Likutei Amarim Chapter 49, Class 2

Continuation of Chapter 49

The Alter Rebbe now goes on to say that just as G‑d’s love for the Jews “overcame all obstacles” that (as it were) stood in the way of creating this physical world, contracting His infinite light so that finite beings could be created, so, too, should every Jew respond in kind by overcoming all obstacles that hinder him from serving G‑d. Furthermore, his level of service too should not be finite but infinite.

והנה כמים הפנים לפנים

And “as water mirrors the reflection of a face”:

Just as water reflects an exact replica of one’s face, so, too, with regard to the “heart of man to his fellow man,” the love of one person to another results in the other person’s loving him as well:

כמו שהקב״ה כביכול הניח וסילק לצדדין דרך משל את אורו הגדול הבלתי תכלית וגנזו והסתירו בג׳ מיני צמצומים שונים, והכל בשביל אהבת האדם התחתון, להעלותו לה׳

As G‑d has (as it were) laid down and set aside, figuratively speaking, His great infinite light, and has stored it away and concealed it by means of three different kinds of “contractions” — and all this because of His love for lowly man, in order to raise him up to G‑d,


This means to say that G‑d created a world in which man may serve Him, and by doing so man is uplifted to G‑d. But how is it possible for love to bring about “contraction”, when love signifies kindness and expansiveness, while contraction and concealment characterize severity? The Alter Rebbe answers this implied question by pointing out that we find that love, too, can bring about contraction, as in the Gemara now quoted:

כי אהבה דוחקת את הבשר

for 2 “love impels the flesh,” so that the flesh will not impede it. Thus, because of G‑d’s love for His people, He (figuratively speaking) set aside His great light and concealed it through many contractions, and so on. This being so:

על אחת כמה וכמה, בכפלי כפליים לאין קץ, כי ראוי לאדם גם כן להניח ולעזוב כל אשר לו מנפש ועד בשר, ולהפקיר הכל

how much more, and an infinite number of times more, is it fitting that a man also should relinquish and set aside all he possesses, both spiritually and physically, and renounce everything,

בשביל לדבקה בו יתברך בדביקה חשיקה וחפיצה, ולא יהיה שום מונע מבית ומחוץ, לא גוף ולא נפש ולא ממון ולא אשה ובנים

in order to cleave to Him, with attachment, desire and longing, without any hindrance, within or without, neither of body nor soul — hindrances from “within”, nor money, nor wife and children — hindrances from “without”. None of these things should hinder him from cleaving to G‑d. By renouncing them all he sets aside even his most important needs for the sake of his love of G‑d.




2. Bava Metzia 84a.

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