Weekly Tanya video\lecture: The Gate to Faith

Learn how the Tanya compacts four millennia of Jewish wisdom to answer the great personal and existential questions of life.

Rabbi Shimon Eisenbach ,

Lubavitcher Rebbe - Chabad photo
Lubavitcher Rebbe - Chabad photo
INR staff

For an introduction to what Tanya is about, click here.

Note: Previous lectures can be accessed by means of the link below, but each lecture stands on its own.

Tanya/Shaar Hayichud V’haEmunah, Chapter 7, Class 5.

tanyaonline.com/?p=1759

כי בשמים ממעל ובארץ ולד׳ סטרין, הכל מלא מאור אין סוף ברוך הוא בשוה ממש, כי כך הוא בארץ מתחת כמו בשמים ממעל ממש

For in the heavens above and on the earth [below] and in the four directions, everything is equally permeated with the Ein Sof-light, for [G‑d] is to be found on the earth below exactly as in the heavens above,

כי הכל הוא בחינת מקום, הבטל במציאות באור אין סוף ברוך הוא

for everything — including both heaven and earth — is within the dimension of space, which is utterly nullified in the Ein Sof-light,

המתלבש בו על ידי מדת מלכותו, המיוחדת בו יתברך

which clothes itself in it through [G‑d’s] attribute of Malchut that is united with Him.

In relation to the Ein Sof-light which totally transcends time and space there exists no difference between heaven and earth; G‑d is found equally in heaven and upon the earth. This being so, why are time and space not totally nullified?

רק שמדת מלכותו היא מדת הצמצום וההסתר, להסתיר אור אין סוף ברוך הוא

[They are not nullified] because [G‑d’s] attribute of Malchut is the attribute of tzimtzum and concealment, [whose function is] to hide the Ein Sof-light, so that it will not be perceived by created beings,

שלא יבטלו הזמן והמקום ממציאותם לגמרי, ולא יהיה שום בחינת זמן ומקום במציאות, אפילו לתחתונים

so that the existence of time and space should not be completely nullified and there will be no dimensions of time and space whatsoever, even for the lower worlds.

I.e., it is only because of the concealment effected by Malchut that time and space exist for created beings.

והנה במה שנתבאר, יובן מה שכתוב: אני ה׳ לא שניתי

Now, from the foregoing exposition one will be able to understand the verse,8 “I, Havayah, have not changed.”

פירוש

This means:

Not only has there been no change in G‑d’s conduct, or even His will, with regard to rewarding the righteous and so on, but this verse means explicitly that there is no change, heaven forfend, in G‑d: there exists nothing that can alter Him.

The only consideration that might possibly cause one to wonder about there being a change in G‑d’s unity is His bringing created beings into existence. Before their creation nothing whatever existed other than Him. After their creation, however, one might erroneously conclude that there now exists something in addition to Him — the various worlds and their denizens. And were this to be so, this would constitute a change in G‑d’s absolute unity, heaven forbid. The verse therefore anticipates this by saying, “I, Havayah, have not changed.”

שאין שום שינוי כלל: כמו שהיה לבדו קודם בריאת העולם, כך הוא לבדו אחר שנברא

there is no change in Him at all; just as He was alone before the creation of the world, so is He alone after it was created.

Superficially this is difficult to understand. How can we possibly say that G‑d is alone after the world was created, when there now exists an additional entity — the world?

However, according to the explanation given here regarding Divine Unity, this matter is clearly understood. Since the world is truly nullified in its entirety in relation to Him and is wholly united with Him, G‑d is thus just as truly alone after the world was created as He was alone prior to its creation.

וזהו שאומרים: אתה הוא עד שלא נברא העולם, אתה הוא כו׳

Accordingly it is written,9 “You were [the same] before the world was created; You are [the same after the world was created],”

It would have been simpler to state, “You are the same before and after the world was created.” The text, however, chose to be more explicit in order to stress that the “You” that existed before the world’s creation remains exactly the same “You” after its creation.

בלי שום שינוי בעצמותו, ולא בדעתו

without any change in His Being, nor even in His knowledge,10

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FOOTNOTES

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8. Malachi 3:6.

9. Liturgy, Morning Prayer; Yalkut, Parshat Va-etchanan, Remez 835.

10. Note of the Rebbe: “Knowledge being merely a descriptive term, just as (though keeping in mind a thousand and more distinctions) man’s knowledge is far inferior to the essence of his soul — with regard to its simplicity (פשיטות), being (עצמות), and so forth.”



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