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8.01 Baal HaSulam,
Shamati, Article No. 76, “On All Your Offerings You Shall Offer Salt”
“On all your offerings you shall offer salt,” meaning the covenant of the salt. The covenant corre- sponds to the mind. Normally, when two people do good to one another, when there is love between them, they certainly do not need to make a covenant. But at the same time, we can see that precisely when there is love, this is the usual time for making covenants. Then he said that the making of the covenant is for later.
This means that the agreement is made now so that later, if there comes a state where each of them thinks that the other’s heart is not whole with one’s friend, they will have an agreement. This agreement will obligate them to remember the covenant that they had made between them, in order to continue the old love in this state, too.
This is the meaning of “On all your offerings you shall offer salt,” meaning that all of the Krevut1 in the work of the Creator should be about the covenant of the King.
8.02 Baal HaSulam,
“The Arvut [Mutual Guarantee],” Item 28
It is written, “Now, if you surely listen to My voice and keep My covenant,” meaning make a cove- nant on what I am telling you here: to be My Segula from among all peoples. This means that you will be My Segula, and sparks of purification and cleansing of the body will pass through you onto all the peoples and the nations of the world, for the nations of the world are not yet ready for this, and at any rate, I need one nation to start with now, so it will be as a remedy for all the nations. For this reason, He ends, “for all the earth is Mine,” meaning all the peoples of the earth belong to Me, as do you, and are destined to adhere to Me. But now, while they are still incapable of performing that task, I need a virtuous people. If you agree to be the remedy for all the nations, I command you to “be unto Me a kingdom of priests.”
Article No. 738, “A Covenant of Salt”
“On all your offerings you shall offer salt.” This is the covenant of the salt, which is a covenant against the intellect, for when one takes good things from one’s friend, they should make a covenant.
A covenant is needed precisely when each one has demands and complaints against the other, and they might come into anger and separation. At that time, the covenant they made obligates them to maintain the love and unity between them, for the rule is that whenever someone wishes to hurt the other, they have a cure—to remember the covenant that they had made between them. This obligates them to maintain the love and peace. This is the meaning of “On all your offer- ings you shall offer salt,” meaning that any nearing in the work of the Creator should be through a covenant of salt, as this is the whole foundation.
Article No. 3 (1987), “All of Israel Have a Part in the Next World”
Concerning Abraham and Avimelech, “And the two of them made a covenant.” Baal HaSulam asked, “If two people understand that it is worthwhile for them to love each other, why should they make a covenant? How does an act of seemingly signing a contract help? What does it give us?” Then he said, “It gives us that when we make a covenant we mean that since it is possible that something might separate them, they are making a covenant now, so that just as now they understand that there is love and equivalence between them, this covenant will persist even if afterwards things will come that should separate them. Still, the connection they are establish- ing now will be permanent. Accordingly, we should say that if afterwards things will come that should separate them, we should say that each one should go above reason and say that they will not notice what they see within reason, but go above reason. Only in this way can the covenant hold and there will be no separation between them.
Article No. 9 (1984), “One Should Always Sell the Beams of His House”
The covenant that two friends make, as we find in the Torah (Gen 21:27), “And Abraham took sheep and oxen, and gave them unto Abimelech; and they two made a covenant.” He asked, “If the two of them love each other, of course they do good to each other. And naturally, when there is no love between them because the love has waned for some reason, they do not do good to one another. So how does making a covenant between them help?”
He answered that the covenant that they do is not for now, since now when the love is felt between them, there is no need to make a covenant. Rather, the making of the covenant is done purposely for the future. In other words, it is possible that after some time, they will not feel the love as they do now, but they will still keep their relations as before. This is what the making of the covenant is for.
We can also see that although now they do not feel the love as it was when the society was established, everyone must still overcome his view and go above reason. By that, everything will be corrected and each will judge his friend favorably.
Article No. 31 (1987), “What Is Making a Covenant in the Work?”
As long as one has not been awarded permanent faith, there must be ascents and descents. It follows that there could be a time when the love between them cools. For this reason, now, in the beginning of his work, he takes upon himself the burden of the kingdom of heaven, to make a covenant, so that whether or not the body agrees to be a servant of the Creator, he takes upon himself not to change a thing. Instead, he will say, “I spoke once and I will not change.” Instead, I will go above reason as I have taken upon myself when making the covenant in the beginning of the work.
Article No. 34 (1989), “What Is Peace in the Work?”
Is written, “As the advantage of the light from within the darkness.” In other words, it is impossible to receive light if he has no lack and need for the light.
For this reason, when a person sees that the nations of the world in him object to the Creator, and he cannot tolerate the enemy of Israel within him, he becomes jealous for his God and does not look at any descents he has, and does what he can and cries out to the Creator to help him be able to defeat the wicked ones within him.
By this he overcomes and does not escape the campaign. At that time, the Creator gives him the covenant. That is, he makes a covenant with Him that there will be peace between him and the Creator, by receiving a gift from the Creator, which is the vessels of bestowal. This is regarded as making the covenant, which is the Klipa [shell/peel], called “will to receive for himself,” and instead of the foreskin, the Creator gives him vessels of bestowal, and by this they make a covenant, meaning peace.
Article No. 19 (1984) “You Stand Today, All of You”
Similarly, even though they currently do not feel the love as they did then, they still evoke the old love and do not look at the state they are currently in. Instead, they go back to doing things for each other. This is the benefit of the covenant. Thus, even when the love that was between them has lost its fancy, because they made the covenant, they have the strength to reawaken the shining love that they had before. In this way, they usher each other back into the future.
It follows that making the covenant is for the future. It is like a contract that they sign that they will not be able to regret when they see that the ties of love are not as they were, that this love gave them great pleasure while they were doing good to each other, but now that love has been corrupted, they are powerless and none can do anything for the other.
But if they do wish to do something for their friends, they must consider the making of the cove- nant that they had before, and out of that they should rebuild the love. It is like a person who signs a contract with his friend, and the contract connects them so they cannot part from one another.
Article No. 471, “You Stand Today – 2”
Concerning the covenant, Baal HaSulam said why two people who love each other need the cov- enant if there is love and friendship between them. However, the covenant is because as now the love between them is complete, it is possible that after some time there will not be the same love and each one will imagine that the other is causing him harm. At that time, the covenant comes so that each one will keep the covenant that they had made while there was true love between them.
Thus, now, too, although they do not feel so, they will maintain the friendship between them as though now, too, they feel love.
Likewise, when a person feels the love of the Creator, he understands that it is worthwhile to leave other loves for the love of the Creator. But later, when the awakening passes away from him and he no longer feels the love of the Creator, he will want to return to the other loves that he had already decided to toss away.
At that time, a person needs the covenant and maintain the same conduct that he had while he felt the love of the Creator, although now he has no feeling whatsoever. Then, the work must be compulsory, to enslave himself to the covenant that he had made before. This is called “that you may enter into the covenant.”
Article No. 63, “You Stand Here Today – 1”
“You stand here today all of you.” This means that he gathered them… to admit them into the covenant (RASHI). “All of you” means that everyone entered into the Arvut [mutual responsibility] (Ohr HaChaim).
There is a question why he begins with plural form, “all of you,” then shifts to singular form, “every man from Israel.” It means that “all of you” permeates everyone in Israel, meaning that every person from Israel will be included with “all of you,” as it is written, “And the people camped at the bottom of the mountain,” as one man with one heart. In other words, when there is love of Israel, they can succeed, as it is written, “Ephraim is joined to idols; let him be.”
Man is a small world and comprises the entire world. He should achieve the degree of being singular, as it is written, “Rewarded, he sentences himself and the entire world to the side of merit” (Kidushin 40b).
Therefore, when a person admits all the individuals, “your heads and your tribes,” for everyone must join in the covenant, meaning to come to be a worker of the Creator “with all your heart— with both your inclinations.” In other words, even the lowly attributes in man should undergo correction.
“So that He may establish you today as His people and He will be a God unto you.” That is, a person will achieve this attainment, that he is in the singular authority.
Article No. 19 (1984), “You Stand Today, All of You”
One should walk on the path of truth—to say, “My current state, being in utter lowliness, means that I was deliberately thrown out from above to know if I truly wish to do the holy work in order to bestow, or if I wish to be God’s servant because I find it more rewarding than other things.”
Then, if one can say, “Now I want to work in order to bestow and I do not want to do the holy work to receive some gratification in the work. Instead, I will settle for doing the work of holiness like any man of Israel—praying or taking a lesson on the daily portion. And I don’t have time to think with which intent I study or pray, but I will simply observe the actions without any special intent.” At that time, he will reenter the holy work because now he wishes to be God’s servant without any preconditions.
This is the meaning of what is written, “You stand today, all of you,” meaning everything you went through, all the states you have experienced—whether states of Gadlut or states of less than Gadlut, which were considered intermediate or so. You take all those details and you do not compare one degree to another because you do not care for any reward, but only for doing the Creator’s will. He has commanded us to observe Mitzvot [commandments] and to study Torah, and this is what we do, like any common man of Israel. In other words, the state he is in right now is as important to him as when he thought he was in a state of Gadlut. At that time, “The Lord your God makes with you this day.”
This means that then the Creator makes a covenant with him. In other words, precisely when one accepts His work without any conditions and agrees to do the holy work without any reward, which is called “unconditional surrender,” this is the time when the Creator makes a covenant with him.
Article No. 31 (1987), “What Is Making a Covenant in the Work?”
The work in Torah and Mitzvot [commandments] is primarily when beginning to walk on the path that leads to Lishma [for Her sake]. That is, when a person begins the work, he begins in Lo Lishma [not for Her sake], as our sages said, “One should always engage in Torah Lo Lishma, and from Lo Lishma we come to Lishma.”
For this reason, the beginning of his work was with enthusiasm because he saw that by observing Torah and Mitzvot he would achieve happiness in life. Otherwise, he would not begin. Therefore, in the beginning of his work, when he is still working Lo Lishma, meaning that when he works, he constantly looks at the reward he will receive after his work, he has the strength to work.
As in corporeality, a person is used to working in a place where he knows he will be rewarded for his work. Otherwise, a person cannot work for free, if not for his own benefit. Only when he sees that self-benefit will come from this work does he have the strength to work enthusiastically and willingly, since he is looking at the reward and not at the work.
The work does not matter if a person understands that here he will receive from this employer twice as much as he would receive from working for the previous employer, before he came to the job where they pay twice as much. This means that according to the salary, so the work becomes easier and smaller.
Accordingly, we should interpret in the work that making a covenant means that when a person takes upon himself the work, even if in Lo Lishma, he must make a covenant with the Creator to serve Him whether he wants to or not.
Yet, we should understand on what the enthusiasm depends. It depends only on the reward. That is, when there is a big reward, the desire for the work does not stop. But when the reward is doubtful, the desire for the work vanishes and he shifts to rest. That is, at that time he feels more pleasantness in rest.
It is so much so that he says, “I relinquish the work, and anyone who wants can do this work because it is not for me.” But making a covenant is when he begins to work even in Lo Lishma. And since now he wants the work, for who would force him to come into the work of the Creator, now he must make the covenant and say, “Even if there comes a time of descent,” meaning that he will have no desire for the work, “I still take upon myself not to consider my desire but work as though I have a desire.” This is called “making a covenant.”
8.13 Zohar for All, Yitro [Jethro],
“You Shall Not Have,” Items 405-406
Happy are Israel, whom the Creator names “man,” as it is written, “And you, My sheep, the sheep of My pasture, you are men.” It is also written, “When any man of you brings an offering.” What is the reason that He calls them “men”? It is because it is written, “And you that cleave unto the Lord your God,” meaning you, and not the rest of the idol-worshipping nations. This is the reason why you are men. You are called “man,” and the idol-worshipping nations are not called “man.”
When a person from Israel is circumcised, he enters the covenant that the Creator made with Abraham, as it is written, “And the Lord blessed Abraham in all.” It is also written, “Mercy [Hesed] for Abraham.” And he begins to enter in that place. When he has been rewarded with keeping the Mitzvot of the Torah, he comes into that man of the upper Merkava [chariot/assembly] and clings to the King’s body, and then he is called “man.”
8.14 Zohar for All, Zohar Hadash, Hukat,
“I Drew Them with Cords of Man, with Bonds of Love,” Item 60
It is written about it, “And the children of Israel sighted from the work.” When they saw the hard work until the upper covenant remembered them, and upper Ima, Bina, remembered them and awoke with mercy for her children, as it is written, “and their outcry went up to the God.” This is upper Ima, in whose hand is all the freedom. She opened for Israel the upper inlets, fifty gates, and brought them out from there. The lower Ima, Malchut, was filled with mercy for them and Moses went out to the world, an appointee and a father to shepherd Israel in the Torah.
8.15 The Constitution of the Members of Ramchal’s Group
These are the words of the covenant that the undersigned friends have all taken upon themselves to uphold for the sake of the unification of the Creator and the Shechina [Divinity], for they have all become as one man, to do the work of the Creator, to regard each of them as all of them for all this work. This is what they have taken upon themselves: that this study will not be in order to receive reward in any manner of expectation of payment or any leaning toward a thought and another inclination, but solely for the purpose of correcting the Shechina and the correction of all of Israel, the Creator’s people, to bring contentment to their Maker. They will have no reward from this, so that none of the friends will regard the learning as a personal correction, even for atonement of iniquities. Rather, all that will be in him is the complete intention to correct the Shechina and the correction of all of Israel.
8.16 Rav Shneor Zalman of Liadi,
By making the covenant, their love will be eternal love that will never fall. No prevention shall separate them since they make between them a strong and steadfast bond to unite and connect in their love in a wondrous connection and above rhyme or reason. Although rhyme or reason should have stopped the love or cause some hate, because of the making of the covenant, their love must exist forever. This love and this steadfast bond will cover all crimes, since they have made a covenant and bonded as though they have become one flesh. As one cannot stop loving oneself, so his love for his friend will not stop.
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