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11.01 Baal HaSulam,

“A Speech for the Completion of The Zohar”

Our sages said, “Make for yourself a rav and buy yourself a friend.” This means that one can make a new environment for oneself. This environment will help him obtain the greatness of his rav through love of friends who appreciate his rav. Through the friends’ discussing the greatness of the rav, each of them receives the sensation of his greatness. Thus, bestowal upon his rav becomes reception and sufficient motivation to an extent that will bring one to engage in Torah and Mitzvot Lishma.

It was said about this, “The Torah is acquired by forty-eight virtues, by serving of sages, and by meticulousness of friends.” This is so because besides serving the rav, one needs the meticulousness of friends, as well, meaning the friends’ influence, so they will influence him so he obtains the greatness of his rav. This is so because obtaining the greatness depends entirely on the environment, and a single person cannot do a thing about it whatsoever.

11.02 Baal HaSulam,

Letter No. 2

I shall advise you to evoke within you fear of the coolness of the love between us. Although the intellect denies such a depiction, think for yourself—if there is a tactic by which to increase love and one does not increase it, that, too, is considered a flaw.

It is like a person who gives a great gift to his friend. The love that appears in his heart during the act is not like the love that remains in the heart after the fact. Rather, it gradually wanes each day until the blessing of the love can be entirely forgotten. Thus, the receiver of the gift must find a tactic every day to make it new in his eyes each day.

This is all our work—to display love between us, each and every day, just as upon receiving, meaning to increase and multiply the intellect with many additions to the core, until the additional blessings of now will be touching our senses like the essential gift at first. This requires great tactics, set up for the time of need.

11.03 RABASH,

Article No. 1 (1985), “Make for Yourself a Rav and Buy Yourself a Friend – 1”

The order of the work is for one to begin with “Make for yourself a rav,” and take upon himself the burden of the kingdom of heaven above logic and above reason. This is called “doing,” meaning action only, despite the body’s disapproval. Afterwards, “Buy yourself a friend.” Buying is just as when a person wishes to buy something; he must let go of something that he has already acquired. He gives what he’s had for some time and in return purchases a new object.

It is similar with the work of God. For one to achieve Dvekut [adhesion] with the Creator, which is equivalence of form, as in, “As He is merciful, so you are merciful,” he must concede many things that he has in order to buy bonding with the Creator. This is the meaning of “Buy yourself a friend.” Before a person makes for himself a rav, meaning the kingdom of heaven, how can he buy him- self a friend, meaning bond with the rav? After all, he has no rav yet. Only after he has made for himself a rav is there a point in demanding that the body make concessions to buy the bonding, that he wishes to give contentment to the Creator.

Moreover, we should understand that he has the strength to observe “buy yourself a friend” to the same extent as the greatness of the rav. This is so because he is willing to make concessions so as to bond with the rav to the very same extent that he feels the importance of the rav, since then he understands that obtaining Dvekut with the Creator is worth any effort.

11.04 RABASH,

Article No. 1 (1985), “Make for Yourself a Rav and Buy Yourself a Friend – 1”

It turns out that real friendship—when each makes the necessary payment to buy his friend—is pre- cisely when both are of equal status, and then both pay equally. It is like a corporeal business, where both of them give everything equally, or there cannot be a real partnership. Hence, “Buy yourself a friend,” since there can be bonding—when each buys his friend—only when they are equal.

But on the other hand, it is impossible to learn from one another if one does not see that his friend is greater than he. But if the other one is greater, he cannot be his friend, but his rav [teacher/ great], while he is considered a student. At that time, he can learn knowledge or virtues from him. This is why it is said, “Make for yourself a rav and buy yourself a friend”; both have to exist. In other words, each should regard the other as a friend, and then there is room for buying. This means that each must pay with concessions to the other, like a father concedes his rest, works for his son, spends money for his son, and all is because of the love.

 11.05 RABASH,

Article No. 8 (1985), “Make for Yourself a Rav and Buy Yourself a Friend – 2”

“Make for yourself a rav [teacher/important person] and buy yourself a friend,” are the path of correc- tion, and another time, it is in the words, “And judge every person favorably” (Avot, Chapter 1). We should understand the difference between “make” and “buy,” and the meaning of judging favorably. We should interpret “make” as coming to exclude from reason. This is because when reason cannot understand if something is worth doing or not, how can it determine what is good for me?

Or vice versa, if reason considers them as equal, who will determine for a person what he should do? Thus, the act can decide.

We should know that there are two ways before us: to work in order to bestow or to work in order to receive. There are parts in man’s body that tell him, “You will succeed in life if you work in order to bestow, and this is the way you will enjoy life.” This is the argument of the good inclination, as our sages said, “If you do so, you will be happy for this world and happy for the next world.”

And the argument of the evil inclination is the opposite: It is better to work in order to receive. In that state, only the force called “action that is above reason” determines, not the intellect or emotion. This is why doing is called “above reason” and “above reasoning,” and this is the force called “faith that is against the intellect.”

“Buy” is within reason. Normally, people want to see what they want to buy, so the merchant shows them the goods and they negotiate whether or not it is worth the price that the merchant is asking. If they do not think it is worth it, they don’t buy. Thus, “buy” is within reason.

 11.06 RABASH,

Article No. 8 (1985), “Make for Yourself a Rav and Buy Yourself a Friend – 2”

Between a man and his friend, we should begin with “Buy yourself a friend,” and then “Make for yourself a rav.” This is so because when a person looks for a friend, he should first examine him to see if he is really worth bonding with. After all, we see that a special prayer has been set up concerning a friend, which we say after the blessings in the prayer, “May it please … Keep us away from an evil person and from a bad friend.”

This means that before one takes a friend for himself, he must examine him in every possible way. At that time, he must use his reason. This is why it was not said, “Make yourself a friend,” since “making” implies above reason. Therefore, concerning a man and his friend, he should go with his reason and examine as much as he can if his friend is okay, as we pray each day, “Keep us away from an evil person and from a bad friend.”

11.07 RABASH,

Article No. 8 (1985), “Make for Yourself a Rav and Buy Yourself a Friend – 2”

The Mishnah tells us, “Make for yourself a rav, buy for yourself a friend, and judge every person favorably” (Avot, Chapter 1).

We have explained that between a man and his friend the order is that first you go and buy your- self a friend—and we explained that buying is within reason—and then you must engage in “Make for yourself a rav.” And between man and the Creator, the order is to first “Make for yourself a rav,” and then “Buy yourself a friend.”

11.08 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. And in the matter of love, it is through “Buy yourself a friend.” In other words, through actions, one buys one’s friend’s heart. And even if he sees that his friend’s heart is like a stone, it is no excuse. If he feels that he is suitable for being his friend in the work, then he must buy him through deeds.

Each gift (and a gift is determined as such when he knows that his friend will enjoy it, whether in words, in thought, or in action. However, each gift must be out in the open, so that his friend will know about it, and with thoughts, one does not know that his friend was thinking of him. Hence, words are required, too, meaning he should tell him that he is thinking of him and cares about him. And that, too, should be about what his friend loves, meaning what his friend likes. One who doesn’t like sweets, but pickles, cannot treat his friend to pickles, but specifically to sweets, since this is what his friend likes. And from that, we should understand that something could be unimportant to one, but more important than anything to another.) that he gives to his friend is like a bullet that makes a hollow in the stone. And although the first bullet only scratches the stone, when the second bullet hits the same place, it already makes a notch, and the third one makes a hole.

And through the bullets that he shoots repeatedly, the hole becomes a hollow in his friend’s heart of stone, where all the presents gather. And each gift becomes a spark of love until all the sparks of love accumulate in the hollow of the stony heart and become a flame.

The difference between a spark and a flame is that where there is love, there is open disclosure, meaning a disclosure to all the peoples that the fire of love is burning in him. And the fire of love burns all the transgressions one meets along the way.

And should you ask, “What can one do if he feels that he has a heart of stone toward his friend?” Forgive me for writing, “Each and every one feels that he has a heart of stone,” I mean except for the friends who feel and know that they have no objection that their friend will love them and will give them presents (not necessarily in action, but at least in good words and special attention only to him). I am referring only to those who feel that they have very cold hearts in regard to loving their friends, or those who had a heart of flesh but the coldness from the friends affected them, as well, and their hearts have frozen still.

The advice is very simple: The nature of fire is that when rubbing stones against each other, a fire starts. This is a great rule, since “From Lo Lishma [not for Her name] one comes to Lishma [for Her name].” And this is so particularly when the act is Lishma, meaning imparting a gift to one’s friend, and the aim is Lo Lishma.

This is so because one gives a gift only to one that we know and recognize as someone we love. It follows that the aim of the gift is like gratitude for the love that his friend gives him. However, if one gives a gift to a stranger, meaning he doesn’t feel that his friend is close to his heart, then he has nothing to be grateful for. It follows that the aim is Lo Lishma, meaning … the intention that should be.

Ostensibly, it could be said that this is called “charity,” since he pities his friend when he sees that there is no one who is speaking to him and greets him, and this is why he does that to him. Indeed, there is a prayer for it—that the Creator will help him by making him feel the love of his friend and make his friend close to his heart. Thus, through the deeds, he is rewarded with the aim, as well.

But while at the time of doing the giver of the gift intended that the gift to his friends would only be as charity (even if he is giving his time for his friend, since it is sometimes more important to a person than his money, as it is said, “One cares for his lack of money but not for his lack of time.” However, regarding time, each has his own value, since there are people who make one pound an hour, and there is more or less. And likewise with their spirituality—how much spirituality they make in an hour, etc.), then one is testifying about himself that he isn’t aiming for love of friends, meaning that through the action, the love between them will increase.

And only when both of them intend for a gift and not for charity, through the wearing out of the hearts, even of the strongest ones, each will bring out warmth from the walls of his heart, and the warmth will ignite the sparks of love until a clothing of love will form. Then, both of them will be covered under one blanket, meaning a single love will surround and envelop the two of them, as it is known that Dvekut [adhesion] unites two into one.

And when one begins to feel the love of his friend, joy and pleasure immediately begin to awaken in him, for the rule is that a novelty entertains. His friend’s love for him is a new thing for him because he always knew that he was the only one who cared for his own well-being. But the minute he discovers that his friend cares for him, it evokes within him immeasurable joy, and he can no longer care for himself, since man can toil only where he feels pleasure. And since he is beginning to feel pleasure in caring for his friend, he naturally cannot think of himself.

11.09 RABASH,

Article No. 31 (1990), “What ‘There Is No Blessing in That Which Is Counted’ Means in the Work”

The purpose of creation to do good to His creations. If they do not know and do not feel the delight and pleasure, what benefit is it? This is why this light is called Hochma [wisdom] and “seeing,” and is named “light of Panim [face/anterior],” as in, “A man’s wisdom illuminates his face.”

In the work, this is called “something that is counted,” meaning something that is received in the vessels of reception. This means that if he receives it, he will see what he has received and will be able to count what he has.

It is also called “a gift.” Usually, when someone gives his friend a gift, he wants his friend to count and appreciate the value of the present for the simple reason that he gives the present to his friend because he wants to show his love for him. According to the value of the gift, a person can appreciate the measure of the love. It follows that if one does not look at the gift, to see the greatness of the gift, he blemishes the measure of the love.

Therefore, when a person receives a gift, if he does not see or does not try to see the importance of the gift, he blemishes the measure of love that the giver wants to show by it. For instance, our sages said, “Buy yourself a friend.” And that person wants to buy his friend by sending him gifts. If that person does not see or appreciate the greatness and importance of the gift that he receives from him, how can he come to a state of “Buy yourself a friend”? It follows that with the gift, one should count and measure what he has received from his friend.

11.10 RABASH,

Article No. 31 (1990), “What ‘There Is No Blessing in That Which Is Counted’ Means in the Work”

The light that is received in the vessels of bestowal is called “light of Hassadim [mercy].” Hesed [mercy/grace] means that he is giving, like a person who performs an act of mercy or grace toward his friend. This is called “covered Hassadim,” meaning that the Hassadim—what he receives in vessels of bestowal, meaning what he gives—the light has the same value as the Kli.

In other words, it is known that there is charity and there is a gift. With a gift, we explained above that a person must see what he received and not simply receive a gift from his friend. If a person says, “It doesn’t matter what he gave me,” he is blemishing his friend’s gift. Thus, the purpose for which he sent him the gift is not realized. The gift was meant to buy him a friend, as was said above, “Buy yourself a friend,” but if he does not see the importance of the gift, he cannot buy him as a friend. Hence, he must count and measure the gift.

11.11 Zohar for All, Truma [Donation],

“And They Shall Take a Donation for Me”

And how do we know that the Creator desires him and places His abode within him? When we see that man’s will is to chase and to exert after the Creator with his heart, soul, and will, we know for certain that Divinity is present there. Then we need to buy that man for the full cost, bond with him and learn from him. We learn about that, “And buy yourself a friend.” He should be bought for the full price to be rewarded with the Divinity that is in him. This is how far we must chase a righteous man and buy him.

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