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Tanya for Friday, 1 Tamuz, 5781 - June 11, 2021

As Divided for a Regular Year

Tanya for 1 Tamuz

30 Sivan, 5781 - June 10, 20212 Tamuz, 5781 - June 12, 2021

Chapter Ten

[Concluding the previous chapter, the Alter Rebbe explained that since G-d is infinitely exalted above intellect, intellectual means are inadequate to grasp His absolute union with the Sefirot of the World of Atzilut.

These are limited to the particular Divine attributes of wisdom, kindness, and so on.

The Zohar thus terms these attributes "the secret of faith," for their union with the Divine beggars mortal comprehension].

Nevertheless, [despite the fact that the Sefirot transcend intellect and comprehension], since [1] "the Torah speaks as in the language of man" in order to [2] "modulate for the ear what it is able to hear," permission has been granted to the Kabbalists [lit., "the scholars of truth"] to speak allegorically of the Sefirot.

[Note of the Rebbe Shlita: "The use of the term mashal `allegory' stresses that the allegory and its object are not identical, but merely that there is a similarity between the relationship that subsists among the particulars of the analogy to the relationship that subsists among the particulars of the analogue.

There is, however, no connection at all between the particular aspects of the analogy and the analogue.

"Here, for instance: the sun's rays and the sun do not compare in any way at all to the Sefirot and their Source.

The analogy refers only to the manner in which the sun's rays are united (i.e., related) with the sun itself.

This analogy makes it easier for us to comprehend the unity of the Sefirot with their Source."]

[The Kabbalists] called [the Sefirot] "lights", [using terminology borrowed from the revelation of light], so that by means of this metaphor, the nature of the unity of the Holy One, blessed be He, and His attributes, will be somewhat understood by us.

It is, by way of illustration, like the unity of the sunlight that is within the solar globe, with the solar globe [itself], which is called [not only "sun" but also] a "luminary," [inasmuch as it emits light], as it is written, [3] [that G-d created] "the greater luminary ....," [i.e., the very source of light].

The radiation and the beam which spreads forth and shines from it is called "light", as it is written, [4] "And G-d called the light - day."

[It would hardly be reasonable to say that within the orb of the sun there exist two things: the luminary and its light. Within the sun globe, only the sun itself exists].

When the light is within its source in the orb of the sun, it is united with it in absolute unity, for there, [within the sun], there is only one entity, namely, the body of the luminary which emits light; for there the radiation and light is absolutely one being with the body of the luminary which illuminates, and it has no existence by itself at all.

[The appearance of radiation and light outside the sun would seem to indicate that light exists within the sun itself, for if it reaches out and illuminates the whole world it is surely found within its source.

In fact, however, when sunlight is considered at the stage at which it is found within the luminary itself, it is so completely identified with it that it cannot be termed light at all; within the sun, the light has no existence with an independent identity. [5]

Precisely in this manner, and even more so, is [the unity of - on the one hand] the attributes of the Holy One, blessed be He, and His Will and wisdom in the World of Atzilut, with [on the other hand] His Essence and Being, as it were, Who becomes clothed in them - [in the Sefirot of Atzilut] - and unites with them in perfect unity, since they derived and emanated from Him just as [by way of analogy] light is diffused from the sun.

However, [G-d's unity with His attributes] is not exactly in this manner, [i.e., like the fusion of the sun with the light which is still within it], but in a manner which is remote and concealed from our comprehension, for [6] His ways are higher than our ways.

Nevertheless, [despite its superior manner of unity], since one must "modulate for the ear [what it is able to hear]," we can perceive and comprehend that just as in the analogy, the light of the sun which is united with and nullified in its source has no name of its own, only the name of its source, so too, all the attributes of the Holy One, blessed be He, and His Will and wisdom, are not designated and called by these names at all, [relative to Him], but only in relation to the creatures which are [below the World of Atzilut, i.e., in Beriah, Yetzirah and Asiyah.

These creatures being both] higher and lower, which are brought into existence and given life and guided in their conduct by the Holy One, blessed be He, through His Will and wisdom and understanding and knowledge, which garb themselves in His holy emotive attributes, [such as Chesed, Gevurah and Tiferet.

Thus, the Sefirot are termed Chochmah, Binah, Daat, Chesed, and so forth, in relation to the beings which are created and vivified by G-d through His Will and wisdom, and so forth, which clothe themselves in the emotive attributes].

As it is stated in the Midrash, [7] "By means of ten things was the world created: by wisdom, by understanding and by knowledge, .... as it is written, [8] `G-d founded the earth with wisdom; He established the heavens with understanding; with His knowledge the depths of the abyss were burst open,' ....."

[We thus see from the Midrash [9] that the world was created by means of "ten things", i.e., the Ten Sefirot].

And as expressed by Elijah, [in the passage that opens with Patach Eliyahu, and forms part of the introduction to Tikkunei Zohar], "You have brought forth ten Tikkunim `[garments]', and we call them ten Sefirot, through which to direct hidden worlds unrevealed [i.e., worlds that transcend mortal comprehension] and worlds revealed [i.e., worlds that are accessible to mortal comprehension], and through them You conceal Yourself ...." - [from created beings, so that they will not be able to perceive the Divine life-force that creates and vivifies them.

The Alter Rebbe now offers an instance of how creation came about through the Sefirot].



  1. (Back to text) Berachot 31b.

  2. (Back to text) Mechilta and Tanchuma on Shmot 19:18.

  3. (Back to text) Bereishit 1:16.

  4. (Back to text) Ibid. 1:5.

  5. (Back to text) Commenting on the above statement that the light "has no existence by itself at all," the Rebbe Shlita notes: "It is impossible to say that in relation to the luminary the light is of absolutely no account, inasmuch as the luminary itself gives significance to light. (Indeed, it is on account of the light that it is termed a luminary.)"

  6. (Back to text) Cf. Yeshayahu 55:9.

  7. (Back to text) Chagigah 12a. The term "Midrash" also embraces the homiletical passages (i.e., the Aggadot) in the Talmud.

  8. (Back to text) Mishlei 3:19-20.

  9. (Back to text) Note of the Rebbe Shlita: "Seemingly the author ought to have quoted an explicit statement in the Mishnah [Avot 5:1], `The world was created through ten [Divine] utterances.' But [the Alter Rebbe quotes the Talmud instead, for] the Mishnah speaks of this in relation to the level of Malchut and the revelation (i.e., utterance - as explained above) of every Sefirah, while the proof sought here must relate to Chochmah and Binah, etc., themselves."

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