Up to this point, the Alter Rebbe has explained how the seven middot exist within the Jew’s G-dly soul. These emotive attributes are activated by the three intellective faculties—the sefirot of ChaBaD (chochmah, binah, and daat), which are now to be explained.

Now, the source and root of all the attributes are in the ChaBaD.

וּמְקוֹר וְשׁוֹרֶשׁ כָּל הַמִּדּוֹת הֵן מֵחָכְמָה־בִּינָה־דַּעַת,

That is: chochmah is the source of the intellect which apprehends G-d and His wisdom, His greatness, and the holy attributes wherewith He conducts and animates all the higher and lower worlds;

דְּהַיְינוּ: הַחָכְמָה – הִיא מְקוֹר הַשֵּׂכֶל הַמַּשִּׂיג אֶת ה' וְחָכְמָתוֹ וּגְדוּלָּתוֹ וּמִדּוֹתָיו הַקְּדוֹשׁוֹת שֶׁמַּנְהִיג וּמְחַיֶּה בָּהֶן כָּל הָעוֹלָמוֹת עֶלְיוֹנִים וְתַחְתּוֹנִים,

binah is the contemplation of this apprehension of G-d’s greatness and His holy attributes

וּבִינָה – הִיא הַהִתְבּוֹנְנוּת בְּהַשָּׂגָה זוֹ

in the length, breadth, and depth of one’s understanding,

בְּאוֹרֶךְ וְרוֹחַב וְעוֹמֶק בִּינָתוֹ,

The “length” of a particular concept—in this case, the greatness of the Creator—entails drawing it down from its lofty abstraction (by way of a parable, for example) to a level of intelligibility. The “breadth” of the concept refers to the multitudinous components and ramifications that await one’s mastery. Its “depth” refers to the challenge of plumbing its seemingly limitless profundity.

in order64 “to understand (or deduce) one matter out of another,”65

לְהָבִין דָּבָר מִתּוֹךְ דָּבָר,

and from this apprehension to beget its offspring,

וּלְהוֹלִיד מֵהַשָּׂגָה זוֹ – תּוֹלְדוֹתֶיהָ,

which are the attributes of love and awe,

שֶׁהֵן מִדּוֹת אַהֲבָה וְיִרְאָה

The thinker’s understanding of the greatness of G-d gives birth to emotions—a love and a fear of Him.

and the other attributes born in the Divine soul, which contemplates and meditates upon G-d’s greatness as to how “His greatness is unfathomable.”66

וּשְׁאָרֵי מִדּוֹת הַנּוֹלָדוֹת בַּנֶּפֶשׁ הָאֱלֹהִית, הַמַּשְׂכֶּלֶת וּמִתְבּוֹנֶנֶת בִּגְדוּלַּת ה'. כִּי, "לִגְדוּלָּתוֹ אֵין חֵקֶר",

One aspect of G-d’s greatness is such that the Divine soul, when contemplating it, is overwhelmed by fear and dread.

וְיֵשׁ בְּחִינַת גְּדוּלַּת ה', שֶׁעַל־יְדֵי הִתְבּוֹנְנוּת הַנֶּפֶשׁ הָאֱלֹהִית בָּהּ – תִּפּוֹל עָלֶיהָ אֵימָתָה וָפַחַד

This is yirah tataah (“the lower level of fear”), which is an aspect of malchut.

שֶׁהִיא יִרְאָה תַּתָּאָה, שֶׁהִיא בְּחִינַת מַלְכוּת,

There is another aspect of the greatness of G-d from [the contemplation of] which derives yirah ilaah (“the superior level of fear”), in which one is awed out of bashfulness.

וְיֵשׁ בְּחִינַת גְּדוּלַּת ה' – שֶׁמִּמֶּנָּה בָּאָה יִרְאָה עִילָּאָה, יִרְאָה בּוֹשֶׁת,

There is also an aspect [of G-d’s greatness] from [the contemplation of] which derives ahavah rabbah (“the great love”),

וְיֵשׁ בְּחִינָה שֶׁמִּמֶּנָּה בָּאָה – אַהֲבָה רַבָּה,

and still another aspect [of G-d’s greatness] from [the contemplation of] which derives ahavah zutta (“the lesser love”).

וְיֵשׁ בְּחִינָה שֶׁמִּמֶּנָּה בָּאָה – אַהֲבָה זוּטָא.

All these levels of ahavah and yirah are internal emotive attributes that are fathered by ChaBaD.

The same applies to the external attributes, i.e., chesed and so on; they, too, emanate from ChaBaD.

וְכֵן בַּמִּדּוֹת הַחִיצוֹנִיּוֹת, שֶׁהֵן חֶסֶד כוּ'.

Now, the faculty of daat must be vested within all these [emotive attributes],

וּבְכוּלָּן צָרִיךְ לִהְיוֹת מְלוּבָּשׁ בָּהֶן בְּחִינַת הַדַּעַת,

for it represents the bond with which the soul is bound and embedded in this apprehension

שֶׁהוּא בְּחִינַת הִתְקַשְּׁרוּת הַנֶּפֶשׁ, הַקְּשׁוּרָה וּתְקוּעָה בְּהַשָּׂגָה זוֹ

as it apprehends some aspect of G-d’s greatness, from which one of these attributes is born within it.

שֶׁמַּשֶּׂגֶת אֵיזֶה עִנְיָן מִגְּדוּלַּת ה', שֶׁמִּמֶּנָּה נוֹלְדָה בָּהּ אֵיזֶה מִדָּה מֵהַמִּדּוֹת,

Once the soul has apprehended some aspect of G-d’s greatness, it must bind itself to this comprehension through the faculty of daat.

For by a momentary removal of daat from this apprehension,

כִּי בְּהֶיסַּח הַדַּעַת כְּרֶגַע מֵהַשָּׂגָה זוֹ –

the emotion born of it is also withdrawn

מִסְתַּלֶּקֶת גַּם כֵּן הַמִּדָּה הַנּוֹלְדָה מִמֶּנָּה,

from its [prior] state of manifestation in the soul [back] into concealment [within the soul],

מֵהַגִּילּוּי בַּנֶּפֶשׁ אֶל הַהֶעְלֵם,

to exist there in potentia but not in actuality.

לִהְיוֹת בָּהּ בְּכֹחַ וְלֹא בְּפוֹעַל.

It is the faculty of daat—a prolonged and constant involvement in the subject being contemplated—that reveals and actualizes the emotive experience of love or fear.

That is why the term daat is applied to coition,67 for it signifies a bond that results in issue, just as out of daat are born the emotions.

וְלָכֵן נִקְרָא הַזִּיוּוּג בִּלְשׁוֹן "דַּעַת", מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהוּא לְשׁוֹן הִתְקַשְּׁרוּת.

This is the faculty of daat tachton, the lower level of daat, which extends into the attributes and vests itself in them to animate and sustain them.

וְזֶהוּ בְּחִינַת דַּעַת תַּחְתּוֹן [נוסח אחר: הַדַּעַת הַתַּחְתּוֹן], הַמִּתְפַּשֵּׁט בַּמִּדּוֹת וּמִתְלַבֵּשׁ בָּהֶן לְהַחֲיוֹתָן וּלְקַיְּימָן.

There is also a faculty of daat elyon, a superior level of daat, through which the source of the intellect that apprehends the profundity of a concept is bound and connected [to it]—

וְיֵשׁ בְּחִינַת דַּעַת הָעֶלְיוֹן, שֶׁהוּא בְּחִינַת הִתְקַשְּׁרוּת וְחִיבּוּר מְקוֹר הַשֵּׂכֶל הַמַּשִּׂיג עוֹמֶק הַמּוּשָּׂג,

like a point or a flash of lightning that flashes over one’s mind—

שֶׁהוּא כִּנְקוּדָּה וּכְבָרָק הַמַּבְרִיק עַל שִׂכְלוֹ,

so that [the concept] will extend downward.

שֶׁיִּתְפַּשֵּׁט לְמַטָּה

The profundity of the apprehended concept will thereby come to be understood

וְיָבֹא עוֹמֶק הַמּוּשָּׂג לִידֵי הֲבָנָה,

with extensive clarification, in length and breadth,

בְּהַרְחָבַת הַבֵּיאוּר בְּאוֹרֶךְ וְרוֹחַב,

this stage being the function of the faculty of binah, which is known as rechovot hanahar (lit., “the expanses of the river”), as will be explained in its place.68

שֶׁהִיא בְּחִינַת בִּינָה, הַנִּקְרֵאת "רְחוֹבוֹת הַנָּהָר", כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר בִּמְקוֹמוֹ:

The faculty of daat elyon unifies chochmah with binah. For chochmah is the intuitive flash of illumination that would vanish as quickly as it appeared, if it were not anchored by daat in the comprehension of binah, whereby this seminal point assumes length and breadth. Chochmah is thus likened to a wellspring whose waters issue forth drop by drop while binah is likened to a broad and deep river. It is the function of daat elyon to draw the wellsprings of chochmah into the river of binah.

The function of daat tachton, by contrast, is that of binding the intellective faculties of ChaBaD with their resultant emotions so that one’s intellectual activity will illuminate them and provide them with vitality and continuity.

In summary, this discourse demonstrates how all the ten faculties of the Divine soul engage in an ongoing relationship with their G-dly source. Indeed, to recall the Alter Rebbe’s opening lines, an understanding of this dynamic within oneself enables one to experience the truth of the verse, “From my flesh shall I behold G-d,’’ and to gain some measure of understanding of the supernal sefirot.