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One Does Not Regard Oneself as Wicked
Article No. 31, Tav-Shin-Mem-Hey, 1984-195
Concerning “One does not regard oneself as wicked,” it is written in The Zohar (Balak, item 193): “King David regarded himself in four ways. He regarded himself with the poor, regarded himself with the Hassidim [pious/devout followers]. Regarded himself with the Hassidim, as it is written, ‘Preserve my soul, for I am pious,’ for one must not regard oneself as wicked. And should you say, ‘If so then he will never confess his sins,’ it is not so. Rather, when he confesses his sins, then he will be a Hassid, for he has come to receive repentance and takes himself out of the evil side, in whose filth he was thus far. But now he has clung to the upper right, which is Hesed that is stretched out to welcome him. And because he has clung to Hesed, he is called Hassid [pious/devout follower]. Do not say that the Creator does not accept him until he details all his sins since the day he came to the world, or even those that were hidden from him. This is not so. Rather, he only needs to detail the sins that he remembers. If he sets his mind on them to regret during the confession, all the other sins follow them,” thus far its words.
We should understand the following:
1) How can one say about himself that he is a Hassid? This is already a degree of importance, so how does he praise himself by himself?
2) He says that one should not regard oneself as wicked. On the other hand, he says that one should detail one’s sins, but says that he does not need to detail all his sins since the day he came to the world, but should detail only the sins that he remembers. Thus, when he details the sins he has committed, he is already wicked. So why does he say that one must not regard oneself as wicked? Is there a difference between saying that he did bad deeds, but not saying about himself that he is wicked? If he says that he did bad deeds then he is saying about himself that he is wicked anyhow. It is as we find in the words of our sages (Sanhedrin 9b): “Rav Yosef said, ‘A person came to force him; he and another conjoined to kill him. By his will, he is wicked. The Torah said, ‘Do not make a wicked a witness.’ Raba said, ‘A person is close to himself, and one does not regard oneself as wicked.’”
Thus, this means that if he says that he has sinned, he cannot be trusted because he is wicked. But here, when he confesses his sins, we must say that by this saying alone he is called “wicked,” since you are saying, “One does not regard oneself as wicked.” Thus, the question remains, how can he detail his sins during confession?
We should know why they said, that “One does not regard oneself as wicked.” It is so because “a person is close to himself.” By this we should say that since “Love covers all transgressions,” we cannot see any faults in the ones we love, since a fault is something bad, and one cannot harm oneself, for he is partial due to self-love. For this reason, “One does not regard oneself as wicked” and is not trustworthy to testify anything bad about himself, like a relative, who is disqualified.
We should know that when one comes to ask of the Creator to repent, and asks for the Creator’s help so he can repent, the question arises, “If he wants to repent, who is stopping him?” He can choose to repent, so why does he need to ask the Creator to help him repent? In the Eighteen Prayer we pray, “Bring us back, our Father, to Your law, and bring us close, our King, to Your work, and return us in complete repentance before You.” This means that without His help, one cannot repent. We should understand why this is so, that one cannot repent by himself.
In previous articles we explained that because the Creator created in us a nature of desire to receive, and that desire initially emerged in order to receive, only afterwards, we learn, there was a correction not to receive in order to receive, but in order to bestow. This is called the “correction of the Tzimtzum [restriction].” This means that before the lower one is fit for the aim to bestow, that place will be vacant from light. What extends from this correction down to the creatures is that before one emerges from self-love, one cannot feel the light of the Creator. For this reason, first we must exit self-love, or the Tzimtzum is on us.
However, a person cannot exit the nature that the Creator created because the Creator created that nature. Therefore, there is no other way but to ask of the Creator to give him a second nature, which is the desire to bestow. Thus, the choice we attribute to man is only in the prayer, to ask the Creator to help him and give him that second nature. For this reason, when one wants to repent, he must ask the Creator to help him exit from self-love to love of others. This is why we ask of the Creator and say and pray, “Bring us back, our Father.”
But when does one truly ask the Creator to bring him back with repentance? This can be only when he feels that he must repent. Before he comes to the decision that he is wicked, there is no place for prayer to be reformed. After all, he is not so wicked so as to need the Creator’s mercy. The meaning of the prayers that should be granted is precisely that the person needs mercy, as we say in the Eighteen Prayer, “For You hear the prayer of every mouth (so it is implied, but when?) of Your people, Israel.”
Accordingly, when does the Creator hear the prayer of every mouth? If a person feels that he needs mercy. This pertains specifically to when he feels he is in great distress and no one can help him. Then it can be said that he comes to the Creator to ask for mercy. But previously, when he came to the Creator to ask for luxuries, meaning when the state he was in was not so bad, that there were people whose state he saw as worse than his, then his prayer to the Creator was not because he needed heaven’s mercy, but because he wanted to be in a better state, superior to others. This is regarded as asking the Creator to give him a life of luxuries, meaning that he wanted to be happier than others.
Therefore, when one wants the Creator to grant his prayer, he first needs to see that he needs to be given life more than others, meaning that he sees that everyone is living in the world, but he has no life because he feels himself as wicked and sees that he is more immersed in self-love than others. At that time he sees that he needs heaven’s mercy not because he wants to live a life of luxury, but because he has no life of Kedusha [holiness].
It follows that at that time he is really asking for mercy, something to revive his soul. He cries out to the Creator: “Since ‘You give bread to the hungry; the Lord sets the prisoners free.’” That is, he sees that he simply needs faith, called “bread,” and he sees that he is sitting in jail, called “self-love,” and cannot come out of there, for only the Creator can help him. This is regarded as praying a real prayer.
We should know that prayer pertains to a deficiency. A deficiency does not mean not having. Rather, a deficiency is a need. Therefore, a great deficiency means he has a great need for the thing that he is asking. If he does not have a great need it means that he does not have a great deficiency, and so his prayer is not so great, because he is not as needy of the thing he asks. This is why the request is also not as big.
It follows from all the above that one cannot see a bad thing in himself. Accordingly, we should ask, “If a person knows that he is sick, and being sick is certainly bad, he goes to the doctor to cure his illness. If the doctor tells him that he sees nothing wrong with his body, he will not trust him. He will go to an expert, who will tell him that he has found something wrong with his body, and he needs to undergo surgery. That person will certainly be happy that he has found what was bad in him, and he pays him a large sum for having found his illness and for knowing how to cure his body so he can live and enjoy life.
We see that if we find the bad, it is a good thing, as with the illness. At that time it cannot be said that a person does not see bad in himself, since at that time he wants to correct the bad, so the bad is regarded as a good thing. It follows that at that time a person can find bad in himself.
Accordingly, we can understand the words of The Zohar when we asked how on the one hand he says “He does not regard himself as wicked,” and then says that he must detail his sins? After all, when he details the sins he had committed he sees himself as wicked by saying that he did this and that transgression. We can answer this differently: When he comes to ask of the Creator, He brings him closer because he is immersed in evil, meaning in self-love. If he wants his prayer to be granted, he knows that he must pray to the Creator from the bottom of the heart, meaning that he needs more mercy than the rest of the people because he feels himself as worse than them.
At that time he must see for himself the bad that he has more than the rest of the people. Otherwise it is regarded as telling a lie that he is worse than them, and it is written, “The Lord is near to all who call upon Him in truth.” Therefore, if he finds evil in himself, then he can see about himself that he has a great need that the Creator will help him, it is regarded for him as a good thing. Therefore, when he details his sins, it is not regarded as “regarding oneself as wicked.” On the contrary, now he can make an honest prayer for the Creator to bring him closer to Him.
It follows that by finding bad in himself he becomes very needy of the Creator, and a need is called “deficiency.” Also, the prayer he prays must be from the bottom of the heart, since “from the bottom” means that the prayer he is praying on his deficiency is not superficial. Rather, that deficiency touches the point in his hear, meaning that all the organs feel his deficiency, and only then it is called a “prayer.”
By this we will understand the question we asked, “How he says about himself that he is a Hassid, since a Hassid is already a degree, for not everyone is called Hassid, so how could he say about himself that he is Hassid? According to what I heard from Baal HaSulam, he said, “‘He will give wisdom to the wise.’ But it should have said, ‘He will give wisdom to the fools.’” He said about this: “A ‘wise’ is named after the future. That is, one who wishes to be wise is already regarded as wise.”
Therefore, when he said “I am pious [Hassid],” it means that he wants to be pious, which is called “love of others.” First he said a prayer for the poor, meaning that he was in self-love, and “I want to be a Hassid.” This is why the holy Zohar ends there: “At that time he is a Hassid, for he has come to receive repentance, and he takes himself out of the evil side, in whose filth he was thus far. But now he has clung to the upper right that is Hesed that is stretched out to welcome him. And because he has clung to Hesed, he is called Hassid [pious/devout follower]. That is, now he has come to cling to Hesed, so he is called Hassid, after the future.
By this we will also understand what the holy Zohar says, “Do not say that the Creator does not accept him until he details all his sins since the day he came to the world.” This is not so. “If he sets his mind on regretting them during the confession, all the other sins follow them.” We should say that if he prays for the public and for the root, from which all the sins come, namely the will to receive, naturally all the sins follow them, meaning follow self-love.
Inapoi la pagina 1985 (ŞLAVEY HASULAM (TREPTELE SCĂRII) – link