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As Divided for a Regular Year
Tanya for 27 Iyar
But as for the Shechinah itself, namely, the origin and core of the manifestation whereby the blessed Ein Sof illumines the Worlds in a revealed form and which is the source of all streams of vitality in the Worlds, ( their entire vitality being no more than the light which is diffused from it like the light radiated from the sun).
[Concerning the Shechinah itself, the source of all vitality for the worlds], the worlds cannot endure or receive the light of this Shechinah, that it might actually dwell and enclothe itself in them, without a "garment" to screen and conceal its light from them, so that they may not become entirely nullified and lose their identity within their source, just as the light of the sun is nullified in its source, namely, in the sun itself - where this light cannot be seen, but only the integral mass of the sun itself.
[So, too, since the Shechinah is the source of vitality of the whole of creation, all of which receives but a ray of the Shechinah, then if the Shechinah itself - the actual source - would be manifest, all created beings would be nullified in that source.
Their situation would be exactly similar to the sun's rays as they are found within the orb of the sun, where they are completely nullified.
In order for the Shechinah to dwell within the Worlds and their creatures, there must therefore be a "garment" which serves to conceal its light. Only then can creation receive the Shechinah and not be nullified out of existence.
But what manner of "garment" can possibly conceal the Shechinah and yet itself not be affected by it, so that it, too, will not become nullified?
Since the Shechinah is the source of all creation, it is of course the source of the concealing "garment" too.
In other words: If the Shechinah is manifest in the "garment", i.e., if the garment is enveloped by its source, then it follows that it should be nullified out of existence, just as the sun's rays cease to exist within the body of the sun. In effect, this would make the "garment" cease serving as a "garment" to conceal the Shechinah.
The Alter Rebbe anticipates this question by stating that the "garment" is G-d's Will and wisdom, which are enclothed in Torah and the mitzvot.
Since this "garment" belongs to a plane even higher than (the source of the world's vitality known as) the Shechinah, it is not nullified by it.
However, asks the Rebbe Shlita, according to this explanation the question becomes even stronger: If creation cannot receive the light of the Shechinah, then surely it cannot receive the light of the "garment" which is even higher than the Shechinah.
This, the Rebbe Shlita says, is answered by the Alter Rebbe when he says, "only that it has descended by means of obscuring gradations."
This means to say: Since G-d's Will and wisdom as found in Torah and the mitzvot "descended" in the gradations of the Worlds, being able to clothe themselves even in material things, they therefore can serve as a "garment" to conceal the light of the Shechinah.
We now understand why the "garment" itself is not nullified by the light of the Shechinah, as well as how created beings can receive this "garment" within themselves, for it is none other than G-d's Will and wisdom which He enclothed in Torah and the mitzvot - as shall presently be explained].
But what is this "garment" which is able to conceal and clothe it [the Shechinah] yet will not itself be completely nullified within its light?
This is His blessed Will and wisdom, and so forth ["and so forth" referring to the levels of Binah and Daat which are part of "intelligence" Above, as mentioned earlier], which are clothed in the Torah and its mitzvot that are revealed to us and our children.
[Why are G-d's Will and wisdom and so forth able to act as a concealing "garment" for the light of the Shechinah without themselves being nullified by it?]
For "the Torah issues from wisdom," namely Chochmah Ila'ah ["Supernal Wisdom," which is the level of Chochmah of Atzilut], that is immeasurably higher than the world of manifestation [which is the Shechinah].
[As mentioned earlier, Shechinah refers to the initial stage of revelation, for which reason it is called the "world of manifestation."
Since Chochmah Ila'ah is entirely beyond the pale of revelation it is therefore immeasurably higher than the Shechinah].
For "He is wise," [with the wisdom of Chochmah of Atzilut], "but not with a knowable wisdom," and so forth.
And as has previously been explained, the [infinite] light of the blessed Ein Sof is clothed in and united with the Supernal Wisdom - and He and His wisdom are One.
[Thus, Chochmah as well as the other levels of Divine "intelligence" (such as Binah and Daat) are far superior to the level of the light of the Shechinah.
They are therefore able to serve as a "garment" concealing the Shechinah, without being nullified by its light.
But how can Divine "intelligence" serve as a "garment", and how can created beings accept this garment when it is in fact loftier than the Shechinah itself?
The Alter Rebbe now answers this question].
Only [this is because] it [Supernal Wisdom and the Torah] has descended by means of obscuring gradations, from [a higher] grade to [a lower] grade, with the descent of the Worlds, until it [the Torah] has clothed itself in material things, namely, the 613 commandments of the Torah.
- (Back to text) Parentheses are in the original text.
- (Back to text) The Rebbe Shlita notes: "Possibly this alludes only to Torah. See above, chapter 4, where exactly the same expression is used. See also beginning of chapter 53: `The Supernal Wisdom of Atzilut, which is the totality of the Torah." - This matter requires further investigation."
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