Shaar Hayichud V’haEmunahh Chapter 12, Class 1

Tanya/Shaar Hayichud V’haEmunah, Chapter 12, Class 1

The letters that constitute the ten utterances, as the Alter Rebbe has just explained, are effluences of the Divine attributes which are wholly united with G‑d Himself. Therefore, though they are termed mere “letters,” they are able to serve as vehicles for creating the wisdom and intellect of created beings, to which they are thus far superior; they are termed “letters” only in relation to the supernal attributes from which they emanate.

These letters are the specifically twenty-two manners of manifestation through which G‑d chose to create the world. Accordingly, as the Rebbe notes, the forthcoming chapter underscores the fact that all created beings, in all their vastly differentiated multiplicity, are in fact no more than twenty-two distinct forms of Divine manifestation. Moreover, continues the Rebbe, we can understand why the Alter Rebbe explains this concept at such length further on in this chapter. Such an explanation would seem to be at home in tracts such as Sefer Yetzirah that deal with the respective stages of the creative process, not in a treatise dedicated to an explanation of Divine Unity.

The Alter Rebbe explains this here, nevertheless, thereby actually highlighting the concept of Divine Unity—not only insofar as it exists in its Source but as it exists in practice. For all the multifarious components of creation are in reality no more than twenty-two different forms of Divine manifestation.

[Although there are only twenty-two letters, they are able to create a vast multitude of creatures,] for the creatures are divided into categories both general (e.g., whether human or animal) and particular (e.g., the animal world in turn comprises numerous species of beasts, birds, fish, etc.). This multitudinous division comes about:

רַק שֶׁהַבְּרוּאִים מִתְחַלְּקִים לְמִינֵיהֶם בִּכְלָלוּת וּבִפְרָטוּת,

by changes in the combinations, substitutions, and transpositions [of the letters], as was explained above,

עַל יְדֵי שִׁינּוּיֵי הַצֵּירוּפִים וְחִילּוּפִים וּתְמוּרוֹת, כַּנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל.

When the letters are combined in one way, one kind of creature is created; a different combination gives rise to a different kind of creature. For as explained in ch. 1, certain letters may sometimes be substituted or transposed with others. Those creatures whose names are not mentioned in the ten utterances derive their vitality by means of the combinations, substitutions, and transpositions of the letters that do appear in the ten utterances.

for every letter is a flow from an individual, particular life-force and power.

כִּי כָּל אוֹת, הִיא הַמְשָׁכַת חַיּוּת וְכֹחַ מְיוּחָד פְּרָטִי,

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