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Yehuda Leib HaLevi Ashlag (Baal HaSulam)

56. Torah is Called Indication

I heard on BeShalach 1, February 2, 1941

Torah is called “indication,” from the words “shot through” [1]. It means that when one engages in the Torah, one feels one’s remoteness to the extent of one’s exertion. In other words, one is shown the truth, meaning he is shown his measure of faith, which is the whole basis of the truth.

The basis of keeping Torah and Mitzvot is on one measure of faith, since then it appears to one that one’s whole basis is built only on the upbringing one received. This is because rearing is sufficient for one to keep Torah and Mitzvot in all its intricacies and details, and everything that comes through rearing is called “faith within reason.”

Even though this is against one’s mind, meaning reason necessitates that according to one’s addition in the Torah, so one should feel closer to the Creator. However, the Torah always shows one more of the truth. When one searches for the truth, the Torah brings one closer to the truth and one sees one’s measure of faith in the Creator.

This is so that one would be able to ask for mercy and to pray for the Creator to bring him genuinely closer to Him, which means that he will be awarded faith in the Creator. Then one will be able to give praise and gratitude to the Creator for having been granted being brought closer to Him.

However, when one does not see the measure of one’s remoteness and thinks that he is constantly adding, you find that he builds his buildings on a rickety foundation, and one has no place to pray for the Creator to bring him closer to Him. It follows that one has no place for exertion to be imparted whole faith, since one exerts only for that which one needs.

Hence, as long as one is not worthy of seeing the truth, it is the opposite. The more one adds in Torah and Mitzvot, one adds in the measure of one’s wholeness and does not see any deficit in himself. Therefore, one has no place to exert and pray to be granted faith in the Creator in truth, because when one feels corruption, you should say correction.

However, when one engages in Torah and Mitzvot in truth, the Torah indicates the truth to him, because the Torah has that power to show one’s true state of faith (and this is the meaning of, “be known”).

When one engages in the Torah and sees the truth, meaning one’s measure of remoteness from spirituality, and one sees that he is such a low creature, that there is not a worse person on earth than him, then the Sitra Achra (Other Side) comes to one with a different argument: In fact, one’s body is really very ugly, and it is true that there is not an uglier person in the world than him.

She tells him that so he will despair, since she is afraid that he will notice and come to correct his state. For this reason, she agrees to what one says, that he is an ugly person, and lets him understand that if he had been born with higher skills and better qualities, he could have overcome his evil and correct it, and would have been able to achieve Dvekut (Adhesion) with the Creator.

The answer to that should be that what she says to him is brought in Massechet Taanit (p.20), that Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Shimon, came from a fenced tower from the house of his rabbi. He was riding his donkey and strolling along the riverbank, feeling great joy. And his mind was crude, as he had been studying much Torah.

A person who was very ugly came by his way. He told him: “Hello rabbi,” but he did not reply. He told him: “Vain, how ugly is that man, perhaps all your town’s men are as ugly as you?” He replied, “I do not know, but go and tell the craftsman who made me, How ugly is this vessel that you have made?” Because he knew that he himself had sinned, he descended from the donkey.

According to the above, we can see that since he had learned a lot of Torah, through it he was granted seeing the truth about the distance between him and the Creator, meaning the measure of his remoteness and nearness. This is the meaning of his mind being crude, meaning that he saw the complete form of one who is proud, which is his will to receive, and then he could see the truth that it was him who was most ugly. How did he see the truth? By learning much Torah.

Thus, how will he be able to cleave to Him, since he is such an ugly person? This is the reason why he asked if all the people were as ugly as him, or that he was the only ugly one but the rest of the people in the world were not ugly.

What was the answer? “I don’t know.” It means that that they do not feel, hence they do not know. And why do they not feel? It is for the simple reason that they were not rewarded with seeing the truth, since they lack Torah, so the Torah will show them the truth.

To that Elijah replied to him: “go to the craftsman who made me,” because he saw that he had come into a state from which he could not ascend. For this reason Elijah appeared and told him, “go to the craftsman who made me.” In other words, since the Creator created you so ugly, He must have known that it is with these Kelim (Vessels) that the goal can be achieved. So do not worry, go forward and succeed.

[1] In Hebrew the same word is used for shooting and for indicating something.

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