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Yehuda Leib HaLevi Ashlag (Baal HaSulam)

Letter No. 42

1927, London

To the honorable ... may his candle burn:

With the words below, I will open my heart to you: I am very surprised that the friends aren’t missing my approaching return home as they should be. But I think of you that you are nonetheless the best among them because you cannot write me and explain your words, so you are more in need of a face-to-face encounter than the rest. Because of it, I think that you are longing more than they, so I will speak and feel better.

...But on the other hand, let us count the gains you have acquired in all your days with me. Although it isn’t clear yet who’s to blame, but be that as it may, the hope is dwindling and requires strengthening.

On my part, I cannot help you in that, except to guarantee that the fault is not at all mine, but yours alone, due to your lack of knowledge or weakness of faith and so forth. This is why all my prayers for you did not help you because you still didn’t understand how to execute it.

Therefore, let me give you a complete introduction, which you will keep and feel better: When the Creator is fond of a person and calls him to cling to Him, of course he is ready and willing for it with all his heart and might; otherwise He wouldn’t invite him to His meal. If the faith in his heart is as a stake that will not fall, he understands this faithful calling, and recognizes his place forever. Then, he does so and eats, and sees the King’s face. And it does not cause him diminution because his mind and faith are complete.

Our sages said, “Fear the Lord your God, including wise disciples.” It is to include those who unite in true unity, and happy are those who live up to it.

You can see the validity of the words in you, yourself. When the time was ripe and you were fit for bonding, I didn’t waste time to wait until you came to my house. Rather, I was promptly at your place. And although you did not see me physically, you felt my love and the sublimity of holiness at the bottom of your heart.

Then, all that was left for you to do was hurry and greet me with love. One who craves does and completes his part. So you did, sending feelings of love, sublimity, and joy to my ears all the way from your home to the hill, with faithful passion.

But once you have climbed up the hill and greeted me, the joy and love began to wane. It happened for your lack of faith in me and in my sincere love for you, as you to me, as the water-face to the face. This was the first flaw between me and you, for with that thought you immediately departed and drew far from me, to that extent.

Indeed, so is the nature of anything spiritual—the matters are woven in lightning speed, and conception and birth are near. Therefore, once your belly conceived fear, “You promptly gave birth to straw.” That is, you doubted yourself, and your pleasant, sublime, and exalted thoughts about me, that they were exaggerated, that maybe it is not so, and then, “of course it isn’t so.” Thus, I was necessarily separated from you, and kept all my work and labor in deposit for a better time.

At the right moment, I returned with you as before, and you, too, repeated your previous acts, more or less. At times you wished to hear from me explicit words about it, as one speaks to one’s friend, and not in anyway less. But I am not good at that, as it is written, “For I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” You, too, should not hope for it in the future unless you merit sanctifying your corporeal body, with the tongue and ears, to such an extent that it will equal the merit of the spiritual.

But you cannot understand it because you have no perception of the hidden. But I, all that I am permitted, I do not withhold at all, and “more than the calf wants to eat...”

Let me picture for you your abovementioned issues with me in an allegory: A man walks along the way and sees a lovely garden. He hears a voice calling him, coming from the king, who is walking in the garden. Excited, he jumps the fence in one leap and is inside the garden. For all his excitement and rush, he doesn’t feel that he is walking before the king, and the king is near him, strolling right behind him.

So he walks and thanks, and praises the king with all his might, aiming to prepare himself to meet the king. He doesn’t notice whatsoever that the king is next to him.

But all of a sudden he turns his face and sees the king right next to him. Naturally, he is overjoyed. He begins to follow the king, praising and glorifying as much as he can, the king before him and he, behind the king.

So they walk and stroll up to the gate. The man walks out the gate and returns to his initial place, while the king remains in the garden and locks the gate. When the man sees that he has been separated and the king is not with him, he begins to look for the gate through which he came out when the king was before him. But there is no such gate at all, but only as he came in the first time, when he was walking before the king and the king was behind him without his noticing.

So it should be now, but it requires great craftsmanship. Understand it and study this allegory, for it is the same between us. While you were with me and I felt the chill that was born in you compared to the past, you should have nonetheless concealed your face from looking at me, as if I know nothing of all that had happened to you and went through your heart along the way to me.

This is the meaning of “And they believed in the Lord and in His servant, Moses,” because in return for, “And Moses hid his face,” he was rewarded with, “and the image of the Lord does he behold.” That is, if you had believed in my prayer for you, and while I was with you, hearing all the praises and glorifications that you thought of me, there is no doubt you’d be ashamed of the coldness instead of the warmth. And if you were properly ashamed and regretful, you’d be rewarded with the Creator’s mercy over you, and then, more or less, the excitement would return to you, and you would be rewarded with uniting with me properly, as a stake that will not fall forever.

Yehuda Leib

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