In the previous chapter the Alter Rebbe explained why our Sages compare the performance of a mitzvah to a body, and one’s kavanah in performing the mitzvah to a soul.

He stated that kavanah can be classified into two categories, analogous to the two classes of creatures which possess a soul — animals and man.

The higher level of kavanah is that created by an intellectual appreciation of G‑dliness. Upon contemplating G‑d’s greatness, a love and fear of Him is born in one’s heart, which translates into a desire to cleave to Him. This desire in turn motivates one to fulfill the Torah and mitzvot, since they bind him to G‑d, and this motivation is the kavanah in his fulfillment of the Torah and mitzvot. Such kavanah, born of reason and produced by one’s own volition, is analogous to the soul of man, the intelligent being who determines his actions by choice.

The lower level of kavanah is that which stems from an arousal of the soul’s natural, instinctive love and fear of G‑d. Such kavanah is comparable to the soul of an animal, which is ruled by its natural instincts.

The Alter Rebbe now opens ch. 39 by stating that for this reason the angels, who fear and love G‑d by their very nature, are metaphorically called “animals”.

ומפני זה גם כן נקראים המלאכים בשם חיות ובהמות, כדכתיב: ופני אריה אל הימין וגו׳ ופני שור מהשמאל וגו׳

For this reason, too, the angels are called chayyot (“beasts”) and behemot (“animals”), as it is written,1 “and an angel with the face of a lion is to the right of the divine chariot... and the face of an ox is on the left....”

לפי שאינם בעלי בחירה, ויראתם ואהבתם היא טבעית להם, כמו שכתוב ברעיא מהימנא, פרשת פינחס

For they have no freedom of choice between good and evil, as man has. And their fear and love [of G‑d] is natural to them; they need not create fear and love of G‑d through intellectual contemplation of G‑d’s greatness, as is written in Ra‘aya Mehemna (Parshat Pinchas). Because their fear and love of G‑d are natural and instinctive to them, they are compared to animals.

ולכן מעלת הצדיקים גדולה מהם, כי מדור נשמות הצדיקים הוא בעולם הבריאה, ומדור המלאכים בעולם היצירה

Therefore, tzaddikim are on a higher level than them (the angels):2 the abode of the souls of tzaddikim is in the World of Beriah (Creation), whereas the abode of the angels is in the World of Yetzirah (Formation).*


והיינו בסתם מלאכים, אבל יש מלאכים עליונים בעולם הבריאה, שעבודתם בדחילו ורחימו שכליים


This is so [only] in the case of ordinary angels. There are, however, higher angels in the World of Beriah, whose service [of G‑d] is with intelligent fear and love.

כמו שכתוב ברעיא מהימנא שם, שיש שני מיני חיות הקדש, טבעיים ושכליים, וכמו שכתוב בעץ חיים

It is written so in Ra‘aya Mehemna, ibid., that there are two kinds of holy chayyot, instinctive and intelligent (i.e., those whose love and fear are instinctive, and those who create love and fear intellectually), as is also written in Etz Chayim.


The abode of ordinary angels, however, is in the World of Yetzirah; and they are thus lower than the souls of the tzaddikim, whose abode is in Beriah. The Alter Rebbe now explains how intellectually created love and fear are related to Beriah, and instinctive love and fear to Yetzirah.

וההבדל שביניהם הוא

The difference between [Beriah and Yetzirah] is as follows:

כי בעולם היצירה, מאירות שם מדותיו של אין סוף ברוך הוא לבדן, שהן אהבתו ופחדו ויראתו כו׳

In Yetzirah, only the middot of the Blessed Ein Sof radiate (i.e., only the Sefirot of Chesed (kindness), Gevurah (Severity), etc.) — meaning the love of Him (corresponding to Chesed), dread and fear of Him (corresponding to Gevurah), and so on (with the other four middot).

וכמו שכתוב בתקונים ועץ חיים דשית ספירין מקננין ביצירה

For it is thus written (in Tikkunei Zohar and in Etz Chayim) that the six Sefirot (i.e., the six middot, from Chesed through Yesod) “nest” in (i.e., pervade) the World of Yetzirah.

The four partzufim (lit., “countenances”; i.e., configurations of Sefirot) of the Sefirot of Atzilut (the World of Emanation) radiate in the four Worlds — Atzilut, Beriah, Yetzirah and (the World of Action, viz.,) Asiyah; one partzuf predominates in each World, representing the manifestation of G‑dliness in that World.

These partzufim are: (a) Chochmah (Wisdom); (b) Binah (Understanding); (c) Ze‘er Anpin (lit., “The Small Image”; i.e., the six middot); (d) Malchut (Sovereignty).

In Atzilut, Chochmah is the dominant partzuf. Atzilut is thus pervaded with an atmosphere of utter self-nullification before G‑d; for Chochmah, the dominant influence in that World, represents the perception that “Ein Sof is One alone, and there is naught besides Him” (as discussed in ch. 35).

In Beriah (also called the “World of the Throne”), Binah is the dominant partzuf. Beriah is therefore a World of intellect; the souls and angels of Beriah are distinguished by superior intellectual appreciation of G‑dliness.

Yetzirah is dominated by the six middot (which together constitute the partzuf of Ze‘er Anpin ). It is therefore a World of emotion; the creatures of Yetzirah serve G‑d with great emotional intensity.

Asiyah, the lowest World, is dominated by the partzuf of Malchut. G‑d’s attribute of Sovereignty evokes subservience in His subjects; therefore, in our service of G‑d in this World, the emphasis is on “accepting the yoke of heaven.”

To return to our subject: Middot are the dominant influence in Yetzirah.

ולכן זאת היא עבודת המלאכים, תמיד יומם ולילה לא ישקוטו, לעמוד ביראה ופחד וכו׳

Therefore, this is the service of the angels whose abode is in Yetzirah, as mentioned above, constantly, never ceasing day or night, to stand in fear and dread [of G‑d].

והיינו כל מחנה גבריאל, שמהשמאל

This refers to the entire host of [angels under] Gabriel, which is on the left. “Left” represents the middah of Gevurah, which evokes fear and awe. Therefore all these angels stand in constant fear of G‑d.

ועבודת מחנה מיכאל היא האהבה כו׳

The service of the host of [angels under] Michael, on the other hand, is love [of G‑d]; they stand in constant adoration of G‑dliness, corresponding to the middah of Chesed, and so on.

Thus, because middot constitute the dominant partzuf in Yetzirah, the service of the creatures of Yetzirah consists of emotion.

אבל בעולם הבריאה מאירות שם חכמתו ובינתו ודעתו של אין סוף ברוך הוא, שהן מקור המדות, ואם ושרש להן

But in the World of Beriah radiate the Chochmah, Binah and Daat of the Blessed Ein Sof (i.e., the upper three Sefirot — ChaBaD — of Atzilut), which are the source of middot, and their “mother” and root.

וכדאיתא בתקונים דאימא עילאה מקננא בתלת ספירן בכרסיא, שהוא עולם הבריאה

For it is written thus in Tikkunei Zohar, that Imma Ila‘ah (lit., “The Supernal Mother”; i.e., the Sefirah of Binah, described as “mother” of the World of Atzilut) “nests” (radiates) in “the Throne,” meaning the World of Beriah, with three Sefirot of Atzilut: Chochmah, Binah and Daat.

ולכן הוא מדור נשמות הצדיקים, עובדי ה׳ בדחילו ורחימו הנמשכות מן הבינה ודעת דגדולת אין סוף ברוך הוא

Because these three Sefirot — ChaBaD — of the Ein Sof radiate in the World of Beriah, it is therefore the abode of the souls of those tzaddikim who serve G‑d with a fear and love that stem from understanding and knowledge of G‑d’s greatness,

שאהבה זו נקרא רעותא דלבא, כנ״ל

this love being called re‘uta delibba (lit., “the heart’s desire,” i.e., a desire created by intellect, as opposed to desire that transcends intellect), as mentioned above.

ומרעותא דלבא נעשה לבוש לנשמה בעולם הבריאה, שהוא גן עדן העליון, כדלקמן, וכמו שכתוב בזהר, ויקהל

From this re‘uta delibba a garment is formed for the soul in the World of Beriah, which is the Higher Garden of Eden, as will be discussed further, and as is written in the Zohar, Parshat Vayakhel. The Lower Garden of Eden is in Yetzirah, and the Higher Garden of Eden in Beriah.