THE KNOWLEDGE OF G-D
PART THREE - SECTION ONE
We will now explain the various levels of divine service, and their effects, so that no one should err and stray from the true and straight path in the service of G-d. It is incumbent upon every individual to fully appreciate the commandment, “You shall place it upon your heart” and “you shall love HaShem your G-d with all your heart”. Our holy sages explained that the word “Levavecha” (Your heart) is written with two letters Veit (V) to denote that one is to serve G-d, not with his G-dly soul alone, but with his animalistic soul as well. We will, therefore, explain the levels of divine service and inspiration, according to the levels of the G-dly soul, as well as the animalistic soul.
This “love” spoken of in the verse, is the love of G-d, and refers to the Divine excitement which may be aroused only through the deep contemplation and knowledge of the greatness of G-d. About this we are commanded, “You shall know this day and place it upon your heart.” Clearly, the placing “upon the heart” can only come about following “knowing today”. Therefore, having completed the first part of this book, which dealt with “knowing today”, we will now discuss Divine inspiration, i.e. the effects which this “knowing” has upon the heart.
The first two parts of this book contained a detailed explanation of what one is to contemplate plus the methodology of how to approach Hitbonenut contemplation. We will now explain the various levels of how one becomes divinely inspired as a consequence of the toil of Hitbonenut.
Bodies without Souls
The first category of “service” cannot be considered to be a level in Divine service at all. Unfortunately, most people fall into this category and it must therefore be discussed in order to dispel the delusions which people have fallen into, in imagining that they are serving G-d. These are people who fulfill the commandments (Mitzvot) completely by rote, with no thought into their actions whatsoever. On the contrary, the commandments (Mitzvot) are actually a burden to them. Their minds and hearts, and their very souls, are not involved in the Torah which they learn or the actions which they perform. Therefore their performance of the commandments (Mitzvot) is completely mechanical by nature and devoid of vitality. Although, when they pray, it appears they are praying to G-d, inside, their minds are elsewhere, either occupied with business or worldly and mundane affairs.
This cannot be otherwise, for certainly, their minds cannot be occupied with thoughts of G-d. Never having contemplated G-dliness, they do not know G-d. How then, can they have Him in mind during prayer? Even if they think “G-d” during their prayers, it is devoid of meaning to them and does not arouse any feeling whatsoever, for this is no different than mentioning the name of an individual that one does not know. Certainly, the only reaction can be one of indifference. Those who fall into this category are no better than trained animals which have been taught to act in a certain way. Certainly, they cannot be regarded as Human beings, since what distinguishes man from beast is his intellect, and though they have been endowed with it, they make no use of it. They do not ponder the ways of the Creator, and of all existence. They do not ask themselves, “Where did all this come from?” and “What is the purpose of our existence”. Even if, occasionally, they have fleeting thoughts pertaining to lofty matters, it is completely external and does not penetrate and affect their way of life whatsoever. This type of “service” is not Divine service at all.
People of this type have no love and fear of G-d at all. Their only fear, if any, is the fear of punishment and retribution for their evil deeds. Their only love is for the promise of reward for their good deeds. This is not true love and fear of G-d. Rather, it is a love and fear of self. They fear pain and suffering, and if they desist from evil, it is only because of this. If they do good deeds and fulfill the commandments, they imagine the great reward that awaits them. In actuality, this is complete self centeredness, which is the antithesis of G-dliness. (Nonetheless, at times it is necessary for one to awaken this type of love and fear within himself, in order to restrain himself from falling to sinful temptations. For, certainly, the evil deed itself is worse than this type of fear.)
False Excitement of the Emotions
The second category is also not a level of Divine service. Unfortunately, many people fall into this category as well. We, therefore, must explain it, to correct it.
This level is the external stimulation of the emotions, which stems from false delusions and imaginations. One fires up his emotions. He may sing and dance and be very animated or cry out during prayer, but it is all from the externality of the heart. In truth, there is no inner illumination or vitality, and it is not at all directed towards G-d. How can this be said with such surety? For the simple reason that in his mind, no Divine contemplation has taken place, and if there was any, it was only in the most general of terms and did not actually penetrate and affect his soul altogether. Rather, he is merely exciting himself into a frenzy. He does this because he has been told that one must “serve G-d with joy”, or pray “with a broken and contrite heart and with sincerity”. But in truth, this is neither true nor sincere. How could it be? He does not know anything of G-d, that his emotions should be so aroused towards Him! Since he does not know G-d, it is not possible for him to think about Him. What, then, is he getting so excited about, if not false delusions and imaginations?
This is analogous to an actor on a movie set, who is told to act as if he has just won the lottery. He jumps up and down and shouts for joy but all his excitement is an act. Even if he does rouse his emotions, as good “method” actors are capable of doing, nonetheless, it certainly is not because he won the lottery, for he did not win anything. He is just acting as if he has won something. Likewise, in the service of G-d, one who works himself into a froth of “excitement” during prayer and “Divine” service, but has not truly contemplated G-dliness in detail, is merely fooling himself with false delusions and imaginations.
This is not at all a level of Divine service. A person such as this only serves himself, rather than G-d, for he does not desire to toil in the service of G-d, which is Hitbonenut, but only seeks the pleasure and thrill of arousing his emotions. His focus is not on G-d, but rather, on getting his blood boiling and whipping his emotions into a froth, in order to feel good. Such a person does not seek understanding, but rather, is worshiping his false delusions and imaginations, and ultimately himself. This is tantamount to Avodah Zarah (Idolatry), and is a grave error. This “service”, as with every form of Avodah Zarah (Idolatry), results in an increased awareness of self, which causes him to fall to his lusts and desires. In short, he has no sublimation to G-d, and completely casts off the yoke of Heaven.
He who has tasted true Divine service will have complete disdain and contempt for this coarse and alien worship. The more attached and connected he is to G-d, through true service, the more will he despise and be disgusted by this false and strange worship which is the antithesis of G-dliness.
Divine Excitement or Alien Service
In order to differentiate between holy and unholy excitement, we must understand the primary difference between the holy and the unholy. Essentially, by definition, good is the revelation and awareness of G-dliness, whereas evil is the revelation and awareness of self.
This is the difference between G-dly excitement, and it’s opposite. As explained above, there cannot be any excitement into G-dliness if it is not preceded and inspired by contemplation of the Divine, as stated, “You shall know this day” and only afterwards “and you shall place it upon your heart”. True G-dly excitement is aroused solely through the toil of Hitbonenut on G-d and the true nature of existence in a detailed way (as expounded in Part One of this book). However, the alien excitement, which is foreign to G-dliness, comes about when a person intends to arouse his emotions and become excited. In contrast, G-dly excitement is the automatic and spontaneous result of Hitbonenut. Here, there is no intention to “become aroused”. On the contrary, the focus is entirely on truly knowing and understanding G-dliness. Because of this, the results are radically different. The arousal of a person who does not desire to toil in the service of Hitbonenut, will be completely felt. This is to say that he will be aware of himself throughout. In contrast, G-dly excitement of the emotions is not felt at all. He will not be conscious of himself or his excitement.
An example of how one’s emotions may be greatly aroused while he remains unaware of it is what happens when one hears good or bad news. For example, someone who has just actually won the lottery will start jumping up and down and shouting for joy, but he will be completely unaware of himself because his mind is so totally and completely engrossed in the fact that he just won millions of dollars. Only later, when he sees himself in a video does he realize he was jumping up and down with total and complete abandon, and he says, “Did I actually do that?” Furthermore, this comes about spontaneously and automatically. He does not need to instigate the excitement whatsoever. It is altogether a natural response to the good news. He does not think to himself, “I should be excited now, time to start jumping up and down and dancing for joy”. Rather, he is totally and completely unaware of his excitement. It is a spontaneous result of the knowledge he was imparted.
Proper and Improper Approach to the Toil of Hitbonenut
The third category of people, are those who actually do toil in Hitbonenut and analyze G-dliness deeply. However, they do this only in order to reach a level of excitement by arousing their emotions. Because of this, their entire approach is fundamentally flawed. Here too, any excitement which will be aroused is not true G-dly excitement, and he will be aware of self. Furthermore, throughout the toil of Hitbonenut he will wonder to himself, “When will I attain Divine inspiration and excitement?” and he will be pained if this does not occur. If he is aroused, but not as much as he wished, this will perturb him. In truth, this person too, is merely a pleasure seeker. He is not truly interested in understanding the reality of G-d altogether. Instead, he pursues the effects of contemplation and analysis. Because this is the true underlying motivation of his contemplation, he never actually arrives at Truth and all his toil in vain. This can be understood from the following explanation on the way the intellect works.
When one approaches a subject which he desires to learn, there must first be a complete focus and delving of his mind into the subject matter. This is called Ha’amakat HaDa’at – the delving of the Da’at. As explained before, the faculty of Da’at is the faculty of concentrating one’s mind on a subject matter, to the exclusion of all else. If he does not involve the entire power of his intellect, connecting his mind to the subject with much toil, he will never reach a true understanding of it. When one delves with all his intellectual faculties into a concept he is trying to understand, his intellect becomes sublimated to the concept. Only after the complete sublimation of his intellect to the concept, can he conceptualize it in a revealed and tangible way, and even bring out new insights from it. (This process of delving with all the intellectual faculties and sublimating them to the concept is called Ha’ala’at Mayim Nukvin – the rising of the feminine waters. This causes what is called Hamshachat Mayim D’churin – the drawing down of the masculine waters of insight.)
Furthermore, when one is studying a subject, he will never reach the truth of it unless his intent is only to grasp its true meaning. For example, many people go to school and learn many different concepts and subjects. However, who is it who grasps their true depth and has insights into them, only those whose entire intent and focus is on the subject itself, who study it repeatedly, analyzing its every facet, to understand it in depth.
If a person goes to medical school to please his parents, but really wants to be a lawyer, though he will learn the material, he will never understand it to its depths and he will certainly not have any new insights into medicine. This is because he has no deep interest in it. In contrast, the “nerd” whose sole interest and pleasure lies in understanding every facet and detail of medicine and grasping its true essence, will grasp its depth. He will have new insights and innovations into medicine, specifically because he has grasped its depth.
The above is especially true when one approaches Divine contemplation. His desire must solely be to grasp the truth of what is, i.e. G-dliness. Any other desire is a gross error, and will impede any progress. As long as he holds on to “Alien” desires he will never truly understand G-dliness at all. This principle includes not only those who desire the excitement and arousal of their emotions, but all those who have any ulterior motives, whatsoever, such as to be honored because he is a “wise man” who knows the hidden matters. Because of this the sages said, “Who is wise, he who learns from all men.” In other words, he does not seek honor, but rather, to understand Truth. Therefore, it is not below his dignity to learn from someone else. It makes no difference to him whether he arrives at truth on his own or by learning it from others. He rejoices in Truth wherever he may find it and whosoever speaks it.
In contrast, one who seeks honor will not acknowledge Truth if it is spoken by someone who he considers to be his inferior or his competitor. Moreover, since he is not focused on the acquisition of Truth, but on some side issue, he will not be sublimated to it. He will, therefore, never gain true insight and understanding. Whatever understanding he imagines himself to have is external in nature and not into the true essence of G-dliness at all.
One who studies Kabbalah to reach lofty levels of holiness and Divine inspiration, prophecy or mystical revelations, such as the revelation of Eliyahu etc, falls into this same category. The only level he will reach is the lowly level of false delusions and imaginations. Ultimately, however “lofty” and “holy” he thinks these goals are, in truth, they are totally self centered, and are no different than the desire for pleasure and arousal mentioned above, except that in addition, he is also guilty of arrogance and is suffering from delusions of grandeur. In truth, he has no sublimation to G-d, whatsoever, and is thus not a fit vessel for any revelations of any kind. He too, is serving himself rather than G-d.
It must be pointed out that though they are not considered to be Divine service, all the above mentioned levels have some concealed good in them. This is the fact that, to arouse their pleasure, all these people are drawn specifically to matters of G-dliness, such as Torah study, mitzvot and prayer. However, the reason they are drawn to this has nothing to do with the toil of Hitbonenut. Rather, this is the effect of a tiny glimmer of encompassing light from their G-dly soul.
By its very nature the G-dly soul is drawn to G-dliness. Its lowest general level, which is the Nefesh, is the source of the desire and pull to fulfill the positive commandments of G-d, and to desist from doing any evil. Actually, the above categories of people, do not even have a revelation of this lowest general level of the G-dly soul, but rather, just a glimmer of a glimmer of it, in a very concealed way.
The disadvantage of this, however, is that since they have deluded themselves to think they already serve G-d, they feel that their “belly is full”, so to speak, and have a sense of self satisfaction. They, therefore, have a great resistance to the true service of Hitbonenut, as opposed to one who feels he is very far from G-d and recognizes that he is impoverished of G-dliness. He will, therefore, be more open to the true service of Hitbonenut.
Level One: “Cold Thought”
Now, the first level which results from actual service of G-d, through Hitbonenut- contemplation and analysis, is as follows:
Through his analysis and contemplation into G-dliness, he understands the matters which he studies and recognizes them to be absolute truth. Because of this, he places great value in matters of G-dliness and Divine study, over all other matters of this lowly world. He recognizes that everything is as nothing compared to G-dliness. Therefore, he regards matters of G-dliness highly and recognizes the lowliness of worldly pursuits. Nonetheless, the essence of the matter is still far from him. He will question the necessity of the pursuit of G-dly knowledge, and will wonder, “Of what benefit is it?” This is because his study and contemplation has not yet caused any actual revelation of G-dliness in his soul. All that has been accomplished thus far is that he acknowledges the absolute truth of it.
However, he does desire that G-dliness be embedded in his soul, in a revealed way, even though, as of yet, it is still concealed. Such a person is on the correct path, and although he has not yet reached true G-dly arousal altogether, he nonetheless, values Divine contemplation highly. Unlike the previous levels, his desire is not selfish. Rather, he truly desires closeness to G-d, and that G-dliness should truly be embedded in his very soul.
The way to gauge if this commitment is true is as follows: He thinks highly of matters of G-dliness and desires that G-dliness be tangibly revealed in his soul and he realizes that he is still very far from it because of his lowly soul and past misdeeds. He feels great shame and embarrassment and is disgusting in his own eyes, because of his lowly soul and his distance from all matters of G-dliness. Because he values G-dliness so much, all worldly matters become meaningless and of no value to him. Rather, he worries that he is far from G-d, both in mind and heart. This brings about a strong resolve and commitment in him, to correct the situation by desisting from all evil and doing only that which is good and proper in G-d’s eyes, in order to prepare his mind and heart to be fitting receptacles for G-dliness, at least through the fulfillment of the Mitzvot (Commandments).
Now, as explained above, this level is not an actual level of G-dly excitement because it only comes about as a result of a desire to be close to G-d. However, there is not yet any actual closeness to G-d. Nonetheless, there is an aspect of G-dliness in it, which is apparent from the strength of his commitment. Furthermore, he is on a straight path which will eventually lead him to revealed G-dliness.
Level Two: “A Good Thought”
The next level of Divine excitement is the first level of actual love and fear of G-d, but only as it relates to action. This is called a “good thought” which connects to the performance of the Mitzvot, thus enabling them to ascend. (Love and fear of G-d are called the “two wings that fly upward”.) The difference between this level and the previous level is as follows: In the previous level, although his intent is specifically for G-dliness, nonetheless, his desire is only that he should be close to G-d, rather than far from Him. This desire comes about only out of the preciousness and greatness of G-d in his mind. Nonetheless, there is no actual excitement for G-dliness in his mind, for it is still far from him. He desires to come close, but has not yet accomplished it. He has only come to acknowledge the absolute truth of matters of Divinity, through Hitbonenut. This is, therefore, not called a “good thought”, but rather, a “cold thought”.
The difference between the two is like the difference between thinking about your own money as opposed to thinking about someone else’s money. This is like thinking about the fact that someone else won the lottery, rather than winning it yourself. For example, if a business man hears that another business man, who he greatly admires because he has amassed billions of dollars in wealth, has just cut a multi-billion dollar deal, this will arouse thoughts of awe and respect in his mind. He will consider the huge sums of money, (which he values greatly), over and over in his mind, and will be struck by the awesome size of the deal. However, if he hears that a hundred thousand dollar deal that he, himself, has been working on has just come through, he will become far more excited in a way which is incomparable, both quantitatively and qualitatively to his excitement over the billion dollar deal. Why? Shouldn’t he be more excited about the billion dollars than a measly hundred thousand dollars?
The reason is because the billion dollars is not his. Whatever excitement he might have over it, is not because he just earned a billion dollars, but rather, because he wishes that he did. This is called a “cold” or “dispassionate” thought. However, the hundred thousand dollars is his. It affects him personally and will have a profound effect on his lifestyle. Therefore, it is incomparably more important to him than someone else’s billion dollars. If he hears good news or bad news in relation to his own business deal, his thoughts become completely aroused, focused and engrossed in it and he takes it personally. His mind becomes excited and completely involved in it, and he is genuinely moved by it.
The second level which arises from contemplation of G-dliness, is this type of thought, in which the mind becomes attached to G-dliness as something which is directly relevant and meaningful to him. This is called a “good thought” which becomes attached to action, as mentioned above. In other words, this type of thought gives rise to actual heartfelt love and fear of G-d as it relates to doing the mitzvot (Commandments).
However, on the level of “cold thought”, although he desires to come close to G-d and be divinely inspired, this has not yet happened. It is an acknowledgement and commitment to G-dliness, but from afar. The only thing born of it is his embarrassment and shame when he realizes just how far he is from G-dliness. Because he realizes the lowliness of this world and its affairs, he makes a commitment to desist from evil (the 365 negative commandments) and to fulfill the 248 positive commandments. However, this is only because he realizes that this is a very proper and good thing to do, and is the true path to achieving his goal, which is closeness to G-d. This is similar to one, who after the “cold thought” upon hearing that someone else has won the lottery, as mentioned above, is motivated to go and buy a lottery ticket.
This level is therefore not actually a true level of love and fear of G-d, for it is not directly relevant to him. Nonetheless, it is still the first level on the proper path to G-d. Furthermore, there is an aspect of G-dliness here, due to the contemplation on G-dliness. However, it is still not an actual excitement of love and fear of G-d. (This is in contrast to the levels detailed above which have no G-dliness in them whatsoever, since there, his only desire is for his self gratification and pleasure, rather than for G-dliness.)
However, it must be pointed out that the level of a “good thought” is not an actual excitement of the heart, but rather, only of the thought. Furthermore, this love only relates to action, i.e. desisting from evil and doing good. It is not at all an internal arousal of the emotions of the heart. Nonetheless, in regard to the action, it is higher than the level of “cold thought”, which is just the matter of commitment and resolution. In the level of “good thought, although there is no actual arousal of the emotions in the heart, nonetheless, the mind is aroused with great yearning and desire. There is a great yearning for the revelation of G-dliness, to fulfill the positive commandments and to desist from evil. Therefore, though it is relevant to action only, it is still considered to be love and fear of G-d. This is similar to what was explained above regarding one’s thoughts in personal matters that, at the very least, there is an excitement of the emotions of the intellect.
Level Three: Natural Love & Fear
The third level is the actual arousal and excitement of the emotions of the heart. This is when immediately following the arousal of his thoughts (as detailed above), his heart becomes aroused as well. This arousal is felt with much vitality. This is to say that the arousal of his thoughts is immediately expanded in his heart, as is known, that the excitement of the heart is more expansive compared to the excitement of the mind. Because of this, the excitement of this level is felt to a greater degree than the excitement of the previous levels. (However, this is not an arousal of actual G-dliness, in which the heart actually “feels” the G-dliness. Here, we are dealing with levels of arousal of the natural, animalistic soul. When G-dliness itself is felt by the heart, it is a level of arousal of the Divine soul rather than the animal soul. Moreover, that level is higher than even the fifth and highest level of the natural, animalistic soul, as will be explained.)
Now, it is stated about this level, “You shall love the L-rd your G-d with all your heart.” The word “your heart – Levavecha” is written with two letters Veit. The Sages teach that this means the one must serve G-d with both his Divine soul and his animalistic soul. The animal soul too, must love G-d. This is to say that one must toil with his mind through deep Hitbonenut contemplation, to the point that even his heart of flesh becomes aroused with love of G-d. Furthermore, the word “all (your heart)” informs us that this excitement and arousal must be with all the heart, not just that which relates to action alone. The Zohar calls this, “Pulchana D’Rechimuta –A Labor of Love”. It is called “Labor” because the arousal of this love requires great toil and labor, as opposed to arousing the heart towards worldly matters.
When it comes to worldly matters, as soon as a desire enters one’s mind, it becomes aroused and immediately affects the heart, arousing it with great yearning and flaming desire. The opposite is also true. When something negative causes the mind to become embittered, the heart too, responds immediately with great bitterness and disdain against it. However, in regard to the service of G-d, this is not so. In matters of G-dliness, the heart is not easily moved by the arousal of the mind. This is because the G-dliness in the comprehension of his mind does not permeate his very being, since it is revealed only in an encompassing manner. Therefore, he does not grasp the actual G-dliness itself.
If this is the case in respect to the actual letters of comprehension in the mind, then certainly the revelation to the heart will be even more miniscule. It therefore requires great contemplative toil and labor, to bring the G-dly light itself into the letters of his comprehension. When this is accomplished, his heart will automatically and spontaneously be ignited as well, in the manner explained above. This service is therefore called “Labor” since it requires great toil and labor.
Another reason it is called “Avodah – Work”, is from the terminology “Orot Avudim – Worked hides”. Hides are “worked” to soften and make them fit for use. Likewise, the toil of Hitbonenut constitutes the matter of “working” on the character traits of the animal soul and redirecting them to G-d, instead of toward worldly desires. This may only be accomplished through Hitbonenut - contemplation.
Now, there are many different ways that the heart may become aroused. One person may become aroused more in his heart than his intellect. This is because he has touched the very source of the emotions on the level of the desire and pleasure, and because of this his emotions are aroused to a greater degree than his mind. Some people are aroused more through bitterness over their great distance from G-d, while others are aroused with great delight and joy. All this depends on the source of a person’s soul, whether it comes from the side of kindness or the side of sternness (Chesed or Gevurah). Therefore, there is an entire range of possible responses to the Hitbonenut, depending on the source and composition of one’s soul.
Now, what is born of this level is an aspect of great vitality in the performance of the Mitzvot (Commandments). This is to say that in regard to fulfilling the positive commandments, he performs them with great love and desire and his Mitzvot are full of warmth and vitality. In regard to evil, on the other hand, he will be greatly embittered by it, and will distance himself from it as if from death itself. His emotions will become provoked against all forms of evil and he will guard himself greatly from them.
This is similar to one who is involved in his personal affairs or his business dealings with all his heart. Anything that increases or advances his business he will do with great swiftness and enthusiasm. However, he will distance himself and guard himself against anything that he perceives as being detrimental or destructive to his business. This also will be with a great arousal of the emotions. Likewise, love of G-d is the source of the desire to fulfill the 248 positive commandments, while fear of G-d is the source of the desire to desist from transgressing the 365 negative commandments. This level is called “Natural love and fear of G-d”, and is a love and fear of the heart. (Nonetheless, this is the love and fear of the animal soul, as explained above.)
Level Four: Intellectual Love and Fear
The fourth level, which is higher than the previous level, is a matter and aspect of the intent and focus of the heart, which is higher than the conscious excitement of the emotions of the heart. The explanation of this is as follows:
When one’s heart becomes excited through his Hitbonenut and his emotions are completely aroused, either with great longing, joy or bitterness etc., the entire length and breadth of the G-dly matter which he was contemplating becomes shortened during the actual emotional response. Just an impression of the contemplation remains, as it relates to the excitement and arousal of his emotions only. The length and breadth of the contemplation, recedes and becomes concealed from consciousness. He is only left with what is called a “Tamtzit” (The final essential conclusion), which is the “Therefore” that follows the contemplation.
The recognition of the truth of the “therefore” is what causes the excitement and arousal of his heart. (This is also the explanation of the verse in Genesis, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother etc”. We explained earlier that “father and mother” refers to the Intellectual faculties of Chochmah and Binah. The word “man – Ish” refers to Zeir Anpin, i.e. the emotions of the heart.) An example is one who contemplates how G-d permeates and “fills” all worlds (Memaleh Kol Almin). When his emotions towards G-d become aroused through this contemplation all that remains in his mind is the truth of the “Therefore”, in that he realizes the truth that G-d fills all worlds. Once he is aroused emotionally, the entire contemplation which preceded the “Therefore” recedes from his consciousness and becomes concealed. This level is called Mochin D’Katnut – “Brains of Smallness”.
This means that the intellect (brains) becomes small and its light is concealed. All that remains is the Tamtzit (The final essential conclusion), mentioned above. This level comes about when his contemplation does not reach the depth of the concept. Rather, he only brings the Divine concept closer to the comprehension of his mind by grasping it externally through the allegories and explanations of his teacher. The depth of the concept (The Omek Hamoosag) remains concealed.
(Now, the difference between the Tamtzit and the Omek Hamoosag may be understood as follows: There are two types of essence. The “essence of mint” is not its true essence, but is rather what remains after it has been thoroughly processed until only its essential oil remains. This is the Tamtzit. In the same way, the Tamtzit of a concept is the “Therefore”, which follows the thorough processing of the concept through Hitbonenut- contemplation. In contrast, the true essence of mint is the source of the mint itself. This is similar to the Omek Hamoosag – the actual depth of the concept. The Omek Hamoosag is the very depth and source of the concept itself. One who grasps the Omek Hamoosag, which is its very essence and source, has a radically different experience, as will now be explained.)
When one’s excitement and arousal is caused by the actual essence of the wisdom, the Omek Hamoosag, which is the very depth and essence of the concept, the very opposite of the above is true. Instead of the intellect receding and becoming “shortened” during the arousal of the emotions, it actually expands due to the emotions of the heart. The arousal of the emotions does not become separated from the intellect, as in the previous level, but on the contrary, it actually strengthens the contemplation and is bound up with the comprehension. This is because the very depths of his mind, heart and soul are completely involved and engrossed in the matter under contemplation.
An example of this is that when a person’s entire heart and mind are completely involved in a personal or business matter or the like, his entire being becomes involved and drawn after it. Because of this deep involvement, since his entire mind, heart and soul are involved, the emotions of the heart are not consciously felt and act as an enhancement to the comprehension, rather than a distraction. This level is called Mochin D’Gadlut – “Brains of Largeness”. In other words, his mental capacities are actually enhanced by the involvement and excitement in the very depth of his heart. (This is in contrast to the external excitement of the emotions of the previous levels. This is an internal excitement and involvement in the very depth of the heart. However, this is not to say that the externality of his heart is not also excited with great arousal. Rather, it is not consciously felt because it is completely absorbed and sublimated to the light of the intellect.) This is the fourth level of Divine service, and is called “Intellectual Love and Fear”.
Now, this “Intellectual love and fear” is higher than the third level called “Natural love and fear”. (The difference between the two is the difference between one whose heart becomes aroused by the Tamtzit (The final essential conclusion) and one who has grasped the very Omek Hamoosag (The depth of comprehension). Another difference between “Intellectual Love and Fear” and “Natural Love and Fear”, is that natural love and fear is not constant, whereas the intellectual love and fear is. In the case of natural love and fear, his heart becomes aroused for a time and he will then fall from it. Later, he may return and become aroused again. This is not the case with the intellectual love and fear in which the love and fear are constant and never cease.
It is for this reason that this fourth level of service is no longer called “toil” as with the previous levels, because here the “Lower fire burns without cessation” (Nehora Tata’a K’ari Tadir). Furthermore, this grasp of the depth of the concept, the Omek Hamoosag, is called “gazing at the preciousness of the King” (L’Istakla B’Yikra D’Malka). (This level is also called Shalhevet K”ah – The flame of G-d. Here, the name of G-d is K”ah which is spelled Yud – Heh. These two letters, as explained previously refer to Chochmah and Binah, i.e. the “fire” of the intellect.)
Level Five: Pure Desire
Now, the result of the fourth level, mentioned above, is that one has a great longing and yearning to withdraw from the limitations of his body and the world and to transcend physicality by totally merging with G-dliness. This is called, “Ratzo – Running towards G-d”, with an overpowering urge to totally merge and be consumed by G-dliness. (This is another reason why it is called “fire”, since fire is consuming.) G-d responds to this withdrawal on the part of man below, by withdrawing the Ohr Ein Sof (The Infinite Light) from all levels of the created worlds. However, this is contrary to the ultimate intention of G-d’s upper desire, which is that there be a dwelling place for G-d below, in this world. For this reason there must be a “Shoov” - A Return, after the “Ratzo” of running towards G-d. This return comes about through the next level of Divine service, which is the revelation of the Yechidah, the singular essence of the soul. This level of the soul is completely and totally bound up with G-d and is indistinguishable from Him (as explained in Part One in regard to the level of Yachid).
When this level of the soul is revealed, the person “shares” the same essential desire (Keter) with G-d (for he is totally bound with Him). He, therefore, likewise desires that there be a dwelling place for G-d in this world. G-d responds to the “Shuv” (Return) of the Yechidah as well. He causes the Ohr Ein Sof (The Infinite Light) to become invested within all levels of the created worlds, thus revealing G-dliness in all worlds, and thus fulfilling the upper intent and desire in Creation. (This is the opposite result of the previous level in which the person desires to withdraw from his own existence, thus bringing about the withdrawal of G-dliness from the created worlds.) This is the meaning of the statement in the Mishnah, “Nullify your desire before His desire”.
This level is a pure essential desire to fulfill the will of the Master of the Universe, at all times, in a revealed way. In other words, his very essence, which is literally one with G-d, becomes revealed constantly, and is not just there in an external encompassing way. An example of this is that when a person is involved in saving his own life from death, his very essence becomes revealed and his entire being becomes fully invested in it. Moreover, when this happens he has no self-awareness at all, but is completely invested in this alone. Likewise, on this level of pure desire, his very essence, his entire being, becomes revealed and engrossed in the service of G-d, and there is no awareness of self whatsoever. One who reaches this level does not fall from it, for it endures forever.
The Five Levels of the Natural Soul
From all the above we understand that there are five general levels of the arousal of the mind and heart which result from the Hitbonenut-contemplation of G-dliness. These correspond to the five levels of the soul, Nefesh, Ruach, Neshama, Chayah and Yechidah. The level of Nefesh is the resolve and commitment that relates to action only and is called “Cold Thought”. Here he acknowledges and submits to the truth of the G-dly matters he has learned. The second level, Ruach, is the “Good Thought” in which he feels that G-dliness is directly relevant to him. Because of this there is a greater vitality to his service of G-d than the previous level. The third level, Neshamah, is the “Natural Love and Fear of G-d”. This is when the intellect actually causes great emotional excitement in the heart (but only from the Tamtzit – The Final Essential Conclusion). About this level it is stated, “Binah Libah, OoBa HaLev Mevin – Binah is the heart, for through it the heart understands”. The next level is the revelation of the Chayah. This is called “Intellectual Love and Fear of G-d”. Here his entire being is involved and engrossed in matters of G-dliness and the excitement of his heart expands his intellectual capacities, literally. This is when he grasps the Omek Hamoosag (The Depth of Comprehension) to the point that he despises anything short of G-d Himself and yearns to merge and be consumed by G-dliness. The next level is the revelation of the Yechidah. This is the simple essential desire to fulfill the will of G-d, which is completely above the rational intellect, for desire is above reason, as is known. On this level G-d’s will is his will.