Here is an excerpt. I recommend learning the whole commentary on 1:4 before considering answering the question.

הה"ד משכני וכו' והוא כי הלא יקשה בכתוב אשר הערנו למעלה אומרו משכני לשון יחיד נרוצה לשון רבים וגם מה ענין המשיכה והריצה האמורים. אך בזאת יובן כי נאמר הנה אנחנו מעצמנו נמשכים אחריך אך לאטנו אמנם משכני את הנפש הקרובה אליך כי תשפיע מרוחך אליה ותמשיכנה ועי"כ לא לבד נמשך כ"א נרוץ אני והגוף כי נמהר נחיש לעשות רצונך תמיד לידבק בך ולא נשית לב אל טובות העה"ז על שכר או פירות מעשינו הטובים רק אחריך בלבד נרוצה ולא אחרי ההבל של טובות העה"ז ושמא תאמר לפי זה איך ימשך אומרו הביאני המלך חדריו לז"א להיכן אנו נמשכים כו' לומר ראה נא ה' אלהינו איך ראוי להחזיק לנו טובה על מה שנמשך אחריך כי הלא השטן הוא יצה"ר פורע לאלתר לא גנב אדם שלא יהנה מגנבתו אשר גנב או העושק אשר עשק את עמיתו או בתשומת יד בפקדון אשר הפקד אתו ולא בעל בעולת בעל אשר לא טעם טעם חטא וערבה לו וההיקש בשאר אך הוא יתברך האומר אלינו נעבדנו אך ביומו לא יתן שכרו ולא יאחר לשלמו ימים או עשור או מבחרות לשיבה בלבד כ"א מן העולם ועד העולם היום לעשותם ומחר בג"ע ליטול שכר וזהו להיכן אנו נמשכים אחריך לג"ע שעם שלא נקבל שום שכר כל ימינו על אדמתינו עד נפשנו מן גו תגורש ותלך לג"ע נאמן עלינו האל הנאמן יתברך

Draw me...etc. We asked above a kasha [why is there a change from second person to third person], similarly Draw me is singular, and we will run is plural, and what is this "drawing" and "running" concept? The meaning is: We will be drawn toward you whatever the case, though this process might take some time. However, if You draw my soul - which in essence is a part of You - then not only will I be drawn to You, but We (the soul and the body) will run after you, to do Your desire and attach to You always. We won't pay attention to the goodies of the world, or material benefits, or reward for our good deeds. We will run after You alone, and not after the emptiness of the good things in this world.

What's the connection between this and the rest of the verse: "The King has brought me into His chambers?". Regarding this the Midrash asks "To where are we being drawn?" The meaning is: Hashem our God, see how fitting it is to give us good fortune given that we followed You.

The Satan and evil inclination provide immediate gratification. No man ever stole unless he could benefit from his theft; no one ever robbed another unless it was for his own immediate benefit; no man ever had relations with a married woman unless he enjoyed the sweetness of the sin. The Blessed One expects us, however, to follow Him without immediate reward, not on the same day, or the same month, year or even later in life! Today we do it and tomorrow in Gan Eden do we get our reward.

This is the meaning: we are drawn after You, to Gan Eden, while we don't get reward in this life, until our soul leaves our body and goes to Gan Eden, You will be faithful to us, O Faithful God.

My question is, what is the connection between Hashem and Gan Eden here? On first glance, it appears that the Alshich HaKodesh is contradicting himself. First he says our soul only wants Hashem, not any reward. Then he explains this by saying our greatness is that we are happy to do what He says without getting an immediate reward, because we trust we will get a reward in Gan Eden.

So one might ask, are we actually saying anything particularly nice here? Is our greatness not that we "aren't in it for the reward, we just want You" as it initially sounded, or is it just we are trusting and patient?

One clue might be in what he says: אנו נמשכים אחריך לג"ע - "we are drawn after You, to Gan Eden". One might say that we are indeed after Him, as "having Him is our reward" so to speak, and Gan Eden is just the code word for that, or the place where that happens.

Does that sound right? If not, what is your interpretation on what all this means and whether there is a contradiction or not, and how to understand it? I very much look forward to hearing answers from all sorts of directions!

  • 1
    Sounds like you've got it right, that he is saying that God is (כביכול) our reward. We do not want any other reward than the greatest reward, i.e. "closeness" to God. Apr 24, 2023 at 13:07
  • @Deuteronomy do you think he goes into the "immediate gratification" explanation for any particular reason? If the point is that we don't want any reward other than Him, then what is the purpose of explaining that we are patient and trusting for our reward? It's a good point in any case, but how does it fit here in particular, where it might risk confusing or distracting the reader from that main point?
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Apr 24, 2023 at 13:15
  • Doesn't it make sense to explain in contrast in order to better understand the idea itself? Taking a minor detour to explain the idea of instant-gratification as an aspect of transgression seems to me to enhance the understanding of the concept rather than to distract from it. Apr 24, 2023 at 14:01
  • Just as Hashem wants our actions in this world, so too does he want to reward us in the next world - so maybe the Alshich is saying that in the next world, that will be our focus - to fulfill G-d’s will by accepting our reward
    – שלום
    Apr 24, 2023 at 17:42


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