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Baruch Shalom HaLevi Ashlag (The RABASH)

What “You Have Given the Strong to the Hands of the Weak” Means in the Work

Article No. 13, 1990-91

Here is the order of the work: When a person wishes to do everything for the Creator, that his actions will be in order to bestow and not to receive reward, it is against nature because man was created with a desire to receive for his own benefit. This is why we were given the work of exiting self-love and working only in order to bestow for the sake of the Creator.

To be able to perform this work of exiting the domination of self-love, we were given the commandment, “love thy friend as thyself,” which, as Rabbi Akiva says, “Is a great rule in the Torah.” As it explains in the book, The Giving of the Torah, through it we will exit the domination of the will to receive for ourselves and will be able to work for the sake of the Creator.

And concerning “love thy friend as thyself,” we should make two interpretations:

1. Literally, between a man and his friend.

2. Between man and the Creator, as our sages said, (Midrash Rabbah, Yitro, 27:1), “Do not leave your friend and the friend of your father.” “Your friend” is the Creator, as it is written, “For the sake of my brothers and my friends,” which is interpreted as the Creator, who called them “brothers” and “friends.” It follows that “love thy friend as thyself” refers to achieving love for the Creator as for yourself.

Thus, there are two discernments in “love thy friend as thyself”:

1) We should say, as a cure. In other words, the reason why one must love his friend is only because through it, he will be able to come to love the Creator, too, as presented in the book, The Giving of the Torah. Hence, as with love of friends, when a person wishes to cling to friends, he chooses with whom to bond. In other words, when a person himself chooses friends, he searches for those who will have good qualities.

Likewise, when one wishes to love the Creator, he should try to see the greatness and importance of the Creator. This evokes the love of the Creator in a person. If he cannot see the greatness and importance of the Creator because the evil in man indicates to slandering the Creator, one must pray for the Creator’s help, that He will help him have the strength to overcome and say above reason, “I want to believe in the greatness and importance of the Creator so that I will be able to love Him,” as it is written, “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” In other words, love of friends is a means by which to attain the goal, which is the love of the Creator.

By that, we can interpret what our sages said, “It is good to have Torah with the right conduct, since toil in both makes iniquity forgotten.” This means that toiling in the right conduct, which is the work between a man and his friend, is a cure by which one can come to love the Creator, who is called “Torah.” The essence of the teaching is that through the Torah, one bonds with the giver of the Torah. Our sages said about that, “The Creator said, ‘I have created the evil inclination; I have created the spice of Torah.’” In other words, through the Torah, which is the spice, one is rewarded with adhesion with the Creator, which is regarded as “reforming him.”

This is the meaning of, “Toil in both makes iniquity forgotten.” In other words, through labor between a man and his friend and between man and the Creator, meaning by exerting in the Torah, it makes the iniquity forgotten. Therefore, the iniquity of the tree of knowledge, from which the iniquities extend, is corrected by both.

The writing says (Psalms 33, Rejoice ... You Righteous), “Behold, the eye of the Lord is toward them that fear Him, toward them that await His mercy; to deliver their souls from death, and to keep them alive in famine.” We must understand what is meant by, “The eye of the Lord is [specifically] toward them that fear Him.” After all, the eyes of the Creator roam everywhere. We must believe that the Creator watches over the whole world in private Providence, in benevolence, and not necessarily those who fear Him.

We should interpret that we speak of the Creator only from the perspective of “By your actions, we know You.” This means that it is specifically those who fear Him who feel that the eye of the Creator is watching over the whole world. In other words, only those who fear the Creator attain that the Creator watches over the world in private Providence, in benevolence. But as for the rest of the world, for them there is concealment of the face, since they cannot attain His Providence, which is benevolent.

It is written in the “Introduction to The Book of Zohar” (p 138), “As long as the receivers have not come to completeness, being able to receive His complete benevolence, which He had planned for us in the thought of creation, the guidance must be by way of good and bad.”

In other words, as long as our vessels of reception are littered by self-reception, it is impossible to see Providence as benevolent. Rather, those who can see the eye of the Creator, that His guidance is benevolent, are only those who “Await His mercy.” This is because “His mercy” means that they yearn to receive the quality of Hesed [mercy/grace] from the Creator—the quality of bestowal—which is called “equivalence of form,” known as “ Dvekut [adhesion] with the Creator.”

Therefore, when they are rewarded with the quality of bestowal, their vessels of reception are no longer littered. At that time, they are rewarded with “The eye of the Lord,” to feel that His Providence is one of benevolence. But those who do not wish to obtain the quality of Hesed, meaning vessels of bestowal, are under the influence of good and bad.

But to whom does the Creator give the Hesed, called “vessels of bestowal,” which is the second nature? Not to everyone. There are many people who await His mercy—for the Creator to give them the quality of Hesed. However, the Creator does not give the Hesed, called “vessels of bestowal,” to those people who think that the matter of Hesed is only an addition, meaning those who consider themselves whole and need the Creator to give them the quality of Hesed as a fair supplement.

This is so because only those with Kelim [vessels] for the filling are given from above. In other words, if there is no real deficiency, it is impossible to fill it. So precisely when is it possible to satiate a need? When a person does not ask for luxuries but for necessity. Then a person receives because luxuries are not considered a deficiency.

When it is written, “The eye of the Lord is toward them that fear Him, toward them that await His mercy,” who are these above-mentioned people who await His mercy? That is, for what purpose are they yearning for the Creator to give them the quality of Hesed? It is specifically such people who feel that they need the quality of Hesed, “To deliver their souls from death.”

In other words, it is precisely in those people who wish to achieve Dvekut with the Creator, to adhere to the Life of Lives. Otherwise, if they have no Dvekut, they feel that they are tantamount to the dead, as our sages said, “The wicked, in their lives, are called ‘dead.’” For this reason, they ask of the Creator to deliver them from death because disparity of form separates them from the Life of Lives.

Dvekut with the Creator is considered life, as it is written, “But you that did cleave unto the Lord your God are alive every one of you this day.” It follows that the reason they are asking for the quality of Hesed is because they do not wish to be as “The wicked, in their lives, are called ‘dead,’” and it is to them that the Creator gives the quality of Hesed, meaning vessels of bestowal.

When it is written, “To deliver their souls from death,” meaning his request of the Creator to give him the quality of Hesed is in order to “Deliver their souls from death,” this is called “a deficiency,” which is a Kli [vessel] that can receive the filling. But those people who need the help of the Creator as a luxury have no real Kelim [plural of Kli], no real need for the Creator to give them the Kelim, “To deliver their souls from death,” but as a luxury.

Hence, they remain with the vessels of reception, caring only for their own benefit. They do not feel that they have soiled Kelim, that it is impossible to insert Kedusha [holiness] into these Kelim, since Kedusha and self-benefit are two opposites.

It therefore follows that only those who understand that if they cannot perform acts of bestowal they will become separate from the Life of Lives will ask the Creator to give them the power to bestow. This is a second nature, as Baal HaSulam said that as the Creator gave the first nature, the desire to receive, it is impossible to change the first nature into a second one. Rather, only the Creator can do it.

As in the exodus from Egypt, the Creator Himself delivered them from the dominion of Pharaoh, King of Egypt, as our sages said in the Passover Hagadah [Passover narrative], “The Lord brought us forth from Egypt, not by an angel, not by a seraph, and not by a messenger, but the Creator Himself.”

However, when does one receive the help that the Creator will deliver him from the rule of Egypt, which is the will to receive for himself? It is precisely when a person has a real need and not a redundancy. Hence, if one wishes to achieve Dvekut with the Creator, one receives help for the need. In other words, he should feel that he is lacking, meaning not lacking completeness, but lacking life, since the evil in him is so extensive. Hence, he is informed from above that he is a sinner, as it is written in TheZohar about what is said, “If his sin, which he has committed, is made known to him.” It asks, “Who made it known to him”? And it replies, “The Creator made it known to him that he is a sinner.”

This means that the Creator shows him the truth of how remote he is from the Creator and that he is in real need of a life of Kedusha. Thus, then one asks of the Creator to help him and give him the desire to bestow because he is deficient of life. And then, since he already has a real need, the Creator gives him the desire to bestow, which is the second nature.

According to the above, we should interpret what is written (in “And of the Miracles”), “And You, in Your great mercy, have placed the strong in the hands of the weak, the many in the hands of the few, and the impure in the hands of the pure.” This comes to tell us that before a person comes to a state where he sees how weak he is, how the evil in him is in such profusion that he cannot overcome, and how impure he is, it is impossible to receive the filling from above. This is because he still doesn’t have a complete Kli that can receive the filling, which relates to the deficiency of the Kli.

This is why it is written, “For you were the fewest of all peoples.” In other words, “The Lord did not set His love upon you, nor choose you because you were more in number than any people, for you were the fewest of all peoples.” Thus, when a person sees that he is worse than the whole world, specifically in the state of lowliness does the Creator choose you and deliver you from the domination of Egypt, as it is written, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, ...to be your God.”

It is written (in the psalm, Hanukah Song), “I will extol You, O Lord, for You have lifted me up, and have not let my enemies rejoice over me.” We must understand who are David’s enemies, of which David said, “And have not let my enemies rejoice over me.” We should interpret that it is known that David is considered Malchut, meaning the kingdom of heaven. That is, that the creatures should take upon themselves the burden of the kingdom of heaven with the aim to not receive reward, but because “He is great and ruling,” and not for self-gratification.

But the whole world resists that and hates doing everything for the Creator and not for self-gratification. Therefore, Kedusha is entirely to bestow, meaning to benefit the Creator, as it is written, “You shall be holy for I the Lord am holy.” Thus, as the Creator only bestows upon the creatures, the creatures should bestow upon the Creator, for this is called, “equivalence of form,” which is considered Dvekut [adhesion] with the Creator.

It turns out that all those who wish to work only for themselves and not for the Creator are called “the Creator’s enemies,” meaning the enemies of the kingdom of heaven. By that, they are called “David’s enemies,” and this is the meaning of David’s words, “And have not let my enemies rejoice over me.”

Generally speaking, there are only two discernments to speak of: 1) the Creator; 2) the creatures. In other words, the Creator created the creatures to impart them with delight and pleasure, as it is written, “His desire to do good to His creations.” Prior to the sin, AdamhaRishon had wholeness of his Neshama, for at that time, he had NRN from BYA and NRN from Atzilut. Only after the sin was there departure of his NRN and he remained with only Nefesh.

Then he had to repent, to raise his Kelim, which fell to the Klipot, and reunite them with the Kedusha, meaning to adhere unto Him once more in order to bestow, and this is called “repentance” [in Hebrew—“to return”], as it is written in The Zohar, “The Hey shall return to the Vav.”

Hey means Malchut, which receives in order to receive and all the souls extend from her. This is why Malchut is called “the assembly of Israel,” which contains all the souls. A correction was placed over this Malchut, to correct her into being in order to bestow, and this work was given to the creatures, where by engaging in Torah and Mitzvot [commandments] in order to bestow, they cause each one to be in order to bestow at the root of his soul in Malchut of Atzilut. In so doing, they cause unification above, which is called “the unification of the Creator and His Divinity,” meaning Malchut, who is called “Divinity,” with ZA, who is called “Vav of HaVaYaH.” This is the meaning of “repentance” when The Zohar says, “The Hey shall return to the Vav.”

In general, we should make three distinctions: “one,” “unique,” and “unified.” It is written in The Study of the Ten Sefirot (Part 1, Item 1), “One indicates that He is in uniform equivalence. Unique indicates what extends from Him, that in Him, all those multiplicities are uniform, like His essence. And Unified indicates that although He affects the many actions, a single force operates all of them and they all return and unite in the form of unique.”

The meaning of One is that He is in uniform equivalence, meaning that He created creation with a single desire—to do good to His creations. Unique means that although we see that there are many actions, meaning good and bad, that is, He appears as doing good and bad, He is called “Unique” because His various actions all have a single result—doing good. It follows that He is unique in every single action and does not change through all His various actions. Over each act, there rides a single form—doing good.

One must believe that. In other words, even though a person feels that this action comes from the Creator and it is not a favorable action, one should still believe that this action will enable him to attain the good. This is man’s work, to believe that this is so, even though he doesn’t understand it, and to give thanks to the Creator for it.

Our sages said, “One should bless for the bad as one blesses for the good.” In other words, a person must believe that it is for his own good, or the Creator would not let him feel those states, since His desire is to do good to the creatures, for that was the thought of creation.

“Unified” means that a person has already been rewarded with seeing how all the many singular ones have adopted the shape of the Unique, meaning he was rewarded with seeing how for each bad, he already received the good that belongs to it. One is rewarded with being unified only after he has corrected his Kelim to be in order to bestow. At that time, a person is rewarded with the purpose of creation, which is entirely good.

This is the meaning of what is written in the psalm, The Opening of the House for David. The “opening of the house” refers to the Temple, that in the work, a man’s heart should be a Temple for the Creator, as it is written, “And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them.” One should be rewarded with the presence of Divinity, as our sages said, “The Merciful one needs the heart,” meaning that all the Creator needs is man’s heart, so as to give him what He wishes to give him.

And when a person is rewarded with being Unified, he sees that he has been rewarded with the construction of the Temple. David said about that, “I will extol You, O Lord, for You have lifted me up, and have not let my enemies rejoice over me.” This means that all the enemies—which are desires for self-reception—who were obstructing the Kedusha, the Creator has saved him from all the enemies and he was rewarded with admittance into Kedusha. This is the meaning of the words, “O Lord, You have brought up my soul from the nether-world; You have kept me alive, that I would not go down to the pit.”

We say (in “Help of Our Fathers”), “You are the first; You are the last; and besides You, we have no King who redeems and delivers.” We also say, “You are before the world was created; You are after the world was created; You are in this world; and You are for the next world.” We understand it literally as relating to the greatness of the Creator. However, what does that come to tell us in the work?

It is known that the order of the work is that one must correct his vessels of reception so as to have the strength to do everything in order to bestow. And one should exert and do all that he can. At that time, he comes to a resolution that without the help of the Creator, there is no way that he will exit the dominion of the will to receive for himself. This is called “redemption,” when he comes out of the exile in Egypt, that is, the domination of the will to receive.

Everyone understands that redemption is a matter for the Creator, since a person sees that it is utterly impossible to come out of exile by himself. And yet, we should ask, “How does one know that coming out of the exile of the will to receive depends solely on the Creator and is beyond man’s capabilities?”

The answer is that in his view, he has already done what he could do but did not move an inch from his will to receive. On the contrary, he sees that since he started the work, in order to reach the degree that all his actions will be for the Creator, now he sees very differently—that he is regressing!

In other words, he sees that now he is more immersed in self-love than ever. For this reason, when a person is rewarded with redemption, with coming out of this exile, he says that only the Creator can deliver the people of Israel from Egypt, meaning that redemption belongs to the Creator.

However, entering the exile, meaning surrendering to the dominion of the will to receive, this certainly belongs to man. In other words, it is man’s fault that he cannot overcome the will to receive for himself. Thus, a person goes into exile by himself.

To that, the writings tell us that this is not as we understand it. And although one should say, “If I am not for me, who is for me?” meaning that everything depends on man’s decision, one should still believe that everything is under Providence, meaning that everything depends on the Creator. It is said about that, “You are before the world was created.” It is known that Olam [world] comes form the word He’elem [disappearance] and concealment. And we should know that concerning the exile, there are two discernments to make: 1) When a person doesn’t feel that there is disappearance and concealment, and 2) when a person feels that he is in a state of disappearance and concealment.

This is the meaning of the words, “You are before the world was created.” In other words, the fact that a person does not feel that he is in a state of concealment is the Creator’s doing. But this is for man’s benefit, since before a person can correct the evil in him, there is a correction of not seeing the bad. Thus, the Creator created the situation that precedes man’s entrance into the disappearance and concealment.

This is the meaning of, “You are before the world was created,” meaning before the concealment was created. Afterwards, a person comes to a state of disappearance and concealment. One comes into that state precisely according to his effort in Torah and Mitzvot to reach a degree where all his actions are in order to bestow.

This is the meaning of the words, “You are after the world was created.” Thus, the fact that one came into disappearance and concealment was from You. This is the meaning of, “You are after the world was created.” And after he is already in exile, then comes redemption, and this is, “You are the first; You are the last.”

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