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Yehuda Leib HaLevi Ashlag (Baal HaSulam)

Letter No. 19


My dear soul mate and disciple, and all the friends.

I have received all your letters, and may they please the Almighty. However, “Know thou the God of thy father and serve Him.” Know means recognition, because a soul that does not know is not good. This means that, if a person does not know his master, even though he has a soul and yearns and longs to serve Him it is not good.

Even though one has a soul, he is not ready to know Him, “Until the spirit be poured upon him from on high.” However, one must lend an ear and listen to the words of the sages, and believe in them wholeheartedly.

It has already been written: “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.” The Baal Shem Tov interprets: “The Lord is thy shade.” Like the shade that follows one’s movements, its inclinations lean every way the person does, so is man according to the Creator. It means that when love for the Creator awakens, one must see that the Creator has awakened toward him with intense longing, etc. This is the meaning of the words of Rabbi Akiva: “Happy are you Israel before whom you purify, and who purifies you.”

Thus, in the beginning of one’s nearing, he is given a soul that is like a circle. This means, that the Creator awakens to him. At any time there is a prospect on one’s part to cling to one with longing and yearning. This is what the poet writes: “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.” King David is the collective soul of the whole of Israel. Hence, he always longed, yearned, and craved for true adhesion with Him.

However, one must know in one’s heart that the Creator chases him just as much as he chases the Creator. One must never forget that, even through the greatest longing. When remembering that the Creator misses and chases one to cling to him as intensely as one wishes for it himself, he then always goes from strength to strength, with yearning and longing, in a never-ending coupling, the complete perfection of the soul. At last, one is endowed with repentance of out love, meaning the return of the Vav to the Hey, being the unification of the Creator with Divinity.

However, a soul without knowledge and recognition of the Lord is in great decline, when the longing increases to a certain measure. It is so because one thinks that the Creator now dislikes him; woe to that shame and disgrace. Not only does he not complete his yearning and longing to be filled with eternal love, he is even in a state of “a whisperer separateth from the champion,” since he thinks that only he wishes and longs and yearns for the Creator. He does not believe our sages that to the very same extent the Creator too wishes and longs and yearns for him.

What are we to do to benefit those whose heart has not been fixed with faith in the sages? “From my flesh shall I see God?” I have already proven to you several times that the conducts of this world are Otiot (letters) that one must copy to their actual place in spirituality, for spirituality has no Otiot.

However, because of the breaking of the vessels, all the Otiot were ejected to corporeal conducts and people. When one corrects oneself and reaches the root of one’s soul, he must collect them by himself, one-by-one, and bring them back to the root, to holiness. This is the meaning of “to sentence oneself and the entire world to a scale of merit.”

The matter of the unification of the Creator and Divinity that one induces when he has had his fill of yearning and longing is precisely like the underside coupling, applying in the birth of a corporeal body. It too extends necessarily by cause and effect, meaning the hardening that is a certain measure of longing and yearning, called hardness in the corporeal tongue. Then, one’s seed is also blessed, for it shoots like an arrow Nefesh (soul), Shanah (year), Olam (world). This is the meaning of, how is there repentance? In the same place, at the same time, with the same woman, since Hey Tata'a (the Lower Hey) consists of Nefesh, Shanah, Olam.

Nefesh is the measure of the longing and the yearning. Shanah is the changing stimulations, as complete coitus bears the complete measure to restore past glory, meaning, as they were cohesive before they were separated in the corporeal world. However, one cannot be ready for this sublime mating, called complete coitus, all at once. Rather, “Surely goodness and mercy.”

Hence, the stimulus, which is the beginning of the coitus, is the meaning of “a righteous who suffers.” The Creator has no wish for his adhesion, and hence he does not taste love in the longing and yearning that needs “the same thing”, and “the same place”. Thus, one is found in a state of sorrow, which is Nega (affliction - ) that is destined to become Oneg (delight - ).

However, “time will do what the mind does not do.” The Creator counts all the stimuli and collects them into the complete measure, which is the measure of hardness for the intended day. This is what the poet means by, “Awaken and sound to sever any should.” “Sticking” is orgasm, as it is said, “stuck in his brother’s wife,” which is the mating of the Creator with Divinity from above downward before the soul clothed in incarnation of this world.

After that, when a person prepares to return to his root, he does not induce the complete mating at one time, but creates stimuli, which is the degree of Nefesh, by way of cycles, chasing Divinity with all his might, quivering and sweating, until he mounts this extremity all day and all night, incessantly.

It is as the books write by way of cycles. While one’s soul is being completed in the degrees of Nefesh, he comes ever closer, and so his yearning and sorrow grow. It is so because the unsatisfied desire leaves behind a great affliction, according to the measure of the desire.

This is the meaning of “sound”. The poet teaches us and says, “Awaken” means that you induce stimuli in the Holy Divinity. “Sound”, for you cause a great affliction, like no other, which is the meaning of “he groaned and moaned”, because “What does Divinity say when one is afflicted etc.” and why do you do so? It is in order to “sever any shout.”

This means, “The righteousness of the righteous will not deliver him on the day of his transgression.” To Him who knows all mysteries, the desire in one’s heart for His nearness is known, and that it might still be interrupted. Hence, He, the Blessed One, increases His stimuli, meaning the beginnings of the coituses, for if one listens to His voice, by way of “The Lord of thy shade,” one does not fall by reason of the increasing affliction of the stimuli. It is so because one sees and hears that the Holy Divinity also suffers as he does by the increased longing. Thus, one’s longing grows stronger and intensifies each time until one’s point in the heart is completed with complete will, in a tight knot that will not crumble.

Rabbi Shimon Bar-Yochay has said about it in the Idra: I am for my beloved and upon me His desire. All the days I was connected to this world with a knot connected to Him, to the Creator, and because of that, now upon me His desire, etc.” It means, “until He who knows all mysteries shall testify that he shall not turn back to folly.” Hence, he is granted the return of the Hey to the Vav for eternity, meaning the complete coitus and the restoration of past glory, which is the meaning of “the great sticking”.

All this is by the power and the virtue of the blowing, for they have severed any shout, and he shall not turn back to folly. Then one merits the complete consciousness in a never ending coupling, called “knowing”. In addition, one sees that all the many times of hardships that came to him were but “to know”. This is the meaning of “at the same time,” meaning, “known to Him who knows mysteries,” that times have created that power in him, to remain in his righteousness forever.

“In the same place,” is the restoration of past glory, as it was before its diminution, as you have heard from me several times, that the Creator does nothing new at the end of correction, as the fools think. Rather, “And you shall eat old store long kept,” meaning until he says, “I want.”

“In the same woman...” “…grace is deceitful and beauty is vain; but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.” This means that, during the preparation, the beauty and grace appear and the essence of perfection that one yearns and longs for. However, at the time of correction, when “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord,” then, “I shall see an opposite world,” because only fear and longing are the essence of the desired perfection. Then one feels that, during the time of preparation, one was lying to oneself. This is the meaning of, “a righteous who is happy,” meaning the complete coitus for the one who is granted the great sticking. This is a complete righteous.

Show these words before the eyes of all the friends and with that, I shall bless you with writing and signing in the books of the righteous.

Yehuda Leib

My troubles are many, and I cannot let you know the greatness of my longing after you, but I am certain of the near redemption. Do not deprive me of your letters, at least one letter every week. Believe me, that while you write me, your answer will come right away.

I haven’t heard a thing from our friend… and perhaps there is no need to those who fear Him? That too he should let me know. I miss hearing of him and his household.

All the best, and God willing, we shall speak at length of goodly matters.


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