On Divine Inspiration – Chapter 7

Let now my opening words shed light on the general differences between the antiquated Chassidus and the Chassidus that my father, master, teacher and rabbi of blessed memory, whose soul reposes in Eden, bequeathed unto us to illuminate our path in the light of his teachings. From the very beginning of his holy work, his principal goal, which I heard from the holy breath of his mouth, not once and not twice, was that the chief aim of all his labor on behalf of the Chassidim, to which he literally devoted his life, was solely that the revelation of G_dliness be revealed in their souls.

This means to say that their souls should specifically be excited with G_dly excitement only, rather than the excitement of bodily life, which is not G_dly excitement at all. This, in short, is the essential intended theme, which differentiates those who serve HaShem with their souls from those who serve HaShem with their bodies. Within this general principle are many varied details.

Though it is well known, it is important to first properly explain the root of this general principle, because most people do not fully understand it. The matter may be understood by prefacing with the well known explanation of the verse, “And you who adhere to HaShem your G_d are all alive today”[1], from which it is understood that if not for this adhesion, they would be considered to be dead rather than alive. A different verse also states, “To love HaShem, for He is your life.”[2]

Now, we cannot say that, “He is your life” refers to “to love HaShem”, in other words, that the love itself is your life. If that were the case the verse should have read, “For she is your life.” This being the case, why does it say “He is your life?” Certainly, the simple meaning of this verse is understood by all, that the words, “For He is your life” gives us the reason for this love. In other words, why should you love G_d? The reason is because He is your life.

However, this being the case, we could ask; why is it necessary to actively bring about an excitement of love of G_d if, because of this adhesion to Him, He already is your very life, literally?

However, as known, there is a difference between the love of G_d and adhesion to Him. The general difference is only in this; that adhesion is the vitality and bond of the soul to the “Life of all Life”, the essence of Ohr Ein Sof,[3] blessed be He, who is called “The Source of the life of all souls”. As known, this is the meaning of, “For He is your life” – literally! Therefore, in regard to the matter of adhesion it says, “You who adhere.” This means that just as a person clings to life, “You who adhere to G_d, do so as a matter of course – because of the root of your soul, which has an essential and permanent bond to G_d, rather than just an aspect of intermittent excitement of love of G_d.

Thus Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai stated, “We are bound with one bond. I am unified in Him etc.”[4] (As will be explained shortly concerning the fifth level of the Divine soul, which is the aspect of the Yechidah etc.) As known, this bond exists in the souls of all Israel, including a person whose spiritual source is only in the aspect of Nefesh of Asiyah. This is why we specifically recite the “Shma Yisrael-Listen O Israel”[5], the purpose of which is to give over one’s soul to HaShem in the first verse, with the word “One.”

The mitzvah, “And you shall love HaShem your G_d”[6], only comes afterwards, in the next verse. This is the aspect of the excitement of the soul which requires the commandment for the soul to labor in the kind of contemplation that arouses love of HaShem, which is called, “The labor of love.”[7] This is clear and known to all. However, the main theme here is the general matter mentioned above, that the excitement should chiefly be specifically an excitement of the Divine. As mentioned above, two levels are included here – adhesion to G_d and love of G_d.

Now, the explanation of the matter is as follows: As known, there are five levels in the Divine soul – Nefesh, Ruach, Neshamah, Chaya, Yechidah, the highest of which is the aspect of Yechidah.[8] The Yechidah is the aspect of the essential bond and adhesion of the soul to HaShem in that one permanently adheres to and is bound to HaShem, as Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai said, “I am unified in Him. I am aflame in Him etc.”[9] This level also exists in every Jew, each one according to his capacity.

This needs proper explanation and clarification: We clearly observe that when any Jew – even one of humble station who has a low and inferior soul in regard to comprehending matters of G_dliness and possessing good character traits – hears an explanation of any concept within the subject of Divine contemplation, such as the transcendence or imminence of G_d etc., his soul becomes very excited.

The source of this sense is the root of his soul which is the Divine aspect of his soul. This is the Yechidah level which is higher than the soul’s faculty of insight. This is the matter and aspect of a Jew’s essential bond with G_d which is called by the term, “Adhesion”, in that the soul adheres and is drawn to G_d because of the essential G_dliness in the essence of his soul. It therefore is drawn and adheres to G_d of its own accord, just as a spark is drawn to the bonfire or the like. It is this which is called actual excitement in G_dliness.

[1] Deuteronomy 4:4

[2] Deuteronomy 30:20

[3] Ohr Ein Sof is a Kabbalistic term meaning “The Limitless Light”.

[4] Zohar, Idra Zuta, Haazinu 288a, 292a.

[5] Deuteronomy 6:4

[6] Deuteronomy 6:5

[7] Zohar BeShalach 54b, Zohar VeEtchanan 267a.

[8] For a full explanation of the five levels of the soul see our book “The Knowledge of G_d” or our commentary on “Shaar HaYichud” of the Mittler Rebbe.

[9] Zohar, Idra Zuta, Haazinu 288a, 292a.

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