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Yehuda Leib HaLevi Ashlag (Baal HaSulam)

Letter No. 38

1927, London

To ... may his candle burn:

I received your letter and I congratulate you for the Semicha [Rabbinical certificate] you have received. This is the first wall that barred you from going forward. I hope that from this day forward you will begin to succeed and go from strength to strength until you come into the King’s palace.

I would like you to get another Semicha, but from now on hurry up and spend the majority of your time preparing your body to muster strength and courage “as an ox to the burden and as a donkey to the load.” Do not lose a minute, “for the way is long and supplies are scarce.”

And should you say, “Where is this preparation?” I will tell you, as I heard from the ADMOR of Kalshin, that previously, one had to first obtain all seven external teachings, called “the seven maidens that serve the king’s daughter,” as well as terrible mortification. And yet, not many gained favor in the eyes of the Creator. But since we have been rewarded with the studies of the ARI and the work-ways of the Baal Shem Tov, it is truly possible for anyone, and the above preparations are no longer necessary.

If you step in those two, which by the Creator’s grace I have been favored by Him and have received them firmly, and my view is as close to you as the closeness of the father to his son, I will certainly pass them on to you when you are ready to receive from mouth to mouth.

But the most important is the labor, meaning to crave how to labor in His work, since the ordinary work does not count at all, only the bits that are more than the ordinary, which is called “labor.” It is like a person who needs to eat a pound of bread a day to be full. All his eating does not merit the title, “satisfying meal,” but only the last bit from the pound. That bit, for all its smallness, is what defines the meal as satisfying.

Similarly, out of every service, the Creator draws out only the bits beyond the ordinary, and they will be the letters and the Kelim [vessels] in which to receive the light of His face.

Yehuda Leib

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