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Baruch Shalom HaLevi Ashlag (The RABASH)

What the King Standing on His Field When the Crop Is Ripe Means in the Work?

Article No. 10, 1990/91

Our sages said about the verse, “The Lord stood over him” (presented in The View of Elders, from the authors of the Tosfot, VaYetze), “We did not find this in the rest of the patriarchs. Rabbi Simon said, ‘The king does not stand on his field, neither when it is plowed, nor when it is sowed, but when the crop is ripe.’ This is how Abraham plowed it, as it is said, ‘Arise, walk through the land.’ Isaac sowed it, as it is said, ‘And Isaac sowed.’ Jacob came and he is the ripening of the crop, as it is said, ‘The holiness of Israel is for the Lord, its first fruits,’ he stood over it.”

We should understand what it comes to teach us in the work: What is “a field,” what is “When the crop is ripe,” and what is the allegory of the King who stands over his field? It is known that our work is essentially only on the kingdom of heaven, which is called “faith.” Our sages said about it, “Habakkuk came and founded them on one: ‘A righteous lives by his faith.’” Faith means the necessity to believe in the Creator, that He leads the world in benevolent guidance.

And even though one still doesn’t have this feeling, he should still believe and say that the fact that he isn’t seeing how the good is revealed in the world, he should still believe above reason that he doesn’t see the good revealed before his eyes because as long as he is not out of the dominion of self-love, he cannot see. This is because there was a Tzimtzum [restriction] on the vessels of reception so that the light cannot shine there due to disparity of form, as it is written in the Sulam Commentary (“Introduction of the Book of Zohar,” Item 138).

For this reason, one cannot see the truth. Instead, he must believe that this is so. And in the work of the collective, the states of guidance of reward and punishment are not so apparent. But in individual work, meaning when a person wishes to try to achieve the degree where all his actions are in order to bestow, when he begins to strain to reach the degree of a giver, then his entire basis should be built on the greatness of the Creator. It is said about it in The Zohar, “One should fear Him because He is great and ruling,” and then begins the work primarily on this faith—that the Creator leads the world benevolently.

And then states of ascents and descents come to him. In other words, at times, he has reward and he can believe in the Creator, that He is benevolent, and one can love the Creator because of His greatness. This comes to a person through great efforts in faith in reward and punishment. This means that if one works with faith above reason, he is rewarded, and his reward is that he comes to feel the Creator’s love for him. And the punishment is that if he wants to go specifically within reason, he thus becomes remote from the love of the Creator.

Worse yet, sometimes he becomes the opposite, meaning a hater of the Creator, since he has many complaints against the Creator because he has already prayed to the Creator many times and he sees that the Creator is not hearing the prayer. And from that, a person comes to a state of ascents and descents. However, if one overcomes, goes above reason, and says “They have eyes and do not see,” he is temporarily rewarded and feels close to the Creator.

It is written about it in the “Introduction to The Study of the Ten Sefirot” (Item 132), “We must know that the above attribute of medium applies even when one is under Providence of concealment of the face. By great exertion in faith in reward and punishment, a light of great confidence in the Creator appears to them. For a time, they are granted a degree of disclosure of His face in the measure of the medium. But the drawback is that they cannot permanently remain in their degrees, since standing permanently in a degree is possible only through repentance from fear.”

It follows that the order of our work comprises three periods before we reach the exit from the work, which is the discernment of Adam [human being]. Our sages said about it (Nidah 31), “There are three partners to a person—the Creator, his father, and his mother. His father gives the white; his mother gives the red; and the Creator places a spirit and a soul [Ruach and Neshama, respectively] within him.” This is explained in the work, as we learn that there are three lines— Hesed [grace], Din [judgment], and Rachamim [pity/mercy].

It is as we said in previous essays, that for a person to be able to walk, one needs two legs, right and left. These are like the two verses that refute one another until the third verse comes and sentences between them. Thus, the two lines have given birth to the decisive line.

With that, we can interpret the meaning of plowing, sowing, and the ripened crop in the work. The right line is the plowing. This is the man’s work of wanting to be admitted into the work of bestowal. Man is created to care only for himself. And since there was a correction over the will to receive for himself, to avoid the matter of shame due to disparity of form from the Creator—since what we see of Him is only how He bestows upon the creatures and there is no self-reception in Him whatsoever—hence, a Tzimtzum [restriction] and concealment were made over the will to receive for oneself so the creatures cannot receive the delight and pleasure that He wishes to impart upon the creatures.

This was in order to enable man to correct the vessels of reception to be only in order to bestow. In other words, man must turn the will to receive in him upside down, and receive a desire to bestow, instead. That is, what was previously of highest importance to him—the will to receive—will now be of inferior importance. He will not wish to use it, but on the contrary, the will to bestow, which was of lowest importance for him and which he didn’t want to use, will now be of high regard. This means that now this will to bestow is important for him and he wants to use only the desire to bestow.

This is called “plowing,” when the soil is turned and what was above becomes below, and what was below becomes above. This is called “right line,” Abraham, Hesed. In other words, now he wishes to engage only in Hesed, called “the will to bestow,” and the right line is called “wholeness.” Thus, although one sees that he still cannot perform Hesed, he should imagine that he has already been rewarded with bestowal, called Hesed, and thank the Creator for rewarding him with doing things in order to bestow.

All this is only above reason. And although if he considers the situation he is in, he will see otherwise, it is a matter of above reason. This means that he must imagine that he has already been rewarded with a desire to bestow, as though he has already been rewarded with plowing.

Also, one should lower himself and say, “I am content and thankful for whatever thought and desire to do something in spirituality the Creator gives me, for rewarding me with doing a little service to the Creator, meaning that I can do something for the Creator.” And he is happy with that because he sees that the Creator didn’t give the rest of the people the chance to serve Him. This is why he is happy with that. This is regarded as “wholeness,” since now he believes above reason that the Creator is leading the world benevolently, and thus he can now show the love for the Creator and be always happy.

However, at the same time one needs to walk with the other leg, the left, meaning to criticize his actions. He should have a desire to see the truth, how much effort he can give in order to bestow, and how much is the importance of spirituality. Does he really understand that it is better to work only for the Creator and not for himself?

In that state, he sees very differently: All his actions while he was walking on the right line, when he thought that he was truly a whole man, now that he has shifted to the left line he sees that he has nothing that is truly in order to bestow.

This is called “sowing.” For example, when taking good wheat seeds and sowing them in the field, if there is a person who does not know about field work, he would look at the person who took the wheat and sowed them in the ground as though he were insane. Similarly, here, when one takes good states that contain wholeness, for which he has already thanked the Creator, now he cancels them. It is like that man who took good wheat seeds and sowed them in the field.

But in truth, one cannot walk on a single leg. Those two legs are considered two verses that refute one another. This is why Isaac is regarded as sowing his seed, which is left. Our sages said about it, “One should always repel with the left and attract with the right” ( Sotah 47). We should interpret that when one feels that he is close to the Creator, it is called, “attracting with the right.” “Repelling with the left” means that when he criticizes, he sees that he is being repelled from the work of bestowal. This means that our sages come to tell us that man needs two things, right and left, since we cannot walk on a single leg. This is considered Isaac, which is called “sowing.”

Abraham, who is called “right,” meaning Hesed, wholeness, is called “whiteness,” as was said above that there the three partners are his father, his mother, and the Creator. His father is the first discernment—the first line, which is Hesed—showing wholeness. Wholeness is called “white,” as it is written, “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.” This is called, “The right attracts,” when he feels that he is being brought closer to the Creator.

“And his mother gives the red.” Red points to a deficiency, Nukva, where he sees that he is being completely repelled from the work of bestowal. Thus, he is in a state of ascents and descents. This is regarded as having only partial faith, as he says (“Introduction to The Study of the Ten Sefirot,” Item 14) that it is because he has many descents, and during the descent he is without faith.

However, one must not spend much time on the left line, called “the second line,” since at that time one is in a state of separation. Thus, for the most part, one’s work should be in a state of wholeness. This is called “the renewal of the moon.” It means that one must constantly renew the white in him, the right line, which is whiteness.

But during the descent, faith departs from him and he sometimes remains unconscious, like a person who falls under a truck and is hurt, though he doesn’t know that he has fallen. The lesson is that the person lies under his load, as it is written, “If you see the donkey of him who hates you lying under its burden” because it cannot go above reason, as the work of going above reason is an intolerable load and burden to him. Hence, if he gets distracted from it, he immediately falls under the truck. This is called, “being injured in a road accident.” Hence, one must always be careful and keep to the right.

It follows that the correction of a person walking on the left line is because he is not waiting to get a decline and fall, and then he’ll wait until an awakening from above comes to him. Instead, he draws the left upon him, and then he sees that he is in a state of descent, meaning that he doesn’t have a single spark of desire to work in order to bestow and not for his own benefit. And then he can pray.

It is as Baal HaSulam said about what our sages said of David, who said, “I awaken the dawn, and the dawn does not awaken me.” That is, King David did not wait for the dawn, which is called “black,” which is darkness, meaning that the darkness awakens him. Instead, he awakens the darkness. He prays for the Creator to illuminate His face for him and thus he gains time from having the preparation for the darkness, and then it is easier to correct it.

And the two above-mentioned lines—right and left—beget a third line, the middle line. It is as our sages said, “And the Creator places the spirit and soul within it.” Thus, after a person has completed the work in two lines, all the evil is revealed in him. This came to him because those two lines are as two verses that refute each other. And one sees that there is no end to the ups and downs, and then he makes an honest litany for the Creator to help him receive the desire to bestow.

When the Creator helps him, he is rewarded with complete, permanent faith, since he already has the vessels of bestowal. Before one obtains the vessels of bestowal, it is impossible for him to have permanent faith, since during the descent he loses his faith and cannot permanently believe in the Creator.

It is explained (“Introduction of The Book of Zohar,” Item 138), “Since we use the vessels of reception contrary to how they were created, we necessarily feel the acts of Providence as evil, against us. Hence, when a person feels bad, he is accordingly heretical against His Providence, and the Operator is hidden from him.”

Thus, we see that before one is rewarded with vessels of bestowal, he cannot have permanent faith. However, by being rewarded with the desire to bestow—which extends from the work in the two lines, by which all the evil appears completely—one comes to a resolution that only the Creator can help him. Then he toils in this work and doesn’t escape the campaign, and he is rewarded with the middle line, called “the Creator gives the spirit and the soul.” This is called “disclosure of the face.” It is regarded as what is written, “How is there repentance, when He who knows the mysteries will testify that he will not turn back to folly.”

With that, we can interpret what we asked, “What does it mean in the work that it is written, ‘Jacob came and he is the ripening of the crop,’ as it is said, ‘The holiness of Israel is for the Lord, its first fruits,’ he stood over it.” Our sages gave an allegory about that, “The King does not stand on his field, unless when the crop is ripe.”

We should interpret that the king standing on his field refers to a man. Man extends from Malchut, and Malchut is called “a field.” And man should come to a state of “A field which the Lord has blessed.” This is done by labor in the above-mentioned two lines—the plowing of Abraham and the sowing of Isaac.

And afterwards comes the discernment of “When the crop is ripe,” when you can already see the reward from the work—the crop—which is Jacob. It is as we said above—after he has been rewarded with help from the Creator, when the Creator has given him the soul, called “disclosure of the face,” it is considered that the Creator stands over him permanently, meaning that then he is rewarded with permanent faith. This is the meaning of what is written, “And the Lord stood over him.” In other words, once a person has reached the degree of the middle line, which is considered Jacob, the Creator is over him, as mentioned in the allegory above, where the king stands on his field when the crop is ripe.

It is written (“Introduction to The Study of the Ten Sefirot,” Item 54), “When the Creator sees that one has completed one’s measure of exertion and finished everything he had to do in strengthening his choice in faith in the Creator, the Creator helps him. Then, one attains open Providence, meaning the revelation of the face. Then, he is rewarded with complete repentance.”

He says (“Introduction to The Study of the Ten Sefirot,” Item 56), “In truth, one is not absolutely certain that he will not sin again before he is rewarded with the above attainment of reward and punishment, meaning the revelation of the face. And this revelation of the face, from the perspective of the Creator’s salvation, is called ‘testimony,’ ...it guarantees that he will not sin again.” This means that at that time he is rewarded with permanent faith.

Now we can interpret what is written, “The Lord lives, and blessed be my Rock.” “My soul shall be glorified in the Lord.” We should understand the meaning of “The Lord lives,” in regards to the Creator. What kind of praise of the Creator is it? In the work, we should interpret “Lives.” Who is He who is called “The Lord lives”? It is one who believes in the Creator, that He watches over the world benevolently. This person is called “Lives.”

“Blessed by my Rock” is one who receives from the Creator the shape of this faith, where the Creator is His desire to do good to His creations. That man blesses the Creator for giving him the faith, since alone he would not be able to take upon himself faith above reason, for this is the gift of God.

We should also interpret, “My soul shall be glorified in the Lord.” “In the Lord” means in the Creator bringing him close to Him. For that, his soul is glorified, meaning that man’s soul is deeply thankful to the Creator for bringing him close. This is called, “The Creator gives the spirit and the soul.” With his own strength, a person would not be able to achieve it. For this, he praises the Creator—that now that he has faith. He blesses the Creator only for what the Creator gave him. Also, the Creator is called “the middle line,” as was said above, that only by working in the two previous lines, one is later rewarded with the Creator giving the spirit and the soul.

Thus, only the Creator can help one exit the dominion of the vessels of reception. Therefore, during the descent one must not argue with his will to receive and plead that it is better for him that the will to receive left the premises and made room for the desire to bestow, and he wants to make it understand so it will surrender before him. One should know that the body will never agree to that; it is a waste of words.

Instead, he should ask the Creator, for only He has the strength to annul it, and none other. In other words, the body will never agree to it, hence it is pointless to argue with the body. But when he wishes to do something for the Creator, he should ask the Creator to give him the strength to overcome the will to receive for himself.

With the above said, we should interpret what they said ( Avot, Chapter 1, 5), “Do not extend in conversation with the woman.” This was said about his woman. It is all the more so about his friend’s woman. Although the literal meaning is the main one in the work, we can interpret that the woman and the man are in one body. Man’s woman is called “the will to receive,” which is called “a female,” and which always wants only to receive.

Hence, sometimes, when one wishes to do something in order to bestow, which is called “male,” a man, and the will to receive resists, and a man wishes to extend in discussion with his will to receive to make it understand that it is better for it to let him work in order to bestow, our sages said that it’s a waste of words. They said, “This is said about his own woman,” meaning the will to receive in himself. “It is all the more so in his friend’s woman,” meaning to argue with the friends’ will to receive—that he will argue with them and make them see that it is better to do everything in order to bestow—since only the Creator can help them out of the domination of the will to receive for oneself.

Hence, such people—who wish to walk on the path of reaching a state where all their actions are in order to bestow—must not reproach their friends about why they don’t engage in the work of bestowal. This is because if they want to correct a friend’s will to receive, it is as though that man has power. But in truth, what a person does in order to bestow is only by the power of the Creator. This is why it is forbidden to rebuke one’s friend.

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