Baal HaSulam, “The Giving of the Torah”: …we must understand that the rest of the 612 Mitzvot (precepts) in the Torah, with all their interpretations, are no more and no less than the sum of the details inserted and contained in that single Mitzva (singular for Mitzvot), “love thy friend as thyself.”
There are 613 “commandments,” that is, 613 actions that lead to correction. We should alter intentions that are associated with the desire to receive from egoistic (for the sake of receiving) into altruistic (for the sake of giving). When we do so, it means that we have “fulfilled a commandment.”
The number of commandments is defined by the amount of individual desires to receive which the vessel of the soul encompasses. It is divided into two parts:
Top Galgalta Ve Eynaim (G’E), 248 desires
Bottom AHP, 365 desires
The intention to receive is called the “evil inclination”; whereas, the intention to give is called the “good inclination.” The action per se remains the same. We can differentiate between good or bad actions only by intentions that stand behind them. Thus, a process of correction is in fact a modification of intentions. If it is self-oriented, then it is considered to be the evil inclination; if it is focused on our neighbors, then it is good.
Eventually we have to correct 248 and 365 desires; all together they comprise 613. However, in reality we only correct 612 desires, since the last commandment (the one about love) remains “problematic.” As Kabbalists say, by improving 612 desires, we will attain love. In other words, from love of friends we come to love the Creator.
Then I call it my “hater” and demand correction from the friends, who are near and far, from anywhere. I discover where correction is, how to realize it, how to overcome my inclination. And I do so until I feel the need to turn to the Creator.
It will not happen immediately. I can scream now, but then the egoistic desire grows, and the thought of the Creator becomes unbearable. I hate Him, I am ready to destroy Him, anything but not to turn to Him. I think that I am required to do the impossible, as if instead of destroying the enemy, I have to love him and help him. It is very hard. And then, feeling hopeless, desiring to achieve bestowal in spite of everything, I turn to the Creator.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 10/21/12, “Matan Torah (The Giving of the Torah)”