The Alter Rebbe will now go on to say that a Jew’s desire for his own soul to be united with its source is an utterly honest one, for every Jew possesses an innate love of G-d.

But the union of the person’s own soul with, and its absorption into, the light of G-d, making them one,

אֲבָל יִחוּד נַפְשׁוֹ וְהִתְכַּלְלוּתָהּ בְּאוֹר ה' – לִהְיוֹת לַאֲחָדִים,

this is what every member of Israel desires in absolute and utter truth, with all his heart and all his soul,

בָּזֶה חָפֵץ כָּל אָדָם מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל בֶּאֱמֶת לַאֲמִיתּוֹ לְגַמְרֵי בְּכָל לֵב וּבְכָל נֶפֶשׁ,

because of the natural love that is hidden in every Jewish heart to cleave to G-d and not, under any circumstances, to be parted or sundered or separated, G-d forbid, from His blessed Unity and Oneness, even at the cost of his very life.

מֵאַהֲבָה הַטִּבְעִית הַמְסוּתֶּרֶת בְּלֵב כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל לְדָבְקָה בַּה', וְלֹא לִיפָּרֵד וְלִהְיוֹת נִכְרָת וְנִבְדָּל חַס וְשָׁלוֹם מִיִּחוּדוֹ וְאַחְדּוּתוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ בְּשׁוּם אוֹפֶן, אֲפִילוּ בִּמְסִירַת נֶפֶשׁ מַמָּשׁ.

This readiness for self-sacrifice surfaces, for example, when a Jew is forced by heathens to bow down to an idol. Even if merely going through the motions would satisfy them and they do not impose their belief upon him, the Jew will be ready to literally sacrifice his life so as not to be sundered from his unity with G-d.

Being engaged in the Torah and commandments and prayer is also a matter of actual surrender of the soul, just as when it leaves the body at the end of seventy years,

וְעֵסֶק הַתּוֹרָה וּמִצְוֹת וְהַתְּפִלָּה, הוּא גַם כֵּן עִנְיַן מְסִירַת נֶפֶשׁ מַמָּשׁ, כְּמוֹ בְּצֵאתָהּ מִן הַגּוּף בִּמְלֹאת שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה,

for then it does not think of bodily needs, but its thought is united with, and clothed in, the letters of the Torah and prayer, which are the word and thought of G-d, and they (the soul and the letters of Torah and prayer—G-d’s thought and speech) truly become one.

שֶׁאֵינָהּ מְהַרְהֶרֶת בְּצָרְכֵי הַגּוּף, אֶלָּא, מַחֲשַׁבְתָּהּ מְיוּחֶדֶת וּמְלוּבֶּשֶׁת בְּאוֹתִיּוֹת הַתּוֹרָה וְהַתְּפִלָּה, שֶׁהֵן דְּבַר ה' וּמַחֲשַׁבְתּוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ, וְהָיוּ לַאֲחָדִים מַמָּשׁ,

This is [also] the whole occupation of the souls in the Garden of Eden, as is stated in the Gemara and in the Zohar,

שֶׁזֶּהוּ כָּל עֵסֶק הַנְּשָׁמוֹת בְּגַן עֵדֶן, כִּדְאִיתָא בַּגְּמָרָא וּבַזֹּהַר,

Just as the soul in heaven has no other occupation apart from Torah and prayer, so, too, a person occupied in Torah and prayer in this world is immersed in it to the exclusion of all material needs and desires. As such, he is then renouncing all materiality and is totally surrendering his soul to G-d. This comes as a result of the love of G-d concealed within every Jewish heart.

except that there, i.e., when souls in Gan Eden are immersed in the letters of Torah and prayer, they delight in their apprehension of, and absorption into, the light of G-d.

אֶלָּא שֶׁשָּׁם מִתְעַנְּגִים בְּהַשָּׂגָתָם וְהִתְכַּלְלוּתָם בְּאוֹר ה'.

Though this delight is lacking in this world, the manner of service remains the same.

This is why it was ordained by the Men of the Great Assembly that one recite at the beginning of the morning blessings before the prayers: “My G-d, the soul [which you have placed within me is pure]…You have breathed it [into me]…and You will eventually take it from me….”

וְזֶהוּ שֶׁתִּקְּנוּ בִּתְחִלַּת בִּרְכוֹת הַשַּׁחַר קוֹדֶם הַתְּפִלָּה: "אֱלֹהַי, נְשָׁמָה וְכוּ' וְאַתָּה נְפַחְתָּהּ כוּ' וְאַתָּה עָתִיד לִיטְּלָהּ מִמֶּנִּי כוּ'",

That is to say: Inasmuch as You have breathed it into me and You will eventually take it from me, I therefore as of now hand it over and return it to You to unite it with Your Oneness,

כְּלוֹמַר, מֵאַחַר שֶׁ"אַתָּה נְפַחְתָּהּ בִּי וְאַתָּה עָתִיד לִיטְּלָהּ מִמֶּנִּי", לָכֵן, מֵעַתָּה אֲנִי מוֹסְרָהּ וּמַחֲזִירָהּ לְךָ לְיַיחֲדָהּ בְּאַחְדּוּתְךָ,

as it is written: “To You, O L-rd, I lift my soul”18 in order to unite it with G-d,

וּכְמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב: "אֵלֶיךָ, ה', נַפְשִׁי אֶשָּׂא",

that is, through binding my thought with Your thought and my speech with Your speech by means of the letters of the Torah and prayer which I utter,

וְהַיְינוּ, עַל יְדֵי הִתְקַשְּׁרוּת מַחֲשַׁבְתִּי בְּמַחֲשַׁבְתְּךָ וְדִיבּוּרִי בְּדִיבּוּרְךָ – בְּאוֹתִיּוֹת הַתּוֹרָה וְהַתְּפִלָּה,

and, especially, when one addresses G-d in the second person, as in the phrase, “Blessed are You,” and the like.

וּבִפְרָט בַּאֲמִירָה לַה' לְנֹכֵחַ, כְּמוֹ "בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה", וּכְהַאי גַּוְונָא.