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3.01 Baal HaSulam,
Letter No. 21
Your letter from the thirteenth of Tishrey [the first Hebrew month]. What you write me about, “I recognize how much I need external mortifications to correct my externality,” thus far your words, I say that you neither need mortifications nor to correct the externality. Who taught you this new law? It must be that you are not as attached to me as before, and are therefore learning other ways. Know that you have no other trusted friend in your whole life, and I advise you not to correct your externality at all, but only your internality, for only your internality is destined to be corrected. And the main reason why the internality is corrupted due to the proliferation of sins is the filth, whose sign is pride and self-importance. That filth fears no mortification in the world. On the contrary, it relishes them because the self-importance and pride increase and strengthen by the mortification. But if you do wish to cleanse the sins off you, you should engage in annulment of self-importance instead of the mortifications, meaning to feel that you are the lowest and the worst of all the people in the world. It requires much learning and education to understand this, and each time you should test yourself to see if you are not fooling and deceiving yourself. It also helps to lower yourself before your friend in practice.
However, you should be mindful that you lower yourself only before the right people. So if you wish to engage in it in practice, you can annul yourself before our group, and not before strangers, God forbid. However, you must know for certain that you are the worst and the lowest of all the people in the world, as this is the truth.
3.02 Baal HaSulam,
“The Essence of Religion and Its Purpose”
When one detests any self-reception and his soul loathes the petite physical pleasures and respect, he finds himself roaming free in the Creator’s world, and he is guaranteed that no damage or misfor- tune will ever come upon him, since all the damages come to a man only through the self-reception imprinted in him.
3.23 Baal HaSulam,
“The Essence of Religion and Its Purpose”
The crass, undeveloped person does not recognize egoism as bad at all. Therefore, he uses it openly, without any shame or restraint, stealing and murdering in broad daylight wherever he can. The somewhat more developed sense some measure of their egoism as bad and are at least ashamed to use it in public, stealing and killing openly. But in secret, they still commit their crimes, but are careful that no one will see them.
The even more developed sense egoism as so loathsome that they cannot tolerate it in them and reject it completely, as much as they detect of it, until they cannot, and do not want to enjoy the labor of others. Then begin to emerge in them sparks of love of others, called “altruism,” which is the general attribute of goodness.
But that, too, evolves gradually. First develops love and desire to bestow upon one’s family and kin, as in the verse, “Do not ignore your own flesh.” When one develops further, one’s attribute of bestowal expands to all the people around him, being one’s townspeople or one’s nation. And so one adds until he finally develops love for the whole of humanity.
3.04 Baal HaSulam,
Shamati, Article No. 107, “Concerning the Two Angels”
Concerning the two angels that accompany one on the eve of Shabbat [Sabbath], a good angel and a bad angel, a good angel is called “right,” by which one comes closer to serving the Creator. This is called “the right brings closer.” And the bad angel is considered “left,” pushing away. This means that it brings him foreign thoughts, whether in mind or in heart.
When one prevails over the bad and brings himself closer to the Creator, meaning that each time, he overcomes the evil and attaches himself to the Creator, it follows that through the two of them, he has come closer to Dvekut [adhesion] with the Creator. This means that both performed a single task—they have caused him to adhere to the Creator. In that state one says, “Come in peace.” And when one has completed all of one’s work and has admitted all the left into Kedusha [holiness], as it is written, “There is no place to hide from You,” the bad angel has nothing more to do, as the person has already overcome all the difficulties that the evil presented. At that time, the bad angel is idle. At that time, the person tells it, “Go in peace.”
3.05 Baal HaSulam,
“The Essence of Religion and Its Purpose”
For engaging in Mitzvot and the work to bring contentment to our Maker rapidly develops in us that sense of recognition of evil.
3.06 Baal HaSulam,
Shamati, Article No. 56, “Torah Is Called Indication”
When one engages in the Torah and sees the truth, meaning his measure of remoteness from spir- ituality, and sees that he is such a lowly being that there is not a worse person than him on earth.
3.07 Baal HaSulam,
“The Essence of Religion and Its Purpose”
I would like to clear up the essence of that development, which is attained through engagement in Torah and Mitzvot.
Bear in mind that it is the recognition of the evil within us that engagement in Mitzvot can slowly and gradually purify those who delve in them. And the scale by which we measure the degrees of cleansing is the measure of the recognition of the evil within us.
3.08 Baal HaSulam,
Letter No. 5
I rejoice in those revealed corruptions and the ones that are being revealed.
I do, however, regret and complain about the corruptions that have still not appeared, but which are destined to appear, for a hidden corruption is hopeless, and its surfacing is a great salvation from heaven. The rule is that one does not give what he does not have. Hence, if it has appeared now, there is no doubt that it was here to begin with but was hidden. This is why I am happy when they come out of their holes because when you cast your eye on them, they become a pile of bones.
3.09 Baal HaSulam,
Letter No. 5
When buried wicked appear, although they have not been fully conquered, their very appearance is regarded as a great salvation and causes the Kedusha [holiness] of the day.
3.10 Baal HaSulam,
Shamati, Article No. 52, “A Transgression Does Not Quench a Mitzva”
“A transgression does not quench a Mitzva [commandment], and a Mitzva does not quench a trans- gression.” It is the conduct of the work that one must take the good path. But the bad in a person does not let him take the good path.
For this reason, evil has no existence on its own. Rather, the existence of evil depends on love for the evil or the hate for the evil. It means that if one has love for evil then one is caught in the authority of the evil. If one hates the evil, he exits their premises and one’s evil has no dominion over that person.
It follows that the primary work is not in the actual evil, but in the measure of love and the measure of hate. For this reason, transgression prompts transgression. We must ask, “Why does he deserve such a punishment?” When one falls from one’s work, he must be aided to rise from the fall. But here we see that more obstacles are added to him so he would fall lower than the first fall. But in order to feel hatred for the evil, he is given more evil, so as to feel how the transgression removes him from the work of the Creator. Although he regretted the first transgression, he still did not feel regret enough to bring him hatred for the evil.
Hence, a transgression prompts a transgression, and every time he regrets, and each remorse certainly instigates hatred for the evil until the measure of his hatred for the evil is completed, and then he is separated from the evil, since hatred induces separation.
It therefore follows that if one finds a certain measure of hate at a level that prompts separation, he does not need a correction of transgression-prompts-transgression, and therefore saves time. When one has been rewarded, he is admitted to the love of the Creator. This is the meaning of “You who love the Lord, hate evil.” They only hate the evil, but the evil itself remains in its place, and it is only hatred to the evil that we need.
3.11 Baal HaSulam,
Shamati, Article No. 56, “Torah Is Called Indication”
Brought in Masechet Taanit (p 20), that Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Shimon, came from a fenced tower from the house of his teacher. He was riding his donkey and strolling along the riverbank feeling great joy. And his mind was crude, as he had been studying much Torah.
A person who was very ugly came by his way. He told him, “Hello rabbi,” but he did not reply. He told him, “Vain, how ugly is that man, are all your townspeople as ugly as you?” He replied, “I do not know, but go and tell the craftsman who made me, ‘How ugly is this vessel that you have made.’” Because he knew that he had sinned, he descended from the donkey.
According to the above, we can see that since he learned much Torah, through it he was granted seeing the truth about the distance between himself and the Creator, meaning the measure of his remoteness and nearness. This is the meaning of his mind being crude, meaning that he saw the complete form of one who is proud, which is his will to receive, and then he could see the truth that it was he himself who was very ugly. How did he see the truth? By learning much Torah.
Thus, how will he be able to adhere to Him, since he is such an ugly person? This is why he asked if all the people were as ugly as him or was he the only ugly one and the rest of the people in the world were not ugly.
What was the answer? “I don’t know.” It means that they do not feel and therefore do not know. And why do they not feel? It is for the simple reason that they were not rewarded with seeing the truth, since they lack Torah, so the Torah will show them the truth.
To that Elijah replied to him, “Go to the craftsman who made me.” Because he saw that he came to a state from which he could not ascend, Elijah appeared and told him, “Go to the crafts- man who made me.” In other words, since the Creator created you so ugly, He must have known that with these Kelim [vessels] it is possible to achieve the goal. So do not worry, go forward and succeed.
3.12 Baal HaSulam,
Shamati, Article No. 23, “You Who Love the Lord, Hate Evil”
In the verse, “You who love the Lord, hate evil; He preserves the souls of His followers; He will save them from the hand of the wicked,” he interprets that it is not enough to love the Creator, and to want to be awarded Dvekut [adhesion] with the Creator. One should also hate evil.
Hatred is expressed by hating the evil, called “the will to receive.” One sees that he has no way to get rid of it, and at the same time, he does not want to accept the situation. He feels the losses that the evil causes him, and also sees the truth, that one cannot annul the evil by himself, since it is a natural force from the Creator, who imprinted the will to receive in man.
In that state, the verse tells us what one can do is hate evil. And by this the Creator will keep him from that evil, as it is written, “He preserves the souls of His followers.” What is preservation? “He will deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” In that state, since he has some contact with the Creator, be it the smallest contact, he is already a successful person.
In truth, the matter of evil remains and serves as an Achoraim [posterior] to the Partzuf. But this is only through one’s correction: Through sincere hatred of evil, it is corrected into a form of Achoraim. The hatred comes because if one wants to obtain Dvekut [adhesion] with the Creator then there is a conduct among friends: If two people realize that each of them hates what his friend hates, and loves what and whom his friend loves, they come into perpetual bonding like a stake that will never fall. Hence, since the Creator loves to bestow, the lower ones should also adapt to want only to bestow.
The Creator also hates to be a receiver, as He is completely whole and does not need anything. Thus, man, too, must hate the matter of reception for oneself.
It follows from all the above, that one must bitterly hate the will to receive, for all the ruins in the world come only from the will to receive. And through the hatred, one corrects it and surrenders under the Kedusha [holiness].
3.13 Baal HaSulam,
“Peace in the World”
Everything in reality, good or bad, and even the most harmful in the world, has a right to exist and must not be destroyed and eradicated from the world. We must only mend and reform it because any observation of the work of creation is enough to teach us about the greatness and perfection of its Operator and Creator. Therefore, we must understand and be very careful when casting a flaw on any item of creation, saying it is redundant and superfluous, as that would be slander about its Operator.
3.14 Baal HaSulam,
The Torah and the Mitzvot were given only to purify Israel, to develop in us the sense of recogni- tion of evil imprinted in us at birth, which is generally defined as our self-love, and to come to the pure good defined as “love of others,” which is the one and only passage to the love of the Creator.
3.15 RABASH, Article No. 1 (1991),
“What Is, ‘We Have No Other King But You,’ in the Work?”
Is written (Psalms 89), “I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever, generation after generation I will make known Your faith with my mouth.” We should understand the meaning of “sing forever.” How can one sing to the Creator when he sees that he is full of faults and his heart is not whole with the Creator, and he feels far from the Creator? And sometimes, he even wants to escape the campaign. How can he say that this is the Lord’s mercies and he is singing about this to the Creator? According to the above, a person should say that the fact that he in a lowly state is not because now he has become worse. Rather, now, since he wants to correct himself so that all his actions will be for the sake of the Creator, from above he is shown his true state—what is in his body, which until now was concealed and was not apparent. Now the Creator has revealed them, as it is written in the book A Sage’s Fruit.
A person says about this that it is mercy that the Creator has revealed to him the bad in him so he would know the truth and would be able to ask of the Creator for a real prayer. It follows that on one hand, now he sees that he is far from the Creator. On the other hand, a person should say that the Creator is close to him and tends to him, and shows him the faults. Hence, he should say that they are mercies.
This is the meaning of the words, “I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever.” That is, on one hand, he is happy and is singing about this. On the other hand, he sees that he must repent. In other words, he must ask of the Creator to bring him closer and give him the desire to bestow, which is a second nature.
3.16 RABASH, Article No. 18 (1987),
“What Is Preparation for Reception of the Torah? – 1”
It is written, “And they stood at the foot of the mountain.”
We must understand what is a “mountain.” The word Har [mountain] comes from the word Hirhurim [thoughts], which is man’s intellect. Anything that is in the intellect is regarded as “in potential.” Afterward, it can expand into actual fact. Accordingly, we can interpret “And the Lord came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain,” as the thought and intellect of man, meaning that the Creator informed all the people that the inclination of a man’s heart is evil from his youth. After the Creator informed them in potential, meaning at the top of the mountain, that which was in potential expanded in actual fact.
For this reason, the people came to actually feel and everyone now sensed the need for the Torah, as it is written, “I have created the evil inclination; I have created the spice of Torah.” Now they said that through actually feeling that they were forced to accept the Torah, meaning without choice, since they saw that if they received the Torah they would have delight and pleasure, and if not, there it would be their burial. In other words, if we remain in our current state, our lives will not be lives but they will be our burial place.
Accordingly, we should interpret “And the Lord came down to the top of the mountain” to mean that once the Creator informed them on the mountain, in the intellect, that the evil is man’s heart, and once this has been set in their minds, in their thoughts and intellect, it immediately operated, as it is written, “And they stood at the foot of the mountain.” In other words, the descent that was on the mountain operated on them and they stood at the foot of the mountain, meaning the above descents controlled them.
It follows that “forced the mountain on them like a vault” means the descent and the information they received on the mountain, meaning with the thought about them that now they will have to receive the Torah because this mountain, meaning this descent, causes them the need to receive the Torah, so they can overcome the evil in their hearts.
Article No. 28 (1991), “What Are Holiness and Purity, in the Work?”
The beginning of his work is the recognition of evil, meaning that a person asks the Creator to feel how bad is the will to receive. This awareness that the will to receive is called “bad,” only the Creator can make him feel. This is considered that through the Torah, a person can achieve recognition of evil, meaning to understand how much his will to receive is bad, and then he can ask to replace the will to receive and give him instead the desire to bestow.
Article No. 68, “The Order of the Work”
When one believes in the delight and pleasure that exists in above reason, he comes to consciously feel, to know the evil within him. That is, he believes that the Creator imparts such delight and pleasure, and although he sees all the good above reason, he achieves recognition. That is, he feels in all the organs the power of the evil that is found in receiving for oneself, which prevents him from receiving the abundance. It follows that faith above reason causes him to feel his enemy within reason—who obstructs him from reaching the good. This is his standard. That is, to the extent that he believes in the delight and pleasure above reason, to that extent he can come to feel the recognition of evil.
Later, sensing the bad yields the sensation of delight and pleasure, since the recognition of evil in the sensation of the organs causes him to correct the bad.
This is done primarily through prayer, when he asks the Creator to give everything in bestowal, called Dvekut [adhesion]. Through these Kelim [vessels], the goal will be revealed in open Providence, meaning that there will be no need for the concealment because there will already be Kelim that are able to receive.
Article No. 143, “The Need for Recognition of Evil”
Why do we need recognition of evil, that we are submerged in the mud, unable to come out? This is the allegory. It is all because we must be very thankful. But there is a difference in how He helped him. To the extent of the favor that he received, so he comes to love Him and adhere to Him and can work for Him because He is great and ruling.
That is, the greatness of the Creator becomes evident to a person precisely if He made for him a great miracle. To the extent of the miracle, so the love awakens and His greatness is seen by His ability to help him out of the great trouble. Conversely, the spies said, “The Landlord cannot save His vessels.” This is the meaning of the verse, “From the narrow place I called on the Lord; answer me in the broad space, Lord,” meaning specifically when one is in a state of trouble.
Article No. 22 (1985), “The Whole of the Torah Is One Holy Name”
We must always consider the goal, which is to “do good to His creations.” If the evil inclination comes to a person and asks him all of Pharaoh’s questions, he should not reply with lame excuses, but say, “Now, with your questions, I can begin with the work of bestowal.”
This means that we should not say about the questions of the evil inclination that it came to us in order to lower us from our degree. On the contrary, now it is giving us a place to work, by which we will ascend on the degrees of wholeness. That is, any overcoming in the work is called “walking in the work of the Creator,” since each penny joins into a great amount.” That is, all the times we over- come accumulate to a certain measure required to become a Kli for the reception of the abundance.
Article No. 401, “Hear, O Israel”
A person should begin the work of the Creator on the right, called “male,” which is wholeness, called happy with his share, which is regarded as “desiring mercy.” Whatever flavor and vitality he has in Torah and Mitzvot [commandments] is enough for him to labor in Torah and Mitzvot because he believes in private Providence, that such is the will of the Creator, and feels that he is a complete person, and thanks and praises the Creator for giving him a part in His work.
This is called a “male,” when he feels himself as whole and he is always happy and observes, “Serve the Lord with gladness.”
However, this is called “half a body”; he does not have the quality of female, which is a lack. From the perspective of the left, he begins to calculate to what extent his qualities and thoughts are whole, and then he sees the truth, that he is still immersed in the will to receive for his own benefit, and cannot work for the sake of others, whether between man and man or between man and the Creator.
To the extent that he has the recognition of evil, he can exert, meaning work, perform actions, as in “Everything that is in the power of your hand to do, that do.” Also, he can pray from the bottom of the heart, since only to the extent that a person feels the bad, meaning feels that it is bad, to that extent he acts in order to be rid of the bad. This is called “female,” meaning a lack.
It follows that he has room for two opposite qualities. On one hand, he is regarded as complete, which is the “right,” Hesed [mercy], happy with his share. He can praise and thank the Creator for letting him into a place of Torah and good deeds. 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”.
Article No. 6 (1989), “What Is Above Reason in the Work?”
“King of Israel and his redeemer.” That is, once they have taken upon themselves the kingdom of heaven, called “king of Israel,” they attain that the Creator is his redeemer, meaning that only the Creator redeemed them from the control of the evil, and they themselves were powerless to do so.
In this way, we should interpret the words “Lord of hosts.” This name means, as Baal HaSulam interpreted, that as he said, Tzevaot [hosts] are two words: Tze [leave/go out] and Ba [comes]. That is, Tzava [army] are men of war. These are people who go each day to fight the evil inclination. They are called “army.” Therefore, after they have been rewarded with redemption, meaning after they conquer the evil inclination and emerge from the control of the evil, their conduct in the work is by way of ascents and descents, which is called Tzevaot [plural of Tzava (army)]. Meaning, at times they emerge from their control, and then are under their control again. Thus, the name for ascents and descents is Tzevaot.
During the work, a person should say, “If I am not for me, who is for me?” At that time in the work, they think that they themselves are doing the ascents and descents, that they are men of war, called Tzava, “mighty men.” Afterward, when they are redeemed, they attain that the Lord is of hosts [Tzevaot], meaning that the Creator made all the ups and downs they had.
In other words, even the descents come from the Creator. A person does not get so many ups and downs for no reason. Rather, the Creator caused all those exits. We can interpret “exit” as “exit from Kedusha [holiness],” and Ba [comes] as “coming to Kedusha. The Creator does everything. Hence, after the redemption, the Creator is called “Lord of Hosts.” And who is He? “The king of Israel and his redeemer.”
3.23 RABASH, Article No. 29 (1989),
Article No. 29 (1989), “What Is the Preparation to Receive the Torah in the Work? – 2”
Our sages said, “The Torah exists only in one who puts himself to death over it.” We should under- stand the word “exists.” What does it tell us? We should interpret this according to what our sages said, “The Creator said, ‘I have created the evil inclination; I have created the Torah as a spice.’” That is, the Torah should be a spice. In whom is this so, since “There is no light without a Kli, no filling without a lack”?
For this reason, they said that those who want to put their selves to death, meaning want to put to death the will to receive for their own sake, and want to do everything for the sake of the Creator, see that they cannot do this on their own. To them the Creator said, “I have created the evil inclination; I have created the Torah as a spice.”
Article No. 273, “The Mightiest of the Mighty”
“Who is the mightiest of the mighty? He who makes his foe his friend” (Avot de Rabbi Natan, Chapter 23).
In ethics, we should interpret that “mighty” is “one who conquers his inclination” (Avot, Chapter 4). That is, he works with the good inclination and subdues the evil inclination.
The mightiest of the mighty is one who works also with the evil inclination, as our sages said, “With all your heart—with both your inclinations” (Berachot 54), where the evil inclination, too, serves the Creator. It follows that he makes his foe, the evil inclination, his friend. And since the evil inclination is also serving the Creator, it follows that here he has more work, for which he is called “the mightiest of the mighty.”
Article No. (1990), “Why the Speech of Shabbat Must Not Be as the Speech of a Weekday, in the Work”
The work on obtaining the vessels of bestowal comes by obtaining the state of Gadlut [greatness/ adulthood] of the evil, as it is written, “For I have hardened his heart,” meaning the attainment of the bad, then, when the people of Israel came to a state where they saw that they could not escape from the bad, meaning they saw that the power of the bad was on all sides and they did not see any salvation by nature, this is considered that the Kli of the bad has been completed.
At that time comes State 5), when the Creator gives them the light, and this light reforms them. In other words, by this they emerge from the governance of evil, called “vessels of self-reception,” and are rewarded with vessels of bestowal. This is the meaning of “Stand by and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will do for you today.” This means that once the Kli of the bad has been completed, there is room for disclosure of light on the part of the upper one. This is considered that the Creator is giving them the vessels of bestowal.
Article No. 11 (1991), “What It Means that the Good Inclination and the Evil Inclination Guard a Person in the Work”
When a person wants to walk on the path of achieving Dvekut with the Creator and do all his work for the sake of the Creator, meaning to bestow contentment upon his Maker and not for his own sake, as it is against human nature, who was created with the will to receive for his own sake, and all of man’s work is that he is told that he will not obtain this by his own strength, but only the Creator can give him this power called desire to bestow, and a person should only prepare the Kli to receive this power called “second nature,” it follows that specifically through the evil inclination, which grows within him to its completion, a person sees his real deficiency—that he is unable to obtain the desire to bestow by himself. This brings him to a state where the Creator gives him the desire to bestow.
Thus, both the good inclination and the evil inclination lead a person to achieve the goal of equivalence of form, called “Dvekut with the Creator.”
Article No. 305, “The Meaning of Evil”
The evil in a person is regarded as evil only when one feels that it is evil. That is, the extent that the evil prevents him from receiving abundance determines the measure of the evil.
Normally, if one loses a penny to one’s friend, he does not hate him for this, since a penny is not important enough to fight with the other over it. But to the extent that his friend causes him losses, the level of hatred forms in him until he cannot stand him.
It follows that to the extent that a person has importance of Torah and Mitzvot [commandments], to that extent he can determine the measure of hatred for the evil, which interferes with his engage- ment in Torah and Mitzvot. For this reason, if a person wants to come to hate the evil, he must increase the importance of spirituality.
At that time, he will receive such a measure of hatred that will remove him from befriending his evil, as it is written, “You who love the Lord hate evil.” That is, to the extent that a person loves the Creator, so he hates those who interfere with loving the Creator.
Article No. 21 (1986), “Concerning Above Reason”
If one does not do good deeds, does not engage in Torah and prayer, and wish to draw near the Creator, he has no light to illuminate his heart and to allow him to see the evil in his heart. It turns out that the reason why he is still not seeing that there is more evil in his heart than in all of the friends is that he needs more good. For this reason, he thinks that he is more virtuous than his friends. It therefore turns out that his seeing that his friends are worse than he comes from his lack of the light that will shine for him, so he will see the evil in himself. Thus, the whole matter of evil that is in man is not in finding the evil, since everyone has this evil, called “will to receive in order to receive,” which is self-love. Instead, the difference is entirely in the disclosure of the evil. In other words, not every person sees and feels that self-love is bad and harmful, since a person doesn’t see that engagement in satisfying his will to receive, called “self-love,” will harm him.
Yet, when he begins to do the holy work on the path of truth, meaning when he wishes to achieve Dvekut [adhesion] with the Creator, so all his actions will be for the Creator, by that he receives a little more light that shines for him each time, and then he begins to feel self-love as a bad thing.
It is a gradual process. Each time he sees that this is what obstructs him from achieving Dvekut with the Creator, he sees more clearly each time how it—the will to receive—is his real enemy, just as King Solomon referred to the evil inclination as “an enemy.” It is written about it, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him bread, for you will heap burning coals on his head.”
Article No. 18 (1987), “What Is Preparation for Reception of the Torah? – 1”
After all the work that a person has put into awakening to achieve the truth, meaning to really know why he was born and what goal he should achieve, so now the Creator disclosed to him that the inclination of a man’s heart, which is the receiver, is evil from his youth. That is, it cannot be said that now he sees that the inclination has become bad. Rather, it is evil from his youth. However, until now he could not determine that it was really evil; therefore, the person was in states of ascent and descent. In other words, at times he would listen to the inclination and say that from now on I will know that this is my enemy and everything it advises me to do is to my detriment.
But afterwards, the esteem of the inclination rises again and once again he listens to it and works for it wholeheartedly, and so on and so forth. He feels that he is as “a dog returning to its vomit.” That is, he has already determined that it was unfit for him to listen to it because all the nourishments that the inclination gives him are but food fit for beasts and not for man. But all of a sudden, he returns to animal food and forgets all the decisions and views he had before.
Afterward, when he regrets, he sees that he has no other way but for the Creator to make him see that the inclination that is called “evil” really is evil. Then, once the Creator has given him this knowledge, he does not go astray again but asks the Creator to give him the strength to overcome it each and every time the inclination wants to fail him, so he will have the strength to overcome it. It therefore follows that the Creator should give him both the Kli [vessel] and the light, meaning both the awareness that the inclination is evil and there is a need to emerge from under its reign, and the correction for this is the Torah, as it is written, “I have created the evil inclination, I have created the Torah as a spice.” Accordingly, the Creator gave him both the need for the Torah, as well as the Torah. This is regarded as the Creator giving him the light, as well as the Kli.
3.30 RABASH, Article No. 12 (1985),
“Jacob Dwelled in the Land Where His Father Had Lived”
One must believe that the Creator has created the world with benevolence, and the evil in his body removes him from all the good. That is, when he comes to learn Torah, he finds it utterly tasteless. And also, when he comes to perform some Mitzva [good deed/correction], he finds it utterly tasteless because the evil inclination in his body has the power not to let him believe in the Creator above reason by taking out every flavor. Whenever he begins to approach something spiritual, he feels that everything is dry without any moisture of life.
When the person began his work, he was told—and he believed what he was told—that the Torah is a Torah of life, as it is written, “For they are your life and the length of your days,” and as it is written (Psalms 19), “More desirable than gold, than much fine gold, and sweeter than honey and the honeycomb.”
But when one consider this and sees that the evil inclination is to blame for everything, and strongly feels the bad that it is causing him, then he feels on himself what is written (Psalms 34) “Many are the afflictions of the righteous.” That is, that verse was said about him.
At that time he looks at what the verse says afterwards, “but the Lord delivers him out of them all.” At that time he begins to cry out to the Creator to help him because he has already done everything that he could think of doing, but nothing helped, and he thinks that “Everything that you find within your power to do, that do,” was said about him. At that time comes the time of salvation—the salvation of the Creator delivering him from the evil inclination—to the extent that from this day forth the evil inclination will surrender before him and will not be able to incite him into any transgression.
Article No. 8 (1989), “What It Means, in the Work, that If the Good Grows, So Grows the Bad”
In the beginning of the work, during the Ibur, meaning when a person begins to shift from the work of the general public to the work of individuals, the bad immediately begins to appear in him. However, it is not so apparent. Yet, when he begins to ascend in the work and begins to grow, as it is written, “The boys grew,” to the extent and order of the growth, so grows the evil. According to the measure of the good that he does, so grows the measure of the evil in him, as was said, so he will be half guilty, half innocent.
Now we can understand what RASHI explained, “Another interpretation: Struggling with each other and quarreling about the inheritance of two worlds.” We should understand for what purpose there needs to be a quarrel between them. It is as our sages said (Berachot 5), “Rabbi Levi said, ‘One should always vex the good inclination over the evil inclination.’” RASHI explains that he should wage war against the evil inclination. We need to understand what is the purpose of this war. Would it not be better if a person saw that the bad in him did not awaken? Why does he need to awaken it and fight it? It would be better if he did not risk himself, for he might not be able to defeat it, as our sages said, “One must not put oneself in danger.”
In the work, when we want to achieve bestowal, we must say when we perform Mitzvot or engage in Torah, that we want to do everything with the aim to bestow. This is called vexing the good inclina- tion over the evil inclination, since when a person says to his body, “We must work for the sake of the Creator and not for our own sake,” the body immediately becomes angry and resists with all its might. It tells him, “You can do anything, but for the sake of the Creator and not for our own sake? This is out of the question.” It follows that if he does not vex it, he will never be able to achieve the truth.
3.32 RABASH, Article No. 25 (1990),
“What Is, ‘Praise the Lord, All Nations,’ in the Work?”
When a person is rewarded with vessels of bestowal, he is rewarded with the delight and pleasure that were in the thought of creation. This is called, “When the Lord favors a man’s ways, even his enemies make peace with him.” Rabbi Yehoshua Ben Levi interprets, “This is the serpent” (Jerusalem Talmud, Terumot 8:3). The serpent is the evil inclination, who is the appointee of the seventy nations. As was said, the quality of the nations of the world in one’s body cause him not to be able to be rewarded with the delight and pleasure.
3.33 RABASH, Article No. 25 (1990),
“What Is, ‘Praise the Lord, All Nations,’ in the Work?”
Man’s enemies, which is the evil inclination, called “enemy,” as it is written, “If your enemy is hun- gry, feed him bread,” referring to the evil inclination, as our sages said, that King Solomon would call the evil inclination by the name “enemy,” so he, too, will make peace with him. This is called, “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with both your inclinations,” namely with the good inclination and with the evil inclination. When a person’s vessels of reception obtain the force to receive in order to bestow, at that time he serves the Creator with the evil inclination, too. That is, the evil inclination also loves the Creator, for it, too, receives delight and pleasure.
This is why it is written, “and the truth of the Lord,” as he interprets in The Study of the Ten Sefirot about the seventh correction of the thirteen corrections of Dikna, called “and truth,” that it is called “and truth” because in this correction it becomes revealed to all that this is the truth, that such was the purpose of creation: to do good to His creations.
Article No. 16 (1984), “Concerning Bestowal”
It is said about that (Kidushin, 30), “Man’s inclination overcomes him each day and seeks to kill him, as it is said, ‘The wicked watches the righteous, and seeks to slay him.’ And if the Creator did not help him, he would not overcome it, as it is said, ‘The Lord will not leave him in his hand.’”
This means that first, one must see if he has the strength to come to be able to act with the aim to bestow contentment upon the Creator. Then, when he has already come to realize that he cannot achieve it by himself, that person focuses his Torah and Mitzvot on a single point, which is that “the light in it reforms him,” that this will be the only reward that he wants from the Torah and Mitzvot. In other words, the reward for his labor will be for the Creator to give him this strength called “the power of bestowal.”
3.35 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.
3.36 Zohar for All, VaYera [The Lord Appeared],
“Your Wife Shall Be As a Fruitful Vine,” 453
Man is created in utter wickedness and lowliness, as it is written, “When a wild ass’s foal is born a man.” And all the vessels in one’s body, meaning the senses and the qualities, and especially the thought serve him only wickedness and nothingness all day. And for one who is rewarded with adhering unto Him, the Creator does not create other tools instead, to be worthy and suitable for reception of the eternal spiritual abundance intended for him. Rather, the same lowly vessels that have thus far been used in a filthy and loathsome way are inverted to become vessels of reception of all the pleasantness and eternal gentleness.
3.37 Rabbi Nachman of Breslov,
It is a great merit when one has evil inclination, for then he can serve the Creator precisely with the evil inclination, meaning overcome out of the warmth of the evil inclination, to extend from it into some work out His work. If one has no evil inclination, his work is completely worthless. For this reason, the Creator lets the evil inclination expand over the person in this way, and especially over one who truly craves to draw near Him, although through its expansion and provocation, it brings one to great iniquities and flaws. Nevertheless, it is all worthwhile for Him, for the good movement, for by the intensification of the evil inclination, a person overcomes it through some movement and runs away from it. This is more precious to Him than if one served Him for a thousand years without the evil inclination, for all the worlds were created only for man, whose entire merit and importance are because he has such an evil inclination, and he braces himself against it.
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