Eleazar of Worms, Sefer ha-Roqeah (Jerusalem, 1967), pp. 5-6


The soul is full of love of God and it is bound with ropes of love in joy and the goodness of the heart. He is not like one who serves his master against his will; rather, even if there were those who tried to hinder him, the love burns within his heart to worship and he is glad to fulfill the will of his Creator. … He does not worship for the sake of his benefit or for his glory. He says- What am I? Despised and helpless, here today and tomorrow in the grave, beaten by transgression, I am filled with excrement, yet I have been chosen and I have been created to be a servant of the glorious king. … The lover thinks not about the pleasure of this world, and he is not concerned about the excursions of his wife, nor about his sons and daughters, and everything is as nothing for him apart from fulfilling the will of his Creator, to render others meritorious, to sanctify his name, and to give himself in the love of him as Abraham, “I swear [to the Lord, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth], I will not take so much as a thread or a sandal strap” (Gen. 14-22-23), and as Phinehas who gave of himself when he killed Zimri (Num. 25-14). They do not elevate themselves, speak trivial words, look at the faces of women, and they listen to their reproach but do not respond, and all of their thoughts are with their Creator, and they sing sweet songs to their Creator, and all the designs of their thoughts burn from the fire of his love.

Translated by Elliot Wolfson, “Martyrdom, Eroticism and Asceticism in Twelfth Century Ashkenazi Piety,” in Jews and Christians in Twelfth Century Europe, 171-220. Edited by J. van Engen and M. Signer, Notre Dame- University of Notre Dame Press, 2001.

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