Inapoi la pagina 1989 (ŞLAVEY HASULAM (TREPTELE SCĂRII) – link
What It Means, in the Work, that If the Good Grows, So Grows the Bad
Article No. 08, Tav-Shin-Mem-Tet, 1988-89
The verse says (Genesis 25:22), “And the sons were running within her, and she said, ‘If this is so, why me?’ and she went to seek the Lord.” RASHI brings the words of our sages, “The word ‘running,’ when she was passing by the doors of the Torah of Shem and Ever. Jacob was running and pressing to come out, passing by the doors of idol-worship, Esau was pressing to come out. Another interpretation: Struggling with each other and quarreling about the inheritance of two worlds.”
We see that during pregnancy, one turned toward Kedusha [holiness], and one turned toward idol-worship. Thus, what is the novelty that the Torah tells us later, that “The boys grew, and Esau became a hunter, a man of the field, and Jacob was an honest man, dwelling in tents”? Presumably, when they were born, so they continued according to their qualities.
RASHI explains this and says, “‘The boys grew,’ as long as they were little, they were not recognized by their actions and a person is not meticulous about their nature. When they turned thirteen years of age, one turned toward seminaries, and one turned to idol-worship.”
In order to understand this in the work, how we learn Jacob and Esau in one person, we must first understand the qualities of Jacob and Esau in the work.
It is known that all the evil that we learn, which is against Kedusha, is called in the work, “desire to receive for oneself,” while Kedusha is called “a desire to bestow upon the Creator,” as it is written, “You will be holy, for the Lord am holy.” “Holy” means that he retires from receiving for himself, but only to bestow, since the Creator bestows upon the creatures, and the creatures must bestow upon the Creator, as our sages said, “As He is merciful, so you are merciful.”
For this reason, we call the will to receive for oneself by the name Esau, and the desire to bestow upon the Creator by the name Jacob. Now we can understand the meaning of Esau, as RASHI interprets, “They all called him this because he was complete [made] and fully developed with hair, like one many years old.” This implies the will to receive for oneself, on which there is no need to work because the Creator had already made it, in that the desire to do good to His creations created the will to receive. For this reason, the evil inclination is called “a foolish old king,” as it is written in The Zohar.
But the desire to bestow, which is called Jacob, requires much work before one obtains this desire. It is the complete opposite of Esau, who was done by itself by the Creator. Conversely, the desire to bestow pertains to man’s work, as it extends from the correction of the Tzimtzum [restriction], when Malchut, called “will to receive,” yearned to be a giver like the Emanator. Hence, she made the correction of the Tzimtzum to receive only in order to bestow, and by this she acquires equivalence of form.
This is called the quality of Esau, as RASHI interprets about Esau, “They all called him this because he was complete [made] and fully developed.” In other words, a person does not need to work in order to obtain vessels of reception. Rather, as soon as one is born, he already has the evil inclination, as The Zohar says, that as soon as he is born he has the evil inclination, as it is written, “Sin crouches at the door.” It interprets that the “door” is the opening of the womb. The evil inclination, called “sin,” promptly comes to him, as David said, “My sin is ever before me.”
Conversely, Jacob is vessels of bestowal. For them to control the man comes by deceit, as it is written (Genesis 27:35), “And he said, ‘Your brother came deceitfully and took away your blessing.’” Concerning this deceit, Baal HaSulam said that since the beginning of engagement in Torah and Mitzvot [commandments/good deeds] is in Lo Lishma [not for Her sake], as for this the will to receive can agree, but later, by this, we are rewarded with Lishma [for Her sake]. Then Esau yells, “You deceived me!” as it is written, “And he said, ‘Is he not rightly named Jacob, for he has supplanted me twice!’” We should interpret that “twice” means in mind and in heart. We begin in Lo Lishma, hence the body does not object so much, since he makes it believe him that he is working only for the sake of the body, which is called “self-love.”
However, to later emerge from this governance of self-love and be rewarded with the love of the Creator, here begins the real work, and here begins the order of the work, regarded as a person wanting to step on the track that leads to Dvekut [adhesion] with the Creator.
The work begins with Ibur [conception/impregnation], when we want to shift from the will to receive for oneself and come into the desire to bestow. This is the meaning of the words, “And the boys were running within her.” RASHI interpreted the word “running,” that when she passed over the doors of Torah of Shem and Ever, Jacob was running and pressing to come out, and when she was passing by the doors of idol-worship, Esau was pressing to come out.
Baal HaSulam interpreted that when a person begins the work, this is the time when contradicting thoughts come to him. That is, before he begins the work of bestowal, he cannot really notice the subtle discernments in the order of the work, but when he wants to begin the work of bestowal, he can feel every state that he is in.
He said that when a person passes by the doors of Torah, he awakens and thoughts that he should enter a place of Torah—which is regarded as “for they are our life and the length of our days”—come to him. This is regarded as the awakening of the quality of Jacob. At that time, he thinks he will remain in such thoughts forever, since he feels that this is life’s purpose, and it is not worthwhile to pay attention to corporeality, as this is not what matters in life and not what one should live for.
But later, when he passes by the doors of idol-worship, meaning when he goes out to the street and sees that all the people are immersed in self-love and are not interested in bestowal whatsoever, he immediately gets thoughts that he should follow their path, and forgets all the work he has done in the matter of Lishma, that this is what matters in life. Now, he thinks completely differently. This is called “idol-worship,” when he serves himself and not the Creator.
In the work, this is called “idol-worship,” which means that a person sees that the Esau in him is pressing to come out and partake with them. However, we see this only during the Ibur, when a person wants to shift from self-love to love of the Creator, which is in order to bestow. But when he is still working like the general public, he cannot notice all these sensations although they are in him.
The reason for this is simple. It is as our sages said, “A matter of no interest about a person I do not know.” It means that something that is of little interest to a person, he does not think about it. For this reason, specifically those who want to walk on the path of individuals, called “in order to bestow,” because they want to know if they are advancing in the work, their sense of criticism is developed so as to notice every little thing. They see every little thing to know if they are fine or not. Hence, the above-mentioned running between Jacob and Esau begins in the Ibur.
It is written, “And the sons were running within her, and she said, ‘If this is so, why me?’” That is, when a person begins to see that once he yearns for love of the Creator, and once he yearns for self-love, and then he says, “If this is so, why me?” meaning why do I need all this work, if I see that my ups and downs are endless, and I feel that since I have begun to work on the path of bestowal, I have been left empty handed from here and from here?
That is, while I was working like the general public, I knew that each day I was advancing in the work of the Creator, since each day I could introspect and see how long I prayed, how much I learned, and I had what to look at. I was happy and high spirited, since I was looking only at the actions, and saw that thank God, I was successful in the work.
But now that I have begun to work on the aim to bestow, and I was told that the acts I do with the aim that it is because the Creator commanded us to do and to observe the Torah and Mitzvot are not enough, and I must also aim to bestow, meaning for the sake of the Creator. Yet, I see that as much as I exert, I cannot prevail. Even though I think I did all that I could, I am not moving one step forward. So what is the purpose? If this is so, why me? Why did I leave the work in the manner of the general public?
This is the meaning of the words, “and she went to seek the Lord.” That is, he saw that now there was no choice, since he could no longer return to the general public because once he saw that there was a path of truth, he could no longer work only in practice. Therefore, he had no choice but to seek the Lord, that He will help him, as our sages said, “He who comes to purify is aided.”
He says, “Now I see what our sages said, ‘Man’s inclination overcomes him every day. And were it not for the help of the Creator, he would not overcome it.’” He does not need to believe that he cannot overcome it, since he sees it within reason.
But those who work within reason must believe that the Creator helps them since within reason they see that they are engaging in Torah and Mitzvot, and see that when the body wants to be a little lazy, they immediately overcome the body’s idleness and do not see that there is a flaw in their work. Although they see that there are greater people than they, in quantity and quality, it is known that there is no end to greatness, and thank God, he sees that he is considered among the important people, and he never gets bad thoughts, to think that there is bad in him. Rather, he is almost fine, since “There is not a righteous man on earth who does good and does not sin.” Hence, he believes above reason that he has faults, but it is only because he is looking for lowliness, though in truth, his state in spirituality is not so bad.
Conversely, those who want to shift to working in bestowal, it is within reason that they have no progress in Torah and Mitzvot, so as to be able to aim in order to bestow. Therefore, they see that they have no other choice but to demand of the Creator to help them. Also, it is difficult for them to pray for the help of the Creator because they fall into doubt that the Creator will hear their prayer.
This comes to them because they have already prevailed many times and asked the Creator to help them be able to engage in the work of bestowal, but they received no progress in the work of bestowal. Thus, they need great strengthening in order to be able to pray to the Creator to help them. That is, they must believe above reason that the Creator will help them, while within reason they see that they are bare and destitute with respect to the work of bestowal. This is the complete opposite of how they were while they worked like the general public.
Now we will explain what we asked, Why is it written, “The boys grew, and Esau became a hunter, a man of the field, and Jacob was an honest man, dwelling in tents”? We asked, What is the novelty? Certainly, as they were during the Ibur, so they would be when they grow up. RASHI explains this and says, “As long as they were little, they were not recognized by their actions and a person is not meticulous about their nature. When they turned thirteen years of age, one turned toward seminaries, and one turned to idol-worship.”
We should interpret this in the manner that our sages said (Kidushin 40), “Our sages said, ‘One should always see oneself as half guilty, half innocent. If he performs one Mitzva, happy is he, for he has sentenced himself to the side of merit.” The question is, After he has performed one Mitzva and has sentenced himself to the side of merit, how can he still say that he should see himself as half guilty, half innocent? After all, he has already sentenced himself to the side of merit.
We should explain as our sages said (Sukkah 52), “That old man taught him: ‘Anyone who is greater than his friend, his inclination is greater than him.’” We should also understand this: Why if he becomes great, his evil inclination grows in him, as well? As was said above, it is because they must be half and half, or it will be impossible to choose, to make a decision. Once he has performed one Mitzva, he has already sentenced to the side of merit, or vice versa. Hence, when evil is added to him, when he becomes great, after he has performed one Mitzva, it follows that each time he grows, evil is added to him. This is why he is always in a state of half good and half bad. This is why it says, “One should always see oneself as half guilty, half innocent.”
By this we can interpret what RASHI explains, “And the boys grew.” “As long as they were little, they were not recognized by their actions, and a person is not meticulous about their nature.” That is, when one is small, he does not have much good. Naturally, he also does not have much bad, so that the bad in him becomes apparent. This is why RASHI interprets, “They were not recognized by their actions and a person is not meticulous about their nature.”
But when they grow, both grow, and then there is a distinction between the good inclination and the evil inclination. This comes to teach us that in the beginning of the work, during the Ibur, meaning when a person begins to shift from the work of the general public to the work of individuals, the bad immediately begins to appear in him. However, it is not so apparent. Yet, when he begins to ascend in the work and begins to grow, as it is written, “The boys grew,” to the extent and order of the growth, so grows the evil. According to the measure of the good that he does, so grows the measure of the evil in him, as was said, so he will be half guilty, half innocent.
Now we can understand what RASHI explained, “Another interpretation: Struggling with each other and quarreling about the inheritance of two worlds.” We should understand for what purpose there needs to be a quarrel between them. It is as our sages said (Berachot 5), “Rabbi Levi said, ‘One should always vex the good inclination over the evil inclination.’” RASHI explains that he should wage war against the evil inclination. We need to understand what is the purpose of this war. Would it not be better if a person saw that the bad in him did not awaken? Why does he need to awaken it and fight it? It would be better if he did not risk himself, for he might not be able to defeat it, as our sages said, “One must not put oneself in danger.”
In the work, when we want to achieve bestowal, we must say when we perform Mitzvot or engage in Torah, that we want to do everything with the aim to bestow. This is called vexing the good inclination over the evil inclination, since when a person says to his body, “We must work for the sake of the Creator and not for our own sake,” the body immediately becomes angry and resists with all its might. It tells him, “You can do anything, but for the sake of the Creator and not for our own sake? This is out of the question.” It follows that if he does not vex it, he will never be able to achieve the truth.
Inapoi la pagina 1989 (ŞLAVEY HASULAM (TREPTELE SCĂRII) – link