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As Divided for a Regular Year
Tanya for 10 Iyar
In a manner corresponding in every detail to the said figure and image [of the love shown by the mighty king to this most lowly individual], but to a much greater degree, doubled and redoubled infinitely more [than in the parable], has our G-d dealt with us.
For His greatness is beyond comprehension.
[Just as G-d is infinitely greater than any physical king, so too does his kingdom extend over an infinitely greater territory, so to speak], and He pervades all worlds and encompasses i.e., transcends all worlds.
And it is known from the holy Zohar, as also from our Master, Rabbi Isaac Luria of blessed memory, of the multitude of Heichalot - these being the specific levels within each spiritual world - and worlds which are infinite, and of the myriads of myriads of angels found in each world and Heichal, countless and without end.
So does the Gemara note:  "It is written: `Is there any numbering His regiments [of angels]?' Yet it is also written:  `A thousand thousands minister unto Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stand before Him....'
[The second verse indicates that there is indeed a finite number of angels, albeit a very great number, while the rhetorical question in the first verse implies that the number is truly infinite].
The Gemara answers: " `A thousand thousands ... " is the quota of one regiment, but His regiments are innumerable."
[The second verse, then, speaks of the number of angels within one regiment, while the first verse alludes to the number of regiments, which is truly infinite].
Yet, before Him, all of them are accounted as nothing at all and are nullified in their very existence, just as one word is truly nullified in relation to the essence and being of the articulate soul, [the soul possessing the power of speech], while the speech of the soul was still present in [the soul's] faculty of thought, or in the will and desire of the heart, as has been explained above at length.
[In chapters 20 and 21 the Alter Rebbe explained at length how a single utterance is as absolutely nothing when compared to the infinite capacity of the articulate soul. This is so even when the word has already been uttered and has thereby become a distinct entity. Even more so, in the case when the person's speech is in potentia in the person's thought or heart's desire (which are the sources of speech, since a person thinks before he speaks, and speaks about things that he desires). In such an instance, the single word is totally nullified in its source and is not at all perceptible as an entity separate from it.
So too with Divine speech that creates and animates angels, the various worlds, and all creatures. Divine speech is always absolutely united with its source, and is therefore always in a state of total nullification to it].
All these [angels] ask: "Where is the place of His glory?" And they answer:  "The whole [physical] earth is full of His glory"; that is [i.e., How is this world "full of His glory?" because of] His people, Israel.
For the Holy One, blessed be He, forsook the higher and lower creatures [that are not the ultimate purpose of His creation], choosing none of them but Israel His people, whom He brought out of Egypt  "the obscenity of the earth," the place of filth and impurity.
[Like the lowly and disgraceful individual who was raised from the dunghill by the king in person, the Children of Israel were brought forth out of Egypt by the King Himself]: "not  through an angel [which is a created being whose abode is in the World of Beriah, Yetzirah or Asiyah], nor through [a messenger from the level of the World of Atzilut], but the Holy One, blessed be He, Himself in His glory" descended there.
As it is written:  "And I descended to save him [from the hand of the Egyptians."
Just as the king in the parable, after raising the individual from the dungheap, takes him into his palace and shares with him the closest companionship, in a like manner did G-d treat His people].
[This was] in order to bring them near to Him in true closeness and unity, with a real attachment of soul [so that the Jew's soul will be truly bound up with the Almighty.
This is also so regarding the Torah, concerning which G-d says: "I have written and given My `soul'" to the Jewish people, by giving them the Torah.
Thus, not only is the Jew's soul truly bound up with G-d, but G-d's "soul", too, is united with the Jew].
[This binding is] on the level of "kisses" of mouth to mouth, [so that the Jew's mouth be united with the "mouth" and speech of G-d], by uttering "the word of G-d, namely, the Halachah."
[When a Jew speaks and studies the words of the Torah his speech is united with Supernal speech in a manner of "kisses" of mouth to mouth.
This unity, however, is external in comparison with the deeper and more inward "union of spirit and spirit," as explained in the previous chapter.
This deeper level of unity is also attained through Torah study] and the fusion of "spirit" of man with "spirit" of G-d, namely, the comprehension of the Torah and the knowledge of His Will and wisdom.
[When Torah is studied with comprehension, the person knows both G-d's Will and Wisdom. Knowing the halachah, the law that determines that an object is (say) either kosher or non-kosher, constitutes the knowledge of G-d's Will, while comprehending the reason for the halachah relates to G-d's Wisdom].
Which are truly one; [G-d's Will and wisdom are truly one with Him. Hence, through Torah study, Jews become united with G-d in a manner of "union of spirit and spirit"] also with a form of "embrace". [For Torah and mitzvot also effect the unity of an "embrace", similar to a person embracing his friend with his body and arms], namely, the fulfillment of the positive precepts with the 248 organs [which the human being possesses.
Performance of the 248 positive commandments brings about a state of "embrace" wherein G-d's 248 "organs" embrace man's], for the 248 ordinances are the 248 "organs" of the King, as mentioned earlier, [in chapter 23].
(It was explained there that) each organ of the body is an appropriate vessel for the particular faculty of the soul that resides therein, such as the eye for the faculty of sight, the ear for the faculty of hearing, and so on. So too, each mitzvah is an appropriate vessel for the specific emanation of the Divine Will that desires the Jew to perform the particular commandment].
In a general manner, these [248 positive mitzvot] are divided into three categories right, left, and center namely, Chesed ("kindness"), Din ("stern justice"), and Rachamim ("mercy").
[There are mitzvot which are in the category of the "right side" Chesed; others in the category of the "left side" Din; still others, in the category of the "center" Rachamim. These are]: the two arms and the body.
[Chesed is the right arm; Gevurah, or Din, is the left; and Rachamim represents the body (the center). Just as when a person embraces another he does so with both arms and his body, so too, do the "two arms" and "body" of the mitzvot embrace the Jew who performs them].
- (Back to text) Chagigah 13b.
- (Back to text) Iyov 25:3.
- (Back to text) Daniel 7:10.
- (Back to text) Yeshayahu 6:3.
- (Back to text) Bereishit 42:9.
- (Back to text) Haggadah of Passover.
- (Back to text) Shmot 3:8.
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