׁת אֲלָפִים וְאַרְבָּעִים בָּתִּים,

from here onward—i.e., from the sum of the factorial of eight and onward—go ahead and calculate that which the mouth is unable to express….’’29

מִכָּאן וְאֵילַךְ צֵא וַחֲשׁוֹב מַה שֶּׁאֵין הַפֶּה יָכוֹל לְדַבֵּר כוּ'".

In this way, the letters of Divine speech may be multiplied infinitely by various permutations and combinations, thus giving rise to a correspondingly infinite range of created beings.

But if the distinctions between all these beings lie merely in the ways in which their respective letters are combined, why are there also many and varying qualitative levels, “one surpassing the other”? This is the question that the Alter Rebbe now proceeds to address.

Though among the rungs and levels of the angels and souls there are so many distinct kinds of qualitative as well as quantitative levels and rungs ad infinitum,

וַהֲגַם שֶׁיֵּשׁ בְּמַעֲלוֹת וּמַדְרֵיגוֹת הַמַּלְאָכִים וּנְשָׁמוֹת כַּמָּה וְכַמָּה מִינֵי מַעֲלוֹת וּמַדְרֵיגוֹת חֲלוּקוֹת לְאֵין קֵץ,

one surpassing the other,

גָּבוֹהַּ עַל גָּבוֹהַּ –

[these variations of levels exist because] they all come into being according to permutations in the various letter-combinations and letter-substitutions of alef-tav, beit-shin, and so on30 (of the twenty-two letters which themselves come into being according to permutations in the various letter-combinations and letter-substitutions of alef-tav, beit-shin [and so on]),31

הִנֵּה הַכֹּל נִמְשָׁךְ לְפִי חִילּוּפֵי הַצֵּירוּפִים וְהַתְּמוּרוֹת בְּאַ"תּ בַּ"שׁ כוּ'

(32as explained in ch. 12 [of Shaar Hayichud VehaEmunah]).33

(וּכְמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר בְּפֶרֶק י"ב).

Now, although there exists such a teeming superabundance of distinct and varying levels of created beings:

In a general way, they all possess wisdom and knowledge, and they know their Creator,

אַךְ דֶּרֶךְ כְּלָל, הִנֵּה כּוּלָּם בַּעֲלֵי חָכְמָה וָדַעַת, וְיוֹדְעִים אֶת בּוֹרְאָם,

because their life-force stems from the inwardness of the letters which issue from the supreme chochmah, as mentioned above.

מִפְּנֵי הֱיוֹת חַיּוּתָם מִפְּנִימִיּוּת הָאוֹתִיּוֹת הַנִּמְשָׁכוֹת מִבְּחִינַת חָכְמָה עִילָּאָה, וְכַנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל.

We may therefore truly say that the beings encompassed by the general term of [creatures of] the World to Come were all created by the letter yud, for their vitality stems from the inwardness and radiance of the letters of Divine speech that derive from the yud of the Four-Letter Name of G‑d.

This lowly world, however, with the life-force that is found within it,

אַךְ הָעוֹלָם הַזֶּה הַשָּׁפָל, עִם הַחַיּוּת שֶׁבְּתוֹכוֹ,

is too small to contain and endure the light and life-force that proceed from the “form” and “inwardness” of the letters;

קָטָן מֵהָכִיל וְלִסְבּוֹל אוֹר וְחַיּוּת מִבְּחִינַת צוּרַת הָאוֹתִיּוֹת וּפְנִימִיּוּתָן,

[this lowly world is too small for this light and life-force to be able] to radiate and diffuse in it without any garment or concealment

לְהָאִיר וּלְהַשְׁפִּיעַ בּוֹ בְּלִי לְבוּשׁ וְהֶסְתֵּר

as they radiate and diffuse to the souls and angels, which receive the radiance from the inwardness of the letters without the garment and concealment of the “matter” and “body” of the letters which consist of the “breath.”34

כְּמוֹ שֶׁמְּאִירוֹת וּמַשְׁפִּיעוֹת לִנְשָׁמוֹת וּמַלְאָכִים,

Instead, the radiance and diffusion comes and flows to this world from the “matter,” “body,” or “externality” of the letters.

רַק הַהֶאָרָה וְהַהַשְׁפָּעָה בָּאָה וְנִשְׁפָּע לָעוֹלָם הַזֶּה מִבְּחִינַת חוֹמֶר וְגוּף הָאוֹתִיּוֹת וְחִיצוֹנִיוּתָם,

This is called “breath,” just as the “body” or external aspect of the letters of man’s speech derives from physical breath,

שֶׁהוּא בְּחִינַת הַהֶבֶל,

and it divides into the seven “breaths” of [the second verse of] Ecclesiastes,35 on which the world stands; as taught in the holy Zohar, “The world exists only by virtue of the [seven] ‘breaths’ uttered by King Solomon.”36

הַמִּתְחַלֵּק לְז' הֲבָלִים שֶׁבְּקֹהֶלֶת שֶׁעֲלֵיהֶם הָעוֹלָם עוֹמֵד, כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב בַּזּוֹהַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ.

This is “the utterance that issues forth from G‑d’s mouth,” i.e., this is the letter hey, which is vested in this world and all its hosts to animate them;

וְהוּא "מוֹצָא פִי ה'" הַמִּתְלַבֵּשׁ בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה וְכָל צְבָאָיו לְהַחֲיוֹתָם,

in [this utterance] is vested the “form” of the letters of speech and thought,

וּבְתוֹכוֹ מְלוּבֶּשֶׁת בְּחִינַת צוּרַת אוֹתִיּוֹת הַדִּבּוּר וְהַמַּחֲשָׁבָה,

emanating from His holy attributes, and His will and wisdom, and so on,

מִמִּדּוֹתָיו הַקְּדוֹשׁוֹת וּרְצוֹנוֹ וְחָכְמָתוֹ וְכוּ',

This is similar to the letters (i.e., the potential and as yet inarticulate components) of a man’s speech or thought, which attain a state of revealed expression through his emotions: since, for example, he loves and desires something, he thinks and speaks about it. The emotions themselves, however, derive from his will and mind. The same is true Above: the letters of speech and thought are revealed by the Divine attributes and emanate from them, though ultimately they derive from G‑d’s will and wisdom.

which are utterly incorporated in the blessed Ein Sof.

הַמְיוּחָדוֹת בְּאֵין־סוֹף בָּרוּךְ־הוּא בְּתַכְלִית

Thus, the radiance emanating from the “form” of the letters—a radiance that emanates from G‑d’s attributes, wisdom, and will—is merely found בְּתוֹכוֹ, within the internality of the Divine utterance that creates and vitalizes this world; it is not manifest. That which serves as the source of the creation and vitality of this world is the externality or “body” of the letters, the “breath” of Divine speech.

(37This is what Rabbi Yitzchak Luria, of blessed memory, stated—that the external aspects of the vessels of [the sefirah of] malchut of [the World of] Atzilut, [these external aspects being] alluded to by the [lower] hey of the Four-Letter Name of G‑d, descended and became the soul for the World of Asiyah.38)

(וְזֶהוּ שֶׁאָמַר הָאֲרִ"י זִכְרוֹנוֹ לִבְרָכָה, שֶׁבְּחִינַת חִיצוֹנִיּוּת הַכֵּלִים דְּמַלְכוּת דַּאֲצִילוּת, הַמְרוּמָּזוֹת בְּה' שֶׁל שֵׁם הַוָיָ' בָּרוּךְ־הוּא, הֵם יָרְדוּ וְנַעֲשׂוּ נְשָׁמָה לְעוֹלַם הָעֲשִׂיָּה).

It is likewise stated in the Tikkunim that the yud is in [the World of] Atzilut…, [the upper hey in the World of Beriah, the vav in the World of Yetzirah,] and the lower hey nests in [the World of] Asiyah.39

וְכֵן כָּתוּב בַּתִּקּוּנִים שֶׁהַיּוּ"ד הוּא בַּאֲצִילוּת כוּ', וְה' תַּתָּאָה מְקַנֶּנֶת בַּעֲשִׂיָּה:

These four letters of the Divine Name Havayah are the aspect of G‑dliness that is revealed within the Four Worlds,40 as follows:

In the World of Atzilut, the sefirah of chochmah (the yud of the Divine Name) is manifest. Chochmah signifies the highest form of self-nullification, the awareness that “He is One Alone, and apart from Him, there is nothing,” as explained in the Note to Part I, ch. 35. This sefirah permeates the entire World of Atzilut so that whatever exists at that state of being experiences this degree of self-nullification before G‑d.

The upper hey of the Divine Name, the sefirah of binah (“comprehension”), illuminates the World of Beriah. Hence, all the inhabitants of this world, both souls and angels, are characterized by a high degree of perception of Divinity.

The World of Yetzirah is illumined by the letter vav of the Divine Name, representing the six middot, the divine emotive attributes. The created beings of this world therefore serve G‑d with their spiritual emotions, with ecstatic love and fear.

The World of Asiyah is animated by the lower hey of the Tetragrammaton, the sefirah of malchut. This is the world of action, the level of active Divine service that is motivated by an acceptance of the yoke of the heavenly kingdom.

However, this refers only to the soul of the World of Asiyah that emanates from the combinations of the letters of Divine speech at their innermost dimension. This level is clothed and concealed within the “matter” or “body” of the letters, the “breath.” The actual creation and animation of the World of Asiyah derives only from the externality of Divine speech, i.e., from the “breath.” It is for this reason that this world is physical and corporeal.

We learned above that the Zohar teaches: “Who makes the Holy Name every day? He who gives charity to the poor.” The relevance of this answer, however, remained obscure. Now, therefore, equipped with the foregoing insights, we revert to the question with which this epistle opened: How does giving tzedakah to the poor “make a Name” for G‑d?

The Alter Rebbe explains as follows:

Now with terrestrial man, for example, when one who is so great a sage as to comprehend the wonders of wisdom

וְהִנֵּה, בָּאָדָם הַתַּחְתּוֹן לְמָשָׁל, מִי שֶׁהוּא חָכָם גָּדוֹל לְהַשְׂכִּיל נִפְלְאוֹת חָכְמָה,

contracts his conception and thought into a single letter of his speech,

וּמְצַמְצֵם שִׂכְלוֹ וּמַחֲשַׁבְתּוֹ בְּאוֹת אֶחָד מִדִּבּוּרוֹ,

this is a stupendous contraction and a great descent for his wondrous wisdom.

הִנֵּה זֶה הוּא צִמְצוּם עָצוּם וִירִידָה גְדוֹלָה לְחָכְמָתוֹ הַנִּפְלָאָה,

Precisely as in this analogy but infinitely more so, there was an immensely great and mighty contraction

כָּכָה מַמָּשׁ עַל דֶּרֶךְ מָשָׁל, וְיָתֵר מִזֶּה לְאֵין קֵץ – הָיָה צִמְצוּם גָּדוֹל עָצוּם וְרַב,

when during the Six Days of Creation “the heavens were made by the word of G‑d, and all their hosts by the breath of His mouth,”41

כַּאֲשֶׁר "בִּדְבַר ה' שָׁמַיִם נַעֲשׂוּ", בְּשֵׁשֶׁת יְמֵי בְרֵאשִׁית, "וּבְרוּחַ פִּיו כָּל צְבָאָם",

i.e., by the letter hey, “a light letter” of the Four-Letter Name of G‑d.

הִיא אוֹת ה' שֶׁל שֵׁם הַוָיָ' בָּרוּךְ־הוּא, "אָתָא קַלִּילָא",

This is not only a single letter but also an insubstantial one.

Thus, it is written, “[These are the chronicles of heaven and earth] behibar’am42 (i.e., ‘when they were created’). By revocalizing the Hebrew letters of this word, the Sages read it as if it were simultaneously pronounced b’hey bra’am.43 The verse would now mean, “These are the chronicles of heaven and earth; with the letter hey, He created them.”

כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב: "בְּהִבָּרְאָם" – "בְּה' בְּרָאָם",

[This letter hey] is the source of the nine creative utterances which issued from the first utterance: Bereishit (“In the beginning”), which itself is a creative utterance,44

הִיא מְקוֹר הַט' מַאֲמָרוֹת שֶׁנִמְשְׁכוּ מִמַּאֲמָר רִאשׁוֹן "בְּרֵאשִׁית" דְּ"נַמֵי מַאֲמָר הוּא",

and identical with the sefirah of chochmah,45 which is called reishit (as in the phrase reishit chochmah, “the beginning of wisdom”46).

הִיא בְּחִינַת חָכְמָה הַנִּקְרֵאת "רֵאשִׁית".

The descent of chochmah, the source of the other nine creative utterances, into malchut, the lowest of the sefirot, involves an intense degree of contraction.

However, at that time, at the beginning of creation, this downward flow from chochmah to malchut occurred without any arousal from below whatsoever,

אַךְ אָז הָיְתָה הַמְשָׁכָה וִירִידָה זוֹ בְּלִי אִתְעָרוּתָא דִלְתַתָּא כְּלָל,

[as it is written,] “For there was no man47 to work”48 and bring about this arousal;

כִּי "אָדָם אַיִן לַעֲבוֹד כוּ'",

it occurred solely “because He desires [to act with] kindness,”49

רַק "כִּי חָפֵץ חֶסֶד הוּא",

as it is also written, “The world is built by kindness.”50

וְ"עוֹלָם חֶסֶד יִבָּנֶה".

And this is the meaning of [another interpretation of the verse, “These are the chronicles of heaven and earth] behibar’am(i.e., ‘when they were created’). By transposing the Hebrew letters of this word, the Sages read this word as if it were simultaneously pronounced beAvraham51 (i.e., ‘through [the attribute that characterizes] Abraham’),

וְזֶהוּ "בְּהִבָּרְאָם" – "בְּאַבְרָהָם",

since52 “kindness is to Abraham.” Since Abraham embodies the attribute of chesed, the verse thus intimates that heaven and earth were created through the attribute of chesed.

כִּי "חֶסֶד לְאַבְרָהָם" כוּ'.

However, after the creation of man “to work it…,”53 his lifelong task being to draw down to this world a flow of Divine energy by means of an “arousal from below,” i.e., by means of his own spiritual labors,

אַךְ אַחַר בְּרִיאַת הָאָדָם "לְעָבְדָהּ כוּ'",

every arousal from Above, to arouse the attribute of supreme kindness, depends on an arousal from below,

אֲזַי כָּל אִתְעָרוּתָא דִלְעֵילָּא לְעוֹרֵר מִדַּת חֶסֶד עֶלְיוֹן, הוּא בְּאִתְעָרוּתָא דִלְתַתָּא,

through the acts of charity and kindness54 that Jews perform in this world.

בִּצְדָקָה וָחֶסֶד שֶׁיִּשְׂרָאֵל עוֹשִׂין בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה.

Thus, these good deeds draw down Divine influence from the yud of the Divine Name, from the level of chochmah, to the final hey of the Name, the level of malchut. In this way, then, good deeds bring together and “make” the Name of G‑d and draw it downward in its entirety.

That is why our Sages, of blessed memory, have said: “Whoever says that he has nothing but Torah,”55 and thus no kindly deeds, “does not have even Torah;

לָכֵן אָמְרוּ רַבּוֹתֵינוּ־זִכְרוֹנָם־לִבְרָכָה: כָּל הָאוֹמֵר אֵין לוֹ אֶלָּא תּוֹרָה בְּלִי גְּמִילוּת חֲסָדִים, אֲפִילוּ תּוֹרָה אֵין לוֹ,

rather, one ought to engage in Torah and in the performance of acts of lovingkindness.”

אֶלָּא לַעֲסוֹק בַּתּוֹרָה וּבִגְמִילוּת חֲסָדִים.

For though the “Torah derives from chochmah,”56 and “the world subsists by virtue of the Torah”57 and “those who discourse in it,”58

כִּי הִנֵּה, הֲגַם דְּ"אוֹרַיְיתָא מֵחָכְמָה נָפְקַת", וּבְאוֹרַיְיתָא מִתְקַיֵּים עָלְמָא וּבְאִינוּן דְּלָעָאן בָּהּ,

because by speaking of the Torah subjects they elicit illuminations and effusions59 from supreme chochmah, the source of the Torah, into the plane of the letters of speech with which the world was created,

כִּי בְּדִבּוּרָם מַמְשִׁיכִים הֶאָרוֹת וְהַשְׁפָּעוֹת (נוסח אחר: וְהַשְׁרָאוֹת) חָכְמָה עִילָּאָה, מְקוֹר הַתּוֹרָה – לִבְחִינַת אוֹתִיּוֹת הַדִּבּוּר שֶׁבָּהֶן נִבְרָא הָעוֹלָם,

as our Sages, of blessed memory, said with regard to Torah scholars, “Do not read banayich (‘Your children’) but bonayich (‘Your builders’),60 for they build the world through their study of the Torah—

כְּמַאֲמַר רַבּוֹתֵינוּ־זִכְרוֹנָם־לִבְרָכָה: "אַל תִּקְרֵי בָּנָיִךְ אֶלָּא בּוֹנָיִךְ"

nevertheless, this flow of chochmah to the letters of speech is a great descent.

הֲרֵי הַמְשָׁכָה זוֹ הִיא בְּחִינַת יְרִידָה גְדוֹלָה,

To accomplish this, it is necessary to arouse supernal chesed which, like water, is drawn down from a high place to a low place

וְלָזֶה צָרִיךְ לְעוֹרֵר חֶסֶד עֶלְיוֹן, הַנִּמְשָׁךְ כַּמַּיִם מִמָּקוֹם גָּבוֹהַּ לְמָקוֹם נָמוּךְ,

by means of an arousal from below, through acts of charity and kindness here below,

בְּאִתְעָרוּתָא דִלְתַתָּא, בִּצְדָקָה וָחֶסֶד תַּתָּאָה,

whereby one diffuses life and kindness “to revive the spirit of the humble and downcast.”61

שֶׁמַּמְשִׁיכִים חַיִּים וָחֶסֶד, לְהַחֲיוֹת רוּחַ שְׁפָלִים וְנִדְכָּאִים.

By doing so, one draws down supernal kindness so that the vitality of chochmah descends to the letters of speech, the source of all creation.

This is the meaning of the verse, “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom…, but in this, let him glory [in understanding and knowing Me,”62 but in such a manner that it brings about the fulfillment of the phrase that follows]: “for I am G‑d, Who acts with kindness….”63

וְזֶהוּ שֶׁכָּתוּב: "אַל יִתְהַלֵּל חָכָם בְּחָכְמָתוֹ כוּ', כִּי אִם בְּזֹאת יִתְהַלֵּל כוּ', כִּי אֲנִי ה' עוֹשֶׂה חֶסֶד כוּ'",

We thus see that wisdom is justifiably glorified when it leads to an act of kindness, which in turn evokes a reciprocal act of kindness from Above.

For it is chesed, the kindly conduct of man here below, that results in the fulfillment of the verse, “I am G‑d, Who acts with kindness,” i.e., with the chesed of Asiyah, and that causes the vitality of chochmah to issue downward into the letters of speech, the source of all created beings.

כִּי הַחֶסֶד הוּא הַמַּמְשִׁיךְ חַיֵּי הַחָכְמָה לְמַטָּה,

In the absence of this [kindly conduct], [the Torah Study] that such a person undertakes is called “His wisdom” alone: it remains in heaven as an untapped resource in which that wise man cannot glory,

וְאִם לָאו, הֲרֵי נִקְרֵאת "חָכְמָתוֹ" לְבַדּוֹ,

and there is no downward flow of life from it, G‑d forbid.

בְּלִי הַמְשָׁכַת חַיִּים מִמֶּנָּה חַס וְשָׁלוֹם.

The above enables one to understand the statement of Rabbi Yitzchak Luria, of blessed memory, that there are two kinds of souls among Jews:

וּבָזֶה יוּבַן מַה שֶׁאָמַר הָאֲרִיזַ"ל, שֶׁיֵּשׁ ב' מִינֵי נְשָׁמוֹת בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל –

the souls of Torah scholars, who engage in the study of the Torah all their lives,64

נִשְׁמוֹת תַּלְמִידֵי חֲכָמִים הָעוֹסְקִים בַּתּוֹרָה כָּל יְמֵיהֶם,

and the souls of those who perform the commandments, occupying themselves with charitable and kindly deeds.

וְנִשְׁמוֹת בַּעֲלֵי מִצְוֹת הָעוֹסְקִים בִּצְדָקָה וּגְמִילוּת חֲסָדִים.

Now surely scholars, too, need to occupy themselves with acts of kindness;

דְּלִכְאוֹרָה, הֲרֵי גַּם תַּלְמִידֵי חֲכָמִים צְרִיכִים לַעֲסוֹק בִּגְמִילוּת חֲסָדִים,

as our Sages, of blessed memory, taught, [“Whoever says that he has nothing but Torah,” and thus no kindly deeds,] “does not have even Torah.”

כְּמַאֲמַר רַבּוֹתֵינוּ־זִכְרוֹנָם־לִבְרָכָה, שֶׁ"אֲפִילוּ תּוֹרָה אֵין לוֹ".

How, then, could the Arizal have stated that people with a certain kind of soul invest their lives exclusively in Torah study? The Alter Rebbe’s answer, which follows, takes it for granted that even full-time Torah scholars of course spend some of their time in doing good deeds.

However, as regards Torah scholars, whose study of the Torah is their principal occupation and most of their time is spent in it, with only a minor part of their time spent on the performance of kindly deeds,

אֶלָּא שֶׁהַתַּלְמִידֵי חֲכָמִים שֶׁתּוֹרָתָן עִיקָּר וְרוֹב יְמֵיהֶם בָּהּ, וּמִיעוּט יְמֵיהֶם בִּגְמִילוּת חֲסָדִים,

the effect of their arousal from below, to arouse supernal chesed,

הִנֵּה פְּעוּלַּת אִתְעָרוּתָם דִּלְתַתָּא לְעוֹרֵר חֶסֶד עֶלְיוֹן,

to call forth and bring downward the [infinite] Ein Sof-light vested in supernal chochmah, the source of G‑d’s Torah which is in their mouths,

לְהַמְשִׁיךְ וּלְהוֹרִיד אוֹר־אֵין־סוֹף הַמְלוּבָּשׁ בְּחָכְמָה עִילָּאָה, מְקוֹר תּוֹרַת ה' שֶׁבְּפִיהֶם,

extends only to the realm of the souls that are in Beriah, through their occupation with Gemara,

הוּא רַק לְעוֹלַם הַנְּשָׁמוֹת שֶׁבַּבְּרִיאָה עַל־יְדֵי עֵסֶק הַתַּלְמוּד,

The study of Gemara, inasmuch as it involves reasoning and intellectual give and take, corresponds to the World of Beriah, the realm of comprehension.

and extends to the angels that are in the World of Yetzirah, through their occupation with Mishnah.

וְלַמַּלְאָכִים שֶׁבַּיְצִירָה עַל־יְדֵי לִימּוּד הַמִּשְׁנָה,

The Mishnah consists of statements of law—“kosher” or “nonkosher,” “pure” or “impure.” Such bipartite divisions, which are a reflection in the material world below of the divergent attributes of chesed and gevurah in the realms above, are related to the World of Yetzirah, which is the realm of middot, the spiritual emotions.

For the animation of souls and angels derives from the combinations of the letters of speech, i.e., the Oral Torah; as it is written in Patach Eliyahu, “[The sefirah of] malchut [corresponds to] the mouth, which we call the Oral Torah.”65

יַעַן הֱיוֹת חַיּוּת הַנְּשָׁמוֹת וְהַמַּלְאָכִים נִשְׁפָּעוֹת מִצֵּירוּפֵי אוֹתִיּוֹת הַדִּיבּוּר, הִיא תּוֹרָה שֶׁבְּעַל פֶּה, –

The source of the letters, however, is in supernal chochmah, as mentioned above.

וּמְקוֹר הָאוֹתִיּוֹת הוּא מֵחָכְמָה עִילָּאָה כַּנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל,

Thus, through their study of the Oral Torah, scholars draw down supernal chochmah into the combinations of the letters of speech; this in turn provides vitality to [unborn] souls and angels.

However, in order to call forth and bring downward an illumination and vitality from the level of the supreme breath, the “lower hey,” to this lowly world,

אַךְ לְהַמְשִׁיךְ וּלְהוֹרִיד הֶאָרָה וְחַיּוּת מִבְּחִינַת הֶבֶל הָעֶלְיוֹן ה' תַּתָּאָה לָעוֹלָם הַזֶּה הַשָּׁפָל,

which entails a greater and extreme contraction,

שֶׁהוּא צִמְצוּם גָּדוֹל בְּיֶתֶר עֹז,

the arousal from below by the Torah scholars, who for only a small part of their time engage in charitable and kindly deeds, is not sufficient.66

לֹא דַי בְּאִתְעָרוּתָא דִלְתַתָּא שֶׁל תַּלְמִידֵי חֲכָמִים הָעוֹסְקִים מִיעוּט יְמֵיהֶם בִּצְדָקָה וּגְמִילוּת חֲסָדִים,

[This is effected] only through an arousal by those who perform the commandments, who are occupied with deeds of charity and kindness for the major part of their life

אֶלָּא עַל־יְדֵי אִתְעָרוּתָא דְּבַעֲלֵי מִצְוֹת הָעוֹסְקִים רוֹב יְמֵיהֶם בִּצְדָקָה וּגְמִילוּת חֲסָדִים

(67as explained in Likkutei Amarim, Part I, ch. 34).

(וּכְמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר בְּלִקּוּטֵי אֲמָרִים בְּחֵלֶק א' פֶּרֶק ל"ד).

The Alter Rebbe explains there that even if a man distributes no more than a fifth of his income to charity, that fifth elevates the other four parts with it to G‑d, for thereby, all his exertion becomes a dwelling for Him. Moreover, his acts of kindness will arouse G‑d’s “right hand of kindness.”

That is why [people who are mainly occupied with such mitzvot] are called68 “the supporters of [the] Torah [itself],” and not only of those who study the Torah, for by their activities, they draw down the light of the Torah from its root and source so that it will illuminate this physical world below.

וְלָכֵן נִקְרְאוּ "תָּמְכֵי אוֹרַיְיתָא",

These [people] represent the levels of netzach and hod, which are analogous to69 “the two thighs” which enable a man to stand upon the ground; the function of the sefirot of netzach and hod is similar,

וְהֵן בְּחִינוֹת וּמַדְרֵגוֹת נֶצַח וְהוֹד,

because they cause the light of the Torah to issue downward to the World of Asiyah.

לִהְיוֹתָן מַמְשִׁיכִין אוֹר הַתּוֹרָה לְמַטָּה לְעוֹלַם הָעֲשִׂיָּה.

Now it is clear70 why charity is referred to as an “act,”

וּבָזֶה יוּבַן לָמָּה נִקְרָא הַצְּדָקָה בְּשֵׁם "מַעֲשֶׂה",

as in the verse, “And the act of charity will be peace,”71

כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב: "וְהָיָה מַעֲשֵׂה הַצְּדָקָה שָׁלוֹם",

for the effect of charity is to elicit the light of G‑d down to the World of Asiyah.

עַל שֵׁם שֶׁפְּעוּלָּתָהּ לְהַמְשִׁיךְ אוֹר ה' לְעוֹלַם הָעֲשִׂיָּה.

This is the meaning of the subtle phraseology of the holy Zohar: “He who makes the Holy Name,” expressly saying “who makes,”

וְזֶהוּ דִּקְדּוּק לְשׁוֹן זוֹהַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ: "מַאן דְּעָבִיד שְׁמָא קַדִּישָׁא" – "דְּעָבִיד" דַּיְיקָא,

for by an arousal from below, through charity and mortal chesed, one arouses the supernal chesed

כִּי בְּאִתְעָרוּתָא דִלְתַתָּא בִּצְדָקָה וָחֶסֶד תַּתָּאָה מְעוֹרֵר חֶסֶד עֶלְיוֹן,

to elicit the [infinite] Ein Sof-light from supernal chochmah, the yud of the Divine Name,

לְהַמְשִׁיךְ אוֹר־אֵין־סוֹף מִבְּחִינַת חָכְמָה עִילָּאָה יוּ"ד שֶׁל שֵׁם,

to the hey of the Name, to the “speech” and “breath” of G‑d’s blessed mouth,

לְה' שֶׁל שֵׁם, בְּחִינַת הַדִּבּוּר וְרוּחַ פִּיו יִתְבָּרֵךְ,

in order to draw down [Divine light] to the World of Asiyah.

כְּדֵי לְהַשְׁפִּיעַ לְעוֹלַם הָעֲשִׂיָּה.

And, analogously speaking, though infinitely incomparable: a human being speaks only to others

וְעַל דֶּרֶךְ מָשָׁל, לְהַבְדִּיל הַבְדָּלוֹת אֵין קֵץ, כְּמוֹ שֶׁאָדָם אֵינוֹ מְדַבֵּר אֶלָּא לַאֲחֵרִים

(72and not when he is alone),

(וְלֹא כְּשֶׁהוּא בֵּינוֹ לְבֵין עַצְמוֹ),

and then when speaking to them, he contracts his intellect and thought.

וְאָז מְצַמְצֵם שִׂכְלוֹ וּמַחֲשַׁבְתּוֹ בְּדִבּוּרוֹ אֲלֵיהֶם.

The intelligent will understand.

וְהַמַּשְׂכִּילִים יָבִינוּ: