Chassidic teaching elaborates on the dual and dueling forces within us. On the one side is the human soul; instinctive, practical and obsessed with survival. In the other corner is the G‑dly, transcendent soul; no personal agenda, completely committed to executing G‑d's will.

Despite the common overlap of interests – most things that are good for the individual are good for G‑d – chassidic teaching does not tolerate a "live and let live" coexistence. Being human or even humane won't cut it. We are not "only human," we are part G‑dly; and our infinite side won't rest on good enough. We must outdo the preprogrammed natural kindness of humanity; we must add value beyond the factory-installed equipment we came with. We must be G‑dly, not earthly.

An animal does what it does, it makes no choices, it makes no mistakes, and in fact it "makes" nothing at all. Lions eat zebras and raccoons knock over garbage pails. We can be annoyed but never angry with them; they simply do what they do. We must never be raccoons. We must never settle for doing what we do simply because we are so programmed.

Raccoons knock over garbage pails. We can be annoyed but never angry with themTo be sure, our propensities are often fine and upstanding, yet if they are just our natural tendencies then we have not "done" anything. Grass grows and angels praise G‑d—because they have no alternative, they are hardwired to do so. We must do more, infinitely more. It is not sufficient to passively allow the principal capital, our inborn skills, to just increase at the standard rate, that doesn't justify the risk G‑d took of entrusting a part of Him within us.

The Book of Leviticus begins with the laws of sacrifices. G‑d demands that we surrender to Him our animal, our innate instincts; that we live consciously, making strides that outpace the inevitable. This is a personal message in the sacrificial procedure. "A man who offers from among you an offering to G‑d..." refers to more than surrendering our bad habits, it means doing more than can "reasonably" be expected; it means aligning with our G‑dly, infinitely productive side.

Avodah (service), one of the pillars upon which the world stands (Ethics 1:1), includes the sacrificial process and its personal parallel, the duty to stretch beyond the intuitive.

When the serial failure suddenly succeeds, when father and son turn the page on thirty years of estrangement, they have done the unpredictable; they have surrendered their animal, their well worn trends, to G‑d. They experience the miraculous, they serve G‑d instead of their survival instinct and they are free. The trajectory had them headed for repetitive failure and now they have exceeded the conventional, they have caused G‑d's presence to be evident in the world.

2, 4, 6 does not dictate that 8 must follow. We can achieve the undreamed of, past (disastrous) performance is not a guarantee of future (calamitous) results.

So we need not be "only human"; boring automatons, destined to repeat our patterns till the end of our days. We can change our patterns when we surrender the animalistic impulses we dutifully follow, when we offer them on the altar and follow its smoky residue up to the heavens. It's scary out there beyond the known, the comfortable and the familiar, it is always easier to stay with the "same old same old," yet that's where value is added and a dwelling place for G‑d is made.