מה רב טובך אשר צפנת ליראיך וגו׳

“How abundant is Your goodness which You have hidden away for those who fear You, [which You have wrought for those who trust in You before man].”1

Now the first part of the verse states that the reward is “hidden away,” while its conclusion implies that it is revealed to the sight of man.

The Alter Rebbe will now explain that corresponding to these two forms of reward, the Jew’s spiritual service (that leads to the reward) likewise assumes two forms: there is both a concealed and a revealed form of divine service.

הנה בכלל עובדי ה׳, יש ב׳ בחינות ומדרגות חלוקות

Among those who serve G‑d by fulfilling the Torah and its mitzvot, there are two distinct kinds and levels,

מצד שורש נשמתם למעלה, מבחינת ימין ושמאל

depending on the root of their souls above, in the categories of the “right” (Chesed) and the “left” (Gevurah).

דהיינו, שבחינת שמאל היא מדת הצמצום וההסתר בעבודת ה׳

In terms of the effect of the soul’s root, this means that the “left” is characterized by contraction and concealment in one’s divine service.

כמו שכתוב: והצנע לכת גו׳

Thus, with regard to this manner of service, it is written,2 “...and to walk covertly [with the L‑rd your G‑d]”;

במסתרים תבכה גו׳

[and in another verse we find],3 “in secret places weeps [my soul]...”;

כל העוסק בתורה בסתר כו׳

[and, in the words of our Sages],4 “Whoever engages in the study of the Torah in secret....”

The three above-mentioned quotations refer to the three general modes of divine service: With regard to mitzvot — “to walk covertly”; regarding prayer — “my soul weeps”; and with regard to Torah — “engages in the study of the Torah in secret.”

All the above approaches to divine service result from one of the the traits that characterizes Gevurah, viz., concealment. The Alter Rebbe now goes on to speak of the other dominant trait that characterizes the attribute of Gevurah, viz., contraction.

והנה ממדה זו נמשכה גם כן בחינת הצמצום והגבול בעבודת ה׳

From this attribute derives also the element of contraction and limitation in the service of G‑d;

כמו בצדקה, להיות נידון בהשג יד

for example, having one’s disbursements to charity adjudged according to one’s means,5

והמבזבז, אל יבזבז יותר מחומש

and [setting one’s limits in the spirit of the teaching],6 “He who gives lavishly, should not expend more than one fifth.”

וכהאי גונא בתלמוד תורה ושארי מצות, די לו שיוצא ידי חובתו מחיוב מפורש שחייבתו התורה בפירוש

Likewise, as regards the study of Torah and the other commandments, such a person is satisfied if he discharges his definite duty which the Torah explicitly obligates him to do,

לקבוע עתים כו׳

such as to set aside certain times [for Torah study].

Thus, the soul’s root in the Supernal “left”, in the attribute of Gevurah, will lead one to act in a manner consistent with its character trait of limitation: so that he will give only as much tzedakah, study only as much Torah, and perform the mitzvot only to the degree that he is obligated.

וממנה נמשך גם כן מה שאמרו רז״ל: זרוק מרה בתלמידים כו׳

From it derives also the teaching of our Sages, of blessed memory,7 “Cast awe upon the pupils....”8

אך בחינת ימין היא מדת החסד וההתפשטות בעבודת ה׳

By contrast, the characteristic of the “right” is the attribute of Chesed and expansiveness — serving G‑d

בהתרחבות, בלי צמצום והסתר כלל

with amplitude, without any contraction or concealment whatever,

כמו שכתוב: ואתהלכה ברחבה כו׳

as it is written,9 “And I will walk about expansively...,”

וגם בלי צמצום וגבול כלל

and without any contraction or limitation whatever. I.e., with such an individual, not only the approach to divine service but also its execution is characterized by a broad sweep.

ואין מעצור לרוח נדבתו, בין בצדקה ובין בתלמוד תורה ושאר מצות

There is no restraint to the spirit of his generosity, whether it be with respect to charity, the study of Torah, or other commandments.

ולא די לו לצאת ידי חובתו בלבד, אלא עד בלי די כו׳

He is not satisfied with merely discharging his obligation, but [continues]10 “to the extent of never [saying] ‘Enough!’...”

These, then, are the two types of divine service that result from the soul’s being rooted either in the “right” or the “left”.

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