We don’t know when the Alter Rebbe, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, said this maamar, and only an abbreviated transcript survives. But we do know that the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory, cherished it very much. Shortly before his mother’s passing, he repeated it at a farbrengen, after which he had it printed with his own footnotes. At the farbrengen of Shabbat Shuva, the sixth of Tishrei, 5725 (1964), he dug deeper into the maamar, deciphering its message at a profound level of understanding. With the setting of the sun upon that Shabbat, his mother, Rebbetzin Chana, of blessed memory, returned her soul.

What follows is not a literal rendition, but it follows the structure of the maamar and, we hope, is faithful to its message.

“I am sleeping, but my heart is awake. The voice of my beloved is knocking. ‘Open for me, my sister, my companion, my dove, my twin, for my head is soaked in dew!’ ”1

“In every human being, a divine love stirs within the heart. For without that love, there is no life. Even if it appears to you that you have no such love—because you feel no such love—that is certainly an illusion. You feel. The very core of your heart throbs with that love.” (Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi2 )

In two ways, you connect to the divine:

You connect when you grasp the wonder of nature, open your eyes to the miracles surrounding you, perceive within the very act of existence a certain awesome transcendence. It is a refreshing, joyful connection. It fills your psyche and lifts you higher.

You also connect because this unknowable mystery we call G‑d is everywhere, encompasses all things, and is the essence of all things—including the heart that throbs within you. A quiet fire burns there even as nothing is consumed. You are connected because you are intimately tied to something you can never understand.

That first connection can fall asleep. You become caught up in what you can get out of this world and what this world is squeezing out of you. That transcendent beauty that breathes within nature falls outside your vision’s scope. You toss away any sensitivity to the inner current of life like one who tosses out the fruit because his grasp has room only for the peel.

But the connection hidden deep in your heart—as much as you could unplug yourself from your own heart, that is how much you could disconnect from that love.

And if you will say, “But I feel nothing. How could I be connected if there is no feeling within my heart?”

If you lose notice of your heartbeat, does that mean it has stopped beating? You are alive! Every cell of your body throbs with its pulse! It is simply so much a part of you, you don’t recognize how much you feel it.

You need to do as Moses told the people: “When all these things befall you, bring yourself back to your heart.”3

Knock on her door. And return there. She is awake. She always was.

The Voice of My Beloved Is Knocking

“Open for Me just a pinhole,” cries a voice from beyond the door, “and I will open up for you an ever-expanding portal to endless light!”4

The Shechinah, the divine presence, yearns to dwell in your heart.

How large is a pinhole? The size of a point—zero dimensions.5

For just a moment, put aside your worries, your self-concerns—whatever drags you down. Forget it and there is room for joy. And only where joy can enter can the Shechinah reside, for “strength and happiness fill its place.”6

Celebrate with the joy and celebration of a child returning home. Celebrate that in your return to your heart you are creating a network of pathways by which divine, boundless light streams into this world.

Escape the dream. Be as those who lived on manna for forty years. Live with the tranquility by which they brought the divine wisdom into the world. Celebrate the slice of bread that fell from heaven today and trust the Source of All Life to provide for tomorrow. Know that you lack no good—for if anything was truly in your best interest, certainly G‑d who loves you as a parent loves an only child would have given it to you.

Contemplate that love. Breathe it in deeply and exhale all the self-pity and gloom. Free of worry and concern, a quiet space appears. Divine oxygen enters. A silent, forgotten flame bursts into a raging conflagration of passionate love.

My Sister

“But,” you might say, “none of this has anything to do with me.”

“I am more distant from this love story than a frog from a princess. I am a material being and you expect me to bond with the Infinite Light!”

Your divine Lover understands. Therefore, He calls you “sister.”

He also calls you His child. He calls you His beloved wife. Whatever intimate relationship can exist between two human beings, extract the essence of each of them, take their sum, multiply that by infinity, and you have an inkling of how close, how inseparable are the two of you.

Yet, most profoundly, you are His sister.

A brother and sister, as far as they may travel apart—in place, in mind, and in spirit—will always remain connected by a bond of secret love. Your soul is a sister to the Creator. In her furthest journey from a spiritual life she has not moved an inch from that intrinsic bond.

“Where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to the heavens, You are there. If I crouch down to the lowest depths, there You are as well.7

“If you will be pushed to the most extreme distance from the heavens, from there I will gather you…”8

My Companion

“But,” you may protest, “you say I must return with joy! Do you know where I have been, the things I have done? My clothes are soiled, my blood craves the addictions of my past. Who am I to celebrate?”

You are right. Don’t celebrate what you are right now. Ignore that for the moment. Keep moving. Celebrate what you are creating. Celebrate what your Creator celebrates about you.

For this, your Beloved calls you His companion—which the sages also translated as “shepherdess” and “provider.”9

What do you provide Him? A home.

In every word of Torah you learn and speak, in every mitzvah you do, you are constructing a palace, opening windows and switching on lights, dusting off abandoned invaluable furniture and setting a fine table for a feast, building and repairing. In this most physical of all worlds, you are providing Him and His infinite light greater presence than in any of the spiritual realms.

What you were doing a moment ago has no relevance right now. The beast that still roars in your blood, the stains and scars upon your soul—why should any of that be allowed to spoil the party?10

Forget yourself. Revel in His celebration of what you, His small and precious child, have made for Him.

For this, He created all things. In this is invested His innermost desire. And you are the mainstay of His home in this world, His host, His partner, His companion, and His provider.

My Dove

“But you don’t understand. I am not a spiritual person. I do not know how to contemplate the divine. My mitzvahs are mere actions. My prayers are dry. What sort of spiritual bond could this be without a wakened mind to sew it together?”

It is a bond that transcends the mind. Your hand gives, your feet walk, your mouth speaks the words, your knees bend—because at your core, you are there already. Your body in its simplicity feels that essence-core even when your mind, in its sophistication, is oblivious.11

Why is our soul compared to a dove? Because the dove is monogamous by instinct. Just as the dove bonds only with its mate, so the soul innately bonds only with the One above.12

True, the mind can carry the soul to high places, through the intricate corridors of the palace, and even to the door of the innermost chamber of the King. But to knock down that door and enter and to remain there alone with the King, for this you need a mindless beast. You need to just do.

I am a boor. I am mindless. I am like the animals with You. And I am constantly with You.13

My Twin

“Nevertheless, my spirit is scarred. How will I be healed?”

It is true. This world takes its toll on the breath of G‑d that entered your body at birth in all purity.

But this divine breath, even as it struggles to fulfill its mission from within you, remains entangled with the One who breathes it into You, like identical twins remain entangled even as they live in separate bodies—as though they share a single body.

Rabbi Joshua of Sichni said in the name of Rabbi Levi: Just like twins, when one has a headache, the other feels the pain, so G‑d says,14 “I am with you in your troubles.”15

As the brain and the heart feel the pain of the smallest toe—even more than the toe feels its own pain—so your Beloved feels every pain and scar of your soul. He will have compassion upon you as upon His own self and heal you. For you and He are one.

For You are a G‑d and a king that can be relied upon to heal, for You are a compassionate G‑d.16

You take care of returning to Him, and that can only be done with joy in your heart and in all you do. He will take care of healing your wounds.

“For my head is soaked in dew.”

Dew is never withheld.17 Even when Elijah decreed that the rain and the dew should cease, he could only affect the rain, but the dew continued.18

So too, G‑d’s love for each soul can never cease or be withheld. Whatever faults or blemishes or scars from the battle with darkness—this love is from too high a place for any of that to touch.

And so it heals all.19

Built upon Maamarei Admor Hazaken, Ketuvim vol. 2, pg. 207-209, with notes and biurim of the Rebbe. Likkutei Sichot vol. 9, pg. 194.