When performed, however, with pure and permissible objects, the mitzvah elevates those objects from kelipat nogah to holiness to be united with the Ein Sof-light, as the Alter Rebbe continues:

Now that one fulfills G-d’s commandment and will with these objects,

וְעַכְשָׁיו שֶׁמְּקַיֵּים בָּהֶם מִצְוַת ה' וּרְצוֹנוֹ –

the vitality within them ascends and is dissolved and absorbed into the blessed Ein Sof-light, which is His will that is clothed in the mitzvot, the Divine will that each mitzvah represents.

הֲרֵי הַחַיּוּת שֶׁבָּהֶם עוֹלֶה וּמִתְבַּטֵּל וְנִכְלָל בְּאוֹר־אֵין־סוֹף בָּרוּךְ־הוּא, שֶׁהוּא רְצוֹנוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ הַמְלוּבָּשׁ בָּהֶם,

For [in a mitzvah], there is no “concealment of the Countenance” whatsoever to hide His light, preventing the object from being absorbed in this light. As stated earlier, wherever the Ein Sof-light stands revealed, there is no separation from G-d; everything is united with His light—in this case, the object with which the mitzvah (representing revelation of the will and light of the Ein Sof) is performed.

מֵאַחַר שֶׁאֵין שָׁם בְּחִינַת הֶסְתֵּר פָּנִים כְּלָל לְהַסְתִּיר אוֹרוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ.

Thus far, the Alter Rebbe has discussed the effect of a mitzvah on the objects used in its performance (e.g., the etrog, the parchment used for tefillin, etc.). He now discusses its effect on the power of a Jew’s animal soul that is applied to the mitzvah. This soul, like the aforementioned objects, derives its vitality from kelipat nogah, and like them, it experiences a similar elevation to the realm of holiness whenever it is used in the service of a mitzvah, being absorbed into the Divine will represented by the mitzvah.

In the Alter Rebbe’s words:

Similarly, the power of the vitalizing animal soul clothed in the bodily limbs of a person who performs a mitzvah likewise clothes itself in the deed of the mitzvah.

וְכֵן כֹּחַ נֶפֶשׁ הַחִיּוּנִית הַבַּהֲמִית שֶׁבְּאֵבְרֵי גּוּף הָאָדָם הַמְקַיֵּים הַמִּצְוָה – הוּא מִתְלַבֵּשׁ גַּם כֵּן בַּעֲשִׂיָּה זוֹ,

Thereby, it ascends from the kelipah to be absorbed into the holiness of the mitzvah, which is His will and is nullified within the blessed Ein Sof-light.

וְעוֹלֶה מֵהַקְּלִיפָּה, וְנִכְלָל בִּקְדוּשַּׁת הַמִּצְוָה שֶׁהִיא רְצוֹנוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ, וּבָטֵל בְּאוֹר־אֵין־סוֹף בָּרוּךְ־הוּא.

The Alter Rebbe now goes on to say that those mitzvot involving speech alone likewise effect this elevation of the animal soul, even though here, the animal soul’s power is not brought to bear in the performance of any mitzvah.

Even in the case of such mitzvot as Torah study, reciting the Shema, prayer, and the like, the animal soul’s power is elevated to holiness,

וְגַם בְּמִצְוֹת תַּלְמוּד תּוֹרָה וּקְרִיאַת שְׁמַע וּתְפִלָּה וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָהֶן,

although they do not involve actual physical action which is under the dominion of kelipat nogah,

אַף שֶׁאֵינָן בַּעֲשִׂיָּה גַשְׁמִית מַמָּשׁ שֶׁתַּחַת מֶמְשֶׁלֶת קְלִיפַּת נוֹגַהּ,

yet it is an accepted principle that “thought is not a substitute for speech,”2 and one does not fulfill his duty of Torah study, prayer, etc. unless he actually utters [the words] with his lips.

מִכָּל מָקוֹם, הָא קַיְימָא לָן דְּ"הִרְהוּר לָאו כְּדִבּוּר דָּמֵי", וְאֵינוֹ יוֹצֵא יְדֵי חוֹבָתוֹ עַד שֶׁיּוֹצִיא בִּשְׂפָתָיו,

It is also accepted that “moving one’s lips constitutes action,”3 and such “action,” as the Rebbe notes, likewise stems from the vitality of the kelipat nogah that is nourished by the animal soul, as does the actual bodily action spoken of earlier.

וְקַיְימָא לָן דַּ"עֲקִימַת שְׂפָתָיו הָוֵי מַעֲשֶׂה",

For the divine soul cannot express itself with the physical lips, mouth, tongue, or teeth, the instruments of speech, except by way of the vitalizing animal soul actually clothed in the organs of the body.

כִּי אִי אֶפְשָׁר לַנֶּפֶשׁ הָאֱלֹהִית לְבַטֵּא בִּשְׂפָתַיִים וּפֶה וְלָשׁוֹן וְשִׁינַּיִים הַגַּשְׁמִיִּים, כִּי אִם, עַל יְדֵי נֶפֶשׁ הַחִיּוּנִית הַבַּהֲמִית הַמְלוּבֶּשֶׁת בְּאֵבְרֵי הַגּוּף מַמָּשׁ,

The divine soul is entirely spiritual, the body, physical. Therefore (as explained in ch. 35), the divine soul cannot activate the body to perform a mitzvah except through an intermediary. This intermediary is the animal soul, which, on one hand, is a soul, a spiritual life-force, yet on the other hand is actually clothed in the blood and the bodily organs.

This intermediary is necessary in mitzvot performed through speech, just as in the mitzvot performed through action. For articulating the words required for the mitzvah also constitutes physical “action” so that this, too, cannot be accomplished by the divine soul except by way of the animal soul’s power.

Hence, the more forcefully one speaks words of Torah or prayer, the more of the animal soul’s energy he introduces and clothes in these words. Thereby, he converts more of the energy of the kelipah to holiness.

וְכָל מַה שֶּׁמְּדַבֵּר בְּכֹחַ גָּדוֹל יוֹתֵר – הוּא מַכְנִיס וּמַלְבִּישׁ יוֹתֵר כֹּחוֹת מִנֶּפֶשׁ הַחִיּוּנִית בְּדִיבּוּרִים אֵלּוּ.

This is also the meaning of the verse, “All my bones shall declare…[:‘G-d, who is like You?’],”4 which means that the words of Torah and prayer must be said “with all of one’s bones” so that as much as possible of the body’s energy be utilized in performing the mitzvot.

וְזֶהוּ שֶׁאָמַר הַכָּתוּב: "כָּל עַצְמוֹתַי תֹּאמַרְנָה וְגוֹ'".

This is why our Sages have said: “If the Torah abides in all 248 limbs, it is preserved in your memory; otherwise, it is not preserved.”5

וְזֶהוּ שֶׁאָמְרוּ רַבּוֹתֵינוּ־זִכְרוֹנָם־לִבְרָכָה: "אִם עֲרוּכָה בְּכָל רַמַ"ח אֵיבָרִים מִשְׁתַּמֶּרֶת, וְאִם לָאו – אֵינָהּ מִשְׁתַּמֶּרֶת",

For forgetfulness in matters of Torah stems from the kelipah of the body and vitalizing animal soul, derived from kelipat nogah, which is sometimes absorbed into holiness; when it is absorbed into holiness, there is no longer any cause for forgetfulness.

כִּי הַשִּׁכְחָה הִיא מִקְּלִיפַּת הַגּוּף וְנֶפֶשׁ הַחִיּוּנִית הַבַּהֲמִית, שֶׁהֵן מִקְּלִיפַּת נוֹגַהּ הַנִּכְלֶלֶת לִפְעָמִים בִּקְדוּשָּׁה,

This is accomplished when one weakens their power (the power of body and animal soul), applying all their strength to the holiness of Torah and prayer.

וְהַיְינוּ כְּשֶׁמַּתִּישׁ כֹּחָן וּמַכְנִיס כָּל כֹּחָן בִּקְדוּשַּׁת הַתּוֹרָה אוֹ הַתְּפִלָּה:

This, then, is the meaning of the aforementioned quotation: When one involves (the energy of) all his 248 limbs in Torah study, it is preserved in his memory, for the kelipah that causes one to forget has been weakened.