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

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

אַךְ הָעַצְבוּת מִמִּילֵּי דִשְׁמַיָּא צָרִיךְ לָשִׁית עֵצוֹת בְּנַפְשׁוֹ לִיפָּטֵר מִמֶּנָּה,

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.

אֵין צָרִיךְ לוֹמַר בִּשְׁעַת עֲבוֹדָה, שֶׁצָּרִיךְ לַעֲבוֹד ה' בְּשִׂמְחָה וּבְטוּב לֵבָב,

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,

אֶלָּא אֲפִילוּ מִי שֶׁהוּא בַּעַל עֲסָקִים וְדֶרֶךְ אֶרֶץ, אִם נוֹפֵל לוֹ עֶצֶב וּדְאָגָה מִמִּילֵּי דִשְׁמַיָּא בִּשְׁעַת עֲסָקָיו,

it is certainly a trick of the evil inclination, which saddens him, ostensibly for spiritual reasons, in order to lure him afterward into lusts, G-d forbid, as is well known.

בְּיָדוּעַ שֶׁהוּא תַּחְבּוּלַת הַיֵּצֶר – כְּדֵי לְהַפִּילוֹ אַחַר כָּךְ בְּתַאֲווֹת חַס וְשָׁלוֹם, כַּנּוֹדָע,

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.

For if it were not so, that this depression is the doing of the yetzer hara, from where 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?

שֶׁאִם לֹא כֵן, מֵאַיִן בָּאָה לוֹ עַצְבוּת אֲמִיתִּית מֵחֲמַת אַהֲבַת ה' אוֹ יִרְאָתוֹ, בְּאֶמְצַע עֲסָקָיו.

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:

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:

וְהִנֵּה, בֵּין שֶׁנָּפְלָה לוֹ הָעַצְבוּת בִּשְׁעַת עֲבוֹדָה בְּתַלְמוּד תּוֹרָה אוֹ בִּתְפִלָּה, וּבֵין שֶׁנָּפְלָה לוֹ שֶׁלֹּא בִּשְׁעַת עֲבוֹדָה, זֹאת יָשִׂים אֶל לִבּוֹ:

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

כִּי אֵין הַזְּמַן גְּרָמָא כָּעֵת לְעַצְבוּת אֲמִיתִּית, אֲפִילוּ לְדַאֲגַת עֲוֹנוֹת חֲמוּרִים חַס וְשָׁלוֹם,

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,

רַק לָזֹאת צָרִיךְ קְבִיעוּת עִתִּים וּשְׁעַת הַכּוֹשֶׁר בְּיִשּׁוּב הַדַּעַת, לְהִתְבּוֹנֵן בִּגְדוּלַּת ה' אֲשֶׁר חָטָא לוֹ,

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

כְּדֵי שֶׁעַל יְדֵי זֶה יִהְיֶה לִבּוֹ נִשְׁבָּר בֶּאֱמֶת בִּמְרִירוּת אֲמִיתִּית, וְכִמְבוֹאָר עֵת זוֹ בְּמָקוֹם אַחֵר.

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,

וְשָׁם נִתְבָּאֵר גַּם כֵּן, כִּי מִיָּד אַחַר שֶׁנִּשְׁבַּר לִבּוֹ בְּעִתִּים קְבוּעִים הָהֵם, אֲזַי יָסִיר הָעֶצֶב מִלִּבּוֹ לְגַמְרֵי,

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

וְיַאֲמִין אֱמוּנָה שְׁלֵימָה כִּי ה' הֶעֱבִיר חַטָּאתוֹ "וְרַב לִסְלוֹחַ".

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.

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 virtue of sadness lies in the joy to which it gives rise.

וְזוֹ הִיא הַשִּׂמְחָה הָאֲמִיתִּית בַּה' הַבָּאָה אַחַר הָעֶצֶב, כַּנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל: