We are learning Shaar Hayichud Veha’emunah. Until now we learned about the Yichud part, understanding how Hashem is one even though it looks like the world is separate. Now we will learn about the Emunah part, why we need to accept this with Emunah and can’t understand it with any mashal.
We’ve been learning in Shaar Hayichud Veha’emunah how to do the mitzvah of “Da Es Elokei Avicha,” knowing Hashem. Hashem gave us kochos in our neshama through which we can learn to understand Hashem — because these are an expression of HASHEM’s kochos!
- For example, just like with our sechel we can know things, Hashem knows everything in the world with His chochmah, and that is what gives it chayus! (That’s called the chayus of Sovev Kol Almin.)
- Just like when we are kind we share with others, Hashem uses His chesed to share His goodness in the world.
- Just like we use our gevurah to hide the way we feel from others, Hashem uses His gevurah to hide Himself so we won’t be able to see Him and the world will be able to exist.
- Even though we could just talk all day, we say specific words to give other people a specific message. The same way, Hashem has a koach which is Ein Sof, but He uses specific words (the Asara Maamaros) to make each part of the world look like the way we see it now.
Even though not all of these mashalim are EXACT, they still help us to understand Hashem.
But there is one thing that is VERY different by Hashem, and we have no mashal for it! What we know, what we feel, what we say, and what we do are all different things. Also, if we learn something new, it means that now we know MORE — something changed.
But with Hashem, it’s not that way! “Ata Hu Ad Shelo Nivra Haolam, Ata Hu Mishenivrah Haolam” — after the world was created, it is just like before — nothing changed. And all of the kochos of Hashem are not separate things, they are all one, because Hashem is One! This is something that every Yid believes, even though we can’t understand it.
That’s why this part of Tanya is called Shaar Hayichud Veha’emunah, because first we learn as much as we can to understand Hashem using the mashalim Hashem made. But when we run out of mashalim, we use our emunah to know that “Hashem Echad!”
So we have no mashal to understand Achdus Hashem, how Hashem — together with all of His chochmah and His midos and all of the malochim and all of the Ruchnius and all of the Gashmius and the whole world — is one with Him.
Actually, we don’t even have a mashal to understand Hashem at all! We have mashalim to understand the Ruchnius sefiros Hashem created, like chesed and gevurah, because Hashem put those kochos into our neshamos too. But Hashem is not just His sefiros, and there is no way that a person can really understand that!
Of course, if we can’t understand Hashem at all, we for sure can’t understand how all the many creations of Hashem are one with Him!
Over the next few days the Alter Rebbe will show us the mashalim we have for each of our kochos, and how even the highest koach of the neshama tells us only about a koach Hashem created, and nothing about Hashem.
Today, we will learn which is the highest koach of our neshama. Then we’ll see how this mashal tells us nothing about Hashem (Hakadosh Baruch Hu bichvodo uve’atzmo).
There are five levels in how the neshama expresses itself. From lowest to highest:
1) Maaseh: (doing)
2) Dibur: (talking)
3) Machshava: (thinking)
4) Midos: (feeling)
5) Chochmah: (knowing)
Even chochmah, which is the highest, really isn’t a mashal for Hashem!
That’s why when we think about Hashem, we have Emunah in Hashem’s greatness and Emunah in how Hashem is one with everything He created. We use our mashalim (that Hashem wants us to use) for the little bit we are given permission to know.