It is written that “there is none
else beside Him”, meaning that there is no other power in the world
with the ability to do anything against Him. And what man sees,
namely, that there are things in the world, which deny the household
of above, is because He wills it so.
And it is deemed a correction,
called “the left rejects and the right adducts, meaning that that
which the left rejects is considered correction. This means that
there are things in the world, which from the beginning aim to
divert a person from the right way, and they reject him from
And the benefit from these
rejections is that through them a person receives a need and a
complete desire for God to help him, since he sees that otherwise he
is lost. Not only does he not progress in his work, but he sees that
he regresses, and he lacks the strength to observe Torah and
Mitzvoth even if not for Her name. That only by genuinely overcoming
all the obstacles, above reason, he can observe Torah and Mitzvoth.
But he does not always have the strength to overcome above reason,
that otherwise he is forced to deviate, God forbid, from the way of
the Creator, and even from not for Her name. And he, who always
feels that the shattered is greater than the whole, meaning that
there are a lot more descents than ascents, and he does not see an
end to these predicaments, and he will forever remain outside of
holiness, for he sees that it is difficult for him to observe even
as little as a jot, unless through overcoming above reason, but he
is not always able to overcome. And what shall be the end of it all?
Then he reaches the decision that no one can help him, but God
Himself. This causes him to make a heartfelt demand of the Creator
to open his eyes and heart, to bring him nearer to eternal adhesion
with God. It follows than, that all the rejections he had
experienced had come from the Creator.
That means that the rejections he had experienced were not because
he was at fault, for not having the ability to overcome, but because
these rejections are for those who truly want to draw nearer to God.
And in order for such a person not to be satisfied with only a
little, namely, not to remain as a little child without knowledge,
he receives help from above so that he will not be able to say that
Thank God, he observes Torah and performs good deeds and what else
could he ask for?
And only if that person has a true desire, he will receive help from
Above. And he is constantly shown how his faults in his present
state; that is, he is sent thoughts and views, which work against
his efforts. This is in order for him to see that he is not one with
the Lord. And as much as he overcomes, he always sees how he is
found in a position farther from holiness than others, who feel one
with the Lord.
But he, on the other hand, always has his complaints and demands,
and he cannot justify the behavior of the Creator, and how he
behaves toward him. And it pains him that he is not one with the
Lord, until he comes to feel that he has no part in holiness
And although he is occasionally
awakened from above, which momentarily revives him, but soon he
falls into an abyss. However, this is what causes him to come to
realize that only God can help and really draw him closer.
A man must always try and cleave to the Creator, namely, that all
his thoughts will be about Him. That is to say, that even if he is
in the worst state, from which there cannot be a greater descent, he
should not leave His domain, namely, think that there is another
authority which prevents him from entering into holiness, and which
has the power to either benefit or harm.
That is, he must not think that there is a matter of the power of
the Other Side (sitra achrah), which does not allow man to do good
deeds and follow God’s ways; but he should think that all is done by
The Ba’al Shem Tov said, that he who says that there is another
power in the world. Namely shells, is in a state of “serving other
gods”, that it is not necessarily the thought of heresy that is the
sin, but if he thinks that there is another authority and force
apart from the Creator, by that he is committing a sin.
Furthermore, he who says that man has his own authority, meaning
that he says that yesterday he himself did not want to follow God’s
ways, that too is considered to be committing the sin of heresy.
Meaning that he does not believe that only the Creator leads the
But when he has committed a sin, and he must certainly regret it and
be sorry for having committed it, but here too we should place the
pain and sorrow in the right order: where does he place the cause of
the sin, that it is that point he should be sorry for.
And a man should then feel sorry and say: “I committed that sin
because the Creator hurled me down from holiness to a place of
filth, to the lavatory, where the filth is”. That is to say that God
gave him a desire and a craving to amuse himself and breath air in a
place of stench. (And you might say, as it says in the books, that
sometimes a man incarnates in the body of a pig, that he receives a
desire and craving to take livelihood from things he had already
determined were litter, but now he again wants to revive himself in
And also when a man feels he’s in a state of ascent, and tastes some
good flavor in the work, he must not say: “Now I am in a state where
I understand that it is worthwhile to worship God. Rather he should
know that now the Lord has fancied him, and for that reason He draws
him near, which is the reason why he tastes a good flavor in the
work. And he should be careful never to leave the domain of
holiness, and say that there is another operating force besides the
Creator. (But this means that the matter of finding favor in the
eyes of the Lord, or the opposite, does not depend on man himself,
but everything depends on God. And man, with his external mind,
cannot comprehend why now the Lord likes him and after that He does
And likewise when he regrets that the Creator does not draw him
near, he should also be careful not to be sorry for himself, for
having been distanced from the Creator, for by so doing he becomes a
recipient for his own benefit, and he who receives is separated from
the Creator. Rather he should regret the exile of the Divine
Presence, meaning, for inflicting sorrow upon the Divine Presence.
One should take as an example when some small organ of a person is
sore. The pain is still felt mainly in the heart and mind, which are
the generality of man. And certainly the sensation of a single organ
cannot resemble the sensation of a person’s full stature, where most
of the pain is felt.
Likewise is the pain that a person feels when he is detached from
the Lord, since man is but a single organ of the Divine Presence,
for the Divine Presence is the soul of Israel in general. Therefore
the sensation of a single organ does not resemble the sensation of
the pain in general. That is to say that the Divine Presence regrets
that there are parts of it that are detached from it, which she
cannot provide for.
(And that might be the meaning of the words: “When a man regrets,
the Divine Presence says: “It is lighter than my head”). And if man
does not relate the sorrow at being distant from God to himself, he
is saved from falling into the trap of the desire to receive for
himself, which is the separation from holiness.
The same applies when one feels somewhat closer to holiness, when he
is happy at having merited favor in the eyes of the Lord, he must
say that the core of his joy is that now there is joy in the Divine
Presence, from having being able to bring her private organ near
her, and not send it away.
And man rejoices at having been endowed with the ability to please
the Divine Presence. And this goes by the same token, because joy
that an individual feels, is but a part of the joy that the whole
feels. And through these calculations he loses his individuality and
avoids being trapped by the Other Side, which is the will to receive
Although, the will to receive is necessary, since that constitutes a
person, since anything which exists in a person apart from the
desire to receive is attributed to the Creator. Nevertheless, the
will to receive pleasure should be corrected to a form of bestowal.
That is to say, that the pleasure and joy, taken by the will to
receive, should be intended to bring contentment above, because
there is pleasure below. For that was the purpose of creation, to
benefit His creations. And this is called the joy of the Divine
For this reason, man must seek advice as to how he can cause
contentment above. And certainly, if he receives pleasure,
contentment shall be felt above. Therefore, he should long to always
be in the King’s palace, and to have the ability to play with the
King’s treasures. And that will certainly cause contentment above.
It follows that his entire longing should be for the sake of the
Author: Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag
Translation: C. Ratz
MP3 audio download of "There is None Else Beside Him"