The Alter Rebbe goes on to explain that it was our forefather Jacob whose entreaties secured an abundance of divine compassion for all Jews throughout the generations. Even when their misdeeds cast them into exile, they are able through their study of Torah and performance of mitzvot to be raised from this state and become reunited with the Ein Sof.

This is the meaning of the verse: “And Jacob kissed Rachel and lifted up his voice and wept.”10 For Rachel is Knesset Israel, the community of Israel, the fount of all souls; Rachel represents the supernal attribute of malchut of Atzilut, the source of all Jewish souls.

וְזֶהוּ שֶׁאָמַר הַכָּתוּב: "וַיִּשַּׁק יַעֲקֹב לְרָחֵל, וַיִּשָּׂא אֶת קוֹלוֹ וַיֵּבְךְּ". כִּי רָחֵל הִיא כְּנֶסֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל, מְקוֹר כָּל הַנְּשָׁמוֹת.

And Jacob—with his supernal attribute, the attribute of Mercy of Atzilut—is the one who arouses great compassion for her, for Rachel, the source of all Jewish souls.

וְיַעֲקֹב בְּמִדָּתוֹ הָעֶלְיוֹנָה, שֶׁהִיא מִדַּת הָרַחֲמִים שֶׁבַּאֲצִילוּת, הוּא הַמְּעוֹרֵר רַחֲמִים רַבִּים עָלֶיהָ.

“And he lifted up his voice”—upward, to the fount of the Higher Mercies, to the source of the Thirteen Divine Attributes of Mercy.

"וַיִּשָּׂא אֶת קוֹלוֹ" – לְמַעְלָה, לִמְקוֹר הָרַחֲמִים הָעֶלְיוֹנִים,

The Thirteen Divine Attributes of Mercy are far loftier than the supernal attribute of Mercy of Atzilut. For the latter is but an attribute of a spiritual world and is hence bounded, while the Thirteen Divine Attributes of Mercy, transcending all worlds, are boundless. They are the fount of all mercies, including the level called the Mercy of Atzilut.

Indeed, they are called the “Father of Mercies,” and their source.

הַנִּקְרָא "אַב הָרַחֲמִים" וּמְקוֹרָם.

The supernal attribute of Mercy of Atzilut is known as Av Harachaman (“the Merciful Father”), while the Thirteen Divine Attributes of Mercy are called Av Harachamim (“the Father and source of Mercy”).11 (It is for this reason that on especially propitious occasions, the term Av Harachamim is used in the prayers rather than Av Harachaman (merciful Father).)

This, then, is the meaning of “And Jacob lifted up…”: Jacob elevates his supernal attribute, the Mercy of Atzilut, to the level of the Mercies of the Thirteen Divine Attributes of Mercy. The verse goes on to say:

“And be wept”—in order to awaken and draw from there, from the boundless Divine Mercies, abundant compassion upon all the souls and upon the fount of the community of Israel,

"וַיֵּבְךְּ" – לְעוֹרֵר וּלְהַמְשִׁיךְ מִשָּׁם רַחֲמִים רַבִּים עַל כָּל הַנְּשָׁמוֹת וְעַל מְקוֹר כְּנֶסֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל,

to raise them from their exile12 and to unite them in the Yichud Elyon (Higher Unity) of the light of the blessed Ein Sof, at the level of “kisses,”

לְהַעֲלוֹתָן מִגָּלוּתָן, וּלְיַיחֲדָן בַּיִּחוּד הָעֶלְיוֹן אוֹר־אֵין־סוֹף בָּרוּךְ־הוּא, בִּבְחִינַת נְשִׁיקִין,

which is “the attachment of spirit with spirit,” as it is written, “Let Him kiss me with the kisses of His mouth,”13

שֶׁהִיא – אִתְדַּבְּקוּת רוּחָא בְּרוּחָא, כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב: "יִשָּׁקֵנִי מִנְּשִׁיקוֹת פִּיהוּ",

The community of Israel begs of the Almighty that He unite with them in a manner of “kisses.” In the case of “kisses of the mouth,” there is not only an external union of mouth and mouth but also a more internal union, that of “spirit” (breath) and “spirit” (breath). And so it is regarding this manner of union of Jews with G-d, which is brought about by Torah and mitzvot.

which means the union of the word of man, who studies Torah with “the word of G-d, namely, the Halachah,”14 which is G-d’s speech. This union resembles the “kisses of the mouth.” So, too, through thinking Torah thoughts, mortal thought is united with Divine thought,

דְּהַיְינוּ, הִתְקַשְּׁרוּת דִּבּוּר הָאָדָם בִּ"דְבַר ה' זוֹ הֲלָכָה", וְכֵן מַחֲשָׁבָה בְּמַחֲשָׁבָה,

and so, too, mortal action is united with Divine action through active observance of the commandments,

וּמַעֲשֶׂה בְּמַעֲשֶׂה, שֶׁהוּא מַעֲשֵׂה הַמִּצְוֹת,

and, in particular, the practice of charity and lovingkindness.

וּבִפְרָט מַעֲשֵׂה הַצְּדָקָה וָחֶסֶד.

For “chesed (‘kindness’) is the [Divine] right arm,”15 and man’s kindness is a fitting vessel for G-d’s kindness,16

דְּ"חֶסֶד דְּרוֹעָא יְמִינָא",

and this is, as it were, an actual embrace,

וְהוּא בְּחִינַת חִיבּוּק מַמָּשׁ,

Just as in physical terms, an embrace manifests one’s love of the beloved, so, too, so to speak, G-d’s kindness embraces the Jew who performs acts of charity and lovingkindness.17

as it is written: “And His right arm—Divine kindness—embraces me,”18

כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב: "וִימִינוֹ תְּחַבְּקֵנִי".

while one’s occupation in the Torah by word of mouth and concentrated thought constitutes the level of actual “kisses.”19

וְעֵסֶק הַתּוֹרָה בְּדִבּוּר וּמַחֲשֶׁבֶת הָעִיּוּן – הֵן בְּחִינַת נְשִׁיקִין מַמָּשׁ.

The unity of Jew and G-d accomplished through speech and thought of Torah—“actual kisses”—is twofold: the external level of kisses, mouth to mouth, is attained through the words of Torah, while the internal level of kisses, spirit to Spirit, is attained through concentrated thinking on one’s Torah studies.

In this way, through arousal of deep compassion for his soul, which brings about the study of Torah and the performance of mitzvot,

וְהִנֵּה, עַל יְדֵי זֶה,

one is able to attain the level of ahavah rabbah (“great love”) in the consciousness of his heart—his intense love of G-d will be palpable,

יָכוֹל לָבוֹא לִבְחִינַת "אַהֲבָה רַבָּה" בְּהִתְגַּלּוּת לִבּוֹ,

as it is written, “Of Jacob, who redeemed Abraham,”20

כְּדִכְתִיב: "לְיַעֲקֹב אֲשֶׁר פָּדָה אֶת אַבְרָהָם",

In the context of man’s spiritual service, Abraham denotes man’s love of G-d, while Jacob symbolizes the attribute of compassion. When “Abraham”—the individual’s love for G-d—is hidden and must be “redeemed” and revealed, it is “Jacob”—the attribute of compassion—that brings about this redemption. The arousal of profound compassion for one’s soul enables his latent love of G-d to become manifest.

As is explained elsewhere.

כְּמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר בְּמָקוֹם אַחֵר: