38. The Fear of God Is His Treasure
A treasure is a vessel in which the possession is placed. Grain, for example, is placed in the barn, and precious things are placed in a more heavily guarded place. Thus, every received thing is called by its correlation to the Light, and the vessel must be able to receive the things. It is as we learn that there is no Light without a vessel, and this applies even in corporeality.
Yet, what is the vessel in spirituality, in which we can receive the spiritual bounty that the Creator wants to give, which will match the Light? That is, as in corporeality, where the vessel needs a correlation with the object that is placed in it?
For example: we cannot say that we have treasures of wine, which we poured in new sacks to keep the wine from turning sour, or that we have taken a lot of flour in barrels. Instead, there is a conduct that the container of wine is barrels and jars, and the container for the flour is sacks and not barrels, etc..
Thus, there is a question, what is the spiritual container, the vessels from which we can make a big treasure of the Upper Bounty?
There is a rule that the cow wants to feed more than the calf wants to eat. This is because His wish is to do good to His creatures, and the reason for the Tzimtzum (Restriction), we must believe, is for our own good. And the reason must be that we do not have the right vessels where the bounty can be, like the corporeal vessels, which must be right for what is placed there. Hence, we must say that if we add the vessels, there will be something to hold the added bounty.
The answer that comes to that is that, in His treasury, the Creator has only the treasure of fear of God (Berachot 33).
Yet, we should interpret what fear is, that it is the vessel, and the treasure is made of this vessel, and all the important things are placed in it. He said that fear is as it is written about Moses: our sages said (Berachot p.7), “The reward for ‘And Moses hid his face for he was afraid to look,’ he was rewarded with ‘the similitude of the Lord doth he behold.’”
Fear refers to one’s fear of the great pleasure that exists there, that one will not be able to receive it in order to bestow. The reward for that, for having had fear, is that thus he had made for himself a vessel in which to receive the Upper Bounty. This is man’s work, and besides that, we attribute everything to the Creator.
Yet, it is not so with fear, because the meaning of fear is to not receive. And what the Creator gives, He gives only to receive, and this is the meaning of, “everything is in the hands of God except the fear of God.”
This is the vessel that we need. Otherwise we will be considered fools, as our sages said, “Who is a fool? He who loses what he is given.” It means that the Sitra Achra (Other Side) will take the abundance from us if we cannot aim in order to bestow, because then it goes to the vessels of reception, which is the Sitra Achra and impurity.
This is the meaning of, “And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread.” Observing means fear. And although the nature of the Light is that it keeps itself, meaning that the Light leaves before one wants to receive the Light into the vessels of reception. Yet one must do it by himself, as much as one can, as our sages said, “You will observe yourselves a little from below, and I will observe you a lot from Above.”
The reason we attribute fear to people, as our sages said, “Everything is in the hands of God, but the fear of God,” is because He can give everything except fear. This is because what the Creator gives is more love, not fear.
Acquiring fear is through the power of Torah and Mitzvot. It means that when one engages in Torah and Mitzvot with the intention to be rewarded with bringing contentment to one’s Maker, that aim that rests on the acts of Mitzvot and the study of Torah brings one to attain it. Otherwise one might stay. Although one keeps Torah and Mitzvot in every item and detail, one will still remain merely in the degree of Holy Still.
It follows that one should always remember the reason that obligates one to engage in Torah and Mitzvot. This is what our sages meant by, “that your Holiness will be for My Name.” It means that I will be your cause, meaning that your entire work is in wanting to delight Me, meaning that all your deeds will be in order to bestow.
Our sages said (Berachot 20), “Everything there is in keeping, there is in remembering.” This means that all those who engage in keeping Torah and Mitzvot with the aim to achieve “remembering,” by way of, “When I remember Him, He will not suffer me to sleep.” It follows, that the keeping is primarily in order to be awarded remembering.
Thus, one’s desire to remember that the Creator is the cause for keeping Torah and Mitzvot. This is so because it follows that the reason and the cause to keep the Torah and Mitzvot is the Creator, as without it one cannot cleave to the Creator, since “He and I cannot dwell in the same abode,” due to the disparity of form.
The reason that the reward and punishment is not revealed, that we must only believe in reward and punishment, is because the Creator wants everyone to work for Him, and not for themselves. This is discerned as disparity of form from the Creator. If the reward and punishment were revealed, one would work because of self-love, meaning so that the Creator would love him, or because of self-hate, meaning for fear that the Creator would hate him. It follows that the reason for the work is only the person, not the Creator, and the Creator wants that He will be the compelling reason.
It turns out that fear is precisely when one recognizes one’s lowness, and says that his serving the King, meaning that one’s wish to bestow upon Him, is considered a great privilege, and it is more valuable than he can say. It is according to the rule that with an important personality, what is given to him is considered receiving from him.
To the extent that one feels one’s lowness, to that extent one can begin to appreciate the greatness of the Creator, and the desire to serve Him will awaken. However, if one is proud, the Creator says, “he and I cannot dwell in the same abode.”
This is the meaning of, “A fool, an evil, and a rude go together.” The reason is that since one has no fear, meaning one cannot lower oneself before the Creator and say that it is a great honor for him to be able to serve Him without any reward, one cannot receive any wisdom from the Creator, and he remains a fool. Then, he who is a fool is wicked, as our sages said, “One does not sin unless folly entered him.”