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:

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

כִּי, כְּמוֹ שֶׁכַּנְפֵי הָעוֹף אֵינָם עִיקַּר הָעוֹף, וְאֵין חַיּוּתוֹ תָּלוּי בָּהֶם כְּלָל,

for as the Mishnah implies,15 a bird whose wings were removed is kosher.

כְּדִתְנַן: "נִיטְּלוּ אֲגַפֶּיהָ – כְּשֵׁרָה",

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.

וְהָעִיקָּר, הוּא רֹאשׁוֹ וְכָל גּוּפוֹ, וְהַכְּנָפַיִים אֵינָם רַק מְשַׁמְּשִׁים לְרֹאשׁוֹ וְגוּפוֹ לְפָרְחָא בְּהוֹן;

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

וְכָךְ דֶּרֶךְ מָשָׁל, הַתּוֹרָה וּמִצְוֹת הֵן עִיקַּר הַיִּחוּד הָעֶלְיוֹן, עַל יְדֵי גִילּוּי רָצוֹן הָעֶלְיוֹן הַמִּתְגַּלֶּה עַל יְדֵיהֶן,

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.

וְהַדְּחִילוּ וּרְחִימוּ – הֵם מַעֲלִים אוֹתָן לְמָקוֹם שֶׁיִּתְגַּלֶּה בּוֹ הָרָצוֹן אוֹר־אֵין־סוֹף בָּרוּךְ־הוּא וְהַיִּחוּד, שֶׁהֵן יְצִירָה וּבְרִיאָה.

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:

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

אוֹ אֲפִילוּ בַּﬠֲשִׂיָּה בְּי' סְפִירוֹת דִּקְדוּשָּׁה, מְקוֹם מִצְוֹת מַﬠֲשִׂיּוֹת,

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.

Likewise with [the study of] Scripture.

וְכֵן מִקְרָא.

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.

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

אֲבָל בְּמִשְׁנָה מִתְגַּלֶּה הַיִּחוּד וְאוֹר־אֵין־סוֹף בָּרוּךְ־הוּא בִּיצִירָה,

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.

In the case of Talmud, [the union and Ein Sof-light are revealed] in Beriah16for the Talmud seeks out the logic underlying the Mishnaic laws; it is thus related to ChaBaD, which are manifest in Beriah.

וּבְתַּלְמוּד בִּבְרִיאָה.

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 the 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:

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;

דְּהַיְינוּ, שֶׁבְּלִימּוּד מִקְרָא מִתְפַּשֵּׁט הַיִּחוּד וְאוֹר־אֵין־סוֹף בָּרוּךְ־הוּא מֵאֲצִילוּת ﬠַד הָﬠֲשִׂיָּה,

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

וּבְמִשְׁנָה ﬠַד הַיְצִירָה לְבַדָּהּ, וּבְתַּלְמוּד ﬠַד הַבְּרִיאָה לְבַדָּהּ,

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.

כִּי כּוּלָּן בַּאֲצִילוּת.

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

אֲבָל קַבָּלָה אֵינָהּ מִתְפַּשֶּׁטֶת כְּלָל מֵאֲצִילוּת לִבְרִיאָה יְצִירָה ﬠֲשִׂיָּה, כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב בִּפְרִי ﬠֵץ חַיִּים: