Excerpts from Likkutei Torah-Bamidbar

Finding emotional individuality in Judaism:[1]

The verse in Koheles states, “Noda Bashearim Ba’alah,” which literally means that she knows her husband by the gates. The Alter Rebbe explains this as follows: the term Ba’alah here refers to God which is the “husband” of the soul of every single Jew. Now, “the gates” refers to the recesses of the heart. The emotions found in the heart contain many facets, angles, corners, levels, and grades of intensity, similar to the various different gates of homes. Although every single person contains the power of emotion in his heart, the level and quality is different from person to person. The term “Noda” refers to a deep contemplative exercise to open one’s personal gates of his heart. Altogether, the verse is stating as follows: every Jew has an obligation to perform contemplative exercises of matters relating to God that can arouse and open the gates of his heart for him to be able to emotionally connect and feel and experience God in accordance to the level and quality of the emotions that God created him with. [Thus, we see that there is great room for individuality in Judaism, as although everyone is equally obligated in all of the Mitzvos, and is likewise equally obligated to arouse feelings of love for God, nonetheless every person’s feeling is different, and God desires and requests the special level and quality of emotion that each individual has and no other person can make up for what that person is able to accomplish emotionally in his experience with God. Accordingly, every single Jew is unique and special and indeed one can say regarding each individual Jew that the world was created on his behalf, as the special quality of relationship that he can have with God is unique to him only and not available to anyone else. Having this perspective, can hopefully remove from a Jew feelings of inferiority when comparing himself to the spiritual accomplishments of another, as it helps him understand that his relationship with God on his level, and according to the unique makeup of the emotions of his soul, is equally desired by God as that of the righteous one.]

[1] Likkutei Torah Bamidbar 1st Mamar 1a

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