Inapoi la pagina 1988 (ŞLAVEY HASULAM (TREPTELE SCĂRII) – link
Why Life Is Divided into Two Discernments
Article No. 01, Tav-Shin-Mem-Het, 1987-88
Our sages said (Berachot 18), “For the living know that they will die. Those righteous, in their death, are called ‘living.’” RASHI interprets, “Those righteous, how do they know they will die? They pay attention to the day of death, and avoid transgression.” “And the dead know nothing. Those wicked, in their lives, are called ‘dead.’” RASHI interprets, “The wicked know nothing,” meaning “they pretend not to know and sin.”
It therefore follows that there is life that is called “death.” In other words, to the wicked, their lives are called “death.” Also, there is death that is called “life,” which is among the righteous.
That is, there are two discernments to life: 1) the life of the wicked, 2) the life of the righteous.
It is not written what the life of the righteous is called. Rather, what is written is that the death of the righteous is called “life.” And we should certainly say that if the death of the righteous is called “life,” then the life of the righteous is certainly a higher degree.
According to RASHI’s interpretation, it seems that in their death, meaning when looking at when they are discerned as dead, therefore they do not sin. Yet, how does this pertain to life? Does one who does not sin already have life? Also, RASHI interprets that the wicked in their lives are called “dead.” Why? It is because the wicked know nothing, meaning they pretend not to know. We should interpret that they do not know about the day of death.
This, too, we should understand. Does one who does not remember the day of death must sin? After all, our sages said (Berachot 5), “One should always vex the good inclination over the evil inclination. If he defeats it, good. If not, he should engage in Torah. If he defeats it, good. If not, he should read the Shema reading. And if not, he should mention to it the day of death.” This means that even if he does not remember the day of death, he does not have to sin. Thus, what does it mean that RASHI interpreted that they pretend not to know about the day of death and therefore sin? Does this imply that one who does not want to sin must always remember the day of death?
In order to understand all the above, we should remember all that is ahead of us, meaning the purpose of creation, as well as the matter of the correction of creation, which is done later. We should also understand the rule that there is no light without a Kli [vessel]. It is known that the purpose of creation is to do good to His creations. It is also known that there is no light without a Kli. This means that there cannot be a filling without a lack. For this reason, the Creator created existence from absence a lack and craving to receive pleasures. This is called a “desire to receive delight.”
On this Kli, called “will to receive,” there was later a correction called Tzimtzum [restriction]. This means that since because of the reception of the abundance there was no equivalence between the giver and the receiver, and that Kli craved equivalence of form, called Dvekut [adhesion]. For this reason, she did not want to receive into her will to receive. Instead, on that discernment there was to be a Tzimtzum and she would receive only where she can aim to bestow. This is the correction of creation, so the creatures would not feel unpleasantness when receiving pleasures from the Creator.
Now we understand that the purpose of creation is for the creatures to receive delight and pleasure, and the correction of creation is for the creatures not to feel unpleasantness upon reception of the pleasures. A Kli is called a “lack,” and “light” is called the “filling.” It follows that the Kli in which life is clothed is called “desire,” and the life that is clothed in her is called “light.”
From this we learn that we have two kinds of Kelim [vessels]: 1) a Kli without the correction of creation, called “receiving in order to receive,” 2) a Kli with the correction of creation, called “receiving in order to bestow.”
According to the above, life is called “light.” It follows that we have life that is clothed in the Kelim of the will to receive, by which we receive disparity of form from the Creator, which causes us to part from the Life of Lives. For this reason, this life is called “death,” due to the separation that occurs there.
There is also life that is called “light,” which is clothed in Kelim on which there is the correction of creation, called “receiving in order to bestow.” By this, although they are called “receivers,” since the aim is to bestow, they remain in Dvekut even while receiving the pleasures. It follows that the light that he receives, meaning life, is called “life,” since the light remains attached to the Life of Lives.
By this we can interpret what was said, “The wicked, in their lives, are called ‘dead,’” since they receive all that they receive in vessels of reception, which causes separation. This is why it was said, “The wicked, in their lives, are called ‘dead.’” Also, this clarifies why “The righteous, in their lives, are called ‘living,’” since they receive the filling of the Kli, meaning the light and the pleasure, in vessels of bestowal, by which they adhere to the Life of Lives, although they become receivers.
However, according to this, how can we interpret what our sages said, “The righteous, in their death, are called ‘living’”? The thing is that in the order of the work, we begin in Lo Lishma [not for Her sake], and from Lo Lishma we come to Lishma [for Her sake]. Thus, when a person begins the work, the intention is for his own sake, called “reward and punishment.” Afterward, he is rewarded and is shown from above—by an awakening from above—that he should walk on the path of truth, which is to do everything for the sake of the Creator.
When he is shown from above what does it mean for the sake of the Creator and not for his own sake, the body escapes from this work and no longer wants to work, at that time a person thinks that he is in a state of descent.
That is, when he began to work he was in a state of ascent, meaning that he was finer and not so materialized. Hence, the body did not object to his work. But now the body has become materialized and therefore does not want to work. It says, “This work is not for me because I see that not only have I stopped progressing, I am even regressing. Therefore, it is a waste of my time and effort. Since I cannot acquire spiritual life, at least I will acquire corporeal life like the rest of the world, which does not think of spirituality, but only of corporeality.
“I will be like them and at least try to enjoy what I can in this world. Otherwise, I will be left empty handed in both ways.” At that time, it says, “I will do what our sages said (Yoma 72), “Raba said to the Sages: ‘I beseech you, do not inherit a double Hell!’” RASHI interprets “double Hell” as laboring and toiling in Torah in this world. “And you will not observe it and you will inherit Hell upon your death, and in your life, you did not enjoy in your world.”
By this we should interpret that when a person comes to a state of descent, called “death,” meaning when he feels the taste of death, if he follows the path of bestowal, meaning that everything he does will be only to thereby bring contentment to the Creator, and for himself he wants nothing, it is called “serving the Creator devotedly.” To a person, this feels like death.
Indeed, this brings up the question we asked, It is known that “A Mitzva [good deed/commandment] induces a Mitzva.” Thus, why does a person come from a state of feeling the taste of life while engaging in Torah and Mitzvot [plural of Mitzva] to a state where when he only begins to say that he is going to observe Torah and Mitzvot for the sake of the Creator, he feels in this a taste of death and not of life? Where is the rule that a Mitzva induces a Mitzva, as it is written (Avot, Chapter 4, 2), “Ben Azai says, ‘Run to a light Mitzva and flee from transgression, for a Mitzva induces a Mitzva and a transgression induces a transgression, for the reward for a Mitzva is a Mitzva, and the reward for a transgression is transgression.’”
The thing is that when he begins in work Lo Lishma and dedicates himself to the work wholeheartedly, and takes upon himself everything seriously, he is therefore endowed from above with the knowledge that there is work in order to bestow and not for his own sake. The reason he is awarded to feel that knowledge in his organs was because a Mitzva induces a Mitzva, for not just anyone is rewarded with feeling what it is that all his work is for the sake of the Creator and not for his own sake. This pertains specifically to those who work with all their might in Lo Lishma. By this, they come to feel the Lishma, and to this, the body certainly does not agree.
However, now that he sees that in the work of bestowal, the body has nothing to receive, the person stands before a dilemma: He can say that now he is in a state of descent, called “transgression.” At that time, he falls into despair and says that now he sees that the most important is to bestow, but he cannot work in order to bestow, therefore he must escape the campaign and return to at least enjoy the corporeal life. Or, he can say that when he began this work, all the actions were with the aim Lo Lishma. At that time the work was not against the will to receive, so the body did not object. But now that he has been rewarded with knowing about the existence of Lishma, called “working for the sake of the Creator,” the body should certainly object because it is against nature. So, how can we work for the sake of the Creator? The answer is that it is inherent in nature that the small can serve the great without any reward, since it feels great pleasure in serving it.
This brings up the question, Why does the body not agree to work for the sake of the Creator? The answer is that the body does not believe in the greatness of the Creator, for where there is a need to believe, the body objects, since faith is something unimportant. This means that if His greatness is not revealed within reason, but we should believe, a person regards it as “lowly” and “inferior.” The body cannot stand this work.
Therefore, we should ask why the Creator created the concealment and the Tzimtzum [restriction] so His greatness will not be revealed. Rather, if a person wants to feel the greatness of the Creator, he can achieve this only by faith. The answer is known. When a person is still not cleansed of vessels of reception, he will take everything, meaning all the revelations of the Creator, into Kelim of self-love. This will separate him from spirituality and will be as “knowing one’s Master and aiming to rebel against Him.”
If a person is righteous, as our sages said, that “righteous is he who justifies his maker,” meaning says that his current feeling of a time of descent is certainly not because the Creator has rejected him from serving Him, but it is rather a great correction for him. That is, now he was given room to believe above reason in the greatness of the Creator, and was also given the need to ask the Creator to illuminate His greatness for him.
He does not want to feel the greatness of the Creator because of the pleasure in this revelation. His intention is not to delight his vessels of reception. On the contrary, since he wants to cancel all the self-love in him, and the body does not want to surrender, he is asking the Creator to illuminate for him, and remove the concealment from him so that the will to receive for himself will annul before the Creator.
By this we will understand what Ben Azai said, “Run to a light Mitzva.” That is, a person stands before a dilemma: He can say that the descent, his falling from his previous degree when he had desire and craving for the work into a state where he feels a taste of unpleasantness in the work, without any vitality, but everything is done by coercion, this came to him from above. It is because they want him to walk on the path of truth, meaning with faith above reason, which is a light Mitzva, which a person slights because it is unimportant to a person when he must go above reason.
Or, he can say the opposite: It is not because “a Mitzva induces a Mitzva,” but simply that he is a coarser person and with worse qualities than other people. Therefore, he commits transgression and is unworthy of the work of holiness. Instead, “a transgression induces a transgression.” Since what I do now in Torah and Mitzvot is compulsory, and I have no love for the holy work, hence, I will commit another transgression and leave the path of coercion. When I am in good spirits, I will engage in Torah and Mitzvot. In the meantime, I will return to my corporeal life and at least enjoy this world, as in the words of Raba.
For this reason, when a person faces a dilemma, Ben Azai says, “Run to a light Mitzva,” meaning run and choose a light Mitzva. This means that this state is regarded as a light Mitzva, and was given to you from above so that you would walk ahead on the path that leads to the truth. The reason is that “a Mitzva induces a Mitzva.” Since you began in Lo Lishma, and your intention was to devote yourself wholeheartedly to Torah and Mitzvot, hence, “a Mitzva induces a Mitzva.” For this reason, you were given from above the knowledge of the matter of Lishma, and you began to feel it. This is the time when a person has the need for the Creator to bring him closer, since then he sees what our sages said, “Man’s inclination overcomes him every day. Were it not for the help of the Creator, he would not overcome it.”
“…and escape from transgression.” That is, run from saying that the state you are in now is a transgression. Instead, say that a Mitzva induces a Mitzva and this cannot be a transgression. If you do not say so, but rather say it is a transgression, then know that “a transgression induces a transgression.” Hence, you will be forced to commit another transgression, meaning you will have to return to the corporeal life and leave the work you have begun because you will want to at least enjoy this world, as in the words of Raba, who said, “You will not inherit Hell upon your death, and in your life, you will not have enjoyed in your world.”
According to the above, we can understand what we asked about RASHI’s commentary, who said that it is written, “The living know that they will die; those righteous, in their death, are called ‘living.’” “How do they know that they will die?” They pay attention to the day of death and avoid transgression, while the dead know nothing. Those wicked, in their lives, are called “dead.” He says that they pretend not to know and sin.
According to RASHI, it seems that one who does not pay attention to the day of death is already a sinner. We asked, 1) about his interpretation that the righteous, in their death, are called “living,” since by knowing they will die they do not sin. It follows that one who does not sin already has life. What is the connection between one who does not sin and life? 2) It seems from the words of RASHI that he says about the righteous that “the living know that they will die,” that they pay attention to the day of death and avoid transgression. From his words, it seems they do not sin because they pay attention to the day of death, otherwise they, too, would sin. But our sages said that it is not necessarily the day of death that prevents sin (Berachot 5), as is said, “One should always vex the good inclination over the evil inclination. If he defeats it, good. And if not, he should engage in Torah. And if not, he should read the Shema reading. And if not, he should mention to it the day of death.”
Therefore, we see that it is not necessarily the day of death that prevents a person from sinning. Accordingly, we should understand, and this is why we should be precise about what he said, “the day of death,” meaning it is when a person comes into a state of descent, when he feels no taste in the Torah and in the prayer, and everything he does in Torah and Mitzvot is compulsory, and he has no vitality, which really feels like death.
The person asks himself, “What is the reason I have descended from my previous state? That is, before I began the work of bestowal, I was happy and confident that I would be a worker of the Creator. This always invoked me to exert, and I did not know any weakness or idleness. Rather, I was always alert to everything. But once I have begun to work on the path of bestowal, I have lost all the vitality in the work, and I do everything lazily. I feel the taste of death in this work. Our sages said that a Mitzva induces a Mitzva, but now I see the opposite.”
Indeed, a person should pay attention to the state of death that he feels now. This is why he says, “The living know that they will die; they pay attention to the day of death and avoid transgression.” The meaning of “pay attention to the day of death” is that according to the rule “a Mitzva induces a Mitzva,” it should have been day now. That is, when he begins to work Lishma, he should have been more alive because now he is marching on the path of truth. So, why does he feel death now, which is darkness and not life, but is regarded as night?
However, one who is righteous justifies his maker and says, “Certainly, the descent that the Creator has now given me is to my benefit. That is, now the Creator has let me know what it means when a person is working not for himself, but only for the Creator. Of course the body resists this, as it is against its nature. Conversely, before he began the work of Lishma and was a servant to self-benefit, therefore the body did not resist it.
It follows that this is a sign that he was notified, so he would know that he is walking on the right path, since the body is resisting. Otherwise, the body would not resist. Therefore, now he has a need, called Kli, that the Creator will help him, as it is written, “He who comes to purify is aided.” This is so because it takes the Creator’s help to go against nature, for anything that is natural, a person can do. But that which is against nature, this is called “a miracle from above,” meaning that only from above can he be given strength to be able to go against nature.
Thus, the meaning of “paying attention to understanding the day of death” is that this death that I feel is really a day and not a night. “The day of death” means that there is room for choice here, to say that it is “day,” called “life,” or say it is “death.” This came to me once I have labored honestly and extensively to achieve the goal for which I was born. And since I began in Lo Lishma, and Lo Lishma is not opposite from nature, the body did not resist.
But now, I have been rewarded from above with walking on the path of Lishma. This is why the body resists and does not want to give energy to work, as it is against nature. This is why now I feel the taste of death. Therefore, if I say that now is “day” and not “death,” I receive from that state confidence that I will succeed on the path on which I am now going.
I avoid saying that this state, where I feel death, is because I am in a state of transgression, called “a descent,” and because of it I have nothing more to do in the work, since I see that I am declining, so it is a waste of my time. Instead, I say that this state is not a descent, but an ascent in degree; I have embarked on the path of truth.
The words “avoid transgression” mean that they avoid saying that this state is a transgression, and naturally, a transgression induces a transgression, meaning it is better for me to leave the whole campaign. Instead, I say that I have ascended in degree because a Mitzva induces a Mitzva.
It follows that we can interpret “a Mitzva induces a Mitzva” in relation to the past and in relation to the future. That is, if he says that this state is a Mitzva, then a Mitzva induces a Mitzva, meaning that now he has faith and confidence that he will be rewarded with ascending in the degrees of holiness and will be rewarded with achieving the goal.
By this we will understand why we say, “Remember us to life, O King who desires life, and write us in the book of the living, for Your sake, the living God.” We should understand the ending, when we say, “for Your sake, the living God.” We can see that there are two kinds of life: 1) of the wicked, 2) of the righteous. The life of the wicked is in vessels of reception, called “separation from the Creator.” The life of the righteous is in vessels of bestowal, which is Dvekut [adhesion] with the Creator. For this reason, when we say “Remember us to life,” which life? “For Your sake,” meaning to bestow. That is, we ask for life in vessels of bestowal.
Inapoi la pagina 1988 (ŞLAVEY HASULAM (TREPTELE SCĂRII) – link