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As Divided for a Leap Year
Tanya for 13 Iyar
So, indeed, is the [utterly insignificant] quality of this minute illumination - [after the "contraction"] - which clothes itself in the higher and lower worlds in order to provide them with sustenance and life, when compared with the quality of the hidden and concealed light that is of an infinite order, and does not clothe itself or exercise its influence in the worlds in a revealed manner, providing them with life, but encompasses them from above - [i.e., it exerts its influence while remaining on its own level] - and is called sovev kol almin [lit., "encompassing all worlds]".
[Unlike the light that pervades all worlds (memale kol almin), which permeates and vests itself within them (just as the soul vests itself in the body), the encompassing light remains aloof from the worlds].
The meaning of this is not that it encircles and encompasses from above spatially, G-d forbid, for in spiritual matters the category of space is in no way applicable.
[Physical objects are spatial; they may be said to be found in one place or the other. Spirituality, however, is non-spatial; the terms "encompassing" and "encircling" are never to be understood in their literal, physical sense], but the meaning is that it "encircles and encompasses from above" insofar as the revelation of this influence is concerned.
For influence which is in the category of "revelation" in the worlds is referred to as "investiture", being "clothed" within the worlds, for the influence that they receive is clothed and comprehended by them, [i.e., they are able to comprehend and internalize it].
Whereas the influence which does not come within the category of "revelation", but remains obscured and concealed, and is not apprehended by the worlds, is not described as being "invested" in them but as "encircling and encompassing" [them].
Therefore, since the worlds belong in the order of the finite and limited, it follows that only an extremely minute and contracted reflection of the flow of the [infinite] light of the blessed Ein Sof clothes and manifests itself in them in a revealed form, and this, only to animate them in a finite and revealed state.
[In order for creation to come about there must necessarily be at least some glimmer of G-dly illumination, albeit in an extremely limited form, for this enables creation to be finite and bounded].
But the principal light that is without contraction to such an extent is called makkif ("encircler") and sovev ("encompasser"), since its influence is not revealed within [the worlds], inasmuch as they belong in the order of the finite and the limited.
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