אבל בתפלה בכוונה ותורה בכוונה לשמה

But in the case of prayer [recited] with kavanah and Torah [studied] with kavanah lishmah,

הרי הכוונה מתלבשת באותיות הדבור, הואיל והיא מקור ושרש להן

the kavanah is clothed in (i.e., permeates) the letters of speech, since it is their source and root,

שמחמתה ובסיבתה הוא מדבר אותיות אלו

for he speaks these words for, and because of, this kavanah.

לכן היא מעלה אותן עד מקומה

Therefore, the kavanah elevates the words to its own level,

בי׳ ספירות דיצירה או דבריאה

meaning to the Ten Sefirot of either Yetzirah or Beriah,

לפי מה שהיא הכוונה, בדחילו ורחימו שכליים או טבעיים כו׳, כנ״ל

depending on the type of kavanah — whether a kavanah of intellectual fear and love, in which case they ascend to Beriah, or natural fear and love, which elevates them to Yetzirah, as explained above.

At any rate, the kavanah which is spiritual elevates the material words to the Sefirot of Yetzirah or Beriah.

ושם מאיר ומתגלה אור אין סוף ברוך הוא

There, in the Sefirot, the Ein Sof-light shines forth and is revealed,

שהוא רצון העליון ברוך הוא המלובש באותיות התורה שלומד ובכוונתן, או בתפלה בכוונתה, או במצוה ובכוונתה

meaning the blessed Divine Will vested in the letters and in the kavanah of the Torah that one studies, or the Divine Will in prayer and in its kavanah or in a mitzvah and in its kavanah.

One’s kavanah, too, expresses the Divine Will, for G‑d desires that man cleave to Him with love and fear.

בהארה גדולה לאין קץ , מה שלא יכול להאיר ולהתגלות כלל בעוד האותיות והמצוה בעולם הזה הגשמי

This Ein Sof-light of the Divine Will radiates in the Sefirot with an infinitely great brightness, that can by no means shine forth and be revealed while the letters of Torah and prayer and the mitzvah are still in this physical world.

The Torah and the mitzvot contain the radiance of Divine Will even as they are in this physical world. But this radiance is altogether incomparable to the radiance of Divine Will that Torah and mitzvot contain when they ascend to the Sefirot of Yetzirah or Beriah, for —

לא מינה ולא מקצתה

neither the radiance itself that shines forth in the Sefirot nor any part of it can be revealed in this physical world.

עד עת קץ הימין, שיתעלה העולם מגשמיותו, ונגלה כבוד ה׳ וגומר, כנ״ל באריכות

This disparity between the respective levels of radiance of the Divine Will in the Sefirot and in this world, will remain until the era of the End of Days, when the world will rise out of its materiality, and1 “The glory of G‑d will be revealed...for all flesh to behold,” as explained above2 at length.*

At that time the Divine Will contained in the Torah and mitzvot of this world will shine forth in all its splendor. Until then, however, this radiance is incomparable to that of the Divine Will contained in the Torah and mitzvot insofar as they ascend to the Sefirot.


In the following note the Alter Rebbe states that the revelation of Divine Will in a particular World, caused by the ascent of Torah and mitzvot thereto — a revelation which he describes as “an hour of ‘(Divine) Will,’ or ‘(Divine) Favor’” — produces a reaction in the middot of that World: With the revelation of Divine Will the middot fuse, and the attributes of Severity are “sweetened”, or tempered, with Kindness. This in turn results in an increased flow of Divine Kindness into our world.

This effect of the mitzvot is felt primarily in the fusion of the middot of Atzilut.


ושם מאיר ומתגלה גם כן היחוד העליון הנעשה בכל מצוה ותלמוד תורה

There in the higher Worlds, there also shines forth and is revealed the Supernal union effected by every mitzvah and by Torah study,

שהוא יחוד מדותיו ית'

namely, the union of G‑d’s middot.

שנכללות זו בזו ונמתקות הגבורות בחסדים

These middot fuse with each other, and the Gevurot (the attributes of “Severity”) are “sweetened” by Chassadim (the attributes of “Kindness”)

ע"י עת רצון העליון א"ס ב"ה המאיר ומתגלה בבחי' גילוי רב ועצום

through the ‘Hour of Will (favor) of the blessed Ein Sof,’ i.e., the revelation of the Will of the Ein Sof, which shines forth and reveals itself in abundant and intense revelation,

באתערותא דלתתא היא עשיית המצוה או עסק התורה שבהן מלובש רצון העליון א"ס ב"ה

by reason of the “arousal (of man) below,” consisting of the performance of a mitzvah or occupation in Torah in which the Supernal Will of the blessed Ein Sof is clothed.

The revelation of Divine Will (i.e., the Will clothed in Torah and mitzvot) produces a fusion of the middot and a “sweetening” of Gevurot in whatever World the Torah and mitzvot ascend to.

אך עיקר היחוד הוא למעלה מעלה, בעולם האצילות

But the main unity caused by Torah and mitzvot takes place far higher, in the World of Atzilut,

ששם הוא מהות ועצמות מדותיו ית' מיוחדו' במאצילן א"ס ב"ה

where the core and essence of G‑d’s middot are united with their Emanator, the Ein Sof, blessed be He,

ושם הוא מהות ועצמות רצון העליון א"ס ב"ה

and there is found the core and essence of the Supernal Will of the blessed Ein Sof,

והארתן לבד היא מאירה בבי"ע בכל עולם מהן לפי מעלתו

of which a mere glimmer radiates in Beriah, Yetzirah and Asiyah — in each of these Worlds according to its rank.

ואף שנפש האדם העוסק בתורה ומצוה זו אינה מאצילות

Now, although the soul of the person engaging in this Torah study or mitzvah does not stem from Atzilut,

מ"מ הרי רצון העליון המלובש במצוה זו והוא הוא עצמו הדבר הלכה והתורה שעוסק בה

nevertheless he is able to effect unity in the middot of Atzilut because the Supernal Will, which is clothed in this mitzvah, and in the case of Torah it is not merely “clothed” in it, but furthermore — it is indeed the very halachah and Torah that he is studying, —

הוא אלהות ואור א"ס המאציל ב"ה שהוא ורצונו אחד

this Supernal Will is G‑dliness, and is the Ein Sof-light of the Emanator [of the Sefirot of Atzilut], since He and His Will are one;

וברצונו ית' האציל מדותיו המיוחדות בו ית'

and this Supernal Will is actually the source of the middot, since it was by His Will that He emanated His middot, which are united with Himself.

וע"י גילוי רצונו המתגלה ע"י עסק תורה ומצוה זו הן נכללות זו בזו

Therefore, by means of the revelation of His Will caused by one’s engaging in Torah or in a particular mitzvah, the middot fuse with each other,

ונמתקות הגבורות בחסדים בעת רצון זו

and the Gevurot are sweetened by Chassadim at this “hour of revealed, favorable Will.”


Having stated that love and fear of G‑d elevate one’s Torah and mitzvot on high, the Alter Rebbe continues:

ובזה יובן היטב הא דדחילו ורחימו נקראים גדפין, דרך משל, כדכתיב: ובשתים יעופף

This explains clearly why fear and love are figuratively called “wings”, as it is written:3 “And with two wings he flies,” alluding to the two middot of love and fear.

וכמו שכתב הרב חיים ויטל ז״ל בשער היחודים פרק י״א שהכנפיים בעוף הן זרועות האדם כו׳

(4As Rabbi Chayim Vital, of blessed memory, stated in Shaar HaYichudim, ch. 11:) For wings are for a bird what arms are for a man; just as it is written, “Chesed (corresponding to love) is the right arm, and Gevurah (fear) the left arm,” similarly, the “wings” represent these two middot.

ובתיקונים פירשו שהעוסקים בתורה ומצות בדחילו ורחימו נקראים בנים

It is also explained in Tikkunei Zohar, that those who engage in Torah and mitzvot out of fear and love are called “children”;

ואם לאו, נקראים אפרוחים דלא יכלין לפרחא

otherwise (i.e., if their Torah and mitzvot lack the fear and love of G‑d), they are called “fledgelings” who cannot fly.*


In this note, the Alter Rebbe elaborates on the correspondence of “wings” to fear and love. He quotes Tikkunei Zohar, where the subject is treated extensively.

ובתיקון מ״ה דעופא הוא מט״ט

In Tikkun 45 it is written that [the figure of] a bird represents the archangel Metatron.

רישא דיליה י' וגופא וא"ו ותרין גדפין ה' ה' כו'

His head is the letter yud of the Divine Name (yud-hei-vav-hei), the yud representing Chochmah; his body is the vav, the six middot; and his two wings are the two letters hei and hei, representing Binah and Malchut, respectively.

והיינו עולם היצירה שנקרא מט"ט

This corresponds to the World of Yetzirah, which is called Metatron.

Thus, applying the various elements of the figure to their corresponding aspects in Yetzirah, we obtain:

ובו5 הן גופי הלכות שבמשנה

Vav, the “body” of Metatron, represents the “body” of the laws in the Mishnah (since Mishnah is at the level of Yetzirah, as will soon be explained), for the “body” of the laws, i.e., the actual rulings determining what is permitted or forbidden, who is guilty or innocent, and the like, are related to the middot, which are represented by the letter vav.

ורישא דיליה הן המוחין ובחי' חב"ד שהן פנימיות ההלכות וסודן וטעמיהן

His head represents intelligence — the level of ChaBaD, which are, in terms of the Mishnah, the inner depth of the laws, their esoteric meaning and their reasons.

ותרין גדפין דחילו ורחימו הן ה' עילאה שהיא רחימו

The two “wings” denoting flight, namely fear and love, represent [respectively]: the higher hei, which is an allusion prevalent in the literature of the Kabbalah to love;

וה' תתאה היא יראה תתאה עול מלכות שמים ופחד ה' כפחד המלך ד"מ

and the lower hei, alluding to “lower-level fear,” namely “the yoke of the Heavenly Kingdom,” and the dread of G‑d similar to the dread of a king.

שהיא יראה חיצונית ונגלית

Such fear is external and revealed, and is therefore alluded to by the lowest level (i.e., letter) of the Divine Name.

משא"כ יראה עילאה ירא בושת היא מהנסתרות לה' אלקינו

“Higher-level fear,” however, meaning “awe consisting of shame before G‑d’s greatness,” is of those “hidden matters belonging to G‑d, our L‑rd.

והיא בחכמה עילאה יו"ד של שם הוי"ה ב"ה כמ"ש בר"מ

It is on the level of Supernal Wisdom, alluded to by the yud of the Four-letter Divine Name, blessed be He, as is written in Ra‘aya Mehemna.


We see, at any rate, that love and fear of G‑d are described as “wings”. According to what has been said above concerning the role of love and fear in elevating one’s Torah and mitzvot, the analogy is clearly understood, as follows:

כי כמו שכנפי העוף אינם עיקר העוף, ואין חיותו תלוי בהם כלל

The wings of a bird are not its main components; its life does not depend on them at all,

כדתנן: ניטלו אגפיה כשרה

for as the Mishnah implies,6 a bird whose wings were removed is kosher.

והעיקר הוא ראשו וכל גופו, והכנפיים אינם רק משמשים לראשו וגופו לפרחא בהון

Rather, the main parts are its head and the rest of its body; the wings merely serve the head and body, enabling them to fly.

וכך, דרך משל, התורה ומצות הן עיקר היחוד העליון, על ידי גילוי רצון העליון המתגלה על ידיהן

Likewise with Torah and mitzvot: They constitute the essential Supernal union by the revelation of Supernal Will which they cause;

והדחילו ורחימו הם המעלים אותן למקום שיתגלה בו הרצון, אור אין סוף ברוך הוא, והיחוד, שהן יצירה ובריאה

fear and love, like wings, [merely] elevate the Torah and mitzvot to a place where this Will — the blessed Ein Sof-light — and this unity can be revealed, namely, Yetzirah and Beriah.*


To his statement that Beriah and Yetzirah are the place to which Torah and mitzvot are elevated, and where the union caused by them is revealed, the Alter Rebbe adds:


או אפילו בעשיה, בי׳ ספירות דקדושה, מקום מצות מעשיות

Or even in Asiyah, in the ten holy Sefirot [of that World], the abode of the mitzvot consisting of action.

Performing these mitzvot out of “submission to the heavenly yoke” elevates the mitzvot to the Sefirot of Asiyah and reveals the Supernal union there. For such submission is related to G‑d’s attribute of Sovereignty (Malchut), which pervades Asiyah; moreover, these mitzvot are performed at the level of action, which corresponds to Asiyah.

וכן מקרא

Likewise with [the study of] Scripture.

This, too, is related to Asiyah, for the mitzvah of studying Scripture requires one to recite the holy words, and speech is considered a minor form of action.

אבל במשנה, מתגלה היחוד ואור אין סוף ברוך הוא ביצירה

But in the case of Mishnah, the union and the blessed Ein Sof-light are revealed in Yetzirah.

For the halachic rulings contained in the Mishnah are derived from the middot: the attribute of Chesed dictates that a particular object be deemed kosher, or a litigant judged innocent, while Gevurah dictates that it be ruled unkosher, and the litigant pronounced guilty, and so on. The Mishnah is therefore on the level of Yetzirah, the World of middot.

ובתלמוד בבריאה

In the case of Talmud [the union and Ein Sof-light are revealed] in Beriah7 — for the Talmud seeks out the logic underlying the Mishnaic laws; it is thus related to ChaBaD, which are manifest in Beriah.

This does not mean, however, that the union effected by the study of Mishnah, for example, takes place only in Yetzirah, and that effected by study of Scripture only in Asiyah, etc. Were this the intention, an obvious difficulty would arise: Scripture is holier than Mishnah (as indicated by the law that one may place the Scriptures on top of a book of Mishnah, but not vice versa), and Mishnah holier than Talmud. Why then should the revelation of Ein Sof-light created by their (respective) study be in reverse order, with Talmud, the least holy of the three, effecting a revelation in Beriah, the highest of the three Worlds?

We must, perforce, say that —

דהיינו שבלימוד מקרא מתפשט היחוד ואור אין סוף ברוך הוא מאצילות עד העשיה

This means that by the study of Scripture the union and [revelation of] the blessed Ein Sof-light extends from Atzilut downward till the World of Asiyah;

ובמשנה עד היצירה לבדה ובתלמוד עד הבריאה לבדה

through study of Mishnah, only till Yetzirah; and through Talmud, only till Beriah;

כי כולן באצילות

for all of them (Scripture, Mishnah and Talmud) are in Atzilut, and effect the union and revelation there. The difference between them lies only in how “far” from Atzilut the impact of the study reaches.

אבל קבלה אינה מתפשטת כלל מאצילות לבי"ע כמ"ש בפרע"ח

Kabbalah, however, effects a union and revelation in Atzilut that does not extend at all to the lower Worlds Beriah, Yetzirah or Asiyah, as is written in Pri Etz Chayim.