Inapoi la pagina 1986 (ŞLAVEY HASULAM (TREPTELE SCĂRII) – link

A Real Prayer Is over a Real Deficiency

Article No. 11, Tav-Shin-Mem-Vav, 1985-86

The writing says, “These are the names of the sons of Israel who came to Egypt. …And a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. …And the Egyptians compelled the sons of Israel to labor rigorously … And it came to pass that the sons of Israel sighed because of the work, and they cried out, and their cry because of the work went up to God …and God heard their groaning.”

We should understand why it is written, “and their cry because of the work went up to God.” Did they not have greater torments in Egypt? Here it seems that their cry, meaning their torments, were only from the work. It is also written, “And God heard their groaning,” meaning that hearing the prayer was over their groaning, which is only about the work.

We shall interpret this according to our way. It is known that before a person begins to work in order to bestow, but for reasons that are written in the holy Zohar (“Introduction of the Book of Zohar,” items 190-191), that there are two reasons for engaging in Torah and Mitzvot [commandments]: 1) to have the pleasures of this world. If he does not observe the Torah and Mitzvot he is afraid that the Creator will punish him. 2) To have the pleasures of the next world. His fear that he may not be given causes him to observe Torah and Mitzvot.

When the reason that compels him to observe Torah and Mitzvot is his own benefit, the body does not resist so much because to the extent that he believes in reward and punishment he can work and feel that each day he is adding more. And this is the truth, that each day of performing Mitzvot and engaging in the Torah joins the day before, and so he adds to his possessions of keeping Torah and Mitzvot.

The reason is that his intention is primarily the reward, and he is not thinking about the intention, meaning that his aim will be to bestow. Rather, he believes in reward and punishment, and that he will be rewarded for what he is doing. Therefore, his aim is only to do perform proper actions in every detail. Otherwise, if the actions are improper, it is certain that his work will not be accepted so as to reward him for them. When he sees that the work he is doing is fine, he has nothing more to worry about.

For this reason, his concern is only with the quantity, meaning that he should try to do more good deeds. If he is a wise disciple then he knows he should delve deeper into his learning and be more meticulous in the Mitzvot he is performing—to keep them according to the law according to everyone’s view. He always tries to be rigorous with judgments that are usually treated more lightly, while he tries to be more rigorous, but he has no other worries.

It follows that such people—whose reason for observing Torah and Mitzvot and assuming the burden of the kingdom of heaven is to be rewarded in this world and in the next world—do not need the Creator to have the strength to engage in Torah and Mitzvot, since to the extent of their faith in reward and punishment the body allows them to keep, each according to his degree.

This is not so with people who want to do the holy work in order to bestow without any reward, and want to observe Torah and Mitzvot because of the greatness of the Creator, and it is a great privilege for them to be allowed to serve the King, as it is written in the abovementioned holy Zohar: “Fear, which is the first, is that one should fear one’s Master because He is great and ruling, the essence and the root.”

He interprets there, in the Sulam [Ladder commentary on The Zohar], that there are three manners to fear of the Creator:

  1. fear of punishments in this world,
  2. fearing punishments of Hell, as well.

Those two are not real fear because he is not keeping the fear because of the commandment of the Creator, but for his own sake. It follows that his personal benefit is the root, and fear is the branch and results from his own benefit. But fear that is the essence is that he will fear the Creator because He is great and rules over everything.

It follows that the greatness of the Creator is the reason that compels him to observe Torah and Mitzvot. This is regarded as his desire being only to bestow upon the Creator, called “bestowing contentment upon his Maker and not for his own benefit.”

Here begins the exile, meaning that he is not permitted to aim his work to be in order not to receive reward, since it is against nature. And although one can force oneself although the body disagrees, just as one can practice abstention although it is against nature, but this pertains to actions. That is, to do things against the body’s will he can go above reason, called “against the body’s will.”

However, he cannot go against his feeling and intellect, meaning to say that he feels otherwise than he does. For example, if a person is cold or hot, he cannot say that his feeling is untrue, and force himself to say that he understands otherwise than what his mind does, or that he feels otherwise than what he is feeling. His only option is to say what he sees.

It follows that when one wants to keep Torah and Mitzvot in order to bestow upon the Creator, it is the nature of the body not to move at all unless it sees that it will have some reward. Thus, he has no way to work for the Creator and not for his own benefit.

Here begins the exile, meaning the torments that as much as he works he sees no progress. For example, if he is twenty, he can say that he has acquired possessions of twenty years of engagement in Torah and Mitzvot. On the other hand, he can say that he has been keeping Torah and Mitzvot for twenty years but has not achieved the ability to do anything in order to bestow, rather everything is built on the basis of self-love.

It follows that all the torments and pains he suffers are because he cannot work for the Creator. He wants to work in order to bestow, but the body is enslaved to the Klipot [shells/ peels] and does not let him have this aim. At that time he cries out to the Creator to help him because he sees that he is in exile among the Klipot, they govern him, and he sees no way that he will be able to emerge from their control.

It follows that at that time his prayer is regarded as a real prayer because he cannot come out from this exile, as it is written, “And He brought Israel out from their midst, for His mercy is forever.” Since this is against nature, only the Creator can deliver Israel from this exile. But since it is known that there is no light without a Kli [vessel], meaning that there is no filling without a lack, and the lack is the Kli that receives the filling, for this reason, before one enters exile, meaning if he does not see that he cannot deliver himself from the exile by himself, it cannot be said that he should be brought out. This is so because although he cries, “Get me out of the state I am in,” it is not a real prayer because how does he know that he cannot come out by himself?

Rather, this can be said precisely when he feels the exile, meaning that he will pray from the bottom of the heart. There are two conditions for praying from the bottom of the heart:

1) His work must be against nature. That is, he wants to do everything only to bestow, and wants to exit self-love. At that time it can be said that he has a lack.

2) He begins to exit self-love by himself and exerts in it, but cannot move an inch from his state. At that time he becomes needy of the Creator’s help and his prayer is real because he sees that he cannot do anything by himself. Then, when he cries out to the Creator to help him, he knows this from the work, as it is written, “And the sons of Israel sighed because of the work.” This means that by working and wanting to achieve the degree of being able to bestow upon the Creator, they saw that they could not emerge from their nature so they prayed from the bottom of the heart.

By this we will understand what we asked about the verse, “and their cry because of the work went up to God.” This means that the worst torments, over which was all their crying out, was only over the work, and not over other things. Rather, it means that they were crying out over their situation—that they could not emerge from self-love and work for the Creator. This was their exile, which tormented them—that they saw that they were under their control.

It follows that in the exile in Egypt they obtained Kelim, meaning a desire that the Creator will help them emerge from the exile, as we said above that there is no light without a Kli, for only when we pray a real prayer, when one sees that he cannot be saved, and only the Creator can help him, this is considered a real prayer.

Inapoi la pagina 1986 (ŞLAVEY HASULAM (TREPTELE SCĂRII) – link

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