If only I knew then what I know now…but the design is that is what life is for!!

A lifetime of work has thank Hashem brought me, while alive, to comprehend and hopefully rebuild the very foundation for every moment of breath.

May the opportunity to live as Hashem intends us to – as an emanation from Him with a purpose and a reason in every moment – come closer and closer to every moment of my life

What vision for each moment is there? What does Hashem want from us in the moment? A submitted heart is how we receive the moment, yet the task is to continue recognizing Him as doing everything, from a posture of love, with the awe to face the challenge and be a channel through which compassion flows. The uniqueness of every moment is there for us to receive in this way and to then run and return.

The main being we are is part of knesset Yisrael, a soul that is unified and created by Hashem through which fallen sparks may ascend. This functioning is His doing. However, because we have real free will to be that channel, our effort is to comprehend the design, embrace it, love Him so much in our hearts that we make the effort to have this awe with us in every moment, and thereby provide a context and a strong foundation for the thoughts and emotions that He sends through us.

To do this, we embrace the wisdom of nullifying everything that encourages us to feel ourselves rather than feeling the holiness of being insignificant in His Light – and thereby being a part of what IS REAL and thereby attain the concentration to take actions in this world that reveal His Light.

We can trust that He will take good care of our existence, as He does every moment regardless of whether we recognize Him or not.

When we choose to nullify the sense of feeling ourselves as somehow separate, we are promoting ourselves through our will as a conduit to bring His Light into the world, for His Sake, realizing that there is only Hashem.

What is the perspective that gives us the ability to move ourselves to such a choice?

We are essentially nefesh elokis Hashem has enclothed in a body with the ability to perform mitzvahs and emulate Him so that He may draw through our efforts and prayers the Infinite Light that is concealed in nature, in Elokim, back to Him and into those mitzvahs, repairing the ability of the four states of matter to be able to reveal His Light without being nullified.

We are the pipeline across which His Light can travel, according to His Laws, His Justice, His Mercy, when we are willing to see ourselves as who He has created and utilize real free will and our awe and love to face our challenges with this perspective of serving Him.

Just wanting that understanding of our design and to serve in that way is the beginning of wisdom – awe of Hashem is the beginning of wisdom. It is an infinite journey. Getting on that journey is the primary step, not how far on that journey we are.

Getting on the journey means realizing that the strongest natural emotions and pulls, although commonly understood and in need of compassion from others, are actually our inbox, so to speak. Our will is there to realize that we have compassion on our very life force trapped in that darkness, and surely do not wish to add more of the generous and beautiful life force and time given to us searching for answers in the darkness. Recognize the difference between darkness and light – are we going to be claimed by the kelipas or by knesset yisrael when we depart our bodies? This choice is heads or tails. It is a choice we make every moment, that we build every moment, so that hopefully we will be claimed by knesset yisrael and not the kelipas. Each moment we walk past the natural magnetic pulls of the kelipas, of nature, to choose to submit what is natural in favor of being that channel to shine His Light, we build merits.

Our bodies are part of the physicality of the world but what is concealed in the physical world is Elokim, Who is the soul of every atom, Who we, through recognizing that, provide a return path to revealed Light coming into this world.

Shall the life force given to us identify with the vessel or with the purpose and reason for having a vessel?

It is up to us.

May these thoughts empower us to identify with essence and not the vessel and thereby move with prayer and ratzon towards run and return and being a channel. And may the main character, Hashem, the One Alone, be revealed.



“And you shall know today and take it unto your heart, that Havayah1 is the E-lohim2 in the heavens above and the earth below; there is nothing else.”3

The verses which precede this statement concern the exodus from Egypt and the entry [of the Jewish people] into Eretz Yisrael.4 [Since sequence is significant in the Torah,] there is a need for explanation: What is the connection between the exodus from Egypt and the entry [of the Jewish people] into Eretz Yisrael and the verse, “And you shall know…”?

[To resolve this question,] it is first necessary to explain the phrase, “that Havayah is the E-lohim.” In this context, the Zohar5 states, “Havayah and E-lohim are all one.” On the surface, it is difficult to comprehend how [these two names] can be “all one.” It is well known that Havayah is the source for revelation and is [associated with] the attribute of mercy (as explained in the Midrash6 and the Zohar7 in several places). I.e., it reflects revelation in a manner characterized by kindness and mercy without any limitation at all. For all limitation stems from the name E-lohim, as will be explained, while the name Havayah is [associated with] revelation that is utterly boundless in nature.

[By contrast,] the name E-lohim is

[associated with]

the quality of judgment and contraction, to limit and to conceal the revelation of light. Thus it is the source for the manifold division [which exists among the creations of the world]. As such, the plural form is used in regard to the name E-lohim as in the verse,8E-lohim Kedoshim. [This emphasizes that] the manifold division [which exists within our world] stems from the [manner in which the infinite Divine light] is limited and concealed [through the influence of the name E-lohim].

[To elaborate slightly on the latter concept: The name E-lohim is the medium through which the infinite Divine life-force is meted out to the creations. Since this life-force is to be enclothed and internalized within the creations, it must undergo a process of self-contraction and limitation. Hence, judgment is necessary to determine precisely the degree of limitation necessary for the light to enclothe itself within a particular creation. And it is this process of limited revelation that allows for the possibility of diverse creations to come into existence.]

In Kabbalistic terminology,9 [we find a parallel explanation]. [G‑dly light and influence is conveyed and revealed by the Sefiros, which have two dimensions, the oros (“lights”) and the keilim (“vessels”).] The name Havayah is the source for the oros, while the name E-lohim is the source for the keilim.10 The light is simple, above all possibility for division, and is unlimited in nature. For the light is representative of the source of light (since it is davuk in its source, i.e., it has no independent identity of its own as explained in other sources11 using the analogy of the sun and the light and radiance [it produces]). Accordingly, just as the source of light is simple, totally above all possibility for division or qualification, and is unlimited in nature, so too, the light and the revelation which emanate from it resemble its source and are simple, above division, and infinite [in nature].

In contrast, the name E-lohim is the source for the vessels which contract, limit, and conceal the light, causing it to be expressed in different qualities, [e.g., the attribute] of wisdom or that of kindness. This process of qualification comes as a result of the vessels.

It is true that the vessels of the ten Sefiros reveal the light which is enclothed within them. [To use an analogy from the human realm,] the brain reveals the light of the intellect which is enclothed within it. Similarly, the eye reveals the spiritual power of sight and the heart reveals the emotions. Similarly, [in the analogue] in the spiritual realms, the attribute of Chochmah (“wisdom”) resembles the brain and the attribute of Chesed (“kindness”) resembles the right hand.12 I.e., it is these [vessels] which reveal the lights. Indeed, this is the entire purpose of the vessels to reveal the lights and to cause the lights to influence [our world] as is well known and as is clear from the analogy to the human body mentioned above.

In truth, however, both are true. [The vessels] reveal the light and they also conceal and veil the light. The light which they reveal is the light which is on the level of the worlds;13 i.e., the vessels of the world of Atzilus shine forth and reveal light in the world of Atzilus. And through the medium of the parsa14 which divides between Atzilus and Beriah, they reveal the light within the world of Beriah; and from Beriah, [the light descends] to Yetzirah.

This is not, however, a revelation of the light as it exists in its own right. For, as explained above, the light is representative of the source of light and is truly simple and infinite in nature. Thus, in essence, the light is not on the level of the worlds; for [by definition,] a world must exist as a separate and limited individual entity. Even within the world of Atzilus, the heichalus15 of Atzilus are separate and limited individual entities as stated in Tanya, Iggeres HaKodesh, Ihu ViChaiyeihu Chad.16 Surely, this applies in the worlds of Beriah, Yetzirah, and Asiyah which are limited in nature.

Since limitation and infinity are by definition different, [G‑d’s infinite] light is not at all on the level of these [finite] worlds. Thus we can appreciate that the light which the vessels reveal in the worlds is not the essence of the light, but rather an external ray of the light.17 Indeed, the essence of the light remains hidden within them, concealed by them. And it is through concealing the essence of the light that they are able to reveal the external dimensions of the light and cause it to effect change in the world.

Thus both concepts are true; [the vessels] conceal the essence of the light and reveal its external dimensions. These two concepts are interrelated; it is because they conceal the essence of the light, that they are able to reveal its external dimensions.

An analogy to the concept that the vessels do not reveal the essence of the light can be drawn from the letters of speech. [The relationship of] the letters of speech to the content and ideas they express [parallels the relationship between the lights and the vessels]. In this instance as well, [the letters of speech] reveal only the external dimensions of the ideas and not their inner [power]. For this reason, we find that when the judges of a Sanhedrin,

[a Jewish High Court would rule on a case involving capital

, they would stay up the entire night debating the case, lest they forget the motivating principle [for their argument overnight].18 There were two court scribes who would record the opinions of those arguing on behalf of acquittal and those arguing on behalf on conviction. [It was, nevertheless, necessary for the judges to discuss the case the entire night to keep the ideas fresh in their minds, because] to quote Rashi19 “a person cannot write down the convictions of another’s heart.” One’s true and inner intent cannot be expressed through words; they are merely an external [representation of the idea].

Similarly, to refer to the analogue in the spiritual realms, the vessels reveal only the external dimensions of the light, while the inner, essential light is concealed within them. [To further illustrate this concept, it is possible to employ the analogy of] the powers of the soul as they are enclothed within the limbs of the body, e.g., the power of intellect [which enclothes itself] in the brain to conceive [ideas] or the power of sight [which enclothes itself] in the eye to see.

In truth, the power of intellect exists within the soul before it enclothes itself in the brain, and the power of sight exists before it enclothes itself in the eye. Indeed, these [powers] exist within the soul on a much higher plane than they exist after they are enclothed within the limbs. Nevertheless, at that level, the power of sight does not cause another entity to be seen, i.e., it does not function as [we know] it functions. Similarly, the power of intellect does not function as it does after it becomes enclothed within the brain, but rather functions on a higher plane.

These concepts are interrelated. The power of intellect as it exists within the soul before it is enclothed within the body is an essential light which is [far above] the level on which it can conceive of concepts that are at all physical in nature or involve material things. Instead, it perceives spiritual matters, e.g., the concepts revealed in Gan Eden and the like. Similarly, [at that incorporate level,] the power of sight sees spiritual matters. It is only as these [powers] enclothe themselves in the limbs of the body that this essential light becomes hidden and its external dimensions become revealed [causing these powers] to function in relation to other entities.

This leads to a general principle of greater scope: A revelation of the essence brings about concealment for others. [For they are not on the same level as the essence, and hence, cannot perceive it.] Conversely, a concealment of the essence brings about revelation for others. [For when the essential light is hidden, the aspects which the others can perceive are revealed.]

From this, we can understand how, in the spiritual realms, the vessels of Atzilus conceal the essence of the light and reveal only its external dimensions. And indeed, it is because they conceal the inner, essential light, that they are able to reveal the external dimensions of the light and thus perform [various] functions as explained within the context of the analogy to the soul.

Therefore, [the vessels] are identified with the name E-lohim which relates to the attribute of judgment and [the power of] contraction, for it limits and veils the light. Similarly, all the veiling and concealing processes in the world stem from the name E-lohim. These refer to the parseos, the curtains,20 which separate each and every world. Similarly, within the worlds themselves, there may be parseos, [for example,] in [the world of] Atzilus, there is a parsa between the mochin (the intellectual attributes of that realm) and the middos (the emotional attributes). There is a parsa which separates Atzilus and Beriah, and within Beriah itself there are parseos. Similarly, there are parseos between the worlds of Beriah and Yetzirah and between Yetzirah and Asiyah, and within each of these worlds, there are also parseos.

This [entire process of] limitation stems from the name E-lohim, while all [the potential for] revelation within the worlds stems from the name Havayah.

Thus the two names Havayah and E-lohim are opposite in nature; one is the source for revelation, and the other, the source for concealment. [And so, we return to the original question:] How can it be said that [these two names] “are all one”?

[This concept can be explained by developing the analogy of the expression of the soul’s powers through the limbs of the body] as reflected in the verse,21 “From my flesh, I will perceive G‑dliness.” ([Since] man was created in the image of the spiritual realms above as it is written,22 “Let us make man in our image and in our form,” from [an analysis of the operation of] the powers of the soul, we can perceive the makeup of the spiritual realms.)

Within [each of] the powers of the soul, there is also a potential for revelation and a potential for limitation and concealment. For example, the power of intelligence which conceives ideas, is drawn down from the essential power of intellect23 within the soul which is an unbounded potential for all types of intellectual revelations; they all have their source in the essential power of intellect.

[Thus, we see that] the essential power of intellect contains the potential for revelation, [the capacity] to conceive and express any intellectual concept. It also possesses the power of limitation, to confine the scope of any concept. [This is of fundamental importance.] Every idea and concept must have a limit to its scope; it may be extended to a particular point, but no further. For if one

[thinks abstractly and]

extends the scope of an idea beyond its limits, one will begin to deviate and lose sight of the truth.

Similarly, [when one desires to come to a decision regarding a particular matter] and [there are conflicting opinions, i.e.,] there are several perspectives which lean towards a ruling that it is permitted and others which lean toward a ruling that it is forbidden, it is impossible to reach a final decision unless there is a clear definition and limit [to these ideas]. In the same manner, it is impossible to study a [Talmudic] passage with the intent of arriving at a Halachic decision unless one defines and limits one’s ideas. When [these limits are established], one can see the advantage one idea has over another one, and thus one can perceive the truth and reach a decision.

Similarly, [in the communication of an idea from] a mashpia [teacher, lit. source of influence] to a mekabel [student, lit. recipient]: It is necessary for the mashpia to condense, veil, and limit the concept [he is teaching] so that it can be grasped by the mekabel. Were the mashpia to reveal the essence of his appreciation of an idea, it would be impossible [for the mekabel] to comprehend it. Instead, it is necessary for him to conceal the essence of his appreciation of the idea and reveal only what is on the level [of the mekabel]. Similarly, it is necessary [for the mashpia] to limit the scope of his appreciation of the idea so that it does not extend beyond the appropriate limits of the mekabel’s ability to grasp it. For if it extends beyond those limits, it will not be on the level that can be grasped by the capacities of the mekabel.

Thus we see there is a power of limitation which defines concepts. This power of limitation also has its source in the essential power of intellect itself. Just as that power is the source for the revelation of intelligence, to conceive of all intellectual ideas, so too, is it the source for the power of limitation that defines the ideas. These are the potentials of Chesed (“kindness”) and Gevurah (“might”) in the essential power of intellect. The attributes of Chesed are the source for the potential to reveal ideas, and the attributes of Gevurah are the source for the potential to limit and define.

[We are forced to say that both of these potentials have their source in the essential power of intellect. For the only way we can put limits on an intellectual idea or bring a concept down to a lower level of understanding is through the use of our minds. Our other potentials, our wills and our feelings, can spur or inhibit our thinking processes; they cannot, however, affect a change within them. Such change can only be a result of an intellectual power, albeit a power of a different nature from the power of conceptualization.]

The analogue to this concept can be understood in regard to the two names Havayah and E-lohim. They represent the power of revelation and the power of limitation and they are both drawn down from the essence of the Or Ein Sof, G‑d’s infinite light. The power of revelation, which is identified with the name Havayah, is drawn down from the essence of the Or Ein Sof ([for] the light is at one with the source of light and is [therefore] representative of the source of light as explained in other sources24). Similarly, the power of limitation and contraction which is identified with the name E-lohim is drawn down from the essence of the Or Ein Sof. This is its potential for limitation, for as the Avodas HaKodesh25 writes:

The Or Ein Sof is the perfection of all things. Just as it contains an infinite potential, it also contains a finite potential. For were one to say that it contains an infinite potential, but does not contain a finite potential, one would detract from its perfection. Instead, just as it contains an infinite potential, it also contains a finite potential.

This [finite potential], the power of limitation within the essence of the Or Ein Sof, is identified with the name E-lohim. Since the name E-lohim is actually [an expression of] the essence of the Or Ein Sof, as is the name Havayah, it, therefore, can be understood that the name E-lohim does not conceal the name Havayah.

An essence cannot conceal itself, as a person cannot conceal himself with [another portion of] his own [body]. This is reflected in [the decision of] the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 91:4) in regard to the laws of covering one’s head: It is not sufficient to cover one’s head with one’s hand (although it is acceptable if a colleague covers one’s head with his hand), because an essence cannot cover itself. Similarly, in the spiritual realms, the name E-lohim which is [an expression of] the essence of the Or Ein Sof does not veil or conceal the name Havayah.

This is the meaning of “Havayah and E-lohim are all one” that they are both [expressions of] the essence of the Or Ein Sof. Thus, they are not opposites at all. Although the name E-lohim is [identified with] the power of limitation, it does not limit or conceal the name Havayah at all.

The above in on the surface, difficult to understand, and requires explanation. The entire purpose for the name E-lohim is to limit and to conceal. How is it possible for both to be true, that it conceals and yet, it does not conceal?

[To clarify the question: As mentioned in the beginning of the maamar, an inner, essential light is at times, concealed so that its external dimensions can be revealed. In that pattern, however, the concealment is genuine; that inner light is indeed held back from the recipient. In contrast, in the process of limitation and concealment associated with the name E-lohim, there is outwardly a degree of limitation, for indeed we see a downward progression of spiritual realms in which each receives a lesser revelation of G‑dly light. Nevertheless, the maamar is saying that this concealment is only an external phenomenon. In truth, there is a complete and total transmission of G‑dliness from one level to another with no limitation. It is the nature of this process that requires explanation.]

This concept can also be understood by [expanding our explanation] of the analogy to [the functioning of] human [intellect] as reflected in the relationship between a mashpia and a mekabel. When the mekabel’s level is far removed from that of the mashpia, e.g., when a great sage is required to communicate a concept to a recipient whose intellectual potential is far less than his, he is required to limit and conceal the essence of his comprehension and conception of the idea.26 Were he to reveal to him the depth and breadth of his conception of the idea as it exists within his own mind, the mekabel’s powers [of comprehension] would become confused, and he would not be able to grasp the concept at all. Rather, it is necessary for him to limit and conceal the entire depth and breadth of his own conception of the concept and reveal to [the mekabel] only an external glimmer of the idea in a concentrated form which is appropriate to the mekabel’s level of comprehension.

Furthermore, even this point must be enclothed and hidden in an analogy. [The term “hidden in an analogy” is used, because] an analogy is an utterly different matter from the analogue and indeed, it covers up and conceals the concept itself. To [explain this very concept by] use of an analogy an analogy is like a garment which is used to cover an object. [Although] the garment [in which a person or object is clothed serves as a means of presentation,] it is, [nevertheless,] a separate entity. Similarly, an analogy is a separate and different matter from the analogue, and indeed, it covers up the analogue.27 It does, however, serve as a medium to allow [the student] to grasp and comprehend the analogue. (For [the analogy] parallels the analogue as a garment fits the person who wears it. Since the analogy is closer [to the mekabel’s] level of understanding, it allows him to comprehend the analogue.)

This [process] is implied in our Sages’ teaching,28 “A person should always teach his students in a concise form.” I.e., [a teacher] should not reveal to [a student, i.e.,] a mekabel, the depth and breadth of his own conception of the idea which is not on the level of the mekabel. Instead, he should find a concise form which does not reveal the entire inner appreciation of the idea, i.e., the depth and breadth of his own conception, but merely that which is on the level of the mekabel. And it is this [perception of the idea] which he can reveal [to the mekabel] on his own level.evertheless, the intent in teaching a student in such a concise form is not that the inner dimensions and the essence of [the teacher’s] conception be withheld. Were that to be the case, the concept he would be communicating would not be a “concise form” [of his original idea], but rather a different idea entirely.

The intent is that he should teach the mekabel the essence of his conception of the idea, but that he should do so in a concise form, i.e., the concept which he communicates should contain in a hidden manner, all the depth and wisdom of his conception of this


idea. [Nevertheless, this depth] should be entirely hidden in the subject matter, in the precise choice of the wording and the like. In these matters, he conveys in a hidden way his inner wisdom concerning the matter.

An example of this process is the Mishnah composed by [Rabbi Yehudah HaNasi,] our holy teacher. This is a concise form of the extensive didactic reasoning of the Sages of that era. Rabbi Yehudah HaNasi capsulized the full length and breadth of their perception of the subject in an extremely concise, [but yet precise] form in the Mishnah so that it would be on a level [which an ordinary person could comprehend]. Nevertheless, within the Mishnah is contained all the depth, length, and breadth of their inner, essential wisdom as reflected in the Gemara’s exposition in depth, length, and breadth of the [implications of] the particular wording [used by] the Mishnah. This is all contained in the Mishnah, but in a hidden manner.

A similar process is reflected in a mashpia’s communication of concepts [to a mekabel]. He conceals the entire depth of his wisdom within the concepts he transmits. [Nevertheless, at the outset,] it is hidden from the mekabel and it is only the external dimensions of the concept that are on the mekabel’s level of conception that are openly revealed.

As explained above, the potential for the mashpia to contract and conceal his essential conception of the matter comes from the power of limitation that exists within the essential power of the intellect. [This leads to a further concept, that] the limitation and concealment is perceived only by the mekabel, but not by the mashpia. For the mashpia, the entire depth of his wisdom and comprehension shine openly within the concept as exists in its concise form as it did before this process of concentration.

Similarly, within the analogies he gives, he appreciates all the depth contained within the concept, i.e., within the analogies, he sees all the particulars as they exist within his abstract conception of the analogue, as it is above being enclothed, limited, and concealed [in the analogy].

For example, our material earth is an analogy for the Sefirah of Malchus (Kingship). Its particulars that it is thick, round, heavy, and that it has the potential to cause vegetation to grow all serve as analogies for the manner in which Malchus of Atzilus brings into being the creations of the worlds of Beriah, Yetzirah, and Asiyah, ex nihilo, as explained in other sources.29

[When a sage of this nature uses this analogy,] he sees how all the particular qualities of the physical earth are analogous to Malchus of Atzilus. (Through this process, he also sees how this physical earth is not at all a separate entity, divorced from its root and source. Instead, [he grasps] how it is the higher level which, through [G‑d’s] infinite power, has become manifest in a material form.)

In truth, an analogy and its analogue are the same exact entity, except that one, is spiritual and the other is material. Therefore, it is possible for [such a person] to see all the particulars of the analogue in the analogy. And this [brings him to] the direct appreciation of G‑dliness. (This is the new dimension [of perception] that the power of limitation contributes to the mashpia. Through enclothing his conception in garments where it is [on an apparent level] concealed, he comes to an actual [almost palpable] appreciation of a G‑dly concept.)

Thus, for the mashpia, this process does not involve any concealment at all; the concealment is felt only by the mekabel. For only the external dimensions of the concept have been revealed to him; its inner, essential dimensions remain hidden.

[Furthermore,] in truth, this [process] cannot truly be considered as concealment, even for the mekabel. For through [this process,] the light of intellect is revealed for him. And were there not to have been [a process of] limitation and concealment, the light of intellect would not have been revealed for him at all. As explained above, were the mashpia to reveal to him the depth of his own conception of the idea in its entirety, [the mekabel’s thinking] processes would have become confused. In contrast, through this process of contraction and concealment, the light of intellect is revealed for him. Thus, [these limitations] cannot truly be considered as concealment [of the idea].

Furthermore, even the inner depth of the mashpia’s conception of the idea shines forth and is revealed to the mekabel through the influence conveyed to him. As our Sages said:30 “A person does not appreciate [the full dimension of] his teacher’s knowledge until forty years have passed.” [This also implies, however,] that after forty years, it is possible for him to grasp his teacher’s knowledge, and indeed, perceive his inner, essential intent.

[To explain, when a person teaches, there is a concept which is communicated on an obvious level, and also, there is a deeper and more innerfelt intent.] Thus, our Sages said about Rabbi Meir,31 “The sages could not appreciate his ultimate intent.” Rashi32 interprets this as referring to “the essence of his intent,” [i.e., they understood the outward meaning of his message, but they could not comprehend the core of the concept he desired to communicate. Similarly, in every teacher-student relationship, when communicating to his students, a teacher conveys] an inner, essential intent and this is what a student can grasp after forty years.

As mentioned above, although a mashpia communicates a concept in a concise form, in a hidden way, [that concept] also contains the full depth of his wisdom. [At the outset,] only an external reflection of his wisdom is revealed to the student, while the essence of his wisdom is concealed in his precise choice of wording and other similar methods.

[For this reason, the student’s appreciation of the subject matter also comes in stages.] After he receives the content [of the mashpia’s lesson] and allows it to settle within his [mind], he then carefully analyzes the precise choice of wording and the other techniques [used by the Mashpia] and devotes himself tirelessly to this [analysis, guided by the germ of] the concept which was revealed openly to him. In this way, he approaches the depth of the [mashpia’s] inner intent and the essence of his wisdom, [conceiving of the idea] as it existed within his teacher’s [mind] before he condensed it to convey it

[to the student]


Similarly, he sees the teacher’s inner wisdom enclothed in the analogies, [perceiving how each particular reflects the analogue] as the teacher does himself. [To elaborate,] first, he understands the analogue through the analogy, i.e., from an in-depth appreciation of the particulars of the analogy, he develops an in-depth appreciation of the particulars of the analogue, comprehending the inner intent with all its depth and meaning. And then all the particulars of the analogue become illuminated by the analogy, thus granting him a direct perception and feeling for the G‑dly concept [conveyed].

Thus through this process, an equivalence between the mekabel and the mashpia, is established even in regard to the comprehension and grasp of the inner intent. For the mashpia, however, this comes according to the pattern of or yashar (“a direct light”), i.e., first he knows the depth of the analogue, and then he draws it down and enclothes it in an analogy, and through this process he comes to an actual perception of the G‑dly concept.

In contrast, the mekabel’s [understanding works] according to the pattern of or chozar (“a rebounding light”), i.e., he approaches the inner intent through the medium of the analogy and the external dimension of the intellect which is conveyed to him.

From the [analysis of the above process], we can appreciate how the mashpia’s power to limit his conception to a concise form, conceal it, and convey it through analogy, is not true concealment. For it does not conceal at all; through the concept conveyed to him, the mekabel receives the totality of the mashpia’s inner conception of the matter.

Thus, the “concealment” is not really concealment, but rather a medium through which the mekabel can receive the subject matter. Were the mashpia to reveal his conception of the idea without [it undergoing this process of] concealment the mekabel’s process of conception would become confused and he would not be able to receive even the external dimension of the idea, and surely not [the mashpia’s] inner intent. And conversely, it is through the process of veiling and concealment that, at the outset, the external dimensions of the concept are revealed for [the mekabel], and ultimately, [this process enables] him to come to the appreciation of his teacher’s inner intent.

Thus the process of concealment brought about by the mashpia does not truly really conceal. On the contrary, its entire objective is to reveal. In this manner, it communicates the light of the mashpia’s understanding, including the inner dimension and essence of his wisdom, to a lower level. Thus this process of “concealment” allows for the mashpia’s light to shine forth and be revealed on a plane [where by nature such ideas could not be revealed].

[The possibility is generated for] a mekabel of small potential who is not at all on the mashpia’s level, to comprehend and grasp the mashpia’s light, and indeed, the depths of the inner dimension and the essence of his wisdom. Thus this process is not one of concealment at all; quite the contrary, it is a means of conveying light to a lower level.

The comprehension of the analogue to the above concept in the spiritual realms [sheds light on the relationship between] the names Havayah and E-lohim. The name E-lohim represents the attribute of limitation and concealment which limits and conceals the light of the name Havayah to allow for the worlds to come into being.

For as explained above, the name Havayah is the source of revelation, revealing light which is infinite. Because this light is davuk in its source [and has no identity of its own], it is representative of the source of light. Thus since the source of light is infinite, the light is also infinite. And so, this light is not at all on a level [on which it can relate to] the worlds. For all the worlds are separate, limited entities, while the Or Ein Sof, G‑d’s infinite light, is infinite in nature. And limitation and infinity are surely not on the same level.evertheless, [this light is the source of our existence], for the only medium through which it is possible for the worlds to come into existence is [the power of] revelation within the Or Ein Sof. For, as is well known, every activity comes about through the expression of an active potential. [Although the power of limitation conveys energy to the lower levels, it does not generate this energy itself. It merely shapes and controls the nature of the revelation from the power of revelation. Herein, however, lies a difficulty, for as explained above,] the power of revelation of the Or Ein Sof is infinite, entirely above the level of the worlds.

[The possibility for this infinite light to shine within a finite frame of reference is generated by] the name E-lohim which limits, conceals, and veils the light of the name Havayah, causing only an external ray of that name to shine forth. This ray enclothes itself in the vessels of the ten Sefiros of Atzilus, thus [bringing about the existence of] different attributes wisdom, kindness, and the like.

[Thus the light becomes qualified in a manner that] compares [to the limitation that characterizes] the worlds, and a point of interrelation between them is established. [To refer to the analogy mentioned previously:] This resembles the concise form of the concept presented by the mashpia which is on the mekabel’s level.

Afterwards, through the medium of the parsa which divides between the world of Atzilus and the worlds of Beriah, Yetzirah, and Asiyah (see the explanation of the concept of a parsa in Torah Or, Parshas Vayeira, in the maamar beginning Pasach Eliyahu which relates [that a parsa] resembles an analogy) is drawn down a light which is on the level of the limited worlds [with the intent of] bringing into being the worlds of Beriah, Yetzirah, and Asiyah.evertheless, this entire process of veiling and concealment brought about by the name E-lohim does not create any concealment for the essence of the Or Ein Sof itself. As explained above, [the process of limitation] does not conceal [the idea] from the mashpia. Indeed, the full depth of his conception and wisdom shines in the concise form of the concept and in the analogies [which are employed].

Similarly, in the spiritual realms, there is no limitation and concealment at all for the Or Ein Sof. [On the contrary,] the Or Ein Sof is found in the place of the vacuum after the tzimtzum33 exactly as it was before the tzimtzum as it is written;34 “I fill the heavens and the earth,” and it is written;35 “Will a person hide in concealed places without My seeing him.” Despite the entire process of veiling and concealment, the light of the Ein Sof is found in all places; “there is no place where He is not.”36 As it is written:37 “If I ascend to heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in the netherworld, You are present.”

Even in the netherworld, “in a parched land, in the shadow of death,”38 in the ultimate of concealment, the Or Ein Sof is found. The concealment affects only the creations, who do not perceive the revelation of the light of the Ein Sof. But for the Or Ein Sof itself, there is no concealment or veiling at all.

Furthermore, even for the creations, this [process] cannot be considered as genuine concealment. (The two concepts are interrelated: Were the concealment to be genuine for the mashpia, it would also be genuine for the mekabel. Conversely, since there is no genuine concealment for the mashpia, there is no true concealment for the mekabel either. The difference between them is only whether their appreciation comes in the manner of or yashar [a direct light] or or chozar [a rebounding light].) On the contrary, [this process] conveys and reveals the light to lower levels.

To explain: From the name Havayah itself, it is impossible for the worlds to come into being, for [Havayah] is unlimited [and cannot bring into being limited existence]. Through the medium of the name E-lohim, the light of the name Havayah is drawn down and revealed within the worlds to bring them into being and to give them life.

Thus, the creation stems from the name Havayah. Although it is written:39 “in the beginning, E-lohim created,” this means that creation came about through the medium of the name E-lohim. The essential power for creation, however, stems from the name Havayah. Indeed, the very letters of the name Havayah (י-ה-ו-ה) relate to the word mehave (מהוה) which means “bring into being.”

[Havayah must be the motivating force behind the creation,] because every activity comes about through the expression of an active potential, [in this instance,] the name Havayah. For the name Havayah is associated with revelation.

On this basis, we can comprehend the phrase,40 “G‑d is King; G‑d was King; G‑d will be King,” expressing His Kingship within the framework of time, using past, present, and future tenses. [This framework stems] from the name E-lohim. Nevertheless, it is Havayah who reigns in the past, present, and future. [Similarly,] all existence has its source in the name Havayah as expressed through the medium of the name E-lohim. In this manner, the name Havayah is drawn down and shines within each world, [and more specifically,] within each creation, bringing it into being and giving it life.

[The influence of the name Havayah is expressed] in the life-force, for every creation feels that it is alive. The life energy within every creation is the light from the name Havayah as expressed through the medium of the name E-lohim.

[To refer to the analogy employed above the communication of a concept by] a mashpia to a mekabel: [Through this process,] the light of the concept can be received and can become settled within [the mind of] the mekabel. It is true that there has been a process of limitation and concealment of the essential light of the mashpia, and [the concept] has been enclothed in analogies. Nevertheless, the [end result] is that the light of the mashpia’s conception [has been communicated,] and it shines forth and becomes settled [within the mekabel’s mind. Thus, even at the outset, the mashpia’s efforts to conceal and limit his thoughts produce communication, albeit to a limited degree. For the mekabel has been given a concept which he could otherwise not have conceived of. Beyond this, as will be explained, the potential is granted to grasp the mashpia’s inner intent.]

Similarly, [in the spiritual analogue,] the light and the life-energy which shines within the inner dimension of every creation to give it life, is the light of the name Havayah which is drawn down through the medium of the name E-lohim. [This light] shines and enclothes itself within every creation. [I.e., there is a direct and immediate result equivalent to the student’s immediate perception of the concept from the transmission of this G‑dly influence.]

{There is a dimension of concealment in this as well, for [although the creation feels alive,] he does not feel that his life-force is G‑dliness. In truth, however, this is not true concealment, for [the life-force] is G‑dliness and a person can perceive this (when he focuses his attention on doing so).}

Thus the concealment produced by the name E-lohim is not genuine concealment. On the contrary, it conveys and reveals the light on a lower level; i.e., to creations which are limited and not on the level of the light of the name Havayah. [In this manner,] the light of the name Havayah shines to them as well.

Behold, as explained above, in the analogy of [the relationship between] a mashpia and a mekabel, [not only does] the mekabel [receive a limited perception of the mashpia’s wisdom in the analogue, the creations receive the Divine life-force he also] has the potential to come to an appreciation of his teacher’s inner and essential wisdom, i.e., the [complete] grasp of his teacher’s knowledge which he achieves after forty years.

Similarly, in the analogue, in truth, it is possible for every person to appreciate a revelation of the inner dimensions and essence of the Or Ein Sof, that the name Havayah will shine in a revealed manner within his soul. This is accomplished through avodah, divine service, toiling with both body and soul to remove the concealments and veils until one comes to a revelation of the inner dimension and the essence of the Or Ein Sof which is above the external level that serves as a source for the worlds to come into being.

[I.e., in the analogy, it is not merely the passage of forty years of time, but rather forty years of strenuous labor, dedicated to discovering the inner meaning of the teacher’s wisdom which is hidden in the allegories he used. Similarly, regarding our avodah, we must dedicate ourselves to the task of trying to appreciate the nature of the mediums with which G‑d fashioned our framework of existence. By perceiving of them as channels through which G‑d conveys His light, we can merit the revelation of a light which transcends this entire limited framework.]

To explain [the nature of the avodah required to perceive the Or Ein Sof as manifest within our world], it is necessary first to explain the concept of challenges [that arise in our service of G‑d]. It is written:41 “For G‑d, your L-rd, is challenging you;” i.e., a person is confronted with challenges which he must overcome. We must understand: What is the Divine intent [in having man face] such challenges?

In other sources,42 it is explained that the descent of the soul into the body is a descent of great proportions. As explained in the Chassidic interpretation of the statement of the Mishnah,43 “[Know] from where you came.” Before [the soul] descended into the body, the soul existed in the spiritual realms, in the lower Gan Eden or in the upper Gan Eden. There it perceived G‑dliness [openly] and [as a result of this perception] stood in love and fear and was overcome with [utter] bittul [“self-nullification”] to G‑d.

[This concept is reflected in the Chassidic interpretation44 of the phrase,45 “As the G‑d, whom I have stood before, lives….” [It is explained that the Prophet Eliyahu made this statement in reference to his soul’s existence in the spiritual realms.] There the concept of standing [must be interpreted as an allegory] referring to a state of bittul,46 (for [in the spiritual realms, all corporal activities including] standing and sitting [in a literal sense] do not exist).

[From these peaks, the soul] descended to “hidden clefts [behind] the steps,”47 to this physical world, where it is drastically distant from G‑d’s light. [In the physical world, however] it does not perceive the light as it did in the spiritual realms, because the Divine light which shines in these lowly worlds is limited and concealed to an ultimate degree. Only an external reflection of a ray [is revealed], and even this is perceived in an unrefined manner; i.e., we conceive of [G‑dliness within the scope of] our materially oriented thinking processes.

Thus [such perception] cannot be compared at all to the incorporeal perception of the Divine light which the soul enjoys in the spiritual realms. The difference is twofold: a) [In the spiritual realms], a higher quality of Divine light is revealed; and b) [this light] is perceived with fewer material trappings, i.e., the perception is refined and spiritual in nature.

Because of [this difference in perception], the love and fear of G‑d which the soul experiences on the earthly plane cannot at all be compared to the love and fear it experiences in the spiritual realms. The descent [of the soul] is also characterized by hester ponim,48 a process of veiling which hides Divine light and conceals its holiness. [And for this reason,] a person must labor greatly until he perceives Divine light. Thus the descent of the soul is very great.

The ultimate purpose of this descent comes to the fore through the challenges which confront a person, when he faces hester ponim, e.g., a removal of vitalizing influence, where one’s health or income is held back. This conceals the light of G‑d, creating obstacles from within and from without for a person who desires to come close to G‑d through his avodah of prayer and Torah study. [The intent is that] the person withstand these challenges, and stand firm in the face of all obstacles and hindrances. This was the purpose of the soul’s descent and through this process, it reaches a revelation of a higher light.

On the surface, an explanation is required as to why it is through such a process that the soul comes to a revelation of a higher light. [Why must the ascent be preceded by such a descent?]

The concept can be explained in the following manner: Challenges come from the concealment of the truth. Were a person to know the truth, the situation would not constitute a challenge at all.49 When does a situation constitute a challenge? When the truth is hidden and despite this concealment, a person withstands the challenge [and proceeds with determination]. And in this manner, the person appreciates the [underlying] truth of the matter.

[To cite a classic example,] when Avraham confronted the challenge [presented to him by Nimrod] in Ur Kasdim and was thrown into a burning fire,50 he did not know that he would not be consumed by the fire. [On the contrary,] had he known that he would not be consumed by the fire, [his unwillingness to worship the idols] would not have been a challenge. Avraham, however, was not aware [that a miracle] would take place. Quite the contrary, he was sure that he would be consumed, for this is fire’s natural property.

[The properties and laws of nature are a product of the Divine process of self-limitation described in the first portion of this maamar.] Indeed, the Hebrew term meaning “the nature,” הטבע, is numerically equivalent to the name E-lohim (א-להים).51 Implied is that the natural tendencies existing in the world are garments and veils stemming from the name E-lohim. For it is the name E-lohim which imparts the many different tendencies [that exist in the world, establishing specific] definitions [for each entity], causing fire to burn and water to extinguish [fire], making the nature of one, warm, and the other, cold.

In contrast, from the perspective of Havayah which is unlimited, there is no [conflicting] definition or difference between fire and water at all. It is possible that water will not quench a fire and that a fire will not burn. As the Talmud relates,52 “He who ordered that oil will burn, [can] order that vinegar burn.” And fire and water need not quench each other as our Sages relate,53 commenting on the verse,54 “Dominion and fear are with Him. He establishes peace on high.” [“On high,” i.e., in the spiritual realms, there are angels with different tendencies:] Michoel is the angel of water; Gavriel is the angel of fire. [G‑d “establishes peace” between them, causing them] not to extinguish each other. [Moreover, we find that] at times, fire will consume water as [in the confrontation between] Eliyahu [the Prophet, and the prophets of Baal].55

All of these occurrences which reflect how nature can be transcended, have their source in the Or Ein Sof which is unlimited and which is not confined by the limits of nature at all. In contrast, the pattern of existence of the world at large depends on the definite limits established by the name E-lohim. The name Havayah is the source for the world’s coming into being. For an entity can only come into being through the revelation of an active force as explained at length above within the context of the verse, “Havayah is king.” Nevertheless, the manner [in which the world comes into being] involves the shining of the light of the name Havayah through the medium of the name E-lohim, thus [causing this infinite light to be] concealed and hidden and [to descend] within the context of limitation. [Among these limitations] are

[the different properties endowed to fire and water,]

that water extinguishes [fire] and that fire burns.

Avraham did not think that the order which transcends nature would be revealed on his behalf. On the contrary, he thought that the natural order would continue to prevail and that the fire would consume…. Nevertheless, he withstood the challenge not to separate himself from G‑d despite the obstacles and hindrances presented by Nimrod and his supporters who desired to have him burnt to death.

[For Avraham,] these were the veilings and concealments of the natural order. They did not budge him in the slightest [from his resolve. On the contrary,] he stood fast in the face of all these obstacles though it meant being consumed in the fiery furnace rather than separate himself from G‑d in the slightest.

And a miracle was wrought for him and he was delivered. [What is the nature of this sequence?] He removed all the veilings of nature, the enclothing and the concealment which stem from the name E-lohim, and therefore, the Or Ein Sof which is absolutely unlimited shone forth for him. And from the perspective of this infinite light, fire does not necessarily consume. For it is only within the confines of the garments of nature that fire consumes; from the perspective of G‑d’s infinite light, this need not be so. For [on this sublime level,] there are no limits nor any definition at all.

It was through withstanding a challenge that Avraham came to the revelation of this unlimited light. Otherwise, the conduct

[of the world at large]

would have been controlled by the revelation of the name Havayah as it passes through the medium of the name E-lohim, i.e., a mere external ray from the name Havayah.

To merit the revelation of the true and infinite dimension of the name Havayah which transcends the name E-lohim, it is necessary to confront challenges [as Avraham did]. And by standing firm in the face of the challenges and confronting the constraints that arise because of the veiling and concealment that stem from the name E-lohim, it is possible to come to a revelation of the infinite qualities of Or Ein Sof which transcend the limits of nature.

It has already been explained that were the infinite dimensions of the name Havayah to be revealed as they truly are, without the medium of the name E-lohim, this revelation could not be received within the world, i.e., there would be no possibility for the existence of entities which are limited and self-conscious, [yesh in Chassidic terminology]. This can be made possible only by the name Havayah enclothing itself in the name E-lohim, so that [outwardly], only an external ray of the name Havayah is revealed, as explained above.

This process, however, makes it possible to come to a revelation of the inner, essential, and infinite dimension of the name Havayah. As explained above, through confronting challenges, as illustrated in the example of Avraham our Patriarch, [a higher dimension of G‑dliness is revealed]. A similar process, albeit in microcosm, occurs whenever a person confronts a challenge presented by the natural order of the world, [as reflected in] the obstacles and concealment that hinder and hold back [a person from advancing] in Torah study and in avodah.

When one stands fast in the face of every obstacle and hindrance, refusing to become separated from G‑d, and involving oneself in Torah study and the service of G‑d [despite these challenges], each person according to his individual capacity, one reaches a revelation of a higher light which transcends the natural order.

[The challenges referred to are not only those of a life or death nature, but those which a person confronts within his day-to-day existence. This process of confrontation] is the purpose of the descent of the soul to a physical body on this earthly plane, where it is limited within the confines of the natural order. On the surface, the demands of the natural order would make it appear that one should follow a specific course of behavior. For example, in the business world, [it may appear necessary] to leave home early, return late, and devote one’s entire day to one’s business. [According to this perspective,] taking off time for oneself to pray or to study will surely bring a loss.

Similarly, it might appear that it is necessary to employ certain crafty techniques in one’s business, and that it is impossible to follow the path of truth, for in the latter manner seemingly, one will incur losses rather than profit. [This entire conception, however, is false.] It is only a product of the process of enclothment and veiling [described above] which in essence do not conceal [the fundamental truth].

[What is] the ultimate intent? That a person should stand firm despite all the obstacles and hindrances, praying in a proper manner, devoting himself to Torah study each day according to the fixed schedule which he has outlined for himself. [Following the Torah’s guidelines56] “Keep distance from falsehood,” he should steer clear of all craftiness, and instead, proceed with a forthright and honest approach, making sure there is not even the slightest trace of a prohibition in any of his business dealings.

When a person confronts a challenge in these matters, he comes to a revelation of a higher light that transcends nature. In simple terms, he sees that even when he conducts himself according to the Torah and its mitzvos and involves himself in Torah study and the service of G‑d, he will not lose anything at all despite the fact that [his approach] runs contrary to the norms outwardly prevalent in the world. In direct proportion to the extent of his service and effort, he ascends level by level [in connection with G‑d].

This is the intent of the challenges of which it is said, “And G‑d your L-rd is challenging you” that one should come to the revelation of the Or Ein Sof which transcends nature. This level was revealed in the challenge which confronted Avraham. And similarly, it is revealed in all the challenges confronted by every individual Jew.

From the above, we can appreciate [the nature] of the entire lifework of man, [to reveal] the unity of the names Havayah and E-lohim, to truly know that in reality the name E-lohim does not conceal the name Havayah. For the name E-lohim is an expression of the essence of the Or Ein Sof as is the name Havayah and one expression of the essence cannot conceal another expression of the same essence.

Havayah is [the dynamic source] which brings into being all the creations. [Although the light of Havayah shines through the medium of the name E-lohim,] all the garments and veils of the name E-lohim do not truly conceal. On the contrary, they convey the light to a lower level, [allowing] the light of Havayah to be drawn down to creations which are limited in nature, to bring them into being and to grant them life. At whatever level [a created being is], the light of Havayah is drawn down to it [through the medium of the name E-lohim].

As will be explained, [the awareness of this concept should prompt a person] to cling to the Divine light and life-energy which is drawn down to him, and not to the mediums and veils [through which it is conveyed,] as they exist within their own right. When a person achieves this, (he clings [to G‑d] and unites with Him). Through


a challenge, he comes to the revelation of a higher level of light, the revelation of the Or Ein Sof which transcends nature.

On the basis of the above, we can understand the connection between the verse “And you shall know… that Havayah is E-lohim” and the preceding verses which mention the exodus from Egypt and the entry into Eretz Yisrael. For it is through the exodus from Egypt and the entry into Eretz Yisrael, that one can come to the awareness that “Havayah and E-lohim are all one.”

To explain: The Pri Eitz Chayim,57 states that the Jews who endured servitude in Egypt were a reincarnation of the generation which constructed the Tower of Babel. Through their hard labor with mortar and bricks, they expiated the sin of “And the brick took the place of stone for them, and clay, the place of mortar.”58

To understand this, it is necessary to understand the nature of the sin of the generation of the Tower of Babel, described as dor haflagah, “the generation of the division,” in Torah literature. This name implies that their sin was one of division and separation. [The intent is not that they were divided in the realm of personal relations,59] but rather that they conceived of the existence of separation and division between the name Havayah and the name E-lohim. I.e., [they conceived] that the name E-lohim actually conceals the name Havayah, Heaven forbid, and therefore, everything which occurs in the world is governed by the name E-lohim alone (as will be explained within the context of the interpretation of the verse,60Havayah has forsaken the earth.”)

This [mistaken] conception leads one to consider the veils and concealments [of G‑dliness that exist within the world] to be entities of fundamental importance. [Similarly,] it causes one to give oneself over to the norms outwardly prevalent in the world which hold back and prevent [a connection with] G‑dliness.

This is the direct opposite of the unity between the names Havayah and E-lohim

[which leads to the awareness]

that there is no [genuine] concealment at all. [On the contrary,] all the [apparent] concealments are for the sake of revelation, to convey the light to an even lower and far-removed level as explained above using the analogy of how a teacher conveys [an idea] to a student. [As mentioned, the teacher] communicates the concept in a concise form and also enclothes it in analogies which are foreign to the concept itself. Nevertheless, the purpose of this entire process is to reveal the light of the teacher’s intellect to the student (and ultimately to allow the student to penetrate to the depth of the teacher’s wisdom as explained).

A similar motif applies, in the spiritual sense, in regard with to the two names Havayah and E-lohim. Thus [although] the Divine light [is enclothed and veiled in the material entities of this world,] it is [the fact that this light] is conveyed through these garments and veils that is of primary importance and to [this light], a person should cling and unite through his observance of the Torah and its mitzvos.

[A person must realize that] there is nothing separating or holding him back from G‑dliness. (If there are obstacles which confront him and [appear to] prevent his [observance of] the Torah and its mitzvos, he should face the challenge and not allow them to block him or hold him back at all. And through such [efforts], he will come to a revelation of a higher quality of light as explained above.)

Division to separate [between Havayah and E-lohim] reflects a directly opposite approach. Thus commenting on the verse61 mentioned in connection with the dor haflagah, “Let us make ourselves a name,” Bereishis Rabbah 38:8 relates, “Rabbi Yishmael taught: The sole meaning of the word shem (‘a name’) is the worship of false divinities.” I.e., the sin of the dor haflagah was the worship of false divinities.

The concept can be explained as follows: As explained above, it is impossible for an entity that sees itself as independent from G‑d, a yesh, to come into existence from the name Havayah as it exists in its own right. For were the light of the name Havayah to shine forth [without any concealment], the worlds would not be able to receive this light, i.e., there could be no conception of limited and independent existence. {To refer to the analogy of communicating an idea mentioned above were the teacher to reveal his essential conception of the idea as it is for himself, the mekabel could not accept it. [Indeed,] his thinking processes would become totally confused (this represents the nullification of his vessels, as is well known).

Similarly, in the analogue in the spiritual realms, were the light of the essence of the name Havayah to be revealed, the worlds could not exist as a yesh. Thus, the Eytz Chayim states:62 “At the outset, when there was a simple, sublime light encompassing all existence, there was no place to establish the worlds.” The expression “there was no place” [does not refer to physical place], but rather to the concept that the revelation of the “simple, sublime light” as it existed for itself prevented the existence of [limited] worlds.}

This is possible only through the medium of the name E-lohim, as reflected in the verse:63 “In the beginning, E-lohim created.” [E-lohim] represents the attribute of self-limitation and concealment which limits the light of the name Havayah, enclothing it in several garments until an existence which is yesh can come into being.

In this context, we can understand our Sages’ statement:64 “There is no blade of grass on this earthly plane which does not have a mazal striking it and commanding it to grow.” Each and every blade of grass (and similarly, each and every individual created being) has a particular mazal, i.e., a source of [spiritual] influence from which [it receives] its life-force.

These mazalos [receive their vitality from a higher] source, the angels of the spiritual realms, [who themselves receive from a higher source] as implied by the verse:65 “for there is one who is higher, who watches those which are high.” And the source for all the angels is the name E-lohim. For this reason, the angels themselves are called elohim66 or b’nei haelohim.67 These represent the mediums through which [Divine] light and life-energy are drawn down to all the material entities in this world.

This can be explained on the basis of a principle stated above: that material existence can come into being only through the limitation and concealment of the light [which is the source for its being]. This is accomplished by enclothing [the light] in garments and veils. Thus as the light passes through the mediums of the angels and the mazalos, [on an apparent level,] it becomes reduced until

[there is the potential for]

material existence to come into being. (The extent of the material nature of the entity determines the multitude of mediums [through which the light must pass] until [this material entity] can come into existence.)evertheless, the essential [potential for] creation comes from the name Havayah; it is Havayah which is the creative [force for all existence]. However, the light of Havayah passes through the medium of the name E-lohim, so that it can bring into being an entity which conceives of itself as a yesh, and so that the light of Havayah can shine within that created being according to its nature to bring it into existence and to grant it life.

Thus the essence is the light of the name Havayah, and that light has been drawn down through the medium of the name E-lohim [and through the angels, mazalos, and other mediums (which all have their source in the name E-lohim)] until it is possible for there to be the actual creation of a material entity from the [infinite] G‑dly light.

When this is understood, it becomes apparent that the medium is nothing in its own right, for it is not the source of influence or vitality. It is merely a medium to convey the creative


, the Divine light to the created entities. And therefore, no importance at all should be attached to the medium [in its own right].

Thus it is written,68 “Shall an axe boast over the one who hews with it?” Although [trees are] hewn with an axe, the one responsible is the man who does the hewing, and not the axe. The axe, in and of itself, does nothing; rather, the action is performed by the person using the axe.

Thus, no one would ever say, “What a beautiful building the axe built!” or “How praiseworthy is the axe for constructing such a magnificent building!” It is the person who constructed the building; he is praised and the building is attributed to him. The axe [or any other tools he used] are not connected with the building at all. For they are merely instruments with which the building was constructed; they are not the builders. I.e., these tools had no choice [whether or not the building would be] constructed, nor was it in their power alone to build it. On the contrary, a man was the builder;

[he made the decision to build it and he was the power manipulating the


Similar concepts apply in regard to the intermediaries in the spiritual realms; they are nothing more than an axe in the hands of a chopper. The influence passes through them, but it is not produced by their power, nor do they have choice in passing on this influence or not. Rather the source of the influence is G‑dliness; He gives forth this influence as a result of His will. And [then] this influence passes through the mediums mentioned above so that physical entities can be brought into being and so that influence, light, and life energy can be conveyed to them in a physical form on their level.

[The above relates to a concept] explained in other sources69 within the context of the interpretation of the verse,70 “And G‑d will bless you in all that you do.” [The verse] implies that man must “do,” i.e., he must involve himself in activity in the material


, e.g., commercial enterprise, since it is necessary to receive one’s life-force from [G‑d’s] light and life-energy [as they have descended to the level of] materiality. Were the person to be able to derive his life energy from spiritual light, e.g., intellectual pleasure or the like, he would not have to become involved in business or other material pursuits.

([We see, in contrast, that] the souls in Gan Eden receive their life-energy from their conception of G‑dliness as reflected in the statement,71 “sitting and benefiting from the radiance of His presence.” Similarly, concerning [the era of] the Future [Redemption],72 our Sages commented,73 “There will be no eating and drinking in the World to Come…. Instead, the righteous will sit with their crowns on their heads and derive benefit from the radiance of His presence.” Just as we derive life-energy from physical food and drink, in [the era of] the Future [Redemption], life-energy will be derived from the pleasure of being in the radiance of His presence.)

Since, [at present,] it is necessary for us to receive our life-force in a material form, the influence must pass through the medium of commercial activity in this material world, i.e., the influence must descend to the material level on which we operate. Nevertheless, the influence itself is Divine in origin.

This influence passes through several mediums, the angels, the mazalos, and even one’s commercial activity with material entities. And it enclothes itself in bread and other physical [foods] from which a person derives his vitality. These mediums [are, however, no more than pathways for] the Divine light which is enclothed and drawn down through them.

When a person comprehends and assimilates these ideas, as a matter of course, he will not be [overly] concerned with worldly affairs and will not be disturbed about them at all. Instead, G‑d will be the entire focus of his attention [and this will be expressed in a commitment] to prayer and to Torah study. Involvement in the matters of this world will not upset him, nor prevent him from serving G‑d.

[This approach will be possible] because he has a thorough knowledge that the essence is G‑dliness and that G‑d endows him with his vitality. [He realizes how] all the mediums and similarly, all the material entities in which this influence is enclothed, e.g., one’s commercial activity, and similarly, the bread which he eats, are all nothing in and of themselves. They are not the essential source of his vitality. The essence is the Divine light which endows one with life and all the material entities are merely mediums and vessels to enclothe the Divine light so that this vitality can be expressed within the material plane, on the level appropriate for [each entity].

Therefore i.e., since a person realizes that material affairs are not of fundamental concern it is inconceivable that they will disturb him and prevent him [from concentrating] on prayer and Torah study. For [he is aware] that the essence is G‑dliness and that he should cling to G‑d and His Torah.

[This approach will also affect the nature of] his business dealings. He will not employ craftiness, nor will he be overinvolved in his business to the extent that it prevents him from occupying himself with Torah study and prayer at the opportune times. On the contrary, he will seek involvement in an appropriate level of commercial activity which will not prevent or hamper him from praying at the proper time or studying Torah every day. And he will trust G‑d who endows him with vitality to grant his livelihood74 as it is written,75 “For it is He who grants you the power to prosper.”

Surely, [such a perspective] will cause a person to show careful concern for his soul and make sure that he conducts his business dealings without the slightest violation [of Torah law]. Since he knows that his commercial activity is merely a medium and a vessel in which the Divine light and life-energy which grants him life is enclothed, [he appreciates how] it must be a vessel which is worthy for the Divine light. And if there is the slightest trace of a violation of a prohibition, heaven forbid, [in one’s dealings,] they are not a fit vessel for the light. It is only when there is no trace of sin or the violation of a prohibition in one’s dealings that they can serve as a medium to draw down the G‑dly light and life-energy which endows one with life.

[Such an approach is dependent on] the unification of the names Havayah and E-lohim, i.e., that one appreciates that the name E-lohim does not conceal the name Havayah at all and that Havayah is the source for all creation, and [that creative energy] is directed through the medium of the name E-lohim.

This leads to the awareness that all the mediums i.e., the angels and the mazalos are of no importance in their own right. They are merely agents to convey the influence and [can be compared to] an axe in the hands of a chopper. Similarly, [all] material entities are merely vessels in which Divine power is enclothed, and therefore, they should not be at all considered of fundamental importance. What is of fundamental importance is the Divine power which is conveyed through them. Therefore, the person should apply himself and make efforts [to insure that his business is conducted] as befits a vessel which receives G‑dly light. Hence, he will not employ craftiness, nor will he become overinvolved in his affairs. [His business] will not trouble or disturb him, nor will it hold him back from Torah study, prayer, or service of G‑d.

This is particularly true, since these entities cannot, in and of themselves, prevent one from serving G‑d, for they do not represent [nor is there a possibility for] genuine concealment [of G‑d’s light] as explained above in detail. On the contrary, the function of all these mediums is to convey the G‑dly influence [to a lower level]. How could they prevent one from serving G‑d?

It is only a person with underdeveloped knowledge who is bound to superficial things who will forget G‑dliness and consider the physical entities to be important and give himself over to them. And when this happens, they will hold him back and hinder [his spiritual activity]. But when he focuses his mind and heart on the oneness of G‑d,


that it is He alone who “grants you the power to prosper,” that all the mediums are merely pathways for [Divine] influence, and that G‑d is of fundamental importance, then no factor whether internal or external will hold him back or hinder him.

He will cling to G‑d alone. (His involvement in his business dealings will involve [only] the superficial dimensions of his will. [Indeed, he will seek such activity] only because, as explained above within the context of the verse, “And G‑d your L-rd will bless you in all that you do,” it is necessary that [the Divine influence] pass through [the medium of physical] activity. And therefore, he will conduct his business dealings in a desired manner as explained above. And primarily, he will cling to G‑dliness). And in this manner, he will attain fulfillment [in his relationship with] G‑d, His Torah, and His service.

In contrast, [there are those who,] heaven forbid, separate between Havayah and E-lohim, who think that the name E-lohim truly conceals the name Havayah, heaven forbid, and that all the events which occur within the world stem from the name E-lohim in its own right. It follows that they also consider the mediums of primary concern, viewing them as the source of their vitalizing influence.

[To describe this approach, one can borrow] the verse, “Havayah has forsaken the earth,” i.e., they say [that G‑d does not manifest direct influence over this earth]. Instead, the influence on this material plane comes from the mazalos who endow [this earth] with influence by their own power. And because [such a person sees these mediums as genuine] sources of influence, he considers them as important. (This, in turn, leads him to consider the material entities as likewise important and involve himself with them totally, using his full power and capacity in order to increase his wealth.) This is the source of the worship of the stars and the mazalos76

[in previous generations]

. People would bow down to them because they considered them important entities and sources of influence.77

On the basis of this explanation, [we can understand one of the points raised initially in this maamar the connection between the entry into Eretz Yisrael and the unity between the names Havayah and E-lohim. To explain,] our Sages stated:78 “A Jew living in the diaspora serves false divinities with purity.” On the surface, this statement requires explanation: Most of the Jewish people live in the diaspora. How can it be said that they serve false divinities, heaven forbid?

This concept can be resolved as follows: In a physical sense, worshipping a false divinity involves bending one’s head and bowing to the stars, the constellations, the sun, the moon, and the like. Why? Because one considers them important and a source of influence, as might be construed from the verse:79 “the sweetness of the sun’s yield and the sweetness of the moon’s crop.”

([In truth, the intent of the verse is not that they are the source of this influence,] but that they are merely mediums, like an axe in the hand of the chopper. [The individuals mentioned above, however,] err and consider [these mediums] as important entities, as if the influence they convey is generated by their own power, heaven forbid.)

In a more abstract sense, the worship of false divinities entails attaching importance to the material entities that receive influence from the sun, the moon, the stars and the constellations, and considering them as the source for one’s livelihood. Just as in a physical sense, one bows one’s head in the worship of false divinities, in an abstract sense, this means bending and [even] subjugating one’s thinking process to the entities which receive influence from the stars and the constellations.

Such a person will concentrate his thoughts and his feelings on his material concerns and will be worried about earning a livelihood. For this reason, he will carry out his commercial affairs in a crafty manner, thinking that this will bring him profit, forgetting that it is G‑d, blessed be He, who grants him “the power to prosper.” If he loses money, heaven forbid, he will not take notice that it was G‑d who caused this to happen in reciprocation for his [unworthy] conduct. Instead, he will assume that his loss resulted from his own business errors and were he to have taken another course of action, he would have profited.

With this approach, he considers his business efforts in the material world as fundamentally important and devotes his thoughts to them, constantly employing different crafty tactics. Day in and day out, his mind and his thought are concerned only with his business. And these thoughts disturb and distract him in the midst of prayer and prevent him from [involving himself] in Torah study and avodah.

[In an abstract sense,] this is the worship of false divinities. [Indeed,] it bears a very close resemblance to the worship of false divinities in an actual physical sense. And this is the intent of the statement that “A Jew living in the diaspora serves false divinities with purity.” For the great preoccupation with business activity [that is prevalent in the diaspora] and the craftiness [people employ], forgetting G‑d and thinking that “it is my power and my strength that made me prosper,”80 is tantamount to the worship of false divinities.evertheless, this service of false divinities is described as being “with purity,” i.e., there is room to justify these individuals’ conduct, for they live in the diaspora. And in the diaspora, the Divine light is enclothed in the garment of Asiyah, which is a very coarse garment, as explained in other sources,81 which conceals and hides the spirituality of [G‑d’s] light to the extent that it cannot be seen.

And yet, they are called “worshipers of false divinities,” for they must know that in truth there is no concealment or hiddenness, as explained above. (The coarse garment of Asiyah causes the Divine light to be revealed on the material plane and thus conceals the spirituality of the light to the extent that it is not obvious and cannot be seen. Nevertheless, in truth even the most coarse garments do not actually conceal [the light]. On the contrary, they convey the [Divine] light and life-energy [to a lower level] as explained above. It is merely that [on this material plane], the [Divine] life-energy is expressed as material energy.) In truth, one should be able to feel G‑dliness even in the midst of one’s business activities.

The reason why, in contrast, one bends one’s head to the [material] entities which receive their influence from the stars and the constellations is because one separates the name E-lohim from the name Havayah, thinking that [the name E-lohim] generates genuine concealment, heaven forbid. And therefore one thinks that the mediums, whose source are in the name E-lohim which serves as the immediate source to bring every entity into existence are of importance, and therefore he bows down to them. Similarly, he views as important all the [material] entities which receive this influence and grants them prominence, bending his head and his mind to them. This is the concept of “worshipping false divinities in purity,” as explained above.

In contrast, when one unites [the names] Havayah and E-lohim, i.e., appreciating the truth that, as explained above, the name E-lohim does not conceal the name Havayah and on the contrary, brings the revelation of the name Havayah to the lowest levels, one will know with certainty that all the mediums are merely an axe in the hands of the chopper, i.e., they exist solely to convey Divine influence. Thus such a person will not attach importance to them in their own right. Similarly, he will not grant prominence to material pursuits at all. Instead, he will appreciate that the essence is G‑dliness, “for He is your life,”82 and “He grants you strength to prosper.”

Thus [even when such a person] is involved in business dealings with material entities, he will remain at one with G‑d, and will thus be precise in his observance of [both] the positive commandments and the negative commandments; he will pray as one should, and study Torah according to the level appropriate for him. And thus, he will be complete [in his devotion] to G‑d, his Torah study, and his avodah.

Based on the above, we can understand the previous statements cited concerning the dor haflagah, the verse “Let us make ourselves a name,” and our Sages’ comment that “The sole meaning of the word ‘shem (a name)’ is the worship of false divinities.” The people of this generation separated the name E-lohim from the name Havayah and this led to their considering the mediums of primary importance. This is [the essence of] the worship of false divinities, as explained above.

Through the slavery in Egypt, [the Jews] corrected the sin of the dor haflagah. Their enslavement and hard labor with mortar and bricks corrected the sin of “And the brick took the place of stone for them,”83 as explained in other sources at great length.84

[Based on the above, we can now appreciate the connection between the exodus from Egypt and the verse, “And you shall know…” mentioned at the beginning of the maamar.] For it was the slavery in Egypt, which enabled [the Jews] to see [the miracles of] exodus through which it was revealed that “Havayah and E-lohim are all one.” The wonders and miracles of the Ten Plagues and the Splitting of the Red Sea which went beyond the limits of nature revealed a transcendent level of G‑dliness on this earthly plane.

[This demonstrated that there was no separation between the names Havayah and E-lohim.] For were the concealment of the name Havayah brought about by the name E-lohim to be genuine, how could it be possible for there to be a revelation of transcendent G‑dliness on this earthly plane?

This allows us to understand a teaching of our Sages (Sanhedrin 39a):

A non-believer told Ameimer [a Talmudic Sage]: “Your upper half belongs to Hormiz; your lower half, to Hormin,” (see the gloss of Tosafos).

[Ameimar] answered him: “If so, why does Hormin allow Hormiz to pass water through his territory.

([This interchange can be explained as follows: [According to the non-believer’s mistaken belief,] there are two


powers,85 heaven forbid. This relates to the concept that “Havayah has abandoned the earth” [mentioned above,] leaving it under the dominion of the stars and the constellations. “His glory is over the heavens,”86

[i.e., it is only in the higher spiritual realms where it can be

. And on the earthly plane, the sources of influence are the constellations which conceal G‑dliness.)

[Ameimar’s rhetorical question thus means:] According to your mistaken conception that the mediums bring about genuine concealment: how is it possible for G‑dliness to be revealed in the world? And G‑dliness has been revealed as evident from the miracles of the exodus from Egypt. At that time, it was openly seen that the name E-lohim does not conceal the name Havayah at all and “Havayah and E-lohim are all one.”

Similarly, and indeed to a greater extent, the unity between Havayah and E-lohim was revealed with the entry [of the Jewish people] into Eretz Yisrael. For as explained above, a Jew living in the diaspora “serves false divinities with purity.” And this applies only in the diaspora, since it is in the diaspora that the Divine influence and light is conveyed through the garments of Asiyah which [at least outwardly] conceal [this G‑dliness] to a great extent. In Eretz Yisrael, by contrast, the [Divine] influence is conveyed by the garments of Yetzirah

[which are more refined]

. Hence, there the concealment of G‑dliness is not as great, and there to a greater extent, it is revealed how “Havayah and E-lohim are all one.”

It is known that just as there is an actual, physical Eretz Yisrael, there is a spiritual conception of the Holy Land, namely, the observance of the mitzvos. For the Hebrew for “land,” eretz (ארץ) is related to the word for “will,” ratzon, (רצון). As our Sages said,87 “Why was it called eretz? Because it desired (ratztoh) to fulfill the will of its Creator.” In our Divine service, this refers to the fulfillment of the mitzvos motivated by kabbalas ol, acceptance of G‑d’s yoke as explained in other sources.88 And it is [living in this spiritual counterpart of Eretz Yisrael,] i.e., fulfilling the mitzvos with kabbalas ol, which will bring one to the awareness that “Havayah and E-lohim are all one.”

[To draw focus to this concept, the Torah] mentions the narrative of the exodus from Egypt and the entry [of the Jewish people] into Eretz Yisrael before the verse, “And you shall know today….” For it is through the exodus from Egypt and the entry into Eretz Yisrael that one comes to an awareness that “Havayah is the E-lohim,” i.e., one can unite Havayah and E-lohim and thus perceive how “Havayah and E-lohim are all one.” « Previous Publisher’s Foreword Next » Appendix I Footnotes 1.

The term Havayah is derived from a rearrangement of the letters of the name י-ה-ו-ה which, because of its holiness, is not pronounced in the usual manner.2.

Both Havayah and E-lohim (א-להים) are names which refer to G‑d. As explained in the Kabbalah and in the Midrash (Shmos Rabbah 3:6), the different names of G‑d represent different manifestations of G‑d’s attributes. Indeed, a major portion of this maamar is devoted to explaining the difference between the qualities expressed by these two names.3.

Devarim 4:39.4.

See Devarim 4:34-38, “Has G‑d ever wrought miracles, bringing one nation out of another nation with such tremendous signs, wonders, and miracles… as G‑d did for you in Egypt…. He will drive away nations that are greater and stronger than you… to bring you into their lands, and give them to you as a heritage.”5.

Vol. II 26b.6.

E.g., Bereishis Rabbah 12:15.7.

Zohar, Vl. I, 173b, 251b.8.

Yehoshua 24:19. Not only is the word E-lohim itself a plural form (in contrast to the word E-loha which also serves as a name for G‑d); the modifier kedoshim also uses a plural form. See also Rashi, Bereishis 20:13.9.

Torah Or, Yisro 69d. See Tanya, Shaar HaYichud VeHaEmunah, ch. 6 and other sources.10.

Thus the term “light” refers to the effusion of G‑dly energy, while “vessel” refers to the particular qualities which give expression to that energy.(This explanation follows the thesis explained within this maamar that the lights are peshutim, “simple,” above the level of distinction and differentiation. In contrast, there is another thesis within Kabbalah and Chassidus that the lights are metzu’arim, qualified in nature. According to that thesis, the explanations of the terms “lights” and “vessels” are slightly different.)11.

Sefer HaErchim-Chabad, Vol. II, p. 458 and sources cited there.12.

Tikkunei Zohar, Pesach Eliyahu.13.

The concept of spiritual worlds refers to the existence of different planes of being. On each level, the G‑dly light is manifest in a certain manner. The downward progression of spiritual existence allows for that light to become manifest on a lower plane, i.e., in a less refined frame of reference. And since the latter frame of reference is different from the first, it is considered as a different world.14.

The Hebrew word parsa means “curtain.” It refers to a process of Divine self-contraction and veiling, which changes the very nature of the light revealed. Although the revelation of Divine light is reduced as it descends level by level within the world of Atzilus, the light revealed in all the Sefiros of that realm is essentially the same. In contrast, the parsa alters the nature of the light and thus, causes Beriah to be considered as a different world than Atzilus.15.

The word heichalos literally means “palaces.” This refers to the external manifestation of a particular world. The term can thus be understood within the context of the comparison of “lights” and “vessels” to the soul and the limbs of the body. Developing this analogy further, the heichalos can be compared to a person’s house, which though apart from him, reflects his character.16.

Epistle 20, p. 130a.17.

Since the essence of the light is on a higher level than the worlds, the revelation of such a light would bring about a nullification of the worlds. In this manner, Chassidus (see Likkutei Sichos Vol. X, p. 52 footnote 28 and sources cited there) explains our Sages’ statement (Sanhedrin 38b), that “the Holy One, blessed be He took out His small finger and burnt” the angels who had been lax in the fulfillment of His will, i.e., G‑d revealed a level of light slightly higher than which is normally revealed to them, and this caused their existence to be nullified.18.

Sanhedrin 40a.19.

Ibid., 35a.20.

See note 11.21.

Iyov 19:26. The translation of this phrase which we have chosen fits the context of its use in this and other Chassidic sources. Within the context of the statements of Iyov in the original source, another translation would be more appropriate.22.

Bereishis 1:26.23.

The maamar is defining two levels in our intellectual potential; the koach hasechel כח השכל, translated as the “power of intelligence” and the koach hamaskil כח המשכיל, translated as the “essential power of intellect.”The difference between the two is that “intelligence” refers to our conscious potential for thought, the ability we have to conceive of ideas. “The essential power of intellect” refers to the source for this capacity, a level within the soul which is above conscious thought, and yet is the source from which all thought ultimately emanates.24.

See Iggeres HaKodesh, Epistle 20, p. 130a ff.; Sefer HaMaamarim 5662, p. 175.25.

Vol. I, the beginning of ch. 8.26.

This is one of the instances in which, not only the analogue which the maamar is trying to communicate is abstract and requires explanation, even the analogy itself is not readily comprehensible. Here we are not speaking of a normal teacher-student relationship in which the teacher merely knows more than the student, and hence, must work to prepare the presentation of the concepts so that they can be grasped by the student. Without minimizing the challenge involved in such a task, such a difficulty is not insurmountable, for the student is on the same level as the teacher and is capable of understanding the material if presented to him in the proper manner.The maamar, by contrast, is speaking about a teacher and a student who are on two different levels of thought. The difference between them is not merely quantitative the teacher knows more about the subject than the student it is qualitative. The very nature of their thinking processes differ; their minds work differently. And for this reason, the process of communication is intricate and involved as explained within the maamar.27.

To illustrate this concept: When a teacher tries to communicate an idea to a student through an allegory, the allegory will often make a powerful impression on the student. Even when the student comprehends the concept itself, he will always associate it with the allegory. For example, to communicate the principle that the Divine life-force which vitalizes creation must be constantly invested within the creation, for otherwise, the creation would return to its initial state, absolute nothingness, Chassidic thought uses the analogy of a stone which is thrown upward. As soon as the force which propels it upward is exhausted, it reverts to its initial tendency and falls downward.Often a student for whom this allegory was used to communicate this concept, will forever comprehend it within the context of the allegory. As soon as he hears mention of the concept that the Divine life-force must be constantly invested in the creation, he begins to picture a stone being hurled upward.

Thus, on one hand, the allegory has enabled him to appreciate the concept. From a deeper perspective, however, the student has not been taught the concept itself, but rather has grasped a separate idea which merely represents the concept.28.

Pesachim 3b.29.

See Iggeres HaKodesh, Epistle 20.30.

Avodah Zarah 19b.31.

Eruvin 13b.32.

Loc. cit.33.

Using the following similes, the Eitz Chayim relates that before the entire spiritual cosmos came into being, the Or Ein Sof (G‑d’s infinite light) filled up all existence. In order to allow for the worlds to come into being, G‑d placed this great light on the side, leaving an empty cavity, and into this cavity, revealed a short vector of light which became the source for the limited worlds.The process of “placing this light on the side” is identified with the first tzimtzum. On one hand, this tzimtzum was complete, leaving no vestiges of the original light at all (for only in this manner could a limited world be created). Nevertheless, the maamar is stipulating that this is true, only on the apparent level. Only the revealed dimension of the Divine light was “placed on the side,” while its inner dimension, which transcends revelation, remains intact.34.

Yirmeyahu 23:24.35.

Loc. cit. The Hebrew wording of that verse is slightly different from that used by the maamar.36.

Tikkunei Zohar, Tikkun 57 (91b); quoted in Tanya, Shaar HaYichud VeHaEmunah ch. 7.37.

Tehillim 139:8.38.

Yirmeyahu 2:6.39.

Bereishis 1:1.40.

The daily liturgy.41.

Devarim 13:4.42.

Note the explanation of the above verse in Likkutei Torah, Parshas Re’eh, p. 19bff.43.

Avos 3:1.44.

Likkutei Torah, Naso 20:3.45.

II Melachim 5:15.46.

Chagigah 15a, Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Yesodei HaTorah 1:11.47.

Cf. Shir HaShirim 2:14.48.

Lit. “the hiding of [G‑d’s] face.” Ponim also means “inner dimension.” Thus this term indicates an expression of the inner dimensions of G‑dliness, albeit in a form in which they are not openly revealed.49.

To use a simple analogy: If a person knows a particular food is poison, refraining from eating it does not constitute a challenge, no matter how appetizing it appears.50.

Bereishis Rabbah 38:13.51.

Pardes, Section 12, Chapter 2.52.

Taanis 25a.53.

This is the form in which this passage is quoted in Iggeres HaKodesh, Epistle 12. In a slightly different form, it is found in Midrash Tanchuma, Vayigash 6, Bamidbar Rabbah 12:8.54.

Iyov 25:2.55.

I Melachim 18:38; note the manner in which this narrative is interpreted in Yoma 21b.56.

Shmos 23:6.57.

Shaar Chag HaMatzos, Chapter 1.58.

Bereishis 11:3.59.

See Bereishis 11:1 and commentaries.60.

Yechezkel 8:12, in regard to the interpretation of this verse, see Sefer HaErchim-Chabad, Vol. II, p. 274 ff.61.

Bereishis 11:4.62.

Shaar 1, Anaf 2.63.

Bereishis 1:1.64.

See Bereishis Rabbah 10:6, Zohar, Vol. I, 251a.65.

Koheles 5:7.66.

See Bereishis 32:31, Tehillim 82:6; Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Yesodei HaTorah 2:7.67.

See Tehillim 29:1, Iyov 1:6; Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Yesodei HaTorah 2:7.68.

Yeshayahu 10:15.69.

See Likkutei Torah, Ki Setzei 37b ff., Derech Mitzvosecha 106a.70.

Devarim 16:18.71.

Cf. Zohar Chodash 21a.72.

More specifically, this refers to the second period in the Era of the Redemption. See the essay entitled “Two Periods in the Era of the Redemption” in I Await His Coming Every Day, Kehot, 5751.73.

Berachos 17a.74.

Cf. Ta’anis 8b.75.

Devarim 8:18.76.

Although as explained above, the word mazalos refers to the sources of influence in the spiritual realms, this is an uncommon usage. More commonly, the term is used to refer to the Zodiac constellation which were considered as sources of influence.77.

See Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Avodas Kochavim, Ch. 1, where the Rambam explains that the worship of the stars came about because the people conceived of them as intermediaries whom G‑d entrusted with power and authority.78.

Avodah Zarah 8a.79.

Devarim 33:14.80.

Devarim 8:17.81.

See Likkutei Torah, Masei 89b.82.

Cf. Devarim 30:20. This represents an expansion of the literal meaning of the verse.83.

Bereishis 11:3.84.

See Or HaTorah, Noach, Vol. III, 664a ff.85.

The commentaries identify these two deities with the Zoroastrian system of belief which speaks of a god of light and a god of darkness.86.

Tehillim 113:4.87.

Bereishis Rabbah 5:7.88.

See Sefer Likkutim-Dach, Tzemach Tzedek, Erach Eretz.

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