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O CALE A TOREI ŞI O CALE A SUFERINŢEI
3.01 Baal HaSulam,
“The Essence of Religion and Its Purpose”
Bear in mind that two forces serve to push us up the rungs of the aforementioned ladder, until we reach its head in the sky, which is the purposeful point of equivalence of form with our Maker. The difference between these two forces is that the first pushes us involuntarily, meaning not of our own choice. This force pushes us from behind, and it is called “from behind.” We defined it as “the path of pain” or “the way of the earth.”
From that path stems the philosophy of morality called “ethics,” which is based on empirical knowledge, through examination of the practical reason. The essence of that teaching is but a summary of the evident damages that result from the nucleons of egoism.
These experiences come to us by chance, not as a result of our conscious choice, but they are certain to lead us to their goal, for the image of evil grows ever clearer to our senses. And to the extent that we recognize its damages, to that extent we remove ourselves from it and climb to a higher rung on the ladder.
The second force pushes us voluntarily, meaning of our own choice. That force pulls us from before and is called “from before.” This is what we defined as “the path of Torah and Mitzvot,” for engaging in Mitzvot and the work to bring contentment to our Maker rapidly develops in us that sense of recognition of evil, as we have shown in “Matan Torah,” Item 13.
Here we benefit twice:
- We do not have to wait for life’s ordeals to push us from behind, whose measure of goading is measured only by the amount of agony and destruction inflicted upon us by finding the evil within us. Rather, as we work for the Creator, that recognition develops in us without any prior suffering or ruin. On the contrary, through the subtle pleasantness we feel when working solely for Him, to bring Him contentment, there develops within us a relative recognition of the lowliness of these sparks of self-love—that they are obstacles on our way to receiving that subtle taste of bestowal upon the Creator. Thus, the gradual sense of recognition of evil evolves in us through times of delight and great tranquility, through reception of the good while serving the Creator out of our sensation of the pleasantness and gentleness that reach us due to the equivalence of form with our Maker.
- We save time, for He operates according to “our own volition,” thus enabling us to increase our work and hasten time as we please.
3.02 Baal HaSulam,
“Introduction to the Book Panim Meirot uMasbirot,” Item 6
You can understand their words about the verse, “I, the Lord, will hasten it in its time.” The Sanhedrin (98) interpreted, “Not rewarded—in its time; rewarded—I will hasten it.”
Thus, there are two ways to attain the above-mentioned goal: through their own attention, which is called a “path of repentance.” If they are rewarded with it, “I will hasten it” will be applied to them. This means that there is no set time for it, but when they are rewarded, the correction ends, of course. If they are not awarded the attention, there is another way, called “path of suffering,” as our sages said, Sanhedrin 97, “I place upon them a king such as Haman, and they will repent against their will,” meaning in its time, for in that there is a set time, and they will want it.
By this, they wanted to show us that His ways are not our ways. For this reason, the case of the flesh-and-blood king who had troubled so to prepare those great things for his beloved son and was finally tormented in every way, and all his trouble was in vain, bringing contempt and wrath, will not happen to Him.
Instead, all the works of the Creator are guaranteed and true, and there is no fraud in Him. This is as our sages said, “Not rewarded—in its time.” What the will does not do, time will do, as it is written in Panim Masbirot, end of Branch 1, “Can you send forth lightning that they may go and say to you, ‘Here we are’?”
There is a path of pain that can cleanse any defect and materialism until one realizes how to raise one’s head out of the beastly trough in order to soar and climb the rungs of the ladder of happiness and human success, for one will cleave to one’s root and complete the aim.
3.03 Baal HaSulam,
“Peace in the World”
The end is certain to come to Israel by the above-mentioned law of gradual development, and it is called “in its time,” meaning tied to the chains of time. And Israel’s guaranteed end, by taking the development of their qualities under their own authority is called “I will hasten it,” meaning completely independent of time.
3.04 Baal HaSulam,
Shamati, Article No. 50, “Two States”
There are two forces that contradict one another, an upper force and a lower force. The upper force is, as it is written, “Every one who is called by My Name, I have created him for My glory.” This means that the whole world was created only for the glory of the Creator. The lower force is the will to receive, which claims that everything was created for it—both corporeal things and spiritual things—all is for self-love.
The will to receive claims that it deserves this world and the next world. Of course, the Creator is the winner, but this is called “the path of suffering,” and it is called “a long way.” But there is a short way called “the path of Torah,” and this should be everyone’s intention—to shorten time.
This is called “I will hasten it.” Otherwise, it will be “in its time,” as our sages said, “reward- ed—I will hasten it; not rewarded—in its time,” “when I place upon them a king such as Haman, and he will force you to reform.”
3.05 Baal HaSulam,
Shamati, Article No. 195, “Rewarded – I will Hasten It”
“Rewarded—I will hasten it,” meaning the path of Torah; “not rewarded—through suffering,” an evolutionary path that will finally lead everything to utter perfection. The path of Torah means that an ordinary person is given virtues by which he can make for himself Kelim [vessels] that are ready for it. And the Kelim are made through the expansion of the light and its departure.
A Kli [vessel] is specifically called “the will to receive.” This means that he lacks something, and “there is no light without a Kli,” for the light must be caught in some Kli, so it would have a hold.
But an ordinary person cannot have desires for sublime things, since it is impossible to have a need before there is fulfillment, as it is written, “the expansion of the light, etc.” For example, when a person has a thousand pounds, he is rich and content. However, if he subsequently earns more, up to five thousand pounds, and then loses until he is left with two thousand, he is then deficient. Now he has Kelim [vessels] for three thousand pounds, since he had already had it. Thus, he has actually been canceled.
And there is a path of Torah for this. When one is accustomed to the path of Torah, to regret the scantiness of attainment, and every time he has some illuminations, and they are divided, they cause him to have more sorrow and more Kelim.
This is the meaning of every Kli needing light, that it is not filled, that its light is missing. Thus, every deficient place becomes a place for faith. Yet, were it filled, there would be no existence of a Kli, existence of a place for faith.
3.06 Baal HaSulam,
“The Writings of the Last Generation”
There are two ways to discover the completeness: the path of Torah or the path of suffering.
Hence, the Creator has given humanity technology, until they have invented the atom and the hydrogen bombs. If the total ruin that they are destined to bring upon the world is still not evident to the world, they can wait for a third world war, or a fourth one. The bombs will do their thing, and the relics who remain after the ruin will have no other choice but to take upon themselves this work where both individuals and nations will not work for themselves more than is necessary for their sustenance, while everything else they do will be for the good of others. If all the nations of the world agree to it, there will no longer be wars in the world, for no person will be concerned with his own good whatsoever, but only with the good of others.
This law of equivalence of form is the law of the Messiah. It was said about this, “But in the end of days, it shall come to pass, etc., and many nations shall go and say, ‘Come, and let us go up, etc., for out of Zion shall go forth the law, etc., and He shall judge between many nations.’” That is, the Messiah will teach them the work of the Creator in equivalence of form, which is the teaching and the law of the Messiah. “And shall prove to mighty nations,” meaning He will prove to them that if they do not take upon themselves the work of the Creator, all the nations will be destroyed by wars. But if they do accept His law, it is said about it, “And they shall beat their swords into shovels.”
If you take the path of Torah and receive the spice, very well. And if you do not, you will tread the path of suffering, meaning that wars will break out with atom and hydrogen bombs, and all the nations of the world will seek advice how to escape the wars. Then they shall come to the Messiah, to Jerusalem, and He will teach them this law.
3.07 Baal HaSulam,
Man’s imagination uses the mind just as the microscope serves the eyes: Without the microscope, we would not see anything harmful, due to its smallness. But once we see the harmful being through the microscope, we distance ourselves from the noxious element.
Thus, it is the microscope that brings man to distance himself from the harm, and not the sense, for the sense did not detect the harm-doer. And to that extent, the mind fully controls man’s body, to push it away from bad and pull it toward the good. Thus, in all the places where the attribute of the body fails to recognize the beneficial or the detrimental, it needs only the mind’s knowledge.
Furthermore, since man knows his mind, which is a true conclusion from life’s experiences, he can therefore receive knowledge and understanding from a trusted person and take it as law, although his life’s events have not yet revealed these concepts to him. It is like a person who asks the advice of a doctor and obeys him even though he understands nothing with his own mind. Thus, one uses the mind of others no less than one uses one’s own.
As we have clarified above, there are two ways for Providence to make certain that man achieves the good, final goal: The path of suffering and the path of Torah. All the clarity in the path of Torah stems from this. For these clear conceptions that were revealed and recognized after a long chain of events in the lives of the prophets and the men of God, there comes a man who fully utilizes them and benefits from them, as though these concepts were events of his own life. Thus, you see that one is exempted from all the ordeals one must experience before he can develop that clear mind by himself. Thus, one saves both time and pain.
3.08 Baal HaSulam,
Nature, like a skillful judge, punishes us according to our development. For we can see that to the extent that humankind develops, the pains and torments obtaining our sustenance and existence also multiply. Thus you have a scientific, empirical basis that His Providence has commanded us to observe with all our might the Mitzva of bestowal upon others in utter precision, in such a way that no member from among us would work any less than the measure required to secure the happiness of society and its success. As long as we are idle performing it to the fullest, nature will not stop punishing us and take its revenge.
And besides the blows we suffer today, we must also consider the drawn sword for the future. The right conclusion must be drawn—that nature will ultimately defeat us and we will all be compelled to join hands in following its Mitzvot with all the measure required of us.
3.09 Baal HaSulam,
“Peace in the World”
There are two authorities here acting in the above-mentioned conduct of development: One is the authority of heaven, which is sure to turn anything harmful and evil to good and useful, but it will come in its time, in its own way, heavily, and after a long time. Then there is the authority of the earth. When the “evolving object” is a living, feeling being, it suffers horrendous torments and pains while under the “press of development” which carves its way ruthlessly.
The “authority of the earth,” however, consists of people who have taken this above-mentioned law of development under their own government and can free themselves entirely from the chains of time, and who greatly accelerate time, namely the completion of the ripeness and correction of the object, which is the end of its development.
3.10 Baal HaSulam,
It can be compared to a sick man who does not wish to obey the doctor’s orders before he under- stands by himself how that advice would cure him, and therefore begins to study medicine by himself. He could die of his illness before he learns medicine.
So is the path of suffering compared to the path of Torah. One who does not believe the con- cepts that the Torah and prophecy advise him to accept without self-understanding must come to these concepts by himself by following the chain of cause and effect from life’s events. These are experiences that greatly rush and can develop the sense of recognition of evil in them, as we have seen, without one’s choice, but because of one’s efforts to acquire a good environment, which leads to these thoughts and actions.
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