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Yehuda Leib HaLevi Ashlag (Baal HaSulam)

A Handmaid that Is Heir to Her Mistress

Abbreviated version of this article by Dr. Michael Laitman »


This requires a thorough explanation. To make it clear to all, I shall choose to interpret the matter by what appears to us for this reason and extends to us here in the conduct of this world.

The Internality of the Externality

The thing is that the Higher Roots extend their power by cascading until their branches appear in this world, as it is written in the explanation of roots and branch. As a whole, the worlds are considered internality and externality. This is similar to a heavy load, which none can lift or move from place to place. Hence, the advice is to divide the load into small parts and subsequently transfer them one at a time.

It is similar in our matter, since the purpose of Creation is invaluable because a tiny spark such as a person’s soul can rise in its attainment Higher than the ministering angels, as our sages said about the verse, "now it will be said to Jacob and to Israel: ‘What has God wrought!’" They interpreted that the Higher angels will ask Israel, "What has God wrought?"

The Evolution of Israel (Internality) One at a Time

This bounty will come to us only by developing one at a time. As in the above allegory, even the heaviest load can be lifted if we split it into pieces and raise them one at a time. Not only the general purpose comes to us in this manner, but even the physical purpose, which is but a preparation for the general purpose, comes to us through gradual and slow development.

Hence, the worlds have been divided into internality and externality, where each world contains illuminations suitable to operate in slow development. And these are called "the internality of the world."

Instantaneous Evolution of the Nations of the World (Externality)

Opposite them are illuminations that can only act instantaneously. Hence, when they appear here in their worldly branches and are given control, not only do they not correct, they ruin.

Our sages call it "unripe," as it is written concerningthe Tree of Knowledge and Adam ha Rishon, that they ate unripe fruit. This means that it is truly a dainty delight, destined to delight man, but in the future, not at present, as it is still growing and developing. This is why they compared it to an unripe fruit, since the fig, too, which is the sweetest, daintiest fruit, when eaten prematurely, will upset one’s stomach and he will die.

Indeed, we should ask, "Who is the one who brings such an act into the world?" After all, it is known that there is no action in our world that comes without the strike of a Higher Root. Know that this is what we call "the dominion of the externality," as in the verse, "God hath made even the one as well as the other." It contains a force that urges and rushes towards the revelation of the dominion of the internality, as our sages have said, "I place upon them a king such as Haman, and he will force them to repent."

The Internality Are the People of Israel

Once we have clarified the Higher Roots, we will clarify the branches in this world. Know that a branch that extends from the internality is the people of Israel, which has been chosen as an operator of the general purpose and correction. It contains the preparation required for growing and developing until it moves the nations of the worlds, too, to achieve the common goal.

The Externality Are the Nations of the World

The branch that extends from the externality is the nations of the world. They have not been imparted the qualities that make them worthy of receiving the development of the purpose one at a time. Rather, they are fit to receive the correction at once and to the fullest, according to their Higher Root. Hence, when they receive dominion from their Root they destroy the virtues in the children of Israel and cause suffering in the world.

A Slave and a Handmaid

The Higher Roots, called "Externality," as we have explained above, are generally called "handmaid" and "slave." This aims to show that they do not intend to harm at all, as it may seem in superficial observation. Instead, they serve the internality, like the slave and the handmaid who serve their masters.

The Externality Rule When Israel Does Not Demand Depth in Their Work

The above-mentioned rule of the externality is called "the exile of Israel among the nations of the world." Through it, they inflict many forms of suffering, degradation, and ruin upon the Israeli nation. However, to be brief, we will explain only what is revealed through a general observation, which is the general purpose. This is the idol worshipping and superstition, as it is written, "But mingled themselves with the nations, and learned their works." This is the most terrible and dangerous poison, which destroys the souls of Israel, as it brings their vanities closer to the human reason. In other words, they do not require great depth to understand and thus plant the foundations of their work in the hearts of the children of Israel. And although an Israeli man is quite unfit to accept their nonsense, in the end they do induce idolatry and filth, down to blatant heresy, until he says, "all faces are equal."

The Reason for the Concealment of the Kabbalah

Now you can understand the issue of the concealment of the wisdom of the hidden from the eyes of the externals, as well as what the sages said, "A gentile must not be taught Torah." There seems to be a contradiction between this and the Tanah (great sage in the early CE years) Debei Eliyahu, who said, "Even a gentile, even a slave, and even a handmaid who sit and learn Torah, Divinity is with them." Thus, why did the sages prohibited teaching the Torah to gentiles?

Teaching Torah to Gentiles

Indeed, the Tanah Debei Eliyahu relates to a converted gentile, or at least to one who retired from idol worshipping, from superstition. Our sages, conversely, referred to one who did not retire from idol worshipping and wanted to know Israel’s law and wisdom in order to strengthen and fortify their idolatry. And you might say, "Why should we care if this gentile has become more pious in his idol worshipping because of our Torah? If it does not help, what harm will it do?"

Rashbi’s Weeping

Indeed, this is what Rashbi cried for before he explained an important secret in the wisdom of the hidden, as it is written, "Rabbi Shimon wept, ‘Woe if I tell, and woe if I do not tell. If I tell, the sinners will know how to serve their idols; and if I do not tell, the friends will lose that word.’"

He was afraid lest this secret would come by the hands of idol worshippers and they would perform their idolatry with the force of this Holy Mind. This is what prolongs our exile and brings upon us all the afflictions and the ruins, as we now see before us, since the sages of the nations of the world studied all the books of the children of Israel and turned them into delicacies to strengthen their faith, meaning their wisdom, called "theology."

Two Harms from Revealing Israel’s Wisdom to the Nations of the World

They have done two wrongs:

  1. Besides clothing in our robe, saying that all of that wisdom is from the attainment of their own holy spirit, these mimics gained their reputation at our expense. Thus, they strengthen their false teaching and obtain the strength to deny our Holy Torah.

  2. But an even greater harm came upon us: one who observes their theology discovers in it concepts and wisdom concerning the work of God that seem truer and more genuine than our wisdom.

This is so for two reasons:

The first is that they are many, and among them are great and proficient philologists who know their work: to make matters acceptable to uneducated people. Philology comes from external teachings, and certainly a society of eight billion people can produce many more and much greater philologists than our society of fifteen million can. Hence, one who observes their books falls into doubting that they might be right, or even worse, of course.

The second, and the most important reason, is that the sages of Israel conceal the wisdom of religion from the masses behind closed doors and in every way. The sages of each generation offer simple explanations to the masses and reject them with all kinds of trickery from the desire to even approach and touch the wisdom of the hidden.

Woe if I Tell

They do this for fear that the matters will fall into the hands of idol worshippers, as Rashbi wrote, "If I tell, the sinners will know how to serve their idols." After all, we suffer plenty even for the petite things that they have stolen from our vessels, which have seeped to them past all the vigil guarding.

The Reason for the Concealment of Kabbalah

This clarifies what would unfold if our sages revealed the wisdom of the hidden to all. And since we conceal, as long as our commoner is unfit to be given the secrets of the Torah, he has no knowledge at all in the wisdom of religion. Hence, such a person is obviously inspired and elated when he finds the trifling wisdom and explanations in their theology, whose essence is but an assortment of stolen concepts from our hidden, with added literary dainties. Once one sees that, he says and denies our practical law, and ends in complete heresy.

A Handmaid that Is Heir to Her Mistress

This is called "a handmaid that is heir to her mistress," since the very power of the mistress—the dominion of the internality—is by the force of our wisdom and knowledge, as it is written, "we are distinguished, I and Thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth." And now the handmaid has stepped forth and prides herself in public that she is the heir of this wisdom. And you should know that this power of theirs is the shackle by which the legs of the children of Israel are chained in the exile, under their dominion.

Shackles of Exile

Thus, the essence of the shackles of exile and its power is from the wisdom of Torah and its secrets, which they have managed to steal and place in their vessels, passed all the watchful guarding we have put up. With it, they mislead the masses, saying they have inherited God’s work, and cast doubt and heresy, too, on the souls of Israel.

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