On Divine Inspiration – Chapter 34

The third category is comprised of those people who have excitement in thought (intellectual comprehension), as mentioned above. The result is intellectual desire of longing for Divine revelation in good deeds etc. As mentioned above, this is so even though, as of yet, it is not heartfelt excitement. Now, very powerful rebuke is warranted here. We clearly observe amongst most people – even those who are educated, proficient, truly desire the words of the Living G_d and have “a listening ear” (which is the talent to understand Chassidus)and yet, it all turns to dross – literally into the diametric opposite etc.

This is because when a person such as this listens to Chassidus and properly absorbs the details of the G_dly matter in his mind, he becomes excited and says to himself, “Wow! I am warmed up. I have seen the light.”[1] But this is where the matter ends for him, even if he reviews it two or three times etc. Thus, it is nothing more than a flash or a glance upon the mind and heart. Ultimately, everything remains very hidden and concealed within his soul, until it totally dissipates, literally!

This is because he reverts immediately afterwards and his bodily preoccupations reawaken. He does not cultivate the Chassidic insight diligently, to establish it firmly in his soul by contemplating the full ramifications of its length, breadth and depth, thus reviving his unfortunate soul. Though Chassidus is literally the life of his soul, he sets it aside. After all, he learned it and he understood it and he even became excited by it! He feels he has already fulfilled his obligation and can now be called a “Chassid”.

Obviously, now he is permitted to contentedly attend to his other needs. Add to this his holiness in his own eyes, until he altogether confuses everything and greatly deludes himself. When the time for prayer comes, it all remains as a hidden and encompassing aspect for him. Even if he exerts himself and achieves intellectual excitement, he does not recognize its value or what good can result from it. This is well known to all men of understanding in this matter.

     All this is due solely to the sickness of the natural soul, because of its great addiction to gratifying all the body’s material wants. How then, can it bear to absorb true feelings in the above mentioned matter of “listening” to the words of the Living G_d? It is also due to laxness and expending a minimum of toil and effort in matters of Chassidus, merely in a passing way in order to fulfill one’s obligations, like someone passively listening to songs or music etc.

Moreover, there are many levels of the above mentioned talent to listen. Some listen with greater depth, while others listen and become excited, but easily and quickly (in a very superficial way). That is, their intellectual excitement too is external rather than being inner altogether. All this is known to those who acknowledge the truth and do not wish to delude themselves. Therefore, one who is prone to falling could quickly fall from this level of excitement with just a bit of hindrance and opposition, such as preoccupation in business matters or he may fall into self-gratification with great coarseness and the like. Ultimately, his talent to listen could cease altogether. This is known to the knowledgeable. This is sufficient for those of understanding.

[1] Isaiah 44:16

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