Iggeres Ha’Kodesh Epistle 6, Class 2

Tanya/ Iggeres Ha’Kodesh – The Holy Epistle, Epistle 6, Class 2


Now it is in this ray and radiance, which is an extension of the life-giving energy [that flows] from [G‑d’s] blessed Name to animate the higher and lower beings,

וְהִנֵּה, בְּזִיו וְהֶאָרָה זוֹ, שֶׁהוּא הִתְפַּשְּׁטוּת הַחַיּוּת מִשְּׁמוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ לְהַחֲיוֹת עֶלְיוֹנִים וְתַחְתּוֹנִים,

that there is a distinction and difference with respect to higher and lower beings,

הוּא שֶׁיֵּשׁ הֶבְדֵּל וְהֶפְרֵשׁ בֵּין עֶלְיוֹנִים לְתַחְתּוֹנִים,

so that “this world was created through the letter hey,” and so on, while the higher worlds were created through the letter yud.

שֶׁ”עוֹלָם הַזֶּה נִבְרָא בְּה’ וְכוּ’”,

As explained in the previous epistle, this lowly corporeal world receives its vitality only from the “matter” or “body” of the letters of supernal speech, which in turn derives from the letter hey of the Divine Name. The higher worlds, however, receive their vitality from the “form” or “soul” of these letters, and this derives from the level of chochmah, represented by the yud of the Divine Name. However, these different modes in which the life-giving influence of the Divine Name is diffused to the upper and lower worlds, respectively, relate only to the ray and radiance of the Divine Name; they do not relate to G‑d’s Essence.

(Moreover, any name is a mere radiance of the essence of the entity named. A person’s name, for example, is not his essence; it is merely a means of relating to another person. In the same way, the Divine Name is merely a radiance of the essence of the Divine.)

Until now, the Alter Rebbe has spoken in general terms of the differences between the higher and lower worlds.

Also, all the variety of details within each world

וְכֵן כָּל שִׁינּוּיֵי הַפְּרָטִים שֶׁבְּכָל עוֹלָם וְעוֹלָם

is determined by differences in the combinations of the letters through which they were created.

הוּא לְפִי שִׁינּוּיֵי צֵירוּפֵי הָאוֹתִיּוֹת,

So, too, the distinctions between the temporal dimensions of past, present, and future,

וְכֵן שִׁינּוּיֵי הַזְּמַנִּים בְּעָבָר הֹוֶה וְעָתִיד,

and all the variety of events throughout the changing times—

וְשִׁינּוּיֵי כָּל הַקּוֹרוֹת בְּחִילּוּפֵי הַזְּמַנִּים

all of these, too, are determined by differences in the combinations of the letters,

הַכֹּל מִשִּׁינּוּיֵי צֵירוּפֵי הָאוֹתִיּוֹת,

for [these combinations of letters] are the conduits of the life-giving force that proceeds from attributes of [G‑d] (Blessed be His Name),

שֶׁהֵן הֵן הַמְשָׁכַת הַחַיּוּת מִמִּדּוֹתָיו יִתְבָּרֵךְ שְׁמוֹ

(7as explained in Likkutei Amarim, Part II, ch. 11).

(כְּמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר בְּלִקּוּטֵי אֲמָרִים חֵלֶק ב’ פֶּרֶק י”א).

All the abovementioned differences are to be found only in the flow of vitality which emanates from G‑d’s attributes and which then descends through the letters of His creative speech.

But as for His blessed Being and Essence, it is written: “I, G‑d, have not changed”8 as a result of creation

אֲבָל לְגַבֵּי מַהוּתוֹ וְעַצְמוּתוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ כְּתִיב: “אֲנִי ה’ לֹא שָׁנִיתִי”,

neither (a) in terms of changes in the progression from the uppermost of levels to the nethermost,

בֵּין בִּבְחִינַת שִׁינּוּיֵי הַהִשְׁתַּלְשְׁלוּת מֵרוּם הַמַּעֲלוֹת עַד לְמַטָּה מַטָּה,

for just as He is present in the higher worlds, so [is He present] in precisely the same measure in the nether worlds since from His perspective, there is absolutely no difference between them: all are equally distant from Him, “for no thought can apprehend Him at all, even in the higher worlds,”

שֶׁכְּמוֹ שֶׁהוּא יִתְבָּרֵךְ מָצוּי בָּעֶלְיוֹנִים – כָּךְ הוּא מַמָּשׁ בְּשָׁוֶה בַּתַּחְתּוֹנִים

(9as is explained in Likkutei Amarim, Part I, ch. 51),

(וּכְמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר בְּלִקּוּטֵי אֲמָרִים חֵלֶק א’ פֶּרֶק נ”א),

The higher and lower worlds differ only in relation to the stream of life-giving energy that flows forth from Him: this vitality is more revealed in the higher worlds than in the lower.

nor (b) in terms of temporal changes [is there any difference from G‑d’s perspective],

וּבֵין בִּבְחִינַת שִׁינּוּיֵי הַזְּמַן,

for just as He was alone, one and unique, before the Six Days of Creation, so is He now after Creation.

שֶׁכְּמוֹ שֶׁהָיָה הוּא לְבַדּוֹ הוּא, יָחִיד וּמְיוּחָד, לִפְנֵי שֵׁשֶׁת יְמֵי בְרֵאשִׁית – כָּךְ הוּא עַתָּה אַחַר הַבְּרִיאָה,

But how can G‑d’s absolute unity remain unaltered, despite the advent of a whole created universe?

This is so because everything is absolutely as nothing and naught in relation to His being and essence,

וְהַיְינוּ, מִשּׁוּם שֶׁהַכֹּל כְּאַיִן וָאֶפֶס מַמָּשׁ לְגַבֵּי מַהוּתוֹ וְעַצְמוּתוֹ,

just as a single letter of a man’s speech, or even of his thought, [is of absolutely no consequence] in relation to the entire being and essence of the rational soul,

וּכְמוֹ אוֹת אֶחָד מִדִּבּוּרוֹ שֶׁל אָדָם אוֹ אֲפִילוּ מִמַּחֲשַׁבְתּוֹ לְגַבֵּי כְּלָלוּת מַהוּת הַנֶּפֶשׁ הַשִּׂכְלִית וְעַצְמוּתָהּ,

I.e., this is true not only of a letter of speech but also of thought, even though the soul-garment of thought is more abstract and subtle than speech and is thus closer to the soul.

It is the intellect of the rational soul that causes the emergence of the emotions; this, in turn, leads to thought and speech. Thus, in comparison to the essence of the soul itself, which transcends even intellect by far, one letter of speech or even of thought is of absolutely no consequence.

However, the above analogy is merely offered:

metaphorically speaking, to appease the ear, in order to give finite mortals some inkling of the insignificance of creation in the eyes of the Creator,

עַל דֶּרֶךְ מָשָׁל, לְשַׁכֵּךְ אֶת הָאֹזֶן,

while in fact, as it is written, “There is no comparison unto You.”10

וּבֶאֱמֶת “אֵין עֲרוֹךְ אֵלֶיךָ” כְּתִיב,

Unlike the single letter of thought or speech that bears some degree of comparison to the soul, albeit an infinitesimal one, creation stands in no proportion whatsoever to the Creator.

This is explained elsewhere (11in Likkutei Amarim, Part II, ch. 9); see there.




7.  Parentheses are in the original text.

8.  Malachi 3:6.

9.  Parentheses are in the original text.

10. Psalms 40:6.

11. Parentheses are in the original text.

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