Iggeres Ha’Teshuvah Chapter 4, Class 5

Tanya/ Iggeres Ha’Teshuvah – The Epistle on Repentance, Chapter 4, Class 5


In the next stage, when this extension and flow are drawn still lower into the revealed worlds,

וְאַחַר כָּךְ, כְּשֶׁנִּמְשֶׁכֶת הַמְשָׁכָה וְהַשְׁפָּעָה זוֹ יוֹתֵר לְמַטָּה לְעָלְמִין דְּאִתְגַּלְיָין,

which may be compared, by way of analogy, to one who wishes31 to reveal his thoughts to another through his speech,

וּכְמוֹ הָאָדָם שֶׁרוֹצֶה לְגַלּוֹת חָכְמָתוֹ לַאֲחֵרִים עַל־יְדֵי דִיבּוּרוֹ עַל דֶּרֶךְ מָשָׁל –

this extension is contained and represented in the [final] letters vav and hey [of the Tetragrammaton],

נִכְלֶלֶת וְנִרְמֶזֶת הַמְשָׁכָה זוֹ בְּאוֹתִיּוֹת ו”ה,

for the letter vavwhich is shaped like a vertical line, indicates downward extension.

כִּי הַוָּי”ו מוֹרָה עַל הַהַמְשָׁכָה מִלְמַעְלָה לְמַטָּה.

There is another connection between this stage and the letter vav:

Also, this downward flow into the revealed worlds is effected through the Divine traits of benevolence and goodness and [G‑d’s] other holy traits, included in general terms in the six attributes, the numerical equivalent of vav, in the verse, “Yours, O G‑d, is greatness…”32 until “Yours, O G‑d, is sovereignty…,” but not including it.

וְגַם הַמְשָׁכָה זוֹ הִיא עַל־יְדֵי מִדַּת חַסְדּוֹ וְטוּבוֹ וּשְׁאָר מִדּוֹתָיו הַקְּדוֹשׁוֹת, הַנִּכְלָלוֹת בְּדֶרֶךְ כְּלָל בְּמִסְפַּר שֵׁשׁ, שֶׁבַּפָּסוּק: לְךָ ה’ הַגְּדוּלָּה וְכוּ’” עַד “לְךָ ה’ הַמַּמְלָכָה וְכוּ’”, וְלֹא “עַד” בִּכְלָל.

For His attribute of sovereignty is called the “Word of G‑d” (and speech is not one of the middot, the spiritual emotive attributes),

כִּי מִדַּת מַלְכוּתוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ נִקְרֵאת בְּשֵׁם “דְּבַר ה’”,

as in the verse, “Wherever the word of the king holds sway.”33

כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב: “בַּאֲשֶׁר דְּבַר מֶלֶךְ שִׁלְטוֹן”,

Supernal speech, then, is related to malchut, G‑d’s sovereignty.

This [attribute of sovereignty] is contained and represented in the final hey of the Tetragrammaton, in the following manner:

וְנִכְלֶלֶת וְנִרְמֶזֶת בְּאוֹת הֵ”א אַחֲרוֹנָה שֶׁל שֵׁם הַוָיָ’,

The internal aspect and the source of speech is the breath that rises from the heart, then is particularized into the five oral articulations (five being the numerical equivalent of the letter hey). [One of these produces the bracket of letters] alefchethey, and ayin from the throat, another produces the bracket of letters beit, vav, mem, and pey from the lips, and so on.

כִּי פְּנִימִיּוּת וּמְקוֹר הַדִּיבּוּר, הוּא הַהֶבֶל הָעוֹלֶה מִן הַלֵּב וּמִתְחַלֵּק לְה’ מוֹצָאוֹת הַפֶּה: אחה”ע מֵהַגָּרוֹן וְכוּ’,

At any rate, the internal aspect of speech is breath.

In particular, the enunciation of the letter hey is solely unvocalized breath,

וְגַם הֲבָרַת הַהֵ”א הִיא בְּחִינַת הֶבֶל לְבַד,

as in the phrase, “A light letter without substance.”34

כְּמוֹ שֶׁנִּקְרֵאת: “אָתָא קַלִּילָא דְּלֵית בָּהּ מְשָׁשָׁא”.

Emanating, as it does, solely from the breath, it alludes to the level of malchut and speech, whose internal aspect is “breath.”

Now “He has no corporeal form,” G‑d forbid.

וְאַף שֶׁאֵין לוֹ דְמוּת הַגּוּף חַס וְשָׁלוֹם,

How, then, can one differentiate Above between those letters that possess substance and those that do not?

Nevertheless, “the Torah speaks as in the language of men.”

אַךְ דִּבְּרָה תוֹרָה כִּלְשׁוֹן בְּנֵי אָדָם,

Since on the mortal plane, this differentiation exists, it is also applied to the Divine plane, for spiritually, too, there exists a corresponding difference between the letter hey and the other letters.

Moreover (i.e., there is yet another reason why this analogy is apt, notwithstanding the fact that G‑d has no corporeal form):


for G‑d’s speech as well consists, as it were, of twenty-two letters that separate into the five articulations that produce the Divine speech from which all beings were created.

שֶׁגַּם “דְּבַר ה’” – כ”ב אוֹתִיּוֹת, הַמִּתְחַלְּקוֹת לְה’ חֶלְקֵי הַמּוֹצָאוֹת, וּבָהֶן נִבְרָא כָּל הַיְצוּר

(35For a discussion of these letters and their significance, see Likkutei Amarim, Part II, ch. 11.)

(וּכְמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר בְּלִקּוּטֵי־אֲמָרִים חֵלֶק ב׳ פֶּרֶק י”א, בֵּיאוּר עִנְיַן אוֹתִיּוֹת אֵלּוּ).

We thus see that all the ten sefirot are included and represented within the Tetragrammaton. The Alter Rebbe now goes on to explain that likewise within the soul, which is part of the Tetragrammaton, there exist ten corresponding levels or faculties.




31.  Note by the Rebbe: “In the analogy, the Alter Rebbe speaks of ‘one who wishes to reveal his thoughts to another,’ for this mirrors the ‘Divine traits of benevolence and goodness’ that are mentioned below.”

32.  Chronicles 29:11.

33.  Ecclesiastes 8:4.

34.  Liturgy, Akdamut hymn (Siddur Tehillat Hashem, p. 502; Annotated Edition, p. 517).

35.  Parentheses are in the original text. 

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