Shaar HaYichud The Gate of Unity Chapter 14

Shaar HaYichud

The Gate of Unity


The Holy Rabbi Dov Ber of Lubavitch

Translated and Annotated by Shimon Markel

Edited by Rabbi A. Markel

Copyright © 2004

Chapter Fourteen



ומעתה יש להבין בבחי' הקו והחוט שנמשך מבחי' הרשימו הנ''ל, דרך פרט

We must now understand the aspect of the Line and Thread (Kav V’Chut), which is drawn from the aspect of the aforementioned Reshimu, in a particular manner. 

ותחלה י''ל בו בענין כללותו, שהוא בחי' ההיפוך ממש מבחי' הרשימו הנ''ל 

Firstly, we must understand the general matter of [the Kav ­– Line]; that it is the literal opposite of the aspect of the aforementioned Reshimu – Impression.

כי הנה הנקודה מורה ההעלם והסתלקות הכל, עד שלא נשאר רק כנקודה א'

This is because a point[1] indicates the concealment and withdrawal of everything, so that only a single point remains. 

וגם נקודה או רושם זה מורה בחי' העדר ההתפשטות למטה דוקא

Moreover, this point or impression specifically indicates an aspect of the absence of spreading forth below. 

דהיינו ענין העדר ההמשכה וההתגלות לאורך ורוחב

In other words, the matter [of a point] is the absence of extension and revelation to a length and width. 

כצורת הי' שאין בו תוך וחלל כו' כידוע.

This is like the form of the letter Yud[2] (י) which has no inner space, as is known.

והנה בענין צמצום שלו מלמעלה, דהיינו מה שנשאר בבחי' נקודה לבד, יוכל להיות שיהיה מזה להיפוך  

Now, regarding the matter of the tzimtzum of [the Reshimu] from above, in other words, that [everything] remains in the aspect of a point alone, it is possible that its opposite[3] can come from this. 

מפני שמחמת זה יוכלל בו הכל בקיצור ורמז וכה''ג

This is because, the result of the [Tzimtzim] is that everything becomes included in the [Reshimu] in a brief and “hinted” manner, and the like. 

ואדרבה זהו עיקר סיבת כל גלוי ההשפעה כנ''ל

On the contrary, this is the main cause of all revelation of influence [from the Reshimu], as mentioned previously.[4]

אבל מה שמנקודה זו מורה העדר ההתפשטות לגמרי למטה לכאורה, זהו ודאי נק' צמצום גמור ואמיתי 

However, at first glance, the fact that this point indicates a complete absence of spreading forth below, certainly could be considered to be a complete and true Tzimtzum. 

להעלים ולהסתיר לבלתי יבוא האור למטה

[That is,] it completely hides and conceals, making it impossible for light to come and [be revealed] below.

וא''כ איך יומשך מנקודה זו היפוכו ממש, שהוא בחי' המשכה והתפשטות דקו כו'.

This being the case, how is it possible that the opposite [of this point], which is the drawing down and spreading forth of the Kav – line, can be drawn from it?

אך הנה ידוע שבאמת הנקודה והקו אינם ב' הפכים, שהרי הקו נמשך מן הנקודה, ומחיבור נקודות יחד נעשה קו כו'.

Rather, as is known, the [explanation of the] matter is that, in truth, a point and a line are not two opposites, for a line is drawn from a point, and by the joining of many points, a line is made. 

אך הענין הוא כידוע שהנקודה הוא כמו בחי' ההיולי לגבי הקו

Rather, the [explanation of the] matter, as is known, is that a point is like a Heyulie[5] relative to a line (Kav). 

וכמו כל בחי' היולי או חומר פשוט

It [therefore] is similar to every [type] of Heyulie or simple substance.

שאע''פ שהוא בהעדר ההתפשטות דוקא, אין זה הכרחי כלל, רק מצד עצם מהות ההיולי מפני שהוא למעלה עדיין מבחי' התפשטות  

[This is to say that] though it [itself] is specifically the absence of spreading forth, nonetheless, this is not a necessary imperative altogether,[6] but is, rather, only because the essential nature of a Heyulie is that, as of yet, it is higher than [being in] an aspect of spreading forth.

ולזאת לא ירד מעצמותו

Therefore, it has not [yet] descended from its essential state.

וכמו היולי של חיות החי בגלוי, בעודנה כלולה בעצם, שאינה מתפשטת להחיות כו'

[For example,] this is like the Heyulie – ability [of the soul] of an animal to enliven [the body] in a revealed fashion, as this [ability] is still included within its essence, and has yet to spread forth to enliven [the body].  

וכהיולי של כח התנועה בעצם, טרם שמתפשט להניע

Similarly, it is like the Heyulie power of movement as it is in the essence, before it spreads forth to [actually] move. 

וככח הצמיחה טרם שמתפשט להצמיח

This is likewise like the [essential] power of growth before it spreads forth to [cause actual] growth.  

וככח השכל טרם שמתפשט להשכיל, וכה''ג רבים בדומה

The same [is true of the essential] power of the intellect before it spreads forth to [actually] conceptualize, and there are many other matters similar to this.

הרי יובן שהעדר ההתפשטות הזאת לא נקרא צמצום אמיתי מצד עצמו

It is, therefore, understood that this absence of spreading forth, cannot be called a true Tzimtzum, in and of itself[7]. 

אדרבה הרי הוא כח ההיולי העצמי שממנו נמצא הכל בהתגלות והתפשטות

On the contrary, all [subsequent] revelations and spreading forth [of the line], exist from this essential Heyulie.[8]

וכה''ג יובן בבחי' נקודה לגבי הקו

In this manner we may understand the aspect of a point relative to a line.  

שהעדר התפשטותה הוא רק מצד היותה בבחי' העצמיות שלמעלה מבחי' ההתפשטות עדיין

[That is], the lack of spreading forth is only because it is an essential aspect that, as of yet, is higher than the aspect of “spreading forth”.

והגם שבאה ע''י צמצום הכל, עד שלא נשאר רק כנקודה א' כנ''ל, אך ה''ז עצמו מורה שכל בחי' העצמיות כלול בה   

Now, although [the Reshimu] comes about through the Tzimtzum of everything, so that nothing remains except for a single point, as mentioned above, however, this itself indicates that the entire aspect of the essence is included in it. 

ולהיות כן, בלתי מתפשטת למטה 

Since this is the case, it therefore does not spread forth downward.[9]

וכמשל התלמיד לפני רבו

This is analogous to a student who is in the presence of his teacher. 

דאיידי דטריד למבלע ונעשה כנקודה בצמצום כל עצמותו כו', לא פליט להשפיע לזולתו בהתפשטות

As long as he is preoccupied with absorbing [the teachings] and is [focused], similar to a point, with a concentration (Tzimtzum) of his whole essence, he cannot “give out” by influencing his fellow [student, with explanations of the teachings]. 

אמנם אחר קבלתו, אדרבה

However, after he has received [the teachings], the opposite ]is true[. 

מזה הצמצום שהיה בבחי' נקודה, הוא שנמשך ממנו כל ההשפעה והתפשטות לזולתו כו' וכמ''ש במ''א

[Then,] it is from this very Tzimtzum, in which he was [focused in] the aspect of a point, that influence to his fellow [student][10] spreads forth and is drawn out, as explained elsewhere.

ומכ''ז יובן שהקו הנמשך מן הנקודה הוא רק כמו בחי' התפשטות מן היולי העצמי

From all this we understand that the line which extends from the point is just like the aspect of spreading forth from an essential Heyulie. 

אמנם מה שנמשך בבחי' קו קצר, הנה מבואר במ''א שכמו שהנקודה בחי' היולי לגבי הקו, כך הקו בחי' היולי לבחי' אורך ורוחב דשטח

However, [in regard to] the fact that it is drawn out in an aspect of a “short line”, it is explained elsewhere that just as a point is the aspect of a Heyulie relative to a line, likewise, a line is the aspect of a Heyulie relative to the aspects of the length and breadth of a plane.[11] 

להיות ידוע שהקו, הגם שהוא בא בבחי' המשכה והתפשטות מלמעלה למטה, אבל אינו ענין פרטית אופן המשכה כלל

As is known, although the Kav comes with a drawing down and spreading forth from above downward, nonetheless, it is not [yet] a specific manner of drawing down [or revelation] whatsoever. 

רק מה שנמשך האור מלמעלה למטה בלבד

Rather, it is only that the light has been drawn down from above to below.[12] 

שעי''ז נמצא בחי' מעלה ומטה מהמשפיע אל המקבל

It is through this that the aspects of “above” and “below”, from influencer to recipient, comes about. 

משא''כ בהיולי דנקודה אין בו מעלה ומטה, ראש תוך וסוף כו' כידוע

This is not the case in regard to the Heyulie of a point, in which there is no up or down, beginning, middle, or end, as known. 

(וזהו מ''ש בע''ח דכל עיקר הארת הקו אינו רק להיות בחי' מעלה ומטה כמשי''ת)

(This is the [meaning] of the statement in Etz Chaim,[13] that the whole essential [purpose of the] radiance of the Kav is solely to bring about the aspects of “up” and “down”[14], as will be explained.)

וכמשל אמת הבנין, שאינו בא בגדר שטח הבנין עצמו, לאורך ורוחב   

This [Kav] is analogous to a “Builder’s Rod”, which is not [counted] into the measurements of the length and width of the area of the building, itself.[15] 

רק שבו מודד כל מדידת אורך וכל מדידת רוחב

Nonetheless, with [the builder’s rod, the builder] measures all the measurements of the length and width [of the building]. 

והוא עצמו רק כמו קו הקצר שכולל כל אופני מדידות של אורך ורוחב כו'

[However, the builder’s rod] itself is only like a short line, but it includes all possible measurements of length and width.[16]

כך ציור הקו בחי' היולי לגבי בחי' שטח האותיות לעשותם באורך ורוחב, כמו בחי' קוין שבאות הב' כו' וכמ''ש במ''א

Likewise, the form of the Kav – Line is an aspect of a Heyulie relative to the expanse of the letters and gives them their length and width, such as the lines of the letter Beit (ב), as stated elsewhere.[17]

ולפ''ז גם ראשית המשכת הקו מן הנקודה, הגם שהוא בא בבחי' התפשטות והמשכה, אבל הוא בחי' המשכה היולית עדיין, לכלול כמה פרטי אופני המשכות לאורך ורוחב במדה

According to this, even the beginning of the extension of the line from the point, although it comes in an aspect of spreading forth and drawing down, nonetheless, it is still an aspect of a Heyulie, which includes many different ways that a length and width may be drawn out within measure.

ולזה נקרא קו המדה כידוע

This is why it is called the Kav HaMidah – The Measuring Line, as is known. 

וע''ז מורה צורתו שהוא קצר בעצם, והולך ונמשך מלמעלה למטה בלבד

This is indicated by its form, which is essentially short, and merely issues forth from above to below. 

אבל הוא כולל בהמשכתו עכ''פ כל מה שיש בהעלם ההיולי דנקודה כו', רק שבא באופן המשכה למטה

Nonetheless, included within this issuance is everything which was concealed in the Heyulie of the point, except that it [now] comes in a way of being drawn down.

והוא בא מכח אור העצמי הנעלם שבעצמות המשפיע שלפני צמצומו בנקודה א'

This [ability] comes from the power of the essential light which is concealed in the essence of the influencer, before being concentrated (Tzimtzum) into a single point.[18] 

רק שבא דרך קו לבד, ולא כמו שהוא בעצמות המשפיע, שהוא בהרחבת הערך של העצמות ממש

However, now it comes [into revelation] solely by way of a line, and not as it [originally] was in the essence of the influencer, where it was with the great expanse of the actual essence. 

ובקו זה הנה אור העצמות בא לפ''ע המקבלים לבד

In this Kav – line, the light of the essence only comes according to the capacity of the recipients.[19] 

אבל עכ''ז הרי יש בו מעין ודוגמת אור העצמות הנעלם בנקודה כו', רק שבא בדרך המשכה למטה

However, it nonetheless possesses a likeness to the light of the essence that is concealed in the point,[20]  except that it [now] comes [into revelation] in a manner of being drawn down.  

ע''כ בא בציור קו

It therefore comes in the form of a Kav – line. 

והוא בחי' היולי לכל אור ושפע המקבלים כו' וד''ל:

This [Kav – line] is an aspect of a Heyulie for all the light and influence [given] to the recipients.[21]  This will suffice for those of understanding.

End of Chapter Fourteen

[1] As mentioned in the previous chapters, the Reshimu – Impression is compared to a point, in which there is a complete withdrawal, with no extension or revelation outward.  In contrast, the Kav is a thin band of limited revelation which is drawn from the Reshimu.  At first glance, these seem to be opposites. A point represents total withdrawal, while a line signifies revelation.
[2] The Reshimu – Impression is compared to the letter Yud (י) which is the shape of a point.  In contrast, the Kav is compared to the letter Vav (ו) whose beginning is a Yud (י).
[3] i.e. revelation, which is the opposite of concealment.
[4] The Rebbe begins by posing a question.  How is it that the revelation of the Kav can come out of its opposite, which is the total concealment of the Reshimu.  However, the fact that the Reshimu contains the entire Infinite Light within it in the form of a short, “hinted” summary, resolves the difficulty.   On the contrary, it is specifically because of this that revelation can take place.  This is the main point of this paragraph.  However, in the next paragraph the Rebbe points out the fact that this Reshimu indicates a complete concealment, like a point, which does not extend into revelation, whatsoever.  How, then, is it possible that a line (Kav) of revelation should be drawn from the complete concealment of a point (Reshimu)?
[5] A Heyulie is a potentiality which is an ability.  That is, it does not have to spread forth into revelation, but if the possessor of the ability so desires, he can bring forth his ability.  (This was explained earlier in chapters 2, 10 and 11.)  Likewise here, as will be explained, a point is a potential for a line (and likewise, a line is a potential for a plane).
[6] For example, when one observes a flint stone, he does not see fire at all.  Nonetheless, this does not mean that the flint lacks the ability to bring out fire.  In other words, just because, at the moment, the flint is not bringing out fire, it still has the Heyulie ability to do so.
[7] In other words, in a point, the lack of spreading forth alone cannot be called a true and complete Tzimtzum.  Rather, it is a Heyulie which has not yet come into revelation.  This is in accordance with the analogies given by the Rebbe in the previous paragraph.
[8] As mentioned previously, the Kav – Line of revelation of the chaining down (of the worlds) is drawn from the point of the Reshimu.  Just because the “point” of the Reshimu has not yet spread forth, we are not forced to say that this is a true and complete Tzimtzum.  Rather the point of the Reshimu is only a Heyulie and just like all Heyulie powers, the fact that they are not necessarily spreading forth into revelation does not mean that they are lacking this ability and cannot spread forth.  Rather, it is from the essential Heyulie itself that all revelation comes.  For example, just because one is not moving, we do not say that he lacks the power of movement.  He does indeed possess the power of movement, but for the time being his power of movement is completely within its Heyulie potential, and is not spreading forth into revelation.  Moreover, when he finally does move, it is from this same essential Heyulie which was withdrawn into itself that this movement comes into revelation.
[9] The example for this will now be given by the Rebbe.  It is like a student who is receiving from his teacher.  During this time he must be completely focused like a point, and cannot be thinking any other thoughts or even analyze the teachings.  Likewise, during that time he cannot be relating the teachings to his fellow student.  Rather, his entire being must be completely focused on the teacher.  Furthermore, complete focus indicates that his whole being is invested into this.  However, it is specifically because of this focus that he is capable of relating the teachings to his fellow student, afterwards.  If he was not entirely focused like a “point”, while he was receiving the teachings, he will not be capable of relating them to his fellow student etc.
[10] In other words, it is only because he was completely invested into the subject, like a point, that he is afterwards capable of drawing out explanations to his fellow student.  If he was not invested like a point, then he would be incapable of drawing forth influence etc.  We see then that the revelation of the line, which follows the point, comes specifically because of the focus of the point.
[11] In other words, as soon as there are two points there is already a line.  This is the case even though the line is very short.  This short line already represents an expression from the essential Heyulie of a point, and is no longer a point.  Nonetheless, this short line is not yet a specific revelation to the recipient.  Rather, all it does is create the dimensions of “up” and “down”, and makes the relationship of an “Influencer” and a “Recipient” possible.  The Rebbe will now begin to explain the aspect of this short line, which is the Heyulie for all subsequent revelations, and is called the Kav HaMidah – The Measuring Line. 
[12] This is to say that it is only the first extension of expression from the point of the Reshimu.
[13] See Etz Chaim, Drush Igullim V’Yosher, Shaar 1, Anaf 2.
[14] Clearly, this statement of the Etz Chaim refers to this primal aspect of the Kav – Line of Revelation, which is known as the Kav HaMidah – The Measuring Line.
[15] For example, a ruler or yardstick is not the size of a building.  Nonetheless, one is capable of measuring the dimensions of any building with this measuring rod.
[16] Similarly, this Kav HaMidah – Measuring Line may be understood through the teacher/student relationship.  The Kav HaMidah represents the teacher’s ability to “measure” the student.  This is to say that before he can begin an actual line of explanation, he must first “measure” exactly how “long” or “broad” the line must be.  If he is speaking to his intellectual equal, the line need not be very long, and he does not have to bring the concept down so far.  In contrast, if he is teaching young children, the line must be much longer in order to bring the concept down to their intellectual capacity.  It is clear that this “short line” precedes the actual line of explanation and revelation to the recipients, and is only a “measuring line” to “size up” the recipient and assess what he is capable of receiving.
[17] That is, one is capable of writing any letter with this line, but it itself does not constitute any of the letters.  It is merely a Heyulie –a potential ability to bring about the dimensions of the length and width of a plane.  (On another note, this short line is the potentiality for tangible “letters” of explanation and expression, while it itself is higher and more essential than the “letters” of tangible explanations and expressions.)
[18] This ability to bring forth a length of expression and explanation comes specifically from the essential knowledge of the influencer and is totally unified with him.  It is not something separate from him, but is an essential ability like any other ability.  That is, if he so wishes, he can choose to express himself in the limited revelation of a line.  Furthermore, he is capable of bringing this depth down, even to the comprehension of a child.  This is specifically because he comprehends the concept essentially, as explained in chapter two.  Likewise here, regarding the Kav HaMidah, it is an essential ability of G-d, that since He is all-capable and possesses an essential knowledge of Himself, He is therefore capable of expressing Himself in a limited fashion.
[19] As in the analogies given previously, were the teacher to express his knowledge according to his own understanding of the subject, he would not be revealing anything to a recipient who is not on his level of knowledge or intellectual capabilities.  On the contrary, it would actually be concealing knowledge, since it would be totally above the “head” of the student.  It is specifically this “line of measurement” which allows one to “assess” and “measure” the recipient and formulate a line of expression or explanation that is tailored to the capabilities of any recipient, each student according to his level and capabilities.
[20] Continuing the previous example, although this is like a lessened explanation, such as an allegory given to a student in order to convey a deep concept, it nevertheless has a similarity to the essential light of the concept, which it comes to explain. Otherwise the allegory would not “fit” with the concept.  Furthermore, it is through this “lessened explanation” and “secondary light” that the student will come to grasp the essential light of the essence of the concept itself.
[21] Because of the fact that this Kav HaMidah - Line of Measurement, represents the ability to express and reveal influence to any recipient on any level, it itself cannot actually be considered to be limited at all.  This is to say that, this too, is the same infinite ability of G-d.  For, with this line he can reveal Himself on any level, whether it is the highest spiritual level in the highest worlds, or even to us lowly, insignificant and limited creatures.  Therefore, this “line” is the Heyulie ability to assess and measure any line of revelation to any recipient.  As will be explained in the following chapter, the three aspects spoken about up to this point; the Infinite Light, Tzimtzum & Reshimu, and the Measuring Line, represent three equal abilities in G-d’s essence (although they do follow one from the other).  The Infinite Light indicates G-d’s ability to reveal Himself Infinitely, as He is in His essence, the Tzimtzum and Reshimu indicate G-d’s infinite ability to conceal Himself infinitely and withdraw all revelation completely and the Kav HaMidah – Measuring Line indicates G-d’s infinite ability to reveal Himself on any level between the two extremes of absolute revelation and absolute concealment, to any recipient on any level.