Inapoi la pagina 1990 (ŞLAVEY HASULAM (TREPTELE SCĂRII) – link

What Is an Optional War, in the work – 2?

Article No. 44, Tav-Shin-Nun, 1989-90

RASHI interprets the verse “If you go to war against your enemies,” that the verse speaks of optional war. We should understand the meaning of “If you go to war against your enemies” in an optional war. What is an “optional war” in the work, and what is a “non-optional war”?

It is known that there are 248 commandments to do, and 365 not to do. These are called 613 Mitzvot[commandments/good deeds]. These must be observed in every detail and precision; otherwise, it is regarded as a “transgression.” It is said about them, “Do not add and do not take away.” This obligation pertains to actions, meaning that as far as actions are concerned, a person must do, or not do what is forbidden.

This is not so concerning the intention. Thus, to aim to work in order to bestow, this war is optional. In other words, it cannot be said that this work pertains to everyone, but rather to those who have an inner drive, who feel that observing Mitzvot in the way that they are observing has nothing to do with Dvekut [adhesion] with the Creator. They see that instead of where a person should achieve love of the Creator, they see that in all that they do, they have no other intention other than their own benefit. This work, called “in order to bestow,” belongs to them.

But the general public was not given this thing. This is why the work of bestowal is called “optional war,” and not mandatory. This is as Maimonides says at the end of Hilchot Teshuva: “Therefore, when teaching little ones, women, and uneducated people, they are taught to work only out of fear and to be rewarded. Until they gain knowledge and acquire much wisdom, they are taught this secret bit by bit.”

This means that the matter of Lishma [for Her sake], called “in order to bestow,” does not belong to the general public but to people who have acquired much knowledge. Thus, it means that the work of bestowal is specifically for those who have gained much knowledge. This is why the work of bestowal is called “optional war,” and not “mandatory war,” since this is not required of the general public, but of those “who have gained knowledge and acquired much wisdom. Then they are taught that secret bit by bit.”

We should also add about the optional war, since the matter of Dvekut with the Creator is annulment of one’s own authority. By nature, man is born feeling only his own authority, that he is the landlord and does what he wants. In order for him to know that there is the authority of the Creator, that He is the leader of the world, a person must believe this, that the Creator is the King of the world.

A person must believe that this concealment, where a person does not feel that there is a King to the world, the Creator did this, and this is called “the correction of the Tzimtzum [restriction].” However, one must believe and make great efforts until he feels in his organs that the Creator is the leader of the world. And not just a leader! Rather, one must believe that His guidance is in the manner of good and doing good. A person must do all that he can to be able to attain this, as this is expressed in two manners:

1) A person should work on having a desire and yearning to want to annul his authority, as our sages said about the verse “If a man dies in a tent,” since the Torah exists only in one who puts himself to death over it.” This means that he wants to annul his self, meaning he must achieve a state where he has but one authority—the authority of the Creator. In other words, a person does not do anything for his own benefit, but sees only to the benefit of the Creator. This is called “singular authority,” and it is called “optional war.” In other words, he is fighting against himself to obtain this singular authority, and this is called “optional war” in the work.

2) After all the efforts that a person makes in order to achieve this authority, regarded as a person acquiring a second nature, where he previously had only a desire to receive for his own benefit, he wanted to annul that authority and receive a new one: the desire to bestow upon the Creator. This is the meaning of Dvekut. In other words, as the Creator is the Giver, so a person wants to bestow upon the Creator.

However, a person cannot receive this authority, but only the Creator. As He previously gave him the authority of the will to receive for his own benefit, the Creator can give him a different authority, meaning the singular authority of the Creator. This is regarded as the Creator giving him a second nature, which is the desire to bestow upon the Creator.

It follows that when a person is born, he has only one authority, his own. Afterward, when he takes upon himself the kingdom of heaven, to observe the Torah and Mitzvot, he comes into two authorities. In other words, he works in order to receive reward, as Maimonides says, “When teaching little ones, women, and uneducated people in order to receive reward.”

Afterward begins the work in the optional war, meaning to annul his own authority, which is called “self-benefit,” and to yearn for the Creator to give him the singular authority, meaning the authority of the Creator. This is regarded as a person having to acquire a second nature, called “desire to bestow,” to have a desire to bring contentment to his Maker.

This is the meaning of what is written, “If you go to war against your enemies,” meaning in the optional war. It is impossible to conquer the enemy, called “will to receive for oneself,” meaning annul this authority. Rather, the text promises us, “and the Lord your God delivers him into your hand.” In other words, the Creator will give you this power, this authority called “singular authority.” Put differently, the Creator will give you a second nature.

In order for a person to be ready to ask for this authority, there needs to be a prayer from the bottom of the heart. In other words, a person should feel how much he needs this power, called “desire to bestow.” For this, we were given the 613 Mitzvot in the form of Eitin [Aramaic: counsels], called “613 counsels.” Through them, a person takes the lack, to feel how much he needs the desire to bestow, since this is all that detains him from achieving the completion of the goal.

Also, in that regard, meaning about the fact that he does not feel the real lack, that he does not have a real need to bestow, a person should pray for this, as well, that the Creator will give him the lack over not having a lack to obtain the desire to bestow.

In truth, when a person has faith in the Creator and believes that He is a great King, a person must annul “as a candle before a torch.” At that time, there is no question of choice because he naturally annuls. But when a person begins to work in order to bestow, foreign thoughts come to him, which weaken his faith. It follows that the fact that a person cannot work in order to bestow is for lack of faith.

This is as it is written (Psalms 42), “My tear has been my bread day and night, while they say to me all day long, ‘Where is your God?’” In other words, thoughts of Pharaoh come to him, who said, “Who is the Lord that I should obey His voice?” It follows that at that time, a person should pray for two things together: 1) for faith that the Creator will not hide Himself from him, as it is written, “Do not hide Your face from me,” 2) to bring him closer, meaning to give him the power of the desire to bestow. Through this desire, a person comes closer to the Creator, which is called “equivalence of form.”

The reason why when a person wants to work in order to bestow, foreign thoughts come to him, is that as long as one is working for himself, the body does not resist him so much, since he promises the body that it will receive a great reward, that it is worthwhile to observe Torah and Mitzvot, since the reward sweetens the labor, as in physical work and labor. Hence, the body does not ask any questions about its work in Torah and Mitzvot, and a person lives in peace. He is content with his work, since he believes that his reward is growing every day. For this reason, he leads a peaceful life and feels tranquility in his life. And if he can also observe the Mitzva [singular of Mitzvot], “Reprimand your neighbor,” he is certainly pleased.

But when a person says to his body, “Until now I have been working in your favor, meaning everything I did, both corporeal things and in Torah and Mitzvot, was all in order to make you happy. That is, all my concerns were only for the will to receive for oneself, which is called ‘self-love’ or ‘self-benefit.’

“But now, meaning henceforth, I do not want to work for the benefit of the body any longer, but only for the benefit of the Creator.” At that time, the body begins to resist, why is he throwing it away. It does all that it can, bringing him questions from all over the world, meaning the argument of Pharaoh, who asked, “Who is the Lord that I should obey His voice?” and the argument of the wicked one, who asks, “What is this work for you?” These thoughts burden one’s work so much that often, the descents and ascents that a person has cause him to see that this is endless and he wants to escape the campaign.

And all that one can tell the body is that he wants to work in real fear, which is called in The Zohar, “Because He is great and ruling,” meaning for it to be a great privilege to him that he is serving a great King, and he wants to bring contentment to his Maker, and that this will be his only concern, and he does not want to worry about himself anymore.

Now we can understand what is written (Deuteronomy 26:16), “This day the Lord your God commands you to do these laws and judgments, and keep and do them with all your heart and with all your soul.” RASHI interprets “This day” as “Each day, they will be as new in your eyes, as though on this day you were commanded them.” We should understand what it adds to us, meaning what we gain by needing to exert to make each day as though on that day we were commanded. The thing is that there are two discernments before us in the work: 1) in order to receive reward, 2) not in order to receive reward, but because of the greatness of the Creator.

Those whose work is in order to receive reward do not need “Each day they will be as new.” Rather, when a person believes that he will be rewarded for his work, he has the power to work since the reward causes him to observe Torah and Mitzvot. Thus, there is no difference whether he believes in the reward that the Torah promises us, and he does not need to renew the imperative each day, for what will this add to him?

Conversely, those who want to work because “He is great and ruling,” meaning because of the greatness of the Creator, for this reason there is a need “as though on that day you were commanded,” since when a person engages in Torah and Mitzvot in order to bestow, each day he should discern how much he assumes the greatness of the Creator, for whom it is worthwhile to exert in order to serve Him.

It is as it is written in The Zohar, “Her husband is known at the gates,” that “Each one according to what he assumes in his heart.” This means that in the work of bestowal, there is the matter of ascents and descents. It follows that “no day is like another,” for sometimes he assumes he has a great King, and sometimes to the contrary. It follows that each they should be “new,” “as though on that day you were commanded them.”

In other words, the strength to exert is according to which King he serves at that time, great or small. In other words, if yesterday he thought that He is a great King, and today he does not think so, then he does not make the same effort as yesterday, but according to his faith today. This is why the verse tells us, “This day the Lord your God commands you.” That is, a person must know that each day, he has a different measure of faith in Him.

Therefore, one should not be alarmed if sometimes during a descent, there is a small king. This means that the person’s faith is small, and cannot obligate him so he can overcome his body. Instead he surrenders to his body and is contemplating leaving the campaign.

But one must believe that this descent he has received, and he does not have the power to overcome, to believe in the Creator that He will help him and deliver him from this lowliness where a person is, and he will later acquire greater faith in the Creator, and then he will certainly have powers to work, since each day is new, meaning new faith. This is why he says, “As though today you were commanded them.” Thus, everything is according to the faith he has on that day, to that extent a person works.

We should know that when a person begins to work in order to bestow and the body objects to it, the body brings him down to the worst lowliness. That is, the will to receive overcomes him and brings him down to sordid lusts. Sometimes he gets thoughts and desires he had never thought of. They come to him like uninvited guests, and the person is surprised and says, “How is today different from other days? That is, who caused me these thoughts and desires? Is it by thinking that one needs to work only for the sake of the Creator that these thoughts threw me into such baseness?” He asks, “But it is known that a Mitzva induces a Mitzva, so why does the desire to obtain vessels of bestowal cause a person to receive such thoughts in return for it? And also, what can one do in such states?”

However, a person must know, as Baal HaSulam says (Shamati, Article No. 1, “There Is None Else Besides Him”) that the Creator sends these thoughts to a person so he will not be able to tolerate such lowliness, so it will cause him to pray to the Creator from the bottom of the heart to give him the strength to come closer instead of the thoughts that cause separation and remoteness from the Creator. At that time, a person must pray and cry out to the Creator, “Do not cast us from before You, and do not take away from us the spirit of Your holiness,” but rather that the Creator will give him the second nature, the desire to bestow, meaning to have only a desire to bestow contentment upon the Maker, and no concern for himself. Then all these thoughts and desires that the will to receive brings him will naturally move away from him.

In other words, since a person should believe that all those thoughts that the will to receive bring him are sent to him from above because he wants to walk on the path of bestowal, and in the meantime he is idle in the work, because he prayed that the Creator will bring him closer to being in Dvekutwith the Creator, which is equivalence of form, when it is seen that the person is idle in the work, he is sent the foreign thoughts that a person cannot agree to be under such a control. As a result, this gives a person a push, that he must overcome the state that he is in.

It therefore follows that from this bad, when a person feels that he is in such a lowly state that he never imagined that he could be under such governance, for this reason, he should not be alarmed and escape the campaign. On the contrary, he should believe that the Creator is taking care of him now, and He is bringing him closer through a state of Achoraim [posterior].

This is as it is written in the book A Sage’s Fruit (Vol. 1, p 139), “About the verse, ‘My beloved is like a gazelle,’ our sages said, ‘As the gazelle looks back when he runs, when the Creator leaves Israel, He turns back His face.’ Then the face returns to being in the Achoraim, meaning craving and longing to cling to Israel once more. This begets in Israel longing and craving to cling to the Creator, too, and the measure of the longing and craving is actually the face itself.”

We should interpret that he means that when a person is in a state of lowliness, it is considered that the Creator has moved away from him, and he has no desire or yearning for the work, this is regarded as the Creator giving a person a shape of tastelessness about spirituality. Moreover, a person wants to escape and forget about the work altogether. This is regarded as the Creator showing him the Achoraim.

The Panim [face/anterior] of the Creator is His desire to do good to His creations, and the Achoraim is the complete opposite. Why does the Creator show a person the Achoraim? It is on purpose, for by this a person gets a thrust toward Dvekut with the Creator, for he cannot remain in a state of lowliness. It follows that here, within the Achoraim is the discernment of Panim.

Inapoi la pagina 1990 (ŞLAVEY HASULAM (TREPTELE SCĂRII) – link

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