And the second is the exertion of the soul—to reveal the powers of the soul, that the service of exerting one’s thought not be burdensome to it, to delve into and reflect upon the greatness of G-d for a long and uninterrupted period,

וְהַשֵּׁנִית – הִיא יְגִיעַת הַנֶּפֶשׁ, שֶׁלֹּא תִכְבַּד עָלֶיהָ הָעֲבוֹדָה לְיַגֵּעַ מַחֲשַׁבְתָּהּ לְהַעֲמִיק וּלְהִתְבּוֹנֵן בִּגְדוּלַּת ה' שָׁעָה גְדוֹלָה רְצוּפָה.

for this measure of time necessary to immerse oneself in a G-dly concept in order to arouse love or fear of G-d is not the same for every soul. Some people require more time, others less.

כִּי שִׁיעוּר שָׁעָה זוֹ – אֵינוֹ שָׁוֶה בְּכָל נֶפֶשׁ,

There is the naturally refined soul which, immediately upon considering the greatness of G-d, attains a fear and dread of Him.

יֵשׁ נֶפֶשׁ זַכָּה בְּטִבְעָהּ, שֶׁמִּיָּד שֶׁמִּתְבּוֹנֶנֶת בִּגְדוּלַּת ה' – יַגִּיעַ אֵלֶיהָ הַיִּרְאָה וּפַחַד ה',

As is written in Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim, sec. 1, that “When a man reflects that the great King—the supreme King of kings, the Holy One, blessed be He, with Whose glory the whole world is filled—stands over him and sees his actions, he will immediately be overcome with fear….”

כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב בְּשֻׁלְחָן עָרוּךְ אוֹרַח חַיִּים סִימָן א': "כְּשֶׁיִּתְבּוֹנֵן הָאָדָם שֶׁהַמֶּלֶךְ הַגָּדוֹל מֶלֶךְ מַלְכֵי הַמְּלָכִים הַקָּדוֹשׁ־בָּרוּךְ־הוּא, אֲשֶׁר "מְלֹא כָל הָאָרֶץ כְּבוֹדוֹ", עוֹמֵד עָלָיו וְרוֹאֶה בְּמַעֲשָׂיו – מִיָּד יַגִּיעַ אֵלָיו הַיִּרְאָה וכוּ'".

And, as the Shulchan Aruch concludes, “he will be humbled and abashed before G-d.” This is true of one whose soul is naturally refined; he is “immediately…overcome with fear” without great effort or time required on his part.

Then there is a soul that is of lowly nature and origin coming from the lower gradations of the ten sefirot of Asiyah,

וְיֵשׁ נֶפֶשׁ שְׁפָלָה בְּטִבְעָהּ וְתוֹלַדְתָּהּ, מִמְּקוֹר חוּצְבָּהּ מִמַּדְרֵגוֹת תַּחְתּוֹנוֹת דְּי' סְפִירוֹת דַּעֲשִׂיָּה,

Within the World of Asiyah itself, the lowest of all Worlds, this type of soul comes from the lowest of the ten sefirot. It is thus a soul of “lowly nature and origin,” which finds it difficult to conceptualize G-dly matters.

and it is unable to discover G-dliness by contemplation except with difficulty and forceful insistence,12

וְלֹא תוּכַל לִמְצוֹא בְּמַחֲשַׁבְתָּהּ הָאֱלֹהוּת, כִּי אִם בְּקוֹשִׁי וּבְחָזְקָה,

I.e., only by expending a great amount of effort and contemplating G-dliness for a long stretch of time will it be able to secure a degree of G-dly illumination and conceptualize a notion of G-dliness. Only then will this contemplation penetrate such a person so that he will be fearful of G-d.

especially if the soul is not only of a lowly nature, but in addition, it had been defiled by the “sin of youth,” for one’s sins interpose [between a Jew and G-d] (13as is written in Sefer Chassidim, ch. 35).

וּבִפְרָט אִם הוּטַּמְּאָה בְּחַטַּאת נְעוּרִים, שֶׁהָעֲווֹנוֹת מַבְדִּילִים כוּ' [כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב בְּסֵפֶר חֲסִידִים סִימָן ל"ה].

Nevertheless, with difficulty and with forceful effort, when his thought greatly exerts itself with vigor and great toil and intense concentration, immersing [itself] in contemplation of the greatness of G-d for a long time,

וּמִכָּל מָקוֹם, בְּקוֹשִׁי וּבְחָזְקָה – שֶׁתִּתְחַזֵּק מְאֹד מַחֲשַׁבְתּוֹ בְּאוֹמֶץ וִיגִיעָה רַבָּה וְעוֹמֶק גָּדוֹל, לְהַעֲמִיק בִּגְדוּלַּת ה' שָׁעָה גְדוֹלָה –

Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak, sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, said in a talk that a “long time” means “an hour today…an hour tomorrow,” until ultimately, the repetitiveness of intense concentration day after day will ensure that no matter how lowly the soul may be,

there will certainly come to him at least the “lower-level fear” referred to above, i.e., enough to prevent him from doing something which is opposed to G-d’s will.

בְּוַדַּאי תַּגִּיעַ אֵלָיו עַל כָּל פָּנִים הַיִּרְאָה תַּתָּאָה הַנִּזְכֶּרֶת לְעֵיל,

(With regard to the Alter Rebbe’s above assurance that no matter how lowly the soul and notwithstanding its previous sins, still, with intense concentration on G-d’s greatness, it will surely attain the lower level of fear, the Rebbe comments: “We also understand from this that even before [attaining] this [level of fear], the person will surely succeed in undoing his separation [from G-d] that was brought about through his sins, i.e., he will [regret his sins and] repent.”14)

And, as the Rabbis of blessed memory have said: “[If a man says,] I have labored and I have found, believe him.”15

וּכְמוֹ שֶׁאָמְרוּ רַבּוֹתֵינוּ־זִכְרוֹנָם־לִבְרָכָה: "יָגַעְתִּי וּמָצָאתִי – תַּאֲמִין",

The Rebbe explains: One’s labor not only helps a person achieve something commensurate with the amount of labor, similar to payment received for doing a job, it moreover enables him to say, “I have found.” For in the case of a person who finds an object, his find is incomparably greater in value than the labor invested in finding it.

It is also written, with regard to the success one achieves when he labors to attain the fear of G-d: “If you seek it like money, and search for it as forbidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of G-d.”16

וּכְדִכְתִיב: "אִם תְּבַקְשֶׁנָּה כַכָּסֶף וְכַמַּטְמוֹנִים תַּחְפְּשֶׂנָּה – אָז תָּבִין יִרְאַת ה'",

This means: In the manner of a person seeking a hidden treasure buried in the depths of the earth, for which he digs with tireless toil, for he knows that it is surely buried there,

פֵּירוּשׁ, כְּדֶרֶךְ שֶׁמְּחַפֵּשׂ אָדָם מַטְמוֹן וְאוֹצָר הַטָּמוּן בְּתַחְתִּיּוֹת הָאָרֶץ, שֶׁחוֹפֵר אַחֲרָיו בִּיגִיעָה עֲצוּמָה,

so must one delve with unflagging energy in order to reveal the treasure of the fear of heaven, which lies buried and concealed in the understanding of the heart of every Jewish individual,

כָּךְ, צָרִיךְ לַחְפּוֹר בִּיגִיעָה עֲצוּמָה לְגַלּוֹת אוֹצָר שֶׁל יִרְאַת שָׁמַיִם, הַצָּפוּן וּמוּסְתָּר בְּבִינַת הַלֵּב שֶׁל כָּל אָדָם מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל,

Since this treasure is surely concealed within every Jewish heart, all that needs to be done is to dig it out and seek to reveal it.

this “understanding of the heart” being of a quality and level transcending the limitations of time,

שֶהִיא בְּחִינָה וּמַדְרֵגָה שֶׁלְּמַעְלָה מֵהַזְּמַן,

Hence, it cannot be said that during a particular time, this treasure is lacking and unattainable.

and this is the natural, hidden fear referred to above.

וְהִיא הַיִּרְאָה הַטִּבְעִית הַמְסוּתֶּרֶת הַנִּזְכֶּרֶת לְעֵיל.

A question now arises. If this fear is “natural” and is always found within a Jew’s heart, why then is it necessary to take measures involving profound contemplation of G-d’s greatness in order to attain it? The Alter Rebbe therefore goes on to say that since this fear is found in the recesses of the heart, it does not affect one’s actions and enable him to refrain from sinning. It is thus necessary to take steps that will reveal this fear and ensure that it will affect one’s actual deeds.

However, in order that it should be translated into action, in the sense of “fear of sin” so that one will turn away from evil in deed, word, and thought, one needs to bring it to light from the hidden depths of the understanding of the heart, where it transcends time, and to place it within the realm of actual thought that is in the brain.

רַק, שֶׁכְּדֵי שֶׁתָּבֹא לִידֵי מַעֲשֶׂה בִּבְחִינַת יִרְאַת חֵטְא, לִהְיוֹת "סוּר מֵרָע" בְּמַעֲשֶׂה דִּבּוּר וּמַחֲשָׁבָה, צָרִיךְ לְגַלּוֹתָהּ מִמַּצְפּוּנֵי בִּינַת הַלֵּב שֶׁלְּמַעְלָה מֵהַזְּמַן, לַהֲבִיאָהּ לִבְחִינַת מַחֲשָׁבָה מַמָּשׁ שֶׁבַּמּוֹחַ,

[This means] immersing his thought in it for a lengthy period of time until its effect will emerge from the potential into the actual so that it affects the soul and body of man,

לְהַעֲמִיק בָּהּ מַחֲשַׁבְתּוֹ מֶשֶׁךְ זְמַן מָה מַמָּשׁ, עַד שֶׁתֵּצֵא פְּעוּלָּתָהּ מֵהַכֹּחַ אֶל הַפּוֹעַל מַמָּשׁ,

so that he will turn away from evil and do good in thought, speech, and action, because of G-d, Who looks and sees, hears, and listens, perceives all his deeds, and searches his “kidneys and heart.”

דְּהַיְינוּ, לִהְיוֹת "סוּר מֵרָע וַעֲשֵׂה טוֹב" בְּמַחֲשָׁבָה דִּבּוּר וּמַעֲשֶׂה, מִפְּנֵי ה' הַצּוֹפֶה וּמַבִּיט וּמַאֲזִין וּמַקְשִׁיב וּמֵבִין אֶל כָּל מַעֲשֵׂהוּ, וּבוֹחֵן כִּלְיוֹתָיו וְלִבּוֹ,

When a man realizes that G-d scrutinizes his innermost thoughts, he will surely refrain from sinning and will seek instead to perform mitzvot.

As the Rabbis, of blessed memory, said: “Reflect upon three things [and you will not come to sin: Know what is above you]—an Eye that sees and an Ear that hears….”17

וּכְמַאֲמַר רַבּוֹתֵינוּ־זִכְרוֹנָם־לִבְרָכָה: "הִסְתַּכֵּל בִּשְׁלֹשָׁה דְבָרִים כוּ', עַיִן רוֹאָה וְאוֹזֶן שׁוֹמַעַת כוּ'".