A Paraphrased Translation
Rabbi Z. Wineberg
Copyright © 2021 Z. Wineberg
All rights reserved.
Dedicated in Loving Memory to Eliyahu Dovid Ben Avrohom Chayim (Eli Kay) who was murdered – and gave his Life, Al Kiddush Hashem – on the way going to Daven / Pray at the Kosel – HY”D.
Dedicated to The Speedy Arrival Of Moshiach – Who Told The Baal Shem Tov – Moshiach Will Come When His Teachings Spread (please read and share!)
Dedicated to the Holy Baal Shem Tov – Thanks!!!
Last but not least; Dedicated to my dear friends, Moshe Reuven and Tamarah Schneider who graciously hosted me as I had the merit to write. May G-d grant all of your hearts desires for the good.
For a speedy recovery for all those ill from Covid and any other physical, emotional maladies.
Tzavvas Harivash, as most works of the Baal Shem Tov, are a collection of his unbelievably inspirational, brilliant, inspiring Torah.
1. The Testament of the Baal Shem Tov:
a. Be sincere in your service of G-d.
b. The main thing is do not forget (your duties.)
c. Study daily Chassidus, whether a lot or a little.
e. See to it, that you always ensure you act in a good & kind manner.
f. Ensure that every day you do a Mitzvah (good deed) whether big or small.
The soul shines from doing a Mitzvah (whether big or small) as it is the sincere heart God loves.
2. “I place before me God constantly.”
The word “Shvisi” (I Place) also comes from the “Hishtavus” (equal.)
All matters to you should be equal – it should make no difference if a person praises or shames you, if you eat something tasty or not – for you have from yourself the Yetzer Hara banished.
Anything that occurs to you say, “This was designed by God, so if it is good in His eyes…. (it is good for me.”)
All you do should be for God (but what occurs to you shouldn’t matter.)
And this an extremely high level.
3. God wishes to be served in many ways – and hence we must always be serving God.
Sometimes a person is walking and schmoozing, and obviously cannot learn (at that moment…) nonetheless in one’s thought one must be connected to God – similar, when one is on the road and cannot pray and learn as usual – one must serve God in different ways.
Do not be upset about this, as God desires to be served in many ways.
This is why He caused that you need to talk to another or travel, as He wishes to be served in a different way (now.)
4. Always realize and be prepared (to see) that everything that comes to you, comes from God.
Ask that God always send you that which He knows is best.
Do not seek what others or your mind thinks is best – for what others (or you) assume is for your best, may actually be the opposite.
Cast all of your needs and matters to God (as the verse states, “Cast your issues onto God.”)
5. Attach your thoughts to God – do not eat or drink (or indulge) more than is necessary for health.
Do not gaze at all on physical things.
Do not contemplate them, for in connecting to them, one coarsens one’s soul.
Our sages say “Gazing brings to recalling and lusting.”
This was the sin of the Eitz Hadas – for as Adam looked at it, he desired.
6. Consider yourself like an angel (Lit. a heavenly being) and hence the matters of man do not concern.
This entire world (universe) is like a tiny mustard seed relative to the universe above it.
May it make no difference to you, if people love or hate you – as their love or hate is nothing.
Similarly do not care about the stupid desires of your serpent skin body.
7. Consider yourself as an impoverished person and be humble – speak gently as an impoverished.
8. Always connect your thinking to the Shechina.
Only desire her love, that She attach Herself to you.
Always say to yourself – “When will I be so fortune that the light of the Shechina in me shall dwell.”
9. If you get any lustful (desirous of this world) thoughts, stop thinking about it.
See what you desire as completely reprehensible and disgusting – shout at this foolish desire (and the Yetzer Hara (that implants its lust)) and in this way you will eradicate it.
Have no sadness (when you lack physical desires.) Actually be exceptionally joyous that you managed to squash (physical / lustful) desires for God.
When you don’t follow a negative desire, in this way you greatly reduce the Kelipa (bad force.)
10. A great principle of the Baal Shem Tov is Hishtavus – equanimity.
May it be equal to you, if people think you know all of the Torah or none of it – the way to achieve this is to constantly be connected to God – for as you are preoccupied with being connected to God, you have no time for such concerns.
11. Whatever you do, consider yourself doing this only to give pleasure to God (not yourself.)
Even if you serve God to give yourself a pleasure, this too is selfish.
12. Never think you are better than another, as you serve God; For this is the reason everything was made.
You and the worm have both been given (relative) intelligence, and the worm serves God with all his mind and effort so in what way are you better – in fact a human is also called a worm, as the verse states, “I am a worm and not a man” and had God not given you extra intelligence, your ability to serve Him would be equal to the worm – as such you are no greater than a worm, how much more so another human!
Considered yourself as a worm and other small insects – these are your counterparts in this world – for everything and everyone is a creation, and all only have the power to serve God to the extent of the capacity He has bestowed – always keep this in mind.
13. If you have a desire for any sin (say non-kosher-food) then say the verses of that sin (from the Torah) with their chant and vowels, with love and reverence for God, and the desire will disappear.
14. If you have a desire for a bad disposition (say anger etc.) then say the six nations (“The Knany, The Chity, The Emori, The Pirizi, The Yevusi, The Girgashi”) with all your heart and soul, with love and reverence for God, and it will dissipate.
Now use this emotion for God, for example, if you have a lust – only love God; and may all your efforts be towards this love – if you have anger, use the toughness of this emotion to overpower your Yetzer Hara.
15. Number 1 ensure that all of your service for God is altruistic, not selfishly biased.
One must be exceptionally smart to achieve this very difficult objective – as such, the only option is to continually bear this in mind – not but for a moment forget (to always serve God altruistically and not selfishly.)
In addition (number 2) be careful to go to the Mikvah every day – and meditate in the Mikvah, the Mikvah meditations.
And to ensure you succeed – number 3, never be sad – be a joyous servant.
16. One should accustom themselves to awaken (presumably to say Tikkun Chatzois and Study Torah ED.) at midnight (Chatzois – which actually varies…)
At the very least, ensure that your prayer – be it summer or winter – is before sunrise (Neitz.) In other words, most of your prayer until Shemah, should be before Sunrise – for the difference in praying before or after sunrise is like the distance of east to west.
For before sunrise one can easily rid the negative decrees.
May this not be a small thing to you – for indeed it is very great (the Baal Shem Tov was very careful to do this – sometimes when he didn’t have a minyan at that hour, he nonetheless Davened before Neitz.)
17. Let not a day pass without an extra Mitzva (good-deed) whether big or small – as our sages have said, “Be careful to do even a small Mitzva (like you are careful with a big.”) The word “careful, zahir” also has the terminology of “shine” in other words, that the soul will shine whether from a small or big Mitzvah, as “God seeks the heart.”
This in fact is a great thing – for then you know that you accomplished something this day – as you created an angel (for every good deed makes an angel) and as it states, “If you have but one angel that advocates for you etc.”
One who does a daily (extra) Mitzvah is protected from all harm – therefore one must always be on the lookout, as to what good deed one can do.
18. Be certain to keep Shabbos in all her legal requirements – even one who sins in idolatry, by keeping Shabbos perfectly this is forgiven.
19. At the very least, ensure that when you say Shema twice daily you do so with dedicated concentration – there are no words to describe how important this is – as our sages say “Whoever says Shema twice daily, all possible physical and spiritual problems will dissipate.”
Though it is impossible to pray (Shemoina Esrei – or the Shacharis / prayers) without any disturbing thoughts, nonetheless accustom yourself at least to begin in concentration.
20. Always be exceptionally quick (Zrizus – alert to do what should be done.)
As soon as you awake, get out of bed, for you have become renewed and made into a new person and now you can give birth / create, like God who births / creates universes.
And similarly everything you do – you should do it with Zrizus – alertness – for in everything, you can serve God.
21. “When you put on the Taalis you should see the Ticheiles” – in other words, you should sense the fear of God.
22. Whatever you see, should remind you of God – if you feel love, remember your love for God, if you feel fear, remember your fear of God (…as mentioned in many places.)
Even when you go to the bathroom, consider I am separating bad from good.
This is called Yechudum (mystical mediations.) When you go to sleep consider that my mind is now elevating to God and will be strengthened to serve God.
23. Before you go to sleep, lie down with great reverence and fear of God, tremble and shout at the Yetzer Hara, from fear of God and in this way one shall not come to sin (presumably a seminal emission at night ED.)
24. Your thoughts should be in the heavenly realm in the service of God – connect to God, and rely on God to fulfill your needs.
25. There is a great principle in that the first thought of the day, indicates your service for the day.
26. Be very scrupulous about getting up at midnight (Chatzois) if you don’t, and have no excuse, you are shunned (from above.)
27. Turn your nights into days – sleep a bit during the day, so that the little you sleep during the night will suffice.
28. When you awaken at Chatzois and get drowsy – walk from place to place in your home (sing songs – raise your voice – to remove the drowsiness.)
Study many different Torah subjects (not just one, lest it becomes burdensome) study many different things.
29. When you study, every hour – take a break in order to attach yourself to God – and then continue.
Although during learning one cannot connect (contemplate) God – nonetheless one must study Torah, for the Torah purifies the soul – and, “It is a Tree of life for all who hold onto her” – and if one doesn’t study, their connection (Diveikus) to God will dissipate.
(If this bothers a person, that when he is studying he is not Bidviekus – contemplating God) consider that when one is sleeping or downhearted, they are not (in Diveikus,) so should the study of Torah be worse than this?
Nonetheless one should ensure that hourly one does take a break for Divkeuis – connecting.
30. When one is speaking one should only consider one’s attachment to God – however during study, one must contemplate the subject matter – and from this comes the energy to properly be connected to God.
And we must always engage in Torah study, for “It is a tree of life to those who hold onto her.”
But when one is chatting, and in their mind they are connected to God (Diviekus) one must be very careful to not lose focus.
31. When one studies Torah and then during the day something occurs and one is unsure what to choose / do – one can discern based on the subject matter of Torah they studied what to do. This works but if one is continually attached to God for then they can have this perception.
But if one is not fully attached, this perception is not granted.
32. One must elevate level after level in prayer – do not lose all your energy in the beginning of prayer – begin calmly – and then in middle of prayer connect deeply – then you will even be able to say the words quickly (as your connection is deep.)
Though as you begin the prayers you cannot have very deep attachment, nonetheless, say the words with great concentration and strengthen yourself bit by bit, until God will assist that you can deeply connect.
33. One must accustom themselves to study and say the prayers – even the songs in the prayers in a low voice, “Cry-out quietly…” – say the prayers or the Torah study with all your energy, as it states, “All my bones will speak etc.”
And the crying out that comes from one’s deep attachment to God, should be done silently.
34. Know that every word of prayer and Torah is an entire Being and you must place your entire effort / energy in her – for if you don’t (the angel born) will be disabled.
35. It is an amazing kindness of God that even after one prays, they remain alive – for one places all their energy – soul power – into the tremendous concentration.
36. Sometimes one can pray very quickly, for his heart is aflame with a love for God, and the words fly out of one’s moth automatically.
37. In Shemoina Esrei, when one attaches oneself to God, one merits to be raised even higher – as our sages state, “Those who come to purify are assisted…” And through this prayer, one merits that one’s thoughts are attached to God, and through this, one can merit an even higher level – even when one isn’t praying – that one should be attached above.
38. Do not say a lot of Tehhilim before Davening (praying in the morning) in order that you shouldn’t weaken your energy and not have the energy to do the main obligation (namely) the songs of praise, Krias Shema, and Shemoina Esrei with great attachment.
Rather first do the most important (namely prayer – as mentioned) and if God gives you more energy, say Tehhilim and Shir Hashirim with great concentration.
39. Before Neilah on Yom Kippur pray small (less concentration) so you can say Neilah with great (concentration.)
40. When a person is in small–mindedness (low…) better to pray within the prayer book, for when one sees the letters it assists (in concentrating.)
However when one is attached in a higher world, then it is better to close one’s eyes, in order that the physical sight should not disturb.
41. The soul of the Baal Shem Tov told him that the reason he merited many high revelations, was not because he learned (or taught) much Gemarah and its commentaries – rather because of his prayers – for he always prayed with great concentration – and this caused for him, his great revelations.
42. One should contemplate before one prays that he is ready to even give his life (pass…) due to the intense concentration.
There are some whose concentration is so great that naturally after two or three words they would have passed.
When one contemplates this, one should say to oneself – “How can I take any credit (or grandeur for my prayers) if in any event after two or three words, I am ready to pass.” In truth it is a great kindness from God, that after two or three words (with such intense concentration) a person remains alive.
43. The main Teshuva is to repent from one’s evil ways.
A person should also never think that they are greater.
Even a single person who does Teshuva, the entire worlds sins are forgiven.
44. Sometimes the Yetzer Hara tricks a person telling him he did a great sin, though it was something small or not even an Aveira at all – his intent is to make the person feel guilt (shame) sadness (depression) and due to this, not serve God.
One must clearly understand the Yetzer Hara’s shenanigins – one must say to the Yetzer Hara – “I don’t care about this “Chumrah” (“sin”) for your intention is only to get me to stop serving God – and what you’re saying is a lie – and even if it is slightly true, it would be a far greater pleasure to God that I shouldn’t worry about it. In point of fact I will serve God joyfully, for it is not my pleasure I seek in His service, rather to give Him pleasure – hence though I will not care about this “Chumrah” (“sin”) God doesn’t care – for the reason I am not caring about it, is in order to serve Him and how can I not serve Him, even for but a moment.
45. Crying is very bad, for a person must serve God happily!
Crying that is due to one’s joy – this is very good.
46. When one begins serving God, don’t be too pedantic (about all the details) for this is a trick of the Yetzer to cuase the person fear and sadness… lest he is not doing it properly – sadness is a tremendous block to serving God.
Even if one slipped up and did a sin, do not be sad – just repent and trust that God has forgiven you.
And even if you know for certain you are failing in something, do not let this worry you – rather know that God sees all hearts and intentions and knows you wish to serve Him to the best of your ability – strengthen yourself to serve God joyously.
Each one of these matters is a great principle.
47. “Many tried to reach the level of Rabbi Shimoin Bar Yochai but failed.” They tried to use self-infliction to attain his level.
This is incorrect – a person should not try to attain levels, rather their intent should be to bring joy to God.
48. If you see that your service of God is greater than your friends, let this cuase you zero arrogance.
49. Even if people condemn you for your spiritual service in prayer or other things, don’t answer them, so as not to come to arguments nor arrogance. Our sages teach, “A person’s silence leads them to humility.”
50. Do not look at people when you speak to them if their thoughts are not connected to God, as this will cuase a degradation in your soul.
In contrast, people whose thoughts are connected to God, you should look at them, and this will imbue holiness.
51. When you study you should do so with great energy and joy and this will lessen distracting thoughts.
52. When a person is serving God continually, they have no time for silly arrogance or other bad traits.
53. Consider yourself as if you don’t exist in this world – so what difference will it make if people praise you?
54. When you study, every once in a while – hour – you should remind yourself before whom – God! you are studying.
55. If you desire to do any Mitzvah (good deed etc.) go do it! –
Let not the Yetzer Hara connive you that this is a great thing and it will cuase you to become arrogant – even so, do it!
But be careful, for if you do find it making you arrogant, push the arrogance away!
You will certainly end up doing it (or continue) without any arrogance. As our sages teach – when one begins doing something for personal reasons (A Mitzvah / studying etc.) eventually one does it altruistically.
Do as many Mitzvahs as you can – and God will assist that it will be without any biases – but try to push away arrogance on your own.
56. If a person feels the need to rectify his soul through fasting, though this has a deleterious effect, namely as the pain of it causes that he cannot serve God joyfully (which is primary) nonetheless as he is personally aware of his situation (what his soul needs) therefore it is o.k.
(Generally Chassidus frowns upon fasting and encourages other means, such as charity or refraining from ill-speech etc. ED.)
57. One should say to oneself before prayer that he is ready to pass due to his intense concentration in the prayer – some peoples’ deep concentration is so great that naturally after one or two words, they would have passed. Hence if one has this contemplation, one can think, “Why should I take any pride or selfish motive in prayer, if in any even I would be ready to pass after two or three words?!”
In truth it is a great kindness of God, that He allows one to remain (alive) to complete the prayers.
58. There is, “The revolving blade blocking the entrance to the Garden Of Eden.” When one seeks to attach their thoughts to the higher worlds and God, the Kelipos try to block – nonetheless do not give up, attempt numerous times to enter the higher realms and (or, through) cleaving to God, and you will enter.
Strengthen your faith that God fills the entire universe.
If you fall from your level in that prayer, then say the prayer with a little bit of concentration (as much as you can… ) then strengthen yourself to return to your previous level – even many times in one’s prayers.
First attach yourself to the body of the word, and then place within the word a soul.
One must rouse within oneself, in their body, that the light of the soul should shine – as the Zohar says, “A log that doesn’t light, one chops it up, and it will light” – and then one can serve only in thought, without body movements.
59. Sometimes when one is attached in the higher realms, one must be careful to make no movements, with their body, so their attachment should not be broken.
60. It is impossible to pray with great concentration unless one motivates oneself strongly – and one should ask before praying that God should assist and help.
61. Consider that it would be good if God assists you, that you concentrate say half of the prayers or most of it with great focus – and towards the end if you get weak you will pray according to your capacity or a little bit of concentration (until the end of Aleinu.)
62. If we reach a place in which we cannot feel that we are in this world, then no distracting thoughts invade.
Conversely if I consider myself – then distracting thoughts disturb, so my service is worthless (as the whole point of being in this world is Avoidah – dedicated service.)
63. When one seeks to practice Hisobdidus (close communion with God) one should ensure there should be another person there – even if they practice (but a person alone is dangerous.)
Sometimes, when one is deeply attached (Davuk) a person can meditate individually, even in a home in which many others are there.
64. Sometimes a person falls from their level (of Divine attachment) as God sees this is necessary for the person – other-times the world causes (this fall) however the fall is always to have a greater subsequent ascent.
65. One should act secretly that other knows not they are pious (high level.)
66. When you begin to pray, you should feel fear – this is the Gateway to enter before God.
Say to yourself – whom am I connecting to? – To the Creator, whom through His speech all the universes were created and continues to sustain them and create them! And contemplate the greatness and exaltedness of God – and afterwards you can go into the higher worlds.
67. Sometimes a person can only serve from “katnus” (repressed thinking…) in other words he doesn’t enter into the higher realms at all – rather he thinks that God’s glory fills all the worlds and He is close to him – and at that moment he is like a child whose intellect is not very great – nonetheless though he serves in contracted thinking – he serves with great attachment (Diveikus.)
68. Prayer is marriage with the Shechina – just as in the beginning of the union, there is movement – when one begins to pray one should Shuckle (sway;) then one can stand without Shuckeling – and be attached to the Shechina with great connection.
And from this that a person Shuckles, one can come to a great inspiration – for a person can contemplate – “Why am I shuckling? – It must be that the Shechina is standing opposite me.” And from this one can come to feel great inspiration.
69. A person can go from deep attachment in Katnus (see 68) and then think about the higher worlds and jump into them, for where a person thoughts are, there they are.
70. Diveikus (Divine attachment) is when you say a word (of Davening) you say it at great length – for as you are so attached (to God – or the Godliness in the word) you don’t want to let go – and therefore you say it at length.
71. If a person prays but is thinking a different thought, then the Kelipa rides on the prayer (or speech.) It would in fact be better if he said nothing. But words that come from the heart, enter the heavenly heart.
72. Sometimes if a person cannot pray he should not think that today is a washout (impossible…) rather he should strengthen himself, and cuase ever greater reverence (fear) of God (in other words, contemplate matters that increase reverence.)
This is an example of a king who goes to war and gets dressed in the clothing of a regular soldier – however the wise people can discern from his mannerism – however those who are not so wise can tell where he is, for that is where the greatest protection lies.
Similarly when one cannot pray with concentration, he should know that the kelipos are blocking the path to the King – the King is here, it is only that the guards are blocking – therefore one must induce their fear / reverence and deep attachment in order to get closer and pray to God – and then he can pray with great concentration.
73. “We only begin to pray with humility.”
In other words, do not pray for what you are lacking – for your prayer will not be answered – rather when you pray, pray for God. For whatever is lacking in you, is lacking in God – for man is a part of God above – for what is lacking in a part (of the whole) is lacking in the whole (Head…) And the Head feels what is lacking in the part. Hence your prayer should be for the lack in the Head.
74. There are two types of people – one who is completely wicked – he knows his Creator and intentionally seeks to rebel – and the second who the Yetzer Hara fools, and he thinks he is completely righteous – and also he appears in the eyes of the world, as completely righteous.
Now despite the fact he is continually learning and prays and self-restricts (or self-inflicts) it is all a waste of time – for to God he is not attached, nor does he have complete faith to always be connected. And he knows not the first foundation of faith, to study and pray, and do the Mitzvos, only for God’s sake.
The difference between them is that the completely wicked person, it is possible for him to repent and he can turn to God with all his heart and soul, and ask God to show him the light – but the second cannot be helped, for he does not see God, His greatness, nor His service – he considers himself completely righteous, so how will he repent.?
This is why when the Yetzer-Hara convinces someone to sin, he makes him think he did a good deed, so he shouldn’t repent.
75. Your words of Prayer should shine.
For in each word there are universes, souls, and Godliness.
They elevate and interconnect.
And a person should include their soul in each of these levels – and then all the universes unite as one, and elevate and a great indescribable joy (above) ensues.
This represents the three levels in the (Noah’s) ark, each level (floor) represents, Worlds – Souls – and Godliness. In every word you must hear her message – for the Shechina, the world of speech talks… (if your intention in prayer is to create a Nachas (joy) for God.)
76. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts” – as soon as a person separates their thoughts from (attachment or following) God, it is like serving idols.
“And my deeds are not like your deeds” – for nonetheless teach our sages, a person who didn’t sin (so in other words – his thoughts are not connected, but his actions are) it is considered as if he did a Mitzvah.
77. When a person fasts from Shabbos to Shabbos (Sunday to Friday) do not say, “I am doing such a great thing (ego…) and I shall be refined greatly.”
Rather think, compared to the holy angels who serve God continually and constantly, my action is nothing – “I am but a putrid drop and my end is dust.”
78. Sometimes in middle of the week (of fasting) the Yetzer Hara who is jealous makes the person believe they cannot endure – a person should be aware (that this is just the Yetzer Hara.)
When a person can perceive that this is the Yetzer Hara and perseveres, this causes a great joy above – as it says in the Zohar…
79. Sometimes the Satan is given permission to cuase the person a great suffering (pain) to see if he can understand it is but the Yetzer Hara – and when the person completes the fast, he will not even feel (that previous perceived pain.)
80. Sometimes a person must look in different directions in order to connect their thinking to God – as the coarseness of the body can prevent Divine awareness.
81. Connect to God and simultaneously do something necessary in the home (say wash dishes) or do anything or speak while you are connected – the reason for this is to accustom oneself to stay connected in thought to God, even while one is speaking or doing physical things.
82. The ability to merit Divine attachment (Diveikus) comes from being separate from human interaction – and from writing secrets of the Torah – and from Yechudim – as is known from the Ari-Zal.
And when one is practicing Yechudim think about the greatness of God.
83. Be very careful to awaken at Chatzois (app. midnight) and connect day to night (in Torah study or prayer.)
84. The Sifra teaches, “That Yetzer Hara, From Your Heart Remove.” (Not sure what this refers to… ED.)
Just as God is singular in the universe, so too, your service should be singularly to Him.
This is a great principle! A person should be singularly focused on serving God – as the verses states, “God made it that (naturally) we fear Him (and go on the straight road) and people find crooked paths.” From the many “ideas…” we become confused (as to the direction of life.)
Consider that everything that exists in this world comes from God – and everything that people do/create, from the power of their intelligence / plans, as well – even the smallest thing that occurs in this world emanated from God.
May it make no difference to you if something happened exactly as you did or didn’t want – for it all comes from God, and as such it is equally good, if it didn’t go according to your wishes.
Consider that everything – whether it is the universe of the Spheres, whether it is the world of Angels, or the world of the Throne (Presumably this refers to the worlds of Asiyah, Yetzirah and Beriah ED.) all of it is nothing – like a non-existence – relative to God.
They all exist within the vacuum of His contracted light that He contracted within Himself (to make space for their existence ED.)
They all were created by a single word (or sentence ED.)
So why should you chase any stupid pleasure within those worlds, for they are but a single sentence/word from God?!
Far better to attach yourself higher, within God-Himself who is the source (and not to attach oneself to an offshoot.)
This is the intent of the Zohar, “Blessed are the Tzaddikim who know how to attract their hearts to the King Above, and not to this world – attractions that will dissipate” (for all the universes are destined to be destroyed (or infinitely elevated ED.))
Always think to connect to God from sheer love – for God is greater than everything in this world, for everything good in this world comes only from Him.
And think, “I always seek to give God, Nachas (pleasure) and to constantly serve Him.”
Always have your thoughts connected to God above and this explains the verse, “And from the Mikdash (Holy space) don’t exit.”
And when you need to delve into matters of this world, imagine that you are now going from the heavenly realm down (like a person going from his home to the outside – whose intent is to right way return; And while he is out, he is constantly thinking about when he will return. Similarly you should feel about the higher realm… that there is your true home – In God – hence even when you speak in matters pertaining to this world, you will return your thoughts to God.
85. Say not, “On Shabbos I will pray intensely, but not during the weekday.” Be not like a servant who only when the king is watching, do they serve (properly.)
A true servant feels that without the king he is worthless, so he does all in His power to come close – and then, though he may not be worthy of coming close to the king (but as his heart desires this, so much) the king filled with compassion allows.
86. A person shouldn’t say, “When I can pray intensely I will, but when I can’t, I won’t.” To the contrary, this is like a king who goes to battle and gets dressed as a common soldier, so the way to tell where the king is… is to see where is most protected – so if the king (God) is being “protected” (it is difficult to get through) this is the sign to truly attempt (for He is there.)
87. Consider that when you are praying, you are going from heavenly room (level) to room – and when you get a distracting thought, this is the Kelipos trying to expel you (from the room) for in each room they judge (if you are worthy to be there.)
If a person prays not passionately, then you should place energy in your prayers – and if you pray with energy, then you should check the type of thoughts that have come to you (perhaps this is mainly for Tzaddikim ED.) if it is a bad love, such as Niuf (intimacy) elevate it to its source, which is love for God.
For there are but seven types of thoughts (no more.)
These are the seven days of creation, and in every day there is “evening and morning” – “evening” also has the terminology (in Hebrew) of mixing – that one thinks foreign (distracting ) thoughts; and “morning” has the terminology of visiting (Livaker) that one is visiting God.
1. There is love for God, and love for sins.
2. There is fear of God, and bad fears, such as hate.
3. There is glorifying God, and there is glorifying self.
4. There is winning (for God, or self.)
5. There is acknowledging (God, or self.)
6. Yesoid comes from connection (connecting to God, or self.)
Each of these seven are comprised of ten and in every bad thought, one gives life to the seven nations.
And this is the explanation of the “Hidden Medrash” – “the world was falling apart, so God said to Abraham ‘It’s time to build (establish) the world’,” in other words, the emotion of kindness (was needed.) Whatever one is thinking about, whether a bad lust or anger, they give power to these energies.
Now if someone is God-forbid thinking about lust – then say to yourself – “What have I done… to take part of the universe of thought and drag it into excrement?!” – In this way one humbles and diminishes this thought (desire.)
Afterwards elevate this thought to the world of love, by thinking “If I can love this (desire) say a woman which is a putrid drop (as people come from…) how much infinitely more! should I love God!!” – Similarly if one hears a joke which causes joy – consider this is from the world of love and be very careful to not denigrate this pleasure – for this pleasure belongs to taking pleasure in God – – so actually elevate that pleasure (from the joke ) by saying, “It is from the universe of pleasure.” (In other words, all things begin in a holy space, hence can be elevated back.)
Similarly when one is eating (consider the pleasure as emanating from God.)
Now when a person must have a pleasure (say from food) this brings God’s pleasure into all the universes (if a person connects it to God – “the world of pleasure.”)
Similarly if you see something you fear – say, “Why should I be afraid of this thing – this person is just like me…?!” – How much more so, if you are dealing with an animal – it is only that God’s fear is hidden within this thing – so if that is the case, “infinitely more so from God should I have fear.”
Similarly when it comes to honor – if you are being honored or if a person is being honored for praying nicely or studying Torah, then be humble before God.
And if we are dealing with “victory,” then beat this very trait (to need to be victorious…) or use it for being victorious for God.
Similarly with acknowledging and connecting (Yesoid.) Be connected but to God.
88. We must have mercy on the Shechina for when we talk (not connected to God, speech..) we separate (for speech comes from the Shechina – it is like separating a child from her parent ED.)
Normally when speaking one should have a fear of God for the world of speech is the world of fear.
89. When one has a Machshava Zara (sinful – or distracting thought) one should be highly embarrassed – for this is a sign that from the king’s throne room, has he been banished.
Return to the throne room with great humility, as having a distracting thought (presumably during prayer ED.) is a sin like giving birth to a Mamzer. Just as thought has a masculine and feminine, similarly speech – and if one thinks a foreign thought while praying, this is like a Mamzer.
The outer appearance is like a Kosher person however the inside is evil – similarly this person is using holy words, but his thoughts are bad. Furthermore, one should contemplate that God says, “Why have I come into the word, but you have not.”
90. One should try to not look at physically beautiful things and certainly at beautiful women – when one looks for their lust (pleasure) – through this gaze, a person loses themselves (their soul…) and it is like worshiping an idol.
And God-forbid from this thought can come a seminal emission at night, and this adds power to the dark side, and they become impregnated from him.
If one does so prior to giving birth (conceiving) to a son, then his son will have his source in their power – this is similar to what the Ari’zal wrote, “Why it is necessary to honor the older brother, for he is like the branch from the Father’s trunk, and then this branch itself, grows other branches – similarly the younger brother grows from his older brother’s energy (which comes from the father”) As such, if one gives their energy first to the Kelipah, then the son is like their branch.
The proper way to approach something beautiful one sees… if one sees a beautiful woman, he should think “Where does this beauty stem from?” – if God-forbid she dies, then she would have no face… – so where does her face come from? It comes from the Godly force within her! So why should I follow after a part from the Godly force, when I can go to the root source and the source of all universes where all beauty exists?
Similarly when one is looking say at a beautiful bowl – one should say, “How did this bowl get beautiful?” The physical part of the bowl is not beautiful, rather it is, its spirit. And this is also part of God above.
Similarly when a person eats, consider that he tastes, and the sweetness of this food comes from a spiritual source of sweetness above. And even in physical matter, there is also a life-force, for we see that it continuously exists (hence its life force continually creates it) as such, in all locations there is a Divine force.
If you see the world like this – you are looking with your mind… – and hence you see Divinity. And this helps to eradicate the physical appearance (and its effect.)
Now if this is how you think through the day – as is well known, that as one thinks thoughts during the day are the types of dreams they have – then you will see the spirit of the physical thing that you saw during the day; for during the day you see the physical but realize it has a spirit – however in your dream, you can see the spirit without its physical. The reason for this is, during the day, the spirit part in man is weak, for he is connected to a physical body, and therefore doesn’t see the spirit in things, however at night when the spirit of man elevates beyond the body, then the spirit part is strong, as such one can see the actual spirit.
And this is how a person can come to the level of prophecy.
This is why it states by all the prophets, “In a dream to them I spoke” – except for Moses who could see God even while awake.
And this is what King David said, “Through seeing in the day the spirit and life-force in matter, during the night, I see you” / prophecy.
91. Sometimes one must show arrogance for the sake of God as our sages teach, a Talmid Chocham (Torah sage) must have an 1/8th of an 1/8th of arrogance.
However one must be super careful that simultaneously one should feel very humble. Tell yourself “in truth, I am actually very low – and the only reason I am acting arrogant is for God, but for myself I need zero arrogance, for I am but a worm and not a man – so why would I need honor?”
92. Any form of arrogance is very serious – all bias (self, instead of God, serving) is due to arrogance. Every thought is a complete Being – and through an arrogant thought, one banishes the feet of the Shechina (God’s presence).
93. When you teach another Torah, first connect to God and as your friend’s soul to God is also connected – for every person lives but from His energy… consider you are saying these words only before God, to give him a pleasure – it is not speaking to my friend… for what difference does it make if he praises or shames me?…
94. “Be with God in everything.” – This is a great principle.
95. Everything you do should be for God, and without ulterior motives – even the smallest thing should not be done selfishly – only for God.
96. Our sages say, “Be careful about the coals of the righteous, so you do not get singed from them…. for all their words are like flaming fire.”
Sometimes a complete Tzaddik falls from his elevated state and serves God in Katnus (constricted mindedness.) He prays not with the same incredible devotion, and sometimes is seen to be wasting time.
Now a regular person who sees the Tzaddik at this level, may think that that he can too – for if a Tzaddik can be like this, certainly he can – therefore the Mishnaic sage is forewarning, “Do not compare yourself to the Tzaddik, as when he rises out of his state and begins to study and pray like before, all of the previous wasted time (and perhaps speech) will elevate to God.”
But a simple person who understands not the secret of great Divine service, definitely should not imitate.
97. “If I am not for me, who is?” – In prayer a person must be removed from the physical – this is the meaning, “If I am not for myself, who is?” that if I am removed from the physical, who is… “I fear no intruding distracting thoughts.”
However “If I am but for myself, what am I?” – in other words “if I am self-aware (arrogant…) then the distracting thoughts enter.”
98. A righteous person even in the matters of the world, what he does is good – but a fool even when he is the leader, sins.
99. “The Tzaddik is aware of his animal soul” – in other words even his (animal) soul, he connects to service of God.
100. There is great reward when spiritual is caused by the physical (body.)