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7.01 Baal HaSulam,

Letter No. 13

You should know that there are many sparks of holiness in each one in the group. When you assem- ble all the sparks of holiness to one place, as brothers, with love and friendship, you will certainly have a very high level of holiness for a while, from the light of life.

7.02 RABASH,

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

One must praise the importance of the gathering, and then see what to acquire from that activity. It is as our sages said, “One should always praise the Creator, and then pray.” In other words, the beginning of the assembly, meaning the beginning of the discussions, which is the beginning of the assembly, should be about praising the society. Each and every one must try to provide reasons and explanations for their merit and importance. They should speak of nothing but the praise of society.

Finally, its praise should be disclosed by all the friends. Then they should say, “Now we are through with Stage One of the assembly of friends, and Stage Two begins.” Then each will state his mind about the actions we can take so that each and every one will be able to acquire the love of friends, what each person can do to acquire love in his heart for each and every one in the society.

And once Stage Two is completed—suggestions regarding what can be done in favor of society— begins Stage Three. This concerns carrying out of the friends’ decisions about what should be done.

7.03 RABASH,

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

When one comes to the assembly of friends, he should always see whether or not the friends have the goal that he craves, that each of them has some grip on that goal. And he thinks that by every- one bonding together for one goal, each will have his own share, as well as the shares of the whole of society. It follows that each member of the society will have the same strength as the whole of society together.

 7.04 RABASH,

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

Each one should seriously consider the purpose of the gathering—that it should bring about a sen- sation, following the assembly of friends, that each one has something in his hand which he can put in his vessels, and that he is not in the form of, “But do not put any in your vessels.” Each one should consider that if he does not sit especially attentive during the assembly, not only does he himself lose, but he also corrupts the whole of society.

This is similar to what is written in the Midrash (Vayikra Rabbah, Chapter 4): “Two people went inside a boat. One of them began to drill beneath him making a hole in the boat. He told him, ‘Why are you drilling?’ And he replied, ‘Why should you care; I am drilling under me, not under you?’ So he replied, ‘You fool! Both of us will drown together with the boat!’”

 7.05 RABASH,

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

And after they speak of the importance and necessity of the society, there begins the order of correction—how and with what can we reinforce the society to become one bloc, as it is written, “And there Israel camped before the mount” (Exodus 19), and it was explained, “as one man and one heart.” The order should be that anyone with a suggestion that can improve the love of friends, it should be discussed, but it must be accepted by all the friends, so there is no issue of coercion here.

7.06 RABASH,

Article No. 17 (1984), “The Agenda of the Assembly – 1”

In the beginning of the assembly, there should be an agenda. Everyone should speak of the impor- tance of the society as much as he can, describing the profits that society will give him and the important things he hopes society will bring him, which he cannot obtain by himself, and how he appreciates the society accordingly.

 7.07 RABASH,

Article No. 17 (1984), “The Agenda of the Assembly – 1”

At the very beginning of the assembly, when gathering, we should praise the friends, the importance of each of the friends. To the extent that we assume the greatness of the society, one can appreciate the society.

“And then pray” means that everyone should examine himself and see how much effort he is giving to the society. Then, when he sees that he is powerless to do anything for society, there is room for prayer to the Creator to help him and give him strength and desire to engage in love of others.

 7.08 RABASH,

Article No. 17 (1984), “The Agenda of the Assembly – 1”

After examining ourselves and following the known advice of praying, we should think as though our prayer has been answered and rejoice with our friends, as though all the friends are one body. And as the body wishes for all its organs to enjoy, we, too, want all our friends to enjoy themselves now.

Hence, after all the calculations comes the time of joy and love of friends. At that time, every- one should feel happy, as though one had just sealed a very good deal that will earn him lots of money. And it is customary that at such a time he gives drinks to the friends.

Similarly, here everyone needs his friends to drink and eat cakes, etc. Because now he is happy, he wishes his friends to feel good, too. Hence, the dispersion of the assembly should be in a state of joy and elation.

7.09 RABASH,

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

When the friends gather in one place, the assembly is certainly for a purpose, since when one allo- cates part of his time—which he would use for his own needs, relinquishing his engagements, and partaking in an assembly—he wishes to acquire something. Thus, it is important to try that when each of the friends goes home, he should see what he came to the assembly with, and what he has acquired now that he is going home.

7.10 RABASH, Article No. 30 (1988),

“What to Look for in the Assembly of Friends”

In the matter of the assembly of friends, when they gather, what should they discuss? First, the goal must be clear to everyone—this gathering must yield the result of love of friends, that each of the friends will be awakened to love the other, which is called “love of others.” However, this is only a result. To beget this lovely offspring, actions must be taken to produce the love.

7.11 RABASH,

Article No. 1 (1984), “Purpose of Society – 2”

There should be careful watch in the society, disallowing frivolity, since frivolity ruins every- thing.

7.12 RABASH,

Article No. 30 (1988), “What to Look for in the Assembly of Friends”

When a group of people gathers and wishes to work together on love of friends, they must all help one another as much as they can.

7.13 RABASH,

Article No. 1 (1984), “Purpose of Society – 2”

It is important to remain serious during the assembly so as not to lose the intention, as it is for this aim that they have gathered. And to walk humbly, which is a great thing, one should be accustomed to appear as though one is not serious. But in truth, a fire burns in their hearts.

Yet, to small people, during the assembly one should be wary of following words and deeds that do not yield the goal of the gathering—that thus they should achieve Dvekut with the Creator.

 7.14 RABASH, Article No. 30 (1988),

“What to Look for in the Assembly of Friends”

Before each friend comes to the assembly of friends, he must contemplate what he can give to the society to uplift the spirit of life in it.

7.15 RABASH,

Article No. 30 (1988), “What to Look for in the Assembly of Friends”

What can one do when he feels that he is in a state of sadness—both in terms of the corporeal state and the spiritual state—and the time when he must go to the society has come? And yet, our sages said, “A worry in a man’s heart? Let him speak of it with others.” In other words, he should tell his friends, and perhaps they can offer some help.

But if this is so, why do we say that everyone should bring high spirits into the society when one has none? Moreover, there is a rule that “one cannot give that which one does not have.” Thus, what should he do to give something to the society that will give high spirits to the society?

Indeed, there is no other way but for man to walk on the right line. Thus, before he goes to the love of friends, he should read Baal HaSulam’s essay (Shamati, No. 40) where he clarifies what is the right line, that this is the meaning of above reason. And he should draw strength from there so that when he comes to the society, each and every one will more or less be able to infuse a spirit of life, and by that, the whole of society will feel joy and strength, and confidence.

7.16 RABASH,

Article No. 30 (1988), “What to Look for in the Assembly of Friends”

Each one should try to bring into the society a spirit of life and hopefulness, and infuse energy into the society. Thus, each of the friends will be able to tell himself, “Now I am starting a clean slate in the work.” In other words, before he came to the society, he was disappointed with the progress in the work of the Creator, but now the society has filled him with life and hopefulness.

Thus, through society he obtained the confidence and strength to overcome because now he feels that he can achieve wholeness. And all his thoughts—that he was facing a high mountain that could not be conquered, and that these were truly formidable obstructions—now he feels that they are nothing. And he received it all from the power of the society because each and every one tried to instill a spirit of encouragement and the presence of a new atmosphere in the society.

7.17 RABASH,

Article No. 30 (1988), “What to Look for in the Assembly of Friends”

During the assembly, it is forbidden to evoke the left line. Only when one is alone is he permitted to use the left line, but not more than half an hour a day. But the essence of man’s work is to go specifically by the right line. But two people together must not speak of the left, for only thus can they receive assistance from the society.

 7.18 RABASH,

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.

7.19 RABASH,

Article No. 30 (1988), “What to Look for in the Assembly of Friends”

What should a friend do if he needs help from his friends? We have said above that it is forbidden to speak of bad things that cause sadness at the assembly of friends. The answer is that one should tell a close friend, and that friend will speak to the society, but not at the time of the assembly of friends. In other words, he can speak to the whole of society together, but not during the regular assembly of friends. Instead, he can arrange for a special meeting in favor of the friend who needs assistance.

 7.20 RABASH,

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

We should know that “Two is the least plural.” This means that if two friends sit together and con- template how to enhance the importance of the Creator, they already have the strength to receive enhancement of the greatness of the Creator in the form of awakening from below. And for this act, the awakening from above follows, and they begin to have some sensation of the greatness of the Creator.

According to what is written, “In the multitude of people is the King’s glory,” it follows that the greater the number of the collective, the more effective is the power of the collective. In other words, they produce a stronger atmosphere of greatness and importance of the Creator. At that time, each person’s body feels that he regards anything that he wishes to do for holiness—meaning to bestow upon the Creator—as a great fortune, that he has been privileged with being among people who have been rewarded with serving the King. At that time, every little thing he does fills him with joy and pleasure that now he has something with which to serve the King.

To the extent that the society regards the greatness of the Creator with their thoughts during the assembly, each according to his degree originates the importance of the Creator in him. Thus, he can walk all day in the world of gladness and joy.

7.21 RABASH,

Article No. 13 (1984), “Sometimes Spirituality Is Called a ‘Soul’”

We must always awaken what the heart forgets, what is needed for the correction of the heart—Love of friends—whose purpose is to achieve love of others.

This is not a pleasant thing for the heart, which is called “self-love.” Hence, when there is a gathering of friends, we must remember to bring up the question, meaning everyone should ask himself how much we have advanced in love of others, and how much we have done to promote us in that matter.

7.22 Rabbi Shmuel Bornstein,

author of Shem MiShmuel

It is written “Gather, purify,” since gathering is more unification of the heart than the word “grouping.” “Grouping” pertains only to the body, although the views are not united. But a gath- ering of people is also with one heart. It is a gathering from the outside in, where they become very unified.

Therefore, the word “gathering” applies mostly to the souls, since “soul” comes from the words “desire” and “yearning.” If each and every one yearns for his own benefit, although they all want the same thing, it is still not one view, since one wants one’s own benefit, and the other wants his own benefit.

However, if they are complete, and also many yearn to satisfy the Creator’s will, this is cer- tainly called “complete unification,” and deserves the title “gathering,” by everyone uniting with an immense feeling of the soul, to do the will of our Father in Heaven.

7.23 Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Halevi Epstein,

Maor VaShemesh, VaYechi

The essence of the assembly is for everyone to be in one unity and for all to seek but one purpose: to find the Creator. In every ten there is the Shechina [Divinity]. Clearly, if there are more than ten then there is more revelation of the Shechina. Thus, each one should assemble with his friend and come to him to hear from him a word about the work of the Creator, and how to find the Creator. He should annul before his friend, and his friend should do the same toward him, and so should everyone do. Then, when the assembly is with this intention, then “More than the calf wants to suckle, the cow wants to nurse,” and the Creator approaches them and He is with them, and great mercies and good and revealed kindness will be extended over the assembly of Israel.

7.24 Maor VaShemesh, Re’eh

The main rule by which to come to the path of the Creator is through adhesion with friends, that by gathering together, as each one annuls before his friend when he sees his friend’s merit in Torah, Mitzvot [commandments], and good deeds, he becomes lowly in his own eyes, and his friend is greater than him and loves each and every one, and his desire is to truly permeate each one because of joy. This is done by adhesion of friends.

7.25 Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Halevi Epstein,

Maor VaShemesh

When the children of Israel gather together, it is a very great thing. But the most important is for each and every one not think of himself at all, that he is regarded as righteous or that he counts at all among the friends. He should only see that his actions do not blemish the sacred society. Although it seems as though he is a great person, he should nonetheless look into his actions and think, and likewise each one in the sacred society will think, “What makes me great?” and annul himself completely. It is known that in every ten there is the Shechina [Divinity], and this is a complete level. In a complete level, there are head, hands, legs, and heels, as is known from the words of high and holy ones. It follows that when every person regards himself as nothing in the sacred society, then he regards himself as a heel compared to the society, while they are the head, the body, and the higher organs. When each one thinks of himself in this way, they make the gates of abundance and every lushness in the world open up to them, and it is drawn the most through the person who is more regarded as “nothing” and as “a heel.”

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