Tanya Chapter 20: Understanding Hashem’s unity

Chapter 20: Understanding Hashem’s unity

5th Shevat/(LY)11th Shevat

1. Understanding Hashem’s unity expressed in the Aseres Hadibros

  • Aseres Hadibros incorporates entire Torah: It is well known to everyone that the command and warning against idolatry included within the first two of the 10 Commandments, which are the command of “Anochi” and “Lo Yihyeh Lecha,” generally include within it the entire Torah. The command of “Anochi” incorporates all of 240 positive commands while the command of “Lo Yihyeh Lecha” incorporates all the 365 negative commands.
  • Said by G-d: It is for this reason that the Jewish people only heard these two commandments from G-d, as they include within it the entire Torah.
  • Understanding G-d’s unity: Now, to understand this matter properly we must first delve into, at least in a summarized manner, the essence of the unity of G-d in which we believe.

2. The details of our belief in G-d’s unity:

  • The only true existence: G-d is called one and unique [i.e. Yachid Umeyuchad], and we all believe that He is actually the lone existence just as he was prior to the worlds creation in which He was alone.
  • No change-Hashem is the same before and after creation without any change: This follows the statement that we mention in the morning prayers, “You G-d are the one prior to the worlds creation and You are the same one after the worlds creation.” This means to say that G-d did not go through any change with the creation of the world that He remains in the same state of aloneness as He was prior to the creation, as the verse states “I G-d have not changed.” This means that this physical world as well as all of the spiritual worlds do not affect any change in the unity of G-d by being created something from nothing [i.e. Yeish Meayin], as just as He was alone, one, and unique prior to the worlds creation so too He is alone, one, and unique after its creation.
  • The reason for no change: The reason for why the creation of the world did not cause any change in G-d is because everything is considered like naught before Him and like absolute nothingness. The reason for this will be explained next.

(LY)12th Shevat

3. Creation is from G-d’s speech:

  • The creation of all the upper and lower worlds from absolute nothingness, as well as their continued vitality and life force and energy which prevents them from returning to their original nothingness, is merely the word of G-d and speech of His breath that is invested within them.

6th Shevat

4. A parable from one’s speech which is considered like naught in ratio to the soul:

  • The following is a parable from the soul of man which can be used to understand the above nullification of all creations in the eyes of G-d:
  • A single word of speech is nullified to the infinite power of speech: When a person speaks a certain word or sentence, this speech on its own is considered like nothing in ratio to the general speech capabilities of the soul, which is the middle garment of the soul, which is its power speech, as from this power of speech a person can speak infinitely without limit.
  • Like nothing in ratio to the power of thought: It is even more so considered nothing in ratio to the soul’s more inner garment of thought, from which all speech derives from, and which serves as the energy of speech.
  • Like nothing in ratio to essence of soul: It goes without saying that a single word is considered like nothing in ratio to the essence of the soul, which refers to the 10 soul powers of intellect and emotions from which derive all the letters of the thought that are invested within one’s speech that he is now speaking.
  • Also thought contains letters: Also one’s thought contains letters similar to speech, they are simply more refined and spiritual than actual speech.

(LY)13th Shevat

  • The essence of the soul does not contain letters: However, the 10 aspects of one’s soul which is the root and source of the thought, do not yet contain any letters prior to being invested within the garment of thought.
  • An example of the processing of an emotion into a letter of thought and speech: For example, when a certain emotion of love and craving enters into the heart of a man, it does not yet contain any letters of thought prior to it being elevated from the heart to the mind to be contemplated on. At this point it is a mere simple feeling of emotion and craving for the matter that one craves. Certainly, prior to the lust and craving for this matter entering his heart it did not contain any letters of thought, even though it was already incorporated within his subconscious mind and memory which understands that there is a craving and desire for this matter, such as an understanding that he should crave the learning of a certain wisdom, or that he should crave the eating of a certain tasty food. The craving and lust only takes the form of letters after it is sent from the intellect of the mind into the heart to turn into an emotion of lust and craving, and is afterwards then sent back from the heart to the mind to be contemplated in regards to how this lust can be actualized and fulfilled, such as to get one’s hand on the food, or actually study the wisdom. Only at this point are the letters of thought born within one’s mind, which refers to the letters of speech and thought that are used for thinking and speaking by every nation, each in accordance with their language, of all the worldly matters.

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