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.

וּבִפְרָטוּת, בְּחִינוֹת חָכְמָה־בִּינָה־דַּעַת שֶׁבְּנַפְשׁוֹ, מְלוּבָּשׁוֹת בְּהַשָּׂגַת הַתּוֹרָה שֶׁהוּא מַשִּׂיג בִּפְשַׁט־רֶמֶז־דְּרוּשׁ־סוֹד כְּפִי יְכוֹלֶת הַשָּׂגָתוֹ וְשֹׁרֶשׁ נַפְשׁוֹ לְמַעְלָה;

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 peshat 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.

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 is “the equivalent of all the commandments.”1

וְהַמִּדּוֹת, שֶׁהֵן יִרְאָה וְאַהֲבָה וְעַנְפֵיהֶן וְתוֹלְדוֹתֵיהֶן – מְלוּבָּשׁוֹת בְּקִיּוּם הַמִּצְוֹת בְּמַעֲשֶׂה וּבְדִבּוּר, שֶׁהוּא תַּלְמוּד תּוֹרָה שֶׁכְּנֶגֶד כּוּלָּן.

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:

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,

כִּי הָאַהֲבָה הִיא שֹׁרֶשׁ כָּל רַמַ"ח מִצְוֹת עֲשֵׂה, וּמִמֶּנָּה הֵן נִמְשָׁכוֹת, וּבִלְעָדָהּ אֵין לָהֶן קִיּוּם אֲמִתִּי,

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

כִּי הַמְּקַיְּמָן בֶּאֱמֶת הוּא הָאוֹהֵב אֶת שֵׁם ה' וְחָפֵץ לְדָבְקָה בּוֹ בֶּאֱמֶת,

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

וְאִי אֶפְשָׁר לְדָבְקָה בּוֹ בֶּאֱמֶת, כִּי אִם בְּקִיּוּם רַמַ"ח פְּקוּדִין,

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?

for they are the 248 “organs of the King”2 (of G-d, King of the universe), as it were, as is explained elsewhere.3

שֶׁהֵם רַמַ"ח אֵבָרִין דְּמַלְכָּא כִּבְיָכוֹל, כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב בְּמָקוֹם אַחֵר.

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.

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).

וְהַיִּרְאָה הִיא שֹׁרֶשׁ לְשַׁסַ"ה לֹא תַעֲשֶׂה, כִּי יָרֵא לִמְרוֹד בְּמֶלֶךְ מַלְכֵי הַמְּלָכִים הַקָּדוֹשׁ־בָּרוּךְ־הוּא.

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

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,

אוֹ יִרְאָה פְּנִימִית מִזּוֹ, שֶׁמִּתְבּוֹשֵׁשׁ מִגְּדוּלָּתוֹ, לַמְרוֹת עֵינֵי כְבוֹדוֹ וְלַעֲשׂוֹת הָרַע בְּעֵינָיו,

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

כָּל תּוֹעֲבַת ה' אֲשֶׁר שָׂנֵא, הֵם הַקְּלִיפּוֹת וְסִטְרָא אָחֳרָא,

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.

אֲשֶׁר יְנִיקָתָם מֵהָאָדָם הַתַּחְתּוֹן וַאֲחִיזָתָם בּוֹ הוּא בְּשַׁסַ"ה מִצְוֹת לֹא תַעֲשֶׂה.

When a person transgresses a prohibitive commandment, G-d forbid, he provides the kelipot with additional strength and vitality. Since kelipot and the sitra achara 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.