This letter was addressed to R. Yaakov Katz of Chicago, one of the initial supporters of Lubavitch activities in America.

B”H, 16 Shvat, 5709

Greetings and blessings,

In response to your letter of the 15th of Shvat:

a) The conclusion of the maamar entitled Taamah Ki Tov, 5709, states: “[The Sefiros] are divided into three rungs: ChaBaD,1 ChaGaT, and NeHY2 ...and are also divided into three vectors: ChaChaN on the right, BaGaH on the left, and DaTY in the center.3 All of this represents [the G‑dly attributes that are described by the metaphor of] man.”

The explanation of this is that [the maamar describes] the Sefiros whose purpose is, as stated in [the passage] Pasach Eliyahu:4 “You are He Who emanates... ten Sefiros to regulate the worlds.” There are two approaches by which to divide [the Sefiros] into categories:

i) In sequential order (length) — [The Sefiros are mentioned as they emanate] from above downward, focusing on their relative ethereality and closeness to the Ein Sof and their relative distance from the worlds. Viewed in this way, their order is Chochmah, Binah, Daas, Chessed, etc. Within this sequence, there are three groups which correspond — by way of analogy to the human body — to the head (ChaBaD), the trunk (ChaGaT), and the legs (NeHY).

ii) In configuration (width) — from the right [vector] to the left [vector]. [The emphasis is on the general thrust of each of the Sefiros, whether it is one of] revelation or concealment; conveying [Divine creative] influence, [i.e., hashpaah,] or conveying [forces] that withhold influence.5 Viewed in this way, the order of the Sefiros is ChaChaNChochmah, Chessed andNetzach — on the right; BaGaH — Binah, Gevurah and Hod — on the left; and DaTYDaas, Tiferes and Yesod — in the center. See Bad Kodesh by the Mitteler Rebbe [which elaborates] on this order.

Both of these sequences are described as “the Sublime Man,”6 because the differences in their progression can be appreciated by the intellect. Beyond this, there is a higher dimension of Divinity which is described by a borrowed Biblical phrase —

b) “He is not a man” (I Shmuel 15:29). As Shmuel told Shaul: “He is not a man that He would reconsider.”7

This calls for an explanation: What is the new concept in the answer that Shmuelgave Shaul? After all, Shaul also knew that G‑d was not a man in the simple sense. He was asking that he should be forgiven because he repented, just as repentance is always effective with relation to G‑d, and he could then remain king. What, then, is meant by the answer that G‑d is not a man that He would reconsider?

The meaning is that Shmuel, [a prophet,] was informing Shaul that, in this instance, [the Divine influence] was not from “the Sublime Man” which gives expression to the right and left [vectors] and is dependent on the deeds of mortals. Instead, the decision to give the kingship to “your fellow who is better than you” (ibid.:28) came from a level [of Divinity] that surpasses “the Sublime Man.” On that level, it is impossible for there to be change, for “He is not ‘[the Sublime] Man’ to reconsider,” [i.e., change].8 See [further explanation] concerning this in [the maamarim concerning] this week’s parshah in Torah Or, at the end of the explanation of the maamar beginning Zachor Es HaShabbos.

c) On the telephone, you asked me why I conveyed to you the answer from my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe Shlita, in so short a time.

There are four reasons for this:

i) “What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow man.”9 If I had asked a question that was important to me and an intermediary withheld the reply for longer than necessary, I would be unhappy. I can’t determine if the matter is important to you or not. Perhaps it is. This applies to a question of a general nature. In particular —

ii) when a mitzvah is involved, including [the mitzvah of] ahavas Yisrael. In the words of the Alter Rebbe (Tanya, Iggeres HaKodesh, Epistle 21), “The positive virtue of zerizus (zeal) is known to all.... It is [this] zerizus of Avraham our Patriarch that stands by us and our descendants for all time... to show his happiness and his willingness to fulfill the will of his Creator and to generate gratification for the One Who formed him.” This applies with regard to all mitzvos. In particular —

iii) it involves a matter concerning one’s livelihood. Though it was decreed Above that one would be granted sustenance, that sustenance must still be drawn down to this material realm as physical sustenance. On the way, it is possible that there will be negative spiritual forces that impede this influence and cause it to remain in the spiritual realms. This is the distinctive quality of the Priestly Blessing and of priests.10 Their sign is almonds, implying that they draw down [spiritual influence] quickly11 (see Likkutei Torah, the end of Parshas Korach; Derech Mitzvosecha by the Tzemach Tzedek, Mitzvas Birkas Kohanim). The power to [draw down influence in this manner] is possessed by a Rebbe. [Hence,] his answer should not be held up on its way. This applies with regard to a matter concerning one’s livelihood in general. In particular —

iv) The Rebbe Shlita was tired after a day’s work when you called. When I entered [his room], I asked whether or not I should postpone [raising] the question until the next day, for according to what you said, you were not pressed for time. He answered that I should raise the question immediately. From this I understood that I should definitely not delay.

Concluding with blessings for a good Shabbos and for ever­lasting good in all matters,

Rabbi Menachem Schneerson