Weekly Tanya video\lecture: The Gate to Faith

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

Rabbi Shimon Eisenbach ,

Lessons in Tanya
Lessons in Tanya
Eisenbach

Previous classes are accessible via the link below the video, but each lecture stands on its own.

Tanya/Shaar Hayichud V’haEmunah, Chapter 11, Class 2

tanyaonline.com/?p=1792

The Alter Rebbe explained in the previous chapter that the sefirot—the Divine attributes and the Divine wisdom and will—are designated by their respective names only in relation to created beings, which are granted existence and life and guidance by He Who enclothes Himself in those attributes.

However, since these attributes are united with Him in a perfect unity, they are not identifiable by any names whatsoever when considered relative to Him. In this, they correspond to the sunlight that is still within the sun: it is not deemed “light” because at that stage, it is absolutely absorbed within its source.

The Alter Rebbe now goes on to explain that not only are the attributes and sefirot called by their respective names in relation to created beings alone, but even the ten utterances—through which the attributes become manifest, thereby bringing created beings into existence and providing them with life—are also called “utterances” only in relation to created beings. They are not called so relative to G‑d, however, inasmuch as they are united with the attributes, which in turn are united in perfect unity with the Holy One, blessed be He.

The ten utterances are also designated “utterances” only in relation to created beings since this is a term that relates to revelation, as shall presently be explained.

וְהִנֵּה, גַּם עֲשָׂרָה מַאֲמָרוֹת, גַּם כֵּן נִקְרְאוּ בְּשֵׁם "מַאֲמָרוֹת" לְגַבֵּי הַנִּבְרָאִים בִּלְבָד.

For just as the emotive attributes of the human soul, when they surface in order to be revealed in [a corresponding] action,

כִּי כְּמוֹ שֶׁהַמִּדּוֹת שֶׁבְּנִשְׁמַת הָאָדָם, כְּשֶׁבָּאוֹת לְהִתְגַּלּוֹת בְּמַעֲשֶׂה,

appear enclothed in the letters of thought, [so do the attributes of the Holy One, blessed be He]—

הֵן בָּאוֹת מְלוּבָּשׁוֹת בְּאוֹתִיּוֹת הַמַּחֲשָׁבָה,

for example, the soul’s attribute of kindness and mercy cannot be revealed (i.e., find expression) in actual deed unless one first thinks about and contemplates doing an actual act of charity and kindness,

כְּגוֹן, מִדַּת חֶסֶד וְרַחֲמִים שֶׁבַּנְּשָׁמָה, אִי אֶפְשָׁר לָבֹא לִידֵי הִתְגַּלּוּת בְּפוֹעַל מַמָּשׁ, כִּי אִם עַל יְדֵי שֶׁמְּחַשֵּׁב בְּדַעְתּוֹ וּמְהַרְהֵר מַעֲשֵׂה הַצְּדָקָה וָחֶסֶד לַעֲשׂוֹתָהּ בְּפוֹעַל מַמָּשׁ,

for one cannot act without thought.

כִּי אִי אֶפְשָׁר לַעֲשׂוֹת בְּלִי מַחֲשָׁבָה,

It sometimes happens that before an emotive attribute finds expression in action, it must first become enclothed not only in thought but also in speech. This is now explained.

If a person, such as a king, commands others to perform [an act of kindness],

וְאִם מְצַוֶּה לַאֲחֵרִים לַעֲשׂוֹת, כְּמוֹ הַמֶּלֶךְ,

then the attribute of kindness and with it the letters of thought are garbed in the letters of speech.

אֲזַי מִתְלַבֶּשֶׁת מִדַּת הַחֶסֶד וְגַם אוֹתִיּוֹת הַמַּחֲשָׁבָה – בְּאוֹתִיּוֹת הַדִּבּוּר

(1This is also the case when one speaks words of kindness and compassion to his friend)—

[וְכֵן כְּשֶׁמְּדַבֵּר דִּבְרֵי חֶסֶד וְרַחֲמִים לְרֵעֵהוּ]

Thus, it is through letters of thought or letters of speech that the soul’s faculties and attributes are revealed—

so, figuratively speaking, when the emotive attributes of the Holy One, blessed be He, reach the level at which their activity is to be revealed in the lower [worlds],

כָּךְ עַל דֶּרֶךְ מָשָׁל, מִדּוֹתָיו שֶׁל הַקָּדוֹשׁ־בָּרוּךְ־הוּא, כְּשֶׁבָּאוֹת לִבְחִינַת הִתְגַּלּוּת פְּעוּלָּתָן בַּתַּחְתּוֹנִים,

this revelation and the flow of this action are called an “utterance” and a combination of letters,

נִקְרָא גִּילּוּי זֶה וְהַמְשָׁכַת פְּעוּלָּה זוֹ – בְּשֵׁם "מַאֲמָר" וְ"צֵירוּף אוֹתִיּוֹת",

for there can be no action proceeding from His holy, emotive attributes without [the intermediacy of] combinations which are called “letters.”

שֶׁהֲרֵי אִי אֶפְשָׁר שֶׁתִּהְיֶה שׁוּם פְּעוּלָּה נִמְשֶׁכֶת מִמִּדּוֹתָיו הַקְּדוֹשׁוֹת בְּלִי צֵירוּפִים הַנִּקְרָאִים בְּשֵׁם "אוֹתִיּוֹת".

Action can result (or be revealed) from G‑d’s emotive attributes only when a number of particular powers combine to produce this revelation.

For instance, for the creation of light from the attribute of kindness, there issued from it a flow of action and a power with which to produce and create the light.

כְּגוֹן, לִבְרִיאַת הָאוֹר מִמִּדַּת הַחֶסֶד – נִמְשָׁךְ מִמֶּנָּה הַמְשָׁכַת פְּעוּלָּה וְכֹחַ לִפְעוֹל וְלִבְרוֹא בּוֹ אֶת הָאוֹר,

The attribute of kindness is capable of producing varying results and various manifestations of creation, as shall soon be explained. In order for it to create light rather than something else, the attribute of chesed must produce a specific revelation and power whose makeup is such that specifically light will be created from it.

The flow of this power and this life-force is called by the name of the “utterance” and the [combination of the] letters [that constitute the Biblical phrase], “Let there be light.”

וְהַמְשָׁכַת כֹּחַ זֶה וְחַיּוּת זוֹ, נִקְרֵאת בְּשֵׁם מַאֲמַר וְאוֹתִיּוֹת "יְהִי אוֹר".

FOOTNOTES

1. Parentheses are in the original text.



top