On Divine Inspiration – Chapter 26

So far, inregard to the levels of the Divine soul, we have spoken about the level of deed. This is the essential quality of the Divine soul todesist from evil and do good. The aspect of revealed G_dliness shines there in simple faith, at least within the resolve of thought and desire, as mentioned above.

However, there is a lower level than this. An example may be found in the mixed multitude of peoples that departed from Egypt with the Jewish people. In and of themselves, their motivation was not a proper one by virtue of their souls. Rather, they were motivated as a result of the miracles they beheld etc. As a result, as soon as they realized that they were separate from the Jewish people they made the golden calf etc.

Likewise, there are also many Jews whose primary motivation indoing good deeds is from selfish motives, such as solely to acquire a good reputation, as Raaya Mehemna,[1] comments on the words of the verse, “Men of repute”.[2] Such people greatly delude themselves in considering themselves to be perfectly righteous when, in reality, the main thing for them is just to think, “For the sake of my reputation” – specifically – “will HaShem be glorified.”[3] These people are called, “Your brothers who hate and shun you”[4] etc., as known.

Moreover, there are those who are in the categories of hypocrites, flatterers and liars etc., in whom there is no proper motivation that stems from the essence of the Divine soul in a revealed way, albeit, there is something of the G_dliness of the Divine soul in them, in an aspect of great concealment only. Evidence of this is that when great rebuke, troubles and suffering befall such a person, the light of the soul descends upon him and he weeps tears of regret over his sins (This will soon be explained in relation to penitents on the day of Atonement).  None of this is true of idolaters.

Other evidence is that when Moshe rebuked them and said, “Turn and go on your way[5] etc.,” they repented and confessed, saying, “We have sinned.” Further proof is that a Jewish bill of divorce is valid even when given under duress, when it is done under the compulsion of the Jewish rabbinical court. Additional proof comes from the fact that the court can compel people to give charity and that it may be taken by force of lien and the like, as explained elsewhere.

(Similarly, in the future, both Jews and idolaters will be tested on this point through the precept of Sukkah. HaShem will cause an unbearable heat wave which will make it impossible to stay in the Sukkah. The idolaters will kick their Sukkoth out of frustration, whereas the Jews will not. The reason is because the sole desire of the Divine soul, in and of itself, is just to do G_d’s will, as mentioned above. Since one is exempt from performing the precept of Sukkah when it becomes unbearable to do so, the Jew will not kick it out of frustration at all, because he realizes that it is not G_d’s will, which is his only concern. On the other hand, the only motivation of the idolaters is gratification of their own desires, as in the verse, “For the sake of my reputation” – specifically – “will HaShem be glorified etc.”[6] This is sufficient for those of understanding). There are very many distinctions here which will not be committed to writing because they are self-evident. Since each person knows his own soul best, it is altogether unnecessary to address this.

[1] Zohar Bereshis 25b

[2] Numbers 16:2

[3] Isaiah 66:5

[4] Isaiah ibid.

[5] Deuteronomy 1:7

[6] Isaiah 66:5

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