However, if his senses are so dulled, why is it that even the worst sinner will willingly sacrifice his life for G-d when his faith is put to the test? In answer, the Alter Rebbe explains that the kelipah can obstruct only those matters that do not directly affect the G-dly soul’s level of chochmah. However, in such matters as faith—a derivative of chochmahkelipah can neither penetrate nor obstruct. Consequently, in such matters, the Jew is aware that to succumb to sin would mean being torn away from G-d, and therefore, he will readily lay down his life rather than sin. This the Alter Rebbe now goes on to explain:

But this exile of the faculty of chochmah affects only that aspect of it which is diffused throughout the nefesh and animates it [with Divine vitality].

אֶלָּא שֶׁגָּלוּת הַזֶּה לִבְחִינַת חָכְמָה – אֵינוֹ אֶלָּא לַבְּחִינָה הַמִּתְפַּשֶּׁטֶת מִמֶּנָּה בַּנֶּפֶשׁ כּוּלָּהּ לְהַחֲיוֹתָהּ,

Being in exile, it is unable to pervade the entire soul, and through it the entire body, with the feeling of self-nullification before G-d characteristic of chochmah; thus, in this state of exile, it is unable to prevent one from sinning.

Yet, the root and core of the chochmah in the divine soul is in the brain and does not clothe itself in the sackcloth of the kelipah in the left part of the heart in a true state of exile, i.e., so that it be powerless to prevent one from sinning.

אֲבָל שֹׁרֶשׁ וְעִיקָּר שֶׁל בְּחִינַת חָכְמָה שֶׁבַּנֶּפֶשׁ הָאֱלֹהִית הוּא בַּמּוֹחִין, וְאֵינָהּ מִתְלַבֶּשֶׁת בִּלְבוּשׁ שַׂק דִּקְלִיפָּה שֶׁבַּלֵּב בֶּחָלָל הַשְּׂמָאלִי בִּבְחִינַת גָּלוּת מַמָּשׁ,

It is merely dormant in the case of the wicked, not exercising its influence within them (i.e., not creating within the Jew the spirit of self-nullification before G-d that it ought to create), as long as their knowledge and understanding are preoccupied with mundane pleasures.

רַק שֶׁהִיא בִּבְחִינַת שֵׁינָה בָּרְשָׁעִים, וְאֵינָהּ פּוֹעֶלֶת פְּעוּלָּתָהּ בָּהֶם – כָּל זְמַן שֶׁעֲסוּקִים בְּדַעְתָּם וּבִינָתָם בְּתַאֲוֹת הָעוֹלָם.

The soul-faculties of “knowledge” (daat) and “understanding” (binah) are lower than chochmah, yet the level of chochmah is prevented from acting upon them (and upon the other, still lower, faculties) as long as they are immersed in mundane pleasures. Thus, the chochmah of their divine soul is dormant, not dead. It has lost none of its potency, only its ability to exercise it; just as when one sleeps, he retains full possession of his faculties, though he cannot use them.

However, when they (the wicked) are confronted with a test of faith, which transcends knowledge, touching the very soul and the faculty of chochmah within it—the source of faith,

אַךְ כְּשֶׁבָּאִים לִידֵי נִסָּיוֹן בִּדְבַר אֱמוּנָה, שֶׁהִיא לְמַעְלָה מֵהַדַּעַת, וְנָגְעָה עַד הַנֶּפֶשׁ – לִבְחִינַת חָכְמָה שֶׁבָּהּ,

then it “arises from its sleep” (i.e., chochmah reveals itself), and it exerts its influence with the Divine force that is clothed in it (its influence being to create a spirit of self-sacrifice for G-d, as the Alter Rebbe states further).

אֲזַי הִיא נֵיעוֹרָה מִשְּׁנָתָהּ, וּפוֹעֶלֶת פְּעוּלָּתָהּ בְּכֹחַ ה' הַמְלוּבָּשׁ בָּהּ,

As it is written: “Then the L-rd awakened as one out of sleep.”13

וּכְמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב: "וַיִּקַץ כְּיָשֵׁן ה'",

This verse refers also to the level of chochmah and the light of the Ein Sof clothed therein, which was previously in a state of “sleep”—inactive—but “arises” and exerts its influence when faced with a test of faith.

The revelation of chochmah leads even the sinner to withstand the test of faith in G-d, without any reasoning or knowledge that he can comprehend which would motivate him to sacrifice his life,

לַעֲמוֹד בַּנִּסָּיוֹן בֶּאֱמוּנַת ה' בְּלִי שׁוּם טַעַם וָדַעַת וְשֵׂכֶל מוּשָּׂג לוֹ,

and to prevail over the kelipot and over his desires toward worldly matters, both permitted and forbidden, which he was accustomed to indulge and even to despise them,

לְהִתְגַבֵּר עַל הַקְּלִיפּוֹת וְתַאֲווֹת עוֹלָם הַזֶּה בְּהֶיתֵּר וּבְאִיסּוּר שֶׁהוּרְגַּל בָּהֶם, וְלִמְאוֹס בָּהֶם,

I.e., in this state of readiness for martyrdom, the sinner not only overcomes his desires for worldly pleasures but loses them entirely, and the objects of his past desires are now detestable to him,

and to choose G-d as his portion and his lot,

וְלִבְחוֹר לוֹ ה' לְחֶלְקוֹ וּלְגוֹרָלוֹ,

I.e., he dedicates to G-d both his internal faculties of intellect and emotion, referred to as one’s “portion,” and his higher transcendent faculties—his will and pleasure, which are called one’s “lot,”

so that he is prepared to offer his soul to G-d in martyrdom for the sanctification of His Name.

לִמְסוֹר לוֹ נַפְשׁוֹ עַל קְדוּשַּׁת שְׁמוֹ.

Although the kelipot prevailed over him (over this sinner who is now prepared to accept martyrdom) all his life, and he was impotent against them, as the Rabbis have said that “The wicked are under the control of their heart,”14 i.e., the animal soul of the kelipah, situated in the left part of the heart,

וְאַף כִּי הַקְּלִיפּוֹת גָּבְרוּ עָלָיו כָּל יָמָיו וְלֹא יָכוֹל לָהֶם, כְּמַאֲמַר רַבּוֹתֵינוּ־זִכְרוֹנָם־לִבְרָכָה שֶׁ"הָרְשָׁעִים הֵם בִּרְשׁוּת לִבָּם",

nevertheless, when he faces a test challenging his faith in the one G-d, [a faith] whose foundation is in [that level of the divine soul called] “the heights of holiness,’’ namely, the faculty of chochmah which is called קוֹדֶשׁ—the source of holiness—as previously explained, in which is clothed the light of the Ein Sof, blessed be He,

מִכָּל מָקוֹם, כְּשֶׁבָּא לִידֵי נִסָּיוֹן בִּדְבַר אֱמוּנָה בַּה' אֶחָד, שֶׁיְּסוּדָתָהּ בְּהַרְרֵי קוֹדֶשׁ, הִיא בְּחִינַת חָכְמָה שֶׁבַּנֶּפֶשׁ הָאֱלֹהִית, שֶׁבָּהּ מְלוּבָּשׁ אוֹר־אֵין־סוֹף בָּרוּךְ־הוּא,

then all the kelipot become nullified, and they vanish as though they had never been in the presence of the L-rd.

הֲרֵי כָּל הַקְּלִיפּוֹת בְּטֵלִים וּמְבוּטָּלִים וְהָיוּ כְּלֹא הָיוּ מַמָּשׁ לִפְנֵי ה',

So it is written: “All the nations including also the kelipot are as nothing before Him”15; and “For all Your enemies, O L-rd, referring also to the kelipot, which are the ‘enemies of G-d,’ all Your enemies will perish, they will be scattered…”16; and again, “As wax melts before fire, so shall the wicked perish”17; and “The hills referring to the kelipot, which are compared to hills by reason of their hauteur melted like wax.”18

כְּדִכְתִיב: "כָּל הַגּוֹיִם כְּאַיִן נֶגְדּוֹ וְגוֹ'", וּכְתִיב: "כִּי הִנֵּה אוֹיְבֶיךָ ה', כִּי הִנֵּה אוֹיְבֶיךָ יֹאבֵדוּ, יִתְפָּרְדוּ וְגוֹ'", וּכְתִיב: "כְּהִמֵּס דּוֹנַג מִפְּנֵי אֵשׁ יֹאבְדוּ וְגוֹ'", וּכְתִיב: "הָרִים כַּדּוֹנַג נָמַסּוּ".

All these verses illustrate how the kelipot vanish when the light of G-d found in the chochmah of the divine soul reveals itself. Therefore, despite the fact that kelipot always had the upper hand over a sinner, he is able to overcome them when his faith is challenged. We thus see that every Jew has an inherent ability to overcome temptation by virtue of his soul’s “hidden love” of G-d originating in its faculty of chochmah. He need merely arouse it.

The Alter Rebbe now goes on to explain how this “hidden love” also comprises the fear of G-d necessary in observing the prohibitive commandments.

The force of the Divine light of the Ein Sof that is clothed in the soul’s faculty of chochmah is so intense

וְהִנֵּה, אוֹר ה' אֵין־סוֹף בָּרוּךְ־הוּא הַמְלוּבָּשׁ בַּחָכְמָה שֶׁבַּנֶּפֶשׁ – גָּדוֹל וְעָצוּם כֹּחוֹ כָּל כָּךְ,

as to banish and repel the sitra achara and the kelipot so that they are unable to touch even its “garments,” namely the thought, speech, and action that express one’s faith in the unity of G-d.

לְגָרֵשׁ וְלִדְחוֹת הַסִּטְרָא אָחֳרָא וְהַקְּלִיפּוֹת שֶׁלֹּא יוּכְלוּ יִגְּעוּ אֲפִילוּ בִּלְבוּשָׁיו, שֶׁהֵם מַחֲשָׁבָה דִּבּוּר וּמַעֲשֶׂה שֶׁל אֱמוּנַת ה' אֶחָד;

That is, not only can the kelipot not weaken one’s faith, but they cannot even prevent his faith from expressing itself in thought, speech, and action.

This means that the Divine light vested in chochmah enables him to withstand a test of self-sacrifice to the extent of even refusing to do a mere (empty) act that is contrary to his belief in the one G-d, e.g., to bow down before an idol, even without acknowledging it in his heart at all, in which case it is not his faith that is being challenged but its expression in the act of prostrating oneself, and even for his expression of faith, a Jew will give his life.

דְּהַיְינוּ, לַעֲמוֹד בַּנִּסָּיוֹן, לִמְסוֹר נַפְשׁוֹ אֲפִילוּ שֶׁלֹּא לַעֲשׂוֹת רַק אֵיזֶה מַעֲשֶׂה לְבַד נֶגֶד אֱמוּנַת ה' אֶחָד, כְּגוֹן, לְהִשְׁתַּחֲוֹת לַעֲבוֹדָה זָרָה, אַף שֶׁאֵינוֹ מַאֲמִין בָּהּ כְּלָל בְּלִבּוֹ,

So, too, he will sacrifice his life so as not to speak falsely (G-d forbid) concerning the unity of G-d, even where his words do not reflect his true feelings, for his heart is perfect in its belief in G-d.

וְכֵן שֶׁלֹּא לְדַבֵּר תּוֹעָה חַס וְשָׁלוֹם עַל אַחְדּוּת ה', אַף שֶׁאֵין פִּיו וְלִבּוֹ שָׁוִין, רַק לִבּוֹ שָׁלֵם בֶּאֱמוּנַת ה'.

This readiness for self-sacrifice is not an expression of one’s love of G-d, which reveals itself when confronted with a test of faith, for his love is not directly affected by such empty actions or words. Rather, it expresses the fear contained in the “hidden love,” the fear of being torn away from G-d.

This is called “the fear contained in love,’’ meaning the natural love found in the divine soul of all Jews, whose intrinsic desire and will is to be attached to its origin and source—the light of the blessed Ein Sof.

וְזֶה – נִקְרָא "דְּחִילוּ הַנִּכְלָל בִּרְחִימוּ", שֶׁהִיא אַהֲבָה הַטִּבְעִית שֶׁבַּנֶּפֶשׁ הָאֱלֹהִית שֶׁבִּכְלָלוּת יִשְׂרָאֵל, שֶׁחֶפְצָהּ וּרְצוֹנָהּ בְּטִבְעָהּ לִידָּבֵק בְּשָׁרְשָׁהּ וּמְקוֹרָהּ אוֹר־אֵין־סוֹף בָּרוּךְ־הוּא,

For by virtue of this love and this desire, it instinctively recoils in fear and dread from touching (G-d forbid) even the fringe of the impurity of idolatry, which denies the faith in G-d’s unity,

שֶׁמִּפְּנֵי אַהֲבָה זוֹ וְרָצוֹן זֶה, הִיא יְרֵאָה וּמְפַחֶדֶת בְּטִבְעָהּ מִנְּגוֹעַ בִּקְצֵה טוּמְאַת עֲבוֹדָה־זָרָה חַס־וְשָׁלוֹם, שֶׁהִיא נֶגֶד אֱמוּנַת ה' אֶחָד,

even where such contact involves only its outer garments, namely, (idolatrous) speech and action, without any faith whatsoever in the heart in the validity of the idol worship.

אֲפִילוּ בִּלְבוּשֶׁיהָ הַחִיצוֹנִים שֶׁהֵם דִּבּוּר אוֹ מַעֲשֶׂה, בְּלִי אֱמוּנָה בַּלֵּב כְּלָל:

Even this the soul dreads, and this dread represents the fear contained in the “hidden love.”

When a Jew considers that he would willingly give up his life rather than be parted from G-d, he will surely realize that (a) he should certainly refrain from sin for the very same reason, since every sin tears one away from G-d, and (b) he ought to fulfill all the commandments, for through them one achieves the objective of his “hidden love”—unity with G-d. In this way, one may utilize his “hidden love” and the fear of G-d contained in it as a motivation for observing all the commandments, as will be explained at length in the coming chapters.