The Alter Rebbe, who passed away on the 24th of Teves, states that at the time of a tzaddik’s passing there ascends above “all of the tzaddik’s actions, his Torah, and the Divine service in which he engaged all the days of his life.”1 At that time, all of man’s lifelong labors and attainments are revealed from their former state of concealment, shining forth at the time of his passing.2

The same is so every year on the day of the yartzeit,3 the date of the tzaddik’s passing, for every year at that time there is an even greater revival and repetition of those matters that were accomplished originally during the time of the tzaddik’s passing.

The particular greatness of the Alter Rebbe may be gleaned from his name. This is so both with regard to his birth name, as well as with regard to the titular name by which he is known among the Jewish people.

The Alter Rebbe’s birth name is Schneur Zalman. Any name given by parents to their child denotes the child’s essence, and this is so even if the parents are unaware of the essence of the child they are naming.

For as the AriZal states:4 The name given to a child by his father and mother “is not by mere chance and happenstance. Rather, G‑d places within their mouths the name that is required for that soul.... This name is recorded above on the Throne of Glory, as known. This is why our Sages say,5 ‘The name causes it.’”

If this is so with regard to all parents, how much more so with regard to the parents of the Alter Rebbe, who were truly great in their own right.6 It stands to reason that though they named the Alter Rebbe after his grandfather, they also had another intention: they “saw” that this name encapsulates the particular essential qualities of their son.

This is also so regarding the name by which the Alter Rebbe is known among Jewry: “Baal HaTanya v’HaShulchan Aruch,” the “Author of the Tanya and the Shulchan Aruch.”7 True, this is but a descriptive name, a name by which he is known because of the sefarim he authored. Still, since he is known by this name among all Jewry, it is considered a “Torah name.” Surely then, this name as well is indicative of the Alter Rebbe’s unique inner qualities.

Since both the Alter Rebbe’s birth name — Schneur Zalman — as well as his descriptive name — “Baal HaTanya v’HaShulchan Aruch” — are names that describe his essential qualities, understandably both names indicate the same aspects. Nonetheless, the name given him at birth marks his concealed potential, while his descriptive name indicates the potential that was fully revealed.

The name “Schneur” is a composite of the two Hebrew words “shnei or,” “two lights.” This is in accord with the Baal Shem Tovsstatement regarding the Alter Rebbe, that he would illuminate the world with the two illuminations of the revealed and the concealed (i.e., mystical) parts of Torah.8

This concept is underscored in the descriptive name “Baal HaTanya v’HaShulchan Aruch,” as Tanya (the inner portion of Torah) and Shulchan Aruch (the revealed portion of Torah) are the two luminaries by which the Alter Rebbe illumined the world.

True, prior to the Alter Rebbe there were also Torah giants who excelled in both the revealed as well as the inner portion of Torah. However, the innovation of “Schneur” is that both “lights” — of the revealed and inner portions of Torah — are part of the same word. This is to say that the Alter Rebbe absolutely combined and united the revealed and inner portions of Torah.

For the unique aspect of the Alter Rebbe lay in his ability to draw down G‑dliness that transcended intellect within the framework of wisdom, knowledge and understanding: Chabad.

Chassidus, as revealed by the Baal Shem Tov and the Maggid of Mezritch, was in a manner of emunah (“faith”) that transcended intellect. The Alter Rebbe, however, in revealing Chassidus Chabad, accomplished that even Divine matters that transcend intellect can be perceived and experienced within the intellect.9

We accordingly understand that the combination of the “lights” of the revealed and inner portions of Torah that was accomplished by the Alter Rebbe finds expression not only in his authoring both the Tanya and Shulchan Aruch (the inner and revealed portions of Torah), but also within the Tanya itself, for Tanya palpably reveals within the world the most esoteric aspects of Torah and G‑dliness.

This aspect of revealing G‑dliness within the temporal world is also alluded to by the Alter Rebbe’s second name, Zalman, which contains the letters of the Hebrew word lizman, or “time,” and is indicative of this finite and concealing world.10 It was within such a world that the Alter Rebbe succeeded in revealing and making comprehensible G‑d’s infinite and unbounded greatness.

Based on Likkutei Sichos, Vol. VI, pp. 35-41.