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156. Lest He Take of the Tree of Life

I heard on Shevat 15

“Lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever.” Baal HaSulam interpreted that perhaps he would take from the covered Hassadim (mercy), considered from the Chazeh (chest) upwards. This is because in that, there is complete sufficiency, and thus he would not be corrected by the sin of the tree of knowledge, considered from the Chazeh down. It follows that the tree of life is called “from the Chazeh upwards,” where there are covered Hassadim. And I think that we should accordingly interpret what we say, “a life that has the fear of heaven and a life that has the fear of sin.”

The difference between them, as Baal HaSulam interprets, is that what he takes from life is for fear of sinning, meaning that he has no other choice. But fear of heaven means that he has other choices. That is, even if he does not take this discernment, he will still not sin; but still he chooses it due to fear of the Creator.

But, accordingly, we cannot say that covered Hassadim is considered Katnut. This is precisely when he has no other choice. But when he achieves the revealed Hassadim from the discernment of Rachel, then the discernment of Leah, which is covered Hassadim, is called Gar and Gadlut (greatness).

And this is called “fear of heaven,” that he has revealed Hassadim, but he nevertheless chooses covered Hassadim. Thus, there are two kinds of covered Hassadim: 1) when he does not have the discernment of Rachel, when he is called Vak; 2) when he does have the discernment of Rachel, called “Leah,” Gar.

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