Likutei Amarim Chapter 42, Class 11

Conclusion of Chapter 42

It is the realization that the king is found within the garments that creates the fear of him. And the same, the Alter Rebbe will conclude, is true here. When a person becomes accustomed to remember that when he gazes upon created beings he is in reality gazing upon the King’s garments, he will then come to fear Him.

אלא העיקר הוא ההרגל, להרגיל דעתו ומחשבתו תמיד, להיות קבוע בלבו ומוחו תמיד, אשר כל מה שרואה בעיניו, השמים והארץ ומלואה, הכל הם לבושים החיצונים של המלך הקב״ה

The essential thing, however, is the training to habituate one’s mind and thought continuously, so that it always remain imprinted in his heart and mind, that everything one sees with his eyes — the heavens and earth and all they contain — constitutes the outer garments of the king, the Holy One, blessed be He.

ועל ידי זה יזכור תמיד על פנימיותם וחיותם

In this way he will constantly remember their inwardness and vitality, which is G‑dliness. This will create within him a fear of G‑d.

The Rebbe explains that what now follows answers a question: How can we possibly say here that the nullification of the world to G‑d is a concept that can be perceived intellectually, when in ch. 33 the Alter Rebbe explained that this was a matter of faith? In this chapter too, we have learned that it is a matter of faith — “that all Jews are believers, descendants of believers,” and so on. Faith and intellect are not only distinct entities, they are antithetical; for example, when something is understood, faith is not necessary.

The Alter Rebbe therefore now goes on to explain that this intellectual perception is also implicit in the word emunah(“faith”). For this word is etymologically rooted in the word uman (“artisan”). In order for an artisan with a talent for painting, creating vessels, or whatever, to be successful, he must habituate and train his hands; only then will they reveal the latent talents of the artistry found in his soul.

The same is true here: The soul of every Jew possesses the abovementioned faith. However, in order for this faith to be actualized, so that one’s actions will be in consonance with it, one must habituate and train himself to realize that all he sees — heaven and earth and all of creation — are but G‑d’s external garments. By constantly remembering that their inwardness is G‑dliness, the soul’s essential faith will be revealed and will affect one’s actions. His bodily organs will then follow the dictates of his faith.

וזה נכלל גם כן בלשון אמונה, שהוא לשון רגילות, שמרגיל האדם את עצמו, כמו אומן שמאמן ידיו וכו׳

This is also implicit in the word emunah (“faith”), which is a term indicating “training” to which a person habituates himself, like a craftsman who trains his hands, and so forth.

The Rebbe notes that “who trains his hands” means: “He is cognizant of the craft in his soul; he has a natural talent for it, but needs only to train his hands, so that it will find tangible expression in his actions (be it through art, or fashioning vessels, or the like).”

Thus, the analogue contains both aspects: The king sees the individual, and he sees the king, as it were, by looking at created beings and perceiving through them the divine life-force that vitalizes them.

* * *

The Rebbe notes that the reason the Alter Rebbe now goes on to say “There should also be etc.” is that until now it has been explained how a Jew generates the fear of heaven through intellectual contemplation. The degree of fear he arouses will correspond exactly to the extent of his contemplation; the deeper the contemplation, the greater his fear. It also depends on how much each individual is governed by his intellect. Furthermore, it is too much to expect that allpeople constantly achieve a state of intellectual awareness — yet all people are obliged to stand in constant fear of heaven. The Alter Rebbe therefore now goes on to elaborate on a frame of mind which can and must exist constantly — “acceptance of the yoke of the Kingdom of Heaven.” This is not attained through contemplation. Rather it comes as a result of faith alone — and this state can exist constantly in all individuals.

וגם להיות לזכרון תמיד לשון חז״ל: קבלת עול מלכות שמים, שהוא כענין: שום תשים עליך מלך

There should also be a constant remembrance (it is constant because it does not depend on prior contemplation, but rather on pure faith) of the dictum of the Sages, of blessed memory, “acceptance of the yoke of the Kingdom of Heaven,” which parallels the injunction,28 “You shall appoint a king (i.e., G‑d) over you,”

כמו שכתוב במקום אחר וכו׳

as has been explained elsewhere, and so on.

This is also what the Alter Rebbe says earlier in Tanya (beginning of ch. 41): “Even though after all this [meditation] no fear or dread descends upon him in a manifest manner in his heart,” still he should accept upon himself G‑d as his king, and accept upon himself the yoke of the heavenly Kingdom. As the Alter Rebbe explains there, this attribute is found within every Jew in a sincere manner, because of the nature of Jewish souls not to rebel against G‑d, the King of kings. This level of fear can therefore always be present.

כי הקב״ה מניח את העליונים והתחתונים ומייחד מלכותו עלינו וכו׳, ואנחנו מקבלים וכו׳

For G‑d, blessed be He, forgoes the creatures of the higher and lower worlds, i.e., they are not the ultimate intent of creation, and uniquely bestows His kingdom upon us, …and we accept [the heavenly yoke].

וזהו ענין ההשתחוואות שבתפלת שמונה עשרה, אחר קבלת עול מלכות שמים בדבור בקריאת שמע

And this is the significance of the obeisances in the prayer of the Eighteen Benedictions, following the verbal acceptance of the yoke of the Kingdom of Heaven in the Reading of Shema, when we say, “…the L‑rd is our G‑d, the L‑rd is one,” and so on,

לחזור ולקבל בפועל ממש במעשה וכו׳, כמו שכתוב במקום אחר

whereby one accepts it once again in actual deed, and so on (for by bowing in the course of the prayer ofShemoneh Esreh one shows one’s acceptance in actual deed of one’s self-nullification to G‑d), as is explained elsewhere.



26.  Bava Batra 25a.

27.  The Rebbe notes: “Cf. Mishnah, Sanhedrin, end of ch. 2.”

28.  Devarim 17:15.

Comments are closed.