Iggeres Ha’Teshuvah Chapter 4, Class 3

Tanya/ Iggeres Ha’Teshuvah – The Epistle on Repentance, Chapter 4, Class 3


As mentioned earlier, this verb indicates the internal aspect of the Divine flow of life-force, for “he who blows does so from his innermost being.”

Thus, the soul originated in the internal aspect of the life-force and flow issuing from G‑d. It is only afterward, in order to enable it to be invested within the body, that the soul descended to a more external level, as the Alter Rebbe now goes on to say.

It then descended through ever more concealing planes, also (like the angels who were created by means of “letters”) by means of the letters that comprise the Divine utterance, “Let us make man…,”22

וְאַחַר כָּךְ יָרְדָה בְּסֵתֶר הַמַּדְרֵגָה, גַּם כֵּן, עַל־יְדֵי בְּחִינַת הָאוֹתִיּוֹת שֶׁבְּמַאֲמַר “נַעֲשֶׂה אָדָם” וְכוּ’

in order that it could eventually be invested in a body in this inferior, [physical] world.

כְּדֵי לְהִתְלַבֵּשׁ בְּגוּף עוֹלָם הַזֶּה הַתַּחְתּוֹן.

This, then, is the difference between souls and angels: Souls derive from the innermost aspect of G‑dliness, the Tetragrammaton, while angels are rooted in the external aspect of G‑dliness, the Divine Name Elokim, as is now explained.

For this reason, Scripture calls the angels Elokim,

וְלָכֵן נִקְרְאוּ הַמַּלְאָכִים בְּשֵׁם “אֱלֹקִים” בַּכָּתוּב,

as23 in the phrase, “For the L-rd your G‑d, He24 is the G‑d of G‑ds (Elokim)…,”25 the last word here referring to angels,

וּכְמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב: “כִּי ה’ אֱלֹקֵיכֶם [הוּא] אֱלֹקֵי הָאֱלֹקִים גוֹ’”

[and likewise], “Praise the G‑d of G‑ds (Elokim)…,”26 once again referring to angels by the name “Elokim,”

“הוֹדוּ לֵאלֹקֵי הָאֱלֹקִים גוֹ’”

and (in yet another reference to angels), “The sons of G‑d (Elokim) came to present themselves….”27

“וַיָּבֹאוּ בְּנֵי הָאֱלֹקִים לְהִתְיַיצֵּב גוֹ’” –

The Name Elokim is applied to angels:

Because they derive their nurture from the external degree [of G‑dliness], which is merely the state of “letters.”

לְפִי שֶׁיְּנִיקַת חַיּוּתָם הִיא מִבְּחִינַת חִיצוֹנִיּוּת שֶׁהִיא בְּחִינַת הָאוֹתִיּוֹת לְבַד,

Similarly, the Name Elokim is an external state relative to the Tetragrammaton.

וְשֵׁם אֱלֹקִים הוּא בְּחִינַת חִיצוֹנִיּוּת לְגַבֵּי שֵׁם הַוָיָ’ בָּרוּךְ־הוּא.

But the soul of man, deriving from the internal aspect of the G‑dly vivifying power, is a part of the Tetragrammaton,

אֲבָל נִשְׁמַת הָאָדָם, שֶׁהִיא מִבְּחִינַת פְּנִימִיּוּת הַחַיּוּת – הִיא חֵלֶק שֵׁם הַוָיָ’ בָּרוּךְ־הוּא,

for the Tetragrammaton indicates the innermost dimension of the life-giving power, which far transcends the state of letters.

כִּי שֵׁם הַוָיָ’ מוֹרֶה עַל פְּנִימִיּוּת הַחַיּוּת, שֶׁהִיא לְמַעְלָה מַּעְלָה מִבְּחִינַת הָאוֹתִיּוֹת.

To explain:

וּבֵיאוּר הָעִנְיָן,

What characteristics of the soul also characterize Havayah, the Four-Letter Name of G‑d, and thus indicate that the soul is indeed a part of that Name? In answer to this question, the Alter Rebbe now explains that just as the ten sefirot are included within the Tetragrammaton, so, too, there are ten corresponding faculties that are intrinsic to the soul.

There is a well-known statement of Eliyahu, in the passage entitled Patach Eliyahu, in the introduction to Tikkunei Zohar: “You are He Who elicited the ten tikkunim (lit., ‘garments’), which we call the ten sefirot, by which to conduct the concealed worlds…[and the revealed worlds…].28

כַּנּוֹדָע מִמַּאֲמַר אֵלִיָּהוּ: “אַנְתְּ הוּא דְאַפִּיקַת עֲשַׂר תִּיקּוּנִין, וְקָרִינָן לְהוֹן עֲשַׂר סְפִירָן, לְאַנְהָגָא בְהוֹן עָלְמִין סְתִימִין וְכוּ’,




22.  Genesis 1:26.

23. The Rebbe notes that the Alter Rebbe cites three verses to adduce that angels are called Elokim, possibly in order to allude to the three general categories of angels—in the Worlds of Beriah,Yetzirah, and Asiyah. The angels closest to souls (souls having “arisen in the Divine thought”) are those of the World of Beriah, the World of Thought. They are alluded to in the first verse, which states that “Your G‑d,” i.e., the G‑d of souls, is “the G‑d of angels.” The second verse, which mentions neither “Your G‑d” nor the Tetragrammaton, may be said to refer to the angels in the World of Yetzirah. The final verse, which speaks of the angels who give testimony with regard to the worldly affairs of man, may be said to apply to the angels of the nethermost world, the World of Asiyah.

24.  In line with Scripture, the Rebbe restored the word “He” to the paraphrase in the text.

25.  Deuteronomy 10:17.

26.  Psalms 136:2.

27.  Job 1:6.

28.  The Rebbe asks the following question: The statement that the purpose of the ten sefirot(which, as he shall soon say, are included within the Tetragrammaton) is “to conduct the concealed worlds” seems to contradict the earlier statement that the Tetragrammaton transcends by far the state of “letters” (from which the various worldsand their creatures come into being). The Alter Rebbe resolves this, explains the Rebbe, by now going on to quote, “You are wise but not with a knowable attribute of wisdom; You understand but not with a knowable attribute of understanding….” This cannot possibly refer to the state of “letters” since their purpose is to make known and to reveal (as oft stated in Part II of the Tanya). Rather, the abovementioned conduct of the worlds first relates only to the “concealed worlds,” worlds that are “not known.”

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