On Divine Inspiration – Chapter 3

Now my friends, who is to blame for this; for discouraging many from emotional arousal toward the One G_d, whether it is an arousal of repentance in an aspect of bitterness of the heart, or certainly, a Divine excitement in the heart resulting from some contemplation, whatever it may be, each person according to his capacity? Does not the blame fall upon the congregational heads of the nation who think they are more expert in matters of Chassidus and thus qualified to prohibit excitement altogether etc.?

The heart of my father, master, teacher and rabbi of blessed memory, whose soul reposes in Eden, grieved over this all the days of his life, for this folly has slain multitudes and a tremendous number of its victims have had a great fall, descending lower and lower until they totally despair of their souls etc. This is sufficient for those of understanding.

Therefore, my beloved, my brothers and friends, all those who tremble from these words of truth: Put it upon your hearts to revert from this evil straying way that causes a person to wander away little by little. For they walk in darkness because they have veered away from the ways of truth, heaven forbid.

By the living G_d and by my life! All who know and are acquainted with me from my youth, in whose soul all the concepts of the teachings of Chassidus are imbedded like nature. I am very familiar with each of you and am adept in all the particular ways of the members of our Chassidic brotherhood. All my days from my youth, words of endearment were never removed between me and my beloved friends in every city and congregation, who I love as myself. I ask you now, did you ever see or hear this evil thing which ruins and destroys everything, issue from my own mouth!?!

On the contrary, the whole goal of my heart has always been for the words of the living G_d to be firmly established, specifically through emotional excitement, since that is the chief aspect of Divine inspiration within the community of Israel. Moreover, it is the foundation and root that will bring about the ultimate perfection of the era of Moshiach, may it be speedily in our days. All this is known to the faithful; that the Merciful One specifically desires the heart and that HaShem seeks all hearts etc. as scripture states, “I sought you with all my heart etc.”[1] and “My flesh and my heart yearn for you etc.”[2]

The cause of this error only comes upon those who are ignorant and foolish in matters of Chassidus and from lack of knowledge. Through one person transmitting hearsay to another they are familiar with the general principle that physical excitement which is felt in the heart is from the discredited ways of an antiquated Chassidus[3], which, because it is an undesirable corruption, is absolutely prohibited. However, in truth, they have committed a grave error and are incapable of seeing the huge fundamental distinction between this undesirable excitement and G_dly excitement. The difference is like the difference between light and darkness!

Truly, about excitement felt in the heart with a physical cry altogether devoid of any inner intent except to raise one’s voice, scripture states, “She has set upon me with her voice, therefore I despise her.”[4] The reason is because in this kind of cry a person’s heart is not at all with him. When scripture states, “Their heart cried out to the L-rd”[5] or “They cried out to HaShem,”[6] it certainly is not referring to this kind of excitement. This is not at all a calling out to HaShem. Rather, he just wants his voice to be heard or to dispel alien thoughts or the like.

Even when a person comes to actual heartfelt excitement by overheating his heart through intentionally whipping his emotions into a froth, this is not for HaShem, but only for the thrill of activating and thus exposing his emotions. Any honest person who is habituated to this will acknowledge this truth. But how they have turned light into darkness, saying that the two are comparable!

Actually, heartfelt G_dly excitement is the true crying out to HaShem, as scripture states, “They cried out to HaShem.”[7] This is so, whether it comes about because one contemplates the unity of HaShem and how completely distant from G_d he is, which immediately causes his heart to become embittered within him with repentance and weeping until he cries out spontaneously, without intending to cry out, because this is true repentance with all of one’s heart.

Such a cry comes out specifically from the depths of the heart, as stated, “I have called you from the depths HaShem”[8] – meaning from the depths of the heart. This cry is the very root and foundation of repentance and prayer and is called, “The pouring out of the soul”, as known.

Furthermore, this is so whether it comes about because one contemplates the transcendence of G_d[9] or His imminence,[10] even for a short while. He will immediately become excited with heartfelt love in his heart of flesh, with a desire to adhere to the One G_d with joy and happiness or the like. This, then, is the essential fulfillment of the mitzvah of loving G_d and constitutes the light of Divine inspiration within the hearts of the community of Israel – which is the ultimate goal. This is as scripture states, “And you shall set it upon your heart etc.,”[11] – through intellectual excitement. This matter, that intellectual excitement stimulates emotional excitement, is well known to every novice in the teachings of Chassidus who seeks closeness to G_d with all the desire of his heart etc.

All this being the case, how can these people call light darkness and substitute good for evil? On the contrary, the very opposite is true! The more this kind of excitement is felt in a physical cry, the more certain that one has truly received and assimilated Divine light into his heart – so well that he cried out! This is called, “Intellectual fear and love in the brain and heart” and “Natural fear and love.” About this scripture states, “But I was brutish etc.” “I was as a beast with you.”[12] Though it is lower than knowledge, nonetheless “I was with you”, specifically, in a wondrous state of adhesion to HaShem, rather than the above mentioned excitement of an overheated heart which is not at all for HaShem. This is sufficient for those of understanding.

Obviously, all the above includes many vastly different modes and categories, as is known to all those who have gained insight through much occupation in the study of Chassidus. This being the case, truly, it has long been my duty and obligation to toil and labor in speaking to the heart of each individual in private audience, in a way which is specifically tailored to his capacity. My purpose has been to enlighten them in all the ways of Chassidus as well as I can and to correct each one according to his personal shortcomings and errors.

In addition, many of those who understand and know all the concepts of Chassidus clearly, lighten their own burden out of laxness and out of literally throwing off the yoke, in that they are not sufficiently mindful of their own souls to earnestly labor in matters of Chassidus. Rather, they just fulfill the obligations of the public by merely preaching to them, which is tantamount to boasting and self-aggrandizement and the like. This is so shameful that it should not be openly written about.

In addition, amongst the above are those who are G_d fearing and sincere, but are handicapped either because they are too preoccupied with earning a living or because they have personal shortcomings or bad and ugly character traits that obstruct and separate them from goodness.

From my youth I have accustomed myself to introspect concerning this with open eyes, so that I fully know what ails the members of our Chassidic brotherhood and all their afflictions etc., and am able to address each one according to the inner point of his soul, whether he is the smallest of the small or the biggest etc. This has been my obligation and my mitzvah – to speak to each one in private audience. This revives his soul in a true and straightforward manner, each person according to his way and level, more than if he would hear a hundred sermons without being uplifted by any of them. Moreover, if this applies to those who are very knowledgeable and toil and labor in matters of Chassidus, it applies all the more so to those who have little knowledge or who throw off the yoke, whether they do so against their will or whether they do so willingly and intentionally.

[1] Psalms 119:10

[2] Psalms 73:26

[3] This is a reference to the practices of the Chassidim of Rabbi Avraham of Kalisk, which led to turmoil, fueled the opposition of the Mitnagdim against the Chassidic movement and were ultimately rejected by Chassidism at large as valid Chassidic practice.

[4] Jeremiah 12:8

[5] Lamentations 2:18

[6] Psalms 107:6

[7] Ibid.

[8] Psalms 130:1

[9] This is called Ohr Sovev – “The light that encompasses all worlds.”

[10] This is called Ohr Memaleh – “The light that fills all worlds.”

[11] Deuteronomy 4:39

[12] Psalms 73:22

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *