והיה מעשה הצדקה שלום, ועבודת הצדקה השקט ובטח עד עולם

“And [the reward for] the act of tzedakah will be peace, and [the reward for] the service of tzedakah [will be] quietness and surety forever.”1

Some commentaries explain that “act” (מעשה) and “service” (עבודה) are one and the same; the verse merely reiterates the same theme in different words. Targum Yonatan, however, writes that “act” and “service” indicate two different forms of charity: the reward for the “act” of tzedakah is peace; the reward for the “service” of tzedakah is eternal quietness and surety.

להבין ההפרש שבין מעשה לעבודה, ובין שלום להשקט ובטח

The difference between [the] “act” and “service” of tzedakah, and the difference between the rewards of “peace” and “quietness and surety,” will be understood

על פי מה שאמרו רז״ל על פסוק: עושה שלום במרומיו

by what our Sages, of blessed memory, said2 on the verse,3 “He makes peace in His high places”:

כי מיכאל שר של מים וגבריאל שר של אש, ואין מכבין זה את זה

“Michael is the prince of water and Gabriel is the prince of fire, yet they do not extinguish one another.”

Though water seeks to quench fire and fire endeavors to vaporize water, and “Michael is the prince of water and Gabriel is the prince of fire,” nevertheless they do not extinguish one another.

כלומר

This means to say, not that Michael’s substance derives from the spiritual element of water and Gabriel’s substance derives from the spiritual element of fire, but that

שמיכאל שר של חסד

Michael is the prince of Chesed (“kindness”),

הנקרא בשם מים, היורדים ממקום גבוה למקום נמוך

which is called “water”, because it descends from a high place to a low place.

והוא בחינת ההשפעה והתפשטות החיות מעולמות עליונים לתחתונים

In spiritual terms this [descent] means: the bestowal and diffusion of the [Divine] life-force from the higher to the lower worlds.

ובחינת אש, שטבעה לעלות למעלה, היא בחינת הגבורה, והסתלקות השפעת החיות ממטה למעלה

Fire, whose nature is to soar aloft, represents spiritually the thrust of Gevurah (“severity”), and the upward withdrawal of the flow of life-force,

שלא להשפיע רק בצמצום עצום ורב

in order not to bestow [it] except by way of an intense and immense contraction.

והן מדות נגדיות והפכיות זו לזו

Now these attributes are in conflict, Chesed representing unlimited effusion, and Gevurah representing limitation and contraction,

והיינו, כשהן בבחינת מדות לבדן

but only when they are in their pristine state as attributes.

Inasmuch as the attributes are inherently limited (and indeed the very word middah means “measure”), each of them is confined to its innate characteristics, Chesed to expansiveness, Gevurah to withdrawal.

אך הקב״ה עושה שלום ביניהם

But the Holy One, blessed be He, makes peace between them, so that they should not oppose one another,

דהיינו על ידי גילוי, שמתגלה בהן הארה רבה והשפעה עצומה מאד מאור אין סוף ברוך הוא

through a revelation — so that an immense illumination and an intense effusion from the [infinite] Ein Sof-light is revealed within them.

אשר כשמו כן הוא

For like His Name (viz., Ein Sof — “the Infinite One”), so is He.

שאינו בבחינת מדה, חס ושלום

He is not, Heaven forfend, on the [measured] plane of an attribute,

אלא למעלה מעלה, עד אין קץ

but transcends exceedingly, ad infinitum,

אפילו מבחינת חב״ד, מקור המדות

even the rank of [the intellectual faculties of] ChaBaD, which is the source of the attributes, and surely He transcends the attributes themselves.

ואזי המדות נגדיות של מיכאל וגבריאל נכללות במקורן ושרשן

And then, when G‑d’s infinite light is revealed within the attributes, the opposing attributes of Michael and Gabriel (Chesed and Gevurah) are absorbed in their source and root,

והיו לאחדים ממש

and they become truly unified,

ובטלים באורו יתברך, המאיר להם בבחינת גילוי

and are nullified in His light, which radiates to them in a manifest way.

Once their individuality is nullified, they no longer oppose each other.

By way of analogy: The intense enmity of two high officials dissolves, in the presence of their sovereign, into friendship. It is because of their joint nullification before the king that this unity comes about. So, too, the defined bounds of the various attributes dissipate in the face of the limitless revelation of the infinite light.

ואזי מתמזגות ומתמתקות הגבורות בחסדים

The Gevurot are thereby tempered and mellowed (lit., “sweetened”) in the Chassadim, and are transformed into good and kindness,

על ידי בחינה ממוצעת, קו המכריע ומטה כלפי חסד

by a mediary, the determining factor between Chesed and Gevurah, which leans towards Chesed,

היא מדת הרחמים

i.e., the attribute of Rachamim (“mercy”).

When Chesed does not insist (so to speak) on an unlimited revelation of kindness (but is satisfied to reveal the G‑dly illumination in a finite manner), and Gevurah insists only on witholding the revelation from those who are unworthy of receiving it (but does not insist on blocking the revelation altogether, even from the worthy — then the mediating attribute of mercy, which leans toward kindness, declares that while a particular recipient may not be strictly worthy of the kindness to be shown, he is at least worthy of being granted it out of compassion.

הנקראת בשם תפארת, בדברי חכמי האמת

This attribute of Rachamim is called Tiferet (“beauty”) in the terminology of the Kabbalists (lit., “the scholars of truth”),

לפי שהיא כלולה מב׳ גוונין, לובן ואודם

because it is made up of the two colors white and red,

המרמזים לחסד וגבורה

which allude to Chesed and Gevurah, respectively.

Rachamim is therefore called Tiferet, because there is beauty in the harmony of diverse colors.

ולכן סתם שם הוי׳ ברוך הוא שבכל התורה, מורה על מדת התפארת

The Divine Name Havayah (the Tetragrammaton), as it appears unqualified throughout the Torah, therefore indicates the attribute of Tiferet,

כמו שכתוב בזהר הקדוש

as is stated in the sacred Zohar.4

Each of the Divine Names indicates one of the Supernal Attributes: the Name E-l, for example, indicates Chesed; Elokim indicates Gevurah; and any unqualified appearance of the ultimate Divine Name — Havayah, which is known as Shem HaEtzem (“the Essential Name”) — alludes to the attribute of Tiferet. Why is this the case?

לפי שכאן הוא בחינת גילוי אור אין סוף ברוך הוא, הארה רבה

For here, in Tiferet, the [infinite] Ein Sof-light becomes manifest in an immense illumination,

ביתר שאת משאר מדותיו הקדושות יתברך

surpassing that of the other Divine attributes.

This, then, is the meaning of the above quotation, that “He makes peace in His high places”: The revelation of G‑d’s infinite light “makes peace” between Michael and Gabriel, who represent Chesed and Gevurah.