At this point, the Alter Rebbe resumes the thought begun earlier, where it was pointed out that Jacob referred to G-d as “E-l, G-d of Israel,” for the soul of Jacob (otherwise known as Israel) was illumined with all the aspects of the Divine radiance, just as was the soul of Adam.

Now, “The consummate beauty of Jacob resembles the consummate beauty of Adam,”17

וְהִנֵּה, "שׁוּפְרֵיהּ דְּיַעֲקֹב מֵעֵין שׁוּפְרֵיהּ דְּאָדָם הָרִאשׁוֹן",

for he rectified the sin of Adam.18

שֶׁתִּיקֵּן חֵטְא אָדָם הָרִאשׁוֹן,

His soul, too, comprised all the souls of Israel, “from world to world,” i.e., both those of the “Revealed World” as well as the “Concealed World.”

וְהָיְתָה נִשְׁמָתוֹ גַם כֵּן כְּלוּלָה מִכָּל הַנְּשָׁמוֹת שֶׁבְּיִשְׂרָאֵל, מֵעוֹלָם וְעַד עוֹלָם,

Moreover, he was a vehicle for the Torah in its heavenly state, which is referred to as Adam,

וְהָיָה מֶרְכָּבָה לַתּוֹרָה שֶׁלְּמַעְלָה, שֶׁנִּקְרֵאת בְּשֵׁם "אָדָם",

This phrase reflects the wording of a verse which begins with the words זֹאת הַתּוֹרָה אָדָם—“This is the law: A man….” Interpreted on the level of derush, these words have been taken literally to mean: “This is the Torah—Adam.”19

as it is written, “And on the likeness of the throne, there was a likeness as the appearance of Adam”20 [lit., “of a man”], and the latter term, as is explained in the Kabbalah,21 refers to the Torah.

כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב: "וְעַל דְּמוּת הַכִּסֵּא דְּמוּת כְּמַרְאֵה אָדָם וְכוּ'",

It is likewise written: “And this (זֹאת) was the custom in former times in Israel…,”22

וּכְמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב: "וְזֹאת לְפָנִים בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל כוּ'" –

That, at least, is the plain meaning of the phrase quoted. On the interpretative level of derush, however, each of the three Hebrew words is here construed as follows: זֹאת (as taught in the Zohar) connotes “Torah”; לְפָנִים—“within”; בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל—“in Israel the Patriarch.” At this level, the quoted phrase thus means that “the Torah is [implanted] within, in Israel the Patriarch.”

and “זֹאת refers only to the Torah.”23

"אֵין זֹאת אֶלָּא תּוֹרָה כוּ'",

For the Torah was contained and vested within the soul of “Israel the Patriarch,” which compounded all the souls. (The quoted phrase refers both to Jacob in the mortal world and to his supernal source, which is also known by this name.)

שֶׁהָיְתָה כְּלוּלָה וּמְלוּבֶּשֶׁת בְּנִשְׁמַת "יִשְׂרָאֵל סָבָא", הַכְּלוּלָה מִכָּל הַנְּשָׁמוֹת.

Now in addition, Jacob, or “Israel the Patriarch,” was a vessel capable of receiving the radiance of the Torah. Hence:

This is the meaning [of the above-quoted phrase], “And he called Him E-l, G-d of Israel”:

וְזֶהוּ "וַיִּקְרָא לוֹ אֵל אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל" –

Since the Name E-l denotes the Divine attribute of chesed, which finds expression in G-d’s desire to communicate His hidden light, [Jacob’s use of] the Name E-l signifies [man’s] calling forth the radiance from the [infinite] Ein Sof-light, which is clothed in the Torah, from concealment to manifestation,

"אֵל" לְשׁוֹן הַמְשָׁכַת הַהֶאָרָה מֵאוֹר־אֵין־סוֹף בָּרוּךְ־הוּא מֵהַהֶעְלֵם אֶל הַגִּילּוּי,

so that it should illumine manifestly in man’s soul.

לְהָאִיר בִּבְחִינַת גִּילּוּי בְּנִשְׁמָתוֹ,

Thus, too, it is written: “E-l is the L-rd, and He has given us light,”24 indicating likewise that the Divine Name E-l connotes illumination.

וּכְמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב: "אֵל ה' וַיָאֶר לָנוּ";

Thus, when we say that Jacob called G-d “E-l,” we imply that he called forth and drew down into his soul an all-encompassing revelation of the [infinite] Ein Sof-light that comprises all the particular details of the Torah and its mitzvot.

and after [Jacob], the [infinite] Ein Sof-light shines openly into the souls of all the upright of heart who engage in the Torah and the mitzvot.

וְאַחֲרָיו כָּל יִשְׁרֵי לֵב, הָעוֹסְקִים בַּתּוֹרָה וּבַמִּצְוֹת, מֵאִיר אוֹר ה' אֵין־סוֹף בָּרוּךְ־הוּא בִּבְחִינַת גִּילּוּי בְּנִשְׁמָתָם,

“The upright of heart”25 alludes to those individuals within whom the G-dly illumination found in the intellect descends to the heart, where it inspires them with a love and an awe of G-d. These spiritual emotions in turn add vitality to their study of the Torah and their performance of the mitzvot.

The Divine radiance felt by these individuals is termed “our portion” (חֶלְקֵנוּ, as in the quotation with which this epistle opened). This is the particular G-dly illumination which permeates a Jew’s soul through his performance of each and every commandment and which is a portion and part of the all-encompassing illumination comprising 613 “parts.”

The most elevating and most powerful26 manifestation of this [Divine] radiance in their mind and heart

וּזְמַן גִּילּוּי זֶה בְּיֶתֶר שְׂאֵת וְיֶתֶר עֹז הַהֶאָרָה בְּמוֹחָם וְלִבָּם

occurs at the time of prayer, as is explained elsewhere.27

הוּא בִּשְׁעַת הַתְּפִלָּה, כְּמוֹ שֶׁמְּבוֹאָר בְּמָקוֹם אַחֵר.

It is by means of the ladder of prayer that all of a man’s mitzvot ascend; this same ladder also serves as the conduit through which the resultant Divine radiance and revelation descend to this world.