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As Divided for a Leap Year
Tanya for 15 Shevat
Thus, G-d's speech and thought are united with Him in absolute union, just like the speech and thought of man [before he actually expresses them as speech and thought, rather] as they are while still in his faculty of wisdom and intellect, or [as they exist] in a desire or craving that are still in the heart, before they rise from the heart to the brain, there to be meditated upon with the letters of thought. 
At that point [before one speaks or thinks], the letters of his speech and thought, which evolve from the [aforementioned] longing and desire, were still in a potential state in the heart, where they were absolutely unified with their source, namely, the wisdom and intellect in the brain, and the longing and desire in the heart.
[In the case of a mortal, his thought and speech are completely unified with him before he speaks; at that point the letters which constitute his thought and speech are still telescoped within their source. In the case of the Creator, however, His "thought" and "speech" remain unified with Him even after He "thinks" and "speaks": they are always within their source - the omnipresent G-d, as the Alter Rebbe now concludes]:
Precisely so, by way of analogy, are G-d's "speech" and "thought" absolutely united with His essence and being even after His "speech" has already become materialized in the creation of the worlds, just as it was united with Him before the worlds were created.
Thus, for G-d, nothing whatever was changed [by the revelation of His creative power in Creation. The change wrought by Creation] exists only with regard to the created beings, who receive their life-force from G-d's Word when it proceeds [from concealment] to actualization, with the creation of the worlds.
[For the created beings, the revelation of the creative power contained in G-d's Word represents the greatest possible change - the passage from nonexistence to existence, since they come into being only when the Divine Word begins to actually create worlds]. At which time it clothes itself in these worlds, to give them life.
[This process takes place] through a gradual descent from level to level [with the higher level referred to as the Ilah, the "cause", and the lower level - the Alul, the "effect]", and a downward gradation by means of numerous and various contractions [tzimtzumim, i.e., a progressive decrease in the intensity of the revealed Divine powers.
G-d's Word descends and is contracted] to the point where the created beings can derive their life-force and existence from it, without losing their identity.
[An undimmed revelation of the G-dly life-force would create beings whose identity would be utterly nullified within their life-force.
It was G-d's intention that His creations perceive themselves to be separate from Him, and that through their *own* efforts they *achieve* a spirit of self-nullification vis-a-vis their Creator.
To this end, G-d revealed His creative power only through a series of contractions, whose effect the Alter Rebbe now goes on to explain]:
- (Back to text) See ch. 20, above.
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