In ch. 39, the Alter Rebbe explained that the ascent of one’s Torah and mitzvot is commensurate with the level of kavanah that one invests in study and performance. If one’s kavanah stems from love and fear of G‑d created by one’s understanding of His greatness, his Torah and mitzvot ascend to the sefirot of Beriah, a World of intellect. If one’s kavanah stems from natural love and fear, his Torah and mitzvot ascend to the sefirot of Yetzirah, a World of emotion.

If, however, one’s study and observance are not lishmah (“for its own sake”) because he feels no love or fear of G‑d, his Torah and mitzvot cannot ascend at all to “stand before G‑d” by being absorbed in the sefirot. This is true even where his observance is not strictly shelo lishmah (not for its own sake), i.e., for some selfish motive, but even where he acts out of habit. In the case of Torah studied by rote, however, the Torah ascends before G‑d when he reviews the subject lishmah, joining it to his present study.

But as long as he does not review this subject lishmah,

אַךְ כָּל זְמַן שֶׁלֹּא חָזַר וְלָמַד דָּבָר זֶה לִשְׁמָהּ,

his study does not ascend even to the ten sefirot which radiate in the Worlds of Yetzirah and Asiyah (not to mention the sefirot of Beriah).

אֵין לִימּוּדוֹ עוֹלֶה אֲפִילוּ בְּי' סְפִירוֹת הַמְּאִירוֹת בְּעוֹלַם הַיְצִירָה וְהָעֲשִׂיָּה,

For the sefirot are a level of G‑dliness, and the blessed Ein Sof-light is clothed within them and is united with them, and therefore, were this person’s Torah to ascend into the sefirot, it would actually ascend to the Ein Sof-light,

כִּי הַסְּפִירוֹת הֵן בְּחִינַת אֱלֹהוּת, וּבָהֶן מִתְלַבֵּשׁ וּמִתְיַיחֵד אוֹר־אֵין־סוֹף בָּרוּךְ־הוּא מַמָּשׁ,

and without fear and love, [the Torah] cannot rise to stand before G‑d—the Ein Sof-light—as is written in Tikkunei Zohar.

"וּבְלָא דְּחִילוּ וּרְחִימוּ לָא יָכְלָא לְסָלְקָא וּלְמֵיקַם קֳדָם ה'", כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב בַּתִּיקּוּנִים,

Instead, his Torah study rises to the “chambers” and “abodes” of Yetzirah and Asiyah, which are the externality of the Worlds,

רַק לִימּוּדוֹ עוֹלֶה לְהֵיכָלוֹת וּמְדוֹרִין שֶׁהֵן חִיצוֹנִיּוּת הָעוֹלָמוֹת

The sefirot are the internal aspect of each World, i.e., its divine creative power; the “chambers” constitute the (created) World itself.

where the angels are situated.

שֶׁבָּהֶן עוֹמְדִים הַמַּלְאָכִים;

Rabbi Chaim Vital, of blessed memory, writes in ch. 2 of Shaar Hanevuah1 (“The Portal of Prophecy”) that from Torah [studied] without kavanah, angels are created in the World of Yetzirah, and from mitzvot [performed] without kavanah, angels are created in the World of Asiyah.

וּכְמוֹ שֶׁכָּתַב הָרַב חַיִּים וִיטַאל זִכְרוֹנוֹ לִבְרָכָה בְּשַׁעַר הַנְּבוּאָה פֶּרֶק ב', שֶׁמֵּהַתּוֹרָה שֶׁלֹּא בְכַוָּונָה – נִבְרָאִים מַלְאָכִים בְּעוֹלַם הַיְצִירָה, וּמֵהַמִּצְוֹת בְּלִי כַוָּונָה – נִבְרָאִים מַלְאָכִים בְּעוֹלַם הָעֲשִׂיָּיה,

This indicates that Torah and mitzvot without kavanah are not absorbed in the sefirot but rise only to the level of angels, who are created beings and are thus on the level of the “externality” of the Worlds.

But one might argue that Rabbi Chaim Vital’s statement cannot be cited in support of the Alter Rebbe’s statement: the former speaks of Torah and mitzvot “without kavanah,” while the latter deals with Torah and mitzvot that were not observed “lishmah.” Perhaps the meaning of “without kavanah” is that one recited words of Torah or performed a mitzvah in a mechanical manner without involving his thought at all. Accordingly, we might say that only such a lowly level of observance is incapable of rising any higher than the level of angels, whereas Torah and mitzvot lacking only the quality of “lishmah” may indeed—we might argue—rise to be absorbed into the sefirot.

To forestall such an argument, the Alter Rebbe adds to Rabbi Chaim Vital’s words:

Now, all angels are possessed of matter and form.

וְכָל הַמַּלְאָכִים, הֵם בַּעֲלֵי חוֹמֶר וְצוּרָה.

Similarly with angels created of Torah and mitzvot: the angels’ “matter” is formed by the “matter” of Torah and mitzvot, and their “form” by the “form” of Torah and mitzvot.

Thus, any mitzvah of which an angel is created must consist of more than mere mechanical action, which is the “matter” of a mitzvah; it must also contain some thought (such as an understanding of the words of Torah that one recites or the realization that he is performing a mitzvah), and this thought is the “form” of the mitzvah.

Clearly, then, Rabbi Chaim Vital is not dealing with mechanical observance when he says that Torah and mitzvot “without kavanah” produce angels in Yetzirah or Asiyah. The term “without kavanah” (as used here) must refer to Torah and mitzvot lacking the intention of lishmah.2 Yet, for lack of lishmah, the Torah and mitzvot can ascend only to the level of angels, not to the sefirot.

All the aforesaid concerns Torah and mitzvot which lack the intention of lishmah but which were not performed expressly shelo lishmah, for personal motives.

But Torah [studied] strictly shelo lishmah, for selfish reasons, as, for example, for the purpose of becoming a scholar and the like,

אֲבָל תּוֹרָה שֶׁלֹּא לִשְׁמָהּ מַמָּשׁ, כְּגוֹן לִהְיוֹת תַּלְמִיד חָכָם וּכְהַאי גַּוְונָא,

does not ascend on high at all, not even to the “chambers” or to the abode of the holy angels (for even the “externality” of the Worlds is, after all, in the realm of holiness; therefore, Torah studied with such intention does not ascend even to this level)

אֵינָהּ עוֹלָה כְּלָל לְמַעְלָה אֲפִילוּ לְהֵיכָלוֹת וּמְדוֹר הַמַּלְאָכִים דִּקְדוּשָּׁה,

but remains instead below, in this physical world, which is the abode of the kelipot. Since the selfish motive stems from kelipah, the Torah study that it elicits remains in the abode of kelipot.

אֶלָּא נִשְׁאֶרֶת לְמַטָּה בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה הַגַּשְׁמִי שֶׁהוּא מְדוֹר הַקְּלִיפּוֹת;

Note Zohar, Part III, pp. 31b and 121b, where it is similarly written,

כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב בַּזֹּהַר חֵלֶק ג' דַּף ל"א ﬠַמּוּד ב' וְדַף קכ"א ﬠַמּוּד ב', ﬠַיֵּין שָׁם:

“That [spoken] word ascends [on high] and pierces the heavens…and evokes what it evokes:

הַהִיא מִלָּה סָלְקָא וּבָקְﬠָא רְקִיﬠִין כוּ' וְאִתְּﬠַר מַה דְאִתְּﬠַר

if [the word is] good—a word of Torah or the like—[it evokes] good….” Note there,

אִי טַב טַב כוּ', ﬠַיֵּין שָׁם;

and also on p. 105a: “From a word of Torah a voice is formed which rises…,”

וְדַף ק"ה ﬠַמּוּד א': מִלָּה דְאוֹרַיְיתָא אִתְﬠָבִיד מִינֵּיהּ קָלָא וְסָלִיק כוּ';

and on p. 168b: “The voices of Torah and prayer [ascend on high and] pierce the heavens….”

וְדַף קס"ח ﬠַמּוּד ב': קָלִין דְּאוֹרַיְיתָא וּצְלוֹתָא בָּקְﬠִין רְקִיﬠִין כוּ':

All three passages from the Zohar indicate that words of Torah ascend on high, rending the heavens.

It is similarly written in the Zohar, commenting on the verse, “What profit has a man of all his toil that he labors under the sun?”3

וּכְמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב בַּזֹּהַר עַל פָּסוּק: "מַה יִּתְרוֹן לָאָדָם בְּכָל עֲמָלוֹ שֶׁיַּעֲמוֹל תַּחַת הַשָּׁמֶשׁ"

Our Sages point out that only man’s labor “under the sun,” i.e., toil in mundane matters, does not realize any profit; the labor of Torah, however, is “above the sun” and does indeed profit a man. The Zohar, though, stipulates:

“Even with the toil of Torah, if one does it for his own glory…it belongs to the category of ‘labor under the sun,’ and there is no profit in it.

דַּ"אֲפִילוּ עֲמָלָא דְאוֹרַיְיתָא, אִי עָבִיד בְּגִין יְקָרֵיהּ כוּ'".

This is also the meaning of the saying [of our Sages]: “Happy is he who arrives here on high with his Torah study in his hand,”4

וְזֶהוּ שֶׁאָמְרוּ: "אַשְׁרֵי מִי שֶׁבָּא לְכָאן וְתַלְמוּדוֹ בְּיָדוֹ",

meaning that [his Torah study] did not remain below in this world.

פֵּירוּשׁ – שֶׁלֹּא נִשְׁאַר לְמַטָּה בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה.

The saying thus means: “Happy is he who studies Torah lishmah so that his Torah ascends on high.” Had he not studied Torah lishmah, his Torah would not be with him (“in his hand”) when his soul ascends but would have remained in this world.

It has been demonstrated above that Torah studied out of habit, without personal motive yet lacking any intention of lishmah, cannot ascend on high to be absorbed into the sefirot. The Alter Rebbe now proceeds to explain why this is so.

The difficulty: The Torah and G‑d are altogether one, for the Torah is G‑d’s will. Thus, the Torah is higher even than the sefirot, just as G‑d’s will transcends the sefirot. Why then does the Torah need one’s kavanah to elevate it to the sefirot?

Although the Torah and the Holy One, blessed be He, are altogether one, for He and His will are one and the Torah represents His will, nevertheless, the Torah will not ascend on high without kavanah.

וְאַף דְּאוֹרַיְיתָא וְקוּדְשָׁא־בְּרִיךְ־הוּא כּוּלָּא חַד, שֶׁהוּא וּרְצוֹנוֹ אֶחָד,

The reason (presently stated) in brief:

The words of Torah that one speaks are physical, as are all things in this material world. True, they are holy words; the divine life-force within them is not concealed and veiled as it is in other material beings. Yet, being physical, the words of Torah share with all physical existence a divine life-force that is greatly contracted and limited.

Therefore, they cannot ascend to the G‑dly sefirot unless they are impelled by kavanah, i.e., a spiritual intention generated by love and fear of G‑d, which elevate the words of Torah and cause the Divine will to be revealed in them.

In the Alter Rebbe’s words:

The Holy One, blessed be He, fills all the worlds alike, yet the worlds are not equal in rank.

הֲרֵי קוּדְשָׁא־בְּרִיךְ־הוּא אִיהוּ מְמַלֵּא כָּל עָלְמִין בְּשָׁוֶה, וְאַף־עַל־פִּי־כֵן, אֵין הָעוֹלָמוֹת שָׁוִים בְּמַעֲלָתָם;

The difference [between one world and another] is due to the recipients [of the divine life force] and is twofold:

וְהַשִּׁינּוּי הוּא מֵהַמְקַבְּלִים, בְּב' בְּחִינוֹת:

(a) The higher [worlds and beings] receive an illumination infinitely greater than [the illumination received by] the lower;

הָאֶחָד, שֶׁהָעֶלְיוֹנִים מְקַבְּלִים הֶאָרָה יוֹתֵר גְּדוֹלָה לְאֵין קֵץ מֵהַתַּחְתּוֹנִים;

(b) The higher ones receive [this illumination] without as many garments and veils as the lower ones.

וְהַשֵּׁנִית, שֶׁמְּקַבְּלִים בְּלִי לְבוּשִׁים וּמָסָכִים רַבִּים כָּל כָּךְ כְּבַתַּחְתּוֹנִים;

This world is the lowest of worlds in both respects.

וְעוֹלָם הַזֶּה הוּא עוֹלָם הַשָּׁפָל בְּב' בְּחִינוֹת:

For (a) the illumination [of divine life-force] within it is greatly contracted to the furthest degree; it is therefore corporeal and material.

כִּי הַהֶאָרָה שֶׁבּוֹ מְצוּמְצֶמֶת מְאֹד עַד קָצֶה הָאַחֲרוֹן, וְלָכֵן הוּא חוּמְרִי וְגַשְׁמִי,

Furthermore, (b) even this [contracted illumination] is clothed in many garments and veils,

וְגַם זֹאת, הִיא בִּלְבוּשִׁים וּמָסָכִים רַבִּים,

until it is clothed in kelipat nogah to give life to all clean permitted things of this world, including the animating intelligent soul in man.

עַד שֶׁנִּתְלַבְּשָׁה בִּקְלִיפַּת נוֹגַהּ לְהַחֲיוֹת כָּל דְּבָרִים הַטְּהוֹרִים שֶׁבָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה, וּבִכְלָלָם – הוּא נֶפֶשׁ הַחִיּוּנִית הַמְדַבֶּרֶת שֶׁבָּאָדָם;

As mentioned in earlier chapters, all permitted objects receive their vitality via kelipat nogah and can therefore serve either a good or an evil purpose.

Therefore, when the animating soul speaks words of Torah or prayer without kavanah, the concealment characteristic of this world is absent, yet the contraction still applies, as follows:

וְלָכֵן, כְּשֶׁמְּדַבֶּרֶת דִּבְרֵי תוֹרָה וּתְפִלָּה בְּלֹא כַוָּונָה,

Though these are holy letters and thus, in this case, the kelipat nogah of the animating soul does not constitute a veil of separation, concealing or covering the divine holiness clothed in these letters,

אַף שֶׁהֵן אוֹתִיּוֹת קְדוֹשׁוֹת, וְאֵין קְלִיפַּת נוֹגַהּ שֶׁבַּנֶּפֶשׁ הַחִיּוּנִית מָסָךְ מַבְדִּיל כְּלָל לְהַסְתִּיר וּלְכַסּוֹת עַל קְדוּשָּׁתוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ הַמְלוּבֶּשֶׁת בָּהֶן,

as [kelipat nogah] conceals and covers the divine holiness in the animating soul when it utters idle chatter,

כְּמוֹ שֶׁהִיא מַסְתֶּרֶת וּמְכַסָּה עַל קְדוּשָּׁתוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ שֶׁבַּנֶּפֶשׁ הַחִיּוּנִית כְּשֶׁמְּדַבֶּרֶת דְּבָרִים בְּטֵלִים,

and [the divine holiness] in the animating souls of other ritually clean living creatures, where kelipat nogah likewise conceals the divine life-force,

וְשֶׁבַּנֶּפֶשׁ הַחִיּוּנִית שֶׁבִּשְׁאָר בַּעֲלֵי חַיִּים הַטְּהוֹרִים,

for although “no place is devoid of Him”5 and His presence is found in man’s animating soul even when he engages in idle talk and in the soul of all living creatures,

דְּאַף דְּ"לֵית אֲתַר פָּנוּי מִינֵּיהּ",

yet, He is the “Most Hidden One of all the hidden”6 and is called “a hidden G‑d,”7 for He is hidden from his creations.

מִכָּל מָקוֹם, אִיהוּ סְתִימוּ דְכָל סְתִימִין, וְנִקְרָא – "אֵל מִסְתַּתֵּר",

Similarly, the illumination and extension of vitality from Him is hidden in many dense garments and veils,

וְגַם הַהֶאָרָה וְהִתְפַּשְּׁטוּת הַחַיּוּת מִמֶּנּוּ יִתְבָּרֵךְ, מִסְתַּתֶּרֶת בִּלְבוּשִׁים וּמָסָכִים רַבִּים וַעֲצוּמִים,

and is finally clothed and hidden in the garment of nogah, which completely conceals man’s divine life-force when he engages in idle talk and the life-force in other animals, as stated.

עַד שֶׁנִּתְלַבְּשָׁה וְנִסְתַּתְּרָה בִּלְבוּשׁ נוֹגַהּ;

It is different, however, with the holy letters in words of Torah and prayer:

מַה שֶּׁאֵין כֵּן בָּאוֹתִיּוֹת הַקְּדוֹשׁוֹת שֶׁל דִּבְרֵי תוֹרָה וּתְפִלָּה,

Here, not only does kelipat nogah not obscure G‑dliness, but on the contrary, kelipat nogah is transformed to good and is absorbed into this holiness, as explained above.8

דְּאַדְּרַבָּה, קְלִיפַּת נוֹגַהּ מִתְהַפֶּכֶת לְטוֹב וְנִכְלֶלֶת בִּקְדוּשָּׁה זוֹ, כַּנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל,

Thus, the second of the two aforementioned traits that make this world the lowest of worlds—namely, the complete concealment of divine life-force in the garment of kelipat nogah—is absent in words of Torah and prayer. But the first trait, the Alter Rebbe will now state, is present even in these holy words: they are physical, as are all things of this world, so that the contraction of divine life-force that characterizes physical matter in general applies to these words as well.

Nevertheless, the illumination from His holiness that [these words] contain is contracted to the furthest degree since the voice and speech uttering words of Torah and prayer are material.

מִכָּל מָקוֹם, הַהֶאָרָה שֶׁבָּהֶן מִקְּדוּשָּׁתוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ, הִיא בִּבְחִינַת צִמְצוּם עַד קָצֶה הָאַחֲרוֹן, מֵאַחַר שֶׁהַקּוֹל וְהַדִּבּוּר הוּא גַשְׁמִי.

Therefore, although Torah is one with G‑d, words of Torah will not ascend to the sefirot without kavanah since the G‑dliness within them is so greatly contracted.

But in the case of prayer [recited] with kavanah and Torah [studied] with kavanah lishmah,

אֲבָל בִּתְפִלָּה בְּכַוָּונָה וְתוֹרָה בְּכַוָּונָה לִשְׁמָהּ,

the kavanah is clothed in (i.e., permeates) the letters of speech, since it is their source and root,

הֲרֵי הַכַּוָּונָה מִתְלַבֶּשֶׁת בְּאוֹתִיּוֹת הַדִּבּוּר, הוֹאִיל וְהִיא מָקוֹר וְשֹׁרֶשׁ לָהֶן,

for he speaks these words for, and because of, this kavanah.

שֶׁמֵּחֲמָתָהּ וּבְסִיבָּתָהּ הוּא מְדַבֵּר אוֹתִיּוֹת אֵלּוּ,

Therefore, the kavanah elevates the words to its own level,

לָכֵן הִיא מַעֲלָה אוֹתָן עַד מְקוֹמָהּ

meaning to the ten sefirot of either Yetzirah or Beriah,

בְּי' סְפִירוֹת דִּיצִירָה אוֹ דִבְרִיאָה,

depending on the type of kavanah—whether a kavanah of intellectual fear and love, in which case they ascend to Beriah, or natural fear and love, which elevates them to Yetzirah, as explained above.

לְפִי מַה שֶּׁהִיא הַכַּוָּונָה בִּדְחִילוּ וּרְחִימוּ שִׂכְלִיִּים אוֹ טִבְעִיִּים כוּ', כַּנִּכְתָּב לְעֵיל.

At any rate, the kavanah which is spiritual elevates the material words to the sefirot of Yetzirah or Beriah.

There, in the sefirot, the Ein Sof-light shines forth and is revealed,

וְשָׁם מֵאִיר וּמִתְגַלֶּה אוֹר־אֵין־סוֹף בָּרוּךְ־הוּא,

meaning the blessed Divine will vested in the letters and in the kavanah of the Torah that one studies or the Divine will in prayer and in its kavanah or in a mitzvah and in its kavanah.

שֶׁהוּא רָצוֹן הָעֶלְיוֹן בָּרוּךְ־הוּא, הַמְלוּבָּשׁ בְּאוֹתִיּוֹת הַתּוֹרָה שֶׁלּוֹמֵד וּבְכַוָּונָתָן, אוֹ בִּתְפִלָּה וּבְכַוָּונָתָהּ, אוֹ בְּמִצְוָה וּבְכַוָּונָתָהּ,

One’s kavanah, too, expresses the Divine will, for G‑d desires that man cleave to Him with love and fear.

This Ein Sof-light of the Divine will radiates in the sefirot with an infinitely great brightness that can by no means shine forth and be revealed while the letters of Torah and prayer and the mitzvah are still in this physical world.

בְּהֶאָרָה גְדוֹלָה לְאֵין קֵץ, מַה שֶּׁלֹּא יָכוֹל לְהָאִיר וּלְהִתְגַלּוֹת כְּלָל בְּעוֹד הָאוֹתִיּוֹת וְהַמִּצְוָה בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה הַגַּשְׁמִי,

The Torah and the mitzvot contain the radiance of Divine will even as they are in this physical world. But this radiance is altogether incomparable to the radiance of Divine will that Torah and mitzvot contain when they ascend to the sefirot of Yetzirah or Beriah, for

neither the radiance itself that shines forth in the sefirot nor any part of it can be revealed in this physical world.

לֹא מִינָּהּ וְלֹא מִקְצָתָהּ,

This disparity between the respective levels of radiance of the Divine will in the sefirot and in this world will remain until the era of the End of Days, when the world will rise out of its materiality, and “The glory of G‑d will be revealed…for all flesh to behold,9 as explained above10 at length.

עַד עֵת קֵץ הַיָּמִין, שֶׁיִּתְעַלֶּה הָעוֹלָם מִגַּשְׁמִיּוּתוֹ, "וְנִגְלָה כְּבוֹד ה' וְגוֹ'", כַּנִּכְתָּב לְעֵיל בַּאֲרִיכוּת.

At that time, the Divine will contained in the Torah and mitzvot of this world will shine forth in all its splendor. Until then, however, this radiance is incomparable to that of the Divine will contained in the Torah and mitzvot insofar as they ascend to the sefirot.

In the following note, the Alter Rebbe states that the revelation of Divine will in a particular World, caused by the ascent of Torah and mitzvot thereto—a revelation which he describes as “an hour of ‘(Divine) will’ or ‘(Divine) Favor’”—produces a reaction in the middot of that World: With the revelation of Divine will, the middot fuse, and the attributes of severity are “sweetened,” or tempered, with kindness. This, in turn, results in an increased flow of Divine kindness into our world.

This effect of the mitzvot is felt primarily in the fusion of the middot of Atzilut.

There, in the higher Worlds, there also shines forth and is revealed the supernal union effected by every mitzvah and by Torah study,

וְשָׁם מֵאִיר וּמִתְגַּלֶּה גַּם כֵּן הַיִּחוּד הָﬠֶלְיוֹן הַנַּﬠֲשֶׂה בְּכָל מִצְוָה וְתַלְמוּד תּוֹרָה,

namely, the union of G‑d’s middot.

שֶׁהוּא יִחוּד מִדּוֹתָיו יִתְבָּרֵךְ,

These middot fuse with each other, and the Gevurot (the attributes of “severity”) are “sweetened” by Chasadim (the attributes of “kindness”)

שֶׁנִּכְלָלוֹת זוֹ בָּזוֹ, וְנִמְתָּקוֹת הַגְּבוּרוֹת בַּחֲסָדִים,

through the “Hour of will (favor) of the blessed Ein Sof, ” i.e., the revelation of the will of the Ein Sof, which shines forth and reveals itself in abundant and intense revelation,

ﬠַל יְדֵי ﬠֵת רָצוֹן הָﬠֶלְיוֹן אֵין־סוֹף בָּרוּךְ־הוּא, הַמֵּאִיר וּמִתְגַּלֶּה בִּבְחִינַת גִּילּוּי רַב וְﬠָצוּם,

by reason of the “arousal (of man) below,” consisting of the performance of a mitzvah or occupation in Torah in which the supernal will of the blessed Ein Sof is clothed.

בְּאִתְﬠָרוּתָא דִלְתַתָּא הִיא ﬠֲשִׂיַּית הַמִּצְוָה אוֹ ﬠֵסֶק הַתּוֹרָה, שֶׁבָּהֶן מְלוּבָּשׁ רָצוֹן הָﬠֶלְיוֹן אֵין־סוֹף בָּרוּךְ־הוּא.

The revelation of Divine will (i.e., the will clothed in Torah and mitzvot) produces a fusion of the middot and a “sweetening” of Gevurot in whatever World the Torah and mitzvot ascend to.

But the main unity caused by Torah and mitzvot takes place far higher, in the World of Atzilut,

אַךְ ﬠִיקַּר הַיִּחוּד הוּא לְמַﬠְלָה מַּﬠְלָה בְּעוֹלַם הָאֲצִילוּת,

where the core and essence of G‑d’s middot are united with their Emanator, the Ein Sof, blessed be He,

שֶׁשָּׁם הוּא מַהוּת וְﬠַצְמוּת מִדּוֹתָיו יִתְבָּרֵךְ, מְיוּחָדוֹת בְּמַאֲצִילָן אֵין־סוֹף בָּרוּךְ־הוּא,

and there is found the core and essence of the supernal will of the blessed Ein Sof,

וְשָׁם הוּא מַהוּת וְﬠַצְמוּת רָצוֹן הָﬠֶלְיוֹן אֵין־סוֹף בָּרוּךְ־הוּא,

of which a mere glimmer radiates in Beriah, Yetzirah, and Asiyah—in each of these Worlds according to its rank.

וְהֶאָרָתָן לְבַד הִיא מְאִירָה בִּבְרִיאָה יְצִירָה ﬠֲשִׂיָּה, בְּכָל עוֹלָם מֵהֶן לְפִי מַﬠֲלָתוֹ.

Now, although the soul of the person engaging in this Torah study or mitzvah does not stem from Atzilut,

וְאַף שֶׁנֶּפֶשׁ הָאָדָם הָעוֹסֵק בְּתוֹרָה וּמִצְוָה זוֹ אֵינָהּ מֵאֲצִילוּת,

nevertheless, He is able to effect unity in the middot of Atzilut because the supernal will, which is clothed in this mitzvah, and in the case of Torah, it is not merely “clothed” in it, but furthermore—it is indeed the very Halachah and Torah that he is studying—

מִכָּל מָקוֹם הֲרֵי רָצוֹן הָﬠֶלְיוֹן הַמְלוּבָּשׁ בְּמִצְוָה זוֹ, וְהוּא הוּא ﬠַצְמוֹ הַדְּבַר הֲלָכָה וְהַתּוֹרָה שֶׁעוֹסֵק בָּהּ,

this supernal will is G‑dliness and is the Ein Sof-light of the Emanator [of the sefirot of Atzilut], since He and His will are one,

הוּא אֱלֹהוּת וְאוֹר־אֵין־סוֹף הַמַּאֲצִיל בָּרוּךְ־הוּא, שֶׁהוּא וּרְצוֹנוֹ אֶחָד,

and this supernal will is actually the source of the middot since it was by His will that He emanated His middot, which are united with Himself.

וּבִרְצוֹנוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ הֶאֱצִיל מִדּוֹתָיו הַמְיוּחָדוֹת בּוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ,

Therefore, by means of the revelation of His will caused by one’s engaging in Torah or in a particular mitzvah, the middot fuse with each other,

וְﬠַל יְדֵי גִּילּוּי רְצוֹנוֹ הַמִּתְגַּלֶּה ﬠַל יְדֵי ﬠֵסֶק תּוֹרָה וּמִצְוָה זוֹ, הֵן נִכְלָלוֹת זוֹ בָּזוֹ

and the Gevurot are sweetened by Chasadim at this “hour of revealed, favorable will.’’

וְנִמְתָּקוֹת הַגְּבוּרוֹת בַּחֲסָדִים, בְּﬠֵת רָצוֹן זוֹ:

Having stated that love and fear of G‑d elevate one’s Torah and mitzvot on high, the Alter Rebbe continues:

This explains clearly why fear and love are figuratively called “wings,” as it is written: “And with two wings he flies,”11 alluding to the two middot of love and fear

וּבָזֶה יוּבַן הֵיטֵב, הָא דִּדְחִילוּ וּרְחִימוּ נִקְרָאִין "גַּדְפִין" דֶּרֶךְ מָשָׁל, כְּדִכְתִיב: "וּבִשְׁתַּיִם יְעוֹפֵף"

(12as Rabbi Chaim Vital, of blessed memory, stated in Shaar Hayichudim,13 ch. 11), that wings are for a bird what arms are for a man; just as it is written, “chesed (corresponding to love) is the right arm and gevurah (fear) the left arm,” similarly, the “wings” represent these two middot.

[וּכְמוֹ שֶׁכָּתַב הָרַב חַיִּים וִיטַאל זִכְרוֹנוֹ לִבְרָכָה בְּשַׁעַר הַיִּחוּדִים פֶּרֶק י"א], שֶׁהַכְּנָפַיִם בָּעוֹף הֵן זְרוֹעוֹת הָאָדָם כוּ';

It is also explained in Tikkunei Zohar, that those who engage in Torah and mitzvot out of fear and love are called “children”;

וּבַתִּיקּוּנִים פֵּירְשׁוּ, שֶׁהָעוֹסְקִים בְּתוֹרָה וּמִצְוֹת בִּדְחִילוּ וּרְחִימוּ – נִקְרָאִים "בָּנִים",

otherwise (i.e., if their Torah and mitzvot lack the fear and love of G‑d), they are called “fledglings” who cannot fly.

וְאִם לָאו – נִקְרָאִים "אֶפְרוֹחִים", דְּלָא יָכְלִין לְפָרְחָא.

In this note, the Alter Rebbe elaborates on the correspondence of “wings” to fear and love. He quotes Tikkunei Zohar, where the subject is treated extensively.

In Tikkun 45, it is written that [the figure of] a bird represents the archangel Metatron.

וּבְתִיקּוּן מ"ה, דְּעוֹפָא הוּא מט"ט,

His head is the letter yud of the Divine Name (yud-hey-vav-hey), the yud representing chochmah; his body is the vav, the six middot; and his two wings are the two tetters hey and hey, representing binah and malchut, respectively.

רֵישָׁא דִילֵיהּ – י', וְגוּפָא – וָא"ו, וּתְרֵין גַּדְפִין – ה' ה' כוּ',

This corresponds to the World of Yetzirah, which is called Metatron.

וְהַיְינוּ עוֹלַם הַיְצִירָה שֶׁנִּקְרָא מט"ט,

Thus, applying the various elements of the figure to their corresponding aspects in Yetzirah, we obtain:

14Vav, the “body” of Metatron, represents the “body” of the laws in the Mishnah (since Mishnah is at the level of Yetzirah, as will soon be explained), for the “body” of the laws, i.e., the actual rulings determining what is permitted or forbidden, who is guilty or innocent, and the like, are related to the middot, which are represented by the letter vav.

וּבוֹ הֵן גּוּפֵי הֲלָכוֹת שֶׁבַּמִּשְׁנָה,

His head represents intelligence—the level of ChaBaD, which are, in terms of the Mishnah, the inner depth of the laws, their esoteric meaning, and their reasons.

וְרֵישָׁא דִילֵיהּ הֵן הַמּוֹחִין וּבְחִינוֹת חָכְמָה בִּינָה דַּﬠַת, שֶׁהֵן פְּנִימִיּוּת הַהֲלָכוֹת וְסוֹדָן וְטַﬠֲמֵיהֶן,

The two “wings” denoting flight, namely fear and love, represent [respectively]: the higher hey, which is an allusion prevalent in the literature of the Kabbalah to love,

וּתְרֵין גַּדְפִין דְּחִילוּ וּרְחִימוּ הֵן ה' ﬠִילָּאָה, שֶׁהִיא רְחִימוּ,

and the lower hey, alluding to “lower-level fear,” namely, “the yoke of the Heavenly Kingdom” and the dread of G‑d similar to the dread of a king.

וְה' תַּתָּאָה הִיא יִרְאָה תַּתָּאָה, עוֹל מַלְכוּת שָׁמַיִם וּפַחַד ה', כְּפַחַד הַמֶּלֶךְ דֶּרֶךְ מָשָׁל,

Such fear is external and revealed and is therefore alluded to by the lowest level (i.e., letter) of the Divine Name.

שֶׁהִיא יִרְאָה חִיצוֹנִית וְנִגְלֵית;

“Higher-level fear,” however, meaning “awe consisting of shame before G‑d’s greatness,” is of those “hidden matters belonging to G‑d, our L-rd.”

מַה שֶּׁאֵין כֵּן יִרְאָה ﬠִילָּאָה, יְרֵא בּוֹשֶׁת, הִיא מֵ"הַנִּסְתָּרוֹת לַה' אֱלֹהֵינוּ",

It is on the level of supernal wisdom, alluded to by the yud of the Four-letter Divine Name, blessed be He, as is written in Raaya Mehemna.

וְהִיא בְּחָכְמָה ﬠִילָּאָה יוּ"ד שֶׁל שֵׁם הֲוָיָ"ה בָּרוּךְ־הוּא, כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב בְּרַﬠְיָא מְהֵימְנָא:

We see, at any rate, that love and fear of G‑d are described as “wings.” According to what has been said above concerning the role of love and fear in elevating one’s Torah and mitzvot, the analogy is clearly understood, as follows:

The wings of a bird are not its main components; its life does not depend on them at all,

כִּי, כְּמוֹ שֶׁכַּנְפֵי הָעוֹף אֵינָם עִיקַּר הָעוֹף, וְאֵין חַיּוּתוֹ תָּלוּי בָּהֶם כְּלָל,

for as the Mishnah implies,15 a bird whose wings were removed is kosher.

כְּדִתְנַן: "נִיטְּלוּ אֲגַפֶּיהָ – כְּשֵׁרָה",

Rather, the main parts are its head and the rest of its body; the wings merely serve the head and body, enabling them to fly.

וְהָעִיקָּר, הוּא רֹאשׁוֹ וְכָל גּוּפוֹ, וְהַכְּנָפַיִים אֵינָם רַק מְשַׁמְּשִׁים לְרֹאשׁוֹ וְגוּפוֹ לְפָרְחָא בְּהוֹן;

Likewise with Torah and mitzvot: They constitute the essential supernal union by the revelation of supernal will which they cause;

וְכָךְ דֶּרֶךְ מָשָׁל, הַתּוֹרָה וּמִצְוֹת הֵן עִיקַּר הַיִּחוּד הָעֶלְיוֹן, עַל יְדֵי גִילּוּי רָצוֹן הָעֶלְיוֹן הַמִּתְגַּלֶּה עַל יְדֵיהֶן,

fear and love, like wings, [merely] elevate the Torah and mitzvot to a place where this will—the blessed Ein Sof-light—and this unity can be revealed, namely, Yetzirah and Beriah.

וְהַדְּחִילוּ וּרְחִימוּ – הֵם מַעֲלִים אוֹתָן לְמָקוֹם שֶׁיִּתְגַּלֶּה בּוֹ הָרָצוֹן אוֹר־אֵין־סוֹף בָּרוּךְ־הוּא וְהַיִּחוּד, שֶׁהֵן יְצִירָה וּבְרִיאָה.

To his statement that Beriah and Yetzirah are the place to which Torah and mitzvot are elevated and where the union caused by them is revealed, the Alter Rebbe adds:

Or even in Asiyah, in the ten holy sefirot [of that World], the abode of the mitzvot consisting of action.

אוֹ אֲפִילוּ בַּﬠֲשִׂיָּה בְּי' סְפִירוֹת דִּקְדוּשָּׁה, מְקוֹם מִצְוֹת מַﬠֲשִׂיּוֹת,

Performing these mitzvot out of “submission to the heavenly yoke” elevates the mitzvot to the sefirot of Asiyah and reveals the supernal union there. For such submission is related to G‑d’s attribute of Sovereignty (malchut), which pervades Asiyah; moreover, these mitzvot are performed at the level of action, which corresponds to Asiyah.

Likewise with [the study of] Scripture.

וְכֵן מִקְרָא.

This, too, is related to Asiyah, for the mitzvah of studying Scripture requires one to recite the holy words, and speech is considered a minor form of action.

But in the case of Mishnah, the union and the blessed Ein Sof-light are revealed in Yetzirah.

אֲבָל בְּמִשְׁנָה מִתְגַּלֶּה הַיִּחוּד וְאוֹר־אֵין־סוֹף בָּרוּךְ־הוּא בִּיצִירָה,

The halachic rulings contained in the Mishnah are derived from the middot: the attribute of chesed dictates that a particular object be deemed kosher or a litigant judged innocent, while gevurah dictates that it be ruled unkosher and the litigant pronounced guilty, and so on. The Mishnah is therefore on the level of Yetzirah, the World of middot.

In the case of Talmud, [the union and Ein Sof-light are revealed] in Beriah16for the Talmud seeks out the logic underlying the Mishnaic laws; it is thus related to ChaBaD, which are manifest in Beriah.

וּבְתַּלְמוּד בִּבְרִיאָה.

This does not mean, however, that the union effected by the study of Mishnah, for example, takes place only in Yetzirah, and that effected by study of Scripture only in Asiyah, etc. Were this the intention, an obvious difficulty would arise: Scripture is holier than Mishnah (as indicated by the law that one may place the Scriptures on top of a book of Mishnah but not vice versa) and Mishnah holier than Talmud. Why then should the revelation of the Ein Sof-light created by their (respective) study be in reverse order, with Talmud, the least holy of the three, effecting a revelation in Beriah, the highest of the three Worlds?

We must, perforce, say that:

This means that by the study of Scripture, the union and [revelation of] the blessed Ein Sof-light extends from Atzilut downward till the World of Asiyah;

דְּהַיְינוּ, שֶׁבְּלִימּוּד מִקְרָא מִתְפַּשֵּׁט הַיִּחוּד וְאוֹר־אֵין־סוֹף בָּרוּךְ־הוּא מֵאֲצִילוּת ﬠַד הָﬠֲשִׂיָּה,

through study of Mishnah, only till Yetzirah; and through Talmud, only till Beriah;

וּבְמִשְׁנָה ﬠַד הַיְצִירָה לְבַדָּהּ, וּבְתַּלְמוּד ﬠַד הַבְּרִיאָה לְבַדָּהּ,

for all of them (Scripture, Mishnah, and Talmud) are in Atzilut and effect the union and revelation there. The difference between them lies only in how “far” from Atzilut the impact of the study reaches.

כִּי כּוּלָּן בַּאֲצִילוּת.

Kabbalah, however, effects a union and revelation in Atzilut that does not extend at all to the lower WorldsBeriah, Yetzirah, or Asiyah, as is written in Pri Etz Chaim.

אֲבָל קַבָּלָה אֵינָהּ מִתְפַּשֶּׁטֶת כְּלָל מֵאֲצִילוּת לִבְרִיאָה יְצִירָה ﬠֲשִׂיָּה, כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב בִּפְרִי ﬠֵץ חַיִּים:

The Alter Rebbe previously compared love and fear of G‑d to the wings of a bird; the wings are not the essential part of the bird but merely serve it, enabling it to fly; likewise, love and fear merely serve the mitzvot, which are the essential objective, by elevating them to a level where the union effected by them can be revealed.

He now raises a question: Love and fear of G‑d are themselves enumerated among the 613 mitzvot; why, then, are they assigned a secondary status?

Although fear and love are also among the 613 mitzvot,

וְהִנֵּה, אַף דִּדְחִילוּ וּרְחִימוּ הֵם גַּם כֵּן מִתַּרְיַ"ג מִצְוֹת,

they are nevertheless described as [mere] wings for other mitzvot,

אַף עַל פִּי כֵן, נִקְרָאִין "גַּדְפִין",

because the goal of love is the service of G‑d resulting from this love.

לִהְיוֹת, כִּי תַּכְלִית הָאַהֲבָה הִיא הָעֲבוֹדָה מֵאַהֲבָה,

Its purpose lies not in itself but in its role as motivation for serving G‑d via the mitzvot. For this reason, it is likened to “wings,” which are secondary to the bird itself.

Love without “service” i.e., a love that is not a means to an end but an end in itself is a “love which experiences delights,” a supremely high level of love in which one delights in G‑dliness.

וְאַהֲבָה בְּלִי עֲבוֹדָה, הִיא "אַהֲבָה בְּתַּעֲנוּגִים", לְהִתְעַנֵּג עַל ה'

This is in the nature of the World to Come and thus constitutes reward.

מֵעֵין עוֹלָם הַבָּא וְקַבָּלַת שָׂכָר,

I.e., such love for G‑d is actually a foretaste and part of the reward to be given in the World to Come; it does not in itself represent service of G‑d.

But it is written, “Today to do them (i.e., ‘today’, this life in the time of action and service) and tomorrow (in the World to Come) to receive their reward.”17 Thus, in this life, the time of service, the love that leads to service is the love most prized.

וְ"הַיּוֹם לַעֲשׂוֹתָם", כְּתִיב, וּ"לְמָחָר לְקַבֵּל שְׂכָרָם".

He, however, who has not attained to this level of savoring a foretaste of the World to Come and has not reached the level of “a love which experiences delights,”

וּמִי שֶׁלֹּא הִגִּיעַ לְמִדָּה זוֹ, לִטְעוֹם מֵעֵין עוֹלָם הַבָּא,

but whose soul yet yearns and thirsts for G‑d and goes out to Him all day long,

אֶלָּא עֲדַיִין נַפְשׁוֹ שׁוֹקֵקָה וּצְמֵאָה לַה' וְכָלְתָה אֵלָיו כָּל הַיּוֹם,

and he does not quench his thirst for G‑dliness with the “water” of Torah that is in front of him—such a person is comparable to one who stands in a river and cries: “Water, water to drink!”

וְאֵינוֹ מְרַוֶּה צִמְאוֹנוֹ בְּמֵי הַתּוֹרָה שֶׁלְּפָנָיו – הֲרֵי זֶה כְּמִי שֶׁעוֹמֵד בַּנָּהָר וְצוֹעֵק: "מַיִם! מַיִם לִשְׁתּוֹת!",

Thus, the Prophet laments over him: “Ho, all of you who thirst, go to the waters!”18 on which our Sages comment19 that “water” refers to Torah.

כְּמוֹ שֶׁקּוֹבֵל עָלָיו הַנָּבִיא: "הוֹי כָּל צָמֵא לְכוּ לַמַּיִם".

Surely the Prophet is not addressing (as the simple meaning of the words would indicate) one who thirsts for Torah, for such a person will surely quench his thirst and study Torah without the Prophet’s exhortation. Clearly, then, these words are addressed to one who thirsts for G‑d, and the Prophet tells him that he must quench the thirst of his love by studying and practicing the Torah.

In the Alter Rebbe’s words:

For in its simple meaning, the verse is incomprehensible:

כִּי לְפִי פְשׁוּטוֹ אֵינוֹ מוּבָן,

he who is thirsty and desires to study [Torah] will surely do so of his own accord.

דְּמִי שֶׁהוּא צָמֵא וּמִתְאַוֶּוה לִלְמוֹד, פְּשִׁיטָא שֶׁיִּלְמוֹד מֵעַצְמוֹ,

Why must the Prophet cry over him, “Ho”? Clearly, then, the verse refers to one who loves G‑d and thirsts for Him.

וְלָמָּה לוֹ לַנָּבִיא לִצְעוֹק עָלָיו "הוֹי"?

Now, if love of G‑d were an end in itself, the service of prayer could suffice, for it creates a love and thirst for G‑d. But because the purpose of love is that it lead one to serve G‑d, the Prophet exhorts us not to rest content with love itself but to study Torah and thereby quench the thirst for G‑dliness and also realize the purpose of love.

This matter is discussed elsewhere at length.

וּכְמוֹ שֶׁמְּבוֹאָר בְּמָקוֹם אַחֵר בַּאֲרִיכוּת: