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The Difference between Mercy and Truth and Untrue Mercy

Article No. 08, Tav-Shin-Mem-Zayin, 1986-87

It is written, “[Jacob] called his son , Joseph, …and deal with me Hesed [mercy] and truth.”

The interpreters ask, “Why did he call specifically Joseph and said to him, ‘Deal with me mercy and truth.’” RASHI interpreted about “mercy and truth”: Mercy that one does with the dead is true mercy, for he does not expect a reward in return.” RASHI interprets the verse: “I give you one portion more than your brothers,” “since you trouble yourself with my burial.”

RASHI’s words contradict what is written here. He explains “giving you one portion more than your brothers” that it is because he troubles himself with my burial. Thus, this is not true mercy, since he is paying him for his effort by giving him one portion more than his brothers. Concerning “true mercy,” RASHI interprets that he does not give him anything for his effort to bring him to the Land of Israel, as he says, “For the mercy that one does with the dead is that he does not expect a reward in return.”

Our sages said about the verse, “And he commanded Joseph saying, ‘Your father commanded before his death,’” that they changed the matter because of peace, since Jacob did not command this, for Joseph was not suspicious in his eyes. Although our sages’ interpretation answers the question that we did not find that Jacob commanded the above before his death, this can still be implied. That is, by intimation, he did command him prior to his demise, but not explicitly, actually telling him; this did not happen.

To understand the above, we must first repeat what we already said many times, namely what is the purpose of creation. We learned that it is to do good to His creations. However, in order not to have the bread of shame, it was set up so that by this the shame upon reception of the delight and pleasure would be cancelled. This matter is called “to aim in order to bestow” upon receiving the pleasure.

At that time, because the receiver does not intend for his own benefit, but rather, all that he receives is because he wishes to please the Creator, as this was His will, for He wants to do good, by this the shame was removed. For this reason, the lights departed from the Kelim [vessels] when the intention to bestow departs from them. In the upper Partzufim, this is called Hizdakchut of the Masach, and by this they have no Ohr Hozer [Reflected Light].

Ohr Hozer means that the lower one wants to return the joy to the upper one. This means that as the upper light comes to the lower one in order to do good to His creations, the lower one now returns the pleasure to the upper one. That is, the lower one wants to delight the upper one by receiving the abundance from the upper one.

Likewise, for this reason the Klipot [shells/peels] were born, whose quality is the will to receive only for themselves. The good and the bad that we feel in our world also extends from this reason. All the corruptions and corrections revolve only around this point called “desire to receive pleasure.”

If the vessel of reception remains as it emerged—receiving in order to receive—it would cause shame due to disparity of form. For this reason, there was the correction called “in order to bestow.” This matter, meaning turning the will to receive into working in order to bestow, is all the work that the lower ones have. In the upper worlds, this matter is called “departure of lights” or “expansion of lights.”

That is, the aim to bestow is what moves all the worlds. In other words, if the lower one has the power of bestowal, he receives the upper abundance. Moreover, the measure of the abundance that the lower one receives depends on the measure of bestowal that the lower one has.

We learned that the thicker one is, and the more he can overcome and give Ohr Hozer, the higher degree he receives. In other words, everything depends on the measure of bestowal that the lower one can give.

We already said that this will to receive is the only thing that is regarded as a new creation and is called a Kli [vessel], in which the upper abundance is poured. From this extends that the lower creatures should discern four discernments in their will to receive: 1) the general public, which follows the ambition to receive delight and pleasure because they want to please themselves, 2) those who do bestow delight and pleasure upon others.

However, in this, too, there are two discernments to make: 1) If they bestow delight and pleasure upon others but receive money for this, it is not regarded as bestowing upon others. Rather, it is called a “barter,” where each one trades what he has and the other one gives him what he has in return.

For example, a person who has a restaurant or a hotel and gives people a place to sleep or eat and drink. No one will say that this person engages in bestowal, since he receives money for his work. Moreover, he assesses the price—how much money he should take in return for what he gives.

Or, for example, waiters, who are serving guests. Although they are not receiving anything from the guests, still, no one will say that the waiters engage in bestowal because the hotel manager pays them for serving the guests.

2) When engaging in bestowal, as said above, meaning giving people food and drink and a place to sleep, but without any monetary reward. Only he knows that by trying to do good to others he is buying for himself a good name and the whole town will know that he is a person who should be respected because he is giving his energy and money for the needs of the collective. That person has acquired a reputation as a good person, a merciful, hospitable person, etc. And although he does this for respect, no one will say that the things he does are all for himself, meaning because he wants respect.

It is customary that if a person behaves in this way, meaning works for the sake of the collective, it is regarded that he is working for the sake of the collective not in order to receive reward. Indeed, everyone respects him for his righteousness and integrity.

This discernment in the work of the Creator is called “bestowing in order to receive.” This means that the first discernment is called “receiving in order to receive.” But this discernment, when he does not want money for his work, is called “bestowing, but in order to receive.” This is called Lo Lishma [not for Her sake]. That is, the act is bestowal, meaning that he gives of his strength and wealth for sacred purposes, but he wants a reward. This is why it is called “bestowing in order to receive,” and this is called the “second discernment.”

The third discernment is that he does not want any reward for the exertion he makes in strength and money. That is, he works in concealment between man and man, and between man and God, and he says to the Creator, “I am grateful to You for giving me the desire and craving to do something to please You. This is my entire reward in life—that I have been privileged with serving You. In return, I ask that You will give me the reward of more desire and craving to have no foreign thoughts to do something for myself. Rather, my only wish is to work for the sake of the Creator. I think that there is nothing more important in the world that a person can expect to be rewarded with in life, which will make him happy in the world. The whole world works for wealth; everybody wants to achieve it. But they do not know what happiness is.

“However, in this, everyone is equal—they want to be happy. And I do know what happiness is. If one can be rewarded with serving the King and not think of one’s own benefit, but of the benefit of the King, that person is the happiest in the world. How do I know this? Since this is what I feel. Well, what reward do I want? Only this.” This is why he says, “Lord, grant me man works for the sake of the Creator.” It is as our sages said (Avot, Chapter 4): The reward for a Mitzva [commandment]: Mitzva. For this reason, this is the reward that I expect. This discernment is called “bestowing in order to bestow,” and this is regarded as Lishma [for Her sake].

The fourth discernment is that he can already say, “I want to receive delight and pleasure not necessarily from bestowing. Rather, I want to receive delight and pleasure from actually receiving, since he has already achieved the degree of “bestowing in order to bestow” and is not concerned with his own benefit. For this reason, he begins to think, “What can I say that will please the Creator? After all, He does not need to be given anything because the whole world is His, as it is written, ‘and if he is right, what will he give You?’”

This thought makes him begin to think about the purpose of creation. He sees that it is written that the purpose of creation is to do good to His creations. That is, the Creator wants to impart upon the creatures delight and pleasure. For this reason, he says to the Creator, “Give me delight and pleasure. I do not want this because I want to delight myself. Rather, I want to delight myself because You enjoy our delight. It is only with this intention that I ask You to give me delight and pleasure. That is, I have no desire whatsoever to benefit myself. Rather, everything I think and do is only to please You.”

When a person wants to exit the state of “the general public,” which receives in order to receive, the order is that he enters the second state, called “bestowing in order to receive,” which is called Lo Lishma. This is so because the act is of bestowal, but he hopes to be rewarded by performing acts of bestowal.

In this, too, there are two discernments: 1) He wants people to reward him, so it seems as though he is doing good deeds, to the extent that people compel him by giving him respect and so forth. It follows that it seems as though he is observing Torah and Mitzvot [commandments] because people are commanding him to observe, and it is not the Creator who obligates. 2) He is working in concealment and does not want any reward from people. He does not show them the work that he does, and naturally, they are giving him nothing in return. Instead, he wants the Creator to pay him for observing Torah and Mitzvot.

Here there is a big difference between the state of Lo Lishma. In that state, the Creator is the one who commands to observe Torah and Mitzvot, and it is not people who compel him to observe Torah and Mitzvot. This is why that person is called a “servant of the Creator,” since all his work is only to observe the commandments of the Creator, which He has commanded us. However, he wants reward for his work, that the Creator will pay his reward and not people.

However, our sages said (Pesachim 50b), “One should always engage in Torah and Mitzvot, even if Lo Lishma, since from Lo Lishma we come to Lishma [for Her sake].” In the work Lo Lishma, by which a person wants to come to the degree of Lishma, in that state, this is where one needs extra caution and much understanding, and special guidance how to exit the state of Lo Lishma and arrive at Lishma.

This place is very complicated because one cannot scrutinize the truth, meaning which is true and which is false, as it is human nature not to see any faults in oneself because a person is close to himself. For this reason, he is biased, and “Bribery blinds the eyes of the wise.”

Moreover, even if he sees the truth—that he is marching on the wrong path and must change his way, meaning to come out of self-love—the Klipa [shell/peel] of Egypt controls the body. A person can come out of that control only with help from above, as our sages said, “Man’s inclination overcomes him every day, and were it not for the Creator’s help, he would not be able to overcome it.” Therefore, the work begins primarily in the second state, called Lo Lishma.

It therefore follows that the work with the body, when it resists and does not let one work, is primarily when one is working in concealment and does not expect any reward from people, but works only for the Creator. Because He has commanded us to observe Torah and Mitzvot, he wants to do His will, and this is his reason for observing Torah and Mitzvot.

The only thing he lacks is that he expects a reward for this. That is, he sees that he cannot work not in order to receive reward, but only if he promises to his body that it will receive some reward for its labor. To the extent that the body believes this—that it will receive reward—to that extent he can observe Torah and Mitzvot. But when he doubts the reward, he has no fuel for work.

In such a state, when a person yearns to be a servant of the Creator in order not to receive reward, the body protests with all its might and does not give him rest when he says to it: “I want to observe Torah and Mitzvot without any reward. I want to observe the Mitzva [commandment] of faith,” meaning believe in the greatness of the Creator although the body does not feel the greatness and importance of the Creator—that it is worthwhile to obey Him and observe His commandments in every detail.

“By this I am serving Him and I imagine that if the greatest in the generation were here to serve, and he would not let just anyone serve him but has chosen a handful of people, and I am among them, how happy would I be then? So why here, with serving the Creator, I cannot work without any reward and I expect to be given something in return for the service?”

This is so because there I see a person whom everyone respects and tell me how great he is. I can grasp the greatness that they say about him. In that case, I serve him because of his importance. But with the Creator, we need to believe in his greatness and importance, and especially, believe that He is good and does good, since the body does not want to believe but to see with its own eyes that this is so.

For this reason, sometimes one overcomes and has partial faith, meaning to give Him small portions. However, he does not have the strength to believe in whole faith, as it is written in the “Introduction to The Study of the Ten Sefirot” (Item 14).

Now we can understand why a person cannot advance in the work of bestowal. That is, where he does not see a reward for his work, he has no fuel and the body slacks in its work.

We should say that this is only for lack of faith. When a person knows this, meaning when he knows the reason that causes him to weaken it so he does not have the strength to work, there is hope that he will be able to correct himself in a way that he will be healthy and strong and will be able to go to work.

But when he does not know the real reason for his weakness, he could listen to several people advising him on how to become better. However, nothing will help him because each one tells him what they understand according to their views with respect to healing him. Temporarily, he receives a medicine from them and begins to think that they understand something, or he would not heed their advice.

Moreover, it is easier to believe that they know what they are saying because they themselves think that they are great experts, and the medicines they prescribe do not risk his life, of self-love.

For this reason, anyone who feels some weakness in the work goes to them. They give them medicines, which are pacifiers. That is, when one feels some pain in the work of the Creator, when he sees that he is far from the truth and does not want to deceive himself, for this reason he goes to seek some cure to heal his weakness in the work.

When he takes the medicines they give, it is real remedy for the time being. That is, the pains he had have gone away thanks to their cure, and now he is not in pain for not walking on the path of truth. That is, through the medicine that he received from them he no longer has a demand for the truth. It follows that the medicines that he received from them are pacifiers, meaning not to feel the pain.

This is similar to a person with a headache who takes painkillers. The pills do not cure him; they only calm his pain. It is likewise with our matter: All the counsels he receives from the advisors that belong to the general public cannot be counsels to perform acts of bestowal. They are merely painkillers but do not heal the illness, which is the main reason for his weakness.

But when he has learned the cause of the illness, meaning that the reason is only that he lacks faith, to believe in the greatness and importance of the Creator. The Zohar calls this “Shechina [Divinity] in the dust,” and our work is to raise the Shechina from the dust. This gives us a different order in the work of the Creator.

This means that one should know that there are actions and intentions, and we were given the observance of Torah and Mitzvot in word and in action. However, all of them, both Torah and Mitzvot, have an intention, too, meaning to aim what I want in return for observing Torah and Mitzvot, meaning what I must intend while observing Torah and Mitzvot.

Primarily, he should know for whose sake he must observe them. That is, it cannot be said of people in the general public that they should have intentions because they will come from Lo Lishma to Lishma, and the actions alone will do. For this reason, they cannot be obligated to keep intentions.

Rather, as they observe Torah and Mitzvot in action, which applies to Mitzvot dependent on words or actions, the intention is not important then, for even if they have no intention, but rather they aim that now they are observing what the Creator has commanded them to do, this is enough for them for Lo Lishma.

But when a person wants to achieve Lishma, meaning he wants to observe Torah and Mitzvot not in order to be rewarded, but rather wants to bring contentment to the Creator, to achieve this there is the matter of intention. That is, this Mitzva I am observing, with what intention am I doing this?

It is known that it is impossible to work without reward. Thus, how can it be said to a person that it is worthwhile to work not in order to receive reward? After all, he needs a reward. There is only one thing that can be said to him: He will be rewarded with serving the King, and there is no greater pleasure than serving the King. Then, according to the importance of the King, so he will enjoy. That is, the measurement of the pleasure from serving the King depends on the importance of the King, on the extent to which he appreciates Him.

But since the Shechina is in exile and in the dust, it is said in The Zohar that one should aim to raise the Shechina from the dust. Dust means lowliness, which a person tramples with his feet. This means that in every thing a person does in observing Torah and Mitzvot, he should intend that by this he will be rewarded with “raising the Shechina from the dust.” It means that he wants reward for his labor in Torah and Mitzvot, to feel that he is serving a great King.

That is, during the labor he feels that for spirituality, when he wants to work in order to bestow, at that time he tastes the taste of dust during his work. This is so because there is a great concealment on spirituality—that we neither see nor feel the importance of the matter. From this all the obstacles come to him.

But if the Creator were to remove the concealment from him and he would feel the importance of the King, this would be his entire reward that he wishes for himself in life. This is so because he wants to serve the King, as it is written that we say in the prayer, “And … came to Zion,” “Blessed is He our God, who has created us for His glory.”

A person wants to be able to thank the Creator for creating him for His glory, meaning to serve the Creator. This means that a person will agree with all of his organs, and that his “mouth and heart will be the same,” in that he gives thanks to the Creator for creating man in His glory and for not creating man for his own benefit, but that His will and yearning will be only to bestow contentment upon the Creator.

A person should have this intention in everything he does: Thanks to this deed he is doing, the Creator will give him the intention that all his actions will be only in order to bestow, that He will cancel his desire for self-love, since he sees that he cannot exit its control and is in exile among the “nations of the world” in his body.

It is known that The Zohar says that every person is a small world. It was also said that there are seventy nations in the world, as well as the people of Israel. Also, within each person there are the seventy nations, as well as Israel, and the Israel in him is in exile under the rule of the seventy nations within him.

This is as our sages said, “He who comes to purify is aided” (Shabbat 104b). We should interpret the word “comes.” We can say that “comes” is the act he is doing. He wants to do it Lishma but he cannot because he is in exile under the rule of the nations of the world. “Aided from above” means that the Creator redeems him from the exile among the nations who governed him.

It turns out that when a person performs an act, and wants the act to be Lishma, and not because of self-love, meaning to receive some reward for the act, namely a reward in this world or the next world. Primarily, he wants something for his action. However, he wants the Creator to give him complete satisfaction from the act he does and to feel that he is the happiest person in the world now, in that he is serving the King.

But if he receives anything else besides the service that he does, it blemishes the service for the King. The evidence of this is that he wants something more. But what he can demand is why he has no inspiration and true sensation when he is speaking to the King.

For example, he is asking the King that when he blesses for pleasures and says, “Blessed are You O Lord, who brings bread out of the earth,” why does he not have the manners to be standing with fear and trepidation as one stands before the King? Rather, he speaks to the Creator and has no emotion, no feeling with Whom he speaks.

This pains him. But since he is incapable of correcting himself, he asks the Creator to help him and give him some revelation, so he will feel before Whom he stands: before the King of Kings. So why does he not feel it?

It was said about it in The Zohar, “He who comes to purify is aided.” It asks, “With what?” and it replies, “With a holy soul.” That is, he is given abundance from above, called Neshama [soul], which helps him have the ability to come out of the governance of self-love and enter Kedusha [holiness], meaning that all of his thoughts will be only to bestow contentment upon the Creator.

Through the soul he obtains, the concealment and restriction are removed and he feels the greatness of the Creator. At that time, the body surrenders to the light of the Creator “as a candle before a torch,” and he feels that he has come out from enslavement to freedom. That is, while he wanted to work only for the Creator, the questions of the nations of the world in his body promptly came and asked, “How can you give up the existence of the body and have no thought at all in its favor, and instead devote all the efforts and the senses only to be able to find ways to bring contentment to the Creator?”

Their questions are even worse because a person does not think that these thoughts belong to the people of Israel, but that they are thoughts of the seventy nations. However, a person thinks that they are his thoughts, that he is asking himself these questions, and how can a person fight against himself?

Baal HaSulam said that one should know that these thoughts and desires are foreign to the Jewish spirit. They do not pertain to Israel itself, but rather come from thoughts of the general nations of the world, which enter the personal nations of the world that exist in every person. When one believes that this is so—that they are not his—then one can fight with another body. But when he thinks that these foreign thoughts are his own, a person cannot fight against himself.

Thus, there is no other way but to ask the Creator to help us come out of this bitter exile only with His help, as was said in The Zohar, that the help that comes from above is that he is given a soul. Through the soul, which shows the revelation of His greatness, only then does the body surrender.

By this we can interpret what is written about the exodus from Egypt (in the Passover Haggadah [story]): “And in all the gods of Egypt I will do judgments. I am the Lord; I am He, and not the messenger. I am the Lord; it is I and not another.”

This comes to say that only the Creator can help one out of one’s enslavement in the exile in Pharaoh King of Egypt, who is keeping him from exiting self-love and doing only works that benefit his self-love, and he has no way by which to do something for the sake of the Creator. At that time comes the Creator’s help.

However, Baal HaSulam said, “When can one say that he cannot do anything for the Creator? It is precisely when he has done everything he could. That is, he has already tried every advice in the world that he thought could help him, yet these counsels did not help him. This is when he can say wholeheartedly, “If the Creator does not help me, I am lost. As far as the work of the lower ones, in terms of what they can do, I have done everything and it did not help.”

It is like a person who had a sick man at home. What does he do? He goes to the doctor and says that the doctor will be a good messenger of the Creator and the sick will be well. But if the sick has not yet healed, normally, he goes to a professor. He says that he will certainly be a good messenger of the Creator and will heal the sick. If the professor also cannot help, they make a conference of professors, perhaps together, but consulting, they will be able to find a remedy for the sick.

But if that, too, does not help, then normally we say to the Creator: “Dear Lord, if You do not help me, no one can help me. We have been to all the great doctors, who are Your messengers, and none could help me. I have no one else to ask but You, that You will help me.” Then, when he is healed, he says that only the Creator Himself helped him and not a messenger.

This is what is written in the Passover Haggadah [story], that the exodus from Egypt was done by the Creator Himself and not by a messenger. It is as they said, “And in all the gods of Egypt I will do judgments. I am the Lord; I am He, and not the messenger. I am the Lord, and not another.”

In other words, when a person has done all the counsels and tactics, which are as messengers such as the above mentioned doctors, but they did not help, then a person can pray from the bottom of the heart because he has nowhere to turn to for help, as he has already done all the counsels he could think of.

This is the beginning of the matter of “the children of Israel sighed from the work, and they cried out, and their cry went up to God from the work.” We explained what it means that their cries were from the work. “From the work” means after they had done all that they could in the work that pertained to them, and saw that no help was coming from here after all the work, for this reason, their cry was from the bottom of the heart. That is, they saw that no messenger could help them but the Creator Himself, as it is written, “I am He, and not a messenger.” This is when they were redeemed and came out of Egypt.

By this we will understand what the holy ARI said, that prior to the exodus from Israel, the people of Israel were in forty-nine gates of Tuma’a [impurity], and then the King of Kings appeared to them and redeemed them. The question is, why did He wait until that time when they were in utter lowliness?

According to the above we should understand that when they saw their true, lowly state, that they have regressed and could not advance to the side of Kedusha, they understood that no messenger could help them, as with the allegory about the doctors. Then they cried out only to the Creator to help them. This is why it is written, “I am He, and not the messenger.”

The meaning of He Himself redeeming them and delivering them from exile means that they attained that there are no messengers in the world, but the Creator does everything. This is as it is written in The Zohar, “He who comes to purify is aided. It says, ‘With what is he aided? With a holy soul.’” That is, he receives the revelation of His Godliness, called Neshama. By this he attains his root, and then a person annuls as a candle before a torch, after he has obtained the Neshama, for then he feels that it is a part of God above.

Now we can understand what we asked, “Why did He call specifically to Joseph and not to the rest of his brothers to tell them as he said to Joseph: “Deal with me mercy and truth.” RASHI interprets that the mercy we do with the dead is true mercy, for he expects no reward.

Here there is a contradiction to the words of RASHI in that he interprets the verse, “And I give you one portion more than your brothers.” He said, “Because you toil with my burial.” This is perplexing with regard to what he says, that Jacob said to Joseph to deal with him true mercy, since he expects no reward. After all, he is paying him for the trouble by giving him one portion more than to his brothers.

Here is an intimation of the order of the work from beginning to end. Jacob commanded his son Joseph: 1) Deal true mercy. This is so because the beginning of the work is that we must achieve Lishma, which is called “bestowing in order to bestow,” and we demand no reward for the work. This is the meaning of what RASHI interprets, that the mercy we do with the dead is that he expects no reward; they only do mercy, meaning acts of bestowing in order to bestow without expecting a reward.

By this he wants to imply that it is because “The wicked in their lives are called dead” (Berachot 18b). Also, in the “Introduction of the Book of Zohar” he says why “The wicked in their lives are called dead.” It is because they are immersed in self-love, called “will to receive only for themselves.” By this they are separated from the Life of Lives, hence they are called “dead.” This is the discernment that we said is called “receiving in order to receive.”

And since man was created with a desire to receive that comes from the impure ABYA, as is written in the “Introduction to the Book of Zohar” (Item 11), therefore, one should try to deal true mercy with his body, which is called “dead.” In other words, he should guide it into performing acts of bestowal in order to bestow, which is called “true mercy” that he does with his body, which is called “dead.” It should come to the degree of performing acts of bestowal, and the dead will not expect any reward. When he achieves this degree, it is regarded as having attained the third degree, called “bestowing in order to bestow,” which is Lishma. This is the meaning of “He called his son Joseph and commanded him to deal with him true mercy.”

Afterwards comes the fourth degree, called “receiving in order to bestow.” That is, after he has come to the degree of Lishma in vessels of bestowal, he guides it that it should receive, except only what it has the strength to receive with the aim to bestow. This is what RASHI interprets about the verse, “I give you one portion more than to your brothers,” since you trouble yourself with my burial.” This shows wholeness, for afterwards he can receive in order to bestow.

This is the meaning of what we asked, why he called his son Joseph. It could be said that he wanted to imply to him what is written, “And He commanded Joseph saying, ‘Your father had commanded before his death.’” Our sages interpreted that we did not find that Jacob said this to him. They explained that the matter was changed because of peace.

We should say that by commanding Joseph to deal true mercy, the aim was that he would engage only in bestowal and not for his own sake. It therefore implies that he would have no hatred for the brothers, for one who marches on the path of bestowal and does not worry about self-love, it cannot be said that he hates those who hurt him.

Now we can understand the difference between true mercy, and untrue mercy. We explained that in the work, mercy that one does with the dead is called “true mercy” because he expects no reward. This means that a person performs acts of bestowal, meaning Torah and Mitzvot, and they are Mitzvot that are only from our sages [De Rabanan] or from the customs of Israel, which are generally called “620 Mitzvot,” which are called Keter, as explained in the book A Sage’s Fruit.

The body is called “dead” because it extends from the impure ABYA, hence it is called “wicked” and “dead,” for it is separated from the Life of Lives. We are told that the mercy he does with the body should be true, meaning that the intention will truly be as the act, meaning that the aim, too, will be to bestow. If the aim is not to bestow, this mercy is not regarded as true.

If this mercy is not true, it does not correct his dead, which was called “wicked” because of his will to receive, by which the body received two appellations: “wicked” and “dead.” In order to correct it, there should be a correction where it goes completely opposite from where it went thus far, as it was walking on the path of reception and not of bestowal.

It follows that if this mercy is not true mercy, but has a different intention from the act of mercy that he does, as a result, the body receives no fundamental correction. And although there is the matter of “from Lo Lishma we come to Lishma,” it is only by passing through, meaning that it is impossible to achieve true mercy before we pass through the first stage, called “untrue mercy.”

However, the most important is to come to the truth, that the mercy will be true mercy, and not only that on the outside we see that it is mercy, meaning what is revealed, but what is covered, namely the aim, we cannot see what a person has in his heart. Perhaps, within the heart, where there is the intention on the act, he has calculated that by the mercy that he does he will receive some reward, which is called “bestowing in order to receive.”

We can interpret this as was said, “Go humbly with the Lord your God.” “Go humbly” means that a person cannot see what the person thinks about the act, for the aim is concealed and the other does not know his friend’s thoughts. Then the writing says, “Go humbly.” That which is in your heart, try to make it be with the Lord your God, meaning to bestow, such as what is revealed. This is called “his mouth and heart are the same.”

For this reason, we should make two discernments: 1) untrue mercy, which is Lo Lishma, meaning bestowing in order to receive, 2) true mercy, which is Lishma, meaning bestowing in order to bestow.

Indeed, there is the main discernment, which is the purpose of creation—for the lower one to receive delight and pleasure, but with the aim to bestow. That discernment, too, is implied in what was said, “And deal with me mercy and truth,” meaning that this mercy will bring him to the truth. “Truth” means as it is written in The Study of the Ten Sefirot (Part 13, Item 17): “The seventh correction of the thirteen corrections of Dikna is ‘truth,’ called by the name ‘two holy apples,’ which are the two Panim [faces].”

He interprets there (in Ohr Pnimi) that when attaining the seventh correction, called “truth,” we see that His guidance with the creatures is indeed a guidance of good and doing good. That is, the guidance that was previously only in faith, now they have been rewarded with attainment and feeling that this is truly so. At that time they receive the good in the form of receiving in order to bestow. This is the purpose of creation—for the creatures to receive the delight and pleasure, for this realizes the purpose of creation.

Now we can interpret the verse “The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth” in two ways, too.

1) “The Lord is near” means that He hears the prayer of all “who call upon Him in truth.” That is, they feel when they are exerting in acts of bestowal, yet see that they are far from the intention to bestow. This means that they see the truth—that there is a great distance between the act and the intention, that they cannot exit the intention of self-love. They pray to the Creator to deliver them from this enslavement, and this is all they want and crave. This is the only salvation they expect.

They believe that as long as one is in self-love, he is separated from the Life of Lives. The verse says about this: “The Lord is near to all who call upon Him.” The Lord will give them the truth, meaning that they will be able to deal true mercy and will not settle for dealing untrue mercy, meaning Lo Lishma. And since it is a prayer for the truth, the Creator helps them and they receive from him the quality of truth.

2) They want to be rewarded with the quality of truth, which is the seventh correction of the thirteen corrections of Dikna. Through this correction, He is revealed to the created beings and indeed everyone sees that the Creator leads His world with a guidance of good and doing good. This is called “revealed Hassadim [mercies],” when the Creator’s mercies are revealed to all—that they are true.

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