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What Is, His Guidance Is Concealed and Revealed?
Article No. 28, Tav-Shin-Mem-Het, 1987-88
Midrash Rabbah, Ruth (Chapter 2:11) asks, “One verse says, ‘For the Lord will not abandon His people and will not leave His inheritance,’ and another verse says, ‘For the Lord will not abandon His people for the sake of His great name.’ Rabbi Shmuel Bar Nachmani said, ‘At times He does for the sake of His people and His inheritance, and at times He does for the sake of His great name.’ Rabbi Ibi said, ‘When Israel are worthy—for the sake of His people and His inheritance. When Israel are not worthy—for the sake of His great name. And our sages said, ‘In the land of Israel, for the sake of His people and inheritance. Abroad, for the sake of His great name, as it was said, ‘For My sake, for My sake I will do.’’”
We should understand the meaning of “His great name,” and the meaning of “His people and His inheritance.” We should also understand the difference between “abroad,” attributed to His great name, and “the land of Israel,” which is “for the sake of His people and inheritance.”
We are told to believe in His guidance—that He leads the world as good and doing good. We must believe that the purpose of creation was because He desires to do good to His creations. We must believe even though we suffer from what Providence sends us to feel. Nonetheless, we should believe that the punishments we suffer for not observing the Mitzvot [commandments/good deeds] of the Creator, which the Creator has commanded us, these punishments are not due to vengeance, as it occurs among flesh and blood, who punish because their honor was tarnished when their orders are disobeyed. Instead, here there is a matter of correction.
That is, the torments a person suffers for not observing the Creator’s commandments is because the giving of Torah and Mitzvot was for man’s sake. Through them, he is to receive Kelim [vessels] that can receive the delight and pleasure that the Creator has prepared for the creatures. For this reason, when a person does not observe Torah and Mitzvot, he is devoid of those Kelim. Hence, the Creator sends him suffering so he would take upon himself the Torah and Mitzvot. It is as Baal HaSulam said, that we must believe that the sin is the punishment and the punishment is the correction. This is the opposite of the common view.
It is as the Nahmanides says (presented in The Study of the Ten Sefirot, Part 1, Histaklut Pnimit, Item 1), “Nahmanides had already explained to us the matter of His uniqueness, as expressed in the words, ‘One, Unique, and Unified.’ There is a difference between ‘One,’ ‘Unique,’ and ‘Unified’: When He unites to act with one force, He is called ‘Unified.’ When He divides to act His act, each part of Him is called ‘Unique.’ When He is in a single evenness, He is called ‘One.’ Interpretation: Uniting to act with one force, when He works to bestow, as is fitting of His oneness, and His operations are unchanging. When He divides to act His act, meaning when His operations differ, and He seems to be doing good and bad, He is called ‘Unique,’ since all His different operations have a single outcome: doing good. We find that He is unique in every single act and does not change by His various actions. When He is in a single evenness, He is called ‘One.’ ‘One’ points to His essence.” He also writes there, “‘One’ indicates a single evenness. ‘Unique’ implies that all those multiplicities are in Him as single as His essence. ‘Unified’ shows that although He performs many actions, one force performs all those, and they all return and unite in the form of ‘Unique.’”
We see that all of Guidance is in the form of corrections. Although it is difficult to understand this, we must take upon ourselves faith in the sages, which is called “oral Torah [law].” That is, we must believe what they are telling us about what to do and what to believe, and we must follow their views blindly and without criticism because our reason cannot understand the ways of His Providence. Thus, everything must be in faith above reason, and specifically by this we are then rewarded with the delight and pleasure, since we are following the ways of the sages, who have determined for us in which way and manner to go, and not the way our intellect understands.
Specifically in this way of above reason, we are later rewarded with feeling in the organs that the Creator leads the world in a manner of good and doing good. At that time we do not have to believe because we can already feel this, and then we ourselves testify that the creation of the world was with the intention to do good to His creations.
We must believe that the Creator leads the world as Elokim [God], which is called Teva [nature], as it is written, the Gematria of “nature” is “God,” which is the quality of judgment.
God is the quality of judgment, and HaVaYaH [the Lord] is the quality of mercy. Hence, the for the world in general, who do not believe in the Creator, they say that the guidance of the world follows the quality of nature, that nature determines the guidance of the world. However, they do not say that nature is God, but that it is nature, without any leader. We see that this nature, which the Creator created with the quality of judgment, has no mercy in the judgment, since nature has no intellect from which to ask for mercy so it does not punish us so harshly because we are so weak that we cannot follow its commandments.
The answer to this is “There is no mercy in the judgment.” For example, if someone throws his friend in the water, and the water wants to drown him, he says to the water, “Is it my fault that my friend threw me into your domain? Therefore, I’m asking you to please have mercy on me, since I have a big family with many children and no one to take care of them. So please forgive me for entering your domain.” The answer is “There is no mercy in the judgment” to those who break nature’s laws, which is God, who is the quality of judgment. This is as it is written, “Judgment will puncture the mountain [justice should be done at all costs].” Only those who believe that nature is God, meaning that there is a leader to nature, through prayer, they can induce change in nature, since there is a landlord to nature, and therefore He can change nature.
It is written (Taanit 25a) that when Rabbi Hanina Ben Dosa saw on the eve of Shabbat [Sabbath] that his daughter was sad, he told her: “‘My daughter, why are you sad?’ She said to him: ‘I swapped the jar of oil with the jar of vinegar, and I placed the vinegar in the candle. The candle will quench and it will be dark on Shabbat.’ He replied, ‘He who said to the oil, ‘Burn!’ will tell the vinegar, ‘Burn!’’”
We see that one who believes that nature has a landlord can change nature. For this reason, those righteous for whom nature is regarded as God, meaning that the Creator is nature’s landlord, through their prayer, the Creator changes nature because of them. This is why we pray to the Creator to help us change nature, meaning that even if as far as nature is concerned, all the doctors have given up on that person, and medicine gives him no chance of recovery, the Creator can still heal and change nature.
It is written (Berachot 10), “Even if a sharp sword is placed on his neck, he should not deny himself mercy.” Although from the perspective of nature, there is a judgment that he will certainly die, a Jew believes that there is a leader to nature and that He has mercy, which is called HaVaYaH. Therefore, they said, “he should not deny himself mercy.” This is the meaning of the words, “HaVaYaH is Elokim” [the Lord is God].
Conversely, those who say that nature is without a landlord and there is no one to lead it have no mercy in the judgment. Therefore, they have no complaints to nature because there is no one to be angry with, since it has no mind that you can speak to or ask for mercy.
This is similar to an old custom: Before the invention of road-signs as a means to put order in traffic, police officers would stand and streamline traffic. At that time, many people were angry and had grievances against the officers for not doing their job right, and that they were not noticing the line of cars. Sometimes, a person would approach the officer and ask for a favor, since he has a sick person at home, etc., or ask for some special treatment, and the officer would act on his own judgment. At that time everyone thought that the officers were not working properly. Many people were happy, and many were not.
But today, the streamliner of traffic has become inanimate, mindless. So, now each one accepts the verdict of the road-sign (traffic light), and no one gets angry with it or asks it for favors. For example, sometimes an ambulance drives with a sick person that must be rushed to the hospital on a life or death situation. He does not speak to the road-sign, which is similar to nature, “streamlining the conduct of creation,” to let him through, since it is similar to nature, which is judgment, and there is no mercy in judgment.
Accordingly, we can understand that when the Creator wanted the physical world to exist and for the species to continue, and that generations will continue in succession and man will not be able to spoil the order of the existence of the world, for this reason, He has created the world as “nature.” Since it is not revealed as orderly guidance and everyone thinks that there is no landlord to the world, and that man can do whatever he wants, since when they do not know that there is a landlord watching over the world, each one does as he pleases and they might spoil the world. What did He do? He revealed the reward and punishment. That is, anyone who wants to break nature’s laws, which He did, will immediately be punished. And if they observe nature’s laws they will be rewarded for their work. This is called “revealed reward and punishment.”
For this reason, in the physical world, because of the correction called “equivalence of form,” it is forbidden to receive for one’s own sake. Rather, as it is written (Avot, Chapter 2:17), “All your actions will be for the sake of heaven.” Since the greatest pleasure is when a person feels that he is standing in the King’s palace and speaking with the King, and since any reception of pleasure must be for the sake of the Creator and not for one’s own sake, it means that a person should aim—while receiving the pleasure—to receive because the Creator wants the creatures to enjoy. But for himself, he would relinquish the pleasure.
It is known that the greater the pleasure, the harder it is to relinquish it. For this reason, if the Creator were revealed and they would not have to believe in Him, it would be impossible for man to be able to aim in order to bestow, since a person is utterly unable to say that if the Creator did not want us near Him and to feel how we speak to Him, we would relinquish the pleasure of this meeting.
Hence, a concealment was made, so there would be room for choice. That is, we must believe that “The whole Earth is full of His glory.” Before a person is rewarded with vessels of bestowal, a person cannot have permanent faith, as it is said in the “Introduction of The Book of Zohar.” For this reason, there is a Tzimtzum [restriction] and concealment on spirituality. And in order not to have corruption in the world, the reward and punishment are revealed.
Conversely, if the reward and punishment in spirituality were revealed, there would not be any need to observe Torah and Mitzvot for the sake of the Creator. Instead, the reason mandating observing Torah and Mitzvot would remain in Lo Lishma [not for Her sake]. That is, where there are revealed reward and punishment, which is called “open Providence,” there is no need to observe Torah and Mitzvot because the Creator has commanded us to do so, and we want to do His will, and not because of reward and punishment.
Since we must observe Torah and Mitzvot because “He is great and ruling,” it is a great privilege if we can do His will and observe His commandments. But if the reward and punishment were revealed, it would not matter to us who gives us the reward or punishment. It follows that if this were so, man would have no choice as to whether to achieve Dvekut [adhesion] with the Creator, since he would have no need for this because the reward and punishment would instruct man to keep the rules. The reward and punishment are as man’s two legs, by which he walks and advances toward the goal to which his legs lead him, since from a place where he feels suffering, which is a punishment, he runs, and to a place where he feels he can derive delight and pleasure, he runs.
Naturally, at that time he has no need to know who is the landlord of the world, for what will it add to him to know that there is a leader to the world; he would only be interested in scrutinies of pleasure and suffering. Where one can derive more pleasure, in this he is immersed, and all his calculations in life are only about these matters. For this reason, the Creator hid Himself in the Torah, meaning that by engaging in Torah he can find Him, for otherwise He is hidden.
It follows that to the entire world, who have no connection to spirituality and He is hidden from them, He must lead the world with open Providence, meaning that the reward and punishment will be revealed. Naturally, they will not spoil the conducts of creation, for the Creator has created the world in nature, and they say that there is no landlord here, but only nature—which is seemingly inanimate—is the leader of the world.
And when there is no landlord to fear, each does as he pleases and they might spoil creation. (But because the Creator) leads (the whole world) in open Providence, naturally, they will observe every condition that nature stipulates, or nature will punish them. It follows that He can be hidden and everyone do His will, as He has arranged the world by nature, which is called “God,” “the quality of judgment.” It follows that He is hidden and the reward and punishment are revealed.
This is not so in spirituality, where He wants to be revealed to the lower ones. At that time Providence is covered, meaning that the reward and punishment are not revealed. Instead, one must believe that there are reward and punishment. Why are the reward and punishment concealed? It is because He wants them to search Him, meaning that the quality of “great and ruling” will compel them to engage in Torah and Mitzvot, and not the reward, but rather that everything will be Lishma [for Her sake], namely that the Creator is the reason for engaging in Torah and Mitzvot because this is His will.
Conversely, if we feel reward and punishment while observing the Mitzvot, this is called Lo Lishma, as it is written, “Crave His commandments” (Psalms 112:1). They interpreted, His commandments and not the reward for His commandments, but rather to observe because the Creator has commanded to do and a person wants to bring contentment to the Creator, and this is why he observes His commandments. It is as the RADAK says there: “Crave His commandments” is the positive Mitzvot[commandments to certain actions]. He does them willingly, out of love of the Creator, who commanded him to do them. For this reason, he says, “crave,” meaning that he chases the Mitzva[sing. for Mitzvot] and exerts to do it with all his might, with his body and his wealth.
Accordingly, where we want the Creator Himself to be revealed to a person in the form of Dvekut, the reward and punishment are in concealed guidance. Otherwise, he will have no need to connect to Him. Instead, they would observe Torah and Mitzvot because of his own benefit, and from this they will derive satisfaction in their lives. But where it is impossible that they would be interested to know if there is a leader or not, which means that the world is governed only by corporeal things, it follows that the Creator is concealed there because they have no need to know if there is a landlord and a leader to the world. Instead, they say that the leader is nature, as though inanimate.
And what did the Creator do in order not to spoil nature’s order? He placed a correction on nature, and that correction is called “revealed reward and punishment.” This is a strict guarding that they will not spoil the nature that the Creator has created.
For this reason, we should say that where the Creator remains concealed, the reward and punishment are revealed. And where the Creator must be felt among the lower ones, the reward and punishment must be concealed from the lower ones.
Now we can interpret what we asked, What does it mean that they said about the verse, “For the Lord will not abandon His people,” for two reasons: 1) for the sake of His people and His inheritance, 2) for the sake of His great name.
We asked, What is the difference between them? Our sages said (Masechet Sanhedrin 98) about the verse, “‘For My sake, for My sake I will do,’ Rabbi Alexandri said, ‘Rabbi Yehoshua Ben Levi Rami, ‘It is written, ‘in its time’ and it is written ‘I will hasten it.’ If they are rewarded, I will hasten it. If they are not rewarded, in its time.’’” We should interpret the meaning of “I will hasten it.” We learn that the creatures must come to be rewarded with the purpose of creation, which is to do good to His creations, and all of our work is to correct ourselves with vessels of bestowal, for only in those Kelimcan the upper lights clothe, so there will be equivalence of form between the light and the Kli. This is the correction of the Tzimtzum, in order not to have the bread of shame. It follows that it is within man’s power to correct this.
This is called “accelerating the achieving of the goal,” which is to do good to His creations. We can do this only by annulling the authority, and only then is it possible to receive everything in order to bestow. For this reason, when the Creator imparts the abundance, He imparts to “His people and His inheritance.” That is, everything is regarded as His, and the lower one has no authority of his own because he has annulled his own authority. For this reason, “He will not abandon,” but He rather bestows upon “His people and His inheritance.”
But if they are “not rewarded,” meaning that they do not want to annul their authority and are unworthy of receiving the abundance, this is called “in its time.” At that time the Creator works “for the sake of His great name,” and the name of the Creator is The Good Who Does Good. For this reason, He bestows upon them because He is good and does good, which is called “His great name.”
This is the meaning of what is written, “Our great sages say, ‘In the land of Israel, for the sake of His people and His inheritance. Abroad, for the sake of His great name.” What is the relation in the work between “the land of Israel” and “His people and His inheritance”? In the work, “the land of Israel” is when a person has already been rewarded with all his actions being Yashar-El [straight to the Creator], and he does not do anything for his own sake. It follows that “The Lord will not abandon.” Instead, He bestows upon them delight and pleasure because they have vessels of bestowal. This is why they are called “His people and His inheritance,” since they have no authority of their own.
Conversely, abroad, while they are still not in the land of Israel, when their actions are still not for the sake of the Creator, called Yashar-El, it is only by an awakening from above, regarded as “on the part of the upper one,” whose purpose is His will to do good to His creations. This is called “in its time,” and it is called “for the sake of His great name,” where His great name is the name of the Creator, which is The Good Who Does Good. Also, “great” means Hesed [mercy], meaning that His manner is to bestow. For this reason, “The Lord will not abandon” only from the perspective of the awakening from above, since from the perspective of the lower ones, they are still not worthy of the Creator bestowing upon them delight and pleasure.
It therefore follows that in all the descents that a person suffers in the work, he must believe in reward and punishment although he does not see. Instead, he must believe that the Creator will not leave him even when he is in descent. Although it is a punishment when the Creator removes him from the work, since the fact that he feels no flavor in the work is only because the Creator has thrown him out, so that a person will not think that now he does not want to be a servant of the Creator, but it is the Creator who does not want him. He must believe that this is a punishment, but he must also believe that it is not out of vengeance, but that it is corrections by which he will be rewarded with ascending and achieving the desired goal.
Inapoi la pagina 1988 (ŞLAVEY HASULAM (TREPTELE SCĂRII) – link