The Patriarchs were constantly in that state of self-nullification before G-d, denoted by the term “chariot.” Similarly in the case of the tzaddikim spoken of here: Through their Torah and mitzvot, they effect the highest degree of self-nullification before G-d in themselves and in all their affairs. The abode of their souls, therefore, is likewise in a World pervaded with this spirit of self-nullification, namely the World of Atzilut.

But he whose soul’s root is of too limited a capacity for this perfect service on the level of a “chariot,”

אַךְ מִי שֶׁשֹּׁרֶשׁ נִשְׁמָתוֹ קָטָן מֵהָכִיל עֲבוֹדָה תַמָּה זוֹ,

so that through his service of Torah and mitzvot he be constantly nullified before and absorbed in G-d’s light,

לִיבָּטֵל וְלִיכָּלֵל בְּאוֹרוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ בַּעֲבוֹדָתוֹ בִּקְבִיעוּת,

[and he can therefore attain this state] only intermittently and [only] at times of divine favor on high,

רַק לִפְרָקִים וְעִתִּים שֶׁהֵם עֵת רָצוֹן לְמַעְלָה,

such as during the Shemoneh Esrei prayer, which is at the level of Atzilut,

וּכְמוֹ בִּתְפִלַּת שְׁמוֹנֶה עֶשְׂרֵה שֶׁהִיא בַּאֲצִילוּת,

The four rungs in the ladder of prayer correspond to the four Worlds: The prayers preceding Baruch She’amar correspond to Asiyah; the Verses of Praise to Yetzirah; the Shema to Beriah; and the Shemoneh Esrei is at the level of Atzilut.

and especially when bowing in the four designated places in this prayer, for every such act of bowing represents the level of Atzilut (10as is written in Pri Etz Chaim in the section dealing with the welcoming of Shabbat),

וּבִפְרָט בְּהִשְׁתַּחֲוָואוֹת שֶׁבָּהּ, שֶׁכָּל הִשְׁתַּחֲוָואָה הִיא בִּבְחִינַת אֲצִילוּת [כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב בִּפְרִי עֵץ חַיִּים בְּקַבָּלַת שַׁבָּת],

for it embodies the idea of self-nullification in G-d’s light—to be accounted as absolutely naught before Him;

כִּי הִיא עִנְיַן בִּיטּוּל בְּאוֹרוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ, לִהְיוֹת חֲשִׁיב קַמֵּיהּ כְּלָא מַמָּשׁ,

in the case of he who can attain the level of a “chariot” only at such propitious times, then even at these times, the principal abode of his soul is in the World of Beriah (for we are dealing here with a soul associated with the World of Beriah),

אֲזַי גַּם כֵּן עִיקַּר קְבִיעוּת נִשְׁמָתוֹ הוּא בְּעוֹלַם הַבְּרִיאָה

(11and only occasionally, at a time of divine favor, will his soul rise to Atzilut as “feminine waters, ” as is known to the students of the Kabbalah).

[רַק לִפְרָקִים בְּעֵת רָצוֹן תַּעֲלֶה נִשְׁמָתוֹ לַאֲצִילוּת בִּבְחִינַת "מַיִּין נוּקְבִין", כַּיָּדוּעַ לְיוֹדְעֵי חֵן]: