Nevertheless, not every person is found worthy of having all of his days complete, without a deficiency, to the extent that not even one hour or one moment (to quote the Alter Rebbe)1 [is wasted].

It can be said that the expression “not every person is found worthy” is precise. Implied is that [such a complete expression of devotion is only granted to a person from Above] because he is found worthy; it is not dependent on the person’s choice.2 For, as is well known, there is no person who is saved from the sin of the neglect of Torah study,3 as reflected by our Sages’ statement:4 “There are three sins from which no person is saved every day.” Thus the matter is not dependent on the person’s choice; rather for this, one needs Divine merit and assistance.

The advice [for a person who was chosen to serve G‑d in such an all-encompassing manner] is — as the Alter Rebbe proceeds to state — to follow our Sages’ counsel “to follow the motif of teshuvah throughout one’s life.” The concept of teshuvah can be understood on the basis of the idea that the word שובה, “return,” employs the same letters as the word בושה, also meaning “shame.” Similarly, תשוב, “return,” employs the same letters as the word בושת, meaning “shame.” Implied is that when a person will meditate on the greatness of G‑d’s infinite light that extends upwards without limit and downwards without end,5 he will be overcome with shame before G‑d.6 In that vein, the Tzemach Tzedek quotes7 the Alter Rebbe’s citation8 of one of the teachings of the Maggid of Mezritch9 which explains the [kabbalistic]statement:10 “Even though the sublime Kesser is a bright and dazzling light, it is dark in the presence of the Cause of causes.” Implied is that [Kesser] is ashamed, as it were, in the presence of G‑d’s infinite light.11 How much more so does this concept apply to man’s Divine service! Even though he loves G‑d and fears Him, his love and his fear are of no consequence.12 Certainly, he should be genuinely embarrassed and ashamed. In particular, this is true when he contemplates his great distance [from G‑d], for he does not even know the nature of the Ten Sefiros. For he knows only of their existence; he does not comprehend their inner nature. Certainly, he does not comprehend the sublime Kesser and particularly the manner in which Kesser exists before the tzimtzum.13And even the sublime Kesser as it exists before the tzimtzum is dark [in shame] before the Cause of causes.

{This concept applies to all the aspects of the sublime Kesser,including the most sublime levels within it, even those levels that are so transcendent, they are unfit to be described as levels. Even they are dark before the Cause of causes. On the contrary, the Cause of causes is [only] manifest on the earthly plane.}

Through contemplation of these concepts, a person will become possessed with great shame in G‑d’s presence. This shame represents the fundamental dimension of teshuvah. This is the counsel appropriate for one who was not found worthy of having all his days perfect [in G‑d’s service]. He, too, can bond his soul to G‑d’s Essence and nature through teshuvah.


The maamar returns to the theme of teshuvah, for not every soul is found worthy of continuously bonding with G‑d through the ongoing observance of the Torah and its mitzvos. Those souls whose service is deficient can bond with G‑d through teshuvah.

Teshuvah is identified with shame, the utter self-effacement felt when one realizes that he is standing before G‑d. Even the entities on the highest spiritual levels are overcome by shame due to their awareness that they are in the presence of G‑d. Certainly, this applies to a limited mortal.