Tuesday, October 11, 2005

LESSONS IN TANYA: Wednesday, October 12, 2005


Tishrei 9, 5766 * October 12, 2005


Today's Lesson:

Iggeret HaKodesh
(Middle of Epistle Twenty)

According to the statement in ch. 20 of Sefer HaGilgulim, cited in Likutei Amarim, (54) this radiation from the Kav of the [infinite] Ein Sof-light vests itself first in the light of Atzilut in Asiyah, and from there to the Beriah and Yetzirah in Asiyah, and from them to the category of the light of the Neshamah of the Malchut of the Malchut of Asiyah.

From this derives the [creative] power and force in the culmination of the keli of the Malchut of Malchut of Asiyah, [i.e., the lowest degree and Sefirah of Asiyah], within the Element of Earth.

This is the constant and everlasting effect, throughout the earth, of the creative utterance, (55) "Let the earth bring forth herbs...," [this fiat being the source of the power of vegetative growth (56) (in a mode of infinitude,

[Not only is the capacity for growth an instance of yesh me-ayin and a result of G-d's infinitude: the same is true of its constant recurrence,] and not only during the Six Days of Creation, as with the fiat, (57) "Let the waters bring forth [an abundance of creeping creatures]," and the fiat, (58) "Let the earth bring forth living beings."

[Ever since these one-time creative utterances, every living being derives from another, and not ex-nihilo from the earth or water. These fiats derive] from the Chochmah of the Malchut of the Malchut of Asiyah.

For during the Seven Days of the Beginning there shone in this world a radiation from the [infinite] Ein Sof-light in a mode of gratuitous kindness, without any [prior] elevation of mayin nukvin at all.)

[During those days there was no spontaneous arousal initiated from the world below, in the form of divine service on the part of the "female" or recipient element, in order to elicit a reciprocal arousal from above. (After these seven days, however, G-d ordained that henceforth there must first be an arousal initiated from below.) By virtue of the gratuitous and unearned Divine kindness of those first seven days, each of the above-quoted fiats ("Let the water bring forth..." and "Let the earth bring forth...") effectively brought about an instance of creation ex-nihilo, of yesh from ayin.

The fiat "Let the earth sprout forth...," by contrast, operates constantly:] to make grasses and trees and fruits sprout ex-nihilo into substantiality, constantly, year by year. (59) This [constancy] is a kind of infinity, for if this world were to exist for myriads of myriads of years, they would still sprout forth from year to year.

There are, though, some [plants, trees and fruit] that result from a [prior] "elevation of mayin nukvin," [i.e., whose seeds serve as the above-mentioned arousal from below which calls forth the power of vegetative growth within the earth], namely, those which are sown and planted. Nevertheless, these [too] are like yesh me-ayin, for the planted seed is of no estimation whatever in relation to the fruit, nor in relation to the whole tree with the branches and leaves.

[Whereas the difference between the fruit and its source in the kernel is mainly qualitative (as in the taste, for example), the difference between the kernel and the resultant tree is more quantitative. By both of these criteria, then, the growth of a tree from a seed possesses an element of yesh me-ayin.]

The same applies to the various species of seeds and vegetables, and to the various species of grain: that hundreds of kernels should come into being from a single kernel, resembles yesh me-ayin; and how much more so, with respect to their straw and spikes, [which are so much more different from the parent kernel, and thus even more conspicuously come into being as if "from nothing]."

Now, (60) these fruits that [grow] by means of an "elevation of mayin nukvin," i.e., by sowing and planting, are far, far superior to those that come up independently, only from the vegetative property in the soil.

And from this we will be able to understand [the concept of] the elicitation of the Supernal orot, the Divine illuminations, [that are drawn down] in the Worlds of Atzilut, Beriah, Yetzirah and Asiyah;

[The lights that are drawn down to this world in response to man's divine service surpass by far the lights that are granted through "an arousal from above" as an unearned gift.]

(56) (which is the ultimate purpose for the creation of man), as is explained elsewhere.


54. Note of the Rebbe: See ch. 6 (in the Alter Rebbe's Note);
ch. 18; see also end of ch. 51 and end of ch. 52.
55. Bereishit 1:11.
56. Parentheses are in the original text.
57. Bereishit 1:10.
58. Ibid. 1:24.
59. Coming after `constantly', the phrase `year by year' suggests
something of a contradiction. This is not the case in the text
above (foot of Hebrew p. 132a), where Tamid LeOlam means
`constant and everlasting,' as is evident from the continuation
there (`in a mode of infinitude'). Our text should therefore be
understood in the spirit of the similar text at the end of Epistle
14, above: `And this is the meaning of Forever...; ...rather,
every year....'
60. Note of the Rebbe: The relevance here of this passage
(regarding the superiority of fruits that are planted) is not
immediately apparent. It could be seen as being connected with
the above discussion of the superior quality of those mitzvot that
come at the `end' (and likewise as being connected with the
conclusion of this Epistle, on the sublime worth of practical
mitzvot). For even with regard to all the things that now, too,
are bestowed upon us by way of gratuitous kindness, if they are
[earned] by means of the performance of a mitzvah or through
mortal prayer, they too are `far, far superior' Meshubachim Me-od
Compare the explanation in Likkutei Torah of how the Spies'
complaint was negated by the response that the Land was 'very,
very' good Tova Ha-aretz Me-od Me-od.


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