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Yehuda Leib HaLevi Ashlag (Baal HaSulam)

Letter No. 46

1927, London


I received your letter and I was happy to see his handwriting, which was to me a sign of his good health. Concerning what was said, that he does not consider the rav a Kabbalist, as I think, I don’t know who said and who suspected that rav to be a Kabbalist, so I think that the honorable rav thinks that I long for his approval to support my words of Torah. I have already written that I want it only in order to obtain the funds to print the books because I don’t have the endorsement of a renowned person who is important in this place, as I have written there.

For this reason, I think that the honorable rav wishes to know more about me and to deliberate with me on that matter. In that, too, I am willing to comply and I will reply to the best of my ability, especially since he retired from the trying that is mentioned there. For this reason, I am impartial on this matter and I am like a wise disciple who comes prior to the act, who is obeyed, and I will answer first thing first.

1) What he wrote, that he does not see at this time anyone who is a Kabbalist, I wonder how one can sit in a certain place and see throughout the world, and especially, to see who is a Kabbalist. And yet it’s true that I, too, have not seen a genuine Kabbalist in my time, but I understand that Israel is not widowed and there is no generation without the likes of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And besides, “We didn’t see” is no evidence.

2) What he informed me concerning a Kabbalist, as in “let a double portion of your spirit be upon me,” who asked what he asked and what he replied. He explained that he asked to be a receiver and the received together, “And this is why he replied to him, ‘If you see that I am receiving from you now that you are receiving from me.’” I admit that I don’t understand the brevity of his words. It is similar to one who asks his friend for a gift, and he replies to him, “If you see that I am giving you a gift, then you will have the gift.” This is not an answer whatsoever, much less that it does not require a twofold requisite, as written there.

3) “I saw in my teachers from ... and from ... that they had that degree,” thus far his words. In my view, there is no doubt that one cannot see any degree in one’s teachers, much less if he still has not been rewarded with it himself. Our sages said about the likes of that, “One does not understand his rav before he is forty,” and even in one’s friend it is impossible to see that which is not in his own domain. I wanted to hear the honorable rav’s opinion about that.

Now I will toy a little with his words, concerning the receiver and the received as one. These words can be understood only literally, meaning that anyone who receives the abundance from the Creator boasts with the crowns of the Creator, and one who is rewarded with feeling during the act how the Creator, too, boasts about having found him ready to receive His giving is called “a Kabbalist.” And this is certainly a high degree, as it is written, “I have found My servant, David; I have anointed him with My holy oil.”

By the meaning of the words, “a double portion,” I will explain as in “Let the wise,” etc. It means as it is written, “He cannot prefer the son of the loved one,” etc., “he shall acknowledge him to give him a double portion.” It is known from Rabbi Ber of Mezeritch that “a double portion” is the mouth in which that spirit that the fathers trusted was concealed, see in the Idra. I will interpret it below and from that he will understand the above.

It is known that there are two righteous—a righteous who came into her, and a righteous who came out of her, as in “As her soul went out,” for which their Zivug [coupling] stopped. It is known in the Zivugim [pl. of Zivug] of ZON that in the future, their Zivug will be whole, and then she will be called “a double portion.” This is why Elijah told him, “You ask a hard thing,” implying to him how far it reaches. That is, “If you see me when I am taken from you,” taken is in Kubutz [a punctuation mark], which means taken from you, meaning the opposite of what you thought thus far, that I was your master and that you were taken from me. Rather, I am taken from you, and then “It shall be so unto you” because then you’ll be rewarded with “a double portion.” This is why Elisha did not have the strength to ask him about it anymore. (It is somewhat similar to what is written about the pious man [Hassid] who considered him his rav [teacher].)

But in the end he was rewarded with it, as it is written, “And Elisha sees and he cries, ‘My father, my father, the Merkava [chariot/structure] of Israel and his horsemen.’” That is, he saw how all the lights that were included in his master, Elijah, were all are drawn and ignited from him, himself. This is why he found it very difficult, as it is written, “a hard thing.” In other words, he couldn’t tolerate it until he cried, “My father, my father,” which is the double portion, where the bottom ZON are as the upper AVI.

This is why “he saw him no more,” since he saw only himself. He was very stressed by that, hence, “he held his clothes and tore them into two tears.” Explanation: The lights in general, “the Merkava [chariot/structure] of Israel and his horsemen,” are implied in the words “his clothes,” ... until he was rewarded, as it is written, “And he picked up Elijah’s mantle that fell from him.” This is the mantle ... which until now he regarded as lowly and externality, but now he understood, picked it up to its place, and then he was indeed rewarded with a double portion.

Henceforth he had the fall of Elijah’s mantle as an example for raising MAN. This is the meaning of the words, “And he took ... which fell from him ... and said, ‘Where is the Lord, God of Elijah, too?’” “Too” is the Kli [vessel] of Nefesh [soul, spirit, light of Nefesh], as it is written, “And He breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living soul.” This is the fall of in between, as mentioned regarding the tearing of the clothes that was made to him, as in “Too ... and Elisha went over.” “And they said, ‘The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha,’” meaning all the degrees of Elijah, his master, were connected in Elisha.

By that we understand what is written in the ARI’s Assortments from the Torah, that Elisha is an incarnation of Cain, of whom it is written, “and his offering He did not accept.” Indeed, Elisha consists of the letters Eli Sha’ah [my God accepted], meaning as we said, “a double portion.”

(the rest is missing)

Yehuda Leib

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