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Baruch Shalom HaLevi Ashlag (The RABASH)

Letter No. 49

September 14 [1959], Bnei Brak

Hello and all the best to my friend,

It has been a while since I received a letter from you … there is nothing new with me and let us hope that the Creator will help us with every good thing.

We should understand the Midrash (interpretation) about the verse we say during the Eighteen Prayer of Rosh Hashanah: “And the Lord of Hosts will be high in judgment, and the holy God is sanctified in almsgiving.” It is written, “The Creator said to Israel: ‘My sons, I am pleading you, by your observing the judgment, I ascend.’ How so? It is said, ‘The Lord of Hosts will be high in judgment.’ By your elevating Me with judgment, I give alms and instill My sanctity among you.’ How so? Because it is said, ‘And the holy God is sanctified in almsgiving.’”

We should understand the following: 1) Is … below, that He must be elevated? 2) Is judgment a real thing, that we can lift something with judgment? 3) If the Creator wishes to give alms, why does He need judgment? Can He not give alms and instill holiness without judgment?

We should interpret this according to the ethics of the work of the Creator. Man consists of two elements: evil inclination and good inclination. In order to avoid the bread of shame, man was given the work in Torah and Mitzvot (commandments) whereby choosing the good and loathing the bad, one is rewarded with receiving His gifts without any shame.

It therefore follows that man is the judge and must sentence and determine who is right. That is, the evil inclination claims, “It is all mine,” that the whole body belongs to it and man should be concerned with and work only in favor of the evil inclination. Likewise, the good inclination argues, “It is all mine,” that the whole body belongs to it and man should be concerned with and work only for the sake of the good inclination.

When a person wishes to carry out the sentence and choose the good, the question is, “Why does he need to choose the good and say that the good inclination is correct?” It cannot be said that it is in order to receive reward in the next world, since it was said, “Be not as slaves who are serving the Rav in order to receive reward.” Rather, one should choose the good because of the greatness of the Creator. As the holy Zohar writes, we must serve the Creator “because He is great and ruling, fills all the worlds, and encompasses all the worlds.” That is, the primary element in his work is the greatness of the Creator.

It follows that when a person sentences, he must engage in the greatness of the Creator. Thus, the Creator is elevated by the judgment. Then, once a person has chosen the good—not for a reward—the Creator can give him all His gifts and there will not be any shame. At that time the Creator instills His holiness, meaning lets him feel the holiness.

All these gifts are regarded as almsgiving that the Creator has given because a person does not work for a reward. Therefore, now the gifts of the Creator are called “almsgiving.”

May the Creator help us merit feeling the sanctity, and the words of the above Midrash will come true in us. I bless you with good writing and signing.

From your friend who wishes you and your family all the best,

Baruch Shalom HaLevi Ashlag

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