אך אחר בריאת האדם לעבדה כו׳

But after the creation of man “to work it,”1 his life-long task being to draw down to this world a flow of Divine energy by means of an “arousal from below,” i.e., by means of his own spiritual labors,

אזי כל אתערותא דלעילא, לעורר מדת חסד עליון, הוא באתערותא דלתתא

every arousal from Above, to arouse the attribute of Supreme kindness, depends on an arousal from below,

בצדקה וחסד שישראל עושים בעולם הזה

through the acts of charity and kindness2 that Jews perform in this world.

Thus, these good deeds draw down Divine influence from the yud of the Divine Name, from the level of Chochmah, to the final hei of the Name, the level of Malchut. In this way, then, good deeds bring together and “make” the Name of G‑d, and draw it downward in its entirety.

לכן אמרו רז״ל: כל האומר אין לי אלא תורה, בלי גמילות חסדים, אפילו תורה אין לו

That is why our Sages, of blessed memory, have said:3 “Whoever says that he has nothing but Torah,” and thus no kindly deeds, “does not have even Torah;

אלא לעסוק בתורה ובגמילות חסדים

rather, one ought to engage in Torah and in the performance of acts of lovingkindness.”

כי הנה הגם דאורייתא מחכמה נפקת, ובאורייתא מתקיים עלמא, ובאינון דלעאן בה

For though the “Torah derives from Chochmah,4 and “the world subsists by virtue of the Torah”5 and “those who discourse in it,”6

כי בדבורם ממשיכים הארות והשפעות נוסח אחר: והשראות חכמה עילאה מקור התורה, לבחינת אותיות הדבור, שבהן נברא העולם

because by speaking of Torah subjects they elicit illuminations and effusions7 from Supreme Chochmah, the source of Torah, into the plane of the letters of speech with which the world was created,

כמאמר רז״ל: אל תקרי בניך אלא בוניך

as our Sages, of blessed memory, said, with regard to Torah scholars,8 “Do not read banayich (‘Your children’) but bonayich (‘Your builders’), for they build the world through their study of Torah, —

הרי המשכה זו היא בחינת ירידה גדולה

nevertheless, this flow of Chochmah to the letters of speech is a great descent.

ולזה צריך לעורר חסד עליון, הנמשך כמים ממקום גבוה למקום נמוך

To accomplish this it is necessary to arouse Supernal Chesed which, like water, is drawn down from a high place to a low place

באתערותא דלתתא, בצדקה וחסד תתאה

by means of an arousal from below, through acts of charity and kindness here below,

שממשיכים חיים וחסד, להחיות רוח שפלים ונדכאים

whereby one diffuses life and kindness,9 “to revive the spirit of the humble and downcast.”

By doing so one draws down Supernal kindness, so that the vitality of Chochmah descends to the letters of speech, the source of all creation.

וזה שכתוב: אל יתהלל חכם בחכמתו גו׳, כי אם בזאת יתהלל גו׳, כי אני ה׳ עושה חסד גו׳

And this is the meaning of the verse,10 “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, but in this let him glory — [in understanding and knowing Me,”11 but in such a manner that it brings about the fulfillment of the phrase that follows]: “for I am G‑d Who acts with kindness.”

We thus see that wisdom is justifiably glorified when it leads to an act of kindness which in turn evokes a reciprocal act of kindness from Above.

כי החסד הוא הממשיך חיי החכמה למטה

For it is Chesed, the kindly conduct of man here below, that results in the fulfillment of the verse, “I am G‑d Who acts with kindness,” i.e., with the Chesed of Asiyah, and that causes the vitality of Chochmah to issue downwards into the letters of speech, the source of all created beings.

ואם לא, הרי נקראת חכמתו לבדו

In the absence of this [kindly conduct], [the Torah study] that such a person undertakes is called “His wisdom” alone: it remains in heaven as an untapped resource in which that wise man cannot glory,

בלי המשכת חיים ממנה, חס ושלום

and there is no downward flow of life from it, G‑d forbid.

ובזה יובן מה שכתב האריז״ל, שיש ב׳ מיני נשמות בישראל

The above enables one to understand the statement of Rabbi Isaac Luria, of blessed memory, that there are two kinds of souls among Jews:

נשמות תלמידי חכמים, העוסקים בתורה כל ימיהם

the souls of Torah scholars, who engage in the study of Torah all their lives,12

ונשמות בעלי מצות, העוסקים בצדקה וגמילות חסדים

and the souls of those who perform the commandments, occupying themselves with charitable and kindly deeds.

דלכאורה, הרי גם תלמידי חכמים צריכים לעסוק בגמילות חסדים

Now surely scholars, too, need to occupy themselves with acts of kindness;

כמאמר רז״ל, שאפילו תורה אין לו

as our Sages, of blessed memory, taught, “[Whoever says that he has nothing but Torah,” and thus no kindly deeds], “does not have even Torah.”

How, then, could the AriZal have stated that people with a certain kind of soul invest their lives exclusively in Torah study? The Alter Rebbe’s answer, which follows, takes it for granted that even fulltime Torah scholars of course spend some of their time in doing good deeds.

אלא שהתלמידי חכמים, שתורתן עיקר ורוב ימיהם בה

However, as regards Torah scholars whose study of the Torah is their principal occupation and most of their time is spent in it, with only a minor part of their time spent on the performance of kindly deeds,

הנה פעולת אתערותא דלתתא, לעורר חסד עליון

the effect of their arousal from below, to arouse Supernal Chesed,

להמשיך ולהוריד אור אין סוף המלובש בחכמה עילאה, מקור תורת ה׳ שבפיהם

to call forth and bring downward the [infinite] Ein Sof-light vested in Supernal Chochmah, the source of G‑d’s Torah which is in their mouths,

הוא רק לעולם הנשמות שבבריאה, על ידי עסק התלמוד

extends only to the realm of the souls that are in Beriah, through their occupation with Gemara,

The study of Gemara, inasmuch as it involves reasoning and intellectual give-and-take, corresponds to the World of Beriah, the realm of comprehension.

ולמלאכים שביצירה על ידי לימוד המשנה

and extends to the angels that are in the World of Yetzirah, through their occupation with Mishnah.

The Mishnah consists of statements of law — “kosher” or “non-kosher”, “pure” or “impure”. Such bipartite divisions, which are a reflection in the material world below of the divergent attributes of Chesed and Gevurah in the realms above, are related to the World of Yetzirah, which is the realm of middot, the spiritual emotions.

יען היות חיות הנשמות והמלאכים נשפעות מצירופי אותיות הדבור, היא תורה שבעל פה

For the animation of souls and angels derives from the combinations of the letters of speech, i.e., the Oral Torah; as it is written in Patach Eliyahu,13 “[The Sefirah of] Malchut [corresponds to] the mouth, which we call the Oral Torah.”

ומקור האותיות הוא מחכמה עילאה, כנזכר לעיל

The source of the letters, however, is in Supernal Chochmah, as mentioned above.

Thus, through their study of the Oral Torah, scholars draw down Supernal Chochmah into the combinations of the letters of speech; this in turn provides vitality to [unborn] souls and angels.

אך להמשיך ולהוריד הארה וחיות מבחינת הבל העליון, ה׳ תתאה, לעולם הזה השפל

However, in order to call forth and bring downward an illumination and vitality from the level of the Supreme Breath, the “lower hei,” to this lowly world,

שהוא צמצום גדול ביתר עז

which entails a greater and extreme contraction,

לא די באתערותא דלתתא של תלמידי חכמים, העוסקים מיעוט ימיהם בצדקה וגמילות חסדים

the arousal from below by the Torah scholars, who for only a small part of their time engage in charitable and kindly deeds, is not sufficient.14

אלא על ידי אתערותא דבעלי מצות, העוסקים רוב ימיהם בצדקה וגמילות חסדים

[This is effected] only through an arousal by those who perform the commandments, who are occupied with deeds of charity and kindness for the major part of their life

(וכמו שכתוב בלקוטי אמרים בחלק א׳, פרק ל״ד)

(15as explained in Likkutei Amarim, Part I, ch. 34).

The Alter Rebbe explains there that even if a man distributes no more than a fifth of his income for charity, that fifth elevates the other four parts with it to G‑d, for thereby all his exertion becomes a dwelling for Him. Moreover, his acts of kindness will arouse G‑d’s “right hand of kindness.”

ולכן נקראו תמכי אורייתא

That is why [people who are mainly occupied with such mitzvot] are called16 “the supporters of [the] Torah [itself],” and not only of those who study the Torah, for by their activities they draw down the light of the Torah from its root and source so that it will illuminate this physical world below.

והן בחינות ומדריגות נצח והוד

These [people] represent the levels of Netzach and Hod, which are analogous to17 “the two thighs” which enable a man to stand upon the ground; the function of the Sefirot of Netzach and Hod is similar,

להיותן ממשיכין אור התורה למטה לעולם העשיה

because they cause the light of Torah to issue downwards to the World of Asiyah.

ובזה יובן למה נקרא הצדקה בשם מעשה

Now it is clear18 why charity is referred to as an “act”,

כמו שכתוב: והיה מעשה הצדקה שלום

as in the verse,19 “And the act of charity will be peace.”

על שם שפעולתה להמשיך אור ה׳ לעולם העשיה

For the effect of charity is to elicit the light of G‑d down to the World of Asiyah.

וזהו דקדוק לשון זוהר הקדוש: מאן דעביד שמא קדישא, דעביד דייקא

And this is the meaning of the subtle phraseology of the holy Zohar: “He who makes the Holy Name,” expressly saying “who makes.”

כי באתערותא דלתתא, בצדקה וחסד תתאה, מעורר חסד עליון

For by an arousal from below, through charity and mortal Chesed, one arouses the Supernal Chesed —

להמשיך אור אין סוף מבחינת חכמה עילאה, יו״ד של שם

to elicit the [infinite] Ein Sof-light from Supernal Chochmah, the yud of the Divine Name,

לה׳ של שם, בחינת הדבור ורוח פיו יתברך

to the hei of the Name, to the “speech” and “breath” of G‑d’s blessed mouth,

כדי להשפיע לעולם העשיה

in order to draw down [Divine light] to the World of Asiyah.

ועל דרך משל, להבדיל הבדלות אין קץ: כמו שאדם אינו מדבר אלא לאחרים

And, analogously speaking, though infinitely incomparable: a human being speaks only to others

(ולא כשהוא בינו לבין עצמו)

(20and not when he is alone),

ואז מצמצם שכלו ומחשבתו בדבורו אליהם

and then when speaking to them he contracts his intellect and thought.

והמשכילים יבינו

The intelligent will understand.

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