Chapter 53

פרק נג

The Alter Rebbe explained in the previous chapter that the light of the Shechinah, an illumination utterly transcending the realm of the world, must have a “garment” which enables it to radiate there. The “garment” of the Shechinah is Torah.

In every World, there is found the “intelligence” of that particular World, namely, the sefirot of chochmah, binah, and daat of that World. They constitute the shrine of the Holy of Holies, in which the Shechinah resides. After the levels of ChaBaD (in which resides the Shechinah) descend into the level of malchut of a particular World, the creatures of that World are then created.

By vesting itself in malchut, moreover, the light of the Shechinah is then able to descend into the shrine of the Holy of Holies of the next lower World. The Alter Rebbe explained this process as it applies to all Worlds down to and including the spiritual World of Asiyah.

In ch. 53, he will go on to explain how the light of the Shechinah descends and illuminates this physical world. During the times of the First and Second Temple, the Shechinah was housed in the Holy of Holies. Today, it finds its abode in a Jew’s study of Torah and performance of the mitzvot.

He will also explain the difference between the level of the illumination of the Shechinah in the First and Second Beit Hamikdash, on one hand, and the level of Shechinah, which is drawn down through the study of Torah and the performance of mitzvot, on the other.

At the time the First Temple stood, in which the Ark and the Tablets were housed in the Holy of Holies,

וְהִנֵּה, כְּשֶׁהָיָה בַּיִת רִאשׁוֹן קַיָּים, שֶׁבּוֹ הָיָה הָאָרוֹן וְהַלּוּחוֹת בְּבֵית קָדְשֵׁי קָדָשִׁים –

the Shechinah—which is malchut of Atzilut, that is, the revealed light of the Ein Sof, a light which intrinsically is infinite and transcends all Worlds and which nevertheless was revealed in them

הָיְתָה הַשְּׁכִינָה, שֶׁהִיא מַלְכוּת דַּאֲצִילוּת, שֶׁהִיא בְּחִינַת גִּילּוּי אוֹר־אֵין־סוֹף בָּרוּךְ־הוּא,

dwelled there and was clothed in the Ten Commandments, which were engraved upon the Tablets found in the Ark in the Holy of Holies,

שׁוֹרָה שָׁם, וּמְלוּבֶּשֶׁת בַּעֲשֶׂרֶת הַדִּבְּרוֹת,

far more intensely, and with a greater and mightier revelation, than its revelation in the shrines of the Holy of Holies above in the upper Worlds.

בְּיֶתֶר שְׂאֵת וְיֶתֶר עֹז, בְּגִילּוּי רַב וְעָצוּם יוֹתֵר מִגִּילּוּיָהּ בְּהֵיכְלוֹת קָדְשֵׁי קָדָשִׁים שֶׁלְּמַעְלָה בְּעוֹלָמוֹת עֶלְיוֹנִים.

This refers to the Worlds of Asiyah and Yetzirah.1 For even in the World of Yetzirah, the Shechinah illumines only insofar as it has previously clothed itself in the shrine of the Holy of Holies of the World of Beriah. The level of Shechinah manifest in the First Temple, however, though it too was manifest only through having first been enclothed in malchut of Beriah, was less completely concealed. Even after this concealment, therefore, the illumination in the First Temple was still on the level of the World of Beriah and not of Yetzirah.

The Alter Rebbe now answers the following question: Inasmuch as the Temple was located in this physical world, how was it possible for the Shechinah to be found there to a higher degree than in the upper Worlds? He answers:

For the Ten Commandments are the all-embracing principles of the whole Torah,

כִּי עֲשֶׂרֶת הַדִּבְּרוֹת הֵן כְּלָלוּת הַתּוֹרָה כוּלָּהּ,

As explained in the Azharot of R. Saadya Gaon, the Ten Commandments incorporate all 613 mitzvot of the Torah. See also beginning of the Tanya, ch. 20.

which derives from the level of supernal chochmah, i.e., chochmah of Atzilut, that is far higher than the “world of manifestation.”

דְּנָפְקָא מִגּוֹ חָכְמָה עִילָּאָה, דִּלְעֵילָּא לְעֵילָּא מֵעָלְמָא דְאִתְגַּלְיָא,

It is far higher than malchut of Atzilut, which is called the “world of manifestation” because it reveals the light of the Ein Sof to the Worlds.

As explained earlier, for this reason, the Torah is able to act as a “garment” that does not become nullified in the light of the Shechinah which garbs itself in it since its source is higher than the Shechinah. However, in order for Torah to act as a concealing “garment,” it must descend lower than the level of the Shechinah, thereby enabling the light of the Shechinah to be received by created beings.

However, as Torah descended into the Ten Commandments engraved on the Tablets, it did not do so in a manner that would make it similar to other physical things. Rather, as will soon be explained, it remained on a level which is higher than the previously mentioned upper Worlds.

In order to engrave them on material tablets of stone, it (supernal chochmah, which is Torah) did not descend degree by degree, parallel to the order of descent of the Worlds, which descend by stages from a higher world to a lower world, until it reached this material world.

וּכְדֵי לְחָקְקָן בְּלוּחוֹת אֲבָנִים גַּשְׁמִיִּים – לֹא יָרְדָה מִמַּדְרֵגָה לְמַדְרֵגָה, כְּדֶרֶךְ הִשְׁתַּלְשְׁלוּת הָעוֹלָמוֹת עַד עוֹלָם הַזֶּה הַגַּשְׁמִי,

Generally, in order for a flow of Divine light to arrive at this physical world, it must first descend from World to World, coming down through the Worlds of Yetzirah and spiritual Asiyah, both of which are higher than its ultimate destination, this world. This, however, was not the case with the Tablets.

For this material world functions through the garb of material nature,

כִּי עוֹלָם הַזֶּה הַגַּשְׁמִי – מִתְנַהֵג בְּהִתְלַבְּשׁוּת הַטֶּבַע הַגַּשְׁמִי,

while the Tablets are “the work of G‑d,”2 a Divine creation, in which G‑dliness—not nature—is revealed,

"וְהַלּוּחוֹת – מַעֲשֵׂה אֱלֹהִים הֵמָּה,

“and the writing is the writing of G‑d,’’2 writing in which G‑dliness is perceived,

וְהַמִּכְתָּב – מִכְתַּב אֱלֹהִים הוּא",

beyond the nature of this material world which is derived from the radiance of the Shechinah in the shrine of the Holy of Holies of Asiyah, from which light and vitality issue to the World of Asiyah, in which this physical world is also included.

לְמַעְלָה מֵהַטֶּבַע שֶׁל עוֹלָם הַזֶּה הַגַּשְׁמִי, הַנִּשְׁפָּע מֵהֶאָרַת הַשְּׁכִינָה שֶׁבְּהֵיכַל קָדְשֵׁי קָדָשִׁים דַּעֲשִׂיָּה, שֶׁמִּמֶּנָּה נִמְשָׁךְ אוֹר וְחַיּוּת לְעוֹלַם הָעֲשִׂיָּה, שֶׁגַּם עוֹלָם הַזֶּה בִּכְלָלוֹ,

The ray of the Shechinah, which is in the shrine of the Holy of Holies of Asiyah, gives this physical world its vitality after first being garbed in malchut of Asiyah, as explained earlier. This was not the case with the Tablets.

But the level of the supernal chochmah of Atzilut, consisting of the totality of the Torah as it is encapsulated in the Ten Commandments, clothed itself in malchut of Atzilut and of Beriah alone and did not clothe itself further in the lower Worlds,

אֶלָּא, בְּחִינַת חָכְמָה עִילָּאָה דַאֲצִילוּת, שֶׁהִיא כְּלָלוּת הַתּוֹרָה שֶׁבְּי' הַדִּבְּרוֹת, נִתְלַבְּשָׁה בְּמַלְכוּת דַּאֲצִילוּת וְדִבְרִיאָה לְבַדָּן,

and they alone (chochmah of Atzilut as it is garbed in malchut of Atzilut and malchut of Beriah without further vestment), united as they are with the [infinite] light of the Ein Sof that is within them,

וְהֵן לְבַדָּן הַמְיוּחָדוֹת בְּאוֹר־אֵין־סוֹף שֶׁבְּתוֹכָן –

are referred to as the Shechinah, which rested in the Holy of Holies of the First Temple, through its being vested in the Ten Commandments, which were engraved by miraculous means in the Tablets reposing in the Ark.

הֵן הַנִּקְרָאוֹת בְּשֵׁם "שְׁכִינָה", הַשּׁוֹרָה בְּקָדְשֵׁי קָדָשִׁים דְּבַיִת רִאשׁוֹן, עַל יְדֵי הִתְלַבְּשׁוּתָהּ בְּי' הַדִּבְּרוֹת הַחֲקוּקוֹת בַּלּוּחוֹת שֶׁבָּאָרוֹן בְּנֵס

As the Sages tell us,3 the letters mem and samach, circular letters hewn through the entire thickness of the stone, stood in their place miraculously.

Moreover, the Ten Commandments upon the Tablets were the work of the Living G‑d—Elokim Chaim,

וּמַעֲשֵׂה אֱלֹהִים חַיִּים

(4this being, in terms of the sefirot, binah of Atzilut, which is known as “the concealed world” which nests in the World of Beriah, as is known to the students of the Kabbalah).

[הוּא "עָלְמָא דְאִתְכַּסְיָא", הַמְקַנֵּן בְּעוֹלַם הַבְּרִיאָה, כַּנּוֹדָע לְיוֹדְעֵי חֵן],

Those familiar with the Kabbalah know that binah of Atzilut radiates into the World of Beriah, a world which still remains in the category of “a concealed world”—i.e., it is categorized as a World but not a World whose independent being is revealed, in that the World of Beriah is aware of how it is wholly dependent on G‑d.

As for the Second Temple, in which the Ark and the Tablets did not repose, these being among the five things found in the First Temple and lacking in the Second,

וּבְבַיִת שֵׁנִי שֶׁלֹּא הָיָה בוֹ הָאָרוֹן וְהַלּוּחוֹת,

our Rabbis, of blessed memory, said5 that the Shechinah did not abide there. This means not that, G‑d forbid, the Shechinah did not abide there at all; rather, it speaks of the category of the Shechinah, which used to abide in the First Temple—which was not in the manner of the ordinary descent of the Worlds.

אָמְרוּ רַבּוֹתֵינוּ־זִכְרוֹנָם־לִבְרָכָה, שֶׁלֹּא הָיְתָה שְׁכִינָה שׁוֹרָה בּוֹ, פֵּירוּשׁ, מַדְרֵגַת שְׁכִינָה שֶׁהָיְתָה שׁוֹרָה בְּבַיִת רִאשׁוֹן שֶׁלֹּא כְּדֶרֶךְ הִשְׁתַּלְשְׁלוּת הָעוֹלָמוֹת.

It was this level of Shechinah that did not abide in the Second Temple but only a far lesser level.

But in the Second Temple, it abided according to the order of gradual descent, of malchut of Atzilut vested in malchut of Beriah, and the latter in malchut of Yetzirah, and the latter in the shrine of the Holy of Holies of Asiyah, that shrine being ChaBaD of Asiyah.

אֶלָּא, בְּבַיִת שֵׁנִי, הָיְתָה שׁוֹרָה כְּדֶרֶךְ הִשְׁתַּלְשְׁלוּת וְהִתְלַבְּשׁוּת מַלְכוּת דַּאֲצִילוּת בְּמַלְכוּת דִּבְרִיאָה, וְדִבְרִיאָה בְּמַלְכוּת דִּיצִירָה, וְדִיצִירָה בְּהֵיכַל קָדְשֵׁי קָדָשִׁים דַּעֲשִׂיָּה,

And the Holy of Holies of Asiyah was clothed in the Holy of Holies of the Temple below. In it rested the Shechinah, i.e., malchut of Yetzirah, which was clothed in the Holy of Holies of Asiyah.

וְקָדְשֵׁי קָדָשִׁים דַּעֲשִׂיָּה הָיָה מִתְלַבֵּשׁ בְּקָדְשֵׁי קָדָשִׁים שֶׁבְּבֵית הַמִּקְדָּשׁ שֶׁלְּמַטָּה, וְשָׁרְתָה בּוֹ הַשְּׁכִינָה – מַלְכוּת דִּיצִירָה הַמְלוּבֶּשֶׁת בְּקָדְשֵׁי קָדָשִׁים דַּעֲשִׂיָּה,

Therefore, because the Shechinah resided in the Temple’s Holy of Holies, no man was permitted to enter there, except the High Priest on Yom Kippur.

וְלָכֵן לֹא הָיָה רַשַּׁאי שׁוּם אָדָם לִיכָּנֵס שָׁם, לְבַד כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל בְּיוֹם הַכִּפּוּרִים. –

And since the destruction of the Temple, of which the Sanctuary was a part, G‑d resides in the shrine of Holy of Holies of Torah and the mitzvot, for as mentioned earlier, the Shechinah must reside in the Holy of Holies: "Hakadosh Baruch Hu (the Holy One, blessed be He) has but the four cubits of Halachah alone.”6

וּ"מִשֶּׁחָרַב בֵּית הַמִּקְדָּשׁ אֵין לוֹ לְהַקָּדוֹשׁ־בָּרוּךְ־הוּא בְּעוֹלָמוֹ אֶלָּא ד' אַמּוֹת שֶׁל הֲלָכָה בִּלְבָד",

Torah is the shrine of the Holy of Holies that connects G‑d with the world so that Hakadosh (the illumination of the Shechinah, which is Kadosh, i.e., separated and apart from the world) should become Baruch (from the Hebrew root meaning “to draw down”)—drawn down into the world.

And even if one Jew sits and engages in Torah study, the Shechinah is with him, as is stated in the first chapter of Berachot. The phrase “the Shechinah is with him”7 means that although he is a being of this material world, the Shechinah is nevertheless with him.

וַ"אֲפִילוּ אֶחָד שֶׁיּוֹשֵׁב וְעוֹסֵק בַּתּוֹרָה – שְׁכִינָה עִמּוֹ", כִּדְאִיתָא בִּבְרָכוֹת פֶּרֶק קַמָּא, פֵּירוּשׁ "שְׁכִינָה עִמּוֹ" –

The level of Shechinah that is with him is:

in order of the gradual descent and investment of malchut of Atzilut in malchut of Beriah and Yetzirah and Asiyah.

כְּדֶרֶךְ הִשְׁתַּלְשְׁלוּת וְהִתְלַבְּשׁוּת מַלְכוּת דַּאֲצִילוּת בְּמַלְכוּת דִּבְרִיאָה וִיצִירָה וַעֲשִׂיָּה.

It is thus inferior even to the indwelling of the Shechinah in the Second Temple, an indwelling that did not require the vestment in malchut of Asiyah.

It differs from the drawing down of the Shechinah in the world in general, in which case the identical progressive descent occurs, in that the Shechinah which resides in the world passes through the additional “garment” of kelipat nogah, while Torah and the mitzvot do not.

The reason that it must go through malchut of Asiyah is that the overwhelming majority of the mitzvot of the Torah involve physical action. The Shechinah therefore descends into the level of action—Asiyah, as shall now be explained.

For the 613 commandments of the Torah are by and large precepts which involve action, including even those mitzvot which are fulfilled by word and thought, such as Torah study, the Blessing after Meals, the recital of the Shema, and prayer,

כִּי תַּרְיַ"ג מִצְוֹת הַתּוֹרָה, רוּבָּן כְּכוּלָּן הֵן מִצְוֹת מַעֲשִׂיּוֹת, וְגַם הַתְּלוּיוֹת בְּדִבּוּר וּמַחֲשָׁבָה, כְּמוֹ תַּלְמוּד תּוֹרָה וּבִרְכַּת הַמָּזוֹן וּקְרִיאַת שְׁמַע וּתְפִלָּה –

This is so even though these mitzvot involve thought—seeking to grasp the concepts in one’s studies and to experience the kavanot of the Shema and prayer—and as such, they are not bound up with action,

for it has been ruled that meditation has not the validity of speech, and one does not fulfill one’s obligation by meditation [in a manner of hirhur] and kavanah alone, even when his manner of meditation is close to speech, as is the case when one thinks about the way in which he will utter certain words, which is called hirhur, until he gives it utterance with his lips;

הָא קַיְּימָא לָן, דְּ"הִרְהוּר – לָאו כְּדִבּוּר דָּמֵי", וְאֵינוֹ יוֹצֵא יְדֵי חוֹבָתוֹ בְּהִרְהוּר וְכַוָּונָה לְבַד, עַד שֶׁיּוֹצִיא בִּשְׂפָתָיו,

moreover, it has been ruled that the motion of the lips while one is speaking is considered an “action”—in which case, all these mitzvot involve a form of action.

וְקַיְּימָא לָן דַּ"עֲקִימַת שְׂפָתָיו הָוֵי מַעֲשֶׂה".

The Rebbe explains that the Alter Rebbe will now anticipate the following question: It still remains to be understood why specifically the four cubits of Halachah take the place of the Holy of Holies; why should this be not so when a Jew studies a subject in Torah which is not Halachah, for there too the Shechinah is with him? The Alter Rebbe therefore explains that Halachah possesses the especial merit of expressing the Divine will (as explained at length in Iggeret Hakodesh, Epistle 29).

And the 613 commandments of the Torah, together with the seven commandments of our Rabbis, combine to total the numerical equivalent of keter (“crown”), which is the supernal will,

וְתַרְיַ"ג מִצְוֹת הַתּוֹרָה עִם שֶׁבַע מִצְוֹת דְּרַבָּנָן – בְּגִימַטְרִיָּא "כֶּתֶ"ר", שֶׁהוּא רָצוֹן הָעֶלְיוֹן בָּרוּךְ הוּא

Will is called a crown, for like a crown, it encompasses the head and brain; Iggeret Hakodesh, loc. cit., where this is discussed at length.

which is clothed in His wisdom,

הַמְלוּבָּשׁ בְּחָכְמָתוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ,

Thus, in addition to the fact that Torah is G‑d’s wisdom, which in its descent in the downward progression of Worlds becomes the shrine of the Holy of Holies for the Shechinah, there is the additional quality of its being the supernal will, which is even loftier than wisdom. This is uniquely found in the Halachah and the mitzvot, as they are expressions of the supernal will.

and they (G‑d’s will and wisdom) are united with the light of the Ein Sof in a perfect union.

הַמְיוּחָדוֹת בְּאוֹר־אֵין־סוֹף בָּרוּךְ־הוּא בְּתַכְלִית הַיִּחוּד.

Further to an earlier statement that Torah derives from supernal wisdom, the Alter Rebbe will now say that the Oral Law also emanates from that source.

“G‑d founded the earth with wisdom.”8 This refers to the Oral Law that is derived from supernal wisdom, as it is written in the Zohar, “The father (chochmah) begat the daughter” (i.e., malchut, the Oral Law, as it is written, “malchut—the mouth, which we call the Oral Law”).

וַ"ה' בְּחָכְמָה יָסַד אָרֶץ" הִיא תּוֹרָה שֶׁבְּעַל פֶּה דְּנָפְקָא מֵחָכְמָה עִילָּאָה, כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב בַּזֹּהַר דְּ"אַבָּא יָסַד בְּרַתָּא".

The Alter Rebbe now concludes what he began to elucidate (in ch. 51) concerning the statement of the Yenuka in the Zohar—that the light of the Shechinah which shines above the head of a person needs oil. The Yenuka concludes, “…and these are good deeds”—the oil is the performance of the mitzvot.

In Chasidic literature, however, oil traditionally refers to wisdom. What is the connection between the performance of mitzvot and wisdom, which is called oil?

The Alter Rebbe explains that the light of the Shechinah must garb itself in wisdom, which is oil. For (as previously explained) wisdom, or intellect, is the vessel and “garment” for the light of the Shechinah, which is chochmah as it is garbed in Torah.

Yet, in order to draw down the light of the Shechinah so that it will shine upon the divine soul of the Jew, more than oil is necessary; one must also have a wick. Oil is transformed into light through the medium of a wick. It is the wick, which itself is burned, which keeps the fire from being extinguished.

In spiritual terms, the wick refers to the vivifying soul which provides the person with physical life. This wick is burned through Torah and mitzvot. Just as the physical wick burns and is annihilated by the fire, so do the garments of thought, speech, and action of the vivifying soul become burned in the light of the Shechinah through the Torah and mitzvot which a Jew studies and performs.

It is for this reason that the oil must also consist of “good deeds,” mitzvot, which have their source in G‑d’s wisdom; Torah alone (even though it is itself wisdom) does not suffice. For only through the action required by the mitzvot will the light of the Shechinah be drawn down into the wick—the vivifying soul. This is accomplished when the vivifying soul is burned thoroughly in the light of the Shechinah which shines on one’s head.

And this is what the Yenuka in Zohar, quoted in ch. 35, meant when he said that “the supernal light that is kindled on his (the Jew’s) head, namely, the Shechinah, requires oil,”

וְזֶהוּ שֶׁאָמַר הַיַּנּוּקָא: "דִּנְהוֹרָא עִילָּאָה דְּאַדְלִיק עַל רֵישֵׁיהּ" הִיא שְׁכִינְתָּא – "אִצְטְרִיךְ לְמִשְׁחָא",

that is, to be clothed in wisdom, which is called “the oil of the holy anointing”—and “holy” signifies chochmah, or wisdom, as is explained in the Zohar,

פֵּירוּשׁ, לְהִתְלַבֵּשׁ בְּחָכְמָה, הַנִּקְרֵאת "שֶׁמֶן מִשְׁחַת קֹדֶשׁ", כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב בַּזֹּהַר,

Thus, the light of the Shechinah which is upon one’s head is in need of oil, i.e., it must be garbed in chochmah, for that is the vessel for the light of the Shechinah. The Zohar then quotes the conclusion of the statement of the Yenuka:

“and these are the good deeds,” namely, the 613 commandments, which derive from His wisdom.

וְ"אִינוּן עוֹבָדִין טָבִין" – הֵן תַּרְיַ"ג מִצְוֹת הַנִּמְשָׁכוֹת מֵחָכְמָתוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ,

Torah, which is itself oil, does not suffice; there must also be good deeds—the performance of the mitzvot—although they are only drawn down from wisdom.

Thereby, the light of the Shechinah can cling to the wick, i.e., the vivifying soul in the body, which is metaphorically called a “wick.” For just as in the case of a material candle, the light shines by virtue of the annihilation and burning of the wick turning to fire, so does the light of the Shechinah rest on the divine soul, which is the candle (“The soul of man is the candle of the L-rd”),

כְּדֵי לֶאֱחוֹז אוֹר הַשְּׁכִינָה בַּפְּתִילָה, הִיא נֶפֶשׁ הַחִיּוּנִית שֶׁבַּגּוּף, הַנִּקְרֵאת פְּתִילָה עַל דֶּרֶךְ מָשָׁל. כִּי, כְּמוֹ שֶׁבַּנֵּר הַגַּשְׁמִי, הָאוֹר מֵאִיר עַל יְדֵי כִּלְיוֹן וּשְׂרֵיפַת הַפְּתִילָה הַנֶּהְפֶּכֶת לְאֵשׁ, כָּךְ, אוֹר הַשְּׁכִינָה שׁוֹרֶה עַל נֶפֶשׁ הָאֱלֹהִית

as a result of the annihilation of the animal soul and its transformation from darkness of kelipah to light of holiness and from bitterness of kelipat nogah to sweetness of holiness in the case of the righteous—for tzaddikim (as mentioned in ch. 10) are those who transform the essence of the animal soul, its intellect and emotion, from evil into goodness and holiness,

עַל יְדֵי כִּלְיוֹן נֶפֶשׁ הַבַּהֲמִית וְהִתְהַפְּכוּתָהּ מֵחֲשׁוֹכָא לִנְהוֹרָא וּמִמְּרִירוּ לְמִתְקָא – בַּצַּדִּיקִים,

or at least through the destruction of its garments, which are thought, speech, and action—which previously were garments of the vivifying soul, which is a soul of kelipah,

אוֹ לְפָחוֹת, עַל יְדֵי כִּלְיוֹן לְבוּשֶׁיהָ שֶׁהֵן מַחֲשָׁבָה דִּבּוּר וּמַעֲשֶׂה,

and their transformation from the darkness of the kelipot to the Divine light of the Ein Sof, which is clothed and united in the thought, speech, and action of the 613 commandments of the Torah in the case of the beinonim.

וְהִתְהַפְּכוּתָן מֵחֹשֶׁךְ הַקְּלִיפּוֹת לְאוֹר ה' אֵין־סוֹף בָּרוּךְ־הוּא הַמְלוּבָּש וּמְיוּחָד בְּמַחֲשָׁבָה דִּבּוּר וּמַעֲשֶׂה שֶׁל תַּרְיַ"ג מִצְוֹת הַתּוֹרָה – בַּבֵּינוֹנִים.

Beinonim, as explained in ch. 12, do not transform the essence of the vivifying soul into goodness and holiness. Only the soul-garments of thought, speech, and action are transformed to goodness through being utilized for the thought, speech, and action of the Torah and the mitzvot. In this sense, the wick of the vivifying soul is annihilated and is transformed into the light of holiness.

For as a result of the transformation of the animal soul, originating from kelipat nogah, from the darkness of kelipot, to the light of holiness, and so forth, there is brought about the so-called “ascent of the feminine waters”—the spiritual awakening on the initiative of the recipient, which in turn causes an arousal Above,

כִּי עַל יְדֵי הִתְהַפְּכוּת נֶפֶשׁ הַבַּהֲמִית, הַבָּאָה מִקְּלִיפַּת נוֹגַהּ, מֵחֲשׁוֹכָא לִנְהוֹרָא וְכוּ' – נַעֲשֶׂה בְּחִינַת "הַעֲלָאַת מַיִּין נוּקְבִין",

to draw down the light of the Shechinah (not only like the oil of chochmah and Torah, which is but a vessel for receiving the light of the Shechinah, but actually drawing down the light of the Shechinah), i.e., revealed light of the Ein Sof, over one’s divine soul, principally dwelling in the brain of the head.

לְהַמְשִׁיךְ אוֹר הַשְּׁכִינָה, הִיא בְּחִינַת גִּילּוּי אוֹר־אֵין־סוֹף בָּרוּךְ־הוּא, עַל נַפְשׁוֹ הָאֱלֹהִית שֶׁבַּמּוֹחִין שֶׁבְּרֹאשׁוֹ.

This is why the Yenuka says, “The supernal light that is kindled over one’s head requires oil,” for the light that is over one’s head and “intelligence” is in need of the oil of the “good deeds.”

Thereby, one may clearly understand the text, “For the L-rd Your G‑d is a consuming fire,”9

וּבָזֶה יוּבַן הֵיטֵב מַה שֶּׁכָּתוּב: "כִּי ה' אֱלֹהֶיךָ אֵשׁ אוֹכְלָה הוּא",

Just as fire can only catch on an object when that object is being consumed by it, so, too, regarding the light of the Shechinah. In order for G‑d to become “your G‑d,” illuminating the Jew’s soul, there must be consumption by fire—burning and annihilating the wick of the vivifying soul so that this soul of kelipah be transformed into the fire of holiness.

as is explained elsewhere10that only when a Jew succeeds in nullifying himself to G‑d in a manner where he ceases to exist as an independent entity and is consumed in the flames of G‑dliness—only then will he draw down upon himself the light of the Shechinah.

וּכְמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר בְּמָקוֹם אַחֵר:

conclusion of the first part,

with the help of G‑d,

may He be blessed and exalted

נִשְׁלַם חֵלֶק רִאשׁוֹן בְּﬠֶזְרַת ה' יִתְבָּרֵךְ וְיִתְﬠַלֶּה