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What Is the Prohibition to Greet Before Blessing the Creator, in the Work?

Article No. 17, Tav-Shin-Mem-Tet, 1988-89

The Zohar writes in Tetzaveh, Item 51: “Rabbi Yehuda started, ‘Leave off the man whose breath is in his nostrils, for why should he be regarded?’ Was the prophet cautioning to avoid the rest of the people, and that the rest of the people should avoid him, so people would never draw near to each other? He replies that the verse speaks of one who comes to the doorstep of one’s friend to greet him before he blesses the Creator. It was said about this, ‘Leave off.’”

On the face of it, what is the prohibition if a person greets his friend before he blesses the Creator? It is that it seems as though he honors his friend before he honors the Creator. But does the Creator need honor, that we can say that if one does not bless Him before his friend, it is a blemish in His honor?

This is similar to a man walking into a henhouse and seeing that one rooster looks at another and does not pay attention to the man, who is the landlord. Can it be said that the rooster blemished the landlord? It is much more so with regard to the created beings compared to the Creator. His distance from man is far too great for man to be regarded as anything compared to the Creator, that we can say that he has blemished the glory of the Creator.

We should also understand what is written, “The verse speaks of one who comes to the doorstep of one’s friend.” Why is it specifically the doorstep of one’s friend? What does it imply? It is as though if he does not come to the doorstep of his friend, he is permitted to greet his friend? We should interpret this with regard to man’s work, for in the work, we speak of everything within one person, meaning that his friend and greeting are also in the same person.

It is known that man’s work is to achieve Dvekut [adhesion] with the Creator, called “equivalence of form.” Since we learn that from the perspective of the Creator, whose desire is to do good to His creations, He created in the creatures a desire to receive that is regarded as yearning to receive delight and pleasure. This is called “the purpose of creation.” Yet, in order not to suffer shame, a correction was made, called Tzimtzum [restriction] and concealment, so we do not feel the Kedusha[holiness] and the delight and pleasure found in Kedusha.

Although we say each day, “The whole earth is full of His glory,” there is still concealment on it, so we must believe it. Yet, as long as one has not corrected one’s actions to work in order to bestow, we do not feel it. Instead, it depends on man’s work in obtaining the vessels of bestowal. To that extent, the Tzimtzum departs and he begins to feel the existence of the Creator. This is all of our work, to achieve equivalence of form called “Dvekut with the Creator.”

In order to be rewarded with vessels of bestowal, there is a complete procession of work, as Baal HaSulam interpreted the matter of the three souls within man: 1) Nefesh [soul] of Kedusha, in which there is nothing to correct, 2) the Nefesh of the three impure Klipot [shells/peels], in which there is nothing to correct, as this will be corrected only at the end of correction, and 3) the Nefesh of Klipat Noga [Klipa (singular of Klipot) of Noga], which is half good and half bad. All of man’s work is in this Nefesh. If a person performs a Mitzva [commandment/good deed], this Nefesh connects to Kedusha. If he commits a transgression, this Nefesh connects to the Nefesh of the three impure Klipot. Hence, in this Nefesh [soul] he can determine between bad and good, and all the work is only in this Nefesh.

For this reason, when a person begins to engage in Torah and Mitzvot in truth, in order to achieve Dvekut [adhesion] with the Creator, he has two ways before him: The reward for the work he does will be for his own benefit and not for the sake of the Creator, regarded as wanting to nurse the Nefesh of Klipa, that she will receive the reward for his work, or, if he wants to nurse the Kedushathrough his work, meaning that the reward for his work will be only for the sake of the Creator, then his work feeds the Nefesh of Kedusha. This is considered that the Nefesh of Klipat Noga joins the Nefesh of Kedusha.

However, we should know that achieving the degree where “all your works are for the sake of the Creator” is not done at once. Rather, as our sages said, “Man’s inclination overcomes him every day, and were it not for the help of the Creator, he would not overcome it.” That is, we see that our sages come to tell us two things: 1) It is impossible to subdue the bad in one time. Rather, each day there is new work, as it is written, “Man’s inclination overcomes him every day.” 2) A person cannot subdue it without the help of the Creator.

These two discernments are called “light and Kli.” This means that the deficiency that a person finds—that the evil controls him—is the Kli. That is, he feels how far he is from working for the sake of the Creator and the matter of “Love the Lord with all your heart,” etc., and not for its own sake. The body cannot understand how can such a thing be, as it is completely against all intellect and reason for such a thing to be in reality.

A person can understand the matter of assuming the burden of the kingdom of heaven only if by this, the Creator will give him all of his heart’s wishes. That is, a person can understand that the Creator will serve the man and provide for all his needs. But if it is to the contrary, meaning that man should serve the Creator and always think how he can please the Creator so the Creator will enjoy his work, as it is written, “The Lord will rejoice with His works,” meaning that the works of the Creator, who are the creatures, will delight Him, then a person asks, “What will I gain by pleasing the Creator?” since man’s body understands only that which pertains to its own benefit.

This lack that a person begins to feel, that he cannot work for the sake of the Creator, is called a Kli[vessel], meaning a need for someone to help him have a desire to work for the sake of the Creator. The help he receives from above is regarded as the Creator helping him, is regarded as “light.” Those two appear one at a time, and not at once.

This is why it was said, “Man’s inclination overcomes him every day.” That is, the light and the Kli are not completed in one day. Rather, it is as it is written, “Penny by penny join into a great amount,” until the Kli receives the full measure of the lack that is suitable to receive light in full.

This is as it is written in The Zohar (“Introduction of The Book of Zohar,” Item 140), “‘Day to day expresses utterance, and night to night reveals knowledge,’ etc. This is so because prior to the end of correction, before we qualified our vessels of reception to receive only in order to give contentment to our Maker and not for our own sake, Malchut is called ‘the tree of knowledge of good and evil.’ This is so because Malchut is the guidance of the world by people’s actions. This guidance qualifies us to ultimately correct our vessels of reception in order to bestow and to be rewarded with the delight and pleasure He had contemplated in our favor. …Often, the guidance of good and evil causes us ascents and descents … Know that each ascent is regarded as a separate day … since all those nights are the descents, the suffering, and punishments that stopped the Dvekut [adhesion] with the Creator until they became many days one after the other. Now, once the night and darkness have also become merits and good deeds … there are no more stops, and all 6,000 years connect into one great day.

“…This is the meaning of ‘Day to day expresses utterance,’ since the word that separated between one day and the next has now become a great praise and praises it, for it has become a merit. Thus, they all became one day for the Lord … since only all of them together, assembled, became worthy of receiving that great knowledge.”

It therefore follows that only through the ascents and descents, called “days and nights,” when they join into the complete measure to be able to receive the great knowledge, there must be a great Kli[vessel], meaning a great need. This happens because of the descents when he sees that each day he becomes more needy of the Creator to help him emerge from self-love. Each day means the ascents, meaning that each time he receives help, called “light and abundance,” for the light in it reforms him.

This is considered that the Creator helps him, for specifically through both we obtain a Kli that is fit to receive the delight and pleasure that the Creator contemplated in his favor. This is considered that he received the correction and the qualification to receive the purpose of creation, which is to do good to His creations.

However, the most difficult part of the work is that the order of the work is as two writings that deny one another. It is hard to understand how the two can be true.

For example, it is written in the essay about the order of the work by Baal HaSulam that “when attributing the work to the Creator, to believe that the Creator accepts our work regardless of how the work seems.” That is, it does not matter if he works with much knowledge and understanding, but if he attributes the work to the Creator, meaning works with the aim to bestow, the Creator accepts his work willingly, even if it is the simplest, without any understanding. However, he must aim to bestow. He said that one way or the other, we must believe that He will hear, even if he does not aim specifically to bestow, but aims that he is speaking to the Creator. Then, a person must believe that the Creator hears his prayer.

On the other hand, it is written in A Sage’s Fruit (Vol. 1, p 119) that a person must yearn to attain the Creator, meaning adhere to Him with complete recognition, that this is regarded as the Creator. This means that a person must walk on the right line, regarded as wholeness, and pray to the Creator and thank Him, even if he does not find within him anything that desires spirituality. But accordingly, how can he thank the Creator and say that the Creator hears what he says to Him, which is the meaning of attributing the work to the Creator, and He accepts his work regardless of how the work seems?

However, if he relates only to the Creator and says, “I am turning to the Creator and I believe that He can answer my wishes,” by this a person becomes happy and feels superior. That is, the rest of the people have no connection to spirituality, and he believes that the Creator has given him [a feeling] that he has no spirituality, in whatever way, but the fact that he has an interest in thinking about spirituality, it makes no difference if he has or hasn’t, or that he is now in utter lowliness, meaning that he sees that now he has no desire to ascend in degree and emerge from the lowliness, but he thanks the Creator because at least he is thinking about spirituality, while the rest of the people do not have any thoughts of spirituality.

If he can thank the Creator, it gives him joy, and from Lo Lishma [not for Her sake] he comes to Lishma [for Her sake]. By this he ascends from his state of wholeness and can thereby come to a state where even if he forgets the state of lowliness he was in prior to making the calculation and thanking the Creator, it appears to him as though he has always been in this state.

This extends from the discernment that “The blessed clings to the Blessed,” since the thanks he gives to the Creator makes a person feel whole, and to the extent of the joy he extends, so he can ascend in degree. We must say that this path is true, meaning that man hasn’t the power to assess the importance of Kedusha, but even touching anything of Kedusha is infinitely more important to the Creator than all the corporeal things.

About corporeal things, a person knows that it is worthwhile to thank the Creator for this, since the Creator gave the corporeal pleasures so that the person who receives them will feel joy and elation. Conversely, He gave the Kedusha for the purpose of correction, as we learned about the concealment and hiding. However, a person should believe that he can give much gratitude when the importance of a matter is revealed to him, but that which does not appear to him as important, a person does not appreciate. Nonetheless, one who wishes to come into the work of the Creator must believe in the sages and say that a tiny touch on Kedusha is regarded as a great thing. He should work on this and appreciate the matter until he can elicit joy from that small thing.

Our sages call this, “Who is rich? He who is content with his lot,” who settles for little. That is, even for a small thing he can be grateful as though it were a great thing. For this reason, any contact he has, even a negative one, is still regarded as positive.

In other words, the fact that a person sees and feels that he has no desire and yearning for work, which is truly negative, still, if he can extract from this and see how at least he has a thought to think about spirituality, he thanks and praises the Creator that he has dealings with spirituality, while he sees that there are people to whom the Creator did not even allow to think about the work. He believes that the Creator did choose him to give the knowledge that there is the matter of spirituality, and says that it is only that the Creator has not given him permission to enter and do the holy work. If he can derive joy from that state, it can pull him out of his state of lowliness and admit him into the Kedusha.

However, on the other hand, a person must awaken within him the value of the work on the path of truth, meaning what a person must correct. This is as it is written there, that a person must achieve wholeness, be rewarded with 620 times more than he had prior to the descent of the soul into the body. Although this contradicts the quality of the “right,” it is still true, meaning the wholeness is precisely to come to correct what he must.

Now we can understand what we asked about the prohibition to greet his friend before he blesses the Creator. We must know that in the work, every person is a whole world. It follows that his friend means the body, in the sense that it has Nefesh of Klipat Orla [Noga]. To “greet” means to have wholeness before he blesses the Creator. That is, his foundation must be to bless the Creator, meaning that everything he does is for the sake of the Creator and not for his own sake, which is the Nefesh of the three impure Klipot. For this reason, when he first tries to aim that everything will be for the sake of the Creator, he can then greet his friend, meaning that then he subdues his friend, in that he is subjugated to also work for the sake of the Creator.

It follows that if he blesses the Creator before he greets his friend, it means he wants the glory of the Creator to be revealed, as it is written, “When the Lord favors man’s ways, even his enemies will make peace with him.” This is how it should be, and not the other way around. This is the meaning of the prohibition to come to the doorstep of one’s friend, etc.

Inapoi la pagina 1989 (ŞLAVEY HASULAM (TREPTELE SCĂRII) – link

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