Whatever you do, have in mind to give gratification to your Creator, blessed
be He, and do not think-even a little-of your own needs. 1 Even the expectation of personal delight from your service [of
God] is [an ulterior motive] for one’s own concerns. 2
the concept of “service for the sake of Above” (see sect. 2-3). This is the
principle of “Acknowledge Him in all your ways” (Proverbs 3:6; see below,
sect. 94), and “Let all your deeds be for the sake of Heaven” (Avot
2:12), as explained in Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim:231.
service of God implies total disregard of self, to the point of bitul hayesh,
self-negation (see below, sect. 52-53). This excludes the expectation of any
sort of reward (material or spiritual), the pursuit of spiritual attainments (cf.
below, sect. 47), let alone a sense of self-satisfaction. All these are peniyot
(sing. peniyah), ulterior motives of ego-centricity that must be shunned
(see below, sect. 15, 42, 55, 77 and 92).
Tzava'at Harivash is an anthology of teachings and instructions attributed to the Baal Shem Tov and his successor, R. Dov Ber, the Maggid of Mezhrich. The translation, by a foremost authority on Chassidism and Jewish Mysticism, is enhanced by source-references, brief commentaries, notes on the passages that were perceived to be controversial, and a comprehensive introduction.
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