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Letter No. 12

October 10, 1955, London

To my friend,

Yesterday, I received your letter intended for the people of Gateshead. In the meantime, I am passing your letter to the friends in London, and I would mainly like to get them to answer your letter so there will be correspondence between you. If this succeeds, it will bring great benefit both in corporeality and in spirituality.

I am writing to you the content of the talk that I gave on a weekday of the festival of Sukkot before the students of the late Rav Desler concerning the “shadow of faith”: We have to know that “shadow,” meaning concealment, is the Kli (vessel) to be rewarded with the light of faith.

By that I have interpreted the words of our sages about the verse, “so that your generations may know that I had the sons of Israel live in Sukkot (huts).” They were clouds of glory, according to the words of Rabbi Eliezer. Rabbi Akiva says they were actual Sukkot. And I asked, “How can there be such a fundamental dispute between them, where one says, actual Sukkot, meaning corporeal huts, and the other says a spiritual Sukkah, of clouds of glory?”

However, both are the words of the living God, and there is no dispute here whatsoever. Rather, one says that the main thing is to mention the Kelim (vessels), and the other the lights. Actual Sukkot means actual concealments, from the word “thatch,” which is called “shade.” Rabbi Eliezer says that we must mention the lights, called “seven clouds of glory,” which is regarded as faith. Both discernments coincided at the time of the exodus from Egypt. Therefore, when we set ourselves straight, we are rewarded with the light. However, we must not think that there is no delight or pleasure when working Lishma (for Her sake).

I told them an allegory about that: We must know that the world was created with a desire to receive. Therefore, as soon as a baby is born, it wants to enjoy through its final day—such as for us to play with it. And when it grows, it wants only delight and pleasure.

We must know that pleasure is a spiritual thing. We cannot grasp the pleasure; it is light, and there is a rule that there is no light without a Kli. Therefore, each pleasure must come within some clothing.

For this reason, we determine that each delight and pleasure is truth, since each pleasure extends from the light, and the only difference between man and beast is only in the clothing, meaning in the Kelim. And certainly, the light dresses according to the value of the Kli. However, this is in particular. In general, there is no difference between a great man and a small man but only in the clothing.

Just as we see that when a little girl is playing with a doll, the pleasure she feels is real, and if we, the parents, want her to leave the doll and go eat, the girl thinks that she has cruel parents, meaner than the neighbors, since the neighbors don’t interrupt her playing and her parents do. We also see that if there is a six months old baby in the house and he is crying, and we say to the girl, “Why are you playing with the doll and kissing it? It’s a false baby, come and play with a real baby,” she refuses, even though we are certain this is a true clothing.

And if we can say to the girl, “Why are you enjoying playing with a real baby?” she will have no answer. But if we tell her, “You see how the baby’s mother is playing with him?” or “Even other people are playing with the boy and kissing him, and it will never happen that a grownup will play with a doll and kiss it.” At that time she will probably reply that the real pleasure is actually in the doll, meaning in a false clothing, and the reason why grownups kiss and play with real babies is only that they have no desire for pleasure, but I want to enjoy my life, so I must be happy with the doll.” It is indeed so, but a person who is still not sufficiently developed cannot derive pleasure from true clothing although there is pleasure there. It is likewise with the case of from Lo Lishma and Lishma.

This allegory contains the answer to our friend’s letter…

Baruch Shalom HaLevi Ashlag

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