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8.01 Baal HaSulam,
“Preface to the Wisdom of Kabbalah,” Item 4
There is a great rule concerning the Kelim [pl. of Kli]: The expansion of the light and its departure make the Kli fit for its task. This means that as long as the Kli has not been separated from its light, it is included in the light and is annulled within it like a candle before a torch.
This annulment is because they are completely opposite from one another, on opposite ends. This is so because the light extends from His self, existence from existence. From the perspective of the thought of creation in Ein Sof [infinity], it is all toward bestowal and there is no trace of a will to receive in it. Its opposite is the Kli, the great will to receive that abundance, and is the root of the initiated creature, in which there is no bestowal whatsoever.
Hence, when they are bound together, the will to receive is annulled in the light within it, and can determine its form only once the light has departed from it once. Following the departure of the light from it, it begins to crave it, and this craving properly determines and sets the shape of the will to receive. Subsequently, when the light dresses in it once more, it is regarded as two separate matters: Kli and light, or Guf and life. Observe closely, for this is most profound.
8.02 Baal HaSulam,
Shamati, Article No. 174, “Concealment”
Concerning the concealment, which is a correction, had it not been for that, man would have been unable to attain any completeness, since he would not be worthy of attaining the importance of the matter. However, when there is concealment, the thing becomes important to him. Even though one cannot appreciate the importance as it truly is, the concealment grants it merit. To the extent that one senses the concealment, a bedding of importance is formed within him.
It is like rungs. He climbs rung by rung until he comes to his designated place. This means that he achieves a certain measure of importance with which he can at least endure, though His true importance and sublimity are immeasurable, but nonetheless a measure that will suffice him to persist.
However, concealment in itself is not considered concealment. Concealment is measured by the demand. The greater the demand for something, the more the concealment is evident. And now we can understand the meaning of “The whole earth is full of His glory.” Although we believe it, the concealment still fills the whole earth.
It is written about the future: “For I, … will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and I will be the glory in the midst of her.” Fire means concealment. But still, glory is in the midst of her, meaning that then the glory will be revealed. This is because then the demand will be so great, even though there will be concealment then, too. And the difference is that at this time there is concealment, but no demand. Hence, this is considered “exile.” Then, however, although there will be concealment, there will also be demand, and this is what is important—only the demand.
8.03 Baal HaSulam,
Shamati, Article No. 175, “And If the Way Be Too Far for You”
He interpreted, Why is the way so far? Because “you are not able to carry it.” This is because he cannot carry the burden of Torah and Mitzvot [commandments], and hence he regards the way as far. The advice for it, says the verse, “Bind up the money in your hand.” Kesef [silver/money] means Kisufin [longing], to draw longing in the work. Thus, through the desire, the craving for the Creator, he will be able to carry the burden of Torah and Mitzvot. Kesef also concerns shame. This is because one is created for the goal of glorifying heaven, as it is written, “Blessed is… who created us for His glory.”
In general, Torah and Mitzvot are things that one does in order to be favored by Him. This is because it is the slave’s nature to want to be liked by his master, since then his master’s heart is for him. So it is here: The many actions and meticulousness that one becomes proficient in are but a means by which to be favored in His eyes, and then he will have the desired goal of Him.
And a person observes Torah and Mitzvot to be liked by people. And he turns the needs of heaven into a means. Meaning, through them he will be liked by people. And as long as one has not been rewarded with the Torah Lishma [for Her sake], he works for people.
Although one has no other choice but to work for people, he should still be ashamed of such servitude. Then, through this Kesef, he will be awarded the Kesef of Kedusha [holiness], meaning to want Kedusha.
8.04 Baal HaSulam,
Letter No. 19
I have received all your letters, and may they please the Almighty. However, “Know the God of your father and serve Him.” “Know” means recognition, because a soul without knowledge is not good. This means that one who yearns and longs to serve Him, for he has a soul, but he does not know his Master, this is not good.
Even though one has a soul, he is not ready to know Him of his own “Until the spirit be poured upon him from on high.” However, one must lend an ear and listen to the words of the sages and believe in them wholeheartedly.
It has already been written, “Only goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.” As The Baal Shem Tov interprets “The Lord is your shade”—like the shade that follows man’s movements, and its inclinations lean every way the person does, so is man according to the Creator. This means that when love for the Creator awakens, one must see that the Creator has awakened toward him with intense longing, etc. This is the meaning of the words of Rabbi Akiva: “Happy are you Israel—before whom you purify, and who purifies you”.
Hence, in the beginning of one’s nearing, he is given a soul in a manner of circles. This means that the Creator awakens toward him every time there is an opportunity on the part of man to cling to the man with longing and yearning. This is what the poet tells us, “Only goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.” King David is the collective soul of the whole of Israel. Hence, he always longed, yearned, and craved true Dvekut [adhesion] with Him.
However, one must know in one’s heart that the Creator chases him just as much as he chases the Creator. One must never forget that, even during the greatest longing. When remembering that the Creator misses and chases him to cling to him as intensely as one wishes for it himself, he then always goes from strength to strength, with yearning and longing, in a never-ending Zivug [cou- pling], the complete perfection of the soul, until he is rewarded with repentance from love, meaning the return of the Vav to the Hey, being the unification of the Creator with His Shechina [Divinity]. However, a soul without knowledge and recognition of his Master is in great decline when the longing increases to a certain extent, for it seems to him that the Creator dislikes him. Woe to that shame and disgrace; not only does he not complete his yearning and longing to be filled with eternal love, he is even in a state of “A whisperer separates from the champion,” since he thinks that only he wishes and longs and yearns for the Creator. He does not believe our sages that to the very same extent the Creator wishes, longs, and yearns for him.
8.05 Baal HaSulam,
Letter No. 43
It is written, “And Moses will take the tent,” etc. Why did he pitch his tent outside the camp? The fools believe that he did it to stop the flow of Hochma due to the sin. This is unthinkable, since after the sin they need the fountains of Torah and Hochma thousands of times more than before, as our sages said, “Had Israel not sinned, they would have been given only the Five Books of Moses and the book of Joshua.”
However, it is to the contrary. It is a true remedy for opening the fountains of wisdom to a faith- ful source, since once Moses had pitched his tent outside the camp, the craving for him inside the camp increased, as “One who has bread in his basket is not like one who,” etc., and along with it the adhesion with Him. Thus, they were rewarded with expansion of Moses’ soul among them, for which they were called “the generation of knowledge.”
I have already said and reminded you the words of teaching that I said on the festival of Shavuot [Feast of Weeks] prior to my departure from you about the verse, “Run My beloved, and be like a gazelle”: “As the gazelle turns its face back when it runs,” etc., for having no other way to make a Panim [face/anterior], they devise this tactic—bringing the Panim to the Achoraim [back/posterior]. It is as it is written, “So is the Creator when,” etc., “He turns His face back,” since the sensation of separation and Achoraim, and the inability to receive the Panim of Kedusha [holiness] increase the sparks of craving tremendously, until the Achoraim become Panim, since the tablets were written on both sides. You should be noticing these things by now.
8.06 Baal HaSulam,
Shamati, Article No. 21, “When One Feels Oneself in a State of Ascent”
When one feels oneself in a state of ascent, that he is high-spirited, when he feels that he has no desire but only for spirituality, it is then good to delve in the secrets of the Torah in order to attain its internality.
Even if one sees that although he exerts to understand something, and still does not know anything, it is still worthwhile to delve in the secrets of the Torah even a hundred times in a single thing.
One should not despair, meaning say that it is useless since he does not understand anything.
This is so for two reasons:
A) When one delves into something and yearns to understand it, that yearning is called a “prayer.” This is because a prayer is a lack, meaning that one is craving what he lacks, that the Creator will satisfy his desire.
The extent of the prayer is measured by the desire, since the thing that one needs most, the desire for it is greater, for according to the measure of the need, so is the measure of the yearning. There is a rule that in the thing that one makes the most effort, the exertion increases the lack, and he wants to receive filling for his deficiency. Also, a desire is called “a prayer,” regarded as “the work in the heart,” since “the Merciful One wants the hearts.” It turns out that then one can give a true prayer.
8.07 Baal HaSulam,
“Anyone Who Is Sorry for the Public”
“To the extent that one appreciates, so one is allotted” (Megillah 12, Sotah 8). That is, according to the size of the hole in the Kli [vessel], meaning the receptacle and its insides, that lack will always be filled, not less and not more. Therefore, a servant of the Creator who is not sorry for the public but feels only his own personal lack, his receptacle for abundance is also not greater. As a result, he will not be able to receive the collective revelation of Godliness in the form of the comfort of the public, since he did not prepare a Kli to receive this collective discernment, but only his individual discernment.
Conversely, one who is sorry for the public and feels the troubles of the public as his own trouble is rewarded with seeing the complete revelation of the Shechina, meaning the comfort of the whole of Israel. Because his lack is a collective lack, the abundance of Kedusha [holiness] is also collective.
By this you will understand the matter of “The righteous have no rest” (end of Berachot, end of Moed Katan). Interpretation: Since the abundance is blessed according to the level of the lack and longing of the righteous, to that extent, not less and not more, they always exert to deepen and expand their receptacle, for the Giver has no measure, only the receiver. “More than the calf wants to nurse,” etc., (Pesachim 112) so their entire intention in life is to strengthen their yearning and make for themselves a receptacle in order to bring contentment by expanding the boundaries of Kedusha in the blessing of the Creator.
8.08 Baal HaSulam,
“The Writings of the Last Generation”
In every person, even in the secular, there is an unknown spark that demands unification with God. When it sometimes awakens, it awakens a passion to know God, or deny God, which is the same. If someone generates the satisfaction of this desire in that person, he will agree to anything.
8.09 Baal HaSulam,
Letter No. 19
When one prepares to return to his root, he does not induce the complete Zivug at one time, but creates stimuli, which is the degree of Nefesh, by way of cycles, chasing the Shechina with all his might, quivering and sweating, until he mounts this extremity all day and all night, incessantly.
It is as the books write concerning the cycles. While one’s soul is being completed in the degrees of Nefesh, he comes ever closer, and so his yearning and sorrow grow since the unsatisfied desire leaves behind it a great affliction according to the measure of the desire.
This is the meaning of “sound.” The poet teaches us and says, “Awaken,” meaning that you induce stimuli in the Shechina. “Sound,” for you cause a great affliction, like no other, which is the meaning of “he groaned and moaned” because “What does the Shechina say when one is afflicted?” etc. And why do you do so? It is in order to “sever any shout.”
This is the meaning of “The righteousness of the righteous will not save him on the day of his transgression.” To Him who knows the mysteries, the desire in one’s heart for His nearness is known, and that it might still be interrupted. Hence, He increases His stimuli, meaning the beginnings of the coituses, for if one listens to His voice, as in “The Lord of your shade,” one does not fall and descend due to the increasing affliction of the stimuli since he sees and hears that the Shechina also suffers as he does by the increased longing. Thus, one’s longing grows and intensifies each time until one’s point in the heart is completed with complete will in a tight knot that will not crumble. Rabbi Shimon Bar-Yochai said about this in the Idra: “I am for my beloved and upon me His desire. All the days I was connected to this world, I was connected to the Creator with one knot, and because of it, now, upon me His desire, etc.” That is, “Until He who knows the mysteries shall testify that he shall not return to folly.” Hence, he is granted the return of the Hey to the Vav for eternity, meaning the complete coitus and the restoration of past glory, which is the meaning of “the great Teki’a.”
8.10 Baal HaSulam,
Letter No. 2
By exerting the heart to display love between him and his Maker, the Creator instills His Shechina [Divinity] on him in remembrance, as in, “In every place where I mention My name, I will come to you and bless you.”
When the remembrance increases by the very work, the desire and longing increase, as in “And spirit draws spirit and brings spirit,” and so forth. Finally, the remembrance increases and grows by the craving and ascends in good deeds, for “All the pennies join into a great amount.” This is the meaning of “Behold, this one comes and His reward is with Him, and His work is before Him.”
8.11 Baal HaSulam,
Letter No. 52
It is written about this: “Seek the Lord while He is found.” That is, when the Creator presents Himself to you for asking, then you will necessarily seek Him, too, for it is man’s way to move first. In other words, the Creator first gives you the heart to seek Him. When you know this, you will certainly grow stronger, as strong as you can ask, for the King is calling you.
So it says, “Call upon Him when He is near.” That is, when you call on the Creator to bring you closer to Him, know that He is already near you, for otherwise there is no doubt you would not be calling Him. This is also the meaning of the verse, “Before they call, I will answer,” meaning that if you are calling Him, then He has already turned to you to give you the awakening to call upon Him. “While they speak, I listen,” meaning the measure of the Creator’s listening depends precisely on the measure of the longing that appears during the saying of the prayer. When one feels excessive longing, he should know at that time that the Creator is listening to him attentively.
Clearly, when he knows this, he pours his heart out even stronger, for there is no greater privilege than the King of the world being attentive to him. This is quite similar to what our sages said, “The Creator longs for the prayer of righteous,” for the Creator’s desire for a person to draw near Him awakens great power and longing in the person to crave for the Creator, for “As in water of the face to the face, so the heart of man to man.”
It follows that the saying of the prayer and the hearing of the prayer go hand in hand until they accumulate to the full measure and he acquires everything.
8.12 Baal HaSulam,
Shamati, Article No. 175, “And If the Way Be Too Far for You”
“And bind up the money in your hand.” This means that even though the craving is not up to man, if he has no desire for it, he cannot do a thing. Nevertheless, he should show the desire for the Kisufin, the desire to want (and perhaps VeTzarta [bind] comes from the word Ratzita [wanted]). One needs to show a desire for it, to show the desire and the craving to want the Creator, meaning to want to increase the glory of heaven, to bestow contentment upon Him, to be favored by Him.
There is a discernment of Zahav [gold], and there is a discernment of Kesef. Kesef means having Kisufin [longing] in general, and Zahav [gold, made of the words “give this”] means that he wants only one thing, and all the longing and the craving that he had for several things are canceled in this desire. And he says “give this” only, meaning he does not want anything but to raise the Shechina [Divinity] from the dust. This is all that he wants.
It follows that even though one sees that he does not have the proper yearning and desire, he should still see and exert in deeds and thoughts to obtain the desire. This is called “And bind up the money in your hand.” One should not think that if it is in the hands of man, it is a small thing. Rather, “for oxen (with grace), or for sheep,” etc., for only by this will he be rewarded with the most sublime lights.
8.13 Baal HaSulam,
Letter No. 19
“Grace is deceitful and beauty is vain; but a woman that fears the Lord, she shall be praised.” This means that during the preparation, beauty and grace appear as the essence of perfection for which one yearns and longs. However, at the time of correction, when the earth is “full of the knowledge of the Lord,” “I shall see an opposite world,” as only fear and longing are the desired perfection. Then one feels that during the time of preparation they were lying to themselves.
Article No. 22 (1990), “What Is the Order in Blotting Out Amalek?”
It is known that in every thing, we discern two discernments: light and Kli [vessel]. Even in corporeal things, we discern internality and externality in everything. The externality is called the Kli, and the internality is called the “light.” For example, when a person yearns for bread, or for meat and fish, etc., a person does not yearn for the Kli, meaning the external part, which he sees. Rather, he yearns for the interior, which is not seen, meaning to the taste of bread, or meat, or fish.
Moreover, we see that enjoying the pleasure dressed in the Kli requires preparation. To the extent of one’s preparation, so one can enjoy the light of pleasure clothed in the Kli, which is regarded as the externality. In other words, a person who comes to drink water when he is thirsty is not like one who drinks water when he is not thirsty, since the Kli for reception of pleasure is measured by the level of yearning for the pleasure.
For this reason, we see that when a person wants to enjoy drinks, he first eats acrid and salty foods in order to invoke in him the desire to drink. It is likewise in everything: Without yearning, it is impossible to enjoy anything. This stems from the beginning of creation, as we learn that the pur- pose of creation, which is His desire to do good to His creations, created a desire to receive delight and pleasure. Before the fourth phase—which is yearning—is revealed, it is still not regarded as a Kli that is fit to receive the light and pleasure.
Article No. 18 (1987), “What Is Preparation for Reception of the Torah? – 1”
We must remember the known rule that there is no light without a Kli [vessel]. That is, there cannot be filling without a lack. It is impossible to enjoy something without yearning for it, and yearning for something is called “preparation,” meaning a need. The need for something determines the yearning, and the level of the pleasure corresponds to the level of the yearning.
Article No. 22 (1987), “What Is the Gift that a Person Asks of the Creator?”
The Creator created—existence from absence—a Kli called “desire and yearning to receive delight and pleasure.” This means that what we see is as in “By Your actions we know You,” meaning that we speak only of what we see that exists in the nature of creation. We see that it is impossible to enjoy anything, whatever it is, unless there is a yearning for it. For this reason, we learned that from the perspective of the light that created this Kli, called “will to receive,” it underwent four Behinot [discernments], meaning four stages until the will to receive acquired the complete form of yearning. After the light created the Kli, this Kli received the delight and pleasure that He wished to give.
These two above-mentioned things, the light and the Kli, pertain to the Creator. We learn that in this respect, there was complete perfection and there is nothing to add to this.
Article No. 409, “Concerning Suffering – 2”
It is known that the whole Kli [vessel] that receives pleasure is the yearning, a lack for the thing, meaning for the thing to which he has a great desire. To the extent that he desires it, to that extent he yearns. And the desire, great or small, is measured by the amount of suffering that he would feel if he did not obtain the matter.
As it is explained (in the “Introduction to The Study of the Ten Sefirot,” Items 96-97), Torah Lishma [for Her sake] means for the sake of the life that he finds in the Torah, since when one finds His face in the Torah, so he finds the life in the Torah, as it is written, “For by the light of the King’s face is life.” Thus, when one learns Torah and does not find the life in the Torah, he regrets it, and this is called “You will lead a life of sorrow.” That is, he will regret not finding the light of His face, yet he does not stop learning Torah, as it is written, “And in the Torah you toil” although he does not find Him.
It follows that to the extent that he learns Torah and intends to find Him, so his suffering increases. At a certain extent called “labored,” you “find,” as is explained there, that this is the meaning of the existence of the light of the King’s face in the Torah.
Letter No. 33
Any pleasure, whether corporeal or spiritual, is called “light.” And we have a rule about lights, that we have no attainment. That is, it is impossible to determine its final form unless through the Kelim. This means that we determine the shape of the lights according to the quality of the Kelim. And regarding Kelim (vessels), it is known that it is regarded as yearning for something. It follows that the Kelim increase the light. This means that it is not the light that must be great, but the Kelim must be greater. Only if one has many Kelim, meaning a strong desire, one feels greater pleasure in the light.
Therefore, even in corporeality, the meal and the money do not determine the measure of the pleasure, but rather the labor and the yearning determine the measure of the pleasure.
Article No. 17 (1989), “What Is the Prohibition to Greet Before Blessing the Creator, in the Work?”
A person must yearn to attain the Creator, meaning adhere to Him with complete recognition, that this is regarded as the Creator. This means that a person must walk on the right line, regarded as wholeness, and pray to the Creator and thank Him, even if he does not find within him anything that desires spirituality. But accordingly, how can he thank the Creator and say that the Creator hears what he says to Him, which is the meaning of attributing the work to the Creator, and He accepts his work regardless of how the work seems?
However, if he relates only to the Creator and says, “I am turning to the Creator and I believe that He can answer my wishes,” by this a person becomes happy and feels superior. That is, the rest of the people have no connection to spirituality, and he believes that the Creator has given him [a feeling] that he has no spirituality, in whatever way, but the fact that he has an interest in thinking about spirituality, it makes no difference if he has or hasn’t, or that he is now in utter lowliness, meaning that he sees that now he has no desire to ascend in degree and emerge from the lowliness, but he thanks the Creator because at least he is thinking about spirituality, while the rest of the people do not have any thoughts of spirituality.
If he can thank the Creator, it gives him joy, and from Lo Lishma [not for Her sake] he comes to Lishma [for Her sake]. By this he ascends from his state of wholeness and can thereby come to a state where even if he forgets the state of lowliness he was in prior to making the calculation and thanking the Creator, it appears to him as though he has always been in this state.
This extends from the discernment that “The blessed clings to the Blessed,” since the thanks he gives to the Creator makes a person feel whole, and to the extent of the joy he extends, so he can ascend in degree. We must say that this path is true, meaning that man hasn’t the power to assess the importance of Kedusha, but even touching anything of Kedusha is infinitely more important to the Creator than all the corporeal things.
Article No. 44 (1990), “What Is an Optional War, in the work – 2?”
All those thoughts that the will to receive brings him are sent to him from above because he wants to walk on the path of bestowal, and in the meantime he is idle in the work, because he prayed for the Creator to bring him closer to being in Dvekut with the Creator, which is equivalence of form, when it is apparent that the person is idle in the work, he is sent the foreign thoughts that a person cannot agree to be under such a control. This, in turn, gives a person a push that he must overcome the state he is in. It therefore follows that from this bad, when a person feels that he is in such a lowly state that he never imagined that he could be under such governance, for this reason, he should not be alarmed and escape the campaign. On the contrary, he should believe that the Creator is taking care of him now, and He is bringing him closer through a state of Achoraim [posterior].
This is as it is written in the book A Sage’s Fruit (Vol. 1, p 139), “About the verse, ‘My beloved is like a gazelle,’ our sages said, ‘As the gazelle looks back when he runs, when the Creator leaves Israel, He turns back His face.’ Then the face returns to being in the Achoraim, meaning craving and longing to cling to Israel once more. This begets in Israel longing and craving to cling to the Creator, too, and the measure of the longing and craving is actually the face itself.”
We should interpret that he means that when a person is in a state of lowliness, it is considered that the Creator has moved away from him, and he has no desire or yearning for the work, this is regarded as the Creator giving a person a shape of tastelessness about spirituality. Moreover, a person wants to escape and forget about the work altogether. This is regarded as the Creator showing him the Achoraim.
The Panim [face/anterior] of the Creator is His desire to do good to His creations, and the Achoraim is the complete opposite. Why does the Creator show a person the Achoraim? It is on purpose, for by this a person gets a thrust toward Dvekut with the Creator, for he cannot remain in a state of lowliness. It follows that here, within the Achoraim is the discernment of Panim.
8.21 Zohar for All,
Shemot [Exodus], “Run, My Beloved,” Item 235
He heard the voice of one of Rabbi Shimon’s students saying, “Run, my beloved, and be like a gazelle or a young hart.” Every yearning that Israel yearned for the Creator is the yearning of Israel that the Creator will not go and will not walk away, but run like a gazelle or a young hart.
8.22 Zohar for All,
Truma [Donation], “As They,” Item 168
There is no awakening above before Israel awaken below. Therefore, to evoke rest, it is forbidden to evoke Din for a holy nation who are crowned in holy crowns of souls, but rather everyone should be in good will, great love, evoking blessings above and below at once.
8.23 Rabbi Shmuel Bornstein,
author of Shem MiShmuel
The difference between the word “gathering” and the word “grouping.” It is written “Gather, purify,” since gathering is more unification of the heart than the word “grouping.” “Grouping” pertains only to the body, although the views are not united. But a gathering of people is also with one heart. It is a gathering from the outside in, where they become very unified.
Therefore, the word “gathering” applies mostly to the souls, since “soul” comes from the words “desire” and “yearning.” If each and every one yearns for his own benefit, although they all want the same thing, it is still not one view, since one wants one’s own benefit, and the other wants his own benefit.
However, if they are complete, and also many yearn to satisfy the Creator’s will, this is cer- tainly called “complete unification,” and deserves the title “gathering,” by everyone uniting with an immense feeling of the soul, to do the will of our Father in Heaven.
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