The Exodus from Egypt, however, took place in a manner of flight, for the evil was still strong in the people’s animal souls. Similarly, whenever one disregards the lowliness of his body and animal soul and engages in the Torah and the mitzvot in order to free the divine soul from its corporeal exile, he effects the spiritual equivalent of the Exodus from Egypt.

One may lend this teshuvahthe restoration of his soul to its source—additional strength from the depths of his heart and likewise add a greater measure of light and joy to the joy of his soul brought on by the teshuvah,

וְלִהְיוֹת בְּחִינַת תְּשׁוּבָה זוֹ בְּיֶתֶר שְׂאֵת וְיֶתֶר עֹז מֵעוּמְקָא דְלִבָּא, וְגַם שִׂמְחַת הַנֶּפֶשׁ תִּהְיֶה בְּתוֹסֶפֶת אוֹרָה וְשִׂמְחָה –

by comforting his heart from its distress and sorrow, through reflecting (lit., “speaking to his heart”) with knowledge and understanding, as follows:

כַּאֲשֶׁר יָשִׁיב אֶל לִבּוֹ דַּעַת וּתְבוּנָה לְנַחֲמוֹ מֵעִצְּבוֹנוֹ וִיגוֹנוֹ, לֵאמֹר כַּנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל:

“Certainly it is true, as said above, that I am utterly remote from G-d, etc., but it was not I who created myself in a manner that permits the divine soul to be exiled within the impurity of the body and animal soul. It was G-d Who created me thus.

"הֵן אֱמֶת כוּ'", "אַךְ אֲנִי לֹא עָשִׂיתִי אֶת עַצְמִי.

“Why then has G-d done such a thing—to cause [the divine soul,] a part of His light which fills and encompasses all worlds and before which all is as naught, to descend into [the body] and be clothed in a ‘serpent’s skin’ and a ‘fetid drop’?

וְלָמָּה עָשָׂה ה' כָּזֹאת, לְהוֹרִיד חֵלֶק מֵאוֹרוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ, הַמְמַלֵּא וְסוֹבֵב כָּל עָלְמִין וְכוּלָּא קַמֵּיהּ כְּלָא חֲשִׁיב, וְהִלְבִּישׁוֹ בְּ"מַשְׁכָּא דְחִוְיָא" וְ"טִפָּה סְרוּחָה"?

“Surely this descent must be for the sake of a subsequent ascent.

אֵין זֶה, כִּי אִם יְרִידָה זוֹ – הִיא צוֹרֶךְ עֲלִיָּה,

“That is, to elevate to G-d the entire animating, animal soul, which derives from kelipat nogah, and also its ‘garments’ of thought, speech, and action,

לְהַעֲלוֹת לַה' כָּל נֶפֶשׁ הַחִיּוּנִית הַבַּהֲמִית שֶׁמִּקְּלִיפַּת נוֹגַהּ וְכָל לְבוּשֶׁיהָ, הֵן בְּחִינוֹת מַחֲשָׁבָה דִּבּוּר וּמַעֲשֶׂה שֶׁלָּהּ,

by means of clothing them in the action, speech, and thought of the Torah.

עַל יְדֵי הִתְלַבְּשׁוּתָן בְּמַעֲשֵׂה דִּבּוּר וּמַחֲשֶׁבֶת הַתּוֹרָה

For by performing the mitzvot and by speaking and thinking words of Torah, the animal soul and its ‘garments’ are elevated toward G-dliness.

(21The subject of this ascent will be discussed further on at length;22 it will be shown how this is the purpose for which the world was created.)

[וּכְמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר לְקַמָּן עִנְיַן הַעֲלָאָה זוֹ בַּאֲרִיכוּת, אֵיךְ שֶׁהִיא תַּכְלִית בְּרִיאַת הָעוֹלָם],

“If this be so, there is one thing for me to do, and this shall be my sole aim throughout my life:

וְאִם כֵּן אֵיפוֹא, זֹאת אֶעֱשֶׂה וְזֹאת תִּהְיֶה כָּל מְגַמָּתִי כָּל יְמֵי חֶלְדִּי –

To immerse therein—in the thought, speech, and action of the Torah and the mitzvot—the life of my spirit and soul, as it is written, ‘to You, G-d, I raise my soul.’23

לְכָל בָּהֶן חַיֵּי רוּחִי וְנַפְשִׁי, וּכְמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב: "אֵלֶיךָ ה' נַפְשִׁי אֶשָּׂא",

In practical terms, this means: To bind my thought and speech with G-d’s thought and speech—which are, in fact, the very laws which have been set out before us. For the laws of the Torah are G-d’s ‘thought’ and ‘speech,’ and by studying them, one binds his own faculties of thought and speech with their Divine counterparts. Similarly with action: I will bind my faculty of action with G-d’s faculty of action through performing the commandments.”

דְּהַיְינוּ, לְקַשֵּׁר מַחֲשַׁבְתִּי וְדִבּוּרִי – בְּמַחֲשַׁבְתּוֹ וְדִבּוּרוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ, וְהֵן הֵן גּוּפֵי הֲלָכוֹת הָעֲרוּכוֹת לְפָנֵינוּ, וְכֵן מַעֲשֶׂה – בְּמַעֲשֵׂה הַמִּצְוֹת,

For this reason, the Torah is described as “that which restores the soul,”24 i.e., it restores the soul to its source and root.

שֶׁלָּכֵן נִקְרֵאת הַתּוֹרָה "מְשִׁיבַת נָפֶשׁ", פֵּירוּשׁ – לִמְקוֹרָהּ וְשָׁרְשָׁהּ,

Moreover, concerning this occupation in the Torah and the mitzvot which brings joy to the soul by restoring it to its source and which banishes the sadness of its exile in the body and animal soul, it is written: “G-d’s commandments are just; they gladden the heart.”25

וְעַל זֶה נֶאֱמַר: "פִּקּוּדֵי ה' יְשָׁרִים מְשַׂמְּחֵי לֵב":

When one considers that one’s study of the Torah and observance of the mitzvot elevate not only his divine soul but also his animal soul, his teshuvah will gain in depth, and the joy of his soul will gain in intensity.

For although the soul’s “escape” from exile within the body and animal soul (spoken of earlier) would in itself be sufficient cause for great joy, yet this is a joy tempered by sadness over the lowly state in which one’s body and animal soul remain. When one realizes, however, that Torah and the mitzvot elevate the body and animal soul as well, his joy will be untarnished.