Likutei Amarim Chapter 41, Class 11

Conclusion of Chapter 41.   

Speaking of the form of service that was earlier deemed surrender of the soul, the Alter Rebbe will now go on to say that it should be undertaken not for the sake of returning the soul to its original source, but only to cause G‑d pleasure.

והנה כל כוונתו במסירת נפשו לה׳ על ידי התורה והתפלה, להעלות ניצוץ אלקות שבתוכה למקורו

Now, all one’s intent in the surrender of his soul to G‑d through Torah and prayer, to elevate the spark of G‑dliness therein — in the soul — back to its source,

תהא רק כדי לעשות נחת רוח לפניו יתברך, כמשל שמחת המלך בבוא אליו בנו יחידו בצאתו מן השביה ובית האסורים כנ״ל

should be solely for the purpose of causing Him gratification, like the joy of a king when his only son returns to him, after having been released from captivity or imprisonment, as has been explained earlier.

In ch. 31, the Alter Rebbe compared the soul’s return to G‑d through Torah and prayer to the return of a captive prince to his overjoyed father, the king. For a Jewish soul is G‑d’s child; hence His great joy when it is reunited with Him, after its imprisonment within the body and animal soul. Accordingly, as a Jew prepares to study Torah and engage in prayer, his spiritual objective should be that this reunion come about for the sole purpose of bringing joy to the soul’s father, the King.

However, the Alter Rebbe explained earlier that in order to attain this degree of selfless love, one must have attained an extremely lofty degree of spirituality, a level possessed only by tzaddikim. How, then, is this to be expected of every Jew?

The Alter Rebbe therefore goes on to explain that when the purpose of one’s service is simply to restore his own soul to its source — and not the souls of all Jews to their source — then this lofty degree of selfless love is not a prerequisite. The latent love of G‑d possessed by all Jews is sufficient to cause one to desire to bring Him this manner of gratification.

והנה כוונה זו היא אמיתית באמת לאמיתו לגמרי בכל נפש מישראל בכל עת ובכל שעה

Now, this intent, solely to bring gratification to G‑d by returning one’s own soul to G‑d, is genuine and truly and completely sincere in every Jewish soul at all times and at every hour,

מאהבה הטבעית שהיא ירושה לנו מאבותינו

by virtue of the natural love which is a heritage bequeathed to us by our ancestors.

רק שצריך לקבוע עתים להתבונן בגדולת ה׳, להשיג דחילו ורחימו שכליים

Nevertheless, one should not be satisfied merely with this level of service: one needs to establish set periods for reflecting on the greatness of G‑d in order to attain intellectually-generated fear and love,

וכולי האי ואולי וכו׳ כנ״ל

and with all that, perhaps [one may succeed] in attaining such fear and love, as has been stated previously.

Thus, although one already possesses a hidden love of G‑d which enables him to study Torah and pray out of a readiness to surrender his very soul, he should still seek to attain that level of fear and love of G‑d that is born of his own intellectual endeavor.

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