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Baruch Shalom HaLevi Ashlag (The RABASH)

Letter No. 59

June 8, 1962, Shavuot, Antwerp

To my friend…

Concerning your question about our sages’ words, “A stubborn and rebellious son was not, nor is destined to be. Rather, demand and receive reward” (Sanehdrin, p 1). The Torah is longer than the earth, so why was it given things only on “demand and receive reward,” and not on real things?

You also asked about the reward. Actually, one should serve the rav not in order to receive reward, meaning Lishma (for Her sake).

We should also understand that it is known that the purpose of creation is to do good to His creations, namely that the creatures will receive delight and pleasure. And the reason why the creatures must engage in Torah and Mitzvot [commandments] without reward is that it is only a correction on the part of the creatures, since the creatures cannot taste reception of pleasure without shame. The holy Zohar calls it, “One who eats that which is not his, is afraid to look at his face.”

That is, we feel deficiency upon reception of pleasure, so we were given the remedy of Torah and Mitzvot, by which one becomes fit to receive all the pleasures that the Creator has contemplated in our favor, and there will not be the flaw of shame because it is only for the Creator. It therefore follows that the interpretation is a correction by which we can receive the reward and it will not be for ourselves, but for the Creator. Otherwise it is impossible to receive reward, namely pleasures, for pleasure is called “reward.”

And concerning “was not, nor is destined to be,” it is explained that there are things one can attain during the six thousand years. Since it is possible to attain the secret, those things were given to us in corporeality as things to do. This applies to the world of actions.

However, there are things that can be attain only in the seventh millennium. Therefore, although they are implied in the corporeal act of Mitzva [commandment], such as a stubborn and rebellious son, they are not practiced during the six thousand years. Therefore, this is not to become an actual work, but rather “demand and receive reward,” for only the demanding applies to the six thousand years, but the reward, meaning the upper attainment, will be in the seventh millennium. This is called “was not,” in the beginning of the six thousand years, “nor is destined to be,” at the end of the six thousand years. Rather, it will appear at the beginning of the seventh millennium.

By way of ethics, we should interpret that sometimes one comes to a state of such lowliness that he does not taste any taste in Torah and prayer. Although he is learning, he knows and feels the truth about himself—that the real cause he is continuing to learn Torah is not because of fear of heaven, but because of habit, and especially because of what people might say. Meaning when the environment he is in sees that he is slacking in the study of Torah they will consider him an empty vessel without fear of heaven, and will not respect him as much as they respected him before. Therefore, when he leaves the study of Torah he will suffer from his environment and his family will despise him.

It is likewise in prayer; he prays only out of habit, but without any obligation due to fear of heaven. He is continuing with it also due to the same cause as with the study of Torah. But most importantly, he sees no purpose in his life and he cannot carry on in such a state much longer.

To this there is a correction called “minister of forgetfulness.” He forgets the goal, meaning the reason that necessitates his continuing engagement in Torah and prayer. When he forgets the reason that compels him he continues with Torah and Mitzvot only out of habit. If he has an opportunity to come out of that environment he does it right away.

In such a state we need great mercy in order to be able to hang on until the wrath—meaning the lowliness—is over. And since torments cleanse man’s iniquities, through suffering he is pitied from above and is given an illumination of fear of heaven, and he returns to life. Thus the situation returns to being as it was prior to his fall into the state of lowliness.

That abovementioned time of lowliness is called “was not, nor is destined to be,” meaning it was not in the purpose of creation nor is it destined to be. Such a thing is called a “pit stop,” since there is a state of Kedusha (holiness) and a state of Tuma’a (impurity).

He can hope to repent from a state of Tuma’a, but the abovementioned state is called a state of “death.” That is, everything he does is lifeless and regarded as dead. It was not in the goal nor is it destined to be. In that case, why is this needed? However, demand and receive reward, meaning that in that state one must demand the Creator, as our sages said, “Zion; no one requires it, meaning that a demand is required.” That is, such a state is given to a person in order to have room for demand, that he will intently demand of the Creator to bring him closer to Kedusha.

But when a person makes Mitzvot, he feels about himself that the Creator will bring him closer. But precisely at that time, called “pit stop,” is the place for demand with prayer and request.

May the Creator open our eyes in His Torah [law]

Baruch Shalom HaLevi Ashlag

Son of Baal HaSulam


Concerning the Omer count [a count of seven weeks beginning on Passover eve and ending in Shavuot], it is known that man’s primary work is to connect himself to the Creator.

Omer comes from the word [in Hebrew] “gathering sheaves.” RASHI interpreted, “as it is translated, gathering sheaves, collecting.” It means that by becoming mute and not opening the mouth with complaints against the Creator, but rather, for that person ‘Everything that the Merciful One does, He does for the best’ (Berachot 9), and says that he, meaning his thought and desire, will be only for the Creator, then he is gathering.

That is, by connecting all of one’s thoughts and desires with a tight connection of having only one goal—to bring contentment to the maker—a person is regarded as “gathering.”

The interpreters say that the Omer count comes from the words, “and under His feet there appeared to be sapphire brick, as pure as the bodies of the sky.” This means that by a person connecting himself to the Creator, he is rewarded with the revelation of the light of the Creator appearing on him. It follows that by a person gathering, tying all the desires in one knot, meaning to one purpose—for the Creator—then that Omer shines. This is the meaning of the Omer [gathering] count, where a person shines with the light of the Creator.

And since a Jew consists of seven qualities, which must be corrected into being for the Creator, and there is a rule that each quality comprises the others, then we have seven times seven, thus forty-nine days. This is why we count forty-nine days to the days of the reception of the Torah.

Omer comes from the word Seorim [barley/measures]. This means that it comes from measures, by measuring in the heart the greatness of the Creator, as the holy Zohar interprets the verse, “Her husband is known at the gates.” The holy Zohar says, “Each according to what he assumes in his heart,” to that extent the light of the Creator is on that person.

This is called “faith.” When a person is rewarded with faith in the Creator, it is regarded as a “beast.” This is the meaning of the Omer being of barley, which is animal food, meaning that he has not yet been rewarded with the view of Torah. But on Shavuot, when rewarded with the reception of the Torah, one receives the view of Torah. For this reason, we offer the offering of wheat, which is food for man, who is the speaking. But before one is rewarded with Torah, which is the speaking, it is regarded as an offering of barley, which is animal food. At that time it is called “gathering sheaves,” regarded as being mute, which is only animate, and not speaking, for only by the Torah are they rewarded with being “speaking.”

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