Other words for [our]G‑d. The Shaloh (p. 181a) 1 quotes the Midrash that a person who establishes fixed times for Torah study is considered as one who “forsakes the Torah.”

The Shaloh questions that statement, noting that “establishing fixed times for Torah study” [is a positive quality]. [Indeed,] the first quality about which a person will be asked [when he appears before the Heavenly tribunal is: Did you establish fixed times for Torah study?] (The Jerusalem Talmud, Berachos, ch. 9, by contrast, states that a person who studies Torah at fixed times abrogates [G‑d’s] covenant. [The apparent contradiction between these sources can be resolved based on] the statement of the [Babylonian] Talmud, Sanhedrin 99b, [which censures severely] someone who studies Torah only at appointed times. 2)

[In this light,] it can be explained that [the Shaloh’s] intent [when referring to a person who fixes times for Torah study] is that he is precise to keep those fixed times, and does not add to them, for he regards the matter as a burden.

[To make a comparison:] The mishnah, Berachos, ch. 4, 3 speaks of making one’s prayer “fixed.” The Gemara 4interprets this as referring to someone who considers his prayers as a burden. For prayer which is considered as a burden can never be [an entreaty] for mercy and supplication. Nor can it rightly be called prayer, for the entire purpose of prayer is the intent within the person’s heart and his inner feeling. And when a person regards his prayer as a burden, his intent is the direct opposite.

Similar concepts apply with regard to Torah study: Since he regards it as a burden, it is not considered as Torah study. In particular, this applies with regard to the study of Chassidus. If a person regards it as a burden, it will never bring about any change [within his personality]. For the entire point of this study is the feeling of G‑dliness involved.

Instead, the study of Chassidus must be with will and desire. [When motivated by such an intent,] [a person] will not be miserly regarding the time he studies. He will realize that by studying Chassidus, he will gain with regard to the study of Nigleh. For he will be able to comprehend more in a brief amount of time than another colleague could in a longer period.

(It is far easier to arouse oneself to study Chassidus with desire and energy than to motivate oneself to study Nigleh in such a manner. For one is [obviously] studying a G‑dly subject, and with even a small degree of connection to the subject which one is studying, one will discover vitalizing energy within it. For since this [study] is [identified] essentially with the Tree of Life, as stated in ch. 13, it is easier to derive vitalizing energy from it.

[The students] should study out loud. For vocalizing [one’s study] arouses the concentration of the heart and increases the energy one feels in study.)

This will be the touchstone: When [a student] is not that precise about the schedule [and is willing to devote himself to the study of Chassidus more than what is required of him,] this will show that [the student] cherishes Chassidus, and it will have an effect on him, illuminating his soul with the light of life.

Synopsis: [This chapter emphasizes that a student] should not consider the study [of Chassidus] a burden. He should not be precise about keeping the schedule [paying his dues, as it were, without going beyond its limits].

(It explains that it is easier to derive vitalizing energy from the study of Chassidus, and [states] that [Chassidus] should be studied out loud.)