In the physical body [of a living creature] and in an absolutely inanimate [being] such as stones or earth, in which no life or spirituality are apparent since they lack even the power of growth,

כִּי בַּגּוּף הַגַּשְׁמִי, וְהַדּוֹמֵם מַמָּשׁ כַּאֲבָנִים וְעָפָר –

the ray of the divine creative power is in a state of unparalleled contraction.

הַהֶאָרָה הִיא בִּבְחִינַת צִמְצוּם גָּדוֹל אֲשֶׁר אֵין כָּמוֹהוּ,

So minute is the life-force within these inanimate beings that they lack even the power of growth.

וְהַחַיּוּת שֶׁבּוֹ מוּעֶטֶת כָּל כָּךְ, עַד שֶׁאֵין בּוֹ אֲפִילוּ כֹּחַ הַצּוֹמֵחַ,

In vegetation, the ray is not so greatly contracted; the phenomenon of growth indicates the presence of something more than mere physical matter; some degree of spirituality is in evidence.

וּבַצּוֹמֵחַ – הַהֶאָרָה אֵינָהּ בְּצִמְצוּם גָּדוֹל כָּל כָּךְ.

In general, [all things in this world] are divided into four categories: mineral, vegetable, animal, and man (lit., “the speaker”),

וְדֶרֶךְ כְּלָל, נֶחְלָקוֹת לְאַרְבַּע מַדְרֵגוֹת: דּוֹמֵם, צוֹמֵחַ, חַי, מְדַבֵּר

corresponding to the four letters of the Divine Name (the Tetragrammaton) from which they are derived. Each of these four categories receives its vitality from one of the four letters.

כְּנֶגֶד ד' אוֹתִיּוֹת שֵׁם הֲוָיָ"ה בָּרוּךְ־הוּא, שֶׁמִּמֶּנּוּ מוּשְׁפָּעִים.

Now, just as the illumination and the flow of vitality found in the mineral and vegetable [categories] bears no comparison or likeness to the illumination and flow of vitality clothed in animals and man (since in the latter two categories, it is clearly apparent that they are alive)

וּכְמוֹ שֶׁאֵין עֵרֶךְ וְדִמְיוֹן הַהֶאָרָה וְהַמְשָׁכַת הַחַיּוּת שֶׁבְּדוֹמֵם וְצוֹמֵחַ, לְהַהֶאָרָה וְהַמְשָׁכַת הַחַיּוּת הַמְלוּבֶּשֶׁת בְּחַי וּמְדַבֵּר,

although in all [four categories], the [divine animating] light is the same in terms of the “concealment of Countenance,” i.e, in all four categories, the inner aspect of the divine light is concealed equally, and in all [four categories, the light] is clothed in the same garment, namely the garment, i.e., veil, of nogah; hence, in none of these categories is it apparent that their vitality is actually G-dliness—yet despite this equality, the vitality of inanimate beings and plants is incomparable to that of animals and man,

אַף שֶׁבְּכוּלָּן אוֹר אֶחָד שָׁוֶה בִּבְחִינַת הֶסְתֵּר פָּנִים, וּמְלוּבָּשׁ בִּלְבוּשׁ אֶחָד בְּכוּלָּן שֶׁהוּא לְבוּשׁ נוֹגַהּ,

similarly, there is no comparison or likeness between the illumination and flow of the blessed Ein Sof-light—meaning the inner aspect of His will, without “concealment of Countenance” and with no garment whatsoever—

כָּךְ, אֵין עֵרֶךְ וְדִמְיוֹן כְּלָל בֵּין הֶאָרַת וְהַמְשָׁכַת אוֹר־אֵין־סוֹף בָּרוּךְ־הוּא, שֶׁהוּא פְּנִימִיּוּת רְצוֹנוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ בְּלִי הֶסְתֵּר פָּנִים וּלְבוּשׁ כְּלָל,

as it radiates in and is clothed within the mitzvot consisting of action—whether actual action or mitzvot performed through speech and verbal articulation, which is regarded as actual action, as mentioned above—when performed without kavanah,

הַמְּאִירָה וּמְלוּבֶּשֶׁת בְּמִצְוֹת מַעֲשִׂיּוֹת מַמָּשׁ, וְכֵן בְּמִצְוֹת הַתְּלוּיוֹת בְּדִבּוּר וּבִיטּוּי שְׂפָתַיִם בְּלִי כַוָּונָה, שֶׁהוּא נֶחְשָׁב כְּמַעֲשֶׂה מַמָּשׁ כַּנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל –

[the illumination of the Ein Sof found in these mitzvot bears no likeness or comparison] with the [superior] illumination and flow of the blessed Ein Sof-light radiating and clothed in the kavanah of the mitzvot of action,

לְגַבֵּי הַהֶאָרָה וְהַמְשָׁכַת אוֹר־אֵין־סוֹף בָּרוּךְ־הוּא הַמְּאִירָה וּמְלוּבֶּשֶׁת בְּכַוָּונַת הַמִּצְוֹת מַעֲשִׂיּוֹת,

meaning man’s intention to attach himself to G-d by fulfilling His will as expressed in the mitzvot, since He and His will are one.

שֶׁהָאָדָם מִתְכַּוֵּין בַּעֲשִׂיָּיתָן כְּדֵי לְדָבְקָה בּוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ עַל יְדֵי קִיּוּם רְצוֹנוֹ, שֶׁהוּא וּרְצוֹנוֹ אֶחָד.

Similarly with regard to kavanah in prayer, the recital of Shema and its blessings and in other blessings, where, through one’s kavanah in them, he attaches his thought and intellect to G-d.

וְכֵן בְּכַוָּונַת הַתְּפִלָּה וּקְרִיאַת שְׁמַע וּבִרְכוֹתֶיהָ וּשְׁאָר בְּרָכוֹת, שֶׁבְּכַוָּונָתוֹ בָּהֶן – מְדַבֵּק מַחֲשַׁבְתּוֹ וְשִׂכְלוֹ בּוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ.