Inapoi la pagina 1991 (ŞLAVEY HASULAM (TREPTELE SCĂRII) – link
What Are Banners in the Work?
Article No. 32, Tav-Shin-Nun-Aleph, 1989-91
Midrash Rabbah says about the verse (Numbers, Portion 2), “Each man by his own banner.” “It is written, ‘We will sing in Your salvation and in the name of our God we will set up our banners.’ Israel said to the Creator, ‘We sing in Your salvation, which You did for us in Your name; we will sing in Your salvation, and in that day, the Lord will save Israel.’ It is written, ‘will save,’ as though Israel are saved and as though He is saved. ‘And in the name of our God we will set up our banners,’ for the Creator established His name in our name and made us banners, as was said, ‘Each man by his own banner.’ Rabbi Issachar says, ‘And his banner over me is love.’ Even a person who sits and engages in Torah, and skips from rule to rule and from verse to verse, the Creator says, ‘I am fond of him and his banner is over Me is love, and his skipping is over Me with love.’”
We should understand the following:
- What does it mean that the Creator established His name in our name?
- Why is it written “will save,” as though Israel are saved and as though He is saved (concerning what is written, “will save,” it is interpreted that the meaning is “and will be saved”).
- “Skipping from rule to rule.” It is known that the name of the Creator is The Good Who Does Good. That is, He always wants to bestow upon the creatures delight and pleasure, for which He created in the creatures the desire to yearn to always receive delight and pleasure. Accordingly, there is a question, Why are the creatures not feeling the delight and pleasure, but rather the whole world suffers from lack of pleasure and satisfaction in life, for every sensible person asks, “What is the meaning of our lives?”
The answer is that the Creator made a correction so that when we receive the delight and pleasure from the Creator, we will not feel shame about it, which stems from the disparity of form between the receiver, who is the creature, and the Creator, who is the giver. The correction is that before a person has the desire to bestow, which is in order to be in equivalence of form, it is impossible to receive the real abundance that the Creator wants to impart upon the creatures.
And since the desire to bestow is against human nature, we learn that there are seventy nations of the world within man. In other words, each person is a small world, as it is written in The Zohar, and the quality of Israel in man is under the governance of the nations of the world. This is regarded as the people of Israel being in exile among the nations, when they haven’t the strength to go against the desire of the nations of the world. For this reason, the people of Israel ask the Creator to deliver them from the exile they are in among the nations, meaning to be able to work for the sake of the Creator.
Also, our sages said, “Israel who exiled, the Shechina [Divinity] is with them.” We should interpret this the way Baal HaSulam said about what our sages said, “A disciple who is exiled, his teacher is exiled with him.” He said that this means that when the disciple is in exile, meaning suffers a descent, in his eyes, his teacher is also in descent. That is, when a person is in descent, he has no taste in Torah and prayer, it is because his teacher exiled with him, meaning that all the matters of Kedusha [holiness] are in decline in him, as well, and he looks at everything as though there is no importance to anything spiritual. This is considered that spirituality is also in exile.
By this we should interpret that when Israel are in exile, meaning in descent, and the nations of the world control the person—and the nations of the world are generally called “will to receive for one’s own benefit”—then the Creator is also in exile for them. In other words, they have no importance of the Creator, since if they had importance of the greatness of the Creator, they would not be able to rule over the Israel in him.
As is known, Israel means Yashar-El [straight to the Creator], when all of one’s actions are straight to the Creator. But by their control, they make all of one’s actions be only for his own sake. This is called “for the sake of the will to receive and not for the sake of the Creator.” It follows that when the quality of Israel is in exile, the Creator is in exile with them, too, meaning that the desire to bestow is in exile, and the one to whom they want to bestow is in exile, as it is written about what Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord that I should obey His voice?” That is, he denied the greatness of the Creator and did not allow to believe in the greatness of the Creator, so the quality of Israel is in exile within them.
According to the above, we can interpret what we asked, Why does he say that it is “as though Israel are saved and as though He is saved”? That is, what is the connection between the redemption of Israel and the redemption of the Creator? According to the above, it follows that the exile of Israel and the exile of the Creator are the same, since when a person attains and feels the greatness of the Creator, the nations of the world have no control and they are annulled before Him. Hence, it follows that the whole exile is that we do not know His greatness.
In the matter of concealment that one feels, which causes him to be in exile, a person should know that he must correct his actions so they are in order to bestow. Otherwise, there will be shame. Hence, there must be concealment and hiding on the upper light. To the extent of the sensation of evil, when one sees how immersed he is in self-love, to that extent he sees that he is far from Kedusha [holiness]. That is, he sees that he is far from doing anything for the sake of the Creator, and he is under the governance of the nations of the world, while the quality of Israel in him is completely powerless to emerge from their exile.
For this reason, when the Israel in him emerges from exile and is rewarded with redemption, the Creator, too, who was covered from him during the exile because of the governance of the nations, now appears and the greatness of the Creator becomes revealed. This is so because now there is no longer a need for the Tzimtzum [restriction] and concealment, since the Tzimtzum has been lifted from him, following the rule, “To the extent that one wants to aim to bestow, to that extent the Tzimtzum and concealment are removed from him.” This is the meaning of the verse, “We will sing in Your salvation, and in that day, the Lord will save Israel. It is written, ‘will save,’ as though Israel are saved and as though He is saved.”
Also, we should interpret what we asked, What does it mean that it is written, “We will sing in Your salvation,” since we sing in Your salvation that You did for us in Your name”? And what is the name of the Creator, who created creation? His name is The Good Who Does Good, whose desire is to bestow. Because of it, He created in the creatures a desire to receive, or the creatures would not be able to taste the taste of delight and pleasure, since we see that without desire and yearning it is impossible to enjoy anything.
Yet, at the same time, the Creator wanted that there will be no shame while receiving the delight and pleasure. For this reason, He wants us to receive everything in order to bestow. Since this is against the nature He created in us—a desire only to receive and not to bestow—when we want to work in order to bestow, we are powerless to do so. Hence, when we receive this power, called “the name of the Creator,” meaning that we, too, can work in order to bestow upon the Creator, it is considered that the Creator has given us a second nature (as Baal HaSulam said about this, that when the Creator gives one the desire to bestow, it is called “a second nature”).
This is the meaning of the verse, “Israel said to the Creator, ‘We sing in Your salvation, which You did in Your name.’” That is, we sing with the salvation that You gave us the desire to bestow, which is called “the name of the Creator,” who is the Giver. He has given us this name, meaning that now we, too, can perform acts of bestowal.
It is written, “And in the name of our God we will set up our banners,” for the Creator established His name in our name and made us banners.” This means that now we support the name of the Creator, whose name is “desire to bestow.” This is our salvation, that the Creator established His name, which is the desire to bestow, in our name, for the Creator is implied in the name, Israel, too, meaning Yashar-El, meaning that all of Israel’s actions are straight to the Creator and not for self-benefit. This is considered that the people of Israel support the name of the Creator, and this is the salvation of the people of Israel.
According to the above, we should interpret what is written, “Rabbi Issachar says, ‘And his banner over me is love.’ Even a person who sits and engages in Torah, and skips from rule to rule and from verse to verse, and his skipping is over Me with love.” We should interpret that the meaning of skipping is that man was created with a desire to receive and cannot work in order to bestow. This is why our sages said, “One should always engage in Torah and Mitzvot [commandments/good deeds] even if Lo Lishma [not for Her sake], since from Lo Lishma he comes to Lishma [for Her sake]” (Pesachim 50b).
It follows that one is compelled to work in Lo Lishma as he was born this way in his nature. And yet, the Creator skips his state of Lo Lishma and lets him into Lishma. It follows that through assistance from the Creator, there is the matter of skipping here, meaning that a person skips over everything that is in his nature—to do everything for his own sake—and begins to work for the sake of the Creator. This is called “and his skipping is over Me with love,” where because of the love that the Creator loves us, He has given us banners. In other words, from rules that a person engages in Lo Lishma, the Creator gives us the power to skip the degree of Lo Lishma and achieve the degree of Lishma.
This is the meaning of the words “from verse to verse,” meaning that the person begins the verse in Lo Lishma and promptly skips the Lo Lishma and achieves the degree of Lishma. It is written, “I am fond of him and his banner is over Me is love, and his skipping is over Me with love.” This means that because of the love, the Creator gives him the power to skip the Lo Lishma and arrive at Lishma.
This love is considered that a person begins to work in Lo Lishma, and the people of Israel craved to work for the sake of the Creator but could not. Hence, with the desire that they wanted to work for the sake of the Creator but could not, that desire evoked love above, and the Creator gave them the power to work Lishma. This is the meaning of what is written, “The Creator said to them, ‘As you craved to make banners, verily, I grant your wishes.’”
This means that the people of Israel craved the discernment of “banners,” meaning to be able to skip the work of Lo Lishma and achieve Lishma, and saw that they could not achieve this by themselves. Hence, they made an awakening from below, which is that they craved it, and said, “When will we be able to skip the work for our own benefit and come to work for the sake of the Creator?” With this yearning, they evoked love above, and this is why it is written, “The Creator said to them, ‘As you craved to make banners, verily, I grant your wishes.’” Because they craved banners, meaning to skip the work for their own benefit, the Creator granted their wishes.
It therefore follows that the heart of man’s work is to come to work for the sake of the Creator, although we must begin to work in Lo Lishma. However, we must yearn for the Creator to help us and give us the power to work Lishma, meaning that all his actions will be in order to bestow contentment upon his Maker. That is, one must accept the burden of the kingdom of heaven without hoping to receive reward from it, namely not to demand of it, that it needs to give us some nourishments in return, so we can say that in return for receiving from it, it is worthwhile to work for it.
Rather, everything is above reason, as it is a law. Put differently, Malchut is called “a law,” and we cannot understand how it is possible to work without a reward, meaning without receiving any nourishments from it. If so, from where will we have nourishments? How can we work without receiving anything in return, to feed us and allow us to sustain ourselves?
The answer is also above reason, meaning we must ask the Creator to give us the power to live, and to have the power to work gladly in order to bestow and not receive any return. But how can such a thing be done, since it is inconceivable for us to understand two opposites in the same subject?
On one hand, we do not want anything in return. Rather, we accept the kingdom of heaven without it giving us any nourishments. But how can we live without any vitality, since we are not asking for any nourishments?
On the other hand, we want the Creator to sustain us. But with what do we want Him to sustain us if we do not want anything for our work? The answer is that it is true that we want nothing in return, but we want the Creator to give us the power to work so that we cannot receive any reward.
How can this be? This thing belongs to You. That is, You will make us a miracle so we can work without any reward. Because it is above reason, we have no idea what to tell You about how You should sustain us. Rather, You will sustain us above our reason, and we want to go above reason, although no such thing exists within man’s intellect.
It follows that our work is above reason, and we want our nourishment to also be above reason. Above reason means by a miracle. It turns out that we are asking the Creator to sustain us in a miraculous way, and not in the natural way. In the natural way, when a person works, he wants provision for the effort. But here, in the work, the person wants to be given provision not because of his work, but because of a miracle, meaning not in the natural way.
Accordingly, we should interpret what our sages said (in the beginning of BaHar), “On Mount Sinai means, what is the connection between the Shmita [remission of land cultivation every 7th year] and Mount Sinai”? In the work, we should interpret that it is known that Malchut is called Shmita, and Malchut is also called Eretz [land], since Malchut is the seventh Sefira (for the world begins with Hesed, as it is written, “For I said, ‘A world of Hesed [mercy] shall be built,’” and Malchut is the seventh Sefira from Hesed).
This means that it is forbidden to ask of Malchut to yield fruit. That is, it is forbidden to till the land so it will yield fruit. “Tilling the land” means work when we want it to yield fruit; otherwise, who would till the land without it bearing fruit? In other words, work means that a person labors, and in return for the labor, he is rewarded. That is, he does not enjoy the labor. But if so, if he does not enjoy the work, why does he work? It must be that he wants to receive reward.
For this reason, if a person takes upon himself the burden of the kingdom of heaven and does not want any reward, it is a sign that he is not tilling the land, since he does not want Malchut to somehow reward him. This is called Shmita [remission], meaning that he is not tilling the land so as to receive reward.
But when he does work in order to receive reward, this is called “tilling the land.” In the work, this is considered doing “remission of soil,” meaning that he does not even touch the soil at all. To him, the soil is regarded as “the land shall have a Sabbath [rest/stillness] to the Lord.” This implies that the whole earth, meaning the kingdom of heaven, is all for the Creator, and the will to receive has no contact with Malchut, called Eretz and Shmita.
By this we can explain the question, “What is the connection between the Shmita and Mount Sinai?” This means that all the Mitzvot [commandments/good deeds] must be observed in a manner of Shmita, meaning that the intention in observing Mitzvot should be as in Shmita, which is in the manner of “the land shall have a Sabbath to the Lord.” In other words, we observe the Mitzvot of the Creator with the aim not to receive any reward for the work, but rather that the whole of the kingdom of heaven that one takes upon oneself, and for which he observes the Mitzvot of the Creator, will all be in a manner of Shmita, meaning that it is with the aim to bestow, and not to receive any return.
According to the above, we should interpret what is written (Leviticus 25:20-21), “And if you say, ‘What will we eat on the seventh year, and I will order My blessing for you in the sixth year.’” We should interpret the question in the work. Because we must accept the kingdom of heaven without any reward, meaning that a person does not say, “I take upon myself the kingdom of heaven on condition that You will give me a good taste in work and in prayer, as well as in observing the Mitzvot, and if I receive a reward in return, I am willing to do the holy work.”
But if it is all for the Creator, how can we work above taste and above reason? From where will we eat? That is, from where will we receive nourishments to live in a work where we have nothing in return? This is opposite from our intellect! In our intellect, we understand that if Malchut, called Eretz, gives us some flavor in the work, by this taste that we will feel, we will have something to eat. In other words, this flavor that we feel is called “nourishments.” But while we are forbidden to work on the seventh, meaning we are forbidden to demand reward from this work, from where will we take something to eat?
The answer is, “I will order My blessing for you in the sixth year.” The sixth Sefira is Yesod, called “righteous Yesod.” “Righteous” means bestowing. By working only in order to bestow, as well, there will be equivalence of form between Malchut and Yesod, and from this the blessing will extend. But if it is to the contrary, and you receive the Malchut in order to receive, you will cause separation at the root of your souls, which is Malchut, called “the assembly of Israel,” the collection of all the souls, making it separated. Therefore, the Yesod will not be able to bestow upon Malchut because of the disparity of form between them.
Thus, precisely by keeping the Shmita, meaning only in this manner, I am telling you, “I will order My blessing for you in the sixth year.” In other words, only when you keep the Shmita and have no desire to receive for yourselves, but rather specifically in order to bestow, there is room for equivalence of form between Yesod, who is the giver, and Malchut, who is also corrected by the lower ones who observe the matter of Shmita, so as not to receive for one’s own benefit. Then there is equivalence of form and the blessing can expand to Malchut.
It follows that when one wants to work in order to bestow and without any reward, the body asks, “From where will we take vitality for the work, if we agree to work for no return?” The answer should be that we are going above reason. Within reason, we do not want to answer, but our work is above reason, and the nourishments we need for sustenance during the work, are also above reason, meaning as a miracle, since anything that is against nature is considered “miraculous.”
Thus, the whole basis of our work when we want to work in order to bestow is without any basis of provision, since we do not know from where we will get the strength to work so as to have with what to sustain ourselves, meaning to have nourishments and vitality while he engages in Torah and prayer if he does not want anything for his own sake. It follows that he is asking the Creator to give him nourishments to live in Torah and Mitzvot above reason, and above reason means against nature, and anything that is attainment against nature is regarded as working miracles, without any basis on which to rely.
It follows that those who want to work in order to bestow must know that when the body asks “What will we eat?” as it is written, “And if you say, ‘What will we eat?’” The body must not be given an answer within reason. Rather, the reply should be that the Creator will give us the blessing, as it is written, “and I will order My blessing,” and any blessing is considered a miracle, since when everything is in order, in the best way, there is no need for blessings.
But the body comes and asks, “Our sages said (Pesachim 64b), ‘One does not rely on miracles,’ and our sages also said (Pesachim 50), ‘A miracle does not happen every day.’” It follows that all the answers that we must reply to the body are above reason, meaning to tell the body, “Within reason, you are correct, but I am going above reason.”
Inapoi la pagina 1991 (ŞLAVEY HASULAM (TREPTELE SCĂRII) – link