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Yehuda Leib HaLevi Ashlag (Baal HaSulam)

121. She Is Like Merchant-Ships

I heard

In the verse, “She is like the merchant-ships; she bringeth her bread from afar.” When one demands and insists that “she is all mine,” that all the desires will be dedicated to the Creator, the Sitra Achra awakens against him and claims, “She is all mine,” too. And then there is a tradeoff. A tradeoff means that one wants to buy a certain object and the buyer and seller debate its worth, meaning each of them claims that he is right.

And here the body examines to whom it is worthwhile to listen: to the receiver or to the giving force. Both clearly argue, “She is all mine.” And since one sees one’s lowness, that in him, too, there are sparks that do not agree to observe the Torah and Mitzvot even as a dot on the iota, but that the whole body argues, “She is all mine,” then, “she bringeth her bread from afar.” This means that from the removals, when one sees how far one is from the Creator, and regrets, and asks of the Creator to bring him closer, “she bringeth her bread.”

Bread means faith. In that state one is awarded permanent faith, since “God hath so made it that men should fear before Him.” This means that all the removals that one feels were brought to him by the Creator, so he would have the need to assume the fear of heaven.

This is the meaning of “that man doth not live by bread only, but by everything that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord.” This means that the life of Kedusha (Sanctity) within one does not come specifically from drawing closer, from entrances, that is, admissions into Kedusha, but also from the exits, from the removals. This is so because through the dressing of the Sitra Achra in one’s body, and its claims, “She is all mine,” with a just argument, one is awarded permanent faith by overcoming these states.

This means that one should unite everything with the Creator, that is, that even the exits stem from Him. And when he is rewarded, he sees that both the exits and the entrances were all from Him.

This forces one to be humble, since now he sees that the Creator does everything, the exits as well as the entrances. And this is the meaning of what is said about Moses, that he was humble and patient—that one must tolerate the lowness. Thus, in each degree one should hold on to the lowness. And the minute he loses the lowness, he immediately loses all the degrees of “Moses” that he had already achieved.

This is the meaning of patience. Lowliness exists in everyone; but not every person feels that lowliness is a good thing. Thus, one does not want to suffer. However, Moses tolerated the humility, which is why he was called “humble,” since the lowness made him glad.

This is the rule: “Where there is no joy, Shechina (Divinity) does not dwell.” Hence, during the purification period, there cannot be the Shechina. And although purification is a necessary thing (like the lavatory: although one must go there, one is still certain that this is not the King’s Palace).

This is the meaning of Beracha (blessing) and Bechora (seniority), whose letters are the same (in Hebrew). Seniority is Gar, and the Sitra Achra wants the Gar, but not the blessings, since blessing is the clothing over the Mochin. And Esau wanted the seniority without the clothing, but it is forbidden to receive Mochin without clothing. This is the meaning of Esau’s words: “Hast thou not reserved a blessing for me?” “A blessing” means the opposite of blessings, that is, a curse. It is said about that: “Yea, he loved cursing, and it came unto him; and he delighted not in blessing.”

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