From the preceding passages of the Zohar we have a profound understanding of the very nature of the Torah in general, and of its mystical dimension in particular. Jewish mysticism, the Kabbalah and Chassidism, are nishmata de'orayta (the very soul of the Torah), pnimiyut haTorah (the innermost reality, the core, of the Torah), or ma'or shebaTorah (the luminary aspect of the Torah which radiates its light).

The distinction between the exoteric body and the esoteric soul of the Torah, between its external and inner dimensions, does not imply any belittling or degradation of the exoteric.

The term gufei Torah implies not only body in contradistinction to soul, but also body in the sense of substance, in the sense of `main principles of the Torah.' In this context it refers to the paramount significance of the mitzvot, of Halachah. Thus even those who are aware of the `soul' of the Torah must also guard its `body': they too are enjoined to a comprehensive study and observance of the exoteric and all its precepts. In fact, the `body' is the very prerequisite, sine qua non, for attaining the `soul.'

In this context we speak of the pardes (orchard) of the Torah. The term `pardes' is an acronym for peshat-remez-derush-sod, the four dimensions of the Torah.

(In the context of the Talmudic passage of the "Four who entered the pardes" (Chagigah 14b), the Zohar reads the word pardes as an acronym for peshat, remez (or re'iyah), derush, and sod. These are the four dimensions, or levels of meaning and interpretation of the Torah. See Zohar Chadash, Tikunim:107c; also ZoharI:26b, III:110a, and 202a. For an example of the application of these four levels of interpretation and their relationship to Chassidism, see R. Menachem M. Schneerson of Lubavitch shelita, Kuntres Inyanah shel Torat Hachassidut, ch. 9-17.)

These are four dimensions of one and the same thing, thus inseparable one from the other. Even as the body is lifeless without the soul, so is the soul ineffective without the body. The different dimensions thus complement one another.

(In this context note also the analogy between the esoteric dimension and salt: salt by itself is not savoury, but it lends savour to meat and other edibles (see Berachot 5a; Menachot21a and Rashi 2 ad loc). It is likewise with pnimiyut Hatorah; see Likutei Torah, Vayikra.)

On the other hand, to restrict oneself to peshat, to believe but in the simple, explicit meaning, is tantamount to reducing oneself to the three letters of this word, which, transposed, spell tipesh (a stupid person), of whom it is said (Psalms 119:70), "Their heart is topash (gross; dense; stupid) like fat.."

(R. Chaim David Azulay, Midbar Kedemot, Peh:1; and idem, Devash Lefi, Kof:15. See also Shenei Luchot Haberit, Toldot Adam (p. 3c) about the total unity of the exoteric and esoteric dimensions (citing there also Rambam's reference to Proverbs 25:11, mentioned above. Also the Vilna Gaon's comment that knowledge of sod is essential for a clear understanding of peshat; Even Shelemah, VIII:21.)

Even to accept peshat, remez (allusions) and derush (homiletics), but to reject or ignore the sod (esoterics) from pardes, leaves the word pered (mule); of him who would do so it is said (Psalms 32:9), "Like the pered who has no understanding..."

Man cannot and may not choose and pick in matters of Torah. The Divine Torah is one entity and must be accepted as one whole. And to accept the wholeness, the oneness, of Torah, means to recognize and accept Torah on all its levels, all its facets and dimensions. This is the fundamental principle of the unity of Torah.