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As Divided for a Leap Year
Tanya for 15 Sivan
 (The tzimtzum and concealing of the life-force is called [in kabbalistic terminology] kelim "[vessels]", and the life-force itself is called or "[light]",  [which signifies revelation].
For just as a vessel covers that which is within it, so does the tzimtzum cover and conceal the light and the life-force that flows [into created beings, and this tzimtzum makes it impossible for them to perceive the G-dliness that is vested within them.
The kelim are verily the letters [of the Ten Divine Utterances or their substitutions and transpositions, etc. which are the life-force of created beings, and - [all these letters] - are rooted in the five letters  Mem Nun Tzadi Peh Chaf.
[It is explained in the Kabbalah that these are the source of all letters], - since they represent five degrees of Gevurah [i.e., five restraining forces] that divide and separate the breath and voice in the five organs of speech, thus enabling the twenty-two letters to be formed.
[Just as the five physical organs of speech divide sounds and letters into five separate categories (labial, guttural, etc.), so too do the five spiritual levels of Gevurah give rise to the twenty-two supernal letters].
The source of the five levels of Gevurah is [termed in the Kabbalah], Butzina deKardunita, [which is Aramaic for (lit.) "light out of darkness," signifying a level of concealment that transcends light].
This is the supernal Gevurah of Atik Yomin, [the spiritual level of Keter that transcends all Worlds, including Atzilut]; and, correspondingly, the source of [the various levels of Divine] kindness is Chesed of Atik Yomin, as is known to those well versed in the Esoteric Wisdom,)  [i.e., the Kabbalah].
[Since the tzimtzum and the letters (on the one hand) and the revelation of the Divine light and life-force (on the other hand) both emanate from the level of Atik Yomin, it follows that the tzimtzum does not effect an objective concealment, as viewed from their common source Above. For, as previously explained, "No entity can conceal itself from itself."
Thus, tzimtzum affects and is only felt by created beings, who because of this concealment are unable to perceive the Divine life- force that continuously creates them. This is necessary in order for them to think of themselves as independently existing - a state which must be felt by them if they are to "tangibly exist."
In truth, however, they are utterly nullified within their source Above.
- (Back to text) The parenthesis is in the original text.
- (Back to text) The Sefirot are comprised of both "lights" and "vessels", which are, respectively, the infinite and the finite aspects of the Sefirot. The function of the "lights" is to reveal; the function of the "vessels" is to conceal, i.e., to allow "light" to be revealed in proportion to the capacity of the finite beings.
- (Back to text) These five letters have two alternative forms, one of which is used when it terminates a word. Since their use in this way restricts the appearance of any other further letters, it is an act of limitation, and hence an expression of the attribute of Gevurah.
- (Back to text) The closing parenthesis is missing in many editions of Tanya. See the commentary of the Rebbe Shlita, which appears below, following chapter 5.
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