Inapoi la pagina 1991 (ŞLAVEY HASULAM (TREPTELE SCĂRII) – link
What It Means that the Good Inclination and the Evil Inclination Guard a Person in the Work
Article No. 11, Tav-Shin-Nun-Aleph, 1989-91
The Zohar says (VaYishlach, Items 1-4), “Rabbi Yehuda started, ‘For He will give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.’ When a person comes to the world, the evil inclination immediately comes with him. It is written, ‘My sin is ever before me,’ for it makes man sin before his Master. The good inclination comes to a person from the time he comes to be purified. And when does one come to be purified? When he is thirteen years of age. At that time, a man connects in both, one on the right, and one on the left, the good inclination on the right, and the evil inclination on the left. And these are really two appointed angels. When a man comes to be purified, the evil inclination surrenders before him and the right governs the left. And both the good inclination and the evil inclination join to keep man in all the roads he travels.”
We should understand that when we are speaking in terms of the work, we understand that the good inclination guards a person when he walks on the path of the Creator and wants to achieve Dvekut[adhesion] with the Creator, so he receives the guarding of the good inclination. Yet, what guarding does one receive from the evil inclination, for which he will achieve Dvekut with the Creator? This implies that if he is not guarded by the evil inclination, he will not be able to achieve Dvekut with the Creator.
The verse says (Genesis 25:23), “And the Lord said to her, ‘Two nations are in your womb, and one nation shall be stronger than the other, and the older shall serve the younger.’” RASHI interprets, “‘One nation shall be stronger than the other,’ they will not be the same in greatness; when one rises, the other falls.” That is, they will not be in greatness at the same time.
It is known that the order of the work is to come to a state where all your work is for the sake of the Creator. This is out of one’s hands. Rather, this force is something he should receive from above, as our sages said, “He who comes to purify is aided.” However, achieving a degree of bestowing contentment upon one’s Maker permanently comes to a person after he has revealed all the bad in him. At that time, a person receives this power called “second nature,” which is the desire to bestow.
In other words, a person must first reveal all the bad in him, which is called that he already has a complete Kli [vessel], meaning a complete lack. At that time he receives the complete light, as our sages said, “The light in it reforms him.” However, before he has the revelation of this Kli, meaning a need for the help of the Creator—since the help must be complete help, as our sages said, “From above, there is no giving of half a thing, but rather a complete thing”—the lower one’s deficiency must also be complete.
And since it is impossible to reveal to a person all the evil because while he still does not have good, he will not be able to subdue the bad, since the bad will be more than the good, therefore, when a person begins to engage in Torah and Mitzvot [commandments/good deeds], he increases the good each time, and to that extent he is shown the evil. At that time, man’s work is balanced, as our sages said (Kidushin, p 40), “One should always see oneself as half guilty, half innocent.”
For this reason, he is shown the evil gradually, according to his effort to acquire the good through his efforts in Torah and Mitzvot.
According to the above, when a person wants to walk on the path of achieving Dvekut with the Creator and do all his work for the sake of the Creator, meaning to bestow contentment upon his Maker and not for his own sake, as it is against human nature, who was created with the will to receive for his own sake, and all of man’s work is that he is told that he will not obtain this by his own strength, but only the Creator can give him this power called desire to bestow, and a person should only prepare the Kli to receive this power called “second nature,” it follows that specifically through the evil inclination, which grows within him to its completion, a person sees his real deficiency—that he is unable to obtain the desire to bestow by himself. This brings him to a state where the Creator gives him the desire to bestow.
Thus, both the good inclination and the evil inclination lead a person to achieve the goal of equivalence of form, called “Dvekut with the Creator.”
By this we can interpret what we asked, Why does The Zohar say, “For He will give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways,” which pertains to the evil inclination, too, which guards a person so he will achieve Dvekut with the Creator? But if it guards a person so he will achieve Dvekutwith the Creator, why is it called “evil inclination”? “Evil inclination” implies that it brings a person thoughts and desires that object to Kedusha [holiness]. That is, it makes a person think that it is not worthwhile to exert in Torah and Mitzvot, so how does it guard a person so he will achieve Dvekutwith the Creator, so he will do everything for the sake of the Creator and not for his own sake?
The answer is that if the evil is not revealed to a person to its true extent, he cannot receive help from the Creator because he still does not have a real need. It follows that he still does not have a real Kli. The evil inclination gives him thoughts and desires against the Kedusha, and this is called “the evil inclination,” as Baal HaSulam said, that the evil inclination means “a depiction of evil,” meaning that the evil inclination depicts to a person that if he works for the sake of the Creator and not for his own sake, it will be bad for him. When the evil inclination draws such depictions to a person, it makes him leave the work of bestowing upon the Creator.
For this reason, when a person comes to feel the depictions of the evil inclination, he wants to escape from this work that is only for the sake of the Creator. At that time, he sees that it is impossible to overcome the depictions that the evil inclination draws for him. Yet, only then can he overcome and say that the Creator will help him emerge from the control of the evil inclination, since then he sees that this is above nature for a person to be able to do something against the black state where a person sees the depiction of the evil inclination.
From these depictions, a person sees what is bad, meaning what measure of evil exists in man’s heart, who cannot do anything for the sake of the Creator unless he sees there something for his own benefit, too. Through these depictions, a person acquires an image of the bad each time. One cannot see these images all at once, for he will not be able to endure them. Rather, one is shown a little bit, and that depiction soon leaves. Then, it is as though the person forgets the depiction of working for the sake of the Creator and not for himself. Hence, he has the strength to start the work of bestowal once again. When he thinks that he is already at a stage where he can work only for the sake of the Creator, the evil inclination promptly comes to him and gives him another depiction of work for the sake of the Creator. This depiction moves him once again from working for the sake of the Creator.
It follows that specifically through the evil inclination, a person can achieve the state of truth, meaning that one cannot deceive oneself and say that he is serving the Creator and all his work is for the sake of the Creator, since when the evil inclination gives him the depictions of what for the sake of the Creator means, he sees that he is far from this work. It follows that a person cannot fool himself that he is walking on the path of truth, since he sees how the body objects to this, to such an extent that he must believe above reason that the Creator can help him emerge from the governance of self-love.
It follows that without the keeping of the evil inclination he would never be able to see the truth. Thus, just as everyone understands that the good inclination guards a person on the way to achieving his completion of being adhered to the Creator, meaning to work entirely to bestow, likewise, without the evil inclination, a person would think that he is doing everything for the sake of the Creator.
But when the evil inclination comes to him with bad depictions and tells him that it is not worthwhile to work for the sake of the Creator, it becomes utterly clear to a person that everything he did in Torah and Mitzvot before was all for his own benefit, since now he sees that when the evil inclination shows him the state of working only for the sake of the Creator, he agrees that the evil inclination is correct and the person really does not see what he will gain by working for the sake of the Creator.
This causes a person a state of descent. That is, before the evil inclination came to him with these depictions, he knew that everything he did was for the sake of the Creator, meaning that he was observing what the Creator commanded man to do. Otherwise, why would he observe Torah and Mitzvot? But not for the sake of the Creator? Everyone knows that someone who works not for the sake of the Creator, his work is worthless, so when a person engages in Torah and Mitzvot, he is certain that he is working for the sake of the Creator.
But now that the evil inclination came to him with the bad depictions of work in order to bestow, he sees that he is far from working for the sake of the Creator, and working not for the sake of the Creator is unworthy work, so he wants to leave the work of observing Torah and Mitzvot altogether, since by nature, a person cannot work for no reason. When a person works, he must see that he is doing something. Hence, if he sees that he cannot work for the sake of the Creator—as the evil inclination made him see about what it means to work entirely for the sake of the Creator and not at all for his own sake, and not for the sake of the Creator is worthless—he comes to a state where he wants to escape the campaign altogether.
Now we understand how The Zohar interprets the verse, “For He will give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.” Without the evil inclination, a person would never be able to achieve the work of bestowal, since only the Creator can give this power of being able to do everything in order to bestow, and without a lack, a person cannot receive anything. But he does not have this lack for the Creator to give him the other nature, meaning the desire to bestow, since he thinks that he is doing everything for the sake of the Creator, since as long as one does not want to work for the sake of the Creator, the body does not object to the point where a person needs the help of the Creator.
But when a person wants to work in order to bestow, the work of the evil inclination comes to him and begins to make him think that it is not worthwhile to work for the sake of the Creator. At that time, the evil engenders in him a need for the help of the Creator. It follows that specifically by the bad, he comes closer to the Creator. That is, the evil inclination keeps him from fooling himself that he is working for the sake of the Creator.
It follows that when a person prays to the Creator to help him, the prayer must be clear. That is, he must know what he is missing, meaning that the lack will be revealed in him without any doubt, for if the deficiency is not revealed to him for certain, but he is unclear about the lack he feels, this is not a prayer. Hence, when the evil inclination comes to him with bad depictions, the person knows for certain what he needs, and this is called “a complete deficiency.”
This is similar to what is written about Jacob, who said “Deliver me, I pray Thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau; for I fear him, that he will come and strike me and the mothers with the children” (Genesis 32:11 and VaYishlach, Item 70). It says, “This implies that one who prays his prayer, his words should be properly interpreted. When he said, ‘Deliver me, I pray Thee,’ it seems as though it should have sufficed, since he does not need more than deliverance. Yet, he told the Creator, ‘And should You say that You have already saved me from Laban?’ This is why he explained, ‘from the hand of my brother.’ And if you say that other kin are called brothers, too, as Laban said to Jacob, ‘Because you are my brother, should you therefore serve me for nothing?’ He therefore explained, ‘from the hand of Esau.’ What is the reason? It is because we need to interpret the matter properly.”
We should ask about this: We can understand that when we speak of a flesh and blood king, the one who seeks help should have a clear request, so that the king will understand what he is asking. However, when someone asks for something of the Creator, why should the request be so clear? Does the Creator not know what is in one’s heart? He certainly knows man’s thoughts, since the Creator is called “He who knows the thoughts,” as we say, “He who knows the thoughts, please save.” Therefore, why must we clarify the prayer and request that we pray that we will “interpret the matter properly”?
The answer is that a person must clarify the prayer so it is clear and interpreted to the person. That is, a person must know what he missing, since sometimes he thinks that he needs luxuries and prays for them with all his might, while about things that concern his life, without which he cannot receive a life of Kedusha [holiness], this he relinquishes. He thinks that he needs things by which he will come to be a respectable and perfect man, and this is what he asks, when in fact, he is lacking things that pertain to his life, meaning that without them he will remain as though dead, as our sages said, “The wicked in their lives are called ‘dead.’”
Therefore, when the evil inclination pictures for him bad depictions about the work of bestowal contentment upon his Maker, through this evil he sometimes comes to a state of “pondering the beginning,” like the spies who slandered the land of Israel, as The Zohar interprets. At that time he sees that he is truly evil and has no faith in the Creator.
It is as Baal HaSulam said, that one should see to it that on the path he is walking, he will make every effort he can make, as an awakening from below, to obtain faith in the Creator. This is called “I am the Lord your God and you will have no other gods.” These are regarded as Kaneh [trachea] and Veshet [gullet], which are two signs that the life of animals depend on. That is, in corporeality, if these signs stop, life ceases from an animal. Likewise, in the work, if the “I am … and you will have now…” stops, the spiritual life departs from him.
For this reason, sometimes a person cries and prays to the Creator to help him with what he thinks. But even though he cries bitterly, his request is not answered, since he is in mortal danger yet asks to be given nonsense. That is, a person thinks that he is fine, that all he needs, in his view, is some complementary thing, when in truth, he is lifeless. Therefore, the angel called “evil inclination” comes and through its depictions, shows him that it is not worth it to annul before Him because the will to receive will gain nothing from it. At that time a person can see the truth—he is truly wicked.
It is follows that specifically the revelation of this evil keeps him, so he will ask the Creator to give him life, called “faith in the Creator,” so he can adhere to the Creator, as it is written, “And you who cleave unto the Lord your God are alive every one of you this day.” It is as The Zohar says, “For He will give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.” That is, both the good inclination and the evil inclination keep the person, so he will achieve Dvekut with the Creator. Without the evil inclination, he would not know the truth, what help to ask of the Creator.
According to the above, we should interpret what our sages said, “To the righteous, the evil inclination seems like a high mountain.” We should explain and say that when a person sees that the evil inclination is so big, like a high mountain, this is a sign that he is righteous, meaning that he is walking on the path of truth, by which to come to be righteous. Otherwise, the evil inclination would not appear to him as a high mountain. This is so because a person is shown the evil in him only to the extent of the good that he has, since the good and the bad must always be balanced. Then, it can be said that a person should decide and choose the good.
By this we can interpret what is written (Genesis 28:12), “And behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.” The famous question is, Why did the angels of God ascend first? It should have said “descending” first, and then “ascending.” In the work, we should interpret that “angels of God” are those people who want to be messengers of the Creator, to do the holy work, as our sages said (Sukkah 10), “We are messengers of Mitzva [singular of Mitzvot].”
Therefore, those who want to be as angels, to do everything for the sake of the Creator, are called “messengers of the Creator.” They must first rise in degree, meaning do good deeds, which is called “an ascent in degree,” and then, when they are in an ascent, when they are in a state where they are walking on the path of wholeness, they might think that they are in utter wholeness. But since they desire to achieve Dvekut with the Creator, they are shown from above the truth, that they are still far from doing everything for the sake of the Creator. Through the recognition of evil, a person descends from his degree and begins to see the truth, to see what he is missing.
This is the order of the work. First, a person receives an ascent from above, and then he receives a descent from above. It is all for the above-mentioned reason that through the ascents and descents, the person obtains a complete lack. And the lack is so great that no one in the world can fill the lack but the Creator Himself. This is called “a complete Kli,” ready to receive His help.
It is as Baal HaSulam said about what 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.” He said that “It is not for you to finish the work” refers to the work of achieving a state where all his actions are for the sake of the Creator. A person cannot finish this work. Therefore, why should one begin this work, which he cannot finish anyway? Normally, a person does not begin a work that he knows he cannot finish. Thus, why did they say, “nor are you free to idle away from it”? This implies that a person should begin this work. So, the question is for what purpose should he start?
The answer is that in everything, there must be desire and yearning to obtain the required matter. Otherwise, when, if we receive something without a prior need for it, it is impossible to enjoy, as it is known that there is no light without a Kli. For this reason, a person must begin the work of bestowal, and then he sees that after he has made many efforts to obtain that force, yet he cannot have it, later, when the Creator gives him this power of bestowal, he can enjoy it.
Baal HaSulam said about this, that this is the meaning of “We will do and we will hear,” which Israel said when the nations of the world did not want to receive it, since they saw that it was impossible to go against nature. But the people of Israel said, “We will do by force, even though our heart does not want this, and by this we will be rewarded with hearing. In other words, the Creator will let us hear that this work is acceptable to the heart. This is called “Reply unto your heart.”
Inapoi la pagina 1991 (ŞLAVEY HASULAM (TREPTELE SCĂRII) – link