The Knowledge Of G-D – 3:2

The first category of “service” cannot be considered to be a level in Divine service at all.  Unfortunately, most people fall into this category and it must therefore be discussed in order to dispel the delusions which people have fallen into, in imagining that they are serving G-d.  These are people who fulfill the commandments (Mitzvot) completely by rote, with no thought into their actions whatsoever.  On the contrary, the commandments (Mitzvot) are actually a burden to them.  Their minds and hearts, and their very souls, are not involved in the Torah which they learn or the actions which they perform.  Therefore their performance of the commandments (Mitzvot) is completely mechanical by nature and devoid of vitality. Although, when they pray, it appears they are praying to G-d, inside, their minds are elsewhere, either occupied with business or worldly and mundane affairs.

This cannot be otherwise, for certainly, their minds cannot be occupied with thoughts of G-d. Never having contemplated G-dliness, they do not know G-d. How then, can they have Him in mind during prayer? Even if they think “G-d” during their prayers, it is devoid of meaning to them and does not arouse any feeling whatsoever, for this is no different than mentioning the name of an individual that one does not know. Certainly, the only reaction can be one of indifference. Those who fall into this category are no better than trained animals which have been taught to act in a certain way.  Certainly, they cannot be regarded as Human beings, since what distinguishes man from beast is his intellect, and though they have been endowed with it, they make no use of it.  They do not ponder the ways of the Creator, and of all existence.  They do not ask themselves, “Where did all this come from?” and “What is the purpose of our existence”. Even if, occasionally, they have fleeting thoughts pertaining to lofty matters, it is completely external and does not penetrate and affect their way of life whatsoever.  This type of “service” is not Divine service at all.

People of this type have no love and fear of G-d at all. Their only fear, if any, is the fear of punishment and retribution for their evil deeds.  Their only love is for the promise of reward for their good deeds.  This is not true love and fear of G-d. Rather, it is a love and fear of self.  They fear pain and suffering, and if they desist from evil, it is only because of this. If they do good deeds and fulfill the commandments, they imagine the great reward that awaits them. In actuality, this is complete self centeredness, which is the antithesis of G-dliness.  (Nonetheless, at times it is necessary for one to awaken this type of love and fear within himself, in order to restrain himself from falling to sinful temptations.  For, certainly, the evil deed itself is worse than this type of fear.)

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