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Yehuda Leib HaLevi Ashlag (Baal HaSulam)

Letter No. 29

1927, London

To my soul mate, may his candle burn:

I received your letter from the 22nd of Adar Aleph [Hebrew month around March]. Although you are displeased with the fact that your innovations are not receiving their due time to ponder and consider them, I regret it, too, and in my opinion, more than you. And yet, hope for the Lord and brace your heart.

And regarding what you wrote, you did well not going, although now is no time for humbleness because the majority of the book has already been printed, and all that is about to be revealed is deemed revealed. Therefore, you can publish the book as you wish.

As for me, I wish to know about those who forbid any innovations in Torah, and take out the knew before the old. They treat my book in one of two ways: Either they say that there are no innovations or additions here at all, since everything has already been written in the writings of the ARI, and so it really is. The other option is to say that all my words are my own notions, for why did our sages not mention a word of all that is said in my words? Thus, who knows if you can trust such a person who wishes to create a new method in Kabbalah, which our fathers did not conceive, and then hang on this peg of theirs their entire unclean past?

In truth, I did not add a thing to what is written in the writings of the ARI, with the intention to remove the obstacle from the blind and the lame, perhaps they will see the goodness of the Creator in the land of the living. Therefore, it would be good if you rushed to become proficient in my entire book before it is exposed to the eyes of the external ones, so you may show them every single thing written and interpreted in the words of the ARI.

The core and the gist of all the explanations in my composition is the revealing of the Ohr Hozer [Reflected Light]. The ARI was succinct about it as it was sufficiently revealed to all the Kabbalists since the First [earlier Kabbalists], prior to his arrival in Safed. This is why he did not detail or elaborate on this matter.

However, in Branch Four, he introduces explicitly, and it is presented in Tree of Life, p 104b, Gate 47, “The Order of ABYA,” Chapter 1. In that place, everything that I have innovated regarding the five Behinot of Ohr Yashar [Direct Light] is presented there, as well as the matter of the Ohr Hozer.

Indeed, know that the five Behinot of Ohr Yashar presented here are the heart of the innovations of the ARI’s Kabbalah over that of the First. It was his only dispute with his contemporaries, supported by the verse in The Book of Creation, “Ten and not nine, ten and not eleven.”

And yet, I should tell you that this is what caused great confusion in understanding his words, as in most places, he brings the ten Sefirot instead of the five Behinot. I also suspect that Rav Chaim Vital did so on purpose, to remove from him obstinacy and slander. In my explanation, I have already noted this quality, thoroughly proving that both are words of the living God, as explained in “General Preface.”

See the essay, “The Knowledge,” in “Gate to Introductions,” where Rav Chaim Vital himself takes great care to show as equal the ten Sefirot and the five Behinot. However, they are not enough for the diligent students, which is why he only signed his own name on those words.

Regarding the Zivug de Hakaa, on which I elaborate and on which the ARI writes very briefly, it is because of the excessive disclosure of the matter among the students of the RAMAK [Rav Moshe Kordovero, the prime Kabbalist in Safed before the arrival of the ARI]. The ARI said about it that all the words of RAMAK were said only about the world of Tohu, not about the World of Tikkun [correction] since Zivug de Hakaa applies only to the worlds preceding Atzilut, as well as the externality of ABYA. But in the insides of ABYA there is no Hakaa but a Zivug de Piusa [a Zivug of reconciliation], called “embrace of kissing,” and Yesodot [foundations], as I will explain in the beginning of the World of Tikkun. But in the Yesodot themselves, this matter is applied everywhere, but in the form of reconciliation.

See in the “Gate to the Essays of Rashbi,” beginning of the portion Shemot [Exodus], in the explanation about The Zohar: “And the wise will shine as the brightness of the firmament, ...illuminating and sparkling in the upper Zivug,” concerning the two righteous—the righteous who entered it, called Joseph, and the righteous who came out of it, called Benjamin. The first is called “illuminating,” which is the expansion of the nine Sefirot of Ohr Yashar [Direct Light] to it. The second is called “sparkling,” which is “The one who lives forever.” Look there and you will see that in my words, I added nothing, only arranged the issues for beginners, and this concerns only Rav Nathan Neta Shapiro, and Rav Shmuel Vital, and there is no meticulousness in the matter.

Sometimes I stop an essay midway because it belongs to the World of Tikkun, and don’t want to confuse the student, only lead him in a safe and faithful way. Once I interpret succinctly the Partzufim, the worlds, and the Mochin in general, I will return to the beginning, and then I’ll be able to explain the complete essays in a wonderful order, as Rav Chaim Vital intended.

...One who afflicts himself with the public is rewarded with seeing its comfort, as both are the words of the living God. To the extent of the affliction, so is the measure of the tranquility, as they are truly one. The only difference is in the Dvekut [adhesion] with Him, as during the Dvekut, the judgments turn into simple mercies. The sign of it is that even one who has been sentenced to death but is seen by the king, is pardoned and rewarded with life. Therefore, not during the Dvekut, the different between those to two MaT [fallen] are 98 [Tzach-pure] in Gematria, for then “a righteous man falls before the wicked,” and “a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again.”

It’s very hard for me to be in London during Passover, especially since I am still in the middle of my work. Although I’m very hopeful, it is my custom to enjoy only the present, which is the way to draw in the good future. Hence, I have much room for longing.

I am contemplating returning to Jerusalem after Passover, and I want to see you ready and willing in the King’s palace, for on the joy of the holiday of Matzot [unleavened bread (meaning Passover)], you will come out from all those who seek the opening to and fro.

...As it is said, to draw a Vav in the Matza, and then the Matza turns into a Mitzva [good deed/correction], and the slice into wholeness, and how long will you engage in rules of carving? Our sages have already said, “Be not as servants serving the teacher in order to receive reward,” for it will not satiate them prior to the actual reception. There is a maxim people use: “One who breaks all his bones, one of them did not break,” but is rather strengthened by the crushing in the hand of the giver.

Then each of the two halves becomes wholeness, which is the meaning of “And the righteous inherit twofold in their land,” for there is none who is broken here, and both are full and whole. It turns out that one of them did not break, and he has a double bread because Malchut returns to being Keter. This is what Elisha asked of Elijah the prophet, “May it be twofold in your spirit upon me,” meaning the spirit of the giver.

...Our sages said, “A man must be intoxicated [drunk] on Purim until he does not know,” etc. That is, a man is rewarded with expansion of knowledge by a handsome wife, a handsome house, and handsome tools, as it is said in The Zohar about the verse, “And the children of Israel kept the Sabbath...”

But there is one who is rewarded with broadening of the mind through intoxication and rye, as it is written, “Give rye to the lost, and wine to the bitter-hearted.” Indeed, it is about falsehood, for what can broadening of the heart give you and add to you in case of intoxication, when one is laying merrily, as though the whole world is his? This is why it is written, “The wine-joker,” as he jokes about people with the gladness of falsehood and groundlessness.

This was Noah’s sin, and the ministering angels mocked him for being drunk.

But there is a lowly and despicable Klipa [shell] called “the Klipa of Amalek,” which cuts the words and tosses them up. That is, it is so material that it cannot be reconciled even with thirteen covenants and thirteen rivers of pure persimmon, since it tosses them up, too, and says, “Take what You have given them.”

This is the meaning of what is written regarding Elisha, that he was plowing with twelve pairs of oxen, and he with the twelfth. The lowly works are called “plowing,” and he was already at the lowest degree, meaning at its end, which is the twelfth.

In the degrees of the year, the month of Adar is called “the twelfth month.” Then Prophet Elijah threw his mantle, and made it an offering to the Creator, since by gripping to the mantle of the giver he was rewarded forever, until the end.

Adar comes from the word Adir [huge/great], and extraordinary strengthening is called “Adar.” That strengthening comes to Adar only through much Torah. And although there are no wisdom or understanding in this place, nor counsel, Amalek still weakens and is ruined and becomes absent, and an heir comes in his place.

The thing is that idol-worship is cancelled only in those who practice it, who have connection with it. It is impossible to strike the wind with an axe. Rather, the wind that strikes repels the wind, and iron to iron, etc. And since the essence of Amalek is a joker, destroying everything in materiality, without knowledge but only with mockery, it is impossible to uproot him from the world with the spirit of knowledge. On the contrary, it is with something that is above reason, meaning through the wine of Torah.

From the whole of the light of Torah, that huge force remains. Through it, you will understand that although the wine is not rife with rye, it is a good remedy for destroying and annihilating the seed of Amalek (as it is written, “to disturb them and destroy them,” “an eye for an eye,” “it was turned to the contrary”), in the feast of Queen Ester, who is standing the bosom of, etc., and dipping and sitting in the bosom of, etc., meaning that our sages said that it is permitted to change on Purim, in welcoming of guests, and with costumes.

It is as they said, “A man must be intoxicated on Purim,” meaning that they said, “It did not say, ‘learned,’ but rather ‘poured water,’ to teach you that servicing the Torah is greater than studying it.” By servicing, he was rewarded twofold, and not at all due to the study, as they are two opposites in the same subject. This is why they are called “twofold,” and the prohibition is the permission, for a key that is fit for closing is fit for opening.

This is the reason for sending [Purim] gifts to one another, since there is no distinction between one with GAR and one with VAK, because of the two gifts that they send to one another. It is as said in The Zohar, Song of Songs: “Your love is better than wine,” meaning that the friendship extends from the wine of Torah, as he is attached in utter completeness to the Creator, even in a place devoid of Hochma. This is not from the wisdom of Torah itself, but from the wine of Torah, which springs out of the profusion of Torah.

This is the meaning of “And their memorial will not perish from their seed,” meaning the maleness, as it gazes on the wicked and they are gone, and the matter that there are no Achoraim here at all becomes revealed, and these days of Purim are remembered and done. “And Mordechai went out from before the king in royal apparel.” Everything depends on the male, even the displaying of Ester.

I have been brief because I have spoken about these matters at length several times. I hope that the Creator will expand your boundaries in all the additions related to the above matters, for the matter is very near to you, and how long will you keep testing the Creator, and if you believe in Him, you will certainly not turn back often.

And why did the Creator have faith in Rashbi that he would not turn back? When he said, “I am for my beloved,’ etc., “All the days when I was connected to this world, I was connected to it in one connection, in the Creator. Therefore, now ‘His passion is for me.’”

However, man sees the eyes, and the Creator sees the heart, for your mouths and hearts are not the same to do them, and the spice for it is the Torah.

Indeed, I have learned much Torah from you. Although you instilled drops of idle words, but in response to them came forth drops of Torah.

I haven’t the strength to fight with your materialism. Instead, the fine light of my teaching has illuminated on you even in previous generations, but you yourselves did not work at all opposite your materialism, and you are not inspired by the greatness of the Creator and the greatness of His servants, and His holy Torah. I have been standing and warning you about that for a while, and this is the wall that separates you from me for a long time now; woe unto this beauty that has withered in this dust.

Know that this work is highly capable, before I came to you, as it is external work, and one who cleans his clothes in front of the king will not gain honors. Therefore, fix yourselves in time so you may enter the hall, for I see no other fault but that, and “He who said to His world, ‘Enough!’” Time is short, and the work is plentiful in the place of Torah, so hurry and journey from Rephidim to the light, by the light of the living, and together we will be blessed with the blessing of redemption, who has redeemed us and redeemed our fathers, Amen, may it be so.

Yehuda Leib

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