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Yehuda Leib HaLevi Ashlag (Baal HaSulam)

233. Pardon, Forgiveness, and Atonement

I heard

Mechila (pardon), as in from ruin to praise. This means that sins have become to him as merits through repentance from love. Thus, he turns the sins into a praise, to merits.

Slicha (forgiveness) comes from VeShalach Et Be’iro (“and shall let his beast loose,” exchanging the Samech with a Shin). This means that he sends the sins away from him and says that from now on he will do only merits. This is considered repentance from fear, when sins become as mistakes to him.

Kapara (atonement) comes from VeKipper Et HaMizbe’ach (“and he shall make atonement for the altar”), from “wishes to atone his hands in this man.” Hence, when one knows that he is dirty, he has not the audacity and impudence to enter the King’s palace. Therefore, when one sees and remembers one’s bad deeds, which are against the King’s will, it is difficult for him to engage in Torah and Mitzvot; all the more so to ask of the King to cleave onto Him and unite with Him.

This is why he needs atonement, so he will not see his poor state, that he is in utter lowness, and so he will not remember his state, so he will have room to receive gladness by being able to engage in the Torah and the work. And then, when he has gladness, he will have room to ask for bonding with the King, since “Divinity dwells only in a place of joy.” Hence, first we need repentance, and then, when we repent from fear, we are awarded forgiveness. And then repentance from love, we are awarded pardon.

We should believe that everything that happens in our world is guided, that there are no coincidences. We should also know that everything that is written as admonition, meaning the curses, in “if ye will not hearken,” are terrible torments, and not as everyone thinks. Some say that they are blessings and not curses. They bring the Sayer of Kuznitz as evidence to their words. He would always make Aliya la Torah (ritual reading of the Torah during service) on Parashat Tochachot (a specific portion of the Torah called “Admonition Portion”). He says that these are real curses and troubles.

It is as we ourselves see that curses exist in reality, that there are feelings of dreadful, unbearable torments in this world. Yet, we should believe that we should attribute all these torments to Providence, that He does everything. Moses took these curses and attributed them to the Creator. This is the meaning of “and in all the great terror.”

And when you believe in that, you also believe that “there is judgment and there is a judge.” This is why the sayer would make Aliya on Parashat Tochachot, since only he could attribute the curses and the suffering to the Creator, since he believed that “there is judgment and there is a judge.” And through all that, real blessings stem from these curses, since “God hath so made it, that men should fear before Him.”

And this is the meaning of “the bandage is made out of the blow itself.” That means that from the very place where the wicked fail, the righteous will walk. This is because when coming to a place where there is no support, the Sitra Achra has a hold in that place. Then the wicked fail in them. This wicked, who cannot go above reason, falls because he has no support. Then he remains between heaven and earth, since they are wicked, and can only do things within reason, by way of “evil eye, haughty of eyes.”

But the righteous are considered “my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty,” and they do walk in it. It follows that it turns into blessings. Thus, by attributing all the suffering to Providence and taking everything above reason, it creates within him the proper vessels to receive blessings.

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