Inapoi la pagina 1988 (ŞLAVEY HASULAM (TREPTELE SCĂRII) – link
What Is the Reward in the Work of Bestowal?
Article No. 20, Tav-Shin-Mem-Het, 1987-88
Our sages said (Avot, Chapter 2:21), “If you learned much Torah, you are given a great reward, and you can trust your landlord to pay you for your work.” We therefore see that we must work for the reward. Moreover, there is a special commandment that we must believe that the Creator will pay our reward. But there, in Chapter 1, they said the complete opposite: “He would say, ‘Be not as slaves serving the Rav [great one] in order to receive reward. Rather, be as slaves serving the rav not in order to receive reward.’” We should understand how these two statements are valid.
It is known that every branch wants to resemble its root. Since our root, which is the Creator, is in a state of complete rest, the creatures cannot make a single movement unless it improves man’s state of rest. Otherwise, a person chooses rest, as it is written in The Study of the Ten Sefirot (Part 1, Histaklut Pnimit, Item 19): “It is known that the nature of every branch is equal to its root. Therefore, every conduct in the root is desired and loved and coveted by the branch, as well, and any matter that is not in the root, the branch, too, distances itself from them. …For example, we love rest and vehemently hate movement, to the point that we do not make a single movement if not to find rest.”
In other words, we do not make a single movement unless we know that this movement will improve our rest. That is, this improved rest that we receive is called “reward.” This means that if movement causes us to enjoy rest more, we can move. Otherwise, we stay motionless.
Concerning the reward, there is a clear statement in the Torah: “If you follow My laws and keep My commandments and do them, I will give your rains in their time and the land will yield its crop.” Thus, why did our sages say that we should work without reward, called “not in order to receive reward”? This is the complete opposite of what is written in the Torah. Also, one of the tenets is to believe in reward and punishment. So, how did our sages say that a person should work not in order to receive reward?
We should understand why our sages said, “Be as slaves serving the rav not in order to receive reward.” This seems to contradict the purpose of creation, since the purpose of creation is to do good to His creations, and this is why the Creator created the creatures with vessels of reception, meaning to have a desire and yearning to receive delight and pleasure.
Thus, why must we relinquish the yearning for delight and pleasure and try only to bestow upon the Creator and not satisfy the yearning for pleasures, as He Himself created us in such a nature? Also, how can they afterward tell us, “No, although He created us with a nature for reception of pleasures, still, it is currently forbidden to use these Kelim [vessels], called “will to receive for ourselves.”
The answer is that since every branch wants to resemble its root, as said above, and since the Creator is the giver, where a person needs to receive for himself there is the issues of shame. In order to correct the shame, there was a correction called “receiving in order to bestow.” It therefore follows that saying that it is forbidden to receive for oneself is not because it is forbidden to enjoy. Rather, it is a correction: When a person receives pleasure, because during the reception of pleasure he is in disparity of form from the giver, he feels unpleasantness during the reception of the pleasure.
However, if he receives the pleasure because he wants to delight the upper one, by this he receives equivalence of form. At that time, he has two things upon reception of the pleasure: 1) He does not become far from the Creator upon receiving the pleasure. 2) He does not feel any deficiency upon receiving the pleasure.
It follows that the prohibition to receive for himself is for the sake of the created beings, and not because the Creator needs to be bestowed upon or loved. Everything is only for the sake of the created beings, who receive the pleasure from Him, and to have completeness in the pleasure.
With respect to the correction of the world, two systems were made: 1) ABYA de [of] Kedusha[holiness/sanctity], where there is only the order of reception in order to bestow, 2) ABYA de Tuma’a[impurity], where there is reception in order to receive.
Hence, before a person corrects his actions to be in order to bestow, he is fed by what he drew from ABYA de Tuma’a. Now we can understand what we asked, that we should believe in reward and punishment, yet we are told to work not in order to receive reward, meaning to work for no reward at all. The answer is that the Creator wants to give, as this was His purpose—to do good to His creations. However, there was a correction: “in order to bring to light the perfection of His deeds,” that we will work not in order to receive reward. Only on this correction, not to receive reward, we must make great efforts and do much work, as it is against our nature. Only through the Segula[power/merit] of Torah and Mitzvot [commandments/good deeds] can we be rewarded with these Kelim, called “vessels of bestowal.”
Our reward is that we should believe in reward and punishment. That is, if we observe the Torah and Mitzvot we will be rewarded with vessels of bestowal. If we do not observe the Torah and Mitzvot, we will remain in vessels of reception, which cannot do anything in Kedusha. Hence, how will it be possible to receive the delight and pleasure that the Creator wants to give them?
Therefore, as soon as we begin to walk on the path of bestowal, the body begins to resist, and we must believe in our sages who said, “He who comes to purify is aided,” and in what our sages also said, that the Creator said, “I have created the evil inclination; I have created the Torah as a spice,” since through the Torah, “the light in it reforms him.” We should believe that the Creator will give us this reward in return for our work in Torah and Mitzvot. Thus, there will be no contradiction between what they say, that we must believe in reward and punishment, and what they say on the other hand, that we must be as “slaves serving the rav not in order to receive reward.”
The answer is that since we should work not in order to receive reward, and it is against our nature and we cannot correct ourselves in this correction, this is why they said, “Man’s inclination overcomes him every day. Were it not for the help of the Creator, he would not overcome it.” Thus, only the Creator can help him by giving him vessels of bestowal. This is the reward for which man should pray that He will give him, since by himself, he cannot obtain vessels of bestowal.
Moreover, one must believe that the Creator will give us this power because many times a person toils and labors to obtain vessels of bestowal, but from the perspective of the correction, which man cannot understand, sometimes a person begins this work of bestowal but sees otherwise—that he is regressing. That is, now that he has begun the work of bestowal, he has become more materialistic, meaning the will to receive for himself is working within him more vigorously.
It follows that he sees that the will to receive in him is working more vigorously each time, until a person despairs and says that he sees that there is no chance that he will ever be rewarded with the desire to bestow. At that point, he says, “I have worked for nothing. That is, I thought that through my labor in Torah and Mitzvot I would be rewarded and it would be as a gift for me to receive that which I have hoped for all the time—to be rewarded with bringing contentment to the Creator and emerging from self-love. But now I see that this is not for me, as I am more materialistic than the rest of the people. In the beginning of my work, I thought that I was not so immersed in self-love, so I thought that this work of achieving the aim to bestow would take as long as any profession we learn. It is not easy to learn a profession, and requires much learning until one acquires the profession he is learning, regardless of the craft—carpentry or a locksmith’s work, or even medicine and so forth. They all require time. Some professions require three years to learn, or five years, but there is patience to wait until the time is up. There, a person can work because he sees that each day he is progressing, so he understands that there will come a time, at the end of the three or five years, when he receives his diploma and can get a job in his profession.”
But in the work of bestowal, he sees that each day he is regressing. A year or two may pass and he sees that he has not moved one bit. At that time, he despairs and says that he will never be able to get a diploma that he is working in order to bestow. Naturally, he will not be able to receive the Torah, for only faithful people are admitted there, who will not spoil the Torah that they are given. Since he sees that he cannot get a diploma that he is working Lishma [for Her sake], he will never be rewarded with the secrets of Torah, as our sages said, “He who learns Torah Lishma is shown the secrets of Torah.”
For this reason, he wants to escape the campaign. Our sages said about this state that a person must brace himself and believe that “You can trust your landlord to pay you for your work.” That is, if a person exerts in Torah and Mitzvot in order to receive reward, to be given the power of bestowal, he should not pay attention to his stalled progress. He must believe that if a person makes an effort to be rewarded with vessels of bestowal, the Creator will certainly give him. It follows that this is the reward that we ask for our work: to be able to work without reward, but because “He is great and ruling.”
Accordingly, we should interpret what is written (in the prayer, “May it please,” before Psalms): “Grant me the treasure of a free gift.” That is, we pray and say psalms with the intention that we are not only asking for a reward, but we also want You to give us from the treasure of a free gift. We should understand, since it is known that one must do everything not in order to receive reward.
However, we should interpret that we want You to give us abundance from the treasure of a free gift because if we receive abundance from there, we will be able to work for nothing, not in order to receive reward. Similarly, when someone needs healing, we ask the Creator to send healing from the treasure of healings. Or, if someone needs strength, he asks to be sent strength from the treasure of strengths.
Therefore, one who wants to receive strength from above so he can work for free, without any reward, asks the Creator to give him strength “from the treasure of a free gift,” meaning to be given strength, which to him is a great gift, meaning to be able to do things for free. He regards this as a gift, as it is written, “As I am for nothing, so you are for nothing.”
Now we can interpret what is written (Psalms 121), “I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from where shall my help come? My help is from the Lord, Maker of heaven and earth.” We should understand David’s question, “From where shall my help come?” and afterward his finding that “My help is from the Lord.” But every believing Jew says that a person has no other place to receive help but the Creator, so what is the novelty?
We should interpret in the above that it comes to tell us that in order to receive delight and pleasure, we lack nothing but vessels of bestowal, for then we will have equivalence of form with the Creator, as in, “As He is merciful, so you are merciful.” Then we will be fit to receive the delight and pleasure.
For this reason, we should interpret according to the known rule that all of creation, which we define by the name “creation,” is only the will to receive for oneself that was created existence from absence. That is, concerning the Creator, we should say that He is the giver and the bestower. But reception is a new thing that the Creator created from nothing. That is, “nothing” means that there is no reception there. This is why it is written, “from absence,” meaning that what exists in the Creator is that He only bestows. If a person can come to that state, called “nothing,” then “my help shall come.” At that time, a person is ready to receive the delight and pleasure.
This is the meaning of the words, “My help is from the Lord, Maker of heaven and earth.” Here he interprets the meaning of “nothing,” meaning the opposite of reception, but rather bestowal. This is the meaning of the words, “Maker of heaven and earth.” It means that He has made heaven and earth, meaning that He bestowed and engendered heaven and earth. When a person achieves the state of “absence,” called “the power of bestowal,” he will be fit to receive delight and pleasure, since nothing is missing from the perspective of the Creator, except for Kelim—for the lower one to be able to receive.
This is the meaning of the words, “From where shall my help come?” It is written that one should not think that anything big is missing in order to receive this delight and pleasure that the Creator wants to give to the created beings. That is, when a person exerts to complete the purpose for which he was created, yet sees that he has still not risen higher than the level at which he was when he was nine years old, and he understands the work of the Creator as he understood when he was nine, when he examines the reason, he says, “I must have been born untalented and I am powerless to overcome. If I were more talented, I would be more noble and I would achieve wholeness.”
It follows that he thinks that he is missing many things. But in truth, man lacks nothing but equivalence of form, called “vessels of bestowal,” as it is written, “As He is merciful, so you are merciful,” for bestowal is regarded as “absence.”
This is what he wants to tells us when he says, “From where shall my help come?” that all we lack is this, and not any talent or nobility. Rather, “My help is from the Lord,” for the Creator made heaven and earth in order to bestow upon people. This is what I need the Creator to help me attain, as this is the Kli [vessel]. After a person has this Kli, called “vessel of bestowal,” the light will come by itself, for such was the purpose of creation—to do good to His creations.
Inapoi la pagina 1988 (ŞLAVEY HASULAM (TREPTELE SCĂRII) – link