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As Divided for a Leap Year
Tanya for 8 Shevat
The explanation is as follows:  The Patriarchs were truly the "chariot" of G-d, [i.e., they were completely subservient to Him and had no other will but the Divine Will, just as a chariot has no will of its own but is directed solely by the will of the rider].
Therefore, they merited [the privilege of] drawing down, for all subsequent generations of their descendants, forever, a Nefesh, Ruach and Neshamah from the ten holy Sefirot of the Four Worlds of Atzilut, Beriah, Yetzirah and Asiyah. 
[In which of the Four Worlds, and from which Sefirah within these Worlds, does the soul originate]?
Each individual - according to his level and according to his his deeds.
"[His level" refers to the level of the root of his soul; "his deeds" refers to one's efforts towards refining himself - as the Zohar states: "When one betters himself, he is given a higher order of soul]."
At any rate, even the unworthiest and most sinful Jews draw down, by their marital union, a Nefesh from the level of Nefesh of Malchut deAsiyah ["the Attribute of Royalty in the World of Action"].
[This means to say that the union of every Jewish couple, no matter how low their spiritual level, brings forth a soul from, at the very least, the lowest level of holiness. This lowest level is Nefesh deMalchut deAsiyah.
For Asiyah is the lowest of the Four Worlds, and Malchut is the lowest Sefirah within that World.
Malchut itself is further composed of three levels - Nefesh, Ruach and Neshamah, Nefesh being the lowest of the three. In addition, as we have seen in the previous chapters, the soul itself consists of the three levels of Nefesh, Ruach and Neshamah.
Thus, one who has been given only a Nefesh which stems from Nefesh deMalchut deAsiyah, has the lowest order of soul deriving from the lowest level in the spiritual hierarchy - as the Alter Rebbe now goes on to say].
This is the lowest level of holiness in the world of Asiyah.
Yet, since [Malchut] is one of the ten holy Sefirot, [and since holiness is the realm of unity, where every level is comprised of all the other levels, perforce, it [the lowest level in Asiyah] is compounded of all the other levels in Asiyah, including Chochmah deAsiyah ["Wisdom of the World of Action", the highest Sefirah in Asiyah].
Within [Chochmah deAsiyah] is clothed Chochmah deMalchut deAtzilut "[Wisdom of Royalty in the World of Emanation]".
[As the author explains in ch. 52, the Sefirah of Malchut deAtzilut clothes itself in, and illuminates, the World of Asiyah.
Since Malchut deAtzilut contains all the Sefirot of Atzilut, the illumination of Asiyah by Malchut thus means that each Sefirah of Atzilut as it is contained in Malchut deAtzilut, garbs itself in the corresponding Sefirah of Asiyah - Chochmah deMalchut deAtzilut in Chochmah deAsiyah, Binah deMalchut deAtzilut in Binah deAsiyah, and so forth].
In Chochmah deMalchut deAtzilut is clothed Chochmah deAtzilut, [since all the Sefirot of Atzilut incorporate each other], which, in turn, is illuminated by the actual light of the blessed Ein Sof, as it is written,  "G-d, in His wisdom, founded the earth";
[The words "G-d in His wisdom" show that the light of the Ein Sof illuminates the Sefirah of Chochmah, while the words "wisdom founded the earth" indicate that Chochmah is clothed in Malchut, which is called "earth" (for, like the earth, Malchut is the lowest level in its hierarchy)]; and it is further written,  "In wisdom you have made them all" [the word "made" indicating that Chochmah is clothed in Asiyah - action].
Thus we see that the light of the blessed Ein Sof is garbed in the faculty of wisdom in the human soul, of whatever sort of a Jew he may be. [Further in the chapter, the Alter Rebbe explains why it is the faculty of wisdom in the soul that receives the illumination of the Ein Sof].
In turn, the soul's faculty of wisdom, together with the light of the blessed Ein Sof that is garbed in it, suffuses all the levels of the soul in its entirety, from head to foot, as it were, [i.e., from the highest level of the soul to the lowest], to animate them [with G-dly vitality], as it is written,  "Wisdom gives life to those who possess it" - [the soul, which possesses the faculty of wisdom, receives its life by means of this faculty, as stated above].
[A soul that has fallen captive in the hands of the kelipot remains in this state until the kelipot release it of their own will.
Anything in the hold of the kelipot cannot be wrested from them against their will, for the principle that  "G-d does not make unjustifiable demands of His creations," holds true even with regard to kelipot.
In the case of a child to be born to sinful parents, the kelipot willingly release the soul, in the hope that such a child will be influenced by its parents, and will become a sinner like them.
In this way, the kelipot stand to extract an even greater measure of vitality from the holiness of the soul by means of its eventual sins.
However, having such a lofty soul, the child is able to overcome the obstacles imposed by its parents' wickedness, and may rise to the level of a tzaddik.
In this way, paradoxically, it comes to pass that a tzaddik may be born to wicked parents because of their wickedness. 
Returning to his original point, that every Jew has a soul which stems from the holy Sefirot, and that ultimately each soul is animated by the light of the Ein Sof by way of the soul's faculty of wisdom (Chochmah), the Alter Rebbe now goes on to explain why it is Chochmah that is the original recipient of the light of the Ein Sof.
The explanation is based on a discussion of the nature of the soul's faculty of wisdom, which now follows]:
- (Back to text) See ch. 23.
- (Back to text) These terms are explained above, ch. 2.
- (Back to text) Mishlei 3:19.
- (Back to text) Tehillim 104:24.
- (Back to text) Kohelet 7:12.
- (Back to text) Parentheses are in the original text.
- (Back to text) Book on Transmigration, by R. Chayim Vital.
- (Back to text) Avodah Zarah 3a.
- (Back to text) The relevance of this point here is clarified by the explanation given by the Rebbe Shlita of the final passage of chapter 2. See there.
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