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Yehuda Leib HaLevi Ashlag (Baal HaSulam)

Inheritance of the Land

[From a manuscript]

Israel will not return to their land until they are all in one bundle.

Our sages said, “Israel will not be redeemed until they are all in one bundle.”

2) We must understand how Israel’s unity relates to redemption.

3) First we should consider the matter of “By what will I know,” etc., “for your seed will be a stranger,” etc., “and afterward they will come out with great substance.” It is not clear how this is an answer to Abraham’s question.

4) We should understand the whole matter of this creation, in which man suffers so, what is it for? Could He have not delighted His creations without all that?

5) It is written in the books that the souls cannot receive the good reward for which He has created the world and the souls if they do not have a vessel ready to receive. And the only way one can obtain that vessel is through labor and toil in observing the Mitzvot (commandments) through the pressure and the struggles that one fights with the evil inclination and the numerous preventions and troubles. These affliction and labor in Torah and Mitzvot provide a vessel for the soul so it may be fit to receive all the delight and pleasure for which He has created all creations.

6) Now we can understand the words of Ben He He in the Mishnah, Avot, who said, “The reward matches the sorrow,” meaning that the reward is measured by the amount of sorrow. This is perplexing, for how is one’s sorrow related to one’s reward?

7) With the above said, we can thoroughly understand that all the sorrow and labor that have been prepared in the world are to provide the vessel to receive with the good reward for labor in Torah and Mitzvot. Thus, naturally, the greater one’s sorrow in Torah and Mitzvot, the greater is one’s vessel for reception of a greater reward.

8) Now we can understand the Creator’s answer to Abraham’s question: “By what will I know,” etc. Abraham’s question was because he saw in the spirit of his holiness the great amount of good reward that Israel is destined to receive by inheriting the land, since observing the Mitzvot depends entirely on the land. This is why Abraham the patriarch wondered, “By what will I know that I will inherit it?” That is, “How will I know that the children of Israel will be rewarded with such great reward in such great abundance? From where would they have big vessels fit for such wondrous reception?”

In that regard, the Creator answered him: “Your seed will be a stranger and will serve them and will torment them four hundred years,” etc., for then they will have great labor in Torah and Mitzvot. This is when he understood that in this way they will certainly obtain the great vessels of reception, and the reply was completely satisfactory.

9) It follows from our words that inheriting the land requires great preparation, since the virtue of Torah and Mitzvot depend entirely on that, as through it one is rewarded with all the abundance and benefit that the Creator has contemplated with regard to all the souls of Israel before He had created them. This is also why Abraham the patriarch was perplexed and did not understand from where would they take such great vessels as to be rewarded with the holiness of the land. Finally, the Creator told him that laboring in Torah and Mitzvot in the Egyptian exile will provide them with these great vessels and they will be fit for the holy land.

10) This is perplexing: It is one thing with regard to those who engage in Torah, but what about those who engage in worldly matters, who are not at all prepared to engage in Torah? How will they be rewarded these vessels?

11) The answer is that this is why they said in the abovementioned commentary that Israel are not redeemed before they are all in one bundle. It is so because all of Israel are actually one body, and each organ has its unique role. For example, the head contemplates intellect and reason; the hands work and provide nourishments for the head, while the head itself does not have to work. It does not need it because the hands are quite sufficient. Likewise, the hands do not need to contemplate how to work because the head is quite enough for this.

12) If Israel become one bundle, like a single body, where the workers—who are the hands—provide for the head, then the labor and sorrow of those who engage in Torah and work will compensate for the workers... and this clarifies the commentary [Israel are not redeemed until they are all] in one bundle, and “a redeemer has come to Zion.”

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