Chapter I

משכני אחריך נרוצה הביאני
המלך חדריו נגילה ונשמחה בך

"Draw me to You; after You we shall run. The King led me into His chambers; we are gladdened and rejoice with You."1

Rashi explains this verse in the following manner: "Jews say to G‑d: 'We understood the intimation of Your messengers Moshe and Aharon, that You desire to draw us close to You. Upon hearing this, we immediately responded: "After You we shall run. The King led me into His chambers; we are gladdened and rejoice with You."

'Even today, [say the Jews to G‑d], we greatly rejoice in having cleaved to You.' "

Shlomo HaMelech (King Solomon), Divinely inspired, composed the above verse, which alludes to the status of Israel at the time of our exodus from Egypt, our journey through the Sea of Reeds, and our subsequent receiving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai.2 The Jews state: "While still in Egypt we received an intimation from Your messengers Moshe and Aharon that You desired to draw us close to You. Our response was 'After You we shall run.' We did not merely go, we ran."

To merely "go" may imply action contrary to one's true desire. From the expression, "after You we shall run," we infer that the running was joyful and of the Jews' own volition. Traveling in such a manner is indicative of complete and total trust. Indeed, this was the manner in which the Jews traveled from Egypt to Mt. Sinai; traversing harsh desert and plunging into a life-threatening sea with the greatest self-sacrifice, until we reached Mt. Sinai. At that time, through receiving the Torah, "The King led me into His chambers," [for which reason, even now] "we are gladdened and rejoice with You."

We must, however, understand3 why the verse begins with the singular, "Draw me close" and then goes on to say "After You we shall run," in the plural. And why, contrary to the whole verse which is in first person, is "the King led me into His chambers" stated in the third person?

We must also understand what is meant by the expression, "we received an intimation...." Further, since this verse also applies to man's spiritual service, how are we to interpret it in that context?

The matter is as follows:4

"Draw me to You," refers to Divine revelation independent of man's prior preparation. This revelation is so powerful that even the most simple person is aroused by it to draw closer to G‑dliness. It is similar to an individual who acquires a new object; as it is drawn from its previous place, the object becomes his, for "drawing" is a form of acquisition.5 When G‑d revealed Himself to Israel in Egypt, He drew us out of the 49 Portals of Unholiness6 and thereby acquired us as His nation. Israel was so affected that we were then able to not only hear and perceive G‑d's message as related by His messengers Moshe and Aharon, but were even able to comprehend their "intimation."

When individuals are sunk in the Portals of Unholiness may Heaven protect us they become so coarsened that they are totally insensitive to the words of G‑d's messengers. Eating non-kosher food and desecrating Shabbos leads Jews to total denial of G‑d and His Torah, not only sinning themselves but causing others to sin as well. However, having been drawn out of the 49 Portals of Unholiness by G‑d's revelation, the Jews in Egypt understood both the words and the intimations of His messengers.

In summary: "Draw me close" refers to the Divine revelation to Israel in Egypt, which drew us out of the 49 Portals of Unholiness. "After You we shall run" alludes to the time from the Exodus until Israel came to Mt. Sinai. It is termed "running" since we proceeded of our own volition. "He led me into His chambers; we are gladdened and rejoice with You" refers to the giving of the Torah.

Chapter II

These three aspects of "Draw me close," namely, that a) through the Divine revelation one is drawn out of the 49 Portals of Unholiness and receives a pure spirit; b) the concomitant ability to comprehend not only the message but also the intimation of G‑d's messengers; and c) the running by one's own volition to receive the Torah, are also found in man's personal spiritual service.

The verse states:7 "[The spirit of man comes from Me;] and I have made souls." [The plural "souls" coming after the singular "spirit" indicates that] G‑d created two kinds of souls, the G‑dly and the animal, both found within each individual. "Draw me," in the singular, refers to the spiritual service of the G‑dly soul; "after You we shall run," in the plural, refers to spiritual service of the animal soul,8 so that the many sparks of holiness found in physical matters are purified and elevated to their source the holiness of G‑d's Unity. The purifier (i.e. the G‑dly soul), however, is one.

This matter will be understood by introducing an analogy. Though man's major quality is intellect intelligence and comprehension being mankind's hallmarks the power of ratzon, will and desire, is higher still. Ratzon' s power is such that it even affects intellect, so much so that should a person truly desire to master intricate subjects, he will be able to do so.

The same is so with regard to the G‑dly soul; though its superiority lies in its ability to comprehend G‑dliness, its ratzon for Divinity is of greater import. The ratzon of the G‑dly soul exists on two levels:9 that which comes about as a result of the soul's intellect, and a yet higher level which transcends intellect. The former results from contemplating and experiencing G‑dliness. For example, an individual can come to fully realize not only G‑d's Providence in general, but also those acts of Providence that occurred in his own life. Another example would be meditating upon, comprehending and becoming truly cognizant of creation ex nihilo. In both instances, pondering deeply on G‑d's greatness leads one to G‑dliness. This ratzon is a direct result of intellectual comprehension.

It is known that there are five soul levels:10 Nefesh, Ruach, Neshamah, Chayah and Yechidah. The above kind of ratzon results from the levels of Neshamah and Chayah, as stated:11 "The neshamah, [whose source is] Sha-dai, makes them understand," and it is also stated:12 "V'hachochmah tichayah" [alluding to the fact that "chochmah," intellect and wisdom, is rooted in Chayah]. Since this ratzon results from intellect, which is inherently limited, the razton too is limited. Every ratzon causes a corresponding love [for the object desired]. It follows that since the ratzon is limited, the love too will be limited. In sum, this level of ratzon is restricted to an individual's [limited] comprehension and experience.

There is another level of ratzon possessed by the G‑dly soul, one that is truly limitless. This level is not a derivative of intellect, but rather of the soul itself, which is higher than intellect and comprehension. This ratzon, emanating as it does from the limitless soul, is itself without limit. The ratzon that comes from the soul itself is infinite, stemming as it does from the soul level of Yechidah, which is totally at one with the One G‑d.

This higher form of ratzon is found within all Jews, and expresses itself in their readiness to sacrifice their very lives for G‑dliness. Thus we say,13 "they bear Your yoke; the one people(yechidah)... with their readiness to give their lives for the sake of Your Oneness."

In summary. The spiritual service of the G‑dly soul is not only the palpable comprehension of G‑dliness similar to the intellect's comprehension of worldly matters but its desire for G‑dliness. Ratzon that results from the levels of Neshamah and Chayah is confined by the limitations of intellect, while ratzon stemming from Yechidah is limitless and leads to total self-sacrifice. This ratzon is found within every Jew.

Chapter III

"G‑d made one thing opposite the other."14

Within the animal soul the opposite of the G‑dly soul there also exists both above-mentioned kinds of ratzon that which comes from comprehension and that which defies comprehension. The animal soul lacks any sense of Torah and mitzvos; on the contrary, its whole being is opposed to holiness. The essence of the animal soul is, after all, animalistic, with its desires being the base desires of an animal. As such it is in all aspects opposed to the essence of the divine soul and its G‑dly desires. The animal soul also possesses a level of desire that is totally beyond the bounds of reason.

We observe that those people who have Heaven forfend departed from living a life of Torah and mitzvos are led in one of two ways by their animal souls. There are those whose corporeal passions are without limit and who strive to fulfill all their coarsened heart's desires. Not only are they unconstrained by Torah and mitzvos, they are not even fettered by the bonds of civilized conduct. They know no shame and are truly like animals.15 Nevertheless, their passions have an underlying cause: the desire for pleasure and physical gratification.

But there are others whose actions qualify them as "rebels out of spite." Such people do all they can to scoff at Torah and mitzvos, rebelling against G‑d. And these evil individuals are not satisfied with sinning themselves; they also lead others to sin.16 They do so with unmitigated impudence, like the chutzpah of Amalek, who made sport of G‑d, Torah and mitzvos. Herein lies their greatest pleasure in life, and their greatest source of pride.

We observe that such is the nature of a chotzuf, (one who acts with chutzpah): his whole pride lies in his ability to act with chutzpah against an individual far greater than himself. A normal individual's impudent behavior will not go beyond a certain point, and he will be humbled in the presence of true greatness. The impudence of a chotzuf, however, knows no bounds.17 He is aware that in reality he is a lowly creature, and his pride lies in acting with chutzpah against a truly great individual. In fact, the lesser the chotzuf, the less restrained is his chutzpah.

There are three categories of chatzufim (the plural of chot zuf): There is a chotzuf whose chutzpah lies in speech. This individual scoffs at Torah and mitzvos; he is a person without restraints. Then there is a chotzuf who is not satisfied with "mere" speech, but desires to "sink his teeth" into Torah and mitzvos , fashioning Torah and mitzvos according to his own whims. He forces observers of Torah and mitzvos to conform with his own interpretation. Finally, there is a chotzuf who totally denies belief in a Creator and observance of Torah and mitzvos, proclaiming that his own opinions regarding justice and righteousness are far superior.

Dovid HaMelech, (King Dovid) characterizes these three chatzufim as "dog, lion and ram." He refers to the chotzuf whose chutzpah lies in speech as "dog," as the verse says:18 "...[Saves] my yechidah from the paw of the dog." The nature of a dog is to howl, baying even at the moon.19

The chotzuf who opposes Torah is termed a "lion," as the verse states:20 "Save me from the mouth of the lion...."

The third chotzuf, so staunch in his opposition to G‑d and His Torah, is referred to by Dovid21 as a "ram."

These three types of evil people are all controlled by their animal souls. Yet G‑d imbued the G‑dly soul with the power to unshackle and save all those dragged down and influenced by these three kinds of chatzufim. The G‑dly soul, drawing on the power of its yechidah, as alluded to in the words "Draw me to You," can affect the animal soul so that it too runs after G‑d (as in "we shall run" in the plural). This is accomplished through Torah as it is received by its two kinds of recipient, [the lettered and the unlettered]. The lettered, or learned, group are those individuals knowledgeable both in the exoteric and esoteric parts of the Torah. They are referred to with the words "the king led me into His chambers" [i.e. they are privy to G‑d's innermost secret the Torah]. The second category is that of simple Jews who pray, recite Tehillim and listen to Torah lessons. The verse alludes to them with the words: "we are gladdened and rejoice with You." [You, in Hebrew בך (bach), is composed of the two letters beis and chaf, numerically equivalent to 22.] In other words, they are gladdened and rejoice with the 22 letters of the Torah, as stated in Midrash.22

By receiving the Torah and performing mitzvos, we are saved from the chatzufim and merit [the revelation of] the divine soul, [the level of] "Draw me to You," so that we understand even the intimation of G‑d's messengers. This enables us to be firm in our faith and study Torah and perform mitzvos with wholeheartedness.

In summary: The animal soul is the opposite of the G‑dly soul, and also possesses two kinds of ratzon. Slaves to the first are pleasure-seekers who know no shame and are like animals. Slaves to the second act wickedly out of spite, and Dovid HaMelech refers to these by three different names. There are chatzufim who scoff at Judaism and speak evilly of G‑d and His Torah and mitzvos. They are termed "dog." Chatzufim who interpret Torah and mitzvos according to their own desires are called "lion." Chatzufim who consider themselves above Torah and mitzvos are called "ram." Through Torah-study and the saying of letters of Torah, one is saved from all chatzufim; one's faith is strengthened, and one's performance of Torah and mitzvos is enhanced.