Ch. 42, Class 4

Continuation of Chapter 42

אך עיקר הדעת אינה הידיעה לבדה, שידעו גדולת ה׳ מפי סופרים ומפי ספרים

However, the essence of knowledge which leads one to serve G‑d with his whole soul and heart, is not mere knowing alone, that people should know the greatness of G‑d from authors (i.e., sages and spiritual guides) and books,

אלא העיקר הוא להעמיק דעתו בגדולת ה׳, ולתקוע מחשבתו בה׳ בחוזק ואומץ הלב והמוח

but the essential thing is to immerse one’s own mind deeply into those things which explain the greatness of G‑d, and fix one’s thought on G‑d with strength and vigor of the heart and mind,

עד שתהא מחשבתו מקושרת בה׳ בקשר אמיץ וחזק, כמו שהיא מקושרת בדבר גשמי שרואה בעיני בשר ומעמיק בו מחשבתו

until his thought shall be bound to G‑d with a strong and mighty bond, as it is bound to a material thing which he sees with his physical eyes and upon which he concentrates his thought.

When one does so, he is mightily bound up with the object of his thoughts and is unable to free himself from them. Thinking about G‑d and His greatness should be done in the selfsame all-absorbing manner — and thereby the thinker will be truly bound up with Him.

כנודע שדעת הוא לשון התקשרות, כמו: והאדם ידע וגו׳

For it is known that Daat connotes union, as in the verse,8 “And Adam yada (lit., ‘knew’) Eve….”The word ידע in this verse connotes union. Thus, Daat entails knowing something to the point that one is completely united with it. The same is true regarding knowledge of G‑dliness. Although when one just knows G‑dliness, he is already fulfilling a mitzvah, still this does not suffice; it is necessary that one achieve the union of Daat by meditating deeply on G‑d’s greatness.

וכח זה ומדה זו, לקשר דעתו בה׳, יש בכל נפש מבית ישראל ביניקתה מנשמת משה רבנו, עליו השלום

This capacity and this quality of attaching one’s Daat to G‑d, so that he not only understands, but also feels G‑dliness and so becomes wholly united with Him, is present in every soul of the House of Israel, by virtue of its nurture (yenikah, lit., “suckling”) from the soul of our teacher Moses, peace unto him.

רק מאחר שנתלבשה הנפש בגוף, צריכה ליגיעה רבה ועצומה, כפולה ומכופלת

Only, since the soul has clothed itself in the body, it needs a great and mighty exertion, doubled and redoubled, in order to feel and be attached to G‑d.

While it is true that the soul has this capacity by dint of its being nurtured from the soul of Moses (for were the soul lacking this capacity, then even the greatest effort would be of no avail, for how can a created being possibly comprehend and feel its Creator? How can a soul enclothed in a body feel and be bound to G‑dliness?), nevertheless, even after possessing this capacity, it requires a prodigious effort to actually comprehend and feel G‑dliness.

FOOTNOTES 

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8.  See above, ch. 3.

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