On the surface, [in resolution,] it could be explained1 that the revelation of the infinite dimension of Or Ein Sof within [our] world [characterized by concealment and limitation] is possible because the tzimtzum does not actually run contrary to [this infinite light]. For the tzimtzum [affected] only the limited dimension of Or Ein Sof (the or hagvul), not its infinite dimension.2 The infinite dimension of Or Ein Sof, by contrast, remained unchanged [by the tzimtzum. This infinite light was withdrawn and] became hidden within its source [in G‑d’s Essence], but it was not altered. [That cannot be said about] the limited dimension of Or Ein Sof; it underwent change because of the tzimtzum. As explained above, not only is the kav, [by definition,]a “short vector,” a limited light,3 but as this light [shined forth after] the tzimtzum, it became contracted and its limitations [became more pronounced].

To cite a parallel: The light of Atzilus is drawn down into the worlds of Beriah, Yetzirah, and Asiyah. [Indeed,] these realms are brought into being as a result of the power of the G‑dliness vested in Atzilus. Yet the light of Atzilus is contracted in the worlds of Beriah, Yetzirah, and Asiyah. [Although it is explained that] there is no limit to the expression of the attributes of Atzilus, that applies, however, only [as these attributes function] within Atzilus itself.4 When, by contrast, their light is drawn down into Beriah, Yetzirah, and Asiyah, it is not infinite in nature. The [change in the nature of the light as it descends] is possible only because the light of Atzilus is fundamentally a limited light. Therefore it undergoes a progressively greater tzimtzum [as it descends] into Beriah, Yetzirah, and Asiyah.

Similar concepts apply regarding the light of the kav, [for it is also] a limited light. Since it is limited [by nature], its limitation became even more pronounced through the tzimtzum. [Such a pattern, however,] cannot be applied to the infinite dimension of Or Ein Sof. It cannot be said that it underwent contraction because of the tzimtzum; [all that can be said is that] as a result of the tzimtzum, it became [withdrawn and] concealed within its source. Therefore revealing the infinite dimension of Or Ein Sof in the [framework of] existence brought into being through the tzimtzum does not represent a fusion of opposites, because the tzimtzum shares no common ground with it at all.5

To explain: The Splitting of the Sea of Reeds serves as an example of the fusion of opposites, as reflected by the verse:6 “The Children of Israel proceeded in the midst of the sea on dry land.” While walking on dry land, it was as if they were in the midst of the sea. [When considering the spiritual dimension of the miracle, it is clear that it involved] the fusion of two opposites: dry land and the sea. [The spiritual parallel of] the sea is “the hidden worlds,” [the realms where the revelation of G‑dliness is so powerful that the entities that exist in these realms are suffused with G‑d’s oneness to the extent that they have no independent identity, like entities that exist in the ocean. Looking from above, all one sees is the water, not the fish and the plants that live in it.7 The spiritual parallel of] dry land is “the revealed worlds,” [i.e., the worlds where the revelation of G‑dliness has been limited to such an extent that the created beings of those worlds see themselves as distinct entities, just as the entities living on dry land are visibly distinct from the land. At the Splitting of the Sea, the Jews were on dry land, existing with their individual identities like the created beings of “the revealed worlds,” although they were “in the sea,” amidst the revelation of “the hidden worlds.”]8 This interaction between “the revealed worlds” and “the hidden worlds” is truly a fusion of opposites. Therefore, the Splitting of the Sea had to be made possible by [influence from] a level that transcends them both.9 For this reason, the Splitting of the Sea is described10 as “difficult,”11 for it involves a fusion of opposites.

To offer another example: the way in which “souls of Atzilus12 function on this physical plane while enclothed in a physical body. This applies, in particular, to [tzaddikim with souls on this level] who involved themselves in material concerns, like Yosef who was a soul of Atzilus yet [was involved in material matters. Thus] “he entered the house to perform his tasks,”13 “to check the account books.”14 Since this involved the fusion of opposites, it was a wondrous matter. This wondrous dimension was reflected in Yosef and not in his brothers.15 Moreover, what was unique about Yosef was that he was involved with “account books.” Had he been a shepherd, [removed from the tensions and struggles of worldly activity,] his wondrous dimension would not have been so pronounced, [because the fusion of opposites would not have been so marked].

[To return to the resolution proposed at the beginning of this section: It could be said that since] the revelation of the infinite dimension of Or Ein Sof and the tzimtzum do not share any point of commonality, it is possible for that light to be revealed in our world, [for its revelation] does not represent a fusion of opposites. Thus it is written:16 “Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?” Since the tzimtzum does not have power over [G‑d’s] infinite light, that light is also present, [albeit in a concealed manner,] within the Spiritual Cosmos. [Indeed,] we see the expression [of this infinite light] in [man’s] Divine service of Torah, and particularly in the Divine service of teshuvah, for these services draw down the light that is sovev kol almin17 into this material world. Although the tzimtzum is felt most acutely in this material world, the presence of the light that is sovev kol almin is, nevertheless, revealed,18 because the tzimtzum does not have power over the light that is sovev kol almin.

In truth, however, this resolution is insufficient, for [G‑d’s] desire for the tzimtzum did have an effect on His infinite light,19 [causing it to be withdrawn and] hidden. For just as the tzimtzum had an effect on the limited dimension of Or Ein Sof,20 so too, the desire for the tzimtzum had an effect on the infinite dimension of Or Ein Sof, i.e., it caused it to be hidden.

The objective of our Divine service is to reveal this infinite light. For G‑d’s infinite light exists in a hidden state within the world on its own accord.21 This is what is implied by the verse: “Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?” The purpose of our Divine service is that this infinite light [no longer be hidden, but instead] be revealed [overtly]. As such, [as the question was raised initially]: If this light will be revealed, would it not cause the tzimtzum to be nullified?

True, with regard to G‑d’s Essence — and even with regard to His infinite light — the tzimtzum does not present a hindrance or an obstacle, and thus this infinite light can be revealed within the Spiritual Cosmos, [and, indeed, even within our material world]. Nevertheless, when this light is revealed, the tzimtzum is nullified and existence as we know it is nullified.22 [That is not the intent of our Divine service. Rather,] the objective is [a fusion of opposites,] that existence as we know it will remain, but that existence will be subsumed entirely [in G‑dliness].

[To refer to the verse originally cited: “The glory of G‑d will be revealed and all flesh will see as one that the mouth of G‑d has spoken.”] The question [— how could the light that was revealed before the tzimtzum be revealed after the tzimtzum without nullifying it —] applies when speaking of “the glory of G‑d,” i.e., His encompassing light. For even with regard to this light, it cannot be understood how it will be revealed in the worlds as they exist in their present framework.23 In particular, the question applies to the revelation of “the mouth of G‑d” which refers to an internalized light. The revelation of an internalized light is possible only when it is revealed in a k’li24 appropriate for it. In particular, it is known25 that there are three levels of keilim, corresponding to the levels of the three worlds of Beriah, Yetzirah, and Asiyah, while the light (the oros) includes four levels, i.e., the level of Atzilus is added. [The light of Atzilus] is also an internalized light, but it is above the keilim.26 Nevertheless, [the light as it exists in Atzilus] has a “foothold” in a k’li, [i.e., in Atzilus, there are keilim which — though utterly different from the keilim of Beriah, Yetzirah, and Asiyah — absorb and internalize the light to a certain extent]. Now, every internalized light — whether it is enclothed27 in a k’li or has a [mere] foothold in a k’li — is revealed because the framework [of the k’li] is a medium to express the light. This being so, it is difficult to understand how there can be a revelation of [“the mouth of G‑d,”] an internalized light [but one that is inherently above the framework of our world,]28 within our world as it exists in its present framework. Since that framework of existence came into being through the tzimtzum, how can it serve as a k’li to reveal this light [which is inherently above the tzimtzum]?