והנה בהכנה זו של מסירת נפשו לה׳

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,

יתחיל ברכות השחר: ברוך אתה כו׳

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

וכן בהכנה זו יתחיל ללמוד שיעור קבוע מיד אחר התפלה

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

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.

וכן באמצע היום קודם שיתחיל ללמוד, צריכה הכנה זו לפחות

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

כנודע שעיקר ההכנה לשמה לעכב, הוא בתחלת הלימוד בבינונים

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.

וכמו בגט וספר תורה שצריכים לשמה לעכב

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,

ודיו שיאמר בתחלת הכתיבה: הריני כותב לשם קדושת ספר תורה או לשמו ולשמה כו׳

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.

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

וכשלומד שעות הרבה רצופות, יש לו להתבונן בהכנה זו הנ״ל בכל שעה ושעה על כל פנים

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

כי בכל שעה ושעה היא המשכה אחרת מעולמות עליונים להחיות התחתונים, והמשכת החיות שבשעה שלפניה חוזרת למקורה

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,

בסוד רצוא ושוב שבספר יצירה

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

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,

עם כל התורה ומעשים טובים של התחתונים

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

כי בכל שעה שולט צירוף אחד מי״ב צירופי שם ה׳ ברוך הוא בי״ב שעות היום, וצרופי שם אדנ״י בלילה, כנודע

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,1 while the combinations of [the letters that comprise] the Divine Name A-D-N-Y rule at night, as is known.

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.

והנה כל כוונתו במסירת נפשו לה׳ על ידי התורה והתפלה, להעלות ניצוץ אלקות שבתוכה למקורו

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,

תהא רק כדי לעשות נחת רוח לפניו יתברך, כמשל שמחת המלך בבוא אליו בנו יחידו בצאתו מן השביה ובית האסורים כנ״ל

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.

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.

והנה כוונה זו היא אמיתית באמת לאמיתו לגמרי בכל נפש מישראל בכל עת ובכל שעה

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,

מאהבה הטבעית שהיא ירושה לנו מאבותינו

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

רק שצריך לקבוע עתים להתבונן בגדולת ה׳, להשיג דחילו ורחימו שכליים

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,

וכולי האי ואולי וכו׳ כנ״ל

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

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.