Inapoi la pagina 1990 (ŞLAVEY HASULAM (TREPTELE SCĂRII) – link
What Are a Blessing and a Curse, in the Work?
Article No. 42, Tav-Shin-Nun, 1989-90
The interpreters of the Torah ask about the verse, “Behold, I set before you today a blessing and a curse. The blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I am commanding you today. And the curse, if you do not obey.” The question is, Why does it begin in singular form [in Hebrew], “Behold”? And they also ask, why is it written specifically “today”?
It is known that the purpose of creation is His desire to do good to His creations, meaning that all created beings will feel that they are receiving delight and pleasure from the Creator. This is called “Blessed is our God, who created us for His glory,” meaning that the creatures receive delight and pleasure from the Creator, and it glorifies the Creator that the creatures receive from Him delight and pleasure.
It follows that each one respects the Creator, and from this, the Creator is honored. Conversely, if the creatures do not receive from Him delight and pleasure, it does not glorify the Creator. That is, by creating creatures that do not feel that the Creator gives them delight and pleasure, but rather that they are tormented and suffer in the world, this does not glorify the Creator.
This is as it is written (Psalms 50), “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me.” RASHI interpreted “and you will honor Me” as “Honor Me, as this is My honor, that I save those who trust in Me.” We should understand this: Does the Creator need respect, that the creatures will respect him? After all, His desire is only to bestow, to impart delight and pleasure. Why is it said that the Creator receives honors by saving those who trust Him?
The answer is that the Creator knows that the creatures know that He created the world in order to give to the created beings delight and pleasure only when the created beings respect the Creator for giving them delight and pleasure. It follows that the matter of “Blessed is our God, who created us for His glory” applies when the creatures respect the Creator because we received delight and pleasure.
It follows that the creatures thank the Creator for receiving delight and pleasure, and this feeling, from the pleasure that the creatures receive this pleasure, emerges from the hearts of the receivers and is revealed outward through gratitude. That is, to the extent of the reception of pleasure, the glory of the giver is revealed. We see in corporeality how a person respects his friend when he gives him a great gift, and how he respects him when he gives him a small gift. This means that the honor that the recipient of the gift gives to the giver of the gift establishes the measure of the size of the gift, meaning the measure of the recipient’s sensation.
For example, a person whom the Creator brings closer, meaning gives him a thought and desire to serve the King, there is certainly a difference in how he feels if he is serving a great King: He is certainly happy day and night that he has been rewarded with serving a great King.
That is, if a person prays to the Creator and imagines that he is standing before a great King, how impressed he is? Or if he is speaking to a small king, what is his impression? In other words, according to a person’s sensation to whom he speaks and prays is his joy and elation, as our sages said, “Know before whom you stand,” meaning before a great or a small king.
It turns out that to the extent that a person respects the Creator, to that extent he can see to which King he is praying, a great or a small King. It follows that honoring the Creator is not for the sake of the Creator. The Creator does not need to be respected. Rather, this respect is for man’s sake. That is, a person needs to know before what King he stands—small or great.
However, in order for the Creator’s will to be carried out with the completeness of the goal, meaning so there would not be shame, there was a correction called “Tzimtzum [restriction] and concealment,” meaning that there was a Tzimtzum and concealment on two actions: 1) The Creator Himself is hidden from us and we must believe that He is treating us with private Providence over all creations. 2) The real delight and pleasure is in the 613 Mitzvot [commandments/good deeds], which The Zoharcalls “613 deposits,” as is explained in the Sulam [Ladder Commentary on The Zohar] (“Introduction of The Book of Zohar,” “General Explanation for All Fourteen Commandments and How They Divide into the Seven Days of Creation,” Item 1) that in each Mitzva [singular of Mitzvot], a special light is deposited. However, this, too, is concealed and we must believe that there is where we will find the delight and pleasure. Yet, this concealment was only for the sake of the created beings, so there would not be shame upon the reception of the delight and pleasure, meaning in order not to have shame by the creatures receiving the delight and pleasure because they feel like it, as this is opposite from the Creator. According to the rule that each branch wants to resemble its root, when the creatures receive the delight and pleasure, they will feel unpleasantness.
Therefore, the creatures must try to do everything for the sake of the Creator, meaning in order to bestow contentment upon the Creator, and then there is equivalence of form between them, meaning that the creatures, too, will do everything in order to bestow, like the Creator. Then there will be no place for shame, which is called “the perfection of His deeds.”
Yet, how can a person achieve this degree of doing everything for the sake of the Creator? After all, by nature, man is born with a desire to receive in order to receive. Our sages said about this, “He who comes to purify is aided.” That is, when a person sees that he is far from all his actions being for the sake of the Creator, he tries in everything he does. When he sees that on every act that he performs there is no intention to bestow, he asks of the Creator to give him the intention to bestow on the act that he performs.
In other words, he asks the Creator that thanks to the act that he performs, the act will be as an awakening from below, meaning a prayer that the Creator will send him the intention to bestow. It follows that the awakening from below is the Kli [vessel] that the Creator can fill. But when he has no actions over which to ask that the Creator will send him the intention to bestow for them, this is as is written, “There is no light without a Kli,” meaning no intention without an action.
For this reason, a person must do many actions, and the actions should be as a lack, that he will ask the Creator to satisfy their need. However, it is human nature that when he knows that the most important is that we must do everything for the sake of the Creator, and he sees that his actions are in utter lowliness, he becomes contemptuous of his actions.
He says that in any case, his work is worthless, so why bother exert so hard to do them? Therefore, when it is not difficult for him to work, he works. But when it is hard for him, he does not have the strength to exert himself and work because thoughts come to him from the world that there is no need to engage in Torah and Mitzvot because secular people do not believe in reward and punishment. Also, when he sees that his actions are lowly, he says about his actions that they are incomplete.
He says that he knows for certain that no reward should be given for such actions. It turns out that in this state, when he sees that his actions are so lowly that they merit no reward, it follows that then he is in a state where he does not believe in reward and punishment.
Since he cannot fool himself and say that he has a desire “for the sake of the Creator,” since he sees that the whole body objects to this, so when he says to himself, “If you do not aim for the sake of the Creator, you will be punished,” he does not understand this because he does not see how he will ever be able to say that he is working for the sake of the Creator.
Therefore, this is called “not believing in punishment,” meaning to say that because he will be punished, he will aim for the sake of the Creator. He cannot understand this because how can one be punished for something that is impossible? As for reward, at that time he says that he does not deserve reward for such actions. It follows that at that time he does not believe in reward and punishment, like secular people, who do not believe in reward and punishment. Therefore, he snubs them.
However, without faith in the sages, we cannot go forward. Rather, we must believe in the sages, who said that the order of the work is that there is no light without a Kli. For this reason, a person must believe that when he sees that his actions are not for the sake of heaven, it is a revelation from above, that he is shown the truth, how the will to receive governs a person, and he cannot do anything if it does not yield self-benefit.
A person can see this only when he wishes to walk on the path of truth, meaning to achieve Dvekut[adhesion] with the Creator. This knowledge is given to a person in order for him to need the Creator to help him and give him the desire to bestow. This desire attaches a person to the Creator, meaning that once he is rewarded with receiving the desire to bestow, the Creator can bestow upon him the delight and pleasure that was in the intention of creation to do good to His creations.
It follows that we should make three discernments here: 1) The person begins to feel that he is lacking the Kli called “desire to bestow,” but is immersed entirely in self-love. This deficiency does not come from the person himself. Rather, one must believe that this deficiency, that he cannot do anything in order to bestow, is help that comes to a person from above, and the help is that he feels a lack.
2) To ask of the Creator to give him a blessing, which is the desire to bestow, called “Kli of Hesed[mercy],” where he wants only to work in order to bestow contentment upon his Maker. This is as it is written (“Introduction of The Book of Zohar,” “Otiot de Rav Hamnuna Saba [The Letters of Rav Hamnuna Saba],” Items 37-38), “[Hesed] is a blessing, as it is written, ‘And I will pour out a blessing for you.’ This is the meaning of ‘I said, a world of mercy shall be built.’ The words Yibanne [shall be built] mean construction and understanding [in Hebrew], since He established it as sufficient distinction to distinguish those who adhere to Kedusha [holiness] from those who veer off from following the Creator to cling unto another God, as it is written, ‘And test Me now in this,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.’”
This means that before they receive the Kelim of the blessing, meaning vessels of bestowal, there are no Kelim to receive the delight and pleasure for which the world was created. This is so because everything will go to the Klipot and not to Kedusha, and the whole basis of the Kedusha is built on the desire to bestow.
3) When his 613 Mitzvot are as 613 deposits. This is the time when he obtains the 613 lights that are clothed within the 613 deposits. This is considered the delight and pleasure that is clothed in them.
However, the main work is in the first state, where the 613 are called “613 counsels,” meaning tips how to ask the Creator to give him vessels of bestowal. In that state, there are ups and downs because a person often decides that this work of ever receiving help from above, vessels of bestowal, is impossible, since concerning asking the Creator to give him these vessels, he sees that complete opposite—where the Creator should have helped him acquire vessels of bestowal, he sees that after each effort he makes, he receives an even bigger desire.
Therefore, a person thinks that there is no point asking for it, since it is as though there is no attention from above watching over him. As a results, he often decides that it is not worthwhile to work pointlessly.
Here a person needs great strengthening so as not to escape the campaign and say once and for all, “This work is not for me.” In that state a person needs heaven’s mercy. Here, a person must go only above reason because he sees that the reason is correct. That is, reasonably thinking, when he makes his calculation, he sees that he should escape the campaign, and he should thank the Creator for not running, for not being thrown from above outside the path that leads to the King’s palace.
That is, a person should be grateful and always thank the Creator that he did not accept the slander that the body always tells him, “This is not for you.” The body says to him: “You see that as much as you have labored, you are still standing in the same place as when you began the work.” It tells him, “If you want to know if you succeeded at all, you see that you regressed rather than progressed.” This is the reason [view] that separates him from Kedusha, since within reason, the body is correct.
It follows that the fact that a person does not escape from the campaign is also not by his own powers. Rather, he should say that it is only power that he is given from above so as not to run. In other words, a person should believe that on one hand, he is allowed to see how far he is from working in order to bestow, meaning that he is regressing. On the other hand, he must believe that the fact that he is not escaping the campaign and often believes above reason that he will be brought closer and will be rewarded with nearing the Creator, it follows that everything he does in the work is built only on faith above reason.
Now we can understand the verse “Behold, I set before you today.” “Today” means that each and every day a person must begin anew and say that today he will be rewarded with “Behold, I,” meaning with “I am the Lord your God,” and he will not escape the campaign. That is, he should not say, “I have already prayed many times for the Creator to give me the vessels of bestowal and to emerge from the control of the will to receive for myself, but I receive no answer to my prayer. Thus, what is the point of praying once again?”
It follows that the word “today” implies that “each day they should be as new in your eyes.” That is, a person must know that every beginning in the work is called a “day,” and the prayer that a person makes for the Creator to bring him closer to the work, that prayer is called a “day.”
Yes, since the prayer for nearing the Creator makes a person’s Kli, which is the need and desire, and the desire makes a person suffer because the Creator is not bringing him closer, therefore, each day it creates in a person one hole. Yet, there must be a deep deficiency, and to be recognized as a big deficiency so as to suit a big filling.
For this reason, each day we must begin a new overcoming. This means that each overcoming creates a new lack, until from each and every day it becomes one long day, when there is the ability for the Creator to impart the filling there, called “desire to bestow,” which is that he receives the blessing, which is the quality of Hesed, called “vessels of bestowal.”
By this we can interpret the meaning of “we will do and we will hear.” “We will do” pertains to the lower one. That is, the lower one must make the deficiency, meaning to need the Creator to help him obtain the vessels of bestowal, for all those who first say, “We will hear,” meaning that the body must first hear if it is worthwhile to do everything for the sake of the Creator, then he will agree to work, meaning to the work for the sake of the Creator. But if he does not see that it is worthwhile to work for the sake of the Creator, how can he work for the sake of the Creator?
For this reason, the people of Israel—those who want to be Yashar-El [straight to God], meaning directly to the Creator and not for their own sake—see that the body will never agree to work for the sake of the Creator. Then they say, “We will perform actions with the intention for the sake of the Creator.” Although we see that we are not succeeding, as it is against nature, we believe that if we ask the Creator to hear our prayer, He will certainly hear the prayer. Then we will hear, meaning we will be rewarded with seeing that the Creator does hear the prayer, and He will give us the power of a desire to bestow.
This is the meaning of the people of Israel—although the evil inclination in the people of Israel also does not agree to work for the sake of the Creator and not for one’s own sake—still believed that the Creator hears a prayer, and if we ask Him to give us this power, that we do want to work for the sake of the Creator except the evil inclination in us objects to this, and certainly the Creator hears a prayer. We will certainly be rewarded with the Creator hearing our prayer, by receiving from Him the desire to bestow. Then we will certainly be able to say that the Creator hears.
We can interpret what Israel said, “For our part, we will do what we can do, and we will ask of Him to hear what we are asking of Him, and then we will be rewarded with ‘We will hear,’ meaning that the Creator will give us the vessels of bestowal, which are vessels of the blessing. That is, the upper abundance that the Creator wants to give, which is the delight and pleasure, can clothe in these Kelim because there is equivalence between the light and the Kli.”
It follows that first we must receive a lack, meaning for a person to receive a real need for the desire to bestow. In other words, he should feel that the deficiency is so great that no one in the world can satiate the need but the Creator Himself. At that time he is considered “needy of the Creator.” At that time, a person needs heaven’s mercy so as not to escape the campaign, for usually, when a person works and sees that he is not advancing, he escapes the work. Therefore, a person must ask the Creator to help him not flee in the middle of the work.
We can say about this that the person is making efforts to obtain the desire to bestow. The feeling that he has made great exertions is called “old age,” meaning that he has been a long time in this work. Therefore, we must pray to the Creator, “Do not cast us off in the time of old age; do not forsake us when our strength fails.” “When our strength fails” means that “We have run out of patience, that after all the prayers that we have given, that You will give us the desire to bestow, we have still not been rewarded with receiving it. Do not cast us off midway; give us the strength to endure and not to escape the campaign, and give us more strength to pray to You to give us the desire to bestow.”
We should know that in the work, “old age” does not pertain to years. Rather, “old age” means that a person has come to a state where he says, “I see that I have made great efforts in order to obtain something in spirituality, and I see that I am not succeeding.” Therefore, he accepts the situation he is in and says, “Perhaps younger people will come instead of me, who have more energy. I see that I am unfit.” This is called “old” in the work.
However, in the corporeal world we also see that sometimes people are old in age, meaning old in years, but are as energetic as young people. There could be a person who is already more than eighty years old but with more energy and works more than others who are younger than him, and still has desire and yearning to achieve something in the corporeal world. But in the work of the Creator, “old age” is certainly not about years. Rather, “old age” means that his aspiration to achieve the goal has ceased.
Now we can understand what they ask, why does it say “Behold” in singular form [in Hebrew] and then says, “I set before you,” in plural form [in Hebrew]? The meaning is as said (in Article No. 41 from Tav-Shin-Nun), that the Creator said “Behold” in singular form, “I set before you,” meaning that “before you” there is the authority of the many, meaning two authorities. “And I will give you the ‘Behold,’ meaning that you will be rewarded with seeing that there is not more than one authority. In other words, all your actions will be only to bestow upon the Creator, and the authority of the will to receive will be cancelled.”
By this we should interpret what our sages said about “It is carved on the tablets,” that they became free from the angel of death. We should understand what is freedom from the angel of death in the work. We must know that the will to receive for oneself is the angel of death. It is as our sages said, “The wicked in their lives are called ‘dead,’” since they are separated from the Life of Lives due to disparity of form, which is the will to receive.
In other words, the will to receive for oneself separates one from the Life of Lives. Thus, who is the angel of kills a person? It is the will to receive. It therefore follows that when a person is rewarded with the Creator giving him the desire to bestow, with which we are rewarded by observing Torah and Mitzvot, when the singular authority is made and the will to receive for oneself enters the singular authority, which is the authority of the Creator, he is liberated from the angel of death, since the will to receive for oneself does not operate in him because the Creator has given him the singular authority. This is the meaning of “Behold, I set before you,” as in, “I am the Lord your God,” “I set before you” that at that time there will be only the singular authority.
Afterward, the verse interprets more, to know what is a blessing and what is a curse. It says, “The blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God.” In other words, “What is the blessing that I give? It is that you can obey the commandments of the Lord your God.” This is done specifically by being rewarded with vessels of bestowal. This is the blessing, as it is written, “the blessing that you will hear.”
“And the curse,” meaning that if a person sees that he cannot hear, he must know that he is under the authority of the Sitra Achra [other side], which is the opposite of Kedusha, as it is written, “A blessing is called ‘bestowal’ and a curse is called ‘reception.’”
It therefore follows that a person should exert every day with a new beginning so as not to appear as an old man. He should try to acquire the singular authority, for then he will be rewarded with receiving the delight and pleasure, which is the purpose of creation.
Inapoi la pagina 1990 (ŞLAVEY HASULAM (TREPTELE SCĂRII) – link