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Baruch Shalom HaLevi Ashlag (The RABASH)

Letter No. 50

December 22, 1959, Bnei Brak

Hello and all the best to my friend,

The interpreters asked about the verse, “And Jacob was very frightened and distressed.” But the Creator had promised him in the spectacle of the ladder to keep him wherever he went, as it is written, “And I will be with you and keep you wherever you go.” If this is so, why did he have to pray, “Save me please from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau”?

The holy Zohar (Vayishlah [Jacob sent], item 70) interprets the words of the angels to Jacob: “And [he] also walks toward you and four hundred men are with him.” It asks, “Why did they tell him so?” It replies, “Because the Creator always wants the prayers of the righteous and crowns Himself with their prayers.” That is, the Creator craves the prayer of the righteous.

Baal HaSulam interpreted why the Creator does not give to the creatures abundance without prayer, but wants them to ask of Him and then He will give them, since it is known that the cow wants to nurse more than the calf wants to suckle. However, there is a rule that there is no light without a Kli (vessel). A Kli means desire, for there is no coercion in spirituality because it is impossible to enjoy something we do not want, as the sensation of pleasure depends primarily on the measure of desire and craving for it. This is why the Creator gives only when the creatures have desire and craving.

The desire is fashioned specifically by prayer, for by feeling a lack, one begins to pray. By this the prayer grows and intensifies until it reaches the necessary measure to receive the upper bestowal. This is why the Creator longs for the prayer of the righteous, since only by that they can receive His abundance.

It is known that we discern two things in His abundance: 1) Surrounding Light, 2) Inner Light. Surrounding Light is what the person will receive in the future, and which he is currently unfit to receive this giving. Inner Light is what a person receives in the present, meaning that the abundance enters him inside.

According to what we said above, that for each thing we must first pray so as to have a Kli to receive the giving, it follows that even after the Creator promised him in the spectacle of the ladder, it is regarded as Surrounding Light. But when he met Esau and needed salvation in the present, he had to pray and show the desire, which is regarded as the Kli for salvation, since it is impossible to receive without a Kli. This is called “Inner Light,” since the promise is called “Surrounding Light,” but when we come to keep our promise in actual fact, we need a prayer, and this is called “Inner Light,” for Surrounding Light is awakening from above, and Inner Light is awakening from below.

With blessings of Torah and friendship,

Baruch Shalom HaLevi Ashlag

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