Writings of Baal HaSulam, Shamati #173: “He said about saying L’Chaim (to life) when drinking wine, that it is as our sages said, “Wine and life according to the sages and their disciples.” This is perplexing: why specifically according to our sages? Why not according to the uneducated?
The thing is that saying “L’Chaim” implies higher life. When we drink wine, we should remember that wine has its spiritual source, which implies “the wine of Torah,” the Light that comes as a reward, and so we say, “L’Chaim!,” a reminder that we should extend the Light of Torah, called “life.”
The corporeal life, however, is called by our sages, “The wicked, in their lives, are called ‘dead.’” Hence, it is specifically our sages who can say, “wine and life.” This means that only they are qualified to extend spiritual life. Uneducated people, however, have no desire for it or the tools to extend it.
Wine symbolizes Ohr Hochma (Light of Wisdom), which I want to receive in order to bestow (with Ohr Hassadim). If I can keep the Ohr Hochma with Ohr Hassadim (Light of Mercy) and not violate the accommodation between them to feel life, then this energy enters into us in a positive way.
But if I don’t have enough Ohr Hassadim, then Shevirat HaKelim (the shattering of the vessels) happens and I fall again into the egoistic desire. So I seemingly analyze whether I have enough Ohr Hassadim for receiving the Ohr Hochma so that one Light can be clothed in the other. And then Ohr Hochma is revealed, and the next level is revealed in me.
An analysis like this is called L’Chaim, to bestowal with faith above reason. Receiving for the sake of bestowal is a process of eating that is expressed in the word, “L’Chaim,” meaning that I am doing this for the sake of spiritual life.
I transmit the Light that I receive from above through me by conveying it to others, otherwise it doesn’t enter me. This is the law of the upper world. When I receive in order to bestow, by conveying it through me to others, and they in turn do the same thing by conveying it through me, is called, “L’Chaim.”
So when we drink wine, we say, “L’Chaim!” which means that we remember that it is necessary to be concerned about the right reception of the Light of life in order to attain the higher level.
From the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 4/17/14, Questions and Answers with Dr. Laitman