This letter was addressed to R. Avraham Hecht.

B”H, 20 Menachem Av, 5705

Greetings and blessings,

In response to your questions: The sacred text Maareches HaElokus was authored by R. Peretz HaKohen ben R. Yitzchak, one of the great Kabbalists in the era of Ramban. In his maamar entitled Derush Shalosh Shitos (printed in Derech Mitzvosecha, Vol. II), the Tzemach Tzedek refers to him several times and seeks to explain several of the Alter Rebbe’s maamarim according to his [teachings].

His greatness is reflected by the fact that several generations afterwards, the Kabbalist, R. Yuda Chayim — who was praised by the AriZal, as stated in the maamar entitled VaYomer... Hen HaAdam in Torah Or — endeavored to compose a commentary on the text, Maareches HaElokus.

The statement made in his name: “The Ein Sof which we mentioned is not alluded to in the Torah” can be interpreted according to the explanations in several maamarim in Chassidus, among them Shoresh Mitzvas HaTefilah. To quote:

[With regard to] the names of G‑d which the Kabbalists associate with particular qualities, e.g., the name E‑l with the quality of Chesed: The intent is not the actual Sefirah itself.... For no verse should be taken beyond its literal meaning. When we read one of [G‑d’s] names in the Torah, our intent and this is the true interpretation — is G‑d Himself... He whose existence is from His essence.... In truth, our intent is focused on the Creator of the world who shines and is manifest in the Sefirah.... Thus although there are ten names... [G‑d’s] infinite light which shines within them is one... and it is to Him that we refer when calling out....

As He is from the standpoint of His essence, there is no name that rests upon Him. For He cannot be defined by any letter or attribute, heaven forbid, as all theKabbalists state.

See also the statements of the Zohar, Vol. II (p. 42b):

Before the Holy One, blessed be He, created the world... it was forbidden to make any form or image of Him at all; not with the letter Hei, nor with the letter Yud, nor [to call upon Him] even with [His] holy name, nor with any letter or point at all. Nevertheless, after He made the image of the Sublime Man upon the chariot, He rests there, and with regard to that image He can be called Havayah... so that He will make Himself known to us.... When He withdraws upward from [that image], He has no attribute, comparison, or form [that describes Him].

See the lengthy explanation in that passage. Similarly, the Introduction to the Tikkunei Zohar which states: “You have no known name.” Similar statements are found in many sources.

This concept is also logically understood, even at first glance. For every name limits, defining the form of the entity in either a positive or a negative manner.1 And there is no form that is appropriate to describe His essence. See the statements in the beginning of the Shaloh concerning this concept.

With regard to your question concerning an allusion to this concept in the revealed teachings of the Torah: The concept is explicitly mentioned in Shmos Rabbah 3:6 (as quoted in Shoresh Mitzvas HaTefillah, loc. cit.): “The Holy One told Moshe: ‘You wish to know My name. I am called according to My deeds....2When I show mercy to My world, I am called Havayah.’”

See also the maamar entitled Kol HaShoneh Halachos in the series of maamarim entitled Yom Tov Shel Rosh HaShanah, 5666, which states that the name Havayah within G‑d’s essence does not have letters.

With the blessing, “Immediately to teshuvah; immediately to Redemption,”

Rabbi Menachem Schneerson
Executive Director