On Divine Inspiration – Chapter 24

Now, it was explained above concerning the natural soul that apart from the level in which there is no G_dly aspect at all, in that one’s only desire is excitement devoid of any revealed intention for G_dliness, (and the desire for G_dliness is only a concealed, subconscious desire) there are five general levels. When the Divine soul is in its most diminished level of consciousness, it too has a similar level of great concealment.

First, we must clarify what the diminished aspect of the soul is. It is a general principle that in every Jew, whether great or small, doing good through fulfilling the positive commandments and turning away from evil by desisting from doing the three hundred and sixty-five negative commandments, certainly depends on the free choice of the Jew to choose goodness and to despise evil, – each person according to the station and level of love and fear of HaShem he has achieved as a steady level of service. (This is called piety. Its opposite is frivolity and throwing off the yoke) This matter applies to the type and category of service that pertain to the precept of loving and fearing HaShem with great toil and the yoke of serving Him through the study of Torah and the fulfillment of His commandments.

But in addition to this, every single Jew possesses something which is literally like a nature to him, even relative to his actual desisting from evil and doing good. This nature is rooted in his Divine soul in an essential and natural way, rather than being a matter of choice and toil at all. In this, a person who serves and fears G_d is equal to one who is frivolous and throws off the yoke.

An example of this is not profaning the Sabbath, not worshipping false gods and all other severe transgressions, such as forbidden sexual relations and murder or the like. This also includes many positive commandments, such as eating matzoh on Passover, dwelling in a sukkah on the holiday of Sukkoth, donning Tefillin and wearing tzitzit and the like. All these are done as if by nature, even amongst the most ignorant and worthless of Jews, without reason or knowledge.

     Moreover, they are not at all done by rote, merely as a matter of habit. Rather, they are done out of the essential Jewishness of the person. For example, Jewish women and ignorant folk take the utmost care to guard their souls from anything that is forbidden or impure, including even the lightest prohibitions of our sages.

Now, there are many that lighten their own burden by being truly lax, transgressing the forbidden and being careless in fulfilling the positive commandments properly. However, this characteristic comes about as a result of the evil within the natural soul that overcomes the nature of the Divine soul in such cases. Notwithstanding this, the nature and essence of the Divine soul is literally the opposite. Its essence and nature is that it greatly desires G_d’s goodness through fulfilling the positive precepts and it greatly despises evil.

Since this matter only applies to the category of action, it therefore is the lowest level of the Divine soul. This is the aspect of its Nefesh which is only the aspect of action. (This is similar to the matter of the resolve of the natural soul that results from the above mentioned “dispassionate thought,” except that there it is in a way of separation from HaShem, rather than the essential, natural resolve of the Divine soul etc.)

If not for this essential and natural aspect of every Divine spark in the Jewish people to desist from evil and do good, in other words,  if it was only up to their service and fear of G_d alone (piety) without this essential ingredient, this service would have ceased long ago etc.

Still and all, the toil in the service and fear of HaShem, (each Jew according to his abilities) strengthens this essential power of the Divine soul in observing all the details of desisting from evil and doing good, strengthening it to be established and unchanging, so that a person should not be lenient with himself or transgress and delude himself by finding loopholes to permit the forbidden etc.

In this regard there can be a huge difference between one Jew and another, so much so that in matters of deed, one could be perfectly righteous and another perfectly wicked. (In a person who is perfectly wicked, even the lowest power, which is the action level of the Divine soul, has withdrawn. This is due to the overpowering strength of absolute evil of his natural soul, as in the verse, “May the flame of the wicked be extinguished”[1] – totally, including the aspect of deed etc. Albeit, even the sinners of Israel are full of good deeds like a pomegranate is full of seeds.[2] Because of this, “All Israel have a share in the world to come.”[3] This is sufficient for those of understanding.

[1] Proverbs 24:20

[2] Chagiga 27a

[3] Talmud Sanhedrin 90a

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