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Yehuda Leib HaLevi Ashlag (Baal HaSulam)

219. Devotion

I heard

The work should be with love and fear. With love, it is irrelevant to say that we must be devoted to it, since it is natural, as love is as fierce as death, as it is written, “for love is as strong as death.” Rather, devotion should primarily be concerning fear, that is, when one still does not feel the taste of love in the servitude, and the servitude is coercive for him.

There is a rule that the body does not feel a thing that is coercive, as it is built by way of correction. And the correction is that the servitude, too, should be in the form of love, as this is the purpose of the Dvekut, as it is written, “in a place where there is labor, there is the Sitra Achra.”

The servitude that should primarily be in devotion is on the discernment of fear. At that time, the whole body disagrees with one’s work, since it does not feel any taste in the servitude. And with each thing that the body does, the body calculates that this servitude is not in wholeness. Thus, what will you get out of working?

Then, because there is no validity and taste in this servitude, overcoming is only through devotion. This means that the servitude feels bitter, and each act causes him horrendous suffering, since the body is not accustomed to work in vain: either the work should benefit oneself, or others.

But during the Katnut (smallness), one does not feel any benefit for oneself, since one does not presently feel any pleasure in the servitude. And also, one does not believe that there will be benefit to others, since it is not important to himself, so what pleasure would others have of it? Then the suffering is harsh. And the more he works, the suffering increases proportionally. Finally, the suffering and the labor accumulate to a certain amount until the Creator has mercy on him and gives him the taste in the servitude of the Creator, as it is written, “Until the spirit be poured upon us from on high.”

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