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As Divided for a Leap Year
Tanya for 12 Iyar
Now, as for the intricate details of the "contractions", how they achieve their effect and what they actually are, - this is not the place for their explanation.
But in general they are something in the nature of an obscuring and concealment of the flow of light and vitality, so that [the light and vitality] should illumine and reach the lower creatures in a revealed manner, pervading them and acting in them and animating them in such a way that they exist ex nihilo in only an extremely minute measure, so that they be in a state of finitude and limitation.
[Were their life-force to be revealed within them they would be infinite.
"Contraction" ensures that the light and vitality which is their life- force remains concealed from them; all that is revealed is but a minute degree of light and vitality].
This [light and vitality that is revealed within them after the "contraction]" constitutes an infinitesimal illumination, and is truly considered as naught when compared with the quality of the limitless and infinite illumination, and there is no reference or relationship between them, [i.e., they are not quantitatively different, not even immensely different in quantity, but of a wholly different and incomparable quality].
As the term "reference" is understood in number values, where the number one has a relevancy to the number one million, for it is a one-millionth part of it.
[The sum of one million is merely the sum of one million ones; subtract but one and the million ceases to exist - a clear demonstration of the relation that subsists between one and a million].
But as regards a thing which transcends finitude and numeration, there is no number - [however great] - that can be relative to it, for a billion and a trillion  when compared to infinity do not even attain the relevancy of the value of one in comparison with a billion or a trillion.
[For the sum of one retains some degree of relevance even when compared to a trillion - it is, in fact, one trillionth of it - while even a sum as large a trillion has no relevance at all when compared to the realm of the infinite], but is veritably accounted as nothing.
- (Back to text) "Text of Nishmat; Sifrei, beginning of Parshat Vaetchanan." (-Note of the Rebbe Shlita.)
It would seem that the Rebbe here explains why the Alter Rebbe specifically chose to mention these two numbers: they are cited in the prayer beginning "Nishmat...," in accordance with the passage in Sifrei indicated above.
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