Ultimately, the souls of those who serve G-d with intellectual love and fear are privileged to abide in the Higher Garden of Eden—Beriah. For the reward given in the Garden of Eden (Paradise) is that the souls “delight in the radiance of the Shechinah,” i.e., they delight in their perception of G-d’s glory. Since one’s reward is commensurate with his level of divine service, the delight in intellectual perception of G-dliness is reserved for the souls of those who served G-d with intellectual love and fear during their lifetime on earth.

At this point, the Alter Rebbe qualifies his earlier statement: Only those tzaddikim whose souls are on the level of neshamah (i.e., the highest of the three soul-levels—nefesh, ruach, and neshamah) abide in Beriah. Neshamah represents Mochin deGadlut—a “superior intellectual grasp” of G-dliness; those on the level of neshamah understand G-dliness directly as it is without recourse to analogy or anthropomorphic terms. Love and fear follow from such direct understanding of G-dliness as its natural extensions; they are not products of intellect, a generation removed. In this case, in fact, the emotions may be considered as part of an intellectual process rather than emotion proper.

However, this applies specifically only to the actual level of neshamah of these tzaddikimthe level of neshamah being that of intellect, as the verse states, “The divine neshamah will give them discernment”6

אַךְ הַיְינוּ דַּוְוקָא נְשָׁמוֹת מַמָּשׁ,

and which represent a “superior intellectual perception” of the Blessed Ein Sof.

שֶׁהֵן בְּחִינַת מוֹחִין דְּגַדְלוּת אֵין־סוֹף בָּרוּךְ־הוּא,

But the level of ruach of the tzaddikim,

אֲבָל בְּחִינַת הָרוּחַ שֶׁל הַצַּדִּיקִים,

and similarly all the other souls of Israel, who served G-d with the natural fear and love hidden in the heart of all Israel, not with love and fear born of intellect,

וְכֵן שְׁאָר כָּל נִשְׁמוֹת יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁעָבְדוּ אֶת ה' בִּדְחִילוּ וּרְחִימוּ הַמְסוּתָּרוֹת בְּלֵב כְּלָלוּת יִשְׂרָאֵל,

ascend thereto (to Beriah) only on Shabbat and the New Moon, when all creation ascends to a higher level (as it is written, “…every month, on the New Moon, and every week, on the Shabbat, all flesh will come to prostrate themselves before Me, says G-d”); it is only then that these souls ascend to the World of Beriah, the Higher Garden of Eden,

אֵין עוֹלוֹת לְשָׁם, רַק בְּשַׁבָּת וְרֹאשׁ־חֹדֶשׁ לְבַד,

by means of the pillar that extends from the Lower Garden of Eden (Yetzirah) to the Higher Garden of Eden, i.e., the World of Beriah, which is called the Higher Garden of Eden.7

דֶּרֶךְ הָעַמּוּד שֶׁמִּגַּן עֵדֶן הַתַּחְתּוֹן לְגַן עֵדֶן הָעֶלְיוֹן, שֶׁהוּא עוֹלַם הַבְּרִיאָה הַנִּקְרָא גַּן עֵדֶן הָעֶלְיוֹן,

By means of this pillar, these souls ascend thereto to delight in G-d and to bask in the radiance of the Shechinah.

לְהִתְעַנֵּג עַל ה' וְלֵיהָנוֹת מִזִּיו הַשְּׁכִינָה,

Such pleasure is the prerogative of the souls in Beriah, since the soul’s delight is from its understanding and appreciation of G-dliness to the extent that a soul is capable of such understanding.

The intellect of a created being delights and derives pleasure only in that which it conceives, understands, knows (—corresponding to ChaBaD), and grasps with its intellect and understanding,

כִּי אֵין הֲנָאָה וְתַעֲנוּג לְשֵׂכֶל נִבְרָא, אֶלָּא בְּמַה שֶּׁמַּשְׂכִּיל וּמֵבִין וְיוֹדֵעַ וּמַשִּׂיג בְּשִׂכְלוֹ וּבִינָתוֹ,

as much as it can grasp of the Blessed Ein Sof-light through His wisdom and His understanding which radiate there (in Beriah), enabling the soul to perceive G-dliness. For, as mentioned earlier, the ChaBaD of Atzilut (to which the Alter Rebbe refers as “His wisdom,” “His understanding”) radiate in Beriah, for which reason Beriah is the “World of understanding.”

מַה שֶּׁאֶפְשָׁר לוֹ לְהָבִין וּלְהַשִּׂיג מֵאוֹר־אֵין־סוֹף בָּרוּךְ־הוּא, עַל יְדֵי חָכְמָתוֹ וּבִינָתוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ, הַמְּאִירוֹת שָׁם בְּעוֹלַם הַבְּרִיאָה.

With this, the Alter Rebbe concludes his statement that on Shabbat and Rosh Chodesh, the souls of other Jews (who had not served G-d with intellectual love and fear) ascend to Beriah.

These souls (who served G-d with natural love and fear) are privileged to rise occasionally to Beriah, higher than the angels, whose abode is in Yetzirah, as mentioned above, never rising to Beriah, although they too, like the angels, served G-d only with natural fear and love; why, then, is their service of G-d considered superior to that of the angels?

וּמַה שֶּׁזּוֹכוֹת נְשָׁמוֹת אֵלּוּ לַעֲלוֹת לְמַעְלָה מֵהַמַּלְאָכִים, אַף שֶׁעָבְדוּ בִּדְחִילוּ וּרְחִימוּ טִבְעִיִּים לְבַד,

Because through their fear and love, the sitra achara clothed in their body is subdued,

הַיְינוּ, מִפְּנֵי שֶׁעַל יְדֵי דְּחִילוּ וּרְחִימוּ שֶׁלָּהֶם, אִתְכַּפְיָא סִטְרָא אָחֳרָא הַמְלוּבֶּשֶׁת בְּגוּפָם,

whether (in the case of fear) in the realm of “turning away from evil” (refraining from doing evil and thereby) conquering and crushing their desires through not giving their illicit desires expression in thought, speech, and action,

בֵּין בִּבְחִינַת "סוּר מֵרָע" לִכְבּוֹשׁ הַתַּאֲווֹת וּלְשַׁבְּרָן,

or whether (in the case of love) subduing the sitra achara in the realm of “doing good,” as mentioned above, i.e., actively pursuing the observance of the mitzvot out of love for G-d, despite the contrary desire of the animal soul, which is rooted in the sitra achara.

וּבֵין בִּבְחִינַת "וַעֲשֵׂה טוֹב" כַּנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל,

These souls, while in the physical world, had freedom of choice; they might have chosen evil, G-d forbid,

וְהֵם הָיוּ בַּעֲלֵי בְחִירָה לִבְחוֹר בְּרָע חַס וְשָׁלוֹם

yet they chose good—to subdue the sitra achara so that G-d’s glory be elevated…[in all Worlds], with an elevation similar to the superiority of light…[emerging from the darkness] over ordinary light, as mentioned above. By dispelling the darkness of sitra achara, these souls added to the light of holiness.

וּבָחֲרוּ בְּטוֹב, לְאַכְפָּיָא לְסִטְרָא אָחֳרָא לְאִסְתַּלְּקָא יְקָרָא דְקוּדְשָׁא בְּרִיךְ־הוּא כוּ', כְּיִתְרוֹן הָאוֹר כוּ', כַּנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל.

Thus, although these souls served G-d as angels do, with love and fear that are natural, not intellectual, yet their service ranks higher than that of an angel, for the soul acts out of free choice, while the angel is a creature of compulsive instinct (albeit holy instinct). Therefore, it is occasionally granted to the soul, unlike the angel, to rise to the Higher Garden of Eden in Beriah.

In the following paragraphs, the Alter Rebbe will differentiate between the respective stations of the souls, on one hand, and of their divine service (i.e., the actual Torah and mitzvot that the soul studies and observes) on the other. But before examining his words, an introduction is in order:

Although we spoke above of the sefirot of each of the Four Worlds, it must nevertheless be understood that the sefirot of each World do not constitute that World itself. The sefirot represent, rather, the G-dliness inherent in each World—its divine life-force. The World itself, on the other hand, is a yesh, a separate being, which comes about through the sefirot.

The significance of this distinction with regard to our discussion is as follows: The Alter Rebbe spoke above of the abode of the soul in either the World of Yetzirah or the World of Beriah (depending on the level of its divine service). The emphasis here is on the word “World”: the soul’s abode is in the World of Beriah or Yetzirah (also described as the heichalot (“Chambers”) of these Worlds), not in the sefirot of these Worlds.

The soul’s divine service, on the other hand, ascends to the sefirot (of the appropriate World); this means, in effect, that it is absorbed in the Ein Sof.

In fact, the soul’s reward in the Garden of Eden, described before as the pleasure of “basking in the radiance of the Shechinah,” is actually the radiance of the Torah and mitzvot that the person observed while in this physical world, which have ascended to the supernal sefirot.

In the Alter Rebbe’s words:

All the aforesaid concerns the abode and station of the souls. (The Rebbe notes: “Station” is not necessarily synonymous with “abode”; a soul whose abode is in Yetzirah may rise periodically (on Shabbat and Rosh Chodesh) to a temporary station in Beriah, as said above.)

וְהִנֵּה, כָּל זֶה הוּא בִּמְדוֹר הַנְּשָׁמוֹת וּמְקוֹם עֲמִידָתָן,

Their Torah and divine service, however, are actually absorbed in the ten sefirot, which are a manifestation of G-dliness and with which the Ein Sof-light unites, in perfect unity, i.e., the Ein Sof-light radiating in each World is completely unified with the sefirot of that World.

אַךְ תּוֹרָתָן וַעֲבוֹדָתָן נִכְלָלוֹת מַמָּשׁ בְּי' סְפִירוֹת, שֶׁהֵן בְּחִינַת אֱלֹהוּת, וְאוֹר־אֵין־סוֹף מִתְיַיחֵד בָּהֶן בְּתַכְלִית הַיִּחוּד;

Specifically, this means that one’s Torah and divine service ascend to the ten sefirot of Beriah when generated by intellectual fear and love and to the ten sefirot of Yetzirah when prompted by natural fear and love.

וְהַיְינוּ, בְּי' סְפִירוֹת דִּבְרִיאָה – עַל יְדֵי דְּחִילוּ וּרְחִימוּ שִׂכְלִיִּים, וּבְי' סְפִירוֹת דִּיצִירָה – עַל יְדֵי דְּחִילוּ וּרְחִימוּ טִבְעִיִּים;

Now, within them (within the sefirot of Beriah and Yetzirah) are clothed the ten sefirot of the World of Emanation—Atzilut—and they are completely unified with them: the sefirot of Atzilut are clothed in, and completely unified with, the sefirot of Beriah and Yetzirah.

וּבְתוֹכָן, מְלוּבָּשׁוֹת י' סְפִירוֹת דַּאֲצִילוּת וּמְיוּחָדוֹת בָּהֶן בְּתַכְלִית,

The ten sefirot of Atzilut are, in turn, perfectly united with their Emanator, the Blessed Ein Sof. It follows, then, that by ascending to the sefirot of Beriah or Yetzirah, the soul’s Torah and divine service actually unite with the Ein Sof.

וְי' סְפִירוֹת דַּאֲצִילוּת – מְיוּחָדוֹת בְּתַכְלִית בְּמַאֲצִילָן אֵין־סוֹף בָּרוּךְ־הוּא.

The souls, on the other hand (in contrast with their Torah and divine service), are not absorbed into the G-dliness of the ten sefirot,

מַה שֶּׁאֵין כֵּן הַנְּשָׁמוֹת, אֵינָן נִכְלָלוֹת בֵּאלֹהוּת דְּי' סְפִירוֹת,

but stand instead in the “chambers” and “abodes” of Beriah or Yetzirah, which are the Worlds of Beriah and Yetzirah, separate beings that are not united with G-d, as are the sefirot.

אֶלָּא עוֹמְדוֹת בְּהֵיכָלוֹת וּמְדוֹרִין דִּבְרִיאָה אוֹ יְצִירָה,

There, [the souls] delight in the radiance of the Shechinah, meaning the Blessed Ein Sof-light [as it is] unified with the ten sefirot of Beriah or Yetzirah,

וְנֶהֱנִין מִזִּיו הַשְּׁכִינָה, הוּא אוֹר־אֵין־סוֹף בָּרוּךְ־הוּא הַמְיוּחָד בְּי' סְפִירוֹת דִּבְרִיאָה אוֹ דִיצִירָה,

and this radiance that they enjoy is actually a “ray” of [the light of] their own Torah and divine service (see Zohar, Parashat Vayakhel, p. 210),

וְהוּא זִיו תּוֹרָתָן וַעֲבוֹדָתָן מַמָּשׁ [עַיֵּין זֹהַר וַיַּקְהֵל דַּף ר"י],

for “The reward of a mitzvah is the mitzvah itself.”

כִּי שְׂכַר מִצְוָה – הִיא מִצְוָה עַצְמָהּ:

A “ray” issuing from the mitzvot that they have performed, and that have become united with the Ein Sof, shines forth upon the tzaddikim in the Garden of Eden; it is the revelation of this ray that delights the soul.

From this, we may catch a glimpse of the stature of a mitzvah performed in this world. From a mere glimmer of the light radiated by a mitzvah, a soul in Paradise derives pleasure so exquisite that, as our Sages say, all the suffering of Purgatory—a suffering so acute that one moment of it is worse than enduring seventy years of Job’s afflictions—is worthwhile so long as it enables one subsequently to experience the boundless delight of Paradise.

In fact, were the soul when in Paradise to apprehend the essence of the mitzvah instead of a mere ray of it, it would expire—it would dissolve out of existence in the intensity of its light.

This is the meaning of the Mishnah, “Better one hour of repentance and good deeds in this world than all the life of the World to Come.”8 For in the World to Come, the soul has only a glimmer of the light of mitzvot, whereas in this world, we have the essence of mitzvot, whereby we are united with G-d Himself.

The soul’s great pleasure in Paradise is due only to its clear perception of the ray of light given off by the mitzvah, a perception that we lack in this physical world, wherefore the Mishnah concludes, “Better one hour of bliss in the World to Come than all the life of this world”—better even than the bliss of fulfilling the Torah and mitzvot in this world, for true bliss can be experienced only in Paradise, where the soul actually perceives and grasps the G-dliness of the Torah and mitzvot.