The Gate of Unity – Chapter 12

ומעתה יש להבין ביאור ענין הצמצום הראשון הנ”ל ובחי’ הרשימו שנשאר כו’

We[1] must now understand the explanation of the aforementioned concept of the first Tzimtzum, and the aspect of the Reshimu (Impression) which remained.

הגם שידוע ליודעים, הרי יש בזה פרטים רבים

Although it is known to those who are familiar [with these concepts], nonetheless, there are many particular details in it.

וצריך להעמיק הדעת בהם ביותר כי זהו עיקר היחוד האמיתי בעצמות אא”ס

One must delve very deeply into this [matter], for it is pivotal to true union with the Essence of the Infinite Light.

איך דקולא קמיה כלא כו’, גם בבחי’ כללות כל ההשתלשלות דקו וכו’

[That is, the understanding of this is pivotal to the realization of] how everything, even the entirety of the chaining down of the Kav, is literally as nothing before Him.

עד שיוכל אדם לכוון רצונו במס”נ לעצמות אא”ס לבדו

[This should be contemplated] to the point that a person is capable of focusing his desire, with self sacrifice, upon the Essence of the Infinite Light alone[2].

כמ”ש אתה הוא ה’ לבדך, אתה כו’,

This is as stated[3], “You are He, G-d, Alone etc”.

וזהו המלך המרומם לבדו, בחי’ מל’ דא”ס שלפני הצמצום

This is [also] the meaning of, “The King who is exalted, alone”, [which refers to] the aspect of Malchut of the Infinite before the Tzimtzum.

שמתנשא גם מימות עולם דא”ק, שנקרא ימי קדם הנ”ל

That is, “He is exalted” even “over the days of the world” of Adam Kadmon, which are called “the days of antiquity”, as previously mentioned.

וזהו השמים, בחי’ סובב הכללי שאחר הצמצום

This is [also the explanation of the verse, “The heavens, and the heavens of the heavens, cannot contain You”[4]].  “The heavens” refers to the aspect of the general encompassing [light] which follows the Tzimtzum.

ושמי השמים, שלפני הצמצום, לא יכלכלוך, גם בבחי’ כלי לכלי, כמו גליף גליפו בטה”ע כו’ וד”ל

“The heavens of the heavens” refers to [the Infinite Light] before the Tzimtzum.  “They cannot contain You” even in the way of a “vessel for a vessel”, as in “He engraved an engraving in the upper purity”[5].  This will suffice for those of understanding.

וכמ”ש מי לי בשמים, שהוא גם בחי’ סובב הכללי שלפני הצמצום שנק’ שמי השמים כו’

This [concept[6]] is further [emphasized by] the verse, “Who have I in the heavens but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire beside You”[7].  “Who have I in the heavens” refers to the general encompassing [light] before the Tzimtzum, which is called “the heavens of the heavens.”

ועמך לא חפצתי בארץ, בבחי’ קו”ח בחי’ ממלא הכללי כו’

“There is none upon earth that I desire beside You”, refers to the aspect of the Kav V’Chut (Line and Thread), which is the aspect of the general inner, pervading [light][8].

והנה יש כמה אופנים במשלים שונים להשכיל ביאור ענין הצמצום הנק’ מק”פ כידוע למעיין

Now, as is known to those who have done the analysis, there are various different analogies and ways to explain the matter of the Tzimtzum which is called “the empty place”.

וכללותו עולה בסגנון א’, והוא כדי שיוכל להיות אא”ס בבחי’ השפעה בצמצום בבחי’ קו, הוצרך לצמצם עצמות אורו שישאר בהעלם בעצמותו כו’

[However,] they all arrive at one general point; that in order for the Infinite Light to be expressed in a limited way, in the aspect of a line[9], it was necessary for Him to restrain His essential light, so that it would remain concealed in His Essence.

ולא יאיר כולו, רק אפס קצהו בלבד

[This is necessary, so that] not all of it would shine forth, but only an infinitesimal amount.

כדי שיהיה אח”כ המשכות האור בדילוג הערך

This is in order that the light could afterwards be drawn down [into revelation] in [a way of] a qualitative leap of [diminished] value[10].

וה”ז כמשל אור שכל עמוק ורחב שבעצמות המשפיע

This is analogous to the brilliance of a deep and broad concept [as it exists in the] essence of the teacher.

שכדי שיומשך ממנו למקבל הבלתי ערך אליו, הוצרך המשפיע להעלים בעצמו כל עומק השגתו, ולא ישאר רק בחי’ רושם, כנקודה א’, מכל העומק והרוחב

In order for him to draw [this concept] to the student, who is not [intellectually] comparable to him, the teacher must conceal the entire depth of his comprehension within himself, so that all that is left is but an aspect of an impression, which is like a single point from all the depth and breadth.

ולא שנסתלק ונתעלם לגמרי

This is not to say that [his understanding] was completely withdrawn and concealed.

רק כמו השונה בדרך קצרה, שכל העומק ורוחב הפלפול ישנו בשכלו, רק שהוא נכלל לפי שעה בהעלם עצמותו בשעה שאומר הדין דרך קיצור

Rather, it is like one who relates a teaching in a brief way.  He has the entire depth and breadth of the logical arguments in his intellect, only that during the time that he states his ruling briefly, they are temporarily included and concealed in his essence.

ומיד שישאלוהו ירחיב הדבר כו’

However, as soon as he is questioned [about it] he can expand on the subject.

רק בשביל שיובן למקבל דרך זה הקצר, מעלים גם בעצמו לפי שעה כו’ וכמ”ש במ”א באריכות

Only that in order for the student to understand, through this short [ruling], he conceals [the depth and breadth of it] within himself temporarily, as explained elsewhere at length[11].

ומה שנשאר כמו נקודה, שהוא דרך קצרה, אין זה צמצום גמור ואמיתי

Now, the impression, which remained like a point, is not a complete and true Tzimtzum (withdrawal).

כמו המצמצם ומעלים לגמרי, שנחסר למקבל לגמרי

[A true and complete Tzimtzum] would be like one who completely withdraws [revelation] and completely conceals, [in which case] the student lacks all [revelation].

אלא הענין הוא שכולל בדרך קצר זה כל האריכות, לא יחסר דבר וחצי דבר

Rather, [the explanation of] the matter is that included in this short [ruling] is the entire length. Not a single thing missing, not even half a thing.

כמו שכלול בדין הקצר שבמשנה כל האריכות הפלפול שבגמרא

This is similar to how the short rulings of the Mishnah include the entire length of the logical debate of the Talmud.

וכמו שלא נעלם ליודע כל הפלפול גם בשעה ששונה לעצמו דרך קיצור כו’

This is [likewise] similar to how the entire logical debate is not concealed from one who knows it, even while he reviews it to himself briefly.

שנמצא שידיעתו באריכות מקפת בהעלם כל התגלות הקיצור

We find that his knowledge of the length encompasses the entire revelation of the brief [teaching], in a concealed way.

ולא שנסתלק לגמרי כשכחה וכה”ג כו’ וכמ”ש ביאור זה באריכות במ”א.

[However,] it is not completely withdrawn, as [in the case of] forgetfulness or the like, as is explained elsewhere at length[12].

ואופן משל הב’ מחיות הנפש בגוף ג”כ עולה ע”ד הנ”ל

The second type of analogy, which is the life of the soul [as it is invested] in the body, also brings out the same point as above.

והוא בהיות שכדי שישתנה מחיי רוחניים שבעצם הנפש לחיי בשר, הוצרך להיות בחי’ העלם וכיווץ האור של הנפש בתחלה

This is that in order for there to be a change from the essential spiritual life of the soul, to a [physical] life of flesh, it is necessary for there to be an initial concealment and contraction of the light of the soul.

לפי שאין ערך ביניהם

This is because there is no comparison between them.

ועכ”ז הרי מתפעלת הנפש ממקרי הגוף

Nonetheless, the soul is affected by the occurrences of the body.

א”כ גם אור הגשמת החיות תתחבר ונקשר אל אור עצמותה הרוחני

Therefore, even the light of the physical life [force] is connected and bound with the spiritual light of the essence.

כצמיחה גשמית שנקשר בכח הצומח הרוחני כו’

This is similar to [how the aforementioned] physical growth is bound to the spiritual power of growth.

ובהחתך אבר הגוף לא יחסר באור וחיות רוחניות של אבר זה

However, when one’s [physical] limb becomes severed [G-d forbid,] this does not cause a loss to the spiritual light and life force of that limb.

וראיה מסומא שמוליד שלם כו’ כידוע

The proof of this is from [the fact that] a blind person can give birth to a whole person, as is known.

אין זה רק שהרוחניות הוא בהעלם, וישנו במציאותו, חופף על חיות הגשמי שבגוף

This [shows that] the spiritual [life force] is merely concealed, but it still exists, hovering over the physical life force of the body.

ונק’ צלם איש כו’

This is called “Tzelem Ish – The form of man”.

והיינו ע”ד הנ”ל בידיעה שבהעלם כו’ (וכ”ז מבואר באריכות במ”א)

This is similar to how the aforementioned [breadth and length of] knowledge which is concealed, [encompasses the brief teaching] etc.  (All of this is explained elsewhere at length.)

וכן כח התנועה הרוחניות כשבאה בתנועת הגשם, מתצמצמת בעצמותה כו’

Likewise, when the spiritual power of movement comes into an [actual] physical movement, it becomes constrained within itself.

ועכ”ז התנועה גשמית מחוברת ומקושרת בתנועה הרוחנית

Nonetheless, the physical movement is connected and bound to the spiritual [power of] movement.

וכה”ג באופנים אחרים כמו ענין התחכמות שכל פרטי מכח המשכיל שלו ששורה עליו בהעלם כו’.

There are many other examples of this as well, such as the matter of having insight into a particular concept, which comes from the power of conceptualization [of his soul], which rests upon him in a concealed [fashion][13].

ואמנם להבין בחי’ הרשימו שענינו מורה בחי’ הסתלקות בהעלם ולא נשאר מהכל רק רושם כו’

However, [we must now] understand the aspect of the Reshimu – Impression, which indicates the withdrawal of everything into concealment, so that only an impression of everything remains.

הוא מובן יותר מענינים משלים אחרים, כמו הרושם שעושה האומן

This is better understood by other analogies and matters.  For example, it is like the blueprint[14] that the architect drafts.

שיוכל לעשות הבנין בקיצור קו זה שברושם, שכולל כל אריכות המעשה בקיצור רושם זה

He is capable of constructing the [entire] building from the small lines of the blueprint. The entire length of the construction is included briefly in the blueprint.

או כמו שעושה לזכרון הנק’ אות

Another example [of a Reshimu – impression] is like someone who makes a sign [for himself] as a memory aide.

שאין האות ענין שייך אל עצם הענין, רק לזכרון בעלמא, כמו עשה לך ציונים כו’

The sign [or mnemonic] has no [actual] relation to the essence of the matter, but is merely a memory aide, as stated[15], “Make signs for yourself”.

וזהו בחי’ העלם יותר מקיצור ההלכה ששונה וכולל בו הכל

This is a much greater concealment than the [aforementioned allegory of one who] teaches the summary of the law, which includes the entire [logic] within it.

שעכ”פ שייך ענין הקיצור אל האריכות

[For, in that example] there is at least some relationship between the short summary and the lengthy [explanations].

ויש עוד אופן ברשימו זו שהוא מורה ענין הצמצום וההעלם הרבה יותר

There is another analogy for this Reshimu – Impression, which implies an even greater Tzimtzum – Restraint and concealment.

והוא כמו הזורק אבן, שכח המוליך אותו נבדל מן העצם

It is like a person who throws a stone. The power which propels it is separate from the essence [of the thrower].

ועכ”ז כל כח התנועה מלובש בו בהעלם

Nonetheless, the entire power of movement is invested within [the stone] in a concealed fashion.

אך שהוא בריחוק נבדל ביותר מכחו העצמי שבידו

However, there is a great distance of separation from the essential power [of movement] which is in the hand.

משא”כ כח התנועה עצמה שמניעה בעצמו בגשם

In contrast, this is not the case with the power of movement itself, when he physically moves himself[16].

שמלובש בגלוי בגשם ביותר כנ”ל

[In this case] it is vested within the physical in a more revealed [manner], as mentioned previously.

ויש בחי’ העלם יותר גם מזה, שדומה לענין הרושם לזכרון לבד

There is an [analogy of] even greater concealment than this [example of the thrown object], which is similar to the concept of the impression which [one makes] only as a reminder.

והוא כמו הרומז בידו לאיזה שכל עמוק ביותר

This is like when one hints with his hand to a very deep concept or idea.

שנבדל תנועה גשמית מהשכל הרוחני, ועכ”ז מבין השכל מתוכו כו’

The physical movement is totally separate from the spiritual thought, but nonetheless, the concept is understood through [the movement]. [17]

ויותר מזה העלם אור השכל בתנועת האצבע בכתיבתו אותו וכמ”ש במ”א באריכות

An even greater concealment is how the light of an intellectual [concept] is [invested] within the [physical] movements of one’s fingers when he writes it down, as explained elsewhere at length.

והכל עולה לסגנון א’ הנ”ל

Now, all of the above bring out the same point, as mentioned above.

שבחי’ העצמות נשאר בהעלם וכלול ברושם ונקודה זו כו’ וד”ל:

This is that the aspect of the essence remains concealed and included within this impression and point.  This will suffice for those of understanding.


End of Chapter Twelve

[1] This first paragraph serves as an introduction to the next several chapters.

[2] In other words, when a person contemplates and truly realizes that everything in existence is literally nothing, while G-d alone is the only true something, he loses all interest and value in limited created entities, and only desires G-d.

[3] Nechemia 9:6

[4] Kings I, 8:27

[5] That is, no limited entity can possibly contain the essence of G-d, not even in an indirect manner, such as being a “vessel for a vessel”.  The doubled terminology of “Glif Glifu – He engraved an engraving” indicates that the letters which were “engraved” in Kadmon, are not the “letters” of the Essence of G-d Himself”, but only an engraving of the letters of the Infinite Light which spreads forth from the Essence, called Echad.  However, the Essence of the Infinite Light itself, Yachid, which is one with the Essence of G-d, cannot be contained whatsoever.  (The concept of a “vessel for a vessel” will be explained later in the book.)  This verse was stated by King Solomon at the completion of the erection of the Holy Temple.  He said, “The heavens and the heavens of the heavens cannot contain you, but this house will?”  As explained previously, all created existence is literally equal and nothing before G-d.  Furthermore, no effect can ever describe its cause.  It is only G-d, the “cause of all causes” who can choose to reveal the Essence of Himself in whatever way He desires.  It is only because G-d chose to reveal His Essence in the HolyTemple and in the Torah and the Commandments that it is at all possible.  This is because He is not limited by the limitations of limited beings.  Therefore, although it is impossible to grasp G-d’s essence through our own efforts, no matter how great those efforts are, nonetheless, it is quite possible and not at all difficult for G-d to reveal His Essence to anyone and anything, should He desire to do so.

[6] That is, the concept of a person realizing the nothingness of all of Creation, and focusing on the Essence of G-d with singular desire and self sacrifice.

[7] Psalms 73:25

[8] After having addressed the fact that the comprehension of the matter of Tzimtzum is pivotal to the realization of G-d’s True reality and the arousal of desire towards the Essence of G-d alone, the Rebbe will now begin to actually explain the concept of Tzimtzum itself.

[9] In other words, in order for there to be a revelation of a single limited line of revelation, it was necessary to bring about the matter Tzimtzum.  That is, there must be a restraint of the infinite revelation, in order to bring about a finite revelation.  This was explained in the previous chapter through the allegory of one who is attacked by a wild animal (G-d forbid), and will now be explained further.

[10] That is, in order for there to be a revelation of finite and limited, it is necessary for there to be a withdrawal of the revelation of the Infinite and Unlimited.

[11] See Likutei Torah, Vayikra (in the additions) p.52, c.3 and on.  Also see Ma’amarei Admor HaEmtza’I, Vayikra, book 2, page תתקכא and on.

[12] See Likutei Torah, Vayikra (in the additions) p.53, c.3.  Also see Sefer HaMa’amarim תרמ”ז, p.48

[13] This means that in order for there to be a particular flash of insight into a particular field of knowledge, it is necessary for there to be a Tzimtzum in his essential power of conceptualization (Koach HaMaskil).

[14] The Hebrew word for “Impression” is “Reshimu”.  It is worthy to note that this shares the same root as “Blueprint – Roshem”.

[15] Jeremiah 31:20

[16] That is, when a person moves his own hand, or if he moves an object in his hand, the aforementioned distance and separateness is absent.  In other words, it is directly observable that he, himself, is moving the object.  However, in the case of a thrown object, it is not readily observable who originally propelled the object.  Nonetheless, although it is not readily observable, nonetheless, it was thrown by someone.  Furthermore, should the thrown object inflict some sort of damage, the thrower of the object whose power of movement was invested within it, will be held accountable.  So, in the case of a stone that is thrown, he is directly responsible for it, although, to someone who did not witness the original throw, it appears to be propelled independently of the thrower.

[17] This is like the V for victory. This gesture is very meaningful to all who understand its symbolism, especially during times of adversity, but by itself it is nothing more than two fingers held up in the form of a V. It has no real co-relation to the concept being conveyed. Nonetheless, when this gesture was popularized by Sir Winston Churchill during the Second World War, it became a source of great hope and encouragement to millions of people throughout the world. This is similar to an analogy of someone who ties a string around his finger as a reminder of something.  This little string might bring to mind very deep and profound concepts, but only to one who knows its meaning. The string itself is not at all related to the concepts, for after all, it is only a string.

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