Likutei Amarim Chapter 15, Class # 2

Middle of Chapter 15.

The Alter Rebbe now goes on to discuss the difference between “he who serves G‑d” and “he who serves Him not,” who, as the Talmud declares, is notwicked.

ובבינוני יש ג״כ שתי מדרגות, עובד אלקים ואשר לא עבדו

In the category of Beinoni there are also two levels: “He who serves G‑d” and “he who serves Him not.”

ואף על פי כן אינו רשע

Yet he who “serves Him not” is not wicked, although he does not wage war with his evil nature,

כי לא עבר מימיו שום עבירה קלה

for never in his life has he committed even a minor transgression in the realm of negative commandments.

וגם קיים כל המצות שאפשר לו לקיימן, ותלמוד תורה כנגד כולם

He has also fulfilled all the positive commandments which he was able to fulfill, including the precept of Torah study — which is equal to all the other commandments combined—

ולא פסיק פומיה מגירסא

to the extent that his mouth never ceased from study, despite the difficulty involved in this.


Yet he is still described as one who “does not serve G‑d,” for

שאינו עושה שום מלחמה עם היצר

he does not wage any battle against his evil inclination

לנצחו על ידי אור ה׳ המאיר על נפש האלקית שבמוח, השליט על הלב כנ״ל

to vanquish it through the aid of the Divine light that illuminates the G‑dly soul abiding in the brain, which rules over the heart — as explained above7 that the G‑dly soul and the Divine light illuminating it are the Beinoni’s answer to his evil inclination. He (“who serves Him not”) does not struggle with it —

מפני שאין יצרו עומד לנגדו כלל לבטלו מתורתו ועבודתו, ואינו צריך ללחום עמו כלל

for his evil inclination does not oppose him at all in an attempt to deter him from his Torah study and divine service, and thus he need not wage any war against it.

כגון שהוא מתמיד בלמודו בטבעו מתולדתו, על ידי תגבורת המרה שחורה

So it is, for example, with one who is by nature an assiduous student due to his stolid temperament,

וכן אין לו מלחמה מתאות נשים מפני שהוא מצונן בטבעו

and who is also free of conflict with sexual desire due to his frigid nature;

וכן בשאר תענוגי עולם הזה הוא מחוסר הרגש הנאה בטבעו

and similarly with other mundane pleasures he need not exert himself to master a desire for them, for he naturally lacks any feeling for enjoyment.

ולכן אין צריך להתבונן כל כך בגדולת ה׳, להוליד מבינתו רוח דעת ויראת ה׳ במוחו

For this reason he does not need to contemplate so much on the greatness of G‑d to consciously create a spirit of knowledge and fear of G‑d in his mind

להשמר שלא לעבור על מצות לא תעשה

in order to guard himself from transgressing any prohibitive commandments.

ואהבת ה׳ בלבו, לדבקה בו בקיום המצות, ותלמוד תורה כנגד כולן

He also need not create a love of G‑d in his heart, which would motivate him to bind himself to Him through fulfilling the positive commandments and through Torah study which equals all the other commandments together.

אלא די לו באהבה מסותרת אשר בלב כללות ישראל, שנקראו אוהבי שמו

The hidden love of G‑d found in the heart of all Jews, who are called8 “the lovers of His name,” is sufficient for him to motivate his fulfilling the commandments, since he is naturally so inclined.

For a Jew who must engage in battle with his evil inclination, the love hidden in his heart is not enough. He must arouse it to an active, conscious state. For the person who is free of conflict with evil, however, this hidden love (together with his naturally favorable character traits) is sufficient.

ולכן אינו נקרא עובד כלל

For this reason, he is not considered “one who is serving G‑d” at all.

כי אהבה זו המסותרת אינה פעולתו ועבודתו כלל, אלא היא ירושתנו מאבותינו לכלל ישראל, וכמ״ש לקמן

For this latent love is not of his making or achievement by any means. It is our inheritance, bequeathed by our Patriarchs to the entire Jewish nation, as will be explained further.9

With this the Alter Rebbe concluded the thought that within the level ofBeinoni there are two sub-categories — “he who serves G‑d,” and “he who serves Him not.”

He now goes on to say that even one who is not naturally endowed with traits favorable to G‑d’s service, may yet come under the category of “he who serves Him not.”

7. See chs. 12 and 13.
8. Tehillim 69:37.
9. Chs. 18, 19, and 44.

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