It is well known that the commandment and admonition concerning idolatry, which are contained, in the first two commandments of the Decalogue— "I am" and "Thou shalt not have any other gods," comprise the entire Torah. For the commandment "I am" contains all the 248 positive precepts, whilst the commandment "Thou shalt not have" contains all the 365 prohibitions. That is why we heard only "I am" and "Thou shalt not have" directly from the Almighty, as our Sages say, "Because these two are the sum-total ot the whole Torah."

In order to elucidate this matter clearly, we must first briefly refer to the subject and essence of the Unity of the Holy One, blessed be He, Who is called One and Unique, and "All believe that He is All Alone," exactly as He was before the world was created, when there was naught beside Him, as is written, "Thou wast the same ere the world was created; Thou hast been the same since the world hath been created... ." This means: exactly the same without any change, as it is written, "For I, the Lord, have not changed," inasmuch as this world and likewise all supernal worlds do not effect any change in His blessed Unity, by their having been created ex nihilo. For just as He was All Alone, Single and Unique, before they were created, so is He One and Alone, Single and Unique after they were created, since, beside Him, everything is as nothing,

verily as null and void. For the coming into being of all the upper and nether worlds out of non-being, and their life and existence sustaining them from reverting to non-existence and nought, as was before, is nothing else but the word of G‑d and the breath of His blessed mouth that is clothed in them.

To illustrate from the soul of a human being:

When a man utters a word, this utterance in itself is as absolutely nothing even when compared only with his general "articulate soul," which is the so-called middle "garment," namely, its faculty of speech, which can produce speech without limit or end; all the more when it is compared with its so-called innermost "garment," to wit, its faculty of thought, which is the source of speech and its life-force; not to mention when it is compared with the essence and entity of the soul, these being its ten attributes mentioned above, viz. chochmah, binah, da at (ChaBaD), and so on, from which are derived the "letters" of thought that are clothed in the speech when it is uttered. For thought can as much be defined in terms of "letters" as speech, except that in the former they are more spiritual and refined.

But the ten attributes— ChaBaD, and so forth— are the root and source of thought, and, prior to their being clothed in the garment of thought, still lack the element of "letters." For example, when a man suddenly becomes conscious of a certain love or desire in his heart, before it has risen from the heart to the brain to think and meditate about it, it has not yet acquired the element of "letters"; it is only a simple desire and longing in the heart for the object of his affection. All the more so before he began to feel in his heart a craving and desire for that thing, and it is as yet confined within the realm of his wisdom, intellect and knowledge, that is, the thing is known to him to be desirable and gratifying, something good and pleasant to attain and to cling to, as, for instance, to learn some wisdom or to eat some delicious food. Only after the desire and craving have already found their way into the heart, through the stimulus of his wisdom, intellect and knowledge, and thence ascended once more back to the brain, to think and meditate on how to translate his craving from the potential into the practical, with a view to actually obtaining that food or acquiring that wisdom— it is here that the so-called "letters" are born in his mind, such "letters" corresponding to the language of each nation, employing them in speech and thought about all things in the world.