The Power of Mitzvot – Hemshech Samech Vav – 7

   BS”D

Hemshech Samech-Vav

Discourse 7

BaYom HaShmini 5666

By

The Holy Rabbi Sholom Dovber of Lubavitch

Translated by Rabbi Shimon Markel

Edited by Rabbi Amiram Markel

The verse states[1], “These are the offspring of Noach, Noach was a righteous man”. Rashi explains, “This comes to teach that the principle offspring of the righteous are their good deeds.” Now, the source of this Rashi is in Midrash Rabbah, as it states[2], ‘“The produce of the righteous is a tree of life.” The Midrash states, “What are the produce of the righteous? Mitzvot and good deeds!” Offspring is a term for revelation. About this it states[3], “These are the offspring of Noach”, That is, the fact that he was a righteous man in deed, was the “offspring” that revealed his inner essence as a righteous man. In other words, the principle “offspring” that reveal that one is righteous are his mitzvot and good deeds.

Now, we need to understand this. The statement that their principle offspring are their good deeds is an exclusionary statement, in that it excludes something. However, what is it excluding? Surely, we cannot say that the children of the righteous, that is, their “physical offspring” are being excluded here, because in the case of children, it is impossible to say that children are not offspring that reveal the inner essence of the parent. Rather, we must say that the intent here is to refer to something that relates to the mitzvot and is also a form of revelation, but that nonetheless, the principle revelation and “offspring” are the mitzvot and good deeds themselves, rather than this thing.

To understand this we must further understand what was previously explained[4] about the difference between HaShem’s desire to create the world and HaShem’s desire that we perform His mitzvot. As stated before, His desire to create the world is limitless, in and of itself, but is the source of limitations. Therefore, from this aspect of desire, [infinite] revelation of G-dliness within time and space is not possible. However, the desire that we perform His mitzvot is from the inner essential Self of the Infinite Light (Atzmoot Ohr Ein Sof), which is above even being the source of limitations. Therefore, the [infinite] revelation of G-dliness within time and space specifically can come from this desire.

Now, as known, the root of the matter is[5] that the line (kav) drawn from the Infinite Light (Ohr Ein Sof) to give being and vitality to the worlds is drawn by way of a quantum leap in which there is no order or gradations whatsoever from the Infinite to the finite. This is the matter of the first tzimtzum (contraction) in the Infinite Light (Ohr Ein Sof) that left the empty space. That is, the revelation of the Infinite Light (Ohr Ein Sof) was withdrawn to become included in the luminary, after which the line, which is only a glimmer of the Infinite Light before tzimtzum, rather than the essential Self of the Light, was drawn down. It was drawn in an aspect of a line, diminished to an aspect of measure and weight according to the capacity of the worlds to receive. This is as stated in the beginning of Etz Chayim, at the end of branch three[6].

The general matter of the line (kav) is to bring about up and down[7], as stated in Etz Chayim, branch two[8]. Also see what is written in Mevo Shaarim, gate one, chapter two at length. It states there that had the light radiated from the Infinite Light (Ohr Ein Sof) without the means of the line (kav), all the worlds would have been equal. In other words, there would not have been gradations of upper worlds or lower worlds, but rather all would be equally infinite. Therefore, to bring about up and down, the line (kav) was drawn, so that the world that receives from the upper end of the line (kav) as it adheres to the Infinite Light (Ohr Ein Sof), is in an aspect of up, in that the revelation of the Infinite Light (Ohr Ein Sof) radiates in it to a greater degree, whereas to the degree that the line extends out from its adhesion to the Infinite Light (Ohr Ein Sof), to that degree the light becomes diminished, which is the aspect of down.

The same principle applies to each sefirah of every world. They too consist of higher and lower levels, as explained in Mevo Shaarim and elsewhere[9]. Because of this, one level precedes and is higher than the other, in that the higher level precedes the lower level in its coming into being and revelation.

It is also explained in Mevo Shaarim, that the Emanator decided not to have multiple lines of one line for each sefirah coming directly from the Infinite transcendent Light, because that too would result in all their levels being equal, except that they would have some kind of existence, unlike how it would be if the Infinite Light (Ohr Ein Sof) would have radiated upon them without the medium of a line altogether. Then, not only would their levels be equal, but their existence would also be totally nullified. In other words, the worlds would not be in a state of existent entities, because then the only effect of the tzimtzum (contraction) would be that they would be drawn out and revealed. That is, at first, before tzimtzum, they were hidden and included within the Infinite Light and then through tzimtzum, they would be drawn out and revealed.

However, their essential being would still literally be as they had been before the tzimtzum, (which in reality is how it is even now, as known regarding the matter of[10], “HaShem is One”. This is because, in reality, even now the Infinite Light shines upon them in a revealed manner, since from the perspective of the Infinite Light Himself (Atzmut Ohr Ein Sof), the tzimtzum (contstriction) hides and conceals nothing. That is, from HaShem’s perspective, the revelation after tzimtzum is just as it was before tzimtzum. This being the case, in reality, even now, the existence of the worlds is totally nullified and unified with HaShem.)

This being the case, without the medium of a line, what would be the meaning of their “coming into being”, as written, “In the beginning G-d created etc?” Now, the matter of their “coming into being” would only be that they would be drawn out and revealed, whereas at first they had been hidden and included in the Infinite Light (Ohr Ein Sof). The matter of “creation” would be that they would be drawn out and revealed “outside” of HaShem’s essential Self, so to speak, but in a manner that they would still be totally nullified and included in Him. In other words, the nullification and unification of the worlds to HaShem would be similar to the unification of light [to its luminary], as in the statement, “He and His life-force are one” and as stated, that in reality, this is the true state of the worlds. This is all the more so, since from the perspective of the Infinite Light (Ohr Ein Sof), He shines [His] revelation upon them through His knowledge, blessed is He. Likewise, had the Infinite Light (Ohr Ein Sof) radiated upon the worlds without the medium of a line (kav), the revelation would be thus.

However, since the light radiates by means of a line (kav), rather than from the Infinite Light (Ohr Ein Sof) Himself as He essentially is, they therefore take on existence. However, as stated above, had this been drawn through many lines, then all the worlds would be equal and would not be higher or lower than each other. Therefore, [to bring about gradations of higher and lower], the Emanator decided that the light should be drawn from a single line that extends from level to level, that is, it extends from the higher world to the lower world in which the coming into being of the lower world comes about through the higher world. The same principle applies to all the sefirot. The light is drawn from level to level and they chain down (Hishtalshelut) one from the other. Therefore, the matter of higher and lower or before and after applies to them.

Now, even if they would not have chained down one from the other, there still could be the matters of up and down and before and after, because still and all, they would be drawn from different points in the extension of the line (kav). We can nonetheless say that then, the matters of higher and lower and before and after would only apply to the worlds themselves relative to each other, but that within the particular sefirot of each world, in and of itself, though each sefirah would be an essential quality differentiated from the others, nonetheless one quality would not be higher or lower than the other, nor would it be before or after.

This is because each world has its measurement as to the manner of how the Infinite Light (Ohr Ein Sof) is revealed in that world. Therefore, the manner of revelation in each world, in all its details, would be according to the manner that that world has been measured. In other words, all the particular sefirot of each world would be on the same level, even though the worlds themselves would be on different levels relative to each other. This would be similar to the sefirot of Tohu which are one instead of the other, rather than higher or lower.

This is similarly so regarding [any] essential sefirot, which, because they are essences, do not chain down one from the other. Though they too possess intellect and emotions, which are essentially different from each other, in that the emotions are an aspect of activation outside of the essential self, whereas the intellect is an aspect of adhesion to the essential self, nevertheless, the revelation of light in the essential sefirot is equal, because the light and revelation radiates in the emotional sefirot as intensely as it does in the intellectual ones. Therefore the light revealed in them has no differentiation of higher and lower or before and after. Rather, they all are revealed as one, as explained elsewhere.

However, when the sefirot chain down from each other, then they must have the aspects of higher and lower, before and after etc. This is explained in the discourses entitled, “BeYom HaBikurim” of the year 5651 and “VeChol Ha’Am Ro’im” of the year 5665. (This is the matter of time and space above in the world of Atzilut. The aspect of up and down comprises space and the aspect of before and after comprises time, as mentioned in the discourse “BeYom HaBikurim”)

Now, the worlds also have curtains (Parsa) even in the Infinite worlds before Atzilut, as stated in the Zohar in the beginning of Idra Rabbah, “He spread a curtain before Him”. This is the aspect of the curtain (Parsa) at the navel of Adam Kadmon, as explained in Etz Chaim, Shaar HaNekudim, chapter two. There similarly is a curtain between Keter and Atzilut. Furthermore, in the world of Atzilut itself there is a curtain between Chochmah, Binah and Zeir Anpin. This is the matter of the firmament above the heads of the “Upper Animals”etc. Moreover, there is a curtain between Atzilut and Beriyah, between Beriyah and Yetzirah and between Yetzirah and Asiyah. (As written in Etz Chaim, the curtain of Adam Kadmon is for the purpose of creation).

The entire purpose of the curtains is to conceal the light, especially the curtain between Atzilut and Beriyah, the purpose of which is to conceal the light of Atzilut so that it will not radiate in Beriyah, Yetzirah and Asiyah. As know, the curtains (Parsa’ot) are the aspect of the letters which are called “inanimate”, in that they do not at all spread out.

However, by way of example, we find that though the letters of speech are themselves inanimate, nonetheless through them the light of the intellect is revealed, in that influence of intellect to another comes about through the letters of speech. It is specifically through them that the light of the intellect or the emotions of the heart can be transmitted. Though, on the one hand they conceal the inner light of the heart and mind, on the other hand, they also reveal their light, as explained elsewhere. This is to say that when the letters are ordered in combinations that reflect the intellect, they become vessels for its light which becomes revealed and enclothed in them and illuminates through them.

On the other hand, when the letters are jumbled in a state of disorder and without space between them, they cannot reveal light. On the contrary, in and of themselves, the letters block, separate and conceal the light, impeding it from becoming revealed. This may be compared to the letters of a Kabbalistic amulet in which the letters are jumbled expressly in order to conceal the secret formula embedded in them. This then, is the matter of the curtain and screen above (Parsa and Massach), which consist of jumbled letters, that separate and conceal the light to prevent it from being revealed as it is.

Whatever is revealed by means of the light breaking through the screen is only considered to be an “offspring light” which is altogether not comparable to the light as it is above the curtain. This is similar to blocking the light of the sun with thick cloth that has been woven so densely with threads, one upon the other, that there is barely any space or separation between them, until the light cannot pass except through tiny holes in the material. Certainly, the light becomes altogether different and cannot be compared to how it was prior to penetrating the cloth.

Through this we may understand how it similarly is so above in the matter of the curtain (Parsa) between Atzilut and Beriyah. Its purpose is to conceal the light of Atzilut, which is the radiance of the line (kav), so that it will not radiate as it is in a revealed fashion, but rather only as it is after it breaks through the curtain, through which it became transformed into an “offspring light”.

Now all these contractions (Tzimtzumim) and concealments are determined by the “Measuring Line” (Kav HaMidah) which gives measure to how the influence of the light will be, in order to make it possible for the world to come into being, as in the verse[11], “Who has measured the waters in the palm of His hand etc.” He gives measure to the aspect of the waters that are above the firmament and the curtain that separates, as to the manner of how they will be drawn down. This is because the world could not exist had the light been drawn down as is. Therefore it had to be measured in order to diminish (tzimtzum) and conceal the light etc.

The root of measurement is from the aspect of the “Primordial Desire” in HaShem’s essential Self in the Infinite Light (Ohr Ein Sof) before the Tzimtzum, as the manner and order of how the worlds would come into being arose in His desire, blessed is He. When He was aroused with the desire for the worlds, so to speak, this desire contained the assessment of how the worlds would be. In other words, He determined in potentia everything that was destined to be in actuality after the tzimtzum etc. This is the root of the measurement of how the light would be drawn down and of all the diminishments (Tzimtzumim) and concealments to bring about the worlds according to how it arose in His desire, blessed is He.

Now, as known, there are three general levels regarding the “Measuring Line” (Kav HaMidah). The first is that which is measured by the measuring line. The second is the measuring line itself. It sets the measure and limit of every thing. The third is the aspect of the Self above the measuring line from Whom the measuring line is drawn to be as it is. It therefore is within the power of the Self to change it to be in a totally different manner altogether.

About this Sefer Yetzirah states that the Holy One, blessed is He, created His world with three things; with a book, an author and a story (Sefer, Sofer, Seepoor). The story (Seepoor) is the letters that have already been recounted and measured with limited measure etc. The book (Sefer) is that which gives measure to the letters and the author (Sofer) writes the book. The other two aspects; the book and the story, are drawn from him.

A physical example is an author who writes some letters. Now, two matters must be present here. The first consists of the letters that have already been written with ink on the parchment. That is, these letters have already taken on limit and measure. The second consist of those letters that he has yet to write, but he has already considered and formulated them in his mind and has chosen the way and manner of how he will write them. Here the letters have already become limited and measured in potentia, except that they have yet to come out into actuality. However, when they do come out into actuality, they will certainly come according to how he formulated and limited them in potentia. This is called, “The line that measures” through which the measure of the actualized letters comes about.

It is similar to a yardstick by which merchandise, [such as fabric], is measured. Here too, firstly there is what has already been measured by the yardstick. Secondly, there is the yardstick itself which is prepared to measure any thing. However, it does so using its own standard, that is, it measures specifically through the standard of a yard. Even before it has measured, we know with certainty that when it will measure, the yard will be its standard, because it measures everything against itself. Thirdly is the man would does the measuring. It is within his power to change his method of measuring and use an altogether different standard than the yard.

The same principle may be applied to the example of the author. The measure of the letters follows and cannot be different from the desire that he first formulated in his thought, since the thought itself has already taken on specific measure, just as a yardstick cannot be used for a different standard of measurement. The author himself, on the other hand, has the power to change it and write in a completely different manner.

From these examples we may understand how it is above. The measure of the lights brought about through the above mentioned vessels, screens and curtains is the aspect of the actualized measure of how the lights are drawn down. This follows the decree of HaShem’s insight and desire within the Infinite Light (Ohr Ein Sof) before the Tzimtzum that it should be in a particular manner. This is the matter of the assessment in potentia of how the form of the world would specifically be. This is the “line that measures”, which determines what the measure of the lights will be in actuality, in that the line that measures, itself has measure. In other words, from this thought and desire there cannot be a different measure other than what it is according to the measure and assessment in potentia of what will be in actuality.

However, all this is the externality of HaShem’s desire as it relates to the existence of worlds. Within His essential Self itself, so to speak, this is the aspect of light that relates to another, in which measure has already taken place in potentia of how it will be in actuality. However, from the inner and essential Self of the Infinite Light (Ohr Ein Sof) which transcends desire as it relates to worlds or the assessment in potentia, there can be measure in a completely different manner. That is, completely different types of influence can be drawn, totally unrelated to this “Measuring Line” (Kav HaMidah).

This is because from the perspective of the essential Self of the Infinite Light (Ohr Ein Sof) measure does not at all conceal, so that the essential light can shine as it actually is. This is the difference between HaShem’s desire for the worlds, as opposed to His desire that we perform the mitzvot. As known, the essential source of the chaining down of the worlds is the aspect of the simple desire before tzimtzum (Contraction). About this the Zohar states, “In the beginning of the rule of the king etc.” whereas Etz Chayim states, “When it arose in His simple will etc.” Everything that happened afterwards, from the highest level to the lowest level of the general order of the chaining down of the worlds, arose in thought within this simple will.

However, though generally, this will is within the aspect of the essential Self of the Infinite Light as it is before tzimtzum, which as yet is far beyond being the source for the chaining down of the worlds, nonetheless, within HaShem’s essential Self, as He is in and of Himself, this is only the external will as it relates to worlds, measured to specifically be in a particular manner with measure and limit. Though relative to the chaining down of the worlds this will is actually limitless, nevertheless, it possesses the potential for measure, in that the desire is that the world should exist in a specific manner. The aspect of actual measure is drawn from there after tzimtzum, in that the lights are drawn in a way of up and down, before and after, so that the worlds can descend from level to level. This is especially so due to the concealment affected by the curtains (Parsaot). Everything is drawn from this will.

On the other hand, HaShem’s desire for the mitzvot is the inner and essential aspect of the Infinite Light, which is higher than the desire for worlds and cannot be measured by the same manner of measure and limitation altogether. This being the case, the revelation drawn from there is of a different category altogether. Rather, its purpose is for there to be actual revelation of the Infinite Light, not according to the measurement of higher and lower, but that the revelation below should actually be like the revelation above etc.

And though mitzvot also have measure, in that every mitzvah has limit and measure, in and of itself and in its performance; for example regarding the mitzvah of Tefillin it is that in the Tefillin of the head, the four paragraphs (Parshiyot) must be placed within four separate compartments, whereas in the Tefillin of the arm, all four must be within one compartment; besides the fact that there are many particulars in the laws of how the paragraphs (Parshiyot) must be written, how the compartments must be made and how the Tefillin must be donned etc. On the other hand, the mitzvah of Tzitzit has its own particulars of how it specifically must be. This applies to all the mitzvot, such as the fact that the measure of a Sukkah must be no less than a little over seven hand-breadths and no more than twenty cubits etc.

This is measure as it exists in HaShem’s upper desire, in that the desire for the mitzvot is very specific. The Torah explains and clarifies the mitzvot in this matter, in that it clarifies what HaShem’s desire is regarding them. All this constitutes measure as to how the lights are drawn down. In other words, the light is drawn down specifically when the mitzvot are performed in a specific manner, and if they are not, it is not drawn down. Moreover, at first glance, it seems that, in essence, the light that is drawn is the light of the order of the chaining down of the worlds; for example, through Tefillin the aspect of the “Four Brains” is drawn down, through Tzitzit the thirty-two paths of Insight (Chochmah) are drawn down, whereas the mitzvah of Sukkah draws down the encompassing lights of Ima (Binah-Understanding) etc. Furthermore, as known, all the mitzvot depend upon the four-letter proper name of Havayah (Spelled Yod Hey Vav Hey). This name is the aspect of the light of the order of the chaining down of the worlds. The four letters of the name represent the manner that the light is drawn down, as explained elsewhere at length and as explained above in short.

However, [in the mitzvot] the measure is not that there is measure in the light itself. In other words, it is not related to drawing down the light with measure and weight through contractions (Tzimtzum) and concealments, thus bringing about gradations of higher and lower levels of the Light, because in actuality, none of this applies to the inner, essential Light drawn down through the mitzvot.

Rather, the matter of measure within the Light itself, in that the light becomes limited and concealed, only applies to the “radiance” of the Infinite Light, including [the radiance of] the Infinite Light before tzimtzum, which is the externality of the light as it relates to worlds etc. However, in the aspect of the essential Self of the Light, this [type of] measure is not at all applicable and tzimtzum has no effect upon it of diminishing (tzimtzum) and concealing, as explained elsewhere.

Rather, here the matter of measurement has to do with how the Light is drawn down. That is, under what circumstances will the Light of the essential Self be drawn down? That is, it will be drawn down through mitzvot that are done in a specific manner, because this is what arose in HaShem’s essential desire. This is to say that the mitzvah received its measure as a desire, in that desire is altogether above reason; why this specifically should be [a mitzvah] and that it should specifically be performed in a particular manner.

One thing is clear; that the mitzvah itself is not the reason and cause of the measure and limitation of the desire. The fact that the desire is measured; that specifically this will be a mitzvah and that it must be performed in a specific manner, as it is with Tefillin or the like, is not a consequence of the performance of the mitzvah and therefore is unlike the measure of the desire that relates to worlds.

In that case, the worlds themselves are the reason and cause of this measure, since it arose in HaShem’s desire, blessed is He, that there should be worlds and that the revelation of the Infinite Light within them should be in gradations of different modes of revelation, including the desire for this lowly world (because the Holy One, blessed is He, desired to dwell in the lower realms) and it is not possible for the world to come into being as an existent thing, except if the upper worlds first come into being.

As known, the world of Atzilut is an intermediary between the Infinite Light of the Emanator and the creatures. Moreover, not only is the world of Atzilut an intermediary, but the worlds above Atzilut are too. In other words, they all exist to bring about the lowly world. First the aspect of Adam Kadmon must come about, followed by [countless] descents from level to level. Only then can this lowly world come into existence.

(In reality, from the perspective of the Infinite Light, the lowly world could have come into being without the prior coming into being of the upper worlds. However, since HaShem intended that the world should come about through a process of gradations, therefore it must specifically be thus, as explained elsewhere.)

Therefore, the matter of measure and assessment existed in potentia within the simple desire for the worlds as to how the lights would be drawn down, so that the coming into being should be in a way of levels of revelation. This being the case, the worlds themselves are the reason and cause for the measure in the simple desire. Since the worlds are the cause of the measurement, therefore the measurement is to limit and diminish the light in such a way that the worlds can receive it. After all, the reason for the measurement is so that there can be worlds in such and such a way. This being the case, the measurement in the light is in such a way that worlds can come about from it. This is the matter of limiting the light itself etc.

On the other hand, regarding the measurement in the desire that the mitzvot (commandments) should be performed in particular ways, we cannot say that the performance of the mitzvah, in and of itself, is the reason for the measurement. First of all, it is well understood that the level of action is of no relation to Him and therefore what difference does it make to Him that the mitzvah should be done specifically in such and such a way?

Secondly, even without the measure in the desire for the mitzvah to be performed in a specific manner, it is understood that the very same action could have been done anyways. For example, we cannot say that had HaShem’s desire not been that the mitzvah of Tefillin should be performed in a specific manner, it would be impossible to perform that action. Certainly, even without being commanded to do so, the action would be possible, and though the physicality of the Tefillin, such as the parchment and leather, could not exist if not for the fact that it arose in HaShem’s desire that parchment and leather should exist, nonetheless, that only applies to His desire to create and bring about the existence of worlds, including the existence of parchment etc.

However, we cannot say that without the command (mitzvah) it would be impossible to write these paragraphs with ink on parchment or to don Tefillin since it did not arise in His desire that we do so. Therefore, we see that the performance of the mitzvot is not the cause for the measure that they should be done in a specific way and not another. This being the case, the measurement of the mitzvot does not limit or diminish the light. Rather, it arose is HaShem’s desire, which is above reason, that such and such should be a mitzvah and that it should be performed in such and such a way. In truth, we are obligated to perform the mitzvot in their specific manners only because this is how it arose in HaShem’s desire. As a result, they can only be [counted as mitzvot] if they are done in this fashion and no other and if He would have wanted us to chop wood, we would be obliged to chop wood etc.

Rather, the fact that HaShem desires that we perform His commandments in a specific manner, is altogether beyond reason. This being the case, it does not at all limit the light itself. The only limitation or measure is that the light is drawn down specifically through these actions. However, what is drawn is the essential light, as it is, without measure or limit. Furthermore, it is drawn to all worlds without differentiation of higher and lower levels altogether.

Now, regarding [what was stated above] that through the mitzvah of Tefillin the “Four brains” of the intellect are drawn down; this does not refer to the aspect of “Brains” in the order of the chaining down of the worlds [as determined by the “Measuring Line” (Kav HaMidah)]. Rather, what is meant here is that literally new “Brains” are drawn down. In other words, [through the mitzvah of Tefillin] the actual inner, essential Infinite Light that is far above the aspect of the “Brains” of the chaining down of the worlds, shines within the “Brains” of Chochmah, Binah and Daat. In turn these “Brains” shine within Zeir Anpin and Nukva and within all the levels of all the worlds. The same principle applies to the mitzvah of Sukkah which draws down the aspect of the encompassing lights of Ima (Binah). Through this mitzvah the inner, essential aspect of the Infinite Light is literally drawn down into all worlds through the encompassing lights of Ima (Binah), all the way down [to this lowly world] – literally.

Moreover, this is also the matter of the four letter name of HaShem (Yod Hey Vav Hey) upon which the mitzvot depend, which is that name of HaShem that is far above the order of the chaining down of the worlds. As known regarding the four letter name, there is the name of the essential Self (noun) and the name of the action (verb). The name of the action is only a radiance from the essential Self. It therefore comes in a way of measure and limitation. Whereas the name of the essential Self is that the essential Self is thus called. In other words, the essential Self is actually revealed through this name, and though this name is also made up of letters, nonetheless, the letters are essential in that they reveal the essential Self.

This is called a “Garment of Light” that does not hide or conceal whatsoever. On the contrary, [the letters] entirely reveal the essential Self. This is because revelation is altogether impossible except through the medium of letters, especially for the revelation to be in an aspect of an inner light. This is the matter of the four letters of HaShem’s name, which draw the light down to be an inner light, but in a way that the inner essential Self of the Infinite is drawn down.

Now, the letter Yod of HaShem’s name (Yod Hey Vav Hey) is the aspect of tzimtzum (constriction), the first Hey is the aspect of spreading forth etc. However, what is meant here by tzimtzum is similar to the statement that, “He constricted His Divine Presence (Shechinah) between the two poles of the holy ark etc.” In other words, the essential Self constricted Himself to be drawn down and present down below etc. It is similarly written, “Truly, the heavens and the heavens of the heavens cannot contain You, but for this house that I have built.” We therefore see that this does not mean that the light itself became constricted and limited, but rather that the aspect of the essential Self, which cannot be contained by the heavens and the heavens of the heavens, constricted Himself, so to speak, to be present within the Holy of Holies, as He actually is – literally.

(Now, elsewhere it is explained that the tzimtzum (constriction) of the Kav-Line in also in a way of constricting His Divine Presence. However, the difference is that there, it refers to the light, whereas here it refers to the essential Self.)

This is why it is specifically through HaShem’s desire for the mitzvot that the revelation of the transcendent Infinite Light is drawn to be revealed within the aspect of space. This cannot come about through HaShem’s desire to create the world, since it is the root of the measure that measures the manner in which the light is drawn down with higher and lower levels (these being the aspect of the divisions within space and time, as explained before.) On the contrary, it is from this desire for worlds that the aspects of space and time are drawn and that there is concealment below.

Rather, it is specifically through the upper desire for the mitzvot, which is far above the aspect of measure, that the light that is beyond measure is drawn to reveal the essential Self below – literally. It is therefore specifically through the mitzvot that, “They actualize the will of the Omnipresent”, thus drawing the aspect of the essential desire to be revealed within space. It is because of this that specifically upon doing the mitzvot we say, “For the sake of unifying the Holy One, blessed is He, and His Shechinah”.

This is so even though in the creation of the world there also was a unification of the Holy One, blessed is He, and His Shechinah, that is, there was a unification of the name Havayah (Yod Hey Vav Hey) with the name Elokim. Nonetheless, this refers to the above mentioned name Havayah that relates to the order of the chaining down of the worlds, which is the matter of incorporating the attribute of compassion with [the attribute of judgment] and is the aspect of the revelation of the line that “permeates all worlds”.

In addition, in the creation of the world that which was drawn from the aspect of the Infinite Light that “surrounds all worlds” in that “Everything that HaShem desired He did”, was in such a way that the “Transcendent, surrounding power” was only drawn down in a concealed fashion (in that the encompassing, transcendent light powers the inner light). (But had the transcendent light shone in a revealed way, limited worlds could not have come into being, as explained elsewhere.)

Moreover, the revelation of the transcendent, surrounding light that was drawn to the worlds is only revealed above rather than below. In other words, though the light that “surrounds all worlds” is equal above and below, nonetheless, below it is hidden, whereas above it is more revealed. This may be understood by the example of thought and will, which is an encompassing light that is in the foot as well as the head. Nonetheless, it is revealed in the head and concealed in the foot, as explained elsewhere.

All this is because [HaShem’s desire for worlds] is the externality of His desire, whereas the desire for Torah and mitzvot is the inner desire of the inner, essential Self of the Infinite. Therefore, it is specifically through this that the aspect of the unification of the Holy One, blessed is He, and His Indwelling Presence (Shechinah) is brought about, thus bringing about the actual revelation of the Infinite Light that transcends and surrounds all worlds within the light that permeates all worlds (which generally is the aspect of space), even in the lowly world below.

This is the matter of the unification of “Blessings” and “Holiness” through the performance of the mitzvot. As known “Blessings” is the aspect of the light that permeates all worlds, whereas “Holiness” is the aspect of the light that transcends and encompasses all worlds. The performance of the mitzvot brings about the unification of “Blessings” and “Holiness”, that is, the unification of the light that encompasses all worlds and the light that permeates all worlds.

This then is the meaning of the blessings of the mitzvot, in which we say, “Who made us holy through His mitzvot etc.” In other words, through performing the mitzvot we draw down the Omnipresent”, all of which is drawn down specifically through the actual performance of the positive mitzvot below in this world, rather than through how the mitzvot spiritually exist above.

As explained above, HaShem’s desire that we do the mitzvot is a simple essential desire that is not a composite. As such, it specifically applies to mitzvot in physical action. This is because the spirituality of the mitzvot is the reason and intellect associated with them, that is, the intention behind them. This being the case, the spiritual desire for the mitzvot is bound up with reason. The essential desire, on the other hand, is specifically drawn down by performing the mitzvot in physical action which is not at all comparable or composed of intellectual reason. Therefore, it is specifically this that draws down the essential desire.

Proof of this may be found regarding the patriarchs. As we know, “Our father Avraham fulfilled the entire Torah before it was given”. In other words, the patriarchs fulfilled the mitzvot spiritually, thus bringing about the upper unity in the world of Atzilut. Nonetheless, the Torah states, “But I did not make my name Havayah (Yod Hey Vav Hey) known to them”. The name Havayah mentioned here refers to the aspect of the essential self of the Infinite Light. Thus, because it refers to the essential Self of the Infinite Light, it states, “I did not make my name known to them”, rather than “I did not inform them of my name”.

As known, this aspect was not revealed or drawn down by the spiritual fulfillment of the mitzvot of the patriarchs. Only upon the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai does it state, “Therefore say unto the children of Israel, I am HaShem.” This is because when the Torah was given we were given physical commandments (mitzvot) and it is specifically this that draws down the aspect of the essential Self of the Infinite Light.

This is also the reason why the most important component of fulfilling the mitzvot is “accepting the yoke of the heavenly kingdom” (Kabbalat Ol Malchut Shamayim) which is the essential nullification of one’s own desire to HaShem’s desire, which is above the reason and logic for the desire.

This follows the opinion that says that intention is not a necessary component to the fulfillment of the mitzvot. In other words, it is not essential to do the mitzvah because of logic or reason or because of its mystical meaning. For example, the mystical meaning of the mitzvah of Tefillin has to do with the “Four Brains” and the mystical meaning of the mitzvah of Tzitzit has to do with the “Thirty two paths of Chochmah” etc.

Rather, we do not perform the mitzvot because of logic or reason, but only because it is the essential, inner, upper desire that arose in HaShem’s desire. When it is done with only this in mind, we derive great vitality from the knowledge that by doing so we fulfill HaShem’s upper desire and that His will is done. Moreover, when one contemplates that by performing the mitzvah he fulfills the essential desire of the inner, essential Self of the Infinite, the mitzvah becomes very precious to him. He then will derive tremendous vitality and pleasure from the essential act itself, being that it is HaShem’s essential desire.

This is the meaning of the statement, “It brings satisfaction to Me that I spoke and My will was done”. In other words, the fact that HaShem’s will was fulfilled in actuality gives Him pleasure and satisfaction, so to speak. Through doing the mitzvot in such a way of receiving the yoke, we draw down HaShem’s essential desire.

In this regard the positive mitzvot have an advantage over and above the study of Torah. Since “Torah came out of Chochmah” it therefore is the aspect of reason and intellect. Moreover, the mitzvah to learn Torah, entirely involves the matter of knowing the Torah. However, doing mitzvot involves doing the physical act specifically in a way of accepting the heavenly yoke. It is specifically this that draws down the aspect of the essential Self of the Infinite.

This is the meaning of what it states about Moshiach, that “he is established on high” (which may also be read, “He established a yoke) specifically referring to the yoke of Torah, that when Torah is learned as a heavenly yoke it reaches the aspect of the “upper desire” and is higher than the “hidden reason for the desire”. This is the matter of, “The crown of a good name overrides them all”. In other words, it is even higher than the crown of Torah within the desire of the primordial Chochmah (Insight). (Moreover, the aspect of the essential Self of the Infinite is specifically drawn down through Torah when one is precise with the words of wisdom.)

The Talmud states that the matter of, “doing the will of the Omnipresent”, specifically relates to the first paragraph of “Shma Yisrael” and according to a teaching attributed to Rabbi Dovber of Mezerich, it is specifically related to the words, “You shall love HaShem your G-d…with all your might” (Bechol Me’odecha). Now, “with all your might” is the same as the matter of “accepting the heavenly yoke”, mentioned above, because this too is an aspect of self-nullification that transcends reason. In other words, the love of HaShem “with all your heart and with all your soul” mentioned in the beginning of the verse, results from reason and intellect through comprehending and contemplating G-dliness and with G-dly feelings in the heart, resulting in the arousal of the desire to be included in G-dliness or to come close to G-d. “Great love of HaShem” and “delighting in HaShem” with tremendous desire are also included here, because ultimately it is with reason, such as the hidden mystical reason or the pleasure of it. Thus fulfilling the mitzvot in such a manner is the matter of the second paragraph of the Shma that states, “And it shall be if you shall surely listen”, this being the motivation to do the mitzvot because through this one adheres to G-dliness, as written in Tanya, that love of HaShem is the source of the two hundred and forty eight positive mitzvot and fear of HaShem is the source of the three hundred and sixty five negative mitzvot.

Nonetheless, this is not yet the aspect of, “Those who do the will of the Omnipresent” and it does not draw down HaShem’s essential desire. That can only be accomplished through loving HaShem, “with all your might” in a way that is unrelated to comprehending or recognizing the goodness of G-dliness and delighting in Him. Rather, it comes about because of the essence of one’s soul, in that he is essentially drawn to the essential Self of the Infinite, blessed is He. Then only is his fulfillment of the mitzvot in an aspect of’ “accepting the yoke of heaven”. He fulfills HaShem’s will simply, without reason and calculations. This specifically is the matter of, “doing the will of the Omnipresent” in which the essential, inner desire of the essential Self of the Infinite is drawn down, in a way that the revelation is specifically below in the physical world.

On the other hand, performing the mitzvot with an intention that is preceded by loving HaShem “with all your heart and with all your soul” also draws down revelation of G-dly light. However, in this case, the principle revelation is above in the spiritual realm of [thought and emotions] rather than physically below.

What was explained above, that through the mitzvot we draw down the aspect of the essential Self of the Infinite Light into the order of the chaining down of the worlds, in a way that the revelations literally take place in all the worlds, even in this lowly world (such as in the four brains of the Tefillin or the encompassing lights of the Sukkah), applies specifically if it is preceded by love of HaShem “with all your might”, in which the performance of the mitzvah is solely in a way of “accepting the yoke of the heavenly kingdom”.

This is as explained in Tanya, that there must be two different kinds of intention in the performance of the mitzvot; the general intention of “accepting the yoke of the heavenly kingdom” and the particular intention specific to each mitzvah. The essential Self is specifically drawn down through accepting the yoke. Only then is the light actually drawn down through all the worlds until this physical world.

Now, according to all this we may now understand the verse, “These are the offspring of Noach” and that the principle “offspring” of the righteous is their mitzvot and good deeds. This refers to doing the actual, physical mitzvot through “accepting the yoke of the heavenly kingdom”. This is the principle “offspring” and revelation. In other words, though there also are “offspring” and revelations that result from the intentions of the mitzvot through loving HaShem “with all your heart and with all your soul”, nonetheless, that does not draw down the light of the essential Self of the Infinite. Rather, this can only be accomplished by performing the mitzvot through, “accepting the heavenly yoke”, prefaced by loving HaShem “with all your might”. Only this draws down the essential Self of the Infinite.

Moreover, this is the “principle” offspring and revelation below. This is because the revelation that results from the intentions of the mitzvot principally takes place above in the spiritual realms (of though and emotions), whereas only a glimmer of it radiates below. However through doing the mitzvot with the acceptance of the heavenly yoke draws down the aspect of the essential Self of the Infinite. Furthermore, it is drawn down below literally as it is. This then is the meaning of, “These are the offspring of Noach, Noach was a righteous man”. In other words, the principle “offspring” and revelations are the actual physical performance of the mitzvot, which is the matter of “doing the will of the Omnipresent”.


[1] Genesis 6:9

[2] Bereshit Rabba 30:6

[3] Proverbs 11:30

[4] In the previous discourse

[5] Ohr HaTorah, Vaera p. 148a, p.152 and on, p.210 and on, Sefer HaMaamarim 5647 p.124, 5655 p.207 and on;

[6] Etz Chaim Shaar 1 (Drush Igulim veYosher), Anaf 3

[7] Sefer HaMaamarim 5657 p.230 and on; p.237 and on; 5662 p.329 and on; Hemshech 5672 Vol. 1 p.61

[8] Etz Chaim  Shaar 1 (Drush Igulin VeYosher), Anaf 2

[9] Sefer HaMaamarim 5657 p.230 and on

[10] Derech Mitzvoteicha p.61 and on; Sefer HaMaamarim 5629 p.156 and on; 5643 p.95 and on

[11] Isaiah 40:12

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