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JUDECĂ PE FIECARE DE PARTEA MERITULUI
14.01 Baal HaSulam,
Shamati, Article No. 25, “Things that Come from the Heart”
When one hears the words of Torah from his teacher, he immediately agrees with his teacher and resolves to observe the words of his teacher with his heart and soul. But afterward, when he comes out to the world, he sees, covets, and is infected by the multitude of desires roaming the world. Then, he and his mind, his heart, and his will are annulled before the majority.
As long as he has no power to sentence the world to the side of merit, they subdue him, he min- gles with their desires, and he is led like sheep to the slaughter. He has no choice; he is compelled to think, want, crave, and demand everything that the majority demands. Then he chooses their foreign thoughts and their loathsome lusts and desires, which are alien to the spirit of the Torah. In that state, he has no strength to subdue the majority.
Instead, there is only one counsel then: to cling to his teacher and to the books. This is called “From the mouth of books and from the mouth of authors.” Only by clinging to them can he change his mind and will for the better. However, witty arguments will not help him change his mind, but only the remedy of Dvekut [adhesion], for this is a wondrous cure, as the Dvekut reforms him.
Article No. 30 (1988), “What to Look for in the Assembly of Friends”
When a person comes to the society and sees that the whole of society is in a state of decline, so how can he be strengthened by them? At that time, he must judge everyone to the side of merit.
Article No. 30 (1988), “What to Look for in the Assembly of Friends”
It is a great effort when one should judge the friends to the side of merit, and not everyone is ready for it.
Sometimes, it is even worse. At times, a person sees that his friend is disrespectful toward him. Even worse, he heard a slanderous rumor, meaning he heard from a friend that that friend, who is called so and so, said about him things that are not nice for friends to say about each other. Now he must subdue himself and judge him to the side of merit. This, indeed, is a great effort. It follows that through the exertion, he gives the payment, which is even more important than a payment of money.
However, if that person slanders him, where will his friend muster the strength to love him? He knows for certain that he hates him, or he would not slander him, so what is the point in subduing himself and judging him to the side of merit?
The answer is that Love of friends that is built on the basis of love of others, by which they can achieve the love of the Creator, is the opposite of what is normally considered love of friends. In other words, love of others does not mean that the friends will love me. Rather, it is I who must love the friends. For this reason, it makes no difference if the friend slanders him and must certainly hate him. Instead, a person who wishes to acquire love of others needs the correction of loving the other. Therefore, when a person makes the effort and judges him to the side of merit, it is a Segula [remedy/power/virtue], where by the toil that a person makes, which is called “an awakening from below,” he is given strength from above to be able to love all the friends without exception.
Article No. 1 (1985), “Make for Yourself a Rav and Buy Yourself a Friend – 1”
Rabbi Yehoshua Ben Perachia says about it, “Judge every person favorably,” meaning one should judge everyone favorably.
This means that the fact that he does not find merits in them is not their fault. Rather, it is not in his power to be able to see the merits of the general public. For this reason, he sees according to the qualities of his own soul. This is true according to his attainment, but not according to the truth.
Article No. 9 (1984), “One Should Always Sell the Beams of His House”
If a society is established with certain people, and when they gathered, there must have been someone who wished to establish specifically this “bunch.” Thus, he sorted out these people to see that they were suitable for each other. In other words, each of them had a spark of love of others, but the spark could not ignite the light of love to shine in each, so they agreed that by uniting, the sparks would become a big flame.
Hence, now, too, when he is spying on them, he should overcome and say, “As all of them were of one mind that they must walk on the path of love of others when the society was established, so it is now.” And when everyone judges his friends favorably, all the sparks will ignite once more and again there will be one big flame.
Article No. 21 (1986), “Concerning Above Reason”
Between friends, if he can see his friend’s virtue within reason, it is all the better.
And yet, the nature of the body is to the contrary—it always sees his friend’s fault and not his virtues. This is why our sages said, “Judge every person favorably.” In other words, although within reason you see that your friend is wrong, you should still try to judge him favorably. And this can be above reason. That is, although logically he cannot justify him, above reason he can justify him nonetheless.
However, if he can justify him within reason, this is certainly better.
Article No. 561, “The Soul of Israel”
Anyone who destroys one soul from Israel, the text says about him that it is as though he destroyed a whole world. Likewise, anyone who sustains one soul from Israel, the text says about him that it is as though he sustained a whole world” (Sanhedrin 37).
We should say, Why did the writing say this? After all, we have divisions in the Torah between individuals and the collective where the collective takes precedence over the individual, and it also stands to reason that the individual is one, and not many. Thus, what is the reason that the writing says that the individual is like the collective?
Our sages said, “He who performs one Mitzva [commandment], happy is he for he has sentenced himself and the entire world to the side of merit” (Kidushin 40). Why is this so? After all, we see that there are wicked in the world, and it is known that in each generation, we have righteous, as our sages said, “There is no generation that has none such as Abraham,” etc.
Thus, the merit that the righteous caused should have been apparent to the collective. Yet, we see that someone who invents some invention in science, this wisdom that the wise extended is enough for the whole collective. That is, one who wants to delve in the wisdom can benefit from what the wise person extended to the collective. But clearly, one who does not engage in science has no connection to that innovation that the wise person extended.
It is likewise in spirituality: “He who performs one Mitzva sentences himself and the entire world to the side of merit.” That is, one who engages in the work of the Creator can benefit from the lights he has obtained through his sentencing.
Accordingly, “One who sustains one soul from Israel,” who made the sentencing to the side of merit, sustains his soul, since “The wicked in their lives are called ‘dead.’” It follows that without sentencing, he is “half and half,” like a person hanging between life and death. By sentencing, he becomes alive. It follows that the lights that he drew suffice for the whole collective.
This is the meaning of “The world stands on one righteous,” meaning that the light that he extended is as in “A candle for one, a candle for one hundred.” Hence, he who loses his soul, by sentencing to the side of fault, loses a whole world, meaning that he denied the revelation of the light that was enough for the entire world. This is the meaning of the words, “One must say, ‘The world was created for me.’”
14.08 Zohar for All, Beresheet Bet [Genesis 2],
“Seven Palaces in the Garden of Eden” Item 103
All the people of the world are in utter wholeness, to such an extent that there has never been such joy before the Creator as on the day when heaven and earth were created. However, a person cannot take part in His great joy unless he has made complete repentance from love. Before that, he will not rejoice at all with himself or with the people of the world. On the contrary, he feels before him a world full of sorrow and pain until he says, “The earth is given into the hand of the wicked,” both pains of the body and pains of the soul, which are the sins he commits.
All of that came to him because he is going against the nature of creation, since the world was created only in bestowal, to engage in Torah and good deeds in order to bestow contentment to one’s Maker, and not for one’s own pleasure. It is written, “All the works of the Creator are for Him,” so that people would bestow contentment upon Him.
But in the beginning, it is written, “A man is born a wild ass’ colt,” whose sole interest is his own delight and who has none of the desire to bestow. He argues, “All the works of the Creator are for me, for my own delight,” since he wishes to devour the entire world for his own good and benefit. Hence, the Creator has imprinted bitter and harsh afflictions in self-reception, instilled in man from the moment of his birth—bodily pains and pains of the soul—so that if he engages in Torah and Mitzvot even for his own pleasure, through the light in it he will still feel the lowliness and the terrible corruptness in the nature of receiving for oneself.
At that time he will resolve to retire from that nature of reception and completely devote himself to working only in order to bestow contentment upon his Maker, as it is written, “All the works of the Creator are for Him.” Then the Creator will open his eyes to see before him a world filled with utter perfection without any deficiencies whatsoever.
Then he partakes in the joy as at the time of the creation of the world. Because he was rewarded, he has sentenced himself and the entire world to a scale of merit,” for wherever he casts his eyes he sees only good and perfection. He sees no faults at all in the works of the Creator, only merits.
14.09 Zohar for All,
“Introduction of The Book of Zohar,” “Two Points,” Item 121
All the many contradictions to His uniqueness, which we taste in this world, separate us from the Creator. Yet, when exerting to keep Torah and Mitzvot with love, with our soul and might, as we are commanded—to bestow contentment upon our Maker—all those forces of separation do not affect us into subtracting any of the love of the Creator with all our souls and might. Rather, in that state, every contradiction we have overcome becomes a gate for attainment of His wisdom. This is so because there is a special quality in each contradiction—revealing a special degree in attaining Him. And those worthy ones who have been rewarded with it turn darkness into light and bitter into sweet, for all the powers of separation—from the darkness of the mind and the bitterness of the body—have become to them gates for obtainment of sublime degrees. Thus, the darkness becomes a great light and the bitter becomes sweet.
Hence, to the extent that they previously had all the conducts of His guidance toward the forces of separation, now they have all been inverted into forces of unification, and sentence the entire world to the side of merit. This is because now each force serves for them as a gate of righteousness, by which they will come to receive from the Creator everything that He has contemplated for them, to delight them with the thought of creation, as it is written, “This is the gate of the Lord; the righ- teous will enter through it.”
However, prior to being rewarded with inverting the desire to receive in us through Torah and Mitzvot, into reception in order to bestow, there are strong locks on those gates to the Creator, for then they have the opposite role: to drive us away from the Creator. This is why the forces of separa- tion are called “locks,” since they block the gates of approaching and drive us away from the Creator. But if we overcome them so they do not affect us, cooling His love from our hearts, the locks become doors, the darkness becomes light, and the bitter becomes sweet. Over all the locks, we receive a special degree in His Providence, and they become openings, degrees of attainment of the Creator.
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