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As Divided for a Regular Year
Tanya for 4 Nisan
In the physical body [of a living creature], and in an absolutely inanimate [being] such as stones or earth, [in which no life or spirituality are apparent, since they lack even the power of growth, the ray [of the divine creative power] is in a state of unparalleled contraction.
So minute is the life-force [within these inanimate beings] that they lack even the power of growth.
In vegetation, the ray is not so greatly contracted; [the phenomenon of growth indicates the presence of something more than mere physical matter; some degree of spirituality is in evidence].
In general [all things in this world] are divided into four categories: mineral, vegetable, animal and man [lit., "the speaker"], corresponding to the four letters of the Divine Name [the Tetragrammaton] from which they are derived.
[Each of these four categories receives its vitality from one of the four letters].
Now, just as the illumination and the flow of vitality found in the mineral and vegetable [categories] bears no comparison or likeness to the illumination and flow of vitality clothed in animals and man [since in the latter two categories it is clearly apparent that they are alive] - although in all [four categories] the [divine animating] light is the same in terms of the "concealment of Countenance" [i.e, in all four categories the inner aspect of the divine light is concealed equally], and in all [four categories the light] is clothed in the same garment, namely the garment [i.e., veil] of nogah; [hence, in none of these categories is it apparent that their vitality is actually G-dliness - yet despite this equality, the vitality of inanimate beings and plants is incomparable to that of animals and man];
Similarly, there is no comparison or likeness between the illumination and flow of the blessed Ein Sof-light - meaning the inner aspect of His Will, without "concealment of Countenance" and with no garment whatsoever - as it radiates in and is clothed within the mitzvot consisting of action - whether actual action, or mitzvot performed through speech and verbal articulation which is regarded as actual action as mentioned above - when performed without kavanah.
[The illumination of Ein Sof found in these mitzvot bears no likeness or comparison] with the [superior] illumination and flow of the blessed Ein Sof-light radiating and clothed in the kavanah of the mitzvot of action, meaning man's intention to attach himself to G-d by fulfilling His Will [as expressed in the mitzvot], since He and His Will are one.
Similarly with regard to kavanah in prayer, the recital of Shema and its blessings, and in other blessings, where, through one's kavanah in them, he attaches his thought and intellect to G-d.
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