December 21, 1955
Let a driven leaf heal and let them say that I am in the delegation of their Maker, flying among flyers, The Great Tamarisk, to whom the Upper One assists, our glorified teacher, Rav...
I received your letter, and may the Creator illuminate that our way is the right way and we will strain our memory for the day of memorial. Then we will be granted the light of memory, which is good for cleansing the material air, and we will breathe the air of holiness, which is the true and eternal life.
I would like to add to what you wrote as follows, “I am certain that if I had met the greatest agnostic, etc.
We know that there is a custom, applied all over the world, that it is not good for a highly skilled professional to be among poorly skilled workers and learn from their actions. For example, when a cobbler is among unskillful cobblers, they let him understand that it is not worthwhile to make a good shoe, but do it however it comes out, and it is not worthwhile to make a good and handsome shoe.
Or a tailor, if he is skillful, when he is among unskillful tailors, they let him understand that it is not worthwhile to strain to make the clothing neat, tidy, and fitting its owner. Hence, he should be wary of being in contact with them.
But when a builder is among tailors, he cannot learn from their bad actions because there is no connection between them. However, within the same profession, each one should watch himself and be in contact only with pure-hearted people.
According to the above, with any person that you consider a servant of the Creator, you should be watchful and see if he is a skilled professional, meaning wishes his work to be clean and pure and intended for His Name. At the very least, he should know that he is not a good worker and seek advice in his soul by which to be a skillful worker, and not an ordinary worker who aims only for the reward.
But a good, skillful worker is one who does not consider the reward, but enjoys his work. If, for example, a skillful tailor knows that the clothing fits its owner at every point, it gives him spiritual pleasure, more than the money he receives.
Thus, with people who are not from your profession, it is not important if you are among them, since you engage in building and they engage in tanning. But with people who engage in Torah but are not meticulous about keeping the clothing fit for its owner, they only have a mind that is against the Torah, opposite from the view of Torah. And here you must always be watchful… and keep a good distance away from those people, as it were a bowshot. And this is not so with ordinary people.
Hence, since you have no contact with the people of Mizrahi, you do not need such a careful watch.
But from the people of Agudat Israel, you do need to keep away.
And with Hassidim, you need even greater vigilance.
And with people who were close to my father (Baal HaSulam) you need to keep a very watchful eye.
And this is the reason: In the world of Nekudim, Melech ha Daat, the level of Keter, which is the first Melech (king), fell lower than all the Melachim (kings) during the breaking. This is so because while the coarser is also higher when it has a Masach, it is the worst when losing the Masach. For this reason, it fell lower than all the Melachim.
And we can interpret these words. When they walk in the path of the Creator, they have a twofold will to receive: for corporeality and for spirituality. Hence, those who were close to Baal HaSulam, while they were learning, had a Masach and Aviut (coarseness). But now that they are not surrendering and have no interest in having a Masach, their whole work is to become “handsome Jews” or “Rebbes” (great rabbis).
Thus, this is Aviut without a Masach, and they naturally give off what they do. And as for me, I have no trust in them, and there is no one to hold them down. I am being brief because I do not wish to have them in my thoughts, for you know the rule: “One is where one thinks.”
To understand the matter more clearly, I shall give you a brief example: It is known that between each two degrees there is a medium made of both discernments together.
Between the still and the vegetative, there is a medium called “corals.”
Between the vegetative and the animate, there is the stone of the field, which is an animal that is tied to the earth by its navel and nourishes off it.
And between the animate and the speaking, there is the monkey.
Hence, there is a question: What is the medium between truth and falsehood? What is the point that is made of both discernments together?
Before I clarify, I shall add another rule: It is known that it is impossible to see a small object and it is easier to see a large object. Hence, when a person commits few lies, he cannot see the truth—that he is walking on a false path. Rather, he says that he is walking on the path of truth. But there is no greater lie than that. And the reason is that he does not have enough lies to see his true state.
But when a person has acquired many lies, the lies grow in him to the extent that he can see them if he wishes. Thus, now that he sees the lies—that he is walking on a false path—he sees his true state. In other words, he sees the truth in his soul and how to turn to the right path.
It follows that this point, which is a point of truth—that he is treading a false path—is the medium between truth and falsehood. This is the bridge that connects truth and falsehood. This point is also the end of the lie, and from here on begins the path of truth.
Thus, we can see that to be rewarded with Lishma (for Her Name), we first need to prepare the biggest Lo Lishma (not for Her Name), and then we can achieve Lishma. And similarly, Lo Lishma is called a “lie” and Lishma is called “truth.”
When the lie is small and the Mitzvot and good deeds are few, he has a small Lo Lishma, and then he cannot see the truth. Hence, in that state, he says that he is walking on the good and true path, meaning working Lishma.
But when he engages in Torah all day and all night in Lo Lishma, then he can see the truth, since by the accumulation of lies, his lie increases and he sees that he is indeed walking on a false path.
And then he begins to correct his actions. In other words, he feels that everything he does is only Lo Lishma. From this point, one passes to the path of truth, to Lishma. Only here, at this point, does the issue of “from Lo Lishma one comes to Lishma” begins. But prior to that, he argues that he is working Lishma, and how can he change his state and his ways?
Hence, if a person is idle in the work, he cannot see the truth, that he is immersed in falsehood. But by increasing Torah in order to bestow contentment upon his Maker, one can then see the truth: that he is walking on a false path, called Lo Lishma. And this is the middle point between truth and falsehood. Hence, we must be strong and confident on our way, so every day will be as new to us, as we need to always renew our foundations, and then we shall march forward.
Your friend, Baruch Shalom HaLevi Ashlag