He looks angry. He’s hanging out with the wrong crowd. He’s dressing and speaking in a manner that is beneath him, dragged by his friends into dangerous behaviors. And your heart goes out to this poor, lost soul.

When love won’t work, compassion will. There are times when you can’t muster up the feeling of love for G‑d. But you can feel compassion for the spark of G‑d inside you, dragged by the animal soul as it engages in behaviors that are beneath it. Just as when you tug at the bottom of a rope and the top of the rope gets pulled as well, when the animal soul is “pulled” into temptations, the G‑dly soul is dragged along. And your heart goes out to your G‑dly soul, sparking a desire in you to connect to G‑d.

This is the deeper meaning behind the verse “And let him return to G‑d, and He will have compassion for him.” It’s not just that G‑d will have compassion on him; he will have compassion for G‑d! And when a Jew shows compassion for the piece of G‑d inside him, he will be motivated to return to G‑d.

Learning Torah and doing mitzvot are forms of being “intimate” with G‑d. Doing mitzvot, especially charity, is like “hugging” G‑d; learning Torah is like “kissing” Him. In order to achieve that deep connection to G‑d, we have to have some compassion for our soul.

Tanya Bit: When you feel bad for your soul, you’ll be motivated to drag it back out of the mud by connecting to G‑d.

(Inspired from Chapter 45 of Tanya)