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What Are Silver, Gold, Israel, Rest of Nations, in the Work?
Article No. 19, Tav-Shin-Mem-Het, 1987-88
It is written in The Zohar (Yitro [Jethro], Item 40): “‘And Jethro heard.’ He started and said, ‘Therefore, I will give thanks to You among the nations, O Lord, and I will sing to Your name.’ King David said this when he saw that the glory of the Creator was not rising in exaltedness and was not glorified in the world, but only among the rest of the nations. And if you say, ‘But is the Creator not glorified in the world only thanks to Israel?’ So it is indeed, since Israel are the foundation of the candle to shine. But when the rest of the nations come and thank Him in subjugation to the glory of the Creator, the foundation of the candle is supplemented and strengthens over all His works in one connection, and the Creator alone rules above and below.”
We should understand why he says, “So it is indeed, since the Creator is glorified in the world only thanks to Israel because Israel are the foundation of the candle to shine. But when the rest of the nations come and thank Him, the foundation of the candle is supplemented.” Yet, how is the foundation of the candle supplemented if the nations come and thank the Creator? It appears from this that the people of Israel take strength and assistance from the nations by their thanksgiving, as though the faith that the people of Israel believe in the Creator is so deficient that they must receive assistance from the nations about the greatness of the Creator, as it is written, that the nations add to the foundation of the candle.
This is very difficult to understand. Is it permitted to receive assistance for faith from the nations of the world? After all, the foundation of faith should be based on above reason, so how can a person receive strength that they will have power to go above reason? We learn about this that it is through the Torah, whose light reforms him.
Also, we should pray to the Creator to give us the power of faith in Him, as it is written in the prayer of Rabbi Elimelech (“A Prayer before a Prayer”), “May it please You, that You will set Your Faith in our hearts as a stake that will not fall.” It follows that faith must be received from the upper one. Yet, here it implies that if the nations come and thank the Creator, the basis of the faith, called “the foundation of the candle,” is supplemented.
In order to explain the above-said, we must remember what Israel and the rest of the nations mean in the work, according to the rule that they all pertain to one person. Israel is called “bestowal,” whose actions are only to bestow. This is called “man’s good inclination.” The rest of the nations are man’s vessels of reception, called “man’s evil inclination.”
It is as we explained about what our sages said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart,’ with both your inclinations: the good inclination and the evil inclination.” We interpreted that this refers to the vessels of bestowal, which are the good inclination, and the evil inclination, which are the vessels of reception. Likewise, we should interpret here what The Zohar says, “So it is indeed, since Israel are the foundation of the candle to shine.” This means that the foundation upon which man’s work is built is in the good inclination, called “vessels of bestowal,” called “Israel.”
However, this is considered half a degree. This degree is regarded as having superior importance because they are fine Kelim [vessels]. This is not considered that the Creator controls all of man’s actions, since Israel is called “acts of bestowal,” meaning that he can aim with acts of bestowal to bestow upon the Creator. This is why it is considered that the Creator controls him only with vessels of bestowal.
However, the Sitra Achra [other side] and the Klipot [shells/peels] control the vessels of reception. That is, he cannot aim that they will work for the Creator. These Kelim are called “the rest of the nations,” “below,” since the vessels of reception are of inferior importance.
According to the above, we can interpret what is written, that when the rest of the nations come and thank Him, by subjugation to the glory of the Creator, the foundation of the candle is supplemented. We asked, How can it be said that the people of Israel take strength from the rest of the nations, as it is written, “the foundation of the candle is supplemented”? We should interpret that it means that it is when man’s vessels of reception come and admit that we must do everything in order to bestow. This is the meaning of the words, “and thank Him, by subjugation to the glory of the Creator.”
It turns out that previously, only Israel could bestow upon the Creator, for Israel recognized the glory of the Creator and that they should enslave themselves to the Creator. But when the rest of the nations come and thank Him and subjugate themselves to the glory of the Creator, meaning that it is worthwhile to work for the sake of the Creator even with vessels of reception, they have the strength to overcome and work in order to bestow. Then, the foundation of the candle is supplemented, for the candle is called “the kingdom of heaven.”
That is, the primary foundation is Israel, since the beginning of the work is in vessels of bestowal, called “Israel.” Afterward, the foundation of the candle is supplemented, meaning that the vessels of reception, called “the rest of the nations,” also enter the authority of Kedusha [sanctity/holiness], called “candle” and “kingdom,” when the kingdom of heaven controls the rest of the nations.
This is the meaning of the words, “the foundation of the candle is supplemented and strengthens over all His works.” This means that acts of reception also enter the Kedusha. “In one connection,” as we learn from the Kelim of Galgalta Eynaim, which are vessels of bestowal, that they connect with the Kelim of the AHP, which are vessels of reception, and become one degree. This is called Gadlut[greatness/adulthood].
This is the meaning of what is written, “and the Creator alone rules,” referring to the vessels, and not as it was previously, when He controlled only Israel. This is the meaning of the words, “the Creator rules above and below.” That is, “He controls” means that both the vessels of bestowal, regarded as higher in importance, and the vessels of reception, regarded as lower in importance, have entered His authority. The Creator governs everything.
We should interpret that at that time a person receives real wholeness, since he already has the vessels for receiving—both Hassadim, called Katnut [smallness/infancy], and Hochma, called Gadlut, since now he has Kelim that are fit for receiving.
This is the meaning of the words “and the Creator alone rules above and below.” This is why David said about this, “I will thank You in the nations, O Lord, and to Your name I shall sing.” When the Creator’s governance spreads over the nations, too, which are the vessels of reception that have entered the authority of the Creator, there is wholeness in everything.
However, in order to achieve wholeness, so that the rest of the nations in a person will also enter Kedusha, there is a process called Tikkun Kavim [lines] in Katnut, and Tikkun Kavim in Gadlut, and Tikkun Kavim in VAK. These are three manners bearing the same name, but there is a difference between them.
The Book of Zohar says (Jethro, Item 499), “‘You shall not make with Me gods of silver, or gods of gold.’ Rabbi Yosi said, ‘What is the reason?’ It is because it is written, ‘Mine is the silver and Mine is the gold.’ Although Mine is the silver and Mine is the gold, you shall not make with Me, meaning Me.”
We should understand what it means in the work when the Creator says, “Mine is the silver and Mine is the gold,” therefore, “You shall not make Me.” We should also understand why He says, “Although Mine is the silver and Mine is the gold,” still, “You shall not make Me.” What is the “although” that he says?
The order of the work is in two manners: 1) A person craves Dvekut [adhesion] with the Creator. This is called Kisufin [longing/yearning], and is considered “right line,” as it is written, “My soul yearns and also longs for the courtyards of the Lord; my heart and flesh shall sing unto the living God” (Psalms 84). This means that when a person walks on the right line, “my heart and flesh shall sing.”
That is, as soon as he remembers the Creator, even if he has been occupied with other things the whole day long, both corporeal matters and spiritual matters, but did not remember about the love of the Creator, as soon as he remembers about the love of the Creator, although the body does not want to love the Creator, still, he longs for these moments when thoughts of love of the Creator come to him, and rejoices that he has remembered that there is a Creator of the world who watches over each and every one.
Hence, on one hand, now he sees how the body objects to these longings. That is, the body does not enjoy a person wanting to adhere to Him. Yet, “My heart and flesh shall sing to the living God.” That is, he thanks the Creator for these longings, for having a grip on the Creator. That is, he regards his wanting to adhere to the Creator while the body resists him as a great privilege, too, for now he sees that in him, it is a state of “this and this judge them.”
But before he remembered the matter of love of the Creator, he was completely removed from the love of the Creator. He has completely forgotten that there is such a matter called “love of the Creator,” and his head was occupied with other matters. Primarily, when he is walking on the right line, he should believe that remembering about the love of the Creator is no coincidence. Rather, it is the Creator turning to him, and placing it in his mind now that there is a Creator and he should connect with Him.
That is, that thought did not come to him of his own, but the Creator turned to him and reminded him about the whole matter of work of the Creator. However, this is only for a short while. That is, this thought does not linger in his mind for long, since as long as a person has not been qualified for it, this thought is short-lived.
It is as it is written, “Behold, these wicked are short-lived and full of anger.” Baal HaSulam interpreted that when the wicked obtain some “day,” called “light from above,” since they are still wicked, meaning they have not emerged from self-reception, the light departs from them. This is called “short-lived.” For this reason, they are full of anger. They are angry at why the light has departed from them, for they long for the light.
Yet, when a person is righteous and justifies Providence, he says, “The Creator’s taking the awakening away from me is for my own good,” and he praises and thanks Him for having the privilege of the little awakening that the Creator has sent him. He rejoices over it. That state of thanking the Creator is called “right” because he yearns for the Creator and does not mind how long he tastes of the manner of “day,” and he thanks and praises Him all day for letting him adhere to Him even for one moment. This is called “gods of silver,” whose work is in the right, called silver, or the quality of mercy, where he desires only mercy.
2) The left line is called “gods of gold.” Baal HaSulam interpreted that Zahav [gold] means Ze Hav[give this], which is the opposite of the right line, when he wants nothing, but rather yearns for the Creator and wants to annul before Him, while the person himself wants nothing and is happy with whatever he has as though he was given great possessions.
But in the left line, he says, “This I want, and this I do not want.” He calculates the profitability. It is as though he points with his finger and says what he wants, specifically through the criticism that he gives. It is as it is written (Job 37:22), “From the north comes gold.” Tzafon [north] refers to Matzpunei Halev [concealed contemplations of the heart], which are views and scrutinies of his actions, meaning what he wants in return for exerting in this world, what reward he hopes for. Corrections pertain specifically to the left line.
In other words, when a person begins to scrutinize the details in the work, meaning examining for whom he works and what for, he begins to feel the real labor that exists in serving the Creator. The person already thinks that he knows what is good for him and what is bad for him, and thinks that this is what is upon him—that his work will be in the way of the left line. This is called “gods of gold.” Although the Creator gave him these thoughts, called “left line,” still, the Creator said, “You shall not make with Me gods of silver and gods of gold.”
By this we should interpret the words of Rabbi Yosi, who asked, What is the reason? It is because it is written, “Mine is the silver and Mine is the gold.” Although Mine are the silver and gold, you will not make with Me, meaning Me. We should interpret that although I have given you the right line, called “gods of silver,” and I have given you the left line, too, and I sent you all the thoughts that you are feeling, still, do not make Me, meaning that the real work is specifically in the middle line. This means that what the Creator said, “Mine is the silver and Mine is the gold,” means that “Mine,” meaning although I have given you, this is not the end, but you must walk on the middle line, as this line consists of both.
Yet, from where do we take the strength to be able to walk in all those ways? It was said about this, “I have created the evil inclination; I have created the Torah as a spice,” as we interpreted, that everything is found in the Torah. That is, when we learn Torah, we should demand reward from the study of Torah, which we understand in two general ways: 1) Our reward will be as in “The light in it reforms him,” meaning that he will be rewarded with vessels of bestowal, for without help from above, it is impossible to emerge from self-love. 2) To be rewarded with the Torah, as it is written in The Book of Zohar, “He who does not know the commandments of the upper one, how will he serve Him?”
This is the reward that one should ask through his exertion in the Torah. Clearly, the study of Kabbalah is better capable of eliciting the light of Torah. It is as it is written in the book A Sage’s Fruit(Vol. 2, p 160): “Since the whole of the wisdom of Kabbalah speaks of the revelation of the Creator, naturally, there is none more successful teaching for its task.”
In other words, when a person learns Torah with the aim to receive the light of Torah, we should understand that since the wisdom of Kabbalah speaks also of the topic of Godliness, whereas in the rest of the parts of the Torah, the Torah is clothed in corporeal subjects, it is therefore more difficult to elicit from there the light of Torah, for it is difficult to focus on the one who is clothed in the Torah, namely the Creator, although “The whole Torah is the names of the Creator.”
In the introduction to the book Utterances of Joseph by the ADMOR of Spinka, he writes there in the name of the ADMOR from the Rabbi of Tsanz, who interprets the verse (Proverbs 25), “The glory of God is to conceal a matter, and the glory of kings is to examine a matter.”
The question is, What is the difference between the glory of God and the glory of kings? That is, both certainly refer to spirituality, so, what is the difference between these two degrees?
He interpreted that if a person wishes to learn the wisdom of Kabbalah, to know how many worlds and Sefirot there are, meaning the glory of God, to know the measure of His glory, conceal the matter. However, if he wants to learn the wisdom, to know how to crown the Creator and serve Him with intention, and to sanctify his 248 organs and make them a chariot for Kedusha[holiness/sanctity], which is the glory of kings—how to crown and serve Him—examine the matter. We see that the study of the wisdom of Kabbalah is a special remedy that gives a person the power to sanctify himself and be a chariot to the Creator.
Our sages wrote (Avot de Rabbi Natan, Chapter 29,7), “Rabbi Yitzhak Ben Pinhas says, ‘Anyone who has learning in his hand but no practice, does not taste the taste of wisdom. Anyone who has practice in his hand but no learning, does not taste the taste of the fear of sin.’” He interprets there, “does not taste the taste of the fear of sin”: The sayings and the interpretations are filled with admonition, ethics, and allegories that bring to man the fear of sin. Moreover, the wise disciples, who engage in rules of times, their hearts are haughty and they believe that they are wise, and God forbid that they should come to pride, the evil inclination chases them because the engagement (of the evil inclination) is more with wise disciples, as it is written (Sukkah 52), “Anyone who is greater than his friend, his inclination is greater than him.”
We should understand why the rules cannot yield fear of sin, and why interpretations are preferable to rules, since it is known that the whole Torah is the names of the Creator. We should also understand why rules are called “wisdom,” meaning what does it imply to us that the rules are called “wisdom.”
An interpretation is called Drush. The writing says (Jeremiah 30:17), “For they have called you Zion, no one demands her.” RADAK interprets that the nations of the world called you and said that Zion is a city that no one demands to return to Israel. Our sages said, “Zion, no one demands her, meaning that it needs to be required.”
It is known that Malchut is called Zion. “Demand” means “demanding and asking.” That is, a person demands only what he needs, and then he asks to satisfy his need. When beginning to engage in Torah and Mitzvot [commandments], we begin in Lo Lishma [not for Her sake], as our sages said, “One should always engage in Torah and Mitzvot Lo Lishma, and from Lo Lishma we come to Lishma[for Her sake].” Therefore, when a person accustoms himself to work Lo Lishma, he does not feel a lack in his inability to work Lishma. Because he does not feel a deficiency in his situation, he has no need to correct it. This causes him that when the desire to bestow awakens in him—when we must work for the sake of the Creator and not for our own sake—he feels the taste of dust in this work. This is what The Zohar refers to when it says that man should exert in Torah and Mitzvot in order to raise the Shechina [Divinity] from the dust.
In other words, in the work, when a person must work for the sake of the Shechina, he tastes the taste of dust because he is accustomed to working only for his own sake. By engaging in Torah, the Torah reforms him, and then he feels the taste of life in his work, since through the aim to bestow he receives Dvekut with the Life of Lives.
However, a person should certainly ask the Creator to raise the kingdom of heaven, meaning to make it important. Because the lower ones are unfit to receive the abundance from her, which Malchut[kingdom] must bestow upon the lower ones, for Malchut is called “the assembly of Israel,” the collection of all the souls, she must hide herself so as not to show what she has to give to the lower ones.
This is so for Israel’s benefit. Otherwise, if she reveals her greatness, everyone will receive from her in order to receive. For this reason, she must hide herself, and all that is revealed of her is the taste of dust.
But even the taste of dust that we receive from her is also to man’s benefit. That is, a person must know that this will make him research the reason for the taste of dust he finds in her when assuming the burden of the kingdom of heaven in order to bestow.
The Torah promised us that if we follow the path of the Creator, meaning that all our actions will be with the intention to bestow, we will feel the taste of life, as it is written, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” Thus, why do we feel the taste of dust? By this we see if we are truly marching on the path of truth, or not. The fact that we feel the taste of dust testifies to our work. We must know that this is so because we still do not have vessels of bestowal.
For this reason, the Shechina must be in the dust, and we must ask of the Creator to raise her from the dust by giving us a spirit of purity and removing self-love from our hearts. By this we will be rewarded with seeing the beauty of the Kedusha and will be able to understand what is written, that a person should pray to the Creator for the exile of the Shechina and the sorrow of the Shechina.
We should understand why the Shechina is in sorrow and the Creator does not raise her from the dust. Instead, we must ask the Creator to raise her, and without our prayer He will not raise her, as it is written (in the Blessing for the Food), “The Merciful One will establish for us the fallen tabernacle of David.” That is, He needs us to ask. But what is the reason?
According to the above, we will understand that the concealment, when Malchut is in the dust and in the dark, is so that the lower ones can work in order to bestow. It follows that the sorrow of the Shechina is that she must hide the delight and pleasure that she wants to impart upon the souls but cannot because it will be to their detriment, for through the abundance she imparts upon them while they are in vessels of self-reception, they will be farther from Kedusha, as the abundance will go to the Klipot. It follows that in the upper one, sorrow means that he cannot bestow upon the lower ones. This is called “the sorrow of the Shechina.”
For this reason, we pray to the Creator to give us the strength to overcome the vessels of reception for ourselves, and then we will be able to work only in order to bestow. At that time the Shechina will be able to show the glory and grandeur in her by having the ability to receive what she wants to impart. There is a rule: “The cow wants to feed more than the calf wants to eat.” Thus, everything depends on the receivers.
It turns out that when a person engages in Torah and Mitzvot without aiming to receive in return for his work the light that reforms him, but rather learns rules without paying attention to the interpretation, meaning to the discernment, “Zion, no one demands her,” when he has no demand and request to raise the Shechina from the dust, it is as the RADAK says, “For Zion is a city that none demand to return to Israel.” We should interpret the words of the RADAK, as it is written (in the Selichot [“asking for forgiveness,” prayers said in the period leading up to the High Holidays]), “I shall remember God and I will wail when I see every city standing firm, yet the city of God is lowered to the bottom of the underworld.”
This means that the city of God is called “Zion.” Those who engage in Torah and Mitzvot, there is no one to see and demand that the city of Zion be returned to Israel, meaning that the kingdom of heaven, called Shechina, will return to the whole of Israel, and to the individual Israel that exists in each and every one.
By this we should interpret what our sages said, “Anyone who has practice in his hand but no learning, does not taste the taste of the fear of sin.” This is because the fear of sin means that he is afraid that he might not be able to aim in order to bestow, but in order to receive for himself, as it is written in the Sulam (“Introduction to The Book of Zohar”).
We should know that a person cannot have fear of not being able to work in order to bestow. Rather, a person has a demand for Zion, meaning that he works in order to “raise the Shechina from the dust” and wants the city of God not to be lowered to the bottom of the underworld. This can be specifically by wanting to work in order to bestow, or else Malchut must hide her importance so the abundance will not go to the Klipot.
It follows that precisely he fears sin, since for him, a sin means one who is not working in order to bestow. He regards reception as sin because this is the only obstructor, making the Shechina unable to be in revealed face, but rather in concealed face. This is called “the sorrow of the Shechina,” that she is unable to give to the created beings the delight and pleasure she has in store for them.
It follows that if a person sympathizes with the sorrow of the Shechina, it means that he has reflected on what he causes by being immersed in self-love. That is, to the extent that a person wants to enjoy pleasures that pertain to, and can be accepted by the vessels of reception, that vitality is called “vitality of the Klipot,” meaning the vitality that The Zohar calls “a thin light,” which was given to the Klipot to sustain them.
They impart this vitality to all those who are still unable to receive the light of Kedusha, which is imparted specifically on vessels of bestowal. This means that we must believe that there is no vitality in the world except from the Creator. That is, even the vitality that is received in the vessels of reception is regarded as received by the Klipot. This means that the Klipot are the givers and not the Creator Himself, for it is impossible to be in permanent faith prior to attaining the vessels of bestowal, as explained (“Introduction of The Book of Zohar”).
It follows that the vitality that they receive is through the Klipot, which is considered that He has given dominion over the nations of the world to ministers and not He Himself governs them. It is as we interpreted, that in the work this means that people who have only partial faith are regarded as “nations of the world,” who say that ministers of above—whether ministers or nature or of other spirits—influence life in the world, and they cannot say that only the Creator governs.
It follows that they are given to the Klipot, meaning that they say so, but this is regarded as the sorrow of the Shechina in that she must hide herself from the creatures. This is similar to an allegory of a mother who must hide herself from her child. She hands over the child to some institution for retarded children, where the treatment is nothing like the mother’s treatment of the child, and the child does not even know he has a mother. As a result, the child suffers and the mother suffers from not being able to raise her child and give him everything he needs, as with a mother and son. This is called “the sorrow of the Shechina” that she suffers.
For this reason, He has given us the work in Torah and Mitzvot to engage in them with the aim to raise the Shechina from the dust, so she will not suffer the sorrow of not being able to tend to her child, for it is for the benefit of the child not to know he has a mother who longs for him.
In other words, through engagement in Torah and Mitzvot with the aim because of the sorrow of the Shechina, it will mean that since the reason why the Shechina cannot be revealed to them is the disparity of form of the will to receive, and since the light of Torah reforms a person, we want to be reformed, meaning to be rewarded with vessels of bestowal through the Torah and Mitzvot, by which we are granted fear.
Through fear, we are rewarded with faith. At that time we are rewarded with knowing who governs Israel, that only He alone governs. This means that the Creator knows that He is the governor, but the lower ones do not feel it before they are rewarded with faith, as it is written in the “Introduction of The Book of Zohar” (Item 138), “It follows that although He alone does and will do all the deeds, it still remains hidden from those who feel good and bad.”
It therefore follows that one should ask the Creator to give him vessels of bestowal so there will not be sorrow for the Shechina because she must be concealed from man. As was said, this is for man’s benefit. However, it is for man’s benefit only so that he will not go deeper into the authority of the Sitra Achra [other side], but from this, a person does not achieve the purpose, for the purpose of creation is for the creatures to receive delight and pleasure. Hence, as long as the creatures are unfit to receive the delight and pleasure, it is regarded as the sorrow of the Shechina, since she cannot impart upon them what the creatures should receive from her.
Now we can interpret why our sages said, “Anyone who has practice but no learning, does not taste the taste of the fear of sin.” The interpretation of “learning” is as it is written, “Zion, no one demands her,” meaning there is no one who demands and asks the Creator to bring the city of Zion back to the people of Israel. At that time he begins to understand the reason for her fall, as it is written, “She has fallen, she will not rise again, the virgin of Israel,” which comes to us because we are in self-love.
By knowing the reason, we begin to understand what is the sin, so we may know what to correct. At that time we come to feel that the whole sin is that we are immersed in self-love. Hence, only by this can we come to the fear of sin, meaning to know what is the sin, for which we suffer because we cannot receive the delight and pleasure.
According to the above, we should interpret what is written, “Anyone who has learning in his hand but no practice, does not taste the taste of wisdom.” It is known that there is no light without a Kli[vessel]. Generally, a light is regarded as the Creator’s desire to give to the created beings. This is called “His desire to do good to His creations.” This name includes the light called Hochma [wisdom]. But there is a second light, called “the light of the correction of creation.” This is called “light of Hassadim [mercies].” This means that the Creator should give to the creatures two lights.
According to the known rule, that we do not speak of the world of Ein Sof [infinity] but begin to speak after Tzimtzum Aleph [first restriction], meaning once a judgment has been passed that it is forbidden to use the vessels of reception and we must build new Kelim that will be fit for reception of the abundance and there will not be separation. It is known that this is called “vessels of bestowal,” which are Kelim that come from the correction of creation.
That is, once we already have creation, which is vessels of reception, which is the substance of all the creatures, namely the will to receive for oneself, on this Kli we can draw two lights: 1) The light of the correction of creation, which can be drawn through the light in the Torah, as our sages said, “The light in it reforms him.” By this we obtain the Kli called “desire to bestow.” This is regarded as having fear, meaning he already contemplates everything, whether to do it or not. If he sees that he cannot aim to bestow, he is careful not to touch it.
A person cannot make this Kli, as it is against the nature of creation, which was that the creatures would receive delight and pleasure. And what the creatures cannot receive for themselves comes later from Tzimtzum Aleph. However, this pertains to the creatures after Malchut de Ein Sof yearned for equivalence of form. We learned that then, the Masach [screen] was made. Through that Masach, by the power of rejection when it does not want to receive, a new Kli was born, called Ohr Hozer[Reflected Light].
That Ohr Hozer is born out of two forces: 1) the Masach, which is called “the detaining force,” which does not want to be a receiver for itself; 2) the light, which wants to give, for the lower one to receive the abundance.
Out of those two, this Ohr Hozer is born. We should understand that the lower one receives great pleasure in wanting to bestow upon the upper one. At that time the lower one comes to feel what the lower one has to give to the upper one, that the upper will enjoy, because what does the upper one lack which the lower one can give to Him? At that time he comes to realize that all the pleasure of the upper one is in the lower one assisting Him to complete the purpose of the upper one. That is, the lower one gives the upper one the opportunity for the upper one to satisfy His desire. And since the desire of the upper one is to do good to His creations, for the lower ones to receive delight and pleasure, the lower one comes to receive from the upper one delight and pleasure, for this is His will, as it is written at length in The Study of the Ten Sefirot (Part 4, Histaklut Pnimit).
It therefore follows that once he has received new Kelim from the upper one, namely vessels of bestowal, which come to him through the learning, now is the time to receive the light into the new Kelim he has obtained.
2) This is the second discernment, to draw abundance from the upper one. This is called Hochma[wisdom], which is the purpose of creation, for the creatures to receive delight and pleasure. This light is called “light of wisdom,” and it is regarded as learning rules, as it was written, “Anyone who has learning in his hand but no practice, does not taste the taste of wisdom.”
We should understand the connection between Halachot [rules/practices] and wisdom. It is known that Malchut is called Halacha [rule/practice], from the word Kalah [bride]. Also, the Kli to receive the light of wisdom is Malchut, and the vessels of bestowal are called Bina. It is known that the light of Bina is called “the light of the correction of creation,” which is light of Hassadim. Accordingly, “Anyone who has learning,” meaning that he has been rewarded with vessels of bestowal, “has the fear of sin,” meaning his fear is that he may not have the power to bestow, meaning that he has already obtained vessels of bestowal, called Bina.
At that time he should try to have Halachot [practices], meaning to exert in obtaining the Kalah[bride], which is Malchut, who is regarded as the vessel of reception for light of Hochma. It is as it is written in the Sulam [Ladder Commentary] (“Introduction of The Book of Zohar,” Item 203): “Fear is a Mitzva [commandment] that contains all the Mitzvot in the Torah, as it is the gate of the faith in Him. And according to the awakening of one’s fear, the faith in the Creator is in him. …However, both the first fear and the second fear are not for his own benefit, but only for fear that he will decline in bringing contentment to his Maker.”
Thus, we see that first we must be rewarded with fear, and then we are rewarded with the light of faith, since complete faith is when the light of Hassadim shines in illumination of Hochma. This is called Halacha [practice], as it is written, “Anyone who has practice, tastes the taste of wisdom,” and the interpretation is—the taste of the fear of sin.
However, what can one do if even when he feels that he already has fear, meaning that he wants to bestow upon the Creator, and thinks that he will ascend degree by degree to the highest level, but he soon gets thoughts that show him he should look at the past, meaning that he has already had times when he thought he had been rewarded with something, and he was certain that from that day forward he would have no descents and he would not suffer from being unable to overcome his evil anymore, but as he finds taste in the work now, so it will continue.
But what happened afterwards? He fell from his degree back into a state of suffering that he does not have this world, meaning a life with satisfaction. Instead, he has neither satisfaction nor the next world, meaning the desire to do the holy work. Therefore, now that he is a little higher than the previous states and wants to engage in the holy work gladly, what can he do if his thoughts disrupt him with just thoughts?
In his opinion, there is nothing to reply to them. For this reason, he cannot do anything, as though now he is in a state of descent. Thus, what use is it that he has now been given help from above and believes that the Creator is calling him and wants to bring him closer? But the arguments of the thoughts tell him, “See for yourself, this happens to you every time. Each time you think you are above, you fall deep down. So what makes you certain that this time will not be the same?”
Yet, we should follow the path of our sages, who instructed us (Sotah 48b), “Anyone who has bread in his basket and says, ‘What shall I eat tomorrow?’ is among those of little faith.” It is as Rabbi Elazar in Metzudat David (Zachariah 4), “‘Who has despised the day of smallness [Katnut]?’ Who caused the righteous to despise their future table? The smallness that was in them—that they did not believe in the Creator.” We should understand what he says, “Who caused the righteous to despise their future table? that they did not believe in the Creator. This is their smallness. Yet, if they did not believe in the Creator, why are they considered righteous?”
We should interpret the writing that calls them “righteous” while they have no faith. It means that after a person receives an awakening from above, he comes to feel that the most important is to work in order to bestow, and it is not worth working for himself. Thus, now he feels that he is righteous and should thank the Creator for bringing him closer to Him and removing from him the concealment.
For this reason, now he wants to annul before Him. Now he understands and feels that reception for oneself is called “bad,” and one who uses it is called a “sinner.” It follows that at that time he is called “righteous,” as it is written, “Anyone who has bread in his basket and says, ‘What shall I eat tomorrow?’ is among those of little faith.”
This means that now he has faith and he believes that the most important is to adhere to the Creator, and it is not worth it to think of himself for even a moment. Therefore, he should be delighted that he has been rewarded with nearing the Creator. Yet, right away, thoughts come to him that the faith he has now is small, meaning that he will not be able to continue tomorrow. Instead, he thinks that soon this faith will leave him and he will fall once more into the control of the wicked, who care only for their own benefit. It follows that this is the question that he asks, “What shall I eat tomorrow?”
There is a rule that “tomorrow” does not mean the next day. Rather, “tomorrow” means “after some time.” In other words, the “present” is called “today” and the future is called “tomorrow.” That is, the moment he stands in now is called “present” and “today,” and the next moment is called “tomorrow.” This causes him not to be able to praise the Creator for having brought him closer.
These thoughts, “What shall I eat tomorrow,” remove him from the Creator because he does not believe that this state will remain forever. It follows that although now he is at the degree of righteous, because he does not believe that it will stay permanently, he is regarded among those of little faith. That is, he has faith, but his faith will be with him briefly and then his faith will depart. This is called “of little faith.”
Now we can interpret the words of Rabbi Elazar, “Why it is written, ‘Who has despised the day of smallness [Katnut]?’ Who caused the righteous to despise their future table?” The words, “Who caused the righteous” refer to those people who are in a state of ascent and yearn only to adhere to the Creator. At that time there are righteous who despise their future table. That is, that table, which is set for a meal, they despise them in the future, meaning that they say, “After the present,” meaning after the state he is in now, when this table is fine, “afterward,” meaning in the time that will come later, “it will be despised.” That is, afterward, the table will be under the control of the Sitra Achra, meaning that it will fall once more into the control of the will to receive for oneself.
This is the meaning of the verse, “Who despises the day of smallness.” The smallness that was in them is that they did not believe that the Creator can give a permanent state of nearing. It follows that a person must not awaken any lack in the gift of the Creator and say that now it is clear to him that the Creator cannot give something permanently, and bring evidence from the past, that he has had good states several times, which then departed from him, so there is no proof that the current state will be forever. Here comes the matter of faith, that one must believe above reason and not regard what reason dictates, but believe with faith in the sages that the way they determined is how we should go, and not look at the reason, for we must believe that going with faith is a wondrous Segula [virtue/remedy].
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