This letter comments on a discourse (in Tzavaat Harivash, sec. 120 in the Kehot edition) in which the Baal Shem Tov explains that though all things emanate from G‑d through His attributes of love and awe, these attributes can find themselves in a state of exile.

The Baal Shem Tov goes on to say that in the same way, a worshipper who finds that his endeavors to concentrate are being disturbed by someone speaking should consider: “Why did G‑d bring me here, where this talker is disturbing my prayers? After all, everything is Providential.”

Indeed it is, explains the Baal Shem Tov: this man’s talk is a spark of the radiance of the Shechinah that has descended and now “abides” in his mouth in order that the worshipper should exert himself so strenuously that he will be able to ignore the disturbance. (The verb used in the above-quoted version of the teaching is “abides”—שָׁרְתָה; as the Alter Rebbe will soon explain, the proper term is “vested”—נִתְלַבְּשָׁה.)

Especially so, the text there goes on to say, if the person speaking is a heathen or a child, then the realization that the Shechinah has (as it were) contracted itself to such a degree should surely bring the worshipper to ever-increasing fervor.

It would seem that the opponents of Chasidism seized upon this statement of the Baal Shem Tov: they could not understand how one could possibly say that the Shechinah “abided” (or even was “vested”) within a heathen.

The Alter Rebbe explains this in the present letter, beginning with the teaching of the Sages that “whoever is in a rage resembles an idolater.” A Jew, he explains, must know that everything comes from G‑d. When someone strikes him or angers him with words, he should remind himself that at that very moment, a glimmer of the Divine Presence—which provides life to all creatures and to this individual as well—has vested itself within that person.

The Alter Rebbe goes on to prove this from King David’s response when Shimi ben Geira cursed him. King David said: “For G‑d told him, ‘Curse!’” Although we do not find it explicitly stated that G‑d told Shimi to curse David, still, since G‑d’s spirit animated Shimi at the moment that he cursed David, thus providing him with the strength to do so, David considered this as if “G‑d told him to curse.” Indeed, as the Alter Rebbe goes on to explain, a glimmer or radiance of the Shechinah vests itself even in kelipot.

Throughout this discussion, the Alter Rebbe does not actually quote the Baal Shem Tov’s teaching nor the above objection to it. The reason for the latter omission may perhaps be understood in light of the fact that the Alter Rebbe was prepared for mesirut nefesh, literally risking his life, not to be sundered from any teaching or even the slightest gesture of the Baal Shem Tov, even if it would only appear to be so in the eyes of the beholder.1

It is thus reasonable to assume that here, as well, the Alter Rebbe chose not to even mention an objection raised against a teaching of the Baal Shem Tov; he merely clarifies the concepts involved, and the objection falls away as a matter of course.

“To comprehend the words of understanding,” i.e., the words of Torah,2

לְהָבִין אִמְרֵי בִינָה,

stated in the book called Tzavaat Rivash3 (“The Testament of R. Yisrael Baal Shem Tov”),

מַה שֶּׁכָּתוּב בַּסֵּפֶר הַנִּקְרָא "צַוָּואַת רִיבָ"שׁ",

though in fact it is not at all4 his will or testament, and he did not ordain anything before his passing;

הֲגַם שֶׁבֶּאֱמֶת אֵינָהּ צַוָּואָתוֹ כְּלָל, וְלֹא צִיוָּה כְּלָל לִפְנֵי פְטִירָתוֹ,

they (i.e., the teachings in this book) are merely gleanings of his pure sayings

רַק הֵם לִקּוּטֵי אִמְרוֹתָיו הַטְּהוֹרוֹת,

The adjective (“pure”) recalls the phrase in the morning blessings, טְהוֹרָה הִיא, that describes the pristine purity of a soul before it descends from the World of Atzilut; likewise, the verse, כְעֶצֶם הַשָּׁמַיִם לָטֹהַר (“as pure as the very heavens”5).

that were gathered as “compilations after compilations,”6

שֶׁלִּקְּטוּ לְקוּטֵי בָּתַר לְקוּטֵי,

and [the compilers] did not know how to phrase his teachings exactly.

וְלֹא יָדְעוּ לְכַוֵּין הַלָּשׁוֹן עַל מַתְכּוּנְתּוֹ,

The Baal Shem Tov used to speak in Yiddish, and the teachings in Tzavaat Harivash are recorded in Hebrew.

The connotation, however, of the teachings is absolutely true.

אַךְ הַמְכֻוָּון – הוּא אֱמֶת לַאֲמִיתּוֹ.

The Alter Rebbe now begins to explain the statement in Tzavaat Harivash, sec. 120.

And this [will be understood] by first considering the teaching of our Sages, of blessed memory: “Whoever is in a rage resembles an idolater.”7

וְהוּא, בְּהַקְדִּים מַאֲמַר רַבּוֹתֵינוּ־זִכְרוֹנָם־לִבְרָכָה: "כָּל הַכּוֹעֵס כְּאִילּוּ עוֹבֵד עַכּוּ"ם וְכוּ'",

The reason [for this] is clear to “those who know understanding,”8

וְהַטַּעַם מוּבָן לְיוֹדְעֵי בִינָה,

because at the time of his anger, faith in G‑d and in His individual Divine Providence has left him,

לְפִי שֶׁבְּעֵת כַּעֲסוֹ נִסְתַּלְּקָה מִמֶּנּוּ הָאֱמוּנָה,

for were he to believe that what happened to him was G‑d’s doing, he would not be angry at all.

כִּי אִילּוּ הָיָה מַאֲמִין שֶׁמֵּאֵת ה' הָיְתָה זֹאת לוֹ – לֹא הָיָה בְּכַעַס כְּלָל.

True, it is a person possessed of free choice that is cursing him, or striking him, or causing damage to his property,

וְאַף שֶׁבֶּן־אָדָם שֶׁהוּא בַּעַל בְּחִירָה מְקַלְּלוֹ אוֹ מַכֵּהוּ אוֹ מַזִּיק מָמוֹנוֹ

and [therefore] guilty according to the laws of man and the laws of heaven for his evil choice.

וּמִתְחַיֵּיב בְּדִינֵי אָדָם וּבְדִינֵי שָׁמַיִם עַל רוֹעַ בְּחִירָתוֹ,

The perpetrator for his part cannot plead innocence on the grounds that he is merely an instrument in the hands of Divine Providence.

Nevertheless, as regards the person harmed, this [incident] was already decreed in heaven,

אַף־עַל־פִּי־כֵן, עַל הַנִּיזָּק כְּבָר נִגְזַר מִן הַשָּׁמַיִם,

and “G‑d has many agents”9 through whom He can act,

וְהַרְבֵּה שְׁלוּחִים לַמָּקוֹם.

Hence, even if the offending party had chosen otherwise, the incident would have befallen the victim in any case.

This discussion recalls the teaching of the Mechilta cited by Rashi on the verse, וְהָאֱלֹקִים אִנָּה לְיָדוֹ—“and G‑d caused it to happen to him.”10 For to such a case, the Mechilta applies the verse, “From evildoers, there emerges evil.”11 This means that though it was decreed from above that someone should sustain an injury, G‑d brings it about that a particular person should inflict it.

That context, however, speaks of an unwitting injury. In the case of a potentially willful offender, if instead of choosing freely to act in an evil manner he chose to do otherwise, the event would still have occurred, for “G‑d has many agents,” as quoted above.

At any rate, it is thus clear that the victim has no cause to be angry with the offender, for the true cause of the offense was not him, but a heavenly decree.

The Alter Rebbe now takes this one step further: Not only does the heavenly decree give the offender an undefined potential to do harm, but moreover, the particular thought to do it and the power to do it, all come about from G‑d. (At the same time, since man has freedom of choice, he can of course choose to reject such a thought and refrain from doing such a deed.)

Anger thus remains unjustifiable. For the offended party is not angry that the other party made an evil choice; what angers him is the damage done to him. His anger thus results from his lack of belief that the true cause for his mishap is not a particular individual’s evil choice but a heavenly decree.

And not only this, that a heavenly decree gave permission in principle and made it possible that he suffer injury,

וְלֹא עוֹד,

but even at that very moment at which [the offender] strikes or curses him,

אֶלָּא אֲפִילוּ בְּשָׁעָה זוֹ מַמָּשׁ שֶׁמַּכֵּהוּ אוֹ מְקַלְּלוֹ –

there is vested in him (in the offender) a force from G‑d and the breath of His mouth, which animates and sustains him,

מִתְלַבֵּשׁ בּוֹ כֹּחַ ה' וְרוּחַ פִּיו יִתְבָּרֵךְ הַמְחַיֵּיהוּ וּמְקַיְּימוֹ,

as it is written: “For G‑d told him, ‘Curse!’”12

וּכְמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב: "כִּי ה' אָמַר לוֹ קַלֵּל",

Now, where did He say so to Shimi? Where do we find it written that G‑d told him to curse David?

וְהֵיכָן אָמַר לְשִׁמְעִי?

Only, this thought that occurred in Shimi’s heart and mind to curse David descended from G‑d, Who was thus responsible for such a thought entering Shimi’s mind,

אֶלָּא שֶׁמַּחֲשָׁבָה זוֹ שֶׁנָּפְלָה לְשִׁמְעִי בְּלִבּוֹ וּמוֹחוֹ – יָרְדָה מֵאֵת ה',

and “the breath of His mouth, which animates all the hosts [of heaven],”13

וְ"רוּחַ פִּיו הַמְחַיֶּה כָּל צְבָאָם"

animated the spirit of Shimi at the time he spoke those words to David,

הֶחֱיָה רוּחוֹ שֶׁל שִׁמְעִי בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁדִּיבֶּר דְּבָרִים אֵלּוּ לְדָוִד,

for if the breath of G‑d’s mouth had departed from the spirit of Shimi for a single moment, he could not have spoken at all.

כִּי אִילּוּ נִסְתַּלֵּק רוּחַ פִּיו יִתְבָּרֵךְ רֶגַע אֶחָד מֵרוּחוֹ שֶׁל שִׁמְעִי – לֹא יָכוֹל לְדַבֵּר מְאוּמָה.

(14And that is the meaning of the statement, “For G‑d told him (at that very moment when Shimi was speaking these words), ‘Curse David!’

(וְזֶהוּ "כִּי ה' אָמַר לוֹ" – בָּעֵת הַהִיא מַמָּשׁ – "קַלֵּל" אֶת דָּוִד,

I.e., G‑d did so by providing Shimi at that time with life and the power of speech.

And who shall say to him, [‘Why did you do so?’]”

"וּמִי יֹאמַר לוֹ וְגוֹ'".

In the Glosses and Emendations (He’arot Vetikkunim) which is appended to standard editions of the Tanya, the Rebbe notes that the words “to him” (לוֹ) seem to be unnecessary, inasmuch as the above-quoted verse simply states, without this addition, “And who shall say, ‘Why did you do so?’”

It has been suggested that the Rebbe notes that these words merely “seem” superfluous, rather than stating outright that they are, because at this point, the Alter Rebbe is actually referring to another verse: “For the word of a king rules, and who shall say to Him, ‘What are You doing?’”15

However, rather than adopt this labored assumption, that the Alter Rebbe suddenly changes direction and interpolates one word from another verse, it appears more reasonable to say that the words “to Him” are not intended as a quotation. Rather, since some commentators hold that the conclusion of our verse (“And who shall say to him…”) refers to Shimi, the Alter Rebbe here makes it clear that it in fact speaks of G‑d. I.e., having first related that G‑d “told” Shimi what to do, the verse ends by asking, “Who can possibly say to Him, ‘Why did You do so?’”

The teaching of the Baal Shem Tov, of blessed memory, on the verse, “Forever, O G‑d, Your word stands firm in the heavens,”16 is well known:

וְכַנּוֹדָע מַה שֶּׁאָמַר הַבַּעַל־שֵׁם־טוֹב זִכְרוֹנוֹ־לִבְרָכָה עַל פָּסוּק: "לְעוֹלָם ה' דְּבָרְךָ נִצָּב בַּשָּׁמָיִם",

As mentioned above in Shaar Hayichud VehaEmunah, ch. 1, the Baal Shem Tov expanded and disseminated the following concept that appears in Midrash Tehillim:

The combinations of the letters with which the heavens were created, i.e., the creative utterance, “Let there be a firmament…,”17

שֶׁצֵּירוּף אוֹתִיּוֹת שֶׁנִּבְרְאוּ בָּהֶן הַשָּׁמַיִם, שֶׁהוּא מַאֲמַר "יְהִי רָקִיעַ כוּ'"

stand and remain vested in the heavens forever to animate and sustain them.

– הֵן נִצָּבוֹת וְעוֹמְדוֹת מְלוּבָּשׁוֹת בַּשָּׁמַיִם לְעוֹלָם לְהַחֲיוֹתָם וּלְקַיְּימָם.

As the Alter Rebbe explained in greater detail in Shaar Hayichud VehaEmunah, chs. 1 and 2, this is also the case with regard to all created beings.

This differs from the view of the philosophers who deny the individual Providence of the Creator over each and every one of His creations.

וְלֹא כְּהַפִּלוֹסוֹפִים שֶׁכּוֹפְרִים בְּהַשְׁגָּחָה פְרָטִית,

Using their false analogy, they liken the work of G‑d, the Maker of heaven and earth, to the work of man and his devices.

וּמְדַמִּין בְּדִמְיוֹנָם הַכּוֹזֵב אֶת מַעֲשֵׂה ה', "עוֹשֵׂה שָׁמַיִם וָאָרֶץ", לְמַעֲשֵׂה אֱנוֹשׁ וְתַחְבּוּלוֹתָיו:

For when a metalsmith has completed a vessel, [it] no longer needs the hands of the smith;

כִּי, כַּאֲשֶׁר יָצָא לַצּוֹרֵף כְּלִי – שׁוּב אֵין הַכְּלִי צָרִיךְ לִידֵי הַצּוֹרֵף,

though his hands are removed from it, it remains intact by itself.

שֶׁאַף שֶׁיָּדָיו מְסוּלָּקוֹת הֵימֶנּוּ – הוּא קַיָּים מֵעַצְמוֹ.

Some philosophers apply this model to the creation of heaven and earth and imagine that once G‑d created them, they need Him no more, G‑d forbid. These thinkers thus deny hashgachah pratit, individually directed Divine Providence—the Creator’s constant and ongoing contact with His created beings.

But their eyes are bedaubed so that they cannot see the great difference between man’s work and schemes,

וְ"טַח מֵרְאוֹת עֵינֵיהֶם", הַהֶבְדֵּל הַגָּדוֹל שֶׁבֵּין מַעֲשֵׂה אֱנוֹשׁ וְתַחְבּוּלוֹתָיו

which is [the production of] something out of something (yesh miyesh),

שֶׁהוּא יֵשׁ מִיֵּשׁ,

where he merely changes the form and the appearance,

רַק שֶׁמְּשַׁנֶּה הַצּוּרָה וְהַתְּמוּנָה,

The shapeless piece of silver that a craftsman transforms into a vessel (a) already existed and (b) was innately malleable. The craftsman has thus innovated nothing, and the vessel, once shaped, will therefore not be dependent on him.

The philosophers, however, do not see the difference between this—

and the creation of heaven and earth, which is creatio ex nihilo (yesh me’ayin), creating something out of nothing.

לְמַעֲשֵׂה שָׁמַיִם וָאָרֶץ, שֶׁהוּא יֵשׁ מֵאַיִן –

As the Alter Rebbe will soon point out, something brought into existence out of nothing cannot continue to exist unless the power that creates it remains constantly vested within it.

This—the creation of heaven and earth ex nihilo—is an [even] greater wonder than, for example, the splitting of the Red Sea,

וְהוּא פֶּלֶא גָּדוֹל יוֹתֵר מִקְּרִיעַת יַם־סוּף עַל דֶּרֶךְ מָשָׁל,

which G‑d drove back “by a strong east wind all that night…and the waters were divided”18 and stood upright like a wall.

אֲשֶׁר הוֹלִיךְ ה' בְּרוּחַ קָדִים עַזָּה כָּל הַלַּיְלָה וַיִּבָּקְעוּ הַמָּיִם,

If the wind had ceased even for a moment, the waters would again have flowed downward, as is their way and nature, and they would not have stood upright like a wall,

וְאִילּוּ פָּסַק הָרוּחַ כְּרֶגַע – הָיוּ הַמַּיִם חוֹזְרִים וְנִיגָּרִים בְּמוֹרָד כְּדַרְכָּם וְטִבְעָם וְלֹא קָמוּ כְּחוֹמָה,

In the corresponding passage in Shaar Hayichud VehaEmunah, the Alter Rebbe adds the words “without a doubt.”

even though this characteristic of water—to flow downward—is also created and innovated ex nihilo.

אַף שֶׁטֶּבַע זֶה בַּמַּיִם הוּא גַם כֵּן נִבְרָא וּמְחוּדָּשׁ יֵשׁ מֵאַיִן,

As the Rebbe explains, not only the water itself, but also its characteristic of fluidity was created ex nihilo.

Thus, when the wind caused the water to stand like a stone wall, this fluid nature had only to be replaced by the capability of a solid so that it could stand erect. Nevertheless, since this quality is uncharacteristic of water, this innovation had to be constantly and continuously brought about by the power that first made it possible. (Indeed, were the wind to cease, the water would have reverted to its former self.) Thus, even when a yesh is merely changed into another yesh, the activating force must be constantly present.

The Alter Rebbe now goes on to show how the property of fluidity is not intrinsic to water but must be created within it.

Certain characteristics do not need to be created separately from a particular being, for they are intrinsic to all created beings; for example, all created beings occupy space. Water, however, need not necessarily flow. Other created beings exist quite happily without this property, and when water exists as a solid (as ice), it too possesses the quality of rigidity. The quality of fluidity is thus not intrinsic to water.

This is what the Alter Rebbe now goes on to say:

For a wall of stone stands erect by itself, without [the assistance of] any wind, but the nature of water is not so.

שֶׁהֲרֵי חוֹמַת אֲבָנִים נִצֶּבֶת מֵעַצְמָהּ בְּלִי רוּחַ, רַק שֶׁטֶּבַע הַמַּיִם אֵינוֹ כֵן,

As stated above, the property of fluidity was something that G‑d created within the already existing entity of water. Though the wind had only to change one yesh to another, replacing the property of fluidity by the property of solidity, this is still considered a wondrous event. And in order for this to have been accomplished, the activating force—in this case, the wind—had to be working constantly.

How much more will this be the case, the Alter Rebbe will soon conclude, with regard to creating a yesh out of utter nothingness. And indeed, the Divine Source responsible for the innovation of the entire universe out of nothing must be consistently vested within it in order to enable it to endure and not revert to nothingness. Such a corollary should have been imperative even according to the philosophers. They thus err on two grounds—in their abovementioned reliance on a misleading analogy and in their failure to realize that the activating force must constantly be invested within the created being.

Thus, to resume the above argument, if for the miraculous splitting of the Red Sea that only involved the changing of one yesh to another, the continuous action of G‑d was necessary—

How much more so, with respect to the creation of an existent being out of nothing, for this transcends nature and is far more wondrous than the splitting of the Red Sea;

וְכָל שֶׁכֵּן וְקַל וָחוֹמֶר בִּבְרִיאַת יֵשׁ מֵאַיִן, שֶׁהִיא לְמַעְלָה מֵהַטֶּבַע וְהַפְלֵא וָפֶלֶא יוֹתֵר מִקְּרִיעַת יַם־סוּף,

surely, if the creative power that creates an existent being out of nothing were (heaven forfend) to be withdrawn from a created being, that being would revert to utter naught and nonexistence.

עַל אַחַת כַּמָּה וְכַמָּה, שֶׁבְּהִסְתַּלְּקוּת חַס וְשָׁלוֹם כֹּחַ הַבּוֹרֵא – יֵשׁ מֵאַיִן – מִן הַנִּבְרָא – יָשׁוּב הַנִּבְרָא לְאַיִן וָאֶפֶס מַמָּשׁ,

Rather,19 the activating force of the Creator, which initially brings every created being into existence, must continuously be present within the thing created to give it life and continued existence.

אֶלָּא, צָרִיךְ לִהְיוֹת כֹּחַ הַפּוֹעֵל בַּנִּפְעָל תָּמִיד – לְהַחֲיוֹתוֹ וּלְקַיְּימוֹ,

This20 [force] is the “word of G‑d” and the “breath of His mouth” that are to be found in the ten utterances by which the universe was created.

וּבְחִינָה זוֹ הוּא "דְּבַר ה'" וְ"רוּחַ פִּיו" שֶׁבַּעֲשָׂרָה מַאֲמָרוֹת שֶׁבָּהֶן נִבְרָא הָעוֹלָם.

The ten utterances are the source of the “letters of speech” by means of which all of creation is brought into existence. Moreover, as explained in the first chapter of Shaar Hayichud VehaEmunah, even those created beings which are not specifically mentioned in the ten utterances likewise derive their vitality from the ten utterances by means of various combinations, substitutions, and transpositions of these letters.

And even as regards this physical earth and its inorganic component,

וַאֲפִילוּ אֶרֶץ הַלֵּזוּ הַגַּשְׁמִית וּבְחִינַת דּוֹמֵם שֶׁבָּהּ –

Earth21 possesses a potential (ko’ach hatzomeiach) that enables vegetation to grow. In the case of created beings that are part of the vegetative realm, growth thus visibly testifies to the presence of an activating force. Created beings that are part of the inanimate or inorganic realm that is represented in the earth demonstrate no signs of life at all, not even growth.

their life-force and continued existence is the “word of G‑d” that is to be found in the ten utterances that is vested in them, maintaining them as inorganic matter and as substantiality ex nihilo,

חַיּוּתָן וְקִיּוּמָן הוּא "דְבַר ה'" מִי' מַאֲמָרוֹת הַמְלוּבָּשׁ בָּהֶן וּמְקַיְּימָן לִהְיוֹת דּוֹמֵם וְ"יֵשׁ" מֵ"אַיִן",

so that they will not revert to the absolute naught and nothingness they had been prior to their creation.

וְלֹא יַחְזְרוּ לְאַיִן וָאֶפֶס מַמָּשׁ כְּשֶׁהָיוּ.

And this is the meaning of the statement of Rabbi Yitzchak Luria, of blessed memory,22 that there is a kind of soul and spiritual life-force even in inorganic matter such as stones and dust and water, entities that display no signs of life.

וְזֶהוּ שֶׁאָמַר הָאֲרִיזַ"ל, שֶׁגַּם בְּדוֹמֵם, כַּאֲבָנִים וְעָפָר וּמַיִם, יֵשׁ בָּהֶם בְּחִינַת נֶפֶשׁ וְחַיּוּת רוּחָנִיִּית.

This “soul” and spiritual life-force is the “word of G‑d,” the potent Divine speech that continuously creates all beings, i.e., the Shechinah.

Now, it is known to the students of the Kabbalah23

וְהִנֵּה, נוֹדָע לְיוֹדְעֵי חֵן,

that the “word of G‑d” is referred to as the Shechinah, in the terminology of the [Talmudic and Midrashic] Sages, of blessed memory, and as Imma Tataah (the “nether mother”) and Matronita (the “Queen”) in the terminology of the Zohar,

כִּי "דְבַר ה'" נִקְרָא בְּשֵׁם "שְׁכִינָה" בִּלְשׁוֹן רַבּוֹתֵינוּ־זִכְרוֹנָם־לִבְרָכָה, וְ"אִימָּא תַּתָּאָה" וּ"מַטְרוֹנִיתָא" בִּלְשׁוֹן הַזֹּהַר,

especially at the beginning of Parashat Va’eira, where an analogy is drawn to G‑d’s speech from a princess,

וּבִפְרָט בְּרֵישׁ פָּרָשַׁת וָאֵרָא,

because [the “word of G‑d”] dwells and vests itself in created beings to give them life.

לְפִי שֶׁשּׁוֹכֵן וּמִתְלַבֵּשׁ בַּנִּבְרָאִים לְהַחֲיוֹתָם.

The word Shechinah (שְׁכִינָה) derives from the root שֹׁכֵן—“to dwell.” The titles of “mother” and “queen” relate to their functions of caring for the lives of their children and subjects, respectively.

In the terminology of the Kabbalists, [the “word of G‑d”] is called malchut, for24 “the word of a king rules”—a king rules his kingdom through his speech and also for other reasons known to the students of the Kabbalah.

וּבִלְשׁוֹן הַמְקוּבָּלִים – נִקְרָא בְּשֵׁם "מַלְכוּת", עַל שֵׁם "דְּבַר מֶלֶךְ שִׁלְטוֹן", כִּי הַמֶּלֶךְ, מַנְהִיג מַלְכוּתוֹ בְּדִיבּוּרוֹ, וְעוֹד טְעָמִים אֲחֵרִים יְדוּעִים לְיוֹדְעֵי חֵן.

Now, it is known that there is a rank and level of [the sefirah of] malchut of [the World of] Atzilut, and a rank of [the sefirah of] malchut of [the World of] Beriah, and so on. There are thus many degrees of “G‑d’s speech.”

וּמוּדַעַת זֹאת, כִּי יֵשׁ בְּחִינַת וּמַדְרֵיגַת "מַלְכוּת דַּאֲצִילוּת" וּבְחִינַת "מַלְכוּת דִּבְרִיאָה" וְכוּ'.

Malchut of Atzilut means the “word of G‑d” which animates and brings into being the great souls that are of the rank of Atzilut,

וּפֵירוּשׁ "מַלְכוּת דַּאֲצִילוּת", הוּא – "דְּבַר ה'" הַמְחַיֶּה וּמְהַוֶּה נְשָׁמוֹת הַגְּדוֹלוֹת שֶׁהֵן מִבְּחִינַת אֲצִילוּת,

such as the soul of Adam, of whom it is said, “And He blew into his nostrils the soul of life…”25 (i.e., a soul from the level of Atzilut); and such as the souls of the patriarchs and the prophets and the like

כְּמוֹ נִשְׁמַת אָדָם הָרִאשׁוֹן, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר בּוֹ "וַיִּפַּח בְּאַפָּיו נִשְׁמַת חַיִים כוּ'", וּכְמוֹ נִשְׁמוֹת הָאָבוֹת וְהַנְּבִיאִים וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָהֶן

(26who were truly a “chariot” unto G‑d27 and in a state of total self-abnegation in relation to Him;

(שֶׁהָיוּ מֶרְכָּבָה לַה' מַמָּשׁ, וּבְטֵלִים מַמָּשׁ בִּמְצִיאוּת אֵלָיו,

as our Sages, of blessed memory, said, “The Shechinah speaks from the throat of Moses28;

כְּמַאֲמַר רַבּוֹתֵינוּ־זִכְרוֹנָם־לִבְרָכָה: "שְׁכִינָה מְדַבֶּרֶת מִתּוֹךְ גְּרוֹנוֹ שֶׁל מֹשֶׁה",

Moses’ own personality was so translucent—he had so nullified himself to G‑d—that when he prophesied, he did not relay what G‑d told him to say; rather, the Shechinah itself spoke directly through his mouth.

and likewise with all the prophets and those possessed of the Holy Spirit: the supernal voice and speech vested itself in their actual voice and speech, as Rabbi Yitzchak Luria, of blessed memory, stated).

וְכֵן כָּל הַנְּבִיאִים וּבַעֲלֵי רוּחַ הַקּוֹדֶשׁ, הָיָה קוֹל וְדִבּוּר הָעֶלְיוֹן מִתְלַבֵּשׁ בְּקוֹלָם וְדִבּוּרָם מַמָּשׁ, כְּמוֹ שֶׁאָמַר הָאֲרִיזַ"ל).

Malchut of Beriah is the ‘‘word of G‑d” which animates and brings into being the souls and angels in the World of Beriah,

וּ"מַלְכוּת דִּבְרִיאָה" הוּא – "דְּבַר ה'" הַמְחַיֶּה וּמְהַוֶּה הַנְּשָׁמוֹת וְהַמַּלְאָכִים שֶׁבְּעוֹלַם הַבְּרִיאָה,

whose level is not like the level of Atzilut, and so on; i.e., malchut of Yetzirah is the level of Divine speech that brings into being and animates the souls and angels in the World of Yetzirah.

שֶׁאֵין מַעֲלָתָם כְּמַעֲלַת הָאֲצִילוּת וְכוּ'.

And malchut of Asiyah is the “word of G‑d” which animates and creates this world in its entirety,

וּ"מַלְכוּת דַּעֲשִׂיָּה" הוּא – "דְּבַר ה'" הַמְחַיֶּה וּמְהַוֶּה אֶת עוֹלָם הַזֶּה בִּכְלָלוֹ,

up to and including the Element of Earth and “the water that is below the earth.”29

עַד יְסוֹד הֶעָפָר וְהַמַּיִם אֲשֶׁר מִתַּחַת לָאָרֶץ.

Now, if the creation of all things derives from the Shechinah, from the revelation of Divine power, how do we account for those things that derive from kelipot, entities that “oppose” G‑dliness and holiness?

(30However, outside the Land of Israel,31 the life-force is [bestowed] by [means of “the word of G‑d”] being invested within the extraneous patron-angels that are appointed over the seventy nations.

(אֶלָּא שֶׁבְּחוּץ לָאָרֶץ – הַחַיּוּת הוּא עַל־יְדֵי הִתְלַבְּשׁוּת שָׂרִים הַחִיצוֹנִים הַמְמוּנִּים עַל ע' אוּמּוֹת.

I.e., a [mere] spark from the “word of G‑d,” which is called malchut of Asiyah, descends and radiates over the supernal patron-angels by encompassing them from above.

דְּהַיְינוּ, שֶׁיּוֹרֵד נִיצוֹץ מִ"דְּבַר ה'", הַנִּקְרָא בְּשֵׁם "מַלְכוּת דַּעֲשִׂיָּה", וּמֵאִיר עַל הַשָּׂרִים שֶׁל מַעְלָה בִּבְחִינַת מַקִּיף מִלְמַעְלָה,

I.e., it does not truly vest itself within them; rather, the life-force issues to them from this radiance which shines over them from above, in an encompassing manner.

אַךְ אֵינוֹ מִתְלַבֵּשׁ בָּהֶם מַמָּשׁ, אֶלָּא נִמְשָׁךְ לָהֶם חַיּוּת מֵהֶאָרָה זוֹ שֶׁמֵּאִיר עֲלֵיהֶם מִלְמַעְלָה, בִּבְחִינַת מַקִּיף.

And from the patron-angels, life-force issues to the nations, and to the cattle, beasts, and fowl that are in their lands,

וּמֵהַשָּׂרִים – נִשְׁפַּע חַיּוּת לָאוּמּוֹת, וְלִבְהֵמוֹת חַיּוֹת וְעוֹפוֹת שֶׁבְּאַרְצוֹתֵיהֶם,

and to the physical world, and the physical heavens, i.e., the spheres in which the stars orbit.32

וְלָאָרֶץ הַגַּשְׁמִית וְלַשָּׁמַיִם הַגַּשְׁמִיִּים שֶׁהֵם הַגַּלְגַּלִּים

(33However, there are distinctions between the various categories of created beings: the heavens and the earth, and the cattle, beasts, and fowl that are pure (i.e., kosher), are nurtured by kelipat nogah,

(אֶלָּא שֶׁשָּׁמַיִם וָאָרֶץ וּבְהֵמוֹת וְחַיּוֹת וְעוֹפוֹת טְהוֹרִים – נִשְׁפָּעִים מִקְּלִיפַּת נוֹגַהּ,

whereas the impure [creatures] and the souls of the nations are [nurtured] by the other kelipot.)

וְהַטְּמֵאִים וְנַפְשׁוֹת הָאוּמּוֹת – מִשְּׁאָר קְלִיפּוֹת).

Kelipat nogah represents a finely balanced tension between potential good (which can also be misused) and potential evil (which can also be sublimated). The other three completely impure kelipot are entirely evil, as explained at length in the Tanya, Part I, ch. 6.

Now, outside the Land of Israel,34 the heavens and the earth and all they contain are all esteemed as truly nothing in relation to the patron-angels which are [the conduits for] their life-force and continued existence.

וְהִנֵּה, שָׁמַיִם וָאָרֶץ וְכָל אֲשֶׁר בָּהֶם בְּחוּץ לָאָרֶץ, כּוּלָּם כְּלָא מַמָּשׁ חֲשִׁיבֵי לְגַבֵּי הַשָּׂרִים שֶׁהֵם חַיּוּתָם וְקִיּוּמָם.

The patron-angels themselves are esteemed as truly nothing in relation to the life-force issuing to them from the spark of the “word of G‑d” which radiates over them from above, transcending them.

וְהַשָּׂרִים – כְּלָא מַמָּשׁ חֲשִׁיבֵי לְגַבֵּי הַחַיּוּת הַנִּמְשָׁךְ לָהֶם מֵהַנִּיצוֹץ מִ"דְּבַר ה'" הַמֵּאִיר עֲלֵיהֶם מִלְמַעְלָה.

And even so, the life-force issuing to them from this radiance is in a state of exile within them.

וְאַף־עַל־פִּי־כֵן, הַחַיּוּת הַנִּמְשָׁךְ לְתוֹכָם מֵהֶאָרָה זוֹ – הוּא בִּבְחִינַת גָּלוּת בְּתוֹכָם,

That is why they are called elohim acherim (“other gods”) while they call Him35 “G‑d of the gods” since they consider themselves as deities.

שֶׁלָּכֵן נִקְרָאִים בְּשֵׁם "אֱלֹקִים אֲחֵרִים", וְקָרוּ לֵיהּ: "אֱלָהָא דֶאֱלָהַיָּא", שֶׁגַּם הֵם, הֵן בְּחִינַת אֱלֹקוּת.

Therefore, in view of their source, the nations which receive their life-force through [their patron-angels] are truly idolaters—

וְלָכֵן, הַגּוֹיִם הַנִּשְׁפָּעִים מֵהֶם – הֵם עוֹבְדֵי עֲבוֹדָה־זָרָה מַמָּשׁ,

[but only] until the time of the “end,” until the time of the imminent Redemption, when death and the sitra achara (i.e., the “other side,” the unholy aspect of the universe) will be swallowed up.

עַד עֵת קֵץ, שֶׁיְּבוּלַּע הַמָּוֶת וְהַסִּטְרָא אָחֳרָא,

Of that time, G‑d promises, “Then shall I make the nations [pure of speech] so that they will all call upon the Name of G‑d.”36

וְ"אָז אֶהְפּוֹךְ אֶל עַמִּים כוּ' לִקְרוֹא כוּלָּם בְּשֵׁם ה'".

The Alter Rebbe now returns to the theme of the Divine spark in exile:

This [sustenance of idolaters through the Divine spark] is also called “the exile of the Shechinah,”

וְנִקְרָא גַם כֵּן בְּשֵׁם "גָּלוּת הַשְּׁכִינָה",

for this life-force, which is in a state of exile within them, as previously explained,

מֵאַחַר שֶׁחַיּוּת זֶה אֲשֶׁר בִּבְחִינַת "גָּלוּת" בְּתוֹכָם,

stems from the radiance issuing to them from the spark of the “word of G‑d,” which is called Shechinah in the terminology of the Sages, as mentioned above.

הוּא מֵהֶאָרָה הַנִּמְשֶׁכֶת לָהֶם מֵהַנִּיצוֹץ מִ"דְּבַר ה'" הַנִּקְרָא בְּשֵׁם "שְׁכִינָה"

According to the above, however, it would seem that this state of exile has existed since the creation of the world, with all its impure animals, etc. What do we mean, then, when we say that “the Shechinah was exiled”? This question is answered in the following parenthetical passage.

(37And this exile, brought about by the fact that the kelipot derive their life-force from a spark of G‑d’s creative speech, stems from the sin of the Tree of Knowledge and onward, for from that time, kelipot were able to receive a degree of vitality that they did not have until that point.

(וְגָלוּת זֶה נִמְשָׁךְ מֵחֵטְא עֵץ הַדַּעַת וְאֵילַךְ,

However, [they receive their vitality] only from the hindmost (i.e., from the lowest and most external) dimension of holiness.

וְהוּא בְּחִינַת "אֲחוֹרַיִים" לְבַד דִּקְדוּשָּׁה.

But when the Jewish people were exiled among the nations—and the Jewish people are attached and rooted in the supernal countenance (the panim, or pnimiyus, i.e., the innermost aspect of Divinity)

אַךְ כְּשֶׁגָּלוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל לְבֵין הָאוּמּוֹת, וַאֲחִיזַת יִשְׂרָאֵל וְשָׁרְשָׁם הוּא בִּבְחִינַת "פָּנִים" הָעֶלְיוֹנִים

this became a total exile. For then the innermost aspect of Divinity was also drawn down to the patron-angels and the nations, as explained at length in Iggeret Hateshuvah, ch. 6; see there.

הִנֵּה זוֹ הִיא גָלוּת שְׁלֵימָה,

Of this, our Sages, of blessed memory, said, “When [the Jewish people] were exiled to Edom, the Shechinah accompanied them.”38))

וְעַל זֶה אָמְרוּ רַבּוֹתֵינוּ־זִכְרוֹנָם־לִבְרָכָה: "גָּלוּ לֶאֱדוֹם שְׁכִינָה עִמָּהֶם")):

Now, though “G‑d is one and His Name is one,”39

וְהִנֵּה, אַף כִּי "ה' אֶחָד וּשְׁמוֹ אֶחָד",

i.e., [though] His speech and the “breath of His mouth,” which in the sacred Zohar40 is referred to as His Name, is singularly and uniquely one,

דְּהַיְינוּ, דִּבּוּרוֹ וְ"רוּחַ פִּיו" הַמְכוּנֶּה בַּזּוֹהַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ בְּשֵׁם "שְׁמוֹ" – הוּא יָחִיד וּמְיוּחָד,

nevertheless, the radiance and efflux of life-force which issues forth from His mouth divides into four different levels. These are the Four Worlds—Atzilut, Beriah, Yetzirah, and Asiyah.41

אַף־עַל־פִּי־כֵן, הַהֶאָרָה וְהַמְשָׁכַת הַחַיּוּת הַנִּמְשֶׁכֶת מֵ"רוּחַ פִּיו" יִתְבָּרֵךְ, מִתְחַלֶּקֶת לְד' מַדְרֵגוֹת שׁוֹנוֹת, שֶׁהֵן ד' עוֹלָמוֹת: אֲצִילוּת, בְּרִיאָה, יְצִירָה, עֲשִׂיָּה.

The difference is due to (42many) contractions and screens

וְהַשִּׁינּוּי הוּא מֵחֲמַת צִמְצוּמִים וּמָסָכִים (רַבִּים),

that veil and obscure the light and the life-force so that it will not radiate in the World of Beriah as much as in the World of Atzilut;

לְצַמְצֵם הָאוֹר וְהַחַיּוּת, וּלְהַסְתִּירוֹ, שֶׁלֹּא יְהֵא מֵאִיר כָּל כָּךְ בְּעוֹלַם הַבְּרִיאָה כְּמוֹ בְּעוֹלַם הָאֲצִילוּת,

and in the World of Yetzirah, [the opaqueness is thickened] by means of further contractions and screens, and so on, i.e., how much more so in the World of Asiyah.

וּבְעוֹלַם הַיְצִירָה הוּא עַל יְדֵי צִמְצוּמִים וּמָסָכִים יוֹתֵר וְכוּ'.

Nevertheless, there is no change whatsoever, heaven forfend, in the essence of the Shechinah, which is the “word of G‑d” and the “breath of His mouth.”

אֲבָל אֵין שׁוּם שִׁינּוּי חַס וְשָׁלוֹם בְּעַצְמוּת הַשְּׁכִינָה, שֶׁהִיא "דְבַר ה'" וְ"רוּחַ פִּיו".

Also, as regards the radiance and efflux of life-force that issues from the “word of G‑d,”

וְגַם בִּבְחִינַת הַהֶאָרָה וְהַמְשָׁכַת הַחַיּוּת,

the radiance which is in [the World of] Atzilut pierces the screen and vests itself in [the World of] Beriah. Likewise from [the World of] Beriah to [the World of] Yetzirah and from [the World of] Yetzirah to [the World of] Asiyah.

הִנֵּה הַהֶאָרָה שֶׁבַּאֲצִילוּת – בּוֹקַעַת הַמָּסָךְ וּמִתְלַבֶּשֶׁת בַּבְּרִיאָה, וְכֵן מִבְּרִיאָה לִיצִירָה וּמִיצִירָה לַעֲשִׂיָּה,

Hence, the [infinite] Ein Sof-light which is in [the World of] Atzilut is also present in [the World of] Asiyah, and [even] in this material world,

וְלָכֵן, אוֹר־אֵין־סוֹף בָּרוּךְ־הוּא שֶׁבַּאֲצִילוּת, הוּא גַּם כֵּן בַּעֲשִׂיָּה וּבָעוֹלָם הַזֶּה הַחוּמְרִי,

by being invested in the [sefirah of] malchut of [the Worlds of] Beriah, Yetzirah, and Asiyah, as fully explained in the writings of Rabbi Yitzchak Luria, of blessed memory.43

עַל־יְדֵי הִתְלַבְּשׁוּתוֹ בְּמַלְכוּת דִּבְרִיאָה־יְצִירָה־עֲשִׂיָּה, כִּמְבוֹאָר הַכֹּל בְּכִתְבֵי הָאֲרִ"י זִכְרוֹנוֹ לִבְרָכָה:

Now, it is known to all that the soul of man—the soul of the Jew—is compounded by the ten sefirot: chochmah, binah, daat, and so on, as explained in the Tanya, Part I, ch. 3.

וְהִנֵּה, נֶפֶשׁ הָאָדָם, יָדוּעַ לַכֹּל שֶׁהִיא כְּלוּלָה מִי' סְפִירוֹת, חָכְמָה בִּינָה דַּעַת וְכוּ'.

Though these [corresponding faculties of the soul] all derive from the breath of [G‑d’s] mouth, as it is written, “And He blew into his nostrils [the soul of life],”44

וְאַף שֶׁכּוּלָּן מֵ"רוּחַ פִּיו" יִתְבָּרֵךְ, כְּדִכְתִיב "וַיִּפַּח בְּאַפָּיו כוּ'",

The term “He blew” indicates that the Divine soul derives from the innermost spirit and vitality of its Creator, as explained in the Tanya, Part I, ch. 2, and Shaar Hayichud VehaEmunah, ch. 5.

nevertheless, each of these ten faculties of the soul is particularly connected with one of the ten supernal sefirot, as follows:

מִכָּל מָקוֹם,

more specifically, the ChaBaD in one’s soul, one’s intellective faculties of chochmah, binah, and daat, are analogous to the [Divine intellective emanations of] ChaBaD in the ten sefirot.

דֶּרֶךְ פְּרָט: חָכְמָה־בִּינָה־דַּעַת שֶׁבְּנַפְשׁוֹ הֵן דּוּגְמָא לְחָכְמָה־בִּינָה־דַּעַת שֶׁבְּי' סְפִירוֹת,

These are referred to as abba and imma.

הַמְכוּנּוֹת בְּשֵׁם "אַבָּא" וְ"אִמָּא":

In the Zohar, [the sefirah of] chochmah of [the World of] Atzilut is termed abba (“father”) and [the sefirah of] binah of [the World of] Atzilut is termed imma (“mother”) while [the sefirah of] daat is a combination of the two, as explained in the teachings of Chasidut.

The [emotive] attributes in one’s soul of [the] love and fear [of G‑d], and so on, are analogous to the [first six] middot (or Divine emotive attributes) in the ten sefirot, which are [collectively] known as z’eyr anpin (lit., “the minor visage”).

וּמִדּוֹת אַהֲבָה וְיִרְאָה וְכוּ' שֶׁבְּנַפְשׁוֹ – הֵן דּוּגְמָא לַמִּדּוֹת שֶׁבְּי' סְפִירוֹת, הַנִּקְרָאוֹת בְּשֵׁם "זְעֵיר אַנְפִּין":

And the faculty of speech in one’s soul is analogous to the supernal speech, which is known as [the sefirah of] malchut, or the Shechinah.

וְכֹחַ הַדִּבּוּר שֶׁבְּנַפְשׁוֹ – דּוּגְמָא לַדִּבּוּר הָעֶלְיוֹן, הַנִּקְרָא בְּשֵׁם "מַלְכוּת" וּ"שְׁכִינָה",

Hence, since a Jew’s speech is analogous to supernal speech, the Shechinah, when speaking words of Torah, one arouses the supernal speech, the sefirah of malchut, thereby unifying the Shechinah, i.e., linking it to the preceding stages of emanation.

וְלָכֵן, כְּשֶׁמְּדַבֵּר דִּבְרֵי תוֹרָה – מְעוֹרֵר דִּבּוּר הָעֶלְיוֹן לְיַחֵד הַשְּׁכִינָה,

That is why it is established45 that for the Reading of Shema, for the Blessing After Meals, and for [the study of] words of Torah, one has not discharged his duty by meditation without speech.

וּמִשּׁוּם הָכֵי קַיְימָא לָן בִּקְרִיאַת־שְׁמַע וּבִרְכַּת הַמָּזוֹן וְדִבְרֵי תוֹרָה – לֹא יָצָא בְּהִרְהוּר בְּלֹא דִבּוּר:

Now, “[G‑d created] this opposite that”46:

וְהִנֵּה, "זֶה לְעוּמַּת זֶה",

Since the entire dynamic of the holy “side” of the universe has its counterpart in the “other side,” the sitra achara, the abovementioned ten sefirot of holiness (and likewise the ten corresponding faculties of the G‑dly soul) each have their unholy counterpart:

there are “ten crowns of impurity.”47

יֵשׁ עֲשָׂרָה כִּתְרֵי דִמְסָאֲבוּתָא,

From these issue the souls of the nations, which are also comprised of the very same ten levels.

וּמֵהֶן נִמְשָׁכוֹת נַפְשׁוֹת הָאוּמּוֹת – גַּם כֵּן כְּלוּלוֹת מֵעֶשֶׂר בְּחִינוֹת אֵלּוּ מַמָּשׁ.

The exposition of Sefer Hagilgulim48 on the verse, “That man rules over man, to his detriment,”49 is common knowledge:

וּמוּדַעַת זֹאת בָּאָרֶץ, מַה שֶּׁכָּתוּב בְּ"סֵפֶר הַגִּלְגּוּלִים" עַל פָּסוּק "אֲשֶׁר שָׁלַט הָאָדָם בְּאָדָם לְרַע לוֹ":

it refers to the mystery of the exile of the Shechinah in the midst of the kelipot, in order to animate them and to empower them to rule in the present time of exile.

שֶׁהוּא סוֹד גָּלוּת הַשְּׁכִינָה בְּתוֹךְ הַקְּלִיפּוֹת, לְהַחֲיוֹתָם וּלְהַשְׁלִיטָם עַתָּה בִּזְמַן הַגָּלוּת,

“Man rules over man” thus means that the “evil man” (of kelipah) rules over the “sacred man” (i.e., the holy “side” of the universe).

However, this [temporary dominion of evil] is “to his [ultimate] detriment…,” for its underlying intent is that the sparks of holiness that are found within evil be extracted and elevated.

אֲבָל הוּא "לְרַע לוֹ" וְכוּ'.

This is why the nations presently dominate the Jewish people,50

וְלָכֵן הָאוּמּוֹת שׁוֹלְטִין עַתָּה עַל יִשְׂרָאֵל,

for the souls of the nations [derive] from the kelipot, in which the Shechinah is vested in a state of exile, empowering them to rule.

לִהְיוֹת – נַפְשׁוֹת הָאוּמּוֹת מֵהַקְּלִיפּוֹת אֲשֶׁר הַשְּׁכִינָה מִתְלַבֶּשֶׁת בִּבְחִינַת גָּלוּת בְּתוֹכָם.

Though extensive exposition is required as to how and what is the manner in which the Shechinah is invested in the exile of the kelipot, nevertheless, it is truly so.

וְהִנֵּה, אַף שֶׁזֶּה צָרִיךְ בֵּיאוּר רָחָב אֵיךְ וּמָה, מִכָּל מָקוֹם הָאֱמֶת כֵּן הוּא.

Despite this, the kelipot and the nations receive their nurture and life-force only from a reflection extended to them from the hindmost dimension of holiness,

אֶלָּא שֶׁאַף־עַל־פִּי־כֵן, אֵין הַקְּלִפּוֹת וְהָאוּמּוֹת יוֹנְקִים וּמְקַבְּלִים חַיּוּת אֶלָּא מֵהֶאָרָה הַנִּמְשֶׁכֶת לָהֶם מִבְּחִינַת אֲחוֹרַיִים דִּקְדוּשָּׁה,

“in the manner of one who [unwillingly] throws [something] over his shoulder [to his enemy],” as explained in the Tanya, ch. 22.

"כְּמַאן דְּשָׁדֵי בָּתַר כַּתְפֵיהּ",

And even that is by way of numerous and intense contractions and screens until this radiance becomes vested in the materiality of this world,

וְאַף גַּם זֹאת עַל־יְדֵי צִמְצוּמִים וּמָסָכִים רַבִּים וַעֲצוּמִים, עַד שֶׁנִּתְלַבְּשָׁה הֶאָרָה זוֹ בְּחוּמְרִיּוּת עוֹלָם הַזֶּה,

dispensing wealth and honor and all physical pleasures unto the nations.

וּמַשְׁפַּעַת לָאוּמּוֹת עוֹשֶׁר וְכָבוֹד וְכָל תַּעֲנוּגִים גַּשְׁמִיִּים.

Jews, however, elicit [their sustenance] from the supernal countenance (the panim, or pnimiyus, i.e., the innermost aspect of Divinity), as it is written, “May G‑d make His Countenance shine upon you,”51

מַה־שֶּׁאֵין־כֵּן יִשְׂרָאֵל, יוֹנְקִים מִבְּחִינַת פָּנִים הָעֶלְיוֹנִים, כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב: "יָאֵר ה' פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ",

each according to the source of his soul up to the most elevated of levels.

כָּל אֶחָד וְאֶחָד לְפִי שֹׁרֶשׁ נִשְׁמָתוֹ עַד רוּם הַמַּעֲלוֹת:

After these words and this truth, which are manifest and known to all, let us return to the original subject, concerning anger—where a person [who is angry] is likened to an idolater.52

וְאַחַר הַדְּבָרִים וְהָאֶמֶת הָאֵלֶּה הַגְּלוּיִם וִידוּעִים לַכֹּל, נַחֲזוֹר לְעִנְיָן רִאשׁוֹן, בְּעִנְיַן הַכַּעַס – שֶׁהוּא "כְּעוֹבֵד עֲבוֹדָה־זָרָה",

This is so only with regard to mundane matters, for “everything is in the hands of heaven except for the fear of heaven.”53

וְהַיְינוּ – בְּמִילֵּי דְעָלְמָא, כִּי "הַכֹּל בִּידֵי שָׁמַיִם חוּץ מִיִּרְאַת שָׁמַיִם",

Since everything is in G‑d’s hands, there is no reason to become angry. However, with regard to matters involving the “fear of heaven,” anger does have a place.

Hence, with respect to heavenly matters, to “ward [a fellow Jew] from [transgressing] a prohibition,”54 the reason stated does not apply, for these matters are not in G‑d’s hands but in man’s.

וְלָכֵן, בְּמִילֵּי דִשְׁמַיָּא – לְאַפְרוּשֵׁי מֵאִיסּוּרָא לֹא שַׁיָּיךְ הַאי טַעֲמָא דַּאֲמָרָן,

As it is written, “And Moses was angry.”55

וּכְמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב: "וַיִּקְצוֹף מֹשֶׁה",

This was because G‑d caused him to encounter this mitzvah of “warding [a fellow Jew] from [transgressing] a prohibition” in order to make him meritorious.

וְהַיְינוּ, מִשּׁוּם כִּי ה' הִקְרָה לְפָנָיו מִצְוָה זוֹ, לְאַפְרוּשֵׁי מֵאִיסּוּרָא, כְּדֵי לְזַכּוֹתוֹ:

Thus, this situation is obviously quite different from being angry at someone because of harm or offense.

But this applies only when one is able to prevent [transgression] by his wrath and anger against his fellow-man; in such a case, he is permitted to become angry, as did Moses.

אַךְ זֶהוּ כְּשֶׁיֵּשׁ בְּיָדוֹ לִמְחוֹת בְּקִצְפּוֹ וְכַעֲסוֹ עַל חֲבֵירוֹ,

However, when he is unable to change the situation, as in the case of the heathen56 who talks and confuses him while he is praying,

אֲבָל כְּשֶׁאֵין בְּיָדוֹ לִמְחוֹת, כְּגוֹן נָכְרִי הַמְדַבֵּר וּמְבַלְבְּלוֹ בִּתְפִלָּתוֹ,

[the question] then [arises]: What is this that G‑d has done to him, that a gentile should disrupt his prayers?

אִם כֵּן מַה זֹּאת עָשָׂה ה' לוֹ,

This is so only in order that he prevail and strengthen himself ever more in his prayers, from the depths of his heart, and with such intense concentration

אֵין זֹאת, כִּי אִם – כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּתְגַּבֵּר וְיִתְאַמֵּץ יוֹתֵר בִּתְפִלָּתוֹ, בְּעוֹמֶק הַלֵּב וּבְכַוָּונָה גְדוֹלָה כָּל כָּךְ,

that he will not hear the gentile’s talk.

עַד שֶׁלֹּא יִשְׁמַע דִּבּוּרֵי הַנָּכְרִי.

However, for such a level, one needs a great and intense arousal.

אַךְ, שֶׁלְּמַדְרֵגָה זוֹ צָרִיךְ הִתְעוֹרְרוּת רַבָּה וַעֲצוּמָה.

And the counsel suggested to attain such an arousal derives from this very subject.

וְעֵצָה הַיְּעוּצָה לְהִתְעוֹרְרוּת זוֹ, הִיא מֵעִנְיָן זֶה עַצְמוֹ,

One should consider and meditate on the concept of the descent of the Shechinah, as it were—how “it descended in wondrous fashion”57 to have a spark of its radiance invested [within the kelipot].

כְּשֶׁיָּשִׂים אֶל לִבּוֹ וְיִתְבּוֹנֵן עִנְיַן יְרִידַת הַשְּׁכִינָה כִּבְיָכוֹל, "וַתֵּרֶד פְּלָאִים", לְהִתְלַבֵּשׁ נִיצוֹץ מֵהֶאָרָתָהּ,

It is generally in a state of exile among the kelipot in order to animate them.

אֲשֶׁר הִיא בִּבְחִינַת גָּלוּת בְּתוֹךְ הַקְּלִיפּוֹת דֶּרֶךְ כְּלָל לְהַחֲיוֹתָם,

And now, a spark of its radiance vests itself in a particular state of exile,

וְעַתָּה הַפַּעַם, נִיצוֹץ הֶאָרָתָהּ מִתְלַבֵּשׁ בִּבְחִינַת גָּלוּת דֶּרֶךְ פְּרָט,

in the speech of this gentile who utters words that disturb one’s Divine service, i.e., one’s devout concentration during prayer.

בְּדִבּוּר נָכְרִי זֶה, הַמְדַבֵּר דְּבָרִים הַמְבַלְבְּלִים עֲבוֹדַת ה', הִיא כַּוָּונַת הַתְּפִלָּה,

And, as explained above, “[G‑d created] this opposite that,”58 each element of the holy “side” of the universe having its unholy counterpart on the “other side,” the sitra achara.

וּכְמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר לְעֵיל, כִּי "זֶה לְעוּמַּת זֶה וְכוּ'",

Thus, the supernal speech vests itself in the nether speech, and so on.

וְדִבּוּר הָעֶלְיוֹן מִתְלַבֵּשׁ בַּדִּבּוּר הַתַּחְתּוֹן וְכוּ',

I.e., supernal speech vests itself in a lower degree of speech, ultimately descending through a self-screening chain of descent until it provides life-force even for the kelipot.

This indeed is the meaning of the verse, “That man rules over man to his detriment,”59 which was explained above in terms of the temporary dominion of the “evil man” (of kelipah) over the “sacred man” (the holy “side” of the universe).

וְזֶהוּ מַמָּשׁ "אֲשֶׁר שָׁלַט הָאָדָם בְּאָדָם לְרַע לוֹ",

When this gentile utilizes the spark which is exiled within himself to hinder a Jew who is trying to pray, the kelipot are manifestly ruling over the holy “side” of the universe. The forces of holiness, however, can thereby be invigorated and vitalized when the worshipper reacts by upgrading his concentration.

This he will be prompted to do when he meditates on the above-described descent of the Shechinah into exile. And from this exile, he will seek to liberate it.

In the words of the Alter Rebbe:

That is to say that through this [meditation], the individual is aroused to pray with greater devotion, from the depth of his heart, until he will not hear [the gentile’s] words.

דְּהַיְינוּ, שֶׁעַל יְדֵי זֶה מִתְעוֹרֵר הָאָדָם לְהִתְפַּלֵּל יוֹתֵר בְּכַוָּונָה מֵעוּמְקָא דְלִבָּא, עַד שֶׁלֹּא יִשְׁמַע דִּיבּוּרָיו.

The above explains the statement of the Baal Shem Tov in Tzavaat Harivash, that the Shechinah vests itself in this gentile. For everything in this world houses a spark of holiness, and within this gentile, the spark is present in a state of exile, for the reason explained above.

As for the compiler [of Tzavaat Harivash] using the word shartah, meaning that the Shechinah “dwelt” or “abided” within this gentile,

וּמַה שֶּׁכָּתַב הַמְלַקֵּט "שָׁרְתָה" –

he was unable to focus on the precise term,

לֹא יָדַע לְכַוֵּין הַלָּשׁוֹן בְּדִקְדּוּק,

for the Baal Shem Tov, of blessed memory, used to deliver Torah teachings in Yiddish, not in the Holy Tongue.

כִּי הַבַּעַל־שֵׁם־טוֹב זִכְרוֹנוֹ לִבְרָכָה הָיָה אוֹמֵר דִּבְרֵי תוֹרָה בִּלְשׁוֹן אִידִישׁ וְלֹא בִּלְשׁוֹן הַקּוֹדֶשׁ,

The compiler, translating these discourses into Hebrew, transmitted their content, not their precise terminology, and in this case, he erred.

He really meant to say nitlabshah (“became vested”), for shartah (“dwelt” or “abided”) implies that the Shechinah was revealed,

וְרָצָה לוֹמַר "נִתְלַבְּשָׁה",

whereas [nitlabshah] means [that the Shechinah was vested] in a state of exile.

וְהַיְינוּ בִּבְחִינַת גָּלוּת.

This [distinction] explains [the emphasis in Tzavaat Harivash], “And especially if he is a gentile…,”

וְזֶהוּ "וּבִפְרָט אִם הוּא נָכְרִי כוּ'".

Were we to be speaking of a manifest indwelling of the Shechinah, how could it be said that the Divine Presence resides to a greater extent within this gentile who is disturbing a Jew at prayer than within the worshipper? Rather, we are speaking of a self-obscuring investiture of the Shechinah within the gentile—

for then it is so much more in exile.

שֶׁאָז הִיא בְּחִינַת גָּלוּת בְּיוֹתֵר.

There is no need to wonder at a spark of the radiance of the Shechinah being referred to (in Tzavaat Harivash) as Shechinah.

וְאֵין לִתְמוֹהַּ אִם נִיצוֹץ מִן הֶאָרַת שְׁכִינָה נִקְרָא בְּשֵׁם "שְׁכִינָה",

For we find that even a created angel, which is not a spark of the Shechinah, is referred to by G‑d’s Name in Parashat Vayera in the verse, “And he said, ‘Lord, do not pass by your servant,’”60 according to the commentary of R. Moses Nachmanides (Ramban);

דְּהָא אַשְׁכְּחָן, שֶׁאֲפִילוּ מַלְאָךְ נִבְרָא, נִקְרָא בְּשֵׁם ה' בְּפָרָשַׁת וַיֵּרָא לְפֵירוּשׁ הָרַמְבַּ"ן,

and as it is likewise written, “And [Hagar] called the name of G‑d Who spoke to her…,”61 where we are explicitly told that we are speaking of an angel; and many more [passages] like this.

וּכְמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב: "וַתִּקְרָא שֵׁם ה' הַדּוֹבֵר אֵלֶיהָ וְכוּ'", וּכְהַאי גַּוְנָא טוּבָא.

It would seem to me, says the Alter Rebbe, alluding to the opponents of Chasidism who had taken issue with the above-discussed passage from Tzavaat Harivash, that their seizing [upon this passage] was not prompted by the particular term used (viz., “dwelling”),

וְכִמְדוּמֶּה לִי, שֶׁתְּפִיסָתָם אֵינָהּ מִצַּד דִּקְדּוּק הַלָּשׁוֹן,

but by the very notion that the Shechinah can be invested in the kelipot,

אֶלָּא מֵעִיקַּר עִנְיַן הִתְלַבְּשׁוּת הַשְּׁכִינָה בַּקְּלִיפּוֹת,

for they do not believe what Rabbi Yitzchak Luria, of blessed memory, stated concerning this in Sefer Hagilgulim (ch. 2).

שֶׁאֵין לָהֶם אֱמוּנָה בְּמַה שֶׁאָמַר הָאֲרִיזַ"ל בְּ"סֵפֶר הַגִּלְגּוּלִים",

Should they seek to distinguish between the spiritual kelipot and physical idolaters, contending that the Arizal is speaking only of the spiritual kelipot, as distinct from a corporeal heathen—

שֶׁאִם יִרְצוּ לְחַלֵּק בֵּין קְלִיפּוֹת הָרוּחָנִיִּים לְעוֹבְדֵי גִלּוּלִים הַגַּשְׁמִיִּים

there is nothing more physical than the dust of the earth;

אֵין לְךָ גַּשְׁמִי כַּעֲפַר הָאָרֶץ,

nevertheless, as is stated in the Kabbalah, [the sefirah of] malchut of malchut of [the World of] Asiyah vests itself in it, and within that in turn is vested [the sefirah of] malchut of [the World of] Yetzirah, and so on, with [the sefirah of] malchut of [the World of] Beriah and [the sefirah of] malchut of [the World of] Atzilut, as mentioned above.

וְאַף־עַל־פִּי־כֵן מִתְלַבֶּשֶׁת בּוֹ מַלְכוּת דְּמַלְכוּת דַּעֲשִׂיָּה וּבְתוֹכָהּ מַלְכוּת דִּיצִירָה כוּ', וְכַנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל.

And should it be [difficult for them to conceive that the Shechinah vests itself in the gentile] because of the impurity of the souls of the gentile—

וְאִם מִשּׁוּם טוּמְאַת נַפְשׁוֹת הַנָּכְרִים,

the souls [of the gentiles] derive from the union of the masculine and feminine elements (zivug zu’n, the union of z’eyr anpin and malchut) of the spiritual kelipot, as stated in the writings of Rabbi Yitzchak Luria, of blessed memory.

הֲרֵי נַפְשׁוֹתֵיהֶם מִזִּיוּוּג זְעֵיר אַנְפִּין וְנוּקְבָא דִּקְלִיפּוֹת הָרוּחָנִיִּים, כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב בְּכִתְבֵי הָאֲרִיזַ"ל.

Thus, the sources of their impurity are the spiritual kelipot, in which all agree that the Shechinah can vest itself. Why not, then, in the souls of the gentiles?

נִמְצָא שֶׁהָרוּחָנִיִּים מְקוֹר טוּמְאָתָם.

However, in truth, the manner of this investiture—both in the spiritual and in the physical realm—requires extensive elucidation.

אַךְ בֶּאֱמֶת, צָרִיךְ בֵּיאוּר רָחָב, אֵיךְ הוּא הִתְלַבְּשׁוּת זוֹ?

In fact, their complaint should not be addressed to us, the revealers of Chasidism—the Baal Shem Tov, the Maggid of Mezritch, and the Alter Rebbe himself, but to the writings of Rabbi Yitzchak Luria, of blessed memory, in which it is stated that the Shechinah does indeed vest itself within kelipot.

אֲבָל, לֹא עָלֵינוּ תְּלוּנָתָם כִּי אִם עַל כִּתְבֵי הָאֲרִיזַ"ל.

And let no listener suspect me to imagine to have understood the words of Rabbi Yitzchak Luria, of blessed memory, to divest them from their physical connotation,

וְאַל יַחְשְׁדֵנִי שׁוֹמֵעַ, שֶׁאֲנִי בְּעֵינַי שֶׁהֵבַנְתִּי דִּבְרֵי הָאֲרִיזַ"ל לְהַפְשִׁיטָן מִגַּשְׁמִיּוּתָן

for I have set out only to explain the words of the Baal Shem Tov, of blessed memory, and of his disciples, according to the Kabbalah of Rabbi Yitzchak Luria, of blessed memory.

כִּי לֹא בָּאתִי רַק לְפָרֵשׁ דִּבְרֵי הַבַּעַל־שֵׁם־טוֹב זִכְרוֹנוֹ לִבְרָכָה וְתַלְמִידָיו עַל פִּי קַבָּלַת הָאֲרִיזַ"ל.

This is especially so since this concept, G‑d’s presence in even the humblest of places,

בְּשֶׁגַּם, שֶׁעִנְיָן זֶה

is not a teaching of the Kabbalah, nor is it one of “the secrets [that] are unto the L-rd our G‑d,”62

אֵינוֹ מֵחָכְמַת הַקַּבָּלָה וּמֵ"הַנִּסְתָּרוֹת לַה' אֱלֹקֵינוּ",

but rather one of “the things revealed unto us and unto our children”63—to believe in perfect faith in the explicit statement of Scripture, “‘Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?’ says G‑d.”64

כִּי אִם – מֵ"הַנִּגְלוֹת לָנוּ וּלְבָנֵינוּ", לְהַאֲמִין אֱמוּנָה שְׁלֵימָה בְּמִקְרָא מָלֵא שֶׁדִּבֶּר הַכָּתוּב: "הֲלֹא אֶת הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֶת הָאָרֶץ אֲנִי מָלֵא, נְאֻם ה'",

And “Scripture does not depart from its plain meaning”65: G‑d does indeed fill all space, both material and spiritual.

שֶׁאֵין מִקְרָא יוֹצֵא מִידֵי פְשׁוּטוֹ.

Moreover, it is a simple article of faith among Jews in general, handed down to them by their saintly ancestors, who walked artlessly with G‑d,

וְגַם, הִיא אֱמוּנָה פְּשׁוּטָה בִּסְתָם כְּלָלוּת יִשְׂרָאֵל, וּמְסוּרָה בְּיָדָם מֵאֲבוֹתֵיהֶם הַקְּדוֹשִׁים שֶׁהָלְכוּ בִּתְמִימוּת עִם ה',

without searching the concept of Divinity by means of mortal intellect, for it is infinitely beyond the intellect to know (intellectually) how He fills the world.

בְּלִי לַחְקוֹר בְּשֵׂכֶל אֱנוֹשִׁי עִנְיַן הָאֱלֹקוּת, אֲשֶׁר הוּא לְמַעְלָה מֵהַשֵּׂכֶל עַד אֵין קֵץ, לֵידַע אֵיךְ הוּא מָלֵא כָל הָאָרֶץ.

But new ones have recently come to rationally examine this question,

רַק, שֶׁחֲדָשִׁים מִקָּרוֹב בָּאוּ לַחְקוֹר בַּחֲקִירָה זוֹ,

and it is impossible to bring it within reach of their reason except by means of premises borrowed from the writings of Rabbi Yitzchak Luria, of blessed memory, divested from their physical connotation,

וְאִי אֶפְשָׁר לְקָרֵב לָהֶם אֶל הַשֵּׂכֶל, אֶלָּא דַּוְקָא עַל פִּי הַקְדָּמוֹת לְקוּחוֹת מִכִּתְבֵי אֲרִיזַ"ל, מוּפְשָׁטוֹת מִגַּשְׁמִיּוּתָן,

and according to what I heard from my masters, the Baal Shem Tov and the Maggid of Mezritch, may their souls rest in Eden.

וּכְפִי שֶׁשָּׁמַעְתִּי מֵרַבּוֹתַי נִשְׁמָתָם עֵדֶן.

However, it is impossible to explain this clearly in writing, only orally to an ear that hears [and understands], to uniquely qualified individuals and to “the remnants whom G‑d calls,”66

אַךְ אִי אֶפְשָׁר לְבָאֵר זֶה הֵיטֵב בְּמִכְתָּב, כִּי אִם, מִפֶּה לְאֹזֶן שׁוֹמַעַת, לִיחִידֵי סְגוּלָּה וְלַשְּׂרִידִים אֲשֶׁר ה' קוֹרֵא,

as it is written, “And they who seek G‑d will understand all.”67

כְּדִכְתִיב: "וּמְבַקְשֵׁי הַוָיָ' יָבִינוּ כֹל",

And “from the affirmative you may infer [the negative]”68that those who do not seek G‑d are incapable of perceiving the knowledge of Him as revealed in the inner dimension of the Torah and particularly in a truly comprehensible manner, in the teachings of Chasidism.

וּ"מִכְּלַל הֵן אַתָּה שׁוֹמֵעַ כוּ'".

You have now seen, writes the Alter Rebbe to the opponents of Chasidism, an explanation of a single passage from [its] well-known books,

הִנֵּה, אַתֶּם רְאִיתֶם פֵּירוּשׁ מַאֲמָר אֶחָד מִסְּפָרִים הַיְדוּעִים,

as a sample and token that likewise all the problematic passages about which objections have been raised have an explanation and meaningfulness for the students of the Kabbalah.

לְדוּגְמָא וּלְאוֹת, כִּי גַם כָּל הַמַּאֲמָרִים הַתְּמוּהִים יֵשׁ לָהֶם פֵּירוּשׁ וּבֵיאוּר הֵיטֵב לְיוֹדְעֵי חֵן.

However, let my esteemed [readers] not hope that I will explain everything in writing, for that is a hard and extensive labor, and indeed, absolutely impossible.

אַךְ לֹא יְקַוּוּ מַעֲלָתָם אֵלַי לְבָאֵר לָהֶם הַכֹּל בְּמִכְתָּב, כִּי הִיא מְלָאכָה כְּבֵידָה וּמְרוּבָּה, וְאִי אֶפְשָׁר בְּשׁוּם אוֹפֶן.

But if you so desire, send [here] from among you an outstandingly appropriate individual from your community,69

רַק, אִם תִּרְצוּ, שִׁלְּחוּ מִכֶּם אֶחָד וּמְיוּחָד שֶׁבָּעֵדָה,

and, G‑d willing, I will talk to him face to face.

וּ"פֶה אֶל פֶּה אֲדַבֵּר בּוֹ" אִם יִרְצֶה ה'.

And may G‑d be with my mouth as I speak, and “may the words of my mouth find favor.”70

וַה' יִהְיֶה עִם פִּי בְּהַטִּיפִי. וְ"יִהְיוּ לְרָצוֹן אִמְרֵי פִי":