ואף אם נדמה לו לכאורה שהוא כח דמיוני

Even if it appears to him at first sight that this is an illusion, and that in truth he does not possess this love for G‑d, and thinking that he does is nothing less than deluding himself as to his true spiritual status,

לא יחוש, מאחר שהוא אמת לאמיתו מצד עצמו בבחינת אהבה מסותרת

he need not be concerned, because it is intrinsically the absolute truth even without his own spiritual service, by virtue of the “hidden love” which his soul possesses for G‑d.

רק שתועלת יציאתה אל הגילוי: כדי להביאה לידי מעשה

But the benefit derived from the spiritual service through which he effects its emergence into the open is that he should translate it into action, and when his love is in a state of concealment it cannot affect his actions.

שהוא עסק התורה והמצות שלומד ומקיים על ידי זה, כדי לעשות נחת רוח לפניו יתברך, כבן העובד את אביו

This means being occupied with the Torah and the mitzvot, which he studies and performs as a result of it, i.e., as a result of revealing this love, with the intention of causing gratification to G‑d, like a son serving his father, who does so in order to cause him gratification.

Since the revelation of this love leads in fact to increased performance, he should not be troubled by the fact that he may be deluding himself in thinking that he possesses this love when in actuality he does not — particularly since his soul does truly love G‑d.

ועל זה אמרו: מחשבה טובה, הקב״ה מצרפה למעשה, להיות גדפין לפרחא כנ״ל

Concerning this it was said that1 “a good thought is joined by the Holy One, blessed be He, to a deed,” providing it with the “wings” to soar upwards, as explained earlier, in ch. 16.

“A good thought is joined... to a deed” cannot simply mean that when one thinks about doing a good deed and then, through no fault of his own, he is unable to do it, G‑d considers it as if he had actually done it. For if this were so the expression should be, “A good thought is considered by G‑d as an actual deed.” Rather, the term “joined to” indicates that the deed was actually done, but that the thought and deed were unconnected. G‑d, in His goodness, therefore connects the thought and the deed.

When a love of G‑d is revealed within one’s heart, there is an actual connection between the thought and the deed, for the revealed love adds vitality to the performance of the deed.

However, when love of G‑d is not revealed in one’s heart and is limited to one’s mind, it is considered to be a “good thought” that is not connected to a deed. Thus when one understands that something ought to be done, but he has no love for it, then the deed will be performed without fervor.

It is therefore necessary for G‑d to connect the “good thought” with the deed, thereby ensuring that the “good thought” — the love and fear of G‑d in his mind — will elevate the Torah and mitzvot which result from it, to the world and level of the “good thought.”

והנחת רוח הוא כמשל שמחת המלך מבנו שבא אליו בצאתו מבית האסורים כנ״ל

The gratification he provides G‑d is akin, by way of the illustration used earlier,2 to the joy of a king whose son returns to him after liberation from captivity;

When the soul, G‑d’s child, is clothed in the body and animal soul, it is in a state of captivity. Through Torah and mitzvot it is liberated from this captivity and is joined with G‑d. This causes Him a joy similar to that experienced by the mortal king in the analogy.

או להיות לו דירה בתחתונים כנ״ל

or G‑d’s gratification may be from the fact that it has been made possible for Him to have a habitation among mortals, as already mentioned.

Thus, the love which is “like a son who strives for the sake of his father” can be revealed by habituating oneself (with his tongue and voice) to arouse the intention of heart and mind. The Alter Rebbe soon goes on to explain, that the love of “My soul, I desire You” may also be revealed and awakened through habitually speaking about it, when one does so in a manner where the heart will feel that G‑d is his true life, the “Life of life.”

והנה גם לבחינת נפשי אויתיך הנ״ל, קרוב הדבר מאד להוציאה מההעלם אל הגילוי על ידי ההרגל תמיד, בפיו ולבו שוין

Even in regard to the above-mentioned love, of the category of “My soul, I desire You,” it is readily possible to bring it out of its concealment into the open through constant practice, with mouth and heart in full accord, so that one’s heart should feel what his mouth utters, about G‑d’s being his true life.3

אך אם אינו יכול להוציאה אל הגילוי בלבו, אף על פי כן יכול לעסוק בתורה ומצות לשמן על ידי ציור ענין אהבה זו במחשבה שבמוחו, ומחשבה טובה, הקב״ה מצרפה כו׳

However, even if he cannot bring it (the love) into a revealed state in his heart, nevertheless he can occupy himself because of this love in the Torah and mitzvot “for their own sake” through portraying the idea of this love in his mind — and “a good thought is united by G‑d....”

It is therefore possible for his Torah and mitzvot to be elevated to the Supernal Sefirot just as if he had fulfilled them with a love revealed in his heart.