And from this, from the earlier explanation of the paradox of or chozer, whereby it is specifically in the lowest levels of Asiyah that the light of sovev kol almin and the light of the kav rebound most intensely,


we can clearly understand the subject of the order of the levels [of created beings]—the inorganic, the vegetative, the animal, and the articulate being (i.e., man),

יוּבַן הֵיטֵב בְּעִנְיַן סֵדֶר מַדְרֵגוֹת: דּוֹמֵם, צוֹמֵחַ, חַי, מְדַבֵּר,

which correspond to and are expressed within the composition of all created beings as the elements of Earth, Water, Fire, and Air.

שֶׁהֵן בְּחִינוֹת עָפָר, מַיִם, אֵשׁ, רוּחַ,

For though the animal [level] is higher than the vegetative [level],61 and the articulate being is higher than the animal,

שֶׁאַף שֶׁהַחַי הוּא לְמַעְלָה מֵהַצּוֹמֵחַ, וְהַמְדַבֵּר – לְמַעְלָה מֵהַחַי,

nevertheless, the animal is nourished and lives by the vegetative, and the articulate being receives his vitality from them both,

אַף־עַל־פִּי־כֵן, הַחַי נִיזּוֹן וְחַי מֵהַצּוֹמֵחַ, וְהַמְדַבֵּר מְקַבֵּל חַיּוּתוֹ מִשְּׁנֵיהֶם,

and even wisdom and knowledge,

וְגַם חָכְמָה וָדַעַת,

for, as the Gemara states, “A child does not know how to call ‘father’ and ‘mother’ until it has tasted grain.”62

שֶׁ"אֵין הַתִּינוֹק יוֹדֵעַ לִקְרוֹת 'אַבָּא' וְ'אִימָּא' עַד שֶׁיִּטְעוֹם טַעַם דָּגָן כוּ'",

[It is likewise written,] “I had not yet eaten the meat of oxen….”63

וַ"עֲדַיִין לָא אֲכִילְנָא בִּישְׂרָא דְתוֹרָא כוּ'",

This was the explanation which R. Nachman gave to Rava as to why the previous evening, he had been unable to give the better answer to his query that he had now given. Thus, we see that the meat of a mere animal is able to stimulate the mind of man.

The key to this paradox, whereby the animal kingdom is nourished by the inferior vegetative kingdom and man needs both of these inferior orders of creation, has been explained above:

For this is an instance of or chozer, the light that is reflected from the lower levels to the higher, from the lowest level of Asiyah,

כִּי הוּא בְּחִינַת "אוֹר חוֹזֵר" מִמַּטָּה לְמַעְלָה, מִתַּחְתִּית הָעֲשִׂיָּה,

where there is an exceedingly strong manifestation of the radiance of the radiance, and so on, of the glimmer of a glimmer of a glimmer that is found within the physical earth,

שֶׁמִּתְגַּלֵּית שָׁם בְּיֶתֶר עֹז, הֶאָרָה דְהֶאָרָה כוּ'

from the [infinite] Ein Sof-light that encircles all worlds, i.e., from the degree of sovev kol almin that transcends all worlds equally,

מֵאוֹר־אֵין־סוֹף הַסּוֹבֵב כָּל עָלְמִין,

and from the kav from the Ein Sof-light at the culmination of the “feet” of the yosher of adam kadmonthe final level of the internalized illumination that is found in all worlds. This illumination shines there:

וּמֵהַ"קַּו" אוֹר־אֵין־סוֹף שֶׁבְּסִיּוּם "רַגְלֵי הַיּוֹשֶׁר" דְּ"אָדָם קַדְמוֹן"

in a mode of or chozer, as stated above.

בִּבְחִינַת "אוֹר חוֹזֵר", כַּנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל.

This will enable one to gain a reasoned understanding

וְיוּבַן הֵיטֵב בָּזֶה טוּב טַעַם וָדַעַת,

how it is that the supernal angels of the Merkavah, the “Celestial Chariot,” namely, the “Face of the Oxen” and the “Face of the Eagle,”

מַה שֶּׁמַּלְאָכִים עֶלְיוֹנִים שֶׁבַּמֶּרְכָּבָה "פְּנֵי שׁוֹר" וּ"פְנֵי נֶשֶׁר",

derive great enjoyment, and are nourished and content,

נֶהֱנִים מְאֹד וְנִיזּוֹנִים וּמִסְתַּפְּקִים

from the spirit of the cattle and fowl that ascends to them from the sacrifices on the altar.

מֵרוּחַ הַבְּהֵמָה וְהָעוֹף הָעוֹלָה אֲלֵיהֶם מֵהַקָּרְבָּנוֹת שֶׁעַל גַּבֵּי הַמִּזְבֵּחַ,

The phrase, אֶת קָרְבָּנִי לַחְמִי לְאִשַּׁי (“My sacrifice, the bread of My burnt offerings…”64), may be understood on a nonliteral level to mean that the sacrifices provide sustenance for G-d’s “fires,” i.e., for the angels.

As the holy Zohar expresses it precisely, “They derive enjoyment from their element and essence”65: the spiritual root (as opposed to the animal component) of the sacrifices is reflected back to its angelic source in a mode of or chozer.

וּכְדִקְדּוּק לְשׁוֹן הַזּוֹהַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ: "וְאִתְהַנְיָין מִיסוֹדָא וְעִיקָּרָא דִילְהוֹן".

Now, after these words and this truth, knowledge comes easily to the discerning,

וְאַחֲרֵי הַדְּבָרִים וְהָאֱמֶת הָאֵלֶּה דַּעַת לְנָבוֹן נָקָל

to understand through all the above the sublime worth of the practical commandments, those performed with physical objects and with man’s physicality,

לְהָבִין, עַל־יְדֵי כָּל הַנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל, גּוֹדֶל מַעֲלַת הַמִּצְוֹת מַעֲשִׂיּוֹת,

for [these commandments] are the ultimate purpose for the descent of souls to this physical world,

אֲשֶׁר הֵן תַּכְלִית יְרִידַת הַנְּשָׁמוֹת לָעוֹלָם הַזֶּה הַגַּשְׁמִי,

as it is written, “Today [is the time] to do them.”66

כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב: "הַיּוֹם לַעֲשׂוֹתָם",

I.e., specifically “today,” in this world of action, are we provided with the opportunity to perform mitzvot with physical objects whose creation came about from G-d’s very essence and which contain the concealed power of His very being. By performing mitzvot with these objects, we release this concealed power.

[It is likewise written,] “Better one hour of repentance and good deeds in this world than all the life of the World to Come.”67

וְ"יָפָה שָׁעָה אַחַת בִּתְשׁוּבָה וּמַעֲשִׂים טוֹבִים בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה מִכָּל חַיֵּי עוֹלָם־הַבָּא":

At this point, the first publishers of Iggeret Hakodesh wrote: Until here we found of his holy writing.

עד כאן מצאנו מכתב ידו הקדושה