Tanya Chapter 53: The Shechinah in this physical world

Chapter 53: The Shechinah in this physical world


1st Sivan/(LY) 3rd Sivan

  1. The level of the Shechinah revealed in the first Temple:
  • Within the Holy of Holies: When the first Temple was in existence, which contained the Aron and the Luchos within the Holy of Holies, the Shechinah, which is the revelation of G-dliness found in Malchus of Atzilus, resided there.
  • Within the 10 Commandments: It was invested within the Ten Commandments.
  • Higher revelation than the worlds of Yetzirah and Assiya: This revelation in the first Temple was greater and more intense than the revelation of Malchus of Atzilus and G-d’s infinite light within the Kodesh Hakedoshim of the upper spiritual worlds [of Yetzirah and Assiya].
  1. Why the Luchos are a conduit for the revelation of Malchus of Atzilus:
  • 10 Commandments include the entire Torah: The Ten commandments incorporate the entire Torah which derives from the supernal Chochma of G-d, which is much higher than the revealed worlds [of Yetzirah and Assiya].
  • Not partaking in Seder Hishtalshelus: In order for the Torah and wisdom of G-d to be inscribed in the physical stones of the Luchos, the Torah needed to maintain its original spiritual level and thus they did not descend in the chain like descent of worlds, of Seder Hishtalshelus.
  • Artwork of G-d which is above nature: This physical world runs in accordance with the laws of nature, while the Luchos are an artwork of G-d, and the writing is the script of G-d which are much higher than the nature of this physical world.
  • Luchos receive straight from Malchus of Atzilus and Beriya: Thus, while this world receives from the ray of the Shechinah as it is found in the Kodesh Kedoshim of Assiya, the Luchos receive from the Chochma of Atzilus as its invested in Malchus of Atzilus and Beriya, which alone are united with the infinite light of G-d.
  • The Shechinah: This is the level of Shechinah that resided in the Kodesh Hakedoshim of the first Temple, and was invested in the Ten Commandments that were inscribed on the Luchos that were found in the Aron in a miraculous fashion and as the living artwork of G-d.
  • Alma Deiskasya: This level that resides in the world of Beriya is known as the hidden world, or Alma Deiskasya.


2nd Sivan/(LY) 4th Sivan

  1. The level of the Shechinah revealed in the second Temple:
  • No Shechinah: During the era of the second Temple, being that it did not contain the Aron and the Luchos within the Holy of Holies, the sages state that the Shechinah did not dwell in it.
  • No Shechinah of above Seder Hishtalshelus: This means as follows: The level of Shechinah which dwelled in the first Temple, which skipped the chain order of the worlds [i.e. Seder Hishtalshelus], did not dwell in the second Temple.
  • A Shechinah of Seder Hishtalshelus: However, the level of Shechinah which passes through the chain descent of the worlds [Seder Hishtalshelus] did reside in the second Temple. On this level, the Shechinah, which is Malchus of Atzilus, descends into Malchus of Beriya and Malchus of Beriya descends into Malchus of Yetzirah, and Malchus of Yetzirah descends into the Kodesh Hakedoshim of Assiya, and the Kodesh Hakedoshim of Assiya would then invest itself into the Kodesh Hakedoshim of the Temple below. The Shechinah, which is Malchus of Yetzirah as its invested in the Kodesh Hakedoshim of Assiya, would thus reside on the second Temple.
  • No entry even in 2nd Temple: It is for this reason that no person had permission to enter the Kodesh Hakedoshim other than the Kohen Gadol on Yom Kippur.
  1. Where does the Shechinah reside during exile?
  • Within the four Amos of Halacha: Since the Temple was destroyed, Hashem only dwells within the four Amos of Halacha.
  • Within Torah learning of single person: Even when a single person sits and learns Torah, the Shechinah is with him.
  • The level of Shechinah-Assiyah: This refers to the Shechinah of Malchus of Atzilus, as it’s invested in Malchus of Beriya and Yetzirah and Assiya.
  • All Mitzvos involve Assiyah-Action: The reason for why the Shechinah must pass through Malchus of Assiya is because the vast majority of the 613 Mitzvahs of the Torah involve physical action.
  • Even Mitzvah’s of speech are considered an action: Even those Mitzvahs that are dependent on thought and speech, such as Talmud Torah and Birchas Hamazon and Kerias Shema and Tefilla, can only be fulfilled through the verbalization of the mouth and not through intent of the heart. Thinking of the words in one’s heart is not considered an action that suffices for the fulfillment of the Mitzvah, as we rule that thought is not like speech and one does not fulfill his obligation with mere thought and concentration alone until he actually verbalizes the words, as we rule that verbalization is considered an action.
  1. Why the Shechinah resides on one’s Torah learning of Halacha:
  • Gematria of Keser: The 613 Mitzvos together with the seven Rabbinical commands add up to the numerical value of 620 which is Keser.
  • Contains the Ratzon Haelyon: Keser represents the supernal Divine will which is invested within G-d’s Chochmah and is united with His infinite light in complete unity.
  • Halacha comes from Keser-Chochmah: Now, the Torah stems from this supernal wisdom, as the Zohar states that from Aba [i.e. Chochmah] comes the daughter [i.e. Torah Shebaal Peh]. [Hence, it is found that Jewish law derives directly from the wisdom and will of G-d, and hence contains within it the highest level of the Shechinah, as opposed to the study of other sections of Torah.]

3rd Sivan/(LY) 5th Sivan

  1. The Shechinah needs a wick and oil to reside on one’s head:
  • The statement of the Yenuka: Based on all the above, we can now understand the statement of the Yenuka that the upper flame which resides on one’s head requires fuel.
  • The flame is the Shechinah: The flame refers to the Shechinah and the fuel refers to Chochmah. This means that the Shechinah needs to become invested in [the vessel of] Chochmah, which is called in the Zohar by the name Shemen Mishchas Kodesh [for it to be able to reveal itself below].
  • The oil-Mitzvos: For this to be accomplished it requires [in addition to Torah learning, also] the performance of good deeds, which are the fulfillment of Mitzvahs which derive from G-d’s wisdom.
  • The wick-The animal soul: The Mitzvahs serve to hold the light of the Shechinah onto the wick, which is the animal soul found in the body. Just as a physical flame, the flame shines through burning the wick and turning it into fire, so too, the light of the Shechinah resides on the G-dly soul through consuming the animal soul.
  • Transforming the animal soul by Tzaddikim: By Tzaddikim, this consuming of the animal soul by fire of the Shechinah is literal, as they turn the animal soul from darkness to light, and from bitterness to sweet.
  • Transforming the garments of the animal soul by Beinonim: However, even by the Beinoni who does not perform this quality of Avoda, the Shechinah resides on the G-dly soul through them consuming the garments of the animal soul, which is its thoughts, speech, and action, of the performance of the 613 commands.
  • Eliciting a revelation of the infinite light of G-d: Through turning the animal soul, which derives from Kelipas Noga, from darkness to light, it causes a Divine elevation called Haalas Man to draw down the light of the Shechinah, which is the revelation of the infinite light of G-d upon one’s G-dly soul which resides in the brain of one’s head.
  • G-d is a consuming fire: With all this it is understood well the verse “As Hashem your G-d is a consuming fire,” [as it comes to say that G-d is like a fire which a) needs oil provided by the Jew for Him to reside on him, and b) needs a wick that burns, which is the animal soul of a Jew that is subjugated to G-d].

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