The Alter Rebbe has thus far discussed two levels of union with the Divine will, one analogous to the chariot and its rider and the second to the unity of body and soul. Both these levels of unity are achieved by performing the mitzvot. He now goes on to describe a third and higher level of unity that is achieved through the study of the Torah.

But the thought and meditation on the words of Torah, which is accomplished in the brain, and the power of speech engaged in the words of Torah, which is in the mouth—these being the innermost garments of the divine soul and thus closer to the soul itself than the faculty of action, the “external” garment,

אַךְ הַמַּחֲשָׁבָה וְהַהִרְהוּר בְּדִבְרֵי תוֹרָה שֶׁבַּמּוֹחַ, וְכֹחַ הַדִּבּוּר בְּדִבְרֵי תוֹרָה שֶׁבַּפֶּה, שֶׁהֵם לְבוּשִׁים הַפְּנִימִים שֶׁל נֶפֶשׁ הָאֱלֹהִית,

and surely the divine soul itself, which is clothed in them i.e., in the thought and speech engaged in Torah study,

וְכָל שֶׁכֵּן נֶפֶשׁ הָאֱלֹהִית עַצְמָהּ הַמְלוּבֶּשֶׁת בָּהֶם,

all of them are fused in perfect unity with the Divine will and are not merely a vehicle, a “chariot” for it,4 as are the mouth and brain, in which the thought and speech of Torah study take place.

כּוּלָּם מְיוּחָדִים מַמָּשׁ בְּיִחוּד גָּמוּר בָּרָצוֹן הָעֶלְיוֹן, וְלֹא מֶרְכָּבָה לְבַד,

The term “perfect unity” indicates that the two become one and the same, unlike, for example, the unity of body and soul, which retain their separate identities even when they are joined together and form one unit. An example of a “perfect” unity can be found in the unity of the soul with its faculties, which are a part of it, and are thus completely united with it. In the same way, the divine soul and its faculties of speech and thought are united with the Divine will when one thinks or speaks matters of Torah.

The Alter Rebbe now goes on to explain how Torah study is able to effect this level of unity.

For the Divine will is identical with the halachic subject of which one thinks and speaks, inasmuch as all the laws of the Halachah are particular expressions of the innermost Divine will itself,

כִּי רָצוֹן הָעֶלְיוֹן הוּא הוּא הַדְּבַר הֲלָכָה עַצְמָהּ שֶׁמְּהַרְהֵר וּמְדַבֵּר בָּהּ, שֶׁכָּל הַהֲלָכוֹת הֵן פְּרָטֵי הַמְשָׁכוֹת פְּנִימִיּוּת רָצוֹן הָעֶלְיוֹן עַצְמוֹ,

for G-d willed it thus—that a particular thing be deemed permissible or kosher or that this person be found exempt and another innocent or the reverse.

שֶׁכָּךְ עָלָה בִּרְצוֹנוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ, שֶׁדָּבָר זֶה מוּתָּר אוֹ כָּשֵׁר אוֹ פָּטוּר אוֹ זַכַּאי אוֹ לְהֵפֶךְ;

Since every Halachah expresses the Divine will, the unity which the study of the Halachah effects between the soul and the Divine will surpasses even the unity of body and soul.

Similarly, all the letter combinations of the Pentateuch, Prophets, and the Writings are also expressions of G-d’s will and wisdom, which are united with the blessed Ein Sof in a perfect unity—since He is the Knower, the Knowledge…[and the subject Known].

וְכֵן כָּל צֵרוּפֵי אוֹתִיּוֹת תּוֹרָה־נְבִיאִים־כְּתוּבִים הֵן הַמְשָׁכַת רְצוֹנוֹ וְחָכְמָתוֹ הַמְיוּחָדוֹת בְּאֵין־סוֹף בָּרוּךְ־הוּא בְּתַכְלִית הַיִּחוּד, שֶׁהוּא הַיּוֹדֵעַ וְהוּא הַמַּדָּע כוּ'.

Thus, when one studies the Torah, Prophets, and the Writings, he becomes united with the Divine will and wisdom, which are absolutely one with G-d Himself.

The difference between the two levels of unity with G-d achieved through Torah and mitzvot, respectively, may be clarified by the following analogy:

A king orders his servants to build a palace for him and draws up a detailed blueprint for it. When they carry out his wishes, they are united with his desire as expressed in the palace. However, the palace walls themselves do not represent the king’s will and wisdom. But the blueprint does, and the architects who study it are actually involved in the study of the king’s will and wisdom.

So, too, in our case. The actual performance of the mitzvot, although dictated by G-d’s will, does not actually constitute this will. Not so the wisdom of Torah, which is itself G-d’s wisdom, and the halachic rulings are actually expressions of His will, and thus, when one speaks or thinks words of Torah, he attains the greatest possible level of union with G-d, Who is one with His will and wisdom.

This is what is meant by the statement that “The Torah and G-d are absolutely one”—they are not merely “organs of the King,” as are the mitzvot.

וְזֶהוּ שֶׁכָּתוּב דְּ"אוֹרַיְיתָא וְקוּדְשָׁא בְּרִיךְ הוּא – כּוּלָּא חַד", וְלֹא "אֵבָרִין דְּמַלְכָּא" לְחוּד כְּפִיקּוּדִין.

For, as explained above, the unity of the mitzvot with G-d is like that of body and soul, where two separate entities are joined, whereas Torah is entirely one with G-d.

Now, since the Divine will, which is in perfect unity with G-d Himself, stands completely revealed in the divine soul and in its inner garments—i.e., its thought and speech—while a person occupies himself with words of Torah, and there is nothing obscuring the Divine will at that time, for when one studies Torah, the Divine will and wisdom contained in it come into full expression in one’s soul and its faculties of thought and speech,

וּמֵאַחַר שֶׁרָצוֹן הָעֶלְיוֹן הַמְיוּחָד בְּאֵין־סוֹף בָּרוּךְ־הוּא בְּתַכְלִית הַיִּחוּד, הוּא בְּגִילּוּי לְגַמְרֵי, וְלֹא בְּהֶסְתֵּר פָּנִים כְּלָל וּכְלָל, בַּנֶּפֶשׁ הָאֱלֹהִית וּלְבוּשֶׁיהָ הַפְּנִימִים, שֶׁהֵם מַחֲשַׁבְתָּהּ וְדִבּוּרָהּ, בְּאוֹתָהּ שָׁעָה שֶׁהָאָדָם עוֹסֵק בְּדִבְרֵי תוֹרָה,

it follows that at that time, the soul and these garments of thought and speech are also truly united with G-d,

הֲרֵי גַּם הַנֶּפֶשׁ וּלְבוּשֶׁיהָ אֵלּוּ – מְיוּחָדִים מַמָּשׁ בְּאֵין־סוֹף בָּרוּךְ־הוּא בְּאוֹתָהּ שָׁעָה בְּתַכְלִית הַיִּחוּד,

with a unity comparable to that of G-d’s speech and thought with His essence and being as explained above,5

כְּיִחוּד דִּבּוּרוֹ וּמַחֲשַׁבְתּוֹ שֶׁל הַקָּדוֹשׁ־בָּרוּךְ־הוּא בְּמַהוּתוֹ וְעַצְמוּתוֹ כַּנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל,

for nothing is separate from G-d, except insofar as His Countenance is concealed.

כִּי אֵין שׁוּם דָּבָר נִפְרָד, כִּי אִם בְּהֶסְתֵּר פָּנִים כַּנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל.

Only then can created beings perceive themselves as distinct entities (as explained in ch. 22). Since there is no such concealment when one studies the Torah, one attains thereby a perfect unity with G-d—a unity comparable to that of G-d’s speech and thought with Himself prior to their revelation as “speech” and “thought” but as they are contained within Himself.

Moreover, their unity, i.e., the unity of the divine soul and its faculties with G-d that is attained through Torah study, is even more exalted and more powerful than the unity of G-d’s infinite light with the upper (spiritual) worlds.

וְלֹא עוֹד, אֶלָּא שֶׁיִּחוּדָם הוּא בְּיֶתֶר שְׂאֵת וְיֶתֶר עֹז מִיִּחוּד אוֹר־אֵין־סוֹף בָּרוּךְ־הוּא בְּעוֹלָמוֹת עֶלְיוֹנִים,

For the Divine will is actually manifest in the soul and its garments that are engaged in Torah study, since it is identical with the Torah being studied.

מֵאַחַר שֶׁרָצוֹן הָעֶלְיוֹן הוּא בְּגִילּוּי מַמָּשׁ בַּנֶּפֶשׁ וּלְבוּשֶׁיהָ הָעוֹסְקִים בַּתּוֹרָה, שֶׁהֲרֵי הוּא הוּא הַתּוֹרָה עַצְמָהּ,

All the supernal worlds receive their vitality by way of the light and life derived from the Torah, which is G-d’s will and wisdom, as it is written, “You have made them all with wisdom.”6

וְכָל הָעוֹלָמוֹת הָעֶלְיוֹנִים מְקַבְּלִים חַיּוּתָם מֵאוֹר וְחַיּוּת הַנִּמְשָׁךְ מֵהַתּוֹרָה, שֶׁהִיא רְצוֹנוֹ וְחָכְמָתוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ, כְּדִכְתִיב: "כּוּלָּם בְּחָכְמָה עָשִׂיתָ",

G-d’s wisdom is thus the source of vitality for all the worlds.

Thus it follows that G-d’s wisdom, i.e., the Torah, transcends them all.

וְאִם כֵּן, הַחָכְמָה – שֶׁהִיא הַתּוֹרָה – לְמַעְלָה מִכּוּלָּם,

It must be above all the worlds, since it is their source.

In fact, the Torah, G-d’s will, is described as “encompassing” all the worlds, meaning that it is at a level that cannot become clothed within the worlds but rather animates and illuminates them as if from a distance, from above, in a transcending and “encompassing” manner,7

וְהִיא הִיא רְצוֹנוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ הַנִּקְרָא "סוֹבֵב כָּל עָלְמִין", שֶׁהִיא בְּחִינַת מַה שֶּׁאֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְהִתְלַבֵּשׁ בְּתוֹךְ עָלְמִין, רַק מְחַיֶּה וּמֵאִיר לְמַעְלָה בִּבְחִינַת מַקִּיף,

and it is this level which transcends all the worlds that is clothed in a truly revealed form in one’s soul and his soul-garments when he studies Torah,

וְהִיא הִיא הַמִּתְלַבֶּשֶׁת בַּנֶּפֶשׁ וּלְבוּשֶׁיהָ בִּבְחִינַת גִּילּוּי מַמָּשׁ – כְּשֶׁעוֹסְקִים בְּדִבְרֵי תוֹרָה,

even though he does not see it.8 I.e., when one studies Torah, he is unable to consciously experience the unity of his soul with G-d which is attained thereby, yet his soul feels it. (9In fact, this is precisely why he can endure such a unity with G-d, precisely because he cannot feel it—unlike the supernal worlds, where G-dliness is not obscured as it is in this world, and they cannot therefore endure such a unity with G-d without becoming completely nullified and losing their identities entirely.)

"וְאַף־עַל־גַּב דְּאִיהוּ לָא חָזֵי כוּ'" [וּמִשּׁוּם הָכֵי יָכוֹל לִסְבּוֹל, מִשּׁוּם דְּלָא חָזֵי, מַה שֶּׁאֵין כֵּן בָּעֶלְיוֹנִים].