Ch. 26, Class # 1

Beginning of Chapter 26

In the previous chapters, the Alter Rebbe explained how it is “very near to you,” i.e., how it is very easy and accessible to every Jew to serve G‑d with love and awe. He stated that this can be accomplished either by creating a love and fear of G‑d through meditation on G‑d’s greatness, or by arousing the “hidden love” (which also comprises a fear of G‑d) inherent in every Jew.

In the coming chapters, the Alter Rebbe will discuss means of overcoming possible obstacles in the path of one’s service to G‑d. In the first instance, he shows how one may overcome the sadness, and dullness of heart, whereby the heart becomes insensitive to feelings of love and fear of G‑d.

ברם כגון דא צריך לאודועי כלל גדול

But this must be made known as a cardinal principle:

כי כמו שנצחון לנצח דבר גשמי, כגון שני אנשים המתאבקים זה עם זה להפיל זה את זה

It is with the service of G‑d just as it is with a victory over a physical opponent; for instance, two people who wrestle with each other, each striving to fell the other.

הנה אם האחד הוא בעצלות וכבדות ינוצח בקל ויפול, גם אם הוא גבור יותר מחבירו

If one of them is lazy and sluggish he will easily be defeated and will fall, even if he be stronger than the other, since his laziness and sluggishness prevent him from revealing his strength.

ככה ממש בנצחון היצר

Similarly with the conquest of one’s evil nature.

Despite the fact that the good nature is stronger than the evil, for as explained in previous chapters, “Even a little of the light of holiness dispels much darkness of the kelipah,” yet here too the previous rule applies; and thus:

אי אפשר לנצחו בעצלות וכבדות, הנמשכות מעצבות וטמטום הלב כאבן

It is impossible to conquer the evil nature with laziness and sluggishness, which stem from sadness and a stone-like dullness of the heart,

כי אם בזריזות, הנמשכת משמחה ופתיחת הלב, וטהרתו מכל נדנוד דאגה ועצב בעולם

but rather with alacrity, which derives from joy and an open i.e., responsive heart that is unblemished by any trace of worry and sadness in the world.