[As mentioned above,] the soul’s choice of G‑d stems from the essence of the soul, [a level] that transcends intellect. Perhaps one can add that when this choice is drawn down and has an effect on the intellect, it elevates the soul to a loftier rung than its natural, inherent level.1 This can be understood by prefacing with a concept explained in the maamar entitled Avadim Hayinu LePharaoh BeMitzrayim in the Siddur [Im Dach]:2 that the influence to those who transgress G‑d’s will is given incidentally,3 like one who throws what he gives over his shoulder.4 To explain by analogy, it is like a king who spares no expense in making a feast and celebration for his prominent officers and prestigious servants.5 Now, even lowly servants and maids found “behind the millstones”6 receive the leftovers from the feast. And even dogs feast on the bones that were discarded. Of course, the king had no intention of spending money on them. The leftovers they receive — (and the leftovers from such a feast are indeed of great value) — are given incidentally. Similarly, in the analogue, those who violate G‑d’s will [receive] influence incidentally. [It is given to them begrudgingly], like one who throws something over his shoulder, as explained there at length.2

It can be explained that [the details of the analogy are significant]. The two examples that [the maamar] cites of those who receive influence incidentally (and do not sit at the king’s table) — the servants and maids, and the dogs — and the two examples of those who sit at the king’s table — prominent officers and prestigious servants — parallel four levels in the analogue.

On the lowest level are the dogs. They do not serve the king; [they are motivated solely by their own desire that material things be given to them and [that the giving] should continue endlessly, enabling them to receive more and more, as it is written:7 “The dogs are fiercely wanting; they know no satiation.” This can be associated with the well-known concept8 that כלב, Hebrew for “dog,” can be associated with the phrase: כולו לב, “All heart.” The inherent nature of a person and his innate tendency is that his mind rules over his heart.9 A person described with the analogy of a dog is the direct opposite. Not only does his mind not rule over his heart; he is “all heart.” All10 of his concerns are [solely] to fulfill the desires of his heart.

On a higher level are the lowly servants11 (the servants and the maidservants that are found “behind the millstones”). They do serve the king.12 Nevertheless, they serve the king only out of compulsion (because they fear that [otherwise] they will be beaten).13 [Serving the king] runs contrary to their will and their pleasure, for a servant enjoys living without any restraints upon him.14 Since their desires and pleasures are directed to worldly matters, and the reason they do not violate G‑d’s will is only that they fear punishment, they are not worthy of “sitting at the king’s table.”15

In contrast, the “prestigious servants” serve the king willingly; this is their desire. [True,] their service is primarily motivated by the acceptance of the king’s yoke. {As is well known,16 this constitutes the difference between the service of a son and a servant. A son carries out his father’s will because of his love, while a servant carries out the will of his master because he accepts his yoke.} Nevertheless, [a “prestigious servant” accepts the king’s yoke] willingly and with desire; [in the analogue,] he desires to accept the yoke of the kingdom of Heaven. Therefore, he is [worthy of] “a place at the king’s table.”17

On a higher level than this are the king’s officers. They know the conventions of the kingdom. {For that reason, some of the matters of the kingdom are entrusted to their authority.} They also comprehend the virtues of the king and therefore, they love him. Thus their service is not motivated by the acceptance of the king’s yoke alone; it also results from their love of him.

The category of officers itself subdivides into several levels. In general, there are two levels, ordinary officers and prominent officers. It is possible to say that these three categories found at the king’s table — prestigious servants, ordinary officers and prominent officers — correspond to the three types of officers — a duke, a prefect, and a commander — whom the above-mentioned Midrash describes as accompanying the king. The description the Midrash gives — that they accompany the king — is similar to the concept mentioned in the analogy: that the prestigious servants and officers sit at the king’s table.

On this basis, it is possible to [offer a further insight concerning the Midrash cited previously]: The obvious analogue to the duke, the prefect, and the commander are the 70 patron angels of [kelipas] nogah (as explained in the maamarim cited above).18 Nevertheless, the fact that the Midrash describes the duke, et al., as “accompanying the king” alludes to the concept that the analogue refers {not to the 70 patron angels who are characterized by yeshus and possess an independent identity19 like the lowly servants whose place is removed from the king’s table, but} also to those angels whose identity is subsumed in G‑dliness — and on a higher level — to the Sefiros of Atzilus, about which is said: “He and His life-energy are one; He and His causations are one”20 — entities that are at one with the King at all times.21

On this basis, one can further comprehend the extent of the “cleverness” of the person who states: “I will choose the king.” Not only is he unwilling to receive influence as do the dogs or the lowly servants that are removed from the king’s table (even though the influence granted to them is vast), but he wants to be present at the king’s table. Moreover, he does not desire [intermediaries like] the duke, ([in the analogue,] the angels, the Sefiros of Atzilus, or [intermediaries on] even higher levels). He desires the king [himself]: “I will choose the king.” This can be illustrated by the well-known analogy of the Baal Shem Tov22 on the phrase:23 “A prayer of a poor person when he languishes and pours out his soul before G‑d.” The “poor person” does not desire anything. His request is [only] that he be able to “pour out his soul before G‑d.”

[Choosing the King rather than the intermediaries] requires great wisdom. As in the analogy of a mortal king: in order to reach the throne room where the king is found and his countenance can be beheld, it is necessary to pass through numerous chambers, each containing fabulous treasures. There are people who will derive [such] wonderful pleasure from seeing the great treasures that are found in the outermost chamber, [that they become transfixed] and will remain there. Others are transfixed by the pleasure they derive from [the treasures found in] an inner chamber. Only one who is very wise is unaffected by the magnitude and the value of the magnificent treasures that are found in even the innermost chambers, but instead, focuses his will and his desire solely on entering the throne room where the king sits, so that he can behold the king’s countenance.