Likewise, the external garment of the divine soul of the person fulfilling and practicing the commandment, i.e., its faculty of action, which is external compared to the faculties of speech and thought, since it functions outside oneself,

וְכֵן הַלְּבוּשׁ הַחִיצוֹן שֶׁל נֶפֶשׁ הָאֱלֹהִית שֶׁבָּאָדָם הַמְקַיֵּם וְעוֹשֶׂה הַמִּצְוָה, שֶׁהוּא כֹּחַ וּבְחִינַת הַמַּעֲשֶׂה שֶׁלָּהּ,

clothes itself in the vitality of the performance of the mitzvah, and thus, it, too, becomes like a body to a soul in relation to the Divine will and is completely surrendered to the Divine will; i.e., the soul’s power of action becomes united with the Divine will in the same way as one’s body is united with his soul.

הוּא מִתְלַבֵּשׁ בַּחַיּוּת שֶׁל מַעֲשֵׂה הַמִּצְוָה, וְנַעֲשֶׂה גַּם כֵּן כְּגוּף לִנְשָׁמָה לָרָצוֹן הָעֶלְיוֹן וּבָטֵל אֵלָיו לְגַמְרֵי.

In this way, those organs of the human body which perform the mitzvah

וְעַל כֵּן, גַּם אֵבְרֵי גּוּף הָאָדָם הַמְקַיְּימִים הַמִּצְוָה,

—i.e., those organs in which the divine soul’s faculty of action is clothed during the performance and fulfillment of the mitzvah—they, too, become a veritable vehicle (lit., merkavah—a “chariot”) for the Divine will.

שֶׁכֹּחַ וּבְחִינַת הַמַּעֲשֶׂה שֶׁל נֶפֶשׁ הָאֱלֹהִית מְלוּבָּשׁ בָּהֶם בִּשְׁעַת מַעֲשֵׂה וְקִיּוּם הַמִּצְוָה, הֵם נַעֲשׂוּ מֶרְכָּבָה מַמָּשׁ לָרָצוֹן הָעֶלְיוֹן,

For example, the hand which distributes charity to the poor or performs another commandment becomes, in the act of performing the mitzvah, a “chariot” for the Divine will.

כְּגוֹן: הַיָּד הַמְחַלֶּקֶת צְדָקָה לַעֲנִיִּים, אוֹ עוֹשָׂה מִצְוָה אַחֶרֶת,

Similarly, the feet which walk for the purpose of fulfilling a mitzvah, or the mouth and tongue which speak words of Torah, or the brain reflecting on the Torah or on the fear of heaven or on the greatness of G-d, blessed be He.

וְרַגְלַיִם הַמְהַלְּכוֹת לִדְבַר מִצְוָה, וְכֵן הַפֶּה וְלָשׁוֹן שֶׁמְּדַבְּרִים דִּבְרֵי תוֹרָה, וְהַמּוֹחַ שֶׁמְּהַרְהֵר בְּדִבְרֵי תוֹרָה וְיִרְאַת שָׁמַיִם וּבִגְדוּלַּת ה' בָּרוּךְ־הוּא.

When these organs are occupied with the mitzvot, they are totally surrendered, like a chariot, to the Divine will clothed in these mitzvot.

Note that a physical organ becomes merely a chariot for the Divine will. It does not become surrendered to and unified with the Divine will to the same extent as the divine soul’s faculty of action, whose unity the Alter Rebbe previously compared to the unity of body and soul. The unity of body and soul surpasses that of the chariot with its rider. Body and soul, although originally two separate, disparate entities, one physical and the other spiritual, become one entity when united. No part of the body is devoid of the soul; conversely, the soul completely adapts itself to the body, becoming transformed into a corporeal life-force. The divine soul’s faculty of action, being a G-dly power, can achieve this level of unity with G-d when it is employed in the performance of a mitzvah.

The organs of the body, on the other hand, although they too are involved in fulfilling the mitzvah, can reach no higher than the level illustrated in the analogy of the chariot. A chariot, having no will of its own, is indeed completely subservient to its rider—yet it is not united with him.

This is what the Sages meant when they said that “The Patriarchs are truly the [Divine] chariot,”3

וְזֶהוּ שֶׁאָמְרוּ רַבּוֹתֵינוּ־זִכְרוֹנָם־לִבְרָכָה: "הָאָבוֹת הֵן הֵן הַמֶּרְכָּבָה",

for all their organs were completely holy and detached from mundane matters, and throughout their lives, they served as a vehicle for nothing but the Divine will.

שֶׁכָּל אֵבְרֵיהֶם כּוּלָּם הָיוּ קְדוֹשִׁים וּמוּבְדָּלִים מֵעִנְיְינֵי עוֹלָם הַזֶּה, וְלֹא נַעֲשׂוּ מֶרְכָּבָה, רַק לָרָצוֹן הָעֶלְיוֹן לְבַדּוֹ כָּל יְמֵיהֶם:

The reason for the Sages’ designating specifically the Patriarchs as G-d’s chariot, although every Jew’s body becomes a “chariot” when he performs a mitzvah, is that the Patriarchs’ submission to the Divine will was unique in its power, its scope, and its consistency. All their organs were totally surrendered to the Divine will throughout their lives—whereas with other Jews, only those organs which perform a mitzvah are a “chariot,” and then only during the act. In fact, the same organ which today served as a “chariot” to G-d’s will might conceivably serve the opposite purpose tomorrow.