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Tanya for Shabbos, 7 Sivan, 5783 - May 27, 2023

As Divided for a Regular Year

Tanya for 7 Sivan

6 Sivan, 5783 - May 26, 20238 Sivan, 5783 - May 28, 2023

Shaar HaYichud VehaEmunah[1]

[The theme of this treatise, as the Rebbe Shlita notes, is stated in its subtitle, which is]:

Let us understand [at least] in a small measure, the statement of the Zohar, [2] that [3] Shema Yisrael ... is yichuda ila'ah ("higher-level Unity") and [4] Baruch shem kvod malchuto leolam vaed is yichuda tata'ah ("lower - level Unity").

[For vaed equals echad through the substitution (and thereby the descent) of letters, [5] as stated in the Zohar.

Thus, the object of Shaar HaYichud VehaEmunah will be to understand how it is possible to speak of two different levels of Divine Unity].

Chapter One

It is written: [6] "Know this day and take it unto your heart that G-d is the [mighty and just] L-rd in the heavens above and upon the earth below; there is none other." [7]

[The verse, if understood simplistically, seems to declare that there are no other gods dwelling in heaven or earth].

This requires explanation. For would it occur to you that there is a god dwelling in the waters beneath the earth, so that it is necessary to caution so strongly [and negate this thought by stating that one should] "take it unto your heart," [and come to the realization that this is indeed not so?]

It is written: [8] "Forever, O G-d, Your word stands firm in the heavens."

The Baal Shem Tov, of blessed memory, has explained [this concept at length, and made it widely known [9] that this means]:

That "Your word" which you uttered, [viz.], [10] "Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters..." these very words and letters through which the heavens were created stand firmly forever within the firmament of heaven and are forever clothed within all the heavens to give them life. [Note of the Rebbe Shlita: "The fact that these words were uttered thousands of years ago presents no problem."

As it is written, [11] "And the word of our L-rd shall stand firm forever." [And as it is likewise written], [12] "And His words live and stand firm forever..."

[This refers not only to those creations such as the heavenly firmament which enjoy a permanent existence, but also to those creatures which perish as individuals, with only their species continuing to exist.

In all instances, the Divine life-force which created a particular creature must constantly be vested within it, incessantly creating and vivifying it anew, just as it ceaselessly recreates the heavenly firmament, as shall soon be explained].

For if the [creative] letters were to depart even for an instant, G-d forbid, and return to their source, [that source being the degree of G-dliness from whence they emanate, all the heavens would become naught and absolute nothingness, and it would be as though they had never existed at all, exactly as before the utterance, "Let there be a firmament."

[Before that Divine utterance the firmament did not exist at all.

Were the letters that constitute the Divine utterance to depart from the firmament, it would revert to the state of never having existed at all.

The Alter Rebbe now concludes that this is true not only of the firmament, but of all created beings].

And so it is with all created things, in all the upper and lower worlds, and even this physical earth and the realm of the completely inanimate.

[Even immobile beings that show no signs of animation or spirituality, not even the degree of animation observed in the process of growth in the vegetative world, - even this extremely low life-form constantly harbors within it the Divine life-force that brought it into being].

If the letters of the Ten Utterances by which the earth was created during the Six Days of Creation were to depart from it [but] for an instant, G-d forbid, it would revert to naught and absolute nothingness, exactly as before the Six Days of Creation.

This thought was expressed by the AriZal, [13] [when he said] that even within [that which] appears to be utterly inanimate matter, such as stones or earth or water, there is a soul and spiritual life-force.

That is, [i.e, although they evince no demonstrable form of animation, within them] are [nevertheless] enclothed the letters of speech from the Ten Utterances which give life and existence to inanimate matter, enabling it to come into being out of the naught and nothingness that preceded the Six Days of Creation.

[The Ten Utterances usher inanimate matter into a state of existence, in contrast to its former state of non-being, prior to the Six Days of Creation.

Thus, the letters of the Ten Utterances which cause inanimate matter to be created are its soul and life - force].



  1. (Back to text) I.e., "The Gate to [the Understanding of] G-d's Unity and the Faith."

  2. (Back to text) I, 18b.

  3. (Back to text) I.e., "Hear, O Israel, G-d (Havayah) is our L-rd (Elokim), G-d is one"; Devarim 6:4.

  4. (Back to text) I.e., "Blessed be the name of the glory of His kingdom forever and ever"; Pesachim 56a.

  5. (Back to text) Zohar II, 134a. Hebrew grammar classifies the letters of the alphabet according to their syntactic functions, their respective sources in the organs of speech, and so on. Within each group, the letters are interchangeable. The letters alef and vav both belong to the group of "connective letters" (otiyot hahemshech), and may thus be interchanged. The letters chet and ayin fall into the category of guttural letters (otiot groniyot), and may likewise be interchanged. Hence echad is the equivalent of vaed.

  6. (Back to text) Devarim 4:39.

  7. (Back to text) Note of the Rebbe Shlita: "This verse continues the idea of an earlier verse [4:39], which begins with the phrase ata horeita... (`You have been shown...'), and which refers to the time at which the Torah was given. At that time `G-d spoke to you ....' (4:12), [with a warning against worshiping any of the components of the created universe]: `Lest you become corrupt' [and worship creatures] of the lowest level, [viz .,] `any fish in the water below the earth' [4:18], or of the highest level, [viz.,] `Lest you raise your eyes heavenward ....' [4:19]."

  8. (Back to text) Tehillim 119:89.

  9. (Back to text) Note of the Rebbe Shlita: "As mentioned in Likkutei Torah, beginning of Parshat Acharei, the germ of this concept is to be found in Midrash Tanchuma [on this verse]."

  10. (Back to text) Bereishit 1:6.

  11. (Back to text) Yeshayahu 40:8.

  12. (Back to text) Liturgy, Morning Prayer.

  13. (Back to text) Note of the Rebbe Shlita:" See also Etz Chayim, Portal 50 (chapters 2 and 10)."

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