Get the best of content every week!
Find answers to fascinating Jewish questions, enjoy holiday tips and guides, read real-life stories and more!

Samach Vav: u'Mikneh Rav

Learning the Maamar ומקנה רב

Beginning of the Maamer ומקנה רב
In explaining the distinction between the Avodah of Yaakov and that of Yisroel, the Rebbe indicates that the Avodah of Yisroel is the service of a Ben (son), whereas that of Yaakov is the service of an Eved (servant). Because the relation between a son and father is essential, rather than generated by any particular cause, the service of Ben is characterized by an absolute, all-consuming love for the father (Ahavah Rabbah).
The Avodah of 'Ben'
The Avodah of Ben is the un-obscured Avodah of the Nefesh Elokis. Inasmuch as the Nefesh Elokis is – in the language of Tanya – a Chelek Elokah M’maal Mamash; its infinite and absolute love of Hashem (Ahavah Rabah) is entirely natural, reflecting its essential relationship with its source as paralleled in the fundamental connection of son to father.
The Avodah of the Ben (continued)
Not only is the Ratzon of the Ben essentially that of the Av, but the imminent faculties of the Ben also reflect those of the Av. Thus, the Chochmah and Bina of Nefesh Elokis (Ben) do not merely comprehend Chochmah and Binah of Atzilus, but are themselves condensed and reduced extensions of these Divine intellective attributes. The Neshamah (Ben), therefore, participates directly in the actual experience of Divine knowledge.
The Avodah of Two Types of Eved
Unlike the Ben, whose devotion and service are natural expressions of the Nefesh Elokis, the Avodah of the Eved is a product of the Guf and therefore requires effort. There are 2 categories of Eved, one whose service is pure Kabbolas Ol motivated by Yirah. The other is motivated by Ahavah—as a result of his recognition of the transcendent splendor of the Master and his overwhelming desire to be attached to Him.
The Avodah of Eved Motivated by Ahavah
The devoted service of this Eved includes supplying the Adon with the choicest of delicacies as well as beautiful and clean garments. In the Nimshal, the “delicacies” are the products of Birurim of the Middos of the Nefesh Habamis and the refinement of involvement in physical needs such as food, sleep, income etc. The beautiful garments, on the other hand, result from the performance of Mitzvos.
The Avodah of Eved in providing beautiful and clean garments.
As learned previously, beautiful garments represent the performance of Mitzvos. Garments (positive commandments), although precious, are susceptible to contamination by virtue of the fact that they are performed with physical objects that are originally under the dominion of Kelipas Noga. The sparks of holiness that are contained therein, therefore, require both guarding and “laundering”. Guarding is accomplished through meticulous observance of prohibitive commandments; whereas, cleansing is accomplished through appropriate Kavanah and Simcha Shel Mitzvah.
The Avodah of Eved motivated by Ahavah
As we learned previously, the beautiful garments (Mitzvos) provided to the master by the Eved require cleansing, which is accomplished through appropriate Kavanah and Simcha Shel Mitzvah. In the case of the Eved who serves out of love, this Simchah is the joy of affording his Master the delight that derives from the drawing of Divinity into the vessels of creation through the performance of the Mitzvos.
The עובד אלקים
Thus far we have explored Mashalim for the various dimensions of Avodah of the Eved (Yaakov as opposed to Yisorel). We now continue with the essence of Avodah. Avodah Elokis is a service of subjugation of the body and natural soul to the Will of the Creator. It It is, in essence, the acceptance of a yoke. This acceptance, which is contrary to human nature, is energy intensive and perpetual.
The nature of the Avodah of the עובד אלקים
As discussed previously, Avodah Elokis is a service of subjugation of the body and natural soul to the will of the Creator (acceptance of a yoke). The Rebbe Rashab proceeds to explain that this Avodah is perpetual, even determining how and when the Oved sleeps. Indeed, the Oved sacrifices not only his will but his entire identity in the service of the Master.
The עובד אלקים seeks nothing for himself.
The Oved Elokim is totally devoid of self-interest, or even self-awareness. His only motivation is to bring joy and satisfaction to his master.
The definitive feature of the עובד אלקים is self-transcendence.
The Oved Elokim is characterized not by what he accomplishes so much as how he accomplishes it. An individual could spend many hours in deep learning, expend a fortune in Tzedakah, or perform other Mitzvos with meticulous care and not qualify as an עובד אלקים , because all is within his natural capacity. The עובד אלקים drives himself beyond his natural or acquired capabilities.
The עובד אלקים brings pleasure to his Creator by subjugating the evil within while it remains in full strength in is heart.
The Oved Elokim is not capable of annihilating his evil inclination. His service is rather one of active suppression of the evil below, resulting in defeat of the Sitra Achra above, thus bringing joy to the Almighty (see Tanya, Chapter 27).
End of Maamer: Reuvain and Gad’s Connection with Transjordan
As pointed out previously, Reuvain and Gad are Ovdei Elokim, whose service is the active refinement of the physical world. Therefore, they specifically chose to possess land that does not share the high level of innate holiness of Eretz Yisroel proper, but rather requires the Avodah of Birurim.
Related Topics