Shaar Hayichud V’haEmunahh Chapter 10, Class 4

Tanya/Shaar Hayichud V’haEmunah, Chapter 10, Class 4

In like manner, on the second day, there was revealed the attribute of might, which is composed of the other emotive attributes and His will, and so on, i.e., ChaBaD,

וְכֵן בְּיוֹם שֵׁנִי – נִגְלֵית מִדַּת גְּבוּרָה, כְּלוּלָה מִשְּׁאָר מִדּוֹת, וּרְצוֹנוֹ כוּ’,

and with [the attribute of might, G‑d] created the firmament through the utterance, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.”

וּבָרָא בָהּ הָרָקִיעַ – בְּמַאֲמַר “יְהִי רָקִיעַ בְּתוֹךְ הַמָּיִם, וִיהִי מַבְדִּיל בֵּין מַיִם לָמָיִם”,

This [separation of the waters by the firmament] is an expression of tzimtzum and restraints (gevurot) to conceal the upper spiritual waters from the lower waters.

שֶׁהִיא בְּחִינַת צִמְצוּם וּגְבוּרוֹת לְהַעֲלִים מַיִם הָעֶלְיוֹנִים הָרוּחָנִיים מִמַּיִם הַתַּחְתּוֹנִים,

Through this separation from the upper waters, the lower waters became material.

וְעַל יְדֵי זֶה, נִתְגַּשְּׁמוּ הַתַּחְתּוֹנִים בְּהִבָּדְלָם מֵהָעֶלְיוֹנִים;

This materiality was brought about through the tzimtzum and concealment, which emanate from the attribute of might—the attribute that was revealed and dominant during the second day of creation.

The attribute of kindness is included in [this attribute], for “the world is built with kindness”12 (Note by the Rebbe: “[and the very act of building itself is] an expression of kindness”),

וּמִדַּת חֶסֶד כְּלוּלָה בָּהּ, כִּי “עוֹלָם חֶסֶד יִבָּנֶה”

Thus, even where might prevails, it is tempered by the attribute of chesed.

for all this—the division of the waters—is in order that dry land appear and man [live] upon it to serve G‑d; thus, this too is ultimately an expression of kindness.

שֶׁהַכֹּל כְּדֵי שֶׁתֵּרָאֶה הַיַּבָּשָׁה וְאָדָם עָלֶיהָ לַעֲבוֹד ה’.

And so with them all: each of the other emotive attributes was likewise revealed on each subsequent day in order to bring created beings into existence.

וְכֵן כּוּלָּן.

And it is this thought that Elijah expressed in the Tikkunim, loc. cit.: “[The purpose of the emanation of the sefirot was] to show how the world is conducted with…righteousness and justice…

וְזֶהוּ שֶׁאָמַר אֵלִיָּהוּ בַּתִּיקּוּנִים שָׁם: “לְאַחֲזָאָה אֵיךְ אִתְנַהֵיג עָלְמָא בְּצֶדֶק וּמִשְׁפָּט כוּ’,

righteousness is…law (i.e., the attribute of gevurah), justice is…mercy…all [the revelation of the attributes] is to show how the world is conducted,

צֶדֶק אִיהוּ דִין, מִשְׁפָּט אִיהוּ רַחֲמֵי כוּ’, כּוֹלָּא לְאַחֲזָאָה אֵיךְ אִתְנַהֵיג עָלְמָא,

but it is not that You have a knowable righteousness, which is law,

אֲבָל לָאו דְּאִית לָךְ צֶדֶק יְדִיעָא דְּאִיהוּ דִין,

nor a knowable justice, which is mercy,

וְלָא מִשְׁפָּט יְדִיעָא דְּאִיהוּ רַחֲמֵי,

nor any of these [other] attributes at all.”

וְלָאו מִכָּל אִינּוּן מִדּוֹת כְּלָל”:

This means to say that righteousness and justice exist as separately identifiable attributes only relative to worlds and created beings. As regards G‑d Himself, “it is not that You have” these attributes. In relation to Him, they do not exist independently at all, being completely unified with Him, just as sunlight enjoys no independent identity when within the sun.

Commentary Of The Rebbe on Chapter Ten

In the course of the farbrengen of Yud-Tet Kislev, 5728, the Rebbe explained the statement in the beginning of ch. 10 regarding the unity of the Divine attributes with the Ein Sof. The Alter Rebbe there likens their unity to “the unity of the sunlight that is within the solar globe with the solar globe [itself].”

The Alter Rebbe goes on to say that the sun’s rays are found not only outside the solar globe but must also surely exist to an even greater degree within their source—the sun. Nevertheless, insofar as sunlight is to be found within its source, it is united with it to such a degree that “it has no existence by itself at all.” It therefore cannot be deemed “light,” for within the sun-globe, “there is only one entity, namely, the body of the luminary, which emits light.”

Turning from the analogue to the analogy, the Alter Rebbe now says: “Precisely in this manner, and even more so,” is G‑d’s unity with His attributes. So perfect, indeed, is this unity that the attributes are not called by any names at all, whether will, wisdom, kindness, or whatever, for they are all truly One with G‑d Himself.

A number of points here call for clarification. To begin with: As soon as the Alter Rebbe proposes the analogy of the unity of the sun’s light with the sun, and before he even begins to explain it in detail, he mentions that the sun “is called a ‘luminary’” and buttresses this point by citing a proof-text from Scripture (“the greater luminary”). He then goes on to say that “the ray…which…shines from it is called ‘light,’ as it is written, ‘And G‑d called the light—day.’”

Now this is somewhat problematic. Firstly: All that is necessary to know concerning the sun’s unity with its light while this light is within it is that the sun serves as the source of the light. (We are then able to adduce that when something is found within its source, it does not possess a personality of its own.) Why is it important to let us know that the sun is called a luminary and its ray is called light? Secondly: Granting that a valid reason exists for the Alter Rebbe’s need to explain that the sun is a luminary, is it necessary to seek proof for this from Scripture? If the sun radiates light, then surely it is by definition a luminary.

Thirdly: Even more perplexing is why the Alter Rebbe not only informs us (as above) of the other most elementary fact—that the ray of the sun is called light—but finds it necessary to go on to cite Scriptural evidence for this. All this seems to be completely superfluous. Furthermore, what innovative insights are we intended to glean from the verse that tells us that “G‑d called the light—day”?

These questions become even stronger when we bear in mind that the same illustration of the unity of sunlight with the sun has already been used in ch. 3, and even earlier, in ch. 33 of the first part of the Tanya. There, the Alter Rebbe did not find it necessary to inform us that the sun is a luminary and that its rays are light, and understandably, no proof is sought from Scripture.

With regard to ch. 33, one might answer that since the Alter Rebbe himself indicates that the illustration will be treated at length elsewhere, and it is only mentioned there parenthetically, he does not go into detail at that stage. In ch. 3 of our text, however, this illustration is treated at length. If it is indeed necessary for the Alter Rebbe to spell out the abovementioned details, why does he not do so in ch. 3?

We are thus compelled to conclude that here, in ch. 10, when repeating the illustration of the sunlight that is still in the sun, the Alter Rebbe seeks to explain something new—something that warrants the additional details that were previously unnecessary.

In order to understand the difference between what the Alter Rebbe sought to teach in each of these two cases, it is first necessary to explain the subject of each of these two analogues (which become understandable through their common analogy). And they are indeed different.

The analogy in ch. 10 seeks to explain the unity of G‑d with the supernal sefirot: although they bear not the slightest comparison with G‑d, they are nevertheless united with Him to the point that “He and His attributes are One,” in perfect and uncompounded unity.

This is indeed mind-boggling. Ch. 9 made it clear that the Divine attributes are even more distant from G‑d Himself than the distance that separates the lowly level of action from the lofty level of wisdom—so distant, in fact, that we cannot even negate wisdom in relation to G‑d. How, then, can we possibly say that the attributes are united with Him in perfect unity?

In order to explain this, the Alter Rebbe proposes the analogy of sunlight within the sun. Light, too, while found within the sun, is absolutely united with it. (This is a novel aspect of the concept that is not found in the preceding chapters.)

In order to explain in turn how this is the case, the Alter Rebbe first had to state that the sun is called a luminary and its rays are called light (as shall soon be explained). This is not true of ch. 3, where the Alter Rebbe seeks to explain (not the unity of the sefirot, but rather) how created beings are nullified and of no account in relation to the Divine life-force that creates them constantly ex nihilo.

Since created beings are absolute nothingness in relation to the creative force that brings them into existence and provides them with life, it is thus clearly impossible to imagine, G‑d forbid, that they are united with Him; it is impossible to say that “He and His creation are One,” heaven forbid. The reason is simple: Since all of creation is truly naught in relation to G‑d, there exists no being which we could describe as being united with Him.

Ch. 10, by contrast, deals with the manner in which the sefirot are united with G‑d. Concerning this unity, the Alter Rebbe provides the analogy of the sunlight that is still within the sun, at which stage “it is united with it in absolute unity.”

This aspect of unity is made more readily understandable in the analogy by explaining that the sun is called a luminary and that its rays are called light and by citing Scripture to prove this point.

The Alter Rebbe intends to stress that only that which radiates beyond the sun is called light; the light as found within the sun is not deemed light at all. Since this is a novel thought, he finds support for it by citing the verse, “And G‑d called light—day.” This verse tells us that the defining characteristic of light is “day,” as opposed to the darkness of “night.” This means to say that light refers, like the term “day,” to actual and visible illumination. By contrast, that which does not express itself overtly in actual illumination as light does by day is not deemed to be light. (This is true even when it exists, but its existence is assimilated in its source.)

The reason that light while found in its source is not considered to be light is self-understood: while there, it is one with its source in a state of absolute unity. Were it to be designated as light, we would then have within the orb of the sun two distinct entities—the luminary and the light. But this cannot be, for the source of light is deemed by the proof-text to be a luminary to the exclusion of all else: only one entity exists there, namely, the luminary. Saying that sunlight is united with the sun itself in absolute unity signifies that it is exclusively so, that even the light that is to be found in the luminary has no separate identity as light but is itself [assimilated within the] luminary.

This detail is crucial to the analogue, namely, to the understanding that G‑d’s unity with His attributes is a perfect and absolute unity (as mentioned at the beginning of ch. 8). It is therefore clear that “all the attributes of the Holy One, blessed be He, and His will and wisdom, are not designated and called by these names at all,” as the Alter Rebbe says in ch. 10. Were the attributes to be designated by the names will, wisdom, kindness, might, and so on, then there would be, G‑d forbid, a compound of G‑d Himself (the infinite Ein Sof-light) with His attributes.

In order for this to be understood in the analogue, it is necessary for the Alter Rebbe to explain in the analogy as well that only that which spreads forth beyond the sun is called “light”; while found within its source, however, it “has no name of its own at all, only the name of its source”—the luminary.




 12. Psalms 89:3.

Comments are closed.