Inapoi la pagina 1987 (ŞLAVEY HASULAM (TREPTELE SCĂRII) – link
What Is Making a Covenant in the Work?
Article No. 31, Tav-Shin-Mem-Zayin, 1986-87
It is written, “that you may enter into the covenant with the Lord your God, which the Lord your God is making with you today.” RASHI interprets “that you may enter into the covenant” as “in passing.” “Thus would the makers of a covenant do: a partition from here and a partition from here, and they pass in between.” The writing also says there, “And not with you alone am I making this covenant, but with those who stand here with us today before the Lord our God and with those who are not with us here today.”
We should understand the following: 1) What is the meaning of making a covenant in the work? That is, what does making a covenant give us, by which we will have correction in the work? 2) Why RASHI interpreted that makers of a covenant would make a partition from here? What does this mean to us in the work? 3) What does “those who stand here with us today … and those who are not with us here today” mean to us in the work? What are the two times in the work?
Baal HaSulam said, “What is the merit of making a covenant”? It seems redundant, for why are they making a covenant between them? If they think that they should love one another, then because they love one another, what does making a covenant add to us? He said that sometimes, they might come to a state where each one sees that the other is not behaving properly with him, and he should therefore hate the other.
When he makes the covenant with him, the intention is that even if he sees that he is not treating him properly, he will go above reason and say, “Since I made a covenant with him, I will not break my covenant.”
It follows that the covenant is not for the present but for the future. It might be that the love between them will cool off; therefore, they make a covenant so that the future will be as it is now in the present.
The work in Torah and Mitzvot [commandments] is primarily when beginning to walk on the path that leads to Lishma [for Her sake]. That is, when a person begins the work, he begins in Lo Lishma [not for Her sake], as our sages said, “One should always engage in Torah Lo Lishma, and from Lo Lishmawe come to Lishma.”
For this reason, the beginning of his work was with enthusiasm because he saw that by observing Torah and Mitzvot he would achieve happiness in life. Otherwise, he would not begin. Therefore, in the beginning of his work, when he is still working Lo Lishma, meaning that when he works, he constantly looks at the reward he will receive after his work, he has the strength to work.
As in corporeality, a person is used to working in a place where he knows he will be rewarded for his work. Otherwise, a person cannot work for free, if not for his own benefit. Only when he sees that self-benefit will come from this work does he have the strength to work enthusiastically and willingly, since he is looking at the reward and not at the work.
The work does not matter if a person understands that here he will receive from this employer twice as much as he would receive from working for the previous employer, before he came to the job where they pay twice as much. This means that according to the salary, so the work becomes easier and smaller.
Accordingly, we should interpret in the work that making a covenant means that when a person takes upon himself the work, even if in Lo Lishma, he must make a covenant with the Creator to serve Him whether he wants to or not.
Yet, we should understand on what the enthusiasm depends. It depends only on the reward. That is, when there is a big reward, the desire for the work does not stop. But when the reward is doubtful, the desire for the work vanishes and he shifts to rest. That is, at that time he feels more pleasantness in rest.
It is so much so that he says, “I relinquish the work, and anyone who wants can do this work because it is not for me.” But making a covenant is when he begins to work even in Lo Lishma. And since now he wants the work, for who would force him to come into the work of the Creator, now he must make the covenant and say, “Even if there comes a time of descent,” meaning that he will have no desire for the work, “I still take upon myself not to consider my desire but work as though I have a desire.” This is called “making a covenant.”
However, we should understand the reason that he comes to a state of descent. In corporeality, we see that when a person works in order to receive reward, are there ascents and descents there? So, why do we see that in the work of the Creator there are ascents and descents?
We should understand this matter in two ways:
1) Even in a state of Lo Lishma, when he works in order to receive reward, we can understand the reward only by way of faith, since “The reward for a Mitzva [commandment] is not in this world.” This means that the reward for the Mitzvot is not given in this world, but he will receive the reward in the next world, as it is written, “To do them today and to receive the reward for them tomorrow,” meaning in the next world.
Since the basis of the reward depends on the faith, as it is written (Avot, Chapter 2), “You can trust your landlord to pay for your work, and know that the reward for the righteous is given in the future.” It is known that concerning faith, there are ascents and descents, since the whole matter of faith is to believe above reason.
This means that sometimes a person can go above reason, where faith contradicts the reason. For example, twenty percent of the faith are against reason, and he can overcome twenty percent. But sometimes he sees that there has been a change, since now he sees that faith contradicts by thirty percent, and to such an extent he is not immune and has the power to overcome and go with faith. Hence, at that time he must descend from his state, where faith illuminated for him.
This causes him descents and ascents, when it does not coincide with his power to overcome. This is not so with a corporeal reward. Faith does not apply to the reward; therefore, in corporeality, it cannot be said that he has a descent in corporeal work, since the reward is in this world and he does not need faith.
2) In a state of Lishma, he does not need anything in return for his work. The cause of the descents is also the reason that he bases his entire work on faith. But there is a difference: It is not about the reward but about the landlord. That is, to the extent that he believes in his landlord, that he is so important that it is worthwhile to serve Him, meaning that it is a great privilege to serve the King of Kings, who will pay for his work.
This means that the reward for the work coincides with the measure of faith in the greatness of the Creator. Since by the nature of creation, man derives great pleasure from serving an important person, as in the famous allegory that if an important rabbi comes and wants to let someone carry his suitcase to the taxi, a porter will certainly take money for it. But if the rabbi were to give it to a student, the student would certainly take no charge for the work, since the service he is giving to the rabbi is his reward and he would need nothing more.
Accordingly, “You can trust your landlord” means that to the extent of the faith, that he believes in the greatness of the Creator, to that extent is the measure of the reward, which is measured by the amount of faith he has in the greatness of the Creator.
It turns out that when he believes that the Creator is great indeed, his reward is greatindeed. If his faith in the Creator is not so great, his reward will not be so great either. It therefore follows that whether he works Lishma or Lo Lishma, the whole basis is only faith.
But the difference is this: In Lo Lishma, the faith relates to the reward; in Lishma, the faith relates to whom we serve. In other words, the amount of pleasure depends on the greatness of the Creator, as our sages said (Avot, Chapter 2), “Rabbi Elazar says, ‘Know before whom you toil, and who is the owner of your work, who will pay you the reward for your work.’”
As said above, we must believe in the greatness of the owner of the work, for upon this depends His paying the reward for the work. That is, the measure of the reward depends on the greatness of the owner of the work, who is the Creator. In other words, there is a difference in the pleasure between serving the greatest in the city, the greatest in the country, or the greatest in the world. Upon this depends the reward, meaning according to the greatness of the King.
Since the basis is faith, there are ascents and descents here because as long as one has not been awarded permanent faith, there must be ascents and descents. It follows that there could be a time when the love between them cools. For this reason, now, in the beginning of his work, he takes upon himself the burden of the kingdom of heaven, to make a covenant, so that whether or not the body agrees to be a servant of the Creator, he takes upon himself not to change a thing. Instead, he will say, “I spoke once and I will not change.” Instead, I will go above reason as I have taken upon myself when making the covenant in the beginning of the work.
By this we will understand what RASHI interpreted, “that you may enter into the covenant” in passing. Thus would the makers of a covenant do: a partition from here and a partition from here, and they pass in between.” Accordingly, we should interpret that through the making of the covenant they would imply that sometimes there will come a time when there is a partition from here, meaning a partition that separates this one, and a partition from here, meaning that the other one would also have a separating partition.
In other words, even if both of them have a partition that stops the love that was between them, still, now they are taking it upon themselves not to part from one another. Instead, they will remind themselves the covenant that they had made, and this will make it possible not to break the covenant. They will pass in between, meaning that they pass over the separation that was made between them, and it is all by the power of the covenant that they had made.
In this work, this means that a person must make a covenant with the Creator. As he began the work now, and now he certainly has love for the Creator, otherwise who would make him take upon himself the burden of the kingdom of heaven? So now he must make a covenant with the Creator forever. That is, even if there is a time when he feels that the love of the Creator has cooled in him, he will remember the covenant that he had made with the Creator.
But in the work, we must remember that in the matter of making a covenant between the Creator and a person, it might be that the love will cool only between man and the Creator. But how can it be said that the love will grow cold in the Creator? That is, since the covenant applies to both, it means that there could be a descent between the two of them concerning the making of the covenant, but how can we speak of changes or a descent in the Creator?
Baal HaSulam said that in both man and the Creator there is the matter of “As in water, face reflects face, so the heart of man reflects man.” He interpreted about what is written (Exodus 33:13), “And now, if I have found favor in Your eyes, let me know Your way that I may know You, so that I may find favor in Your eyes.” He asked, How did Moses know, when he said, “If I have found favor in Your eyes”? He replied that it is because beforehand, it is written, “You have said, ‘I have known you by name, and you have also found favor in My eyes.’” By this Moses knew that the Creator favored him, since Moses favored the Creator, following the rule, “As in water, face reflects face, so the heart of man reflects man” (Proverbs 27).
According to the above, we should interpret that when we say that the love cools within a person and he feels that he is in a state of descent, meaning that now he does not have such love for the Creator as he had in the beginning of his work, this causes him to feel that the Creator, too, does not love him and does not listen to his prayer, to what the person asks of the Creator. This causes the person an even greater descent because he begins to doubt what is written, “For You hear the prayer of every mouth.” At that time, he thinks that the Creator has no connection with the creatures, which causes him great descents as his faith grows weaker every time.
It follows that although there are no changes in the Creator, a person feels this way because “As in water, face reflects face,” he feels this way. This follows the rule that all the changes we learn in spirituality are according to the receivers.
Now we can understand what we asked, What does it mean in the work, “those who stand here with us today before the Lord”? The making of the covenant is whether he is standing today before the Creator, when he is at a time of ascent. However, he is taking it upon himself that even should a time of descent come, called “and those who are not with us here today” before the Lord our God, when he does not feel that he is standing before the Lord our God, he still takes upon himself, above reason, not to mind anything, but to remember the making of the covenant, and this will be unwavering.
Inapoi la pagina 1987 (ŞLAVEY HASULAM (TREPTELE SCĂRII) – link