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On My Bed at Night

Article No. 23, Tav-Shin-Mem-Hey, 1984-195

The Zohar (Tazria, item 1) asks about the verse, “On my bed”: “Rabbi Elazar started, ‘On my bed at night I sought him whom my soul loves.’ He asks, ‘It says, ‘On my bed.’ It should have said, ‘In my bed.’’ What is ‘On my bed’? He answers, ‘The assembly of Israel spoke before the Creator and asked Him about the exile, since she is seated among the rest of the nations with her children and lies in the dust. And because she is lying in another land, an impure one, she said, ‘I ask on my bed, for I am lying in exile,’ and exile is called ‘nights.’ Hence, ‘I sought him whom my soul loves,’ to deliver me from it.’”

It is known that the assembly of Israel is Malchut, who contains all the souls. It is also known that every man is considered a small world, as it is written in the holy Zohar, that man consists of the seventy nations of the world. This corresponds to the seven Sefirot, where each Sefira [sin. of Sefirot] consists of ten, thus they are seventy discernments. They are the opposite of Kedusha[holiness], for there are seven Sefirot of Kedusha and the seventy nations of which man consists. This means that each nation has a special lust that pertains to it. Man consists of all seventy lusts that exist in general in the seventy nations.

Within man there is also Israel, which is his self. However, it is called a “point in the heart,” meaning a point of darkness. This means that the Israel in her does not illuminate and she is regarded as Achoraim [posterior]. The reason is that she is in exile under the rule of the seventy nations in a person.

They have the strength to rule over the Israel in her by questions that they ask Israel when he wants to do something for the Creator, which is called Yashar-El [straight to the Creator]. At that time they make one understand that it is not worthwhile to work (but) only for self-love. But concerning in order to bestow, they ask “What,” “What is this work for you,” which we learned is the question of the wicked. And if one wants to overcome his argument, then Pharaoh’s question comes, who said, “Who is the Lord that I should obey His voice?”

If these questions do not work on a person the first time, they repeat themselves all day, as it is written (Psalms, 42:11), “With the murder of my bones my adversaries revile me while they say to me all day long, ‘Where is your God?’” and one cannot come out of their rule. They degrade the Israel in man to the dust, as it is written (Psalms 44), “For our soul has bowed down to the dust; Our belly clings to the ground.” We should interpret that our soul’s bowing down to the dust causes our belly to be attached to the ground.

The “belly” is one’s vessels of reception. This is the meaning of the point in the heart being in the dust, which causes our Kelim [vessels] to have Dvekut [adhesion] only with worldliness, which is self-love.

But if the kingdom of heaven were honored, then we would certainly be honored if we had the chance to serve the Creator with anything. We would regard even the smallest service as a fortune. For such an honor, it would be worthwhile to relinquish all the pleasures that come to us through self-love. This is the meaning of what we say in the supplementary prayer of Shalosh Regalim [Three Pilgrimages], “Our Father, our King, show the glory of Your kingship upon us soon.” That is, we ask of the Creator that since the kingdom of heaven is degraded and in a state of Shechina [Divinity] in the dust, we want the Creator to show us the importance and glory of the kingdom of heaven, and then it will be our great honor to be awarded by it with exiting self-love and to be granted with love of the Creator.

This is the meaning of what The Zohar interprets, “Hence, ‘I sought him whom my soul loves,’ to deliver me from it.” It is known that man consists of three souls: 1) a soul of Kedusha; 2) a soul of Klipat [Klipa of] Noga; 3) a soul of the three impure Klipot [pl. of Klipa]. The soul of Kedushailluminates only as a point. Therefore, the soul of Klipat Noga should connect to the soul of Kedusha, as we explained in previous articles in the name of Baal HaSulam. But since the main operator is the soul of Klipat Noga—since the soul of the three impure Klipot cannot be corrected, and the soul of Kedusha does not need to be corrected because it is holy—then all the work is with the soul of Klipat Noga.

When (one) performs Mitzvot [good deeds/corrections], Klipat Noga joins the Kedusha. When he commits transgressions, the soul of Klipat Noga joins the soul of the three impure Klipot. However, the soul of Kedusha is in Achoraim [posterior], meaning it does not illuminate, and is in lowliness. This is why we do not want to exert to do good deeds so that Klipat Noga will join the Kedusha.

Therefore, “On my bed at night I sought him whom my soul loves,” to bring him out of her, for the soul of Kedusha belongs to the assembly of Israel but is in another, impure land, asking from the one whom my soul loves to get me out of the impure land. That is, since the soul of Kedusha is in lowliness, the soul of Noga does things that the three impure Klipot want. It follows that at that time, when the soul of Kedusha must suffer the rule of the impure Klipot that govern at that time, the soul of Kedusha asks to be delivered from this exile, called “nights.”

It is written there in The Zohar (item 9 in the Sulam [commentary]): “Rabbi Aha says, ‘We learned that the Creator sentences whether a drop is male or female, and you say, ‘A woman who inseminates first, delivers a male.’ Thus, the Creator’s sentence is redundant.’ Rabbi Yosi said, ‘Indeed, the Creator decides between a drop of male and a drop of female. And because He has discerned it, He sentences whether it is to be a male or a female.’”

This explanation is unclear. Because “He has discerned it, He sentences whether it is to be a male.” Why does He need to sentence? It will obviously be either male or female? He interprets there in the Sulam: “There are three partners in a man: the Creator, his father, and his mother. His father gives the white in him; his mother—the red in him; and the Creator gives the soul. If the drop is a male, the Creator gives the soul of a male. If it is a female, the Creator gives the soul of a female. It turns out that when the woman inseminates first, the drop has not become a male yet, if the Creator had not sent within her a soul of a male. This discernment that the Creator discerns in a drop—that it is fit for a soul of a male or a female—is considered ‘the sentencing of the Creator.’ Had He not discerned it and did not send a soul of a male, the drop would not have become a male. Thus, the two statements do not contradict one another.”

To understand all the above in the work we should interpret that all three partners are in one person. “His father and mother” are the causes of the birth of a son. His “father” is the male, called “man,” and “wholeness” because male is regarded as wholeness. His father gives the white because “white” is called “wholeness,” where there is no dirt. His mother is called Nekeva [female] and “woman,” and she is called a “deficiency,” since Nekev [hole] means deficiency [lack] and is called “redness.” It is as we say that when there is red light, you cannot cross, which is called a “barrier,” when you cannot go forward. The Creator gives the soul, since man can do anything, but the spirit of life belongs to the Creator.

The order of the work is that man should divide the workday into day and night. “Day” means wholeness, and “night” means deficiency. In order for a son to be born and have a long life, that son needs to be born by his father and mother, since his father gives the whiteness, meaning the wholeness, regarded as “a male man,” and his mother gives him the lack, called a “female woman.” The wholeness and deficiency should be because a person needs to receive nourishment for sustenance, and then he can work. Likewise, here in the work of the Creator, a person must receive spiritual nourishment, and then he can see what needs to be corrected. Otherwise, without nourishment, he does not have the strength for work, and we receive nourishment only from wholeness.

Therefore, we can elicit wholeness while engaging in Torah and Mitzvot [commandments], for then we do not examine how much we are exerting in keeping Torah and Mitzvot, to do them perfectly and flawlessly, meaning examining ourselves to see if we are fine or not. Rather, at that time we examine the Torah and Mitzvot themselves, meaning whose Torah and Mitzvot we are keeping. We must think about the giver of the Torah, as we bless, “Blessed are you the Lord, Giver of the Torah.” With the Mitzvot we say, “Who has sanctified us with His Mitzvot,” meaning to know that we are keeping the Mitzvot of the Creator.

Therefore, we need to consider the importance of the giver, and derive from this vitality and joy from meriting observing what He has commanded us, to some extent. At that time we should say that although the work is still not “actual observing,” in order to bestow in every way, we should still believe that there are people to whom it did not occur in mind or will to keep Torah and Mitzvot even in the slightest bit. But to us the Creator has given a desire and will to keep a little, meaning with little understanding, but after all we are doing something, while people do not even have that something. When we pay attention to this, we receive from this vitality and nourishment.

This is called “his father gives the white,” as we said that wholeness is called “whiteness,” where there is no dirt. There is a twofold gain here: 1) In this way he receives elation from being adhered to the Whole, meaning to the Creator, and we must believe that what He gives is wholeness. Wholeness makes a man whole, making him feel whole, too. Naturally, he derives nourishment from this, so he can live and persist and then have strength to do the holy work. 2) According to the importance he acquires during the work of wholeness, he will later have room to feel the deficiency with regard to his work, which is not truly pure. That is, at that time he can depict to himself how much he is losing by his negligence in the work, for he can compare between the importance of the Creator and his own lowliness, and this will give him energy to work.

However, one should also correct oneself, or he will remain in the dark and will not see the true light that shines on the Kelim [vessels] that are suitable for it, called “vessels of bestowal.” The correction of the Kelim is called Nukva, deficiency, when he works on correcting his deficiencies. This is regarded as “His mother gives the red.” That is, at that time he sees the red light, which are the barriers on his way, which prevent him from reaching the goal.

Then comes the time of prayer, since the man sees the measures of the work that he has in matters of “mind and heart,” and how he has not progressed in the work of bestowal. He also sees how his body is weak, that he does not have great powers to be able to overcome his nature. For this reason, he sees that if the Creator does not help him, he is lost, as it is written (Psalms 127), “If the Lord does not build the house, they who build it labor in it in vain.”

From those two, meaning from wholeness and deficiency, which are the “father and mother,” it turns out that the Creator is the one who helps him, giving him a soul, which is the spirit of life. And then the newborn is born. This is why our sages said, “There are three partners in man.” The newborn that was born is regarded as a sustainable descendant, meaning that he has a long life. Otherwise, if it does not have the soul that the Creator gives it, that newborn is called “aborted,” meaning it is unsustainable and “falls from its degree.” We should know that the Creator wants to give, as explained in several places that “the upper light does not stop illuminating,” but we need Kelim that are fit to receive.

Therefore, there are two discernments we need to make in what depends on man’s preparation, since there are two forces in man:

  1. forces of reception,
  2. forces of bestowal.

We need to correct these two forces so they work in order to bestow. The force of bestowal in a person is called “man,” and the force of reception in a person is called “woman,” “female.” Inseminating means that a person makes an effort in order to obtain something. For example, when a person needs wheat, he sows wheat. This means that his work will yield wheat. If he needs potatoes he will sow potatoes. That is, one exerts according to the kind that one wants, and this is what he gets.

It is similar in the work of the Creator. If one wants to correct the vessels of bestowal, called “male,” “man,” which is called “If the man inseminates first,” meaning that his initial thought is to correct the vessels of bestowal, then she “delivers a female,” as it is known that there is an inverse relation between Kelim and lights, since “female light” is called Katnut [smallness/infancy].

“If the woman inseminates first,” meaning that he wants to correct the vessels of reception so they work in order to bestow, then “she delivers a son,” meaning male light, which is the light of Gadlut[adulthood/greatness]. “And the Creator gives the soul.” The Creator distinguishes about the drop, meaning about man’s work, of which type was his “sowing,” meaning preparation. That is, if he wants his vessels of reception to work in order to bestow then the Creator gives him a soul of a male, called “Neshama [soul] of Gadlut.” If he is regarded as a “man,” meaning wants only his vessels of bestowal to work in order to bestow, he receives from the Creator the light of Katnut, called “female.”

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