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What Is, “Every Blade of Grass Has an Appointee Above, Who Strikes It and Tells It, Grow!” in the Work?
Article No. 27, Tav-Shin-Nun, 1989-90
Our sages said, “You have not a single blade of grass below that does not have an appointee above, which keeps it, and strikes it, and tells it, Grow!” It is said (The Zohar, and Beresheet Rabbah 10), “Rabbi Simon said, ‘You have not a single blade of grass that does not have a force in the firmament that strikes it and tells it, Grow!’”
We should understand what these words mean to us in the work. We see that in our world, all the creatures like rest, as it is written (The Study of the Ten Sefirot, Part 1, Histaklut Pnimit, Item 19), “It is known that the nature of every branch is equal to its root. Therefore, every conduct in the root is desired and loved and coveted by the branch, as well, and any matter that is not in the root, the branch, too, removes itself from them, does not tolerate them, and hates them. Therefore, all the matters that are included in Him and extend to us from Him directly are pleasant to us. That is, we love restbecause our root is motionless.”
Accordingly, the question is, Why do we do things that we do not like? Who forces us to exert? The answer is that there is an appointee above with a cane in his hand, who beats the created beings with torments. And since they cannot tolerate the suffering, it causes them to leave the rest and go to work. It follows that this work is called “compulsory work,” where a person is compelled to go to work by the suffering that the appointee beats. Therefore, we act, “and tells it, Grow!” Otherwise, when as a person is born, he would lie in his place and there would be no development at all, both physically and emotionally. Hence, this cane in the hand of the appointee who beats the creatures, causes the development of the creatures.
It follows that the cause of receiving the pleasures, which comes by the development of creation, is because there is an appointee above, who strikes and says, “Grow!” meaning that each and every blade of grass will grow. It follows that people in the world are as blades of grass, and each blade must grow.
In the work, we should interpret that the appointee strikes the created beings, and when the created beings suffer the torments, they must move forward and cannot remain restful, as man is by nature, which extends from his root, which is in a state of complete rest. It follows that the whole drive for the work is only that the suffering caused it.
However, we should understand who is the appointee with a cane in his hand who beats all creations so they do not remain restful, but each one, which is called “every blade of grass,” which strikes it and tells it, “Grow!” This is the second discernment we must make in our root.
In other words, the Creator, who is our root, is full of pleasure. Hence, this begets in us suffering if we have no pleasure, since that which exists in the root, the branches want to resemble, as was said (ibid.), “Every conduct in the root is desired and loved and coveted by the branch, as well.”
Therefore, the fact that the creatures yearn for pleasure and it is impossible to live without it is because pleasure is in the root; this is the appointee that strikes and says, “Grow!” This is as it is written (Item 21), “However, it is also impossible to remain devoid of possessions and good. Hence, we choose the torment of movement in order to acquire the fulfillment of possessions.” Thus, this is the suffering that a person receives from the appointee who strikes and says, “Grow!”
This matter applies in corporeal matters as well as in spiritual matters. The difference is that in corporeal matters, there is no concealment, meaning that in corporeal pleasures there is the matter of “The eye sees and the heart covets.” It follows that what the eye sees causes man suffering, since what he sees, whether in the eyes or in the mind, he yearns to obtain. The yearning for the matter, as long as one has not obtained the matter, afflicts a person.
The suffering is measured by the yearning for the matter. It is as we see in corporeality, that sometimes unrequited love can cause a person to take his life because of his suffering at seeing that he will not be able to obtain the matter. Therefore, he says, “I’d rather die than live,” and commits suicide. However, this pertains only to corporeality.
In spiritual matters, for the purpose of correction, a Tzimtzum [restriction] and concealment were placed, so that one does not see the delight and pleasure clothed in Torah and Mitzvot. This was done on purpose, so as to have room for work for the sake of the Creator. Otherwise, it would be impossible to choose, so that one will have the strength to work in order to bestow, due to the above-mentioned reason, since when the eye sees, the heart covets. He would be compelled to do, meaning to observe Torah and Mitzvot, because the revealed pleasure would force him to receive in order to calm his pains of coveting, as is done with corporeal lusts.
But now that he must do everything with faith above reason and say that the Torah and Mitzvot are in manner of “for they are our lives,” and as it is written, “Who are nicer than gold, than much fine gold, and sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb,” if everything were revealed, the will to receive would yearn for the pleasure and it would be utterly impossible that someone will not observe Torah and Mitzvot. But since in order to be rewarded with Dvekut [adhesion] with the Creator, we must work in order to bestow, there are concealment and hiding on the Torah and Mitzvot. Hence, we cannot say here, “The eye sees and the heart covets.”
It follows that in spirituality, where we first need to work on faith, meaning believe in reward and punishment, it cannot be said, “You have not a blade of grass below that does not have an appointee above that strikes and tells it, ‘Grow!’” Thus, the matter of “strikes it and tells it, ‘Grow!’” is the suffering that a person feels, that he is far from the Creator, and that he wants and yearns to adhere to the Creator, but is unsuccessful. From this he suffers, and these sufferings push him to do all that he can only to have Dvekut with the Creator.
It therefore follows that since it is impossible for man to suffer because of something that he craves, except according to the importance of the matter, the question is, Since man does not progress at all without suffering, for the above reason that he wants rest, from where will man take importance to work for the sake of the Creator? meaning yearn to bring contentment to the Creator, that he will suffer if he sees that he cannot bring contentment to the Creator. These sufferings push him to do everything he can do if only to be rewarded with true Dvekut with the Creator. The verse says about that (Psalms 94), “Happy is the man whom You chasten, Lord, And whom You teach out of Your law [Torah].”
We should understand why he is “happy” when the Creator afflicts him. We should interpret that it means that the Creator is imparting upon him the importance of Torah, and he begins to feel that Torah is as in, “The Torah, and the Creator are one.” That is, the Torah is the names of the Creator. To the extent of the importance that the Creator imparts upon him, the person begins to feel suffering at being remote from the whole spiritual matter.
In other words, he begins to yearn to be rewarded with spirituality, and each time he sees that he is far, he begins to suffer, and the pain pushes him to do everything he can, since he begins to feel that without spirituality, there is no meaning to life.
It follows that in spirituality, too, there is the appointee above who strikes him, meaning afflicts him. But concerning these afflictions, not everyone is rewarded with the Creator imparting him with the importance that there is in Torah, so that this will afflict him. By this we can understand the meaning of the words, “Happy is the man whom You chasten, Lord.” That is, the Creator bestows upon him this importance so he will crave it. This is the above-mentioned suffering, where the appointee above strikes and says, “Grow!” This applies to both corporeality and spirituality.
This is the meaning of what is written in The Zohar (Kedoshim, Item 108): “There is not even a tiny blade of grass in the land on which there is no higher force above in the upper worlds. All that they do in each one, and everything that each one does is all by prevailing of the upper force that is appointed over it above. And all the conducts in them derive from the judgment; on judgment they journey, and on judgment they exist, and there is not one who emerges outside of one’s own existence.”
We should interpret according to the above, that everything is conducted by private Providence, and the lower ones have no free choice to emerge from the laws that Providence has imposed upon them. It follows that when speaking of the work, where each person is a small world, “You have not a blade of grass that does not have an appointee over it from above.” This means that there is not a single desire or thought that comes to a person that does not follow these rules of above. Hence, all the heaviness there is in the work of the Creator is the contradictions that we find. In other words, on one hand, we say that everything depends on man’s work, as our sages said, that man should say, “If I am not for me, who is for me?” This means that everything depends on man, which is the meaning of reward and punishment.
On the other hand, we should say, “Everything comes from above,” as in the words of The Zohar, which says, “There is not even a tiny blade of grass in the land on which there is no higher force above,” implying that everything follows the upper Providence and the lower ones have no ability to change. The answer to both matters, which contradict one another, is as was said in the words of Maimonides (presented in Article No. 25, Tav-Shin-Nun [1989-90]), who says that we cannot understand it, but we must believe that this is so.
The order of advancement in the work, which we said comes by obtaining the importance of the goal, is as our sages said, it comes by the Torah. This is so because even when he sees that he is learning Lo Lishma [not for Her sake], still, the light in the Torah reforms him, meaning that through the light, he receives the importance of the Torah.
At that time, a person comes to a state of “appointee over each blade of grass, which strikes it and tells it, ‘Grow!’” In other words, he begins to feel suffering because he is remote from Dvekut with the Creator. These afflictions cause him to do all that he can in order to obtain Dvekut with the Creator.
It follows that a person should begin in Lo Lishma, although he sees that he cannot work Lishma [for Her sake]. However, if he learns Lo Lishma because he believes that by this he will achieve Lishma, then he receives the light of Torah, and from this he is rewarded with achieving Lishma.
Concerning the suffering, I will bring here what is written in The Zohar (Beresheet Bet, Item 103), for our sages said, “There has never been such joy before the Creator as on the day when heaven and earth were created.” However, a person cannot take part in His great joy unless he has made complete repentance from love.
“Before this, he will not rejoice at all with himself or with the people of the world. On the contrary, he feels before him a world full of sorrow and pain, both pains of the body and pains of the soul, which are the transgressions he commits. All of this has come to him because the world was created only in bestowal, to engage in Torah and good deeds in order to bestow contentment upon one’s Maker, and not for one’s own pleasure.
“But in the beginning, ‘A man is born a wild ass’ colt,’ meaning that his sole interest is his own delight. Hence, the Creator has imprinted bitter and harsh afflictions in self-reception, instilled in man from the moment of his birth—bodily pains and pains of the soul—so that if he engages in Torah and Mitzvot even for his own pleasure, 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 to see before him a world filled with utter perfection.
“There are two ways in the corporeal and spiritual afflictions he suffered prior to repenting:
1) “‘All that the Creator does, He does for the best.’ He sees that were it not for those terrible pains that he had suffered for being immersed in the nature of reception for himself, he would never have been rewarded with repentance. Therefore, he blesses for the bad as he blesses for the good, meaning that the bad causes the good.
2) “‘That, too, is for the best.’ That is, not only did the evils that were done cause good, but the evils themselves have been inverted to good through very great lights that the Creator illuminated through all those evils until they were inverted into good.”
It turns out that all of man’s progress is specifically if he suffers in the situation he is in, as this gives him a thrust forward.
According to the above, we should interpret what the ARI says, that no degree ascends unless through the ascent of Mayin Nukvin [Aramaic: female water, MAN], for Nukvin [Aramaic: females] means lack. “Water” means Bina that received within her the quality of Malchut, where Malchut is called “a lack,” from the [Hebrew] word, “hole.” Hence, the upper one must give to the lower one what it needs.
Since “There is no new light in the world except from Ein Sof [infinity/no end], hence, the upper one ascends in degree in order to receive abundance for the lower one. In the work, we should interpret that upper and lower mean that the first state is called “upper” and the second state is called “lower.” This means that if in the state one is in, he does not feel any lack and he is satisfied, clearly, he has no need to advance in the work, since he sees no deficiency that will push him to go forward.
For this reason, if a person is successful, he elicits a lack in the state he is in. There is a rule: “Each and every state is called ‘upper and lower.’” It follows that while he has found a lack in the state he is in, in the second state, called “a state of lack,” that lack is now called “the lower one,” and causes him to leave the previous state and try to correct the lack that he is feeling now.
In the work, this is regarded as the Mayin Nukvin of the lower one causing an ascent in degree to the upper one, meaning to the previous state. This is the meaning of what the ARI said, that through his MAN, the lower one induces an ascent to the upper one. It follows that only the lacks, which are called “suffering,” induce the ascents by which they always rise to go forward.
According to the above, we can interpret what our sages said (Beresheet Rabbah 92a), “Rabbi Yehoshua Ben Levi said, ‘Every suffering, when it comes upon a person and distract him from words of Torah, are afflictions of admonition. But sufferings that come to a person and do not distract him from words of Torah are pains of love, as it is written, ‘He whom the Lord loves, He admonishes.’”
This is seemingly difficult to understand. Should the Creator afflict him because He loves him? It stands to reason that as we see in life, if a person loves another, he gives him gifts, and not that one who loves another makes him suffer. But according to the above, since without suffering, a person wants to remain in a state of rest, since our root is in a state of complete rest, and only by the appointee who strikes and tells him, “Grow!” meaning only the suffering make us cancel the pleasure of rest and try to acquire new possessions.
But if he does not suffer, he remains in his present state. For example, a person who lives in a single-room apartment gets married, but he is lazy, meaning likes the rest more than others, so he agrees to live in one room. Although when he was single, he lived in one room, he continues to live this way even after he has married.
But if he has a few children, then he, too, feels the crowdedness in the house, and he, too, begins to feel the suffering of living in one room. Then, the suffering forces him to work overtime, meaning to exert more than he is used to, in order to move to an apartment with several rooms.
It is the same in the work. When a person is educated, and his father brought him up to engage in Torah and Mitzvot, and as much as his father let him see what is spirituality and what is for the sake of the Creator, this was enough for him to continue with the work and observe Torah and Mitzvot. But when he grew up, married, and became his own man, with children, and he knows that he must educate them and give them the matter of fear of heaven, he reflects on how much understanding and sensation he has now more than he did when he was a nine-year-old child who had begun his education, or when he had his Bar-Mitzvah [at age thirteen].
Then he sees that he has made no progress so as to say, “Now I understand the importance of Torah and Mitzvot, which I did not know when I was a child.” And if he begins to feel suffering because of this, meaning sees himself as retarded, that he is already a grownup but his mind is as that of a child, meaning that now he has the same understanding that he had then in Torah and Mitzvot and he did not advance as one should advance. It follows that he feels himself like a little boy, and these sufferings push him to exert to find a guide who can instruct him so he grows and becomes a man, and does not remain as a child in the work.
Now we can understand what we asked, What is the meaning of what our sages said about suffering that does not distract from the Torah, that they are called “pains of love”? It means as it is written, “He whom the Lord loves, He admonishes.” That is, these sufferings bring a person the need to advance in Torah and Mitzvot, meaning to understand the Torah and Mitzvot not as when he was a child, but as is suitable for an adult.
It follows that the suffering caused him to learn and engage in Torah and Mitzvot as is suitable for the state of “man” and not for the state of “child,” as our sages said, “You are called ‘man,’ and the nations of the world are not called ‘man.’” “Man” means that he is regarded as “speaking,” meaning he does not take for himself the nourishments of “animals,” but nourishments that are suitable for the “speaking.” This is called “pains of love that do not distract from the Torah,” but on the contrary, for attainment of Torah and Mitzvot.
Inapoi la pagina 1990 (ŞLAVEY HASULAM (TREPTELE SCĂRII) – link