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Yehuda Leib HaLevi Ashlag (Baal HaSulam)

20. LISHMA (for Her Name)

I heard in 1945

Concerning Lishma (for Her Name). In order for a person to obtain Lishma, one needs an awakening from Above, because it is an illumination from Above, and it is not for the human mind to understand. But he that tastes knows. It is said about that, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”

Because of that, upon assuming the burden of the Kingdom of Heaven, one needs it to be in utter completeness, meaning only to bestow and not at all to receive. And if a person sees that his organs do not agree with this view, he has no other counsel except for prayer – to pour his heart out to the Creator, to help him make his body consent to enslaving itself to the Creator.

And do not say that if Lishma is a gift from Above, then what good is one’s surmounting and efforts and all the remedies and corrections that one performs in order to come to Lishma, if it depends on the Creator? Our sages said in that regard, “You are not free to rid yourself of it.” Rather, one must offer the awakening from below, and that is considered “prayer.” There cannot be a genuine prayer if he does not know in advance that without prayer it cannot be attained.

Therefore, the acts and the remedies that he performs in order to obtain Lishma create the corrected vessels to want to receive Lishma. Then, after all the deeds and the remedies can he pray in earnest because he saw that all his deeds brought him no benefit. Only then can he pray an honest prayer from the bottom of his heart, and then the Creator hears his prayer and gives him the gift of Lishma.

We should also know that by obtaining Lishma, one puts the evil inclination to death. This is because the evil inclination is called receiving for one’s own benefit. And by attaining the aim to bestow, one cancels the self-gratification. And death means that one no longer uses one’s vessels of reception for oneself. And since it is no longer active, it is considered dead.

If one considers what one receives for his work under the sun, one will find that it is not so difficult to subordinate oneself to the Creator, for two reasons:

  1. One must strain oneself in this world in any case, whether one wants to or not.

  2. Even during the work, if one works Lishma, one receives pleasure from the work itself.

It is as the Sayer from Dubna says about the verse, “Though has not called upon me oh Jacob, neither has thou worried thyself about me oh Israel.” It means that he who works for the creator has no effort. On the contrary, one has pleasure and elation.

But he who does not work for the Creator, but for other goals, cannot complain to the Creator for not giving him liveliness in the work, since he is working for another goal. One can complain only to the one he works for, and demand to be given vitality and pleasure during his work. It is said about him: “Anyone that trusts them shall be like them that maketh them.”

Do not be surprised that when one assumes the burden of the Kingdom of Heaven, when he wants to work in order to bestow upon the Creator, that he still feels no vitality at all, and that this vitality would compel one to assume the burden of the Kingdom of Heaven. Rather, one should accept it coercively, against his better judgment. Meaning, the body does not agree to this enslavement, why the Creator does not shower him with vitality and pleasure.

In fact, this is a great correction. Were it not for that, if the will to receive had agreed to this work, one would never have been able to obtain Lishma. Rather, he would always work for his own benefit, to satisfy his own desires. It is as people say, that the thief himself yells, “Catch the thief.” And then you cannot tell which is the real thief in order to catch him and reclaim the theft.

But when the thief, meaning the will to receive, does not find the work of accepting the burden of the Kingdom of Heaven tasteful, since the body accustoms itself to work against its own desire, one has the means by which to come to work only in order to bring contentment to one’s Maker, since one’s sole intention should be only for the Creator, as it says, “Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord.” Thus, when he served the Creator in the past, he did not sense any pleasure in the work. Rather his work was done by coercion.

However, now that one has accustomed oneself to work in order to bestow, one is rewarded with delighting in the Creator, and the work itself renders one pleasure and vitality. And this is considered that the pleasure, too, is specifically for the Creator.

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