Until now, it has been explained that the divine soul has three garments in which it clothes itself: the thought, speech, and action of Torah and the commandments. The Alter Rebbe now goes on to state that, unlike physical garments, which are less important than their wearer, the garments of the divine soul are even loftier than the soul which “wears” them. Thus, “wearing” its garments—i.e., thinking and speaking words of Torah and acting in performance of the commandments—elevates the soul to a higher level. For since Torah and the commandments are one with G-d, the Jew, by donning the garments of Torah and the commandments, also becomes united with him. In the Alter Rebbe’s words:

Now these three “garments” deriving from the Torah and its commandments, though they are called [merely] “garments” of the nefesh, ruach, and neshamah,

וְהִנֵּה, שְׁלֹשָׁה לְבוּשִׁים אֵלּוּ מֵהַתּוֹרָה וּמִצְוֹתֶיהָ, אַף שֶׁנִּקְרָאִים לְבוּשִׁים לְנֶפֶשׁ רוּחַ וּנְשָׁמָה

nevertheless, their quality (the quality of the garments of the Torah and its commandments) is infinitely higher and greater than that of the nefesh, ruach, and neshamah themselves,

עִם כָּל זֶה, גָּבְהָה וְגָדְלָה מַעֲלָתָם לְאֵין קֵץ וְסוֹף עַל מַעֲלַת נֶפֶשׁ רוּחַ וּנְשָׁמָה עַצְמָן,

[for] as explained in the Zohar,4 Torah and the Holy One, blessed be He, are entirely one.

כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב בַּזֹּהַר, דְּאוֹרַיְיתָא וְקוּדְשָׁא־בְּרִיךְ־הוּא כּוּלָּא חַד,

This means: Since Torah is the wisdom and will of the Holy One, blessed be He (i.e., the wisdom of Torah expresses G-d’s wisdom; its practical application and laws—e.g., whether or not a particular object is kosher—expresses His will), it is one with His glory and essence,

פֵּירוּשׁ: דְּאוֹרַיְיתָא, הִיא חָכְמָתוֹ וּרְצוֹנוֹ שֶׁל הַקָּדוֹשׁ־בָּרוּךְ־הוּא, וְהַקָּדוֹשׁ־בָּרוּךְ־הוּא בִּכְבוֹדוֹ וּבְעַצְמוֹ – כּוּלָּא חַד,

since He is the Knower, the Knowledge…and the Known, as explained above in ch. 2 in the name of Maimonides (—that these three aspects, separate and distinct in terms of human intellect, are, as they relate to G-d, one and the same entity: they are all G-dliness).

כִּי הוּא הַיּוֹדֵעַ וְהוּא הַמַּדָּע וְכוּ', כְּמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר לְעֵיל בְּשֵׁם הָרַמְבַּ"ם.

The Torah, being G-d’s intellect, is thus one with G-d Himself, and when a Jew understands and unites himself with it, he is united with G-d Himself.

From the above, we understand that since the garments of thought and speech of Torah study and the active performance of the commandments are united with G-d, they are even higher than the soul itself.

However, a question presents itself: How can it be said that in understanding Torah, one comprehends G-d’s wisdom and will, when G-d’s wisdom—like G-d Himself—is infinitely beyond man’s limited comprehension? This will now be explained:

Although the Holy One, blessed be He, is called the Ein Sof (“Infinite”), and “His greatness can never be fathomed,”5 and “No thought can apprehend him at all,”6

וְאַף דְּהַקָּדוֹשׁ־בָּרוּךְ־הוּא נִקְרָא "אֵין סוֹף", וְלִגְדוּלָּתוֹ אֵין חֵקֶר, וְלֵית מַחֲשָׁבָה תְּפִיסָא בֵיהּ כְּלָל,

and so are also His will and His wisdom (infinite and unfathomable),

וְכֵן בִּרְצוֹנוֹ וְחָכְמָתוֹ,

as it is written, “There is no searching of His understanding”7;

כְּדִכְתִיב: "אֵין חֵקֶר לִתְבוּנָתוֹ",

and it is also written, “When you will search (to understand) G-d, will you find?”8; and it is further written, “For My thoughts are not like your thoughts,”9 says G-d to man;

וּכְתִיב: "הַחֵקֶר אֱלוֹהַּ תִּמְצָא", וּכְתִיב: "כִּי לֹא מַחְשְׁבוֹתַי מַחְשְׁבוֹתֵיכֶם".

Thus, human thought is incapable of grasping Divine “thought.” How, then, can it be said that in understanding Torah, man grasps G-d’s wisdom?

To this, the Alter Rebbe answers that G-d “compressed” and “lowered” His wisdom, clothing it in the physical terms and objects of Torah and its commandments so that it might be accessible to human intelligence in order that man may thereby be united with G-d.

concerning this disparity between human intelligence and Divine wisdom, our Sages have said,10 “Where you find the greatness of the Holy One, blessed be He, there you find His humility.”

הִנֵּה עַל זֶה אָמְרוּ: "בְּמָקוֹם שֶׁאַתָּה מוֹצֵא גְּדוּלָּתוֹ שֶׁל הַקָּדוֹשׁ־בָּרוּךְ־הוּא, שָׁם אַתָּה מוֹצֵא עַנְוְתָנוּתוֹ",

I.e., how can we approach G-d’s greatness, to “find” it and be united with it?—Through His “humility,” by His lowering Himself to our level.

G-d compressed His will and wisdom in the 613 commandments of the Torah and in their laws

וְצִמְצֵם הַקָּדוֹשׁ־בָּרוּךְ־הוּא רְצוֹנוֹ וְחָכְמָתוֹ בְּתַרְיַ"ג מִצְוֹת הַתּוֹרָה וּבְהִלְכוֹתֵיהֶן,

As mentioned above, the logic of the law represents Divine wisdom, and the ruling, Divine will—

and in the letter-combinations of Scripture (Torah, Nevi’im, and Ketuvim),

וּבְצֵרוּפֵי אוֹתִיּוֹת תּוֹרָה־נְבִיאִים־כְּתוּבִים,

The very letters and words of Scripture contain G-d’s will and wisdom; wherefore even one who is ignorant of their meaning fulfills the precept of Torah study by merely reciting them—

and G-d’s will and wisdom are also contained in the exposition of these verses found in the Aggadot and Midrashim of our Sages, of blessed memory.

וּדְרָשׁוֹתֵיהֶן שֶׁבְּאַגָּדוֹת וּמִדְרְשֵׁי חֲכָמֵינוּ־זִכְרוֹנָם־לִבְרָכָה.

In all of these did G-d “compress” His will and wisdom in order that every neshamah or even the lower soul-levels of ruach and nefesh, situated as they are in the human body, will be able to grasp them with its intellect

בִּכְדֵי שֶׁכָּל הַנְּשָׁמָה אוֹ רוּחַ וָנֶפֶשׁ שֶׁבְּגוּף הָאָדָם, תּוּכַל לְהַשִּׂיגָן בְּדַעְתָּהּ,

and [in order] that it (the nefesh or ruach or neshamah) fulfill them, as far as they can be fulfilled, in action, speech, and thought,

וּלְקַיְּימָן – כָּל מַה שֶּׁאֶפְשָׁר לְקַיֵּים מֵהֶן בְּמַעֲשֶׂה דִּבּוּר וּמַחֲשָׁבָה,

thereby clothing itself with all its ten faculties in these three garments (of the thought, speech, and action of Torah and mitzvot).

וְעַל יְדֵי זֶה תִּתְלַבֵּשׁ בְּכָל עֶשֶׂר בְּחִינוֹתֶיהָ בִּשְׁלֹשָׁה לְבוּשִׁים אֵלּוּ.