It goes without saying that according to the opinion — cited by the Tzemach Tzedek — that even the vessels of Atzilus are [but] a level of revelation of that which was previously concealed, that the ultimate purpose surely does not rest in them, for they are in a state of descent and mere revelation.

But even according to the second opinion cited there, that the vessels are creations ex nihilo, it is explained in various sources that they are not truly creations ex nihilo; they are only considered so in relation to the light [that illuminates them].

[The vessels of Atzilus are considered as creations ex nihilo relative to the lights of Atzilus] because the source of the vessels is from the Reshimah, [the Divine power of limitation and finitude,] which is a state of concealment.

The vessels therefore exist in such a way that their source is hidden from them.

Thus, relative to the illumination they are considered to have been created ex nihilo.

However, in relation to [their source,] the Reshimah, they are indeed revelations of that which was previously concealed.

It is thus clear that the ultimate [Divine] objective is not the higher worlds, but rather man's spiritual service of subduing and transforming this world [into holiness].

Since presently the performance of mitzvos increases illumination within Atzilus, [so that it is not this world that currently benefits therefrom,] how can we then say that even now the ultimate objective of man's divine service is specifically this world?

The Rebbe Maharash [answers this question when he] explains that these illuminations in Atzilus are there as if in storage; i.e., they are not revealed there, for they are intended not for that world but for this lowly world, [where they will be revealed with the arrival of Mashiach].

It is in this context that the Rebbe Rashab considers the above quotation [from Tanya] as to why it is impossible to argue that "the ultimate intent [of the progressive, chainlike descent of the worlds] is not the loftier worlds, since for them this constitutes a descent from the light of G‑d's Countenance."

He explains as follows: The higher worlds are characterized by revelation, which implies descent.

[It entails withdrawing from oneself and concealing the profundity contained within, in order to reveal a mere glimmer of that which exists within its source.]

Moreover, G‑d's Essence is entirely removed from the quality of revelation.

The ultimate objective, then, is this lowly physical world, for so the idea arose in blessed G‑d's will that He experience delight "when the forces of evil are subdued and darkness is converted into light."

This is as explained in the maamar, that man's service consists wholly of transforming the folly of the forces of evil to the folly of holiness.

This brings about the Divine satisfaction expressed by the phrase, "I derive pleasure from the fact that I spoke, and My will was executed."

This manner of service results in providing G‑d with a dwelling in the worlds below. And just as a person's entire essence and being dwells in his home, so too with regard to [our spiritual task of] making this lowly world a dwelling for G‑d: It results in drawing down not only manifestations of Divinity, but also the infinite Essence of G‑d.

And this is the ultimate purpose of the creation and downward progression of all worlds.