Tanya Chapter 41: The Divine service of lower fear and accepting the yoke of heaven

Chapter 41: The Divine service of lower fear and accepting the yoke of heaven

17th Nissan/(LY) 10th Nissan

  1. The necessity of arousing fear of Hashem in addition to arousing love:
  • Fear of G-d is the start of Divine service: One must always remember the beginning of Avoda and its root and source, which is fear of G-d.
  • Love of G-d alone does not suffice: Although fear only motivates one not to transgress the commands, while love motivates one to actively perform the Mitzvos, nonetheless, it does not suffice for one to arouse only the feeling of love which leads one to perform good.
  • Arousing the natural fear of G-d: At the very least, one must first arouse the natural fear of G-d which is hidden in the heart of every Jew.
  • A fear to rebel against G-d: This fear is a fear against rebelling against Hashem, the King of all Kings.
  • In the heart or mind: The fear is to be revealed in one’s heart or at the very least in one’s mind.

  1. How does one arouse this fear-The contemplations:
  • Contemplating G-d’s greatness: This natural fear is aroused through contemplating at least in one’s mind the greatness of Hashem, and His kingship which is the kingship of all worlds, the lower and higher worlds. How He fills all the worlds and encompasses all the worlds, as the verse states “The Heaven and Earth do I not fill.”
  • Contemplating how G-d desires to reign specifically over the Jewish nation and the individual Jew: One is to also contemplate how Hashem left all the upper and lower worlds and designated His kingship specifically on the Jewish nation in general and on the individual Jew in particular, as every Jew is obligated to say to himself that for him the world was created.
  • Accepting the reign of the king to serve Him: After the above contemplation, one is to then also accept upon himself the reign of G-d, that Hashem be king over him, and that he serves Him and fulfill his wishes in all the services done by a servant to his master.

(LY) 11th Nissan

  1. Knowing of Hashem’s constant presence brings fear and acceptance of the yoke:
  • Hashem Nitzav Alav: Behold, Hashem stands over a person as He fills the entire earth with His glory.
  • G-d observes and judges one’s actions and feelings: Hashem contemplates the actions of the person as well as his thoughts and heart if he is serving Him properly.
  • Serving G-d with this in mind: For this reason, one needs to serve Hashem with awe and fear like one who is standing before the king.
  • Contemplating the above before Torah and Mitzvah performance: One is to ponder deeply into this matter and spend a lengthy amount of time on it as his mind and intellect is capable of doing, and as time permits, prior to learning Torah and performing Mitzvahs. Such as, prior to wearing the Tallis or Tefillin, he is to contemplate this matter and arouse a fear of G-d.

18th Nissan/(LY) 12th Nissan

  1. Contemplating how the Or Ein Sof attaches to one’s soul through Torah and Mitzvahs:
  • The infinite light is invested in the words of Torah and in Tzitzis and Tefillin: Prior to learning Torah or performing a Mitzvah one should also contemplate how the Or Ein Sof which encompasses all worlds and fills all worlds and is represented in the supernal will, is invested in the letters and wisdom of Torah, or in the Tzitzis and Tefillin that he is wearing.
  • Drawing G-dliness to the G-dly soul: Through learning Torah, or wearing the Tallis/Tefillin, one draws the light of G-d onto oneself, into the portion of G-d above that is in the body. This causes the G-dly soul to be incorporated and nullified within the light of G-d.

  1. Contemplating the effect of Tefillin on the G-dly soul:
  • Attaching the Chochmah and Bina of the G-dly soul with that of G-d: In detail, when wearing Tefillin one is to intend to incorporate the Chochmah and Bina of his G-dly soul within the Chochma and Bina of G-d, which is invested in the Parshiyos of Kadesh and Vehaya Ki Yeviacha.
  • Dedicating one’s intellect only for G-d: This intent is expressed in action through one not using his Chochma and Bina for anything other than G-d.
  • Attaching the Daas of the G-dly soul with that of G-d: Likewise, one is to intend to incorporate the Daas of his soul, which includes Chesed and Gevura, and is ones love and fear, within the Daas of G-d which includes Chesed and Gevura, which is invested in the Parshiyos of Shema and Vehaya Im Shemoa.
  • Subjugating the mind: The above follows the ruling of Shulchan Aruch that the Tefillin are worn to subjugate the mind and heart.

(LY) 13th Nissan

  1. Contemplating the effect of Tzitzis and accepting G-d’s kingship:
  • Drawing G-d’s kingship onto oneself: Upon wrapping oneself with Tzitzis, one should concentrate on what it says in the Zohar that by fulfilling this Mitzvah one draws upon himself the kingdom of G-d which is the kingdom of all worlds. One should intend to unify this kingship upon himself through this Mitzvah. This fulfills the intent of the verse “and one shall place a king upon himself.”
  • An emotional fear versus an intellectual fear: Even in the event that despite contemplating the above one is still unable to bring himself to feel palpable emotions of fear and trepidation in his heart, nonetheless, since he accepts upon himself the kingship of heaven, he at the very least draws upon himself the fear of G-d into his conscious mind and will of his intellect.
  • An absolutely true acceptance: This acceptance is absolutely true without any doubt, as it is the nature of the souls of all Jewish people to not rebel against Hashem the king.

  1. A complete service of G-d requires fear, acceptance of the yoke of heaven, and not just love:
  • A complete service of G-d: When one then studies Torah or performs a Mitzvah as a result of the above acceptance of the Divine kingship, and due to the drawing down of fear into his mind, then his service of G-d is considered complete and whole, and is similar to any service that a servant does for his master and King.

(LY) 14th Nissan

  • An incomplete service: This is in contrast to one who studies Torah and performs Mitzvah’s with the emotion of love of G-d alone [without fear and acceptance of the kingship], in order so he attach himself to G-d through his Torah and his Mitzvahs, then this is not considered the service of a servant [and is not a complete and whole service of G-d].
  • The Torah demands the service of a servant: This idea that serving G-d only due to love does not suffice, is based on the verse which states “and you shall serve Hashem your G-d,” “and you shall serve Him,” [which teaches us that the Divine service must be similar to that of a servant to his master which involves fear].
  • Like a yoke on an ox: This point is further emphasized in the Zohar which states that upon serving G-d one is to first accept upon himself the yoke of the kingship of heaven, like an ox who has a yoke placed on his neck order to bring benefit for the world from him.
  • No holiness on person without acceptance of the yoke of heaven: If a person does not have this acceptance of the yoke of heaven in his Divine service, then holiness does not reside on him.
  • Serving G-d as a servant and as a son: The Zohar states that every individual needs to have two different aspects and levels in his Divine service, one being that of a servant [who serves G-d with fear and acceptance of the yoke of heaven], and the second being that of a son [who serves G-d with love]. Now, although there exists a son who is on such a high level that his Divine service is considered also like that of a servant, nevertheless, it is not possible to come to this level without first introducing the higher level of fear, as is known to those who know.

19th Nissan/(LY) 15th Nissan

  1. Being a servant of G-d even if one struggles with feeling a fear of G-d:
  • Cannot arouse fear of G-d even in one’s mind due to low level soul: Even one who cannot bring himself to feel any fear or shame of G-d even in his mind and thoughts, due to the low level that his soul derives from in its root above, which is from the lower levels of the 10 Sefiros of the world of Assiya, nevertheless, he can still serve G-d as a servant, as explained next.
  • Intention to serve G-d as a servant is also a complete service: Even such a person can still serve G-d as a servant if his intentions in his service is to serve the king [as a servant serves his master with the acceptance of the yoke of his master], and in such a case it is considered a complete service.
  • Fear and service are two separate commands: The reason for this is because fearing G-d and serving G-d are considered two independent commands within the 613 commands, and they are not contingent on each other. [Hence, it is possible for one to be considered to be serving G-d similar to a servant, even if he does not feel any of fear of G-d in his heart or even his mind, so long as he is serving G-d out of acceptance of the yoke of heaven.]
  • He truly does fear G-d in his mind: Furthermore, such a person in truth is considered to also be fulfilling the command of fearing G-d in the mere fact that he is contemplating the concept of fear in his mind, as certainly and at the very least during these very moments of the contemplation, he has the fear of heaven upon him.

  1. Fearing G-d like one would fear to do something in the presence of another person:
  • Intimidation felt when in the presence of another human: At the very least, this fear of heaven that a person has in his mind when he contemplates the fear of G-d, is no less than the fear that a person has when in the presence and view of a person of flesh and blood, as simple as he may be, even if he is not a king. Even when in the presence of such a person, one is intimidated against doing something that is not befitting in his eyes and abstains from doing so.
  • Even this level of fear has significance: This most basic level of fear is also considered fear as we can see from the message of Rabbi Yochanon ben Zakkai to his students, that “may it be G-d’s will that they at the very least experience the fear of heaven upon you, like the fear of a person of flesh and blood.”
  • A fear that abstains one from sin: It is well-known that when a person commits a transgression, he wishes to himself that nobody will see him do so [as if he were to be aware that people were present and seeing his actions, then he would not commit the transgression]. [So too, abstaining from sin due to the fear that one has of G-d’s presence, suffices to be considered fear.]
  • Yirah Tatah-A lower fear and fear of sin: This type of fear is referred to as a lower fear [Yirah Tatah] and a fear of sin [Yiras Cheit]. This level of fear is considered a prerequisite for wisdom.
  • Higher fear-A fear of shame: The higher level of fear is a fear of shame and bashfulness against sinning against G-d. Indeed, the Zohar states that there are various levels of fear.

  1. Without any fear, there is no elevation of one’s Divine service even if done with love:
  • [Although there are many different levels of fear of G-d which can serve as the wings of one’s Divine service to be elevated above] nonetheless, without any fear at all one’s Divine service cannot be elevated above. This applies even if one serves G-d with love to attach himself to Him.
  • A bird needs two wings to fly, and Divine service needs both love and fear to be elevated above: Just like a bird cannot fly with only one wing, so too, one’s Divine service cannot become elevated above with only love or fear, as love and fear of G-d are the two wings which help elevate one’s Divine service as written in the Zohar.

  1. Without any love, there is no elevation of one’s Divine service even if done with fear:
  • The same applies regarding one who serves G-d with only fear. Fear alone is only a single wing, and one’s Divine service cannot be elevated above with a single wing, even though it is considered the service of a servant due to the fear of G-d which motivated it.
  • The need for incorporating a son’s love in one’s Divine service: Rather, one must also incorporate the service of a son in his Divine service [in order for it to contain two wings and be elevated above].
  • Arousing a natural love at the very least: At the very least, one must arouse the natural love which is hidden in the heart. It is to be aroused at the very least to the point that it is consciously felt in his mind. This can be accomplished by reminding himself in his thoughts and will of the love for the one G-d that he contains, and of his desire to attach to Him.
  • Serving G-d with this intent to attach the souls to G-d: One should then serve G-d with this intent, by studying Torah and fulfilling Mitzvahs with the intent to attach his G-dly soul and animal soul, as well as their garments, to G-d.

20th Nissan/(LY) 16th Nissan

  1. Yichud Kudsha Berich Hu Ushichintei-Serving G-d for the purpose of unifying the Shechinah with G-d:
  • Intending to attach the general souls of Israel to G-d: Our sages teach us that a person should never remove himself from the general public. Accordingly, [the intent of one’s Divine service should not only be for personal reasons, such as for personal love and fear of G-d but] one should also intend in his Divine service to unify and attach the source of his G-dly soul and the source of the general souls of all Israel to G-d.
  • The general souls of Israel refer to the Divine presence, the Shechinah: The source of the general souls of Israel is the breath of G-d and is called by the name Shechinah.
  • What is the Divine presence? The reason it is called by this name is because the term Shechinah means to reside, as this Divine revelation resides and is invested within all of the worlds in order to give them life and existence.
  • The energy to speak and perform action comes from the Divine presence: Now, a human’s ability to speak words of Torah or to perform actions of a specific Mitzvah comes from this Divine revelation of the Shechinah which gives him the energy to do so.
  • Unifying the Divine presence with G-d Himself: Now, this unification between the Divine presence and G-d Himself is accomplished through drawing down the infinite light of G-d below. This itself is accomplished through the study of Torah and fulfilling the Mitzvah’s which contain the infinite light of G-d within them.
  • The intent: Accordingly, upon studying Torah or performing a Mitzvah one should [also] intend to draw down the light of G-d onto the source of his soul and to the source of the souls of all the Jewish people in order to unify it with G-d, as will be explained in length in chapters 46 and 52 the essence of this unity.
  • Lisheim Yichud Kudsha Berich Hu Ushichintei: Based on the above, one can now understand the meaning of the statement [that is recited prior to the fulfillment of a Mitzvah] “for the sake of unifying G-d with his Divine presence in the name of all Israel,” [as it refers exactly to that which we explained above that one is to intent to draw down the infinite light of G-d onto the Divine presence in order to unite them together.
  • Gloss-Unifying the side of severity with the side of kindness: Through performing the above unification of the Divine presence with G-d, one also consequently accomplishes the sweetening of the severities with the side of kindness, through incorporation of the character traits and their unification. This is accomplished through revealing the supernal will of G-d which is revealed above through the arousal that comes from below, as through the study of Torah and Mitzvah performance below one reveals the will of G-d here below which is reciprocated with a revelation also above. This follows the teaching of the Zohar that the 613 commands of the Torah are drawn from the level of whiteness of Erech Anpin, which is the supernal will and the source of all kindness.

21st Nissan

  1. Only a true Tzadik can serve G-d for the sole purpose of unifying Him:
  • Only relevant for one who reaches the level of Ahava Raba: In order for the above intent of one’s Divine service [that his sole purpose of serving G-d is simply to unite the Divine presence with G-d] to be absolutely true within one’s heart, that his heart truly desires this Divine unification, it is necessary for one’s heart to reach the level of Ahava Raba for Hashem alone.
  • Serving G-d simply to give Him satisfaction and not for satiating one’s passion: A person who serves G-d with the level of Ahava Raba serves G-d’s solely for the sake of giving Him satisfaction and not in order to quench one’s soul which is thirsting for G-d. He serves G-d like a son who desires to give satisfaction to his mother and father whom he loves more than his own body and soul, as explained above in chapter 10 in the name of the Zohar. [Only such a person can truly serve G-d with the sole intent of unifying the Divine presence with G-d, however, one cannot expect from others to truly do so, as their service of G-d will naturally contain a selfish aspect of quenching their own thirst and passion for G-d.]

  1. Every Jew has ability to truly desire G-d’s unity:
  • Now, although as stated that the above intent of serving G-d for the sake of unifying Him is only truly relevant to a very high level Tzadik, nonetheless every single person should accustom himself to having this intent.
  • A true desire of some level: As, although this intent will not be completely honest and true within his heart, that he truly desire it with all of his heart, nonetheless, his heart truly does desire this to some level. [Meaning, that although he also has other more self-serving intentions in his heart upon serving G-d, nonetheless, this is not negating the fact that he can also desire to do so for G-d’s unity.]
  • The natural love a Jew has for G-d also desires G-d’s unity: The reason that every Jew desires this unity of G-d to some level is due to the natural love of G-d that is found in every single Jew, in which he desires to fulfill everything that is the will of G-d. Now, since the true desire of G-d is this unity of Him with His Divine presence, therefore every Jew truly desires this as well.

  1. How one affects the Divine unity of G-d with his Shechinah through Torah and Mitzvah’s:
  • Unification in the world of Atzilus: This unification of G-d and His Divine presence is the unification that is affected in the world of Atzilus as a result of the Divine service of those below.
  • Unifying one’s soul with G-d through Torah study and Mitzvahs: This is accomplished through unifying his G-dly soul and incorporating it within the light of G-d which is invested in the Torah and Mitzvah’s that one is studying and performing. When one studies Torah and performs a Mitzvah, one completely unifies his soul with G-d, as explained in chapter 35. Furthermore, one unifies not just his soul below but also the source of his soul above with G-d, as explained next.
  • How it causes a unification of G-d and his Divine presence: When a person studies Torah and performs a Mitzvah one also unifies the source of the Torah and Mitzvah’s which is G-d, with the source of his G-dly soul which is referred to as the Shechinah, and is the Divine light which fills all the worlds and encompasses all the worlds, as explained in length elsewhere.

22nd Nissan

  1. Every Jew truly desires to unite his own soul with G-d:
  • The above inability of a regular Jew to serve G-d solely and completely for the sake of unifying G-d with His Divine presence, is only limited to this specific intent. However, every single Jew truly and completely desires with a full heart and the entirety of his soul to unify his own soul and unify it within the light of G-d, so he and G-d be completely one.
  • Derives from the hidden love: This true and complete desire to attach to G-d derives from the natural love which is hidden in the heart of every single Jew.

  1. Every Jew truly desires to hand his soul to G-d to the point of self-sacrifice:
  • Included in this natural hidden love is a desire to never be separated, and cut off and divided, G-d forbid, from the unity and oneness of G-d in any which way, to the point that one is willing to actually give up his life for this purpose.
  • During Divine service one hands his soul to G-d: The study of Torah and prayer and performance of the Mitzvah’s is also considered an actual self-sacrifice of his soul similar to that which will be experienced when his soul leaves his body at the completion of 70 years. During this time of Divine service, one’s mind does not think about the needs of his body and rather his mind is unified and invested within the letters of Torah and prayer which is the speech and thought of G-d and are absolutely united with Him. [Meaning, the true intent of self-sacrifice is for one to hand over his soul to G-d, which is only fully accomplished after death. However, one can similarly intend on doing so even during one’s lifetime through studying Torah, prayer, and Mitzvah fulfillment for the purpose of handing over one’s soul to G-d.]
  • The occupation and pleasure of souls in the garden of Eden: This studying of Torah for the sake of handing one’s soul over to G-d is indeed the entire purpose and occupation of the souls in the garden of Eden, in which they study Torah as they did in this world, but with experiencing the handing over of the soul to G-d. Unlike in this world where one does not feel and experience any spiritual pleasure in his Torah study, when one studies Torah in the garden of Eden, one experiences the pleasure in his comprehension of Torah and in his incorporation within the light of G-d.

  1. The morning prayer of Elokaiy Neshama expresses the desire to hand one’s soul to G-d:
  • It is for the above reason that the sages instituted for one to recite in the start of the morning blessings which is recited prior to prayer, the prayer of “Elokaiy Neshama..Veata Nafachta…Veata Asid Litla Mimeni..”
  • The meaning of the prayer, based on the explanation above, is as follows: Being that You G-d have blown the soul into me and You will take it from me in the future, therefore, even now I will hand it and return it to You in order to unify it in Your unity.
  • This is also the meaning of the verse in Psalms “To You G-d do I raise my soul”
  • How I will accomplish this elevation and incorporation: I will accomplish the handing over of my soul to G-d through connecting my mind with the thoughts of G-d, and my speech with the speech of G-d, in the letters of Torah and prayer.
  • Baruch Ata Hashem: The best time for one to make this resolve to hand over one’s soul to G-d is upon saying the words Baruch Ata Hashem in a blessing and the like, in which one is speaking directly to G-d who is present before him.

23rd Nissan/(LY) 17th Nissan

  1. Saying the morning blessings, and learning Torah, with the mental willingness of Mesirus Nefesh:
  • Morning blessings: Now, [only] after preparing oneself with the above-mentioned form of Mesirus Nefesh to give one’s soul to G-d, one is to begin reciting the morning blessings, Baruch Ata Hashem.
  • Torah learning: As well, with this preparation, one is to begin his set Torah learning immediately after his prayers. Likewise, prior to commencing one’s Torah study in middle of the day, one requires at least this preparation. [We will now discuss how often the intent of Lishma is required during a Torah learning session.]
  1. The intent of Lishma is required prior to beginning the learning:
  • It is known that for a Beinoni, the main preparation of Torah study Lishma [which can invalidate the ability of one’s learning to be elevated above], is prior to one commencing his Torah session.
  • The law of Lishma by writing a Get and Torah scroll: This is derived from the law regarding a Get [i.e. bill of divorce] and Torah scroll, which must be written Lishma otherwise the Get/scroll is invalid, and the law is that it suffices to state at the commencement of the writing of the Torah scroll that he is writing it for the sake of the Kedusha of a Sefer Torah. Likewise, before commencing the writing of a Get it suffices to state that he is writing it for his and her sake [i.e. the husband and wife].

[We will now discuss what to do if one is learning Torah for many hours consecutively, and if one should stop intermittently in order to reinforce his Lishma intents.]


  1. Stopping to reinforce one’s Lishma intents every hour of one’s learning:
  • One who learns Torah for many consecutive hours is to stop and contemplate the above matter of Mesirus Nefesh each and every hour, at the very least.
  • Every hour there is a new Divine revelation: The reason for the hourly intervals is because every hour there is a new Divine flow from the upper worlds to enliven the lower worlds, while the Divine flow from the previous hour returns to its source.
  • This is considered the mystical concept of Ratzo Veshuv, mentioned in Sefer Yetzirah.

  1. Each hour, the Torah study and Mitzvos of the previous hour is elevated:
  • As stated above, each hour there is a new Divine flow into the lower worlds while the previous Divine flow returns above. The previous Divine flow does not return above alone, but rather takes with it the Torah learning, and good deeds [i.e. Mitzvah fulfillment] of the entire previous hour, which was performed by those who dwell in the lower world.

  1. The 24 combinations of the Divine names shine on an hourly shift:
  • A deeper understanding into the hourly changes of Divine flow can be understood through introducing the concept of the different combinations of Hashem’s name.
  • Adniy and Havayah: The Divine name of “Yud Kei Vav Kei” and “Adniy” each have [24 possible combinations of letters, as four letters can be recombined in 24 different ways[1], of which] twelve [of these] combinations shine to the lower worlds. Every hour one of the 12 combinations of the Divine name shines.
  • Havayah by day: During the day, one of the 12 combinations of the name Yud Kei Vav Kei shine every hour.
  • Adniy by night: At night, one of the 12 combinations of the name Adniy shine every hour.

(LY) 18th Nissan

  1. The intent of the Mesirus Nefesh is solely to give G-d pleasure:
  • The intent of the surrender of one’s soul in Mesirus Nefesh to Hashem through one’s Torah learning and prayer, and elevation of the Divine sparks which are found in them to its source, is to be solely for the purpose of causing gratification to Hashem.
  • A Kings joy of his sons return: The return of one’s soul and the Divine sparks to Hashem cause Him gratification similar to a King who rejoices over the return of his only son who was in captivity and imprisonment.
  • A true intent: This intent is completely sincere and true in every Jewish soul, at all times and at every hour due to the inner natural love which is an inheritance to us from our forefathers.
  • Obligation of intellectual love and fear: Nonetheless, one [is not to suffice with this natural love and one] must also set aside times to contemplate the greatness of Hashem, to achieve intellectual love and fear, and perhaps he will be successful in doing so.


[1] Footnote of Rebbe in lessons in Tanya

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