In the previous chapter, the Alter Rebbe explained that fear of G‑d is a prerequisite to divine service. Every Jew is capable of attaining this level by contemplating how “G‑d stands over him” and “searches his reins and heart [to see] if he is serving Him as is fitting.” This thought will lead him to bring forth at least some measure of fear in his mind. This, in turn, will enable him to study Torah properly as well as to perform both the positive and negative commandments.

The Alter Rebbe also noted that this level of fear is known as yirah tataah, “lower-level fear,” which is a preparatory step to the proper performance of Torah and mitzvot. This degree of fear must be manifest if one’s Torah study and performance of the mitzvot are to be deemed avodah, divine service.

In the light of what has already been said on the subject of the lower level of fear, as summarized above,

וְהִנֵּה, בְּמַה שֶּׁנִּתְבָּאֵר לְעֵיל בְּעִנְיַן יִרְאָה תַּתָּאָה,

one will clearly understand the Talmudic comment on the verse, “And now, Israel, what does the L-rd your G‑d require of you? Only that you fear the L-rd your G‑d.”1 The Gemara asks: “Is fear, then, such a small thing?”2

יוּבַן הֵיטֵב מַה שֶּׁכָּתוּב בַּגְּמָרָא עַל פָּסוּק "וְעַתָּה יִשְׂרָאֵל מָה ה' אֱלֹהֶיךָ שׁוֹאֵל מֵעִמָּךְ כִּי אִם לְיִרְאָה אֶת ה' אֱלֹהֶיךָ": "אָטוּ יִרְאָה מִילְּתָא זוּטַרְתִּי הִיא"?

Answers the Gemara: “Yes, in the case of Moses, it is a small thing,” and so forth.

"אִין, לְגַבֵּי מֹשֶׁה מִילְּתָא זוּטַרְתִּי הִיא וְכוּ'",

Superficially, the answer seems to be that this was said by Moses to the Jewish people, and for him, fear of G‑d is indeed a simple thing.

At first glance, the answer of the Gemara is incomprehensible, for the verse asks, “What does [He] require of you?” I.e., what does G‑d require of every Jew? For the majority of Jews, fear of G‑d is certainly no mean accomplishment. What, then, is the point of answering that for Moses, it is a simple thing?

דְּלִכְאוֹרָה אֵינוֹ מוּבָן הַתֵּירוּץ, דְּהָא "שׁוֹאֵל מֵעִמָּךְ" כְּתִיב.

The Alter Rebbe now goes on to explain that the answer of the Gemara, that “in the case of Moses, it is a simple thing,” does not refer to Moses alone but to the “Moses” which is found in every Jew, for Moses imbues all Jews with the level of daat (lit., “knowledge”), enabling them all to bind their own faculty of daat to G‑dliness. It is concerning this level of Moses found within every Jew that the statement is made, “…in the case of Moses, it is a simple thing.” For when a Jew utilizes the power of Moses found within him, i.e., when he binds his daat with G‑dliness, then fear of G‑d is indeed a simple thing and easy to attain, as shall presently be explained.

The explanation, however, is as follows: Each and every soul of the House of Israel comprises within it something of the quality of our teacher Moses, peace unto him, for he is one of the “seven shepherds”3

אֶלָּא הָעִנְיָן הוּא, כִּי כָּל נֶפֶשׁ וְנֶפֶשׁ מִבֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל יֵשׁ בָּהּ מִבְּחִינַת מֹשֶׁה רַבֵּינוּ עָלָיו הַשָּׁלוֹם, כִּי הוּא מִשִּׁבְעָה רוֹעִים

who cause vitality and G‑dliness to flow to the community of the souls of Israel, for which reason, they are called “shepherds.”

הַמַּמְשִׁיכִים חַיּוּת וֶאלֹהוּת לִכְלָלוּת נִשְׁמוֹת יִשְׂרָאֵל, שֶׁלָּכֵן, נִקְרָאִים בְּשֵׁם "רוֹעִים",

Just as a shepherd provides nourishment for his sheep, thereby supplying them with vitality, so, too, do the “seven shepherds” sustain Jewish souls with “vitality and G‑dliness,” each from his own spiritual level. Abraham provides the Jews with the spiritual faculty of chesed and love, and so forth.

Chasidim relate that the Alter Rebbe pondered for a considerable number of weeks whether to write that the “seven shepherds” provide “G‑dly vitality” (חַיּוּת אֱלֹקוּת) or whether he should write “vitality and G‑dliness” (חַיּוּת וֵאלֹקוּת). He finally resolved to write the latter—“vitality and G‑dliness.” For “vitality” refers to love and fear of G‑d, since it is they that vitalize one’s performance of Torah and mitzvot; “G‑dliness” refers to self-nullification before G‑d. The “seven shepherds,” then, cause both “vitality and G‑dliness” to flow into Jewish souls.

Our teacher, Moses, peace unto him, comprises [aspects of] them all, and he is called “the faithful shepherd.”4 This means that he draws down the quality of daat to the community of Israel, that they may know and be cognizant of G‑d so that for them, G‑dliness will be self-evident and experienced by every Jew,

וּמֹשֶׁה רַבֵּינוּ עָלָיו הַשָּׁלוֹם – הוּא כְּלָלוּת כּוּלָּם, וְנִקְרָא "רַעְיָא מְהֵימְנָא", דְּהַיְינוּ, שֶׁמַּמְשִׁיךְ בְּחִינַת הַדַּעַת לִכְלָלוּת יִשְׂרָאֵל, לֵידַע אֶת ה',

each according to the intellectual capacity of his soul and its root above, i.e., according to the height of the source of the soul as it exists above,

כָּל אֶחָד כְּפִי הַשָּׂגַת נִשְׁמָתוֹ וְשָׁרְשָׁהּ לְמַעְלָה,

and according to [the degree of] its nurture from the root of the soul of our teacher Moses, peace unto him, which is rooted in the daat Elyon (“supernal knowledge”) of the ten sefirot of Atzilut, which are united with their Emanator,

וִינִיקָתָהּ מִשֹּׁרֶשׁ נִשְׁמַת מֹשֶׁה רַבֵּינוּ עָלָיו הַשָּׁלוֹם, הַמּוּשְׁרֶשֶׁת בְּדַעַת הָעֶלְיוֹן שֶׁבְּי' סְפִירוֹת דַּאֲצִילוּת, הַמְיוּחָדוֹת בְּמַאֲצִילָן בָּרוּךְ־הוּא,

Just as G‑d is termed the Creator of created beings, so, too, is He called the Emanator of those entities found in the World of Atzilut, a World which, together with its beings, is an emanation of the Ein Sof.

for He and His knowledge are one, and “He is the knowledge….”

שֶׁהוּא וְדַעְתּוֹ אֶחָד וְ"הוּא הַמַּדָּע כוּ'".

As explained in ch. 2 above, G‑d’s knowledge and man’s are utterly dissimilar. On the human plane, the knower, the faculty of knowledge, and that which is known are three distinct and separate entities. However, concerning G‑d: “He is the Knowledge, He is the Knower, and He is That which is Known.” Thus, supernal knowledge is one with Him. And it is within this level of daat that Moses’ soul is rooted.

When a Jew receives the capacity for daat from the soul of Moses, he is able to perceive G‑dliness in a truly knowing and internalized manner so that he actually experiences Him. Utilizing this capacity enables every Jew to know and feel how “G‑d stands over him…and sees his actions.” It is therefore easy for him to summon up within himself a fear of G‑d.

However, all the above refers to the luminary aspect of Moses, which is received by every Jew. The Alter Rebbe now goes on to say that there is an even higher level of Moses—a “spark” of Moses’ soul that is bestowed upon the spiritual leaders and sages of each generation. (A spark is an actual part of the flame, unlike rays of illumination, which are not truly part of the luminary. So, too, the sparks of the soul of Moses, found within the leaders and scholars throughout the generations, are a part of Moses’ soul.) The task of these leaders is to teach G‑d’s greatness to the Jewish people so that they will serve G‑d with all their heart.

In addition and beyond this pervasive influence to the community as a whole, there descend, in every generation, sparks from the soul of our teacher Moses, peace unto him, and they clothe themselves in the body and soul of the sages of that generation, the “eyes” of the congregation,5

וְעוֹד זֹאת יֶתֶר עַל כֵּן, בְּכָל דּוֹר וָדוֹר יוֹרְדִין נִיצוֹצִין מִנִּשְׁמַת מֹשֶׁה רַבֵּינוּ עָלָיו הַשָּׁלוֹם וּמִתְלַבְּשִׁין בְּגוּף וְנֶפֶשׁ שֶׁל חַכְמֵי הַדּוֹר "עֵינֵי הָעֵדָה",

Because of the “spark” of Moses found within a spiritual leader, he is called “Moses,” as in the Talmudic expression, “Moses, do you speak aright?”6 This spark is clothed not only in a leader’s soul but also in his body.7 This is why Chasidim say that one never tires of gazing at a rebbe, for within him is a spark of Moses. These sparks which are clothed in sages and spiritual leaders enable them—

to impart knowledge to the people that they may know the greatness of G‑d and [hence] serve Him with heart and soul.

לְלַמֵּד דַּעַת אֶת הָעָם, וְלֵידַע גְּדוּלַּת ה', וּלְעָבְדוֹ בְּלֵב וָנֶפֶשׁ,

For the service of the heart, i.e., one’s love and fear of G‑d, is according to the daat, according to one’s degree of knowledge and understanding of G‑d’s greatness, as it is written, “Know the G‑d of your father and serve Him with all your heart and with a longing soul.”8

כִּי הָעֲבוֹדָה שֶׁבַּלֵּב – הִיא לְפִי הַדַּעַת, כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב: "דַּע אֶת אֱלֹהֵי אָבִיךָ וְעָבְדֵהוּ בְּלֵב שָׁלֵם וְנֶפֶשׁ חֲפֵיצָה",

Thus, in order to “serve Him with all your heart and with a longing soul,” it is necessary to “know the G‑d of your father”—to know and comprehend His greatness. This is taught to the Jewish people by the scholars of each generation, within whom sparks of Moses are enclothed.

Only concerning the future [Messianic era] is it written: “And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, [and every man his brother,] saying, ‘Know G‑d,’ for they shall all know Me….”9

וְלֶעָתִיד הוּא אוֹמֵר: "וְלֹא יְלַמְּדוּ אִישׁ אֶת רֵעֵהוּ לֵאמֹר דְּעוּ אֶת ה', כִּי כוּלָּם יֵדְעוּ אוֹתִי וְגוֹ'".

Only at that time will a teacher be unnecessary. However, in our era, one needs to have a mentor impart knowledge of G‑d’s greatness if one is to know how to serve Him with heart and soul. And one’s dependence on Moses through the intermediary scholars of each generation (the “sparks” of Moses) is of the very essence of one’s divine service.

However, the essence of knowledge which leads one to serve G‑d with his whole soul and heart is not mere knowing alone, that people should know the greatness of G‑d from authors (i.e., sages and spiritual guides) and books,

אַךְ עִיקַּר הַדַּעַת, אֵינָהּ הַיְדִיעָה לְבַדָּהּ, שֶׁיֵּדְעוּ גְּדוּלַּת ה' מִפִּי סוֹפְרִים וּמִפִּי סְפָרִים,

but the essential thing is to immerse one’s own mind deeply into those things which explain the greatness of G‑d and fix one’s thought on G‑d with strength and vigor of the heart and mind,

אֶלָּא הָעִיקָּר הוּא, לְהַעֲמִיק דַּעְתּוֹ בִּגְדוּלַּת ה', וְלִתְקוֹעַ מַחֲשַׁבְתּוֹ בַּה' בְּחוֹזֶק וְאוֹמֶץ הַלֵּב וְהַמּוֹחַ,

until his thought shall be bound to G‑d with a strong and mighty bond, as it is bound to a material thing which he sees with his physical eyes and upon which he concentrates his thought.

עַד שֶׁתְּהֵא מַחֲשַׁבְתּוֹ מְקוּשֶּׁרֶת בַּה' בְּקֶשֶׁר אַמִּיץ וְחָזָק, כְּמוֹ שֶׁהִיא מְקוּשֶּׁרֶת בְּדָבָר גַּשְׁמִי שֶׁרוֹאֶה בְּעֵינֵי בָשָׂר וּמַעֲמִיק בּוֹ מַחֲשַׁבְתּוֹ,

When one does so, he is mightily bound up with the object of his thoughts and is unable to free himself from them. Thinking about G‑d and His greatness should be done in the selfsame all-absorbing manner—and thereby, the thinker will be truly bound up with Him.

For it is known that daat connotes union, as in the verse, “And Adam yada (lit., ‘knew’) Eve….”10 The word יָדַע in this verse connotes union. Thus, daat entails knowing something to the point that one is completely united with it. The same is true regarding knowledge of G‑dliness. Although when one just knows G‑dliness, he is already fulfilling a mitzvah, still, this does not suffice; it is necessary that one achieve the union of daat by meditating deeply on G‑d’s greatness.

כַּנּוֹדָע, שֶׁדַּעַת הוּא לְשׁוֹן הִתְקַשְּׁרוּת, כְּמוֹ: "וְהָאָדָם יָדַע וְגוֹ'".

This capacity and this quality of attaching one’s daat to G‑d so that he not only understands but also feels G‑dliness and so becomes wholly united with Him is present in every soul of the House of Israel by virtue of its nurture (yenikah, lit., “suckling”) from the soul of our teacher Moses, peace unto him.

וְכֹחַ זֶה וּמִדָּה זוֹ לְקַשֵּׁר דַּעְתּוֹ בַּה', יֵשׁ בְּכָל נֶפֶשׁ מִבֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל, בִּינִיקָתָהּ מִנִּשְׁמַת מֹשֶׁה רַבֵּינוּ עָלָיו הַשָּׁלום.

Only, since the soul has clothed itself in the body, it needs a great and mighty exertion, doubled and redoubled, in order to feel and be attached to G‑d.

רַק מֵאַחַר שֶׁנִּתְלַבְּשָׁה הַנֶּפֶשׁ בַּגּוּף, צְרִיכָה לִיגִיעָה רַבָּה וַעֲצוּמָה כְּפוּלָה וּמְכוּפֶּלֶת.

While it is true that the soul has this capacity by dint of its being nurtured from the soul of Moses (for were the soul lacking this capacity, then even the greatest effort would be of no avail, for how can a created being possibly comprehend and feel its Creator? How can a soul enclothed in a body feel and be bound to G‑dliness?), nevertheless, even after possessing this capacity, it requires a prodigious effort to actually comprehend and feel G‑dliness.

First is the “exertion of the flesh,” to throw off the bodily shackles, to pound the body, i.e., to weaken its corporeality, and gain its submission so that it shall not obscure the light of the soul, thus making it possible for one to understand and feel G‑dliness,

הָאַחַת – הִיא יְגִיעַת בָּשָׂר, לְבַטֵּשׁ אֶת הַגּוּף וּלְהַכְנִיעוֹ שֶׁלֹּא יַחְשִׁיךְ עַל אוֹר הַנֶּפֶשׁ,

as has been mentioned above11 in the name of the Zohar, that “A body into which the light of the soul does not penetrate should be crushed,” this being accomplished by means of penitential reflections from the depths of the heart, as is explained there.

כְּמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר לְעֵיל בְּשֵׁם הַזֹּהַר, דְּ"גוּפָא דְּלָא סָלִיק בֵּיהּ נְהוֹרָא דְנִשְׁמְתָא מְבַטְּשִׁין לֵיהּ", וְהַיְינוּ, עַל יְדֵי הִרְהוּרֵי תְשׁוּבָה מֵעוֹמֶק הַלֵּב, כְּמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר שָׁם.

When one has weakened the grossness of the body so that it hinders no longer, it becomes possible for the “light of the soul” to be manifest. This, then, is one manner of exertion, known as “exertion of the flesh.”

And the second is the exertion of the soul—to reveal the powers of the soul, that the service of exerting one’s thought not be burdensome to it, to delve into and reflect upon the greatness of G‑d for a long and uninterrupted period,

וְהַשֵּׁנִית – הִיא יְגִיעַת הַנֶּפֶשׁ, שֶׁלֹּא תִכְבַּד עָלֶיהָ הָעֲבוֹדָה לְיַגֵּעַ מַחֲשַׁבְתָּהּ לְהַעֲמִיק וּלְהִתְבּוֹנֵן בִּגְדוּלַּת ה' שָׁעָה גְדוֹלָה רְצוּפָה.

for this measure of time necessary to immerse oneself in a G‑dly concept in order to arouse love or fear of G‑d is not the same for every soul. Some people require more time, others less.

כִּי שִׁיעוּר שָׁעָה זוֹ – אֵינוֹ שָׁוֶה בְּכָל נֶפֶשׁ,

There is the naturally refined soul which, immediately upon considering the greatness of G‑d, attains a fear and dread of Him.

יֵשׁ נֶפֶשׁ זַכָּה בְּטִבְעָהּ, שֶׁמִּיָּד שֶׁמִּתְבּוֹנֶנֶת בִּגְדוּלַּת ה' – יַגִּיעַ אֵלֶיהָ הַיִּרְאָה וּפַחַד ה',

As is written in Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim, sec. 1, that “When a man reflects that the great King—the supreme King of kings, the Holy One, blessed be He, with Whose glory the whole world is filled—stands over him and sees his actions, he will immediately be overcome with fear….”

כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב בְּשֻׁלְחָן עָרוּךְ אוֹרַח חַיִּים סִימָן א': "כְּשֶׁיִּתְבּוֹנֵן הָאָדָם שֶׁהַמֶּלֶךְ הַגָּדוֹל מֶלֶךְ מַלְכֵי הַמְּלָכִים הַקָּדוֹשׁ־בָּרוּךְ־הוּא, אֲשֶׁר "מְלֹא כָל הָאָרֶץ כְּבוֹדוֹ", עוֹמֵד עָלָיו וְרוֹאֶה בְּמַעֲשָׂיו – מִיָּד יַגִּיעַ אֵלָיו הַיִּרְאָה וכוּ'".

And, as the Shulchan Aruch concludes, “he will be humbled and abashed before G‑d.” This is true of one whose soul is naturally refined; he is “immediately…overcome with fear” without great effort or time required on his part.

Then there is a soul that is of lowly nature and origin coming from the lower gradations of the ten sefirot of Asiyah,

וְיֵשׁ נֶפֶשׁ שְׁפָלָה בְּטִבְעָהּ וְתוֹלַדְתָּהּ, מִמְּקוֹר חוּצְבָּהּ מִמַּדְרֵגוֹת תַּחְתּוֹנוֹת דְּי' סְפִירוֹת דַּעֲשִׂיָּה,

Within the World of Asiyah itself, the lowest of all Worlds, this type of soul comes from the lowest of the ten sefirot. It is thus a soul of “lowly nature and origin,” which finds it difficult to conceptualize G‑dly matters.

and it is unable to discover G‑dliness by contemplation except with difficulty and forceful insistence,12

וְלֹא תוּכַל לִמְצוֹא בְּמַחֲשַׁבְתָּהּ הָאֱלֹהוּת, כִּי אִם בְּקוֹשִׁי וּבְחָזְקָה,

I.e., only by expending a great amount of effort and contemplating G‑dliness for a long stretch of time will it be able to secure a degree of G‑dly illumination and conceptualize a notion of G‑dliness. Only then will this contemplation penetrate such a person so that he will be fearful of G‑d.

especially if the soul is not only of a lowly nature, but in addition, it had been defiled by the “sin of youth,” for one’s sins interpose [between a Jew and G‑d] (13as is written in Sefer Chassidim, ch. 35).

וּבִפְרָט אִם הוּטַּמְּאָה בְּחַטַּאת נְעוּרִים, שֶׁהָעֲווֹנוֹת מַבְדִּילִים כוּ' [כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב בְּסֵפֶר חֲסִידִים סִימָן ל"ה].

Nevertheless, with difficulty and with forceful effort, when his thought greatly exerts itself with vigor and great toil and intense concentration, immersing [itself] in contemplation of the greatness of G‑d for a long time,

וּמִכָּל מָקוֹם, בְּקוֹשִׁי וּבְחָזְקָה – שֶׁתִּתְחַזֵּק מְאֹד מַחֲשַׁבְתּוֹ בְּאוֹמֶץ וִיגִיעָה רַבָּה וְעוֹמֶק גָּדוֹל, לְהַעֲמִיק בִּגְדוּלַּת ה' שָׁעָה גְדוֹלָה –

Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak, sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, said in a talk that a “long time” means “an hour today…an hour tomorrow,” until ultimately, the repetitiveness of intense concentration day after day will ensure that no matter how lowly the soul may be,

there will certainly come to him at least the “lower-level fear” referred to above, i.e., enough to prevent him from doing something which is opposed to G‑d’s will.

בְּוַדַּאי תַּגִּיעַ אֵלָיו עַל כָּל פָּנִים הַיִּרְאָה תַּתָּאָה הַנִּזְכֶּרֶת לְעֵיל,

(With regard to the Alter Rebbe’s above assurance that no matter how lowly the soul and notwithstanding its previous sins, still, with intense concentration on G‑d’s greatness, it will surely attain the lower level of fear, the Rebbe comments: “We also understand from this that even before [attaining] this [level of fear], the person will surely succeed in undoing his separation [from G‑d] that was brought about through his sins, i.e., he will [regret his sins and] repent.”14)

And, as the Rabbis of blessed memory have said: “[If a man says,] I have labored and I have found, believe him.”15

וּכְמוֹ שֶׁאָמְרוּ רַבּוֹתֵינוּ־זִכְרוֹנָם־לִבְרָכָה: "יָגַעְתִּי וּמָצָאתִי – תַּאֲמִין",

The Rebbe explains: One’s labor not only helps a person achieve something commensurate with the amount of labor, similar to payment received for doing a job, it moreover enables him to say, “I have found.” For in the case of a person who finds an object, his find is incomparably greater in value than the labor invested in finding it.

It is also written, with regard to the success one achieves when he labors to attain the fear of G‑d: “If you seek it like money, and search for it as forbidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of G‑d.”16

וּכְדִכְתִיב: "אִם תְּבַקְשֶׁנָּה כַכָּסֶף וְכַמַּטְמוֹנִים תַּחְפְּשֶׂנָּה – אָז תָּבִין יִרְאַת ה'",

This means: In the manner of a person seeking a hidden treasure buried in the depths of the earth, for which he digs with tireless toil, for he knows that it is surely buried there,

פֵּירוּשׁ, כְּדֶרֶךְ שֶׁמְּחַפֵּשׂ אָדָם מַטְמוֹן וְאוֹצָר הַטָּמוּן בְּתַחְתִּיּוֹת הָאָרֶץ, שֶׁחוֹפֵר אַחֲרָיו בִּיגִיעָה עֲצוּמָה,

so must one delve with unflagging energy in order to reveal the treasure of the fear of heaven, which lies buried and concealed in the understanding of the heart of every Jewish individual,

כָּךְ, צָרִיךְ לַחְפּוֹר בִּיגִיעָה עֲצוּמָה לְגַלּוֹת אוֹצָר שֶׁל יִרְאַת שָׁמַיִם, הַצָּפוּן וּמוּסְתָּר בְּבִינַת הַלֵּב שֶׁל כָּל אָדָם מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל,

Since this treasure is surely concealed within every Jewish heart, all that needs to be done is to dig it out and seek to reveal it.

this “understanding of the heart” being of a quality and level transcending the limitations of time,

שֶהִיא בְּחִינָה וּמַדְרֵגָה שֶׁלְּמַעְלָה מֵהַזְּמַן,

Hence, it cannot be said that during a particular time, this treasure is lacking and unattainable.

and this is the natural, hidden fear referred to above.

וְהִיא הַיִּרְאָה הַטִּבְעִית הַמְסוּתֶּרֶת הַנִּזְכֶּרֶת לְעֵיל.

A question now arises. If this fear is “natural” and is always found within a Jew’s heart, why then is it necessary to take measures involving profound contemplation of G‑d’s greatness in order to attain it? The Alter Rebbe therefore goes on to say that since this fear is found in the recesses of the heart, it does not affect one’s actions and enable him to refrain from sinning. It is thus necessary to take steps that will reveal this fear and ensure that it will affect one’s actual deeds.

However, in order that it should be translated into action, in the sense of “fear of sin” so that one will turn away from evil in deed, word, and thought, one needs to bring it to light from the hidden depths of the understanding of the heart, where it transcends time, and to place it within the realm of actual thought that is in the brain.

רַק, שֶׁכְּדֵי שֶׁתָּבֹא לִידֵי מַעֲשֶׂה בִּבְחִינַת יִרְאַת חֵטְא, לִהְיוֹת "סוּר מֵרָע" בְּמַעֲשֶׂה דִּבּוּר וּמַחֲשָׁבָה, צָרִיךְ לְגַלּוֹתָהּ מִמַּצְפּוּנֵי בִּינַת הַלֵּב שֶׁלְּמַעְלָה מֵהַזְּמַן, לַהֲבִיאָהּ לִבְחִינַת מַחֲשָׁבָה מַמָּשׁ שֶׁבַּמּוֹחַ,

[This means] immersing his thought in it for a lengthy period of time until its effect will emerge from the potential into the actual so that it affects the soul and body of man,

לְהַעֲמִיק בָּהּ מַחֲשַׁבְתּוֹ מֶשֶׁךְ זְמַן מָה מַמָּשׁ, עַד שֶׁתֵּצֵא פְּעוּלָּתָהּ מֵהַכֹּחַ אֶל הַפּוֹעַל מַמָּשׁ,

so that he will turn away from evil and do good in thought, speech, and action, because of G‑d, Who looks and sees, hears, and listens, perceives all his deeds, and searches his “kidneys and heart.”

דְּהַיְינוּ, לִהְיוֹת "סוּר מֵרָע וַעֲשֵׂה טוֹב" בְּמַחֲשָׁבָה דִּבּוּר וּמַעֲשֶׂה, מִפְּנֵי ה' הַצּוֹפֶה וּמַבִּיט וּמַאֲזִין וּמַקְשִׁיב וּמֵבִין אֶל כָּל מַעֲשֵׂהוּ, וּבוֹחֵן כִּלְיוֹתָיו וְלִבּוֹ,

When a man realizes that G‑d scrutinizes his innermost thoughts, he will surely refrain from sinning and will seek instead to perform mitzvot.

As the Rabbis, of blessed memory, said: “Reflect upon three things [and you will not come to sin: Know what is above you]—an Eye that sees and an Ear that hears….”17

וּכְמַאֲמַר רַבּוֹתֵינוּ־זִכְרוֹנָם־לִבְרָכָה: "הִסְתַּכֵּל בִּשְׁלֹשָׁה דְבָרִים כוּ', עַיִן רוֹאָה וְאוֹזֶן שׁוֹמַעַת כוּ'".

And although He has no bodily likeness,

וְגַם כִּי אֵין לוֹ דְמוּת הַגּוּף,

How, then, can we possibly say that G‑d possesses an “eye” and “ear,” organs that are part of a physical body?

on the contrary: i.e., this is the very reason that everything is revealed and known to Him infinitely more than, for example, through the physical medium of sight and hearing.

הֲרֵי אַדְּרַבָּה – הַכֹּל גָּלוּי וְיָדוּעַ לְפָנָיו, בְּיֶתֶר שְׂאֵת לְאֵין קֵץ מֵרְאִיַּית הָעַיִן וּשְׁמִיעַת הָאֹזֶן עַל דֶּרֶךְ מָשָׁל,

When we say that G‑d does not possess any bodily likeness, we mean that He is not bounded by the frailties of a physical body. A physical eye can observe corporeality but not spirituality; it can see only when there is adequate light, and only up to a given distance, and so on. Physical hearing is likewise limited. G‑d’s “seeing” and “hearing,” however, possess only the merits of these faculties but none of their physical limitations. For it goes without saying that any quality possessed by created beings is surely possessed by their Creator.

By way of illustration, G‑d’s “seeing” and “hearing,” and the fact that everything is revealed to Him and known by Him, are like a man who knows and feels within himself all that is happening to and being experienced by each of his 248 organs, such as cold and heat,

רַק הוּא עַל דֶּרֶךְ מָשָׁל, כְּמוֹ אָדָם הַיּוֹדֵעַ וּמַרְגִּישׁ בְּעַצְמוֹ כָּל מַה שֶּׁנַּעֲשֶׂה וְנִפְעָל בְּאֶחָד מִכָּל רַמַ"ח אֵיבָרָיו, כְּמוֹ קוֹר אוֹ חוֹם,

feeling even the heat in his toenails, for example, as when he is scorched by fire;

וַאֲפִילוּ חוֹם שֶׁבְּצִפָּרְנֵי רַגְלָיו עַל דֶּרֶךְ מָשָׁל – אִם נִכְוָה בָּאוּר,

so, also, their essence and substance,

וְכֵן מַהוּתָם וְעַצְמוּתָם

I.e., not only is a person aware of all that is happening to his organs, he also feels the organs themselves.

and all that is affected18 in [or: by] them is known to the person and sensed in his brain.

וְכָל מַה שֶּׁמִּתְפָּעֵל בָּהֶם, יוֹדֵעַ וּמַרְגִּישׁ בְּמוֹחוֹ,

One need not use his eyes or ears to see or hear what has happened to a limb of his body, such as the pain of a burned hand or foot, for he knows and senses it in his mind.

In a similar manner of knowledge, by way of analogy, G‑d knows all that befalls all created beings of both higher and lower worlds, because they all receive their flow of life from Him, as it is written: “For from You come all things.”19

וּכְעֵין יְדִיעָה זוֹ עַל דֶּרֶךְ מָשָׁל, יוֹדֵעַ הַקָּדוֹשׁ־בָּרוּךְ־הוּא כָּל הַנִּפְעָל בְּכָל הַנִּבְרָאִים, עֶלְיוֹנִים וְתַחְתּוֹנִים, לִהְיוֹת כּוּלָּם מוּשְׁפָּעִים מִמֶּנּוּ יִתְבָּרֵךְ, כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב: "כִּי מִמְּךָ הַכֹּל",

Just as the brain, which is the source of life for the whole body, knows what transpires within it, so, too, does G‑d, the Source of all life, know what is happening with all of creation.

And this is the meaning of what we say: “…and no creature is hidden from You,”20 inasmuch as all created beings emanate from Him.

וְזֶהוּ שֶׁאוֹמְרִים: "וְגַם כָּל הַיְצוּר לֹא נִכְחָד מִמֶּךָּ",

And as Maimonides speaking as a philosopher has said (21and this has been agreed to by the scholars of the Kabbalah, as Rabbi Moshe Cordovero writes in Pardes),

וּכְמוֹ שֶׁכָּתַב הָרַמְבַּ"ם, [וְהִסְכִּימוּ לָזֶה חַכְמֵי הַקַּבָּלָה, כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתַב הָרַמַ"ק בַּפַּרְדֵּ"ס]

that by knowing Himself, as it were, He knows all created things, whose source of existence is His true existence.

שֶׁבִּידִיעַת עַצְמוֹ כִּבְיָכוֹל, יוֹדֵעַ כָּל הַנִּבְרָאִים הַנִּמְצָאִים מֵאֲמִיתַּת הִמָּצְאוֹ וְכוּ'.

However, G‑d provides creation with life in a different manner than the manner in which the soul provides life to the body. The soul must garb itself in the body in order to provide it with life. By doing so, it is affected by the body (for “enclothing” implies that the clothed object undergoes a change). G‑d, however, is of course not subject to change when He provides life to creation. Hence:

This analogy of soul and body, however, is only to “calm the ear”—to make it possible for man’s ear and intellect to perceive how one may know about something without having to actually see or hear it. In truth, however, the analogy of soul and body bears no similarity at all to the analogue of G‑dliness and creation.

רַק שֶׁמָּשָׁל זֶה, אֵינוֹ אֶלָּא לְשַׁכֵּךְ אֶת הָאֹזֶן, אֲבָל בֶּאֱמֶת, אֵין הַמָּשָׁל דּוֹמֶה לַנִּמְשָׁל כְּלָל,

For the human soul, even the rational and the divine soul, is affected by the events which transpire with the body and its pain by reason of its (the rational and divine soul’s) being actually clothed within the vivifying soul (i.e., the soul which provides the body with physical life), which in turn is clothed in the body itself.

כִּי נֶפֶשׁ הָאָדָם, אֲפִילוּ הַשִּׂכְלִית וְהָאֱלֹהִית, הִיא מִתְפָּעֶלֶת מִמְּאוֹרְעֵי הַגּוּף וְצַעֲרוֹ, מֵחֲמַת הִתְלַבְּשׁוּתָהּ מַמָּשׁ בַּנֶּפֶשׁ הַחִיּוּנִית הַמְלוּבֶּשֶׁת בַּגּוּף מַמָּשׁ,

G‑d, however, is not (heaven forbid) affected by the events of the world and its changes, nor by the world itself;

אֲבָל הַקָּדוֹשׁ־בָּרוּךְ־הוּא, אֵינוֹ מִתְפָּעֵל חַס וְשָׁלוֹם מִמְּאוֹרְעֵי הָעוֹלָם וְשִׁינּוּיָיו, וְלֹא מֵהָעוֹלָם עַצְמוֹ,

He is not affected by the existence (the essence and being22) of the world;

none of them effect any change in Him, G‑d forbid, nor in His absolute unity; just as He was One and Unified before He created them, so, too, does He remain One and Unified after their creation.

שֶׁכּוּלָּם, אֵינָן פּוֹעֲלִים בּוֹ שׁוּם שִׁינּוּי חַס וְשָׁלוֹם.

In order to help us understand this well with our intelligence, the Scholars of Truth (i.e., the Kabbalists) have already treated it at length in their books, and an explanation will be found there.

וְהִנֵּה, כְּדֵי לְהַשְׂכִּיל זֶה הֵיטֵב בְּשִׂכְלֵנוּ, כְּבָר הֶאֱרִיכוּ חַכְמֵי הָאֱמֶת בְּסִפְרֵיהֶם,

However, all Jews, as descendants of the Patriarchs, who believed in G‑d, are “believers, descendants of believers,” without any speculation of mortal intellect whatsoever, and they declare: “You were [the same] before the world was created,”23 and so forth,

אַךְ כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל מַאֲמִינִים בְּנֵי מַאֲמִינִים בְּלִי שׁוּם חֲקִירַת שֵׂכֶל אֱנוֹשִׁי, וְאוֹמְרִים: "אַתָּה הוּא עַד שֶׁלֹּא נִבְרָא הָעוֹלָם וְכוּ'",

The passage concludes: “You are [the same] since the world has been created”; thus, all Jews firmly believe that the world’s creation causes no change in G‑d,

as has been explained above in ch. 20.

כַּנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל פֶּרֶק כ':

Now, therefore, each individual Jew, whoever he may be, i.e., whatever his spiritual state, when he ponders upon this for a considerable time each day—how G‑d is truly omnipresent in the higher and lower [worlds], and that the actual heaven and earth (i.e., not only the spiritual heaven and earth, the supernal sefirot, but the actual heaven and earth itself) is truly filled with His glory,

וְהִנֵּה, כָּל אָדָם מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל, יִהְיֶה מִי שֶׁיִּהְיֶה, כְּשֶׁיִּתְבּוֹנֵן בָּזֶה שָׁעָה גְדוֹלָה בְּכָל יוֹם, אֵיךְ שֶׁהַקָּדוֹשׁ־בָּרוּךְ־הוּא מָלֵא מַמָּשׁ אֶת הָעֶלְיוֹנִים וְאֶת הַתַּחְתּוֹנִים, וְאֶת הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֶת הָאָרֶץ מַמָּשׁ, "מְלֹא כָל הָאָרֶץ כְּבוֹדוֹ" מַמָּשׁ,

and that He looks, seeks, and searches his “kidneys and heart” (i.e., his inner thoughts and emotions) and all his actions and words and counts his every step—

וְצוֹפֶה וּמַבִּיט וּבוֹחֵן כִּלְיוֹתָיו וְלִבּוֹ וְכָל מַעֲשָׂיו וְדִיבּוּרָיו, וְכָל צְעָדָיו יִסְפּוֹר,

then fear will be implanted in his heart throughout the day, even when he is occupied with other matters and cannot contemplate the above, when he will again meditate on this, even with a superficial reflection that does not demand a particular effort and a set time;

אֲזַי, תִּקָּבַע בְּלִבּוֹ הַיִּרְאָה לְכָל הַיּוֹם כּוּלּוֹ, כְּשֶׁיַּחֲזוֹר וְיִתְבּוֹנֵן בָּזֶה אֲפִילוּ בְּהִתְבּוֹנְנוּת קַלָּה,

at any time24 or moment, he will thus turn away from evil and do good (i.e., he will refrain from transgressing negative commands and perform positive commands) in thought, speech, and deed so as not to rebel, G‑d forbid, in the sight of His glory, whereof the whole world is filled.

בְּכָל עֵת וּבְכָל שָׁעָה – יִהְיֶה "סוּר מֵרָע וַעֲשֵׂה טוֹב" בְּמַחֲשָׁבָה דִּבּוּר וּמַעֲשֶׂה, שֶׁלֹּא לַמְרוֹת חַס וְשָׁלוֹם עֵינֵי כְבוֹדוֹ, אֲשֶׁר מָלֵא כָל הָאָרֶץ,

This is in accord with the statement of Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai to his disciples, quoted above, viz., “May it be G‑d’s will that the fear of heaven be upon you [and keep you from sinning] like the fear of a human being [who by observing your actions keeps you from sinning].”25

וּכְמַאֲמַר רַבָּן יוֹחָנָן בֶּן זַכַּאי לְתַלְמִידָיו כַּנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל.

This, then, is the meaning of the verse: “[G‑d demands of you] only to fear the L-rd your G‑d, to walk in all His ways.”26

וְזֶהוּ שֶׁאָמַר הַכָּתוּב: "כִּי אִם לְיִרְאָה אֶת ה' אֱלֹהֶיךָ לָלֶכֶת בְּכָל דְּרָכָיו",

The question arises: Is attaining the fear of G‑d such an easy thing that the verse says “only to fear Him”? The answer which is given (“For Moses, it is a simple matter”) is difficult to comprehend, for the verse speaks of what “G‑d demands of you”—of every Jew. The explanation is as follows: the verse is referring here to a level of fear which is indeed simple for every Jew to reach, that level being fear that leads one to “walk in all His ways.”

For this is the fear that leads to the fulfillment of G‑d’s commandments, which involve turning away from evil and doing good. This is the “lower-level fear” which has been discussed earlier.

שֶׁהִיא יִרְאָה הַמְּבִיאָה לְקִיּוּם מִצְוֹתָיו יִתְבָּרֵךְ בְּ"סוּר מֵרָע וַעֲשֵׂה טוֹב", וְהִיא יִרְאָה תַּתָּאָה הַנִּזְכֶּרֶת לְעֵיל,

Accordingly, the Gemara’s answer (“For Moses, it is a simple matter”) is now understandable. It means:

As it applies to “Moses,” that is to say, in relation to the quality of daat that is in the divine soul of every Jew, this quality being the quality of Moses found within “you,” within each Jewish soul, this is indeed a minor thing, as has been stated above—that when a Jew reflects with his daat upon matters that arouse fear of G‑d, he will surely succeed in attaining it,

וּלְגַבֵּי מֹשֶׁה, דְּהַיְינוּ, לְגַבֵּי בְּחִינַת הַדַּעַת שֶׁבְּכָל נֶפֶשׁ מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל – הָאֱלֹהִית, מִילְּתָא זוּטַרְתִּי הִיא, כַּנִּזְכָּר לְעֵיל.

(27for daat is [the faculty] which connects the hidden understanding of the heart with revelation in actual thought, as is known to the students of the Kabbalah).

[שֶׁהַדַּעַת הוּא הַמְקַשֵּׁר מַצְפּוּנֵי בִּינַת הַלֵּב אֶל בְּחִינַת גִּילּוּי בְּמַחֲשָׁבָה מַמָּשׁ, כַּיָּדוּעַ לְיוֹדְעֵי חֵן].

As mentioned earlier, all Jews possess a “hidden treasure of fear of heaven” in their hearts. Through the faculty of daat, this fear of heaven is revealed and felt in one’s thought and also affects his speech and actions.

In describing earlier the fear a Jew should possess for G‑d, the Alter Rebbe said that it should be similar to the fear felt “when one stands before a king,” for G‑d is omnipresent and observes all man’s actions.

A question arises: When one stands before a king, he is not only being seen by the king, but he is also looking at him, and this helps him to stand in fear of him. In the analogue, however, this is not the case: though G‑d, the King, sees him, he fails to see G‑d.

The Alter Rebbe will now respond to this question by saying that there is yet another means by which an individual may awaken within himself the fear of G‑d—by being able to “see” the King. For by observing heaven and earth and all the created beings that inhabit them and realizing that they all derive their life from G‑d, he will have fear of Him.

In addition to this, one should remember that, as in the case of a mortal king, the fear of him relates mainly to his inner essence and vitality and not to his body—for when he is asleep, though his body does not change, there is no fear of him,

וְעוֹד זֹאת יִזְכּוֹר, כִּי, כְּמוֹ שֶׁבְּמֶלֶךְ בָּשָׂר וָדָם עִיקַּר הַיִּרְאָה הִיא מִפְּנִימִיּוּתוֹ וְחַיּוּתוֹ וְלֹא מִגּוּפוֹ, שֶׁהֲרֵי כְּשֶׁיָּשֵׁן – אֵין שׁוּם יִרְאָה מִמֶּנּוּ,

This is because while he sleeps, his inner essence and vitality are in a state of concealment. Clearly, then, they are the main reason for fearing a king while he is awake.

and, surely, his inner essence and vitality are not perceived by physical eyes but only by the mind’s eye,

וְהִנֵּה, פְּנִימִיּוּתוֹ וְחַיּוּתוֹ, אֵין נִרְאֶה לְעֵינֵי בָשָׂר, רַק בְּעֵינֵי הַשֵּׂכֶל –

through the physical eyes’ beholding his body and garments and knowing that his vitality is clothed in them.

עַל יְדֵי רְאִיַּית עֵינֵי בָשָׂר בְּגוּפוֹ וּלְבוּשָׁיו, שֶׁיּוֹדֵעַ שֶׁחַיּוּתוֹ מְלוּבָּשׁ בְּתוֹכָם,

This, in turn, leads the beholder to fear him.

And if this is so, then surely in the analogue as well: not only is the king seeing him, but he is seeing the king as well, and this causes him to fear G‑d. Moreover,

וְאִם כֵּן,

he must truly likewise fear G‑d when gazing with his physical eyes at the heavens and earth and all their hosts, wherein is clothed the [infinite] light of the blessed Ein Sof that animates them.

כָּכָה מַמָּשׁ יֵשׁ לוֹ לִירֹא אֶת ה', עַל יְדֵי רְאִיַּית עֵינֵי בָשָׂר בַּשָּׁמַיִם וָאָרֶץ וְכָל צְבָאָם, אֲשֶׁר אוֹר־אֵין־סוֹף בָּרוּךְ־הוּא מְלוּבָּשׁ בָּהֶם לְהַחֲיוֹתָם.

The Alter Rebbe will now say that by looking at heaven and earth, one not only becomes aware of their G‑dly vitalizing force but also perceives how the world and all its inhabitants are truly nullified to the divine life-force.

This can be perceived by observing the stars and planets, all of which travel in a westerly direction. In doing so, they express their nullification to the Shechinah, the Divine Presence, which is in the west.

And it is also seen with a glance of the eye that they are nullified to His blessed light by the fact that they “prostrate” themselves every day toward the west at the time of their setting. As the Rabbis, of blessed memory, commented on the verse: “…and the hosts of the heavens bow before You,”28 that the Shechinah abides in the west,

וְגַם נִרְאֶה בִּרְאִיַּית הָﬠַיִן, שֶׁהֵם בְּטֵלִים לְאוֹרוֹ יִתְבָּרֵךְ בְּהִשְׁתַּחֲוָואָתָם כָּל יוֹם כְּלַפֵּי מַﬠֲרָב בִּשְׁקִיﬠָתָם, – כְּמַאֲמַר רַבּוֹתֵינוּ־זִכְרוֹנָם־לִבְרָכָה ﬠַל פָּסוּק: "וּצְבָא הַשָּׁמַיִם לְךָ מִשְׁתַּחֲוִים" – שֶׁהַשְּׁכִינָה בַּמַּﬠֲרָב,

hence, not only do the heavenly hosts show their self-abnegation when they set in the west, but their daily orbit westward is a kind of prostration and self-nullification.

וְנִמְצָא – הִילּוּכָם כָּל הַיּוֹם כְּלַפֵּי מַﬠֲרָב הוּא דֶּרֶךְ הִשְׁתַּחֲוָואָה וּבִיטּוּל.

We find it written that if the sun, moon, and planets were to follow their natural characteristics, they would travel in an easterly, rather than in a westerly, direction. That they do not do so testifies to their constant self-nullification to the Divine Presence, which is found in the west. For the four points of the compass are rooted in the supernal sefirot, and malchut—the level of the Shechinah—is in the west. Thus, even man’s eye observes the self-nullification of creation to the divine life-force.

Even he who has never seen the king and does not recognize him at all, nevertheless, when he enters the royal court,

וְהִנֵּה, גַּם מִי שֶׁלֹּא רָאָה אֶת הַמֶּלֶךְ מֵעוֹלָם, וְאֵינוֹ מַכִּירוֹ כְּלָל, אַף־ﬠַל־פִּי־כֵן כְּשֶּׁנִכְנָס לַחֲצַר הַמֶּלֶךְ

“There, the king is not revealed at all: it is not the place of his royal throne and the like. (In the analogue, this refers to the physical world, in which various proofs are necessary in order to bring about self-nullification to the King.)”—Note by the Rebbe.

and sees many eminent nobles prostrating themselves before one man,

וְרוֹאֶה שָׂרִים רַבִּים וְנִכְבָּדִים מִשְׁתַּחֲוִים לְאִישׁ אֶחָד –

“The person who enters and looks superficially is unable to detect a difference between him and the other men present.”—Note by the Rebbe.

there falls on him a dread and awe.

תִּפּוֹל ﬠָלָיו אֵימָה וָפַחַד:

So, too, the self-nullification before G‑d shown by the awesome creatures, such as the heavenly bodies, enables one to be in fear and awe of Him.

However, the question may be asked: When one gazes at the body of a physical king, he sees before him beyond a shadow of a doubt the king himself. He therefore can extrapolate intellectually about the inner essence and vitality of the king and come to fear him. This is not so, however, with regard to physical creatures. The divine life-force is so concealed within them through so many garbs of concealment that it is quite possible for one to gaze at them and fail to be aware that their bodies are but garments to the divine life-force they contain.

The Alter Rebbe now goes on to say that it is therefore important for a person who observes physical created beings to cultivate the habit of immediately recalling that within the concealment of their external trappings and garments, there is to be found the G‑dliness that animates them. By doing so, one is then able to perceive the divine life-force found within the world.

And although many garments are involved in this vestiture so that when one gazes at created beings, one does not perceive that they are but garments to their divine life-force,

וְאַף שֶׁהוּא עַל יְדֵי הִתְלַבְּשׁוּת בִּלְבוּשִׁים רַבִּים,

there is no difference or distinction at all in the fear of a mortal king, whether he be naked29 or clothed in one or many garments.

הֲרֵי אֵין הֶבְדֵּל וְהֶפְרֵשׁ כְּלָל בְּיִרְאַת מֶלֶךְ בָּשָׂר וָדָם, בֵּין שֶׁהוּא עָרוֹם, וּבֵין שֶׁהוּא לָבוּשׁ לְבוּשׁ אֶחָד, וּבֵין שֶׁהוּא לָבוּשׁ בִּלְבוּשִׁים רַבִּים.

It is the realization that the king is found within the garments that creates the fear of him. And the same, the Alter Rebbe will conclude, is true here. When a person becomes accustomed to remember that when he gazes upon created beings, he is in reality gazing upon the King’s garments, he will then come to fear Him.

The essential thing, however, is the training to habituate one’s mind and thought continuously so that it always remain imprinted in his heart and mind,

אֶלָּא הָעִיקָּר הוּא הַהֶרְגֵּל, לְהַרְגִּיל דַּעְתּוֹ וּמַחֲשַׁבְתּוֹ תָּמִיד, לִהְיוֹת קָבוּעַ בְּלִבּוֹ וּמוֹחוֹ תָּמִיד,

that everything one sees with his eyes—the heavens and earth and all they contain—constitutes the outer garments of the king, the Holy One, blessed be He.

אֲשֶׁר כָּל מַה שֶּׁרוֹאֶה בְּעֵינָיו, הַשָּׁמַיִם וְהָאָרֶץ וּמְלוֹאָהּ, הַכֹּל הֵם לְבוּשִׁים הַחִיצוֹנִים שֶׁל הַמֶּלֶךְ הַקָּדוֹשׁ־בָּרוּךְ־הוּא,

In this way, he will constantly remember their inwardness and vitality, which is G‑dliness. This will create within him a fear of G‑d.

וְעַל יְדֵי זֶה – יִזְכּוֹר תָּמִיד עַל פְּנִימִיּוּתָם וְחַיּוּתָם.

The Rebbe explains that what now follows answers a question: How can we possibly say here that the nullification of the world to G‑d is a concept that can be perceived intellectually, when in ch. 33, the Alter Rebbe explained that this was a matter of faith? In this chapter, too, we have learned that it is a matter of faith—“that all Jews are believers, descendants of believers,” and so on. Faith and intellect are not only distinct entities, they are antithetical; for example, when something is understood, faith is not necessary.

The Alter Rebbe therefore now goes on to explain that this intellectual perception is also implicit in the word emunah (“faith”). For this word is etymologically rooted in the word uman (“artisan”). In order for an artisan with a talent for painting, creating vessels, or whatever to be successful, he must habituate and train his hands; only then will they reveal the latent talents of the artistry found in his soul.

The same is true here: The soul of every Jew possesses the abovementioned faith. However, in order for this faith to be actualized so that one’s actions will be in consonance with it, one must habituate and train himself to realize that all he sees—heaven and earth and all of creation—are but G‑d’s external garments. By constantly remembering that their inwardness is G‑dliness, the soul’s essential faith will be revealed and will affect one’s actions. His bodily organs will then follow the dictates of his faith.

This is also implicit in the word emunah (“faith”), which is a term indicating “training” to which a person habituates himself, like a craftsman who trains his hands and so forth.

וְזֶה נִכְלָל גַּם כֵּן בִּלְשׁוֹן "אֱמוּנָה", שֶׁהוּא לְשׁוֹן רְגִילוּת, שֶׁמַּרְגִּיל הָאָדָם אֶת עַצְמוֹ, כְּמוֹ אוּמָן הַמְאַמֵּן יָדָיו וְכוּ'.

The Rebbe notes that “who trains his hands” means: “He is cognizant of the craft in his soul; he has a natural talent for it but needs only to train his hands so that it will find tangible expression in his actions (be it through art, or fashioning vessels, or the like).”

Thus, the analogue contains both aspects: The king sees the individual, and he sees the king, as it were, by looking at created beings and perceiving through them the divine life-force that vitalizes them.

The Rebbe notes that the reason the Alter Rebbe now goes on to say “There should also be…” is that until now, it has been explained how a Jew generates the fear of heaven through intellectual contemplation. The degree of fear he arouses will correspond exactly to the extent of his contemplation; the deeper the contemplation, the greater his fear. It also depends on how much each individual is governed by his intellect. Furthermore, it is too much to expect that all people constantly achieve a state of intellectual awareness—yet all people are obliged to stand in constant fear of heaven. The Alter Rebbe therefore now goes on to elaborate on a frame of mind which can and must exist constantly—“acceptance of the yoke of the Kingdom of Heaven.” This is not attained through contemplation. Rather, it comes as a result of faith alone—and this state can exist constantly in all individuals.

There should also be a constant remembrance (it is constant because it does not depend on prior contemplation but rather on pure faith) of the dictum of the Sages, of blessed memory, “acceptance of the yoke of the Kingdom of Heaven,” which parallels the injunction, “You shall appoint a king (i.e., G‑d) over you,”30

וְגַם לִהְיוֹת לְזִכָּרוֹן תָּמִיד – לְשׁוֹן חֲכָמֵינוּ־זִכְרוֹנָם־לִבְרָכָה, "קַבָּלַת עוֹל מַלְכוּת שָׁמַיִם", שֶׁהוּא כְּעִנְיַן "שׂוֹם תָּשִׂים עָלֶיךָ מֶלֶךְ",

as has been explained elsewhere, and so on.

כְּמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר בְּמָקוֹם אַחֵר וְכוּ',

This is also what the Alter Rebbe says earlier in the Tanya (beginning of ch. 41): “Even though after all this [meditation], no fear or dread descends upon him in a manifest manner in his heart,” still, he should accept upon himself G‑d as his king and accept upon himself the yoke of the heavenly Kingdom. As the Alter Rebbe explains there, this attribute is found within every Jew in a sincere manner because of the nature of Jewish souls not to rebel against G‑d, the King of kings. This level of fear can therefore always be present.

For G‑d, blessed be He, forgoes the creatures of the higher and lower worlds, i.e., they are not the ultimate intent of creation, and uniquely bestows His kingdom upon us…and we accept [the heavenly yoke].

כִּי הַקָּדוֹשׁ־בָּרוּךְ־הוּא מַנִּיחַ אֶת הָעֶלְיוֹנִים וְהַתַּחְתּוֹנִים, וּמְיַיחֵד מַלְכוּתוֹ עָלֵינוּ וְכוּ', וַאֲנַחְנוּ מְקַבְּלִים וְכוּ',

And this is the significance of the obeisances in the prayer of the Eighteen Benedictions following the verbal acceptance of the yoke of the Kingdom of Heaven in the Reading of Shema, when we say, “…the L-rd is our G‑d, the L-rd is one,” and so on,

וְזֶהוּ עִנְיַן הַהִשְׁתַּחֲוָואוֹת שֶׁבִּתְפִלַּת י"ח, אַחַר קַבָּלַת עוֹל מַלְכוּת שָׁמַיִם בְּדִבּוּר בִּקְרִיאַת שְׁמַע,

whereby one accepts it once again in actual deed and so on (for by bowing in the course of the prayer of the Amidah, one shows one’s acceptance in actual deed of one’s self-nullification to G‑d), as is explained elsewhere.

לַחֲזוֹר וּלְקַבֵּל בְּפוֹעַל מַמָּשׁ, בְּמַעֲשֶׂה וְכוּ', כְּמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר בְּמָקוֹם אַחֵר: