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Article "What is the Acronym ELUL in the Work" - Lesson 1

Shamati, Article 42
Lesson by Rav Michael Laitman, Bnei Baruch, Israel
August 30, 2006
Lecturer: Michael Laitman, PhD

We are reading in the book Shamati, page 70, article #42, What is the Acronym ELUL in the Work.

In order to understand that, we must understand several other things.

  1. The matter of the Kingship, the memories, and the rams' horns, and what is the meaning of what our sages said, “Annul your will before His will, so that He will annul His will before your will.”

  2. The words of our sages, “Evil, at once to death, and righteous, at once to life.”

  3. The verse, “The sons of Gershon: Libni and Shimei.”

  4. The words of the Holy Zohar: “ Yod is a black point that has no white in it.”

  5. Malchut of the Upper becomes Keter to the lower.

  6. What is, gladness testifies if the work is in completeness.

All these things are in the preparation of the month of Elul.

Rosh Hashana (the beginning of the year) is called the Rosh (head) of the degree, of life, of existence, when a person determines his goal and toward where his efforts will lead him. This is why the scrutiny of our sages on the month of Elul symbolizes our work.

All the work is in the thought. We have to scrutinize our desires and know how to use them. The direction of the desire is called the intention. In that respect, the month of Elul characterizes the whole year in corporeality, as is the case in spirituality where we arrange the direction of our work, what is our goal, what will be the intentions on top of our actions, and what is the order and the importance of each and everything that comes our way. Thus, the rest of the year should go according to what has been decided in that month.

We are working within a net of absolute laws of the Creator which is One, Unique and Unified Light, operating on our 613 desires to bring each and all of these desires together to match the Upper Light, so that they will be used to bestow upon the Creator the way the Creator bestows upon us. Since this bylaw is permanent, absolute and purposeful, then according to what we decide to match to it, and to the extent that we equalize with the Creator’s program, it is said “We will have a good and sweet year.” Since we chose good and sweet as it is understood by the Upper One, we’re in equivalence of form with it, and what is felt in the Upper One is felt in us. Thus we feel good.

If we don’t know how to choose, then to the extent that we are being idle, nature’s forces (Creator’s forces) operate on us and set us straight along the way through pain. These pains are not sent deliberately; rather, they are forces we draw upon ourselves by not quite exerting efforts in accordance with our evolvement and ability to be similar and to equalize with the plan of creation.

In the example of the month Elul it is explained to us what we need to determine before our actions. Therefore, it’s not necessarily that Rosh Hodesh (the beginning of the month) happens once a year. A person who works and is renewing himself every day, then every day and every moment can be Rosh Hodesh or Rosh Hashana.

To understand all the above we must understand the purpose of creation, which is said to be because He wishes to do good to His creatures, and because of the Tikkun (lit. Correction), so that there will not be a matter of “bread of shame,” a Tzimtzum (lit. Restriction) was made...

We know there is a desire in the Creator to create the creature so as to benefit it. “To benefit it” means the creature will receive abundance from the Creator, meaning it will reach the Creator’s degree, His state, because it is the highest state. In order to reach that state and feel being in it, the creature should independently check and see that, “As far as Light excelleth darkness.” It must feel the opposite state, and through its own strength and free choice reach the Creator’s state independently. Then, it will know, recognize and acquire everything that is in that state, that status.

Therefore, besides the love that comes to us from the Creator, also comes the opposite, the shame. These two forces operate in us to give us the free choice between them. Then when each of us develops, we will be able to gain the status of the Creator by ourselves. Otherwise, we wouldn’t come to feel and to understand the situation.

…and from the Tzimtzum extended the Masach (lit. Screen).

Thus, the vessels of reception are turned into bestowal; and when the vessels are prepared to be in order to bestow, the hidden and treasured Light for the creatures is received immediately. It means that one receives the delight and pleasure that was in the thought of creation, to do good to His creatures.

With that, we can interpret what is written, “Annul your will before His will.” It means annul the will to receive in you before the will to bestow, which is the Creator’s will.

This means that one will revoke self-love before the love of God. This is called annulling oneself before the Creator, and it is called Dvekut(lit. Adhesion). After that, the Creator can shine within your will to receive because it is now corrected in the form of receiving in order to bestow.

This is the meaning of, “so that He will annul His will before your will.” It means that the Creator annuls His will, meaning the Tzimtzum (lit. Restriction) that was because of the disparity of form. Now, however, when there is already equivalence of form, hence now there is expansion of the Light into the desire of the lower that has been corrected in order to bestow, for this is the purpose of creation, to do good to His creatures.

There is the correction of creation and then there is the purpose of creation. These are the two primary discernments. We need the correction of creation to discern the purpose of creation, otherwise we wouldn’t feel it. The correction of creation is the preparation of the Kli, of our understanding and sensation of where we are incorporated. Then accordingly, we discern, feel and understand the purpose of creation.

The truth is, there are not two changing discernments here because the purpose of creation to “do good to His creations” in the complete form exists from the very beginning. We are already in it. Therefore, according to the correction of our Kelim (vessels), to the extent that we cleanse, purify and prepare them to feel the true state in which we exist all the time, then we feel where we are. It’s not the real situation that changes. What changes is our sensation to the extent to which we feel ourselves as already being in the only state which the Creator created, the infinite state in giving, love, and completeness.

Now it can be carried out.

Now we can interpret the verse, “I am my beloved's.” It means that by the ‘I’ annulling the will to receive before the Creator in the form of, all to bestow, it obtains “and my beloved is mine.” It means that My beloved, which is the Creator, imparts to me the delight and pleasure there is in the thought of creation. Thus, what was hidden before has now become disclosure of the Face, meaning now the purpose of creation has been revealed, which is to do good to His creatures.

We must know that the vessels of bestowal are called YH (Yod, Hey) of the name HaVaYaH

(Yod, Hey, Vav, Hey), which are pure vessels. This is the meaning of, “All who receive, receive in the purer vessel.” In that state one is awarded, “and my beloved is mine,” and He imparts abundance upon him, meaning one attains the revelation of the Face.

Yet, there is a condition to that: it is impossible to obtain disclosure before one receives the discernment of Ahoraim(lit. Posterior), discerned as concealment of the Face, and to say that it is as important to him as the disclosure of the Face. It means that one should be in gladness as though one has already acquired the disclosure of the Face.

However, one cannot last and appreciate the concealment like the disclosure, except when one works in bestowal. At that time one can say, “I do not care what I feel during the work because what is important for me is that I want to bestow upon the Creator. If the Creator understands that He will have more contentment if I work in a form of Ahoraim, I agree.”

However, if one still has flickers of reception, one comes to thoughts that it is then hard for him to believe that the Creator leads the world in a manner of “good that doeth good.” This is the meaning of the letter Yod in the name HaVaYaH, which is the first letter, called “black point that has no white in it,” meaning it is all darkness and concealment of the Face.

It means that when one comes to a state where one has no support, one’s state becomes black, which is the lowest discernment in the Upper World, and that becomes the Keterto the lower one, as the vessel of Keteris a vessel of bestowal.

It means we should understand that there are no bad situations. Actually, there are no good situations either. We should weigh everything according to its purpose and every situation has the same purpose—to bring us to equivalence of form, to Dvekut (adhesion). Of course, there are more beneficial states than others. There are those that we feel very sharply for or against with respect to the goal, and other situations that are not felt as clearly. Probably, in these states we are required to pay more attention to increase our sensitivity in their regard.

Some situations change according to their taste—bitter or sweet; some are felt in us more or less according to our understanding and scrutiny; and there are situations which confuse us in our minds or emotions. Then we are able to operate through all kinds of means the most important of which is the society which increases our awareness and our scrutiny. That is how a person progresses. In other words, the most important thing for a person, that is conscious in every moment, is to come to the resolution that he has to elevate his discernments; he has to always add in the intellect and sensation in order to discern the state and to elevate it toward the goal.

We shouldn’t be impressed that as we ascend, the Keterof the lower one becomes Malchutof the Upper One. Instead, we should accept our small wholeness in the present state, the authority of the Upper One and the darkness that appears this way to us, according to our incorrect Kelim while we are acquiring the degree of the Upper One. This is the whole work.

The lowest discernment in the Upper, which is Malchut, having nothing of its own, meaning that she does not have anything, only in this manner is it called Malchut. It means that if one takes upon oneself the Kingdom of Heaven gladly, which is in a state of not having anything of her own, afterwards, it becomes the vessel Keter, which is the vessel of bestowal, the purest vessel.It means that when he receives Malchutas blackness it becomes afterwards the Kliof Keter, which is a vessel of bestowal.

This is because each degree is corrected first from the side of the Kelim. Then the Kelim are being filled. The filling of the Kli is actually the measure of the correction of the Kli. It is impossible for the Kli to be filled with Light, since the Light cancels the Kli­­­—these two things (Light and Kli) are opposite. To the extent that our will to receive is corrected and feels within it the attribute of bestowal that it creates and acquires by itself, then this attribute of bestowal that fills it is actually its fulfillment.

This fulfillment might be only when he is in equivalence with the Creator, and this is called Katnut (smallness). And then the fulfillment can be from giving (bestowing to the Creator) which is called Gadlut (greatness).

Whether in Katnut or Gadlut, whatever we experience in the Upper One and to the extent that we feel its livelihood, it is in bestowal that we are in and not in the filling that we receive, as it seems to us that it should be in accordance to the vessels of reception. Within the vessels of reception the filling can never be more than the Ner Dakik (tiny Light), just to sustain them and keep them alive at a level called ‘this world.’

There never was any other state where vessels of reception received within themselves fulfillments according to their desire. To begin with, this is the way it is arranged in the Thought of Creation. Even when we refer to these states as the breaking of the vessels, we are talking about the breaking of intentions, when the Kli feels to what extent its intention is different and how much the intention to receive operates on it. It is not that the Orot de Hochma (Lights of Wisdom) entered the vessels of reception. That is something that never existed and will never happen. We only express the situation this way, but it actually never happened this way. That is the law and it cannot be changed.

It is like the verse, “For the ways of the Lord are right, and the just do walk in them; but transgressors do stumble therein.” It means that transgressors are those who are controlled by the vessels of reception. They must fall and be crouching under their load when they come to that state.

The righteous, however, meaning those who are in bestowal, are elevated by that, meaning by that they are imparted vessels of bestowal. (Wicked should be interpreted as those whose heart is still not set on obtaining vessels of bestowal, and righteous is interpreted as those whose heart is already set on obtaining vessels of bestowal, but are as yet unable).

It is like the Holy Zoharwrites, that the Holy Divinity told Rashbi (Rabbi Shimon Bar-Yochai), “There is no place to keep from you,” and this is why she appears to him. This is the meaning of what Rashbi said, “because of that, and His desire is toward me,” and this is, “I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine,” and then he administers to the VH(Vav, Hey).

This is the meaning of the Name being incomplete, and the throne being incomplete until the Hey bonds with the Vav. The Hey is called the will to receive, which is the last and final vessel in which the Vav will dispense, and at that time, it will be the end of correction.

The return of the Hey with respect of the Vav means that Malchut rises in its attributes and will acquire the attribute of Bina and then from Above, from Keter or from Zeir Anpin with respect to Malchut (it doesn’t matter which way you express it), the filling will come. This filling is actually the filling in the sensation of bestowal, love, and unity between the Creator and the creature. And this actually symbolizes the month of Elul.

This is the meaning of “righteous, at once to life.” It means that the person himself should say in which book he wants his name written. Is it the book of the righteous, meaning he wants to be given the will to bestow, or not, since one has many discernments regarding the will to bestow? In other words, sometimes one says, “Yes, I want to be given the will to bestow, but not revoke the will to receive altogether. He wants two worlds for himself, meaning he wants the will to bestow for his own delight as well.

However, only those who wish to turn their vessels of reception to be only in bestowal and not to receive anything for themselves, are written in the book of the righteous.

Of course, we are not asked to realize our intentions, only to want, as much as we can, to prepare ourselves to the realization of this. The realization of the act comes from Above, because it comes through the Upper Light that Reforms us. Also, our intentions, craving and the desire itself are designed through a force from Above. But on our part, we should always try to demand that these forces change us.

It also depends on the effort and scrutiny that has to come first. We cannot perform even the slightest change from the preliminary state in which we are entirely mind and heart in egoistic Kelim. To the extent that we want every time to change them, and we try and cannot change, we have to turn upward. It means that we have to connect to the Creator in such a way that we want to bestow, that our inclinations change, that our intentions are in order to bestow not because we will be in a better situation, but because we appreciate that state as loftier and that is what we feel with respect toward our desires to receive.

We slowly come to situations where our intentions are really detached from our interest, and then we enter states of equivalence of form. We are asked only to be alert to every state and not forget that it is our plea to the Creator that changes the situations. This is why “where to write,” meaning what will happen with us, depending on whether we are being given attributes of bestowal or attributes of reception, what is our demand—that is what we determine. Then we are seemingly written in one of the books.

Once we are registered, our job is not complete. Each book is now like a decree toward us. To the extent that we elevate our MAN purposefully, we are then promoted according to the way of the righteous. To the extent that our MAN has still not been organized, and we didn’t ask according to our evolvement, did not clarify what it needs to be, then, additional auxiliary forces are operated on us which we feel as sufferings and pressures of all kinds. These pressures help us to quickly scrutinize our degree, until eventually we ask to be written in the book of the righteous.

Baal HaSulam writes that the good, quick and easy scrutiny is through the society. After all, the realization of all the actions is when we are integrated into one soul with all the other souls, in one system and one mechanism. If, from within that system, each time we receive a response to which we are sensitive and then act accordingly, we clarify to ourselves in the most useful way. And we immediately acquire because of that sensation that we receive from the environment, the right form of MAN. All we need to ask is to be integrated in the system of the souls. This integration is the ideal and correct form to express the force of bestowal that we should acquire.

It means in every degree and situation, the form, size and manner of the bestowal that we should ask for, can be received from the society and thus we are certain not to be wrong. In other words, if our deficiencies come from society, then in our work there can never be any malfunction, because this is exactly what we need to add constantly. It means that we receive our MAN ready from society. And it all depends on our efforts. Depending on how much we lower ourselves before society, to that extent we can hear from society the deficiencies that we should elevate.

However, only those who wish to turn their vessels of reception to be only in bestowal and not to receive anything for themselves, are written in the book of the righteous.

It is so that there will not be room for one to say, “If I had known that the will to receive must be revoked, I would not have prayed for it,” (so that he will not say afterwards, “This is not what I had sworn to”).

Hence, one must unreservedly say what one means by being registered in the book of the righteous, so that he will not complain afterwards.

We have to scrutinize everything. It’s impossible that we ask for something without already knowing the content, the depth of this request, and everything it should bring. Otherwise it’s not considered a request.

Our request is not measured by the volume of our shout or the eloquence of our words. As it is written, “What is prayer? It is the work in the heart.” What is work in the heart? It means that we have to work a lot on the heart so that it wants the right things. When it desires it, then that is already the end. The important thing is the work.

What goes upward is not the end result of our effort, but our little efforts where we try and fail again and again. The final MAN is not what goes upward. For the final MAN we receive MAD. Rather, our little efforts are what works and is felt in the Upper One. According to these little efforts, the Upper One in this form of concealment, hidden from the lower one, changes something in the lower one; adds to it and removes from it and thus allows the lower one to reach the MAN in a shorter way.

In other words, we shouldn’t think that the connection between the lower one and the Upper One happens in one shot, only at the end of the efforts. It is there in every single act that is somehow aimed toward the purpose.

We must know that in the work, the book of the righteous and the book of the wicked are in one person. It means that one must make a choice and clearly know what one wants, because wicked and righteous relate to the same person.

Hence, one must say if he wants to be written in the book of the righteous, to be immediately for life, meaning cleave to the Life of Lives that he wants to do everything for the Creator. In addition, when one comes to be written in the book of the wicked, where all those who wish to be receivers for themselves are registered, one says that they should be written there to death at once, meaning that the will to receive for oneself will be revoked in him, as if it had died.

Yet, sometimes one is doubtful. In other words, one does not want that one’s will to receive will be immediately revoked in him. It is hard for one to decide at once that any fraction of reception will be put to death instantaneously, meaning he does not agree that all his desires for reception will be annulled in him at once.

Instead, one wants that one’s fragments of reception will be annulled in him gradually and slowly, not all at once, meaning that the vessels of reception will operate some, and some the vessels of bestowal. It follows that this person has no firm and clear view.

A firm view is that on the one hand, he claims, it is all mine meaning, all for the purpose of the will to receive. On the other hand, it claims it is all for the Creator, and this is called a firm view. Yet, what one can do if the body disagrees with one’s view of wanting to be entirely for the Creator?

In that state you can say that this person does everything he can to be entirely for the Creator, meaning he prays to the Creator to help him be able to execute all his desires only for the Creator.

In every degree we have states that actually start from the smallest point in the middle of the Partzuf, in the middle third of Tifferet. Then like a pendulum they begin to expand toward Keter and Malchut further and further from the original point. (This goes on) until we come to situations where in that degree we scrutinize them, either as being for us or against us, for the Creator or against Him, with respect to society or with respect to ourselves, for better or for worse, agrees or disagrees, etc.

It other words we should come to extreme discernments between good and bad. These situations build in us the intensity of the regret that we are not able to compare and connect “If I am not for me, who is for me” and “There is none else beside Him,” and all those forms that appear to us in the situation. Then when we scrutinize them, it turns out that we must ask the Upper One to open up our eyes, feeling and understanding to some extent, so that we wouldn’t simply see, but see with the Light of Faith; that we would be able to justify the Upper One in the state that we are in, since we are unable to do that at all by ourselves.

When we come to such a sensation that this is all we desire, and want it not for ourselves, but because we are slandering the Upper One, it is called “that we have scrutinized the situation.” That situation improves by the Upper One allowing us to see with the Light of Faith, the Light of bestowal, what is happening. Then from within this perception, understanding of the situation that we received from the attribute of bestowal, we cling to the Upper One with all our hearts and souls.

It turns out that we cannot justify the Creator before we condemn Him and fail to exit that situation by ourselves. This is how it is in the degrees. If we don’t feel this way every moment, it is a sign that we are idle and we don’t scrutinize our situation correctly. We must make the right effort in the right direction, normally through society, and then receive discernments back from it as to how we match the act of bestowal. Thus, we come to discernments for and against what happens to us.

It is for that that we pray, “Remember us for life and write us in the book of life.”

This is why he writes, “Malchut,” meaning that one will take upon oneself the discernment of the black point that has no white. This is the meaning of “Annul your will” so that your remembrance will rise before Me and then His will, will be annulled before your will. With what? With a horn, meaning with the horn of Mother, meaning the matter depends on repentance.

When he appreciates the attribute of bestowal, when he understands that if he is not given that attribute, he will never be able to justify Providence.

In other words, if one accepts the blackness, one should also try that it will be in an honorable manner…

It is because it seems black to him. But if it seems to him as white (as day), that “the darkness will shine as light,” he will be saved from any sensation of darkness and will come to a state that is entirely day.

…if one accepts the blackness, one should also try that it will be in an honorable manner and not in a disgraceful manner. This is called “the horn of the Mother,” meaning that one will consider it handsome and respectable.

That there is nothing higher, nothing more desirable than the attribute of bestowal if he receives it from Above.

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