This culminating fulfillment of the Messianic Era and of the Resurrection of the Dead, which is the revelation of the light of the blessed En Sof in this material world, depends on our actions and service throughout the duration of the galut. For what causes the reward of a commandment is the commandment itself, because by virtue of performing it the person suffuses a flood of light of the blessed En Sof from above downwards, to be clothed in the corporeality of the world, in something that was previously under the dominion of the kelipat nogah, from which it had received its vitality. These are all those things that are [ritually] clean and permissible, wherewith the precept of action is performed, viz., parchment used in the phylacteries and Mezuzah and the scroll of the Torah, as taught by the Rabbis that nothing is fitting for a sacred purpose which is not clean and permissible for consumption; similarly an etrog which is not orlah ;

Note: For orlah is one of the three completely impure kelipot that can never ascend [into holiness] as explained in Etz Chayim. Similarly the performance of any precept involving a transgression, G‑d forbid.

so, too, money given to charity which had not been dishonestly acquired; and similarly with other things. Thus, when a person performs the Divine commandment and will, by means of these ["clean" things], the. vitality that is in them ascends and is dissolved and absorbed into the light of the blessed En Sof which is His blessed will that is clothed in them, since therein there is no concealment of Countenance whatever, to obscure His blessed light.

In like manner, the energy of the vital animal soul which is in the organs of the body of the person performing the commandment, is also clothed in this performance, and it rises from the kelipah and is absorbed into the holiness of the precept, which is His blessed will, and is dissolved into the light of the blessed En Sof.

Likewise in regard to the commandment of Torah study and the recital of Shema and Prayer, and similar precepts, although they do not involve physical action in the strict sense, such as would be dominated by the kelipat nogah. Nevertheless it has been established that meditation cannot take the place of speech, and that a person does not fulfil the commandment until he has uttered [the words] with his lips. And it has been established that the articulation by the lips is deemed as "action." For the divine soul cannot express itself through the lips and mouth and tongue and teeth, which are all corporeal, except through the agency of the vital animal soul, which is clothed in the organs of the physical body. Hence the more strength one puts into his speech, the more of the vital soul's energy does he introduce and invest into those words. This is the meaning of the verse, "All my bones shall declare... ." This also is what the Rabbis meant when they said, "If the Torah reposes in all the 248 organs, it will be preserved; but if not, it will not be preserved." For forgetfulness comes from the kelipah of the body and vital animal soul, which are of the kelipat nogah that is sometimes absorbed into holiness, which is accomplished when one weakens their power and transfers all their strength into the holiness of the Torah or Prayer.

Furthermore, the vital soul's energy which is clothed in the letters of speech in Torah study or Prayer, or the like, or in the precepts of performance, derives its entire growth and vitality from the blood, which is of the kelipat nogah itself, namely, all the foods and drinks which the person has eaten and drunk and which have become blood, having been under its dominion and having drawn their nurtures from it [the kelipat nogah]. But now it is converted from evil to good and is absorbed into holiness, by virtue of the energy of the vital soul that has grown from it, which has now clothed itself in these letters or in this action which constitute the very inwardness of His blessed will, without any concealment of Countenance. And their vitality is also absorbed into the light of the blessed En Sof, which is His blessed will. And with their vitality, the energy of the vital soul is absorbed and elevated. Thereby will ascend also the totality of the kelipat nogah, constituting the general vitality of this material and gross world,

when the whole neshamah and divine soul of all Israel, which is divided into 600,000 particular offshoots, and each particular soul will fulfil all the 613 commandments of the Torah:—

The 365 prohibitions, to restrain the 365 blood vessels of the vital soul in the body, so as not to receive nurture or vitality through that sin from one of the three completely unclean kelipot, from which are derived the 365 prohibitions in the Torah together with their offshoots as laid down by the Rabbis; for the vital soul would no longer be able to ascend to G‑d if it had been defiled with the impurity of the three unclean kelipot, which can never be elevated but must be completely nullified and annihilated, as is written, "And I will cause the unclean spirit to pass out of the land"; and

The 248 positive precepts, in order to draw the light of the blessed En Sof earthwards, so as to raise up to Him and bind and unite with Him, the totality of the vital soul which is in the 248 organs of the body, with a perfect union, to become truly one, as it was His blessed will that He should have an abode amongst the lowest creatures, and they become a "vehicle" (merkavah) for Him, as were the Patriarchs.

Thus, when the totality of the vital soul of the community of Israel will be a holy merkavah for G‑d, then shall the general vitality of this world, now constituting the kelipat nogah, emerge from its impurity and filth and ascend unto holiness to become a merkavah for G‑d, through the revelation of His glory, "And all flesh shall see together," and He will shine forth on them with the splendour of His majestic greatness, and the whole world will be filled with the glory of the Lord, and Israel shall behold [it] eye to eye, as at the Giving of the Law, as is written, "Unto thee it was showed, that thou mightest know, that the Lord, He is G‑d; there is nothing else beside Him/' In this way, all three unclean kelipot will be completely destroyed and annihilated, for their present nurture and vitality from holiness comes to them through the medium of the kelipat nogah, which is the intermediary between them.

It follows, therefore, that the whole fulfillment of the Messianic Era and of the Resurrection of the Dead— which is the revelation of His blessed glory and Divinity, and the banishment of the spirit of impurity from the world— is dependent on the suffusion of His Divinity and of the light of the blessed En Sof over the vital soul of the community of Israel in all its 248 organs, through its fulfillment of all the 248 positive precepts; and on the banishment of the spirit of impurity from it through its observance of all the 365 prohibitions, so that its 365 veins do not derive nurture from it.

For the community of Israel, comprising 600,000 particular souls, is the [source of] life for the world as a whole, which was created for their sake. And each one of them contains and is related to the vitality of one part in 600,000 of the totality of the world, which [part] depends on his vital soul for its elevation to G‑d through its own [the soul's] elevation, by virtue of the individual's partaking of this world for the needs of his body and vital soul in the service of G‑d, viz., eating, drinking, and the like, [his] dwelling and all his utensils.

Yet these 600,000 particular souls are roots, and each root subdivides into 600,000 sparks, each spark being one neshamah; and so with the nefesh and ruach in each of the four worlds— Atzilut, Beriah, Yetzirah, Asiyah.

And each spark descended into this world— although it is indeed a profound descent and a state of true exile, for even if one be a perfectly righteous person, serving G‑d with fear and a great love of delights, he cannot attain to the degree of attachment to G‑d, in fear and love, as before it came down to this gross world, not a fraction of it, and there is no comparison or similarity between them at all, as is clear to every intelligent person, for the body cannot endure,... nevertheless [each spark] descended into this world, to be clothed in a body and vital soul, for the sole purpose of mending them and separating them from the evil of the three impure kelipot, through the observance of the 365 prohibitions and their offshoots, and in order to elevate his vital soul together with its portion that belongs to it of the totality of the world, so as to join and unite them with the light of the blessed En Sof, which the person draws into them through fulfilling all the 248 positive precepts through the agency of the vital soul, the very one that fulfils all the active commandments, as has been explained above. It has also been stated in (Etz Chayim, Portal 26) that the soul itself [neshamah] needs no tikun (mending) at all ... and there is no necessity for it to be embodied in this world ... except in order to bring down the light to mend them ... and this is exactly similar to the esoteric exile of the Shechinah for the purpose of elevating the sparks....

In the light of the above, one can understand why our Rabbis, of blessed memory, so strongly emphasized the virtue of charity, declaring that "It balances all the other commandments," and throughout the Yerushalmi Talmud it is called simply "The Commandment," for such was the usage of the language to call charity simply "The Commandment," because it is the core of the precepts of action and surpasses them all. For all [precepts] are only intended to elevate the vital soul unto G‑d, since it is she [the soul] that performs them and clothes itself in them, thereby being absorbed into the light of the blessed En Sof which is vested in them. Hence you can find no commandment in which the vital soul is clothed to the same extent as in the commandment of charity: for in all [the other] commandments only one faculty of the vital soul is embodied, and then only at the time of the performance of the precept, whilst in the case of charity, which a man gives out of the toil of his hands, surely all the strength of his vital soul is embodied in the execution of his work or occupation by which he earned the money; when he gives it for charity, his whole vital soul ascends to G‑d. Even where one does not depend on his toil for a livelihood, nevertheless since with this [charity] money he could have purchased necessities of life, for his vivifying soul, hence he is giving his soul's life to G‑d.

Therefore our Rabbis, of blessed memory, said that it [charity] brings the Redemption nearer. For with one act of charity a person elevates a great part of the vivifying soul, of whose powers and faculties he cannot elevate in the same measure by performing several other active precepts.

As for the statement of our Rabbis that "The study of the Torah equals all other commandments combined," this is because Torah study is effected through the faculties of speech and thought, which are the innermost garments of the vivifying soul; also the essence and substance of the faculties of ChaBaD (chochmah, binah, da'at) of the kelipat nogah in the vivifying soul are integrated into holiness itself when one occupies oneself in Torah with concentration and intelligence.

And although the essence and substance of the emotion attributes (middot) chesed, gevurah, tiferet, and so on— cannot be mastered by Intermediates so as to be converted to holiness, this is because the evil is stronger in the emotion attributes than in the intelligences, by reason of its greater nurture from the holiness of the middot, as is known to those familiar with the Esoteric Discipline.

Furthermore, and this is the most important aspect of all in the preeminence of Torah study over all other commandments, based on the above-mentioned quotation from the Tikunim, that "The 248 commandments are the 248 'organs' of the King": Just as in the case of a human being, by way of example, there is no comparison or similitude between the vitality that is in his 248 organs and the vitality that is in the brain, i.e., the intellect which is subdivided into the three faculties of ChaBaD, exactly analogous, by way of example, yet removed by myriads of distinctions ad infinitum, is the illumination of the light of the blessed En Sof that is clothed in the active precepts, compared with the illumination of the light of the blessed En Sof in the ChaBaD aspects of the wisdom of the Torah, in each man according to his intelligence and mental grasp. And although his apprehension is only in its material aspects, yet the Torah is likened to water, which descends from a high level,... as has been explained above.

Nevertheless, the Rabbis declared, "Not learning, but doing is the essential thing." It is also written, "This day to do them." And [it has been ruled that] one should interrupt the study of the Torah in order to fulfil an active precept that cannot be performed by others. For, "This is the whole man," and the purpose of his creation and his descent to this world, in order that He have an abode here below especially, to turn darkness into light, so that the glory of the Lord shall fill all of this material world, with the emphasis on material, and "All flesh shall see it together," as has been discussed above.

On the other hand, when the precept is one that can be performed by others, one does not interrupt the study of the Torah, though the whole Torah is, after all, only an explanation of the active ordinances. The reason is that [the Torah] is, as it were, the ChaBaD of the blessed En Sof, and when a person is engaged in it he draws over himself the light of the blessed En Sof, of an infinitely higher order and splendour than the illumination and influence obtained through the commandments, which are "The organs of the King." This is what Rav Sheshet [meant when he] said, "Rejoice, O my soul! For thee did I learn Scripture; for thee did I learn Mishnah," as is explained elsewhere at length.

This influence and illumination which man, by means of his occupation with the Torah, draws from the reflected light of the blessed En Sof and causes to shine on his soul and on the souls of all Israel, which is the Shechinah, Keneset Israel, the fount of all the souls of Israel, as will be explained later— is termed "keriah" ("calling"); hence kore baTorah ["Calling by means of the Torah"]. This means that through one's occupation with the Torah one calls to the Holy One, blessed be He, to come to him, to use an anthropomorphism, like a person calling to his companion to come to him, or like a child calling his father to come and join him, so that he should not be separated from him and remain alone, G‑d forbid. This is the meaning of the text, "The Lord is nigh to all that call unto Him; to all that call unto Him in truth," and " 'Truth' applies only to the Torah." The meaning is thus rendered in the sense of calling to the Holy One, blessed be He, specifically through the Torah. It is different, however, when one does not call Him through occupation in the Torah, but merely cries: "Father! Father!" as the prophet laments over him: "And none calls by Thy name,..." as is explained elsewhere. The intelligent person should ponder on this in order to inculcate into himself a great reverence at the time of his occupation with the Torah, as has been previously explained (ch. 23).