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Yehuda Leib HaLevi Ashlag (Baal HaSulam)

52. A Transgression does not Put Out a Mitzva

“A transgression does not put out a Mitzva (Commandment),” and a Mitzva does not put out a transgression. It is the conduct of the work that one must take the good path. But the bad in a person does not let him take the good path.

However, one must know that one does not need to uproot the evil, as this thing is impossible. Rather, one must only hate the evil, as it is written, “Ye that love the Lord, hate evil.” Thus, it is only hatred that is needed, since it is the conduct of hate to separate the adhered.

For this reason, evil has no existence of its own. Rather, the existence of evil depends on love for the evil or the hate for the evil. It means that if one has love for evil then one is caught in the authority of the evil. If one hates the evil, one exits their premises and one’s evil has no dominion over that person.

It follows that the primary work is not in the actual evil, but in the measure of love and the measure of hate. And for this reason transgression prompts transgression. We must ask, “Why one deserves such a punishment?” When one falls from one’s work, one must be aided to rise from the fall. Here, however, we see that more obstacles are added to one, so that one would fall lower than one’s first fall.

But in order for one to feel hatred for the evil, one is given more evil, so as to feel how the transgression departs one from the work of God. Although one did regret the first transgression, one still did not feel a measure of remorse that would bring one hatred for the evil.

Hence, a transgression prompts a transgression, and every time one regrets, and each remorse certainly instigates hatred for the evil until the measure of one’s hatred for the evil is completed. At that time one is separated from the evil, since evil induces separation.

It therefore follows that if one finds a certain measure of hate at a level that prompts separation, one does not need a correction of transgression-prompts-transgression, and naturally, one saves time. When one has been rewarded, one is admitted to the love of God. This is the meaning of, “ye that love the Lord, hate evil.” They only hate the evil, but the evil itself remains in its place, and it is only hatred to the evil that we need.

This extends from, “Yet Thou hast made him but little lower than God,” and this is the meaning of the serpent’s saying, “and ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil.” It means that when one exerts and wants to understand all the conducts of Providence, such as the Creator, this is the meaning of, “A man’s pride shall bring him low.” It means that one wants to understand everything in the exterior mind, and if one does not understand it, one is in lowness.

The truth is that if one awakens to know some thing, it is a sign that one needs to know that thing. And when one overcomes one’s own mind, what he wishes to understand, and takes everything in faith above reason, this is called the greatest lowness in the human attribute. You find that to the extent that one has a demand to know more, yet takes it in faith above reason, you find that he is in greater lowness.

Now we can understand what they interpreted about the verse (Numbers, 12:3), “Now the man Moses was very meek,” humble and patient. It means that he tolerated the lowness in the highest possible measure.

This is the meaning of Adam ha Rishon eating from the Tree of Life prior to the sin, and that he was in wholeness. Yet, he could not walk more than the degree he stood on, since he did not feel any want in his state. Hence, he naturally could not discover all the Holy Names.

For this reason he made, “He is terrible in His doing toward the children of men,” that he would eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. And through this sin, all the Lights departed from him, hence, he was naturally compelled to start his work anew.

And the writing says about it that he was expelled from the Garden of Eden because if he had eaten from the Tree of Life he would have lived forever. This is the meaning of the internality of the worlds. If one enters there, one remains there forever. It means that once more one would remain without any want. And to be able to go and reveal the Holy Names, which appear by the correction of good and evil, he therefore had to eat from the Tree of Knowledge.

It is similar to a person who wants to give his friend a big barrel filled with wine, but his friend has only a small cup. What does he do? He pours wine into that cup and takes the cup home, where he pours it. After that he begins to go with the cup once more and once more fills it with wine. Then, once more he goes to his house, until he receives all the wine-barrels.

I had heard another parable that he had told of two friends, one of which became a king and the other became very poor, and he had heard that his friend became a king. The poor went to his friend the king, and told him of his bad state.

The king gave him a letter to the minister of the treasury that for two hours he would receive as much money as he wanted. The poor came to the treasury with a small box and entered and filled that small box with money.

When he came out, the minister kicked the box and all the money fell to the floor. It continued similarly time and time again, and the poor man was crying, “Why are you doing this to me?” Finally, he said, all the money that you took throughout this whole time is yours and you will take it all. You did not have the receptacles to take enough money from the treasury, and this is why that trick was played on you.

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