ובפרטות: בחינות חב״ד שבנפשו מלובשות בהשגת התורה שהוא משיג בפרד״ס, כפי יכולת השגתו ושרש נפשו למעלה

Specifically: the CHaBaD of his soul (i.e., his intellectual faculties) are clothed in the comprehension of the Torah, which he comprehends in [the four levels of] Pardes of the Torah, to the extent of his mental capacity and according to the supernal root of his soul.

One’s mental capacity determines how much he may understand; the root of his soul determines the area in Torah for which he will have the greatest aptitude. For example, one whose soul is related to the level of Pshat is more likely to comprehend the straightforward meaning of the words of Torah; a soul related to Remez will delve to the stratum of implied meaning underlying the words; and so on. When the person comprehends Torah to the extent of his mental capacity then the CHaBaD components of his soul are clothed in the garment of thought of Torah, i.e., thought as it is related to Torah.

והמדות, שהן יראה ואהבה וענפיהן ותולדותיהן, מלובשות בקיום המצות במעשה ובדיבור שהוא תלמוד תורה שכנגד כולן

And the middot, namely the emotions of fear and love (of the Almighty) together with their offshoots and ramifications, are clothed in the fulfillment of the commandments in deed and in word, (“in word”) meaning in the study of Torah, which is1 “the equivalent of all the commandments.”

The Alter Rebbe’s previous statement, that in comprehending Torah the soul’s faculty of intellect clothes itself in thought, requires no further elaboration; it goes without saying that the intellect can comprehend Torah only through the vehicle of thought.

His latter statement, however (that the middot are clothed in the fulfillment of the commandments in deed or in word), requires further amplification. What connection do the middot of fear and love have with action and speech? The seat of the emotions is in the heart; how do they come to clothe themselves in actions which are done with one’s hand (in donning tefillin, for example), or in speech where one uses his mouth (such as in oral Torah study)?

In answer to this question, the Alter Rebbe explains that completeness in the performance of the commandments demands love and fear of G-d; one can bring to his fulfillment of the commandments the fullness generated by vitality and depth of feeling only when he is imbued with fear and love of the Almighty.

In the Alter Rebbe’s words:

כי האהבה היא שרש כל רמ״ח מצות עשה וממנה הן נמשכות, ובלעדה אין להם קיום אמיתי

For love is the root of a Jew’s observance of all the 248 positive commands; from it they issue forth, and without it they have no true substance.

כי המקיימן באמת הוא האוהב את שם ה׳ וחפץ לדבקה בו באמת

For he who fulfills them in truth, is he who loves G-d’s Name and who truly desires to cleave to Him.

ואי אפשר לדבקה בו באמת כי אם בקיום רמ״ח פקודין

Now, one cannot truly cleave to Him except through the fulfillment of the 248 positive commandments,

Thus, one’s love of G-d and desire to cleave to Him dictate that he observe the commandments. Why is it possible to cleave to G-d only by fulfilling the commandments?

שהן רמ״ח אברין דמלכא כביכול, כמו שכתוב במקום אחר

for they are the 2482 “organs of the King” (of G-d, King of the universe), as it were, as is explained elsewhere.3

Just as each of the organs of a human being is a vessel for the particular soul power that clothes itself in it (e.g., the eye is a vessel for the power of sight, the ear for hearing, and so on), so is each commandment a vessel for the specific aspect of G-d’s Will (the “Supernal Will”) which clothes itself in that particular commandment. Each commandment expresses not only the Supernal Will that a specific act be carried out, but also the particulars of its observance. Thus it is understood that by performing the commandments one achieves unity with G-d, Whose Will they express.

It follows, then, that love of G-d clothes (or expresses) itself in one’s performance of the 248 positive commandments; it is their root and life-force, which leads one to observe them with the totality of one’s being. For when one loves G-d and desires to cleave to Him, he will perform His commandments as he would perform a task for a dear friend — with delight and zest, and with all of his being.

והיראה היא שרש לשס״ה לא תעשה, כי ירא למרוד במלך מלכי המלכים הקדוש ברוך הוא

Fear is the root of one’s observance of the 365 prohibitive commands, for he (the G-d-fearing person) will fear to rebel against the Supreme King of Kings, the Holy One, blessed be He (by acting in defiance of His Will; he will therefore refrain from anything that G-d forbade).

At this level, the word “fear” is taken in its simple sense — trepidation before the severity of G-d’s command.

או יראה פנימית מזו, שמתבושש מגדולתו, למרות עיני כבודו ולעשות הרע בעיניו

Or a deeper level of fear — that he feels ashamed before G-d’s greatness, so that he will not rebel against the all-seeing eyes of His glory by doing what is evil in His eyes,

כל תועבת ה׳ אשר שנא, הם הקליפות וסטרא אחרא

namely, any of the abominable things hated by G-d, which are the kelipot and sitra achra (the “other side” — that which is the opposite of holiness),

אשר יניקתם מהאדם התחתון, ואחיזתם בו הוא בשס״ה מצות לא תעשה

which draw their nurture from man below (in this world) and have their hold in him so that they be able to derive their nurture and life through him through his violation of the 365 prohibitive commandments.

When a person transgresses a prohibitive commandment, G-d forbid, he provides the kelipot with additional strength and vitality. Since kelipot and the sitra achra are entities which conceal G-dliness and holiness and are as such despised by G-d, the Jew therefore guards himself against transgressing. He is “ashamed” to transgress and give the kelipot strength and life. Thus, fear of G-d clothes itself in the observance of prohibitive commandments; for one’s fear of G-d enables him to withstand temptation and refrain from transgression.

We now understand clearly how fear and love of G-d are related to the fulfillment of the commandments, and how the middot are the root and life-force in the performance of commandments in both action and speech.

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