Likutei Amarim Chapter 40, Class # 3

Conclusion of Chapter 40

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 theSefirot.


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.


ושם מאיר ומתגלה גם כן היחוד העליון הנעשה בכל מצוה ותלמוד תורה

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

שהוא יחוד מדותיו ית’

namely, the union of G‑d’s middot.

שנכללות זו בזו ונמתקות הגבורות בחסדים

These middot fuse with each other, and the Gevurot (the attributes of “Severity”)are “sweetened” by Chassadim (the attributes of “Kindness”)

ע”י עת רצון העליון א”ס ב”ה המאיר ומתגלה בבחי’ גילוי רב ועצום

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,

באתערותא דלתתא היא עשיית המצוה או עסק התורה שבהן מלובש רצון העליון א”ס ב”ה

by reason of the “arousal (of man) below,” consisting of the performance of amitzvah or occupation in Torah in which the Supernal Will of the blessed Ein Sofis clothed.

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 andmitzvot ascend to.

אך עיקר היחוד הוא למעלה מעלה, בעולם האצילות

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

ששם הוא מהות ועצמות מדותיו ית’ מיוחדו’ במאצילן א”ס ב”ה

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

ושם הוא מהות ועצמות רצון העליון א”ס ב”ה

and there is found the core and essence of the Supernal Will of the blessed Ein Sof,

והארתן לבד היא מאירה בבי”ע בכל עולם מהן לפי מעלתו

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

ואף שנפש האדם העוסק בתורה ומצוה זו אינה מאצילות

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

מ”מ הרי רצון העליון המלובש במצוה זו והוא הוא עצמו הדבר הלכה והתורה שעוסק בה

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, —

הוא אלהות ואור א”ס המאציל ב”ה שהוא ורצונו אחד

this Supernal Will is G‑dliness, and is the Ein Sof-light of the Emanator [of theSefirot of Atzilut], since He and His Will are one;

וברצונו ית’ האציל מדותיו המיוחדות בו ית’

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.

וע”י גילוי רצונו המתגלה ע”י עסק תורה ומצוה זו הן נכללות זו בזו

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,

ונמתקות הגבורות בחסדים בעת רצון זו

and the Gevurot are sweetened by Chassadim at this “hour of revealed, favorableWill.”


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

ובזה יובן היטב הא דדחילו ורחימו נקראים גדפין, דרך משל, כדכתיב: ובשתים יעופף

This explains clearly why fear and love are figuratively called “wings”, as it is written:10 “And with two wings he flies,” alluding to the two middot of love and fear.

וכמו שכתב הרב חיים ויטל ז״ל בשער היחודים פרק י״א שהכנפיים בעוף הן זרועות האדם כו׳

(11As Rabbi Chayim Vital, of blessed memory, stated in Shaar HaYichudim, ch. 11:) For wings are for a bird what arms are for a man;just as it is written, “Chesed (corresponding to love) is the right arm, andGevurah (fear) the left arm,” similarly, the “wings” represent these twomiddot.

ובתיקונים פירשו שהעוסקים בתורה ומצות בדחילו ורחימו נקראים בנים

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

ואם לאו, נקראים אפרוחים דלא יכלין לפרחא

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


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.

ובתיקון מ״ה דעופא הוא מט״ט

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

רישא דיליה י’ וגופא וא”ו ותרין גדפין ה’ ה’ כו’

His head is the letter yud of the Divine Name (yud-hei-vav-hei), the yudrepresenting Chochmah; his body is the vav, the six middot; and his two wings are the two letters hei and hei, representing Binah and Malchut, respectively.

והיינו עולם היצירה שנקרא מט”ט

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

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

ובו12 הן גופי הלכות שבמשנה

Vav, 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.

ורישא דיליה הן המוחין ובחי’ חב”ד שהן פנימיות ההלכות וסודן וטעמיהן

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.

ותרין גדפין דחילו ורחימו הן ה’ עילאה שהיא רחימו

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

וה’ תתאה היא יראה תתאה עול מלכות שמים ופחד ה’ כפחד המלך ד”מ

and the lower hei, 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.

שהיא יראה חיצונית ונגלית

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

משא”כ יראה עילאה ירא בושת היא מהנסתרות לה’ אלקינו

“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.

והיא בחכמה עילאה יו”ד של שם הוי”ה ב”ה כמ”ש בר”מ

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 Ra‘aya Mehemna.


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:

כי כמו שכנפי העוף אינם עיקר העוף, ואין חיותו תלוי בהם כלל

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

כדתנן: ניטלו אגפיה כשרה

for as the Mishnah implies,13 a bird whose wings were removed is kosher.

והעיקר הוא ראשו וכל גופו, והכנפיים אינם רק משמשים לראשו וגופו לפרחא בהון

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.

וכך, דרך משל, התורה ומצות הן עיקר היחוד העליון, על ידי גילוי רצון העליון המתגלה על ידיהן

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

והדחילו ורחימו הם המעלים אותן למקום שיתגלה בו הרצון, אור אין סוף ברוך הוא, והיחוד, שהן יצירה ובריאה

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.*


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


או אפילו בעשיה, בי׳ ספירות דקדושה, מקום מצות מעשיות

Or even in Asiyah, in the ten holy Sefirot [of that World], the abode of the mitzvotconsisting of action.

Performing these mitzvot out of “submission to the heavenly yoke” elevates themitzvot 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 pervadesAsiyah; moreover, these mitzvot are performed at the level of action, which corresponds to Asiyah.

וכן מקרא

Likewise with [the study of] Scripture.

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.

אבל במשנה, מתגלה היחוד ואור אין סוף ברוך הוא ביצירה

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

For 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 ofmiddot.

ובתלמוד בבריאה

In the case of Talmud [the union and Ein Sof-light are revealed] in Beriah14 — for the Talmud seeks out the logic underlying the Mishnaic laws; it is thus related toChaBaD, which are manifest in Beriah.

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 inAsiyah, 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 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 —

דהיינו שבלימוד מקרא מתפשט היחוד ואור אין סוף ברוך הוא מאצילות עד העשיה

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;

ובמשנה עד היצירה לבדה ובתלמוד עד הבריאה לבדה

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

כי כולן באצילות

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.

אבל קבלה אינה מתפשטת כלל מאצילות לבי”ע כמ”ש בפרע”ח

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


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?

והנה אף דדחילו ורחימו הם גם כן מתרי״ג מצות

Although fear and love are also among the 613 mitzvot,

אף על פי כן נקראין גדפין

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

להיות כי תכלית האהבה היא העבודה מאהבה

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

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

ואהבה בלי עבודה היא אהבה בתענוגים, להתענג על ה׳

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

מעין עולם הבא, וקבלת שכר

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

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.

והיום לעשותם כתיב, ולמחר לקבל שכרם

But it is written,15 “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.” Thus, in this life, the time of service, the love that leads to service is the love most prized.

ומי שלא הגיע למדה זו, לטעום מעין עולם הבא

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 of delights,”

אלא עדיין נפשו שוקקה וצמאה לה׳ וכלתה אליו כל היום

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

ואינו מרוה צמאונו במי התורה שלפניו, הרי זה כמי שעומד בנהר וצועק: מים מים לשתות

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!”

כמו שקובל עליו הנביא: הוי כל צמא לכו למים

Thus the Prophet laments over him:16 “Ho, all of you who thirst, go to the waters!”, on which our Sages comment17 that “water” refers to Torah.

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:

כי לפי פשוטו אינו מובן

For in its simple meaning the verse is incomprehensible:

דמי שהוא צמא ומתאווה ללמוד, פשיטא שילמוד מעצמו

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

ולמה לו לנביא לצעוק עליו: הוי

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

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.

וכמו שכתוב במקום אחר באריכות

This matter is discussed elsewhere at length.



10Yeshayahu 6:2.
11. Parentheses are in the original text.
12.  The Rebbe notes that there seems to be a typographical error - ובו instead ואו(spelling out the Hebrew letter vav). Accordingly, many of the difficulties in this note are resolved. Additionally, the text that follows is more clearly understood: “Vav represents the ‘body’ of the laws in the Mishnah”; and thereafter, “his head…,” and so on.
13.  The Rebbe notes: “The actual wording of the Mishnah is, ‘if they were broken’ (Chullin 3:4). However, we learn from this that the same law applies to a case where the wings have been removed. (See Taz, beginning of ch. 53.)”

14.  Note of the Rebbe: “At first glance this is difficult to understand, for Scripture is more sacred than Mishnah (which is why a Chumash may be placed on aMishnah, but not the other way around); so too, Mishnah [is more sacred] thanTalmud. Nonetheless, with regard to their revelation we find the opposite to be the case, as just mentioned [inTanya]. Namely, Scripture is revealed within the lowest of all worlds, the World of Asiyah, Mishnah [is revealed inYetzirah], and so on.

”However, the answer is: ‘When one studies…’ [i.e., there is a difference between the actual text and the study of that text]; see Torah Or 17a.“
15.  Eruvin 22a.
16. Yeshayahu 55:1.
17Bava Kama 17a.

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