Terms used in Chabad Chassidus are not necessarily to be understood according to their common usage. In these Notes the translator has attempted to give the specific connotation of the words in their Chabad context. The very term "Chabad" an acronym for chochma, bina and daat, is an example of the special meaning this system has applied to standard terms, as will be demonstrated further in these Notes.

It must be emphasized that these Notes are not by any means a full treatment of the subject discussed. They are intended only to simplify understanding of the terms. Of necessity, the comments are frequently so brief as to merely hint at the full meaning; but it is hoped that the reader will be able to follow the text with the assistance of these Notes.

Soul Powers: The soul (nefesh) finds its expression and manifestation through its powers. There are two broad categories: 1) General and 2) Particular powers. The General powers are Delight (oneg) and Will (Ratzon). They are "general" in that they are not limited to any specific part of the body. One may experience Delight from, and exercize Will over, the Intellect, Emotions, and physical organs in equal measure.

The Particular powers may be subdivided into two classes, with downward progression: a) Intellect-powers and b) Emotion-powers.

Intellect-powers: These powers include, chochma (generally rendered Wisdom, but for our purpose Concept is preferable), bina (Understanding, comprehension, intellectual grasp), and daat (Knowledge, or preferably here, concentration, depth, and carrying the idea to its conclusion).

In intellectual endeavor, one may have difficulty in understanding his subject, despite all his efforts. Suddenly his mind may be illuminated with a spark, a "point;" a concept that is as yet undefined, a germ that contains within itself the solution to the problem. Because it is as yet amorphous, comprehension is lacking; the flash of illumination might indeed be dissipated unless it is promptly developed. But already the thinker experiences Delight; he is aware of a great accomplishment. He is prepared to examine this Concept, this "point" (comparable in its infinitesimal nature and its potential to the geometric point that is the beginning of all constructions), until he achieves perfect understanding. (This nucleus finds its source in maskil, the soul-power that gives rise to the Intellect; maskil may be defined as the Intellect-source). In this state the Concept defies articulation, it is still an abstraction, but has a degree of tangibility as compared to maskil. The term "Concept" is used here rather than the more common renditions of chochma because Concept implies genesis of intellectual activity, creativity.

Bina takes this Concept-nucleus, examines it and develops it in all its ramifications and details. The idea becomes embodied, articulate, instead of remaining abstract. The original Concept- spark becomes obscured in this process, but Comprehension takes its place. This development may be amplification in depth (profound understanding) or in breadth (details).

To develop properly, Concept and Comprehension must act in unison and balance. The obscured Concept-nucleus must be evident in the expansiveness of Comprehension; the breadth and depth of Comprehension must be latent in the spark of Concept. Exaggerated emphasis of one or the other distorts the idea and its conclusion.

Daat is the concentration and devotion to intellectual endeavor that makes possible the development of Comprehension, and carries the idea to its logical conclusion. The conclusion will vary with the type of subject-a verdict in legal problems, or an emotion consonant with the idea, as will be further explained.

Chochma is creative; bina is developmental; daat is conclusive. One person's forte may be chochma, another's bina, a third's daat. They would then be described respectively as chacham, meivin and daatan.

Emotion-powers: The Emotion-powers are the conclusions and results of the Intellect-powers. Chabad Chassidus, being largely devoted to the study of G‑d, insists that intellectual achievement per se is inadequate. The mind must carry out its conclusions in the heart (the seat of the emotions, as the brain is the seat of the intellect), in the arousal of emotions indicated by the subject under study. For example, meditation on the greatness of the Almighty might lead to Fear (another term, by the way, that needs interpretation in its Chabad context, but is irrelevant to us now) of Him. Recognition of His Providence might lead to Love of Him. The Emotions in turn must affect actual deeds, that one act in the light of his understanding and feelings, continuing the unbroken sequence of mind, heart, and deed. (See "On the Teachings of Chassidus;" XVI).

The term Chabad is descriptive of the principle of this school, that through systematic intellectual progression one may control, even radically alter, his Emotions, and concomitantly, his deeds.

Chassidus enumerates seven Emotion-powers, or attributes; the latter tour, being derivative or branches of the first three, there is no need to explain them here. The first three are chessed (Kindness), g'vura (Severity, restraint, strength), and tiferet (Beauty).

Kindness is the inclination toward expansion, giving forth. It finds expression in charity, sharing knowledge, and simple human goodness. Love would be a corollary of this attribute, inasmuch as the characteristic of Kindness is a closeness between the parties involved.

 Severity expresses itself in withholding, in limitation. Since withdrawal is a mark of Severity, Fear would be its corollary.

Tiferet, or Beauty, is composition of the first two, a combination of their qualities, with Kindness predominating. It may be defined as "mercy;" granting where the recipient is not necessarily worthy.

Kindness by itself, despite its attractiveness, can be corrupted and harmful. Too much bounty is not beneficial, as in the illustration of the teacher and his callow pupil (see below on "Condensation'). Kindness must be tempered with Severity, limiting the endowment to the absorptive capacity of the recipient. The merger of Kindness and Severity in this manner would be called "Severity-in-Kindness."

Severity unmellowed is obviously undesirable. It must be alloyed with Kindness, as in the denial of privilege for the purpose of improving a child. This merger, with Severity basic, would be described as "Kindness-in-Severity."

The other Emotion-powers too, are not to operate in their pristine states, but must combine with one or more of the others, according to the instances prevailing, according to the needs of the situation. The initial combinations result in 7 x 7 or 49 attributes. (See "On the Teachings of Chassidus," XXIX).

Encompassing and Permeating Light: The General powers of the soul are described as encompassing - they find their abode in no particular part of the body; they encompass all its components equally. Through its Particular powers the soul is manifested in certain vessels for each power, e.g. intellect in the brain. The soul thus permeates the body besides encompassing it. Since the Particular powers are not equal in function or magnitude, it follows that there are variations in the degree of revelation of the soul in the particular vessels, or instruments, of the powers. General or encompassing powers are equally manifest in the highest and lowest parts of the body.

Chassidus describes the soul and its manifestations as parallels of G‑d and His revelation. GA encompasses Creation; no distinctions of higher and lower, spiritual and material, exist. He also permeates Creation, revealing Himself or concealing His presence according to the vessel or instrument of His revelation. These revelations, or illuminations, are known as Encompassing Light (soveiv) and Permeating Light (memalei) respectively. His Encompassing Light is constant, countenancing no difference between the highest, most spiritual being, and the lowest, most gross material creature, all degrees submerged and null in the greater Light of G‑d. The Encompassing Light is as yet unperceived by His creatures. (See explanation of Condensation, further.) However, in the Permeating Light, the creative power in action, He is manifested (tangibly to the sensitive) in varying degrees, and is embodied, as the Life-force, within Creation. The Permeating Light parallels the soul-powers embodied and expressed in their particular vessels of the body. Transcendent G -d could refer to His Encompassing Light, the supra-revelatory aspect of G‑d; Providential G d could refer to His Permeating Light, G‑d the Creator and master of Creation.

Thought and speech: The soul-powers, Intellect and Emotion, in turn utilize auxiliaries or "garbs" as instruments. Intellect uses Thought; Emotion (of necessity existing only in terms of another external being-one fears or loves another, while relatively speaking Intellect may be purely introspective), utilizes Speech. In Chabad usage then, Speech implies external existence, while Thought implies internal unity. Thus we speak of the vivifying Word of G‑d, G‑d creating by saying, "Let there be..."

Thought enjoys a greater unity with the soul than does Speech. Its existence is not externally evident and it is continuous in its action, whereas Speech is subject to interruption. Thought does not require another being for its fulfillment, while Speech can be directed only outside one's self.

Within Thought there are further subdivisions. Intellect- thought describes the state of an idea existing in its pure form, to the exclusion of articulation. One first perceives an idea, then he seeks its verbalization. (This applies to Comprehension, not to Concept alone). In terms of expression the idea is as yet disembodied. The next step is Speech-in Thought; the idea predominates but there are the beginnings of verbalization. In Thought-in-Speech, verbalization of the idea predominates over the abstract concept. In actual speech the idea reaches its epitome of development it has passed the test of presentation to another.

Condensation: In downward progression, tzimtzum (condensation, contraction, concentration) is the means of orderly descent from a higher level to a lower. A teacher in expounding an idea to his pupils, his intellectual inferiors, cannot present the idea in the terms of his own comprehension. He must condense his idea in such a manner (through illustrations and explanations comprehensible to his pupils) that 1) the pupils understand, and 2) the condensed version retain all the elements of the idea in its original, or teacher's, state. Ultimately the student may, by dint of acquisition of knowledge and a more highly developed mind, attain the teacher's level of understanding by gradual upward progression. Without condensation of the idea, the pupil will learn nothing (the idea in its original state being beyond his capacities) and moreover will become so confused as to be incapable of grasping even subjects on his own level, his mind ceasing to function properly, in effect ceasing to exist.

When the upper, or teacher's, level is infinitely higher than the pupil's, when downward progression requires a radical descent, it is necessary for the teacher to set aside completely the idea as he conceives it, lest he fail to find terms accessible to the pupil. This First, or Great Condensation constitutes a complete withdrawal from the higher level, and the end product (the presented idea) is infinitely lower than the original. Subsequent condensations (adaptations to the precise plane of the pupil) will concern stages having a measurable relationship with each other, no radical difference between the levels.

In the process of Creation: Since G‑d is the Absolute Infinite, finite existence would be precluded (comparable to the utter confusion of the pupil presented with the teacher's original idea) were it not for the initial Great Condensation. Innumerable subsequent condensations progressively conceal His infinity, making possible the existence of physical, finite creatures. The millenial goal is the improvement and elevation of Creation to the point that it be fully conscious of, and united with, the Infinite, while retaining its present character Dust as the pupil attains the teacher's level without becoming the teacher).

Four Worlds: The main categories of the stages of condensation are called the four Worlds: Atzilut (Emanation, the state of proximity where He most evident); Bria (Creation, a finite state radically different from its preceding infinite World, Atzilut); Yetzira (Formation, a lower state of finite existence. These three are non-physical; the latter two are subject to the limitations of spiritual beings); Assiya (Action, deed; this World includes our mundane world). Successively higher levels among and within the Four Worlds enjoy respectively higher degrees of awareness and conception of His nature.

Each of these Four Worlds is general; the subgradations within each may be described as "worlds" a well, and are innumerable Existences, "habitants" of the Four Worlds are known as "emanations; "'creatures:' etc. "Angels" in Torah refers to beings of those spiritual worlds, below Atzilut, whose finiteness may be equated with "body." They have no physical form, since physical matter does Pat exist in those spheres. The Worlds are roughly analogous to the attributes- intellect and emotion and the beings of each world are accordingly described. Hence "Abstract Intellect" - denoting the exalted plane of intellect combined with abstraction, disembodiment, superior to the dimensions of time and space.

Sefirot: On each of the four general levels He has the Divine attributes called Sefirot that parallel the powers of the soul (Intellect, Emotion, and their components). Naturally, each Sefira varies from World to World according to the variations of the Worlds themselves. Intellect on the Emanation plane is as different from Intellect on the Creation plane as the realm of Emanation is different from the realm of Creation.

Essence: Etzem, or essence, refers to the absolute, fundamental, non-derivative state of any being, the state which transcends revelation. It is non-composite. Manifestation does not involve the Essence of being, the Essence being the source of the manifestation.

Like all descriptive terms, "Essence" has its relative and absolute meaning. (See "On Learning Chassidus," I). It may be applied to the soul, or its components, for example, in its relative connotations. Absolute Essence can refer only to G‑d; all other beings of necessity are secondary, or productions, and are not elemental. Relatively speaking, "soul-essence" refers to the soul, not its powers; "essence-powers" refers to the independent powers, not merged with the others, but in terms of the soul the powers are by no means "essence."

Havayeh: G‑d in His Essence-state is called by the Ineffable Name in Scripture, and "Havayeh" in conversation. This refers to G‑d the Infinite, transcending creation and nature, supra-spatial and supra-temporal, precluding any existence outside Himself as an infringement on true Infinity. "There is no other" (Devarim 4:39). In order to create the mundane world He desired, He concealed His Presence, He condensed His Light (see Notes on "Condensation").

G‑d as Creator is called Elokim, signifying limitation and the subsequent possibility of finite existence. As the teacher's condensed idea contains no elements lacking in the original from which it is derived, so too Elokim has no independence or qualities other than those endowed it by its source and origin, Havayeh. As the pupil receives the condensed idea, so the finite world is called into existence by Elokim. Elokim performs the actual creation, but not of its own accord. It is, so to speak, an intermediary that brings to fruition the creative power latent, but ineluctibly present, in the Infinite.

Form and Matter: In the context of these pages, "Form" (tzura) refers to the spiritual aspect any being, the word of G‑d that vivifies it. Form or spirit, implies abstraction, disembodiment. "Matter" (chomer), or substance, as used here, refers to the material aspect of the being, the physical body, "body" implying tangibility.

In terms of Concept and Comprehension (see "On Learning Chassidus" XII), concept is the abstract nucleus of the idea; it has no intellectual tangibility. It is, even in terms of the intellect, "spiritual."

Chassidus teaches the pre-eminence of Form over Matter, the ideal domination of the spiritual over the physical. The reality of the being is not its physical substance, but the Word of G -d, the Divine spark that gives it life, or the "Form."