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Yaakov Brawer

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Dr. Yaakov Brawer is professor emeritus at McGill University's Faculty of Medicine, and lectures on Neuroendocrinology and Chassidism. He is the author of two books on Chassidic philosophy, Something From Nothing and Eyes That See
End of Maamer: Reuvain and Gad’s Connection with Transjordan
Samach Vav: uMikneh Rav, Part 13
As pointed out previously, Reuvain and Gad are Ovdei Elokim, whose service is the active refinement of the physical world. Therefore, they specifically chose to possess land that does not share the high level of innate holiness of Eretz Yisroel proper, bu...
The עובד אלקים brings pleasure to his Creator by subjugating the evil within while it remains in full strength in is heart.
Samach Vav: uMikneh Rav, Part 12
The Oved Elokim is not capable of annihilating his evil inclination. His service is rather one of active suppression of the evil below, resulting in defeat of the Sitra Achra above, thus bringing joy to the Almighty (see Tanya, Chapter 27).
The definitive feature of the עובד אלקים is self-transcendence.
Samach Vav: uMikneh Rav, Part 11
The Oved Elokim is characterized not by what he accomplishes so much as how he accomplishes it. An individual could spend many hours in deep learning, expend a fortune in Tzedakah, or perform other Mitzvos with meticulous care and not qualify as an עובד א...
The עובד אלקים seeks nothing for himself.
Samach Vav: uMikneh Rav, Part 10
The Oved Elokim is totally devoid of self-interest, or even self-awareness. His only motivation is to bring joy and satisfaction to his master.
The nature of the Avodah of the עובד אלקים
Samach Vav: uMikneh Rav, Part 9
As discussed previously, Avodah Elokis is a service of subjugation of the body and natural soul to the will of the Creator (acceptance of a yoke). The Rebbe Rashab proceeds to explain that this Avodah is perpetual, even determining how and when the Oved s...
The עובד אלקים
Samach Vav: uMikneh Rav, Part 8
Thus far we have explored Mashalim for the various dimensions of Avodah of the Eved (Yaakov as opposed to Yisorel). We now continue with the essence of Avodah. Avodah Elokis is a service of subjugation of the body and natural soul to the Will of the Creat...
The Avodah of Eved motivated by Ahavah
Samach Vav: uMikneh Rav, Part 7
As we learned previously, the beautiful garments (Mitzvos) provided to the master by the Eved require cleansing, which is accomplished through appropriate Kavanah and Simcha Shel Mitzvah. In the case of the Eved who serves out of love, this Simchah is the...
The Avodah of Eved in providing beautiful and clean garments.
Samach Vav: uMikneh Rav, Part 6
As learned previously, beautiful garments represent the performance of Mitzvos. Garments (positive commandments), although precious, are susceptible to contamination by virtue of the fact that they are performed with physical objects that are originally u...
The Avodah of Eved Motivated by Ahavah
Samach Vav: uMikneh Rav, Part 5
The devoted service of this Eved includes supplying the Adon with the choicest of delicacies as well as beautiful and clean garments. In the Nimshal, the “delicacies” are the products of Birurim of the Middos of the Nefesh Habamis and the refinement of in...
The Avodah of Two Types of Eved
Samach Vav: uMikneh Rav, Part 4
Unlike the Ben, whose devotion and service are natural expressions of the Nefesh Elokis, the Avodah of the Eved is a product of the Guf and therefore requires effort. There are 2 categories of Eved, one whose service is pure Kabbolas Ol motivated by Yirah...
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