Inapoi la pagina 1991 (ŞLAVEY HASULAM (TREPTELE SCĂRII) – link
What Is, “Return, O Israel, Unto the Lord Your God,” in the Work?
Article No. 02, Tav-Shin-Nun-Aleph, 1989-91
The writing says, “Return, O Israel, unto the Lord your God, for you have failed in your iniquity. Take with you words and return to the Lord. Say unto Him: ‘Remove all iniquity and take good, and we will pay with the fruit of our lips.’” We should understand the connection, for it is implied that since “you have failed in your iniquity,” therefore, “return to the Lord your God.” Also, what is, “Say unto Him: ‘Remove all iniquity’”? And we should also understand what our sages said, “Great is repentance, for it reaches unto the throne, as it was said, ‘unto the Lord your God’” (Yoma 86).
It is known that in the work, we should make two discernments: 1) that which pertains to the general public. Their work is in practice and they do not work on the intention, meaning to aim that it will be in order to bestow. For this reason, in terms of practice, everyone thinks that they are fine. Each one believes that it is impossible to be a perfect human being, so in general, he thinks that he is complete, and when he looks at his friends he sees their faults, that they are not all right.
He, on the other hand, is fine. Although he is lacking something, he excuses himself with the verse, “There is not a righteous man on earth who will do good and will not sin.” Therefore, he has faults, as well, and he is careful with the quality of lowliness, as our sages said, “Be very, very humble.” Although he sees that he is higher than the rest of the people, he has faith in the sages and believes above reason that he, too, is probably lowly, meaning that he is worse than the rest of the people. However, to him, this is faith above reason.
It follows that when those who belong to the general public engage in Torah, they cannot feel that they have iniquities or that they are worse than other people. Rather, in general, they are happy with their work. Therefore, come month of Elul [last month in Hebrew calendar] and the Ten Penitentiary Days, which is the time to make repentance, they have a lot of work to find iniquities within them on which they must repent.
Otherwise, they might be judged in the courthouse of above and could be punished for their actions. They understand that it is possible that the reward that they think they deserve might not happen, meaning that they will be rewarded less. But punishments? This is out of the question, since they know about themselves that they have much Torah and many Mitzvot [commandments/good deeds].
Conversely, those who work in the individual manner, who want to be rewarded with Dvekut[adhesion] with the Creator, and who understand that the Torah and Mitzvot they are observing are merely in the form of 613 counsels by which to adhere to the Creator, meaning so they will have only one concern—how to bring contentment to the Maker and to have no concern for themselves.
The body certainly resists this and presents just arguments why what it says is correct. It begins to present him with evidence from the whole world that no one is walking on such a path of annulling the will to receive for oneself and working only for the sake of the Creator. That person wants to overcome the iniquities that the will to receive brings him thoughts that contradict faith, which is Pharaoh’s argument, who said, “Who is the Lord that I should obey His voice?”
It follows that the person failed in the iniquity of heresy. The more a person strengthens, the more it comes and prevails over the person. That is, as much as one wants to believe that the Creator watches over the world in a manner of good and doing good, the body shows him the opposite. Naturally, he is always failing and sees that this is endless and he is in ascents and descents, and he does not know what to do against it.
The writing says about this, “Return, O Israel, unto the Lord your God.” And why must it be “unto the Lord your God”? It is because “You have failed in your iniquity.” That is, since you have failed in your iniquity, meaning the iniquity of faith, and now you feel that you are the lowliest person in the world, since the thoughts and desires that you have are the lowest in the world, and you feel that you are utterly removed from spirituality.
In other words, the secular do not say that they are far from spirituality because they do not even believe that there is spirituality in the world. The same goes for the religious, who believe in Torah and Mitzvot—they do not feel that they are removed, since each one feels that he is more or less fine. And if they see some faults in themselves, they are certain to have an excuse for it. And especially, a person sees that the whole world leads a tranquil life, while he is in a state where he is full of failures and iniquities, and he sees no way out of that state.
Therefore, he has no other counsel besides “Return, O Israel.” A person must return to the Creator and not retreat from Him until he is rewarded with the Creator being “your God.” That is, until he is rewarded with complete faith. Otherwise, he will remain in the failures. For this reason, a person must try to do all that he can until there is mercy on him from above and he is given the power called “desire to bestow.”
According to the above, we can understand what is written, “Take with you words.” That is, these words that the body speaks to you and claims that it is not worthwhile to work for the sake of the Creator, take these words when you return to the Creator. Say to Him: “Remove all iniquity,” since these words that the body tells us, we cannot overcome. Take these words when you return to the Creator. It says “all” because only You are all mighty; You can give us a second nature, called “desire to bestow.” You will remove the iniquity, meaning that You can accept our iniquity and correct it, for only You are the carrier of our iniquity, while we are completely powerless.
However, we believe that all those words that the body speaks to us, You gave it these words, and You must have sent them to us, and it is certainly for our best. Therefore, “Say unto Him: ‘Remove all iniquity and take good.’” That is, take this good that You sent us. In other words, those words that the body argued against the Creator, You must give another nature, called “desire to bestow,” for otherwise we are lost, since we are full of failures.
This is the meaning of the words, “And we will pay with the fruit of our lips.” We want that where we are, instead of our lips, where lips is considered the end of the matter, meaning outside of Kedusha[holiness], therefore since we are outside of Kedusha because of our desires, we ask You to “pay with the fruit of our lips.” That is, where we are in the lips, at the end, we want to be whole with fruits, where “fruits” means fertilization and multiplication with good deeds.
According to the above, we can understand what our sages said, “Great is repentance, for it reaches unto the throne.” That is, those people who belong to the general public do not feel that they have failures in the iniquity, called “the first iniquity,” since they feel that they have faith and they are fine. Although they have only partial faith, as is explained (“Introduction to The Study of the Ten Sefirot,” Item 14), they do not feel it. For this reason, they think that they are complete.
Conversely, those who belong to the individuals, who want there to be only one authority, the singular authority, who want to annul their self-authority called “will to receive,” and to have only the authority of the Creator revealed in the world, they feel how the body objects to this. They want to repent, to return to the Creator, and this repentance reaches unto the throne.
However, we should understand the meaning of the throne in the work. It is known that Malchut is called “the throne,” as it is written in the “Introduction of The Book of Zohar” (Item 31), “There are two discernments in the throne: 1) Covering the King, as it is written, ‘He made darkness His hiding place,’ for which it is called Kisse, from the word Kissui [covering/hiding]. 2) She reveals the glory of Malchut in the worlds, as it is written, ‘And on the Kisse [throne] was a figure with the appearance of a man.’”
The thing is that we must believe that the Tzimtzum [restriction] and concealment that took place are a correction for the creatures. In other words, specifically by the concealment and covering that were made, the creatures will achieve their completion. We must believe above reason that the guidance by which the Creator leads the world is one of good and doing good. The reason we do not see that the guidance of good and doing good is concealed from us, we must believe that in truth, the guidance truly is of good and doing good, but there is a cover on this, which covers it.
Although the body objects to this, and to believing above reason, for it claims, “The judge has only what his eyes see,” the person wants to overcome the arguments of the body. This is hard work and comprises ascents and descents.
When a person cries out to the Creator to help him be able to take upon himself this covering, meaning to be able to believe that Providence really is in the manner of good and doing good, except he has still not been rewarded with seeing it, through this work he becomes a chariot to the throne. In other words, he takes upon himself this throne although it is truly a concealment. At that time, that chair [Kisse] becomes the throne, meaning he is rewarded with the Shechina sitting on the throne.
It follows that to the extent that previously he was in the form of a Kisse, which is concealment, when he was as “Shechina in the dust,” now it has become the throne. This is the meaning of the saying that the throne covers the King, as in, “He made darkness His hiding place.” In other words, the throne does not shine and is in a state of darkness. We must overcome the darkness and say, “They have eyes but they will not see.”
It follows that in the period of Kisse, that state is called “for you have failed in your iniquity.” In the state of Kisse, a person has ascents and descents, and he does not see that this work will ever end. Rather, it is a perpetual to and fro, since during the concealment, it is difficult for a person to overcome and say that the Creator behaves in a manner of good and doing good.
Therefore, that person must repent, meaning that from the Kisse, which is “He made darkness His hiding place,” the second state of the Kisse will appear, when it reveals the glory of Malchut in the world, as it is written, “And on the Kisse [throne], high up, was a figure with the appearance of a man.”
This is the meaning of the words, “Great is repentance, for it reaches unto the throne.” That is, repentance must be that a person must be rewarded with the second discernment in the meaning of Kisse, which is the throne. This is the meaning of “Return, O Israel, unto the Lord your God.”
We should interpret that the meaning of “For you have failed in your iniquity” is that when a person wants to repent, meaning he is separated from the Creator because of the will to receive, which is opposite in form from the Creator, and he wants to connect with the Creator, to have equivalence of form, he sees that “The concealed things belong to the Lord our God.”
In other words, when he wants to do something for the Creator, for the sake of the Creator, it is a “hidden” taste. In other words, the flavor of the work is hidden from him. Conversely, when he works for his own benefit, called “for us and for our children,” the flavor is revealed to us. In other words, “concealed” and “revealed” pertain to the taste.
This means that when a person works for the sake of the Creator, called “to the Lord our God,” the taste in the work is concealed. But when it is for one’s own sake, called “for us and for our children,” the taste is called “revealed,” meaning the taste of the work is revealed. It follows that this causes our failures, as it is written, “For you have failed in your iniquity.” Hence, there is no other way but to return to the Creator, as was said about it, “Remove all iniquity and take good.”
According to the above, we should interpret what is written in the blessing for the food: “May we find grace and good understanding in the eyes of God and man.” We should understand why we must ask the Creator to be liked by people. What does it mean that people should respect us and honor us? What does this have to do with the work? Rather, we ask the Creator to be liked by the Creator, and what do we want from Him? To give us the quality of “man,” since by nature, man was created with a desire to receive, called Malchut, which is the name BON, which is “beast” in Gematria.
For this reason, we ask to be liked by God, so He will give us the quality of “man,” as our sages said, “You are called ‘man,’ and not the nations of the world.” Man is MA in Gematria, which is a giver. In other words, we ask to be liked by the Creator so He will give us the quality of “man.” This is the meaning of the words “May we find grace in the eyes of God and man,” so He will give us the quality of man.
It follows that man should pray for only one thing—for the Creator to bring him closer. “Closeness” in spirituality is called “equivalence of form.” That is, he wants the Creator to give him the desire to bestow, called “second nature.”
By this we should interpret what is written (Psalms 147), “who heals the brokenhearted.” We should understand what it means that the Creator heals the brokenhearted. The thing is that it is known that the essence of man is the heart, as our sages said, “The Merciful one wants the heart.” The heart is the Kli [vessel] that receives the Kedusha from above. It is as we learn about the breaking of the vessels, that if the Kli is broken, everything you put in it will spill out.
Likewise, if the heart is broken, meaning the will to receive controls the heart, abundance cannot enter there because everything that the will to receive receives will go to the Klipot [shells/peels]. This is called “the breaking of the heart.” Hence, a person prays to the Creator and says, “You must help me because I am worse than everyone, since I feel that the will to receive controls my heart, and this is why nothing of Kedusha can enter my heart. I want no luxuries, only to be able to do something for the sake of the Creator, and I am utterly incapable of this, so only You can save me.”
By this we should interpret what is written (Psalms 34), “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted.” That is, those who ask the Creator to help them so their heart will not be broken and will be whole, this can happen only if a person has been rewarded with the desire to bestow. For this reason, he asks the Creator to give him the desire to bestow, since he sees that he lacks nothing in the world but the ability to work for the sake of the Creator. It follows that he is asking only the nearness of the Creator, and there is a rule, “measure for measure.” Hence, the Creator brings him closer. This is the meaning of the words, “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted.”
According to the above, we can understand what is written there: “Keeps all his bones, not one of them broken.” Man’s bone [in Hebrew, Etzem means both “bone” and “essence”] is the heart, the desire in the heart. The desires in man’s heart constantly change through the ascents and descents, and the Creator guards their desires so that the will to receive will not mingle into the desires of Kedusha.
This is the meaning of the words, “not one of them broken.” In other words, since the will to receive causes the breaking of the vessels, when the Creator keeps him, meaning brings a person closer, called “equivalence of form,” by giving him a second nature called “desire to bestow,” this is regarded as the Creator keeping, as in the verse, “The Lord keeps the fools.” In other words, one who feels that he is a fool, that he is mindless, should keep himself from falling until the control of the Sitra Achra [other side], called “will to receive for oneself.” He asks the Creator to keep him. It follows that the person gives the awakening from below, which is called “a desire” and a Kli, and then the Creator gives him the light.
But when a person is in an ascent, he thinks that he no longer needs the Creator’s help, since now he has a basis of feeling, which he called “knowledge.” In other words, now he knows for what purpose he is working. His work is no longer above reason because he has a basis to rely on, meaning this feeling that he feels that this state is good for him. On this basis he determines the work.
At that time, he is immediately thrown from above and it is as though he is asked, “Where is your wisdom? You said that you already know on what the work relies.” Thus, as long as one thinks of himself as a fool, meaning that the basis of the work is above reason, and that he needs the help of the Creator, the person says, “Unless the Lord builds the house, they who labored in it worked in vain.” Specifically in this way, the Creator is called “The Lord is the keeper of Israel.”
By this we understand what it means that the person is in trouble in the work. The answer is that it is known that “narrow” means lack of Hassadim [mercies/plural of Hesed]. Hence, when a person sees that he cannot do anything in order to bestow, this is considered being unable to act in Hesed, unless for his own benefit. He sees that in the state he is in, he will never be rewarded with Dvekut with the Creator, and he regrets it. What can one do? One cannot do anything but cry out to the Creator, and the Creator hears. “From all their troubles [also “narrowness”],” meaning from every state, when he is in a state of “narrowness,” which is lack of Hassadim, when he cannot overcome his actions, the Creator saves him, as it is written, “From all their troubles, He saves them.” When it is written, “He has no troubles,” it means that he does not regret that he cannot do something in order to bestow. Therefore, he has no Kli for the Creator to save him because he feels that he is fine where he is.
Accordingly, we should interpret what our sages said (Hulin 133), “Anyone who teaches an unworthy disciple falls to Hell.” We should understand this, since it is written, “The Creator said, ‘I have created the evil inclination; I have created the Torah as a spice.’ Thus, one who has evil inclination and cannot overcome it, He said, I have created the Torah as a spice.” So we see that we should learn Torah even when we are unworthy.
We should interpret this as Baal HaSulam said about what is written, “will give wisdom to the wise.” It should have said “to the fools.” The answer is that one who searches wisdom, although he still does not have it, he is already called “wise,” since he desires to be wise. We should also interpret here that one who wants to be worthy is already called “a worthy disciple.”
That is, one who wants to learn Torah because he wants to be worthy is already called “worthy,” for because he feels that he is far from serving the Creator, since he can work only for his own sake, which is being unworthy, and he wants to be worthy but is unsuccessful, it was said to them: “The Creator said, ‘I have created the evil inclination; I have created the Torah as a spice.’”
For this reason, we should interpret “It is forbidden to teach the Torah to an unworthy disciple” that one who wants to be a worthy disciple may learn.
Inapoi la pagina 1991 (ŞLAVEY HASULAM (TREPTELE SCĂRII) – link