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Baruch Shalom HaLevi Ashlag (The RABASH)

Letter No. 21

July 7, 1956, Manchester

To the students, may the live long,

I am surprised that I am not receiving mails from you each week; I thought you would replace the legwork that was in you while I was in Israel, when you walked to study Torah, with handwork, meaning that you would write letters, but you have still not come to this. The only one among you who excels is… for he does not wait for my written reply but does what he must. I suppose he has the full understanding of how he should behave.

And Rabbi… sometimes thinks that his questions should be presented in writing, and sometimes thinks that it is enough to present them in thought. However, he should know that it is actions that we need, for there is “thought, speech, and action” (and the action should be placed inside the thought), and the thought should be placed inside the act. “Speech” comes from the words, “One speaker per generation,” meaning a leader, for we need the thought to become an action, for everything has its own correction.

Rabbi… began to write but stopped, and from Rabbi… I have not had the privilege of receiving even the silhouette of a letter. As for Rabbi… when I was in Israel I received from him a letter once every two weeks or so. I am sure he has good memory because last year he sent a letter to London and the address was unclear so the letter returned to him. Perhaps he fears that by the time he troubles himself with writing and sending, it will return to him. It turns out that according to his view, his effort will have been in vain, and this might be a good enough reason for him.

But the truth is not so, as people say, “No pain no gain.” It is also possible that he trusts his loyal friend since he excuses him by his friend making the kidush (blessing at the beginning of a festive meal) and he replies (Amen) to his blessing. And Rabbi… must be taking the path of concealment, and I need say no more. And to… who has still to come up with excuses, but knows himself and trusts that when he begins to think of excuses he will certainly find some. And as for the elder in the group, our Teacher, Rabbi… he needs love of friends, meaning for someone to write for him.

And yet, we must exert, move forward, and with the Creator’s help reach the desired goal. And the most important thing required of us is the prayer. We need to understand why the prayer was given to us. Could the Creator not give us abundance without prayer? However, Baal HaSulam said that everything is tasteless unless there is a desire and an appetite for it, called “craving.”

When a person begins to walk on the path of work, and prepares his Kelim (vessels) to receive the gift from the Creator, the Creator gives him room to increase his desire. This is done specifically through prayer. The rejections and concealment one receives from Him, and the efforts that one makes to move forward each time—while seeing that he is going backwards—intensify the need for the Creator’s salvation.

So is the nature—he craves and each time imagines that he is already marching on the highway. And suddenly, he looks back to the place from which he came, and then leaves the highway and reconnects with the uneducated people and follows them. When he sees that he is among the uneducated, meaning in heresy, he begins to crave faith once more. And then through prayer the craving grows and expands until it reaches a level when the Creator says that his Kelim are now ready to receive the salvation. Then one is rewarded with the Creator hearing the prayer.

But in truth, each prayer that a person prays is on the path of correction, since each prayer adds its share, meaning expands the vessels of reception. This is the meaning of “the Creator yearns for the prayer of the righteous,” meaning that through prayer, man’s desires expand, and each prayer that he prays and sees that he has still not been answered makes him need the Creator, for he feels in his organs that only the Creator Himself can help.

It follows from all the above that even on the lowest states there is room for prayer that the Creator will deliver him from his lowliness. But when a person feels his lowliness and escapes the campaign, it means that for all the rejections he had received in order to grow closer to Him, he has grown farther. Therefore, this requires a special heart to overcome in prayer.

But the main thing we need to know is that each person has a point in the heart that gives the strength to work. But when we take that strength and use it to work in the ordinary way, meaning “automatically,” then he has no more energy to work for the main purpose, for the body knows that it has already worked in Torah and Mitzvot and has no more energy to do more things.

We must know that we must not add in actions, whether in Mitzvot that are done out of habit, or Mitzvot that are done out of faith. This is so because one who is truly righteous will not make more than four Tzitziot (fringes) to his garment, and will not wear the Tefillin or put up two Mezuzot (pl. of Mezuzah) on the doorpost and so forth.

Only in the intention is there a difference in who is the obligator—the environment or the faith, meaning the habits he has absorbed from the environment or because of the commandment of the Creator. This is the meaning of “A prayer for the poor when he is wrapped and pours out his words before the Lord.”

It is known from the holy books that the prayer of the poor is accepted above. We need to know what is a prayer of the poor. This is explained in the verse, “A prayer for the poor when he is wrapped.” What does he want? To pour out his words before the Creator, for all the words to be only before the Creator and not before the environment.

There is a rule that a person always works only for the cause, or that the environment is his cause to work. It follows that he is working before the environment and not before the Creator. One should resent this. Why should it not be before the Creator? He should ask the Creator to have mercy on him.

This is the meaning of what is written in The Zohar: “A prayer for the poor.” The Zohar interprets, “As I am resentful, so man should resent his receiving all his vitality from the environment. But when he begins to work in faith, he has no vitality at all and the work becomes as loathsome to him as a carcass.

Baal HaSulam said about this what the dove said to Noah: “I would rather have my food as bitter as olives then let them be from the hand of man.” It is so because the primary goal is only to draw closer to Him, and the truth will show its way, meaning if his faith as appropriate.

Therefore, when one wishes to achieve Torah and Mitzvot Lishma (for Her sake) but has no vitality in it, it is a sign that he has no faith in the Creator, and how can he work when he does not believe in Him? Therefore, this is the only point on which we must make every effort that one has acquired from the point in the heart, since each point in the heart gives strength to work, but if this force is used to serve the environment…

By that you will understand the words of our sages, “Any wise disciple without knowledge, a carcass is better than him.” We should understand this: If he has no knowledge, why is he called “a wise disciple”? He is a wise disciple in that he learned from the environment, but he does not have the “knowledge” that is called Dvekut (adhesion) with the Creator. He sees that if he does not take strength for work from the environment but from the intention to bestow, then his work becomes as loathsome as a carcass in his eyes, since “such is the way of Torah—lead a life of sorrow.” It means that he feels sorrow in his work and not contentment, as was said about the dove, who said, “‘I would rather have my food as bitter as olives,” etc.

Indeed, why are they bitter? It is because the work Lishma is against nature, which is reception in both mind and heart. Before a person reveals his prayer, the Creator cannot save him, as it is said, “It is a time of trouble for Jacob, and he will be saved from it,” for only then does he receive the craving for the Creator. This is regarded as “If the Creator does not help him, he cannot overcome it,” as it is against nature.

But when the environment gives him the food, meaning he feels reception in Torah and work, he naturally has vitality. At that time he does not need the Creator and has no demand to receive knowledge, which is “and know this day and respond to your heart.” These are the answers to the heart when a person is rewarded with Dvekut with the Creator.

This is the meaning of “a student in whom there is no knowledge, a carcass is better than him.” That is, it is better for him to take upon himself the work that is as loathsome to him as a lifeless carcass. This is also the meaning of “Skin a carcass on the street but do not need people,” meaning that if you are on the street, namely in the environment, take for yourself a simple work and do not need people, meaning to receive the nourishment and sustenance from the environment, called “people.”

This is also the meaning of “Make your Sabbath a weekday but do not need people.” That is, the settling of the heart will be as a weekday. Even though you feel no sanctity, meaning a settling on the heart when you have no vitality, but do not need people to give you nourishments. Rather, every time when there is no vitality, turn to the Creator to have mercy on us and deliver us from darkness to light, from enslavement in the body to redemption.

A person should insist on going in the way of the Creator as much as he can, and not follow the ways of the environment. This is the meaning of what our sages said, “Every wise disciple who is not as hard as steel is not a wise disciple.” We should examine this: If he is a wise disciple, meaning even if he is proficient in the Mishnah and Gemarah and observes Mitzvot, why is he not regarded as a wise disciple if he is not as hard as steel? However, as mentioned above, he should be standing as steel and not take strength from the environment, and then one comes to a state of “And children of Israel sighed from the work.”

The main advice for this is prayer. Each one of you should dedicate time for prayer, especially those who served the Great Tree (Baal HaSulam), and may his merit help us follow his path of work, which he had established for us.

“Righteous are greater in their death than in their life.” This means that the righteous are great in their death, meaning when a person feels the righteous when he is alive, meaning sees the righteous’ greatness. This is so because when he sees smallness in the righteous, it is in one’s favor, for sometimes a person must disclose his own prayer seeing that he has remained alone in the world, as it is written, “And no man shall climb with you on the mountain.” That is, when a person must climb to the mountain of the Lord, he does not see anyone from whom he can receive support. … heard this matter Baal HaSulam.

On another way, meaning outside the path of faith, it is called “holy still.” As Baal HaSulam said, “still” means general movement. That is, the earth as a whole moves, but to the individual still item there is no movement and no sensation of the truth. Individual movement is called “vegetative.” This is awarded specifically to those who follow the path of truth, as it is written, “There is none who reads justly and there is no faithful sentence. Chaos is certain and a vain word yields labor (and yields falsehood).”

The explanation of the above words, with the above words we can somewhat understand what is explained in TES (Talmud Eser Sefirot [The Study of the Ten Sefirot]), that there are three states, called Holam, Shuruk, Hirik. Holam is called “bottom Hey in the Eynaim (eyes),” and the Kelim of the upper one being in the lower one. This means that when the lower one sees that the holy Shechina is in the dust, meaning that there is a blocking on the Eynaim, which are open Providence (and not faith).

That is, the upper one has restricted Himself and shows His Katnut (infancy/smallness) so that the lower one may take upon itself the choice. This is so because specifically during concealment there is room for choice. But with revealed Providence, when one sees the greatness of the upper one, it is called “knowing” and not “faith,” and then there is no work. It follows from this that the upper one degraded Himself and lowered Himself for the sake of the lower one. And then there is choice in the lower one, for then there can be slander.

And when the lower one takes this work upon himself, through prayer, labor, and faith, all three go together, and in general only in the form of faith. Then he is rewarded with seeing the Gadlut (adulthood/greatness) of the upper one, and this is called “the upper one raising his AHP from the lower one,” meaning that he was with the lower one and appeared in the form of the lower one (as in, “A student who is exiled, his teacher is exiled with him.” Baal HaSulam interpreted that if a person is in Katnut, then wherever he looks, whether at the Creator or at friends, everything has the form of a lower one in his eyes).

And when the Creator hears the prayer of the lower one, the upper one raises his AHP by lowering the bottom Hey from the Eynaim, which is open Providence, and then he sees that the upper one is in Gadlut. It follows that the lower one ascends through the upper one—if he sees that the upper one is great then he becomes great. This is specifically by the AHP being with the lower one, meaning that the lower one regretted the upper one being in Katnut. This is called “Shechina (Divinity) in the dust,” and it is called Shuruk.

However, this causes the loss of the lower one’s place for work, and then the lower one does not want to receive all of his Gadlut, regarded as GAR de Hochma. At that time the upper one diminishes himself because of the lower one, which is considered that the upper one is mingled with the lower one, the GE of the lower one. At that time the lower one causes the upper one to diminish himself into Hirik once more. This is regarded as the cause being the lower one, that the lower one can receive this knowledge only as ZAT, which is regarded as being in a clothing of Hassadim. In other words, to the extent that he can walk on the path of faith he receives knowledge, and not more. Otherwise he would have no room for choice.

I do not intend to interpret any further unless someone writes for more interpretation. Then he should write me the questions, and if I am rewarded, I will be able to answer him.

From your friend who awaits redemption

Baruch Shalom HaLevi

Son of Baal HaSulam

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