Iggeres Ha’Kodesh Epistle 14, Class 4

Tanya/ Iggeres Ha’Kodesh – The Holy Epistle, Epistle 14, Class 4


And every year there descends and radiates a new and renewed light which has never yet shone, from the supreme chochmah4 to the Eretz Ha’elyonah.

וּבְכָל שָׁנָה וְשָׁנָה יוֹרֵד וּמֵאִיר מֵחָכְמָה עִילָּאָה אוֹר חָדָשׁ וּמְחוּדָּשׁ, שֶׁלֹּא הָיָה מֵאִיר עֲדַיִין מֵעוֹלָם לָאָרֶץ הָעֶלְיוֹנָה,

The light that reaches down to this level is here described as “new and renewed,” for in the first instance, a new light radiates into chochmah from the Ein Sof that transcends it, then a new light issues from chochmah and irradiates the Eretz Ha’elyonah.

For the light of every year withdraws to its source in the essence of the Ein Sof on the eve of every Rosh Hashanah,

כִּי אוֹר כָּל שָׁנָה וְשָׁנָה מִסְתַּלֵּק לְשָׁרְשׁוֹ בְּכָל עֶרֶב רֹאשׁ־הַשָּׁנָה

“when the moon is covered.”

כְּשֶׁ”הַחֹדֶשׁ מִתְכַּסֶּה בּוֹ”,

Rosh Hashanah is known as “the holiday when the new moon is covered”5 and is not seen. In a spiritual context, this means that the sefirah of malchut (represented in the Kabbalah by the moon), the light that animates the worlds and created beings, is concealed and withdraws to its source.

Afterward, by means of the sounding of the Shofar and by means of the prayers, a new and superior light is elicited,

וְאַחַר כָּךְ, עַל־יְדֵי תְּקִיעַת שׁוֹפָר וְהַתְּפִלּוֹת, נִמְשָׁךְ אוֹר חָדָשׁ עֶלְיוֹן

[a light] of a yet higher rank in the sphere of the supreme chochmah,

מִבְּחִינָה עֶלְיוֹנָה יוֹתֵר שֶׁבְּמַדְרֵגַת חָכְמָה עִילָּאָה,

to radiate to the Eretz elyonah and those who dwell upon it,

לְהָאִיר לָאָרֶץ עֶלְיוֹנָה וְלַדָּרִים עָלֶיהָ,

i.e., to all the higher and lower worlds that receive their vitality from it,

הֵם כָּל הָעוֹלָמוֹת הָעֶלְיוֹנִים וְהַתַּחְתּוֹנִים הַמְקַבְּלִים חַיּוּתָם מִמֶּנָּה,

i.e., from the [infinite] Ein Sof-light, and from [G‑d’s] chochmah, which is vested in it, i.e., in “the Higher Land,”

דְּהַיְינוּ, מִן הָאוֹר־אֵין־סוֹף בָּרוּךְ־הוּא וְחָכְמָתוֹ הַמְלוּבָּשׁ בָּהּ,

as it is written, “For with You is the source of life; in Your light shall we see light.”6

כְּדִכְתִיב: “כִּי עִמְּךָ מְקוֹר חַיִּים, בְּאוֹרְךָ נִרְאֶה אוֹר”,

supreme chochmah, which is the source of life, is “with You,” i.e., nullified and unified with the Ein Sof; “in Your light” (i.e., in the light that radiates from chochmah to “the Higher Land”), “we shall see light” (i.e., the light that descends from “the Higher Land” and illumines all the created beings which receive their vitality from it).

This refers to the light that radiates from supreme chochmah, the source of life.

דְּהַיְינוּ, אוֹר הַמֵּאִיר מֵחָכְמָה עִילָּאָה מְקוֹר הַחַיִּים

(7And, as is known to the scholars of the Hidden Wisdom, i.e., the Kabbalists, every Rosh Hashanah, the nesirah takes place, and [the sefirah of malchut] receives new, more sublime mochin, and so on.)

(וְכַנּוֹדָע לְיוֹדְעֵי חֵן, שֶׁבְּכָל רֹאשׁ־הַשָּׁנָה הִיא הַנְּסִירָה, וּמְקַבֶּלֶת מוֹחִין חֲדָשִׁים עֶלְיוֹנִים יוֹתֵר כוּ’).

This is a Kabbalistic theme regarding the “rebuilding” of the sefirah of malchut that takes place every Rosh Hashanah. The paradigm of this sequence is the slumber that G‑d brought upon Adam8 on the day of his creation, which took place on the day of Rosh Hashanah, and the subsequent excision (nesirah) of the rib from which Eve was then formed.

The Kabbalah explains that Adam is a terrestrial echo of supernal man, i.e., the bracket of sefirot known collectively as za (acronym for z’eyr anpin) of the World of Atzilut. “Slumber” alludes to the withdrawal of the supernal intellectual attributes, or mochin, from za (just as man’s intellect withdraws during sleep). The new and more sublime mochin which are then drawn down into malchut are far superior to the mochin that malchut had previously received from za.




4. Note by the Rebbe: “Cf. Likkutei Torah (Shir Hashirim 50b): ‘Surely in supreme chochmah too this new light is drawn down from Above….’”

5. Rosh Hashanah 8a.

6. Psalms 36:10.

7. Parentheses are in the original text.

8. Genesis 2:21.