Judaism: Weekly Tanya Lecture, Chap 3 Part 3, cont'd.
HaRav Shneur Zalman MiliadiRav Shneur Zalman (September 4, 1745 – December 15, 1812) of Liadi, was...
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וכולא קמיה כלא חשיב
Or, when one contemplates another aspect of G-d’s greatness, namely, how in His presence all creation is considered as naught, —8
נולדה ונתעוררה מדת יראת הרוממות במוחו ומחשבתו
Upon contemplating and immersing oneself in any of the above-mentioned aspects of G-d’s greatness the middah of awe for the Divine Majesty will be born and aroused in one’s mind and thought,
לירא ולהתבושש מגדולתו יתברך, שאין לה סוף ותכלית
to fear and be humble before His blessed greatness, which is without end or limit,
i.e., the fear will be coupled and permeated with humility, as in the awe one feels in the presence of a very wise or righteous person, which expresses one’s bashfulness and humility before him,
ופחד ה׳ בלבו
and there will also be born a dread of G-d in his heart.
This explains how contemplating G-d’s greatness arouses a fear and dread of Him — an expression of the attribute of Gevurah.
ושוב יתלהב לבו באהבה עזה כרשפי אש, בחשיקה וחפיצה ותשוקה ונפש שוקקה
Next his contemplation will give birth to the attribute of Chesed, expressed as a love of G-d, so that his heart will glow with an intense love of G-d like fiery flames, with a passion, desire and longing, and a yearning soul
לגדולת אין סוף ברוך הוא
(each of these expressions — “fiery flames,” “passion”, and so on, denoting a different grade of love) toward the greatness of the blessed Ein Sof.
והיא כלות הנפש, כדכתיב: נכספה וגם כלתה נפשי וגו׳, וכתיב: צמאה נפשי לאלקים וגו׳, וכתיב צמאה לך נפשי וגו׳
This is what is meant by the term kalot hanefesh (“a consuming passion of the soul”), as it is written:9 “My soul longs [for You]; indeed, it faints…,” and10 “My soul thirsts for G-d …,” and again,11 “My soul thirsts for You.”
So intense can one’s love become that the soul risks being consumed in the fiery flames of its love of G-d, and totally leaving the body. In fact, were one not to forestall this danger, and contain this great love, he would indeed expire. But he restrains himself so that his soul will remain clothed in his body — the only condition in which it is possible for him to fulfill his G-d-given mission.
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8. Zohar I, 11b.
9. Tehillim 84:3.
10. Ibid. 42:3.
11. Ibid. 63:2.