On Divine Inspiration – Chapter 28

This may be understood with another similar example, that is, with the matter of the actual reawakening and ingathering of the sparks of holiness that fell into the levels of impurity through the “Shattering of the vessels”[1]. For many centuries and eons these sparks have been sunken amongst the idolaters and then they literally revert back and reawaken. These are the proselytes who convert to Judaism.

     This is very astounding – (that a person who has been sunken in all kinds of evils from birth and for many generations of ancestors) can have such an incredible longing to convert! It can only be that a Divine spirit stirs within him without his even knowing it, like the proselytes in the time of Abraham, such as, Aner, Eshkol and Mamreh (and their like in every generation) etc.

(Albeit, converts are as bothersome as scabs[2] because they have come up from the impurities of Nogah, so that there is a severe admixture of negative character traits in them, which they need to overcome. Therefore, except for very high sparks, such as righteous proselytes like Shemayah, Avtalyon and Onkolus or the like, they are as bothersome as scabs.)

This may be further understood through the matter of Baalei Teshuvah.[3] We observe that even the spirit of a person who has sunken into the worst kinds of lusts and severe transgressions can be roused and return to HaShem. There are even those who return with such depth of heart that their soul expires with weeping, such as Rabbi Eleazar ben Durdaya. When his soul expired from weeping, Rabbi Yehudah the Prince envied him and exclaimed, “One can acquire his share in the world to come in one moment.”[4]

Even those who do not repent with such depth of heart that their soul expires nevertheless weep with great bitterness of the soul. This is especially true of the ten days of repentance from Rosh Hashanah through Yom Kippur. As well known,even the most frivolous people and even atheists who transgress the whole of Torah, become aroused on Yom Kippur, so that they truly weep. As known, this is not at all a matter of choice, since the whole rest of the year he runs after the lusts of his heart, doing evil all day long[5] etc.

It is only because on Yom Kippur HaShem becomes revealed upon every Divine spark that seeks Him, as written,[6] “Seek HaShem while He is available”[7]etc. The sparks are automatically drawn to HaShem and roused to spontaneous weeping in a natural and essential fashion. This is solely due to the essence and nature of the Divine soul. However, at first they are hidden because of the concealing effect of sins, but through repentance they become revealed. He therefore weeps.

(This is so even though it is explained elsewhere that this comes about from the Yechidah level of the soul, which is above action. However this level also acts as a rousing spirit in the matter of desisting from evil and doing good within action, so that he earnestly states during the confession service of Yom Kippur, “We have acted abominably” etc.) He feels remorse and reverts from acting wickedly, to doing good. This accords with what was said above that the “Good Thought” joins with the deed, at least in an aspect of intellectual excitement of love and fear for HaShem.

     (The reason why the wicked, the atheists and the frivolous do not at allrevert from their wicked ways is only because the aspect of the Yechidah of their souls only radiates temporarily during Yom Kippur, which is a propitious time for Divine revelation. Even then, it does not radiate within the faculties of their soul at all, but only in the way of an encompassing light from above, as scripture states, “May the flame of the wicked be extinguished”[8] – totally! In the case of someone who is not quite as frivolous or wicked, there will be an illumination in his soul in connection to the matter of deed. Moreover, it will be with greater inwardness. Likewise every single day a heavenly voice proclaims, “Return O rebellious children”,[9] as known.)

The highest state of this level is when the deed becomes illuminated as a reaction to opposition. This is specifically observable in the matter of actually giving up one’s life for the sanctification of HaShem’s name. Rabbi Akiva was anguished over this and said, “When will I have the opportunity to fulfill this”[10] – specifically in actuality! This is the innermost light of the Divine soul from the inner aspect of the “potential for what” in his soul. It is the aspect of the Yechidah that shines downward into the aspect of action of not forsaking his faith, specifically in deed. If an attempt is made to compel him to completely separate himself from the One G_d, the most inner and essential potential to be willing to actually give his life up for the sanctification of HaShem’s name, awakens within him, whereas, if no one compels him to forsake his faith, he canactually fall into committing many transgressions, because this potential remains dormant.

Now, it cannot be that this phenomenon, of self-sacrifice, is the result of toil and effort at all. It is rather because of the essential bond of the Divine soul to the “Source from whence it was hewn” that a Jew finds it impossible to separate from G_d under any circumstances. The moment he is faced with the supreme test of giving his life up for the sanctification of HaShem’s name, the essential bond with G_d that was hidden, suddenly shines openly.

In truth, if this potential would always illuminate one’s soul in a revealed way, a person would never transgress even a light prohibition etc, as the verse states, “So that the fear of HaShem shall be upon your faces, so that you shall not sin.”[11] From all these examples we understand the general matter of the essential excitement of the Divine soul in its inner aspect. This is the aspect of Ruach. As mentioned above, it is higher than the aspect of Nefesh which is limited to the action itself. This is sufficient for those of understanding.



[1] For a full explanation of the “Shattering of the vessels” see our book “The Knowledge of G_d” or our commentary on “Shaar HaYichud” of the Mittler Rebbe.

[2] Talmud Yevamos 47b

[3] These are sinners who have truly repented and returned to full Jewish observance.

[4] Talmud Avodah Zara 17a

[5] Genesis 6:5

[6] Isaiah 55:6

[7] Talmud Rosh Hashanah 18a

[8] Proverbs 24:20

[9] Jeremiah 3:14, 3:22

[10] Berachot 61b

[11] Exodus 20:16

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