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Tanya for Sunday, 2 Tishrei, 5784 - September 17, 2023

As Divided for a Regular Year

Tanya for 2 Tishrei

1 Tishrei, 5784 - September 16, 20233 Tishrei, 5784 - September 18, 2023

Now, the aspect of the blessed Divine Chochmah that is vested in the 613 commandments of the Torah, is referred to as the hindmost aspect of Chochmah.

[The Alter Rebbe had previously said that

  1. Moses' prophetic comprehension of the Sefirah of Chochmah consisted merely of the achorayim (the hindmost aspect) of Chochmah. He then went on to say that

  2. the source of the Torah in Chochmah is the same, for it too transcends reason. The Alter Rebbe is now saying that

  3. even the Chochmah vested in the 613 commandments is referred to as no more than the achorayim of Chochmah.]

For the achorayim of any one of the Sefirot are the external and lower levels within that Sefirah, which are capable of descending and extending downwards, to become vested in created beings in order to animate them.

The aspect of the panim (the "face" or inner dimension) of the Sefirah is the Sefirah itself as it is united with its Emanator, the blessed Ein Sof, in an absolute union.

As, for example, the Sefirah of Chochmah, [the Sefirah now under discussion]: It is united with its Emanator, the blessed Ein Sof, in absolute unity, for the Holy One, blessed be He, and His Wisdom, are One [34] (as explained above) - [evidently in reference to Part I, chs. 2 and 52.]

But that which radiates and extends from His blessed Chochmah to the limited and finite nether beings below, and becomes vested in them, [is called achorayim; [Light that merely "radiates" and "extends" does not necessarily contract according to the limitations of the recipient of the light; it may "radiate" and "extend" in an encompassing manner (makkif) and thus not be subject to them. However, when the illumination is "vested" within a receptor, this implies adjustment to its limitations.

Hence, a light that becomes vested within finite created beings cannot possibly be infinite, as would be the case if the actual Sefirah as united with its Emanator - and thus as infinite as its Emanator - would descend into created beings. Therefore, the life-giving force which is vested within creation] - is called achorayim: [it is the external aspect of the Sefirah and not the Sefirah itself], and it is also called the aspect of Asiyah within Atzilut.

[The external aspect of Chochmah - Chochmah here being an allusion to the World of Atzilut - is termed the level of Asiyah within Atzilut, [35] i.e., that level of Atzilut that is capable of descending below.]

The meaning of this will be understood by way of analogy with terrestrial man, whose soul spans five ranks, one lower than the other.

These are: the faculties of the intellect; the emotive attributes; thought; speech; and action; with action the lowest of them all. [I.e., the soul manifests itself in action to a much lesser degree than it does in the other four levels.]

For the life-force that extends from the soul and is vested in the faculty of action, is as nothing compared to the life-force that extends from it and is vested in the faculty of speech.

The latter [in turn] is as nothing compared to the life-force that extends from [the soul] and is vested in thought, in the emotive attributes, and in the intellect.

[The latter three faculties are always united with the soul. Even the faculty of thought, which is merely a "garment" of the soul [i.e., one of its means of expression], is always united with it, and therefore, like the soul itself, always in a manifest state. Speech and action, however, are "garments" that are separate from the soul. Thus, insofar as speech is concerned, there is [36] "A time to speak and a time to refrain from speech," while action is even more distant from the soul than speech.]

In a precisely like manner with respect to the Divine Chochmah, to the extent that can be diffused from it [37] to become vested in all the nether beings:

[Since [38] "You have made them all through Chochmah," it follows that this Sefirah must be vested in all nether beings. However, this is merely the external level of Chochmah.] it [39] is as nothing compared to the panim [the inward or frontal aspect] of Chochmah, which is at one with the blessed Emanator. For [40] "All that is before Him [i.e., close and united with Him] is esteemed as naught."

The life-giving flow to all created beings, which are limited and finite, is regarded as a descent and a contraction, so to speak, with respect to the Emanator, the blessed Ein Sof, just as, metaphorically speaking, it would be regarded as a descent and contraction for the intellect of an intelligent person to be contracted to some purely physical and material activity.[39]

Moshe Rabbeinu, peace to him, who apprehended as high as the level [of Divinity] called the hindmost aspect of Chochmah, therefore merited that the Torah was given through him - the Torah being the "novlot," [the withered vestige], of Supernal Chochmah, i.e., that which is sloughed off from it and descends below, and becomes vested in our physical Torah.[39]

For [the Torah's] core and ultimate object is the observance of the positive and prohibitory commandments, in actual deed and performance, in the spirit of the verse, [41] "To do them this day," [and, more specifically, in the spirit of the comment of our Sages on this phrase: [42] "They are to be done today and not tomorrow" - in this world, and not in the World to Come.

Our Sages likewise taught,] [43] "The study of Torah is greater [than the observance of the commandments] because it leads to [their] performance." Similarly, [44] "As to him who learns with the intent of not doing, it would have been better for him if his afterbirth had turned over...." [I.e., better had he never been born.]

Indeed, every individual needs to become reincarnated until he has actually observed all the 613 commandments, as is known from R. Isaac Luria, of blessed memory. [45]

[The Tzemach Tzedek makes the following comment [46] on the above Epistle:

Although the Alter Rebbe opens this letter with the verse, "He wraps [Himself with] light as [with] a garment...," he does not explain it here. However, it can be understood from his introduction that the achorayim of Chochmah, also known as the novlot of the Supernal Chochmah, which is Torah, is the "garment" (i.e., the revealed aspect) of Torah, while the pnimiyut of Abba, the inward aspect of Chochmah, is the esoteric depths of Torah.

(The latter aspect of Torah will be revealed mainly by Mashiach, as Rashi notes in his comment on the verse, [47] "He kisses me with the kisses of His mouth." Even now, however, a foretaste of the innermost dimensions of the Torah may be savored in the teachings of Chassidut. The present revelation of its insights serves as a preparation for the coming of Mashiach, in the spirit of the Friday afternoon custom [48] of sampling the delicacies prepared for Shabbat, since the time of Mashiach is known as [49] "a day that is entirely Shabbat.")

The Tzemach Tzedek concludes: This is the "light" that is vested within the "garment": it was created on the First Day and later hidden in the Torah - ultimately to be revealed to the righteous. [50]

Part (II)

[The Epistle that follows, beginning "The Letters that are Revealed," is one of the Epistles that was appended to the edition of Tanya published in Vilna in the year 5660 (1900), these additions being noted by R. Asher of Nikolayev in his introductory declaration there. [51]

This relevance of this Epistle to the previous one may be found in the following parallel:

The previous Epistle explains how only the Netzach-Hod-Yesod-Malchut (i.e., the lower Sefirot) of the Emanator extend to the recipient. The conclusion of the present Epistle likewise explains [52] that only the hindmost aspect and externality of the Netzach-Hod-Yesod of the higher realm enter the lower one.]



  1. (Back to text) Parentheses appear in the original text.

  2. (Back to text) Note of the Rebbe Shlita: So it is written in the editions that I have seen. It would seem, however, that the text should have stated `Asiyah of Chochmah.' Possibly, however, since the Alter Rebbe is speaking here of the difference between the finite and the infinite - the Torah at the level of Beriah, Yetzirah and Asiyah, as compared to the Torah at the level of Atzilut (where "Toratcha" - "Your Torah," refers to the Torah of Atzilut, while "Sheli-madet-anu" - "that You have taught us" refers to the Torah of Beriah) - he therefore stresses `of Atzilut'.

    As to the relevance of this subject to our text: The infinity of the World of Atzilut lies in its correspondence to the Sefirah of Chochmah (i.e., the letter yud of the Four-Letter Name), while the Worlds of Beriah-Yetzirah-Asiyah correspond to the other [lower] Sefirot.

  3. (Back to text) See Kohelet 3:7.

  4. (Back to text) In the original Hebrew text, parentheses around the word "Le-hash-pia" indicate that it should be substituted by the bracketed word "Le-hit-la-besh".

  5. (Back to text) Tehillim 104:24.

  6. (Back to text) Hebrew text emended above according to the Glosses and Emendations of the Rebbe Shlita.

  7. (Back to text) Zohar I, 11b.

  8. (Back to text) Devarim 7:11.

  9. (Back to text) Eruvin 22a.

  10. (Back to text) Kiddushin 40b.

  11. (Back to text) Vayikra Rabbah 35:7.

  12. (Back to text) See the Alter Rebbe's Shulchan Aruch, Hilchot Talmud Torah 1:4, and the sources cited in the glosses there.

  13. (Back to text) In Yahel Or on Tehillim, p. 369.

  14. (Back to text) Shir HaShirim 1:2.

  15. (Back to text) See Likkutei Sichot, Vol. XV, p. 282, and sources cited in the footnotes there.

  16. (Back to text) Conclusion of Tractate Tamid.

  17. (Back to text) Likkutei Sichot, Vol. X, p. 10, and sources cited in the footnotes there.

  18. (Back to text) Note of the Rebbe Shlita: It will have been noted that the Alter Rebbe himself added letters to Iggeret HaKodesh (Sefer HaMaamarim 5708, p. 170, et al.).

  19. (Back to text) Note of the Rebbe Shlita: For example: In keeping with the teaching that "from my flesh do I behold G-dliness," [the above levels are here discussed] as found within man - in thought, speech and action.

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