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13.01 Baal HaSulam,
Shamati, Article No. 26, “One’s Future Depends and Is Tied to Gratitude for the Past”
It is written, “The Lord is high and the low will see,” that only the low can see the exaltedness. The letters Yakar [precious] are the letters of Yakir [will know]. This means that one knows the exalted- ness of a thing to the extent that it is precious to one.
One is impressed according to the importance of the thing. The impression brings one to a sensation in the heart, and according to the measure of one’s recognition of the importance, to that extent, joy is born in him.
Thus, if one knows his lowliness, that he is not more privileged than his contemporaries, mean- ing he sees that there are many people in the world who were not given the strength to do the holy work even in the simplest way, even without the intention and in Lo Lishma [not for Her sake], even in Lo Lishma of Lo Lishma, and even in preparation for the preparation of the clothing of Kedusha [holiness], while he was imparted the desire and thought to at least occasionally do holy work, even in the simplest possible way, if one can appreciate the importance of this, according to the importance one attributes to the holy work, to that extent he should give praise and thanks for it. This is so because it is true that we cannot appreciate the importance of being able to sometimes observe the Mitzvot [commandments] of the Creator, even without any intention. In that state, one comes to feel elation and joy in the heart.
The praise and the gratitude one gives for it expand the feelings, and one is elated by every single point in the holy work, he knows Whose servant he is, and thus soars ever higher. This is the meaning of what is written, “I thank You for the grace that You have made with me,” meaning for the past, and by this one can confidently say, and he does say, “and that You are destined to do with me.”
13.02 Baal HaSulam,
Shamati, Article No. 4, “What Is the Reason for the Heaviness One Feels when Annulling before the Creator in the Work?”
We must know that there is no difference between a small illumination or a great illumination that a person obtains, since there are no changes in the light. Rather, all the changes are in the Kelim [vessels] that receive the abundance, as it is written, “I the Lord did not change.” Hence, if one can magnify one’s Kelim, to that extent he magnifies the illumination.
Yet, the question is, With what can one magnify one’s Kelim? The answer is that to the extent to which he praises and thanks the Creator for having brought him closer to Him, so he would feel Him a little and think of the importance of the matter, meaning that he was rewarded with having some connection with the Creator.
To the extent of the importance that one pictures for oneself, so the illumination grows in him. One must know that he will never come to know the true measure of the importance of the con- nection between man and the Creator because one cannot assess its true value. Instead, as much as one appreciates it, so he attains its merit and importance. There is a Segula [power/remedy/virtue] in this, since by this he can be rewarded with this illumination staying permanently within him.
13.03 Baal HaSulam,
Letter No. 52
In each and every movement in His work there are two opposites in the same carrier, as I have elaborated in previous letters, as the receiver consists of body and soul, which are opposites. Hence, in each attainment, great or small, He makes two opposite forms.
There are two concepts in the work of the Creator:
- ) “prayer and plea,”
- ) “praise and gratitude.”
Naturally, both must be at their highest. To complete the prayer, a person must feel the Creator’s closeness to him as mandatory, like an organ that is hanging loosely, for then he can complain and pour out his heart before Him.
But opposite that, regarding the complete praise and gratitude, a person must feel the Creator’s closeness to him as an addition, a supplement, as something that does not belong to him at all, for “What is man that You should know him, the son of man that You should think of him?” Then he can certainly give complete praise and gratitude to His great name for choosing him from among all those who are standing ready to serve the Creator.
It is great work for the complex man to be completed in both those opposites, so they are set in his heart forever at the same time.
Letter No. 36
“The left rejects.” This requires a lot of work and toil to overcome all the obstacles and all the alien views and thoughts. However, we should also engage in the right, as our sages said, “Make your Torah (teaching) permanent and your work temporary.” Torah is regarded as right, which is whole- ness. A person should regard himself perfect with virtues and noble qualities. He should adapt the works in Torah and Mitzva as is suitable for a whole person as much as one can.
However, one must not regret it if one is unable to complete one’s will. That is, if a person wishes to do plentiful good deeds and study of Torah, but cannot, he should not regret it but be happy while working in the right. He should be content with whatever he can do, and praise and thank His name for being able to do a small service to the King. Even a minute a day or a minute in two days should be to him like finding a great treasure.
And even if it is a simple deed, meaning without vitality, he should still try to be happy and derive vitality from being allowed to serve the King. This is how he should be during the study, meaning whole. This is regarded as Torah, which is right, as it is written, “On His right was a fiery law.” For every opportunity, one must praise the Creator.
I heard from Baal HaSulam that with the praise and gratitude one gives to the Creator for near- ing the Creator, one draws the light of His holiness below. A person should feel whole, and then he is regarded as blessed, and the blessed clings to the blessed. But when a person regards himself as cursed, the cursed does not cling to the cursed, as our sages said.
Therefore, you must regard yourselves as whole while performing Torah and Mitzvot (command- ments). At that time you must not find any flaw in you, as it is written, “Anyone in whom there is a flaw shall not approach.” This is called “Torah,” meaning wholeness.
Article No. 224, “The Reason for the Faith”
The reason for the faith is that there is no greater pleasure than to be rewarded with the revelation of Godliness and the instilling of the Shechina [Divinity].
In order for one to receive all this for the purpose of bestowal, there is a correction of conceal- ment, where he engages in Torah and Mitzvot [commandments] even though he feels no pleasure. This is called “not in order to receive reward.” When he has this Kli [vessel], his eyes soon open to welcome the face of the Creator.
When a desire awakens within him, that it is worthwhile to serve the Creator for the pleasure, he soon falls into concealment. This is regarded as death, meaning that previously, he was adhered to life, and he was rewarded with it only through the power of faith. Therefore, now that he is cor- rected and begins to work in faith once more, he receives back his breath of life. At that time, he says, “I thank You for returning my soul with compassion.”
This is precisely when he assumes once more the work in the manner of faith above reason. When he had the concealment, he says, “Great is Your faith”. The faith is so great that through it, he receives the soul once more.
Article No. 15 (1991), “What Is the Blessing, ‘Who Made a Miracle for Me in This Place,’ in the Work?”
A person should accustom himself with anything to compare between the time of suffering and the time of pleasure, and to bless for the miracle of delivering him from suffering to a state of pleasure. By this, he will be able to thank the Creator and enjoy in the new Kelim that have been added to him now when he compares the two times to one another. From this, a person can advance in the work. This is as Baal HaSulam said, that it does not matter whether a person receives from the Creator something great or small. What matters is how much a person thanks the Creator. To the extent of his gratitude, so grows the giving that the Creator gives. Therefore, we must take note to be grateful, to appreciate His gift, so we can approach the Creator. Hence, when a person always looks during the ascent at the state he was in while in descent, meaning how he felt during the descent, he can make a distinction as in, “as the advantage of the light from within the darkness,” and he already has new Kelim in which to receive joy and be thankful to the Creator. This is the meaning of what is written, that a person should bless, “Blessed is He who made a miracle for me in this place,” meaning in the place where he is now, during the ascent, since there cannot be an ascent if there was no prior state of descent.
Article No. 18 (1989), “What Is, ‘There Is No Blessing in That Which Is Counted,’ in the Work?”
A person should be happy and praise and thank the Creator for rewarding him with some grip on Kedusha, however much he has, since he knows that this, too, he does not deserve.
This is regarded as being content with little. Thus, he has no reason to count him, to see how many qualities of Israel he has, meaning what percentage of his work can he say is Yashar-El, mean- ing how much effort he is willing to make for the Kedusha, called “for the sake of the Creator.” This is not interesting at all because he says, “Whatever grip I have in Torah and Mitzvot is more important than all the pleasures in the world.”
We could ask about this, If this is so important, why does he settle for little? To this he answers himself, “I probably do not deserve to be given by the Creator a bigger share than I have, and I also see that there are people who do not have even this.” It follows that he is a person in whom there is blessing since he has something with which to be happy, and he sees that the rest of the people are joyful and happy over nonsense, while the Creator has given him the intellect and understanding to grasp that he should rejoice with the Creator.
Article No. 401, “Hear, O Israel”
On the other hand, he can pray to the Creator for remaining outside of the work of the Creator because everything was built on the basis of self-love.
At that time, the person is called “complete,” and otherwise he is not considered “man” because if he sees his deficiencies he will soon run from the quality of the “right,” as well.
But once he has seen his bad state and yet reinforces himself above reason that he has wholeness, and the sign of this is that he can thank the Creator for this, then he is called “complete.” This is “Right and left, and a bride between them.” By having the quality of male and female, he can be rewarded with the quality of “bride,” meaning the real kingdom of heaven.
Article No. 463, “You Became Rich; You Are in the Evening; Light the Candle”
“You became rich; you are in the evening; light the candle.” The king had two books of Torah—with one he comes out, and the other he leaves in his treasury.
It is known that there are two opposites in the work of the Creator: 1) A person must be happy in any state that he is in, even if it is the lowest possible state. He should praise and thank the Creator for letting him be among those who sit inside the seminary, as our sages said, “He who walks and does not do, the reward for walking is in his hand.” This is called “You became rich,” as in “wealth,” for on the eve of Shabbat [Sabbath] he should be as one who is wealthy who does not lack a thing.
Afterward, one must shift to the other side, to see what he has—how much fear of heaven and greatness of the Creator he has, and how many good deeds and how much Torah, and understand- ing in the Torah. At that time, he sees that he is deficient. This is called “evening,” as in “And there was evening and there was morning,” and this is called “you are in the evening.”
Once one has those two, then “Light the candle” of Shabbat. At that time, the middle line comes, namely the light of Shabbat.
Article No. 24 (1989), “What Is ‘Do Not Slight the Blessing of a Layperson’ in the Work?”
Our sages said (Yoma 16), “Any turn you take should be only through the right.” The meaning of “any” is “generally.” That is, generally, a person should walk on the right line. It is permitted to walk on the left line only when he is certain he will be able to pray for his deficiencies. Otherwise, he must remain on the right until he feels that he is ready for it.
Therefore, if thoughts that he is at fault have awakened in him against his will, and how can he speak words of Torah and prayer to the Creator when his thoughts tell him, “You are filthy! How are you not ashamed to engage in matters of Kedusha?!” About this, a person (must) say that it is written, “I am the Lord, who dwells with them in the midst of their Tuma’a [impurity].” That is, even though I am in the lowest possible baseness, I still believe what is written, that the Creator dwells even in the worst lowliness.
However, He is not among the proud, as our sages said, “Anyone who is proud, the Creator says, ‘I and he cannot dwell in the same abode.’” For this reason, when a person feels whole, according to the right line, when he appreciates his lowliness and says that nonetheless, the Creator has given him some grip on Kedusha, and that “some,” compared to the Kedusha that a person should attain, that “some” is called “layperson.”
But if he says according to his lowliness, “I thank and praise the Creator for this,” it can be said about this what is written, “I am the Lord, who dwells with them in the midst of their Tuma’a.” When he is happy about this, he can be rewarded with, “The Shechina [Divinity] is present only out of joy.”
It follows that through this lowliness, that because the Creator has given him some grip on Kedusha, he can climb the rungs of holiness if he only takes from this the joy and appreciates it. Then, a person can say, “Raise the poor from the dust,” “He will raise the destitute from the litter.” That is, when a person feels his lowliness, that he is meager, meaning poor, as our sages said (Nedarim 41), “Abaye said, ‘In our tradition, there is no poor but in knowledge.’” That is, it has been handed down from our father, a custom from our forefathers that “there is no poor but in knowledge.”
This is why he says that he is meager, meaning poor, for he has no knowledge of Kedusha—he is called “poor and meager.” Then, if there is any grip on Kedusha, even though he is poor, he says, “Raises the poor from the dust.” That is, he says a prayer, for even though he is poor, the Creator still raised him. “He raises the destitute from the litter.” Although he feels that he is destitute, the Creator still lifted him, and for this, he praises the Creator. If there is any grip on Kedusha, we can already praise and thank the Creator.
Article No. 28 (1987), “What Is ‘Do Not Add and Do Not Take Away,’ in the Work?”
He must believe above reason and imagine that he has already been rewarded with faith in the Creator that is felt in his organs, and he sees and feels that the Creator leads the entire world as the good who does good. Although when he looks within reason he sees the opposite, he should still work above reason and it should appear to him as though he can already feel in his organs that so it really is, that the Creator leads the world as the good who does good.
Here he acquires the importance of the goal, and from here he derives life, meaning joy at being near to the Creator. Then a person can say that the Creator is good and does good, and feel that he has the strength to tell the Creator, “You have chosen us from among all nations, You have loved us and wanted us,” since he has a reason to thank the Creator. And to the extent that he feels the importance of spirituality, so he establishes the praise of the Creator.
Once man has come to feel the importance of spirituality, which is called “One should always establish the praise of the Creator,” then is the time when he must shift to the left line. He must criticize how he truly feels within reason the importance of the King, if he is truly willing to work only for the sake of the Creator.
When he sees within reason that he is bare and destitute, that state when he sees the importance of spirituality, but only above reason, that calculation can create in him deficiency and pain for being in utter lowliness. Then he can make a heartfelt prayer for what he lacks.
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