Inapoi la pagina 1990 (ŞLAVEY HASULAM (TREPTELE SCĂRII) – link

What Is, “As I Am for Nothing, so You Are for Nothing,” in the Work?

Article No. 21, Tav-Shin-Nun, 1989-90

It is written in The ZoharTruma (Item 34), “‘And they shall take a donation for Me.’ ‘They shall take for Me’ indicates that one who wishes to exert in a Mitzva [commandment/good deed] and exert in the Creator must not exert in it futilely and for nothing. Rather, one should exert in it properly, according to one’s strength, as it is written, ‘Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God which He has given you.’ If you say, ‘But it is written, ‘Come, buy and eat, and come buy for no money and at no cost wine and milk,’ it means that it is free, since wine and milk mean the Torah.’ He replies, ‘But with exertion in the Torah, anyone who wishes is granted with it. The exertion in the Creator, to know Him, anyone who wishes is rewarded with Him without any pay at all. But the exertion in the Creator that stands in an act must not be taken for nothing and futilely, for he will not be rewarded by this act at all, to extend on it the spirit of Kedusha [holiness], but at full cost.” The matter of “for nothing” is also brought (in Masechet Hagigah, p 7) as follows, “As I am for nothing, so you are for nothing.”

We should understand the following:

1) What is exertion in the Torah?

2) What is exertion in the Creator, to know Him?

3) What is exertion in the Creator, which stands in an act?

4) What is the meaning of “for nothing or for a cost”? Whom should we pay? We see that one who works should be paid, which means that the person who is working should pay. Who has heard of such a thing? We see that there are people who work for no pay, but to work and pay to those for whom we work? Where do we see such a thing?

First, what is the meaning of “exertion”? That is, we see that normally, when someone wants something that is difficult to obtain, the person must exert and make great efforts to obtain that thing. But with something that is abundant, you cannot speak of exertion. Rather, anyone who wants that thing takes it, or pays for what he wants, but you cannot speak of exertion.

For example, a person does not say, “Today I made great efforts to buy bread and milk for the kids,” when bread and milk are in stores for anyone who wants. But sometimes, during war, when there were no bread or milk in the stores and he made great efforts to obtain them, while other people were not as successful in obtaining them, in such a state you can speak of exertion.

But concerning Torah and Mitzvot [commandments/good deeds], how can we speak of exertion? That is, how can we say that observing Torah and Mitzvot is so difficult that it requires exertion? After all, the verse says, “For this commandment that I command you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it far, nor is it in heaven or beyond the sea, for the matter is very close to you.” Thus, we should understand what is exertion in Torah and Mitzvot.

It is known that the purpose of creation is to do good to His creations. For this reason, He created creatures that have the desire to receive delight and pleasure. This is called a Kli [vessel] that the Creator created for the creatures, and in this Kli they will receive the delight and pleasure. This Kli is regarded as coming from the Creator; hence, this Kli is complete in the created beings. When the created beings want to use this Kli, they have no work at all to obtain the Kli because the Creator created that Kli, so there is complete wholeness in this Kli.

From this we see that wherever the created beings feel that they can obtain pleasure from something, they immediately use that Kli, called “will to receive for oneself,” meaning for one’s own benefit. There is no need to awaken the person to want to receive pleasure, but rather to the extent of the pleasure clothed in the thing, that pleasure attracts a person and he chases the pleasure in order to obtain it. This means that to the extent of the pleasure in that thing, so it awakens yearning in a person, and it does not let him sit until he makes every effort to obtain the pleasure.

But later, when the correction of the Tzimtzum [restriction] took place, which is the matter called “the wholeness of His works,” meaning when they receive the delight and pleasure from the Creator, in order for them not to feel shame, a correction was done, called “concealment.” That is, before the person obtains a vessel of bestowal, he does not see the delight and pleasure that will be revealed, that the delight and pleasure will give him an awakening to receive the good.

This is in order to have room for choice. In the work, choice is in order to be able to observe Torah and Mitzvot not in order to receive reward, since when the pleasure is revealed while performing the Mitzva, a person cannot say that he is observing the Torah and Mitzvot because he wants to delight the Creator, meaning that for himself, he would relinquish the pleasure he is tasting, but because the Creator wants the creatures to enjoy, only for this reason does he accept the pleasure.

This is impossible, since man was born with a nature of wanting to receive for himself. Therefore, how can he say that for himself, he relinquishes the pleasure? How can a person relinquish the great pleasure that is found in Torah and Mitzvot?

Because of this, sparks of light, called “tiny light,” were placed in the Klipot [shells/peels], on which all of creation feeds before they are rewarded with vessels of bestowal. Since this is only a very thin light, a person begins to do the work of giving small pleasures in return for great pleasures, meaning to receive reward in return for relinquishing small pleasures that have nothing more than a tiny light in them.

It is like commerce—where we gain more, this is where we trade. It is likewise in the work, where only later, when a person is used to relinquishing pleasures, although they are small compared to the pleasures found in Torah and Mitzvot, it is still considered that he is accustomed to the work and there is room for choice.

However, accordingly, we should understand, if a person engages in Torah and Mitzvot in order to receive reward for his work, why is observing Torah and Mitzvot regarded as an effort? After all, this is also the conduct in corporeality: to relinquish small pleasures in order to obtain great pleasure. The answer is that in corporeality, the pleasure one receives for one’s work is revealed in this world. Therefore, it cannot be regarded as an effort. But in Torah and Mitzvot, he must believe that he will have a reward in the next world, and since it depends on faith, there is already labor, since he must believe, and the body cannot believe because by nature, it needs to see and to know. But when we must believe, there are already ascents and descents.

It follows that the effort one should make in Torah and Mitzvot is one discernment. But there is another discernment, which is to exert in the Creator, to know Him. We should try to observe both in order to receive reward for the labor. That is, we must believe that we will receive reward both in this world and in the next world. This is as it is written in The Zohar (“Introduction of the Book of Zohar,” Item 190), “Fear is interpreted in three discernments. There is a person who fears the Creator so that his sons will live and not die, or fears a bodily punishment, or a punishment to one’s money. It follows that the fear he fears of the Creator is not placed as the root, for his own benefit is the root, and the fear is the result of it. And there is a person who fears the Creator because he fears the punishment of that world and the punishment of Hell. Those two kinds of fear are not the essence of the fear. The fear that is the most important is when one fears one’s Master because He is great and ruling,” meaning both exertion in Torah and Mitzvot and exertion in the Creator.

But the main meaning of knowing Him is to know that He leads the world in a guidance of The Good Who Does Good, and we must strive to know Him in this respect. We should interpret that knowing Him is when a person prays to the Creator or thanks the Creator, he should know to what name he is praying, or to what name he is giving thanks. That is, when a person prays to the Creator for someone who is sick to get better, he should know that he is praying to the name, Healer of the Sick. At that time, it cannot be said that he is praying to the name, Redeemer of the Captive, etc. Or, when he thanks the Creator for delivering him from imprisonment, he should thank the name, Redeemer of the Captive, and it cannot be said that he is thanking the name, Dresses the Naked. He says that both the exertion in Torah and Mitzvot and in the Creator, to know Him, in them, a person can be rewarded, if he exerts, for nothing, for no money and at no cost.

Conversely, exertion in the Creator that is in action (is) for a complete reward. We should understand what “stands in action” means. The writing says, “which God has created to do.” This means that the Creator created the world in order to do. That is, over that which the Creator created, man must act. This is called “the six workdays,” which is the time of work, which is called “action.”

We find likewise in the words of The Zohar, in the words (“Introduction of the Book of Zohar,” Item 67), “‘And to say to Zion, ‘You are My people.’’ Do not pronounce ‘You are My people [Ami]’ with a Patach in the Ayin, but ‘You are with Me [Imi],’ with a Hirik in the Ayin, which means partnering with Me. As I made heaven and earth with My speech, as it is written, ‘By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,’ so did you.” They also said (Avot, Chapter 1), “It is not the learning that is most important, but the deed,” and also, “Great is the learning of Torah, for it yields action” (Kidushin 40).

We should understand what deed they are talking about as being the most important. We should interpret this in the work, that the wholeness is mainly for the created beings to receive the goal for which the world was created, namely His desire to do good to His creations, meaning for the lower ones to receive from Him delight and pleasure. In order for the creatures to receive delight and pleasure, He created in the creatures yearning, meaning to have a desire and yearning to receive the delight and pleasure.

As was said, this Kli comes from the Creator. However, afterward, there was a correction where this Kli became half a Kli. In other words, after there was a correction so there would not be the matter of shame, a Tzimtzum and concealment were placed on this Kli, called “will to receive for oneself.” For this reason, this Kli, called “will to receive,” is considered as only half a Kli, meaning that as long as we cannot make the will to receive for ourselves work in order to bestow, we cannot use this Kli. But after we place on it the desire to bestow, the Kli can receive the abundance.

It therefore follows that the Creator made the first half Kli, called “will to receive.” The other half, meaning the aim to bestow, pertains only to the creatures—to place the Masach [screen] on the will to receive, and from this emerges the other half. When both of these halves are present, they become one Kli, which is suitable to receive the delight and pleasure.

It follows that man’s work is to make the second half of the Kli. This is called “action,” and this is the meaning of “which God has created,” meaning the first half, the will to receive for oneself, on which man does not need to do. But the second half, which is in order to bestow, which pertains to the created beings, here there is work, since it is against nature. Hence, there is a lot of work here to obtain it. This is called “action,” which a person must do, and which is not done by the Creator because we attribute to the Creator what He gives. That is, every bestowing, meaning giving, pertains to the Creator, but the second half of the Kli, which is what the lower one wants to give, this belongs to the lower one.

Now we can interpret what we asked, What is exertion in the Creator, which stands in an act? Which act are we speaking of? We should interpret that when a person exerts in the Creator in action, meaning in bestowing upon the Creator, this act belongs to the lower one, namely that a person has to work to have this Kli called “desire to bestow.”

As in corporeality, when a person needs to learn the trade of making tools to sell to people, and making the tools is a profession, meaning a craft that must be learned not at once, and not in one month. Likewise, here in the work, a person must learn the trade of making vessels of bestowal. A person cannot do it as soon as he wants to have these Kelim [vessels]. Rather, it is a craft that must be learned over a long period of time until he has such Kelim, meaning the ability to observe Torah and Mitzvot in order to bestow.

Our sages said, “The Creator said, ‘I have created the evil inclination; I have created the Torah as a spice’” (Kidushin 30). This means that the Creator created the will to receive, which is considered the first part of the Kli, namely the yearning for pleasure, “and I created the Torah as a spice,” which spices the evil inclination into a good inclination, making the will to receive work in order to bestow.

Therefore, this means that the Creator gives the second part of the Kli, as well. According to what our sages said about the verse, “And to say unto Zion, ‘You are My people,’” and they explained, “Do not pronounce ‘My people [Ami]’ but ‘with Me [Imi],’ which means partnering with Me.” This means that the creatures also make. We should interpret about the second half of the Kli, that it is not all done by the Creator, but that there is man’s work here, too.

However, we should interpret about the second half of the Kli, which we attribute to man, that in this Kli, called “desire to bestow,” we also discern the matter of light and Kli. Hence, the Kli in the Klibelongs to man, meaning that which the Creator gives is called “light,” and that which man gives is called “a Kli,” since a Kli is called “a lack,” and light is called “the filling of the lack.”

Since the Creator is the Giver, and abundance is called “light,” we attribute the light to the Creator, and the Kli, called “a lack,” belongs to the created beings, as this is their whole root—only a lack—and the Creator fills the lack.

Hence, when speaking of the vessels of bestowal, this Kli also divides into two parts, as said above. 1) A lack, meaning that one must feel that he is lacking vessels of bestowal. That is, he feels that everything he does is for his own benefit, and believes that a person should adhere to the Creator, as it is written, “And to cleave unto Him,” where Dvekut [adhesion] is called “equivalence of form.” It pains him that he is far from Dvekut with the Creator, and he sees that for himself, he has no way to emerge from the domination of the will to receive. This is called “a lack,” and this pertains to man, meaning that man must feel the lack. This is regarded as an act, meaning work in vessels of bestowal.

The light of the Kli, meaning in the Kli, which is the lack, will be the filling that is clothed, meaning the power that he can bestow. This is called “the light in the Kli,” and the Creator gives this. By this we can interpret what we asked, “Our sages said, ‘I have created the Torah as a spice,’” meaning that the Creator also gives the Kli called “desire to bestow,” and not man. Thus, why is the Kli called “action,” which pertains to man’s work in action?

The answer is that the Kli, called “lack,” when it pains him that he cannot do anything for the sake of the Creator, we attribute this to the creature. That is, the lack belongs to the creature, and the filling of the lack belongs to the Creator. This is why they said, “I have created the evil inclination; I have created the Torah as a spice,” meaning the light spices the evil inclination. In other words, the Creator gives the power to want to do everything for the sake of the Creator.

But the lack in the Kli, this a person has to feel within his body. This means that the person must do all that he can in order to achieve Dvekut with the Creator, and making that lack is called “a lack,” and this is regarded as what we asked, What is the exertion in the Creator that stands in an act, meaning that a person exerts in the Creator, to be able to delight the Creator, meaning to bring Him contentment. This desire is called “an act,” meaning “making the lack.” This is when he can bring contentment to the Creator, and this is the light in the Kli.

Now we will explain what we asked, What is the meaning of the reward, and what is the meaning of “for nothing”? Ostensibly, it should have been the opposite. That is, the exertion in the Creator should be for nothing, and exertion in Torah and Mitzvot and exertion in the Creator, to know Him, should be for a reward. That is, those who exert will be rewarded. However, it implies that those who exert in action pay a fee!

This is hard to understand for two reasons: 1) Where do we see such a thing that the one who works is the one who pays? There are people who work for no pay, as volunteers. We do see this. But to pay in order to be allowed to work? This we do not see. 2) The question is, Whom must we pay this fee? We should say that it is to the Creator, but how can it be said that the Creator receives reward, called “profit”? That is, how can we say that if a person does not think that the Creator will benefit, then his effort, called “action,” this act that the person does will not yield that person any results?

However, we should interpret this according to our way: There is the matter of Lo Lishma [not for Her sake], which means that a person engages in Torah and Mitzvot in order to receive reward. Naturally, one who works in order to receive reward always looks at what he will gain from exerting and following the orders of the landlord, and does not think at all about what the landlord will gain from his work. Sometimes, when the worker thinks that the landlord should profit, too, it is not because he is concerned with the benefit of the landlord, but because the worker knows that if this business does not yield profits to the landlord, the business will shut down and he will have no work. Other than that, he does not think about the landlord whatsoever.

That is, the worker does not need to think that the Creator should profit, unless for nothing, meaning that he is not interested in the Creator making a profit. This is called “for nothing.” But one who wants to work in action, which is making a Kli to bestow contentment upon the Creator, it is explicitly for a reward, meaning that the Creator will enjoy his work. In other words, a person is not concerned with his profits, but with the profit of the Creator. This is the meaning of the prohibition to take it for nothing, meaning without a profit. In other words, a person should aim all his actions that the Creator will enjoy. This is regarded that work in action should be for a reward, meaning that this will reward the Creator.

Inapoi la pagina 1990 (ŞLAVEY HASULAM (TREPTELE SCĂRII) – link

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