Likutei Amarim Chapter 22, Class # 2

Middle of Chapter 22

וזה נקרא בחינת אחוריים דרצון העליון, ברוך הוא

This is called the “hinder-part” of the Supernal Will.

Thus we see that the kelipot are designated אלהים אחרים — “other gods,” because they derive from אחוריים, the “hinder-part” of the Divine Will.

והנה רצון העליון בבחינת פנים הוא מקור החיים המחיה את כל העולמות

Now, the Supernal Will, of the quality of “Countenance”, i.e., the inner aspect of G‑d’s Will, which is directed toward the ultimate object of G‑d’s desire, is the source of life which animates all worlds.

ולפי שאינו שורה כלל על הסטרא אחרא, וגם בחינת אחוריים של רצון העליון אינו מלובש בתוכה ממש, אלא מקיף עליה מלמעלה, לכך היא מקום המיתה והטומאה, ה‘ ישמרנו

But since it is not bestowed on the sitra achra at all, and even the “hinder-part” of the Divine Will is not actually clothed within it but merely encompasses it from above, therefore it is the abode of death and impurity (May G‑d preserve us from them!).

כי מעט מזער אור וחיות שיונקת ומקבלת לתוכה מבחינת אחוריים דקדושה שלמעלה הוא בבחינת גלות ממש בתוכה, בסוד גלות השכינה הנ״ל

For the minute measure of light and life that it derives and that it absorbs internally from the external aspect of Divine holiness, is in a state of actual exile within it — as in the concept of the “exile of the Shechinah [within the kelipot]” described earlier.5

ולכן נקרא בשם אלהים אחרים

It is for this reason too that the kelipah is termed “other gods,” apart from the reason given above — namely, that the kelipot derive from אחוריים , the “hinder-part” of G‑d’s Will,

שהיא עבודה זרה ממש, וכפירה באחדותו של מלך מלכי המלכים הקב״ה

for it constitutes actual idolatry and a denial of the unity of G‑d, the Supreme King of kings — the Holy One, blessed be He.

The explanation of these two reasons is as follows: Every created being is animated by two types of Divine life-force. One is an internalized life-force, which is beamed to suit the character and capacity of each individual creature. It is this power that determines the character of each being; it becomes one with it and is felt by it — in fact, this internalized life-force constitutes its identity. The second type of life-force is of an encompassing, transcendental nature. It does not adapt itself to the individual character of each being, and is not clothed within it; rather, it animates from without, so to speak — from its own level, above the created being which it animates.

The kelipot, too, are animated by these two types of Divine life-force. The latter type, since it does not permeate them, does not conflict with their ego. Thekelipot can thus consider themselves independent beings, even while acknowledging G‑d as the source of their vitality. They need not deny Him. With regard to this type of G‑dly life-force, the kelipot are called אלהים אחרים — “other gods,” only because they receive their life from the אחוריים , from the “hinder-part” of G‑d’s Will.

The kelipot cannot, however, acknowledge the former, internalized type of G‑dly life-force, while asserting at the same time that they are separate from G‑d. To do so would be self-contradictory; for, as explained, this kind of life-force constitutes the very identity of every created being. The kelipot therefore completely deny this life-force (and it is thus truly in a state of exile within them). It is thus with regard to this life-force that the kelipot are called אלהים אחרים — “other gods,” in the literal sense of the term — implying idolatry and a denial of G‑d’s unity.

This the Alter Rebbe now goes on to say:

כי מאחר שאור וחיות דקדושה הוא בבחינת גלות בתוכה, אינה בטילה כלל לגבי קדושת הקב״ה

For inasmuch as the light and life of holiness i.e., the internalized life-force are in a state of exile within the kelipah, it does not surrender itself at all to the holiness of G‑d.

ואדרבה מגביה עצמה כנשר, לומר אני ואפסי עוד, וכמאמר: יאור לי ואני עשיתני

On the contrary, it soars aloft like an eagle, saying6: “I am, and there is nothing beside me”; or, as in the statement of Pharaoh7: “The river is mine, and I have made myself!”


4. Devarim 12:31.
5. Ch. 19.


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