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As Divided for a Leap Year
Tanya for 12 Adar II
This is the lowest of worlds in terms of the degree of revelation of the divine creative power: it is hidden in this world as it is in no other world.
G-d desired precisely this world, pervaded as it is with "doubled and redoubled darkness," as His "abode", where His presence would ultimately be revealed to a greater degree than it is revealed in the higher worlds, without any concealing "garments" whatever.
This will come to pass in the Messianic era, the period for which the world was originally created, when G-dliness will be manifest throughout the world, so that all the nations on earth will experience divine revelation].
Now this ultimate perfection of the Messianic era and [the time of] the resurrection of the dead, meaning the revelation of Ein Sof-light in this physical world, is dependent on our actions and [divine] service throughout the period of exile [unlike the aforementioned revelation at Sinai, which was initiated by G-d].
For it is the mitzvah itself that causes [i.e., creates its reward].
[The Rebbe Shlita notes: Unlike, for example, the wages paid by the owner of a field to the laborer who plows and plants in it, where the laborer does not create the money he is paid, a mitzvah actually creates its own reward].
For by performing [the mitzvah] man draws the revelation of the blessed Ein Sof-light from above downwards, to be clothed in the physicality of this world, [i.e.], in an object which had heretofore been under the dominion of kelipat nogah and had received its vitality from this kelipah; namely, all pure, permissible objects with which the act of the mitzvah is performed.
[By performing the mitzvah, man draws the Ein Sof-light upon the object with which it is performed.
The Alter Rebbe now illustrates his phrase - "pure, permissible objects with which the act of the mitzvah is performed," citing as examples one object from each of the three categories: animal life, vegetative, and inanimate life].
For example, the parchment of the tefillin, mezuzah and Sefer Torah [which must be made of the skins of permissible, kosher animals].
As our Sages state:  "For the `work of heaven' [i.e., mitzvah objects] only that which is pure and permissible to eat may be used."
[The parchment derived from such animals is, however, under the dominion of kelipat nogah until one uses it for tefillin, etc., when the mitzvah draws upon the parchment a revelation of Ein Sof-light.
Similarly, an etrog which is not orlah * [the forbidden fruit of a tree's first three harvests], or money given to charity that has not been acquired through theft, and their like [i.e., other physical objects used in performing a mitzvah, all of which were previously in the realm of kelipat nogah, and - as the Alter Rebbe will conclude presently - are now merged into the Divine Will by serving the purpose of a mitzvah].
* NOTE[When performed, however, with pure and permissible objects, the mitzvah elevates those objects from kelipat nogah to holiness, to be united with the Ein Sof-light, as teh Alter Rebbe coontinues],
[In reference to his earlier stipulation that an etrog not be orlah, and that charity be honestly acquired, the Alter Rebbe notes]:
For orlah is of the three completely unclean kelipot that can never ascend into holiness, as is written in Etz Chayim; thus fruit which is orlah, deriving its vitality from these kelipot, cannot be elevated by having a mitzvah performed with it.
Similarly any mitzvah whose performance involved a transgression (G-d forbid). Since the sinful act receives its vitality from the three completely unclean kelipot, the resulting mitzvah cannot elevate it.
END OF NOTE
- (Back to text) See Shabbat 108a.
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