והן בבחינת ועשה טוב, להתגבר כארי בגבורה ואומץ הלב

Likewise in the category of “doing good” one can employ the power of his “hidden love,” to strengthen himself like a lion with might and determination of heart,

נגד היצר המכביד את גופו ומפיל עליו עצלה, מבחינת יסוד העפר שבנפש הבהמית

against the evil nature which weighs down his body and casts over him a sloth, which stems from the element of Earth that is in his animal soul. 1

מלהטריח גופו בזריזות בכל מיני טורח ועבודת משא בעבודת ה‘ שיש בה טורח ועמל

This laziness prevents him from exerting his body energetically with every type of effort and strain, in the service of G‑d that entails effort and toil.

כגון לעמול בתורה בעיון, ובפה: לא פסיק פומיה מגירסא

For example, to labor in the Torah with deep concentration, and also orally, so that “his mouth will never cease from Torah study”;

וכמאמר רז״ל: לעולם ישים אדם עצמו על דברי תורה כשור לעול וכחמור למשאוי

as our Sages have said: 2 “A man should always submit to the words of Torah like the ox to the yoke, and the donkey to the load.”

וכן לתפלה בכונה, בכל כחו ממש

Similarly with regard to devout prayer, he should exert himself with all the strength he can muster.

וכן בעבודת ה’ שהיא בדבר שבממון, כמו עבודת הצדקה

So too with regard to serving G‑d in monetary matters, such as the duty of charity, 3

וכיוצא באלו ממלחמות היצר ותחבולותיו, לקרר נפש האדם, שלא להפקיר ממונו ובריאות גופו

and in similar matters that entail great effort where one must struggle with the evil inclination and its wiles which seek to cool the ardor of a man’s soul, claiming that he ought not dissipate his money in the case of charity or his health in matters requiring physical exertion.

שלעמוד נגדו ולכבשו קרוב מאד אל האדם, כשישים אל לבו שלנצח היצר בכל זה ויותר מזה, ולעשות הפכו ממש, קל מאד מיסורי מיתה, ה‘ ישמרנו

It is very easy for a person to resist and subjugate his nature when he considers deeply that to conquer his nature in all the above and more, and in fact to do the very opposite, i.e., to exert himself strenuously, both bodily and financially, is much lighter suffering than death (May G‑d preserve us!).

ויסורי מיתה, ה’ ישמרנו, היה מקבל באהבה וברצון, שלא ליפרד מיחודו ואחדותו יתברך אפילו לפי שעה, להשתחוות לעבודה זרה, חס ושלום

Yet he would lovingly and willingly have accepted the pain of death (G‑d preserve us!) so as not to be separated from G‑d’s unity and oneness even for a moment by an act of idolatry, G‑d forbid.

For, as mentioned earlier, every Jew would sacrifice his life rather than practice idolatry, since he knows that it represents separation from G‑d.

וכל שכן שיש לו לקבל באהבה וברצון כדי לדבקה בו לעולם ועד

Certainly, then, he ought to accept lovingly and willingly the comparatively minor pain of exerting himself in the performance of the mitzvot in order to bind himself to G‑d with an eternal bond.

There is a twofold a fortiori argument here. Firstly, performing a mitzvah actively binds man to G‑d, as opposed to refraining from idolatry, which merely prevents separation from Him. Secondly, the bond effected by the mitzvah is an eternal one, as opposed to the temporary separation from G‑d caused by idolatry. Now if one would sacrifice his life to refrain from idolatry, how much more so ought he accept whatever hardships are entailed by fulfilling the mitzvot, since their performance has both these gains that are not found in the rejection of idolatry.

The Alter Rebbe now goes on to explain how mitzvot effect an eternal bond with G‑d.

דהיינו כשיעשה רצונו יתברך בעבודה זו, יתגלה בה פנימית רצון העליון בבחינת פנים וגילוי רב, ולא בהסתר כלל

For by fulfilling G‑d’s Will through this service despite the exertion involved, the innermost Divine Will will be revealed in it — internally as opposed to “surrounding” it or “hovering” over it from above, and very manifestly, without any obscurity whatever.

As explained in ch. 23, the mitzvot represent G‑d’s innermost Will, and when one performs them, this Will stands completely revealed.

וכשאין שום הסתר פנים ברצון העליון, אזי אין דבר נפרד כלל וכלל, להיות יש ודבר בפני עצמו

Now, when there is no “concealment of the Countenance” of the Divine Will, nothing is at all separate from G‑dliness, having an independent and separate identity of its own.

For, as explained in chs. 22 and 24, no created being can possibly consider itself separate from G‑d unless the Divine Will is concealed from it. Since the inner aspect of this Will stands revealed in one’s performance of a mitzvah, it does not permit any sense of separation.

ולזאת תהיינה נפשו האלקית והחיונית ולבושיהן כולן מיוחדות בתכלית היחוד ברצון העליון ואור אין סוף ברוך הוא כנ״ל

Thus his soul i.e., the soul of the person performing the mitzvah, both the divine and the animating souls, and their “garments” of thought, speech, and action, will be united in perfect unity with the Divine Will and with the infinite light of G‑d, blessed be He, as explained above.

This details how the mitzvot effect a bond between man and G‑d. The Alter Rebbe will now go on to explain why this bond is eternal.

ויחוד זה למעלה הוא נצחי לעולם ועד, כי הוא יתברך ורצונו למעלה מהזמן

In the upper spheres, this union between the soul and G‑d is eternal. For G‑d, blessed be He, and His Will transcend time, and thus the union with G‑d and His Will also transcends time and is eternal.

וכן גילוי רצונו שבדבורו שהיא התורה הוא נצחי

So too even in this world His revealed Will, as expressed in His Word — the Torah, is also eternal,

וכמו שכתוב: ודבר אלקינו יקום לעולם, ודבריו חיים וקיימים כו‘, ולא יחליף ולא ימיר דתו לעולמים כו’

as it is written: 4 “But the Word of our G‑d shall stand forever”; and5 “His words live and endure (eternally)”; and6 “He will never alter or exchange His law.”

Since the revelation of G‑d’s Will as expressed in the Torah is beyond time, the union of the soul with G‑d that Torah and mitzvot effect is likewise eternal.