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Baruch Shalom HaLevi Ashlag (The RABASH)

Letter No. 75

May 24, 1966, Eve of Shavuot

Hello and all the best to my friend,

I long to know how things are going with your work, and especially your health.

“If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments.” RASHI interprets, “Is this the keeping of the Mitzvot [commandments]? When he says, ‘and keep My commandments,’ then we are referring to keeping the Mitzvot. Thus, what am I keeping by ‘If you walk in My statutes’—that you labor in the Torah. ‘And keep My commandments’—labor in the Torah in order to keep and to observe.”

We should understand why he had to say that the verse, “If you … in My statutes,” comes to point to laboring in the Torah. Could we not keep, “and keep My commandments,” if we do not observe the study of Torah in order to know what we must do? After all, how can we observe Mitzvot if we do not keep “walk by My statutes”?

However, we can say that if the verse tells us to keep the Mitzvot, we must certainly learn the Torah first. It is not written that this is necessary because it is impossible to keep the Mitzvot if we do not know them.

However, there is a different issue here than the study of Torah in order to know how to observe the Mitzvot. That is, even when we know the Mitzvot, the body does not want to observe them. For example, everyone knows that there is a Mitzva [commandment] to love the Creator, but only a chosen few can observe the Mitzva of loving the Creator, while the whole world is under the governance of self-love.

In order to be able to observe the Mitzvot for the sake of the Creator we were given the remedy of Torah, as our sages said, “The light in it reforms him.” This is done specifically through labor in the Torah. To the extent that one engages in the Torah, to that extent he draws the light of the Torah, and by that he will have the strength to observe the Mitzvot.

This is RASHI’s precision: “‘If you walk in My statutes,’ meaning labor in the Torah.” It is so because we know about learning the Torah in order to know the Mitzvot that we should keep from the verse, “And keep My commandments.” Therefore, we say that the verse, “If you walk in My statutes,” comes to show that we should labor in the Torah.

RASHI interprets about that: “and keep My commandments”—labor in the Torah in order to keep and to observe.” Although there seems to be no connection, we should toil in the Torah in order to be able to keep and to observe because through labor we acquire the light in the Torah, and the light in it reforms him, hence the keeping and observing.

From all the above we see the power of labor—it can turn all the evil in man to good. We should also make two discernments in the study of Torah: 1) to learn the laws in order to know what we should do, 2) learn Torah by labor, in order to have the strength to keep and to observe. In the latter part, it does not matter if we are learning laws or learning Torah, which does not speak of laws at all, but only that in the Torah there is room for labor, and then the Torah grants one with the light in it.

May the Creator help us be rewarded with the light of Torah.

I conclude my letter with the blessing of Torah, and may the merit of the Torah protect us and we will be saved in every way, in corporeality and spirituality. May we be rewarded with complete redemption soon in our days, Amen.

Baruch Shalom HaLevi Ashlag

Son of Baal HaSulam

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