Ch. 26, Class # 6

End of Chapter 26

The Alter Rebbe now goes on to discuss a different type of sadness, that caused by one’s failings in matters of the spirit.

אך העצבות ממילי דשמיא, צריך לשית עצות בנפשו ליפטר ממנה

As for sadness connected with heavenly matters, one must seek ways and means of freeing oneself from it.

אין צריך לומר בשעת עבודה, שצריך לעבוד ה‘ בשמחה ובטוב לבב

That this applies to the time of one’s divine service, is self-evident, for one must serve G‑d with joy and gladness of heart.

אלא אפילו מי שהוא בעל עסקים ודרך ארץ, אם נופל לו עצב ודאגה ממילי דשמיא בשעת עסקיו

But even one who is occupied in business and worldly affairs, should there descend upon him any sadness or anxiety about heavenly matters during his business affairs,

בידוע שהוא תחבולת היצר, כדי להפילו אחר כך בתאוות, חס ושלום, כנודע

it is certainly a trick of the Evil Inclination which saddens him, ostensibly for spiritual reasons, in order to lure him afterwards into lusts, G‑d forbid, as is well known.

It is man’s nature to seek pleasure and not to remain depressed. If his feeling of spiritual failure distresses him, he will seek his pleasure in physical gratification. The Evil Inclination therefore wishes that one be depressed, be it even over spiritual matters, so that he will later succumb to temptation.

שאם לא כן, מאין באה לו עצבות אמיתית, מחמת אהבת ה‘ או יראתו, באמצע עסקיו

For if it were not so, that this depression is the doing of the Yetzer Hara, whence would a genuine sadness, one that is derived from love or fear of G‑d, come to him in the midst of his business affairs?

Since a genuine sadness is an expression of love or fear of G‑d, it should express itself at a time when these emotions are active — during prayer, Torah study and the like, but not during one’s business. Clearly, then, the sadness is artificial, created by the Yetzer Hara for its own purposes, and one must therefore rid himself of it. The next paragraph provides the means:

והנה, בין שנפלה לו העצבות בשעת עבודה בתלמוד תורה או בתפלה, ובין שנפלה לו שלא בשעת עבודה, זאת ישים אל לבו

Whether the depression settles upon him during his service of G‑d in Torah study or prayer, or when he is not engaged thus, but with his material affairs, this is what he should consider:

כי אין הזמן גרמא כעת לעצבות אמיתית, אפילו לדאגת עונות חמורים, חס ושלום

“Now is not the proper time for genuine sadness, nor even for worry over grave sins, G‑d forbid.

רק לזאת צריך קביעות עתים ושעת הכושר בישוב הדעת, להתבונן בגדולת ה’ אשר חטא לו

For this one must set aside opportune times, when the mind is calm, to reflect on the greatness of G‑d against Whom he has sinned,

כדי שעל ידי זה יהיה לבו נשבר באמת במרירות אמיתית, וכמבואר עת זו במקום אחר

so that thereby his heart will truly be rent with genuine bitterness i.e., bitterness — remorse — as opposed to depression; the former is alive and active, while the latter is resigned and ”dead“. It is explained elsewhere when this time should be.20

ושם נתבאר גם כן כי מיד אחר שנשבר לבו בעתים קבועים ההם, אז יסיר העצב מלבו לגמרי

There it is also explained that immediately after his heart has been broken during those appointed times, he should completely remove the sorrow from his heart,

ויאמין אמונה שלימה כי ה‘ העביר חטאתו, ורב לסלוח

and he should believe with perfect faith that G‑d has erased his sin, and that ”He pardons abundantly.“

Thus, even if one has sinned repeatedly against Him, G‑d will readily forgive him as though he had sinned for the first time; unlike man, who easily forgives a first offense but finds it difficult to do so when the offense is oft repeated.

וזו היא השמחה האמיתית בה’ הבאה אחר העצב, כנ״ל

This knowledge that G‑d has surely cleansed him of his sins is the true joy in G‑d which follows the sadness, as explained above —that the advantage of sadness lies in the joy to which it gives rise.

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FOOTNOTES

20. See Iggeret HaTeshuvah, chs. 7, 11.

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