To explain the above: The willingness of a Jew to sacrifice his life for his faith stems (primarily) from the faith rooted in the essence of the soul. For the faith that stems from sight (“its mazal perceives”) [does not motivate such a commitment].

[The faith inspired by this perception] is very forceful, {for the impression created by sight is extremely powerful1}. Nevertheless, since this faith comes from [an external] factor, ([the soul’s] perception,) and is not connected with the essence of its being, it does not necessitate mesirus nefesh.

Why will a Jew give up his life for his faith? Because faith in G‑d is the very essence of his being. And therefore, it is impossible that he will, heaven forbid, deny [G‑d].

Based on the above, we can explain the statement in the maamar, [VeKibeil HaYehudim,] that Moshe’s function as a “shepherd of faith” (that he sustains and nurtures the faith [of the Jews]) applies also to the “shepherds of Israel” (“the extensions of Moshe”) in every generation. For they strengthen the faith of the Jewish people, inspiring them to self-sacrifice for the sake of the observance of the Torah and its mitzvos.

On the surface, [the above statement is problematic]. (In several sources2 and in the maamar, [VeKibeil HaYehudim] itself,3) it is explained that Moshe’s efforts to sustain and nurture the faith of the Jewish people is accomplished by infusing them with the knowledge of G‑d. This enables the faith [of the Jewish people] to be internalized.

[In contrast,] (in the maamar, [VeKibeil HaYehudim,]4) it is explained that the shepherds of Israel in every generation strengthen the faith of the Jewish people, motivating them to self-sacrifice. [And as explained above, this comes about not through imparting knowledge, but rather by bringing to the fore the connection to G‑d shared by the essence of the soul, a bond that transcends knowledge].

[This difficulty can be resolved] as follows: The primary activity of a “shepherd of faith” is to sustain and nurture faith itself, i.e., to lift our faith above the influence of our revealed powers ([the peak of the latter being] the soul’s perception of G‑dliness), and to have [our faith] reflect the essence of the soul.

[In this context,] Moshe’s achievements in internalizing faith, (bringing it within the realm of knowledge and compre­hension,) is an outgrowth of his efforts to sustain and nurture faith itself, (to draw down and reveal the dimension of faith that stems from the essence of the soul) as explained above (in sec. 5). For the [possibility for] faith to be internalized ([and drawn into the realm of] knowledge) comes from the revelation of the essential bond [between G‑d and] the essence of the soul.

Based on the above, it can be explained that in the generations in which actual mesirus nefesh was required [and people indeed risked and gave up their lives], the shepherds of Israel (“the extensions of Moshe”) who strengthened the faith of the Jewish people, inspiring them to self-sacrifice, expressed the qualities of a shepherd of faith (in this context5) to a greater extent than did Moshe himself. For the essence of the expression and the revelation of the [dimension of] faith which stems from the essence of the soul (which is [inspired] by Moshe and “the extension of Moshe in every generation”) is in actual self-sacrifice.