Shaar Hayichud V’haEmunahh Chapter 2, Class 2

Tanya/Shaar Hayichud V’haemunah, Chapter 2, Class 2.

והן הן בחינת אותיות הדבור מעשרה מאמרות שבהם נבראו

[Activating forces such as the above] are the selfsame letters of speech [that constitute] the Ten Utterances by which [all beings] were created.

This is why the above-quoted verse states, “Forever, O G‑d, Your word stands in the heavens.” G‑d’s speech, which is the force that brings a created being into existence, must be present there forever, so as to give it life and existence.

–ועל זה נאמר: ואתה מחיה את כולם. אל תקרי מחיה אלא מהוה, דהיינו יש מאין

Concerning this Scripture says,3 “and You give life to them all.” I.e., G‑d provides the heavens and earth and all the creatures found within them, with life. Read not “give life,” but “bring into being,” i.e., ex nihilo.

It is written in Reishit Chochmah, as well as in the Shaloh (Shaar HaOtiot, pp. 48b, 70a), that although the verse uses the phrase “give life,” this does not mean that G‑d only provides created beings with life, in the way that the soul animates the already-existent body. Rather, the verse implies that this provision of life also serves to create them and to be responsible for their continued existence.

ואתה הן בחינת האותיות מאל״ף עד תי״ו

The word אתה (“You”) indicates all the letters from alef, the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, to tav, the final letter of the alphabet,

והה״א היא ה׳ מוצאות הפה, מקור האותיות

and the letter hei of the same word alludes to the five organs of verbal articulation, i.e., the larynx, palate, tongue, teeth and lips, which are the source of the letters.

This, then, is the meaning of the phrase, “and You (אתה) give life to them all.” The spiritual letters that emanate from the five supernal organs of verbal speech, provide life ex nihilo to the whole of the created universe.

ואף שאין לו דמות הגוף

Although He has no bodily likeness,4

How, then, can we speak of letters existing in the worlds above, and indeed add that it is through them that creation takes place ex nihilo?

הרי מקרא מלא דבר הכתוב: וידבר ה׳, ויאמר ה׳

yet Scripture itself explicitly applies [to Him anthropomorphic terms such as] “G‑d spoke” or “G‑d said,” thereby ascribing to Him letters and speech,

והיא בחינת התגלות הכ״ב אותיות עליונות לנביאים

and this — the meaning of “G‑d spoke” or “G‑d said” — is the revelation of the twenty-two supernal letters to the Prophets.

ומתלבשות בשכלם והשגתם במראה הנבואה

[These supernal letters] are enclothed in the intellect and comprehension which is to be found in their prophetic vision,

וגם במחשבתם ודיבורם, כמו שכתוב: רוח ה׳ דבר בי, ומלתו על לשוני

[and are enclothed] as well in their thought and speech, as it is written,5 “The spirit of G‑d spoke within me, and His word is upon my tongue,”

וכמו שאמר האריז״ל בשער הנבואה

as has been explained by the AriZal (in Shaar HaNevuah).

Clearly, there exist letters and speech above which are capable of being garbed in the thought and speech of the Prophets.

וכעין זה היא התלבשות האותיות בברואים, כדכתיב: בדבר ה׳ שמים נעשו, וברוח פיו כל צבאם

Similar to this is the investment of the letters in created things, as it is written,6 “By the word of G‑d were the heavens made, and by the breath of His mouth all their host,”

רק שהיא על ידי השתלשלות רבות ועצומות

except that [the enclothing of the letters in created beings] comes about through numerous and powerful descents,

עד שיורדות לעשיה גופנית

until [the letters] reach the corporeal World of Asiyah, which contains corporeal beings,

מה שאין כן השגת הנביאים היא באצילות המתלבשת בעולם הבריאה

whereas the apprehension of the Prophets is in the World of Atzilut as it becomes clothed in the World of Beriah.

It is from this lofty level that the spirit of prophecy descends upon the Prophets.

In similar fashion, the supernal letters descend and are invested within created beings, providing them with life and creating them ex nihilo.




3. Nechemiah 9:6.

4. Rambam, Hilchot Yesodei HaTorah 1:7-12.

5. II Shmuel 23:2.

6. Tehillim 33:6.



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