It’s All For Us

It’s All For Us

What happens when we accept someone exactly as they are? What if there’s something wrong with them? Won’t our acceptance be confused with approval? The Rebbe answers this and other questions in his ma’amer Ani L’dodi of 5726 (1966). This is the final installment of this ma’amer.

Read the previous installments here:

Part One: Elul — Being Proactive

Part Two: He Doesn’t Wake You, He Waits For You

Part Three: He Awaits you, Wherever You Are

Part Four: Not Just What You Do, But Who You Are

Part Five: It Was You All Along

It’s All For Us

ח) וְזֶהוּ ״אֲנִי לְדוֹדִי וְדוֹדִי לִי״ רָאשֵּׁי תֵּיבוֹת אֱלוּל,

Ani l’dodi vedodi li, (I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine)” the first letter of each spells Elul.

דְיֵשׁ לוֹמַר46 שְׁ״וְדוֹדִי לִי״ שֶׁבְּרָאשֵׁי תֵּיבוֹת אֱלוּל קָאִי (בְּעִיקָר) עַל הַגִילוּי דְיג׳ מִדוֹת הָרַחֲמִים שֶׁבְּאֱלוּל.

This means that Elul is a time when the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy are most revealed.

וְזֶה שֶׁנֶאֱמַר וְדוֹדִי לִי״ לְאַחֲרֵי ״אֲנִי לְדוֹדִי״ [אַף שֶׁהַגִילוּי דְיג׳ מִדוֹת הָרַחֲמִים שֶׁבְּאֱלוּל הוּא הַנְתִינַת כֹּחַ עַל הָעַבוֹדָה דְ״אַנִי לְדוֹדִי״] הוּא, כִּי בְּפְּנִימִיוּת הָעִנְיָנִים, ״אֲנִי לְדוֹדִי״ (עַבוֹדַת הָאָדָם) הוּא לְמַעֲלָה מְ״וְדוֹדִי לִי״ (גִילוּי מִלְמַעֲלָה), וּכְּנִזְכָּר לְעֵיל (סְעִיף ו׳ וְסְעִיף ז׳) שֶׁהַכַּווָנָה בְּהַגִילוּי דְיג׳ מִדוֹת הָרַחֲמִים הִיא בִּכְדֵי לְעוֹרֵר עַבוֹדַת הָאָדָם, וְעַל יְדֵי זֶה נַעֲשֶׂה עִילוּי בְּיג׳ מִדוֹת הָרַחֲמִים. וּשְׁנֵי עִנְיָנִים בְּזֶה.

“I am my beloved’s,” comes before “my beloved is mine,” because from a deeper perspective, personal effort is worth more than inspiration. Although G-d showing us mercy in Elul is what gives us the ability to approach Him, it’s us who put in the effort to do teshuvah. As we mentioned earlier, the purpose for G-d being so accepting of where we’re holding is to bring out our love for Him. This brings out the uniqueness of His mercy in two ways:

הָעִילוּי שְׁנַעֲשֶׂה בְּהַגִילוּי מִלְמַעֲלָה עַל יְדֵי יְרִידָתוֹ לְמַטָה בִּכְדֵי לְעוֹרֵר אֶת הָאָדָם (כְּנִזְכָּר לְעֵיל סְעִיף ז׳),

Firstly, G-d’s mercy descending from its lofty source, above the boundaries of existence, is to inspire us to change.

As explained, when G-d’s mercy is made available to us it brings out our inner will to become absorbed in Him. G-d’s mercy inspiring us to change brings out the purpose for G-d’s mercy and all of existence—it’s all for us.

Pure Pleasure

וְהָעִילוּי שְׁנַעֲשֶׂה עַל יְדֵי הִתְעוֹרְרוּת תְּשׁוּבָה דְהָאָדָם בְּפּוֹעֵל. וּבָּזֶה עַצְמוֹ – שְׁנֵי עִנְיָנִים.

Secondly, us doing teshuvah, makes G-d’s mercy great. This happens in two ways.

 הָעִילוּי שֶׁמְצַד הַתַּעֲנוּג דְלְמַעֲלָה שֶׁבְּעַבוֹדַת הָאָדָם וּבִּפְרַט בַּעֲבוֹדַת הַתְּשׁוּבָה—״מְקַבֵּל״ כוּלְהוּ, ״בְּסֵבֶר פָּנִים יָפוֹת,״

Firstly, G-d loves it when we want to do teshuvah and approach Him. He receives us and He does so graciously.

Earlier we learned that us initiating the relationship with G-d gives Him pleasure. It gives Him pleasure beyond anything. We learned that there is pleasure that is a result of something else. Beyond that kind of pleasure, however, there’s pure pleasure. Pure pleasure is from the deepest place within us. That’s the kind of pleasure He gets when we even think of doing teshuvah—it touches His core.

וְעַל יְדֵי זֶה מִתְגַלֶה אַחֲר כַּךְ הַתַּעֲנוּג הָעַצְמִי שֶׁבְּיִשְׂרָאֵל עַצְמָם (דְשׁוֹרֶשׁ הַנְשָׁמוֹת הוּא לְמַעֲלָה מֵהָשׁוֹרֶשׁ דְתּוֹרָה וּמִצְווֹת, גַּם מִמִצְּווַת הַתְּשׁוּבָה) – ״פָּנִים שׂוֹחָקוֹת״ (כְּנִזְכָּר לְעֵיל סְעִיף ה׳).

Secondly, the pure pleasure G-d feels, we feel. Our souls’ roots are from a loftier place than the root of Torah and mitzvos—even the mitzvah of teshuvah (which is beyond the framework of existence).

When G-d feels pure pleasure it moves us because our souls are so deeply connected with Him.

וְיֵשׁ לוֹמַר, דְכֵּיוָּן שֶׁהִתְעוֹרְרוּת הַתְּשׁוּבָה דְהָאָדָם (שְׁעַל יָדָהּ הוּא הַגִילוּי דְ״פָּנִים יָפוֹת״ וְ״פָּנִים שׂוֹחָקוֹת) בָּאָה עַל יְדֵי הַגִילוּי דְ״וְדוֹדִי לִי״ (הַגִילוּי דְיג׳ מִדוֹת הָרַחֲמִים שֶׁבְּאֱלוּל), לָכֵן, הַפְּעוּלָה דְ״אֲנִי לְדוֹדִי״ בְּ״וְדוֹדִי לִי״ הוּא שֶׁגַם הַגִילוּי דְ״וְדוֹדִי לִי” מִתְעַלֶה לְהַתַּעֲנוּג דְ״פָּנִים יָפוֹת וְ״פָּנִים שׂוֹחָקוֹת.״

Our initiation to do teshuvah causes G-d pure pleasure and that’s a result of His mercy and acceptance. “I am my beloved’s” (our initiation) is a result of “my beloved is mine” (G-d’s mercy and acceptance). That means that the quality of His mercy becomes as great as His pure pleasure. That’s our doing.

Throughout the month of Elul, G-d’s mercy is expressed to every Jew. “The king is in the field,” and He accepts us and our will to change. “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine,” refers to the entire month of Elul. “I am my beloved’s,” comes first in the verse. Yet “my beloved is mine,” is what empowers us to do anything at all. Our effort must come first, but it’s inspired by His acceptance. He doesn’t make us do teshuvah, He empowers us to do it ourselves.

וִיהִי רָצוֹן, שֶׁעַל יְדֵי מַעֲשֵׂינּוּ וַעֲבוֹדָתֵינוּ47, וּבִּפְרַט עַל יְדֵי הָעַבוֹדָה דְחוֹדֶשׁ אֱלוּל, נִזְכֶּה בְּקָרוֹב מַמָּשׁ לְגְאוּלָה הָעַתִידָה,

May it be His will, that as a result of our behavior and our effort, especially in the month of Elul, we will merit the future redemption very soon.

שֶׁאָז יִהְיֶה אַמִיתִּית הָעִנְיָן דְ״מַרְאֶה פָּנִים שׂוֹחָקוֹת,״ וְכְּמְּבוּאָר בְּכַּמָּה מְקוֹמוֹת48 בְּעִנְיָן הַקְנִיגְיָא שֶׁעָתִיד הַקָדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לַעֲשׂוֹת לַצַדִיקִים לְעָתִיד לָבֹא49,

In the future redemption we’ll merit the true experience of G-d’s pure pleasure. As it’s explained in many places, that in the future the Holy One Blessed Be He will make a feast for the righteous from the meat of the leviathan. 

שֶׁיִרְאוּ בְּגִילוּי שֶׁכָּל הַמִלְחָמָה דְטוֹב וְרַע (שֶׁבְּעוֹלָם הַזֶה) הוּא רַק בִּכְדֵי שֶׁיִהְיֶה שְֹחוֹק וְתַּעֲנוּג, וְאָז יְמָּלֵא שְֹחוֹק פִּינוּ50, וְכָל זֶה – בְּקָרוֹב מַמָּשׁ.

We will see clearly that the purpose of the war between good and evil is laughter and pleasure. “Then our mouths will be full of laughter,” very soon!

The struggle within between good and evil is for us to do teshuvah. Teshuvah brings out G-d’s pure pleasure and ours. The victory of good over evil in this world is the geulah—the ultimate pleasure. It’s explained in Chassidus that teshuvah motivated by love for G-d is for tzadikim. This whole ma’amer explained how we—regular folks—can do this kind of teshuvah. In the future redemption all Jews will merit to eat from the leviathan because we will all have done teshuvah of tzadikim. Teshuvah is about focusing on our love for G-d and our desire to be with Him. This feeling exists within all of us deep down. Elul is the time when that feeling can be exposed. May it happen now!


G-d’s mercy and acceptance brings out the best in us. Our love for Him and our desire to be with Him is brought out. When we decide to do teshuvah, G-d feels pure pleasure—the kind that isn’t caused by anything. Since our souls are so deeply connected to G-d, we too are affected by His pleasure and are able to do complete teshuvah.

47. תניא רפל”ז.

48. תו”ח תולדות יו”ד, סע”ד ואילך. שערי תשובה לאדמו”ר האמצעי ח”א כא, ד. ועוד.

49. ויק”ר פי”ג, ג.

50. תהלים קכו, ב

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