Now, the aspect of the blessed Divine chochmah that is vested in the 613 commandments of the Torah is referred to as the hindmost aspect of chochmah.

וְהִנֵּה, בְּחִינַת חָכְמַת אֱלֹהוּת בָּרוּךְ־הוּא הַמְלוּבֶּשֶׁת בְּתַרְיַ"ג מִצְוֹת הַתּוֹרָה נִקְרֵאת בְּשֵׁם "בְּחִינַת אֲחוֹרַיִים דְּחָכְמָה",

The Alter Rebbe had previously said that (a) Moses’ prophetic comprehension of the sefirah of chochmah consisted merely of the achorayim (the hindmost aspect) of chochmah. He then went on to say that (b) the source of the Torah in chochmah is the same, for it too transcends reason. The Alter Rebbe is now saying that (c) even the chochmah vested in the 613 commandments is referred to as no more than the achorayim of chochmah.

For the achorayim of any one of the sefirot are the external and lower levels within that sefirah, which are capable of descending and extending downward, to become vested in created beings in order to animate them.

כִּי כָּל אֲחוֹרַיִים שֶׁבַּסְּפִירוֹת הֵן מַדְרֵגוֹת הַחִיצוֹנוֹת וְהַתַּחְתּוֹנוֹת בְּמַעֲלָה שֶׁבִּסְפִירָה זוֹ, מַה שֶּׁיּוּכְלוּ לֵירֵד וּלְהִתְפַּשֵּׁט לְמַטָּה לְהִתְלַבֵּשׁ בַּבְּרוּאִים לְהַחֲיוֹתָם;

The aspect of the panim (the “face” or inner dimension) of the sefirah is the sefirah itself as it is united with its Emanator, the blessed Ein Sof, in an absolute union.

וּבְחִינַת הַפָּנִים, הִיא הַסְּפִירָה עַצְמָהּ הַמְיוּחֶדֶת בְּמַאֲצִילָהּ אֵין־סוֹף בָּרוּךְ־הוּא בְּתַכְלִית הַיִּחוּד.

As, for example, the sefirah of chochmah, the sefirah now under discussion: It is united with its Emanator, the blessed Ein Sof, in absolute unity, for the Holy One, blessed be He, and His Wisdom, are One (34as explained above)—evidently in reference to Part I, chs. 2 and 52.

כְּגוֹן דֶּרֶךְ מָשָׁל, סְפִירַת חָכְמָה שֶׁהִיא מְיוּחֶדֶת בְּמַאֲצִילָהּ אֵין־סוֹף בָּרוּךְ־הוּא בְּתַכְלִית הַיִּחוּד, כִּי הַקָּדוֹשׁ־בָּרוּךְ־הוּא וְחָכְמָתוֹ אֶחָד (כְּמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר לְעֵיל),

But that which radiates and extends from His blessed chochmah to the limited and finite nether beings below,

וּמַה שֶּׁמֵּאִיר וּמִתְפַּשֵּׁט מֵחָכְמָתוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ לְמַטָּה בַּתַּחְתּוֹנִים, שֶׁהֵם בַּעֲלֵי גְבוּל וְתַכְלִית,

and becomes vested in them,

וּמִתְלַבֵּשׁ בָּהֶם –

Light that merely “radiates” and “extends” does not necessarily contract according to the limitations of the recipient of the light; it may “radiate” and “extend” in an encompassing manner (makif) and thus not be subject to them. However, when the illumination is “vested” within a receptor, this implies adjustment to its limitations.

Hence, a light that becomes vested within finite created beings cannot possibly be infinite, as would be the case if the actual sefirah as united with its Emanator—and thus as infinite as its Emanator—would descend into created beings. Therefore, the life-giving force which is vested within creation—

is called achorayim: it is the external aspect of the sefirah and not the sefirah itself,

נִקְרָא "אֲחוֹרַיִים",

and it is also called the aspect of Asiyah within Atzilut.

וְנִקְרָא גַם כֵּן בְּחִינַת "עֲשִׂיָּה שֶׁבַּאֲצִילוּת".

The external aspect of chochmahchochmah here being an allusion to the World of Atzilut—is termed the level of Asiyah within Atzilut,35 i.e., that level of Atzilut that is capable of descending below.

The meaning of this will be understood by way of analogy with terrestrial man, whose soul spans five ranks, one lower than the other.

פֵּירוּשׁ, עַל דֶּרֶךְ מָשָׁל, כְּמוֹ שֶׁבָּאָדָם הַתַּחְתּוֹן שֶׁיֵּשׁ בְּנִשְׁמָתוֹ ה' מַדְרֵגוֹת, זוֹ לְמַטָּה מִזּוֹ,

These are the faculties of the intellect, the emotive attributes, thought, speech, and action, with action the lowest of them all.

שֶׁהֵן בְּחִינוֹת הַשֵּׂכֶל וְהַמִּדּוֹת וּמַחֲשָׁבָה וְדִבּוּר וּמַעֲשֶׂה, וְהַמַּעֲשֶׂה – הִיא הַתַּחְתּוֹנָה שֶׁבְּכוּלָּם,

I.e., the soul manifests itself in action to a much lesser degree than it does in the other four levels.

For the life-force that extends from the soul and is vested in the faculty of action is as nothing compared to the life-force that extends from it and is vested in the faculty of speech.

שֶׁהַחַיּוּת הַמִּתְפַּשֵּׁט מֵהַנְּשָׁמָה וּמְלוּבָּשׁ בְּכֹחַ הַמַּעֲשֶׂה, הוּא כְּאַיִן לְגַבֵּי הַחַיּוּת הַמִּתְפַּשֵּׁט מִמֶּנָּה וּמְלוּבָּשׁ בְּכֹחַ הַדִּבּוּר,

The latter in turn is as nothing compared to the life-force that extends from [the soul] and is vested in thought, in the emotive attributes, and in the intellect.

שֶׁהוּא כְּאַיִן לְגַבֵּי הַחַיּוּת הַמִּתְפַּשֵּׁט מִמֶּנָּה וּמְלוּבָּשׁ בְּמַחֲשָׁבָה וּמִדּוֹת וְשֵׂכֶל.

The latter three faculties are always united with the soul. Even the faculty of thought, which is merely a “garment” of the soul (i.e., one of its means of expression), is always united with it, and therefore, like the soul itself, always in a manifest state. Speech and action, however, are “garments” that are separate from the soul. Thus, insofar as speech is concerned, there is “A time to speak and a time to refrain from speech,”36 while action is even more distant from the soul than speech.

In a precisely like manner with respect to the Divine chochmah, to the extent that can be diffused from it37 to become vested in all the nether beings:

כֵּן עַל דֶּרֶךְ זֶה מַמָּשׁ – הִיא בְּחִינַת חָכְמָתוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ, מַה שֶּׁיּוּכַל לְהִתְפַּשֵּׁט מִמֶּנָּה (לְהַשְׁפִּיעַ) [לְהִתְלַבֵּשׁ] בַּתַּחְתּוֹנִים כּוּלָּם,