Ch. 18, Class # 3

End of chapter 18

ולכן כל ישראל אפילו הנשים ועמי הארץ הם מאמינים בה׳, שהאמונה היא למעלה מן הדעת וההשגה

Hence all Jews, even the women and the illiterate, who have no knowledge of G‑d’s greatness, believe in G‑d, since faith is beyond understanding and comprehension; i.e., faith represents the ability to grasp that which the intellect cannot.

כי פתי יאמין לכל דבר, וערום יבין וגו׳

For, as Scripture states:13 “The fool believes everything, but the clever man understands.”

That is, the fool, lacking understanding, grasps every subject through the medium of faith, while the clever man’s grasp is based on reason. However, this derogation of the fool for approaching every idea with faith, can apply only where the subject of his belief is within the grasp of reason. In this case, the basis for his faith is his own lack of understanding, and he is therefore called a fool. When dealing with G‑dliness, however, which is essentially beyond comprehension, there is no other approach, as the Alter Rebbe goes on to say:

ולגבי הקב״ה, שהוא למעלה מן השכל והדעת, ולית מחשבה תפיסא ביה כלל, הכל כפתיים אצלו יתברך

In relation to the Almighty, Who is beyond intelligence and knowledge, and Who can in no way be comprehended by any thought — all men are like fools before Him, and they can therefore grasp Him only through faith.

כדכתיב: ואני בער ולא אדע, בהמות הייתי עמך, ואני תמיד עמך וגו׳

As it is written,14 “I am foolish and ignorant, I am as a beast before You — and I am constantly with You…,”

כלומר שבזה שאני בער ובהמות, אני תמיד עמך

meaning that “because I approach You as a fool and a beast — i.e., through the irrational power of faith — precisely therefore and thereby am I constantly with You.”

ולכן אפילו קל שבקלים ופושעי ישראל מוסרים נפשם על קדושת ה׳ על הרוב, וסובלים עינוים קשים, שלא לכפור בה׳ אחד

Therefore, as a rule, even the most worthless of the worthless and the sinners among Israel sacrifice their lives for the sanctity of G‑d’s Name and suffer harsh torture rather than deny G‑d’s unity,

ואף אם הם בורים ועמי הארץ ואין יודעים גדולת ה׳

even if they be boors and illiterates who are ignorant of G‑d’s greatness.

וגם במעט שיודעים אין מתבוננים כלל, ואין מוסרים נפשם מחמת דעת והתבוננות בה׳ כלל

Even the little knowledge that they do possess is not what motivates them, for they do not delve into it at all; so that by no means does their self-sacrifice result from any knowledge or contemplation of G‑d.

אלא בלי שום דעת והתבוננות, רק כאלו הוא דבר שאי אפשר כלל לכפור בה׳ אחד

Rather, they are prepared to sacrifice their lives without any knowledge or reflection, but as though it were absolutely impossible to renounce the one G‑d,

בלי שום טעם וטענה ומענה כלל

without any reason or rational argument whatsoever.

Were their readiness to face martyrdom intellectually motivated, the benefits and costs of the act would first be carefully weighed. But in fact we see that the decision to sacrifice oneself is not based on such rational arguments, stemming instead from a non-intellectual resolve that it is simply impossible to do otherwise.

והיינו משום שה׳ אחד מאיר ומחיה כל הנפש

This is so because the one G‑d illuminates and animates the entire soul,

על ידי התלבשותו בבחינת חכמה שבה, שהיא למעלה מן הדעת והשכל המושג ומובן

through being clothed in its faculty of Chochmah, which is beyond any graspable knowledge or intelligence.

Since the light of the Ein Sof is vested in every Jew’s soul, everyone, regardless of his level of knowledge, is prepared to sacrifice his life for his faith in G‑d.

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FOOTNOTES
12. Our interpretation of the foregoing passage follows a comment by the Rebbe where the Rebbe dismisses the notion that the Alter Rebbe speaks here of two sub-levels within Chochmah. The Rebbe maintains that neither the context nor the wording permit such an interpretation.
13. Mishlei 14:14.
14. Tehillim 73:22-23.

 

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