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What Is a Flood of Water in the Work?
Article No. 04, Tav-Shin-Mem-Tet, 1988-89
The Zohar, Noah (Item 148), interprets the verse, “Behold, I bring the flood of water on the earth.” These are its words: “Rabbi Yehuda opened: ‘These are the waters of Merivah [Hebrew: quarreling], where the children of Israel quarreled.’ He asks, ‘Did the children of Israel not quarrel with the Creator elsewhere?’ He answers, ‘These were the waters of quarreling, which gave power and might to the accuser to grow stronger because there is sweet water, and there is bitter water, Kedusha[holiness] and the opposite of the right line. There is clear water and there is murky water, the Kedusha and the opposite of the left line. There is water of peace and water of quarreling, Kedusha and the opposite of the middle line. Hence, the verse says, ‘These are the waters of Merivah, where the children of Israel quarreled with the Creator,’ indicating that it is the opposite of the middle line, for they extended on themselves what they should not have extended—the opposite, called ‘waters of quarreling’—and were defiled in it, as it is written, ‘And He sanctified in them.’”
We should understand the meaning of the three types of water, which he says correspond to three lines. What is it in the work? The Zohar certainly speaks from high degrees, where there is the matter of three types of abundance that manifest in three manners, but what can we learn from this in the work?
First, we must know what is “a flood of water” in the work. This flood was the saboteur who “obliterated every living thing.” It is known that when a person begins to work in the work of bestowal, the body complains, “What is this work for you?” “What point is there in it, that you do not want to work for your own benefit? since you must see that you will enjoy life, and bestowing means that you will not work for yourself. What benefit will you derive from working to delight the Creator by observing His Torah and Mitzvot [commandments/good deeds], which He has commanded us through Moses? Will He reward you for your work, that you labor in Torah and Mitzvot?”
“To this, you tell me that you want to work without reward. How is it possible to understand such a thing as working for no reward? It makes no sense! Our inherent nature is a desire to receive delight and pleasure, and if we exert in something, it must be that we are receiving delight and pleasure in return for our efforts. Thus, it is against our nature!” This is called the “What” argument.
However, there is another argument by which the body resists the work of the Creator when a person tells the body, “We must believe in the Creator, that He is the overseer who leads the world as The Good Who Does Good.” At that time, the body comes to the person and makes the Pharaoh argument, who said, “Who is the Lord that I should obey His voice?” That is, it is hard for him to believe in the Creator. He says he can work for the sake of the Creator, but on condition: If he felt the greatness of the Creator, he would understand that it is worthwhile to work for Him.
It is as we see in corporeality: If a great person comes and many people determine that he is great, and common sense agrees with those who say that he is great, then just as in corporeality, a person can work and serve the great one. Clearly, if he could feel this greatness about the Creator he would also be able to work and serve the Creator. Yet, we do not have this feeling with regard to the Creator. Rather, as we see, the Shechina [Divinity] is in exile and there is no sensation whatsoever of the greatness of the Creator. Thus, how can he annul his self-benefit before the benefit of the Creator?
When those two— Mi and MA [“Who” and “What” respectively]—connect, it creates the combination Mayim [in Hebrew]. This is the meaning of the words “a flood of water on the earth,” by which they died. That is, all the spirituality, which is called “life,” was lost due to these waters, which are the two questions, “Who” and “What.” The spirit of life of Kedusha departed from them and they remained dead, as it is written, “The wicked in their lives are called ‘dead.’” This is called “the waters of the flood” in the work. Because of these waters, they died in the work and could not continue the work of the Creator due to the arguments, “Who” and “What.”
This is the meaning of what is written in The Zohar (Item 200): “Rabbi Yosi said, ‘He saw the angel of death coming with the floodwater and therefore went into the ark.’” This means that the saboteur, who is the angel of death, is within the arguments, “Who” and “What.”
The salvation of the ark from the flood in the work means that there is the matter of above reason. This is regarded as wanting to walk with his eyes shut, meaning that although reason and the senses do not understand what our sages tell us, they assume upon them faith in the sages and say that we must take upon ourselves faith in the sages, as it is written, “And they believed in the Lord and in His servant, Moses.” Without faith, nothing can be achieved in spirituality.
This discernment is called Bina, which is covered Hassadim and is called “desiring mercy.” This means that he does not want to understand anything, and says about everything that it is certainly God’s Hesed [grace/mercy] that He does with him. Although he does not see the Hassadim [plural of Hesed] that the Creator does with him and with the entire world, he still believes that the Creator leads His world with private Providence of benevolence, as it is written, “And all believe that He is good to all, the good who does good to the bad and to the good.”
This is covered Hassadim, meaning that although he does not see that it is Hassadim, he still believes above reason and says, “They have eyes and see not.” This is also called an “ark,” for one who enters covered Hassadim and accepts everything above reason, in that place there is no control to the Sitra Achra [other side]. This is so because all the questions that the Sitra Achra asks can control only within reason, but above reason, that territory belongs to the Kedusha, for all the questions are only according to the external mind.
Conversely, the internal mind comes after a person has been rewarded with equivalence of form. At that time he understands within the internal mind and sees that everything that the external mind thought that it was right, once he is rewarded with the internal mind, he sees that everything that the external mind argues is untrue, as Baal HaSulam wrote in an essay in Tav-Shin-Gimel [1942-43].
Accordingly, “the saboteur being inside the floodwater and puts a person to death” means that within the water, which is the “Who” and “What,” meaning with these arguments, he kills people. This is the meaning of what The Zohar says, “Rabbi Yosi said, ‘He saw the angel of death coming with the floodwater and therefore went into the ark.’”
In other words, he saw that with these arguments he would lose his spirit of life. At that time, he went into the quality of above reason, which is Bina, which desires mercy, meaning that he wants only to bestow and not receive a thing. Instead, he is happy with his share and regards whatever understanding and feeling about the work of the Creator that he has as a great reward. He is also happy about all the arguments he heard from the “Who” and “What” because now he can go above reason. By this he is saved from the flood of water.
According to the above, we can interpret what The Zohar says (Noah, Item 196), “A person should certainly hide himself so as not to be seen by the saboteur when he is in the world, so he will not look at him, for he has permission to destroy all those seen by him.”
(And in Item 200) “This is why the Creator sought to cover Noah and hide him from sight. And Noah came to hide from the eye, from the water of the flood, for the water pressed him into the ark. He saw the water of the flood and feared it, hence he came to the ark.”
We should understand how it can be said about a sabotaging angel that if Noah enters the ark, the angel cannot see him because he is in the ark. How can we understand this if the Creator advised Noah to enter the ark so the sabotaging angel would not see him? Clearly, when he saw the ark, what would he think, that this is an empty ark without people? Even if the saboteur were corporeal, he would certainly want to see what is in the ark, all the more so with an angel, does he not see what is in the ark? Is this possible?
In the work, we should interpret that the sabotaging angel sees those people who walk within reason. With them, he can argue with arguments of “Who” and “What.” But when the Creator told him to go into Bina, which is called “the covered world,” meaning it is covered from external ones, who are those who go with the external mind, the saboteur can see them because they have a common language, meaning externality.
But those who go above reason, who do everything because of faith in the Creator and through faith in the sages, who give them guidance how to go and achieve Dvekut [adhesion] with the Creator, and be rewarded with the internal mind, called “the mind of the Torah,” in that place it is regarded that the sabotaging angel has no means to see because his vision is in vessels of reception.
For this reason, our sages said, “Once the saboteur is given permission, it does not distinguish between good and bad.” We interpreted that this means that when the saboteur is given permission, even people who engage in reception in order to bestow, who are considered good, since they engage in reception, there can be slandering by him. Hence, they, too, enter Bina, which is vessels of bestowal, where the Sitra Achra has no grip. This is regarded as the sabotaging angel not being able to see who is in the ark, since his grip is only on vessels of reception, where he can slander and accuse.
But one who walks into the ark, which is Bina, a vessel of bestowal, the Sitra Achra does not see them. That is, they have no common language making it possible to understand what the Sitra Achraargues against the work.
When a person walks on the path of bestowal, which is regarded as above reason, faith, until the point of faith the Sitra Achra can argue with a person. But as soon as a person has entered the ark of faith, above reason, the Sitra Achra remains standing by the gate of faith and cannot continue.
It is as it is written in The Study of the Ten Sefirot (Part 14), “This Bina is still not regarded as devoid of Rosh [head] (meaning wholeness) because Bina does not suffer from any force of Tzimtzum[restriction].” This means that since Bina is regarded as desiring mercy, which is a vessel of bestowal, she does not need anything for herself, and anything that she can do above reason, she feels that she has something to give. That is, Tzimtzum is called “lack,” and the lack always comes by one’s desire to receive something. If he needs to receive and someone interferes, meaning that the giver says, “Yes, I will give you, but only on my terms. If you agree to my terms, you will receive. Otherwise, you will not.” Here there is room for interferences.
That is, if the receiver is unfit to meet the terms that the giver requires then the giver is deficient. That is, the conditions that the giver requires are called “limitations and restrictions,” and the receiver is not always willing to meet these terms.
But if he does not want to receive anything from the giver, he does not mind that the giver wants to give only according to restrictions, since he has no business with the giving of the giver. This is called Bina, a vessel of bestowal. She wants to give and not receive anything.
However, there is great depth here in Bina wanting to give and not receive anything. Here, there is already a condition on the part of the lower one, the giver. That is, the fact that the lower one wants to bestow, the lower one says, “Only according to the term I will present to You, I am willing to bestow upon You. Otherwise, I cannot give You anything.” What is the condition? “I want to see if You are really important. And not simply important, but in order for me to be able to give You everything and leave nothing for myself, but observe ‘with all your heart and with all your soul,’ I can give You this only on condition that I feel Your greatness and importance. Then I will be ready for anything. Otherwise, I cannot give You what You ask of me.”
It follows that when a person does not feel the greatness of the Creator, the body cannot annul before Him “with all your heart and with all your soul.” However, in truth, by presenting a condition that says, “I agree to work for You only on condition that I see Your importance and greatness,” he already wants to receive from the Creator—the greatness of the Creator—or he will not want to work with all his heart. Thus, a person is already limited and placed under the governance of concealment, and he is not free to say that he wants nothing but to bestow. This is not true since he does want something before he observes “that all your works will be for the sake of the Creator.” That is, he first wants to receive the greatness of the Creator, and then say that he will annul before the Creator. Certainly, this is not regarded as Bina because Bina desires mercy and wants nothing, for she does want.
It follows that Bina, whose quality is desiring mercy, meaning that she does not need to receive anything, is therefore free, since only one who needs to receive is limited and dependent on the view of others. But one who goes with his eyes shut and does not need any greatness or anything else, this is called “freedom.”
However, we must know that it is a lot of work before we attain the quality of Bina. That is, to be content with little with his feeling and his mind, and be happy with his share, with what he has. That person can always be in wholeness because he is happy with his share.
But what can one do if he has not yet obtained this quality, and he sees that he cannot overcome his will to receive. At that time, he must pray to the Creator to help him so he can go in the work with his eyes shut, and will not need anything, and will be able to do everything for the sake of the Creator despite the resistance of the body to this.
That is, he does not tell the Creator how He should help him. Rather, he must subjugate himself and annul before the Creator unconditionally. But since he cannot overcome his body, he asks the Creator to help him win the war against the inclination, since he understands his lowliness.
For this reason, he asks the Creator to have mercy on him because he is worse than other people, who can be servants of the Creator, whereas he is worse than them. He sees that he has a desire to receive in self-love more than all of them. Therefore, he is ashamed of himself that he can be so lowly. For this reason, he asks the Creator to have mercy on him and deliver him from the governance of the evil inclination.
Yet, he does not ask for help because he is more important than other people. Rather, he is worse than the rest of the people because his will to receive is more developed and works within him more vigorously.
However, he is not asking to be given more knowledge about the greatness of the Creator, and then he will be able to emerge from the governance of evil. Although this is true, he does not want to tell the Creator that he wants to present Him with conditions and only then he will annul before the Creator. Rather, he agrees to remain with little understanding and little feeling, not more than he has now. But since he does not have the power to overcome, he asks the Creator to give him the power to overcome, and not brains, mind, or feeling.
Any advice that a person gives to the Creator seems as though he is setting conditions, as though he has a status and a view. But this is insolence of a person to present the Creator with conditions and say, “If You give me, for example, good taste in the work, I will be able to work for You. Otherwise, I cannot.” Instead, one should say, “I want to annul myself and surrender unconditionally, just give me the strength to really be able to emerge from self-love and love the Lord ‘with all your heart.’”
If a person presents conditions, it does not point to one’s lowliness. On the contrary, it shows that this person considers himself worthy and proud. It is as though he says, “The rest of the people are mindless; they can work for You. But I am not like other people; I know better what it means to be Jewish and what is the work of the Creator.” Therefore, he says to the Creator that He should treat him as he understands it, and not as the Creator understands it.
Accordingly, we can understand the matter of three lines, where The Zohar introduces three discernments: 1) Sweet water, and the opposite of Kedusha, which is bitter water. It is known that “right” means wholeness, as it is written in Baal HaSulam’s essay from Tav-Shin-Gimel [1942-43], that one must believe above reason that he is complete. The opposite of complete is that the Sitra Achra comes and shows him all the deficiencies, how he is not following the path of the Creator, thus dropping a person into a state of sadness to the point that the person wishes to escape the campaign. At that time he only wishes to kill time and sees everything as black.
2) The “left line” is when a person wants to introspect within reason to see what he is truly like according to his eyes, whether he is whole or lacking. Since he has prepared himself for this scrutiny and shifted to the left line because now he wants to pray to the Creator to help him love the Lord with heart and soul, this is called “clear water,” since there is no waste or mixture here. Rather, he wants to find a place where he can pray to the Creator.
Conversely, the opposite of Kedusha comes with complaints and makes him see that he is just fine and has nothing to pray for. This is called “murky water,” for “clear” means that there are no mixtures there. That is, he sees the truth, as he sees according to his view and mind. He sees that he is wrong and has the power and desire to pray to the Creator to help him be rewarded with loving the Creator “with all your heart.” At that time comes the opposite of Kedusha and mixes falsehood there, telling him that he is fine and has nothing to pray for. This is murky water, where falsehood is intermingled in that they say that he is fine and has nothing to pray for.
We should also interpret what The Zohar says, “There is water of peace and water of quarreling, Kedusha and the opposite of the middle line.” The law is that the middle line is a merger of the two lines. Since the right line of Kedusha is wholeness, with respect to above reason, and the left line means that he sees within reason that he is incomplete, but quite the contrary, he is full of deficiencies.
For this reason, the middle line consists of two lines. That is, it is impossible to go above reason before he has reason that shows him the situation, how it seems to him within reason. Then it can be said that he is not looking at what the mind obligates him to do. Rather, he goes above the intellect and believes in the sages, in what the sages tell him, and does not use his own mind.
But if he has no mind and reason to tell him something, it cannot be said that he is going above reason. This is why the middle line is called “peace,” since he needs the two lines. That is, by having two opposite lines and needing both.
But why is it called “peace”? We should interpret that when he has two lines together, he must raise the right line over the left line, as it is written in The Zohar. It means that the line of wholeness is built on the above reason, on the left line, and by this we acquire the desire to love the Creator. This is the Segula [virtue/remedy/quality] of above reason.
It is as Baal HaSulam said, that the fact that the Creator wants us to serve Him above reason, the Creator chose this way since this is the most successful way for the created beings to be rewarded with Dvekut, and then they are rewarded with peace. It is as it is written (Psalms 85), “I will hear what the Lord God shall speak, for He shall speak peace unto His people and unto His followers, and let them not turn back to folly.” It follows that the merging of two lines is called “peace,” and this is the middle line in Kedusha.
Conversely, the opposite of Kedusha is called “waters of quarreling,” since they extended upon themselves that which they should not have extended, called “waters of quarreling,” and were defiled in it. This means that the opposite of Kedusha raised the left line over the right line, meaning said the exact opposite of Kedusha.
The path of Kedusha is that we need the “within reason,” which resists what the “above reason” says. The reason why they need to use and engage in the left line is not that they want to walk in the left line and listen to it. On the contrary, they need to use and engage with the reason so as to have room to go above reason. But what did the opposite of Kedusha do? They extended the left line so as to control the right line, meaning go within reason.
This is real Tuma’a [impurity], for Tuma’a in the work is called “the denseness of the heart.” That is, the will to receive blocks the heart so the Kedusha cannot enter the heart due to disparity of form. Thus, a quarrel with the Creator ensued over why the Creator is not giving them delight and pleasure, which is the opposite of peace. For this reason, we must try to go with faith above reason.
Inapoi la pagina 1989 (ŞLAVEY HASULAM (TREPTELE SCĂRII) – link