Inapoi la pagina 1990 (ŞLAVEY HASULAM (TREPTELE SCĂRII) – link
What Is, “The Shechina Is a Testimony to Israel,” in the Work?
Article No. 37, Tav-Shin-Nun, 1989-90
The Zohar says (Pinhas, Item 491), “‘For the Leader on Shoshan Edut.’ Moses said, ‘Shoshan Edut,’ the Edut [testimony] of the Shechina [Divinity], who is called ‘Shoshan Edut’ because it is a testimony standing over us and testifying about us before the King. It is holy help for us to praise in praises. This is why it is called ‘Shoshan Edut.’ Moses said, ‘It is called ‘Shoshan Edut’ because the Shechina is a testimony to Israel, who are her organs, and she is a soul upon them. She is help from heaven, as it is written about her, ‘And you will hear the heaven.’ She is holy assistance.’”
We should understand why the Shechina is called Shoshan. What does this color [Shoshan is a rose] of the Shechina imply to us? We should also understand what it means that the Shechina testifies to us before the King. We know that Edut [testimony] should be by seeing and not by hearing. Therefore, we should understand what seeing is there here, to say that the Shechina testifies to us with respect to seeing.
It is known that we have two opposite discernments in the work of the Creator: 1) On one hand, we learn that the purpose of creation is because His desire is to do good to His creations. For this reason, He created in the creatures a desire to receive delight and pleasure, since to the extent of the yearning for something, so is the measure of the pleasure. It follows that the purpose of creation was that the creatures will enjoy the world. In other words, He created a desire to receive pleasure for the creatures to enjoy, meaning that the whole purpose was for the creatures to enjoy. 2) On the other hand, we are told that it is forbidden to receive for ourselves. That is, a person must not do something in thought, speech, or action for his own benefit. Rather, one should be concerned with doing everything for the sake of the Creator and not for his own sake, as it is truly against the purpose of creation.
The answer is that a person needs to work for the sake of the Creator not because the Creator needs that others will work for Him or to be given something. Rather, it is a correction for the creatures. It is as the ARI says, that in order to bring to light the perfection of His deeds, meaning for this act, called “to do good to His creations,” for the creatures to enjoy and so that there will be wholeness in this pleasure, meaning so they would not feel shame in this, a Tzimtzum [restriction] and concealment were placed on the delight and pleasure that the Creator wants to give.
Yet, this is only when they have the intention for the sake of the Creator, meaning that because the Creator enjoys His will being followed and receiving the good from Him because He wants this, this naturally removes the issue of shame that the disparity of form causes because there is a rule that every branch wants to resemble its root. As the Creator bestows, likewise, when the lower one bestows, he enjoys.
When the lower one must receive, he is ashamed. Hence, this correction was placed on the will to receive for one’s own sake, which comes from creation, that a person should place on the will to receive an intention to bestow.
However, when a person wants to observe Torah and Mitzvot [commandments/good deeds] with the intention that this will bring him a desire to do everything in order to bestow contentment upon his Maker, and since this desire contradicts human nature, which was created as a desire to receive only for one’s own benefit, so when a person says, “I want to do good deeds so that through them I will be able to aim everything for the sake of the Creator and not for myself,” the will to receive for oneself within one’s body, which is called “wicked,” yells, “What is this work for you?”
And what is the answer we should give to its question? The answer is brought in the Passover Haggadah [narrative]: “A wicked one, what does he say? ‘What is this work for you?’ For you, and not for him. And since he excluded himself from the public, he denied the most important. And you, too, blunt his teeth.”
This answer is very difficult to understand. He is asking a question; he wants to understand why we are going to cancel the will to receive, which is the desire that the Creator created. We must answer him, since he is asking according to his view, that he is correct. Thus, why did they say, “Blunt his teeth”?
Baal HaSulam said about this that since he asks, “What is this work?” meaning “Why must we work for the sake of the Creator and not for ourselves?” There is nothing to answer to this. In other words, a person is given an answer to his question so he would understand with his mind. Yet, here it is impossible to make it understand because he is asking, What will the will to receive have if he works in order to bestow? If he were to receive later, after he wants to bestow, meaning if we could say, “Bestow, and in return you will later be able to be a receiver,” that would be bestowing in order to receive. This is called Lo Lishma [not for Her sake].
Therefore, when a person wants to work Lishma [for Her sake], meaning to bestow in order to bestow, there is nothing to answer it. This is called “Blunt his teeth.” In other words, the answer is that we must go with force, meaning above reason, since within reason, the wicked is right. This is called “Blunt his teeth.” He said that a person cannot defeat the evil at once, but that this work is in ascents and descents until a person is rewarded with winning it and taking upon himself the burden of the kingdom of heaven as faith above reason.
This is why Malchut is called Shoshanah [rose] or Shoshanim [roses] or Shoshan [another name for a rose], for the name is always given after the event, since we are not rewarded with the kingdom of heaven without the matter of blunting his teeth. This is why Malchut is called Shoshanah, after the act.
It follows that the meaning of Shoshan is “Blunt his teeth,” since there is nothing to answer to his question and we have to go by force, by coercion, although the wicked one, meaning the will to receive for oneself, disagrees. This is called Hakaa [striking], meaning that he fights with himself. When a person says to his wicked one, “It is worthwhile to serve a great King and we do not need anything in return, but only because He is great and ruling, meaning because of His greatness, a person should be satisfied when serving a great King,” the wicked one says to him, “How do you want to serve a great King? Do you feel His greatness, for which you are saying that it is worthwhile to serve Him?”
In these states, a person is sometimes unable to depict to himself any greatness of the Creator. Instead, he feels the lowliness in Kedusha [holiness]. This is regarded as “Shechina [Divinity] in exile” or “Shechina in the dust.” In other words, he does not feel any importance in the King. On the contrary, depictions come to him that push him away from the work of the Creator to the point that sometimes he even wants to forget about the work of the Creator, for while he remembers that he should work for the Creator and not receive any reward for the work, but the work itself should be his goal, this can be said when a person feels a taste in the work. At that time, the taste he feels commits him to continue the work and he does not need any reward.
But what can one do if when he comes to do the holy work and says that he does not want any reward for his work, then he has no reward that will obligate him and will be the reason for which he can work, and work gladly, for afterward he will receive a great reward because he is working not in order to receive reward.
Also, he does not feel that he will be working for a great King, so how can one work without any joy? He is told to work coercively, meaning without the body’s consent. This is called “Blunt his teeth.”
But from where can one derive powers to be able to force himself to work in order to bestow? And even if he overcomes himself, he cannot do such work gladly. That is, the work he does at that time is like that of a captive person who is forced to work. Each time, he says, “Perhaps there is a way I can escape from here so I would not have to work for others?” The only joy he has then is when he looks at the clock and sees that soon he will rid himself of the work.
It follows that when the work if full of sorrow and agony from having to work for others instead of for himself, can the owner look at how his employees are working for him, crying as they work, and saying, “When will I be able to rid myself of the work?”
The person asks himself: “Does the Creator want us working for Him compulsively?”
That is, they feel that man is far from the Creator, that he does not feel the love of the Creator, meaning that during the work, that he will love the Creator. He looks at himself and does not know what happened to the person. That is, where the work is for the sake of the Creator, the person should have felt closeness to the Creator during his work, meaning to have more desire each time to draw closer to the Creator.
But now it is the complete opposite. That is, he feels each time that he is drawing farther from the Creator, that the acts he does push him away. He feels each action as though he is pushed out, meaning that he is not permitted to approach and feel the importance of Torah and Mitzvot, and to feel some flavor in these actions. On the contrary, it is as though a distance has been created between them. It seems to him as though no one can stand the other, and all his actions, which he does by force, are to him as a burden and a load. He always contemplates escaping from these states, but he has nowhere to run except by sleep, meaning that he finds flavor only in sleep.
However, at that time, the question is, Why is it really so? That is, a person should ask, Why do I deserve this? Is this the Torah and is this its reward? Is it because I began to work on the path of truth—which is to come to do the holy work so it is all for the sake of the Creator—that I am being pushed out of the holy work?
Why is it that when the work was like the general public, meaning to do good deeds, and I did not think at all about the intention for the sake of the Creator, and I relied my work entirely on the general public, who think only about actions and not about intentions, I had a good taste in the work and in the prayer? I knew that I was praying to the Creator and that He hears my prayer, and I had the strength to continue with the prayer, and I never looked, when I was praying, whether the Creator hears my prayer. That is, I had no criticism over my actions and I was certain that everything was fine.
But now that I need to rise in the degrees of holiness, since I want to work for the sake of the Creator, in order to approach the Creator, what have I now? I am only growing farther where I should have been growing closer.
The truth is that we must believe in faith in the sages and not follow what human intellect dictates, but rely completely on what the sages told us. Baal HaSulam said that a person should believe that this is so although he does not see. Yet, a person must believe that the Creator does hear the prayer, as it is written, “for You hear the prayer of every mouth.” Since a person asks the Creator to bring him closer, the Creator wants to give him real closeness, meaning to give the person the delight and pleasure that the Creator wants to give. This is called “the purpose of creation.” For this reason, the Creator prepares for him Kelim [vessels] for this, and Kelim are called “need” and “lack.”
We see that there are only three things: 1) A person understands that if he wants to be a servant of the Creator, he must be abstinent and not enjoy anything, and then he will be a servant of the Creator. That is, in return for this, he will receive reward in this world and in the next world. 2) He understands that he must achieve the degree where he can work for the sake of the Creator, meaning that all his actions will be for the sake of the Creator, and he settles for this. 3) A person must achieve the purpose of creation, which is for the creatures to receive delight and pleasure, and not that they will give, since giving—which is that we must bring contentment to the Maker—is only the correction of creation.
According to the above, we can understand what we asked, Why when a person asks the Creator to give him vessels of bestowal, he receives from above bigger vessels of reception than he had before he asked the Creator to be given vessels of bestowal?
The answer is, as we said in previous articles, that if a person receives a desire to bestow right away, meaning that he will be able to overcome the small will to receive, he would settle for this, and the will to receive within him would remain uncorrected because it would not be revealed to a person so he could ask for the strength to overcome it.
This means that the fact that a person sees, when he asks to be given the power to overcome the small will to receive, and in return for the prayer he is given a big will to receive, it is not as the person thinks, that initially, his will to receive was small, and then from above he was given a big will to receive.
Rather, it is as The Zohar says about what is written, “Or make his sin known to him.” He asked, “Who made it known to him?” And he said, “The Creator made it known to him.” This means that the Creator made him see each time to a greater extent how big was the power of the will to receive with which he was born, as it is written, “Sin crouches at the door.” That is, as soon as he was born, it was born with all its might. This is why it is called “a foolish old king.”
However, a person need not know the full extent of the will to receive. Rather, this revelation of the power of the will to receive is gradual. That is, the evil should be balanced according to the good that he has. In other words, to the extent that a person exerts to cancel the will to receive, to that extent it is revealed to him from above.
As we explained concerning, “To the wicked, it seems like a hairsbreadth, and to the righteous, the evil inclination seems like a high mountain,” we said that since the good and the bad must be balanced, as our sages said, “One should always see oneself half good and half bad,” since they always go together so as to have a choice what to decide.
It follows that the bad is within man. However, the bad is revealed according to the measure of the good in a person. Hence, when one begins to walk on a line of truth, the bad appears in him each time. However, for each bad state that he feels, he cannot do anything except ask the Creator to help him, as it is written, “Man’s inclination overcomes him every day. Were it not for the help of the Creator, he would not overcome it.” It follows that man is powerless to overcome the evil, but the Creator must help him.
However, we should know that this, too, is a correction. That is, the fact that a person cannot overcome the bad without help from above is deliberate. This is so because if a person has the ability to work for the sake of the Creator by himself, he will remain in a state of Katnut [smallness/infancy]. That is, he will not need to rise in the degrees of Kedusha, where a person should come to attain the Torah, where the delight and pleasure that the Creator wanted to give to the creatures are concealed.
If a person feels that he is fine, he has no need for the Torah. But if a person cannot overcome the bad, and in that respect, a person cannot be satisfied, since he sees how the evil governs him, so he sees that he has no grip on holiness, so how can he be satisfied?
At that time, according to the measure of his overcoming, he sees the truth more clearly—that there is no chance he will be able to emerge from the governance of evil. At that time, when he asks the Creator to help him, he asks with all his heart. Moreover, often he despairs and needs extra overcoming to have the strength to go above reason, that the Creator can help him.
It follows that by overcoming and asking for the Creator’s help, in what is he helped? It is as The Zohar says, “with a holy soul.” That is, each time, the help is with a greater illumination. This is why a person cannot emerge from the governance of evil by himself, but rather needs the Creator to help him. By this, he will reveal his NRNHY of Neshama [soul].
According to the above, we should interpret what we asked: 1) Why is the Shechina called Shoshan[rose]? 2) Why does the Shechina testify to us before the King? That is, what should she testify? 3) What does it mean when he says that the Shechina is called “Help from above,” as it is written, “And you will hear the heaven”?
She is called Shoshan because it is impossible to acquire the kingdom of heaven, which is faith above reason unless when the wicked comes and asks, “What is this work for you?” and wants to know within reason what he will have by working for the sake of the Creator and not for himself.
At that time, there is nothing to answer within reason, since within reason, he is right, as it is written, “And since he excluded himself from the public, he denied the most important.” That is, since he denied the essence of the correction, which was in order not to have shame upon reception of the delight and pleasure, it follows that the Creator does not need to be served. Rather, the fact that we should work for the benefit of the Creator is for our own benefit.
That is, through this correction there will not be the matter of shame. This is what he denied. Hence, it will not help him to understand anything, and instead, we must go by force, meaning by coercion, which is called “Blunt his teeth.” And since this work is ceaseless, it is called “Blunt his teeth a lot.” This is why the kingdom of heaven is called Shoshan or Shoshanah [both mean “rose”], from the words, “Blunt his Shinaim [teeth].”
And what does the Shechina testify to us? that we are fine. We asked, Where does she see this?
The answer is that it is because she helps us. Malchut is called “Assistance of heaven.” This means that Malchut herself gives the help. This is as it is written, “He who comes to purify is aided.” Thus, she can testify that we are fine because she helped us in this.
Also, we asked, Why must she testify? We should interpret that once a person has been rewarded with the kingdom of heaven, when he can work for the sake of the Creator, he needs to be rewarded with the Torah, called ZA, a “King.” This is what she must testify, that he already has the kingdom of heaven, and is therefore worthy of the Torah, called “the names of the Creator,” which is the purpose of creation.
Inapoi la pagina 1990 (ŞLAVEY HASULAM (TREPTELE SCĂRII) – link