Tanya/Iggeres Ha’Kodesh - The Holy Epistle, Epistle 5, Class 5
We may therefore truly say that the beings encompassed by the general term of [creatures of] the World to Come were all created by the letter yud, for their vitality stems from the inwardness and radiance of the letters of Divine speech that derive from the yud of the Four-Letter Name of G‑d.
This lowly world, however, with the life-force that is found within it,
אַךְ הָעוֹלָם הַזֶּה הַשָּׁפָל, עִם הַחַיּוּת שֶׁבְּתוֹכוֹ,
is too small to contain and endure the light and life-force that proceed from the “form” and “inwardness” of the letters;
קָטָן מֵהָכִיל וְלִסְבּוֹל אוֹר וְחַיּוּת מִבְּחִינַת צוּרַת הָאוֹתִיּוֹת וּפְנִימִיּוּתָן,
[this lowly world is too small for this light and life-force to be able] to radiate and diffuse in it without any garment or concealment
לְהָאִיר וּלְהַשְׁפִּיעַ בּוֹ בְּלִי לְבוּשׁ וְהֶסְתֵּר
as they radiate and diffuse to the souls and angels, which receive the radiance from the inwardness of the letters without the garment and concealment of the “matter” and “body” of the letters which consist of the “breath.”34
כְּמוֹ שֶׁמְּאִירוֹת וּמַשְׁפִּיעוֹת לִנְשָׁמוֹת וּמַלְאָכִים,
Instead, the radiance and diffusion comes and flows to this world from the “matter,” “body,” or “externality” of the letters.
רַק הַהֶאָרָה וְהַהַשְׁפָּעָה בָּאָה וְנִשְׁפָּע לָעוֹלָם הַזֶּה מִבְּחִינַת חוֹמֶר וְגוּף הָאוֹתִיּוֹת וְחִיצוֹנִיוּתָם,
This is called “breath,” just as the “body” or external aspect of the letters of man’s speech derives from physical breath,
שֶׁהוּא בְּחִינַת הַהֶבֶל,
and it divides into the seven “breaths” of [the second verse of] Ecclesiastes,35 on which the world stands; as taught in the holy Zohar, “The world exists only by virtue of the [seven] ‘breaths’ uttered by King Solomon.”36
הַמִּתְחַלֵּק לְז' הֲבָלִים שֶׁבְּקֹהֶלֶת שֶׁעֲלֵיהֶם הָעוֹלָם עוֹמֵד, כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב בַּזּוֹהַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ.
This is “the utterance that issues forth from G‑d’s mouth,” i.e., this is the letter hey, which is vested in this world and all its hosts to animate them;
וְהוּא "מוֹצָא פִי ה'" הַמִּתְלַבֵּשׁ בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה וְכָל צְבָאָיו לְהַחֲיוֹתָם,
in [this utterance] is vested the “form” of the letters of speech and thought,
וּבְתוֹכוֹ מְלוּבֶּשֶׁת בְּחִינַת צוּרַת אוֹתִיּוֹת הַדִּבּוּר וְהַמַּחֲשָׁבָה,
emanating from His holy attributes, and His will and wisdom, and so on,
מִמִּדּוֹתָיו הַקְּדוֹשׁוֹת וּרְצוֹנוֹ וְחָכְמָתוֹ וְכוּ',
This is similar to the letters (i.e., the potential and as yet inarticulate components) of a man’s speech or thought, which attain a state of revealed expression through his emotions: since, for example, he loves and desires something, he thinks and speaks about it. The emotions themselves, however, derive from his will and mind. The same is true Above: the letters of speech and thought are revealed by the Divine attributes and emanate from them, though ultimately they derive from G‑d’s will and wisdom.
which are utterly incorporated in the blessed Ein Sof.
הַמְיוּחָדוֹת בְּאֵין־סוֹף בָּרוּךְ־הוּא בְּתַכְלִית
Thus, the radiance emanating from the “form” of the letters—a radiance that emanates from G‑d’s attributes, wisdom, and will—is merely found בְּתוֹכוֹ, within the internality of the Divine utterance that creates and vitalizes this world; it is not manifest. That which serves as the source of the creation and vitality of this world is the externality or “body” of the letters, the “breath” of Divine speech.
(37This is what Rabbi Yitzchak Luria, of blessed memory, stated—that the external aspects of the vessels of [the sefirah of] malchut of [the World of] Atzilut, [these external aspects being] alluded to by the [lower] hey of the Four-Letter Name of G‑d, descended and became the soul for the World of Asiyah.38)
(וְזֶהוּ שֶׁאָמַר הָאֲרִ"י זִכְרוֹנוֹ לִבְרָכָה, שֶׁבְּחִינַת חִיצוֹנִיּוּת הַכֵּלִים דְּמַלְכוּת דַּאֲצִילוּת, הַמְרוּמָּזוֹת בְּה' שֶׁל שֵׁם הַוָיָ' בָּרוּךְ־הוּא, הֵם יָרְדוּ וְנַעֲשׂוּ נְשָׁמָה לְעוֹלַם הָעֲשִׂיָּה).
It is likewise stated in the Tikkunim that the yud is in [the World of] Atzilut…, [the upper hey in the World of Beriah, the vav in the World of Yetzirah,] and the lower hey nests in [the World of] Asiyah.39
וְכֵן כָּתוּב בַּתִּקּוּנִים שֶׁהַיּוּ"ד הוּא בַּאֲצִילוּת כוּ', וְה' תַּתָּאָה מְקַנֶּנֶת בַּעֲשִׂיָּה:
These four letters of the Divine Name Havayah are the aspect of G‑dliness that is revealed within the Four Worlds,40 as follows:
In the World of Atzilut, the sefirah of chochmah (the yud of the Divine Name) is manifest. Chochmah signifies the highest form of self-nullification, the awareness that “He is One Alone, and apart from Him, there is nothing,” as explained in the Note to Part I, ch. 35. This sefirah permeates the entire World of Atzilut so that whatever exists at that state of being experiences this degree of self-nullification before G‑d.
The upper hey of the Divine Name, the sefirah of binah (“comprehension”), illuminates the World of Beriah. Hence, all the inhabitants of this world, both souls and angels, are characterized by a high degree of perception of Divinity.
The World of Yetzirah is illumined by the letter vav of the Divine Name, representing the six middot, the divine emotive attributes. The created beings of this world therefore serve G‑d with their spiritual emotions, with ecstatic love and fear.
The World of Asiyah is animated by the lower hey of the Tetragrammaton, the sefirah of malchut. This is the world of action, the level of active Divine service that is motivated by an acceptance of the yoke of the heavenly kingdom.
However, this refers only to the soul of the World of Asiyah that emanates from the combinations of the letters of Divine speech at their innermost dimension. This level is clothed and concealed within the “matter” or “body” of the letters, the “breath.” The actual creation and animation of the World of Asiyah derives only from the externality of Divine speech, i.e., from the “breath.” It is for this reason that this world is physical and corporeal.
34. Note by the Rebbe: “[This ‘garment’ or ‘breath’] retains no separate identity from that which is clothed in it and does not conceal it.”
35. “See also Or Hatorah on this verse” (—Note by the Rebbe). — Or Hatorah, Nach, vol. 2, p. 1098; Biurei Hazohar by the Tzemach Tzedek, vol. 2, pp. 877 ff., 881 ff.
36. I, 146b.
37. Parentheses appear in original text.
38. See Etz Chaim, Portal 47, ch. 2, et al.
39. See Tikkun 6 (p. 23a); Etz Chaim, Portal 42, conclusion of ch. 4.
40. Note by the Rebbe: “As explained in Part I, ch. 39.”