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2.01 Baal HaSulam,
Letter No. 22
“My beloved is like a gazelle”? Our sages said, “As the gazelle turns his face back when he flees, when the Creator leaves Israel, He turns back His face.” I interpreted for you that then the face returns to being in the Achoraim [back/posterior], meaning craving and longing to cling to Israel once more. This begets in Israel longing and craving to adhere to the Creator, too, and the measure of the longing and craving is actually the face itself, as it is written in “Bless My Soul,” by Rabbi Yehuda HaLevi, “My face is to your prayer when you run to meet the Lord God.”
Therefore, the most powerful at this time is only to persist and increase the longing and the yearning, for by this appears the face.
2.02 Baal HaSulam,
“You Have Made Me in Behind and Before”
One who has not yet come to dedicate all his movements to the Creator alone, and the horse does not equalize its movements to the rider’s bridle and headstall, but appears to do the opposite… and crowns the handmaid on the mistress, this is discerned as “behind.” That is, you should not think that you are drawing away from Kedusha [holiness], for “that which comes into your mind shall not be at all.”
Thus says the Lord: “Surely with a mighty hand,” etc., “For the outcast shall not be cast out from Him,” and the whole wheel turns to come to the Kedusha, to its root. Therefore, although it seems that the horse leads the rider by its ignoble desire, the truth is not so. It is the rider who leads the horse to his destination. However, it is not apparent in the present, but in the future. Hence, in this way there is also contact, but it is back to back, meaning not according to the will of the one who dresses or the will of the dresser.
2.03 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.
2.04 Baal HaSulam,
Letter No. 18
First thing in the morning, when he rises from his sleep, he should sanctify the first moment with Dvekut with Him, pour out his heart to the Creator to keep him throughout the twenty-four hours of the day so that no idle thought will come into his mind, and he will not consider it impossible or above nature.
Indeed, it is the image of nature that makes an iron partition, and one should cancel nature’s partitions that he feels. Rather, first he must believe that nature’s partitions do not cut off from Him. Afterward, he should pray from the bottom of his heart, even for something that is above his natural desire.
Understand this always, even when forms that are not of Kedusha [holiness] traverse you, and they will instantly stop when you remember. See that you pour out your heart that henceforth the Creator will save you from cessations of Dvekut with Him. Gradually, your heart will grow accustomed to the Creator and will yearn to adhere to Him in truth, and the Lord’s desire will succeed by you.
2.05 Baal HaSulam,
“Introduction to The Study of the Ten Sefirot,” Item 107
After one is rewarded with the illumination of the face to such an extent that each sin he had committed, even the deliberate ones, is turned and becomes a Mitzva for him, one rejoices with all the torment and affliction he had ever suffered since the time he was placed in the two states of concealment of the face. This is because it is they that brought him all those sins, which have now become Mitzvot by the illumination of His face, Who performs wonders.
And any sorrow and trouble that drove him out of mind and he failed with mistakes, as in the first concealment, or failed with sins, as in the double concealment, has now become a cause and preparation for keeping a Mitzva and the reception of eternal and wondrous reward for it. Therefore, any sorrow has turned for him into a great joy and any evil to wonderful good.
2.06 Baal HaSulam,
Shamati, Article No. 83, “Concerning the Right Vav and the Left Vav”
In any state one is in, he can be a servant of the Creator since he does not need anything, but does everything above reason. It turns out that one does not need any Mochin with which to be the servant of the Creator.
Now we can interpret what is written, “Set up a table before me, against my enemies.” A table means, as it is written, “and sent her out of his house, and she departed his house, and went” (Deuteronomy 24:1-2). A Shulchan [table] is like VeShlacha [and sent her], meaning exit from the work.
We should interpret that even during the exits from the work, meaning in a state of decline, one still has a place to work. This means that when one prevails above reason during the declines, and says that the descents, too, were given to him from above, by this the enemies are canceled. This is so because the enemies thought that through the declines the person will reach utter lowliness and escape the campaign, but in the end the opposite occurred—the enemies were canceled.
This is the meaning of what is written, “the table that is before the Lord,” that precisely in this manner does he receive the face of the Creator. This is the meaning of subduing all the judgments, even the harshest judgments, since he assumes the burden of the kingdom of heaven at all times. That is, he always finds a place for work, as it is written that Rabbi Shimon Bar-Yochai said, “There is no place to hide from You.”
2.07 Baal HaSulam,
“Introduction to The Study of the Ten Sefirot,” Item 133
It is like a king who wished to select for himself the most loyal of his subjects in the country and bring them to work inside his palace. What did he do? He issued a decree that anyone who wished, young or old, would come to his palace to engage in the works inside his palace.
However, he appointed many of his servants to guard the palace gate and all the roads leading to it, and ordered them to cunningly deflect all those nearing his palace and divert them from the way that leads to the palace.
Naturally, all the people in the country began to run to the king’s palace. But the diligent guards cunningly rejected them. Many of them overpowered them and came near the palace gate, but the guards at the gate were the most diligent, and if someone approached the gate, they diverted him and turned him away with great craftiness until one despaired and returned as he had come.
And so they came and went, and regained strength, and came and went again, and so on and so forth for several days and years until they grew weary of trying. Only the mighty ones among them, whose patience endured, defeated the guards and opened the gate. And they were instantly awarded seeing the king’s face, who appointed each of them in his right place.
Of course, from that moment on, they had no further dealings with those guards, who diverted and mislead them and made their lives bitter for several days and years, running back and forth around the gate. This is because they have been rewarded with working and serving before the glory of the king’s face inside his palace.
2.08 Baal HaSulam,
Shamati, Article No. 181, “Honor”
Honor is something that stops the body, and to that extent it harms the soul. Hence, all the righ- teous who became famous and respected, it was a punishment. But the great righteous, when the Creator does not want them to lose by being famous as righteous, the Creator guards them from being honored, so as not to harm their souls.
Hence, to the extent that they are honored on one hand, on the other hand, they are faced with dissenters who degrade them with all kinds of degradations. To the extent that creates an equal weight to the honor given to a righteous, to that very extent the other side gives disgrace.
2.09 Baal HaSulam,
Letter No. 39
Now they have defamed me in the eyes of the generation and have failed me on the path of my exalted work to bring contentment to my Maker. Who can forgive them this? Heaven will testify to my labor in all my strength to extend His holiness to that generation.
And yet, the Sitra Achra [other side] always finds her people, doers of her missions, setting obsta- cles before me wherever I turn to benefit others. Thus far are my words. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them,” and the Creator does not deny my reward. Bit by bit, I am paving the way, at times less, at times more, but always with profit (reward), until I am rewarded with taking down all the enemies of the Creator with the help of His great and terrible name.
As for you, do not fear the fear of fools. Those who slander, my little finger is bigger than their waist. So the Creator desired, and so He made me, and who will tell Him what to do and what to work? The merit of my law is greater than the merit of their fathers. Similarly, the contemporaries of Prophet Amos defamed him and said that the Creator had no one on whom to instill His Shechina [Divinity] but that stutterer, as it is written in the Psikta [a Midrash].
However, it is written, “A truthful lip shall be established forever, and a lying tongue is only momentary,” for in the end, the truthful people are the winners. Amos remains alive and existing forever, and who has heard or knows what had happened to his adversaries?
So it is here. The sayers can harm only their own kind, so it follows that the storm swirls on the head of the wicked, the truth lives on and does not weaken by all the lies. Instead, it grows even stronger by them, like a sown field that is strengthened by the manure and dung that are thrown in. With the Creator’s will, the blessing of the field increases and multiplies by them.
I still do not feel the harm that will come to me through them concerning the dissemination of my teaching, so I do not know how to calculate a way to instill light and save it from their evil. And yet, it is certain that if I feel any harm, I will take my revenge against them, as is the law of Torah, and I will contend forcefully with them. I will do all that is within the power of my hand to do, as it is the Creator I fear, and there is no other force but Him.
2.10 Baal HaSulam,
“You Have Made Me in Behind and Before”
“You have made me in behind and before,” meaning the revelation and concealment of the face of the Creator. This is because indeed, “His kingdom rules over all,” and everything will return to its root because there is no place vacant of Him. But the difference is in the present or the future, because one who connects the two worlds discovers His clothing in the present, that everything that is done is a clothing for the revelation of the Shechina [Divinity].
This is deemed the present, meaning that now, too, he comes out in royal attire and evidently shows that the rider is not subordinate to the horse. But although it seemingly appears that the horse leads its rider, the truth is that the horse is provoked to any movement only by the sensation of the rider’s bridle and headstall. This is called “The construction of the stature of the Shechina,” and it is also called “face-to-face.”
2.11 Baal HaSulam,
“You Have Made Me in Behind and Before”
Those who do His will, meaning reveal by themselves the royal attire in the present, are connected face to face through the good will of the one who dresses and the good will of the dresser, for pre- cisely this is His wish.
This is the meaning of “Because you did not serve the Lord your God with gladness.” You will serve Him anyhow, but the difference is that this way is “in siege and in distress,” meaning unwillingly, and the other way is by reason of the abundance of all things, meaning willingly.
2.12 Baal HaSulam,
Shamati, Article No. 42, “What Is the Acronym Elul in the Work?”
It is impossible to obtain disclosure before one receives the discernment of Achoraim [posterior], discerned as concealment of the Face, and to say that it is as important to him as the disclosure of the Face. It means that one should be as glad as though he has already acquired the disclosure of the Face.
However, one cannot persist and appreciate the concealment like the disclosure, except when one works in bestowal. At that time, one can say, “I do not care what I feel during the work because what is important to me is that I want to bestow upon the Creator. If the Creator understands that He will have more contentment if I work in a form of Achoraim, I agree.”
However, if one still has sparks of reception, he comes to thoughts, and it is then hard for him to believe that the Creator leads the world in a manner of “good and doing good.” This is the meaning of the letter Yod in the name HaVaYaH, which is the first letter, called “a black dot that has no white in it,” meaning it is all darkness and concealment of the Face.
It means that when one comes to a state where one has no support, one’s state becomes black, which is the lowest quality in the upper world, and that becomes the Keter to the lower one, as the Kli of Keter is a vessel of bestowal.
The lowest quality in the upper one is Malchut, which has nothing of its own, meaning that she does not have anything. Only in this manner is it called Malchut. It means that if one takes upon himself the kingdom of heaven—which is in a state of not having anything—gladly, afterward, it becomes Keter, which is a vessel of bestowal and the purest Kli. In other words, the reception of Malchut in a state of darkness subsequently becomes a Kli of Keter, which is a vessel of bestowal.
2.13 Baal HaSulam,
“You Have Made Me in Behind and Before”
There are three discernments required of a man in the desirable path: surrender, division, sweeten- ing, meaning “lights in deficient writing,”1 since the light of this world was created out of darkness, “As the advantage of the light from within the darkness,” and “What good is a candle during the day?” its light does not shine in the daytime. This is the meaning of the Klipa [shell/peel] that pre- cedes the fruit. For this reason, he who becomes a partner to the Creator in the work of creation brings out the light from the darkness, meaning considers how lowly and ignoble one is compared to the Kedusha [holiness] of above, and how filthy are his clothes. Through it, the light becomes surrounded.
2.14 Baal HaSulam,
Introduction to A Sage’s Fruit, Vol. 4, “Three Partners”
It is impossible to attribute the bad to the Creator since he is the absolute good. Hence, as long as one feels bad states, he must say that they come from elsewhere, from the environment. But in truth, when one is rewarded with seeing only good and that there is no bad in the world, and everything is turned to good, then he is shown the truth, that the Creator did everything because He is almighty, and He alone did, does, and will do all the deeds.
2.15 Baal HaSulam,
Shamati, Article No. 135, “Clean and Righteous Do Not Kill”
“The clean and righteous do not kill.” A righteous is one who justifies the Creator: Whatever he feels, whether good or bad, he takes above reason. This is considered “right.” Clean refers to the cleanness of the matter, the state as he sees it. This is so because “a judge has only what his eyes see.” And if one does not understand the matter, or cannot attain the matter, he should not blur the forms as they seem to his eyes. This is considered “left,” and he should nurture both.
2.16 Baal HaSulam,
Spiritual revelation, whether emerging from concealment or some addition, extends and comes primarily through the power of the vessels and their quality, and does not depend at all on the upper light. It is so because the rule is that there is no change in the lights themselves from the beginning of the line to the bottom of Assiya. As it is in the beginning of the line, so it does not grow coarser or change when it is at the bottom of Assiya. It is also known that the upper light does not stop bestowing upon the lower ones even for a minute. Therefore, the whole matter of concealment, revelation, and changes, and any change, depend only on the merit of the vessels.
2.17 Baal HaSulam,
“Introduction to The Study of the Ten Sefirot,” Items 99-103
“Indeed You are a God who hides,” that the Creator hides Himself in the Torah.
We asked above, “It makes sense that the Creator is hidden specifically in worldly matters and in the vanities of this world, which are outside the Torah, and not in the Torah itself, as only there is the place of the disclosure. And we asked further: This concealment that the Creator hides Himself, to be sought and found, as it is written in The Zohar, “Why do I need all this?”
From the above explained you can thoroughly understand that this concealment that the Creator hides Himself so as to be sought is the concealment of the face, which He conducts with His cre- ations in two manners: one concealment, and concealment within concealment.
The Zohar tells us that we should not even consider that the Creator wishes to remain in a guid- ance of concealed face from His creations. Rather, it is like a person who deliberately hides himself, so his friend will seek and find him.
Similarly, the Creator behaves in concealment of face with His creations only because He wants people to seek the disclosure of His face and find Him. In other words, there would be no way or inlet for people to attain the light of the King’s face had He not first behaved with them in conceal- ment of the face. Thus, the whole concealment is but a preparation for the disclosure of the face.
It is written that the Creator hides Himself in the Torah. Regarding the torments and pains one experiences during the concealment of the face, one who possesses transgressions and has done little in Torah and Mitzvot is unlike one who has engaged in Torah and good deeds extensively. The first is quite qualified to sentence his Maker to the side of merit, to think that the suffering came to him because of his sins and scarceness of Torah.
For the other, however, it is much harder to sentence his Maker to the side of merit since in his mind, he does not deserve such harsh punishments. Moreover, he sees that his friends, who are worse than him, do not suffer so, as it is written, “The wicked and the tranquil in the world gained riches,” and also, “in vain have I cleansed my heart.”
Thus, as long as one is not rewarded with a guidance of revelation of the face, the abundance of Torah and Mitzvot he has performed make his concealment of the face much heavier. This is the meaning of “The Creator hides Himself in the Torah.”
Indeed, all that heaviness he feels through the Torah is but proclamations by which the Torah itself calls him, awakening him to hurry up and give the required measure of labor to promptly endow him with the revelation of the face, as God wills it.
This is why it is written that all who learn Torah Lo Lishma, their Torah becomes for them a potion of death. Not only do they not emerge from concealment of the face to disclosure of the face, since they did not set their minds to labor and attain it, the Torah that they accumulate greatly increases their conceal- ment of the face. Finally, they fall into concealment within concealment, which is considered death, being completely detached from one’s root. Thus, their Torah becomes for them a potion of death.
This clarifies the two names applied to the Torah: “revealed” and “concealed.” We must under- stand why we need the concealed Torah, and why is not the whole Torah revealed?
Indeed, there is a profound intention here. The concealed Torah implies that the Creator hides in the Torah, hence the name, “the Torah of the hidden.” Conversely, it is called “revealed” because the Creator is revealed by the Torah.
Therefore, the Kabbalists said, and we also find it in the prayer book of the Vilna Gaon [GRA], that the order of attainment of the Torah begins with the concealed and ends with the revealed. This means that through the appropriate labor, where one first delves in the Torah of the hidden, he is thus granted the revealed Torah, which is the literal. Thus, one begins with the concealed, called Sod [secret], and when he is rewarded, he ends in the literal.
2.18 Baal HaSulam,
Shamati, Article No. 100,“The Written Torah and the Oral Torah – 1”
The written Torah is considered “awakening from above,” and the oral Torah is an awakening from below. Together, they are called “Six years he shall serve, and in the seventh he shall go out free.”
This is so because the essence of the work is specifically where there is resistance. And it is called Alma [Aramaic: world] from the word He’elem [concealment]. Then, when there is concealment, there is resistance, and then there is room for work. This is the meaning of the words of our sages, “Six thousand years the world, and one ruined.” This means that the concealment will be ruined and there will be no more work. Rather, the Creator makes him wings, which are covers, so he would have work.
2.19 Baal HaSulam,
Shamati, Article No. 8, “What Is the Difference between a Shade of Kedusha and a Shade of Sitra Achra?”
It is written (Song of Songs, 2), “Until the day breathes, and the shadows flee away.” We must understand what are shadows in the work and what are two shadows. The thing is that when one does not feel His guidance, that He leads the world in a manner of “The Good Who Does Good,” it is regarded as a shadow that hides the sun.
In other words, as the corporeal shadow that hides the sun does not change the sun in any way, and the sun shines in all its power, so one who does not feel the existence of His guidance does not induce any change above. Rather, there is no change above, as it is written, “I the Lord did not change.”
Instead, all the changes are in the receivers. We must observe two discernments in this shade, meaning in this concealment:
- When one still has the ability to overcome the darkness and concealments that one feels, justify the Creator, and pray to the Creator that the Creator will open his eyes to see that all the concealments that he feels come from the Creator, meaning that the Creator does all this to him so he may find his prayer and yearn to adhere to Him.
This is so because only through the suffering that one receives from Him, wishing to break free from the trouble and flee from the torments, then he does everything he can. Hence, when receiving the concealments and afflictions, he is certain to take the known cure—to do much praying for the Creator to help him out of the state he is in. In that state, he still believes in His Providence.
2. When one comes to a state where he can no longer overcome and say that all the suffer- ing and pains he feels are because the Creator sent them to him so as to have a reason to ascend in degree, he comes to a state of heresy, since he cannot believe in His guidance. Naturally, at that time, he cannot pray.
It follows that there are two kinds of shadows, and this is the meaning of “and the shadows flee away,” meaning that the shadows will pass away from the world.
The shade of Klipa [shell] is called “Another god is sterile and does not bear fruit.” In Kedusha [holiness], however, it is called “Under its shadow I coveted to sit, and its fruit was sweet to my palate.” In other words, he says that all the concealments and afflictions he feels are because the Creator has sent him these states so he would have a place for work above reason.
When one has the strength to say this—that the Creator causes him all this—it is to one’s benefit. This means that through this he can come to work in order to bestow and not for his own sake. At that time, one realizes, meaning believes that the Creator enjoys specifically this work, which is built entirely on above reason.
It follows that at that time, one does not pray to the Creator that the shadows will flee from the world. Rather, he says, “I see that the Creator wants me to serve Him in this manner, entirely above reason.” Thus, in everything he does he says, “The Creator certainly enjoys this work, so why should I care if I am working in a state of concealment of the face?”
Because one wants to work in order to bestow, meaning that the Creator will enjoy, he feels no humiliation in this work, meaning a sensation that he is in a state of concealment of the face, that the Creator does not enjoy this work. Instead, one agrees to the leadership of the Creator, meaning however the Creator wants him to feel the existence of the Creator during the work, he agrees wholeheartedly. This is so because one does not consider what can please him, but what can please the Creator. Thus, this shade brings him life.
This is called “Under its shadow I coveted,” meaning one covets such a state where he can make some overcoming above reason. It follows that if one does not exert in a state of concealment, when there is still room to pray for the Creator to bring him closer, and he is negligent in this, for this reason, he is sent a second concealment in which one cannot even pray. This is because of the sin of not exert- ing with all one’s might to pray to the Creator. For this reason, one comes to a state of such lowliness. However, after one comes to that state, he is pitied from above and is given another awakening from above. The same order begins anew until finally he strengthens in prayer, the Creator hears his prayer, brings him near, and reforms him.
2.20 Baal HaSulam,
Shamati, Article No. 18, “My Soul Shall Weep In Secret – 1”
When concealment overpowers a person and he comes to a state where the work becomes tasteless, and he cannot picture or feel any love and fear, and he cannot do anything in Kedusha [holiness], his only counsel is to cry to the Creator to have mercy on him and remove the screen from his eyes and heart.
Crying is a very important matter. It is as our sages write: “All the gates were locked except for the gates of tears.” The world asks about this: If the gates of tears are not locked, what is the need for the gates at all? He said that it is like a person who asks his friend for some necessary object. This object touches his heart, and he asks and begs him in every manner of prayer and plea. Yet, his friend pays no attention to all this. And when he sees that there is no longer reason for prayers and pleas then he raises his voice in weeping.
It is said about this: “All the gates were locked except for the gates of tears.” That is, when were the gates of tears not locked? Precisely when all the gates were locked. It is then that there is room for the gates of tears, and then we see that they were not locked.
However, when the gates of prayer are open, the gates of tears and weeping are irrelevant. This is the meaning of the gates of tears being locked. Thus, when are the gates of tears not locked? Precisely when all the gates are locked, the gates of tears are open since one still has the choice of prayer and plea.
This is the meaning of “My soul shall weep in secret,” meaning when one comes to a state of concealment, then “My soul shall weep,” because one has no other option. This is the meaning of “All that your hand and strength can do, do.”
2.21 Baal HaSulam,
“Introduction to The Study of the Ten Sefirot,” Items 80-82
The reason for the concealment of the face from people has been explained: It is deliberately to give people room to labor and engage in His work in Torah and Mitzvot voluntarily, for then the contentment of the Creator from their work in His Torah and Mitzvot increases more than His contentment from the angels above, who have no choice and whose mission is compulsory. There are also other reasons, but this is not the place to elaborate on them.
Despite the above praise for concealment of face, it is still not considered wholeness, but only a “transition,” as this is the place from which the longed-for wholeness is attained. This means that any reward for a Mitzva that is prepared for a person is acquired only through one’s labor in Torah and good deeds during the concealment of the face, when he engages voluntarily. This is so because then one feels sorrow out of his strengthening in His faith in keeping His will. And one’s whole reward is measured only according to the pain he suffers from keeping the Torah and the Mitzva, as in the words of Ben He He, “The reward is according to the pain.”
Hence, every person must experience that transition period of concealment of the face. When he completes it, he is rewarded with open Providence, meaning the revelation of the face.
2.22 Baal HaSulam,
Shamati, Article No. 191, “The Time of Descent”
It is hard to depict the time of descent, when all the works and the efforts made from the beginning of the work until the time of descent are lost. To one who has never tasted the taste of servitude of the Creator, it seems as though this is outside of him, meaning that this happens to those of high degrees. But ordinary people have no connection to serving the Creator, only to crave the corporeal will to receive, present in the flow of the world, washing the whole world with this desire.
However, we must understand why they have come to such a state. After all, with or without one’s consent, there is no change in the Creator of heaven and earth; He behaves in a manner of good and doing good. Thus, what is the outcome of this state?
We should say that it comes to announce His greatness. One does not need to act as though he does not want Her. Rather, one should behave in a manner of fearing the exaltedness, to know the merit and the distance between him and the Creator. It is difficult to understand this with a superficial mind, or have any possibility of connection between the Creator and creation.
During a descent he feels that it is impossible that he will have connection or belonging to the Creator by way of Dvekut [adhesion], since he feels that servitude is a foreign thing to the whole world. In truth, this is so. But “In the place where you find His greatness, there you find His humble- ness.” This means that it is a matter that is above nature, that the Creator gave this gift to creation, to allow them to be connected and adhered to Him.
Hence, when one becomes reconnected, he should always remember his time of descent so as to know, understand, appreciate, and value the time of Dvekut, so he will know that now he has salvation above the natural way.
2.23 Baal HaSulam,
Shamati, Article No. 172, “The Matter of Preventions and Delays”
All the preventions and delays that appear before our eyes are but a form of nearing—the Creator wants to bring us closer, and all these preventions bring us only nearing, since without them we would have no possibility of approaching Him. This is so because, by nature, there is no greater dis- tance, as we are made of pure matter while the Creator is higher than high. Only when one begins to approach does he begin to feel the distance between us. And any prevention one overcomes brings the way closer for that person.
(This is so because one grows accustomed to moving on a line of growing farther. Hence, whenever one feels that he is distant, it does not induce any change in the process, since he knew in advance that he is moving on a line of growing farther, since this is the truth, that there are not enough words to describe the distance between us and the Creator. Hence, every time he feels that distance to a greater extent than he thought, it causes him no contention.)
2.24 Baal HaSulam,
Letter No. 8
There is a sublime purpose for all that happens in this world, and it is called “the drop of unifica- tion.” When those dwellers of clay houses go through all those terrors, through all that totality, in His pride, which is removed from them, a door opens in the walls of their hearts, which are tightly sealed by the nature of creation itself, and by this they become fit for instilling that drop of unifi- cation in their hearts. Then they are inverted like an imprinted substance, and they will evidently see that it is to the contrary—that it was precisely in those dreadful terrors that they perceive the totality, which is removed by foreign pride. There, and only there, is the Creator Himself adhered, and there He can instill them with the drop of unification.
2.25 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.
Article No. 251, “Concerning the Minyan [Ten in the synagogue]”
It is known that we should pray mainly about the exile of the Shechina [Divinity], called Malchut, which is the tenth Sefira in the ten Sefirot, and whose essence is faith in His guidance, that He leads the world in a manner of good and doing good.
It is impossible to see the goodness of the Creator before a person purifies his desire from receiv- ing for himself, since there is the Tzimtzum [restriction] on the will to receive, which is concealment on His guidance.
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. 236, “The Whole Earth Is Full of His Glory”
There are people who feel the light of the Creator also in combinations of letters of mundane things, and there are those who do not feel even in combinations of letters of Torah and prayer that it is the light of the Creator in the manner of “Who fills the whole of reality.”
However, since there was a Tzimtzum [restriction], which is concealment, they do not feel that everything is the expanding light of the Creator.
That is, the measure that the creatures can attain, meaning the light that spreads into the sensation of the created beings, and besides the Creator wanting the lower ones to attain, it is certainly called “there is no thought or perception of Him whatsoever.”
However, a person must believe in the Tzimtzum, meaning that it is only a concealment for man’s benefit, while in truth, “The whole earth is full of His glory,” and there is no reality in the world besides Godliness, and all the concealment is only in one’s sensations.
Article No. 3 (1985), “The Meaning of Truth and Faith”
We were given the path of faith, which is above reason, namely not to take our sensations and reason into account, but say, as it is written, “They have eyes and see not. They have ears and hear not.” Rather, we should believe that the Creator is certainly the Overseer, and He knows what is good for me and what is not good for me. Therefore, He wants me to feel my state as I do, and for myself, I do not care how I feel myself because I want to work in order to bestow.
Therefore, the main thing is that I need to work for the Creator. And although I feel that there is no wholeness in my work, still, in the Kelim of the upper one, meaning from the perspective of the upper one, I am utterly complete, as it is written, “The cast out will not be cast out from Him.” Hence, I am satisfied with my work—that I have the privilege of serving the King even at the lowest degree. That, too, I regard as a great privilege that the Creator has allowed me to come closer to Him at least to some degree.
Article No. 11 (1990), “What Placing the Hanukkah Candle on the Left Means in the Work”
“Concealment of the face.” In other words, the Creator hides Himself in the clothing of the friends, and in this way he does the Creator’s will.
If he thanks the Creator for helping him through the concealment—meaning that now he has the choice to say that he is working because of the friends and he has no contact with the Creator, or that he believes that the Creator hid Himself in the clothing of the friends, and by that he engages in Torah and Mitzvot, and if he chooses and says that only the Creator helped him to be able to do good deeds by clothing in a clothing of friends, and he thanks the Creator for this—it brings upon him a great ascent: to be rewarded with the revelation of the face of the Creator.
Article No. 18 (1990), “Why the Speech of Shabbat Must Not Be as the Speech of a Weekday, in the Work”
When the Creator generously bestows upon His creations, it is considered that His face is revealed to His creations, since then everyone knows and recognizes Him. Yet, when He behaves with His creations the opposite from the above mentioned, meaning when they suffer afflictions and tor- ments in His world, it is considered the Achoraim of the Creator, for His face, meaning His complete attribute of goodness, is entirely concealed from them.”
Therefore, in that state, if he can accept the Achoraim, which is called “exile,” and does not run, but rather, “And they cried out to the Lord” to deliver him from the exile, then he accepts the Achoraim and says that it comes from the Creator, hence he asks Him that as He made him feel the taste of exile, so He will help him emerge from exile.
Letter No. 76
It is known that “The whole earth is full of His glory.” This is what every person should believe, as it is written, “I fill the heaven and the earth.” However, the Creator has made a concealment so that we cannot see Him so as to have room for choice, and then there is room for faith—to believe that the Creator “fills all the worlds and encompasses all the worlds.” And after a person engages in Torah and Mitzvot and keeps the commandment of choice, the Creator reveals Himself to him, and then he sees that the Creator is the ruler of the world.
Thus, at that time a person makes the king who will rule over him. That is, a person feels that the Creator is the ruler of the world, and this is regarded as a person making the Creator king over him. As long as one has not come to such a feeling, the Creator’s kingship is concealed. This is why we say, “On that day, the Lord will be one and His name, ‘One.’” That is, the glory of His kingship will appear over us. This is the whole correction we must do in this world, and by that we extend abundance in the world, for all the bestowals from above are drawn by engaging in Torah and Mitzvot with the aim to extend His kingship on us.
Article No. 236, “The Whole Earth Is Full of His Glory”
Before one is fit to attain the truth, he must believe that the truth is not as he knows or feels, but that it is as it is written, “They have eyes and they will not see; they have ears and they will not hear.” This is only because of the correction, in order for man to achieve his wholeness, for he feels only himself and not another reality.
Hence, if one returns his heart to trying to walk in faith above the intellect, by this he qualifies it and establishes it so as to achieve the revelation of the face, as is presented in The Zohar, that the Shechina [Divinity] said to Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, “There is no place to hide from you,” mean- ing that in all the concealments that he felt, he believed that here was the light of the Creator. This qualified him until he achieved the revelation of the face of His light.
This is the meaning of the measure of the faith that pulls one out of every lowliness and conceal- ment if a person strengthens himself in this and asks the Creator to reveal Himself.
This is the meaning of what Baal HaSulam said, “Run my Beloved until she pleases,” meaning that before one is fit to reveal His light, we ask of Him, “Run my Beloved,” meaning that He will not reveal Himself to the created beings because the concealment is only the correction of creation.
Hence, one must brace oneself and pray for those two:
- To be worthy of the revelation of the light of the Creator.
- That the Creator will give him the power to grow stronger in faith above reason, for by this, he merges Kelim [vessels] that are fit for the revelation of the face, as in “The Lord will light up His face for you and will give you peace,” as it is written, “I will hear what God will speak, for He will speak peace unto His people and unto His followers and let them not turn back to folly.”
Article No. 195, “The Association of the Quality of Judgment with Mercy”
Concerning the association of the quality of judgment with mercy, by which the lower one became worthy of Mochin, and concerning the AHP of the upper that fell into the lower one.
It is known that the main work is the choice, meaning “choose life,” so there will be Dvekut [adhesion], which is Lishma [for Her sake]. By this, one is rewarded with Dvekut with the Life of Lives. When there is open Providence, there is no room for choice. For this reason, the upper one raised the Malchut, which is the quality of judgment, to the Eynaim [eyes]. This created a conceal- ment, meaning that it seemed to the lower one that there was a drawback in the upper one, that there was no Gadlut [greatness/adulthood] in the upper one.
Subsequently, the qualities of the upper one are placed within the lower one, meaning they are deficient. It follows that these Kelim [vessels] have equivalence with the lower one, namely that as there is no vitality to the lower one, so there is no vitality in the upper qualities. In other words, he feels no taste in Torah and Mitzvot [commandments] for they are lifeless.
At that time, there is room for choice, for the lower one to say that this whole concealment that he feels is because the upper one restricted himself for the sake of the lower one. This is called “When Israel are in exile, the Shechina [Divinity] is with them,” that whatever taste he feels, so he says. That is, it is not his fault that he does not feel the taste of vitality. Rather, in his view, there really is no vitality in spirituality.
If a person overcomes and says that the bitter taste he finds in these nourishments are only because he does not have the proper Kelim to receive the abundance because his Kelim are to receive and not to bestow, and he is sorry that the upper had to hide himself, for which the lower one can slander, this is regarded as MAN that the lower one raises.
By this, the upper raises his AHP. “Raising” means that the upper one can show the lower one the merit and the pleasure that exists in the Kelim of AHP that the upper one can reveal. Thus, from the perspective of the lower one, it follows that he raises the Galgalta Eynaim of the lower one, and by this itself, the lower one sees the merit of the upper one. It follows that the lower one ascends together with the AHP of the upper one.
Thus, when the lower one sees the greatness of the upper one, by this itself the lower one grows.
However, initially, the lower one is fit to receive only Katnut [smallness/infancy]. When Gadlut in the upper one appears to the lower one, a dispute between right and left emerges in the lower one, meaning between faith and knowledge.
However, the upper is also diminished later by the lower one. This is regarded as Masach de Hirik, meaning that for the lower one to be able to receive the degrees of the upper one, the lower one must receive knowledge only to the extent of the faith, and not more. This is regarded as the lower one restricting the left line of the upper one, meaning that the lower one is the cause.
At that time, the lower one can exist because he comprises knowledge and faith together. This is called “three lines,” and specifically in this manner, the lower one acquires wholeness.
2.35 RABASH, Article No. 44,
“Ruin by Elders—Construction; Construction by Youths—Ruin”
“Ruin by elders—construction; construction by youths—ruin” (Megillah 31b).
Elders are those who are accustomed to the work of the Creator. Youths are those who are in the beginning of their work. “Ruin” means a descent or a fall, where previously they had some ascent in the work, which is regarded as building, meaning that they appreciated the ascent, but the ruin is when they felt some fall, which comes from the concealment of the Creator, that the Creator hides Himself from them. This is called “ruin.”
“Ruin by elders” means that they say that the Creator sent them the concealment. It follows that they are already building, since they believe that the Creator is tending to them, and from this they derive vitality.
Faith is apparent primarily during the descent, when it does not shine for a person. At that time, he faces a dilemma: Either he says, “I do not need any benefits. Rather, I want to bring contentment above and I do not care what I feel,” or it is otherwise.
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.
Article No. 472, “The Concealed Things Belong to the Lord Our God”
“The concealed things belong to the Lord our God, and the revealed things belong to us and to our children forever, to do all the words of this Torah [law].”
By intimation, we should interpret that “revealed” means “practiced,” and “concealed” means “intention.” The intention—which is the reason that obligates a person to do the act—is concealed from people, for one does not know what is in one’s friend’s heart.
A person might even deceive himself with regard to the intention and think that the reason that obligates him to do the deed is the benefit of the Creator, when perhaps it is his own benefit that obligates him to do the deed. This is why “concealed” implies the intention.
We should make two discernments in regard to this:
- ) the general public,
- ) the individual.
The general public normally thinks mainly about the action and not about the intention, since it is impossible to force the public to aim the true aim during the act. But with regard to the individ- ual, we speak mainly about the intention. Hence, perhaps with respect to the general public, he is righteous, but with respect to the individual, he is wicked.
In that regard, it can be said, “Even if the whole world tells you that you are righteous, be wicked in your own eyes.” That is, he should aim that it will be only for the Creator, meaning not in order to receive reward, and he is still regarded as wicked.
And when one sees that in terms of the concealed, he is completely removed from the goal, he must not despair. Rather, he must believe that “The concealed things belong to the Lord our God.” This means that He will give the concealed part, and we will do the revealed part, namely the actions. According to the increase in actions, so grows the need to increase intentions, meaning for the concealed part. Since there is a rule that there is no light without a Kli [vessel], meaning a desire, through increasing the actions we increase the lack until it reaches a certain measure, and then
“The concealed things belong to the Lord our God,” meaning that then He gives the concealed.
Article No. 777, “A Prayer for the Exile of the Shechina”
From the perspective of the worlds, there are two states: the state of the first nine, regarded as vessels of bestowal, and Malchut, which is regarded as a Kli [vessel] for reception, from whom the Klipot [shells/peels] nurse. In spirituality, one does not mix with the other.
For this reason, there is the discernment of time for man, where until age thirteen he is under the governance of the Klipot, and from age thirteen onward he begins to obtain the first nine. At that time, because he consists of Malchut of reception, he can correct her so it will be reception in order to bestow, and then the verse, “The darkness will shine as light” will come true. This means that Malchut is called “reception and knowing.” At that time, he inverts his Kelim. Conversely, if he consisted only of the first nine, he would not be able to correct anything.
This is why we need the work of the lower ones. This is the meaning of the Creator craving the prayer of the righteous, meaning those who pray and want to be righteous, meaning ask the Creator to help them invert the quality of Malchut to the quality of the upper nine.
2.39 Zohar for All, Nasso,
“The Holy Idra Rabah,” Item 299
Everything is Godliness, above time, place, and change. All those degrees and corrections we discern in Godliness are only various concealments and covers toward the lower ones, since the ten Sefirot are ten kinds of covers of His Atzmut [self]. Likewise, all the imaginary images of time and place and actions are but various covers of His Godliness that seem that way to the lower ones. As man is not affected or changes at all because of the covers that he covers in, and only his friends are affected by his disappearance or appearance, so His Godliness does not change and is not affected whatsoever by those degrees and corrections and names in time, place, and changes of actions that the lower ones discern in His covers. Rather, we must know that those covers also serve as disclosures.
Moreover, to the extent of the cover that there is in each name and correction, so is the extent of disclosure of the Creator that is in it. One who is rewarded with receiving the measure of the covers properly is then rewarded with the covers becoming for him measures of disclosure. One who learns must remember these things during the learning so he will not fail in his thought.
2.40 Zohar for All, “Introduction of The Book of Zohar,”
“On the Night of the Bride,” Item 138
It is a law that the creature cannot receive disclosed evil from the Creator, for it is a flaw in the glory of the Creator for the creature to perceive Him as an evildoer, for this is unbecoming of the complete Operator. Hence, when one feels bad, denial of the Creator’s guidance lies upon him and the superior Operator is concealed from him to that same extent. This is the greatest punishment in the world.
Thus, the sensation of good and evil in relation to His guidance brings with it the sensation of reward and punishment, for one who exerts to not part from faith in the Creator is rewarded even when he tastes a bad taste in Providence. And if he does not exert, he will have a punishment because he is separated from faith in the Creator.
2.41 Zohar for All,
“Introduction of The Book of Zohar,” “Two Points,” Item 121
All the many contradictions to His uniqueness, which we taste in this world, separate us from the Creator. Yet, when exerting to keep Torah and Mitzvot with love, with our soul and might, as we are commanded—to bestow contentment upon our Maker—all those forces of separation do not affect us into subtracting any of the love of the Creator with all our souls and might. Rather, in that state, every contradiction we have overcome becomes a gate for attainment of His wisdom. This is so because there is a special quality in each contradiction—revealing a special degree in attaining Him. And those worthy ones who have been rewarded with it turn darkness into light and bitter into sweet, for all the powers of separation—from the darkness of the mind and the bitterness of the body—have become to them gates for obtainment of sublime degrees. Thus, the darkness becomes a great light and the bitter becomes sweet.
Hence, to the extent that they previously had all the conducts of His guidance toward the forces of separation, now they have all been inverted into forces of unification, and sentence the entire world to the side of merit.
2.42 Zohar for All,
Beresheet [Genesis], “Let Us Make Man,” Item 159
According to the extent of the Panim of the degree, so is the extent of its Achoraim. The instilling of the Achoraim is a calling and an invitation to instill the Panim. This is why by the measure of the concealment of the Achoraim that they attained, they knew the measure of disclosure that they were about to attain.
As Rabbi Shimon heard, he was calling him Shimon and not Rabbi Shimon. This means that the instilling of the Achoraim, which is a calling, was so strong that he lost all his degrees and became a simple person, Shimon from the market. By that, he recognized that it was a calling and an invitation for very high attainment of Panim.
2.43 Zohar for All,
“Introduction of The Book of Zohar,” “Two Points,” Item 121
Prior to being rewarded with inverting the desire to receive in us through Torah and Mitzvot, into reception in order to bestow, there are strong locks on those gates to the Creator, for then they have the opposite role: to drive us away from the Creator. This is why the forces of separation are called “locks,” since they block the gates of approaching and drive us away from the Creator.
But if we overcome them so they do not affect us, cooling His love from our hearts, the locks become doors, the darkness becomes light, and the bitter becomes sweet. Over all the locks, we receive a special degree in His Providence, and they become openings, degrees of attainment of the Creator.
2.44 Zohar for All,
VaYera [The Lord Appeared], “And the Lord Appeared unto Him”
And this applies in the upper worlds, as well, since no revelation is dispensed upon the worlds except through concealed discernments. And by the measure of concealment in a degree, so is the measure of revelations in it, which is given to the world. If there is no concealment in it, it cannot bestow a thing.
2.45 Zohar for All,
Beresheet-1 [Genesis] “Let Us Make Man”
“And God said, ‘Let us make man,’” there is a secret revealed only to those who fear Him. That elder of the elders started and said, “Shimon, Shimon, who is it who said, ‘Let us make man,’ and of whom is it written, ‘And God said’? Who is that name ‘God’ here?” As Rabbi Shimon heard that he was calling him Shimon and not Rabbi Shimon, he said to his friends, “This must be the Creator, of whom it is written, ‘And the ancient of days [Atik Yomin] is sitting.’ Therefore, now is the time to disclose that secret, for there is a secret here that was not permitted to be disclosed, and now it means that permission to disclose has been given.”
It is known that the secrets that were revealed to the sages of The Zohar were by attainment of the lights of the upper degrees by instilling. There are Panim and Achoraim [anterior and posterior respectively] in them, meaning concealment and disclosure. According to the extent of the Panim of the degree, so is the extent of its Achoraim. The instilling of the Achoraim is a calling and an invitation to instill the Panim. This is why by the measure of the concealment of the Achoraim that they attained, they knew the measure of disclosure that they were about to attain.
As Rabbi Shimon heard, he was calling him Shimon and not Rabbi Shimon. This means that the instilling of the Achoraim, which is a calling, was so strong that he lost all his degrees and became a simple person, Shimon from the market. By that, he recognized that it was a calling and an invitation for very high attainment of Panim.
This is why he promptly said to his friends, “This must be the Creator, of whom it is written, ‘And the ancient of days [Atik Yomin] is sitting,’” of whose degree there is no higher.
That deficiency was born only by the concealment of the face of the Master, who did not want to illuminate His face to His creations right away, so they would be complete from the beginning. On the contrary, He hid His face from them and left them lacking since the light of the King’s face is life indeed, and His concealment is the source of all that is bad.
However, since the intended purpose in this concealment is not to be concealed, but rather to later be revealed and remove all the bad that was born only out of that concealment, He therefore set a law and ordinance to reveal His good hidden face. This is done either by deeds that people do, which are the ordinances and teachings He has given us, His law is the law of truth, which one who does them lives by them in eternal life, since the reward of a commandment is commandment, it is the illumination of His face, which He hid from man in the beginning of his creation.
For this reason, he was created for labor since the inclination governs him and his wickedness is great in all kinds of faults, and his distance from the light of life. And doing the commandments shines on him the hidden light until, when he completes his due commandments, he himself is completed with them to the light, in the light of this life.
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