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As Divided for a Regular Year
Tanya for 7 Kislev
Another point [in which the mitzvot requiring action are superior to the love and awe experienced by the soul:
The Alter Rebbe will now explain that since love and fear are essentially spiritual in nature, they resemble the mere glimmer (and not the essence) of the master's own intellectual illumination that he imparts to his disciple.
In contrast, a physical seminal drop is capable of creating a child it imparts the entire essence.
So much so, in fact, that it is possible for the  "power of the child to outshine the power of his father," so that gifts dormant within the father can become manifest in the child.
The Alter Rebbe will now use this analogy to explain the difference between love and awe, which are spiritual, and the action-related mitzvot, which are physical.
Love and awe are "illuminations" (orot), like the illumination of intellect, while the practical mitzvot are "vessels" (kelim) that give forth the essence, similar to the physical drop that gives forth the entire essence of its source.]
For verbalizing any phrase of the Supreme Wisdom does not procreate [imparting wisdom does not create any being ex nihilo], whereas the drop drawn from the vessel of the Supreme Wisdom, [like the drop that derives from the father's brain,  has the power to procreate and bring about existence ex nihilo.
Also, a flow of the Supreme Wisdom - [an illumination which is paralleled by a person's capacity for wisdom] - is incorporated within it [i.e., within the drop that derives from the vessel of Supernal Wisdom].
The reason is that into it there is drawn the essence and nature of the Supreme Wisdom.
[All the above refers to the drop that derives from the vessels of wisdom].
This is not the case with thought and speech, [where the intellect they draw forth does not possess the essence of the original wisdom], even in intellectual conception in any field of wisdom.
[Though this is a rarefied level of conceptualization, transcending even the subtle articulation sketched by "letters of thought," nevertheless]: this wisdom is a mere reflection that extends from the essence of intellect in the soul.
Then, too, this reflection is a mere garment for the very essence of the intellect, and the intellect in turn is but a reflection and garment for the essence of the soul.
[Thus, the soul's essence is not to be found even within intellectual conception - unlike the drop, which, though physical, comprises within it the essence of the soul, as the Alter Rebbe now goes on to say].
In contrast, there is also drawn into the drop something of the very essence of the soul which is clothed within the brain.
Hence it begets offspring precisely similar to itself, [to the soul itself].
This is the difference between the divine service of angels, which are born of a spiritual kiss, [and hence their divine service is likewise spiritual], and that of souls, which issue from the "vessels" [that contain an element of the "essence", and which thus resemble the tangible product of the seminal drop which incorporates the entire essence of its source.
According to the above, however, it would seem that within the love and awe of souls as well, there should be an element of essence - whereas we learned above that the love and awe of souls are likened to the mere reflection (and not the essence) of his own illumination which a master imparts to his disciple.
The Alter Rebbe anticipates this query by explaining that since the vessels of Atzilut become a Neshamah to Beriah, Yetzirah and Asiyah, there are therefore two forms of issue from the soul itself: one is a radiation, which is intellectual love and fear; the other is an issue of essence, that finds expression in action-related mitzvot.]
But the vessels of Atzilut become the soul of Beriah, Yetzirah and Asiyah - [and from this soul emanate two manners of issue.]
Therefore intellectual love and awe are comparable to the angels that issue from the spiritual kiss, which irra-diates only the external aspect of ChaBaD - [Chochmah, Binah and Daat, the three intellective Sefirot - in] Beriah, Yetzirah and Asiyah.
[Though it derives from the vessels of Atzilut, it is still not of the degree of essence.]
The reason is that the innermost dimension of ChaBaD and the essential nature of the indwelling light [or pnimi] cannot be revealed except through the radiance of the vessels that descend below, as does the seminal drop of man issuing from the brain.
As it is written,  "My Face - [My innermost dimension] - shall not be seen."
[Not being manifest, it must therefore descend in a concealed manner, similar to the drop.]
- (Back to text) Shmot 30:23.
- (Back to text) Shevuot 48a, and sources cited there.
- (Back to text) Tanya, ch. 2.
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