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Tanya for Sunday, 28 Iyyar, 5782 - May 29, 2022

As Divided for a Leap Year

Tanya for 28 Iyar

27 Iyyar, 5782 - May 28, 202229 Iyyar, 5782 - May 30, 2022

Chapter Fifty-Two

[In the previous chapter the Alter Rebbe began to expound upon the theme of the indwelling of the Shechinah, which resided in the Holy of Holies and likewise in other places.

He asked: "Is not the whole world filled with His glory?"

Since there is no place void of Him, what do we mean when we say that G-d chose a specific place for the Shechinah to rest?

He explained this according to the text: "From my flesh I see G-d," using the analogy of the soul, which pervades all the 248 organs of the body, yet its principal habitation is in the brain.

This cannot be said to apply to the soul's essence, for that is found equally in all 248 organs, from the highest, the brain, to the lowest in the feet.

Rather this refers to the general flow of the soul's vitality into the body and its revelation there, before it is diffused and drawn down into all the bodily organs, each according to its particular capacity.

Concerning this general aspect we say that its principal province and indwelling is in the brain; from there, a mere glimmer of this vitality is drawn down and revealed in the other bodily organs.

The same is true, the Alter Rebbe explains, in the analogue of G-dliness and the world:

The core and essence of the Ein Sof is the same in the higher and lower Worlds - He is concealed from them all equally, for even in the higher Worlds no thought can apprehend Him at all. At the same time He is equally to be found both in the higher and lower Worlds.

The difference between the higher and lower Worlds - as in the analogy of the bodily organs - subsists only with regard to the stream of vitality which flows and is revealed from the Ein Sof in order to create and vitalize the Worlds and their creatures.

Concerning this level of revelation we say that in the higher Worlds G-dliness is revealed to a greater degree, and in the lower Worlds, to a lesser degree.

In the present chapter the Alter Rebbe goes on to further explain how the analogue of G-dliness and its place in the world relates to the analogy, in which the individual's vitality in its undiffused state resides in the brain].

And just as in the human soul the principal manifestation of the undiffused vitality is in the brain, while all the organs receive merely a light and potency which radiates to them from the source of the manifestation of the said vitality in the brain, so indeed, figuratively speaking, is the essential manifestation of the general stream of vitality, animating the Worlds and the creatures therein, clothed and contained in His blessed Will, wisdom, understanding and knowledge, which are called the "intelligence".

[The Sefirot of Keter (Will), Chochmah, Binah and Daat as they exist Above are collectively called "intelligence".

Within them is enclothed the stream of undiffused vitality, which is the first revelation of the Ein Sof in the Worlds].

And these [Will, Chochmah, Binah and Daat] are clothed in the Torah and its mitzvot.

[This is their abode, for Torah law and the mitzvot are themselves the Will of G-d, desiring as He does that the law in a particular case should be specifically one way and not the other, and that a particular mitzvah be performed in a certain manner and not otherwise.

Understanding the laws and knowing the reasons for the mitzvot, - this belongs to the divine levels of Chochmah and Binah.

Thus, within Torah and the mitzvot is enclothed the "intelligence" of Above, and in it is to be found the undiffused stream of vitality that descends into the Worlds].

The manifestation of this general flow [of life, which is similar to the undiffused stream of vitality found in the brain, takes place - as the Alter Rebbe will soon say - when the flow from "intelligence" descends into the Sefirah of Malchut.

This manifestation], is the source of the vitality which the Worlds receive, each one in particular receiving but a diffused glow that shines forth from this source.

[This refers not to the general stream of vitality found in "intelligence", but to its revelation.

This revelation is the source of the vitality received by all Worlds and their creatures, each according to its particular level.

The diffused glow that shines forth is] in a similar manner to the light that radiates from the sun, by way of example, [where the rays are but a diffused glimmer of the sun's essence], or [as] the faculties of the organs of the body [derive from the brain, as discussed above, [in the previous chapter].

It is this source [this source being a revelation from the general stream of vitality found within "intelligence]" which is called [in the Kabbalah] the "world of manifestation," [because - as the Alter Rebbe will soon say - it is here that G-dliness first becomes manifest in the Worlds].

And [it is also called] matrunita [Aramaic for "queen", for the "queen" receives her vitality from Kudsha Brich Hu - Aramaic for "the Holy One, blessed be He", the "king]", and [it is also known as the] "nether mother," [the lower level of "mother" - for Binah, too, is known as "mother" (as the verse says, [1] "Allude to Binah as mother").

Binah, however, is the higher level of "mother", while Malchut is the "nether mother]," and [is called] the Shechinah, from the Scriptural phrase, [2] "...and I will dwell among them," [for its Hebrew root means: to dwell and be revealed. [3]

As the Rebbe Shlita explains, the Alter Rebbe now goes on to explain the meaning and character of each of the above-listed names, as well as their particular effect].

[The above-mentioned source is called the "world of manifestation]", for this source is the beginning of the revelation of the light of Ein Sof, [and since the source itself constitutes a revelation, it is itself known as the "world of manifestation" - because of its own nature, and not because it vitalizes the revealed Worlds.

It is called "queen" because it is this level] which extends to and illumines the Worlds in a revealed manner - [similar to a queen, for through her the wishes of the king are revealed.

Thus, the source of life, i.e., the first revelation of the light of Ein Sof, is first manifest in the "queen"].

From this source there extends to each individual thing, [World or creature], the particular light and vitality suitable for it, [for which reason it is called the "nether mother," for it is the "mother" and source of the particular form of vitality of each and every creature].

And it [the light] dwells and is clothed in them [in the Worlds and their respective creatures], thereby animating them.

[Since it dwells, animates and is enclothed in every World and creature it is called Shechinah, which as previously explained means "indwelling".

Until now the Alter Rebbe has clarified how the light is the source of the Worlds and creatures in general. He now goes on to explain how it is also the source of Jewish souls].

Therefore it is figuratively called "mother of the children" [i.e., of Jewish souls], and [is also called] "community of Israel," for from this source the souls of Atzilut have emanated, [these being "emanations" and not "creations"], and the souls of Beriah have been created, and so forth.

All of them - [all the Worlds, creatures and souls] - being derived only from the extension of the vitality and light [which extends and streams forth] from this source which is called Shechinah, [in a manner] resembling the radiation of light from the sun, [this radiation being but a ray from its source].



  1. (Back to text) See Mishlei 2:3; Berachot 57a (and Chiddushei Aggadot of Maharsha, ad loc.).

  2. (Back to text) Shmot 25:8.

  3. (Back to text) Note of the Rebbe Shlita: "In all the above no mention is made that this is the level of Malchut of Atzilut, and `Divine speech'." Only later, as an introduction to the concept of `Holy of Holies' and Torah, and the manner in which they descend from World to World, does the Alter Rebbe use the terms, `Malchut of Atzilut...,' `Malchut of Beriah...,' and so on. For inasmuch as he finds support for this in Etz Chayim he uses the terminology of Etz Chayim - Malchut (and not Shechinah, and the like).

    The Tanya itself, however, does not adopt the style of Kabbalistic writings."

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