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The Spies

Article No. 28, Tav-Shin-Mem-Hey, 1984-195

The holy Zohar interprets the matter of the spies that Moses sent to tour the land (Slach, items 56-58) concerning the spiritual land: “Why is it written that the Creator tells them, ‘Go up there into the Negev,’ delve in the Torah, and by that you will know that world. ‘See what the land is like,’ meaning from that you will see the world to which I bring you. ‘And the people dwelling in it’ are the righteous in the Garden of Eden.

“‘The strong is the faint,’ meaning that in it you will see if they were rewarded with all that because they overcame their inclination by strength and broke it, or by weakness, without effort. Or, if they were strengthened in the Torah, to engage in it day and night, or left it off and were still rewarded with all that. ‘Whether they are few or many’ means if many engage in My work and strengthen themselves in the Torah, and are rewarded with all this or not.

“‘And what is the land like, is it fat or lean.’ You will know what the land is like in the Torah, meaning what is that world, if the upper abundance is plentiful for its dwellers or if anything is missing there.

“‘And they went up into the Negev and came to Hebron.’ Going up in the Negev means that people are ascending in it, in the Torah. ‘In the Negev” means with an idle heart, as one who tries in vain, dryly, thinking that there is no reward in it. He sees that the wealth of this world is lost for it, and thinks that all is lost. ‘In the Negev’ means that the water has dried out. ‘And came to Hebron’ means that he comes to connect with the Torah. Hebron was built in seven years, which are the seventy faces of the Torah.

“‘And they came to the stream of Eshkol’ are words of legend and interpretation, which come from the side of faith. ‘And cut down a branch from there,’ meaning learned chapter headings from there, headlines. Those who are faithful are happy with the words, and the words are blessed within them. They look at their being of one root and one kernel and there is no separation in them. Those who are not faithful and do not learn Torah Lishma [for Her sake] separate faith, which is Malchut, from ZA, since they do not believe that they are of one kernel and one root. This is the meaning of ‘and they carried it on a pole between two,’ meaning that they separated between the written Torah and the oral Torah.

“‘With the pomegranates and with the figs,’ meaning they put these words completely with the Sitra Achra [other side], to the side of idol-worship and the side of separation. Rimonim [Pomegranates] comes from the word, Minim [idol-worshipers], and Te’enim [figs] comes from the words, ‘And the Lord is not by his side,’ meaning when they do not believe in Providence and say that everything is incidental, and separate the Creator from the world.

“‘And they returned from touring the land’ means that they returned to the bad side, returned from the path of truth, saying, ‘What did we get out of it? To this day we have not seen good in the world; we have labored in the Torah and the house is empty. We have dwelt among the lowest in the nation. Who will be rewarded with that world? Who will come into it? We’d be better off not laboring so much.’

“‘They told him, and said,’ we labored and learned in order to know a part of that world, as you advised us. ‘And it is also flowing with milk and honey,’ that upper world is good, as we know from the Torah, but who can merit it? ‘However, the people … are strong,’ the people that has been rewarded with that world is strong, dismissing the entire world as something to engage in and have great wealth. Who can do so and be rewarded with it? Of course the people who dwell in that land are strong. One who wishes to be rewarded with it must be strong in wealth, as the writing says, ‘The rich man answers roughly.’

“‘And the cities are big and fortified,’ meaning houses filled abundantly; nothing is missing in them. And yet, ‘we also saw there the descendants of the giant,’ meaning it requires a body as strong and as mighty as a lion, since the Torah exhausts man’s strength, who can be rewarded with it?

“Also, ‘Amalek is living in the land of the Negev.’ If one should say that even with all this he will be rewarded with overcoming, ‘Amalek is living in the land of the Negev,’ meaning the evil inclination, the slandering accuser of a person is always in the body.

With these words, ‘they discouraged the hearts of the children of Israel,’ since they gave it a bad name. „These faithful ones, what did they say? ‘If the Lord is pleased with us, He will … give it to us.’ That is, when one tries with the desire of the heart toward the Creator, he will be rewarded with it because all He wants from him is the heart.

“‘But do not rebel against the Lord.’ We must not rebel against the Torah because the Torah does not need wealth or vessels of silver and gold. ‘And you, do not fear the people of the land,’ for if a broken body were to engage in Torah, there will be healing for all, and all of man’s slanderers will become his helpers.” Thus far its words.

According to how the holy Zohar interprets the matter of the spies in relation to man’s entrance to the holy work, it is generally called “taking upon oneself the burden of the kingdom of heaven.” By this, one is rewarded with the reception of the Torah, as it was at the foot of Mt. Sinai, when they said, “We will do and we will hear.” It is just as each and every one who wants to be rewarded with the Torah must go through a period called “we will do,” and then he can be rewarded with “we will hear.”

There are many degrees in “we will do,” which generally divide in two ways:

1) The revealed part is regarded as keeping the Torah and Mitzvot [commandments] in practice, learning day and night and being meticulous with all the details of the Mitzvot, until there is nothing more he can add as far as actions are concerned. His intention is that he does everything for the Creator, to keep the King’s commandment, and in return he will receive reward in this world and in the next world. In this respect he is considered righteous.

2) The hidden part refers to the hidden part in the Torah, which is the intention. What a person intends while practicing is hidden from people. But mostly, it is hidden from the person himself because this work must be above reason. Thus, the reason cannot criticize his work—if he is on the way that ascends toward Dvekut [adhesion] with the Creator, meaning if he is on the path called “in order to bestow,” called “not in order to receive reward.” Therefore, it is hidden because he is working without reward, so the reward is hidden from him.

This means that a person who works for a reward knows that he is working well because he is receiving a reward. But one who works in order to bestow contentment upon his Maker, so the Creator will enjoy, cannot see if the Creator is enjoying his work. Rather, he must believe that the Creator is pleased. It follows that the reward, too, is called “in order to bestow,” and it, too, is above reason.

There are other reasons, called “the hidden part.” This work does not belong to the general public, but to individuals, as Maimonides says (at the end of Hilchot Teshuva), “Sages said, ‘One should always engage in Torah, even if Lo Lishma [not for Her sake], since from Lo Lishma he comes to Lishma [for Her sake]. Therefore, when teaching children, women, and uneducated people, they are to be taught to work out of fear and in order to receive reward. Until they gain knowledge and acquire much wisdom, they are to be taught this secret bit-by-bit, and are to be accustomed to it pleasantly until they attain Him and know Him, and serve Him out of love.”

The matter of spies begins primarily in a person who wants to walk on the path of Dvekut, which is to bestow. At that time the spies come with their just arguments according to their views. Through reasoning, they make one understand that they are right.

It is known that the holy Zohar says, “Every man is a small world,” consisting of seventy nations, as well as of Israel. This means that since there are seven qualities, which are seven Sefirot, and opposite them there are seven qualities in the Sitra Achra. Each one consists of ten, thus they are seventy. Also, each nation has its own passion and wants to ordain its passion over everyone. And the people of Israel in a person also has its own passion, which is to adhere to the Creator.

There is a rule that one cannot fight oneself. Rather, this requires a special power for a person to be able to go against his views. But he does have the power and strength to fight against another if he understands that his view is true, and he will never want to yield before the view of the other.

Accordingly, if the seventy nations are within the person, how can he fight himself? That is, once a certain nation prevails over the seventy nations with its passion, and then a person is governed by that passion. Then, when a person thinks about himself, he sees that this is his passion. He does not say that someone from the seventy nations wants to govern him, but thinks that this is he, himself, and it is very hard to fight against himself.

Therefore, a person should depict to himself that he has seventy nations in his body, as well as the people of Israel. He must determine for himself to which people he belongs. That is, there is a rule: every person loves his homeland and fights for his homeland. Therefore, he must determine if he belongs to the people of Israel or to a nation from the seventy nations. If he determines that he belongs to the people of Israel, then he can fight the seventy nations when he sees that they are coming to fight.

At that time he sees that the seventy nations want to obliterate the people of Israel, as it is written in the Passover Haggadah [story], “She stood for our fathers and for us, for not only one arose against us to obliterate us. Rather, each and every generation, there are those who arise against us to obliterate us, and the Creator saves us from their hands.” If he knows that he belongs to the people of Israel, he has the strength to fight against the seventy nations, since there is strength in nature to fight for one’s homeland, for he knows that he is an “Israelite,” and they want to obliterate him. It follows that it is as though there are two bodies fighting one another, and then he has the strength to fight.

Thus, here, when we speak of the work of the Creator, the “people of Israel” is called that which is Yashar-El [straight to the Creator]. He wants to adhere to the Creator, wants Malchut, meaning to take upon himself the burden of the kingdom of heaven. Malchut is called El [God], as it is written in the holy Zohar (Korah, item 14): “This is why it is written, ‘A God who has indignation every day,’ meaning Malchut, while the seventy nations in him resist it and fight with the Israel in him. With all kinds of tactics, they wish to annul and obliterate the Israel in a man’s body.”

Here, in the work with the intention—when he wants to go specifically in a manner of bestowal—the argument of the spies begins, which the holy Zohar interprets their arguments according to the verses written in the Torah, which dispute and fight the Israel in him, and want to eradicate them from the face of the earth.

That is, he must not think that he will achieve what he thought he would achieve with all kinds of arguments, for they are fighting him, since the basis of the seventy nations is the will to receive, and Israel is precisely annulling before Him without any reward at all. Therefore, precisely when a person wants to go against their views begins the argument of the spies, who make him understand rationally that he has no chance of achieving the goal that he plans to achieve.

However, sometimes the spies make a person understand something that is harsher than anything the spies claim. They say to a person, “Know that the Creator cannot help an ignoble person such as you.” This is the harshest of all because usually, whenever a person is in trouble he can pray. But when they come to a person saying “You are wasting your efforts because the Creator cannot help,” they deny him the prayer, since what can he do then? To whom can he turn for help?

It is written in the holy Zohar (item 82): “Rabbi Yosi says, ‘They took it upon themselves to slander everything. What is ‘everything’? It is the earth and the Creator.’ Rabbi Yitzhak said, ‘With the earth, it’s true. With the Creator, how do we know?’ He told him: ‘It is implied in the words, ‘However, the people … are strong.’ That is, who can defeat them? ‘The people are strong’ is accurate, meaning that even the Creator cannot defeat them, and they slandered the Creator.’”

A person cannot argue with the words of the spies with his reason, or wait until he has what to reply to them, and in the meantime be under their governance. Rather, he must know that he will never be able to answer their doubts with the external mind. But specifically when he is rewarded with the inner mind, he will have the words to explain to them. In the meantime he must go above his mind, meaning say that although the intellect is very important, the importance of faith is still higher than the intellect. Therefore, he must not go according to the intellect, but according to the path of faith, to believe what our sages told us, that a man must take upon himself the burden of the kingdom of heaven as faith above reason. At that time there is no place for the argument of the spies because they speak only within the reason of the external mind.

This is the meaning of Israel saying at the time of the preparation for the reception of the Torah, “We will do,” and then “We will hear.” “Doing” means without the external intellect. Rather, he calculates according to the Commander, for the Commander probably knows what is good for him and what is not, meaning what is good for a person and what is not. But one big question remains, “Why did the Creator give us an external intellect, which we use in every single thing, while here in the work of the Creator we must go against this intellect, and not with the intellect with which we were born?”

This comes because the Creator wanted to be asked for help. The help He gives is the light of Torah, and if they could go without the help of the Creator they would have no need for the light of Torah, as our sages said, “I have created the evil inclination; I have created the Torah as a spice.” Therefore, in order for him to need to extend the light of Torah, we were given this work in concealment on the intention, so that man will need an inner mind.

From the perspective of the outer intellect, the Creator made it so as not to give any help for the work. On the contrary, it is obstructing him to work in order to bestow. This is the meaning of what is written in the holy Zohar (Noah, item 63): “If a person comes to purify, he is aided with a holy soul. He is purified and sanctified, and he is called ‘holy.’”

By that one comes to need to be rewarded with the NRNHY that pertains to the root of his soul. Hence, there was a correction of concealment, which is the Daat, meaning that a person’s outer mind will be against working in order to bestow. This is called “within reason of the outer mind,” which makes all of man’s calculations that it is not worthwhile for him to work in order to bestow.

When he overcomes and does not escape the campaign, and prays to the Creator to help him go above reason, meaning not to be under the rule of the will to receive, then, when the Creator helps him he receives an inner mind called “inner reason.” At that time, through this reason, the body agrees to work in order to bestow upon the Creator, as it is written, “When a man’s ways are pleasing to the Lord, He makes even his enemies be at peace with him,” referring to the evil inclination.

It follows that while he is within reason, meaning that the intellect tells him it is worthwhile to do this work, he can exert in the work. Therefore, when he has an outer intellect, the reason compels him, meaning the intention to receive. This is called “within reason.” When he is rewarded with the inner mind, meaning the inner reason, the mind obligates him that it is worthwhile to work in order to bestow contentment upon the Creator.

Inapoi la pagina 1985 (ŞLAVEY HASULAM (TREPTELE SCĂRII) – link

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