Before concluding this section of the book there is a matter we must deal with, albeit briefly. What is the place of spiritual forms of worship, such as prayer, meditation, the love and awe of G‑d, in the Dirah Betachtonim system? Doubtless, prayer too is an integral part of Jewish worship; patently, intellectual contemplation of, and emotional devotion to G‑d are religious ideals of the highest order—indeed, so much Chasidic literature is devoted to the momentous importance of these endeavors—but what is their role in the Dirah Betachtonim system which appears to downgrade their significance? The answer to this question will demonstrate how the role of yet another issue, namely, religious devotion in spiritual worship, has been revolutionized in this thought-system.

Until this point we have highlighted the unique significance of essence, pointing out that it addresses not only that which is within the framework of the existing, but also that which is beyond, that it is a phenomenon meaningful in the Creator’s arena which straddles non-existence and existence, where the transition from non-existence to existence is achieved; that moreover, it amounts to the very Being of G‑d Himself. We concurrently played down the importance of the attributes and manifestations of G‑d, whether the restricted post-tzimtzum forces and spheres or even the infinite pre-tzimtzum “light,” with significant implications for human worship. Further analysis will demonstrate however that the attributes and manifestations of G‑d are in truth an indispensable component, as it were, in the conception of the G‑dhead—and consequently, there is in fact a significant role for religious devotion.

First let us dwell upon a flaw in the major thrust of our arguments until this point. If G‑d is truly infinite, encompassing of all possibilities—then He cannot be limited even to essence, His primary dimension. If that were the case, He would, in effect, be restricted to a particular mode, restricted to His Self, precluded from manifesting Himself. True, if we were to limit G‑d to Divine qualities and attributes, such as Love and Wisdom or Omnipresence and Infinity, and overlook the Essence, we would be guilty of ignoring the very core of the G‑dhead. But, on the other hand, limiting G‑d to the very core would detract from an all-able G‑d, as it would exclude His ability to “illuminate”—to reach out, to relate, to assume qualities. The incorporation of manifestations—qualities and attributes—as well as essence in the G‑dhead is indispensable to the conception of a truly able, or omnipotent, G‑d.

This realization concerning the nature of G‑d sheds new light, in turn, on the role of spiritual worship. It should now become evident that though physical worship—concerned as it is with essence—is the primary dimension of religious endeavor, spiritual worship too, concerned with Divine qualities such as Transcendence, Infinity, Love and Wisdom, also plays an important role. If man were involved only with essence, his worship would not be complete—as it would involve neither the entire range of G‑dly dimensions nor the entire range of his own spiritual capacities. True, limiting worship to those modes that relate to Divine qualities and correspondingly to man’s spiritual faculties amounts to ignoring the very core of the G‑dhead as well as the very core of man, but on the other hand, limiting worship to the very core excludes other dimensions of G‑d and man. Physical worship unaccompanied by religious devotion suggests that it is only on the plane of essence that man communicates with G‑d, whereas the realm of spiritual manifestation and meaning—of Divine attributes and features such as Divine wisdom and love, as well as, correspondingly, man’s rational and emotional faculties—are beyond this communion. It is the accompaniment of prayer and devotion to physical mitzvot that involves G‑d in His totality, as well as demonstrates that G‑d has reached not only man’s essence but his entire person.

The about-face achieved by the profound Dirah Betachtonim Torah perspective is now complete. We started out with the assumption that prayer and meditative devotion are higher forms of worship than physical mitzvot. Indeed, mitzvot appeared of little religious value and we therefore embarked on an exploration of their role in Judaism. From there we initially proceeded to point out that there is some value in the prosaic mitzvah, for through it infinite G‑d touches even the furthest reaches.

But at this point, our position is the precise reverse: we have come to recognize that physical worship is the highest form of worship, because the physical is inherently tied in with the very core of the G‑dhead, with Essence. We consequently proceeded to question the significance of the lesser form of worship, spiritual worship. And we finally concluded that spiritual worship is nevertheless of value—for it demonstrates G‑d’s far reach, as it involves even the lower dimension of the G‑dhead and reaches into even the lesser side of man! A total axiomatic change has indeed occurred.

For Dirah Betachtonim, not content to evaluate things from a post-Creation perspective, but from a pre-Creation one, has brought essence into the equation and has in fact ascribed the highest logical primacy to essence, and hence all logical pigeonholes have been reshuffled and all religious values have been drastically altered.