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Yehuda Leib HaLevi Ashlag (Baal HaSulam)

34. The Profit of a Land

I heard on Tevet 1942

It is known that nothing appears in its true form, only through its opposite, “as far as light excelleth darkness.” This means that everything points to another, and by the opposite of some thing, the existence of its opposite can be perceived.

Hence, it is impossible to attain something in complete clarity if its parallel is absent. For example: it is impossible to estimate and say that something is good, if its opposite is missing, pointing to the bad. It is the same with bitterness and sweetness, love and hate, hunger and satiation, thirst and saturation, adhesion and separation. It turns out that it is impossible to come to love adhesion prior to acquiring the hate of separation.

To be rewarded with the degree of hating separation, one must first know what separation is, meaning what he is separated from, and then one may say that he wants to correct that separation. In other words, one should examine from what and from whom he is separated. After that he can try to amend it and connect himself to the one he has become separated from. If, for example, one understands that he will benefit from joining with Him, then he can assume and know what one loses by remaining separated.

Gain and loss are measured according to the pleasure and the suffering. One stays away from something that causes one suffering, and hates it. The measure of the distance depends on the measure of the suffering, since it is human nature to escape from suffering. Hence, one depends on the other, meaning to the extent of the suffering, one exerts and does all kinds of deeds so as to stay away from it. In other words, the torments cause hate for the thing that induces torments, and to that extent one stays far from it.

It follows that one should know what is equivalence of form in order to know what he must do to achieve adhesion, called “equivalence of form.” By that he will come to know what are disparity of form and separation.

It is known from books and from authors that the Creator is benevolent. This means that His guidance appears to the lower ones as benevolence; and this is what we must believe.

Therefore, when one examines the conduct of the world, and begins to examine himself or others, how they suffer under Providence instead of delighting, as is fitting for His Name – Benevolent – it is then hard for him to say that Providence is benevolent and imparts abundance.

However, we must know that in that state, when they cannot say that the Creator imparts only good, they are considered wicked because suffering makes them condemn their Maker. Only when they see that the Creator imparts them pleasure do they justify the Creator. It is as our sages said, “Who is righteous? He who justifies his Maker,” meaning he who says that the Creator leads the world in a righteous way.

Thus, when one suffers, one draws far from the Creator, since he naturally becomes hateful of Him who imparts him torments. Consequently, where one should have loved the Creator, he now becomes the opposite, for he has come to hate the Creator.

Accordingly, what should one do in order to come to love the Creator? For that purpose we are granted the remedy of engaging in Torah and Mitzvot, for the Light in it reforms. There is Light there, which lets one feel the severity of the state of separation. And slowly, as one intends to acquire the Light of Torah, hatred for separation is created in him. He begins to feel the reason that causes him and his soul to be separated and far from the Creator.

Thus, one must believe that His guidance is benevolent, but since one is immersed in self-love, it induces disparity of form in him, since there was a correction called in order to bestow, called “equivalence of form.” Only in this manner can we receive this delight and pleasure. The inability to receive the delight and pleasure that the Creator wants to give evokes in the receiver hatred for separation, and then one can discern the great benefit in equivalence of form and one begins to yearn for adhesion.

In consequence, every form points to another form. Thus, all the descents where one feels that he has come to separation are an opportunity to discern between something and its opposite. In other words, one should learn the benefits of the ascents from the descents. Otherwise, one would be unable to appreciate the importance of being brought near from Above, and the ascents that he is given. He would not be able to extract the importance that he could extract, as when one is given food without ever having felt hunger.

It turns out that the descents, which are the times of separation, produce the importance of adhesion in the ascents, while the ascents make him hate the descents that the separation causes him. In other words, he cannot assess how bad the descents are, when one speaks slander about Providence and does not even feel whom he slanders, to know that he must repent for such a sin. This is called “slandering against the Creator.”

Thus, it follows that precisely when one has both forms can he discern the distance between one and the other, “as far as Light excelleth darkness.” Only then can one assess and regard the matter of adhesion, by which the delight and pleasure in the Thought of Creation can be acquired, being “His desire to do good to His creations.” Everything that appears to our eyes is but what the Creator wants us to attain the way we do, since they are ways by which to achieve the complete goal.

Yet, it is not so simple to acquire adhesion with the Creator. It requires great effort and exertion to acquire the sensation and feeling of delight and pleasure. Before that, one must justify Providence, believe above reason that the Creator behaves in goodness with the creatures, and say, “They have eyes and see not.”

Our sages say, “Habakkuk came and ascribed them to one,” as it is written, “The righteous shall live by his faith.” It means that one need not engage oneself in details, but concentrate his entire work on a single point, a rule, which is faith in the Creator. This is what he should pray for, meaning that the Creator will help him become capable of advancing in the form of faith above reason. There is power in the faith: through it, one comes to hate the separation. This is considered that faith indirectly makes him hate the separation.

We see that there is a great difference between faith, seeing, and knowing. Something that can be seen and known, if the mind necessitates that it is good to do that thing and decides on that once, that decision is enough regarding that thing that he decided on. In other words, he executes in the form that he had decided. This is so because the mind accompanies him in every single act so as not to break what the mind had told him, and lets him understand by one hundred percent, to the extent that the mind brought him to the decision he has reached.

However, faith is a matter of potential agreement. In other words, he overpowers the mind and says that it is indeed worthwhile to work as faith necessitates to work – above reason. Hence, faith above reason is useful only during the act, when he believes. Only then is he willing to exert above reason in the work.

Conversely, when he leaves faith for but a moment, meaning when faith weakens for a brief moment, he immediately ceases the Torah and the work. It does not help him that a short while ago he took upon himself the burden of faith above reason.

However, when he perceives in his mind that this is a bad thing for him, that it is something that risks his life, he needs no repetitive explanations and reasoning why it is a dangerous thing. Rather, since he once fully realized in his mind that he should practice these things, of which the mind tells him specifically which is bad and which is good, he now follows that decision.

We see the difference that exists between what the mind necessitates and what only faith necessitates, and what is the reason that when something is based on faith we must constantly remember the form of the faith, otherwise he falls from his degree into a state of wickedness. These states might happen even in a single day; one may fall from his degree many times in one day because it is impossible that faith above reason will not stop even for a moment during one day.

We must know that the reason for forgetting the faith stems from the fact that faith above the reason and the mind is against all the desires of the body. Since the desires of the body come by the nature imprinted in us, called “will to receive,” whether in the mind or in the heart, hence, the body always draws to our nature. Only when cleaved to faith does it have the power to bring him out of the bodily desires and go above reason, meaning against the body’s reason.

Hence, before one acquires the vessels of bestowal, called adhesion, faith cannot be found in him on a permanent basis. When faith does not shine for him, he sees that he is in the lowest possible state, and it all comes to him because of the disparity of form, which is the will to receive for himself. This separation causes him all the torments, ruins all the buildings and all the efforts he had put into the work.

He sees that the minute he loses faith, he is in a worse state than when he started on the path of work in bestowal. Thus one acquires hatred for the separation, since he immediately begins to feel torments in himself, and in the entire world. It becomes hard for him to justify His Providence over the creatures, regarding it as benevolent, and then he feels that the whole world has grown dark before him, and he has nothing from which to receive gladness.

Hence, every time one begins to correct the flaw of slandering Providence he acquires hate for the separation. And through the hate that he feels in the separation he comes to love adhesion. In other words, to the extent that he suffers during the separation, so he draws nearer to adhesion with the Creator. Similarly, to the extent that he feels the darkness as bad, he comes to feel that adhesion is a good thing. Then he knows how to value it when he receives some adhesion, for the time being, and then knows how to appreciate it.

Now we can see that all the torments that exist in the world are but a preparation for the real torments. These are the torments that one must reach, or he will not be able to acquire anything spiritual, as there is no Light without a vessel. These torments, the real torments, are called “condemnation of Providence and slandering.” This is what one prays for, to not slander Providence, and these are the torments that the Creator accepts. This is the meaning of the saying that the Creator hears the prayer of every mouth.

The reason the Creator responds to these torments is that then one does not ask for help for his own vessels of reception, since we can say that if the Creator grants him everything he wishes, it might bring him farther from the Creator due to the disparity of form that he would thus acquire. Rather, it is to the contrary: one asks for faith, for the Creator to give him strength to prevail and be awarded equivalence of form, for he sees that by not having permanent faith, meaning when faith does not shine for him, he comes to thoughts of doubt about Providence.

That, in turn, brings him to a state called “evil,” when he condemns his Maker. It turns out that all the suffering he feels is because he slanders Providence. It turns out that what hurts him is that where he should have been praising the Creator, saying “Blessed is He who has created us in His Glory,” meaning that the creatures respect the Creator, he sees that the world’s conduct is unfitting for His glory, since everyone complains and demands that first it should be open Providence that the Creator leads the world in benevolence. Since it is not open, they say that this Providence does not glorify Him, and that pains him.

Thus, by the torment one feels, he is compelled to slander. Hence, when he asks of the Creator to impart him the power of faith and to be awarded benevolence, it is not because he wants to receive good so as to delight himself. Rather, it is so that he will not slander; this is what pains him. For himself, he wants to believe above reason that the Creator leads the world in benevolence, and he wants his faith to settle in the sensation as though it is within reason.

Therefore, when he practices Torah and Mitzvot he wants to extend the Light of God not for his own benefit, but since he cannot bear not being able to justify His Providence, which is in benevolence. It pains him that he desecrates the name of God, whose name is Benevolent, and his body claims otherwise.

This is all that pains him since by being in a state of separation, he cannot justify His guidance. This is considered hating the state of separation. And when he feels this suffering, the Creator hears his prayer, brings him near Him, and he is rewarded with adhesion. This is because the pains that he feels due to the separation make him be rewarded with adhesion; and then it is said, “As far as Light excelleth darkness.”

This is the meaning of “the profit of a land every way.” Land is creation; every way means that by the benefit, meaning when we see the difference between the state of separation and the state of adhesion, by that we are granted adhesion with the every, since the Creator is called “the root of every thing.”

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