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2.01 Baal HaSulam,

“The Writings of the Last Generation”

All of the anticipated reward from the Creator, and the purpose of the entire creation, are Dvekut [adhesion] with the Creator, as in, “A tower filled abundantly, but no guests.” This is what they who cling to Him with love receive.

Naturally, first, one emerges from imprisonment, which is emerging from the skin of one’s body by bestowal upon others. Subsequently, one comes to the king’s palace, which is Dvekut with Him through the intention to bestow contentment upon one’s maker.

Therefore, the bulk of commandments are between man and man. One who gives preference to the commandments between man and God is as one who climbs to the second step before he has climbed to the first step. Clearly, he will break his legs.

2.02 Baal HaSulam,

“The Peace”

From the perspective of empirical reason—out of the practical history unfolding before our very eyes—that there is no other cure for humanity but to assume the commandment of Providence to bestow upon others in order to bring contentment to the Creator in the measure of the two verses. The first is “love your friend as yourself,” which is the attribute of the work itself. This means that the measure of work to bestow upon others for the happiness of society should be no less than the measure imprinted in man to care for his own needs. Moreover, he should put his fellow person’s needs before his own.

The other verse is, “And you will love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might.” This is the goal that must be before everyone’s eyes when laboring for one’s friend’s needs. This means that he labors and toils only to be liked by the Creator, as He said, “and they do His will.”

2.03 Baal HaSulam,

“The Freedom”

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.

 2.04 Baal HaSulam,

“The Arvut [Mutual Guarantee],” Item 22

The impression he gets when engaging in Mitzvot between man and man, since one is obliged to perform all the Mitzvot Lishma [for Her sake], without any hope for self-love, meaning that no light or hope returns to him through his trouble in the form of reward or honor, etc. Here, at this exalted point, the love of the Creator and the love of his friend unite and actually become one.

2.05 Baal HaSulam,

“Matan Torah [The Giving of the Torah],” Item 15

The words of Hillel HaNasi to the proselyte, that the essence of the Torah is “Love your friend as yourself,” and the remaining six hundred and twelve Mitzvot are but an interpretation and prepa- ration for it (see Item 2). And even the Mitzvot between man and the Creator are regarded as a preparation for that Mitzva, which is the final aim emerging from the Torah and Mitzvot, as our sages said, “The Torah and Mitzvot were given only so as to cleanse Israel” (Item 12), which is the cleansing of the body until one acquires a second nature defined as “love for others,” meaning the one Mitzva: “Love your friend as yourself,” which is the final aim of the Torah, after which one immediately obtains Dvekut with Him.

But one must not wonder why it was not defined in the words: “And you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” He did this for the above reason that indeed, with respect to a person who is still within the nature of creation, there is no difference between the love of the Creator and the love of his fellow person, for anything that is from another is unreal to him.

And because that proselyte asked of Hillel HaNasi to explain to him the desired outcome of the Torah, so his goal would be near and he would not have to walk a long way, as he said, “Teach me the whole Torah while I am standing on one leg,” he defined it for him as love of his friend since its aim is nearer and is revealed faster, since it is mistake-proof and is demanding.

2.06 Baal HaSulam,

“Introduction to The Study of the Ten Sefirot,” Items 68-69

To understand this we must first acquire a genuine understanding of the nature of the love of the Creator itself. We must know that all the inclinations, tendencies, and properties instilled in man, with which to serve one’s friends, all these tendencies and natural properties are required for the work of the Creator.

To begin with, they were created and imprinted in man only because of their final role—the ultimate purpose of man, as it is written, “No outcast shall be cast out from Him.” One needs them all so as to complement oneself in the ways of reception of the abundance and to complete the will of the Creator.

This is the meaning of “Everyone who is called by My name, I have created him for My glory” (Isaiah 43:7), and also “All that the Lord has worked was for His sake” (Proverbs 16:4). However, in the meantime, man has been given a whole world to develop and complete all these natural inclinations and qualities in him by engaging in them with people, thus yielding them suitable for their purpose.

It is as our sages said, “One must say, ‘The world was created for me,’” for all the people in the world are required for a person, as they develop and qualify the attributes and inclinations of every individual to become a fit tool for His work.

Thus, we must understand the essence of the love of the Creator from the properties of love by which one person relates to another. The love of the Creator is necessarily given through these qualities, since they were only imprinted in man for His sake to begin with.

2.07 Baal HaSulam,

“The Arvut [Mutual Guarantee],” Item 27

The work in Torah and Mitzvot is expressed in the words, “And you will be unto Me a kingdom of priests.” A kingdom of priests means that all of you, from the youngest to the oldest, will be as priests. Just as the priests have no land or any corporeal possessions since the Creator is their lot, so will the entire nation be organized so that the whole earth and everything in it will be dedicated to the Creator. And no person should have any other engagement in it but to observe the Mitzvot of the Creator and satisfy the needs of his fellow person so his friend will lack none of his wishes, so that no person will need to have any worry about himself.

In this way, even secular works such as harvesting, sowing, etc., are considered to be precisely like the work with the sacrifices that the priests performed in the Temple. How is it different if I observe the Mitzva of making sacrifices to the Creator, which is a Mitzva “to do,” or if I observe the Mitzva “to do,” “Love your friend as yourself”? It follows that he who harvests his field in order to feed his fellow person is the same as one who sacrifices to the Creator. Moreover, it makes sense that the Mitzva, “Love your friend as yourself,” is more important than one who makes the sacrifice. Indeed, this is not the end of the matter, for the whole of the Torah and the Mitzvot were given for the sole purpose of cleansing Israel, which is the cleansing of the body, after which he will be granted the true reward of Dvekut with Him, which is the purpose of creation

2.08 Baal HaSulam,

“The Love of God and the Love of Man”

Even if we see that there are two parts to the Torah—the first, Mitzvot between man and the Creator, and the second, Mitzvot between man and man—they are both one and the same thing. This means that the practice of them and the desired goal from them are one: Lishma.

It makes no difference if one works for one’s friend or for the Creator, since it is engraved in the created being at birth that anything that comes from another appears empty and unreal.

Because of this, we are compelled to begin in Lo Lishma, as Nachmanides says, “Our sages said: ‘One should always engage in Torah, even if Lo Lishma, since from Lo Lishma he comes to Lishma.’ Therefore, when teaching the young, the women, and the uneducated, they are taught to work out of fear and to receive reward. Until they accumulate knowledge and gain wisdom, they are told that secret bit by bit, and are accustomed to that matter with ease until they attain Him and know Him and serve Him out of love.”

…Thus, when one completes one’s work in love of others and bestowal upon others through the final point, one also completes one’s love for the Creator and bestowal upon the Creator. And there is no difference between the two, for anything that is outside one’s body, meaning outside one’s self-inter- est, is judged equally—either to bestow upon one’s friend or to bestow contentment upon one’s Maker.

This is what Hillel HaNasi assumed, that “Love your friend as yourself” is the ultimate goal in the practice, as it is the clearest nature and form to man.

We should not be mistaken about actions, since they are set before his eyes. He knows that if he puts the needs of his friend before his own needs, then he is in the quality of bestowal. For this reason, he does not define the goal as “And you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might,” for indeed they are one and the same, since he should also love his friend with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might, as this is the mean- ing of the words “as yourself.” He certainly loves himself with all his heart and soul and might, and with the Creator, he may deceive oneself, but with his friend it is always spread out before his eyes.

2.09 Baal HaSulam,

“Introduction to The Book of Zohar,” Item 19

Bear in mind that the Mitzvot between man and man come before the Mitzvot between man and the Creator since bestowing upon one’s friend brings one to bestow upon the Creator.

2.10 Baal HaSulam,

“One Commandment”

There are two parts to the Torah: one concerns man and the Creator, and the other concerns man and man. And I call upon you, at any rate, to engage and assume that which concerns man and man, for by this you will also learn the part that concerns man and the Creator.

2.11 Baal HaSulam,

“Matan Torah [The Giving of the Torah],” Item 14

The part of the Torah that deals with man’s relationship with his friend is better capable of bringing one to the desired goal since the work in Mitzvot between man and God is fixed and specific, and is not demanding, and one becomes easily accustomed to it, and everything that is done out of habit is no longer useful. But the Mitzvot between man and man are changing and irregular, and demands surround him wherever he turns. Hence, their cure is much more certain and their aim is closer.

2.12 Baal HaSulam,

Shamati, Article No. 67, “Depart from Evil”

Who thinks that he is deceiving his friend is really deceiving the Creator, since besides man’s body there is only the Creator. This is because it is the essence of creation that man is called “creature” only with respect to himself. The Creator wants man to feel that he is a separate reality from Him; but other than this, it is all “The whole earth is full of His glory.”

Hence, when lying to one’s friend, one is lying to the Creator; and when saddening one’s friend, one is saddening the Creator. For this reason, if one is accustomed to say the truth, it will help him with respect to the Creator.

2.13 Baal HaSulam,

“Matan Torah [The Giving of the Torah],” Item 13

If indeed there are two parts in the Torah: 1) Mitzvot between man and the Creator, 2) Mitzvot between man and man, both aim for the same thing—to bring the creature to the final purpose of Dvekut with Him. Furthermore, even the practical side in both of them is really one and the same, for when one per- forms an act Lishma, without any mixture of self-love, meaning without drawing any benefit for himself, then one does not feel any difference whether one is working to love one’s friend or to love the Creator.

 2.14 Baal HaSulam,

“The Teaching of the Kabbalah and Its Essence”

Since there is no act without some purpose, it is certain that the Creator had a purpose in the creation set before us. The most important thing in this whole diverse reality is the sensation given to the animals—that each of them feels its own existence. And the most important sensation is the noetic sensation, given to man alone, by which one also feels what is in the other—others’ pains and comforts. Hence, it is certain that if the Creator has a purpose in this creation, its subject is man. It is said about this, “All of the Lord’s works are for him.”

But we must still understand what was the purpose for which the Creator created this lot. Indeed, it is to elevate him to a higher and more important degree, to feel his Creator like the human sen- sation, which is already given to him. And as one knows and feels one’s friend’s wishes, so he will learn the ways of the Creator.

 2.15 RABASH,

Letter No. 24

Having to stand guard and evoke the love in the hearts of the friends, which you find unbecoming, I actually see that as necessary for you. You know what Baal HaSulam said, that from between man and man one learns how to behave between man and the Creator.

This is so because the upper light is in complete rest, and it is necessary to always evoke the love, “Until the love of our wedding pleases.” In other words, you are being shown from above that on this way, you must always evoke the love of His name, since everyone awaits your awakening.

That is, as you see that in love of friends you have the rights as you see it, meaning as it is being shown to you from above, you are the evoker (although the truth is not necessarily so; if you ask the friends, I am not so sure they agree with your evidence that it is only you who desires them and not the other way around). This is the meaning of “A judge has only what his eyes see.” That is, as far as judgment goes, you must judge only by your evidence. This is why it is being shown to you from above that you have to keep awakening the love of the Creator in this way, that you must always stand guard, all day and all night, when you feel a state of day or feel a state of night.

We say to the Creator, “Yours is the day, and Yours is also the night.” Thus, the night, too, the darkness of night, comes from the Creator to man’s favor, too, as it is written, “Day to day utters speech, and night to night expresses knowledge.”

It follows that you must awaken the heart of the friends until the flame rises by itself, as our sages said about it, “When you mount the candles.” By that, you will be rewarded with awakening the love of the Creator upon us.

 2.16 RABASH,

Article No. 17 (1986), “The Agenda of the Assembly – 2”

As they speak of the importance of love of friends, and that its whole importance is that it leads us to the love of the Creator, they should also think that the love of friends should bring us into the importance of the love of the Creator.

2.17 RABASH,

Article No. 13 (1986), “Come Unto Pharaoh 2”

We should know that we were given love of friends to learn how to avoid blemishing the King’s honor. In other words, if he has no other desire except to give contentment to the King, he will certainly blemish the King’s honor, which is called “Passing on Kedusha [holiness/sanctity] to the external ones.” For this reason, we mustn’t underestimate the importance of the work in love of friends, for by that he will learn how to exit self-love and enter the path of love of others. And when he completes the work of love of friends, he will be able to be rewarded with love of the Creator.

2.18 RABASH,

Letter No. 40

It is about time that we started moving forward toward our sacred goal like mighty strong men. It is known that the paved road that leads to the goal is love of friends, by which one shifts to love of the Creator.

2.19 RABASH,

Article No. 3 (1984), “Love of Friends – 1”

“And a certain man found him, and behold, he was wandering in the field. “And the man asked him, saying, ‘What are you seeking?’” meaning, “How can I help you?” “And he said: ‘I seek my brethren.’” By being together with my brothers, that is, by being in a group where there is love of friends, I will be able to mount the trail that leads to the house of God.

This trail is called “a path of bestowal,” and this way is against our nature. To be able to achieve it, there is no other way but love of friends, by which everyone can help his friend.

2.20 RABASH,

Article No. 10 (1987), “What Is the Substance of Slander and Against Whom Is It?”

Stage one is the love between a person and his friend, and then we can achieve the love of the Creator.

2.21 RABASH,

Article No. 13 (1986), “Come unto Pharaoh – 2”

We should know that there is a virtue to love of friends. One cannot deceive himself and say that he loves the friends, if in fact he doesn’t love them. Here he can examine whether he truly has love of friends or not. But with love of the Creator, one cannot examine oneself as to whether his intention is the love of the Creator, meaning that he wants to bestow upon the Creator, or his desire is to receive in order to receive.

2.22 RABASH,

Article No. 7 (1984), “According to What Is Explained Concerning ‘Love Your Friend as Yourself”

The advice for one to be able to increase his strength in the rule, “Love your friend,” is by love of friends. If everyone is nullified before his friend and mingles with him, they become one mass where all the little parts that want the love of others unite in a collective force that consists of many parts. And when one has great strength, he can execute the love of others.

And then he can achieve the love of God. But the condition is that each will annul before the other. However, when he is separated from his friend, he cannot receive the share he should receive from his friend.

Thus, everyone should say that he is nothing compared to his friend.

2.23 RABASH,

Article No. 7 (1984), “According to What Is Explained Concerning ‘Love Your Friend as Yourself’”

We must remember that the matter of “Love your friend as yourself” should be kept because it is a Mitzva, since the Creator commanded to engage in love of friends. And Rabbi Akiva only interprets this Mitzva that the Creator commanded. He intended to make this Mitzva into a rule by which to be able to keep all the Mitzvot because of the commandment of the Creator, and not because of self-benefit.

In other words, it is not that the Mitzvot should expand our will to receive, meaning that by keeping the Mitzvot we would be generously rewarded. Quite the contrary; by keeping the Mitzvot we will reach the reward of being able to annul our self-love and achieve the love of others, and subsequently the love of God.

2.24 RABASH,

Article No. 410, “Self-Love and Love of the Creator”

There is self-love and there is love of the Creator, and there is a medium, which is love of others. Through love of others we come to the love of the Creator. This is the meaning of what Rabbi Akiva said, “Love your neighbor as yourself is a great rule in the Torah.”

As Old Hillel said to the gentile who told him, “Teach me the whole Torah on one leg.” He said to him, “That which you hate, do not do to your friend. And the rest, go study.” This is so because through love of others we come to love the Creator, and then the whole Torah and all the wisdom are in his heart. It is written, “The Creator said to Israel, ‘Be sure, the whole wisdom and the whole Torah are easy.

Anyone who fears Me and performs the words of Torah, all the wisdom and all of the Torah are in his heart’” (“Introduction to The Study of the Ten Sefirot,” where he references Midrash Rabbah, portion VeZot HaBracha). Concerning fear, it is explained in the Sulam [Ladder commentary on The Zohar], that it is fear that he might not be able to bestow upon the Creator, since it is the conduct of love that he wants to bestow upon the Creator.

Hence, one who has love of the Creator wants to bestow, and this is called Dvekut [adhesion], as in “And to cleave unto Him.” By this the Creator passes onto him Torah and wisdom. It follows that he taught him on one leg, meaning that through love of others he will achieve the degree of love of the Creator, and then he will be rewarded with Torah and wisdom.

2.25 RABASH,

Article No. 6 (1984), “Love of Friends – 2”

By which substance can one be brought to acquire a new quality that he must bestow, and that reception for self is faulty? This is against nature! Though at times, one receives a thought and desire that he must abandon self-love, which comes to us by hearing of it from friends and books, it is a very small force, which does not always shine for us so we can constantly appreciate it and say that this is the rule for all the Mitzvot in the Torah.

Thus, there is but one counsel: If several individuals come together with the force that it is worth- while to abandon self-love, but without the sufficient power and importance of bestowal to become independent, without outside help, if these individuals annul before one another and all have at least potential love of the Creator, though they cannot keep it in practice, then by each joining the society and annulling oneself before it, they become one body.

For example, if there are ten people in that body, it has ten times more power than a single person does. However, there is a condition: When they gather, each of them should think that he has now come for the purpose of annulling self-love. It means that he will not consider how to satisfy his will to receive now, but will think as much as possible only of the love of others. This is the only way to acquire the desire and the need to acquire a new quality, called “the will to bestow.”

And from love of friends one can reach love of the Creator, meaning wanting to give content- ment to the Creator. It turns out that only in this does one obtain a need and understanding that bestowing is important and necessary, and this comes to him through love of friends. Then we can talk about fear, meaning that one is afraid that he will not be able to bestow contentment to the Creator, and this is called “fear.”

Hence, the primary basis upon which the building of sanctity can be erected is the rule of “Love your friend.” By that, one can acquire the need to bestow contentment upon the Creator. After that, there can be fear, meaning fear of perhaps not being able to give contentment to the Creator. When actually past that gate of fear, he can come to faith, because faith is the vessel for instilling the Shechina.

2.26 RABASH,

Article No. 270, “Anyone with Whom the Spirit of the People Is Pleased – 2”

It is known that it is impossible to achieve love of the Creator before a person is rewarded with love of people through “love your neighbor as yourself,” which Rabbi Akiva said is a great rule in the Torah. That is, by this a person accustoms himself to love people, which is love of others, and then he can achieve the degree of loving the Creator.

By this we should interpret the above-said, “Anyone with whom the spirit of the people is con- tent,” meaning that the spirit of the people is content with him, for he always engages in love of people, and always watches out for love of others. Then the spirit of the Creator is also pleased with him, meaning he enjoys making the spirit of the Creator, meaning bestowing upon the Creator. But it is not so with one who engages in love of self; then it is certain that the spirit of the Creator is also not pleased with him.

 2.27 RABASH,

Letter No. 66

The main thing that a person should do in the world is to make all his works be for the Creator. And since man was created with a quality of delighting only himself, to the point that it is impossible for him to do anything unless he sees that some good will come out of it for himself, then how can one work for the Creator?

But the Creator has given us commandments between man and man, by which man accus- toms himself to work in favor of his neighbor. By that he comes to a higher degree, to having the ability to work for the Creator as well. Otherwise, even though a person engages in Torah and Mitzvot, he cannot engage for the Creator. It therefore follows that if he engages only in Torah, and not in doing good, he cannot work in order to bestow because he lacks the quality of love of others. It therefore follows that although he engages in Torah and Mitzvot, if it is not for the Creator, it is as one who has no God, for if he truly had the sensation of Godliness, he would certainly be engaging in order to bestow. But if he had engaged in doing good, then he would have the quality of love of others, by which he would also come to love the Creator, and would have the ability to observe Torah and Mitzvot for the Creator.

It turns out that a person should have the power and force to overcome his qualities, to turn them into being in favor of others, for by that he will later be rewarded with working with those qualities for the Creator.

Because once a person has already been corrected in his qualities so he can work in favor of others, he can work on the matter of faith in the Creator, for then he is fit to be rewarded with faith, for then he already has equivalence of form, called, “Cleave onto his attributes,” as in, “As He is merciful, be you merciful.”

 2.28 The Holy Shlah,

Proofreading on Shaar HaOtiot

Come let me show you that the love of your friend is interlaced with the love of the Creator, for the immenseness of the obligation to love the friend is for the sake of loving the Creator—to remember that he is made in the image and semblance of the upper one, and the part of the soul in him is a part of God above. This is why we are called the “assembly of Israel,” for we are all assembled and unite in His uniqueness.

2.29 Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Halevi Epstein,

Maor VaShemesh

It is appropriate and correct to hold tight to love of friends and draw them closer to the path of the Creator for by this one can extend illumination for many days, by bringing them closer to the work of the Creator.

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