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Article "The Fear of God is His Treasure", Lesson 1

Shamati, Article 38
Lesson by Rav Michael Laitman, Bnei Baruch, Israel
August 24, 2006
Lecturer: Michael Laitman, PhD

A treasure is a vessel in which the possession is placed. Grain, for example, is placed in the barn, and precious things are placed in a heavier guarded place. Thus, every received thing is called by its correlation to the Light, and the vessel must be able to receive the things. It is as we learn that there is no Light without a vessel, and this applies even in corporeality.

Yet, what is the vessel in spirituality that will match the Light, in which we can receive the spiritual bounty that the Creator wants to give, meaning as in corporeality, where the vessel needs a correlation with the object placed in it?

For example: we cannot say that we have treasures of wine that we poured in new sacks to keep the wine from spoiling, or that we have taken a lot of flour in wine-barrels. Instead, there is a conduct that the container of wine is barrels and jars, and the container for the flour is sacks and not barrels etc.

These are corporeal examples and actually, with regard to them, the situation is not so bad: flour can be stored in jars. But in spirituality, we know that we don’t perceive anything outside of the Kli. We perceive only according to the equivalence of form between the Kli and whatever is outside of it. What is outside of it is called Atzmuto (His Essence). The clothing of Atzmuto in the Kli is called Light.

Then a question arises: How do we know which form in which way, and which qualities our Kli should have in order for the Light to clothe in it? Actually we don’t feel the Light outside of the Kli before it is clothed in the Kli. Before that, we don’t have any example or model of what it means to be similar to the Light, because if one can already receive it, it is considered that one is ready in some way. The Kli has to precede the Light.

How can this be? This is a thing and its opposite. One has to have the qualities of the Light even before one knows and feels it. How can one do that if Light doesn’t come and clothe in one, or somehow shows one what It is? And how can it show one what it is if one is not sensitive to it, if one doesn’t know it and can’t receive it? Thus can we, without contact with the Light, without knowing anything about It, build a Kli that will be like it?

There is also another question here. Even if we did know what the Light is, the Kli has to be adapted to the Light by itself. This means that one has to create a form of the Light on top of everything that is in the nature of the Kli, even though it is the substance of the Kli. In other words, one has to clothe something over something else in order to have the Kli match the Light. One has to make such forms of the original attributes of the Kli that they will match the Light, even though the substance of the Kli is completely opposite to the Light.

So how do we build a Kli that matches the Light? And what does it mean that it matches? We understand that a Kli is a deficiency. There are no deficiencies in the Light. How can it be that a Kli that is lacking will match somehow? How? It means that although the Kli is in a state of deficiency, this doesn’t prevent the Kli from matching the Light that is in wholeness. There can still be equivalence of form between them. How can that be?

There are many things here that seem to contradict each other. So first, how can one build the form of a Kli without contact with the Light, and know in advance that it matches it? How does one know that one needs to bring oneself to this form? Second, how can one have a deficiency while one is told that the Light is whole, higher than oneself? At least with respect to oneself, it is in a state of wholeness. What is this Kli that matches the Light?

Thus, there is a question, what is the spiritual container, the vessels from which we can make a big treasure of Upper Bounty? There is a rule that the cow wants to feed more than the calf wants to eat.

This is because His wish is to do good to His creatures, and the reason for the Tzimtzum (lit. Restriction), which we must believe is for our own good, the reason must be that we do not have the right vessels where the bounty can be. It is like corporeal vessels that must be right for what is placed there. Hence, we must say that if we add the vessels, there will be something to hold the added bounty.

On the one hand, we hear that the Upper Light is in complete rest, that it is complete, that it has no deficiencies. On the other, we say that the Upper Light “wants” to give (more than the calf wants to suckle, the cow wants to give). This means that the Upper Light has an even greater need than the Kelim do. The need to give in the Upper Light is greater than the need to receive in the Kli.

From that, we should understand that the need to bestow is not considered a need. It doesn’t obstruct the wholeness. Therefore, now we have a solution: the deficiency in the Kli that should be matching the Light is a deficiency for bestowal.

The deficiency for bestowal in the Kli should be according to the need to bestow in the Light. It is not enough that the Kli receives a deficiency for the Light. Like a calf that has a desire to eat from the cow, the Kli needs to add the deficiency that precisely matches that of the Light. It has to rise from the animate degree to the degree of resembling the Giver, to the Adam (“I will be like the most high”). It has to add an additional need to its natural need: a need for bestowal on top of its need for reception that matches the level of the Giver.

The answer that comes to that is that, in His treasury, the Creator has only the treasure of fear of God (Brachot 33).

This means it is possible to receive the additional need that we should add to our natural need, which is the pleasure. This additional need is a need for bestowal on top of the pleasure, where, in the reception of the pleasure, we will want to bestow. It will be reception in order to bestow. We can receive this deficiency specifically from the Giver because He has it in His treasure, and that’s the only thing He has to give us. This is called the fear of heaven.

Yet, we should interpret what fear is, that it is the vessel, and the treasure is made of this vessel and all the important things are placed in it. He said that fear is as it is written about Moses. Our sages said about him (Brachot p.7), “The reward for ‘And Moses hid his face for he was afraid to look’” was “the similitude of the Lord doth he behold.”

Here Baal HaSulam already relates to the technique. How do we acquire this additional desire that we actually call the Kli? That’s the addition over the natural need in us where, like with the calf, we should match our giving with that of the cow, [i.e.] with what the Upper One wants to give to us. How? Specifically, we match the giving by concealment.

From the side of the Upper One, there is concealment. So, we create concealment from our part, meaning that we do not want to receive directly even that which is seemingly intended for us. According to one’s Kelim, one feels that is what one wants, like a calf that says, “that’s the milk that fits me, it belongs to me.” If he puts concealment over this need and begins to work with what is given to him, by that he has the ability to springboard, and to acquire this additional desire “And Moses hid his face,” by putting concealment over himself.

The matter of fear refers to one’s fear of the great pleasure found there, [In bestowal, because in reception there cannot be more than the milk, the food of the animate degree.] that one will not be able to receive it in order to bestow. The reward for that, for having had fear, was that he had made a vessel for himself in which to receive the Upper Bounty. This is man's work, and besides that, we attribute everything to the Creator.

Yet, it is not so with fear, because the meaning of fear is to not receive, and what the Creator gives, He gives only to receive, and this is the meaning of, “everything is in the hands of God except the fear of God.”

As mentioned, a person is not quite able to decipher precisely and ascribe his pleasures to the Creator, but he can do that with respect to society. If a person’s work is to check if he can ascribe his pleasure to the Creator, or alternatively to society, then as a result, he begins to relate all he does to the benefit of society, and he begins to build screens over his pleasures. These tests that he performs happen on the basis of fear.

This means that the person wants to hide the pleasures from himself and build relationships of bestowal on top of them where the Light of bestowal, the pleasure of bestowal, is concealed from the person before he builds fear for it, the Masach (screen). Thus in everything he does, he checks to see if it is or is not for the benefit of society, and then builds a new Kli called fear.

Ask and we’ll open things up, it depends on how deep we can go.

Question: The nature of bestowal: by nature, it doesn’t receive anything that is not like itself. Will it receive it only if we create a Kli that is like the nature of bestowal?

This is not only with regard to the nature of bestowal but, in general, one receives only what is similar to himself, what can register in his Kelim. One doesn’t see what is not registered in his Kelim. There, one could have an angel or a ghost, I don’t know what—I’m just being silly. One doesn’t identify things if they are not registered in one’s Kelim. If one doesn’t have the Kelim for them, the deficiency and the senses for them, one doesn’t see them.

Question (cont’d): So, only my ego prevents me from…?

All we need to do is to go through these internal exercises so that our will to receive acquires the correct forms that enable us to perceive the whole reality and not just the tiny part that we presently feel. This means that, at birth, one already has forms that one can perceive and they are called ‘this world.’ One needs to be impressed again and again by other forms, other qualities, flavors, let’s say, because one always measures for better or for worse, pleasure or pain, and only through them can the will to receive be impressed. It’s insensitive to any other data: to currents, to frequency, to pressure, to heat, to force like in other of our Kelim. It only feels something called pleasure or pain.

Through pleasure or pain, one’s impressions from reality are such that one identifies a very thin layer called ‘this world.’ One needs to instill additional forms into one’s Kelim constantly. Then one will discover these forms as if they are seemingly outside of him. These forms are also called eternal life because their nature is such that, if they are for bestowal, one can build unlimited forms on top of them.

Every time one bestows, it draws one to further pleasure due to the nature of the action. One adds what one attains in the action to the previous pleasure and thus keeps on adding more and more. That’s why this life, this sensation in the Kelim, is called eternal life whereas in corporeal Kelim, when one works in order to receive, one grows emptier each time until one begins to despair from the emptiness. One then becomes afraid of going into new, bigger Kelim and closes one’s Kelim. One doesn’t want to use them because it brings one to death, a physical death too.

Question: Where is the nature of bestowal different from the nature of the creature here?

Both vessels of bestowal and vessels of reception work according to the same pattern: one identifies according to what impresses him, that’s what he sees, and that’s how he works. In this regard, there is no difference. What is the difference? The difference is in the result: who enjoys? And from what is he enjoying? He gets enjoyment from the feeling in the other as a result from his action. It’s also imaginary. What does ‘in the other’ mean? The ‘other’ is the real me. The forces of the breaking that separated me from him (‘him’ can be the whole Kli of Adam ha Rishon, all the souls, or the Creator) are imaginary forces of breaking, and I’m in this imagination. It’s called “the imaginary world.”

But this allows one to obtain Dvekut. Then, one returns to what one really is. There is no difference there, “He is One and His name is One.” However, if one skips over the breaking through his effort (breaking means that he’s separated and outside), then he adds the Rosh, understanding, attainment to the previous Dvekut, and he attains the Thought of Creation, i.e. the Thought of the Creator before He created him. It means one obtains His degree.

Question: What does it mean that from any pleasure that comes a person should ascribe his pleasures to society, and by that he builds screens?

We said that we have no way to understand what the Light is, who the Creator is, and what bestowal is. What are the models that we can live by, or through which we can feel a life beyond our lives, eternal forms that will constantly give us a sensation of unlimited completeness? We don’t know. How can we approach that?

We said that there are two opposites. On the one hand, one can’t feel something if it doesn’t impress him and if he doesn’t have the Reshimo for it. On the other, the Reshimo cannot awaken and arise in him if that thing doesn’t appear to him.

It turns out that he is in the spiritual world, but doesn’t feel it. He doesn’t feel the spiritual world because he doesn’t have an internal model for it. He can’t have the internal model for it before he feels the spiritual world. So what can he do? Just walk around like a dog chasing its tail? What, then, is the solution?

The solution is in society. In society, one can reach the spiritual world of Lishma from the state of Lo Lishma in a simple way. If one relates to his friends (they are called his friends because, in his corporeal eyes, they have the same goal as he does, and also internally though they don’t have to feel it (although it also can be of a support and perhaps worthwhile)) as if they are in Dvekut and in unity and he is outside of that unity, he feels the force of breaking in him, and then he wants to unite with them. He respects them because they are already in that state of Dvekut even though they themselves don’t feel it.

It turns out that now one has to build his attitude toward his friends like a cell in the complete body. This means that one doesn’t think about oneself, according to the principal of the Arvut, but one thinks only of how to be integrated with them, in that direction toward unity among us.

So de facto, the person (as Baal HaSulam writes in The Last Generation) receives what he needs and gives everything else to society. All of these sayings express the matter of devotion. So by doing these actions in corporeality, one is impressed internally, within him, from the models of bestowal that are certainlynot Lishma as of yet, but they are already in a spiritual state although it is Lo Lishma.

And by exerting himself to act this way, the Upper Light operates on him because he performs actions that are seemingly bestowal and then the Light shines correspondingly. The Light shines as Surrounding Light only with respect to actions that match it. Since his intention is not complete yet, it shines as the Surrounding Light. Otherwise, it would be internal. Then we get from Lo Lishma to Lishma. That’s how we build the internal models: through society.

It means the work in Lo Lishma is possible only through society. If one wants to restore the connection, like the one that is in the system of Adam ha Rishon, it is only through his work within the society.

Question: Within that system, that model, what does it mean that I ascribe pleasures to society?

Ascribing pleasures to society means that one wants to give the pleasures that one understands as such to society in accordance with one’s own models, because one has no other models. One can also see this a lot in kids and small children. They come to you with a smile, they pull their pacifier from their mouth and hand it to you, because for them this is pleasure, and they want to share it with you. They don’t have any other model. That’s how we are. This is a very serious thing because, for now, one doesn’t have any other model.

If one relates to society this way, [i.e.] making them happy in something that one thinks will make them happy, one builds a new Kli called fear (altruistic models), on top of the egoistic models—like the calf that suckles—because he ascribes this pacifier per se (which he understands as being pleasure), not to himself but to society. He understands this pacifier to be pleasure. He can’t dream of [society] having pleasures that he can’t imagine. This is called from Lo Lishma to Lishma.

If one ascribes his pleasures to someone else in the way that he understands pleasures within himself, then, with respect to him, this is really model of bestowal.

Question: Why is that called ‘fear’?

We haven’t learned that yet.

Question: Continuing previous question, what does it mean to relate to the society for its benefit in all actions?

It’s actually the same thing in the meantime. It’s a bit higher because then one begins to test if his actions toward society are not for its material benefit. As it is written “that corporeality of a friend is my spirituality,” but one also checks to see how his bestowal contributes to his spiritual progress. One doesn’t only measure according to the corporeality as he understands it, but according to the spirituality that he understands. It’s an additional phase.

Question: But if my pleasure is to steal? Should I let society steal? Allow others to steal?

To steal? Of course. Adam ha Rishon is called a thief. That’s what is written about him, that he was a thief. So what is the correction for stealing? Stealing remains stealing, but from where does one steal? From whom? One steals either from the Creator or from His opposite, like the children of Israel who fled from Egypt. They stole the Kelim. What is stealing the Kelim? It is when one tries to work with new Kelim with which one hadn’t worked before, Kelim that were in alien authority, the authority of egoism. We will talk about stealing. Stealing is something very subtle. It’s in concealment. It’s in the dark.

Question: If I understand correctly, first I have to check according to what I understand pleasure is, and then try this pleasure on a friend, and afterwards try to see if that pleasure promotes society to spirituality. Shouldn’t it be in the opposite order when I check why I do it?

Let’s not get into that for now. What we said today is enough. We should really be more immersed in these things, a person within society. It should go in phases. I feel that. What was taught here is enough.

This is the vessel that we need. Otherwise we will be considered fools, as our sages said, “Who is a fool? He who loses what he is given.” It means that the Sitra Achra (lit. Other Side) will take the abundance from us if we cannot aim in order to bestow, because then it goes to the vessels of reception, which is the Sitra Achra and impurity.

For example, things that drip off the sack, like the wine. What does it mean that they drip? It means that the Kli is incomplete, that the fear is incomplete there, and there’s a grip in order to receive, and therefore the abundance leaves the Kli.

This is the meaning of, “And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread.” Observing means fear, though the nature of the Light is that it keeps itself.

If one performs an action of bestowal that is called a Mitzvah, and wants to make sure that this action will succeed, along with this act, one has to place the force of fear. The force of bestowal is not enough. One has to have the force of fear as well.

… though the nature of the Light is that it keeps itself. This means that the Light leaves before one wants to receive the Light into the vessels of reception. Yet one must do it by himself, as much as one can, as our sages said, “You will observe yourselves a little from below, and I will observe you a lot from Above.”

Of course, a person cannot create powers for anything by himself. It all comes according to his request. If his request is toward the Thought of Creation, then accordingly he receives from Above the power to do it. If his request is not exactly in the direction of the Thought of Creation, then he does not receive any help. On the contrary, his desires only awaken external Kelim, Klipot, which actually aim a person more accurately toward the Thought of Creation, but then it is in the form of sufferings.

We can picture this like a person who, from the middle point of all the Igulim (circles), should go into a hose, so as to rise to all the worlds, o Ein Sof, to the external circle, to the Surrounding Light, rising within this thin hose where all the worlds are. They are not outside of it. The ladder is only in that hose, so a person should constantly equip himself with the sufficient force of fear.

This fear actually builds the edges, the sides of the hose, so that this fear will not escape. Against that fear, the force from Above comes, which sustains him and guards him. But it appears from Above only on condition that a person tries, that he understands that he needs the fear.

This article is such that it gives many options in several directions.

The reason we attribute fear to people, as our sages said, “Everything is in the hands of God, except the fear of God,” is that He can give everything except fear. [The Creator Himself.] What the Creator gives is more love, not fear.

Acquiring fear is through the power of Torah and Mitzvot. It means that when one engages in Torah and Mitzvot with the intention to be awarded bringing contentment to one’s Maker, that aim that rests on the acts of Mitzvot and the study of Torah brings one to attain it.

This means it’s all scrutinized in the thought. The more one thinks, aims through his actions,(meaning the study and engagement in society which he performs, to reach anything, that desire to reach something is what promotes him.

Otherwise one might stay. Although one keeps Torah and Mitzvot in every item and detail, [and even learns a lot, studies the sources] one will still remain merely in the degree of Sacred Still.

This is because everything depends on the intention of a person. If he doesn’t have intention to reach bestowal, to be similar to the Giver, then neither his external actions nor his external study not even the actions in which he is very meticulous and the study which he studies so well, will help him. It all depends on the quality of the effort, which is the intention.

There are all kinds of questions in this regard: what if a person can’t? What if he doesn’t understand? What if he comes to a group and does what the group says? Does he still receive something? Yes. If, to the extent that he is incorporated in the group and dissemination, he performs the actions, and can’t operate the desired intention yet, but he still has some kind of direction in it—a need without a need—then he still progresses and succeeds. Of course it takes a long time. According to the measure that one wants to be integrated in society, he’ll receive from society its intentions.

The intentions in society are the sum of all the positive intentions that its members have toward the Creator, called the general Kli. This general Kli is the only place where the existence of the Creator appears, and that’s what everyone’s concern should be. In this general Kli there are many layers of all the kinds of the Aviut, and they are still, vegetative, animal and speaking from the desires and thoughts of everyone.

Therefore, even actions without the intention—seemingly without the intention, since one performs actions with some kind of intention, for otherwise he wouldn’t have the motivation to perform them—are called actions without the desired attention, meaning the state when the person still can’t think of bestowal. Still, these actions are incorporated in the general Kli of the group, and this is why when one participates to some extent, even if in just the physical action, the corporeal actions, he receives intentions of bestowal in the degrees of vegetative, animate and speaking from the Kli of the rest of the group. And that’s how he grows.

It’s just like in a human society where we have a big family: even a baby that’s not important, because it belongs to the family, receives from the highest degree in the family, from the good. The baby receives big things that he didn’t exert himself for, or to which he has no connection. That’s what happens in the group in general.

We know that there’s opposite value between lights and vessels, and nobody is big or small, but anyone who works as much as he can, receives for himself from the whole level of the general Kli in the group, without any limitations, only according to his own effort, to his situation, to how he excels from birth up to the point that he has from Adam ha Rishon. Everything happens according to calculations from Above. Anyone who is incorporated in the general Kli is guaranteed to progress.

Question: Are there special times in which there is a special opportunity to create this intention? Does it come in waves? How does this system work?

The general system of the group is the model of the whole Adam ha Rishon and we should understand that there are actually no changes there. This model can only rise upward, and if there is a decline, it’s a decline with respect to us, because in spirituality there are no declines, only with respect to the one who attains.

Therefore, if a person is attached to the model of the spiritual Kli which we are building, then if he has attained the connection to the general Kli once through his effort, through his participation, through his contribution, regardless of what happens to others, he can always be in that Kli and never decline from it, only rise with it.

And he doesn’t have waves like ups and downs. There’s only upward, but de facto, of course, it doesn’t happen. A person has to feel his distance from the Creator. That distance can be felt ideally through the general Kli as well. So by being in this Kli, he never declines from his own Behina (perception). But like an old man who in advance seeks what he’s lost, he thus walks bent forward.

But this almost never happens. I don’t see that one could progress this way. As much as one can progress with the positive deficiency, pains of love, still, up to the Machsom, it’s impossible not to fall. Impossible. Then afterwards it’s a different kind of pain. That’s why it comes by waves, in which one discovers his detachment.

Question: Adding the Masach to the Kli turns it into a hose as an act. A hose, when we talk about spiritual deficiency, not corporeal, doesn’t have a volume that’s defined, like 200 cc’s. What are the boundaries that define it as a Kli? How can we see within, outside of something spiritual?

The intention divides the Kli into internal and external.

Question (cont’d): And the hose should have a direction. A hose has a place that it connects to.

No. The Kli itself is the hose. There’s no such thing as the hose at the end of which there’s me with my mouth open.

Question (cont’d): And if it is not me, then who …

The hose itself is the Kli. The image of the hose is according to the integrity, just as the measure of my intention, the limits of my intention. With my intention, I build the hose and in that hose, in that intention, I receive.

Question: The hose directs the bounty...

The hose doesn’t direct the bounty. The hose is the one that receives the bounty.

I just have to explain that the abundance is received according to justice, to righteousness, to limits, to the measure of the equivalence of form. That’s why we call it a hose. Outside of the Kli, there’s no hose. When we talk about the Kli as a hose, we want to say that the abundance comes with limitations. It would be, perhaps, more correct to say that the Rosh of the Kli even though the Rosh of the Kli has a round form, but let’s call it a hose,, the intention, limits the bounty.

Not all corporeal depictions can match spiritual discernments by 100 percent. It’s limited. Part II of TES explains what a hose is.

Question: If at the end of the hose, there is still me, what does it matter if I am a Kli without a Masach or a hose? At the end of which, it is me. And at the end with this intention or that intention draws…

You have to go over the definitions of what a Kli is, what a hose is, what a Kav (a line) is, what an Igul (a circle) is, and you will see that it’s always a Kli, and not something that brings to the Kli. It’s not an inlet. It’s the Kli itself. That’s what is called a Tzinor or a Kav (a hose or a line, respectively). The walls of the hose are the intentions to bestow. Outside of the hose, there are desires without intention of bestowal.

We started this article today saying that one cannot imagine. One is unable to imagine forms and desires, either in order to receive or in order to bestow, before he tastes them. So again, one can only taste through work in society. There, a place was prepared for him where he is impressed by forms that are outside of him.

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