With this preparedness to surrender his soul to G-d, i.e., through engaging in Torah and prayer in the same spirit in which a man surrenders his soul to G-d before his demise,

וְהִנֵּה, בַּהֲכָנָה זוֹ שֶׁל מְסִירַת נַפְשׁוֹ לַה',

one should begin to recite the morning benedictions: “Blessed are You…” and so on, these benedictions being the beginning of one’s prayers.

יַתְחִיל בִּרְכוֹת הַשַּׁחַר, "בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה כוּ'",

Similarly, with this preparedness, one should also begin a regular course of study immediately after prayer.

וְכֵן בַּהֲכָנָה זוֹ יַתְחִיל לִלְמוֹד שִׁיעוּר קָבוּעַ מִיָּד אַחַר הַתְּפִלָּה,

In the words of the Sages, “From the House of Prayer (lit., ‘the House of Assembly’) to the House of Study.” As with prayer, this regular study session should also be preceded by the resolve to surrender one’s soul wholly to G-d.

So also, in the course of the day, before one begins to study, such preparation at least is necessary,

וְכֵן בְּאֶמְצַע הַיּוֹם, קוֹדֶם שֶׁיַּתְחִיל לִלְמוֹד, צְרִיכָה הֲכָנָה זוֹ לְפָחוֹת,

as is known, that in the case of beinonim, the essential preparation and intent “for its own sake,” where it is indispensable, is before the beginning of study.

כַּנּוֹדָע, שֶׁעִיקַּר הַהֲכָנָה לִשְׁמָהּ לְעַכֵּב – הוּא בִּתְחִלַּת הַלִּימּוּד בַּבֵּינוֹנִים,

This is the same as in the case of [writing] a bill of divorce or a scroll of the Torah, where “for their own sake” is an indispensable requirement, and should this intention be lacking, they are invalid,

וּכְמוֹ בְּגֵט וְסֵפֶר תּוֹרָה, שֶׁצְּרִיכִים לִשְׁמָהּ לְעַכֵּב,

and it is sufficient if at the commencement of writing a Torah scroll, [the scribe] says: “I am now about to write for the sacred purpose of the scroll of the Torah” or in the case of a bill of divorce, “For him and for her,” and so on.

וְדַיּוֹ שֶׁיֹּאמַר בִּתְחִלַּת הַכְּתִיבָה: "הֲרֵינִי כּוֹתֵב לְשֵׁם קְדוּשַּׁת סֵפֶר תּוֹרָה", אוֹ "לִשְׁמוֹ וְלִשְׁמָהּ" כוּ'.

Similarly, it is sufficient for a beinoni to have the intention of “for its own sake” at the beginning of his study.

And when he studies for a number of consecutive hours, he should reflect on the preparedness referred to above, at least at hourly intervals.

וּכְשֶׁלּוֹמֵד שָׁעוֹת הַרְבֵּה רְצוּפוֹת, יֵשׁ לוֹ לְהִתְבּוֹנֵן בַּהֲכָנָה זוֹ הַנִּזְכֶּרֶת לְעֵיל, בְּכָל שָׁעָה וְשָׁעָה עַל כָּל פָּנִים,

For in each hour, there is a different flow from the higher worlds to animate those who dwell here below, while the flow of vitality from on high of the previous hour returns to its source,

כִּי, בְּכָל שָׁעָה וְשָׁעָה הִיא הַמְשָׁכָה אַחֶרֶת מֵעוֹלָמוֹת עֶלְיוֹנִים לְהַחֲיוֹת הַתַּחְתּוֹנִים, וְהַמְשָׁכַת הַחַיּוּת שֶׁבְּשָׁעָה שֶׁלְּפָנֶיהָ – חוֹזֶרֶת לִמְקוֹרָהּ

(in accordance with the esoteric principle of “Advancing and Retreating” expounded in Sefer Yetzirah),

[בְּסוֹד "רָצוֹא וָשׁוֹב" שֶׁבְּסֵפֶר יְצִירָה]

As the divine life-force animates the world, alternately “Advancing and Retreating,” it is first drawn down into this world and then it returns to its source in the higher spiritual worlds. Each hour, then, the creative life-force of the previous hour returns to its source,

together with all the Torah and good deeds of those who dwell here below.

עִם כָּל הַתּוֹרָה וּמַעֲשִׂים טוֹבִים שֶׁל הַתַּחְתּוֹנִים,

For in each of the twelve hours of the day, there rules one of the twelve combinations of [the letters that form] the Four-Letter Name of G-d,19 while the combinations of [the letters that comprise] the Divine Name A-D-N-Y rule at night, as is known.

כִּי בְּכָל שָׁעָה שׁוֹלֵט צֵירוּף אֶחָד מִי"ב צֵירוּפֵי שֵׁם הֲוָיָ"ה בָּרוּךְ־הוּא בְּי"ב שְׁעוֹת הַיּוֹם, וְצֵירוּפֵי שֵׁם אַדְנַ"י בַּלַּיְלָה, כַּנּוֹדָע.

Speaking of the form of service that was earlier deemed surrender of the soul, the Alter Rebbe will now go on to say that it should be undertaken not for the sake of returning the soul to its original source but only to cause G-d pleasure.

Now, all one’s intent in the surrender of his soul to G-d through Torah and prayer to elevate the spark of G-dliness therein—in the soul—back to its source,

וְהִנֵּה, כָּל כַּוָּונָתוֹ בִּמְסִירַת נַפְשׁוֹ לַה' עַל יְדֵי הַתּוֹרָה וְהַתְּפִלָּה, לְהַעֲלוֹת נִיצוֹץ אֱלֹהוּת שֶׁבְּתוֹכָהּ לִמְקוֹרוֹ,

should be solely for the purpose of causing Him gratification, like the joy of a king when his only son returns to him after having been released from captivity or imprisonment, as has been explained earlier.

תְּהֵא רַק כְּדֵי לַעֲשׂוֹת נַחַת רוּחַ לְפָנָיו יִתְבָּרֵךְ, כִּמְשַׁל שִׂמְחַת הַמֶּלֶךְ בְּבוֹא אֵלָיו בְּנוֹ יְחִידוֹ, בְּצֵאתוֹ מִן הַשִּׁבְיָה וּבֵית הָאֲסוּרִים, כַּנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל.

In ch. 31, the Alter Rebbe compared the soul’s return to G-d through Torah and prayer to the return of a captive prince to his overjoyed father, the king. For a Jewish soul is G-d’s child, hence His great joy when it is reunited with Him after its imprisonment within the body and animal soul. Accordingly, as a Jew prepares to study Torah and engage in prayer, his spiritual objective should be that this reunion come about for the sole purpose of bringing joy to the soul’s father, the King.

However, the Alter Rebbe explained earlier that in order to attain this degree of selfless love, one must have attained an extremely lofty degree of spirituality, a level possessed only by tzaddikim. How, then, is this to be expected of every Jew?

The Alter Rebbe therefore goes on to explain that when the purpose of one’s service is simply to restore his own soul to its source—and not the souls of all Jews to their source—then this lofty degree of selfless love is not a prerequisite. The latent love of G-d possessed by all Jews is sufficient to cause one to desire to bring Him this manner of gratification.

Now, this intent, solely to bring gratification to G-d by returning one’s own soul to G-d, is genuine and truly and completely sincere in every Jewish soul at all times and at every hour,

וְהִנֵּה, כַּוָּונָה זוֹ הִיא אֲמִיתִּית בֶּאֱמֶת לַאֲמִיתּוֹ לְגַמְרֵי, בְּכָל נֶפֶשׁ מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל, בְּכָל עֵת וּבְכָל שָׁעָה,

by virtue of the natural love which is a heritage bequeathed to us by our ancestors.

מֵאַהֲבָה הַטִּבְעִית שֶׁהִיא יְרוּשָּׁה לָנוּ מֵאֲבוֹתֵינוּ.

Nevertheless, one should not be satisfied merely with this level of service: one needs to establish set periods for reflecting on the greatness of G-d in order to attain intellectually generated fear and love,

רַק שֶׁצָּרִיךְ לִקְבּוֹעַ עִתִּים לְהִתְבּוֹנֵן בִּגְדוּלַּת ה', לְהַשִּׂיג דְּחִילוּ וּרְחִימוּ שִׂכְלִיִּים,

and with all that, perhaps [one may succeed] in attaining such fear and love, as has been stated previously.

וְכוּלֵּי הַאי וְאוּלַי וְכוּ', כַּנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל:

Thus, although one already possesses a hidden love of G-d which enables him to study Torah and pray out of a readiness to surrender his very soul, he should still seek to attain that level of fear and love of G-d that is born of his own intellectual endeavor.