On Divine Inspiration – Chapter 38

A further reason for this sickness called “Weakness of heart” that lacks all strength, thus making it possible to fall from excitement in G_dliness within a short moment after the excitement, is the lack of doing those actions that branch out of love and fear of G_d. As known, the illumination of Divine inspiration can have no hold or grasp except when it is invested within a vessel. Moreover, the more expansive the vessel, the greater will be the expanse of the light, like a spark in a burning flame etc. This is the matter of deed, which is the aspect of many different vessels of expression within which the illumination of love and fear of G_d is invested. This is the fact that a person should accept the yoke of the kingdom of heaven upon himself – to adhere to HaShem with love, by adhering to His Torah and mitzvoth and conversely, to distance himself from evil etc. Furthermore, he fulfills them immediately, with alacrity in actual deed. As known about this matter, it is good to contain the illumination within a vessel of expression. Only then can it endure, whereas without a vessel it cannot endure at all.

The rebuke here is well known to all, because this evil sickness has felled many victims etc. This being that after prayer or being occupied in the teachings of Chassidus with excitement, people immediately do the opposite, including things that are too terrible to relate here. Therefore, whatever gain they achieved is depleted by their loss, even in regard to the future. This is because a vessel that is empty of inspiration cannot hold any illumination. Even if some light of excitement will shine in his heart, it will be like a flame floating midair, unattached to the candlewick. It cannot endure. Or it will be like a flash-fire of burning straw, which at first appears to roar with great force, but quickly dies out etc.

Such is not the case concerning excitement from the depths of the heart. This is like the example of cooking physical meat. When it is fully cooked it becomes soft and edible (it is good and well cooked). This kind of excitement is called, “A heart of flesh”. On the other hand, when meat has not been sufficiently cooked it remains tough etc. (raw flesh). As known, Rabbi Akiva tested his students in this regard. This is sufficient for those of understanding.

There is an additional reason which is more common. This is the fact that besides the problem of the heart being distant from the mind, there is also a lack of broken-heartedness (he does not feel broken). When a person is naturally brokenhearted, the vitality of his heart and soul, which resulted from the contemplation, is very strong. It is tried and tested that to the degree that someone is brokenhearted and lowly of heart (he feels like a total nothing), to that degree will his heartfelt excitement be truly established all the more, to illumine and enliven whatever he desires in the service of HaShem all day long, through Torah and mitzvoth and the like.

Also in matters of Chassidus itself; to the degree that a person is lowly and despicable in his own eyes (and even more so, specifically in his heart) to that degree his heart becomes a prepared vessel to contain a greater degree of the Divine excitement that results from contemplation. About this the verse states, “The lips of truth are established forever”[1] and its opposite is “but a lying tongue is only temporary”.[2] This is the aspect of the above mentioned Heyulie melancholy (which is called, “A Good Essence”).

This extends to all the details of the above mentioned matters, whether in regard to contemplation, heartfelt emotions or desire and delight etc. Everything follows that which sets and establishes it, which is the aspect of true broken-heartedness, as mentioned above. This is known and it is as clear as the sun that this also applies to the great personages of the world. The Mishnah thus rules that one should only pray specifically out of a serious frame of mind and a submissive heart,[3] “because HaShem is exalted and He takes note of the lowly”[4] – specifically. This is sufficient for those of understanding.

(There is yet another reason for the quick withdrawal of illumination from the heart. This is because the wicked lusts of one’s heart bring about a stifling atmosphere, for example, a flame will not burn well in stale atmosphere, whereas, the opposite is true of pure atmosphere in the heart. This comes about from having a pure heart and separating one’s self from the materiality of this world and also from boastfulness and frivolity and the like. The foundation of this is the above mentioned matter of broken-heartedness. This is sufficient for those of understanding.)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

[1] Proverbs 12:19

[2] Proverbs, Ibid.

[3] Brachoth 30b

[4] Psalms 138:6

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