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Yehuda Leib HaLevi Ashlag (Baal HaSulam)

45. Two Discernments in the Torah and in the Work

I heard on Elul 1, September 5, 1948

There are two discernments in the Torah, and there are two discernments in the work. The first is the discernment of fear, and the second is the discernment of love. Torah is called a state of wholeness, meaning we do not speak of the state one’s work is in, but we speak with respect to the Torah in and of itself.

The first is called “love,” meaning that one has a desire and craving to know the ways of the Creator and His hidden treasures, and for that one makes every effort and exertion to obtain his wish. One regards everything in the Torah that one extracts from one’s study as having been granted a priceless thing. According to the appreciation from the importance of the Torah, so one gradually grows until one is slowly shown the secrets of the Torah, according to one’s exertion.

The second discernment is fear, meaning that one wants to be a servant of the Creator. Since “He who does not know the commandment of the Upper One, how will he serve Him?” one fears and dreads not knowing how to serve the Creator.

When one learns in this way, every time one finds a flavor in the Torah, and can use it, one is elated and excited according to the appreciation of the importance from having been granted something in the Torah. And if one persists in this way, one is gradually shown the secrets of the Torah.

Here there is a difference between external teachings and the wisdom of the Torah: In exterior teachings, the elation lessens the intellect, since emotion is opposite to intellect. Thus, the elation diminishes the understanding of the mind.

However, in the wisdom of the Torah, the elation is an essence, like the ratio. The reason for it is that the Torah is life, as it is written, “wisdom preserveth the life of him that hath it,” as wisdom and life are the same thing.

Hence, as the wisdom appears in the mind, so the wisdom appears in the emotion, because the Light of life fills all the organs. (It seems to me that this is why one should see that one is always thrilled with the wisdom of the Torah, since in the elation there is a great distinction between an exterior teaching and the wisdom of the Torah.)

It is likewise, in the work, considered the left line, because it is discerned as reception. The matter of reception means that one wants to receive because one feels a lack, and a lack is regarded as three discernments: 1) the want of the individual; 2) the want of the public; 3) the want of the Shechina (Divinity).

Any want is regarded as wanting to fulfill the deficiency; hence it is considered reception, and left line. Torah, however, means that one works not because one feels a lack that must be corrected, but that one wants to bestow contentment upon one’s Maker.

(It is like a prayer, and praise, and gratitude. When one engages in a way that one feels oneself in wholeness and does not see any shortcoming in the world, this is called “Torah.” However, if one engages while feeling some shortcoming, this is called “work.”)

Also, two discernments must be made during the work: 1) due to love of God, when one wants to cleave to the Creator, when one feels that this is the place where one can bring out the measure of love one feels, and love the Creator; 2) because of fear, when one has fear of God.

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