But what of one who finds it impossible to arouse even a feeling of intellectual awe of G‑d? — The Alter Rebbe will now go on to say that since this individual, too, meditates upon the above-mentioned concepts, and, furthermore, his intent during the study of Torah and the performance of mitzvot is to serve G‑d, these activities are therefore also deemed to constitute a completely valid form of service.

והנה אף מי שגם במוחו ומחשבתו אינו מרגיש שום יראה ובושה

Furthermore, even in the case of an individual who even in his mind and thought feels no fear or shame,

I.e., an individual who is not moved by his contemplation of G‑d uniquely bestowing His Kingdom upon him, and furthermore, is not moved by the consideration that G‑d is scrutinizing him to see if he is serving Him as is fitting,

מפני פחיתות ערך נפשו ממקור חוצבה ממדריגות תחתונים די׳ ספירות דעשיה

on account of the limited grade of his soul, originating in the lower degrees of the Ten Sefirot of Asiyah,

The soul of this individual derives from Asiyah, the lowest of the Four Worlds. Moreover, within this World itself, it originates from the lowest degrees of the Ten Sefirot that span it. Since his soul stems from such a lowly level, he finds it impossible to reveal within himself a sensitivity to G‑dliness, to experience even an intellectual fear of G‑d.

אף על פי כן מאחר שמתכוין בעבודתו כדי לעבוד את המלך, הרי זו עבודה גמורה

nevertheless, since he is intent in his service to serve the King, this is unequivocally a complete service.

כי היראה והעבודה נחשבות לשתי מצות במנין תרי״ג, ואינן מעכבות זו את זו

For fear and service are accounted as two commandments of the total of 613, and they do not exclude each other.

Thus, although this individual fails to fulfill the command of fearing G‑d, for fear must be felt in one’s heart and at the very least in one’s mind, he is nevertheless able to fulfill the precept of divine service by studying Torah and performing the commandments with the intention that he is thereby serving G‑d, his King.

After all this has been said, the Alter Rebbe will now say, that although this person fails to experience the fear even in his mind, yet since he thinks about those ideas which should evoke fear, he is fulfilling the command of fearing G‑d.

ועוד, שבאמת מקיים גם מצות יראה במה שממשיך היראה במחשבתו

Furthermore, as a matter of fact, he not only fulfills the obligation of service, he also fulfills the commandment of fearing [G‑d] by introducing the fear into his thought — by thinking about it and seeking to arouse it,

כי בשעה ורגע זו, על כל פנים, מורא שמים עליו, על כל פנים כמורא בשר ודם הדיוט לפחות, שאינו מלך, המביט עליו

for at this hour and moment, at any rate, there rests upon him the fear of heaven, at least like one’s fear in the presence of an ordinary mortal, even not a king, who is watching him,

שנמנע בעבורו מלעשות דבר שאינו הגון בעיניו

when he would refrain from doing anything unseemly in the other’s eyes.

שזו נקראת יראה, כמו שאמר רבן יוחנן בן זכאי לתלמידיו: יהי רצון שיהא מורא שמים עליכם כמורא בשר ודם כו׳

This — even this simple expression of fear — is termed fear; as Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai said to his disciples:1 “May it be G‑d’s Will that the fear of heaven be upon you like the fear of a human being.”

Whereupon his disciples protested: “No more than this?!”

תדעו כשאדם עובר עבירה, אומר: שלא יראני אדם כו׳

He responded that the proof that this is indeed a true form of fear is as follows: “...For you know that when a person commits a sin, he says [to himself]: ‘May no one see me!’...”

Such fear, held Rabbi Yochanan, would ensure that they refrain from sinning.

At any rate, we note that this manner of fear is duly designated as “fear of heaven,” because it distances a person from sin. Accordingly, attaining this level of fear through meditation amounts to a proper fulfillment of the command to fear G‑d.

רק שיראה זו נקראת יראה תתאה ויראת חטא, שקודמת לחכמתו

Such fear, however, is termed yirah tata‘ah (“lower-level fear”) and yirat chet (“fear of sin”), which precedes wisdom;2 i.e., it is only a lower level of fear, a fear of transgressing, rather than a fear of G‑d Himself,

For “wisdom” is an appelation for the fulfillment of Torah and mitzvot, inasmuch as3 “the ultimate purpose of wisdom is repentance and good deeds.” This lower level of fear is therefore considered a prelude to Torah and mitzvot. And, indeed, in this spirit our Sages state:4 “If there is no fear, there is no wisdom.”

Conversely,5 however, our Sages also state:6 “If there is no wisdom, there is no fear,” which would seem to imply the very opposite — that wisdom precedes fear.

In fact there is no contradiction between the two statements. For there are two levels of fear: (a) yirah tata‘ah, the lower level of fear, and (b) yirah ila’ah, the higher level of fear.

The lower level of fear is a necessary prelude to “wisdom”, to the proper fulfillment of Torah and mitzvot. The higher level of fear, however, can only be attained after “wisdom”, i.e., after the proper performance of Torah and mitzvot. Hence, “If there is no wisdom, there is no fear.”

ויראה עילאה הוא ירא בושת כו׳

while the higher fear is a “shamefaced fear,” i.e., the state of being abashed and overawed in G‑d’s presence.

דאית יראה ואית יראה כו׳

For there are two kinds of fear... — the lower level of fear which leads to the performance of Torah and mitzvot, and the higher level of fear which results from the proper performance of Torah and mitzvot.

אבל בלי יראה כלל, לא פרחא לעילא באהבה לבדה, כמו שהעוף אינו יכול לפרוח בכנף אחד

Without any fear at all, however, it i.e., one’s fulfillment of Torah and mitzvot does not soar on high to the supernal Sefirot through love alone, just as a bird cannot fly with one wing,7

דדחילו ורחימו הן תרין גדפין כמו שכתוב בתיקונים

for fear and love are the two wings (as stated in Tikkunei Zohar).

The spiritual wings of love and fear of G‑d elevate the Torah and mitzvot performed under their impetus to the supernal Sefirot, as explained in the previous chapters. When one lacks a fear of G‑d and acts only out of love, he is operating with only one “wing”, thus making it impossible for his Torah and mitzvot to soar on high.

וכן היראה לבדה היא כנף אחד, ולא פרחה בה לעילא, אף שנקראת עבודת עבד

Similarly, fear alone is but one wing, and [one’s service] cannot ascend with it on high, even though it is termed the “service of a servant,” duly motivated by awe, or fear,

וצריך להיות גם כן בחינת בן

for there must also be [the service characteristic of] a “son”, i.e., service motivated by love,

לעורר האהבה הטבעית על כל פנים המסותרת בלבו, שתהא בהתגלות מוחו על כל פנים

in order to awaken at least the natural love for G‑d that is hidden in one’s heart, so that he should at least become conscious of it in his mind,

לזכור אהבתו לה׳ אחד במחשבתו וברצונו לדבקה בו יתברך

to recall his love of the One G‑d in his thought, and in his desire to cleave to Him. This recollection of his hidden love for G‑d should arouse within him a desire to cleave to Him.

וזאת תהיה כוונתו בעסק התורה או המצוה הזו

This should be his intent when occupying himself with the Torah, or with the particular commandment he is about to perform, viz.,

לדבקה בו נפשו האלקית והחיונית ולבושיהן כנ״ל

that his divine soul as well as his vivifying soul, together with their “garments”, shall cleave to Him, as has been explained above.

In summary: a Jew’s divine service must embrace both that of a son who serves his father out of love, and that of a servant who serves his master out of fear and awe.