Shaar HaYichud The Gate of Unity Chapter 16

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 Sixteen



והנה מעתה יש להבין בפרטי ענין הקו וחוט זה, איך שיש בו בחי' מקיפים ופנימים

We must now understand the specifics of the matter of this Line and Thread (Kav V’Chut), [and] how it has [both] the aspects of encompassing [lights] and inner [lights].[1] 

כמ''ש בע''ח מתעגל וחוזר ומתעגל כו' (כמ''ש במ''א באריכות)

This is as stated in Etz Chaim[2], “It circles, and returns, and re-encircles”, (as explained elsewhere at length).[3] 

ובחי' מקיף ועיגול הראשון הוא הנק' טה''ת כו', והוא בחי' המקיף הכללי שמקיף לד' עולמות דאבי''ע בשוה כמ''ש בע''ח

[It is] this aspect of the first encompassing circle which is called “the Lower Purity”.[4]  This is the aspect of the general encompassing [light], which encompasses the four worlds of ABY”A[5] equally, as stated in [the beginning of] Etz Chaim.

ותחלה יש להקדים כללות ענין הקו הזה, איך שהוא בחי' היולי כללי לכל הסתעפות המשכות פרטיים הרבה שמסתעפים ממנו עד סוף העשיה כו' כנ''ל

However, let us first precede with [the explanation] of the general matter of the Line (Kav), [to understand] how it is the aspect of a general Heyulie for all the many particular influences which “branch out” from it, until the end of the [world of] Asiyah, as mentioned previously.

ויובן זה עד''מ הידוע בענין מחשבה כללית

This may be understood by way of the well known analogy regarding the matter of a general thought. 

שבמחשבה זו הכללית צופה ומביט עד סוף כל הדורות בסקירה א' (ובל' הרמב''ם היינו מה שבידיעת עצמו יודע את כל הנבראים כמ''ש במ''א)

With this general thought, “He gazes and sees to the end of all generations…with one glance” .[6]  (As Maimonides[7] expresses it, this is the [meaning of the his] statement, “With the knowledge of Himself, He knows all creatures”, as explained elsewhere at length.)

וביאור הדברים ידוע שיש ב' מיני רצון

As is known, the explanation of these things is that there are two types of desire. 

א' רצון הפשוט שבעצמות שנכלל בעצמותו ממש, שלא נק' עדיין בשם בחי' מח' ורצון כללי כי מתאחד עדיין בעצמותו ממש 

The first is the simple [essential] desire of the Essence, which is literally included in His Essence.  This cannot yet be termed a “general thought or desire”, for it still is totally one with His Essence, literally.[8]

כמו גם שהוחלט רצון זה כבר בעצמו איך לעשות דבר חסד פלוני או איך לדבר ולחשוב אותו או להשכיל שכל פרטי או להיות לו רצון ותענוג בדבר כו'

For example, even if this desire has already been determined within Himself, [that is,] how to do a particular act of kindness, or how to speak or think it, or how to conceptualize a particular concept, or how to have desire or pleasure in a particular thing.

הגם שמתחבר רצון המוחלט הזה אל התפשטות הרצון בדבר הפרטי אבל נשאר כלול בהעלם עצמותו

Nonetheless even though this [essential] determined desire is connected to the extension of the desire to a particular matter, however, it [itself] remains included in His hidden essence.[9] 

וע''כ אין בו עדיין בחי' כלל ופרט כו'

It, Therefore, does not yet have aspects of “general” and “particular”. 

רק כאשר לאח''ז עולה רצון זה שהוחלט אצלו לבוא לידי מעשה בפו''מ הרי יוצא מהעלמו לגלוי

It is only afterwards, when the desire which He determined [in Himself] arises to come [out] into actuality[10] that it becomes revealed out of its hiddenness. 

אז יבוא הרצון בבחי' כלל ופרט, דהיינו מח' כללית שכוללת כל ענין המעשה מראש לסוף בסקירה א'

[Only] then does this desire come to an aspect of “general” and “particular”.  In other words, [now it may be defined as a] general thought which includes the entire [concept of] the act, from beginning to end, in one glance.

ואח''כ מתחלק בו רצונות פרטיים ולכל רצון שכל ומדות כו'

Afterwards, it divides into particular desires, each of which possess intellect and emotions etc.[11] 

ובאין זאח''ז בהשתלשלות זה עליון מקיף לתחתון, כאשר יהיה האופן בתוך האופן כו'

[Each of these desires] come in succession to one another in a chaining down, in which the upper [desire] encompasses the lower[12] [desire], “like a circle within a circle”[13]. 

והוא הנק' רצון המורכב שיש בו כלל ופרט

This [type of desire] is called a “composite” desire, for it [is made up of] a general [desire] and particular [desires].[14]

ויובן זה עד''מ הידוע, אדם שרוצה לבנות בנין גדול כפי הרצון שהוחלת מכבר אצלו להיות בו אופנים מיוחדים דוקא

This may be understood through the well known analogy of a person who desires to build a large building, according to his predetermined desire that it should specifically be [built] in a special manner.[15] 

שאותו הרצון שהוחלט אצלו מכבר, הגם שהוא בא במדה ותענוג מיוחד באופן כך וכך, וממילא בשכל ומדות בא בשיעור ומדה כו', אך כ''ז הוא השיעור וההחלט שבעצמותו עדיין, ונכלל בעצמו והיה כלא היה כו'

Now, even though this predetermined desire comes in a way of a measured, specific pleasure, that it should [specifically] be thus, and it obviously [follows that] the intellect and emotions [of this desire] come with [certain defined] proportions and measurements, nevertheless, all of this is the estimation and predetermination as it still [exists] within his essence. [As of yet] it is [totally] included in his essence, and it is as if it is nonexistent.[16] 

רק כאשר לאחר זמן באה מחשבה זו לבא למעשה, ניכר בו התחלקות אותן אופנים שונים ממש שכבר הוחלט אצלו בכל פרטיהם

Only with the passage of time, when this thought comes to be acted upon, is it that the actual divisions of all these predetermined particulars and various specifications become recognized.

רק שמתחלה בא הרצון הזה בדרך כלל שיהיה לו בנין בציור כך וכך

However, at first, this desire comes in a general manner, i.e. that he should have a building with a particular form.

ואח''כ מתחלק בו רצון פרטי לכל ענין פרטי

Afterwards, it divides into particular desires for each particular detail. 

ויורד ובא בסדר והדרגה מכלל הראשון שכולל הכל בסקירה א' לפרט רצון שהוא נקרא כלל לגבי רצונות המסתעפים ממנו

It [thus] descends with order and levels, [beginning with the first general [desire] which includes everything in one glance, to a particular of this desire.  [Now, the particular desire] is [also] considered to be a general [desire] relative to the [particular] desires which branch from it.

עד שבא אל רצון ושכל פרטי היותר אחרון שבסוף מעשה בכלות הכל כו' וד''ל.

[This process continues] until the very final desire and concept which is the final action, at the conclusion of everything[17].  This will suffice for those of understanding.

והנמשל מכ''ז יובן למעלה בהפרש שבין בחי' טה''ע ובין בחי' טה''ת שלאחר הצמצום

The analogue of all this may be understood [in regard to how it is] above, as far as the difference between the aspects of the Upper Purity and the Lower Purity which follows the Tzimtzum. 

דמה ששיער בעצמו בכח בטה''ע כו' הוא כמו ההחלט ברצון הפשוט שבעצמות הנ''ל

That which He estimated within Himself in potential within the Upper Purity, is similar to the aforementioned determination as it is within the simple desire of the essence.

שעדיין לא בא כלל לבחי' התפשטות חוץ מן העצמות עדיין

As of yet it has not come to an aspect of spreading forth from the Essence altogether.

וגם שיתחבר מרצון המוחלט הזה אל התפשטות הרצון שאח''כ, מ''מ נשאר כלול בהעלם עצמות דאא''ס

Moreover, even though this essential determined desire connects to the extended desire that follows after, nonetheless, it remains included in the hidden essence of the Infinite Light (Atzmoot Ohr Ein Sof)[18]. 

וע''כ למעלה הוא מבחי' כלל להיות נק' צופה ומביט בסקירה א' כו'.

It is therefore above [and beyond] the aspect of a general [desire], to be considered as “[a general desire] which foresees and gazes [at everything] in a single glance”.

אך הרצון הב' הוא אחר הצמצום הנ''ל שעולה רצון הפשוט המוחלט שבעצמות לבא לידי בחי' התפשטות

However, the second desire, which follows the aforementioned Tzimtzum, is when the simple determined desire of the essence comes to the aspect of spreading forth. 

הוא בחי' הקו''ח ההיולי שכולל כל המשכות פרטיות שבו מראשו לסופו כנ''ל

This is the aspect of the Heyulie Line and Thread (Kav V’Chut), which includes every particular issuance from the beginning [of the chaining down] to its end, as previously mentioned.

ובחי' מקיף הראשון שבו הוא הנק' טה''ת, שזהו כמשל רצון הכללי לבנין גדול כולל כל מה שבפרטיו מראשו לסופו בבת א'

The first encompassing [light of this Kav] is called “the Lower Purity”. This is analogous to the general desire for a large building[19].  [This general desire] includes all its particulars from beginning to end, at once.

ואח''כ מתחלק בו בסדר והדרגה מכלל לפרט עד''מ הנ''ל

Afterwards it divides with order and levels [descending] from the general to the particular, as in the aforementioned analogy. 

והיינו כמו כשעלה ברצונו הפשוט ההיולי לבא לגלוי דוקא, היה כולל כל פרטי הרצונות

In other words, as it arose in His simple Heyulie desire, to specifically come out into revelation, it included all the particular desires.

והוא הרצון הכולל כולם, ונק' רצון קדום לכל מה שבא אחריו

This is the desire which includes [and encompasses] them all, and is called, “The Primal Desire” (Ratzon HaKadoom) ]relative[ to everything that follows it.

ואח''כ בא רצון זה דרך פרט כמו הרצון להאציל ובו כלול ע''ס בכל פרטיהם

Afterwards, this desire comes by way of particulars, such as the desire to emanate (Atzilut), within which is included [the desire for the] ten sefirot [of the world of Atzilut] in all of their particulars. 

ועדיין הכל בהעלם עד שבא לידי גלוי שהוא כשנאצל האור בבחי' האצי' כו'

However, all of this is still concealed, until it comes into an aspect of revelation, when the light is emanated in an aspect of [actual] emanation (Atzilut)[20]. 

ואח''כ הרצון לברוא יש מאין כו' ובו שכל ומדות כו'

Following this is the desire to create (Briyah) something from nothing etc. This [desire] includes [the ten sefirot of] intellect and emotions etc.  

עד הרצון היותר אחרון שהוא כל אשר חפץ עשה כו', סוף הכל

[This descent of desires continues] until the final desire, which is, “Everything that G-d desired, He did” [and brought out into actuality]. [This is] the final conclusion of everything[21]. 

וכל פרטים הללו נכללו ברצון הקדום שבא בבחי' השפעה עכ''פ אחר הצמצום

Now, all these particulars were included in the Primal Desire (Ratzon HaKadoom), which comes in an aspect of influence after the [original] Tzimtzum.

והוא בחי' ראשית הקו כו', והיינו עיגול הראשון שאחר המשכת ראשית הקו ההיולי הנ''ל

This, then, is the aspect of the beginning of the Line (Kav).  This is to say, it is the first “circle” which follows the drawing down of the beginning of the aforementioned Heyulie Line (The Kav HaMidah).  

שנק' מקיף כללי לכללות כל הד' עולמות דאבי''ע, שמקיף אותם בשוה

[This first “circle”] is considered to be the general encompassing [light] of the four worlds of ABY”A,[22] and encompasses them [all] equally.

שנק' מח' כללית שצופה ומביט בסקירה א' מראש לסוף הכל כו'

It is [also] called the “general thought” that foresees and “gazes” upon [all of Creation], from beginning to end, in a single glance.

וזהו ביאור ענין כללי לכללות ענין הקו הזה

This, then, is the explanation of the general matter of the whole of this Line – Kav. 

ופרטי אופניו במה שמתעגל וחוזר ומתעגל כו' יובן לפי אופן משל הנ''ל וכמשי''ת בסמוך בעז''ה וד''ל:

All the particular ways that it, “circles and returns and re-encircles…” may be understood according to the aforementioned analogy, as will be explained in the following chapter, G-d willing.  This will suffice for those of understanding.

End of Chapter Sixteen

[1] Encompassing lights are called Makifim, and inner lights are called Pnimim.
[2] See Etz Chaim, Drush Igullim V’Yosher, Shaar 1, Anaf 2.
[3] There are two ways that the aforementioned Kav – Line manifests.  The first is called Igullim – Circles, while the second is called Yosher – Upright.  In this chapter and the next, the Rebbe will explain both, and the differences between them.  In general,  Igullim – Circles, refers to the descent of the all of the particular desires in all of Creation.  In contrast, Yosher – Upright, refers to the manifestation and actualization of the desire.  This will now be explained in greater detail.
[4] Tihiroo Tata’a – The Lower Purity
[5] This is an acronym for the worlds, Atzilut, Briyah, Yetzirah and Asiyah.
[6] See Tractate Rosh HaShana 18a.
[7] See Hilchot Yesodot HaTorah, Chapter 8:9, 10.  Also see Tanya, Chapter 42 and 48.
[8] This is as explained in chapters 10 and 11.  The analogy was given there of the power of movement as it is in the essence.  It cannot be called movement at all, for it is not at all separate from the Essence.  Moreover, it was explained that in the Essence it is impossible to say that one quality becomes “unified” with another essential quality, since they are both literally one with the essence, and are therefore inseparable and indistinguishable from it.  This then also explains the statement of the Zohar, “He who separates one [quality] from the other, it is as if he has separated You”.  Likewise here, the simple essential desire of the Essence cannot be termed a “general thought or desire” which encompasses particulars.  This is because, as explained, it is absolutely one with the Essence, which cannot be described as desire, but only the source of desire.
[9] This is like a human being’s essential taste for something.  That is, it is determined in the very essence of his soul that he will like some things and despise others, in a particular way.  However, this is before he has any revealed desire for it altogether.  This called “Ratzon HaMoochlat – the Determined Desire”, and it corresponds to the aforementioned aspect of the “engraving” which “was engraved” in the Upper Purity.  Because it precedes the first Tzimtzum it is still totally one with the essence, and indistinguishable from it.  For this reason it cannot be called a “general” to a “particular”, since all that exists is the quintessential Singularity of G-d.  (The difference between the analogy and the analogue is that a human being is born with his tastes and essential desires.  In contrast, in G-d, the essential desire is completely according to His absolute free will.)
[10] This is to say that only beginning with the limited revelation of the Kav, after the first Tzimtzum, is it possible for there to be “general” and “particular”. This is because the quintessential Singularity has already been concealed, and there is now an “above” and “below” due to the issuance of the Kav HaMidah – Line of Measurement.
[11] For example, the intellect of the desire is “why he desires this”, and the emotions of the desire is similar to the love which propels one to fulfill the desire or the “hate” which inspires him to stand against anything that opposes it.
[12] In other words, there is the most primal desire for the whole of Creation.  This desire is called the “Machshava HaK’dooma – the Primal Thought”, which views Creation, from beginning to end, as a whole with a single glance.”  However, each particular of this general desire is subdivided into smaller particulars, and each of those contains its particulars etc.  Each desire is only a particular relative to the general desire which encompasses it, but is a general desire relative to the particulars included within it.  In this sense, the desires are like concentric circles.  The most general desire is the most all encompassing, for it encompasses all of the particular desires within it.  Each of the subsequent desires is encompassed by the desires above it, but encompasses the desires below it.  This is compared to the layers of an onion.
[13] Ezekiel 1:16, 10:10
[14] This is to say, it is “composed” of parts: general parts and particular parts.
[15] That is, according to his essential taste, or “Ratzon HaMoochlat – Determined Desire” (which as mentioned previously, refers to the “letters” which were “engraved” in the Upper Purity).
[16] It is as if it does not exist, for all that exists at this point is the very essence itself, and this desire is in no way separate from the essence.  Therefore, it is as if it does not exist at all, except in Heyulie potential, as described in chapters 10 & 11.
[17] For example, in the above analogy, his original primal desire is for a particular dwelling place.  This is the most general desire.  However, the desire for the dwelling place is comprised of particular desires for its various rooms, such as a living room, bath room, kitchen etc.  Here, the desire for the dwelling place is the general desire, whereas the desire for a kitchen is only a particular of the general desire for the house.  Likewise, the desire for a kitchen is general relative to its particulars, such as the desire for a refrigerator, an oven, a toaster and a sink etc.  The desire for an oven, likewise, is general, relative to its particulars.  In the same way, the general desire for all of Creation includes within itself all the particular desires for all the levels of existence which result from it.  Each of these levels is a general desire relative to the levels that follow it, but a particular desire relative to the levels that precede it.  This primal desire (Ratzon HaKadoom), is the all encompassing “circle”, which contains all subsequent desires.  Each subsequent desire encompasses all the particular desires that follow it, and is contained by the desires that precede it.
[18] This is to say that the revealed desire is “bound” with the essential “taste” or “predetermined desire” of the Essence.  It is like a carbon copy of the “engraved letters” of the essential desire, and is exactly according to the estimation which took place in the Essence.  Nonetheless, the simple essential desire itself, does not spread forth into revelation, but rather, it remains concealed within the essence.  This is because it is totally and absolutely one with the Essence and, therefore, on this level, all that exists is the Essence.  It is totally concealed in this absolute unity.  Therefore, this essential desire cannot be called a “general” desire to “particular” desires etc.  This is as previously explained (in chapter 13) that the light of the Essence cannot be considered like an encompassing light which encompasses and surrounds something internal to it (Makif L’Pnimi).  It is only after Tzimtzum, when the quintessential singularity of the Essence of the Infinite Light is concealed, that there is now a revelation of a defined general desire for Creation, and all its particulars.
[19] See footnote 17 of this chapter.
[20] One explanation of this is as follows:  The particular desire for the world of Atzilut has not yet been revealed as a particular desire, out of this general desire for the Creation as a whole.  It is included there as part of the “whole”.  Another explanation of this is that this is only the desire for the world of Atzilut, which encompasses it.  However, we have not yet discussed the actual emanation of the sefirot of the world of Atzilut etc, which is the actualization of the desire.  The actualization of desires will be explained later, in regard to the sefirot of “Yosher – Upright”.
[21] This is to say that this scheme of “Igullim – Circles” represents the desires for everything in all of Creation, from the uppermost realm, until the most particular subatomic particle of this physical world.  All of these desires are included in the general desire, the Ratzon HaKadoom – the Primal Desire, which is the most encompassing circle, and is the first issuance of the Kav - Line.
[22] This is an acronym for the worlds, Atzilut, Briyah, Yetzirah and Asiyah.