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What Are Dirty Hands in the Work of the Creator?
Article No. 21, Tav-Shin-Mem-Zayin, 1986-87
The Zohar says in Balak (Item 43) about the verse, “When they come to the tent of meeting, they shall wash in water and will not die”: We learn from this verse that “One who is not concerned with this and appears before the King with dirty hands must die. What is the reason? It is because man’s hands are at the top of the world, where he (The Hassid Rabbi Shmaiah) said that every filth and every dirt goes up to the Sitra Achra because the Sitra Achra feeds on that filth and dirt. This is why the Hassid, Rabbi Shmaiah, said that one who blesses with dirty hands must die.”
We should understand why this prohibition is so grave that one who blesses the Creator, who does something good, if his hands are dirty he must die. Can this be? That is, if he did not bless the Creator, he would not have to die. But if he blesses the Creator but his hands are unclean then he deserves death for it. And we should also understand why he says that man’s hands are at the top of the world. What does this imply to us in the work of the Creator?
It is known that our purpose in the work of the Creator is to achieve Dvekut [adhesion] with the Creator, which is equivalence of form, as our sages said, “As He is merciful, so you are merciful.” This is all that we must do.
In other words, the reward for all the labor that we do in Torah and Mitzvot [commandments] should be that we will be rewarded with vessels of bestowal, which are Kelim [vessels] of Dvekut. Beyond that, the Creator gives everything.
It is known that from the perspective of the Creator, the purpose of creation is to do good to His creations, meaning for the creatures to receive delight and pleasure. However, in order for the delight and pleasure to be complete when the lower ones receive, and so as not to have shame in them, to establish this there was a judgment that it is forbidden to receive any pleasure in order to receive, but rather in order to bestow.
And since by nature, man is born with a will to receive in order to receive, and it is known that it is hard to go against nature, this causes us work and labor when we want to begin to walk on the path of bestowal and to avoid receiving anything in vessels of reception, but rather in vessels of bestowal, called “receiving in order to bestow.”
It therefore follows that for the Kelim to be ready to receive the upper abundance, they must be in equivalence of form with the light. If they are not, there is a judgment because of the Tzimtzum[restriction] that was placed, whereby that Kli [vessel] must remain in an empty space. For this reason, all of our labor is to provide for ourselves clean Kelim, called Ohr Hozer [Reflected Light]. This means that as the Creator wants to bestow upon the creatures, the creatures want to bestow upon the Creator.
In other words, there is the Ohr Yashar [Direct Light], meaning that the abundance that comes from the Creator to the lower ones is called Yashar [straight/direct], meaning that the intention of creation to do good to His creations was about this. This is called Ohr Yashar. However, when Malchut of Ein Sof [infinity] received the Ohr Yashar, she desired Dvekut, called “equivalence of form.” For this reason, Malchut does not receive more Ohr Yashar than she has Ohr Hozer. In other words, the measuring she does on how much abundance to receive by looking at how much she can aim to bestow upon the Creator, which is called “light that returns to the Creator.”
It is known that the main reward we hope to receive in return for the work in Torah and Mitzvot is only to receive that Ohr Hozer, as it is said in the preface to the book Panim Meirot uMasbirot (Item 3): “Know that the Masach [screen] in the Kli of Malchut is the root of the darkness by the force of detaining that exists in the Masach on the upper light, not to expand in Behina Dalet. This is also the root of the labor in order to receive reward because labor is an act that is not desirable, as the worker is content only when he rests. However, because the landlord pays his salary, he revokes his will before the will of the landlord. You should know that there is not a thing or a conduct in this world that is not rooted in the upper worlds, from which branches spread into the lower worlds. It follows that the power of detaining in the Masach is equal to the level of the labor, and the salary that the landlord gives to the worker is rooted in the Ohr Hozer that emerges through a Zivug de Hakaawhereby through the Masach, a root for the Ohr Hozer is made, and all the benefit in this comes to her because of the above-mentioned detainment.”
We therefore see that one must make an effort in order to receive reward. What is the reward we hope for? The reward is that we will obtain vessels of bestowal. That is, through the labor, which is the root of the Masach, when we detain ourselves from receiving into our will to receive, meaning for our own sake, what do we want in return for this detainment? We want the Creator to give us a desire—that we will want to please the Creator.
This means that we give our desire to the Creator and we do not want to use it. In return for this, He will give us His desire. That is, as the Creator’s desire is to bestow upon the creatures, He will give us the desire to bestow contentment upon Him, and this will be our reward. In other words, we want Him to change the Kelim we have by nature, called “receiving in order to receive.” What we have we relinquish, and receive in return the vessels of bestowal.
This is as our sages said (Avot, Chapter 2, 4), “Revoke your will before His will so that He will revoke the will of others before your will.” This means that a person should revoke his will to receive, which is the Masach we spoke of earlier, being the root of the labor and what detains the will to receive before the will to bestow, for the will to bestow is called “the will of the Creator,” and it revokes the desire for self-benefit before the Creator’s benefit.
However, man has no power to go against nature. Our sages said about this, “He who comes to purify is aided,” so he may revoke the will of others. In other words, all the desires that awaken in the body and resist his having the ability to engage in the desire to bestow—the Creator does this. In other words, the Creator gives him the ability to revoke. It was said, “so that He will revoke the will of others before your will”: You want to engage in the desire to bestow but you cannot; your reward will be that you will receive assistance from the Creator.
This means that in order for the Creator to revoke the will of others, meaning the will to receive, which is the will of others, and not of Kedusha [sanctity], a person must first begin this work, and then the Creator gives him the assistance required for it. This is so for the known reason that there is no light without a Kli [vessel].” That is, nothing comes from above unless there is a desire below, since the desire is called the need for it.
This is the meaning of what our sages said, “Revoke your will,” meaning the will to receive, “before His will,” meaning before the will of the Creator, for the will of the Creator is to bestow. Then, when you begin, according to the labor you will give in order to revoke the will to receive, to that extent, the need to ask the Creator to help you will form, and then you receive a complete desire and need for His help.
Saying “Revoke your will” means that a person should begin to revoke the will to receive “before His will,” meaning before the desire to bestow, which is the Creator’s will. “So that He will revoke the will of others before your will” means that once you have a desire and need for the desire to bestow, but you cannot revoke the will to receive, the assistance comes from above, meaning it “revokes the will of others,” which are not of Kedusha, pertaining to the will to receive. “Before your will” means that now your will is to be in Kedusha, for the work to be in order to bestow. Now a person receives this strength, meaning comes out of the governance of the will of others, meaning the Sitra Achra [other side], which is only to receive and not to bestow, and now he uses the vessels of bestowal.
According to the above, we can interpret what we asked about what The Zohar said, “Man’s hands are at the top of the world.” What does this imply in the work? It is known that hands imply man’s vessels of reception. This comes from the verse, “For the hand attains.” It is as was said (Ketubot83a), “My hand is removed from her,” meaning that he removes himself from ownership over the field.
“[The hands] are at the top of the world” means that the existence of the world depends on the hands, which are man’s vessels of reception. In other words, the purpose of creation, which is to do good to His creations, should be received in man’s hands. In other words, if the hands, which are man’s vessels of reception, are fine, meaning clean, and have equivalence of form with the Creator, meaning that they are in order to bestow, under such conditions, the upper abundance expands to the lower ones. However, if the hands, namely the vessels of reception, are not clean, it is necessary to stop the upper abundance from coming to the lower ones, since the vessels of reception do not belong to Kedusha, but only to the Klipot [shells/peels].
It is known that all the lower branches follow the upper roots. For this reason, in corporeality, too, when a person wants to place something in some Kli, he cleans the Kli and washes it with water. If the Kli is too dirty, he uses a detergent to clean the Kli. Otherwise, he will spoil the food or drink or clothes that he will place in the Kli.
If he places expensive clothes, he even cleans the suitcase, all in order to avoid spoiling the things or the food. If he does not follow the correct order and places objects or food in dirty Kelim [vessels], everything goes to the outer ones. This means that a person takes everything in his hands and gives them to the outer ones, meaning throws out the food and the objects and does not keep them in the house.
It is likewise in the ways of the work: If a person’s hands are unclean and can spoil the abundance to the point that he takes the abundance and transfers it to the outer ones, meaning if his Kelim are dirty with the will to receive for himself, which is in oppositeness of form from Kedusha, the abundance goes to the Klipot. It is so because he places the abundance that had to be in Kelim of Kedusha—which are vessels of bestowal—into the Klipot, by which the Klipot grow much stronger.
Now we will understand why it says, “Every filth and every dirt goes up to the Sitra Achra because the Sitra Achra feeds on that filth and dirt.” As we explained, dirt and filth are vessels of reception for one’s own benefit. When his intention is not the benefit of the Creator, this is really the Sitra Achra, meaning the “other side,” which does not belong to Kedusha. Kedusha is called “bestowal,” as was said, “You will be holy, for I am holy,” which means that as the Creator gives, likewise, the creatures should engage only in giving.
It therefore turns out that if a person works in order to receive and not in order to bestow, he is providing for the Sitra Achra, for they are only about reception and not about bestowal. This is the meaning of the verse, “Every filth and every dirt goes up to the Sitra Achra,” who are sustained only by the vessels of reception.
This is as he says in The Study of the Ten Sefirot (Part 11, Ohr Pnimi): “Even on weekdays, the Melachim [kings] and the Klipot take their nourishments from Atzilut, as a thin light. This is done by the iniquities of the lower ones, who always cause lights of Hassadim to retire from illumination of Hochma and descend to the Klipot for their nourishment, and even more than is necessary for them.”
It is also written there, “Yet, the whole grip of the Sitra Achra, which can be on the day of Shabbat, for when a person moves from the private domain to the public domain, he causes lights of Hassadimto spread from Atzilut to the place of BYA, and they must spread without illumination of Hochma. Because of this, they die, and as a result, there is the matter of ‘He who desecrates her shall be put to death.’ Because they cause the exit of the lights from the domain of Atzilut and retire from illumination of Hochma, their punishment is to die. This is the meaning of ‘He who desecrates her shall be put to death.’”
Accordingly, we see that through the iniquities, they cause spreading of Kedusha to the Klipot, and all the sins come only from the will to receive. By this they cause death in the lights of Hassadim. For this reason, the punishment in terms of the work is death, as he says, “He who desecrates her shall be put to death.” This is why it was said, “one who blesses with dirty hands,” whose vessels of reception are unclean so as to work in order to bestow, but are dirty with the will to receive, “must die,” since he caused death in the light of Hassadim.
Hence, when a person blesses the Creator, meaning when he wants to extend blessings, but his hands are dirty with the will to receive in order to receive, and the abundance he wishes to draw will all go to the Klipot, which are called “dead,” at that time a person is in a state of “The wicked in their lives are called ‘dead.’” In other words, although he wants to extend life, which is called “in their lives,” he is still in the state of “wicked.” That is, he does not want to work for the sake of the Creator but for his own sake, and this is separation from the Kedusha. Also, the wicked are called “dead” because they cause the abundance go to the Klipot, as he says about the verse, “He who desecrates her shall be put to death.”
Therefore, when a person wants to walk on the path of truth, to observe Torah and Mitzvot in order to bestow, what should he do? The advice for this is to first of all aim before every action, which reward he expects for the actions he is about to do. At that time he needs to tell himself, “Since I want to serve the Creator, and since I cannot, since the will to receive within me will not let me, hence, through the actions I am about to do, the Creator will give me the real desire to bring contentment to the Creator, and I believe in our sages, who said,‘The Creator wanted to refine Israel, therefore He gave them plentiful Torah and Mitzvot.’”
Inapoi la pagina 1987 (ŞLAVEY HASULAM (TREPTELE SCĂRII) – link