35. Concerning the Vitality of Kedusha
The verse says (Psalms 104): “Yonder sea, great and wide, therein are creeping things innumerable, living creatures, both small and great.”
We should interpret:
The sea as the sea of the Sitra Achra.
Great and wide means that it manifests itself and shouts “Give, give,” referring to great vessels of reception.
Living creatures means that there are Upper Lights there, which one steps and tramples on with one’s feet.
Innumerable, that there are small with large animals, meaning whether one has small vitality, or whether he has great vitality, it is all in that sea.
This is so because there is a rule that from Above they give giving, and take, they do not take (all that is given from Above is not received in return, but stays below). Hence, if one extends something from Above and then blemishes it, it remains below, but not with man. Instead, it falls to the sea of the Sitra Achra.
In other words, if one extends some luminescence and cannot sustain it permanently because one’s Kelim (Vessels) are not yet clean to be fit for the Light, meaning that one will receive it in vessels of bestowal like the Light that comes from the Giver, the luminescence must depart from him.
At that time this luminescence falls into the hands of the Sitra Achra. This continues several times, meaning that one extends, and then it departs from him.
Hence, the illuminations increase in the sea of the Sitra Achra, until the cup is full. This means that after one finds the full measure of the effort that one can find, the Sitra Achra gives him back everything she had taken into her own authority. This is the meaning of “He hath swallowed down riches, and he shall vomit them up again.” It follows that all that the Sitra Achra had taken into her own authority was only as a deposit, meaning as long as she had command over man.
And the whole matter of the dominion that she has is so that there will be room for one to scrutinize one’s vessels of reception and admit them into Kedusha (Sanctity). In other words, had she not governed a person, one would settle for little and then one’s vessels of reception would remain separated. Thus, one would never be able to gather all the Kelim that belong to the root of one’s soul, admit them into Kedusha, and extend the Light that belongs to him.
Hence, it is a correction that each time one extends something and has a descent, he must begin anew, meaning new scrutinies. And what one had from the past has fallen into the Sitra Achra, and she holds it in her authority as a deposit. Afterwards one receives everything that she had received from him this whole time.
Yet, we must also know that if one could sustain any luminescence, even a small one, but if it were permanent, one would already be considered whole. In other words, one would have been able to advance with this illumination. Hence, if one loses the luminescence, one should regret it.
This is similar to a person who placed a seed in the ground so that a big tree would grow from it, but took the seed out of the ground right away. Thus, what is the benefit in the work of putting the seed in the ground?
Moreover, we can say that he not only took out the seed from the ground and corrupted it, we can say that he dug out a tree with ripe fruits out of the ground and corrupted them.
It is the same here: if one had not lost this tiny luminescence, a great Light would have grown out of it. It follows that it is not necessarily that he had lost the power of a small luminescence, but it is as though a great Light indeed had been lost from him.
We must know that it is a rule that one cannot live without liveliness and pleasure, since it stems from the root of creation, which is His desire to do good to His creatures. Hence, every creature cannot exist without liveliness and pleasure. Therefore, every creature must go and look for a place from which it can receive delight and pleasure.
But the pleasure is received in three times: in the past, in the present, and in the future. However, the principal reception of pleasure is in the present. Although we see that one receives pleasure from the past and from the future, too, it is because the past and the future shine in the present.
Therefore, if one does not find a sensation of pleasure in the present, one receives liveliness from the past, and he can tell the others how he was happy in past times. One can receive sustenance from that in the present, or picture for oneself that he hopes that in the future he will be happy. But measuring the sensation of the pleasure from the past and the future depends on the extent to which they shine for one in the present. Also, we must know that this occurs both in corporeal pleasures and in spiritual pleasures.
As we see, when one works, even in corporeality, the order is that during the work one is unhappy because he exerts himself. And one can only continue in the work because the future shines for him, when he will receive the payment for his work. This shines for a person in the present, and this is why he can continue the work.
However, if one is unable to picture the reward that he will receive in the future, one must take pleasure from the future, not from the reward that he will receive for his work in the future. In other words, he will not enjoy the reward, but he will not feel suffering from the exertion. This is what he enjoys now, in the present, what he will have in the future.
The future shines for him in the present, in that soon the work will be over, meaning the time that he must work, and he will receive rest. Thus, the pleasure of rest that one will ultimately receive still shines for him. In other words, one’s profit will be that he will not be afflicted by what he now feels from the work. And this gives him the strength to be able to work now.
If one is unable to picture for oneself that soon he will be rid of the torments that he suffers now, one will come to despair and sadness, and that state can bring one to take one’s own life.
This is why our sages said, “One who takes one’s life has no part in the next world,” because he denies Providence, that the Creator leads the world in a form of “good that doeth good.” Instead, one should believe that these states come to him because Above they want it to bring him Tikkun (Correction), meaning that one will collect Reshimot (reminiscence) from these states so that he will be able to understand the conduct of the world more intensely and more strongly.
These states are called Achoraim (Posterior). And when one overcomes these states, he will be awarded the discernment of Panim (Anterior), meaning that the Light shines into these Achoraim.
There is a rule that one cannot live if one has no place from which to receive delight and pleasure. Thus, when one is unable to receive from the present, one must still receive sustenance from the past or from the future. In other words, the body seeks sustenance for itself in every means at its disposal.
Then, if one does not agree to receive sustenance from corporeal things, the body has no choice but to agree to receive sustenance from spiritual things because it has no other choice.
Hence, it must agree to receive delight and pleasure from vessels of bestowal, since it is impossible to live without sustenance. It follows that when one is accustomed to keeping Torah and Mitzvot Lo Lishma (not for Her Name), meaning to receive reward for one’s work, one has an ability to picture receiving some reward later on, and one can already work on the calculation that he will receive delight and pleasure afterwards.
However, if one works not in order to be rewarded, but wants to work without any reward, how can one picture for oneself having anything from which to receive sustenance? After all, one cannot create any picture, because he has nothing to do it on.
Hence, in Lo Lishma, there is no necessity to give one sustenance from Above, since one has sustenance from the picture of the future, and Only necessity is given from Above, not luxury. Hence, if one wants to work only for the Creator and has no wish whatsoever to take sustenance for other things, there is no other counsel, but he must be given sustenance from Above. This is so because one demands only the bare necessity to go on living, and then one receives sustenance from the structure of the Holy Divinity.
It is as our sages said, “Anyone who is saddened for the public is rewarded and sees the comfort of the public.” The public is called “The Holy Shechina (Divinity),” since public means a collective, meaning the assembly of Israel, since Malchut is the collection of all the souls.
Since one does not want any reward for oneself, but wants to work for the Creator, which is called “raising Divinity from the dust,” so it will not be lowered so, meaning that they do not want to work for the Creator, but all that one sees that will produce benefit for oneself, then there is fuel for the work. And what concerns the benefit of the Creator, and one does not see what reward he will receive in return, the body objects to this work because it feels a taste of dust in this work.
Such a person does want to work for the Creator, but the body resists it. And one asks of the Creator to give him power to nonetheless be able to work to raise Divinity from the dust. Hence, one is awarded the Panim (face) of the Face of the Creator, which appear to him, and the concealment departs from him.