Inapoi la pagina 1989 (ŞLAVEY HASULAM (TREPTELE SCĂRII) – link
What Is, “Calamity that Comes upon the Wicked Begins with the Righteous,” in the Work?
Article No. 09, Tav-Shin-Mem-Tet, 1988-89
Our sages said (Baba Kama 60), “No calamity comes to the world unless when there are wicked in the world, but it begins with the righteous.”
We should understand why the righteous deserve calamity if the calamity should come to the wicked. Why is it the fault of the righteous?
In the work, we must first interpret what is calamity, what are “wicked” in the work, and what are “righteous” in the work. To understand all this, we must know what is “work.” Also, we should understand why we need to work in the first place, meaning what do we gain by having to work? After all, who created all the things that exist in the world? It was all done by the Creator. Thus, for what purpose did He create this world, where we must work for everything we want to acquire, whether corporeal needs or spiritual needs?
To understand all this, we first need to understand the meaning of the whole of creation, meaning for what purpose the Creator created the world. The answer to this is as our sages said, “to do good to His creations.” For this reason, He created creatures and imprinted in them a desire and yearning to receive delight and pleasure. This is called the “purpose of creation.” Since this is not in equivalence of form with the Creator, the creatures will feel shame in the delight and pleasure.
Hence, a correction was made, called “Tzimtzum [restriction] and concealment,” so as to receive only with the aim to bestow. Since the lower one must make this Kli [vessel], and this is against nature, since the Creator created the creatures with a desire to receive delight and pleasure, for this reason, everything that is not natural is hard for one to do. This is called “labor.”
It therefore follows that labor does not mean that a person must exert himself. Rather, it is a result. Since it is against nature, it is hard to do this act, and this is the labor. This is so between man and the Creator, but there is the same correction between man and man, in order not to have shame, for man is afraid to eat the bread of shame.
For this reason, we were given the matter of negotiation, where the employee gives the landlord the work, and for the work, he gives him money. Naturally, there is no shame here.
Also, between man and man, the landlord’s wish is not that we would labor for him, but that we would work for him. This pertains to the product, which is the matter of swapping—the employee gives the host the produce, and in return, the host gives him money.
With a buyer and seller it is to the contrary. The seller gives the buyer the product, and the buyer gives the seller money. One way or the other, both must give. Otherwise, if one gives and the other only receives and gives nothing back, then there is disparity of form here, and the receiver feels shame.
It follows that the purpose of the labor is not the labor, but rather that in order to prevent shame, both must give. Since by nature, man is created only to receive, this is the labor. Thus, the labor is only a result and not the aim, meaning the purpose. It follows that it is not the labor that we need, but the equivalence of form. The labor comes because we do not have this by nature.
Now we can understand what are “wicked” and what are “righteous,” and why “No calamity comes to the world unless when there are wicked in the world.” In the work, “calamity” means that the delight and pleasure are not revealed, meaning that it cannot be revealed to the created beings that His desire is to do good to His creations due to the disparity of form. As long as man has no vessels of bestowal, which is called “equivalence of form,” this is the reason that detains the abundance from descending to the creatures. It follows that “wicked” is one who is remote from the Creator. Thus, in the work, “wicked” is one who is in disparity of form from the Creator, who is not in the form of “As He is merciful, so you are merciful.”
It follows that the upper abundance cannot descend to the lower ones because of the quality of “wicked” in a person, since in the work, it is considered that the person himself consists of the wicked, which are the sparks of reception. This is the meaning of “No calamity comes to the world unless when there are wicked in the world.” This means that the fact that the abundance is not coming to the world, this is considered a calamity that comes to the world due to the will to receive in man, which detains the delight and pleasure.
By this we can interpret the whole matter of the wicked who do not obey the Creator. He commanded us through Moses that we must obey the Creator, or He will punish us. We should ask about this, We can understand that a flesh and blood king, who demands respect, would punish anyone who did not obey him, but why does the Creator punish for disobeying Him? Does He need honors and to receive respect from the created beings? And if He is not respected, is He offended?
It is like a person walking into a henhouse and giving them orders, and they do not obey him. Can it be said that the person is offended by them? It is much more so with regard to the creatures and the Creator. How can it be said that the Creator is offended by the creatures when they do not obey Him, and that for this reason, He sends them calamities?
However, we should believe that the whole matter of the Creator’s vengeance is not for the sake of the Creator, but for the sake of the creatures. That is, the punishments they suffer bring them to be rewarded with the delight and pleasure, which is the will of the Creator that the creatures will receive from Him.
This means that the suffering brings the creatures to take upon themselves the matter of bestowal, for only they are the real Kelim [vessels] that can receive the upper abundance that the Creator wants to give them. This is the meaning of what is written, “No calamity comes to the world unless when there are wicked in the world.” For this reason, they suffer. That is, everything they do in the work gives them a bitter taste, since they have no vessels of bestowal, for only in them do the delight and pleasure shine. It follows that the wicked, who are the reception within man, prevent the reception of the good.
It is as Nahmanides said (presented in The Study of the Ten Sefirot, Part 1, Item 1), “There is a difference between ‘One,’ ‘Unique,’ and ‘Unified.’ Interpretation: ‘Uniting to act with One Force,’ when He works to bestow, as is fitting of His Oneness. When He divides to do His work, and His operations are different from one another, and He seems to be doing good and bad, then He is called ‘Unique,’ since all His different operations have a single outcome: to do good. It follows that He is unique in every single act.”
It is as we interpreted, that the matter of “calamity that comes” is not a matter of vengeance by the Creator for not obeying Him. Rather, it is that He wants us to obey Him and observe the Torah and Mitzvot for the sake of the creatures, and not for the sake of the Creator, since He has no deficiency whatsoever for which He needs something for Himself.
All He wants from the lower ones is that they will receive delight and pleasure without any unpleasantness, but that the pleasure will be utterly complete. If there were shame while receiving the pleasure, there would be no wholeness in the pleasure. It follows that the calamity that the wicked feel is for their own good, as this will induce the correction of their actions.
However, we must know the meaning of correcting the actions in the work. It is that on each and every act we do we must place an intention. The intention is that with this act, we want to bring contentment to our Maker. By this we will achieve Dvekut [adhesion] with the Creator. When doing the act, it must not have an aim to benefit himself, but all of his concerns should be how to please the Creator.
These people, who want to walk on the path of bestowal, are called “righteous.” That is, although they still have not achieved the degree where their whole intention is to bestow, they want to achieve it. They are regarded as “walking on the path of the righteous,” meaning to achieve the degree of “righteous.” They are named after its end.
But those who work like the general public, who are not concerned with the intention, to achieve the degree of “righteous,” we do not speak of them in the work on the path of truth. Rather, they belong to the work on actions. Their intention in Torah and Mitzvot is as Maimonides wrote, that “they are taught in order to receive reward.” Only those who have already understood that we must work for the sake of the Creator are regarded in the work as walking toward achieving the path of truth.
Although they have not reached it, Maimonides says to them, “They are shown that secret bit by bit.” And what is the secret that is forbidden to reveal “to little ones, women, and uneducated people”? The secret that the act alone is not enough, but there must also be an intention to bestow and not receive reward. Rather, his whole pleasure is in his ability to serve the Creator. This is his reward, and to him, it is worth a fortune. This is why they do not need anything else in return for their work, but the fact that they are serving the King is their entire pleasure, and this is what they expect.
Now we can interpret what we asked, If the calamity comes to the world because of the wicked, why does it begin with the righteous? The answer is that the righteous in the work are those who want to walk on the path of truth. Although they have not reached it, they are walking on that line. Hence, we must know that this calamity is that they feel the taste of dust in Torah and Mitzvot. Where they should have felt that “They are our lives and the length of our days,” they feel a bitter taste.
They ask themselves, But the purpose of the creation of the world was to do good to His creations, so where is it? We see the opposite! We should feel sweetness in the work when we are serving the King without asking for any return, but we see that the body objects to it. This causes them to understand that this entire lack is because the King is a lowly king, and has no importance.
Otherwise, they should have felt the importance of the King and would have annulled before Him, since we see that inherently, it is a great privilege for the small one to serve the great, and we have no work annulling before the great. Why, then, do we not see this with regard to the Creator? We must say about this that the Creator, who is the King of the world, we do not believe in His greatness. On the contrary! In The Zohar, this is called “Shechina [Divinity] in exile” or “Shechina in the dust.”
Thus, all we need is faith that the Creator is a great and important King. It follows that specifically among those people who are called “righteous,” who want to be righteous and serve the Creator without any return, they see and feel the bad in them. That is, they feel the calamity that they are unable to receive delight and pleasure because of the wicked within them. It is simply that they feel that they are wicked, that they are lacking faith that the Creator is a great and important King, and you have no greater wicked than this. They simply see that they are lacking faith in the Creator. It follows that when are the wicked in a person revealed? Precisely when one wants to be righteous.
By this we should interpret what is written, “but it begins with the righteous.” “Begins with the righteous” means that the calamity begins to be apparent and felt from the beginning, meaning as soon as one begins to shift from the work of the general public to the work of individuals, for the work of individuals is called “the path of the righteous.”
For this reason, our sages imply that immediately, as soon as one wants to work in order to bestow, the calamity appears in a person—that he feels that he is far from faith in the Creator, and therefore far from receiving the delight and pleasure that He wishes to impart upon His creations. In such states, a person sees in himself descents and ascents. Thus, the meaning of “but it begins with the righteous,” is that “begins” means when he begins to enter the path of the righteous.
But those who work like the general public do not feel that they are placed under the control of the evil. They do not see that they are lacking faith in the Creator. On the contrary, they know that they have so much faith that they could give to others. They even preach to others why they are not walking on the upright path, so they would understand that what matters is spirituality and not corporeality.
When these people hear their words, they think that the admonition they are giving them, that we must do everything for the sake of the Creator, they must know what “for the sake of the Creator” means, for otherwise they would not preach. But in truth, they do not even know what is to bestow, for bestowal is against nature, and when a person sees how difficult it is to prevail and engage in the work of bestowal, how can he rebuke another? He sees that he is lacking faith, to believe that the Creator is a great King, since by nature, the small can serve the great without any reward.
But when people from the general public say that we must work for the sake of the Creator, they do not even know the meaning of the words, except what they heard when they were taught. They did not understand what they had heard, but they continue this slogan because in them, the evil is only as a hairsbreadth, as our sages said, “To the wicked, it seems like a hairsbreadth, and to the righteous, like a high mountain.”
This is so because there is a correction that a person will not see more bad than he can correct. For this reason, “wicked” in the work are those who have no need to work for the sake of the Creator, but engage in Torah and Mitzvot for their own sake. Therefore, the bad in them, which is the will to receive for oneself, is apparent in them as bad. This is regarded as the evil inclination being as a hairsbreadth.
But the righteous—who want to walk on the path of bestowal and begin to correct the will to receive—see each time that the bad in them appears to a greater extent until it becomes in them like “a high mountain.” Therefore, they cannot lecture others because they are busy asking for faith in the Creator for themselves. This explains what our sages said, “No calamity comes to the world unless when there are wicked in the world, but it begins with the righteous.”
Inapoi la pagina 1989 (ŞLAVEY HASULAM (TREPTELE SCĂRII) – link