Ch. 41, Class # 3

Continuation of  41

ובעטיפת ציצית יכוין כמו שכתוב בזהר, להמשיך עליו מלכותו יתברך

And while putting on the tzitzit one should bear in mind what is written in the Zohar, namely, that he should draw upon himself His blessed Kingdom,

אשר היא מלכות כל עולמים וכו׳ ,לייחדה עלינו על ידי מצוה זו

which is the Kingdom over all worlds; nevertheless,6 we should intend and endeavor to focus [G‑d’s Kingdom] specifically over ourselves, through this mitzvah — for the commandment of tzitzit is particularly effective in enhancing one’s acceptance of the yoke of heaven.

והוא כענין: שום תשים עליך מלך

This is similar to [the commandment]: “You shall surely set a king over yourself.”7Edit

The Rebbe notes: The verse implies8 that before one set a king over himself he had no king, and it is he who now sets the king over himself.

ואזי אף אם בכל זאת לא תפול עליו אימה ופחד בהתגלות לבו

In such a case, i.e., having contemplated this matter, then: even though after all this [meditation] no fear or dread descends upon him in a manifest manner in his heart,

מכל מקום מאחר שמקבל עליו מלכות שמים וממשיך עליו יראתו יתברך בהתגלות מחשבתו ורצונו שבמוחו

nevertheless, since he accepts the Kingdom of Heaven upon himself, and draws upon himself the fear of Him in his conscious thought and rational volition,

וקבלה זו היא אמיתית בלי שום ספק, שהרי היא טבע נפשות כל ישראל שלא למרוד במלך הקדוש יתברך

and this submission to G‑d and his fear of Him is beyond doubt a sincere one — for it is the nature of all Jewish souls not to rebel against the blessed Holy King —

הרי התורה שלומד או המצוה שעושה מחמת קבלה זו ומחמת המשכת היראה שבמוחו נקראות בשם עבודה שלימה

then the Torah he studies or the commandment he performs because of his submission to the heavenly yoke and because of the fear that he has drawn into his mind, are termed “complete service,” of the kind that can result only from a fear of G‑d, as the Alter Rebbe soon goes on to say,

ככל עבודת העבד לאדונו ומלכו

like all service [performed] by a servant for his master or king, which is, of course, prompted by fear and awe.

All this can be accomplished by arousing — even if only in his mind — at least a minimal level of fear, and utilizing it in the study of Torah and the performance of the commandments.

מה שאין כן אם לומד ומקיים המצוה באהבה לבדה כדי לדבקה בו על ידי תורתו ומצותיו, אינה נקראת בשם עבודת עבד

On the other hand, if one studies [Torah] and performs a commandment with love alone, in order to cleave to Him through [the study of] His Torah and [the performance of] His commandments, then this is not termed “service of a servant,”

והתורה אמרה: ועבדתם את ה׳ אלקיכם וגו׳ ואותו תעבודו וגו׳

whereas the Torah has declared:9 “You shall serve (vaavadetem) the L‑rd your G‑d….” This verb is cognate with the noun eved (servant or slave), and signifies service motivated by the fear and awe of G‑d; and it is likewise written:10 “Him shall you serve (taavodu)….”

וכמו שכתוב בזהר פרשת בהר : כהאי תורא דיהבין עליה עול בקדמיתא, בגין לאפקא מיניה טב לעלמא כו׳, הכי נמי איצטריך לבר נש לקבלה עליה עול מלכות שמים בקדמיתא כו׳, ואי האי לא אשתכח גביה לא שריא ביה קדושה כו׳

As explained in the Zohar (Parshat Behar): “Just like the ox on which one first places a yoke in order to make it useful to the world,…so too must a human being first of all submit to the yoke of the Kingdom of Heaven,…and only then engage in divine service; and if this [submission] is not found in him, holiness cannot rest within him….”

וברעיא מהימנא שם דף קי״א עמוד ב׳, שכל אדם צריך להיות בשתי בחינות ומדריגות

And (in Ra‘aya Mehemna, ibid., 111b) it is written that every man must in his divine service belong to two categories and levels,

והן בחינת עבד ובחינת בן

namely, the category of a servant, who serves his master out of fear, and the category of a son, who serves his father out of love.

ואף דיש בן שהוא גם כן עבד, הרי אי אפשר לבא למדריגה זו בלי קדימת היראה עילאה, כידוע ליודעים

And although one may find a son who is also a servant, it is impossible to attain to this degree without the prerequisite of the higher level of fear and awe known as yirah ila‘ah, as is known to the initiated.

It is clear from all the above that even if one loves G‑d, but lacks a fear of Him, his spiritual labors will not be of the kind that the Torah calls avodah, divine service. And should he fail in his attempts at awakening a fear of G‑d in his heart, he should at least arouse a feeling of fear and awe in his mind.

But what of one who finds it impossible to arouse even a feeling of intellectual awe of G‑d? — The Alter Rebbe will now go on to say that since this individual, too, meditates upon the above-mentioned concepts, and, furthermore, his intent during the study of Torah and the performance of mitzvot is to serve G‑d, these activities are therefore also deemed to constitute a completely valid form of service.

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Footnotes

6. “As explained at the beginning of the chapter.” (— Comment by the Rebbe.)
7.  Devarim 17:15.
8. See Likkutei Torah, Masei 90d.
9. Shmot 23:25.
10. Devarim 13:5.