אך עוד זאת השוה בכל
There is yet another common characteristic1 shared by all the laws of the positive and prohibitory commandments, including those that have no practical application.
כי כל דחילו ורחימו שכליים של המלאכים, הן בחינת נבראים מאין ליש
For (in contradistinction) all intellectually-generated fear and love experienced by the angels are created ex nihilo,
והן בחינת נפש רוח דבריאה יצירה עשיה
and they are the (created levels of) Nefesh and Ruach (and not the G‑dly level of Neshamah) of the Worlds of Beriah, Yetzirah and Asiyah.
Now, if the intellectually-generated awe and love experienced by mortals can likewise not be compared to the study of the laws, why does the Alter Rebbe here choose to speak of angels?
To explain: (a) The love and fear experienced by souls is different from the souls themselves, for souls are not actual created beings; (b) the love and fear experienced by souls is, after all, a mitzvah, while that of the angels is not. Thus the angels’ love and fear better stresses their created aspect, and this enables us to understand that even with regard to souls, the essential aspect of love and fear is a created entity. The laws, by contrast, are G‑dliness.
אבל פרטי ההלכות הן המשכות חכמה עילאה דהמאציל ברוך הוא, המלובשת בגשמיות
However, the detailed laws of the various mitzvot are drawn from the Supreme Wisdom of the Emanator, blessed be He, which is clothed in physicality, within the physical objects to which a particular law applies, such as the law governing the case of2 “he who exchanges a cow for a donkey,” and the like.
והלבשה זו אינה כהלבשת חכמה עילאה בדחילו ורחימו שכליים
This investment of Supreme Wisdom in the physical aspects of the laws is not similar to the investment of Supreme Wisdom in intellectually-generated fear and love,
Supreme Wisdom is actually vested in all things, as is soon to be explained. This is especially so with regard to the love and awe which are aroused by intellectual activity, for the source of all such activity is Supreme Wisdom. In intellectually-aroused love and awe, however, the vestiture takes on a different form.
דהתם הלבוש הוא מעלים ומסתיר לגמרי
for there the garment conceals and completely obscures the Supreme Wisdom that is vested within it,
כהסתר והעלם הארץ החומריית לגבי חכמה עילאה המלובשת בה
just as the material earth thoroughly conceals the Supreme Wisdom clothed within it;
כמו שכתוב: כולם בחכמה עשית
as it is written concerning all created beings,3 “All of them You made with Wisdom.”
Supreme Wisdom is thus vested within all physical things as well, even the earth — which, however, completely conceals it, just as intellectually-aroused love and awe conceal the Supreme Wisdom vested in them.
והיינו, חיצוניות דחיצוניות דכלים דמלכות דאצילות שבעשיה, שהיא מסותרת לגמרי ברוח נפש דעשיה
This [Supreme Wisdom] is the externality of the externality of the vessels of Malchut of Atzilut found in Asiyah, that is absolutely hidden in theRuach-Nefesh of Asiyah.
Malchut of Atzilut with the externality of the externality of its vessels is wholly concealed in Ruach-Nefesh of Asiyah. Malchut of Atzilut itself, even the externality of the externality of its vessels, belongs to the realm of the Neshamah and of Divinity proper — yet it is entirely hidden within Nefesh-Ruach, which belongs to the realm of created beings.
Since Supreme Wisdom is vested in Malchut of Atzilut, and Malchut of Atzilutillumines Asiyah with its Ten Sefirot, containing as they do the element of Wisdom as well, we thus have Supreme Wisdom entirely concealed within the physical earth.
וכן בבריאה היא מסותרת לגמרי ברוח נפש
So too in Beriah it is completely hidden in the Ruach-Nefesh [of Beriah],
שהם בחינת נבראים בהסתר והעלם הבורא מהנברא
which are beings that are created by the concealment and hiding of the Creator from the created.
We thus have here an element of Supreme Wisdom concealed within intellectually-aroused love and fear, the source of which is the World of Beriah, the realm of comprehension.
מה שאין כן ההלכות, הרי הארת החכמה מאירה בהן בגילוי
This is not so, however, with regard to the laws, in which a radiance of Wisdom illuminates them manifestly; they do not conceal it.
ולבוש העשיה הוא דרך מעבר לבד
The garment of Asiyah serves merely as a passage,
Though the laws vested in the physical things of this world (the physical World ofAsiyah) are thus subject to the concealment that pervades Asiyah, they are not garbed in it to the point that the garment essentially affects the wearer, for they merely pass through the garment of Asiyah.
כמו ביום טוב, שחסד דאצילות, המלובש לגמרי בחסד דבריאה, מחיה עולם הזה הגשמי
just as on the festivals, when Chesed of Atzilut, which is completely clothed in Chesed of Beriah, vivifies this physical world
על ידי מעבר חסד דיצירה ועשיה
by passing through the Chesed of Yetzirah and of Asiyah,
הנקרא גם כן התלבשות
this [passage] is also called investment,4
שאם לא כן, לא היה פועל בגשמיות עולם הזה
for otherwise it would not affect the physicality of This World.
Thus, just as with regard to the festivals, though the animating light first passes through Yetzirah and Asiyah it is still considered to be an illumination of Chesed ofBeriah, so too with regard to the laws: The light within the laws merely “passes through” the physicality with which they deal; it always retains a radiation of Supreme Wisdom.
ואף שגשמיות עולם הזה ודאי מסתיר לגמרי אפילו החסד דעשיה
Now though the physicality of This World as discussed in the lawunquestionably conceals completely even the Chesed of Asiyah — and surely, then, it conceals the diffusion of Supreme Wisdom,
מכל מקום ההלכה עצמה אינה גשמיות ממש
still the law proper is not actually physical;
שהיא בחינת רצון, הנמשך מחכמה עילאה, להקל או להחמיר
it is the Divine Will, drawn from the Supreme Wisdom, for leniency or severity.
G‑d’s wisdom affirms that it be His will that a particular legal ruling be either lenient or strict.
רק שיורד ומאיר בבחינת גילוי בגשמיות, כמים היורדים ממקום גבוה כו׳
It is only that this [Will] descends and illuminates in revealed fashion in the realm of the physical, just as water descends from a high place, and so on.
It is the very same water that is now to be found in a low place.
והדבר הגשמי עצמו, שבו מדברת ההלכה, באמת הוא מסתיר לגמרי
The physical object itself which the law discusses does, in fact, utterly obscure,
כמו המחליף פרה בחמור, וכן בשר הפיגול, או לא פיגול וכשר
as, for example, in the law of5 “one who exchanges a cow for a donkey,” or the laws concerning flesh that is pigul, or is not pigul and is kosher.
The actual cow or donkey or flesh do in fact completely conceal the radiance from the Supreme Wisdom.
In contrast, it was stated above that when holding a physical etrog one is grasping the G‑dly essence of Atzilut. The difference lies in the fact that the etrog is part of themitzvah. As such, it has no identity other than G‑dliness and thus does not conceal it. Since, by contrast, the physical cow or donkey are not part of the law, they can conceal G‑dliness. With regard to the human intellect, however, which studies this law, since the “intellectual” cow and donkey are part of the law, they in fact do not act as a concealment.
רק ההלכה בעצמה, עם הטעם הנגלה, היא מבחינת מלכות דבריאה ויצירה דבחינת נשמה
Only the legal ruling itself with its revealed rationale are from Malchut ofBeriah (i.e., the reasoning of the Gemara) and of Yetzirah (i.e., the rulings of theMishnah), of the state of Neshamah,
שהוא אלקות, המחיה ומהוה נפש רוח דבריאה יצירה עשיה
which is G‑dliness that vivifies and brings into being the Nefesh-Ruach ofBeriah, Yetzirah and Asiyah which are in the category of created beings,
שהן דחילו ורחימו של המלאכים והנשמות וחב״ד שלהם, מאין ליש
and which are the awe and love of angels and souls and their ChaBaD,i.e., the contemplation of G‑d’s greatness that leads to love and fear; — all this is created and vivified ex nihilo, as are all created beings.
ולכן הוא מרוה צמאונם
As to this radiation of Supreme Wisdom that descends through Malchut of Beriah andYetzirah, in the form of Torah as it is found in those worlds prior to its descent below, it therefore slakes [the] thirst of the souls and angels in the Worlds ofBeriah and Yetzirah,
קודם שירדה לעולם הזה, כמים היורדים כו׳
before its descent into This World like descending waters….6
וגם אחר שירדה לעשיה, היא למעלה מעלה מבחינת חכמה בינה דעת דעשיה, אפילו דבחינת נשמה, שהיא אלקות
Even after it descends into Asiyah, it transcends by far ChaBaD ofAsiyah, even of the state of Neshamah, which is G‑dliness.
For this is G‑dliness of Asiyah, while the illumination of Supreme Wisdom within the laws is the G‑dliness of Atzilut.