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Tanya for Tuesday, 7 Shevat, 5778 - January 23, 2018

Tanya
As Divided for a Regular Year

Tanya for 7 Shevat

6 Shevat, 5778 - January 22, 20188 Shevat, 5778 - January 24, 2018


Chapter Twenty-One

Now [1] the nature of the Divine order is not like that of a human being, a creature of flesh and blood. [Therefore human terms cannot adequately describe Divine qualites. Thus in our case]:

When a man says something, the breath of the spoken word may be sensed, and is perceived as an independent entity separated from its source, namely, the ten intellectual and emotional faculties of the soul itself.

[While still encapsulated in its source, the word is utterly nullified; however, when it is spoken and it leaves its source, it takes on an identity of its own. This is true, however, only with regard to human speech].

But the speech of G-d is not, heaven forbid, separated from His Divine self. For nothing is outside of Him, and [2] "no place is devoid of Him" - so that His speech is always contained within him.

Therefore, His speech is not like our speech, G-d forbid just as, [obviously], His thought is not like our thought, as it is written: [3] "For My thoughts are not like your thoughts"; and it is also written: [4] "So My ways are higher than your ways [and My thoughts higher than your thoughts]." [Similarly, G-d's speech is different from human speech.

But if Divine speech is indeed never separated from G-d, how can it be described as "speech" at all?

Human speech constitutes communication only because the spoken word becomes separated from the speaker.

(Thought, by contrast, because it remains within one's soul, is hidden from all but the thinker himself.)

But since nothing ever becomes separated from G-d, the term "speech" seemingly provides us with no understanding at all of the nature of Divine communication.

In explanation, the Alter Rebbe states that speech is distinguished by two characteristics:

  1. it reveals that which was previously hidden in the speaker's thoughts;

  2. it becomes separated from its source.

Only the former characteristic of human speech is analogous to Divine "speech", which reveals to Creation that which was hitherto hidden within G-dliness.

In the Alter Rebbe's words]:

G-d's speech is called "speech" only in order to illustrate that [quality of revelation which it possesses. For] just as man's speech reveals to his audience what was hidden and concealed in his thoughts, so too the emergence of the light and life-force of the Ein Sof from concealment, [before creation], into revelation [through the act of creation], for the purpose of creating and animating the worlds, is called "speech."

[In this case, the audience is the created being, which, from its own perspective at least, is separate from G-d].

It is these [revelations of Divine light and life-force] that comprise the [5] ten Divine utterances [recorded in the Torah, namely, [6] "And G-d said, `Let there be light,' `Let the earth sprout forth...,'" and so on], by which the world was created.

Likewise all the other words of the Torah, the Prophets, and the Holy Writings [are also called "speech", even though they were not revealed for the purpose of creation, since they too represent the Divine revelation] which the Prophets perceived in their prophetic vision.

[Hence, when we refer to G-d's revelation as His "speech", the analogy extends only to speech as revelation and communication, but not to speech as something separate from the speaker - an idea which is not applicable to G-dliness].

Thus, G-d's speech and thought are united with Him in absolute union, just like the speech and thought of man [before he actually expresses them as speech and thought, rather] as they are while still in his faculty of wisdom and intellect, or [as they exist] in a desire or craving that are still in the heart, before they rise from the heart to the brain, there to be meditated upon with the letters of thought. [7]

At that point [before one speaks or thinks], the letters of his speech and thought, which evolve from the [aforementioned] longing and desire, were still in a potential state in the heart.

   

Notes:

  1. (Back to text) Cf. Berachot 40a.

  2. (Back to text) Tikkunei Zohar, Tikkun 57, p. 91b.

  3. (Back to text) Yeshayahu 55:8.

  4. (Back to text) Ibid. v.9.

  5. (Back to text) Avot 5:1.

  6. (Back to text) Bereishit 1:3,11.

  7. (Back to text) See ch. 20, above.



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