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Two Labors

“The arrow maker is slain by his own arrows” (sometimes the craftsman makes an arrow which kills the craftsman himself) (Pesachim 28a), concerning the Passover leaven, which is by burning. We should interpret that the order of one’s work in Torah and Mitzvot [commandments] when he wants to work for the sake of the Creator is that one must fight and defeat the evil inclination.

That is, it is human nature to toil when there is self-benefit. But when he sees that no self-benefit will emerge from this work, he cannot work. Instead, he complains and asks, “What is this work for you?” meaning what will you gain from exerting?

When a person overcomes it and says that he wants to work against nature and bestow upon the Creator, the evil inclination comes with a different argument, asking the question of wicked Pharaoh, “Who is the Lord that I should obey His voice?” It is possible to work for the sake of others only where I know that the other receives the labor.

However, when he has two labors, 1) He must overcome and go against nature, and work not for his own benefit but for the benefit of others, for the sake of the Creator. 2) He must believe that the Creator receives his labor.

These two questions are the main ones in the argument of the wicked one. The rest of the questions that come to a person are merely offspring of the two above questions.

It is possible to overcome these questions only by faith, which is above reason. One must reply to the wicked one that from the perspective of the intellect, it makes sense to ask what he is asking. But above the intellect, in faith, when he believes in the words of the sages, this is the only way that is for the sake of the Creator.

That is, when one gives all his energy and efforts for the sake of the Creator, this is his only purpose, and the world was created for this purpose, as our sages said, “The whole world was created only for this” (Berachot 6b), meaning for the fear of heaven.

Hence, when he answers the wicked that he is going above reason, which is against the intellect, the intellect can no longer ask any questions because all the questions are within reason, whereas above the intellect there is no place for questions.

Hence, when the wicked one asks the questions, he is told that now is the time when I can do my work in faith. In other words, by the very fact that you are asking a question and I reply to you that I am going with faith, and I am not giving you an intellectual answer, this is a sign for you to know that my work is with faith above reason.

It follows that now you have caused me to make a Mitzva [commandment] in that only now does it become revealed to all that the path of the Creator is only faith.

By this we can interpret what our sages said, “The arrow maker is slain by his own arrows,” meaning that the craftsman makes an arrow that kills the craftsman himself. This means that the same arrow with which he wants to kill the man, meaning the question that the wicked one asks, with this he is slain, meaning with the question itself, he kills the wicked one, meaning he replies to the wicked one with the question itself and kills him.

Thus, through the question he asks, he takes upon himself the commandment of faith above reason and thereby kills the wicked one, who does not want to give him a change to perform Mitzvot[commandments].

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