Chapter XIV

Based on the above, we can understand the passage in the Zohar at the beginning of Parshas Chukas with regard to the verse: 1 “And this (vezos) is the Torah which Moshe placed” that was quoted at the outset. 2 By saying vezos, using a vav, the Torah indicates that the intent is to unite the Torah with the Holy One, blessed be He. (Note the entire passage as quoted there.)

Zos refers to the Sefirah of Malchus which comes into being through the influence of the attributes of Gevurah. See also the statements in Likkutei Torah in the explanation of the maamar entitled Zos Chukas HaTorah, sec. 3, with regard to the concept that the [Red] Heifer derives its nurture from the left vector. For the Heifer refers to the attribute of nukvah of Nogah that receives nurture from the ox which is on the left side. 3 This is the intent of the mitzvah of the Red Heifer: to correct this [undesirable flow of influence].

The attributes of Gevurah allow for the possibility of nurture from the external forces (as explained above with regard to the Oral Law, which is identified with the attribute of Malchus which enclothes itself in the garments of good and evil. Thus there is the possibility of a descent taking place); therefore, [Malchus] must be connected through the medium of the vav to the Tree of Life. This will bring about the sweetening of the attributes of Gevurah, and their transformation from bitter to sweet, causing them to be identified with life and goodness.

On this basis, we can understand the verse “And this is the Torah which Moshe placed,” and why it states “And this” (vezos), using a vav, [alluding to] the connection of the Tree of Knowledge to the Tree of Life. This also enables us to understand our Sages’ statement: 4 “If a person merits, [the Torah] becomes an elixir of life for him. “Merit[ing]” refers to the joining of the Torah to the Tree of Life, i.e., that his involvement in Torah study should be characterized by the love and fear [of G‑d], and [that his study should be] lishmah. This is achieved through the study of P’nimiyus HaTorah as explained in ch. 13. [Then] the Torah becomes an elixir of life for him.

If, by contrast, a person does not merit, i.e., he does not attach [his Torah study] to the Tree of Life, for he does not study P’nimiyus HaTorah and thus does not possess the love and fear [of G‑d], he will study without any intent, without the love and fear [of G‑d], and thus he will not study lishmah. This study will become a potion of death for him, heaven forbid, for he will descend. He will become preoccupied with his self, his [ego] will become inflated, and he will become very materially oriented as explained above at great length. This is particularly true when he studies after blemishing the covenant, 5 heaven forbid, in which instance, [his Torah study] descends in the depths of kelipah and actually attaches itself to the tree of death.

Synopsis: [This chapter] explains our Sages’ statements: a) “And this (vezos) is the Torah,” that vezos is written with a vav; and b) “If he merits, the Torah becomes an elixir of life.” This is the fusion of Malchus and Za’er Anpin, [the union of] the Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of Life, which is carried out with the love and fear [of G‑d] and [which involves study] lishmah. [This is prompted] by [the study of] P’nimiyus HaTorah.