Shaar Hayichud V’haEmunahh Chapter 12, Class 5

Tanya/Shaar Hayichud V’haEmunah, Chapter 12, Class 5

Conclusion of Shaar Hayichud V’haEmunah 

For every change in a combination is an intermixing and interweaving of the powers and life-forces in a different form,

כִּי כָּל שִׁינּוּי צֵירוּף, הוּא הַרְכָּבַת וַאֲרִיגַת הַכּוֹחוֹת וְהַחַיּוּת בְּשִׁינּוּי,

For example: the three Hebrew letters א־ב־ן in that particular order comprise the word אֶבֶן, which is the name and life-force of a stone. When, however, these selfsame letters are transposed, a different form of creative power and life-force—and consequently a different creature—comes into being.

since each letter antecedent in the combination dominates, and it is the essential [force] in this created being,

שֶׁכָּל אוֹת הַקּוֹדֶמֶת בְּצֵירוּף – הִיא הַגּוֹבֶרֶת וְהִיא הָעִיקָּר בִּבְרִיאָה זוֹ,

Since, for example, alef is the first letter of the word אֶבֶן, it is the dominant force in the created being that bears this name. If it is a letter stemming from the attribute of chesed (“kindness”), then that attribute will predominate; if it is a letter of gevurah (“severity”), a different attribute will prevail.

while the others i.e., the other letters and forces contained within the word are subordinate to it and are included in its light,6

וְהַשְּׁאָר – טְפֵילוֹת אֵלֶיהָ וְנִכְלָלוֹת בְּאוֹרָהּ,

and thereby—through the different combinations of the same letters—a new being is created.

וְעַל יְדֵי זֶה נִבְרֵאת בְּרִיָּה חֲדָשָׁה.

Likewise, through the substitution of letters or their transpositions,

וְכֵן בְּחִילּוּפֵי אוֹתִיּוֹת אוֹ תְּמוּרוֹתֵיהֶן,

When, for example, not only is the order of the letters changed but an alef (say) is substituted for an ayin,

new creatures are created that are of lower levels than the beings created from the [original] letters themselves.

נִבְרָאוֹת בְּרִיאוֹת חֲדָשׁוֹת פְּחוּתֵי הַמַּעֲלָה בְּעֵרֶךְ הַנִּבְרָאִים מֵהָאוֹתִיּוֹת עַצְמָן.

For they (the substituted letters), by way of illustration, resemble the light that shines upon the earth at night from the moon—and the moonlight is from the sun,

כִּי הֵן דֶּרֶךְ מָשָׁל, דּוּגְמַת אוֹר הַמֵּאִיר בַּלַּיְלָה בָּאָרֶץ מִן הַיָּרֵחַ, וְאוֹר הַיָּרֵחַ הוּא מֵהַשֶּׁמֶשׁ,

hence, the light which is on the earth is a light [reflected] from the light of the sun.

וְנִמְצָא – אוֹר שֶׁעַל הָאָרֶץ הוּא אוֹר הָאוֹר שֶׁל הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ.

Exactly so, allegorically speaking, the letters comprising the utterances are the aggregate flow of the life-force and the light and the power [that issue] from the attributes of the Holy one, blessed be He,

וְכָכָה מַמָּשׁ דֶּרֶךְ מָשָׁל, הָאוֹתִיּוֹת שֶׁבַּמַּאֲמָרוֹת, הֵן כְּלָלוּת הַמְשָׁכַת הַחַיּוּת וְהָאוֹר וְהַכֹּחַ מִמִּדּוֹתָיו שֶׁל הַקָּדוֹשׁ־בָּרוּךְ־הוּא

to create the worlds from nothingness and to give them life and sustain them as long as such shall be His blessed will.

לִבְרוֹא הָעוֹלָמוֹת מֵאַיִן לְיֵשׁ, וּלְהַחֲיוֹתָן וּלְקַיְּימָן כָּל זְמַן מֶשֶׁךְ רְצוֹנוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ.

The general life-force thus emanates from the utterances themselves.

From this aggregate flow and mighty radiance of the utterances themselves,

וּמִכְּלָלוּת הַמְשָׁכָה וְהֶאָרָה גְדוֹלָה הַזּוֹ,

G‑d caused its similar derivations and its offshoots to shine and issue forth,

הֵאִיר ה’ וְהִמְשִׁיךְ מִמֶּנָּה תּוֹלְדוֹתֶיהָ כַּיּוֹצֵא בָהּ, וַעֲנָפֶיהָ,

these being derivations and effluences of the light from the letters.

שֶׁהֵן תּוֹלְדוֹת וְהַמְשָׁכַת הָאוֹר מֵהָאוֹתִיּוֹת,

And these derivations and offshoots are the substitutions of letters and their transpositions, with which He created the particular creatures of each world.

וְהֵן הֵן חִילּוּפֵי אוֹתִיּוֹת וּתְמוּרוֹתֵיהֶן, וּבָרָא בָהֶן בְּרוּאִים פְּרָטִים שֶׁבְּכָל עוֹלָם.

Likewise, G‑d projected the light from the letters in another manner and caused a radiance of a radiance of a radiance to issue forth and descend from the diffusions of light from the letters,

וְכֵן הֵאִיר ה’ עוֹד, וְהִמְשִׁיךְ וְהוֹרִיד הֶאָרָה דְהֶאָרָה דְהֶאָרָה מֵהֶאָרוֹת הָאוֹתִיּוֹת.

In the earlier analogy, the moon’s reflected light was a radiance of the sun’s radiance. The Alter Rebbe now speaks of a descent one generation further removed—merely a radiance of a radiance of a radiance.

and likewise, He further caused [the radiance of the radiance, etc.] to issue forth and descend to the lowest level in the chain of descents,

וְכֵן הִמְשִׁיךְ עוֹד, וְהוֹרִיד עַד לְמַטָּה מַּטָּה בִּבְחִינַת הִשְׁתַּלְשְׁלוּת,

until completely inanimate beings, such as stones and earth, were created.

עַד שֶׁנִּבְרָא הַדּוֹמֵם מַמָּשׁ כַּאֲבָנִים וְעָפָר,

And their names אֶבֶן and עָפָרthe names being each object’s life-force, as mentioned in ch. 1—are substitutions of substitutions, etc., and transpositions of transpositions, etc., as mentioned above.

וּשְׁמוֹתֵיהֶן “אֶבֶן” וְ”עָפָר” הֵם חִילּוּפִים דְּחִילּוּפִים כוּ’ וּתְמוּרוֹת דִּתְמוּרוֹת כוּ’, כַּנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל:

Thus, the life-force and existence of every created being are the letters of a particular Divine utterance, and to this, the created being is utterly nullified. In this manner, all of creation is nullified to G‑d and united with Him.

Commentary Of The Rebbe on Chapter Twelve

The Rebbe notes that the Alter Rebbe omitted many details when quoting the Sages7 concerning the characteristics of each of the seven heavens. (Indeed, the Gemara begins with the heaven called Vilon, proceeds to Rakia, and only then speaks of Shechakim, the heaven with which the Alter Rebbe begins.)

Briefly, the explanation is as follows: The Alter Rebbe desires to show how a multitude of created beings—these seven heavens with all their hosts—are essentially united insofar as they all proceed from a single Divine utterance. For this reason, once the Alter Rebbe has said that the utterance, “Let there be a firmament…,” brought about the creation of the seven heavens, there is no need for him to repeat them again by name, as detailed below.

The Alter Rebbe omitted the heaven called Vilon, for “it serves no particular purpose,” i.e. (as the Gemara states there), it does not contain created beings. Even according to the opinion of Tosafot that light emanates from Vilon, light was created and continues to exist by virtue of a different Divine fiat, namely, “Let there be light.” (For all light—not only that created during the first day and then concealed—owes its creation and existence to the utterance, “Let there be light.”8)

The Alter Rebbe also omitted Rakia, in which are found the sun, moon, stars, and constellations (as the Gemara states), for they were all created by the utterance, “Let there be luminaries in the firmament of the heaven….”

With regard to Shechakim, the Alter Rebbe quotes the Gemara at length to the effect that this is the heaven “in which stand millstones that grind manna for the tzaddikim, for since its function is an ongoing one, this heaven illustrates his point that the heavens all “live and exist”—in the present, too, and not only in the time of the Jews in the wilderness—“through the aggregate words of the utterance, ‘Let there be a firmament….’”

Concerning Zvul, the Alter Rebbe omits the detail that the Angel Michael brings an offering upon its heavenly altar because there is an opinion9 that angels were created during the fifth day of creation. According to this view, the creation and existence of Michael derive not from the utterance that ordained, “Let there be a firmament…” but from the words, “and birds shall fly.”

For the same reason, the Alter Rebbe makes no mention of Maon, where flights of angels sing by night the praises of their Maker.

Concerning Machon, the Alter Rebbe does not speak of the “rising of dew,” the “storms and tempests” and “fire,” for these were all created during the first day and thus are not connected to the utterance, “Let there be a firmament….”10

Also omitted is Aravos, the abode of “righteousness and justice” (as the Gemara states there), for these are Divine attributes. The souls of the tzaddikim which are also found in this heaven are likewise not mentioned, for they were created by the utterance, “Let us make man….” So, too, the Throne of Glory, which had existed before G‑d had decreed “Let there be a firmament…,” indeed, before Creation had begun.11

Yet once more, concludes the Rebbe, we are able to see how meticulous is the wording of the Tanya, encumbered by no superfluous word and lacking no necessary word, for, as we see here, each phrase omitted from the Talmudic citation has its specific reason. Accordingly, to follow the counsel of the Mishnah concerning the study of the Torah: “Delve in it over and over again, for everything is in it.”12

By way of introduction to Iggeret Hateshuvah, it should be noted that the Alter Rebbe is known as “Master of the Tanya and Shulchan Aruch.”1 The Rebbe once remarked that “Master of the Tanya” means that the Alter Rebbe is an arbiter in the esoteric dimension of the Torah,2 and “Master of the Shulchan Aruch” signifies that his halachic rulings are authoritative.3

Furthermore, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak, sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, once stated in a public address4 that the four parts of the Tanya correspond to the four sections of the Shulchan Aruch. In this connection, the Rebbe gives an explanation—both according to Chasidut and according to the revealed strata of the Torah—of the relation between the third part of the TanyaIggeret Hateshuvah, and the third section of the Shulchan AruchEven HaEzer.

According to Chasidut, the relation between the two is clarified by a statement in ch. 4 of Iggeret Hateshuvah—that the lower and higher levels of teshuvah (which together encompass all the degrees of repentance) are respectively indicated by the lower and higher letters hey of the ineffable Name of G‑d. In terms of their spiritual personality, so to speak, these two letters are feminine: both are receptors, the higher hey (representing the level of binah) being impregnated by chochmah and the lower hey (representing malchut) being impregnated by the six emotive sefirot. This feminine element connects Iggeret Hateshuvah with Even HaEzer, which codifies the laws involving women.

As to the revealed plane of the Torah, we find that the Talmudic Tractate Gittin, which deals with the laws of divorce, precedes Tractate Kiddushin, which deals with the laws of marriage. In the introduction to his commentary on the Mishnah, Maimonides explains this order by quoting the verse, “When she leaves his house, she may go and marry another man”5; here, too, divorce precedes marriage. Historically, as well, the Midrash6 points out that the root of the word used by the Torah to say that G‑d banished Adam from the Garden of Eden7 (ויגרש) is the same as the root of the word for divorce (גרושין). Accordingly, the Sages compare his state to that of “a Jewish divorcee,” who is permitted to remarry her former husband. Indeed, when G‑d later gave the Torah to the Jewish people, he “sanctified us (קדשנו) with His commands.”8 In the Holy Tongue, this verb shares a common root with the word for marriage, or betrothal (קדושין). In this connection, the Alter Rebbe said above9 that G‑d’s having “sanctified us with His commands” parallels what a man declares when betrothing a wife: “You are hereby consecrated unto me.”

This dynamic—marriage in the wake of divorce—is echoed in the spiritual use of these terms. The connection to teshuvah is thus readily apparent: A “marriage” is conceivable after a state of “divorce” only when there was teshuvah in the interim. For as the Alter Rebbe stated earlier on, “Indeed, it is impossible for the wicked to begin to serve G‑d without first repenting for their past.”10

In Scripture, too, we find repentance depicted as the reconcilement of a divorced couple, culminating in remarriage. For sin banishes the Shechinah, the Divine Presence, the Mother of all souls. In the words of the prophet, ובפשעיכם שלחה אמכם—“Because of your transgressions was your Mother sent away.’’11 This is the selfsame verb that the Torah uses for divorce: ושלחה מביתו—“And he will send her away from his house.”12 And it is repentance that undoes this spiritual divorce to the point that G‑d can ask His people the rhetorical question: “Where is your mother’s bill of divorce?”13—for as a result of His people’s repentance, the divorce is annulled.

In the plainly manifest levels of the Torah as well, there is explicit evidence in the Gemara that repentance resembles remarriage following divorce. R. Yochanan teaches14 that repentance overrides a prohibition stated in the Torah and cites the following verse: “If a man sends away his wife and she leaves him for another man, will he return to her again?… Yet though you have strayed…return to Me!”15 Thus, argues R. Yochanan, G‑d is saying here that repentance overrides the prohibition that “her first husband…may not remarry her”16 [if she married another man in the interim]. Here, too, then, remarriage following divorce is a paradigm of repentance.

Thus, there is a clear correspondence between the third part of the TanyaIggeret Hateshuvah, and the third section of the Shulchan AruchEven HaEzer, which deals with the laws involving women.





6. Bereishit Rabbah 21:8.

7. Genesis 3:24.

8. Liturgy, Morning Blessings (Siddur Tehillat Hashem, p. 6; Annotated Edition, p. 5).

9. Part I, ch. 46; this is further explained in ch. 10, below.

10. Part I, ch. 17.

11. Isaiah 50:3.

12. Deuteronomy 24:3.

13. Isaiah, loc. cit.

14. Yoma 86b.

15.  Jeremiah 3:1.

16. Deuteronomy 24:2.

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