"Happy are we, how goodly is our portion and how pleasant is our lot... " "The Lord is the share of my portion and my cup .. . Portions have fallen unto me.. ."

To understand the phraseology "our portion," and "our lot," it is necessary to explain properly a common expression in the sayings of our sages, of blessed memory, viz.: "He has no part in the G‑d of Israel." It would seem that a term like "part" cannot possibly be applied to the blessed Divinity, because He is not divisible into parts, Heaven forfend. However, the idea is, as it is written about Jacob: "And he called Him E-l , G‑d of Israel." The meaning of this is as follows.

In truth, G‑d, as His Name is so is He. Though He permeates all the upper and lower worlds, from the peak of all levels to this lowly physical world [as it is written: "Do I not fill the heavens and the earth," I Myself, indeed, meaning, His Being and His Essence, as it were, and not only His glory], even so, He is kadosh (holy) and distinct from the upper and nether worlds, and is not at all contained in them, Heaven forfend, in the way, for example, that the soul of man is contained in the body, as explained elsewhere at length. And for this reason they could not receive their vivification from His Being and Essence in itself, as it were. Rather, the extension of the vivification wherewith the Holy One, blessed is He, animates the upper and nether worlds, is, metaphorically speaking, as a radiation shining from His blessed Name, for He and His Name are One, and as it is written: "For His Name alone is exalted, [only His reflection and] His splendour are on the earth and the heavens...."

This radiation actually vests itself in the upper and lower worlds in order to animate them. It is contained in them by means of many intermediaries and numerous, immense contractions, in a development of levels by way of cause and effect...

Now, this radiation [though above it radiates and extends itself in unlimited and infinite fashion to animate innumerable, concealed worlds, as mentioned in the Idra Rabba, nevertheless] as it descends netherwards, by way of numerous contractions, to animate those that were created, formed and made, it is generally divided into 613 in number. These 613 gradations correspond to the 613 commandments of the Torah, which are the 613 kinds of conduits of this radiation from the light of the blessed En Sof to illumine man's soul [which is made up of 248 "organs" and 365 "sinews" ]. For the principal aim of the descent and efflux of this radiation, netherwards, to all those created, formed and made, is for (the soul's) sake; for the purpose of them all is man, as known.

Now this number is in a general way. More specifically, every single commandment sub-divides into infinite details, which are the essentials of the detailed rulings of every commandment [which are without number, as it is written: "sixty are the queens"— these are the sixty tractates .... "and maidens without number"— these are the rulings... ]. For they are the efflux from the Supreme Will ... It is precisely so with man's soul. For all the souls in the world were contained in Adam. In a general way his soul was divisible into the number 613:248 "organs" and 365 "sinews"; but in a more specific way his soul was divisible into innumerable sparks— which are the souls of all of Israel from the days of the Patriarchs and the tribes, to, and including the coming of the Messiah, when Scripture will be fulfilled: "And the number of the children of Israel will be as the sand of the sea that cannot be measured nor counted"— "Because of the great quantity."

Now "The beauty of Jacob is a reflection of the beauty of Adam," for he rectified the sin of Adam. His soul, too, was composed of all the souls of Israel, in all times. And he was a vehicle for the Torah as it is above, which is referred to as Adam, as it is written: "And on the likeness of the throne there was a likeness as the-appearance of Adam ..."; also, it is written: "And zot was within, in Israel"— and "Zot refers only to the Torah .. ," For the Torah was contained and vested in the soul of Israel the Patriarch— which compounded all the souls.

And this is the meaning of "And he called Him E-l, G‑d of Israel": E-l denotes the elicitation of the radiation from the light of the blessed En Sof from concealment to manifestation, to radiate manifestly in his soul, and as it is written: " E-l is the Lord, and He gives us light." And after Jacob, the light of the blessed En Sof shines openly in all the upright of heart who occupy themselves with the Torah and the commandments.

Now, this manifestation in their mind and heart with an exceeding uplifting and abundant strength, occurs at the time of prayer, as explained elsewhere.

Though this manifestation through the occupation with Torah and the commandments is, generally, equal in every one of Israel [for we all have one Torah and one law ], nevertheless, in a more specific way not all the souls (nefesh) or spirits (ruach) and souls (neshamah) are equal in this regard, depending on the occurrence and time of their reincarnation and their coming into this world; and as our sages, of blessed memory, said: "With what was your father more heedful? He answered him— with the Tzitzit ...." Likewise not all the generations arc the same. For just as with the organs of man every organ has its own, special and particular function [the eye to see and the ear to hear], so, too, through every commandment there radiates a special and particular light from the light of the blessed En Sof. And though every soul of Israel needs to be reincarnated in order to fulfil all the 613 commandments, even so, this special care with a particular Mitzvah is necessary only for the sake of an increase, and prudence, and additional zeal— with exceeding uplifting and strength, doubly and manifold, surpassing the zeal for the other commandments. And that is what he meant when he said "With what was he more careful?"

Now, the advantage of this individual light to the individual souls is not in the category of apprehensible reason and knowledge, but transcends the faculty of knowledge. For thus it rose in the Mind before Him, blessed be He. And its model below is truly the notion of the "lot."