Ch. 46, Class 3

Continuation of Chapter 46.

וגם בבחינת חיבוק

also with a form of “embrace”, for Torah and mitzvot also effect the unity of an “embrace”, similar to a person embracing his friend with his body and arms,

הוא קיום המצות מעשיות ברמ״ח אברים

namely, the fulfillment of the positive precepts with the 248 organs which the human being possesses. Performance of the 248 positive commandments brings about a state of “embrace” wherein G‑d’s 248 “organs” embrace man’s,

דרמ״ח פיקודין הן רמ״ח אברין דמלכא, כנזכר לעיל

for the 248 ordinances are the 248 “organs” of the King, as mentioned earlier, in ch. 23.

Each organ of the body is an appropriate vessel for the particular faculty of the soul that resides therein, such as the eye for the faculty of sight, the ear for the faculty of hearing, and so on. So too, each mitzvah is an appropriate vessel for the specific emanation of the Divine Will that desires the Jew to perform the particular commandment.

ודרך כלל נחלקין לשלש בחינות: ימין ושמאל ואמצע, שהן חסד דין רחמים

In a general manner, these 248 positive mitzvot are divided into three categories — right, left, and center — namely, Chesed (“kindness”), Din (“stern justice”), and Rachamim (“mercy”).

There are mitzvot which are in the category of the “right side” — Chesed; others in the category of the “left side” —Din; still others, in the category of the “center” — Rachamim. These are:

תרין דרועין וגופא וכו׳

the two arms and the body.

Chesed is the right arm; Gevurah, or Din, is the left; and Rachamim represents the body (the center). Just as when a person embraces another he does so with both arms and his body, so too, do the “two arms” and “body” of the mitzvotembrace the Jew who performs them.

וזהו שאומרים: אשר קדשנו במצותיו

This is the meaning of the text of the various blessings pronounced before one fulfills a mitzvah: “[Blessed be He] Who has betrothed us by His commandments”:

The Hebrew word kidshanu — generally rendered, “Who has sanctified us” — is here rendered, “Who has betrothed us,” from the Hebrew word kiddushin (“betrothal”). For mitzvot too, are:

כאדם המקדש אשה, להיות מיוחדת עמו ביחוד גמור, כמו שכתוב: ודבק באשתו והיו לבשר אחד

like a man who betrothes a wife, so that she be united with him in a perfect bond, as it is written:11“And he shall cleave to his wife, and they shall be one flesh.”

ככה ממש, ויתר על כן לאין קץ, הוא יחוד נפש האלקית העוסקת בתורה ומצות, ונפש החיונית ולבושיהן הנ״ל, באור אין סוף ברוך הוא

Exactly similar to the unity achieved through betrothal, and even infinitely surpassing it, is the union of the divine soul that is engaged in Torah and the commandments, and of the vivifying soul, and their garments referred to above, viz., thought, speech and action — all of them becoming united with the light of the blessed Ein Sof.

This spiritual union infinitely surpasses the physical union of man and wife. The correlation to a physical union is valid only in the sense that in this world there can be no greater union than that of man and wife. This union is termed kiddushin.

ולכן המשיל שלמה עליו השלום בשיר השירים יחוד זה ליחוד חתן וכלה

Therefore did Solomon, peace unto him, in the Song of Songs compare this union of G‑d and Jews through Torah and mitzvot with the union of bridegroom and bride,

בדביקה חשיקה וחפיצה, בחיבוק ונישוק

this union being with attachment — an external level of unity, with longing — a more inward level of unity, and desire — an even more inward level of unity, with embrace and kissing.

All the above manners of union are found in the Jew’s relationship to G‑d through Torah and mitzvot.

Until now the Alter Rebbe expounded on the theme of unity, understanding kidshanu as deriving from kiddushin(“betrothal”). The Alter Rebbe now goes on to say that the word kidshanu also alludes to the sanctification a Jew achieves through Torah and mitzvot, sanctification implying a state of exaltation and separation from all worlds.

וזהו שאומרים: אשר קדשנו במצותיו

This is also the meaning of the blessings alluded to above: “Who has sanctified us by His commandments,” the verb kidshanu (“Who has sanctified us”) here meaning:

שהעלנו למעלת קודש העליון, ברוך הוא, שהיא קדושתו של הקב״ה בכבודו ובעצמו

that He has elevated us to the heights of the Supreme Holiness, which is the holiness of the Holy One, blessed be He, Himself.

וקדושה היא לשון הבדלה, מה שהקב״ה הוא מובדל מהעולמות

Kedushah (“holiness”) is a term indicating separateness, in that the Holy One, blessed be He, is apart from the worlds,

והיא בחינת סובב כל עלמין, מה שאינו יכול להתלבש בהן

this being the quality of “encompassing all worlds,” being unable to clothe Himself within them.

Because of the inability of created beings to absorb the extreme holiness of this transcendent level, G‑d (as it were) cannot enclothe Himself within the worlds, and therefore affects them in an encompassing manner. It is to this lofty level that Jews are elevated through their performance of mitzvot.

כי על ידי יחוד הנפש והתכללותה באור אין סוף ברוך הוא, הרי היא במעלת ומדרגת קדושת אין סוף ברוך הוא ממש

For through the union of the soul with, and its absorption into, the light of the Ein Sof, it attains the quality and the degree of holiness of the blessed Ein Sof Himself,

מאחר שמתייחדת ומתכללת בו יתברך, והיו לאחדים ממש

since it unites itself with Him, and is integrated into Him, and they become truly one.

 

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FOOTNOTES

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11.  Bereishit 2:24.