Ch. 36, Class 3

Continuation of Chapter 36

אלא התכלית הוא עולם הזה התחתון

Rather, the purpose of Hishtalshelut is this lowest world.

All the higher worlds are merely steps in the descent of the divine creative power; in each of them the light is veiled yet further, until it is finally reduced to the minute degree of revelation that this physical world is capable of receiving.

שכך עלה ברצונו יתברך, להיות נחת רוח לפניו יתברך כד אתכפיא סטרא אחרא ואתהפך חשוכא לנהורא

Thus, the purpose of the Hishtalshelut is this world, for such was His will — that He find it pleasurable when the sitra achra is subjugated to holiness, and the darkness of kelipah is transformed into holy light,

שיאיר אור ה׳ אין סוף ברוך הוא במקום החשך והסטרא אחרא של כל עולם הזה כולו

so that in the place of the darkness and sitra achra prevailing throughout this world, the Ein Sof-light of G‑d will shine forth

ביתר שאת ויתר עז, ויתרון אור מן החשך, מהארתו בעולמות עליונים

with greater strength and intensity, and with the superior quality of light that emerges from the darkness i.e., when darkness is transformed into light, the resulting light is superior to ordinary light; it will thus shine with greater intensity than its radiance in the higher worlds.4

שמאיר שם על ידי לבושים והסתר פנים, המסתירים ומעלימים אור אין סוף ברוך הוא

There, in the higher worlds, it shines through garments and [through] concealment of the Countenance (a concealment of the pnimiyut — i.e., the internal aspect — of the light) which conceal and screen the Ein Sof-light,

שלא יבטלו במציאות

so that [the worlds] do not dissolve out of existence.

For were the Ein Sof-light not screened by garments, the worlds could not bear it, and would dissolve. Thus, the revelation wrought by subjugation of thekelipot in this world, is greater than that of the higher worlds; there the Ein Sof-light is hidden, whereas here in this world it is revealed in all its strength.

A question arises, however. How is it possible (even upon subjugating thekelipot and transforming them into holiness) that we in this world should experience a revelation of the Ein Sof-light without veil or concealment, when even the higher worlds cannot receive such revelation without dissolving into nothingness?

In answer, the Alter Rebbe writes:

ולזה נתן הקדוש ברוך הוא לישראל את התורה, שנקראת עוז וכח

For this purpose the Holy One, blessed be He, gave Israel the Torah which is called “might” and “strength” for it gives us strength to receive such revelation, without being overwhelmed by it,

וכמאמר רז״ל, שהקדוש ברוך הוא נותן כח בצדיקים לקבל שכרם לעתיד לבא

and as our Rabbis say,5 that G‑d gives tzaddikim the strength to receive their reward in the World to Come,

Why is this “strength” necessary?

שלא יתבטלו במציאות ממש באור ה׳ הנגלה לעתיד בלי שום לבוש

so that their existence should not dissolve within the divine light that will reveal itself in the hereafter without any garment,

כדכתיב: ולא יכנף עוד מוריך פירוש: שלא יתכסה ממך בכנף ולבוש , והיו עיניך רואות את מוריך

as it is written:6 “And your Teacher will no longer hide (יכנף) from you (7meaning— not as some interpret the verse: ”He will no longer withhold (יכנף) your rains (מוריך),“ but, following Rashi: ”He will no longer conceal Himself from you with the edge of a robe or garment (כנף)“), and your eyes will behold Your Teacher”;

וכתיב: כי עין בעין יראו וגו’

and it is also written:8 “For they shall see eye to eye…,” meaning that the human eye will see as the divine “eye” sees, i.e., we will clearly see the revelation of G‑d’s light;

וכתיב: לא יהיה לך עוד השמש לאור יומם וגו׳, כי ה׳ יהיה לך לאור עולם וגו׳

and it is further written:9 “The sun shall no longer be your light by day,… for G‑d will be your eternal light.”

The strength to receive this light, which will shine forth in the World to Come without “garment” or concealment, we derive from our present study of the Torah.

The Alter Rebbe stated earlier that the purpose of the entire Hishtalshelut is the revelation of Ein Sof-light in this world, which occurs when the darkness of the kelipot of this world is transformed into the light of holiness.

But, one may ask, this revelation will take place only in the hereafter; at present the Ein Sof-light is completely hidden! The Alter Rebbe replies that, indeed, the Messianic era constitutes the purpose for which this world was created.

ונודע שימות המשיח, ובפרט כשיחיו המתים

It is known that the Messianic era, especially the period after the resurrection of the dead,

הם תכלית ושלימות בריאת עולם הזה, שלכך נברא מתחילתו

is indeed the ultimate purpose and the fulfillment of this world. It is for this [purpose] that [this world] was originally created.*

*NOTE

At first glance this statement appears strange: One would have thought that the Messianic era represents, not the purpose of creation, but the reward for man’s efforts toward fulfilling that purpose.

The Alter Rebbe therefore clarifies:

הגהה

וקבלת שכר עיקרו באלף השביעי, כמו שכתוב בלקוטי תורה מהאר״י ז״ל

The [time of] receiving the reward is essentially in the seventh millennium, as is stated in Likkutei Torah of the AriZal (Rabbi Isaac Luria, of blessed memory), whereas the period until then constitutes the fulfillment of the world’s purpose.

END OF NOTE

וגם כבר היה לעולמים מעין זה, בשעת מתן תורה

A glimmer of this revelation which will take place in the future has already been experienced — at the time of the Giving of the Torah at Sinai,

כדכתיב: אתה הראת לדעת כי ה׳ הוא האלקים, אין עוד מלבדו

as it is written:10 “You (G‑d) revealed Yourself, that we may know that G‑d is the L‑rd; there is nothing else besides Him.”

הראת ממש, בראיה חושיית

“You actually ‘revealed Yourself’” (literally: “made Yourself seen”), indicating that the revelation was in a manner [perceptible to] physical sight.

כדכתיב: וכל העם רואים את הקולות, רואים את הנשמע

So it is written:11 “And all the people saw the thunder” — “They saw what is [normally] heard”; i.e., the Children of Israel perceived the revelation at Sinai with actual sight.

ופירשו רז״ל: מסתכלים למזרח ושומעין את הדבור יוצא: אנכי כו׳

As our Rabbis explain:12 “They looked eastward and heard the [divine] speech issuing forth, saying: ‘I am [G‑d your L‑rd-,’

וכן לארבע רוחות ולמעלה ולמטה

and so, too, turning toward the four points of the compass and above and below,“ they heard the words coming from every direction.

וכדפירשו בתיקונים, דלית אתר דלא מילל מיניה עמהון כו׳

As explained also in Tikkunei Zohar: “There was no place from which He did not speak to them.”

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Footnotes

5. Sanhedrin 100b.
6. Yeshayahu 30:20.
7. Parentheses are in the original text.
8. Yeshayahu 52:8.
9. Ibid. 60:19.
10. Devarim 4:35.
11. Shmot 20:15; and Mechilta (quoted in Rashi) on the verse.
12. See Shmot Rabbah 5:9.