Therefore has the Torah been compared to water,11 for just as water descends from a higher level to a lower level,

וְלָכֵן נִמְשְׁלָה הַתּוֹרָה לְמַיִם; מַה מַּיִם יוֹרְדִים מִמָּקוֹם גָּבוֹהַּ לְמָקוֹם נָמוּךְ,

The water which reaches the lower level is the same water that left its source within the higher level; unlike light, for example, which also travels from its source, but in whose case it is not the source (the luminous body) itself that is transmitted, but only a ray of it; and unlike intellect, which can also be communicated from one person to another, but in whose case, too, it is not the source (the teacher’s mind) itself that transmits itself to the lower level (the student’s mind) but only the idea, a product of the source.

Just as we find in the analogy of water, so has Torah descended from its place of glory, i.e., the lofty spiritual plane which is its source.

כָּךְ הַתּוֹרָה יָרְדָה מִמְּקוֹם כְּבוֹדָהּ,

In its original state, it is G-d’s will and wisdom, and “Torah is one and the same with G-d,” Whom “no thought can apprehend at all”—on that plane, Torah is incomprehensible to man, as is G-d Himself.

שֶׁהִיא רְצוֹנוֹ וְחָכְמָתוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ, וְאוֹרַיְיתָא וְקוּדְשָׁא־בְּרִיךְ־הוּא כּוּלָּא חַד, וְלֵית מַחֲשָׁבָה תְּפִיסָא בֵיהּ כְּלָל.

From there, the Torah has journeyed in a descent through hidden stages, stage after stage, in the Hishtalshelut of the Worlds (i.e., the chainlike order of interconnected spiritual “Worlds,” explained more fully in ch. 2; Torah descended through all these levels—)

וּמִשָּׁם נָסְעָה וְיָרְדָה בְּסֵתֶר הַמַּדְרֵגוֹת, מִמַּדְרֵגָה לְמַדְרֵגָה, בְּהִשְׁתַּלְשְׁלוּת הָעוֹלָמוֹת,

until it clothed itself in material matters and things of this corporeal world, which comprise nearly all the Torah’s commandments and their laws.

עַד שֶׁנִּתְלַבְּשָׁה בִּדְבָרִים גַּשְׁמִיִּים וְעִנְיְינֵי עוֹלָם הַזֶּה, שֶׁהֵן רוֹב מִצְוֹת הַתּוֹרָה כְּכוּלָּם וְהִלְכוֹתֵיהֶן,

Nearly all the mitzvot involve material objects: tzitzit are made of wool, tefillin of leather, and so on. Even the “spiritual” mitzvot involve material objects in their halachot—the laws governing their practical application. For example, the mitzvah of loving one’s fellow, although essentially a “spiritual” mitzvah, as it consists of an emotion—love, demands that one aid his fellow Jew materially, financially, etc.; these being concrete, material expressions of a “spiritual” mitzvah.

Thus, the Torah clothed itself in the material objects with which the mitzvot are performed and also in the physical letter combinations written with ink in a book, namely the twenty-four books of Torah, Nevi’im, and Ketuvim.

וּבְצֵרוּפֵי אוֹתִיּוֹת גַּשְׁמִיּוֹת בִּדְיוֹ עַל הַסֵּפֶר, עֶשְׂרִים וְאַרְבָּעָה סְפָרִים שֶׁבְּתוֹרָה נְבִיאִים וּכְתוּבִים.

(As mentioned above, the letters and words contain the holiness of G-d’s will and wisdom.)

Torah underwent this great descent so that every human thought be able to grasp them and so that even speech and action, which are on a level lower than thought, be able to grasp them (—G-d’s will and wisdom) and clothe themselves in them—by performing the commandments in speech and action.

כְּדֵי שֶׁתְּהֵא כָּל מַחֲשָׁבָה תְּפִיסָא בָּהֶן, וַאֲפִילוּ בְּחִינַת דִּבּוּר וּמַעֲשֶׂה, שֶׁלְּמַטָּה מִמַּדְרֵגַת מַחֲשָׁבָה, תְּפִיסָא בָּהֶן וּמִתְלַבֶּשֶׁת בָּהֶן.

Now, since Torah and its commandments clothe all ten faculties of the soul, and all of the soul’s 613 “organs,” from head to foot, i.e, from its highest level—its “head”—to its lowest level,

וּמֵאַחַר שֶׁהַתּוֹרָה וּמִצְוֹתֶיהָ מַלְבִּישִׁים כָּל עֶשֶׂר בְּחִינוֹת הַנֶּפֶשׁ וְכָל תַּרְיַ"ג אֵבָרֶיהָ מֵרֹאשָׁהּ וְעַד רַגְלָהּ,

it, the soul, is truly, completely bound up with G-d in the “bond of life,”12 and the very light of G-d envelops and clothes it from head to foot.

הֲרֵי כּוּלָּהּ צְרוּרָה בִּצְרוֹר הַחַיִּים אֶת ה' מַמָּשׁ, וְאוֹר ה' מַמָּשׁ מַקִּיפָהּ וּמַלְבִּישָׁהּ מֵרֹאשָׁהּ וְעַד רַגְלָהּ,

So it is written: “G-d is my Rock, in whom I take refuge”13 (and naturally, only that which surrounds a person can protect him); and it is further written, “As with a shield, G-d’s will surrounds him,”14

כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב: "צוּרִי אֶחֱסֶה בּוֹ", וּכְתִיב: "כַּצִּנָּה רָצוֹן תַּעְטְרֶנּוּ",

meaning His will and wisdom that are clothed in Torah and its commandments.

שֶׁהוּא רְצוֹנוֹ וְחָכְמָתוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ הַמְלוּבָּשִׁים בְּתוֹרָתוֹ וּמִצְוֹתֶיהָ.

We see, at any rate, that although G-d’s wisdom and will are beyond man’s reach, they are made accessible to him because the Torah is clothed in physical terms, and its commandments are vested in physical objects.