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61. Round About Him It Stormeth Mightily

I heard on Nisan 9, April 18, 1948

Our sages say about the verse, “and round about Him it stormeth mightily,” that the Creator is particularly meticulous with the righteous. He asked: If they are generally righteous, why do they deserve a great punishment?

The thing is that all the borders we speak of in the worlds are from the perspective of the receivers, meaning the lower ones limit and restrict themselves to some degree, and thus remain below. Above, they agree to everything that the lower ones do, hence, to that extent the abundance extends below. Hence, by their thoughts, words and actions, the lower ones induce the abundance to come down from Above in this manner.

It turns out that if the lower one regards a minor act or word as if it is an important act, such as considering a momentary cessation in adhesion with the Creator as breaking the most serious prohibition in the Torah, then there is consent Above to the opinion of the lower one and it is considered Above as though he had broken a serious prohibition. Thus, the righteous says that the Creator is particularly meticulous with him, and as the lower one says, so it is agreed Above.

When the lower one does not feel a slight prohibition as a serious one, from Above they also do not regard the trifle things he breaks as great prohibitions. Hence, such a person is treated as though he is a small person, meaning his precepts are considered small, and his sins are considered small, too. They are both weighed as the same and he is generally considered a small person.

However, one who regards the trifle things and says that the Creator is very meticulous about them is considered a great person, and both his sins and his precepts are great.

One can suffer when committing a transgression to the extent that he feels pleasure when performing a good deed. There is a parable about that: A man did a terrible crime against the kingship and was sentenced to twenty years imprisonment with hard labor. The prison was outside the country in some desolate place in the world. The sentence was executed right away and he was sent to the desolate place at the end of the world.

Once there, he’d found other people who were sentenced by the kingdom to be there as he was, but he became sick with amnesia and forgot that he had a wife and children, friends and acquaintances. He thought that the whole world is nothing more than meets the eye in the desolate place with the people who are there; and that he was born there and did not know of more than that. Thus, his truth is according to his present feeling and he has no regard for the actual reality, only according to his knowledge and sensations.

There he was taught rules and regulations so that he would not break the rules once more, keep himself from the felonies written there, and know how to correct his actions so as to be brought out of there. In the books of the king, he learned that one who breaks this rule, for example, is sent to a desolate land far from any settlement. He is impressed by the harsh punishment, and has grievances at why such harsh punishments are given.

Yet, he would never think that he himself is one who broke the rules of the state, that he has been sentenced harshly and the verdict has been executed. In addition, since he became sick with amnesia, he will never feel his actual state.

This is the meaning of “and round about him it stormeth mightily”: One must consider his every move, that he himself had already broken the king’s commandment, and has already been banished from the settlement. Now, through many good deeds, his memory begins to work and he begins to feel how far he has become from the settled place of the world.

He begins to engage in repentance until he is delivered from there and brought back to the settled place, and this work comes specifically by one’s work. He begins to feel that he has grown far from his origin and root until he is endowed adhesion with the Creator.

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