1. This Shabbos stands in close proximity to several Chassidic holidays.

In the coming week we will celebrate Chai Elul, the 18th of Elul, when “the two great luminaries” were born — the Baal Shem Tov and the Alter Rebbe. In the week preceding this Shabbos we had the 13th of Elul, the wedding anniversary of the Previous Rebbe, the Nasi of our generation, and the 11th of Elul, the wedding anniversary of the Rebbe Rashab, father of the Previous Rebbe. (The Previous Rebbe succeeded him as the world leader of the Lubavitch movement.)

A wedding anniversary day is a time of joy, as we know, the word “Hillula” is translated to mean “the joy of the wedding.”

These special days are all connected to this Shabbos, which has the two themes: (A) “The six days receive blessing from the seventh” (Zohar II 63b); the day of Shabbos bestows blessing on the subsequent days of the week, and: (B) “He who took the trouble [to prepare] on the eve of the Shabbos can eat on the Shabbos” (Avodah Zarah 3a). This means that the eating and delight of Shabbos are dependent upon the efforts and toil of the days preceding the Shabbos, especially — Friday.

In our case, the 13th of Elul occurred on Friday, and the 11th of Elul occurred last Wednesday — both are included in the “eve of the Shabbos.”

Consequently, this Shabbos links these Chassidic holidays, and the blessing bestowed by Shabbos on the 18th of Elul is generated with the power of the preparation for Shabbos made on the 11th and 13th of Elul.

Important events which happened in our past are relived and actually recur each year. In Megillas Esther we find:

And these days should be remembered and celebrated (lit. “come into being”). (Esther 9:28)

This fact is especially true when we speak of Chassidic holidays (for the chassid is one who is more careful and pious) and particularly so, when we are dealing with the Baal Shem Tov and Alter Rebbe, the Rebbe Rashab and the Previous Rebbe, who were the Nesi’im and leaders of their respective generations; these special days, which are their holidays, certainly “come into being” each year.

Which brings us to the lesson which we should garner from these days and these luminaries. The good resolutions must be applied to thought, speech and action, and in each case the “deed is of the essence.”

Looking to the 18th of Elul first, what do we learn from the Baal Shem Tov.

The theme of the Baal Shem was personified by his name “Yisrael” — it is the name used for all Jews and it conveys a certain egalitarianism, for the Gemara says:

Even though [the people] have sinned they are still called “Yisrael.” (Sanhedrin 44a)

At the same time even the greatest, truly distinguished Jews are also called “Yisrael.” Chassidic tradition relates that the Baal Shem Tov was named “Yisrael” because his mission in the world was to revive the Jewish people from the state of half-consciousness and faintedness. We know that when a person faints, one way to revive him is by calling out his Hebrew name in his ear. This is because, although his external powers are in a state of faintness, his essential soul-powers are still functioning, and by calling his name, the essential powers will be animated and bring the person back to life. In the same way the Baal Shem Tov was “called” Yisrael, which awakened the essential soul of every Jew who is known as “Yisrael.”

This awakening was across the board, it affected the distinguished Jews as well as the simple Jews. The spell of faintness had spread across all the strata of the Jewish community and they were revived by the revelation of the teachings of Chassidus by the Baal Shem Tov, and by his special attention, love and devotion for the simple people.

The Baal Shem Tov carried out his role to the fullest. On the one hand he revealed and taught Chassidic philosophy and the esoteric teachings of Torah to his close disciples. And on the other hand he was constantly involved with the simple folk.

The Previous Rebbe has related to us many stories and narratives of how the Baal Shem Tov traveled the roads and by-ways of the Jewish pale, going from town to village in search of Jewish communities. How he would spend time talking with the simple, often ignorant, country folk, men, women and children, about simple subjects, such as their efforts to earn a living, and how their health was holding up. His intention was to motivate and encourage them to say “Baruch Hashem — Thank G‑d.”

Ponder this for a moment.

The prince of Israel, known as the Baal Shem Tov — for he was master of the good name — leaves his city, his place, his synagogue and study hall, (the capital city and palace of the King) and undertakes the travails of the itinerant preacher to go out into the “fields” and converse with the “people of the fields,” simple, unlearned people, involved in down to earth, “field” occupations, just to hear them say the words, “Thank G‑d.”

The Baal Shem’s affinity to these people was so great that even when he taught esoteric and lofty Torah discourses he used the Yiddish language, which was understood by unlettered Jews of his time.

[The special quality of the Holy Tongue is discussed in Chassidic philosophy and compared to building stones created by G‑d — whereas all the other languages (including Yiddish and Aramaic — or other “Judeo” languages) are considered as bricks made by man.]

The Baal Shem, however, was so dedicated to his role as the reviver of the Jewish people that he had to unify himself with everyone and even when he taught lofty philosophy to his closest disciples (who certainly understood the Holy Tongue) he spoke in the language of the masses — Yiddish.

This theme role of the Baal Shem was carried forth by the Previous Rebbe, the Nasi of our generation — as we say “the end is bound up in the beginning.”

In the Previous Rebbe’s letter, on being freed from Soviet incarceration he writes:

Not me alone did the Holy One, Blessed be He, liberate ... but also all those who cherish our Holy Torah, observe mitzvos, and [even those who] are [only] called by the term “Jew.”

As Nasi he included in his redemption all of the Jewish people, from the greatest to the simplest, so long as he was called, “Jew.”

This attitude specifically expressed itself in the activities most emphasized by the Previous Rebbe. For we know how he applied the principle of “spreading the wellsprings of Torah to the outside,” to the utmost; spreading the wellsprings of the Baal Shem’s teachings to the farthest reaches of the “outside.” For those who could not understand the classic Hebrew of Chassidic works, the Previous Rebbe encouraged translations into many languages.

Thus, there was a common factor in the context of the work of the Baal Shem and the Previous Rebbe. In contrast, there was also a difference. In the Baal Shem’s time it was necessary to reveal the Name, to motivate Jews to say: “Thank G‑d,” [just as the Baal Shem was called by the name — “Yisrael.”] While in our generation, after the multiple revelation of the generations since the Baal Shem Tov, there must now be the actual revelation of the “wellsprings of Torah and Chassidus.” And they must be disseminated to the farthest distances possible.

We must be involved in “spreading the wellsprings.” What do we learn from the Baal Shem Tov in this?

One might argue, that he is only responsible to reach out to someone who is on his level, but not to a Jew who is far “outside.” They have nothing in common.

Study the conduct of the Baal Shem. Did he stand on propriety? He left his town, his study-hall and his synagogue to reach out and meet those simple, “country” Jews, who were involved in mundane field activities, and he showed them the greatest love, interest and affinity.

This is the approach that we must emulate, to recognize and appreciate the intrinsic qualities of every single Jew, no matter that for the moment he may be “outside,” and to exert every effort to attract him to Judaism, Torah and mitzvos — even unto the wellsprings of Chassidic philosophy.

Action is of the essence. All of these programs and activities should be increased. In this way we will merit the fulfillment of Mashiach’s reply to the Baal Shem Tov; as the Baal Shem recorded it in his well-known letter:

I entered into the Palace of Mashiach ... and I questioned him directly: “When will the master come?” And he replied: “This will be your sign, when your teachings will be revealed and become known in the world, and your wellsprings will spread to the outside.” (Kesser Shem Tov)

So may it be for us. The master should actually come, the King Mashiach, and then:

The glory of the L‑rd shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together, (Yeshayahu 40:5)

in a manner of unity and love of fellow Jews, speedily and truly in our days.

2. There is a disturbing question which crops up when we clearly delineate the lesson that we garner from the 18th of Elul, the holiday of the Baal Shem and the Alter Rebbe.

True, that we learn that our Divine service is to reach out to every Jew and to spread the wellsprings of Torah and Chassidus. But, we find ourselves in the thickness of the darkened galus (diaspora). Where does a Jew find the strength, and what gives him the guarantee, that he will succeed?

To answer this question we will look to the days preceding this Shabbos and to the names of the Rebbeim whose Hillula (anniversaries) we celebrated. In the symbolism of their names we will find an answer to our dilemma and we will see how the days of the 11th and 13th of Elul prepare for this Shabbos, which in turn bestows the blessing on the Divine service of the 18th of Elul.

The 11th of Elul was the anniversary of the wedding of the Rebbe, Rabbi Shalom DovBer (Rashab).

Stop for a moment to consider. The obfuscation and restriction of the darkness of the world is G‑d made. How can a human being imagine that he has the power or potential to illuminate the darkness and remove the concealment, by spreading the wellsprings to the “outside”?

The answer of course is, that the existence of the negative forces is only to be converted and refined by our actions.

This concept is encapsulated in the name Shalom (peace), the first name of the Rashab.

We seek peace when there are two opposing forces. When the infinite light of the “Ein Sof” pervaded the pre-creation “existence” there was no opposition nor restriction — and hence there was no need for peace.

In the primordial state of Tzimtzum the existence of opposing forces had not yet crystallized. Only after the limited, post-Tzimtzum, creative force radiated into the “void,” and, with its limited, myopic power, began to create finite matter — only then, at the dawn of its functional creativity — was the existence of darkness and evil provided for.

At this point we need Shalom, to make peace between the conflicting creations, and to nullify the negativeness of the kelipah, the opposing side of evil. It is at this point, that we must remember that the ultimate purpose in creating the opposing forces is to superimpose peace and to nullify the antagonist and convert it to holiness.

At this point one may ask:

To invoke the power of Shalom did not really need the creation of true darkness — even in the spiritual world of the angels there are opposing forces (all good), which also need the mediation of Shalom to make peace. As the Midrash relates on the verse:

“He makes peace in His high heavens,” Michael is the minister of water, Gavriel is the minister of fire and one does not extinguish the other.

So we come back to the original question: Why was it necessary to create the forces of darkness and then give us the power to refine it in order to achieve peace, it would have sufficed to make peace among the contending angels?!

But the answer is that angelic reconciliation is not real “peace.” For it is “high heavens cooperation.” What is needed is peace in the corporeal world, down to earth, “Shalom.” As explained in Tanya:

Clearly, the purpose of the hishtalshelus (downward devolution) of the worlds and their descent, degree by degree ... is the lowest world, for such was His blessed will that He shall have satisfaction when the sitra achra (other-side, evil) is subdued and the darkness is turned to light.... (Tanya chapter 36)

This theme is also projected by the Rashab’s second name, DovBer. The Gemara describes a bear (Heb. “dov”) as being “coated (heavy) with flesh like bears” (Megillah 11a), symbolic of gross materialism. The second half of the name, Ber (bear), is the common Yiddish translation of the word Dov, which symbolizes an even lower level of grossness, being no longer expressed in the Holy Tongue. Combining the names into Shalom DovBer tells us that the descent of the “bear,” which is “layered with flesh” (grossness), is for the purpose and goal of evolving into Shalom — the conversion of darkness into light and bitterness into dulcitude. By coalescing and fusing all these factors into one name, the true goal of DovBer is revealed in Shalom, peace!

Should you wonder: If the purpose of the grossness is to be refined and purified and there is a guarantee that it will take place, then what is the big deal of the state of “Shalom,” it was all predetermined and planned?!

Which brings us to the first name of the Previous Rebbe, whose wedding anniversary we observed on the 13th of Elul.

The name “Yosef” evolved from the statement “May G‑d grant another son to me” (Bereishis 30:24), referring to a person who attracts another person — who was previously an antagonist — to become a son of G‑d. This also effects an elevation in the first “son,” the one who attracted the other son; therefore he is called Yosef.

Although Yosef’s powers were inherited from Yaakov, as we explain on the verse: “These are the children of Yaakov, Yosef,...” that Yosef’s qualities and powers devolved from Yaakov, nevertheless, Yosef did have the potential for new and additional powers of his own, beyond what he received as the offspring and inheritor of Yaakov. Hence, when Yosef acts to add another son, he reaches a new level of added power. (This explains the accomplishment of Shalom DovBer.)

But Yosef is not really interested in his own accomplishments, for: “I was created to serve my Master” (Kiddushin 82a), what has he added in his Divine service for his Master?

Here we turn to the Previous Rebbe’s second name, “Yitzchok” — laughter and delight. When we effect the conversion of darkness to light and bitterness to sweetness then we engender the supernal delight:

May the L‑rd find delight in His works. (Tehillim 104:24)

The revelation of joy and happiness of the Holy One, Blessed be He. This is the theme of Yitzchok.

Having analyzed the inner theme of the names of the Rebbe Rashab and the Previous Rebbe we may now reveal the connection between the 11th and 13th of Elul with the 18th of Elul and how the two anniversaries which came before Shabbos energize this Shabbos, which then radiates blessing to the Divine service of the 18th of Elul.

Going out into the darkness of the world to disseminate the wellsprings of Torah, one must keep in mind that this double darkness was created with the hope that it would be dissipated and converted to holiness by the process of Shalom, which would then bring him the new, additional powers of Yosef, and cause great joy and delight for the Holy One, Blessed be He — the theme of Yitzchok.

This knowledge creates the potential for success, for he proceeds with assuredness and enthusiasm, confident that he will succeed.

Attitude is important. You cannot take the view that your responsibility is only to act, and since success lies in the hand of G‑d — what difference is it to you if you actually accomplish your goal or not! This is not the right attitude. G‑d wants the mission to be undertaken with a personal commitment that shows that you care about the outcome of your work. Then your activity is assuredly more effective and you will see success. For this reason we often find our sages remind us that “the Torah guaranteed ...”

On the face of it what difference would it make if we are reassured of success. Our job is to act, no matter what!

It is clear, however, that it is the will of the Holy One, Blessed be He, that the Jew who toils should be certain and confident — sure of success — then the enthusiasm will engender much greater efforts.

This idea, of the descent of the G‑dly creative forces, through Tzimtzum, to form the concealed, corporeal world and then the role of man to sweeten the bitterness and illuminate the darkness, as expressed in the name of the Rashab and the Previous Rebbe, may also be found in the name of the Alter Rebbe: Schneur — and the name of the Baal Shem: Yisrael.

The Alter Rebbe’s first name, Schneur, means — two lights while the name Zalman is a Yiddish name. Thus, his names refer to the light which descends, and the light which rises, and their affinity with the mundane world, as expressed by a common Yiddish word. The name of the Baal Shem — Yisrael — symbolizes that it applies to all Jews. In their names however the abovementioned concept is concealed, and in the names of Shalom DovBer and Yosef Yitzchok this pattern is revealed. Thus they serve as a preparation for the 18th of Elul.

Occurring on Friday, the 13th of Elul carries with it a dual theme. On the one hand, Friday represents the completion of creation: “G‑d saw all that He made and behold, it was very good” (Bereishis 1:31).

On the other hand, it introduces the idea that creation is incomplete and needs our input to perfect it, as the verse says: “... which G‑d created to function” (Ibid 2:3). This means that all that G‑d had made needs our work of completion to bring it to perfection.

Moreover, there are some things which even we cannot complete, as we find in Pirkei deRabbi Elazar:

G‑d created the corner of the North and did not complete it, the Holy One, Blessed be He, said, anyone who claims to be a god, let him come and complete the creation of the North which I have left incomplete. (Chapter 3)

That which is lacking since the time of creation must be rectified by our Divine service.

Consequently, the sixth day, itself, portrays for us this scenario — that there are aspects of creation which are deficient and must be completed by our involvement. We must effect completion and bring delight, above.

Another subject needs to be introduced here. We have discussed the relationship of the wedding anniversaries of the Rebbe Rashab and the Previous Rebbe to the day of Chai (18th of) Elul. Intrinsically, the institution of marriage and the activity of disseminating the wellsprings have a common factor: both reveal the power of the infinite Ein Sof. Marriage brings the infinite power of reproduction, which results in future generations — and when the wellsprings go out to the farthest reaches of the “outside” — there is similarly a revelation of the infinite. And Torah and mitzvos will bring the infinite redemption.

For this reason, too, the last blessing of the marriage ceremony speaks of the ultimate, infinite redemption:

L‑rd our G‑d, let there speedily be heard in the cities of Yehudah and in the streets of Yerushalayim the sound of joy and the sound of happiness, the sound of a groom and the sound of a bride. (See Siddur)

Marriage and redemption alike represent the revelation of the Ein Sof!

So may it be, by increasing our work in disseminating the wellsprings of Torah we will merit the fulfillment of the promise that Mashiach (the master) will come; the true and complete redemption through our righteous Mashiach.

And then we will merit to fulfill the mitzvah of the First Fruit which we will read about in the Torah reading of Ki Savo which we start at Minchah today.

* * *

3. In this week’s portion we find the verse:

When you come [to work] into your neighbor’s vineyard, you may eat as many grapes as you desire to satisfy your hunger. However you may not put any into a receptacle that you may have. (Devarim 23:25)

On this commandment Rashi clarified:

When you come into your neighbor’s vineyard: Scripture is speaking of a laborer. (Rashi, loc. cit.)

And on the following verse:

When you come [to work] into your neighbor’s standing grain you may take the ears with your hand. However you may not lift the sickle [for your own benefit] in your neighbor’s grain. (Ibid:26)

On which Rashi again comments:

When you come into your neighbor’s standing grain: In this case too Scripture is referring to a laborer [in the field]. (Ibid, loc. cit.)

Many of the commentaries, who discuss Rashi’s approach, tell us that in this case Rashi knows that Scripture is speaking of a worker, because the sentence goes on to say, “you may not put any into a receptacle....” Actually, the Sifri had already deduced this rule:

“When you come into your neighbor’s vineyard” — I might think this refers to anyone at anytime, for this reason the verse states: “you may not put any into a receptacle that you may have,” this means to tell us that you may eat only at the time you [are working for, and] are placing the grapes in the receptacle of the owner of the vineyard.

From here we may deduce that we are discussing a case where you are putting grapes into the receptacle of the owner. When is that — when you are a laborer! Similarly in the case of the standing grain. Rashi, himself, also makes these deductions later on in his commentary.

There is another possible source for Rashi’s interpretation. The Gemara says:

“When you come” — “coming” is mentioned here; and elsewhere too it is said, “[Do not withhold wages due ... hired hand ... you must give him his wages ...] and not let the sun set (lit. come down) with him waiting for it.” Just as there, Scripture refers to an employee, so here, too. (B. Metzia 87b)

We are faced with a dilemma. All of these sources do not fit in with Rashi’s system of explaining the plain meaning of Torah.

Let us analyze the inference of the Gemara. It uses a syllogism based on the common words (“Gezera Shava”) used in both verses:

(A) The five-year-old Chumash student has not yet learned the later verse about paying wages to a worker, and Rashi makes no reference to this form of syllogism.

(B) From a simple approach the syllogism is faulty because in our case the term “come” refers to the person and in the case of the late wages the term “come” refers to the sun. Why reject the simplest meaning — that it includes anyone, just passing by — and infer that it speaks of a worker? — the syllogism is faulty.

The Sifri’s deduction (as opposed to the Talmud’s) is logically air-tight, but it seems that Rashi consciously ignores the system that the Sifri uses. How is this evident? (A) Because Rashi cites the words: “You may not put any into a receptacle” (the end of the verse) as the caption of a separate commentary, and in explaining the words “when you come ...,” he makes no mention of the end of the verse, and simply says: “Scripture is speaking of a laborer.”

(B) When Rashi does cite the words “You may not put ...” he deduces a completely different rule — that “if (when) he comes to hoe or to weed he may not eat of the grapes.” The fact that Scripture speaks here of a laborer is apparently known without the words “you may not put....”

Which brings us to the question:

How does Rashi know that the intention of the Torah here is specifically about a laborer and not any person, as the words “When you come” would seem to indicate in its plain meaning?

Another difficult point. Rashi is always very careful, when he cites words from the verse as captions for his commentary. He normally cites only those words which are directly related to the points he is going to explain in his commentary. Consequently, in our case, why does he cite the words “... in your neighbor’s vineyard ...” and “in your neighbor’s standing grain” when his explanation [referring to a laborer] is solely on the words: “When you come ...”?!

We may find the solution of this question by first prefacing another question.

The five-year-old Chumash student wants to know: What is this fellow doing in his neighbor’s vineyard or field? Having learned that much hard labor must be invested into a vineyard to see bountiful fruits: “Six years you shall prune your vineyard,” he understands that if someone just walks around in the vineyard or field, that will ruin the soil and the plants.

But the Torah says specifically — “When you come” — clearly it must indicate that you do have permission to enter the vineyard. We therefore deduce: who has permission to enter the field (but perhaps not to take the fruits)? — the worker. So Rashi says distinctly that by simple logic we must be discussing the case of a laborer.

This logic is acceptable only when we state, specifically, in the caption, the point about the “neighbor’s vineyard” — it is in regard to the neighbor’s vineyard that we had to analyze who could or could not enter. Therefore when Rashi quotes the verse, and puts the words in the caption, he specifically cites the entire thought: “When you come into your neighbor’s vineyard,” or “When you come into your neighbor’s standing grain.”

4. This Rashi also carries an important moral lesson for us in its Chassidic insights into the Divine service of every Jew.

We may understand the “field” and “vineyard” (orchard) as symbolically representing the two aspects in a person’s Divine service; that which is done because of requirement (field) and that which is done out of delight (vineyard). And your “neighbor”? “Your neighbor (friend) is the Holy One, Blessed be He” (Shmos Rabbah, Yisro).

Let us now find the esoteric meaning of: “When you come [to work] in your neighbor’s vineyard.”

Right at the outset the Torah gives us a clear directive: You are just beginning your steps in the direction of serving G‑d, and you think that you will be satisfied by doing only that which is incumbent upon you. After all, the “wise guy” (evil inclination) advises you, that even the Sages of the Talmud said, “It is enough to follow (refrain from) that which the Torah specifically prohibited” [Why be more pious?] (Yerushalmi, Nedarim 9:1).

At this point the Torah tells you: Start with the vineyard and orchard, strive for delightful fruits. From the outset you must seek to reach and fulfill matters which engender delight and excitement. You cannot be complacent with matters of the field alone, the minimum requirement — the staples of life.

Why is this so? Because pleasure and delight are integrally and essentially included in the purpose of creation. Do we not learn in Tanya, that “The Holy One, Blessed be He, desired to have an abode in the lower worlds”?

Tanya used the term “nis’aveh,” an inexplicable yearning and longing! So much so, that the Alter Rebbe said: “We cannot question a desire!” The only way this aspect of G‑d’s creative purpose will be satisfied is when we fulfill mitzvos with delight and desire — not just out of habit or force! So even the person who is just setting out on his life’s journey of serving G‑d, is told to start with the vineyard of delight even before you enter the field of necessity. The terminology, “When (you come into the vineyard”; rather than, “if,”) promises and guarantees you success. You will succeed and will effect a state of pleasure for “your friend, the Holy One, Blessed be He.”

As we follow the verse we will see that: “... you may eat as many grapes as you desire to satisfy your hunger,” which means that your efforts will be intrinsically incorporated in your essence to the point of satisfaction. However, “... you may not put any into a receptacle that you may have.” You will not be limited by the restrictiveness of “vessels,” or “receptacles.” You will reach beyond your normal capabilities, attributes and powers.

Having established the requirement for the Divine service of delight — we might assume that the normal, regulated, required activities are no longer important.

Therefore the Torah informs us, that it is G‑d’s will that our Divine service be conducted along two tracks: in the delightful manner of the orchards and the more simple manner of the fields. Consequently they become equally important.

Hence, the Torah tells us:

“When you come [to work] in your neighbor’s standing grain,” then “you may take the ears with your hand,” you will see real, actual down-to-earth results — you will hold it in your hand, your reward will be in the physical reality of your service and devotion to G‑d.

And, “you may not lift the sickle in your neighbor’s grain.” It will in no way diminish the reward which is in store for you in the World to Come.

It should of course be kept in mind that all the physical benevolence which we receive in this mundane world is really given to us to help us to do more Divine service, as the Rambam says:

He will remove for us the obstacles that hinder us in its observance, such as sickness, war ... and will bestow upon us all the material benefits which will strengthen our ability to fulfill the Torah.... Thus we will not be engaged, all of our days, in providing for our bodily needs, but will have the leisure to study wisdom and fulfill the commandments....” (Laws of Teshuvah 9:1)

These blessings will be bestowed to the point of great wealth (so that we may give more tzedakah) and to the point that we will have all the pleasures we might desire, but we will realize that the true purpose is to be free to study Torah.

This approach to a Jew’s Divine service applies at all times, yet, now in the month of Elul, when we prepare for Rosh Hashanah, it has added significance. The theme of Rosh Hashanah is based on the mitzvah of shofar, about which the Midrash tells us: “Beautify your actions” — this is the aspect of serving G‑d with delight. So, when we read this portion, on this Shabbos, it enhances our preparations for Rosh Hashanah.

Now, when one makes a reckoning and finds himself short — he might think that he cannot come before G‑d to pray for what he lacks. It should be clear that in the aspect of what is incumbent, you can come to ask, no matter what your situation. The Rambam makes it clear:

It is a positive commandment ... that every person should ... ask for all that he needs....

You feel you are not up to par — admit it — and say: “Despite my shortcomings I plead with the Holy One, Blessed be He, to make up what I lack.” For G‑d has commanded us to pray thus.

To wit: our greatest shortcoming is that we are still in diaspora and Mashiach has not yet come, and so we plead with great devotion “We Want Mashiach Now!” By getting upset and excited about this, we will accomplish it! May it be with joy and happiness of hearts and we will bring the true and complete redemption — not being held back even a moment — truly now.