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Baruch Shalom HaLevi Ashlag (The RABASH)

Letter No. 14

November 21, 1955, London

To the students, may they live long,

I see that you are behaving with me with eye for an eye, meaning that if I don’t reply to your letter right away, then you believe that you have already excused yourselves, and you can no longer write me. Indeed, you are right; it is all my fault that the correspondence is not so frequent. I pray that He will give me the knowledge to correct all of my faults.

Yesterday I gave a talk before I went back to Israel, to the group of students of Rabbi Dessler. I told him the verse, “Raba said, ‘One should know in one’s heart if he is a complete righteous.’” I said that repentance means that a person should return back to his origin.

That is, since the essence of creation, which is called “man,” is the will to receive, and the Creator is the giver, and when a person returns to his root it is called “repentance.” How is repentance? It is as Maimonides says, “Until He who knows the mysteries will testify that he will not turn back to folly.” That testimony appears in a person only once he has repented. Then he attains the upper pleasantness, meaning that the Creator places His Shechina [Divinity] on him. A person who has repented means that he was rewarded with Dvekut [adhesion].

This is the meaning of, “One should know in one’s heart, in one’s soul,” meaning if he wants to know if he has already repented, he has the scrutiny if he’s already been rewarded with the pleasantness of the Creator. This is the sign that he has repented, meaning that he’s already working in order to bestow (See in the Introduction to Talmud Eser Sefirot).

This is the meaning of “Seek peace and pursue it.” The whole dispute is only from the will to receive, and “seek peace” can be in the will to bestow. This is the meaning of what is written, “And Israel sowed in that land, and he found a hundred gates,” meaning one-hundred percent. This is precisely the quality of Isaac who had received from Abraham, as it is written, “And Abraham gave Isaac all that he had.”

And RASHI interprets the Midrash, “Rabbi Yehuda says, ‘This is Gevura [strength or might],’ And Rabbi Nehemia says, ‘This is blessing.’”But they both refered to the same thing. Rabbi Yehuda speaks from the perspective of the work, that He showed him the place of work, which is precisely by overcoming, and Rabb Nehemiaspeaks of the reward, where specifically by overcoming, one is rewarded with the blessing, and the blessing is one-hundred percent. By being rewarded with repentance from love, all one-hundred percent of the work is blessed, even the time of sins.

And one is rewarded with everything only by overcoming, called “strength,” and each and every strength that a person elicits joins into a great amount. That is, even if a person overcomes once and gets an alien thought, and says, “But I already know from experience that soon I will not have this desire for the work, so what will I get now if I overcome it a little?”’ At that time, he must reply that many pennies join into a great amount, meaning to the general account, whether to the root of his soul or to the public.

Perhaps this is the meaning of “The gates of tears were not locked.” Shaarei [gates] comes from the words, Se’arot [“hair,” or “storms”], which is overcoming. “Tears” comes from the word “tearing,” meaning that there is a mixture with other desires, and only in the middle of the desires there is a brief moment of a desire to overcome toward love and fear of heaven. “…not locked,” but rather that moment joins into a great amount. When the amount is full, the person begins to feel the spiritual clothing.

This is the meaning of the importance of tears, meaning that even if he is in the lowest state and has base desires, but still has the strength to overcome, meaning that from the point in his heart he yearns and craves the Creator, then that force is very important. Thus, even when a person is in exile, when his point in the heart is placed under other governances, called “Divinity [ Shechina] in exile” for that person, for one moment he overcomes and sanctifies the Creator. And even though he is already certain, because of all of his experiences, that afterwards he will fall again, it is still very important that a person can say the truth openly.

This is similar to a person standing among criminals who are swearing and cursing the work of the Creator. And among them there are some who lecture eloquently and let you understand that there is no point to serving the Creator. But still there is someone there who cannot explain the value and the essence of the work so well, but he can make a few objections, meaning that he utters protests that what they’re saying is not true. It is good that he disagrees, even though he is not as eloquent as the swearers. This is called the “gates of tears”, and it is called “Many pennies join into a great amount.”

Let us hope that the Creator will open our eyes and delight our hearts with “Say unto Zion, your God is King.”

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