Tanya Chapter 51: The Shechina and how it resides within the worlds

Chapter 51: The Shechinah and how it resides within the worlds

23rd Iyar/(LY) 24th Iyar

  1. Understanding the residing of the Shechinah:
  • If G-d is everywhere what is the meaning of the Shechinah residing in a specific area? For a greater understanding of the wording of the Yenuka [brought in Tanya chapter 35, that the Shechinah resides on one’s head and requires refueling] we must introduce the following query. What is the concept of the Shechinah residing in the Kodesh Hakedoshim, or any area for that matter? We know, as states the verse, that Hashem resides everywhere “Malei Kol Ha’aretz Kevodo” and there is no place void of Him. If so, what is the meaning of the Shechinah residing in a limited area, if in truth, G-d is found everywhere.
  • This will be explained through introducing a parable of the relationship between the body and soul and how they corelate, as the verse states “From my flesh I see G-d.”


  1. The way the soul enlivens the body and its limbs:
  • We will now analyze the relationship between the body and soul, and then later compare this relationship to the relationship between G-dliness and creation to better understand the meaning of the Shechinah’s residence in a specific area versus the fact that G-d is already everywhere.
  • The brain is the center of man’s soul powers: As we know, the soul of man permeates all the 248 limbs of a person from his head to his toe. Nonetheless, there contains one main center of the soul’s activities and residence which is in the brain, and from the brain it expands to the remaining limbs.
  • Every limb receives their soul power from the brain: Every limb receives a different soul power in accordance with its function and nature. For example, the eye receives the power of sight, the ear the power of hearing, the mouth the power to speak, the legs the power to walk, and so on and so forth. This is all received from the soul’s center in the brain, as is readily witnessed from the fact the brain feels all that occurs with the 248 limbs.

  1. The essence of the soul does not contain parts:
  • The different soul powers that the 248 limbs receive, each according to their need and function, does not intrinsically derive from the souls’s essence. The essence is not made up of 248 soul powers which are then sent to each limb to receive its due power.
  • Not similar to a body: If this were the case, then the essence of the soul would contain a similarity to a body, with parts, and the form of a body, Heaven Forefend [as the soul is G-dliness, and G-dliness does not contain parts].
  • A single entity without physical connotation: Rather, the essence of the soul is one single spiritual unity and entity, a single general power that does not contain or incorporate detailed powers of abilities. It contains no physical connotations of space and measurement and hence cannot be said to be located more in the brain than the feet, as it is not bound by space.
  • How the soul powers emanate from the single entity: Rather, this single unit and entity contains the power to release and reveal 613 particular soul powers for the sake of enlivening the particular limbs and parts of the body, which are the 248 limbs and 365 sinews. It accomplishes this by shining these soul powers into the corresponding 248 and 365 powers found in the animal soul.

24th Iyar

  1. The main revelation of the soul is in the brain and from there it goes to the various limbs:
  • The 613 soul powers in the brain: [Based on the above differentiation between the essence of the soul which is not incorporated of any parts, and its ability to shoot forward a revelation of 613 particular soul powers corresponding to each limb, we can now understand the relationship between the brain and the soul. While the essence of the soul is found everywhere in the body equally] the 613 soul powers first entirely reside and become revealed in the brain, and from there it diffuses to each particular limb, its corresponding soul power.
  • The brain receives soul powers for all limbs: For this reason, the brain is the first to receive the soul powers that correspond to its nature, which is the power of Chabad, intellect, and the power of thought, Machshava, and all other powers relevant to the brain. Furthermore, not only are the particular soul powers of the brain revealed in the brain, but its revelation also includes the flow of all the general limbs.
  • The brain sends soul powers to all limbs of body: The brain contains the root and source of the general revelation and vitality of the entire soul, and from there a ray of it flows to the remaining limbs of the body, each in accordance to its function and need, such as the power of sight flows to the eyes, the power of hearing to the ears, and so on and so forth. Thus, in conclusion we see that all the soul powers flow from the brain, as it is the headquarters which houses the revelation of the entire soul from which comes the distribution to the limbs. This is similar to the sun from which rays of light shine and penetrate into the various rooms below.

  1. The heart is ruled by the brain:
  • Even the heart [which serves as its own vital center of life for the body, in addition to the brain] receives its lifeforce and power from the brain, and therefore the brain naturally dominates over the heart, as explained in chapter 12.

25th Iyar/(LY) 25th Iyar

  1. Hashem fills all worlds and its creations, in accordance with its need and function:
  • Just as the limbs of the body each receive their specific soul power from the soul that is revealed in the brain, so too the creations of the world each receive their specific form of Elokus to enable them to function on their level.
  • The creation of the many from the infinite: The infinite light of G-d fills all the worlds to give it life, and in every world there is an endless number of creations which derive from this light, including myriads upon myriads of levels of angels and souls, as well as an endless number of worlds, one higher than the other.

  1. Hashem’s essence in its concealed state is equally found everywhere:
  • Exists equally everywhere: The essence of Hashem in His infinite state is found equally everywhere, in the upper and lower worlds, just like was stated regarding the essence of the soul.
  • Is concealed everywhere equally: Hashem in His infinite state is concealed equally everywhere, both in the higher and lower worlds, as states the Zohar that Hashem “Is the concealed of all those concealed” meaning that He is concealed even from the concealed worlds. The reason for the concealment of G-d within all the worlds, whether high or low, is due to the fact that no mind can grasp G-d at all, including not even in the higher worlds.
  • The difference between the lower and higher worlds: Thus, just as Hashem is found in the upper worlds so too, He is found in the lower worlds. What then is then makes the difference of quality between the worlds? This is the level of revelation.

(LY) 26th Iyar

  1. The difference between the higher and lower worlds:
  • A difference in the quality of revelation: The difference between the lower and higher worlds is only regarding the level and quality of revelation of Hashem’s light that they receive from His concealed state.
  • Why the term “light”: In fact, this is one of the reasons that the G-dly revelation is called “Or/light,” as it is a revelation of the concealed state of G-d that is found equally everywhere.
  • Revelation enlivens creation: This revelation that each world receives serves as its source of life and is responsible for its quality of life. Every creation receives according to its level and nature.
  • The higher and lower worlds: Accordingly, in the upper worlds where they receive a higher quality of revelation, they are more spiritual beings. However, in the lower worlds, including even the spiritual creations of the lower worlds, the revelation of the infinite light of G-d is minute and goes through the filtering of many garments and hence they are of a much lower level of spirituality.

(LY) 27th Iyar

  1. The revelation in our physical world:
  • The most intense of contractions and concealing of garments: The intensity of the filtering of the revelation and energy of the infinite light of G-d within the concealing garments eventually became so great that it led to the creation of the actual physical world.
  • Complete concealment of Divine energy: The physical world is brought into existence and given energy through this Divine revelation which shines through the many intense and concealing garments. These garments consequently hide and conceal the Divine energy and light to the point that there is no light or spirituality able to be seen or felt at all within the physical world, and all of its creations and objects appear as if they are dead without any Divine energy, even though in truth they contain Divine light which brings them into existence and enlivens them at every moment so they do not return to absolute nothingness.
  • Contains the infinite light of G-d within: In truth, the Divine energies and light of the world come from the infinite light of G-d and it is just that it is invested in many garments. As writes the Eitz Chaim, that this physical world which can be seen with physical sight is created from Malchus of Malchus of Assiya which contains within it Malchus of Yetzirah up until the world of Atzilus, which contains within it all of the 10 Sefiros of Atzilus which are actually united with their emanator which is the infinite G-d.

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