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As Divided for a Regular Year
Tanya for 10 Kislev
There is yet another common characteristic  [shared by all the laws of the positive and prohibitory commandments, including those that have no practical application].
For [in contradistinction] all intellectually-generated fear and love experienced by the angels are created ex nihilo, and they are the [created levels of] Nefesh and Ruach [and not the G-dly level of Neshamah] of the Worlds of Beriah, Yetzirah and Asiyah.
[Now, if the intellectually-generated awe and love experienced by mortals can likewise not be compared to the study of the laws, why does the Alter Rebbe here choose to speak of angels?
Thus the angels' love and fear better stresses their created aspect, and this enables us to understand that even with regard to souls, the essential aspect of love and fear is a created entity.
- The love and fear experienced by souls is different from the souls themselves, for souls are not actual created beings;
- the love and fear experienced by souls is, after all, a mitzvah, while that of the angels is not.
The laws, by contrast, are G-dliness.]
However, the detailed laws of the various mitzvot are drawn from the Supreme Wisdom of the Emanator, blessed be He, which is clothed in physicality, [within the physical objects to which a particular law applies, such as the law governing the case of  "he who exchanges a cow for a donkey," and the like.]
This investment [of Supreme Wisdom in the physical aspects of the laws] is not similar to the investment of Supreme Wisdom in intellectually-generated fear and love.
[Supreme Wisdom is actually vested in all things, as is soon to be explained.
This is especially so with regard to the love and awe which are aroused by intellectual activity, for the source of all such activity is Supreme Wisdom.
In intellectually-aroused love and awe, however, the vestiture takes on a different form] for there the garment conceals and completely obscures [the Supreme Wisdom that is vested within it], just as the material earth thoroughly conceals the Supreme Wisdom clothed within it; as it is written concerning all created beings,  "All of them You made with Wisdom."
[Supreme Wisdom is thus vested within all physical things as well, even the earth - which, however, completely conceals it, just as intellectually-aroused love and awe conceal the Supreme Wisdom vested in them.]
This [Supreme Wisdom] is the externality of the externality of the vessels of Malchut of Atzilut found in Asiyah, that is absolutely hidden in the Ruach-Nefesh of Asiyah.
[Malchut of Atzilut with the externality of the externality of its vessels is wholly concealed in Ruach-Nefesh of Asiyah.
Malchut of Atzilut itself, even the externality of the externality of its vessels, belongs to the realm of the Neshamah and of Divinity proper - yet it is entirely hidden within Nefesh-Ruach, which belongs to the realm of created beings.
Since Supreme Wisdom is vested in Malchut of Atzilut, and Malchut of Atzilut illumines Asiyah with its Ten Sefirot, containing as they do the element of Wisdom as well, we thus have Supreme Wisdom entirely concealed within the physical earth.]
So too in Beriah it is completely hidden in the Ruach-Nefesh [of Beriah], which are beings that are created by the concealment and hiding of the Creator from the created.
[We thus have here an element of Supreme Wisdom concealed within intellectually-aroused love and fear, the source of which is the World of Beriah, the realm of comprehension.]
This is is not so, however, with regard to the laws, in which a radiance of Wisdom illuminates them manifestly; [they do not conceal it.]
The garment of Asiyah serves merely as a passage.
[Though the laws vested in the physical things of this world (the physical World of Asiyah) are thus subject to the concealment that pervades Asiyah, they are not garbed in it to the point that the garment essentially affects the wearer, for they merely pass through the garment of Asiyah.]
Just as on the festivals, when Chesed of Atzilut, which is completely clothed in Chesed of Beriah, vivifies this physical world by passing through the Chesed of Yetzirah and of Asiyah, this [passage] is also called investment,  for otherwise it would not affect the physicality of This World.
[Thus, just as with regard to the festivals, though the animating light first passes through Yetzirah and Asiyah it is still considered to be an illumination of Chesed of Beriah, so too with regard to the laws: The light within the laws merely "passes through" the physicality with which they deal; it always retains a radiation of Supreme Wisdom.]
Now though the physicality of This World as discussed in the law unquestionably conceals completely even the Chesed of Asiyah - [and surely, then, it conceals the diffusion of Supreme Wisdom], still the law proper is not actually physical; it is the Divine Will, drawn from the Supreme Wisdom, for leniency or severity.
[G-d's wisdom affirms that it be His will that a particular legal ruling be either lenient or strict.]
It is only that this [Will] descends and illuminates in revealed fashion in the realm of the physical, just as water descends from a high place, and so on.
[It is the very same water that is now to be found in a low place.]
The physical object itself which the law discusses does, in fact, utterly obscure, as, for example, in the law of  "one who exchanges a cow for a donkey," or the laws concerning flesh that is pigul, or is not pigul and is kosher.
[The actual cow or donkey or flesh do in fact completely conceal the radiance from the Supreme Wisdom.
In contrast, it was stated above that when holding a physical etrog one is grasping the G-dly essence of Atzilut.
The difference lies in the fact that the etrog is part of the mitzvah.
As such, it has no identity other than G-dliness and thus does not conceal it.
Since, by contrast, the physical cow or donkey are not part of the law, they can conceal G-dliness.
With regard to the human intellect, however, which studies this law, since the "intellectual" cow and donkey are part of the law, they in fact do not act as a concealment.]
Only the legal ruling itself with its revealed rationale are from Malchut of Beriah [i.e., the reasoning of the Gemara] and of Yetzirah [i.e., the rulings of the Mishnah], of the state of Neshamah, which is G-dliness that vivifies and brings into being the Nefesh-Ruach of Beriah, Yetzirah and Asiyah [which are in the category of created beings], and which are the awe and love of angels and souls and their ChaBaD, [i.e., the contemplation of G-d's greatness that leads to love and fear; - all this is created and vivified] ex nihilo, [as are all created beings.]
[As to this radiation of Supreme Wisdom that descends through Malchut of Beriah and Yetzirah, in the form of Torah as it is found in those worlds prior to its descent below], it therefore slakes [the] thirst [of the souls and angels in the Worlds of Beriah and Yetzirah], before its descent into This World like descending waters....
Even after it descends into Asiyah, it transcends by far ChaBaD of Asiyah, even of the state of Neshamah, which is G-dliness.
[For this is G-dliness of Asiyah, while the illumination of Supreme Wisdom within the laws is the G-dliness of Atzilut.
- (Back to text) Note of the Rebbe Shlita: "See Or HaTorah, Parshat Shemini, p. 462ff."
- (Back to text) Bava Metzia 100a.
- (Back to text) Tehillim 104:24.
- (Back to text) Note of the Rebbe Shlita: "See Or HaTorah, Parshat Shemini, p. 470ff."
- (Back to text) Taanit 7a.
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