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As Divided for a Regular Year
Tanya for 8 Shevat
[As we were learning yesterday 7 Shevat:
[Before one speaks or thinks], the letters of his speech and thought, which evolve from the [aforementioned] longing and desire, were still in a potential state in the heart],
where they were absolutely unified with their source, namely, the wisdom and intellect in the brain, and the longing and desire in the heart.
[In the case of a mortal, his thought and speech are completely unified with him before he speaks; at that point the letters which constitute his thought and speech are still telescoped within their source. In the case of the Creator, however, His "thought" and "speech" remain unified with Him even after He "thinks" and "speaks": they are always within their source - the omnipresent G-d, as the Alter Rebbe now concludes]:
Precisely so, by way of analogy, are G-d's "speech" and "thought" absolutely united with His essence and being even after His "speech" has already become materialized in the creation of the worlds, just as it was united with Him before the worlds were created.
Thus, for G-d, nothing whatever was changed [by the revelation of His creative power in Creation. The change wrought by Creation] exists only with regard to the created beings, who receive their life-force from G-d's Word when it proceeds [from concealment] to actualization, with the creation of the worlds.
[For the created beings, the revelation of the creative power contained in G-d's Word represents the greatest possible change - the passage from nonexistence to existence, since they come into being only when the Divine Word begins to actually create worlds]. At which time it clothes itself in these worlds, to give them life.
[This process takes place] through a gradual descent from level to level [with the higher level referred to as the Ilah, the "cause", and the lower level - the Alul, the "effect]", and a downward gradation by means of numerous and various contractions [tzimtzumim, i.e., a progressive decrease in the intensity of the revealed Divine powers.
G-d's Word descends and is contracted] to the point where the created beings can derive their life-force and existence from it, without losing their identity.
[An undimmed revelation of the G-dly life-force would create beings whose identity would be utterly nullified within their life-force.
It was G-d's intention that His creations perceive themselves to be separate from Him, and that through their *own* efforts they *achieve* a spirit of self-nullification vis-a-vis their Creator.
To this end, G-d revealed His creative power only through a series of contractions, whose effect the Alter Rebbe now goes on to explain]:
All the contractions constitute a "veiling of the [Divine] Countenance"; that is, they veil and conceal [the "face," i.e., the essential aspects of] the light and life-force that are derived from G-d's Word, so that it should not reveal itself with an intense radiance which the lower worlds would be incapable of receiving.
Therefore too, [because it is thus obscured through tzimtzum], the light and life-force of G-d's Word that is clothed in them appears to them as if it is something separate from G-d Himself, [and as though] it only issues from Him, just as the speech of a human being issues from him [but then becomes separated from him.
This false perception of the G-dly life-force as something separate from G-d is possible only because the life-force is hidden from creation by means of the tzimtzumim].
Yet, in regard to G-d, no concealment or veil hides or obscures anything from Him; to Him,  " `darkness' [concealment] and `light' [revelation] are alike," as it is written: "Even the darkness does not obscure [anything] from you."
[This may also be interpreted: "Even the darkness does not obscure because it derives from you"; i.e., the veil of tzimtzum is itself of divine origin, and therefore it cannot obscure G-dliness. For as the Alter Rebbe goes on to say, only a foreign body can constitute an obstruction; one cannot hide from his own self].
For the tzimtzumim and the "veils" are not things distinct from Him, heaven forfend, [since nothing is separate from G-d], but are  "like the turtle [or: `snail'], whose garment [i.e., its shell] is part of its body'; [so too, the very "shell" - the process of tzimtzum - that hides G-dliness is itself G-dly].
[In Hebrew: "Yud-kei-vav-kei - He is Elokim." The Four-Letter Name of G-d denotes Divine revelation and transcendence, while the Name Elokim refers to G-d's power of self-concealment by which he vests Himself in creation. The equation points out that they are one; Elokim is G-dly just as is the level of G-dliness signified by the other Name. Thus, Elokim does not act as a veil obscuring G-d, since it is essentially one with Yud-kei-vav-kei, the power of revelation]. Therefore, in His presence, all else is of absolutely no account.
[Since G-d is not affected by the tzimtzumim which make it possible for a created being to feel separate from Him, He perceives all the creations brought into being by His Word as being still within their source - Himself. There they are in a state of absolute nullification.
From His perspective they are still nonentities, and the fact of their creation in no way detracts from His absolute unity - He is One alone after Creation just as He was before Creation].
- (Back to text) Tehillim 139:12.
- (Back to text) Bereishit Rabbah 21:5.
- (Back to text) Devarim 4:35.
- (Back to text) Shaar HaYichud VehaEmunah, ch. 6.
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