Inapoi la pagina 1991 (ŞLAVEY HASULAM (TREPTELE SCĂRII) – link

What Is, “The Herdsmen of Abram’s Cattle and the Herdsmen of Lot’s Cattle,” in the Work?

Article No. 06, Tav-Shin-Nun-Aleph, 1989-91

It is written (Genesis 13:7), “And there was a quarrel between the herdsmen of Abram’s cattle and the herdsmen of Lot’s cattle.” Baal HaSulam said about this, that “cattle” means “possessions,” that the quarrel was among the herdsmen of Abraham’s cattle, who said, “How can we be rewarded with spiritual possessions, which are regarded as Av-Ram [High-Father], meaning specifically the quality of Ram [high] which is above reason, for the quality of Abraham is Av [father] of the faith.

Av-Ram means that he would want—Av comes from the word Ava [wanted], as in “He did not Ava[did not want] to send them away.” Ram means above. That is, Abram went above the desire that exists within man, called “will to receive,” and above the desire that exists within man, and which is called “desire to know and understand what he is doing, and does not want to believe.” Abram went above those two, meaning the mind and the heart. This is called “herdsmen,” for only in this way would he like to guide himself.

This is not so with the “herdsmen of Lot’s cattle.” Lot means Alma DeEtlatia [Aramaic: cursed world], from the word “curse,” referring to the will to receive, which is the serpent, meaning the will to receive for oneself. Lot was a chariot for the quality of the serpent. They would say that we must go and delight ourselves because this is how the Creator created the creatures—with a will to receive for ourselves. Otherwise, He would not have created the will to receive, since who does something in the world in order not to use it? Hence, since He created in us the will to receive, we must work for it, so the will to receive will take its satisfaction. Otherwise, it is considered that the Creator created it in vain.

Therefore, when considering the work, Abram and Lot are qualities within the same body. There is a dispute in the body: Some think like Abram, and some think the opposite and side with Lot. Hence, there is a quarrel between them as to how a person should behave in the work. That is, should man’s work be for the sake of the Creator, and to achieve this, one must go above reason, which is the quality, Av-Ram, or should it be within reason, which is the will to receive for one’s own sake, and since there was a Tzimtzum [restriction] and concealment on it, this quality is called Lot, a curse, where there is no delight and pleasure—as was in the thought of creation, which can enter there—and it remains a vacant space devoid of light.

In the work, “herdsmen” means a guide how to behave, as in Moses being called “the faithful shepherd,” who guided the people of Israel with the quality of faith. Lot and Abram mean the good inclination in the person and the evil inclination in the person.

According to the above, we should interpret what The Zohar says (Lech Lecha, Item 162), “‘Abram was very heavy with cattle, and silver, and with gold.’ ‘Very heavy’ means from the east, which is Tifferet. ‘With cattle’ means from the west, which is Malchut. ‘And silver is from the south, Hochma, and ‘with gold’ means from the north, Bina.”

We should understand this in the work. It is known that east and west are two opposites. East means that which shines, such as the sunrise, and west is the opposite, meaning that which does not shine. Where the sun sets and does not shine, this is the west. The middle line, which is Tifferet, includes everything. For this reason, it is called “east,” since it illuminates because it contains the whole work that emerged from all the lines.

This is not so with the west, which is called “the kingdom of heaven.” We must accept the kingdom of heaven “with all your heart and with all your soul,” even if He takes your soul away. Also, we must take upon ourselves the kingdom of heaven, called “faith,” with love, as it is written (Article No. 4, Tav-Shin-Nun-Aleph), that even if he has no vitality, which is called “even if he takes his soul away,” meaning that he has no vitality. This is called “west,” meaning it does not illuminate. Still, a person should be in a state of faith above reason.

This is called “cattle,” by which we buy spiritual possessions, called “the herdsmen of Abram’s cattle.” In other words, specifically through faith above reason, meaning even if he feels darkness on this path, and even though he understands that if Malchut had illuminated openly and not in concealment, and the body would feel the greatness of the Creator, it would be easier for him to move further and be rewarded with always being in a state of work and he would have no descents, he nonetheless chooses to go above reason. This is called “the herdsmen of Abram’s cattle.” This is called “west,” meaning that even though it does not shine for him, he is still with all his might, as though everything illuminated for him openly.

This is the meaning of what is written, “Abram was very heavy,” meaning east, Tifferet, which is the middle line. It is called “east” because the middle line includes all the work he had, and it was sweetened by him, since he already went through all the work that needs to be done, and the light shines there anyhow. This is why the east is called “very heavy,” since the glory of the Lord, meaning the greatness and importance of the Creator is already very much revealed, meaning that at that time the light of the Creator shines.

For this reason, it is regarded as we explained (in Article No. 4, Tav-Shin-Nun-Aleph), “Anyone who runs from honor, honor chases him.” In other words, once he passed the dispute between the two lines, called “two writings that deny one another,” he is rewarded with the middle line, where the glory of the Creator is revealed and shines. This is called Tifferet, “east.”

However, the main work is in the west. This is the place of the work because when a person is still in a state of darkness, where there are ascents and descents, since all the concealments are on this place, called “west.” “West” indicates the kingdom of heaven, and in general, Malchut is called “faith,” and the matter of good and evil applies there, as it is written in The Zohar, that Malchut is called “the tree of good and evil.” If he is rewarded, she is good and the evil is concealed. If he is not rewarded, the good is concealed and the evil becomes revealed outward, and anything that is outside rules.

For this reason, “west” is called “cattle,” since this is the main possession that one should acquire, which is the kingdom of heaven. If he does not have it, meaning Malchut, called “faith,” then he has nothing. For this reason Malchut is called “cattle,” as it is written, “Abram was very heavy with cattle.” Because of it, cattle is called Malchut and west, since from here begins all the possessions of Kedusha[holiness], as it is written, “The beginning of wisdom, the fear of the Lord.”

This is the meaning of the words “Silver is from the south, Hochma,” as our sages said, “He who wants to grow wise should go south,” meaning to be rewarded with a garment of Hassadim [mercies], where Hesed [singular of Hassadim] is called “love,” when he wants to give and to bestow. He wants to annul before Him, and this is called “silver,” from the word Kisufin [longing], as it is written, “My soul longed and also yearned.” “South” means right, wholeness, when he needs nothing and his only passion is to be passionate about the Creator. He has no thought of himself, and only after the stage of the right can we be rewarded with the left, called Bina.

This is the meaning of “with gold means from the north, Bina.” “Gold” means as it is written, “Gold means from the north.” Gold is regarded as Bina that returns to being Hochma. Also, it is written, “Wisdom is for the humble,” meaning that Hochma [wisdom] should be clothed in a garment of Hassadim, which is called “humbleness,” by clothing in Bina and not being seen without a garment of Hassadim.

The thing is that it is known that Hochma dresses in vessels of reception. For this reason, she needs keeping so that the vessels of reception will always work in order to bestow. Hence, since he is using vessels of reception, guarding is required. For this reason, Hassadim must be extended, as this is the light that shines in vessels of bestowal. By this, the light of Hochma that can shine in vessels with the aim to bestow can shine.

This is why they said that south is Hochma, meaning that one who wants to grow wise should go south. He who wants the wisdom to remain in him and not depart needs the south, meaning Hesed, called “yearning,” from the words “My soul longed and also yearned.” Those two, south and north, which are Hochma and Bina, illuminate in the middle line, called “east,” Tifferet, where everything is included. However, the essence of the work begins in the west, which is the quality of Malchut, called “cattle,” which is regarded as Malchut, and “west.”

Concerning Malchut, called “west,” and “cattle,” we should know that the order of the work begins with the kingdom of heaven. Before every Mitzva [commandment/good deed], a person must take upon himself the burden of the kingdom of heaven, called “faith,” where he believes that the Creator leads the world in a manner of good and doing good. For this reason, he blesses Him.

This is as our sages said, “One should always establish the praise of the Creator and then pray.” We should ask, What is the praise of the Creator that a person should establish? The answer is that since a person says to the Creator that he believes that He leads the world in a manner of good and doing good, this is called “the praise of the Creator.” Afterward, he should pray.

Baal HaSulam said about this that when a person asks something of his friend, the order is that 1) he knows that his friend has what he asks of him, and 2) his friend has a kind heart and likes to do favors. In that state, it is relevant to ask from his friend.

Hence, when a person asks the Creator to give him what he is asking, he should believe that the Creator can give him what he wants, and that He is good and does good. Because of it, the beginning of man’s work is to establish the praise of the Creator, meaning to believe that He is good and does good, although the body disagrees with what he says, and he sees that it is only lip service. At that time, he should say that he wants to believe above reason and he is happy that at least he knows the truth about what one must believe.

Although these words that he says are compulsory, meaning that the body will not agree to what he says, he is happy about that, too, that he can say with his mouth words of truth.

“And then pray” means that once he has established the praise of the Creator, that the Creator leads the world in a manner of good and doing good, if this were within reason, of course he would be happy. But since this is only above reason, although it is compulsory, still, sometimes he has the strength to pray to the Creator to give him the power to believe that this is really so and he will be able to say all day the praise of the Creator by the Creator only doing good to him.

In this work there are ascents and descents. A person must believe that he has a point in the heart, which is a spark that shines. But sometimes, it is only a black dot and does not shine. We must always awaken that spark because at times that spark awakens by itself and reveals a lack in a person, where he feels that he needs spirituality, that he is too materialistic and he sees no purpose that enables him to emerge from these states.

That spark gives him no rest. That is, as a corporeal spark cannot illuminate, but using the spark, a person can light up things, so that through the things that the spark touches, a great fire can ignite. Likewise, the spark within man’s heart cannot shine, but that spark can light up his actions so they will illuminate because the spark pushes him to work.

However, sometimes the spark quenches and does not shine. This can be in the middle of the work, and this is regarded as a person having a road accident. In other words, in the middle of the work, something happened to him and he descended from his state and was left unconscious. Now he does not know that there is spirituality in reality, he has forgotten everything, and he has entered the corporeal world with all of his senses.

Only after some time does he recover and sees that he is in the corporeal world and he begins to climb up once again, meaning to feel the spiritual lack. Then, once again, he receives a drive to approach the Creator.

Afterward, he descends from his degree once more, but he must believe that each time he raises his spark to Kedusha [holiness]. Although he sees that he has descended from his state and fell back to the place where he was at the beginning of his work, each time he nonetheless raises new sparks. That is, each time, he raises a new spark.

In the “Introduction to The Book of Zohar” (Item 43), he says, “When man is born, he immediately has a Nefesh [soul] of Kedusha. But not an actual Nefesh, but the Achoraim [posterior] of it, its last discernment, which, during its Katnut [smallness/infancy], is called a ‘point,’ and it dresses in man’s heart.”

We should interpret that this “point,” which is still in the dark, reveals and shines each time according to one’s work on purifying his heart. At that time, the point begins to shine. This means that each time a person begins to ascend once more after the descent, he should believe that this is a new discernment from what he had during the previous ascent, for he has already elevated it to Kedusha. Thus, each time he begins a new discernment.

Since in every beginning a person must start over the acceptance of the kingdom of heaven, it is not enough that yesterday he had faith in the Creator. For this reason, every acceptance of the kingdom of heaven is considered a new discernment. That is, now he receives a part of the vacant space that was devoid of the kingdom of heaven, and admits that empty place and fills it with the kingdom of heaven. It follows that now he sorted out a new thing, which did not exist before he took that empty place and filled it with the kingdom of heaven. This is regarded as elevating a new spark into the Kedusha. Finally, from all the ascents, he always raises sparks from the vacant space into the Kedusha.

It follows that from each descent he arrives at a new beginning and raises new sparks. Hence, when a person sees that he has descents, he should be careful not to escape from the campaign, even though he sees that he is not progressing. Rather, he must try to start anew each time. That is, the fact that he begins to ascend does not mean that he returned to his previous degree. This would mean that he did nothing by his work, since he thinks that he is now ascending to his previous level. Rather, he must believe that this is a new discernment, that each time, he raises different sparks, until he raises the sparks that pertain to his essence.

According to the above, we should interpret what our sages said (Bava Metzia, Chapter 7), “Elazar said, ‘Thus, the righteous speak little and do much, and the wicked speak much and do not even do little.’”

Concerning “wicked” and “righteous” in the work, we should interpret that all those who want to observe Torah and Mitzvot for the sake of the Creator are called “righteous” in the work, meaning they want to be righteous. Conversely, those who engage in Torah and Mitzvot not for the sake of the Creator are called “wicked,” in the work, since they are in disparity of form from the Creator. Hence, they are regarded as wicked (though among the general public they, too, are considered righteous).

Among those who work in the manner of the general public, we can say, for example, when a person is forty, he knows that since the time of his Bar Mitzva [age 13], meaning since he was thirteen until he turned forty, he has acquired a possession of 27 years of Torah and Mitzvot. It follows that they say that they have a lot. This is the meaning of “speak much.” In other words, they have much Torah and Mitzvot. However, they do not work even in the least for the sake of the Creator.

But the righteous “speak little.” That is, they say that they have been engaging in Torah and Mitzvotfor 27 years but have not been rewarded with doing anything for the sake of the Creator. However, they must believe that they are doing much, meaning that from each doing that they see that they are incapable of doing it for the sake of the Creator, and it pains them, this is called “a prayer.”

In other words, they make a lot of prayers, by seeing how far they are from the Creator, from having a desire and yearning to bring contentment to the Maker. In other words, they are far because they haven’t the ability to appreciate the greatness of the King. Hence, they do not have the power to do anything for the sake of the Creator, but only for themselves. It follows that they do a lot in order for the Creator to bring them closer to Him.

It follows that one need not be impressed when he wants to work for the sake of the Creator and sees each time that he is regressing. He must believe that he is doing much in order to approach the Creator and be rewarded with the Creator giving him the desire to bestow. That is, specifically through the descents and ascents, a person can pray to Him to really bring him closer, for each time, he elevates new sparks into the structure of Kedusha until he elevates all the sparks that belong to him. Then he will be rewarded with the Creator giving him the second nature called “desire to bestow.” Then, he will be rewarded with permanent faith.

But before he is rewarded with all his works being for the sake of the Creator, there is no room for faith. This is as it is written (“Introduction of The Book of Zohar,” Item 138), “It is a law that the creature cannot receive disclosed evil from the Creator, for it is a flaw in the glory of the Creator for the creature to perceive Him as an evildoer. Hence, when one feels bad, denial of the Creator’s guidance lies upon him and the superior Operator is concealed from him to that same extent.”

In other words, as long as a person does not have the desire to bestow, he is unfit to receive delight and pleasure. Therefore, when a person suffers, he loses the faith. But once he has been rewarded with the desire to bestow, he receives delight and pleasure from the Creator and is rewarded with permanent faith. It follows that all those ascents and descents bring him to a state where the Creator helps him achieve the desire to bestow, and then all his works are for the sake of the Creator.

However, a person must know that when he comes to a state where he does not see how he will ever be able to emerge from self-love and he wants to escape the campaign, he must know that there are two matters here, which are opposite from one another, as our sages said (Avot, Chapter 2:21), “It is not for you to finish the work, nor are you free to idle away from it.”

Thus, on one hand, a person must work and never idle away from it. That is, it is within man’s power to attain, since he says, “nor are you free to idle away from it.” This means that one should work because he is guaranteed to get what he wants, meaning to be able to work for the sake of the Creator in order to bring contentment to his Maker.

On the other hand, he says, “It is not for you to finish the work.” This implies that it is not within man’s hands, but rather, as it is written, “The Lord will finish for me.” This means that it is not within man’s ability to obtain the desire to bestow.

However, there are two matters here: 1) A person must say, “If I am not for me, who is for me?” Hence, he should not be alarmed by the fact that he has not been rewarded with obtaining the desire to bestow, although in his opinion, he has made great efforts. Nonetheless, he should believe that the Creator waits until he reveals what he must do. 2) Afterward, the Creator will finish for him, meaning that at that time, he will receive what he wants at once, as it is written, “The salvation of the Lord is as the blink of an eye.”

Inapoi la pagina 1991 (ŞLAVEY HASULAM (TREPTELE SCĂRII) – link

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