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Show Me Your Glory

Article No. 26, Tav-Shin-Mem-Hey, 1984-195

“And he said, ‘Show my Your glory … Then I will take My hand away and you shall see My back, but My face shall not be seen’” (Exodus, 33). We should understand what the question about Moses implies to us, and the Creator’s answer with regard to our work.

When a person begins with the work of the Creator, he longs to see the glory of the Creator. That is, when the Creator shines for him, when he has a taste for Torah and Mitzvot [commandments], and longs for spirituality, he can engage in the holy work. At that time he knows that he is walking on the path of the Creator and feels that he is above the ordinary people, that the whole public is worldly, and only he knows and understands what is spirituality.

It is known that our sages said (Avot, Chapter 4, item 4), “Rabbi Levitas, Man of Yavne says, ‘Be very very humble.’” Therefore, he has a lot of work finding some deficiency in himself so he can say that he is humble. But since it is a Mitzva [commandment/good deed] to do what our sages said, he takes it above reason and says, “Of course I am still incomplete.”

Also, there is a time of Achoraim [posterior], when the craving for Torah and Mitzvot does not shine for him and he does not feel a lack in that he does not crave Dvekut [adhesion] with the Creator. In a state of Achoraim, a person can see himself, meaning his real situation, if he still sees that he is higher than the rest of the people. At that time he needs to work on lowliness, to take upon himself the Mitzva of humbleness above reason, while he is looking at other people, who are in a state of spiritual decline, while he is in an ascent. It turns out that only in a state of Achoraim he can see the truth, but during the Panim [anterior] he might deceive himself.

However, there are many discernments in the degree of Achoraim, too. If a person has already entered the work of truth, meaning on the way that one has to work in order to bestow, only then does one begin to feel real states of Achoraim. At that time one sometimes gets an image of Achoraim, when he sees his fall although he had a state of Panim before the fall to the state he is in. But now that he sees that he has no desire for Torah and Mitzvot, or for prayer and so forth, he feels that now he is as an empty Kli, that he derives no “moisture” from the work of the Creator. In addition, he sees himself as though he has never worked the holy work and does not even know what is the work of the Creator.

Sometimes he comes into darkness where if he begins to say to himself that he must begin the work and it is pointless to remain without any purpose in life, it seems to him that he is saying to himself something new, that he has never heard about spiritual matters. At that time he is surprised at himself, that he can feel such a feeling—that he is in a state of a beginner who has never engaged in work—while there is still some recollection in his memory from when he thought that he was always among the advanced ones in the work, and suddenly he has forgotten everything and he remembers it as if he is dreaming.

It follows that he is seeing his real state only at a time of Achoraim. This is the meaning of “you shall see My back, but My face shall not be seen.” At that time he has room for work, meaning to ask of the Creator to bring him to Him and show him the illumination of His face. At that time he comes to repentance: “Until He who knows the mysteries will testify that he will not turn back to folly.”

It is written in the introduction to The Study of the Ten Sefirot (items 53-54): “We must know that the whole matter of work in keeping Torah and Mitzvot by way of choice applies primarily to the two aforementioned discernments of concealed Providence. And Ben Ha Ha says about that time: ‘The reward is according to the pain.’ Since His Guidance is not revealed, it is impossible to see Him but only in concealment of the face, meaning from behind. However, when the Creator sees that one has completed one’s measure of exertion and finished everything he had to do in strengthening his choice in faith in the Creator, the Creator helps him. Then, one attains open Providence, meaning the revelation of the face.”

According to the above, the beginning of the work on the path of truth is in Achoraim. This is so in order for a person to prepare for himself Kelim [vessels] where the light of the Creator can be. Also, Kelim are desires. This means that before a person passes the state of Achoraim, he does not know that he needs the Creator to help him, but thinks that he can achieve his wholeness by himself and he does not need any special help from the Creator.

Rather, he knows and believes, as is customary in Israel, that although a person sees that it makes sense that man is the operator, he still believes that the Creator helps him obtain his wish. But in the work of bestowal, a person sees that the mind is telling him that he cannot achieve the degree of bestowal, but he rather sits and waits for the Creator to help him. It follows that only this is regarded as needing the Creator. This is called a Kli and “desire.”

The path of truth is called Lishma [for Her sake], meaning that he does everything in order to bestow contentment upon the Creator. At that time the resistance of the body comes to him when it argues that it understands that all his work is to satisfy the vessels of the body, which is self-love. At that time one begins to see that he cannot go against the body, and then he needs the Creator’s help. This is considered that he already has a Kli, meaning a desire and need for the Creator to fulfill him, and then what our sages said, “He who comes to purify is aided” (Zohar, Noah, item 63) happens in him. These are its words: “If a person comes to purify, he is aided with a holy soul. He is purified and sanctified, and he is called ‘holy.’” We therefore see that before he has a Kli, he cannot be given light. But once it has been established in his heart that he needs the Creator’s help, he receives help, as was said, that precisely when he comes to purify but sees that he is unable, he receives from above a holy soul, which is light that pertains to him, to help him be able to go forward and defeat his vessels of reception so he can use them in order to bestow upon the Creator.

Now we can interpret what is written, “Peace, peace, to the far and to the near.” “Peace” indicates a complete division, since division is as our sages said, “One should always anger the evil inclination on the good inclination.” RASHI interpreted that he should wage war on it. A person thinks that only when he feels close to the Creator he is whole, when it seems to him that he has already been awarded Panim [anterior]. But when he feels removed from the Creator, he thinks that he is not walking on the path of wholeness.

This is when we say, “Peace, peace,” meaning the peace that the Creator says, as it is written (Psalms 85), “I will hear what the Lord says, for He will speak peace unto His nation, and unto His pious ones, and let them not turn back to folly.” Regarding this verse, we must believe that the Creator says “peace” even when he (a person) feels that he is far from the Creator. This is so because who has made him see that now he is farther than at another time? Normally, a person begins to feel that he is far when he increases Torah and Mitzvot and wishes to walk more on the path of truth. At that time he sees that he is farther.

It follows that according to the rule, a Mitzva induces a Mitzva,” he should have felt closer. However, the Creator brings him closer by showing him the truth, so he will pay attention to the Creator’s help. That is, He shows him that a person cannot win the war without the help of the Creator. It follows that at the time of remoteness (when one feels removed), which is regarded as Achoraim, this is the time of nearing the Creator.

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