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Yehuda Leib HaLevi Ashlag (Baal HaSulam)

6. What Is Support in the Torah, in the Work

I heard in 1944

When one studies Torah and wants all his actions to be in order to bestow, one needs to try to always have support in the Torah. Support is considered nourishment, which is love, fear, elation, and freshness and so on. And one should extract all that from the Torah. In other words, the Torah should give one these results.

However, when one studies Torah and does not have these results, it is not considered Torah. This is because Torah refers to the Light clothed in the Torah, meaning, as our sages said, “I have created the evil inclination, I have created the Torah as a spice.” This refers to the Light in it, since the Light in it reforms it.

We should also know that the Torah is divided into two discernments: 1-Torah, 2-Mitzva. In fact, it is impossible to understand these two discernments before one is awarded walking in the path of God by way of “The counsel of the Lord is with them that fear Him.” This is so because when one is in a state of preparation to enter the Lord’s Palace, it is impossible to understand the Path of Truth.

However, it is possible to give an example that even a person in the preparation period may somewhat understand. It is as our sages said (Sutah 21): “Rabbi Yosef said, ‘A Mitzva protects and saves while practiced, etc.. The Torah protects and saves both when practiced and when not practiced.’”

The thing is that “when practiced” refers to when one has some Light. One can use this Light that he had obtained only while the Light is still with him, as now he is in gladness because of the Light that shines for him. This is discerned as a Mitzva, meaning that he has not yet been rewarded with the Torah, but elicits a life of Kedusha (Sanctity) only from the Light.

This is not so with the Torah: when one attains some way in the work, one can use the way that one has attained even when one is not practicing it, that is, even while one does not have the Light. This is because only the luminescence has departed from him, whereas one can use the way that one attained in the work even when the luminescence leaves him.

Still, one must also know that while practiced, a Mitzva is greater than the Torah when not practiced. When practiced means that now one receives the Light; this is called “practiced,” when one receives the Light in it.

Hence, while one has the Light, a Mitzva is more important than the Torah when one has no Light, meaning when there is no liveliness of the Torah. On the one hand, the Torah is important because one can use the way one has acquired in the Torah. On the other hand, it is without vitality, called “Light.” In a time of Mitzva one does receive vitality, called “Light.” Therefore, in this respect, a Mitzva is more important.

Thus, when one is without sustenance, one is considered “evil.” This is because now one cannot say that the Creator leads the world in a conduct of “Good that Doeth Good.” This is called that he is called “evil,” since he condemns his Maker, as now he feels that he has no vitality, and has nothing to be glad about so that he may say that now he offers gratitude to the Creator for giving him delight and pleasure.

One cannot say that he believes that the Creator leads His Providence with others benevolently, since we understand the path of Torah as a sensation in the organs. If one does not feel the delight and pleasure, what does it give him that another person has delight and pleasure?

If one had really believed that Providence is revealed as benevolence to his friend, that belief should have brought one delight and pleasure from believing that the Creator leads the world in a guidance of delight and pleasure. If it does not bring one liveliness and joy, what is the benefit in saying that the Creator does watch over one’s friend with a guidance of benevolence?

The most important is what one feels in one’s own body – whether one feels good or bad. One enjoys one’s friend’s pleasure only if he enjoys his friend’s benefit. In other words, we learn that with the sensation of the body, the reasons aren’t important. It is only important if one feels good.

In that state one says that the Creator is “Good that Doeth Good.” If one feels bad, one cannot say that the Creator behaves with him in a benevolent way. Thus, precisely if one enjoys one’s friend’s happiness, and receives high spirits from that, and feels gladness because his friend feels good, then he can say that the Creator is a good leader.

If one has no joy, he feels bad. Thus, how can he say that the Creator is benevolent? Therefore, a state where one has no liveliness and gladness is already a state where he has no love for the Creator and ability to justify his Maker and be happy, as is appropriate with one who is granted with serving a great and important king.

We must know that the Upper Light is in a state of complete rest. And any expansion of the Holy Names occurs by the lower ones. In other words, all the names that the Upper Light has, come from the attainment of the lower ones. This means that the Upper Light is named according to their attainments. Put differently, one names the Upper Light according to the way in which one attains it, meaning according to one’s sensation.

If one does not feel that the Creator gives him anything, what name can he give the Creator if he does not receive anything from Him? Rather, when one believes in the Creator, every single state that one feels, he says that it comes from the Creator. In that state one names the Creator according to one’s feeling.

If one feels happy in the state he is in, he says that the Creator is called “Benevolent,” since that is what he feels, that he receives good from Him. In that state one is called Tzadik (Righteous), since he Matzdik (justifies) his Maker (who is the Creator).

If one feels bad in the state he is in, one cannot say that the Creator sends him good. Therefore, in that state one is called Rasha (Evil), since he Marshia (Condemns) his Maker.

However, there is no such thing as in-between, when one says that he feels both good and bad in his state. Instead, either one is happy, or one is unhappy.

Our sages wrote (Berachot 61): “The world was not created etc. but either for the complete evil, or for the complete righteous.” This is because there is no such reality where one feels good and bad together.

When our sages say that there is in-between, it is that with the creatures, who have a discernment of time, you can say in-between, in two times, one after the other, as we learn that there is a matter of ascents and descents. These are two times: once he is evil, and once he is righteous. But in a single moment, that one should feel good and bad simultaneously, this does not exist.

It follows that when they said that Torah is more important than a Mitzva, it is precisely at a time when it is not practiced, meaning when one has no vitality. Then the Torah is more important than a Mitzva, which has no vitality.

This is so because one cannot receive anything from a Mitzva, which has no vitality. But with the Torah, one still has a way in the work from what he had received while he was practicing the Torah. Although the vitality has departed, the way remains in him, and he can use it. There is a time when a Mitzva is more important than Torah, meaning when there is vitality in the Mitzva and no vitality in the Torah.

Thus, when not practiced, meaning when one has no vitality and gladness in the work, one has no other counsel but prayer. However, during the prayer one must know that he is evil because he does not feel the delight and pleasure in the world, although he makes calculations that he can believe that the Creator gives only good.

Despite that, not all of one’s thoughts, which one has, are true in the way of the work. In the work, if the thought leads to action, meaning a sensation in the organs, so that the organs feel that the Creator is benevolent, the organs should receive vitality and gladness from it. If one has no vitality, what good are all the calculations if now the organs do not love the Creator because He imparts them abundance?

Thus, one should know that if one has no vitality and gladness in the work, it is a sign that he is evil, because he is unhappy. All the calculations are untrue if they do not yield an act, meaning to a sensation in the organs that one loves the Creator because He imparts delight and pleasure to the creatures.

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