"Be wholehearted with G‑d, your G‑d..." (Deut. 18:13)

The word for "wholehearted" ('tamim') also means "complete" or "whole". Thus, read, this verse enjoins us to be "whole," i.e. not lacking anything, in our relationship with G‑d.

Specifically, the partzuf of Zeir Anpin is the archetype of the human form, which is mirrored in the anatomy and physiology of both the human body and the human soul. Just as the body comprises 248 physical parts (limbs and organs), both the soul and Zeir Anpin comprise 248 spiritual parts; just as the physical body has 365 nerves and sinews, both the soul and Zeir Anpin possess 365 spiritual nerves and sinews. The 248 parts of Zeir Anpin are the 248 active commandments and its 365 nerves and sinews are the 365 passive commandments. Every component of the human soul and every component of the human body correlates to one of the 613 components of the spiritual "body" of Zeir Anpin. [Zohar 1:170b; Tikunei Zohar 30, Zohar 2:118a]

This deprecation of life-force renders the person spiritually "disabled"...

Inasmuch as Zeir Anpin is the spiritual source of the human body and soul, it follows that the health of both the soul and the body are dependent on the free and continuous flow of Divine energy from Zeir Anpin into its corresponding components of the soul and the body, respectively. It is therefore of paramount importance that each individual fulfill all 613 commandments in order to ensure that this flow proceeds uninterrupted. If, on the other hand, a person neglects to perform a commandment that he or she is obligated to fulfill, the absence of the spiritual pipeline that should have been forged by performing that commandment prevents the corresponding Divine energy from flowing from its source in Zeir Anpin into the person’s soul and body. This deprecation of life-force renders the person spiritually "disabled" with regard to that component of his or her soul, and will adversely affect the health of the corresponding component of his or her body, as well.

Of course, we cannot all perform all of the 613 commandments; some do not apply to us (since we cannot all be kings, judges, priests, and so on); others only apply when the Temple is standing; others apply only within the Land of Israel; others apply only to men and not to women, or conversely, only to women and not to men; and still others apply only in specific situations (such as if a couple wishes to divorce, or a person owns his own house). The commandments we cannot fulfill ourselves we fulfill vicariously though those who can fulfill them. In addition, we should study the laws regarding these commandments, thereby fulfilling them at least "virtually"; by learning how these commandments are fulfilled, we internalize them, and in this way they become part of us, almost as if we had fulfilled them physically. [Igeret HaKosesh 29 (148b)]

If we do neglect to perform a commandment...the "medicine"...is teshuvah...

If we do neglect to perform a commandment that we should have performed, the "medicine" that heals the injured or sick "limb" of our soul (and thereby reinstates the flow of Divine energy to the corresponding limb in our body as well) is teshuvah/repentance. [Yoma 86a] Just as medicine must be more potent than ordinary food in order to heal sickness, so is teshuvah a more intense spiritual exercise than is performing the other commandments, whose neglect it is designed to repair: whereas other commandments elicit Divine energy from G‑d’s Name Havayah, which represents the process by which G‑d constricted His creative energy in order to create the world, teshuvah elicits Divine energy from above the Name Havayah.

The rules by which G‑d created the world to function a priori are unforgiving: injury or disease is painful and debilitating; sin impairs the healthy functioning of the soul. But medicine and teshuvah provide cures for physical and spiritual infirmity by wringing the concentrated inner potentials out of their mother lodes – medicinal plants and chemicals, in the case of medicine, and the inner dimension of the soul, in the case of teshuvah. By evoking our inner essence, our inner connection to G‑d, we elicit His forgiveness for having transgressed His will, and He repairs the damage we caused by our negligence. In this way, we can fulfill the Torah’s injunction in the verse to be "whole," i.e. not crippled, in our relationship with G‑d.

Adapted from Likutei Torah 4:55cd; ibid, vol. 1, p. 57
© 2001 Chabad of California/www.LAchumash.org