At this point the Alter Rebbe resumes the thought begun earlier, where it was pointed out that Jacob referred to G‑d as “E‑l, G‑d of Israel,” for the soul of Jacob (otherwise known as Israel) was illumined with all the aspects of the Divine radiance, just as was the soul of Adam.
והנה שופריה דיעקב מעין שופריה דאדם הראשון
Now “The consummate beauty of Jacob resembles the consummate beauty of Adam,”
שתיקן חטא אדם הראשון
for he rectified the sin of Adam.
והיתה נשמתו גם כן כלולה מכל הנשמות שבישראל, מעולם עד עולם
His soul, too, comprised all the souls of Israel, “from world to world,” i.e., both those of the “Revealed World” as well as the “Concealed World.”
והיה מרכבה לתורה שלמעלה, שנקראת בשם אדם
Moreover, he was a vehicle for the Torah in its heavenly state, which is referred to as Adam,
This phrase reflects the wording of a verse which begins with the words, זאת התורה אדם... — “This is the law: A man...” Interpreted on the level of derush, these words have been taken literally to mean: “This is the Torah — Adam.”
כמו שכתוב: ועל דמות הכסא דמות כמראה אדם וגו׳
as it is written, “And on the likeness of the throne there was a likeness as the appearance of Adam” [lit., “of a man”], and the latter term, as is explained in the Kabbalah, refers to the Torah.
וכמו שכתוב: וזאת לפנים בישראל גו׳
It is likewise written: “And this (זאת) was the custom in former time in Israel...,”
That, at least, is the plain meaning of the phrase quoted. On the interpretative level of derush, however, each of the three Hebrew words is here construed as follows: זאת (as taught in the Zohar) connotes “Torah”; לפנים — “within”; בישראל — “in Israel the Patriarch.” At this level, the quoted phrase thus means that “the Torah is [implanted] within, in Israel the Patriarch.”
אין זאת אלא תורה
and “זאת refers only to the Torah.”
שהיתה כלולה ומלובשת בנשמת ישראל סבא, הכלולה מכל הנשמות
For the Torah was contained and vested within the soul of “Israel the Patriarch,” which compounded all the souls. (The quoted phrase refers both to Jacob in the mortal world and to his Supernal source, which is also known by this name.)
Now in addition, Jacob, or “Israel the Patriarch,” was a vessel capable of receiving the radiance of the Torah. Hence:
וזהו: ויקרא לו אל אלקי ישראל
This is the meaning [of the above-quoted phrase], “And he called Him E‑l, G‑d of Israel”:
אל: לשון המשכת הארה מאור אין סוף ברוך הוא מההעלם אל הגילוי
Since the Name E‑l denotes the Divine attribute of Chesed, which finds expression in G‑d’s desire to communicate His hidden light, [Jacob’s use of] the Name E‑l signifies [man’s] calling forth the radiation from the [infinite] Ein Sof-light, which is clothed in the Torah, from concealment to manifestation,
להאיר בבחינת גילוי בנשמתו
so that it should illumine manifestly in man’s soul.
וכמו שכתוב: אל הויה ויאר לנו
Thus, too, it is written: “E‑l is the L‑rd, and He has given us light,” indicating likewise that the Divine Name E‑l connotes illumination.
Thus, when we say that Jacob called G‑d “E‑l,” we imply that he called forth and drew down into his soul an all-encom-passing revelation of the [infinite] Ein Sof-light that comprises all the particular details of the Torah and its mitzvot.
ואחריו כל ישרי לב, העוסקים בתורה ובמצות, מאיר אור ה׳ אין סוף ברוך הוא בבחינת גילוי בנשמתם
and after [Jacob], the [infinite] Ein Sof-light shines openly into the souls of all the upright of heart who engage in the Torah and the mitzvot.
“The upright of heart” alludes to those individuals within whom the G‑dly illumination found in the intellect descends to the heart, where it inspires them with a love and an awe of G‑d. These spiritual emotions in turn add vitality to their study of Torah and their performance of the mitzvot.
The Divine radiation felt by these individuals is termed “our portion” (חלקנו, as in the quotation with which this epistle opened). This is the particular G‑dly illumination which permeates a Jew’s soul through his performance of each and every commandment, and which is a portion and part of the all-encompassing illumination comprising 613 “parts”.
וזמן גילוי זה ביתר שאת ויתר עז, ההארה במוחם ולבם
The most elevating and most powerful manifestation of this [Divine] radiance in their mind and heart
הוא בשעת התפלה, כמו שכתוב במקום אחר
occurs at the time of prayer, as is explained else-where.
It is by means of the ladder of prayer that all of a man’s mitzvot ascend; this same ladder also serves as the conduit through which the resultant Divine radiance and revelation descend to this world.