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117. You Labored and Did Not Find, Do Not Believe

I heard

Necessity of the labor is a requirement. Since the Creator gives man a present, He wants man to feel the benefit in the present. Otherwise, that person would be like a fool, as our sages said, “Who is a fool? He who loses what he is given.” Because he does not appreciate the importance of the matter, he does not watch over the present closely.

There is a rule that one feels no importance in anything if one has no need for that thing. And as the measure of the need and the suffering if one does not attain it, so one senses gladness, pleasure, and joy at the fulfillment of the need. It is similar to one who is given all sorts of good beverages; but if one is not thirsty, he tastes nothing, as it is written, “As cold waters to a faint soul.”

Hence, when meals are set, to please the people, there is a custom: as we prepare meat and fish and all sorts of good things, we take note to serve bitter and piquant things, such as mustard, hot peppers, sour, and salty foods. All of this is to evoke the suffering of hunger, since when the heart tastes a piquant and bitter flavor, it evokes hunger and deficiency, which one needs to satisfy with the meal of good things.

We should not ask, “Why do I need things to arouse hunger? After all, the host should only prepare fulfillment for the need, meaning the meal, and not prepare things that evoke the need for the fulfillment?” The obvious answer is that since the host wants the people to enjoy the meal, to the extent that they have a need for the food, to that very extent they will enjoy the meal. It follows that if he will give many good things, it will still not help them enjoy the meal, due to the above reason that there is no fulfillment without a need.

Hence, to be awarded the Light of God, there must also be a need. And the need for it is the labor: to the extent that one exerts and demands the Creator during the greatest concealment, to that extent one becomes needy of the Creator. This means that the Creator will open his eyes to walk by the path of the Creator. Then, when one has that Kli (vessel) of a deficiency, when the Creator gives him some help from Above, one will already know how to keep this present. It turns out that the labor is considered Achoraim (posterior). And when one receives the Achoraim, one has room in which to be awarded the Panim (face).

It is said about that, “a fool has no wish for wisdom.” This means that he does not have a strong need to exert to obtain wisdom. Thus, he has no Achoraim, and he naturally cannot be awarded the discernment of Panim.

This is the meaning of “As is the sorrow, so is the reward.” That is, the sorrow, called “effort,” makes the Kli, so one can be awarded the reward. This means that to the extent that one regrets, to that extent one can later be rewarded with joy and pleasure.

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