Inapoi la pagina 1989 (ŞLAVEY HASULAM (TREPTELE SCĂRII) – link
What Is the Measure of Repentance?
Article No. 01, Tav-Shin-Mem-Tet, 1988-89
It is written (Hosea 14), “Return, O Israel, unto the Lord your God, for you have failed in your iniquity.” We should understand the following: 1) What does “unto the Lord your God” mean? It appears as though if the repentance did not reach “the Lord your God,” it is still not regarded as repentance. Thus, how can we know if the repentance has reached “the Lord your God?” Who can climb up and see if it has reached or not? 2) We should understand the words, “for you have failed in your iniquity.” It appears as though this is the reason why repentance must rise “unto the Lord your God.” We should understand how they are related to each other. 3) We should understand the meaning of “for you have failed in your iniquity.” What does “your iniquity” mean? It appears as though there could be failure from something other than man’s iniquity. This is why the verse says to us, “for you have failed,” meaning that your failure came from your iniquity and not from something else. Thus, what is that other thing that one might think that it did not come to him from his iniquities?
Failure means that a person calculated that now he can make good business, but then lost in the deal because some failure happened to him. It is like a person walking on a road and stumbling on a rock he did not see. In spirituality, we should understand that he suffered a fall and must have stumbled on some rock along the way.
Therefore, we must know what is the rock on which he stumbled and which caused him to fall midway. The writing comes and says that the failure was because of your iniquity, which is the stone on which you stumbled and fell. We need to know this in order to be wary of the stumbling block. Thus, we should understand why one’s iniquity is a stumbling block for which he cannot walk in the path of the Creator and observe Torah and Mitzvot [commandments/good deeds].
The thing is that the first iniquity begins with the sin of the tree of knowledge. Adam HaRishon was born circumcised (Avot de Rabbi Natan, 2nd ed., 5). But afterward, because of the sin, he pulled on his foreskin (Sanhedrin 38). As he interprets in the “Introduction to Panim Masbirot,” pulling on his foreskin refers to the foreskin of the three impure Klipot [shells/peels]. When he was born, he did not have this foreskin since the external body of Adam HaRishon, says the ARI, was of Malchut that rose to Bina of Malchut de Assiya, called “Malchut that is sweetened in Bina.” This is considered being born circumcised.
Through the sin of the tree of knowledge, he drew on himself the Malchut from the quality of judgment, which is the form of Gadlut [greatness/adulthood] from the vacant space. This is regarded as pulling on his foreskin. That is, he drew on himself the three impure Klipot, from which come all the sins that one commits. That is, the Gadlut of the reception that Adam HaRishon elicited by himself through the sin causes all the sins, for the root of the sins extends from the mind and heart.
By this we can interpret what we asked, What does it mean that “you have failed in your iniquity”? This refers to your iniquity, which extends from the sin of the tree of knowledge. This is called “your iniquity,” meaning that stone, on which all created beings stumble, is that a person comes and says, “I want to understand if this is worthwhile, if it pays off to observe Torah and Mitzvot,” meaning what the reception for oneself—which extends from the Gadlut of the reception that Adam HaRishonextended to himself due to the sin of the tree of knowledge—will gain out of it.
As in corporeality, when a person walks along the way and stumbles on a rock on the road, he does not see the rock. This is why he stumbles on it. Similarly, in the work, when a person wants to walk on the path of the Creator, he does not see that the rock, which is the will to receive, for Even [stone] comes from the [Hebrew] word Avin [I will understand], when he wants to understand everything—what pleasure will come from this to the receiver for himself.
When a person is told he must believe above reason that Providence is good and does good, he says, “I want to see that this is so.” But to believe is against the understanding. The understanding says that what you see is true, and what you do not see, how can you tell if it is true? When he is told he must believe, he says, “How do you know that what you believe is true?” This is the stumbling block on which people fail.
It follows that the stone on which we fail is only the lack of faith. When a person begins to walk on the path of the work of bestowal, he complains to the Creator, “Why have You made the concealment of Your face to the point that we cannot overcome the concealment that the Creator has placed, so we can overcome those two things—mind and heart?”
Indeed, the question is, Why did the Creator make it so we must believe, and did not do this otherwise, meaning that anyone who begins to work immediately sees the greatness of the Creator? The fact that the Creator made it that we must work with faith causes many people to move away from the work. It is as though the Creator made working with faith a stumbling block for all those who are failing. Why did He do this?
Baal HaSulam said about this that we must believe that the Creator made it this way, that our work will be in the form of “And they believed in the Lord and in his servant, Moses,” is the best way in order to achieve the complete goal, which is to do good to His creations. It is specifically through faith that the creatures can achieve the completion of the goal, which is to receive the delight and pleasure that the Creator contemplated giving to the created beings.
However, we must not say that the Creator could not have done it otherwise, meaning through knowing. Certainly, the Creator is almighty and can do anything He wants. However, as we must believe in the purpose of creation, that it is to do good to His creations, we should also believe about the way to achieve the goal, that faith is the best and most successful way. Therefore, the Creator chose the path of faith, for only by faith will man be able to achieve the completion of the goal.
Accordingly, the clarification, “for you have failed in your iniquity,” is the Gadlut of the vessels of reception, which Adam HaRishon extended on himself due to the sin of the tree of knowledge. We should interpret what we asked, What is the connection between “You have failed in your iniquity” and “Return, O Israel, unto the Lord your God”?
We asked, Can one ascend and see if the repentance has reached “the Lord your God”? According to the above, we should interpret that since all the failures that a person cannot achieve wholeness and fails midway are only because the first iniquity is the stumbling block for which the person falls. Therefore, when a person wants to repent and does not know what is repentance, the prophet says, “Return, O Israel, unto the Lord your God.”
This means that everything a person does will be for “the Lord your God.” It follows that “unto” means “until you clearly know that everything you do is for the Lord your God.” That is, he has reached a degree where he feels that for himself, it is not worth living, and he lives for the sake of the Creator. This is called “repentance.”
But if he has not achieved this degree, it is still not regarded as “repentance.” The reason is that “you have failed in your iniquity,” which is self-reception. That is, the only failure is that a person cannot achieve Dvekut [adhesion] with the Creator. Naturally, correcting it is by reaching “unto the Lord your God,” where all his actions are only to bestow. This is called “repentance.”
For this, a person does not need to ascend and see if his repentance has reached “the Lord your God.” Rather, the person himself sees and feels if he has no other aim in life other than what pertains to the benefit of the Creator, and he says that it is not worth living for his own sake.
However, a person might deceive himself in this. That is, he might agree to work for the sake of the Creator because he thinks that it will yield great pleasure for his own benefit.
Still, a person can see the truth about this, too, since according to the rule, if a person really wants to adhere to the Creator and he already has equivalence of form then he needs to be rewarded with opening the eyes in the Torah. According to the rule, “He who learns Torah Lishma [for Her sake] is shown the secrets of Torah,” if he has still not been rewarded with the secrets of Torah, it is a sign that he is still far from aiming only to benefit the Creator.
It is written in the “Introduction to The Book of Zohar” (Item 33): “This is the work in Torah and Mitzvot Lishma, in order to bestow and to not receive reward. This work cleanses the will to receive for oneself in him, and replaces it with a will to bestow. To the extent that one purifies the will to receive, he becomes worthy of receiving the five parts of the soul called NRNHY, for they stand in the will to bestow and cannot clothe one’s body as long as the will to receive controls it, since dressing and equivalence of form go hand in hand. And when one is rewarded with being entirely in the will to bestow and not at all for oneself, he will be rewarded with obtaining equivalence of form with his upper NRNHY.”
Accordingly, we see that if a person walks on the path of bestowal, he must be rewarded with the secrets of Torah. If he has not been rewarded, it is a sign that he is still in self-love, although he feels that he wants to work only in order to bestow. For this reason, at that time he must seek more counsels and tactics to be rewarded with love of the Creator and not with self-love. However, we must remember that in order to be rewarded with love of the Creator and not for one’s own benefit is not within man’s power. Rather, it is a gift of God.
However, we should know that when a person wants to emerge from merely performing actions, without the aim, and wants to begin the work of acting with the aim to bestow, there is much work in this, since when the body begins to hear about the aim to bestow, it immediately begins to resist and does not let one continue this work, showing him dark colors in this work.
In that state, a person should believe that only the Creator can help. Here is where a person can make a true prayer. It is called “true” because it is really the truth. That is, the Creator has made man unable to help himself, and the reason is that “There is no light without a Kli,” as we have said several times. As Baal HaSulam says, the Creator made man unable to exit self-love by himself in order for man to need the Creator’s help. How does the Creator help? With a holy soul, as it is written in The Zohar. Otherwise, a person does not have the need to receive the light of the Torah, and will settle for observing Torah and Mitzvot and not needing to receive the NRNHY of Neshama that have been prepared for him.
But when he sees that he cannot exit self-love and be rewarded with equivalence of form, he needs the Creator’s help. How does He help a person? Through a holy soul, called “upper light” that is revealed within man, so he will feel that there is a soul within him that is “a part of God above.” It follows that according to man’s ability to overcome, he increases the disclosure of the light of the Creator. For this reason, the Creator has made the hardening of the heart, so that man will be unable to overcome the evil in him and will need the Creator. By this, man will need to be rewarded with the NRNHY of Neshama.
However, this order of hardening of the heart comes precisely when one wants to work in order to bestow and makes efforts to achieve Lishma [for Her sake]. Then begins the hardening of the heart.
This is similar to a mother wanting to teach her child to walk on his own. She kneels and lets the child approach her. When she sees that the child is near, she moves farther from the child so the child will become accustomed to walking on his own more than before. But the child begins to cry, since he has strained to approach the mother, and he is crying because his mother moved away. He thinks that his mother hates him, and this is why she moved away from him. He cannot judge his mother to the side of merit, that her distancing is to the child’s best.
Conversely, as long as the child did not begin to walk, the mother did not move away from him. Instead, he saw that wherever he walked, she held him by her hand and led him.
It is likewise in the work. Before a person begins to walk alone, meaning before he emerges from the general public, whose work is only in the practical part, without the aim to bestow, it is considered that the mother is holding the child by her hand and leads him. That is, he does not feel remoteness on the part of the upper one. On the contrary, he sees no flaws in his work. Naturally, he cannot say that He is moving away from him, since he feels that He is close.
The reason is that he is following the path of the general public, whose reward is self-benefit. Hence, this view is close to the body. Therefore, the body does not resist his work, and he feels whole. It follows that he is in a state as though his mother is leading him by the hand.
But when he emerges from the general public and wants to work in order to bestow, he is regarded as a child who has begun to walk alone. Then the mother moves away from him. Each time he thinks that he has achieved the work of bestowal, he is shown from above that he is still far from the work of bestowal. How is he shown that he is far? By showing him each time what is “in order to bestow.” At that time, these thoughts bring him foreign thoughts until sometimes he wants to escape the campaign.
Afterward, he is given another nearing and he begins to think that now he is close to the mother. But once again, he is shown that He is moving away from him. This is the meaning of “Do not go far from us.” It is also written, “Do not hide Your face from us.” There are two meanings to this: 1) Your moving away from us causes us to want to escape the campaign. 2) Do not move far from us, let us understand that it is not moving away, but that You are doing this for our sake, so we may know that everything You do is all for our sake.
Inapoi la pagina 1989 (ŞLAVEY HASULAM (TREPTELE SCĂRII) – link