This is also reflected in [the interpretation of] the verse:1Avraham had aged and had become advanced in years.” [The term בימים, rendered as “in years,” literally means “in days.” In that vein,] the Zohar2 [interprets the phrase as referring to] “the sublime days,” i.e., the garments of the Torah and its mitzvos. As a result of this, “Avraham had aged.” זקן, [translated as “had aged,” is understood by our Sages3 to refer to] “one who has acquired Chochmah (wisdom).” Chochmah is identified with [consummate] bittul, for within [this sefirah] is revealed G‑d’s [perfect] oneness. [Chochmah perceives] that “He exists alone and there is nothing else.”4

In order to reach this level, one must be “advanced in years,” clothed in the garments of the Torah and its mitzvos. [Moreover, there must be a connection between one’s years and these garments.] Each day must be filled with the observance of the Torah and its mitzvos, following the motif:5 “Each and every day performed its service.”6 Then these are full days.7

Accordingly, one must fulfill the Torah and its mitzvos even when the circumstances dictate that one will be fulfilling one mitzvah several times, [its repetition consonant] with the number of days granted to him from Above. Indeed, there are some mitzvos that are fulfilled several times each day. An example of this is prayer: there are three prayer services each day; on Shabbos and festivals, four; and on Yom Kippur, there are five prayer services.

To explain [the importance of the repetition of the observance of a mitzvah]: On the surface, the concept is problematic. The distinctive positive quality of souls is that they have the ability to advance. As [implied by] the verse:8 “I will make you as one who proceeds among these who stand,” they have the capacity to proceed forward and ascend. If so, why is it that the performance of the same mitzvos is repeated?

In resolution, it can be explained that the mitzvos are garments9 through which a person can bind his soul to G‑d. Therefore, the performance of a mitzvah may have to be repeated several times to enable his soul to [establish a complete] bond [with G‑d]. After [such service], it is capable of ascending and making radical progress.

[This concept can be illustrated through the explanation of] an apparent contradiction that exists with regard to the obligation of Torah study:10 On one hand, our Sages state11 that “to anyone who has the possibility of studying the Torah [at any given moment] and does not, can be applied the verse:12 ‘He scorned the word of G‑d. That soul will surely be cut off.’”13 Nevertheless, they also state that it is sufficient that one who, because of his commercial activities, does not have the potential to occupy himself in Torah study the entire day, [should study] one portion in the morning and one portion in the evening.14 [This is problematic.] On the surface, [seemingly,] the reason that the punishment for someone who neglects Torah study for even a brief time is [so great] that it is said of him “[That soul] will certainly be cut off” is due to the unique positive quality of Torah study. Why then can it be sufficient for [an extremely preoccupied] businessman to study but one portion in the morning and one portion in the evening?

[Conversely,] if one would say that a person’s [obligation to] study Torah is dependent on the free time available to him — and therefore, it is sufficient for a businessman to [study] one portion in the morning and one portion in the evening — why is it so critical, vus iz der gevald, when a person does not use [every] brief moment [he has] for study?[Why is the punishment so severe that “That soul] will certainly be cut off”?

The matter can be resolved based on the concept stated above: that the Torah serves as a garment for a person’s soul. There are some souls that require more garments15 and other souls that are not in great need of garments. Therefore, [it is legitimate for] a person who is not able to occupy himself with Torah study through the day because of his business concerns [to draw the following conclusion]: The fact that he was not granted his livelihood from Above in a manner that left him free to involve himself in Torah study the entire day indicates that his soul is not in such great need of these particular garments. Conversely, [the fact that] a person has the opportunity to study the Torah the entire day is an indication that his soul is in need of more garments. Therefore it is forbidden for him to neglect [the opportunity to study] even for a [brief] moment. Instead, he must occupy himself with [Torah study] the entire day, as befitting the measure of garments the source of his soul requires.16

On the above basis, we can also understand our Sages’ statement17 that a person who neglects the mitzvah of reciting the Shema even once is considered as if he neglected it throughout his life. [The rationale is that] since he is lacking the garments required as befitting the source of his soul, his connection with G‑d’s Essence18 will be impaired.19 For it is through the observance of the Torah and its mitzvos every day, according to the days granted [from Above], that the souls establish a bond with G‑d’s Essence.


The bond with G‑d established through the Torah and its mitzvos is an ongoing process, involving the entire lifespan that a person has been granted. Every time a mitzvah is observed, a dimension is added to that bond. Depending on a person’s spiritual character, there are mitzvos that he must repeat — and, in certain instances, repeat frequently — for his soul’s bond with G‑d to reach its ultimate perfection.