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What Does It Mean that the Evil Inclination Ascends and Slanders, in the Work?

Article No. 20, Tav-Shin-Mem-Tet, 1988-89

It is written in The ZoharTzav (Item 20), “‘This is the law’ is the assembly of Israel. Malchut that ascends is an evil thought that comes up in one’s mind to divert him from the way of truth. It is the burnt-offering that ascends and slanders a person, and must be burned in fire so as not to allow it to slander.For this reason, On its firewood upon the altar all night.’ Who is the ‘Night’? It is the assembly of Israel, Malchut, which is the one who comes to purify the man from that desire. For this reason, it must never be quenched, but an everlasting fire shall burn in it.’”

We should understand the meaning of a bad thought that ascends and slanders a person. We should also understand what it means that “night” is called Malchut, and what it means that with the fire, we burn the bad thought so it does not slander above, and what it means that this fire will not be quenched. What is this fire?

It is known that our basis is faith. That is, although we do not feel or understand everything our sages told us, we must believe. Without faith there is nothing to talk about. That is, we must believe what they told us, “I labored but did not find, do not believe.” Rather, once a person has put in the necessary effort, we will achieve what our sages told us.

That is, first we must believe that the purpose of creation is “to do good to His creations.” But the creatures do not attain the delight and pleasure right away, meaning that each one can say, “Blessed is He who said, ‘Let there be the world,’” meaning that each one will rejoice in being created and in being able to enjoy a world that is full of abundance. However, we see that all creations suffer, whether less or more. They all ask, “Where is that delight and pleasure that the Creator wants to give us?” The answer is that there was a correction in order to bring to light the perfection of His deeds. That is, so that the creatures will not feel shame when receiving the delight and pleasure. For this purpose, there was a Tzimtzum [restriction] and concealment, where the delight and pleasure are concealed from us until we obtain the Kelim [vessels] that are fit to receive the good, and that they feel no deficiency in it, called “bread of shame.”

For this reason, we must believe that although we still do not see the good, if we qualify ourselves to obtain the Kelim that are suitable for this, we will receive the abundance, as our sages said, “I labored but did not find, do not believe.” Rather, anyone who exerts to obtain the vessels of bestowal will receive the delight and pleasure. Therefore, a person must not decide that if some time has passed in his engagement in the work of bestowal and he has labored for it, he must believe that he must have not given the required effort, and this is why he has not been awarded these Kelim.

However, in order to receive these (Kelim), meaning vessels of bestowal, there is the opposite work here. That is, normally, when a person learns a trade, each day he makes some progress, some more, some less. All those who quit the profession do not leave because they see no progress. Instead, they are advancing, but very slowly, and see that at the very least, they will need to learn this profession many years since they are advancing very slowly. Therefore, they drop out.

However, in learning the work of bestowal, the order is to the contrary: Not only do they see no progress in the work, they even see that they are going backward. Indeed, the question is, Why do they need to regress, meaning see that instead of what he should have seen, that the will to receive for himself separates him from Kedusha [holiness], and each time he must loathe the bad, meaning not want to work for self-reception, but always crave to work for the Creator, now he sees that he has received a greater yearning for self-love and cannot do anything in order to bestow?

Baal HaSulam said about this that in fact, a person does advance, meaning that each time he advances toward seeing his true state—that he is so immersed in self-love. This is so because there is a correction from above not to see one’s true state before he can correct it. Therefore, to the extent that it is seen above that he exerts to emerge from self-love, to that extent the evil in him is revealed to him, so he will know that he is the worst person in the world. That is, in other people, the evil is not as exposed as it is in him. For this reason, he sees what he is lacking, and then he can ask the Creator to save him and bring him out of the bad within him.

By this we should interpret what is written, “The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth.” That is, in truth, they see their lowliness, that they are lower than the rest of the people and are unable to emerge from the control of the evil in them by themselves. For this reason, this is called “who call upon Him in truth,” since they see that it is utterly impossible to emerge from the control of the self-love.

For this reason, they have a complete thing, meaning a complete desire for His help. It is as Baal HaSulam said, “A prayer makes half.” That is, when a person gives an awakening from below, called “a prayer makes half,” meaning the Kli [vessel], called (desire) for the thing he wants the Creator to satisfy. When the half of the Kli is completed, the filling comes. Here, “half” means that he sees that he has a deficiency but no vessels of bestowal.

It turns out that when he knows about himself that he is utterly unable to correct his lack, meaning that he has already done all that he could to be able to obtain the desire to bestow, he can say that he knows one hundred percent that if the Creator does not help him, he will remain in self-love. This is called “having a complete Kli,” meaning a lack. At that time, the satisfaction of the lack comes, as the Creator gives him the desire and yearning to bestow.

The order is as our sages said, “There are three partners in a person: the Creator, his father, and his mother. His father gives the white,” as it is said (Nida 31), “Our sages said, ‘There are three partners in man: the Creator, his father, and his mother. His father sows the white, his mother sows the red, and the Creator places in him a spirit and a soul.’”

“Right” is named after his father, meaning the light of Hochma, which is the light of the purpose of creation. The light of Hochma is the light of “doing good to His creations,” and this light comes specifically to the vessels of reception. There were Tzimtzum and concealment on that light, so it will not illuminate to the vessels of reception before they are corrected and can aim to bestow.

Therefore, when this light shines, we see that along with it shines the fact that there is also a Tzimtzum, meaning that through this light, we feel that we might come to separation. At that time a person becomes worse than he was. That is, he wants to receive spiritual light and pass it on to the Klipot [shells/peels], which want to receive abundance in order to receive. For this reason, a person takes upon himself not to use the vessels of reception any longer. This is regarded as his father, called Hochma, gives the white, meaning that he “whitens” a person not to use the will to receive for himself, since the light made him see how engaging with the will to receive for oneself removes one from the Creator. Hence, he decides not to use the will to receive any more, and this is called “white.”

Yet, without a desire, it is impossible to do anything, and for himself, he no longer wants to receive. For this reason, “His mother gives the red.” “His mother” is called Bina, whose quality is the desire to bestow. It is known that Malchut is called “black,” meaning the will to receive, who is called Malchut, on whom there was a Tzimtzum, meaning that the light will not shine into her. This is why she is called “darkness.” When Malchut is included in BinaBina is called “red.” This is the meaning of his mother, meaning Bina, giving to a person the desire to bestow, and then a person can perform acts of bestowal. This is regarded as the Creator “giving a spirit and a soul,” meaning upper abundance that comes into the vessels of bestowal. This is called “the birth of the Partzuf,” meaning that a new degree is born.

It follows that everything comes from above. That is, the power to throw away the will to receive is not in one’s own hands to do on his own. Rather, this is called “His father gives the white.” Also, it is not within one’s power to be able to do everything in order to bestow. Rather, this forces of wanting to perform only acts of bestowal comes to us from above. This is called “His mother sows the red.”

According to the above, we can interpret what we asked, What is the meaning of saying, “She ascends and slanders a person”? It is written, “This is the Torah,” meaning the order of the work, which gives one forces from above. He says that the Torah is called the “Assembly of Israel,” Malchut, and a person should take upon himself the kingdom of heaven. Then comes the order that first a person begins to feel the bad in him, since before he began the work of bestowal, it appeared to him that he was already righteous, since he was sitting and learning Torah and observing Mitzvot, and what else should he do?

Certainly, there are greater righteous, who learn more and are more meticulous about the Mitzvot[commandments/good deeds], but nonetheless, he is also righteous, though he believes that there are greater righteous. Because of (this), he feels his lowliness, that he is not as righteous as they are, and he takes his lowliness only from this.

However, when a person begins to come into the work on the path of truth, which is the work of bestowal, a person begins to see each time that he is immersed in self-love, and cannot do anything in order to bestow. Rather, each time he sees that by observing Torah and Mitzvot, the will to receive for himself will enjoy it, he is able to work. Otherwise, he is completely powerless.

This is called “This is the Torah [law] of the burnt offering.” The Zohar says, “It is a bad thought that comes up in a person’s mind to divert him from the path of truth.” That is, who is the one giving him the bad thought that will come up in his mind? After all, before he began the work, he was righteous, and now, why does he get a bad thought?

Reasonably thinking, it should have been the opposite, that now that he wants to work on the path of truth, he should have had good thoughts and not bad ones. The answer is that “This is the Torah of the burnt offering,” meaning the Assembly of Israel, who is Malchut, sends him these bad thoughts. Otherwise, if she does not notify him of the thoughts of wickedness, he would never be able to correct.

It turns out that the Torah sends him the bad thoughts, but then he falls into despair. He comes to such lowliness that he cannot believe that the Creator can help him, judging by the lowliness he sees, that he is so immersed in self-love. This is the meaning of what is written, “She ascends and slanders a person.” This bad thought comes up in one’s mind and makes him see that he is not worthy of the Creator’s help. Rather, the Creator helps only people who are more important than you. This is the meaning of “ascending and slandering” in the work. We must burn with the fire of the Torah, as it is written, “Such is my word, like fire.” However, the Creator helps every person.

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