Ch. 41, Class 9


Continuation of chapter 41

The Alter Rebbe will now go on to say that a Jew’s desire for his own soul to be united with its source is an utterly honest one, for every Jew possesses an innate love of G‑d.

אבל יחוד נפשו והתכללותה באור ה׳ להיות לאחדים

But the union of the person’s own soul with, and its absorption into, the light of G‑d, making them one,

בזה חפץ כל אדם מישראל באמת לאמיתו לגמרי, בכל לב ובכל נפש

this is what every member of Israel desires in absolute and utter truth, with all his heart and all his soul,

מאהבה הטבעית המסותרת בלב כל ישראל, לדבקה בה׳ ולא ליפרד ולהיות נכרת ונבדל חס ושלום מיחודו ואחדותו יתברך בשום אופן, אפילו במסירות נפש ממש

because of the natural love that is hidden in every Jewish heart to cleave to G‑d and not, under any circumstances, to be parted or sundered or separated, G‑d forbid, from His blessed Unity and Oneness, even at the cost of his very life.

This readiness for self-sacrifice surfaces, for example, when a Jew is forced by heathens to bow down to an idol. Even if merely going through the motions would satisfy them, and they do not impose their belief upon him, the Jew will be ready to literally sacrifice his life so as not to be sundered from his unity with G‑d.

ועסק התורה ומצות והתפלה הוא גם כן ענין מסירת נפש ממש, כמו בצאתה מן הגוף במלאת שבעים שנה

Being engaged in the Torah and commandments and prayer is also a matter of actual surrender of the soul, just as when it leaves the body at the end of seventy years,

שאינה מהרהרת בצרכי הגוף, אלא מחשבתה מיוחדת ומלובשת באותיות התורה והתפלה, שהן דבר ה׳ ומחשבתו יתברך, והיו לאחדים ממש

for then it does not think of bodily needs, but its thought is united with, and clothed in, the letters of the Torah and prayer, which are the word and thought of G‑d, and they (the soul and the letters of Torah and prayer — G‑d’s thought and speech) truly become one.

שזהו כל עסק הנשמות בגן עדן, כדאיתא בגמרא ובזהר

This is [also] the whole occupation of the souls in the Garden of Eden, as is stated in the Gemara and in the Zohar,

Just as the soul in heaven has no other occupation apart from Torah and prayer, so too, a person occupied in Torah and prayer in this world is immersed in it to the exclusion of all material needs and desires. As such, he is then renouncing all materiality and is totally surrendering his soul to G‑d. This comes as a result of the love of G‑d concealed within every Jewish heart.

אלא ששם מתענגים בהשגתם והתכללותם באור ה׳

except that there, i.e., when souls in Gan Eden are immersed in the letters of Torah and prayer, they delight in their apprehension of, and absorption into, the light of G‑d.

Though this delight is lacking in this world, the manner of service remains the same.

וזהו שתקנו בתחלת ברכות השחר קודם התפלה: אלקי נשמה וכו׳ אתה נפחתה וכו׳ ואתה עתיד ליטלה ממני כו׳

This is why it was ordained by the Men of the Great Assembly that one recite at the beginning of the morning blessings, before the prayers: “My G‑d, the soul [which you have placed within me is pure]… You have breathed it [into me]… And You will eventually take it from me….”

כלומר: מאחר שאתה נפחתה בי ואתה עתיד ליטלה ממני, לכן מעתה אני מוסרה ומחזירה לך, לייחדה באחדותך

That is to say: Inasmuch as You have breathed it into me and You will eventually take it from me, I therefore as of now hand it over and return it to You, to unite it with Your Oneness,

וכמו שכתוב: אליך ה׳ נפשי אשא

as it is written:19 “To You, O L‑rd, I lift my soul,” in order to unite it with G‑d,

והיינו על ידי התקשרות מחשבתי במחשבתך ודיבורי בדבורך, באותיות התורה והתפלה

that is, through binding my thought with Your thought, and my speech with Your speech, by means of the letters of the Torah and prayer which I utter;

ובפרט באמירה לה׳ לנכח, כמו: ברוך אתה, וכהאי גוונא

and, especially, when one addresses G‑d in the second person, as in the phrase, “Blessed are You,” and the like.

Footnotes.                                                                                                                                          _____

19. Tehillim 25:1.

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