Shaar Hayichud V’haEmunahh Chapter 9, Class 3

Tanya/Shaar Hayichud V’haEmunah, Chapter 9, Class 3

..It is thus impossible to say that G‑d can or cannot be apprehended through intellect, inasmuch as intellect and wisdom are not at all the means by which G‑d can be grasped.

As for the Holy One, blessed be He, being called “Wise” in Scripture, and our Sages, of blessed memory, have also referred to Him with epithets denoting the quality and level of wisdom,

וּמַה שֶּׁהַקָּדוֹשׁ־בָּרוּךְ־הוּא נִקְרָא “חָכָם” בַּכָּתוּב, וְגַם חֲכָמֵינוּ־זִכְרוֹנָם־לִבְרָכָה כִּינּוּ לוֹ מַדְרֵגַת וּמַעֲלַת הַחָכְמָה,

this is because He is the source of wisdom, for from Him issues and emanates the essence of the level of supernal wisdom, which is in the World of Atzilut.

הַיְינוּ, מִשּׁוּם שֶׁהוּא מְקוֹר הַחָכְמָה, שֶׁמִּמֶּנּוּ יִתְבָּרֵךְ נִמְשָׁךְ וְנֶאֱצָל מַהוּת מַדְרֵגַת חָכְמָה עִילָּאָה שֶׁבְּעוֹלַם הָאֲצִילוּת.

Likewise, [He is called] Merciful and Kind, even though He utterly transcends mercy and kindness, because He is the source of mercy and kindness,

וְכֵן “רַחוּם” וְ”חָסִיד”, עַל שֵׁם שֶׁהוּא מְקוֹר הָרַחֲמִים וְהַחֲסָדִים.

and likewise, regarding the other emotive attributes: G‑d is referred to by the names of the other attributes because He is their source,

וְכֵן שְׁאָר הַמִּדּוֹת,

for they all proceed and emanate from Him.

שֶׁכּוּלָּן נִמְשְׁכוּ וְנֶאֶצְלוּ מִמֶּנּוּ יִתְבָּרֵךְ.

The manner and nature of the flow and emanation—how and what—i.e., how the intellectual and emotive attributes emanate from the Ein Sof, which totally transcends them, and exactly what they are, for after they have emanated from Him, they are wholly united with Him, is known to the savants.3

וְדֶרֶךְ וְעִנְיַן הַהַמְשָׁכָה וְהָאֲצִילוּת אֵיךְ וּמָה, יָדוּעַ לַמַּשְׂכִּילִים

The Alter Rebbe now briefly explains the various tzimtzumim that had to take place in order to enable the attributes of Atzilut to emanate from the [infinite] Ein Sof-light.

[This note will outline] the mystical principle of the tzimtzum of the Ein Sof-light,

סוֹד הַצִּמְצוּם בְּאוֹר־אֵין־סוֹף בָּרוּךְ־הוּא,

Before the tzimtzum, G‑d’s infinite manifestation was predominant. Tzimtzum caused His capacity for limitation and finitude, which previously had been submerged within His infinite power, to be revealed.

and the tzimtzum of Adam Kadmon, which is the highest state of existence after the tzimtzum, and the primal thought that contains and is the source of all subsequent emanations and creations,

וְצִמְצוּם אָדָם קַדְמוֹן,

and the esoteric doctrine of [the tzimtzum of] Dikna.

וְסוֹד הַדִּיקְנָא,

The life-force that animates hair is exceedingly attentuated to the point that cutting it causes no pain. Accordingly, the terms Dikna (lit., “beard”) and se’arot (“hair”) are used to represent a certain form of tzimtzum.4

For the underlying purpose of all the contractions is to condense the light in order to enable it to become enclothed within the vessels of the ten sefirot [of the World of Atzilut].

שֶׁסּוֹד כָּל הַצִּמְצוּמִים לְצַמְצֵם הָאוֹר שֶׁיִּתְלַבֵּשׁ בִּבְחִינוֹת כֵּלִים דְּי’ סְפִירוֹת.

These “vessels” assume the specific form of wisdom or kindness. By contrast, the divine light that permeates these vessels is essentially simple. When, through tzimtzum, the vessels come into being and the light clothes itself within them and becomes fused with them, wisdom and kindness become one with G‑d.

It is only after the Ein Sof-light becomes clothed within the vessels of ChaBaD that Maimonides’ statement [about the Holy One, blessed be He] is in place: “He is the Knower, and He is the Knowledge, and He is the Known…and by knowing Himself [He knows all creation].”

וְהִנֵּה, אַחַר שֶׁנִּתְלַבֵּשׁ אוֹר־אֵין־סוֹף בִּבְחִינוֹת כֵּלִים דְּחָכְמָה־בִּינָה־דַּעַת, אָז שַׁיָּיךְ לוֹמַר מַה שֶּׁכָּתַב הָרַמְבַּ”ם: “הוּא הַיּוֹדֵעַ, וְהוּא הַמַּדָּע, וְהוּא הַיָּדוּעַ, וּבִידִיעַת עַצְמוֹ וְכוּ’”,

For the vessels of Atzilut become the soul and life-force of [the Worlds of] Beriah, Yetzirah, and Asiyah and all [the creatures] therein.

לְפִי שֶׁבְּחִינוֹת כֵּלִים דַּאֲצִילוּת נַﬠֲשִׂים נְשָׁמָה וְחַיּוּת לִבְרִיאָה־יְצִירָה־ﬠֲשִׂיָּה וּלְכָל אֲשֶׁר בָּהֶם.

By “knowing Himself” with the knowledge that is to be found in the vessels of Atzilut, He also knows all the Worlds and creatures of Beriah, Yetzirah, and Asiyah, since they derive their life-force from these vessels.

All this, however, can only come about after the various tzimtzumim have brought about the contraction of the light, enabling it to be vested in the vessels of Atzilut.

However, without the aforesaid tzimtzum and investiture [of the light in the vessels], it is not at all appropriate to say that “He is the Knower and He is the Knowledge…”; i.e., the whole category of knowledge cannot be ascribed to G‑d, even in so exalted a manner as in the statement that “He is the Knower…,”

אֲבָל בְּלִי צִמְצוּם וְהַלְבָּשָׁה הַנִּזְכָּר לְﬠֵיל לֹא שַׁיָּיךְ כְּלָל לוֹמַר “הוּא הַיּוֹדֵﬠַ, וְהוּא הַמַּדָּע וְכוּ’”,

for He is not within the realm and domain of knowing and knowledge at all, G‑d forbid,

כִּי אֵינוֹ בִּבְחִינַת וְגֶדֶר דַּﬠַת וּמַדָּע כְּלָל חַס וְשָׁלוֹם,

but infinitely elevated above even the level and the bounds of wisdom,

אֶלָּא לְמַﬠְלָה מַּﬠְלָה ﬠִילּוּי רַב ﬠַד אֵין קֵץ אֲפִילוּ מִבְּחִינַת וְגֶדֶר חָכְמָה,

For even the statement that “He is the Knower…” implies restricting G‑d, so to speak, to one particular faculty—viz., wisdom, as distinct from (say) the attribute of kindness or mercy. G‑d, however, utterly transcends all such bounds,

to the extent that in relation to Him, the level of wisdom is considered like the level of physical action.

ﬠַד שֶׁבְּחִינַת חָכְמָה נֶחְשֶׁבֶת אֶצְלוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ כִּבְחִינַת ﬠֲשִׂיָּה גַשְׁמִית:

Before the note, the Alter Rebbe had said that “the manner and nature of the flow and emanation—how and what—is known to the savants.” I.e., it is they who understand how from the Ein Sof-light there emanated the intellectual and emotive attributes, which even after their emanation are so completely fused with G‑d that it can be said that “He is the Knowledge….” The Alter Rebbe now goes on to say:

Now, we are not concerned with esoteric matters—how the emanations of the sefirot from the Ein Sof-light came about and the subsequent manner of their unity with Him,

וְהִנֵּה, אֵין לָנוּ עֵסֶק בַּנִּסְתָּרוֹת,

but it is incumbent upon us to believe with complete faith matters that are revealed to us—that He and His attributes, viz., the vessels and sefirot, are One.

אַךְ “הַנִּגְלוֹת לָנוּ”, לְהַאֲמִין אֱמוּנָה שְׁלֵימָה דְּ”אִיהוּ וְגַרְמוֹהִי חַד”,

I.e., the attributes of the Holy One, blessed be He, and His will, and His wisdom and understanding and knowledge, [are One] with His Essence and Being,

דְּהַיְינוּ, מִדּוֹתָיו שֶׁל הַקָּדוֹשׁ־בָּרוּךְ־הוּא וּרְצוֹנוֹ וְחָכְמָתוֹ וּבִינָתוֹ וְדַעְתּוֹ עִם מַהוּתוֹ וְעַצְמוּתוֹ,

Who alone is exalted by infinite elevations above the level of wisdom and intellect and comprehension.

הַמְרוֹמָם לְבַדּוֹ רוֹמְמוּת אֵין קֵץ מִבְּחִינַת חָכְמָה וְשֵׂכֶל וְהַשָּׂגָה.

Hence, since He totally transcends intellect and comprehension, His union with the attributes which He emanated from Himself is also beyond the realm of comprehension;

וְלָכֵן, גַּם יִחוּדוֹ שֶׁמִּתְיַיחֵד עִם מִדּוֹתָיו שֶׁהֶאֱצִיל מֵאִתּוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ, גַּם כֵּן אֵינוֹ בִּבְחִינַת הַשָּׂגָה

[i.e., it is impossible] to understand how He unites with them; rather, this may be apprehended only through faith.

לְהַשִּׂיג אֵיךְ מִתְיַיחֵד בָּהֶן.

In the holy Zohar, therefore, the attributes of the Holy One, blessed be He, which are the sefirot, are called “the secret of faith,”

וְלָכֵן נִקְרְאוּ מִדּוֹתָיו שֶׁל הַקָּדוֹשׁ־בָּרוּךְ־הוּא – שֶׁהֵן הַסְּפִירוֹת – בַּזֹּהַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ: “רָזָא דִמְהֵימְנוּתָא”,

which is the faith that transcends intellect, for this concept cannot be grasped intellectually but only through faith.

שֶׁהִיא הָאֱמוּנָה שֶׁלְּמַעְלָה מִן הַשֵּׂכֶל:




1. Psalms 104:24.

2. Psalms 104:24.

3. Note by the Rebbe: “This is explained at greater length in many places in Chasidut, e.g., in Mitzvat Haamanat Elokut [in Derech Mitzvotecha of the Tzemach Tzedek].”

4. Note by the Rebbe: “This is explained more extensively in many places in Chasidut, e.g., in Shaar Hayichud [in Ner Mitzvah V’Torah Or of the Mitteler Rebbe].”

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