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Baruch Shalom HaLevi Ashlag (The RABASH)

Letter No. 61

June 11, 1962, Antwerp

To my friend,

I was belated replying to the letters I received from the friends since the mail I receive is not working properly because I move from place to place, so by the time the letters reach me I am already elsewhere, in another country. I received your letter only last week. Because it was before the festival of Shavuot I had no time to reply. I also received a letter from… last week, and I replied to him very briefly.

Regarding your request for an explanation about the article, “Anyone who is happier with his Daat [knowledge] than with his Hochma [wisdom], it is a good sign for him,” we need to understand the meaning of the signs. It is known that one should always know and test whether he is going on the path of truth, which is the direct way to the goal for which man was created. Therefore, we were given signs to as to know the truth.

In Kabbalah, Daat [knowledge] is the middle line, but now I do not wish to interpret this. In ethics, Daat means faith in the Creator. This is so because Daat is referred to in all the books as “ Dvekut [adhesion] with the Creator,” and Dvekut is specifically through faith.

This is the meaning of “Anyone who is happier with his Daat than with his Hochma.” This means that the Hochma he has obtained does not diminish his faith. This is called being happy with his Daat. But if the Hochma one has obtained cancels the faith, meaning the Daat, then he is not happier with his Daat than with his Hochma because his Hochma wants to cancel his Daat, and this is a good sign that he is walking on the path of truth.

We should also understand what our sages said, “One who settles with his wine has of his master’s Daat [knowledge],” “enters wine, out comes secret.”

The holy Zohar interprets the verse, “Eat friends, drink and be drunken, O beloved.” It interprets that the drinking refers to Hochma. Accordingly, we should say “One who settles with his wine,” meaning through the Hochma that he has obtained he remains settled with faith and has of the Daat of his master. This shows that he has Dvekut with the Creator, regarded as having of his master’s Daat.

In this way we should interpret, “Anyone who is happier with his Daat [knowledge] than with his inclination, it is a good sign for him. And one who is not happier with his Daat than with his inclination, it is a bad sign for him.” Since it is the inclination’s way to interfere, a man is not satisfied with the inclination. Rather, specifically when the inclination is exhausted, then one is happy. It follows that he can advance in the work of the Creator precisely when he does not feel such great pleasures in corporeal things.

That is, one can engage in Torah and Mitzvot precisely where he cannot gain great pleasures. At that time he is willing to dedicate his time and effort for high needs. But when the inclination lets him understand that he will receive great pleasures in corporeality, one cannot subdue one’s inclination because one can work where there are great profits, and small profits are rejected before great profits. It follows that the work is like trading.

All this is so if a person has taken upon himself the work for a reward. At that time the inclination may argue that it can profit more in corporeality. It follows that he is displeased because the inclination is in control. This is a bad sign for him, meaning it is a sign that he is not walking on the path of truth.

But if the reason for his engagement in Torah and Mitzvot is to be “as an ox to the burden and as a donkey to the load,” meaning established on faith above reason, and because of “He said, and His will was done” (I am not elaborating on this because I have spoken many times about this), the inclination has no basis to argue that he should stop his work. He answers everything that the inclination argues with “Now you have given me room to work above mind and reason.” That is, had the inclination not argued with intellectual arguments, he would have had nothing with which to go against his intellect. It follows that he is happier with his Daat than with his inclination, and this is a good sign for him, a sign he is walking on the path of truth.

May the Creator help us walk on the path of truth.

Baruch Shalom HaLevi,

Son of Baal HaSulam

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