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4.01 Baal HaSulam,
Shamati, Article No. 4, “What Is the Reason for the Heaviness One Feels when Annulling before the Creator in the Work?”
We must know the reason for the heaviness one feels when he wants to work in annulling his self before the Creator and not worry about his own benefit. A person comes to a state as though the entire world stands still, and he alone is now seemingly absent from this world, and leaves his family and friends for the sake of annulling before the Creator.
There is but a simple reason for this, called “lack of faith.” It means that one does not see before whom he nullifies, meaning he does not feel the existence of the Creator. This causes him heaviness.
But when he begins to feel the existence of the Creator, his soul immediately yearns to annul and connect with the root, to be contained in it like a candle in a torch, without any mind or reason. However, this comes naturally, as a candle is canceled before a torch.
It therefore follows that the essence of one’s work is only to come to feel the existence of the Creator, meaning to feel the existence of the Creator, that “the whole earth is full of His glory,” and this will be one’s entire work. That is, all the energy one puts into the work will be only to achieve this, and nothing else.
One should not be misled into having to acquire anything. Rather, there is only one thing a person needs: faith in the Creator. He should not think of anything, meaning that the only reward that he wants for his work should be to be rewarded with faith in the Creator.
4.02 Baal HaSulam,
Shamati, Article No. 121, “She Is Like Merchant-Ships”
“Man shall not live on bread alone, but on what proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.” This means that the life of Kedusha [holiness] in a person does not come specifically from drawing closer, from entries, meaning admissions into Kedusha, but also from the exits, from the removals. This is so because through the dressing of the Sitra Achra in one’s body, and its claims, “She is all mine,” with a just argument, one is awarded permanent faith by overcoming these states.
This means that one should dedicate everything to the Creator, that is, that even the exits stem from Him. When he is rewarded, he sees that both the exits and the entries were all from Him. This forces him to be humble, since he sees that the Creator does everything, the exits as well as the entries.
This is the meaning of what is said about Moses, that he was humble and patient—that one must tolerate the lowliness, meaning that in each degree one should keep the lowliness. The minute he leaves the lowliness, he immediately loses all the degrees of Moses he had already achieved.
This is the meaning of patience. Lowliness exists in everyone, but not every person feels that lowliness is a good thing. It turns out that we do not want to suffer. However, Moses tolerated the humbleness, which is why he was called “humble,” since the lowliness made him glad.
4.03 Baal HaSulam,
Shamati, Article No. 33, “The Lots on Yom Kippurim and with Haman”
We must know that what appears to one as things that contradict the guidance of “The Good Who Does Good” is only to compel one to draw the upper light on the contradictions, when wanting to prevail over the contradictions. Otherwise, one cannot prevail. This is called “the exaltedness of the Creator,” which one extends when having the contradictions, called Dinim [judgments].
This means that the contradictions can be annulled if one wants to overcome them, only if he extends the exaltedness of the Creator. You find that these Dinim cause the drawing of the exalted- ness of the Creator. This is the meaning of what is written, “and cast his mantle upon him.”
It means that afterward he attributed the whole mantle of hair to Him, to the Creator. That is, now he saw that the Creator gave him this mantle deliberately, in order to draw the upper light on them. However, one can only see this later, after one has been granted the light that rests on these contradictions and Dinim that he had had in the beginning. This is so because he sees that without the hair, meaning the descents, there would not be a place for the upper light to be there, as there is no light without a Kli [vessel].
For this reason, he sees that all the exaltedness of the Creator he had obtained was because of the Se’arot and the contradictions he had had. This is the meaning of “The Lord on high is mighty.” It means that the exaltedness of the Creator is awarded through the Aderet, and this is the meaning of “let the exaltedness of God be in their mouth.”
This means that through the faults in the work of the Creator, it causes him to rise up, as without a push one is idle to make a movement and agrees to remain in the state he is in. But if one descends to a lower degree than he understands, this gives one the strength to overcome, for one cannot stay in such a bad state, since one cannot agree to remain like that, in the state to which he has descended. For this reason, one must always prevail and emerge from the state of descent. In that state, he must draw upon himself the exaltedness of the Creator. This causes him to extend higher forces from above, or he remains in utter lowliness. It follows that through the Se’arot, one gradually dis- covers the exaltedness of the Creator until one finds the names of the Creator, called “the thirteen attributes of Mercy.” This is the meaning of “and the elder shall serve the younger,” and “the wicked will prepare and the righteous will wear,” and also, “and you shall serve your brother.”
This means that all the enslavement, meaning the contradictions that there were, which appeared to be obstructing the holy work, and were working against Kedusha [holiness]. Now, when granted the light of the Creator, which is placed over these contradictions, we see the opposite—that they were serving the Kedusha. That is, through them, there was a place for the Kedusha to clothe in their dresses. This is called “the wicked will prepare and the righteous will wear,” meaning that they gave the Kelim [vessels] and the place for the Kedusha.
4.04 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.)
4.05 Baal HaSulam,
Shamati, Article No. 42, “What Is the Acronym Elul1 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.
4.06 Baal HaSulam,
Shamati, Article No. 70, “With a Mighty Hand and with Fury Poured Out”
We should know that of those who want to come into the work of the Creator in order to truly adhere to Him and enter the King’s palace, not everyone is admitted. Rather, he is tested: If he has no other desires but only a desire for Dvekut [adhesion], he is admitted.
And how is one tested if he has only one desire? He is given disturbances. This means that he is sent foreign thoughts and foreign messengers to obstruct him so he would leave this path and follow the path of all the people.
If one overcomes all the difficulties and breaks all the bars that block him, and little things cannot push him away, the Creator sends him great Klipot [shells/peels] and chariots to deflect one from entering into Dvekut with the Creator alone, and with nothing else. This is considered that the Creator is rejecting him with a mighty hand.
If the Creator does not show a mighty hand, it will be hard to push him away since he has a strong desire to adhere only to the Creator and to nothing else.
But when the Creator wants to reject one whose desire is not so strong, He pushes him away with a small thing. By giving him a great desire for corporeality, he already leaves the holy work entirely, and there is no need to repel him with a mighty hand.
Yet, when one overcomes all the hardships and the disturbances, one is not easily repelled, but with a mighty hand. And if one overcomes even the mighty hand and does not want to move from the place of Kedusha [holiness] whatsoever, but wants to adhere specifically to Him in truth, and sees that he is repelled, then one says that fury is poured out on him. Otherwise, he would be allowed inside. But because fury is poured out on him by the Creator, he is not admitted into the King’s palace to adhere to Him.
It follows that before one wants to move from one’s place, and breaks in and wants to enter, it cannot be said that he feels that fury is poured out on him. Rather, after all the rejections that he is rejected, and he does not move from his place, meaning when the mighty hand and the fury poured out have already been revealed upon him, then “I will be King over you” comes true. This is so because only through bursting and great efforts does the kingdom of heaven become revealed to him, and he is rewarded with entering the King’s palace.
4.07 Baal HaSulam,
Letter No. 14
“Come to Pharaoh.” It is the Shechina [Divinity] in disclosure, from the words, “and let the hair of the woman’s head go loose,” as it is written in The Zohar. The thing is that to the extent that the children of Israel thought that Egypt were enslaving them and impeding them from serv- ing the Creator, they truly were in the exile in Egypt. Hence, the Redeemer’s only work was to reveal to them that there is no other force involved here, that “I and not a messenger,” for there is no other force but Him. This was indeed the light of redemption, as explained in the Passover Haggadah [story].
This is what the Creator gave to Moses in the verse, “Come to Pharaoh,” meaning unite the truth, for the whole approaching the king of Egypt is only to Pharaoh, to disclose the Shechina. This is why He said, “For I have hardened his heart,” etc., “that I may place these signs of Mine within him.”
In spirituality, there are no letters, as I have already elaborated on before. All the multiplication in spirituality relies on the letters derived from the materiality of this world, as in, “And creator of darkness.” There are no additions or initiations here, but the creation of darkness, the Merkava [chariot/structure] that is suited to disclose that the light is good. It follows that the Creator Himself hardened his heart. Why? Because it is letters that I need.
This is the meaning of “that I may place these signs of Mine within him, and that you may tell … that you may know that I am the Lord.” Explanation: Once you receive the letters, meaning when you understand that I gave and toiled for you, as in, do not move from “behind” Me, for you will thoroughly keep the Achoraim [posterior/back] for Me, for My name, then the abundance will do her thing and fill the letters. The qualities will become Sefirot, since before the filling they are called “qualities,” and upon their fulfillment for the best, they are called Sefirot, sapphire, illuminating the world from one end to the other.
This is the meaning of “that you may tell.” I need all this for the end of the matter, meaning “And you shall know that I am the Lord” “and not a messenger.” This is the meaning of the fiftieth gate, which cannot appear unless the forty-nine faces of pure and impure appear in one opposite the other, in which the righteous falls [forty-nine in Gematria] before the wicked.
4.08 Baal HaSulam,
Letter No. 19
To Him who knows the mysteries, the desire in one’s heart for His nearness is known, and that it might still be interrupted. Hence, He increases His stimuli, meaning the beginnings of the coituses, for if one listens to His voice, as in “The Lord of your shade,” one does not fall and descend due to the increasing affliction of the stimuli since he sees and hears that the Shechina also suffers as he does by the increased longing. Thus, one’s longing grows and intensifies each time until one’s point in the heart is completed with complete will in a tight knot that will not crumble.
4.09 Baal HaSulam,
Shamati, Article No. 19, “What Is “The Creator Hates the Bodies,” in the Work?”
One must always examine oneself, the purpose of one’s work, meaning if the Creator receives con- tentment in every act that one performs, because he wants equivalence of form with the Creator. This is called “All your actions will be for the sake of the Creator,” meaning that one wants the Creator to enjoy everything he does, as it is written, “to bring contentment to his Maker.”
Also, one needs to conduct oneself with the will to receive and say to it, “I have already decided that I do not want to receive any pleasure because you want to enjoy, since with your desire I am forced to be separated from the Creator, for disparity of form causes separation and distance from the Creator.”
One’s hope should be that since he cannot break free from the power of the will to receive, he is therefore in perpetual ascents and descents. Hence, he awaits the Creator, to be rewarded with the Creator opening his eyes, and to have the strength to overcome and work only for the sake of the Creator. It is as it is written, “One have I asked of the Lord; her will I seek.” “Her” means the Shechina [Divinity]. And one asks “that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.”
4.10 Baal HaSulam,
“Introduction to The Study of the Ten Sefirot,” Item 101
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.
4.11 Baal HaSulam,
Letter No. 47
The nature of spirituality: One who is adhered to the Creator feels himself as not adhered. He wor- ries and is insecure about it and does all that he can do by his strength to be rewarded with Dvekut [adhesion]. A wise one feels opposite from one who is not adhered to the Creator, who feels content and satisfied, and does not worry properly, except to keep the Mitzvot [commandments] of worry and longing, for “a fool does not feel.”
4.12 Baal HaSulam,
Letter No. 18
One who assumes the complete burden of the kingdom of heaven finds no labor in the work of the Creator, and can therefore adhere to the Creator day and night, in light and in darkness. The Geshem [“rain,” but also “corporeality”]—which is created in coming and going, changes and exchanges—will not stop him since the Keter, which is Ein Sof, illuminates to all completely equally. The fool—who walks under a flood of preventions that pour on him from before and from behind—says to all that he does not feel the cessation and the lack of Dvekut [adhesion] as a cor- ruption or iniquity on his part.
Had he sensed it, he would certainly have strained to find some tactic to at least be saved from the cessation of Dvekut, whether more or less. This tactic has never been denied of anyone who sought it, either as in “the thought of faith” or as in “confidence,” or as in “pleas of his prayer,” which are suitable for a person specifically in the narrow and pressured places.
Article No. 1 (1989), “What Is the Measure of Repentance?”
We should know that when a person wants to emerge from merely performing actions, without the aim, and wants to begin the work of acting with the aim to bestow, there is much work in this, since when the body begins to hear about the aim to bestow, it immediately begins to resist and does not let one continue this work, showing him dark colors in this work.
In that state, a person should believe that only the Creator can help. Here is where a person can make a true prayer. It is called “true” because it is really the truth. That is, the Creator has made man unable to help himself, and the reason is that “There is no light without a Kli,” as we have said several times. As Baal HaSulam says, the Creator made man unable to exit self-love by himself in order for man to need the Creator’s help. How does the Creator help? With a holy soul, as it is written in The Zohar. Otherwise, a person does not have the need to receive the light of the Torah, and will settle for observing Torah and Mitzvot and not needing to receive the NRNHY of Neshama that have been prepared for him.
But when he sees that he cannot exit self-love and be rewarded with equivalence of form, he needs the Creator’s help. How does He help a person? Through a holy soul, called “upper light” that is revealed within man, so he will feel that there is a soul within him that is “a part of God above.” It follows that according to man’s ability to overcome, he increases the disclosure of the light of the Creator. For this reason, the Creator has made the hardening of the heart, so that man will be unable to overcome the evil in him and will need the Creator. By this, man will need to be rewarded with the NRNHY of Neshama.
Article No. 29 (1986), “Lishma and Lo Lishma”
A person who wishes to walk on the path of bestowal, he must understand that from above he is given a special treatment, that he was lowered from the previous state so he would begin to really contemplate the goal, meaning what is required of man and what man wants the Creator to give him. But when he is in a state of ascent, when he has desire for Torah and Mitzvot, he has no need to worry about spirituality. Instead, he sees that he will stay this way his whole life because he is happy this way.
It therefore follows that the descent he has received is for his own good, meaning that he is receiving special treatment, that he was lowered from his state where he thought that he had some wholeness. This is apparent in his agreeing to remain in the current state his whole life.
But now that he sees that he is far from spirituality, he begins to think, “What is really required of me? What should I do? What is the purpose I should achieve?” He sees that he has no power to work, and finds himself in a state of “between heaven and earth.” Then, man’s only strengthening is that only the Creator can help, but by himself, he is doomed.
It was said about this (Isaiah, 4:31): “Yet those who hope for the Lord will gain new strength,” meaning those people who hope for the Creator. This means that they who see that there is no one else in the world who can help them regain strength each time. It follows that this descent is actually an ascent, meaning that this descent that they feel allows them to rise in degree, since “there is no light without a Kli.”
Article No. 38 (1985), “A Righteous Who Is Happy, a Righteous Who Is Suffering”
When one wants to go on the path of doing everything for the Creator, where in everything he does he thinks what benefit the Creator will derive from this, and does not think of his own benefit, then the body comes to him with arguments. It begins to slander this path, called “the path of bestowal and not for one’s self-benefit,” and argues the arguments of Pharaoh and the argument of the wicked, which are regarded as “mind and heart,” namely “who and what.”
When a person begins to listen to their arguments, he begins to wonder because he has never heard such strong arguments coming from his body as the ones he hears now. When he began the work he thought that each time he would advance further toward the goal, meaning that each time he would see that it is worthwhile to work for the Creator.
But suddenly he sees that where he should have had a greater desire to serve the Creator, he hears rejection from the body, which tells him now, “Why don’t you want to go the way the whole world goes, where you should be meticulous with the nitty gritty actions, and concerning the intention you should say, ‘May it be as though I intended.’” “But now,” says the body, “I see that you are paying attention specifically to the intentions, meaning that you can aim that everything will be for the Creator and not for yourself. Can it be that you will be different? Don’t you want to be like everyone else, who say that this is the safest way? And the evidence of this is to look at everyone else, how they behave.”
At that time begins the work of overcoming. That is, he needs to overcome their arguments and not surrender to their demands. He must certainly give them clear answers to what they are making him see, that his desire to intend that all his works will be only to bestow and not for his own benefit is against reason, since reason mandates that since man was created with a will to receive delight and pleasure, and there is a natural demand to satisfy it—or else, why does he need life if not to enjoy it, to satisfy the body’s demands—and so it lets him understand that this makes perfect sense, and there is no excuse to answer its arguments.
The clear reply should be that we believe in the words of the sages, who taught us that we must go above mind and reason. That is, true faith is specifically above reason, and what the mind understands is not all true, since with respect to the Creator, we learn that “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor My ways your ways.”
Article No. 20 (1990), “What Is Half a Shekel in the Work? – 2”
There are two manners that cause a person to escape the campaign even when he enters the work of being adhered to the Creator. Once a person begins to walk on the path of truth, he is shown from above his lowliness, meaning that the more he overcomes, the more hardening of the heart he receives from above, because as it is written, “That I may set these signs of Mine within him.” This means that by this, there will be room for the revelation of the light of Torah, called “letters,” and this reforms him. That is, since there is no light without a Kli, through the hardening of the heart, the lack appears sufficiently, and the Creator knows when the measure is sufficient, when the Kli is completed.
Therefore, sometimes a person escapes the campaign when he sees that he has already prayed a lot in his opinion, but the Creator does not notice him. At that time, sometimes a person sentences the Creator to the side of merit for not granting his prayer, and says that it is because he has a poor character in every way, in virtues, and in good qualities, etc.
It was said about this, “The poor shall not give less,” meaning that a person should not belittle himself and say that the Creator cannot help a lowly person such as him, for it was said about this, “The Lord is high and the low will see.”
And sometimes, a person leaves the campaign because he knows that he is rich, meaning he has much Torah and many good deeds, and he knows that he is superior to others. Therefore, when he asks the Creator to help him be able to do everything in order to bestow, why is the Creator not granting him, for he knows that he has already given many prayers for it. Therefore, he says that the Creator does not want to answer him, and therefore he runs.
And yet, a person must always overcome.
Article No. 18 (1990), “Why the Speech of Shabbat Must Not Be as the Speech of a Weekday, in the Work”
The first assistance he receives is the revelation of the evil in him. This is called “hardening of the heart,” as it is written, “For I have hardened his heart.” This is regarded as obtaining the Achoraim of Kedusha. Kedusha is called Panim, and Panim is considered something that illuminates, as he says (“Introduction to The Study of the Ten Sefirot,” Item 47), “We must first understand what is the meaning of the ‘face of the Creator,’ about which the writing says, ‘I will hide My face.’ It can be thought of as a person who sees his friend’s face and knows him right away. However, when he sees him from behind he is not certain of his identity. He might doubt, ‘Perhaps he is another and not his friend?’ So is the matter before us: Everyone knows and feels that the Creator is good and that it is the conduct of the good to do good. Hence, 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 torments 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.
Article No. 24 (1986), “The Difference between Charity and Gift”
In the work of the Creator, in the beginning of his work he had energy and confidence, and great importance for Torah and prayer because at that time he had grace of holiness, and felt that the work of the Creator is important. However, this was still not considered a “deficiency” that the Creator will satisfy, a deficiency is called Dvekut [adhesion] with the Creator, since the lack and pain of not having Dvekut with the Creator was still not felt in him as he has not exerted for it because he has just begun the work.
But after a long period of time of making efforts and not achieving satisfaction of his deficiency, torments and pain begin to form in him because he has made efforts but sees no progress in his work. At that time the thoughts begin to come one-by-one. Sometimes it is with sparks of despair, and sometimes he grows stronger, but then he sees once more that he has fallen from his state, and so on repeatedly. Finally, a real deficiency forms in him, which he has obtained through exertion in ascents and descents. These ascents and descents leave him with pain each time at not having been granted Dvekut with the Creator. Finally, when the cup of labor has been filled sufficiently, it is called a Kli. Then the filling of it comes from the Creator, since now he has a real Kli.
It follows that his seeing that now—after several years of work—he has retreated, this happens deliberately so he will ache at not having Dvekut with the Creator. It turns out that each time he must see that he is approaching the making of the Kli, called “real deficiency.” That is, his gauge of Katnut [infancy/smallness] and Gadlut [adulthood/greatness] of the deficiency is to the extent of the suffering he feels at not having the filling, which is called here “Dvekut with the Creator,” where all he wants is only to bring contentment to the Creator.
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.
Article No. 19 (1985), “Come unto Pharaoh – 1”
We should pay attention to “Come unto Pharaoh” and believe through the worst possible states, and not escape the campaign, but rather always trust that the Creator can help a person and give him, whether one needs a little help or a lot of help.
In truth, one who understands that he needs the Creator to give him a lot of help, because he is worse than the rest of the people, is more suitable for his prayer to be answered, as it is written, “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit.”
Therefore, one should not say that he is unfit for the Creator to bring him closer, but that the reason is that he is idle in his work. Instead, one should always overcome and not let thoughts of despair enter his mind, as our sages said (Berachot, 10), “Even if a sharp sword is placed on his neck he should not deny himself of mercy,” as it was said (Job, 13), “Though He slay me, I will hope for Him.” We should interpret the “sharp sword placed on his neck” to mean that even though one’s evil, called “self-love,” is placed on his neck and wants to separate him from Kedusha by showing him that it is impossible to exit this authority, he should say that the picture he sees is the truth.
However, “He should not deny himself of mercy,” for at that time he must believe that the Creator can give him the mercy, meaning the quality of bestowal. That is, by himself, it is true that one cannot exit the authority of self-reception. But from the perspective of the Creator, when the Creator helps him, of course He can bring him out. This is the meaning of what is written, “I am the Lord your God, who took you out from the land of Egypt to be your God.”
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. 21 (1988), “What Does It Mean that the Torah Was Given Out of the Darkness in the Work?”
In the work, “the nations of the world” means that the body comprises seventy nations that want the Torah not because they feel darkness when they have no vessels of bestowal. Rather, their only desire is the vessels of reception and they have no desire to emerge from that control. They want the Torah in order to add more light to themselves, meaning more pleasure than they receive from corporeal matters. That is, they also want the next world, as it is written in The Zohar, “They howl as dogs Hav, Hav [give, give], give us the wealth of this world, and give us the wealth of the next world.” That is, the wealth of this world is not enough for them, but they also want the wealth of the next world. It follows that the Torah was given specifically to those who feel that their will to receive controls them. They cry out from the darkness that they need the Torah in order to deliver them from the darkness that is the control of the vessels of reception, on which there was a Tzimtzum [restriction] and concealment so that no light will shine in that place. But that place is the cause for the need to receive the Torah.
Article No. 5 (1988), “What Is, ‘When Israel Are in Exile, the Shechina Is With Them,’ in the Work?”
What is the meaning of “When Israel are in exile, the Shechina is with them”? As Rabbi Shimon Ben Yochai said, “Wherever they exile, the Shechina is with them.” What is the benefit from this in the work, that he says about it, “How beloved are Israel by the Creator”?
We should interpret that when a person feels that he is in exile, meaning feels the taste of exile in the work and wants to escape from the exile, the meaning will be that a person must believe that wherever they are exiled, the Shechina is with them. That is, the Shechina let him feel the taste of exile. “With them” means that the Shechina is attached to them and they are not separated from the Shechina, that they should say that it is a descent. On the contrary, now the Shechina is giving him a push so he will climb the degrees of Kedusha [holiness/sanctity], and dresses herself in a garment of descent.
When a person knows and believes that this is so, it will encourage him so he does not escape the campaign or say that the work of bestowal is not for him because he always sees that he is in states of ascents and descents, and he sees no end to these states and falls into despair.
But if he walks in the path of faith and believes in the words of our sage, then he must say the opposite.
4.24 RABASH, Article No. 30 (1989),
“What Is the Meaning of Lighting the Menorah in the Work?”
Only one who labors and works as much as he can, and goes through ups and downs, can say that he tastes the taste of darkness because he cannot overcome his will to receive for himself.
Thus, the descents that a person receives when he wants to walk on the path of truth are instru- ments for the sensation of the help he will receive. We must believe the words of our sages who said, “He who comes to purify is aided.” A person must not escape the campaign when he sees that he is not making progress. Sometimes he gets thoughts of the spies, who said that this work is not for us and requires special people who can walk on the path of overcoming.
All this comes to him because he understands that each time, he must see how he is making prog- ress. However, it does not occur to him that he must advance in obtaining darkness, that this is the only Kli he needs to acquire. A Kli is a need for a filling. That is, if he has no filling for the lack, he feels that he is in the dark. For this reason, a person must not say that he is not advancing in the work. Hence, he wants to escape the campaign, for it is not the truth, since he sees each time how far he is from obtaining the light, meaning for the Creator to give him the Kli called “desire to bestow.” He cannot obtain the desire to bestow by himself, and then he comes to feel that the world has grown dark on him. At that time, the light comes, meaning help from above, as it is written, “He who comes to purify is aided.”
Letter No. 77
The whole foundation is that one should ask that all of one’s thoughts and desires will be only to benefit the Creator, a depiction of lowliness, called Shechina in the dust, immediately appears. Hence, we must not be impressed by the descent, since many pennies join into a great amount.
This is as we learned, “there is no absence in spirituality,” rather that it has temporarily departed in order to have room for work to advance. This is so because every moment that we scrutinize into holiness enters the domain of holiness, and a person descends only in order to sort out more sparks of holiness.
However, there is an advice that one should not wait until his degree is lowered for him, and when he feels his lowliness he goes up again, and that ascent is regarded as sorting a part into holiness. Instead, he himself descends and elevates other sparks, and raises them into the domain of holiness.
It is as our sages said, “Before I lose, I search” (Shabbat, 152), meaning before I lose the situation I am in, I start searching. It is as Baal HaSulam said about King David, who said, “I awaken the dawn.” Our sages said, “I awaken the dawn and the dawn does not awaken me.”
Therefore, the keeping is primarily during the ascent, and not during the descent.
4.26 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. 6 (1991), “What Is, ‘The Herdsmen of Abram’s Cattle and the Herdsmen of Lot’s Cattle,’ in the Work?”
In every beginning a person must start over the acceptance of the kingdom of heaven, it is not enough that yesterday he had faith in the Creator. For this reason, every acceptance of the kingdom of heaven is considered a new discernment. That is, now he receives a part of the vacant space that was devoid of the kingdom of heaven, and admits that empty place and fills it with the kingdom of heaven. It follows that now he sorted out a new thing, which did not exist before he took that empty place and filled it with the kingdom of heaven. This is regarded as elevating a new spark into the Kedusha. Finally, from all the ascents, he always raises sparks from the vacant space into the Kedusha.
It follows that from each descent he arrives at a new beginning and raises new sparks. Hence, when a person sees that he has descents, he should be careful not to escape from the campaign, even though he sees that he is not progressing. Rather, he must try to start anew each time. That is, the fact that he begins to ascend does not mean that he returned to his previous degree. This would mean that he did nothing by his work, since he thinks that he is now ascending to his previous level. Rather, he must believe that this is a new discernment, that each time, he raises different sparks, until he raises the sparks that pertain to his essence.
Article No. 289, “The Creator Is Meticulous with the Righteous”
The blow that one receives from the Creator, when He takes from him the flavor of the work, by this itself He heals him because then he has no other way to serve the Creator but with faith above reason. It follows that the blow that he received from the Creator, from this itself he can be healed, for otherwise, he will remain in separation.
By this we understand what our sages said, that by the blows of the Creator, He heals (Mechilta BeShalach). In other words, this is the healing—that He gives him room to work with faith without any support.
Also, we should understand what our sages said, “The Creator makes a decree and a righteous revokes it” (Moed Katan, 16). This means that the Creator makes a decree, taking from him the plea- sure of the work, and there is no harsher decree than taking from someone the vitality in the work. But the righteous revokes it. That is, if a person says he wants to work without any reward of vital- ity and pleasure, then the decree is revoked in any case. Moreover, now he rises to a higher degree, for now he is in a state of pure faith and is regarded as having no self-interest.
Article No. 21, “Sanctification of the Month”
A person must take upon himself the burden of the kingdom of heaven on the lowest quality, and say about it that to him, even that state, the lowest that can be, meaning one that is entirely above reason, when he has no support from the mind or the feeling, so he can build its foundations on it, and at that time, he is seemingly standing between heaven and earth and has no support, for then everything is above reason, then a person says that the Creator sent him this state, where he is in utter lowliness, since the Creator wants him to take upon himself the burden of the kingdom of heaven in this manner of lowliness.
At that time, because he believes above reason, he takes upon himself that the situation he is in now comes to him from the Creator, meaning that the Creator wants him to see the lowest possible state that can be in the world.
And yet, he must say that he believes in the Creator in all manners. This is considered that he has made an unconditional surrender. That is, a person does not say to the Creator, “If You give me a good feeling, to feel that ‘The whole earth is full of His glory,’ I will be willing to believe.”
Rather, when he has no knowledge or sensation of spirituality, he cannot accept the burden of the kingdom of heaven and observe the Torah and Mitzvot [commandments]. Rather, he must accept the kingdom of heaven unconditionally.
Article No. 926, “Come unto Pharaoh”
They said that one should see oneself as half guilty, half innocent, since the Creator deliberately made it so that the good and the bad will always be of equal weight, so he can decide. Hence, if he performs one Mitzva [commandment] and has decided to the side of merit, he becomes great.
At that time, they say, “Anyone who is greater than his friend, his inclination is greater than him.” In other words, the Creator deliberately hardens his heart so he would be able to make a choice once more, for in each choice, a person gains the letters of the Torah. Thus, the signs are not for the sake of the Creator but for the sake of man.
It therefore follows that the hardening of the heart is only for man’s sake, for by this he will be rewarded with the letters of the Torah. Although during the fact, a person does not feel all that he is meant to feel, when he has completed his discernment, what he has done all that time is revealed to him at once.
Like the allegory that Baal HaSulam once gave, this is similar to a person earning nothing but zeros. Each time, he sees that he has earned only zero. After the first time, he has one zero. After the second time, two zeros, and after the third, three zeros, until he accumulates many zeros. But at the end of his work, he earns a one. Thus, he might have one zero with the one, which is only ten, or he might have one million, or more. It follows that each time, letters of the Torah are added in him. This is the meaning of “that I may set these signs of Mine within him.”
4.31 RABASH, Article No. 38 (1990),
“What Is, ‘A Cup of Blessing Must Be Full,’ in the Work?”
When a person is already standing near the place from which he will receive the help from above, and “near” means that the Kli [vessel], meaning the desire to bestow, is far away from him, then he sees that only the Creator can save him. As Baal HaSulam said, this is the most important point in man’s work, for then he has close contact with the Creator because he sees one hundred percent that nothing can help him but the Creator Himself.
Although he believes this, still, this faith does not always illuminate for him that specifically now is the best time to receive the salvation of the Creator, that specifically now he can be saved and the Creator will bring him closer, meaning give him the desire to bestow and emerge from the control of self-love, which is called “exodus from Egypt.” In other words, he comes out of the control of the Egyptians, who afflicted Israel and did not let them do the holy work. “And the children of Israel sighed from the work, and their cry rose up to God,” and then the Creator brought them out from the exile in Egypt.
In other words, since the people of Israel felt the enslavement and wanted to escape from this exile that the Egyptians were enslaving them, when they came to this important point of feeling their lowliness, the Creator brought them out of Egypt. This is as the ARI says, that when the people of Israel were in Egypt, they were already in forty-nine gates of Tuma’a [impurity], and then the Creator brought them out from Egypt.
This means that they already came to the worst lowliness, the lowest that can be, and then the Creator brought them out.
4.32 RABASH, Article No. 16 (1988),
“What Is the Foundation on which Kedusha [Holiness] Is Built?”
I am still immersed in self-love and I still do not have love for the Creator. I am still without the glory of the Torah and I still do not have the importance of the Torah to know that it is worth- while to do everything to obtain the light of Torah, as well as how to appreciate the importance of observing the Mitzvot that the Creator commanded for us.
When I need to perform some Mitzva and intend that it will be in order to bestow, the resistance in the body promptly awakens in full force. And he has a great struggle to do anything and he sees the ascents and descents each time. And then he has room for prayer. This is so because a person awakens himself at the right time, meaning when he feels that he will be able to pray instanta- neously, and not that the black will bring him sadness and depression, that he will not have the ability to pray for the blackness.
One can see for himself whether it comes to him from the side of Klipa or not. The sign for this is that something that comes from Kedusha is always in the form of “increasing holiness and not decreasing.” In other words, one always asks the Creator to elevate him to a higher degree than the one he is on. But when the blackness comes from the side of Klipa, a person cannot ask the Creator to raise him above his state. “Rather, they bring down,” meaning bring him down to the netherworld, and he loses the small portion of faith that he had and he remains seemingly dead, without the spirit of life.
Article No. 21 (1988), “What Does It Mean that the Torah Was Given Out of the Darkness in the Work?”
When a person wants to draw near to the Creator, meaning use the vessels of bestowal, but he can- not because the body disagrees with it, since his body extends from vessels of reception, at that time a person feels that the world has grown dark on him, for he understands that if he cannot obtain vessels of bestowal, he will never be rewarded with the upper light, which is the light of “doing good to His creations.”
It follows that the darkness he feels from not being able to obtain vessels of bestowal by himself gives him the need that someone will help him obtain those Kelim [vessels]. According to the rule, “There is no light without a Kli [vessel], no filling without a lack,” it follows that now he has received a need for the light of Torah. It is as our sages said, “I have created the evil inclination; I have created the Torah as a spice.”
Thus, the Torah is given specifically to the deficient, and that deficiency is called “darkness.” This is the meaning of the words, “The Torah was given out of the darkness.” That is, one who feels darkness in his life because he has no vessels of bestowal is fit to receive the Torah, so that through the Torah, the light in it will reform him and he will obtain the vessels of bestowal. Through them, he will be fit to receive the delight and pleasure.
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.
Overcoming means taking a part of a vessel of reception and adding it to the vessels of bestowal. It is like the Masach [screen], which we must put on the Aviut [thickness/will to receive]. It follows that if one has no will to receive, one has nothing on which to place a Masach. For this reason, when the evil inclination brings us foreign thoughts, this is the time to take these thoughts and raise them above reason.
This is something one can do with everything one’s soul desires. He should not say that now he has received rejection from the work. Rather, he should say that he was given thoughts and desires from above so as to have room to admit them into Kedusha [holiness]. It therefore follows that it is to the contrary: because he is brought closer from above, he was sent work.
It was said about this: “The ways of the Lord are straight; righteous walk in it and transgressors fail in it.”
Article No. 71, “The Meaning of Exile”
“When Israel are in exile, the Shechina [Divinity] is with them.” This means that if one falls into a descent, spirituality is also descended in him. But according to the rule, “a Mitzva [commandment] induces a Mitzva,” why does he come into a descent? Answer: He is given a descent from above so as to feel that he is in exile and ask for mercy, to be delivered from exile. This is called “redemption,” and there cannot be redemption if there is no exile there, first.
What is exile? It is that he is under the rule of self-love and cannot work for the sake of the Creator. When is self-love considered exile? It is only when he wants to emerge from this control because he suffers from not being able to do anything for the sake of the Creator.
It follows that when he began to work, there had to be some pleasure and reward for which the body agreed to this work. Afterward, when he was permitted to see that there is the matter of “for the sake of the Creator,” because a Mitzva induces a Mitzva, and he had to ask to be delivered from exile, then he runs from the exile.
How does he run from the exile? It is by saying that he will not succeed in this work. Thus, what does he do? He commits suicide, meaning leaves the work and returns to corporeal life, which is regarded as “The wicked in their lives are called ‘dead.’”
It follows that where he should have asked for redemption from exile, he runs from the exile and commits suicide. This is as it is written, “The ways of the Lord are straight; the righteous will walk in them, and transgressors will fail in them.” However, he should go above reason.
A descent in spirituality does not mean that now he has no faith. Rather, now he must do more work, and the previous faith is considered a descent compared to this work.
Article No. 4 (1998), “What Is a Flood of Water in the Work?”
We must know that it is a lot of work before we attain the quality of Bina. That is, to be content with little with his feeling and his mind, and be happy with his share, with what he has. That person can always be in wholeness because he is happy with his share.
But what can one do if he has not yet obtained this quality, and he sees that he cannot overcome his will to receive. At that time, he must pray to the Creator to help him so he can go in the work with his eyes shut, and will not need anything, and will be able to do everything for the sake of the Creator despite the resistance of the body to this.
That is, he does not tell the Creator how He should help him. Rather, he must subjugate himself and annul before the Creator unconditionally. But since he cannot overcome his body, he asks the Creator to help him win the war against the inclination.
Article No. 16 (1985), “But the More They Afflicted Them”
“And the children of Israel sighed because of the labor, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God because of the labor. And God heard their groaning.”
We should be precise about the words “because of the labor” being written twice. We should explain that all the sighs were from the labor, meaning that they could not work for the Creator. Indeed, their suffering was from not being able to make the work that they were doing be for the Creator, due to the Klipa of Egypt. This is why it is written, “Because of the labor” twice.
- All the sighs were not because they were lacking anything. They lacked only one thing, meaning they did not wish for any luxuries or payment. Their only lack, for which they felt pain and suffering, was that of not being able to do anything for the Creator. In other words, they wished that they would have a desire to give contentment to the Creator and not to themselves, but they couldn’t, and this afflicted them. This is called “wanting to have some grip in spirituality.”
- The second “Because of the labor” comes to teach that, “And their cry came up unto God,” that God heard their groaning, was because their only request was work. This comes to imply to the other “because of the labor.” It turns out that the whole exile that they felt was only because they were under the rule of the Klipa of Egypt and they could not do anything to make it only in order to bestow.
Article No. 34 (1991), “What Is Eating Their Fruits in This World and Keeping the Principal for the Next World, in the Work?”
Those who say that they want to escape from the work but have nowhere else to go, since nothing satisfies them, those people do not walk out from the work. Although they have ups and downs, they do not give up. This is as it is written, “And the children of Israel sighed from the work, and they cried, and their cry went up to God from the work.” In other words, they cried out from the work because they were not advancing in the work of the Creator, so they could work in order to bestow content- ment upon the Maker. At that time, they were rewarded with the exodus from Egypt. In the work, this is called “emerging from the control of the will to receive and entry into the work of bestowal.”
Article No. 6 (1990), “When Should One Use Pride in the Work?”
A person should pay attention to this and believe that the Creator is tending to him and guides him on the track that leads to the King’s palace. It follows that he should be happy that the Creator is watching over him and gives him the descents, as well. That is, a person should believe, as much as he can understand, that the Creator is giving him the ascents, since certainly, a person cannot say that he himself receives the ascents, but that the Creator wants to bring him closer; this is why He gives him the ascents.
Also, a person should believe that the Creator gives him the descents, as well, because He wants to bring him closer. Therefore, every single thing that he can do, he must do as though he is in a state of ascent. Therefore, when he overcomes a little during the descent, it is called an “awakening from below.” Each act that he does, he believes that it is the Creator’s will, and by this itself he is rewarded with greater nearing, meaning that the person himself begins to feel that the Creator has brought him closer.
4.40 Zohar for All,
Beresheet [Genesis], “Let Us Make Man”
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.
4.41 Zohar for All, “Introduction of The Book of Zohar,”
“The Second Commandment,” Item 201
Complete love is love on both sides, whether in Din, or in Hesed and successful ways. He will love the Creator even if He takes His soul away from Him. This love is complete, for it is on both sides, in Hesed and in Din. Hence, the light of the act of creation came out, and was then concealed. When it became concealed, the harsh Din came out and the two sides, Hesed and Din, were included together, becoming whole.
This is proper love, for the light that was created in the six days of creation, in the verse, “Let there be light,” was concealed again, as it is written in The Zohar, “Let there be light for this world, and let there be light for the next world.” The light from this world was concealed, and appears only for the righteous in the next world.
Why was it concealed? It is because with the concealing of the light, harsh Din came out in this world, by which the two sides, Din and Rachamim, were integrated, becoming whole. This gave room for the inclusion of the two ends as one. This is so because now it became possible to disclose the wholeness of His love even while He takes one’s soul away from him. Thus, room was given to complement the love in a way that had it not been hidden and the harsh Din had not been revealed, this great love would have been devoid of the righteous, and it never would have been possible for it to become disclosed.
4.42 Rabbi Nachman of Breslov,
The work of the Creator requires great persistence, whatever happens to him. Remember this well for you will need it very much as you begin the work of the Creator. It requires great tenacity, and to be strong and brave, to brace oneself and stand still, even if you are dropped down every time. You must not allow yourself to fall off altogether, for it is necessary to experience all those falls, descents, and confusions prior to entering the gates of Kedusha [holiness], and the true righteous, too, have gone through all of it. Know, that man must cross and very, very narrow bridge, and the rule and the most important thing is not to be afraid at all.
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