126. A Sage Comes to Town

I heard during the Shavuot meal, May 1947, Tel-Aviv

“A sage comes to town.” The Creator is called “Sage.” He comes to town, because on Shavuot (Pentecost) He shows Himself to the world.

“The sluggard saith: ‘There is a lion on the way’; perhaps the sage is not at his home? Perhaps the door is locked?” Our sages said that the thing is, “if you labored and did not find, do not believe.” Hence, if he sees that he has not found the nearness of the Creator, then he is told that he must have not labored sufficiently. This is why the verse calls him, “sluggard.”

And what is the reason that he did not labor? If he is seeking the nearness of the Creator, why does he not want to make an effort? After all, even if you want to obtain a corporeal thing, you still cannot obtain it without labor. In truth, he does want to labor, and it is not that he says, “There is a lion on the way,” meaning the Sitra Achra, as it is written, “as a lion in secret places.” This means that one who begins the path of the Creator encounters the lion on the way. And those who fail in it cannot recover.

This is why he is afraid to start, for who can defeat it? Then he is told, “There is no lion on the way,” meaning “There is none else besides Him,” it is written. This is because there is no other force but Him, by way of “and God hath so made it, that men should fear before Him.”

And then he finds another excuse: “Perhaps the Sage is not at home?” His home is Nukva, the Holy Shechina (Divinity). Then he cannot know for certain if he is walking on the path of Kedusha (Sanctity) or not.

This is why he says that perhaps the Sage, meaning the Creator, is not at His home. That is to say, this is not His home, not of the Kedusha. So how can he know that he is advancing in Kedusha? Then he is told: “The Sage is at His home,” meaning “One’s soul shall teach him,” and at last he will know that he is advancing in Kedusha.

Then he says, “Perhaps the door is locked, and it is impossible to get in, as it says, ‘not all who wish to take the Creator will come and take’?” Then he is told, “The door is not locked.” After all, we can see that many people have been rewarded with admission into the King’s palace.

And then he replies, “Either way, I will not go.” This means that if he is sluggard and does not want to exert, he becomes argumentative and shrewd, and thinks that they are only making the work heavier on him.

But in truth, one who wishes to exert sees the opposite. He sees that many have succeeded. And those who do not want to exert see that there are people who did not succeed. And even though they did not succeed, it is because they discovered that they did not want to exert. But since he is sluggard and only wants to justify his actions, he preaches like a wise one. In truth, the burden of Torah and Mitzvot should be accepted without any arguments and complaints, and then he will succeed.

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