Iggeres Ha’Kodesh Epistle 12, Class 2

Tanya/ Iggeres Ha’Kodesh – The Holy Epistle, Epistle 12, Class 2

____     

Inasmuch as the attributes are inherently limited (and indeed, the very word middah means “measure”), each of them is confined to its innate characteristics, chesed to expansiveness, gevurah to withdrawal.

But the Holy One, blessed be He, makes peace between them so that they should not oppose one another,

אַךְ הַקָּדוֹשׁ־בָּרוּךְ־הוּא – עוֹשֶׂה שָׁלוֹם בֵּינֵיהֶם,

through a revelation—so that an immense illumination and an intense effusion from the [infinite] Ein Sof-light is revealed within them.

דְּהַיְינוּ, עַל־יְדֵי גִּילּוּי שֶׁמִּתְגַּלֶּה בָּהֶן הֶאָרָה רַבָּה וְהַשְׁפָּעָה עֲצוּמָה מְאֹד מֵאוֹר־אֵין־סוֹף בָּרוּךְ־הוּא,

For like His Name (viz., Ein Sof—“the Infinite One”), so is He.

אֲשֶׁר כִּשְׁמוֹ כֵּן הוּא,

He is not, Heaven forfend, on the [measured] plane of an attribute,

שֶׁאֵינוֹ בִּבְחִינַת מִדָּה חַס וְשָׁלוֹם,

but transcends exceedingly, ad infinitum,

אֶלָּא לְמַעְלָה מַּעְלָה עַד אֵין קֵץ,

even the rank of [the intellectual faculties of] ChaBaD, which is the source of the attributes, and surely, He transcends the attributes themselves.

אֲפִילוּ מִבְּחִינַת חָכְמָה־בִּינָה־דַּעַת מְקוֹר הַמִּדּוֹת,

And then, when G-d’s infinite light is revealed within the attributes, the opposing attributes of Michael and Gabriel (chesed and gevurah) are absorbed in their source and root,

וַאֲזַי, הַמִּדּוֹת נֶגְדִּיּוֹת שֶׁל מִיכָאֵל וְגַבְרִיאֵל נִכְלָלוֹת בִּמְקוֹרָן וְשָׁרְשָׁן,

and they become truly unified,

וְהָיוּ לַאֲחָדִים מַמָּשׁ,

and are nullified in His light, which radiates to them in a manifest way.

וּבְטֵלִים בְּאוֹרוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ הַמֵּאִיר לָהֶם בִּבְחִינַת גִּילּוּי.

Once their individuality is nullified, they no longer oppose each other.

By way of analogy: The intense enmity of two high officials dissolves, in the presence of their sovereign, into friendship. It is because of their joint nullification before the king that this unity comes about. So, too, the defined bounds of the various attributes dissipate in the face of the limitless revelation of the infinite light.

The gevurot are thereby tempered and mellowed (lit., “sweetened”) in the chasadimand are transformed into good and kindness,

וַאֲזַי מִתְמַזְּגִים וּמִתְמַתְּקִים הַגְּבוּרוֹת בַּחֲסָדִים,

by a mediary, the determining factor between chesed and gevurah, which leans toward chesed,

עַל־יְדֵי בְּחִינָה מְמוּצַּעַת – קַו הַמַּכְרִיעַ וּמַטֶּה כְּלַפֵּי חֶסֶד,

i.e., the attribute of rachamim (“mercy”).

הִיא מִדַּת הָרַחֲמִים,

When chesed does not insist (so to speak) on an unlimited revelation of kindness (but is satisfied to reveal the G‑dly illumination in a finite manner), and gevurah insists only on withholding the revelation from those who are unworthy of receiving it (but does not insist on blocking the revelation altogether, even from the worthy)—then the mediating attribute of mercy, which leans toward kindness, declares that while a particular recipient may not be strictly worthy of the kindness to be shown, he is at least worthy of being granted it out of compassion.

This attribute of rachamim is called tiferet (“beauty”) in the terminology of the Kabbalists (lit., “the scholars of truth”),

הַנִּקְרֵאת בְּשֵׁם “תִּפְאֶרֶת” בְּדִבְרֵי חַכְמֵי הָאֱמֶת,

because it is made up of the two colors white and red,

לְפִי שֶׁהִיא כְּלוּלָה מִב’ גְּוָונִין: לוֹבֶן וְאוֹדֶם,

which allude to chesed and gevurahrespectively.

הַמְרַמְּזִים לְחֶסֶד וּגְבוּרָה.

Rachamim is therefore called tiferet because there is beauty in the harmony of diverse colors.

The Divine Name Havayah (the Tetragrammaton), as it appears unqualified throughout the Torah, therefore indicates the attribute of tiferet,

וְלָכֵן, סְתָם שֵׁם הַוָיָ’ בָּרוּךְ־הוּא שֶׁבְּכָל הַתּוֹרָה – מוֹרֶה עַל מִדַּת הַתִּפְאֶרֶת,

as is stated in the sacred Zohar.4

כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב בַּזּוֹהַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ,

Each of the Divine Names indicates one of the supernal attributes: the Name E-l, for example, indicates chesedElokim indicates gevurah; and any unqualified appearance of the ultimate Divine Name—Havayah, which is known as Shem HaEtzem (“the Essential Name”)—alludes to the attribute of tiferet. Why is this the case?

For here, in tiferet, the [infinite] Ein Sof-light becomes manifest in an immense illumination,

לְפִי, שֶׁכָּאן הוּא בְּחִינַת גִּילּוּי אוֹר־אֵין־סוֹף בָּרוּךְ־הוּא, הֶאָרָה רַבָּה,

surpassing that of the other Divine attributes.

בְּיֶתֶר שְׂאֵת מִשְּׁאָר מִדּוֹתָיו הַקְּדוֹשׁוֹת יִתְבָּרֵךְ.

This, then, is the meaning of the above quotation, that “He makes peace in His high places”: The revelation of G‑d’s infinite light “makes peace” between Michael and Gabriel, who represent chesed and gevurah.

_______

FOOTNOTES

____________

4. Note by the Rebbe: “Vayikra 11:1.”