"A woman of valour is the crown (atarati) of her husband ..."

In the Gemara, fourth chapter of Megilah, it is stated: "He that makes use of the crown, passes away ... this applies to him who makes use of one who can repeat halachot, the crown (keter) of the Torah ... It was taught in the academy of Elijah: whoever repeats halachot, is assured ..."

Now it needs to be understood why the halachot are referred to as "crown," and "the crown of the Torah," and, also, why expressly he who repeats the halachot is assured.... and not other subjects of Torah. Furthermore, one needs to understand the saying of our sages, of blessed memory, in the eleventh chapter of Menachot, that even if one learned but a single chapter in the morning .... one has fulfilled one's duty. Why is one's duty not fulfilled by other subjects of Torah?

However, it is well-known that R. Isaac Luria, of blessed memory, stated that every person of Israel needs to be reincarnated many times, until he has fulfilled all 613 commandments of the Torah in thought, speech and action. This is in order to complete the garments of his soul and to correct them, so that there will not be a missing garment... [Excepted are the commandments incumbent upon the king, because he discharges all of Israel, as he is the omneity of them all.] The reason is in order to garb all the 613 aspects and powers in one's soul, so that "Not one of them shall be lacking."

An explanation for the necessity and need of these garments is given in the Zohar and is understood by every intelligent person. For the nefesh, ruach, and neshamah in man, are of the genre of creatures, and it is impossible for any creature to attain any apprehension of the Creator and Former of all, the blessed En Sof. Even after G‑d had already radiated of His blessed light, and caused an emanation in the form of an evolution of numerous levels [level upon level], by way of immense contractions and numerous, immense garments [known to those adept in the esoteric science; in the Idra Rabba they are referred to as "hairs," and as written in Daniel: "And the hair of his head as pure wool ..." ], nevertheless, neither the nefesh, nor the ruach and neshatnah can endure the light. For the light is good and sweet.... as it is written: "To behold the no'am of the Lord." (No'am) expresses pleasantness, agreeable-ness, sweetness, and an infinitely immense delight, as it is written: "Then you will delight yourself in the Lord," "And He will satisfy with tzachtzachot ..." an idiom of tzichey tzama, as stated in the Zohar. It is not in (the soul's) power to absorb the pleasantness and agreeable-ness of the tzachtzachot without leaving its husk and becoming existentially nullified just like the flame in the torch, were it not that from the aspect of this very light there will evolve and issue forth some minute radiation, by way of an evolution of level after level, with many contractions, until a single garment is created thereof, a creation like the nature of this light, to garb the nefesh, ruach, and neshamah. By way of this garment [which is like this light], (the soul) can derive enjoyment from the ray of this light, and apprehend it, without becoming existentially nullified. It is analogous to someone looking at the sun through a fine and lucid speculum. Thus it is written: "And Moses entered into the midst of the cloud, and he ascended ..." ; that is, he vested himself in the cloud and ascended, and saw by way of the cloud... Thus it is explained in the Zohar, volume II, folios 210 and 229.

Now this light, kept concealed for the righteous in the future, is termed the "pleasantness of the Lord," and the " Tzathtzachot to delight in the Lord," and the "400 worlds of longing" (almin diksufin) in which the tzadikim delight .... [as it is written: "400 shekalim of kessef ..."]. In (this light) there are very many rungs and levels, one superior to the other. But the minute radiation, which descends level after level to create this garment, is of the rank of the lowest level in this light. Metaphorically speaking, it is referred to as the external level, and achurayini, as stated in the Zohar, folio 208b ( cf. in the commentary Mikdash Melech), and 210b: "And that which is left..."

Now, in the soul of man there is a faculty for delight: for (the soul) delights in what is delightful to it, as, for example, in the conception of a new insight, or the like. The aspect of the chitzoniyut and achtirayim of the (soul's) capacity and state of delight is the aspect of the faculty of its will: (the soul) wills that which it wills, i.e. something that is not painful [for pain is the opposite of delight]. Metaphorically speaking, it is the same with the light of the blessed En Sof, as it were. The blessed Supreme will is the aspect of the chitzoniyut and achurayim of the aspect of the Supreme delight, the "pleasantness of the Lord," the tzachtzachot, and the "worlds of longing," mentioned, above. Though these are unified in an absolute unity, for He, blessed be He, and His will, are one [and not like the will of man, Heaven forfend, neither wholly nor partially; there is no comparison whatever between them], nevertheless, the Torah speaks in human idiom, to appease the ear with what it is able to hear, with allegory and metaphor relating to the soul of, man which compounds the faculty of delight, will, wisdom, understanding.... (This composition of the soul) is empirically evident. For when a person conceives some wondrous new insight then, at least, at that very moment, there is born in his mind a wondrous delight. Thus it follows that the (faculty of) delight surpasses exceedingly the faculty of the intellect and wisdom, except that it is vested in the faculty of the intellect and wisdom. Thus when man senses the intellect and wisdom, that is, he apprehends and understands it well, he, then, also senses the faculty of delight which is vested in the wisdom. That is why in the sacred Zohar the aspect of binah is referred to as olam habah (the world to come). For it is the state of the manifestation of the chochmah, and the delight vested in it, which the righteous apprehend in the Garden of Eden, and perceive in the pnimiyut of the Torah. For the Torah derives from chochmah, and the Torah and the Holy One, blessed is He, are entirely one.

Now, the Cabbalists term, and refer to the Supreme Will as keter elyon, the Supreme Crown. In it there are 620 pillars of light ... That is, by way of analogy, just as in a large brick house there are pillars standing in the ground, and their apex is connected with the ceiling, precisely so, metaphorically speaking, the blessed Supreme keter transcends the aspect of the level of chochmah. (Keter) is an idiom of koteret (capitol), for it surrounds and encompasses above the brains in the head [i.e. the faculties of chochntah, binah, and da'at (chabad)].

This (Supreme) Will is vested in the 613 commandments of the Torah and the seven precepts of the Rabbis, practically all of which are operative commandments [even those related to speech, for we maintain that the motioning of the lips is regarded as an act; and also those relating to thought or the heart. For the commandment is given only to physical man in this world, because he has the choice to turn his heart to good ... The soul without a body, however, need not beenjoined about this ]. Thus it follows that the commandments, metaphorically speaking, are as the pillars that stand from the peak of rungs, i.e. the blessed Supreme Will, to this material world. Metaphorically speaking, they are as the hollow pillars which encompass and' garb man's neshamah, or ruach, or nefesh, when he fulfils the commandments. By way of these pillars his nefesh, ruach and neshamah ascend to the peak of rungs, to be bound up in the bundle of life with the Lord, that is, to be bound up and vested in the light of keter, the blessed Supreme Will. And by means of this garment they are able to behold the "pleasantness of the Lord," and the tzachtzachot, which transcend the rank of keter and, metaphorically speaking, are His pnimiyut. ( Though it is explained elsewhere that the commandments are the pnimiyut of the blessed Supreme Will, those adept in the esoteric science are well acquainted with the multitude of aspects and levels within every aspect and level of the levels of holiness. There are several aspects of "panim to panim;" and several aspects of "achurayim to achurayim ;" to no end ...)

Now, the seven precepts of the Rabbis are not regarded as commandments in themselves, for it was already said: "You shall not add." Rather, they derive and issue from the commandments of the Torah and are included in them, in the sum of 613, to garb the 613 aspects and powers in the nefesh, ruach, and neshamah of man.

This is the meaning of the statement in the sacred Zohar, section of Pekudei (folio 229b), that "The good deeds which man does elicit a garment from the light of the Supreme splendour .... and they see ... the pleasantness of the Lord ..." Though there it speaks of the lower Garden of Eden where the garments are of the truly operational commandment, while in the upper Garden of Eden the garments are of the love and devotion of the heart with respect to Torah and prayer [as mentioned in the Zohar ad loc. (folio 210 )], however, this devotion refers to the devotion of one's occupation with Torah for its own sake (lishmah), out of the love for God. [The commandment to study Torah also belongs to the class of operational commandments, for the motion of the lips is an act, and meditation is not the same as speech; thus one does not discharge his duty by meditation alone. The same applies to prayer. ] And certainly so, considering that the advantage of devotion over speech and deed is not of itself .... but because of the radiation from the Supreme Will .... as explained at length in Likutei Amarim, part I, ch. 38, see there.

Now, it is known that the blessed Supreme Will vested in the 613 commandments of the Written Torah, is hidden and covered, secreted and concealed. It is manifest only in the Oral Torah. For example, the precept of Tefillin: in the Written Torah it is stated "And you shall bind them for a sign on your hand, and they shall be for frontlets between your eyes." This is an indistinct and concealed statement, for Scripture did not explain how, and what to bind, and what frontlets are; and where is "between your eyes" and "on your hand;" until the Oral Torah explicates that one needs to bind a single box on the hand, and four boxes on the head, and four portions of Scripture within them. Also, the boxes are to be made of prepared leather, and of necessity square, and to be tied by means of leather straps which need to be black; and all the other detailed rulings of making the Tefillin that were said orally. Also, "on your hand" refers only to the arm, and not to the palm of the hand; and "between your eyes" refers to the scalp, and not to the forehead. It is likewise with all the commandments of the Torah, whether they be operational precepts or prohibitory precepts; they are not revealed, and known, and explicated, except through the Oral Torah. For instance, the prohibitory precept that was said with respect to the Sabbath— "You shall do no work" : it does not explain what is regarded as work. In the Oral Torah, however, it is explicated to refer to the well-known 39 forms of work, and not to the carrying of stones or heavy beams. And as it is with these, so it is with all the commandments, whether they be operational precepts or prohibitory precepts: they are indistinct, and are explicated, revealed, and known only through the Oral Torah. That is why Scripture says of the Oral Torah: "And you shall not cast off the teaching of your mother," as stated in the Zohar. Metaphorically speaking, just as all the limbs of the child are included, in great concealment, in the sperm of the father, and the mother brings this out into a state of manifestation [when giving birth to a child that is whole, with 248 limbs and 365 sinews], so, in precisely like fashion, the 248 operational precepts and the 365 prohibitory precepts emerge from concealment to manifestation through the Oral Torah. And the beginning of the verse— "Heed my son the instruction of your father"— refers to the Written Torah, which derives from the Supreme chochmah which is called "father."

Now this is the meaning of "A woman of valour is the crown of her husband." For the Oral Torah is termed the "woman of valour" who gives birth to, and raises many valiant hosts, as it is written "And alamot without number": do not read alamot but olamot, referring to the halachot which are without number, as stated in the Tikunim. They all are the aspect of the manifestation of the blessed Supreme Will concealed in the Written Torah. And the blessed Supreme Will is exceedingly more sublime than the rank of the Supreme chochtnah, just as a crown (keter) and wreath (atarah) is above the brains in the head. The halachot, therefore, are referred to as "crown", and "crown of the Torah"; and "Whoever repeats halachot is assured that he will come to olam habah," by investing his nefesh, ruach and neshamah in the blessed Supreme Will, as stated above.