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Baruch Shalom HaLevi Ashlag (The RABASH)

Letter No. 20

June 15, 1956, Manchester

To the students, may they live long,

I recently received letters from… and I will reply to all the letters in a general and abstract manner. This means that even the elder in the group will be able to receive satisfactory answers, even to those questions he did not put in writing. I still remember how Baal HaSulam taught him how to write, and I am certain he remembers it.

Baal HaSulam explained writing in regard to what we say, “Remember us to life, O King who desires life, and write us in the book of the living.” Writing is always with black ink over white paper. “White” is the time of Torah and work, and “black” time is the evil and lowliness that a person feels about himself. This blackness should be surrounded by white around each and every letter. In other words, it is impossible to see the situation as it truly is, except by the hours that one gives for Torah and work, for the light in it reforms him.

Therefore, specifically by the multiplication, meaning the right, one comes to a state of left, called “blackness.” At that time it is considered that the writing is as it should be. But mere blackness, when a person does not exert extensively in Torah and Mitzvot (commandments) and says about himself that he is bad, that bad extends from the place of the Klipot (shells), and there is no room for this in the single authority.

We should always be careful not to invert the order of times of right and left. It is as our sages said about the verse, “The eyes of the Lord your God are always upon her from the beginning of the year to the end of the year, etc., at times favorably, and at times unfavorably.” “At times favorably,” how so? When Israel were complete wicked in the beginning of the year, and were sentenced few rains, but in the end they repented. It is impossible to add, since the sentence has already been given, but the Creator brings them down on time on the soil that needs them. Everything is according to the soil. “At times unfavorably,” how so? Israel were complete righteous in the beginning of the year and were sentenced many rains, but in the end they went astray. It is impossible to lessen, since the sentence has already been given, but the Creator brings them done not in their time on a soil that does not need them (Rosh Hashanah, 17b).

I interpret this in two ways: 1) An answer to the friends who say that when they were born they were given little strength from above, meaning a limited mind that is neither keen nor understanding or with good memory or energy and a strong and encompassing view. Rather, they speak badly about their mental capacities and tell themselves that this is probably due to a sin in the previous incarnation, and the Creator has sentenced them to come down with little corporeal powers, since in the beginning of the year, meaning when they were created, they were sentenced to this.

However, they have to know that if they repent, those few rains, meaning the few mental capacities, come down to the earth. That is, they use all the energy they have positively, and this is enough for the measure that the earth, meaning the heart, to yield its crop—multiplication in Torah and Mitzvot.

If they are not rewarded, even if they were sentenced to many rains but then went astray, all the corporeal capacities, called “many rains,” are brought down not in the time when the earth needs them. That is, they use all their energy and wit not for the land of holiness, but for a desert, where there are bad animals. But for the earth that will yield crops there are no rains at all. There they can see about those great ones that in regard to pure and clean work they have no wit, and no energy or power.

Also, one should put one’s mind and heart only for the rains to go where they are needed. This is a sufficient measure so it can yield its crop, and this is called “at times favorably.”

This explains what our sages depicted, “at times favorably,” precisely when they were complete wicked in the beginning of the year. Why did they not say that they were righteous and remained righteous? Rather, whatever powers one’s mind is given, he can always say that they are small. They explained about this that even with complete wicked in the beginning of their creation, meaning in the beginning of the year, who are sentenced to few rains, it is still enough for the earth, meaning his desires, to yield fruits of Kedusha (holiness).

I elaborated on this to rebuff the excuses that some of the smarty friends use to explain their actions.

Another meaning is that if a person is not rewarded with correcting his works so they are pure, even though he is given some vitality of holiness—which he can use to feel a bit of wholeness in himself, so he can praise and thank the Creator for bringing him a little closer to His work—this force must illuminate for him during the keeping of Torah and Mitzvot, since one must not enter the king’s home wearing rags.

If he is not rewarded, he feels wholeness when engaging in idle things such as eating and drinking and other such things. But when he approaches the keeping of Torah and Mitzvot, he feels his lowliness. It follows that specifically at the king’s gate he wears the sack of lowliness, and therefore cannot yield blessed fruits because the cursed does not cling to the blessed.

Rather, it should be to the contrary—precisely when he performs the Mitzvot, he should feel whole. By that he qualifies himself for the Creator to instill His Shechina on him, and is rewarded with the delightfulness and sweetness of the upper pleasantness. Finally, he is pitied from above and he attaches himself to His eternity.

But the main thing is to strengthen ourselves in the matters of faith precisely where the “who” and “what” questions arise.

By this we will understand what RASHI says about the verse, This is the statute of the law.” These are his words: “Since Satan and the nations of the world count Israel, saying, ‘What is this commandment, and what is the point about it?’ He wrote a statute about it: ‘It is a decree before Me and you have no permission to doubt it.’” This means that this is why its reasoning is not written.

But it would seem logical that it should be the opposite, meaning that when there is no one to ask, there is no need for a reason. But when someone asks, there should be a reasoning there. However, the meaning of the statute of the law refers to faith, and this is precisely where there are questions, there the answer should be above reason.

With this you will also understand what they said, “Let the mother come and wipe her son clean.” What is the connection between the red cow and the calf? Is it because of the word-play, where he it says “cow” and here it says “calf,” that this is the only connection? But as mentioned above, the sin with the calf is as it is written in the “Introduction of the Book of Zohar,” MI-ELEH (who are these), as it is said, “These are your gods, O Israel,” meaning knowing and not MI, called Hassadim (mercies), which is faith. This is the reason for the story about the cow, which is faith above reason, and by that you will atone for the sin of the calf.

Your friend Baruch Shalom,

Son of Baal HaSulam

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