Inapoi la pagina 1991 (ŞLAVEY HASULAM (TREPTELE SCĂRII) – link
What Is, “For I Have Hardened His Heart,” in the work?
Article No. 17, Tav-Shin-Nun-Aleph, 1989-91
We should ask about the verse, “for I have hardened his heart,” why did the Creator not harden Pharaoh’s heart right in the beginning, but we see that only after Pharaoh admitted and said, “The Lord is the righteous one, and I and my people are the wicked,” then the verse says, “for I have hardened his heart”? Also, all the interpreters ask, Why did the Creator deny Pharaoh the choice?
It is known that the order of the work is that we begin the work in order to receive reward. To the extent that the body hears that it will be rewarded, and if it does not suffer, this leads a person to work in observing Torah and Mitzvot [commandments/good deeds]. That is, to the extent that he believes in reward and punishment, he receives motivation so as to be able to observe Torah and Mitzvot in all its details and precisions.
In this way, a person sees that he is advancing each day, and therefore enjoys his work, since he sees progress in the work. This follows the rule that one cannot do any work unless he sees progress in the work. It is like a person learning a profession and sees that he is not advancing in this profession, so he looks for something else to do, an easier job for him. But without progress, it is impossible to do anything. This stems from the matter, “which God has created to do.” For this reason, there must be progress in everything.
This is like the horse that circles the grindstones and walks in circles all day long. Because it constantly walks in the same place, its eyes must be covered so it does not see the truth, but will think that it is walking to a different place each time. That is, even animals must see progress in what they do, and any progress in the work is seen only when we work in order to receive reward.
But when we begin to work in order to bestow, when we want to achieve Dvekut [adhesion] with the Creator, which is equivalence of form, a person cannot look at the things he does. That is, although he sees that now he is doing more than he did while he was working in order to receive reward, but now he has a different measurement, which is to what extent he aims his actions to be in order to bestow and not for his own sake. At that time, he sees that he is far from it. Although he has many ascents, meaning he ascends in his degree, and now he wants to do everything for the sake of the Creator, it is only because he has received an awakening from above. Then he wants to annul before Him, as a “candle before a torch.”
But afterward, he descends from this state and falls once more into self-love. Then he sees that he has become worse; that is, he sees that each time he is farther from the work of bestowal, to the point that many times he comes to a state of “pondering the beginning.”
A person asks himself, “Why when I worked in order to receive reward, I had a good taste in the work, and I prayed and learned willingly, but now that I want to make more efforts than I did while I worked in order to receive reward, I see that I do not have the flavor that I had then?” The person asks, “Now that I want to work for the sake of the Creator, it stands to reason that I should have felt more closeness than while I was working for my own sake, but now I see the opposite! Not only am I not advancing in the work, but I am going backwards!”
The answer is as Baal HaSulam said, that one must believe that everything he feels now, that he is farther from the Creator, comes from above. That is, it is the hardening of the heart that the Creator gives in order for one to discover the real need, meaning to feel that without the help of the Creator, a person cannot emerge from the control of the will to receive for himself, but only the Creator Himself can help. That is, as the Creator gave him the nature of the desire to receive for himself, He should now give him a second nature called “desire to bestow,” since there is no light without a Kli[vessel], which is called “deficiency.” That is, the lack puts the taste in the filling.
Thus, if a person is given a filling but he has no need for it, he cannot taste the real taste in the filling. If he is given the filling before he has a need, he will not be able to use the filling, to elicit from the filling what is in it. It follows that the lack is part of the filling, since one without the other does not work. It follows that as one is given a filling from above, so one should be given a lack. It turns out that when a person sees that now he is farther from the work of bestowal, he is given this from above because the lack is part of the filling. Therefore, as the upper one gives the filling, so He gives the lack.
By this we can interpret the two questions we asked: 1) Why specifically after Pharaoh said, “The Lord is the righteous one, and I and my people are the wicked,” the Creator hardened his heart, and not before? 2) Why did He deny him the choice, as it is written, “for I have hardened his heart”?
The answer is that in the beginning, when starting the work, a person must see that everything depends on him. This is so as long as he is working in order to receive reward. At that time, a person can say, “The Lord is the righteous one, and I and my people are the wicked.” Hence, when one wants to work in order to bestow, meaning achieve Dvekut with the Creator, he must see the truth: It is not within man’s hands, since it contradicts the nature with which he was born. Only the Creator can give him a second nature, but without a lack, there is not real flavor in the filling. Hence, the Creator gives the hardening of the heart so that the person will feel the deficiency to the fullest.
This explains why only afterward did the Creator harden his heart, meaning after he began to work for the sake of the Creator and not before. Also, why did he need the hardening of the heart? It is for another reason, that if one does not feel the real lack, one cannot receive the real filling, since there is no light without a Kli. It follows that the hardening of the heart was not to his detriment, to remove him from the Creator. On the contrary, the hardening of the heart was in order to bring him to Dvekutwith the Creator. We therefore see that the lack that a person feels when he is distant from the Creator, that, too comes from above and not by a person’s awakening.
By this we can interpret what our sages said (Avot 2:5), “In a place where there are no people, try to be a person.” We should interpret this in the work. When one begins the work, he begins in order to receive reward. Afterward, he sees that there are no people here, since in the work, we learn everything in one person. It follows that he saw that there was no quality of people in his heart, but only that of beasts—who do not know anything more than their own benefit. And he thinks about himself, how can it be said about the chosen people, as it is written, “You have chosen us from among all the nations; You have loved us,” that there is nothing more than a beast’s desire in the heart of the chosen people? Our sages said about this, “In a place where you see that there are no people in your heart, do not look at how the rest of the people behave. Rather, try to be a person.”
In other words, since you have come to see the truth, that one must be a person and not a beast, while the rest of the people have not achieved this awareness—that there are no people in their hearts—since they have not received this awareness, it is a sign that they still do not belong to the work of the individual, which is the work of bestowal. This is the meaning of the words, “In a place,” meaning in a place where the knowledge comes that “there are no people,” meaning that this person who received this awareness must try to be a person and not a beast.
Hence, for the most part, a person feels that he is complete. He prays, he learns Torah, and he observes Mitzvot. He thinks that he should only increase the quantity, but in terms of the quality of the work, he has nothing to examine because he thinks that he is doing everything for the sake of the Creator.
It therefore follows that when one feels deficient, that he is immersed in self-love, and that he is far from the matter of bestowal, this does not come from the person, but rather by an awakening from above. That is, from above, he was notified his real state, that he is removed from the Creator and does not want to annul before Him. That is, when one feels his own lowliness, he must believe that it came to him from the Kedusha [holiness]. This is similar to what is written about Moses (Exodus 2:11-12), “He went out to his brethren and saw their suffering, and he saw an Egyptian man striking a Hebrew man, one of his brethren, and he saw that there was no one.”
In the work, we should interpret that precisely when a person has the quality of Moses, called “Torah,” he can see how an Egyptian man, meaning the will to receive for himself, he says that it is called “a man,” and with this force, called “Torah,” he sees that it strikes the Hebrew man. That is, for the Hebrew, a “man” is one who does not do what a beast does, meaning that a man is one who does not use the desires of beasts, as it is written, “and he saw that there was no one,” meaning that “a man” will never emerge from him by itself. This is so because that person has the quality of Moses, who is the quality of “faithful shepherd” (who shepherds the faith for the whole of Israel), and that force awakens a person to see the truth, that he will never achieve the quality of “man” by himself. This is the meaning of the verse, “and he saw that there was no one.” This causes him to ask the Creator to give him faith in the Creator, by which he will achieve Dvekut with the Creator.
However, once a person has been rewarded with faith, it is still incomplete, for although now he is called “man,” and not “a beast,” he should also achieve the quality of Torah, for specifically through the Torah, a person achieves his wholeness, since he should achieve the state of “the Torah, the Creator, and Israel are one.” This is called “the quality of speaking,” as it is written about Moses, who said, “And Moses said to the Lord, ‘Please, Lord, I am not a man of words.’”
In the work, we should interpret that he asked that it was not enough that he was already in the quality of “man,” but he wanted to be a “man of words,” to be rewarded with the quality of “speaking,” called “Torah,” for specifically the quality of “speaking,” which is the Torah, is regarded as wholeness.
However, we must not forget that in the work, there is the matter of “right,” which is the opposite of “left.” That is, just as on the path of the “left,” the more deficiencies a person sees in him, the better, since a lack is called “a Kli [vessel],” so a greater lack means a bigger Kli. The same is true for the “right”: The more complete one feels, the bigger is his Kli. That is, the more a person sees that he is full of deficiencies, the bigger is the prayer that he can pray compared to one who is not so deficient, and whose prayer is therefore not as wholehearted. Thus, specifically the lack determines the measure of the prayer.
Also, the path of the right is considered that a person must feel that there is wholeness. Here, too, to the extent that he feels wholeness, to that extent he can thank the Creator. That is, the wholeness that one is in determines the measure of the gratitude to the Creator. Hence, a person must seek advice how to see that he has wholeness. However, he must see that his wholeness is not built on falsehood. We should ask, If a person sees that he has no need for spirituality, and he is immersed in self-love, how can he tell himself that he has wholeness?
First, we must appreciate the connection we have with the Creator, meaning that one must believe that the state where one feels that he is empty and destitute, when he feels that in his heart, there is no need for spirituality, who gave him that feeling? Usually, a person worries about what he lacks, and he does not worry about what he does not need. Thus, we should ask, Who gave him the worry for that which he does not need?
The answer is that in truth, he does have an inner desire, he does need nearness with the Creator, but that lack is still not revealed within him to an extent that he will need to seek advice how to satisfy his lack. For this reason, a person must be glad that at least he has a need for spirituality, whereas the rest of the people have no interest in spirituality whatsoever.
When a person appreciates this, although it is not important to him, he does appreciate it and tries to thank the Creator for this. This causes him to acquire importance for spirituality, and from this a person can be happy. By this, a person can be rewarded with Dvekut, since as Baal HaSulam said, “The blessed clings to the Blessed.” In other words, when a person is happy and thanks the Creator, he feels that the Creator has blessed him by giving him a little something of Kedusha, then “The blessed clings to the Blessed.” Through this wholeness, one can achieve real Dvekut.
Baal HaSulam said that a person should depict to himself, even when he is in utter lowliness, when he thinks that if the Creator had illuminated for him a great awakening as he once felt during the ascent, he would certainly be willing to do the holy work. But now that he does not feel anything, how can he deceive himself that he has wholeness? At that time, he must believe in the sages, who said to us that one must depict to himself as though he has already been rewarded with feeling the existence of the Creator in all his organs, and how he would thank and praise the Creator. Likewise, now he should thank and praise the Creator as though he has already been rewarded with the real wholeness.
Inapoi la pagina 1991 (ŞLAVEY HASULAM (TREPTELE SCĂRII) – link