After [carrying out the service of gor’in], one must begin the service of mosifin, seeing to it that he increase his deeds of service to G‑d, [following the advice] that our Sages [give to a baal teshuvah] in Tana DeBei Eliyahu:1 “If one was accustomed to reading one chapter, he should read two chapters. If he was accustomed to reading one page, he should read two pages.” The same applies with regard to other mitzvos. He should endeavor to add to all aspects of his Divine service; for example, he should recite the Shema and the Shemoneh Esreh with greater concentration and intent, with love and fear [of G‑d]. Similarly, [he should express] his positive character traits [in increasing measure], following the charge:2 “Cling to His attributes. Just as He is merciful, so too, you should be merciful….”

It can be explained that this is the concept of “repentance of the scale,”3 i.e., that [the person’s repentance and the good deeds that he performs as a result balance his previous conduct]: that is, to the extent that he previously sought and took pleasure in material matters, he should diligently take upon himself the yoke of holiness, the yoke of Torah and the yoke of mitzvos. He should fully immerse himself [in these holy matters] and take pleasure in them. Preferably, an individual who seeks mastery over his soul4 (i.e., he serves G‑d for the sake of rectifying his soul) should act [in a manner of] “measure for measure,” adding in an area that corresponds [to one in which he had stumbled].5 He should invest the same energy — indeed, greater energy — in holiness.

In this context, the successive stages of gor’in and mosifin can be understood as paralleling “the repentance of the fence”6 and “the repentance of the scale,”3 respectively. Gor’in represents “the repentance of the fence” — that one fences in and restrains the expression of his animal soul. Just as a predatory beast is contained within an iron fence so that it will not do harm, so too, teshuvah of this nature involves fencing off and restraining the self-expression of the animal soul. One tightly shuts his eyes to prevent himself from seeing the objects of his desires; he plugs his ears so that he will not hear those things he craves to hear. All of this is carried out with strength and might, fencing in the animal soul so that it cannot move out of its confines.

Mosifin reflects “repentance of the scales.” To the same extent that he was previously attached and given over to worldly matters, he should now dedicate himself to matters of holiness.

[The intent of the third phase,] dorshin, reflects the charge:7 “You shall examine and inspect,” probing and seeking out even the subtle evil in his character so he can eliminate it and thereby become “pure of heart.”8 The intent is that his heart will become pure and clean [and thus] capable of internalizing the [spiritual] concepts understood by his mind.

[To explain the uniqueness of that attainment: It is possible that] when it comes to comprehension, [a person has no difficulty]. All is well (for every person can understand things perfectly well). For example, on an intellectual level, the concept that G‑d’s names Havayah and Elokim are all one9 can be conceived thoroughly. [Indeed,] the elaborate explanation of this concept is known full well. [To explain the concept in brief:] When we see that a given entity exists, we are forced to conclude that another entity serves as its source and brings it into being. The entity that brings any form of existence (yesh) into being cannot be of the same type of existence as that entity which is brought into existence,10 because [the possibility of making] one entity from another [without an intervening ayin]11 is utter falsehood.12 Instead, the force that brings the entity into existence must be ayin, [a spiritual entity that cannot be comprehended by the entity it brings into existence,] the ayin of G‑dliness. A person feels [this truth] within his soul. From this, he understands how this concept is reflected in the physical world: that what is fundamentally important is the ayin of G‑dliness, [the true source of the world’s existence]. Thus he understands that nature (הטבע, in Hebrew, a term numerically equivalent to G‑d’s name Elokim) is, in truth, [Havayah, the Divine name that is] above nature. The above can be understood thoroughly, yet this understanding does not filter down to the heart.

[What prevents this flow? In the body, the head is connected to its trunk — the lodging for the heart — through the neck. Now, the neck is narrower than the head and the trunk, implying that for a concept to pass from the mind to the heart, there must be a process of contraction. As this process of contraction takes place, obstacles may arise that impede the flow of this knowledge. Our Rabbis identified these obstacles with Pharaoh, noting that the name] Pharaoh (פרעה) shares the same letters as the word הערף, “the neck,”13 which is positioned at the narrowing of the throat and intervenes so that a concept understood intellectually will not reach the heart in the manner that it was originally grasped. [In particular,] there are three ministers of Pharaoh, [the butler, the baker, and the butcher]. These correspond to the windpipe, the esophagus, and the jugular vein. [The correspondent qualities within our personalities all impede the flow of understanding and knowledge from the brain to the heart.]

[As mentioned above, it is intellectually possible to understand how Havayah, the G‑dliness that transcends nature, permeates and is one with nature. Pharaoh, however, prevents that understanding from affecting one’s heart and the feelings therein.] Thus, Pharaoh said:14 “I do not know Havayah.” “Who is Havayah that I should listen to Him?”14 Pharaoh was familiar with the G‑dliness represented by the name Elokim, the G‑dliness [manifest in] nature.15 Nevertheless, with regard to the name Havayah, G‑dliness that transcends nature, Pharaoh said: “Who is Havayah?

Pharaoh’s ministers (who, in general, can be identified with the worldly manner of looking at things mentioned above) represent frigidity to G‑dly matters, and warmth and passion for worldly matters. They prevent the understanding of the mind, [including the comprehension of G‑d’s transcendence,] from reaching the heart.

The “inspection” mentioned above involves seeking out even hidden evil, the subtle dimensions of evil in one’s personality, for it is this evil that prevents the light of comprehension from reaching the heart. Through scrupulous self-examination, one removes even this subtle evil and becomes “pure of heart.”8

[More specifically,] בר [translated as “pure,”] has two meanings: a) pure or clean [as mentioned], and grain or produce.16 When a person labors in his Divine service to remove the “narrowing of the throat” mentioned above, his heart becomes pure and clean. He is then able to receive understanding in his heart to the same degree as it exists in his mind. And then his heart brings forth produce. For “the heart distributes [influence] to all sides,”17 i.e., the heart gives strength and power to every limb and organ, for, as is well known, through the beating of the heart,18 [blood is circulated to all limbs and organs]. Thus it is the heart that enables all the limbs and organs to function in a manner appropriate for them.

These two dimensions are interdependent: When the heart is pure and clean, it is able to receive understanding to the same degree as it exists in the mind. Then, [as a consequence,] “the heart distributes [influence] to all sides,” i.e., all of the limbs and organs act in accordance with the understanding of the brain.


[This section continues the discussion of gor’in, u’mosifin, vedorshin.] Mosifin is explained as referring to increasing in holiness. In that vein, it can be explained that mosifin is comparable to “the repentance of the scale”; and gor’in, “the repentance of the fence.” Dorshin refers to examining and inspecting, seeking the subtle evil hidden in one’s soul.

Eliminating such evil causes one to be “pure of heart.” One’s intellectual understanding can then be internalized within the heart. The heart then “distributes [influence] to all sides”; [circulating influence to all the limbs and organs of the body].