Now, since the Divine will, which is in perfect unity with G-d Himself, stands completely revealed in the divine soul and in its inner garments—i.e., its thought and speech—while a person occupies himself with words of Torah, and there is nothing obscuring the Divine will at that time, for when one studies Torah, the Divine will and wisdom contained in it come into full expression in one’s soul and its faculties of thought and speech,

וּמֵאַחַר שֶׁרָצוֹן הָעֶלְיוֹן הַמְיוּחָד בְּאֵין־סוֹף בָּרוּךְ־הוּא בְּתַכְלִית הַיִּחוּד, הוּא בְּגִילּוּי לְגַמְרֵי, וְלֹא בְּהֶסְתֵּר פָּנִים כְּלָל וּכְלָל, בַּנֶּפֶשׁ הָאֱלֹהִית וּלְבוּשֶׁיהָ הַפְּנִימִים, שֶׁהֵם מַחֲשַׁבְתָּהּ וְדִבּוּרָהּ, בְּאוֹתָהּ שָׁעָה שֶׁהָאָדָם עוֹסֵק בְּדִבְרֵי תוֹרָה,

it follows that at that time, the soul and these garments of thought and speech are also truly united with G-d,

הֲרֵי גַּם הַנֶּפֶשׁ וּלְבוּשֶׁיהָ אֵלּוּ – מְיוּחָדִים מַמָּשׁ בְּאֵין־סוֹף בָּרוּךְ־הוּא בְּאוֹתָהּ שָׁעָה בְּתַכְלִית הַיִּחוּד,

with a unity comparable to that of G-d’s speech and thought with His essence and being as explained above,5

כְּיִחוּד דִּבּוּרוֹ וּמַחֲשַׁבְתּוֹ שֶׁל הַקָּדוֹשׁ־בָּרוּךְ־הוּא בְּמַהוּתוֹ וְעַצְמוּתוֹ כַּנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל,

for nothing is separate from G-d, except insofar as His Countenance is concealed.

כִּי אֵין שׁוּם דָּבָר נִפְרָד, כִּי אִם בְּהֶסְתֵּר פָּנִים כַּנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל.

Only then can created beings perceive themselves as distinct entities (as explained in ch. 22). Since there is no such concealment when one studies the Torah, one attains thereby a perfect unity with G-d—a unity comparable to that of G-d’s speech and thought with Himself prior to their revelation as “speech” and “thought” but as they are contained within Himself.

Moreover, their unity, i.e., the unity of the divine soul and its faculties with G-d that is attained through Torah study, is even more exalted and more powerful than the unity of G-d’s infinite light with the upper (spiritual) worlds.

וְלֹא עוֹד, אֶלָּא שֶׁיִּחוּדָם הוּא בְּיֶתֶר שְׂאֵת וְיֶתֶר עֹז מִיִּחוּד אוֹר־אֵין־סוֹף בָּרוּךְ־הוּא בְּעוֹלָמוֹת עֶלְיוֹנִים,

For the Divine will is actually manifest in the soul and its garments that are engaged in Torah study, since it is identical with the Torah being studied.

מֵאַחַר שֶׁרָצוֹן הָעֶלְיוֹן הוּא בְּגִילּוּי מַמָּשׁ בַּנֶּפֶשׁ וּלְבוּשֶׁיהָ הָעוֹסְקִים בַּתּוֹרָה, שֶׁהֲרֵי הוּא הוּא הַתּוֹרָה עַצְמָהּ,

All the supernal worlds receive their vitality by way of the light and life derived from the Torah, which is G-d’s will and wisdom, as it is written, “You have made them all with wisdom.”6

וְכָל הָעוֹלָמוֹת הָעֶלְיוֹנִים מְקַבְּלִים חַיּוּתָם מֵאוֹר וְחַיּוּת הַנִּמְשָׁךְ מֵהַתּוֹרָה, שֶׁהִיא רְצוֹנוֹ וְחָכְמָתוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ, כְּדִכְתִיב: "כּוּלָּם בְּחָכְמָה עָשִׂיתָ",

G-d’s wisdom is thus the source of vitality for all the worlds.

Thus it follows that G-d’s wisdom, i.e., the Torah, transcends them all.

וְאִם כֵּן, הַחָכְמָה – שֶׁהִיא הַתּוֹרָה – לְמַעְלָה מִכּוּלָּם,

It must be above all the worlds, since it is their source.

In fact, the Torah, G-d’s will, is described as “encompassing” all the worlds, meaning that it is at a level that cannot become clothed within the worlds but rather animates and illuminates them as if from a distance, from above, in a transcending and “encompassing” manner,7

וְהִיא הִיא רְצוֹנוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ הַנִּקְרָא "סוֹבֵב כָּל עָלְמִין", שֶׁהִיא בְּחִינַת מַה שֶּׁאֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְהִתְלַבֵּשׁ בְּתוֹךְ עָלְמִין, רַק מְחַיֶּה וּמֵאִיר לְמַעְלָה בִּבְחִינַת מַקִּיף,

and it is this level which transcends all the worlds that is clothed in a truly revealed form in one’s soul and his soul-garments when he studies Torah,

וְהִיא הִיא הַמִּתְלַבֶּשֶׁת בַּנֶּפֶשׁ וּלְבוּשֶׁיהָ בִּבְחִינַת גִּילּוּי מַמָּשׁ – כְּשֶׁעוֹסְקִים בְּדִבְרֵי תוֹרָה,

even though he does not see it.8 I.e., when one studies Torah, he is unable to consciously experience the unity of his soul with G-d which is attained thereby, yet his soul feels it. (9In fact, this is precisely why he can endure such a unity with G-d, precisely because he cannot feel it—unlike the supernal worlds, where G-dliness is not obscured as it is in this world, and they cannot therefore endure such a unity with G-d without becoming completely nullified and losing their identities entirely.)

"וְאַף־עַל־גַּב דְּאִיהוּ לָא חָזֵי כוּ'" [וּמִשּׁוּם הָכֵי יָכוֹל לִסְבּוֹל, מִשּׁוּם דְּלָא חָזֵי, מַה שֶּׁאֵין כֵּן בָּעֶלְיוֹנִים].

This discussion of the exalted unity with G-d attained through Torah study, which is even greater than that accomplished by performing the mitzvot, explains why Torah study is so much loftier than all the other commandments, including even prayer, which effects unity within the supernal worlds.

וּבָזֶה יוּבַן לָמָּה גָּדְלָה מְאֹד מַעֲלַת הָעֵסֶק בַּתּוֹרָה יוֹתֵר מִכָּל הַמִּצְוֹת, וַאֲפִילוּ מִתְּפִלָּה – שֶׁהִיא יִחוּד עוֹלָמוֹת עֶלְיוֹנִים

(10Although the law requires of anyone whose Torah study is not his entire occupation that he interrupt his study for prayer,11 which would seem to indicate that prayer surpasses Torah study, this is so only because he would in any case pause and interrupt his studies.)

[וְהָא דְּמִי שֶׁאֵין תּוֹרָתוֹ אוּמָנוּתוֹ צָרִיךְ לְהַפְסִיק, הַיְינוּ מֵאַחַר דְּמַפְסִיק וּמְבַטֵּל בְּלָאו הָכֵי].

Thus, it is not the law which causes him to interrupt. The law merely states that the interruption, which he would have made regardless, be made at the time designated for prayer, and as soon as he interrupts his studies, he is automatically obliged to pray.12