The Alter Rebbe had stated earlier that a person’s intention while performing Torah and mitzvot should be that his soul cleave to G-d.

He now goes on to say that a Jew’s spiritual service also includes the goal of becoming one with all the Jewish people. For this reason, his intentions should not be limited to having his own soul cleave to G-d but also that the source of his soul and the source of all the souls of Israel cleave to Him.

By doing so, the individual brings about the union (yichud) of the higher and lower levels of G-dliness known respectively as Kudsha Brich Hu (“the Holy One, blessed be He”) and His Shechinah (“the Divine Presence”), for the former is the source of Torah and mitzvot, and the latter is the source of all Jewish souls.

This explains the concluding phrase of the formula recited before the performance of certain mitzvot: “For the sake of the union of Kudsha Brich Hu with His Shechinah…in the name of all Israel. As the Rebbe notes: “In the name of all Israel” implies that the union achieved through the performance of the mitzvah is for the sake of, and in the name of, all of Israel. For it is with the Shechinah that Kudsha Brich Hu is united, and the Shechinah is the source of all Jewish souls. In the Alter Rebbe’s words:

Yet, in fact, the Sages, of blessed memory, have said that “a man should never separate himself from the community.”17

אַךְ אָמְנָם, אָמְרוּ רַבּוֹתֵינוּ־זִכְרוֹנָם־לִבְרָכָה: "לְעוֹלָם אַל יוֹצִיא אָדָם עַצְמוֹ מִן הַכְּלָל",

Therefore, he should intend to unite and attach to Him, blessed be He, the source of his divine soul and in addition the source of the souls of all Israel,

לָכֵן יִתְכַּוֵּין לְיַחֵד וּלְדָבְקָה בּוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ, מְקוֹר נַפְשׁוֹ הָאֱלֹהִית וּמְקוֹר נַפְשׁוֹת כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל,

[this source] being the spirit of His mouth, called by the name “Shechinah” because it dwells (shochenet) and clothes itself in all worlds, animating them and giving them existence,

שֶׁהוּא רוּחַ פִּיו יִתְבָּרֵךְ, הַנִּקְרָא בְּשֵׁם "שְׁכִינָה", עַל שֵׁם שֶׁשּׁוֹכֶנֶת וּמִתְלַבֶּשֶׁת תּוֹךְ כָּל עָלְמִין לְהַחֲיוֹתָן וּלְקַיְּימָן,

and it is the Shechinah which imbues him with the power of speech to utter his current words of Torah or with the power of action to perform the particular commandment at hand.

וְהִיא הִיא – הַמַּשְׁפַּעַת בּוֹ כֹּחַ הַדִּבּוּר הַזֶּה שֶׁמְּדַבֵּר בְּדִבְרֵי תוֹרָה, אוֹ כֹּחַ הַמַּעֲשֶׂה הַזֶּה לַעֲשׂוֹת מִצְוָה זוֹ.

One should thus intend to become united with the infinite Ein Sof-light through speaking words of Torah or performing a commandment. For it is the Shechinah which is the source of his power of speech and action as well as the source of his divine soul and the souls of all Israel.

This union of the source of Jewish souls with G-d is attained through drawing forth the light of the blessed Ein Sof here below by being occupied in the Torah and the commandments wherein it (the light of the Ein Sof) is clothed.

וְיִחוּד זֶה, הוּא עַל יְדֵי הַמְשָׁכַת אוֹר־אֵין־סוֹף בָּרוּךְ־הוּא לְמַטָּה, עַל יְדֵי עֵסֶק הַתּוֹרָה וְהַמִּצְוֹת שֶׁהוּא מְלוּבָּשׁ בָּהֶן.

And he should be intent on drawing His blessed light over the source of his soul and of the souls of all Israel so as to unite them with Him.

וְיִתְכַּוֵּין לְהַמְשִׁיךְ אוֹרוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ עַל מְקוֹר נַפְשׁוֹ וְנַפְשׁוֹת כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל לְיַיחֲדָן,

The meaning of this union will be discussed at length later on; note there.

וּכְמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר לְקַמָּן פֵּירוּשׁ יִחוּד זֶה בַּאֲרִיכוּת, עַיֵּין שָׁם.

This, then, is the meaning of the words we recite before performing various commandments: “For the sake of the union of Kudsha Brich Hu with His Shechinah…in the name of all Israel.”

וְזֶהוּ פֵּירוּשׁ "לְשֵׁם יִחוּד קוּדְשָׁא־בְּרִיךְ־הוּא וּשְׁכִינְתֵּיהּ בְּשֵׁם כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל".

That is to say, one’s observance of the commandments unites Kudsha Brich Hu (the source of Torah and mitzvot) with the Shechinah in the name of all the Jewish people, for the Shechinah is the source of the souls of them all.

The Alter Rebbe now notes that much more than the union of divine soulsand G-d is accomplished by the study of Torah and the performance of mitzvot. These activities also bring about hamtakat hadinim, the tempering (lit., “sweetening”) of harsh judgment and Gevurot and their transformation into kindness and Chasadim.

This is effected through the coalescing of the supernal sefirot of chesed and gevurah (kindness and severity). These sefirot, which by nature are opposites, are fused into one through the revelation and diffusion of a divine light which is spiritually superior to them both.

This light is the supernal will drawn down upon these two attributes through the performance of Torah and mitzvot, for inasmuch as Torah and mitzvot are expressions of the Divine will, their spirituality far surpasses the spirituality of the sefirot of chesed and gevurah.

When the Divine will—the source of supernal kindness—is revealed through the study of Torah and the performance of mitzvot, the attributes of kindness and severity are united, and severity is transformed into kindness.

In the Alter Rebbe’s words:

Thereby, i.e., through the performance of Torah and mitzvot, the Gevurot will, of themselves, also be sweetened by the Chasadim through the coalescence of the middot and their union,

וְגַם ﬠַל יְדֵי זֶה יִתְמַתְּקוּ גַם כֵּן הַגְּבוּרוֹת בַּחֲסָדִים מִמֵּילָא, בְּהִתְכַּלְלוּת הַמִּדּוֹת וְיִחוּדָם,

by means of the revelation of the supernal will, which is revealed on high through the stimulus from below,

ﬠַל יְדֵי גִילּוּי רָצוֹן הָﬠֶלְיוֹן בָּרוּךְ־הוּא, הַמִּתְגַּלֶּה לְמַﬠְלָה בְּאִתְﬠָרוּתָא דִלְתַתָּא,

namely, its revelation here below in one’s occupation in the Torah and commandments, for they are His blessed will.

הוּא גִילּוּיוֹ לְמַטָּה בְּﬠֵסֶק הַתּוֹרָה וְהַמִּצְוָה שֶׁהֵן רְצוֹנוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ;

Thus, when a Jew reveals and draws down G-d’s will into this world as a result of his spiritual activities, the Divine will will also be revealed in the supernal sefirot, resulting in the unification and coalescing of the middot so that the Gevurot are sweetened by and transformed into Chasadim.

Thus it is written in Idra Rabba and in Mishnat Chassidim, Tractate Arich Anpin, ch. 4,

וּכְמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב בְּאִדְרָא רַבָּא וּבְמִשְׁנַת חֲסִידִים מַסֶּכֶת אֲרִיךְ אַנְפִּין פֶּרֶק ד',

that the 613 commandments of the Torah are derived from the “whiteness”—the Chasadim—of Arich Anpin, which is the supernal will, the source of the Chasadim.

שֶׁתַּרְיַ"ג מִצְוֹת הַתּוֹרָה נִמְשָׁכוֹת מֵ"חִיוַּורְתָּא דַּאֲרִיךְ אַנְפִּין", שֶׁהוּא רָצוֹן הָﬠֶלְיוֹן, מְקוֹר הַחֲסָדִים:

Although this is stated in Kabbalistic terms, the intent is clear: kindness and benevolence are drawn down into the world through the study of Torah and the performance of mitzvot.