Inapoi la pagina 1991 (ŞLAVEY HASULAM (TREPTELE SCĂRII) – link
What Should One Do If He Was Born With Bad Qualities?
Article No. 41, Tav-Shin-Nun-Aleph, 1989-91
It is written in The Zohar (Nasso 41), “One’s actions reflect the Partzuf that is on him, which is why he says that their countenance testified to the form that was on them, or from the Merkava[chariot/structure] of the four elements of the world, which are fire, wind, water, and dust (FWWD), in which there are neither the good inclination nor the evil inclination. Rather, they are like the beasts of the world.”
This means that the merging of the body engenders in a person the qualities, and this does not pertain to the evil inclination. For example, if one has more of the “water” element, he is lustful. If he has more of the “fire” element, he is petulant. If he has more of the “wind” element, he is arrogant, and if he has more of the “dust” element, he is lazy. But this has nothing to do with the evil inclination. This means that all the qualities that exist in a person that extend from the four qualities FWWD have nothing to do with the evil inclination.
The question is, What is the evil inclination? We should say about this that the evil inclination is what tempts a person to do things against the will of the Creator. A person must first believe in the Creator, and then it is possible to say that he is doing things against the will of the Creator, and then he begins to sin because of the evil inclination and does not want to obey the Creator, who gave Torah to His people, Israel.
Rather, the only reason they are (who do not achieve faith in the Creator) harming others is because of the merging of the four elements, as said in the words of The Zohar, which says, “of the four elements, in which there are neither the good inclination nor the evil inclination. Rather, they are like the beasts of the world,” in whom there is no connection to faith in the Creator. But for man, where there is the matter of faith, there begins the matter of the evil inclination, when he does not believe in the Creator, and the good inclination is when he does believe in the Creator. That is, one who believes in the Creator, meaning believes in reward and punishment, in him begins the work of the evil inclination and the good inclination. But those who have no interest in faith in the Creator are as beasts.
Yet, we have to say what The Zohar says, that they belong to the four elements and have no connection to the evil inclination or the good inclination. This is with respect to the work. But with respect to the revealed, meaning to the rules, they are subject to every punishment and judgment that the courthouses impose upon them, for there one cannot say, “I have no evil inclination and I do not deserve to be punished,” and to say that he comes from the four elements.
We must say that The Zohar speaks from the perspective of the work and not from the perspective of the revealed Torah, where it speaks in terms of actual practice. Rather, The Zohar speaks from the order of the work, where it can be said that a person belongs to the four elements but still has no connection to the evil inclination, since in the work, we begin to speak of the evil inclination from the time when a person begins to believe in the Creator. At that time, we speak of the good inclination or the evil inclination.
However, concerning faith in reward and punishment, we should also make two discernments: 1) Reward and punishment that are interpreted that if he walks on the straight path, he will receive in return a reward that he will be happy in this world and will also be happy in the next world. And if he does not walk on the straight path, he will be unhappy. 2) Reward and punishment that are interpreted that if he walks on the straight path, as the sages have arranged for us, and will believe in their words, then the reward will be that they draw near to the Creator. Conversely, if they do not believe in the sages, who determined for us how to walk in the ways of the Creator, they will be punished. The punishment is that they will be far from the Creator and will not be given help to draw near the Creator. That is, their reward will be that they will be given from above a desire to bestow, which is a second nature, and their punishment will be that they will remain immersed in self-love and will ache because they are not advancing.
This is considered that they are “placed under the governance of the evil inclination,” that they are separated from the Creator and cannot bond with Him, and it hurts them that they are placed under the governance of evil. That is, we cannot say that a person is punished but he does not feel that he is punished, meaning does not suffer from being under the governance of evil.
Rather, “punishment” means that he suffers because he is under the control of the evil inclination, meaning he feels that it is bad through suffering. This is regarded as a person being “placed under the governance of the evil inclination,” meaning that it hurts him. Conversely, those who are placed under the governance of the evil inclination but do not suffer, in terms of the work, this is considered that they still do not have the evil inclination, that they still do not feel that they are placed under the governance of the will to receive, called “evil.”
However, we must understand, if, according to the merging of the body, a person is incapable of doing good and must exert more than other people to do good, how does it help us that The Zoharsays that the bad he does is like a beast? What is the advice that he would be able to do good? That is, what would help him to later obtain the good inclination and the evil inclination?
Our sages said (Rosh Hashanah [beginning of Jewish new year] 17), “The eyes of the Lord your God are on her, at times for better, at times for worse. At times for better—how? If Israel are complete wicked in the beginning of the year and are allotted few rains, but in the end they repent, it is impossible to add to them because the sentence has been given. Instead, the Creator pours them down in time on a soil that needs them, all according to the soil.” (RASHI interprets “the soil that needs them”—the fields and vineyards and gardens.) “At times for worse, how? If Israel are complete righteous in the beginning of the year, they are allotted many rains, but in the end, they move astray. It is impossible to lessen them, since the decree has already been given, but the Creator pours them down not in their time, on soil that does not need them. (RASHI interprets “not in their time”—before sowing, and “on soil that does not need them”—in forests and deserts.)
We should understand what this matter comes to teach us in the work. According to what The Zoharsays, there are people who were created according to a merging of the four elements and have no connection to the good inclination or the evil inclination, but are like the beasts of the world. This means that good inclination and evil inclination mean that there is the matter of choice, where one can overcome the evil. But in the quality of “beasts,” it means that the qualities they have cannot be changed. Thus, what should one do if he were born with bad qualities and his nature cannot be changed? How can he have choice, which is the work of overcoming of the good inclination over the evil inclination?
According to the above, we should interpret that although one is born with bad qualities in which there is little good, when he walks on the straight path, meaning asks the Creator to help him overcome the bad, although the bad within him is bigger than in the rest of the people, and it is impossible to change nature, the Creator gives him the strength to use his qualities, in which there is little good. However, whatever good he does have works within him, meaning that the Creator helps him from above so that whatever powers he does have, he uses them in the right place.
For example, if he has stamina to learn only one hour, he learns specifically in books that bring him the light of Torah, meaning that through them he acquires the importance of the work of the Creator and receives an awakening that it is worthwhile to cling to the Creator. And when there is a little bit of thinking concerning work, he does not think, “What will I get out of this work?” Rather, he thinks, “What can I give to the King so I will connect with Him?” When he prays, since he knows that he is not gifted and cannot think great and profound thoughts, when he prays, he simply imagines to Whom he prays, meaning with Whom he speaks and what he asks of Him to give him. He says, “I know my lowliness, that I am worse than the rest of the people, so the rest of the people can overcome their evil and do not need Your help so much, whereas I have neither power nor brains, so have mercy on me.” Because he prays from the bottom of the heart, the Creator hears his prayer. Hence, he uses all of his small powers in the right place and at the right time.
But if a person is sentenced through the four elements to have good qualities and virtues, yet he is not rewarded, meaning he does not walk on the straight path—to ask the Creator to help him walk on the right path, his gifts are used in a place where they are not needed. That is, all the powers and talents go to a place that will not yield anything in spirituality with respect to the work, as it is written, “not in their time, before the sowing.” In other words, his work, despite the great effort and depth he puts into it, will not yield anything. This is the meaning of “on a land that does not need them—in forest and deserts.” This means that all the powers and gifts and all the good qualities are used in a place that will not grow, meaning that will not lead him to Dvekut [adhesion] with the Creator. In other words, he will not trouble himself to find the right guide and will not pay attention to learn specifically in books that lead to nearing to the Creator.
It follows that the fact that man was created from four elements has no connection to the evil inclination or the good inclination. But afterward, when he begins the work and wants to draw near the Creator, then begins the matter of the evil inclination, when a person begins to see that there is evil in him and it pains him. Then, when he sees that he has no good qualities, he prays to the Creator to help him. At that time, the Creator summons all his powers and the little bit of talent that he has. The Creator assembles everything and concentrates all the powers that He can, so it will all be in order to achieve Dvekut with the Creator.
It follows that although it is said that man’s character does not change, through the evil inclination, when a person begins to work and sees that he suffers from being removed from the Creator, through prayer, when one prays to the Creator and believes what is written, “for You hear the prayer of every mouth,” meaning even a mouth that comes from a person who is not gifted and is powerless to overcome, and also has bad qualities, and he is worse than the rest of the people, and this comes to him because he was created from the four elements (fire, wind, water, and dust), and according to the merger of the four elements in his body, he has bad qualities. It follows that he has nothing to add to this.
Yet, when one begins to work in Torah and Mitzvot [commandments/good deeds], it causes him to know that there is the matter of the good inclination and the evil inclination, as he writes in the Sulam [Ladder commentary on The Zohar] (Beresheet Bet, Item 103), “If one engages in Torah and Mitzvot even for his own pleasure, through the light in it he will still feel the lowliness and the terrible corruptness in the nature of receiving for oneself. At that time he will resolve to retire from that nature of reception and completely devote himself to working only in order to bestow contentment upon his Maker. Then the Creator will open his eyes to see before him a world filled with utter perfection without any deficiencies whatsoever.”
According to the above, we see that although a person is born with the four elements and has no connection neither to the good inclination nor to the evil inclination, and he is like the beasts of the world, and these qualities cannot be changed, still, through engagement in Torah and Mitzvot, he comes to know and feel that there is the matter of good inclination and evil inclination, and then he can pray to the Creator to help him emerge from the control of the evil inclination. At that time, one concentrates on using all of one’s powers in the right place. That is, whatever forces he has, it is enough for him to use to an extent that will be able to give him the ability to achieve Dvekut with the Creator.
This is the meaning of “At times for better—how? If Israel are complete wicked in the beginning of the year and are allotted few rains.” We should interpret that when he is born, he has bad qualities in terms of the merger of the body. This is considered that they were “allotted few rains.” “Rains” are the power that yields fruits, called “fuel [or motivation]” in the work. It is written, “In the end they repent, it is impossible to add to them because the sentence has been given.” This means that they were already born with the merger of the body in the four elements, but “the Creator pours them down in time on a soil that needs them.” That is, the rains, which are the fuel, the powers with which we work, are concentrated so as to be used only for what is required.
Let us take “fire,” for example. On one hand, man enjoys the fire. When man has fire, he can cook, he can use it to light up the darkness, and it can warm him in the winter. Therefore, essentially, we can say that fire came to the world in order to correct it. On the other hand, if a person is not careful and misuses it, this fire brings destruction and ruin to the world, for through it, man sometimes becomes poor and indigent, even if previously, he was very wealthy. Sometimes, fire brings death to the world.
Likewise, in the work, man’s powers can bring correction to the world. If one uses the powers according to the order of correction, the forces bring delight to the world. As said above, if a person walks on the path of correction, the little powers he has are enough for him to achieve his completion. We see that even something that can harm the world, if we use this power, called “fire,” for example, in a manner of correction, the whole world benefits from it.
It is likewise in the work: When the Creator gives the required help, the power of the fuel called “rains” is enough for him to bear fruit, as there is a rule in Kedusha [holiness], that a person should bear fruit in the work, whereas concerning the Sitra Achra [other side], it is called “Another god is sterile and does not bear fruit.”
According to the above, we should interpret what our sages said (Nidah 16b), “Rabbi Hanina Bar Papa says, ‘That angel appointed over pregnancy is called Laila [Hebrew: night]. It takes a drop and places it before the Creator and says to Him: ‘Master of the world, what shall become of this drop? Will it be a mighty one or a weakling, a wise one or a fool, rich or poor?’ But ‘wicked or righteous’ it did not say. It is as Rabbi Hanina said, ‘Everything is in the hands of heaven except for fear of heaven.’”
Baal HaSulam asked about this, If this drop is sentenced to be a fool, how can there also be a choice for the better afterward? After all, there is a rule that one does not sin unless a spirit of folly has entered him. Thus, how can one choose the good, since he is born with a spirit of folly, so how can he keep himself from transgressing when the spirit of folly is within him?
According to what we explained concerning man, when he is born according to the merger of four elements, for which he has bad qualities, but it is not connected to the evil inclination or the good inclination, but he is like the beasts of the world, yet by engaging in Torah and Mitzvot even for his own benefit, through the light in it, he will feel the lowliness and terrible corruption that there are in the nature of receiving for oneself. At that time he will resolve to completely devote himself to working only in order to bestow contentment upon his Maker, and then the Creator will open his eyes.
Also, we should interpret here that although the drop is sentenced to be a fool, by engaging in Torah Lo Lishma [not for Her sake], the light in it will reform him. That is, the light in Torah Lo Lishma can shine for him so he will feel the bad in him. That is, although there is a rule that a fool does not feel, for how can one who was born from a drop that was sentenced to be a fool feel the difference between good or bad, this is so from the perspective of the birth itself, from the angle of the drop, that it was sentenced to be a fool. At that time, he is considered “a fool does not feel.” But through the light of the Torah, he receives the feeling of good or bad to such an extent that through the recognition of the bad, which he received through the light of Torah, he is then rewarded with opening the eyes.
However, we should ask, Why does the Creator sentence a drop to be a fool? It seems as though the Creator deliberately causes him not to be able to overcome the qualities with which he were born. We should interpret as Baal HaSulam said, that many times, the Creator does something to a person that seems as though the Creator acts to that person’s detriment. But we should ask according to the rule, “The Creator does not complain against His creations,” so why does the Creator make it so it seems as though He caused man to be unable to overcome?
The answer is that the Creator wants the creatures to know that He is not limited in His actions. That is, achieving Dvekut with the Creator is out of one’s hands, but rather comes specifically by help from above, when the Creator gives a person a second nature, called “desire to bestow,” and to the Creator, it makes no difference whether he should help him a lot or a little. Also, we should interpret here, as well, that the fact that the Creator sentences the drop to be a fool, it is in order for man to know that to the Creator, there is no difference between having great powers or small ones, whether he is very wise or a fool. Only if one understands that he must ask the Creator to help him, the Creator helps him. That is, after he received the light of Torah, through the Torah in which he engaged for his own pleasure, called “will to receive for his own benefit,” if he asks of the Creator, he is rewarded with the Creator opening his eyes and will show him a world full of utter perfection.
According to the above, we can interpret what our sages said (Taanit 7), “Anyone who engages in Torah Lishma [for Her sake], his Torah becomes to him a potion of life. And anyone who engages in Torah Lo Lishma, it becomes to him a potion of death.”
This is perplexing: Before a person is rewarded with his actions being for the sake of the Creator, he still cannot learn Lishma. So why did they say (Pesachim 50), “One should always engage in Torah and Mitzvot Lo Lishma since from Lo Lishma he comes to Lishma.” How can it be said that a person should first learn Lo Lishma, if he puts into himself a potion of death?
We should interpret according to the above, that man, who comprises four elements, still does not have connection to the evil inclination or to the good inclination. Rather, as said in the Sulam [Ladder commentary on The Zohar], it says there by learning Torah for one’s own pleasure, this is called Lo Lishma, meaning for one’s own benefit, still, through the light in it, as said in the Sulam, “Through the light in it he will feel the lowliness and the terrible corruptness in the nature of receiving for oneself.At that time he will resolve to retire from that nature of reception and completely devote himself to working only in order to bestow contentment upon his Maker. Then the Creator will open his eyes.”
Therefore, this means that only through the light of Torah, by learning Torah Lo Lishma, the light in the Torah will make him understand and feel that if he learns Lishma, meaning in order to bestow, he will be rewarded with the light of life and he will see a world filled with abundance. And if he does not, but rather stays in self-reception, his state will be “the potion of death.” That is, he will feel the corruption that there is in self-reception, and he will remain separated from the Life of Lives.
It follows that specifically when he begins to learn Lo Lishma, the light in the Torah makes him understand what is “the potion of life” and what is “the potion of death.” By this, he will later be rewarded with the opening of the eyes and will see a world filled with abundance.
Inapoi la pagina 1991 (ŞLAVEY HASULAM (TREPTELE SCĂRII) – link