1. There Is None Else Besides Him
2. Shechina [Divinity] in Exile
3. The Matter of Spiritual Attainment
4. What Is the Reason for the Heaviness One Feels when Annulling before the Creator in the Work?
5. Lishma Is an Awakening from Above, and Why Do We Need an Awakening from Below?
6. What Is Support in the Torah, in the Work?
7. What Is, “A Habit Becomes a Second Nature,” in the Work?
8. What Is the Difference between a Shade of Kedusha and a Shade of Sitra Achra?
9. What Are Three Things that Broaden One’s Mind in the Work?
10. What Is “Hurry, My Beloved,” in the Work?
11. Joy with Trembling
12. The Essence of Man’s Work
13. A Pomegranate
14. What Is the Exaltedness of the Creator?
15. What Is Other Gods in the Work?
16. What Is the Day of the Lord and the Night of the Lord, in the Work?
17. What Does It Mean that the Sitra Achra Is Called “Malchut without a Crown”?
18. My Soul Shall Weep in Secret – 1
19. What Is “The Creator Hates the Bodies,” in the Work?
20. Lishma [for Her sake]
21. When One Feels Oneself in a State of Ascent
22. Torah Lishma
23. You Who Love the Lord, Hate Evil
24. He Will Save Them from the Hand of the Wicked
25. Things that Come from the Heart
26. One’s Future Depends and Is Tied to Gratitude for the Past
27. What Is “The Lord Is High and the Low Will See”? - 1
28. I Shall Not Die but Live
29. When Thoughts Come to a Person
30. The Most Important Is to Want Only to Bestow
31. Anyone Who Pleases the Spirit of the People
32. A Lot Is an Awakening from Above
33. The Lots on Yom Kippur and with Haman
34. The Advantage of a Land
35. Concerning the Vitality of Kedusha
36. What Are the Three Bodies in Man?
37. An Article for Purim
38. The Fear of God Is His Treasure
39. And They Sewed Fig Leaves
40. What Is the Measure of Faith in the Rav?
41. What Is Greatness and Smallness in Faith?
42. What Is the Acronym Elul in the Work?
43. Concerning Truth and Faith
44. Mind and Heart
45. Two Discernments in the Torah and in the Work
46. The Domination of Israel over the Klipot
47. In the Place Where You Find His Greatness
48. The Primary Basis
49. The Most Important Are the Mind and the Heart
50. Two States
51. If You Encounter This Villain
52. A Transgression Does Not Extinguish a Mitzva
53. The Matter of Limitation
54. The Purpose of the Work – 1
55. Haman from the Torah, from Where?
56. Torah Is Called Indication
57. Will Bring Him Closer to His Will
58. Joy Is a “Reflection” of Good Deeds
59. Concerning the Rod and the Serpent
60. A Mitzva that Comes through Transgression
61. Round About Him It Storms Mightily
62. Descends and Incites, Ascends and Complains
63. I Was Borrowed on, and I Repay
64. From Lo Lishma, We Come to Lishma
65. Concerning the Revealed and the Concealed
66. Concerning the Giving of the Torah – 1
67. Depart from Evil
68. Man's Connection to the Sefirot
69. First Will Be the Correction of the World
70. With a Mighty Hand and with Fury Poured Out
71. My Soul Shall Weep in Secret – 2
72. Confidence Is the Clothing for the Light
73. After the Tzimtzum
74. World, Year, Soul
75. There Is a Discernment of the Next World, and There Is a Discernment of This World
76. On All Your Offerings You Shall Offer Salt
77. One's Soul Shall Teach Him
78. The Torah, the Creator, and Israel Are One
79. Atzilut and BYA
80. Concerning Achor be Achor
81. Concerning Raising MAN
82. The Prayer that One Should Always Pray
83. Concerning the Right Vav and the Left Vav
84. What Is “He Drove the Man Out of the Garden of Eden so He Would Not Take from the Tree of Life”?
85. What Is the Fruit of a Citrus Tree, in the Work?
86. And They Built Arei Miskenot
87. Shabbat Shekalim
88. All the Work Is Only Where There Are Two Ways – 1
89. To Understand the Words of The Zohar
90. In The Zohar, Beresheet
91. Concerning the Replaceable
92. Explaining the Discernment of Luck
93. Concerning Fins and Scales
94. And You Shall Keep Your Souls
95. Concerning Removing the Foreskin
96. What Is Waste of Barn and Winery, in the Work?
97. Waste of Barn and Winery
98. Spirituality Is Called That Which Will Never Be Lost
99. He Did Not Say Wicked or Righteous
100. The Written Torah and the Oral Torah – 1
101. A Commentary on the Psalm, “For the Winner over Roses”
102. And You Shall Take You the Fruit of a Citrus Tree
103. Whose Heart Makes Him Willing
104. And the Saboteur Was Sitting
105. A Bastard Wise Disciple Precedes a Commoner High Priest
106. What the Twelve Challahs on Shabbat Imply
107. Concerning the Two Angels
108. If You Leave Me One Day, I Will Leave You Two
109. Two Kinds of Meat
110. A Field that the Lord Has Blessed
111. Breath, Sound, and Speech
112. The Three Angels
113. The Eighteen Prayer
114. Prayer
115. Still, Vegetative, Animate, and Speaking
116. He Who Said, “Mitzvot Do Not Require Intention”
117. You Labored and Did Not Find, Do Not Believe
118. To Understand the Matter of the Knees Which Have Bowed to Baal
119. That Disciple Who Learned in Secret
120. The Reason for Not Eating Nuts on Rosh Hashanah
121. She Is Like Merchant-Ships
122. Understanding What Is Written in Shulchan Aruch
123. His Divorce and His Hand Come as One
124. A Shabbat of Beresheet and of the Six Thousand Years
125. He Who Delights the Shabbat
126. A Sage Comes to Town
127. The Difference between Core, Self, and Added Abundance
128. Dew Drips from that Galgalta to Zeir Anpin
129. The Shechina in the Dust
130. Tiberias of Our Sages, Good Is Your Sight
131. Who Comes to Purify
132. In the Sweat of Your Face Shall You Eat Bread – 1
133. The Lights of Shabbat
134. Wine that Causes Drunkenness
135. Clean and Righteous Do Not Kill
136. The Difference between the First Letters and the Last Letters
137. Zelophehad Was Gathering Wood
138. Concerning Fear that Sometimes Comes Upon a Person
139. The Difference between the Six Workdays and Shabbat
140. How I Love Your Torah
141. The Holiday of Passover
142. The Essence of the War
143. Only Good to Israel
144. There Is a Certain People
145. What Is He Will Give Wisdom Specifically to the Wise
146. A Commentary on The Zohar
147. The Work of Reception and Bestowal
148. The Scrutiny of Bitter and Sweet, True and False
149. Why We Need to Extend Hochma
150. Sing unto the Lord, for He Has Done Pride
151. And Israel Saw the Egyptians
152. For Bribe Blinds the Eyes of the Wise
153. A Thought Is a Result of the Desire
154. There Cannot Be an Empty Space in the World
155. The Cleanness of the Body
156. Lest He Took from the Tree of Life
157. I Am Asleep but My Heart Is Awake
158. The Reason for Not Eating at Each Other's Home on Passover
159. And It Came to Pass in the Course of Those Many Days
160. The Reason for Concealing the Matzot
161. Concerning the Giving of the Torah – 2
162. Concerning the Hazak We Say After Completing the Series
163. What the Authors of The Zohar Said
164. There Is a Difference between Corporeality and Spirituality
165. An Explanation to Elisha's Request of Elijah
166. Two Discernments in Attainment
167. The Reason Why It Is Called Shabbat Teshuva
168. The Customs of Israel
169. Concerning a Complete Righteous
170. You Shall Not Have in Your Pocket a Big Stone
171. In The Zohar, Emor – 1
172. The Matter of Preventions and Delays
173. Why We Say LeChaim
174. Concealment
175. And If the Way Be Too Far for You
176. When Drinking Brandy after the Havdala
177. Atonements
178. Three Partners in Man
179. Three Lines
180. In The Zohar, Emor – 2
181. Honor
182. Moses and Solomon
183. The Discernment of Messiah
184. The Difference between Faith and Intellect
185. The Uneducated, the Fear of Shabbat Is on Him
186. Make Your Shabbat a Weekday, and Do Not Need People
187. Choosing Labor
188. All the Work Is Only Where There Are Two Ways – 2
189. The Action Affects the Thought
190. Every Act Leaves an Imprint
191. The Time of Descent
192. The Lots
193. One Wall Serves Both
194. The Complete Seven
195. Rewarded - I Will Hasten It
196. A Grip for the External Ones
197. Book, Author, Story
198. Freedom
199. To Every Man of Israel
200. The Hizdakchut of the Masach
201. Spirituality and Corporeality
202. In the Sweat of Your Face Shall You Eat Bread – 2
203. Man's Pride Shall Bring Him Low
204. The Purpose of the Work - 2
205. Wisdom Cries Out in the Streets
206. Faith and Pleasure
207. Receiving in order to Bestow
208. Labor
209. Three Conditions in Prayer
210. A Sightly Flaw in You
211. As Though Standing before a King
212. Embrace of the Right, Embrace of the Left
213. Acknowledging the Desire
214. Known in the Gates
215. Concerning Faith
216. Right and Left
217. If I Am Not for Me, Who Is for Me?
218. The Torah and the Creator Are One
219. Devotion
220. Suffering
221. Multiple Authorities
222. The Part Given to the Sitra Achra to Separate It from the Kedusha
223. Clothing, Sack, Lie, Almond
224. Yesod de Nukva and Yesod de Dechura
225. Raising Oneself
226. The Written Torah and the Oral Torah – 2
227. The Reward for a Mitzva–a Mitzva
228. Fish before Meat
229. Haman Pockets
230. The Lord Is High and the Low Will See - 2
231. The Purity of the Vessels of Reception
232. Completing the Labor
233. Pardon, Forgiveness, and Atonement
234. He Who Ceases Words of Torah and Engages in Conversation
235. Looking in the Book Again
236. My Adversaries Curse Me All the Day
237. For Man Shall Not See Me and Live
238. Happy Is the Man Who Does Not Forget You and the Son of Man Who Exerts in You
239. The Difference between Mochin of Shavuot and that of Shabbat at Minchah
240. Seek Your Seekers when They Seek Your Face
241. Call Upon Him When He Is Near
242. What Is the Matter of Delighting the Poor on a Good Day, in the Work?
243. Examining the Shade on the Night of Hosha’ana Rabbah
244. All the Worlds
245. Prior to the Creation of the Newborn
246. An Explanation about Luck
247. A Thought Is Regarded as Nourishment
248. Let His Friend Begin
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Lishma Is an Awakening from Above, and Why Do We Need an Awakening from Below?

5. Lishma Is an Awakening from Above, and Why Do We Need an Awakening from Below?

I heard in 1945

In order to attain Lishma [for Her sake], it is not within one’s hands to understand, as it is not for the human mind to grasp how such a thing can be in the world. This is so because one is only permitted to grasp that if he engages in Torah and Mitzvot [commandments] he will attain something. There must be self-benefit there for otherwise, one is unable to do anything. Rather, it is an illumination that comes from above, and only one who tastes it can know and understand. It is written about it, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”

Thus, we must understand why one should seek advice and counsels regarding how to achieve Lishma. After all, no counsels will help him, and if the Creator does not give him the second nature, called “the desire to bestow,” no labor will help him to attain the matter of Lishma.

The answer is, as our sages said (Avot, Chapter 2, 21), “It is not for you to complete the work, and you are not free to idle away from it.” This means that one must give the awakening from below, since this is regarded as a prayer.

A prayer is considered a deficiency, and without a deficiency there is no filling. Hence, when one has a need for Lishma, the filling comes from above, and the answer to the prayer comes from above, meaning he receives fulfillment for his lack. It follows, that the need for man’s work in order to receive the Lishma from the Creator is only in the form of a lack and a Kli [vessel]. Yet, one can never obtain the filling by himself; it is rather a gift from the Creator.

However, the prayer must be a complete prayer, from the bottom of the heart. This means that one knows one hundred percent that there is no one in the world who can help him but the Creator Himself.

Yet, how does one know this, that no one will help him but the Creator Himself? One can acquire that awareness precisely if he has exerted all the powers at his disposal and it did not help him. Thus, one must do every possible thing in the world to attain “for the sake of the Creator.” Then one can pray from the bottom of the heart, and then the Creator hears his prayer.

However, one must know, when exerting to attain the Lishma, to take upon himself to want to work entirely to bestow, completely, meaning only to bestow and not to receive anything. Only then does one begin to see that the organs do not agree to this view.

From this one can come to clear awareness that he has no other choice but to pour out his heart to the Creator to help him so the body will agree to enslave itself to the Creator unconditionally, as he sees that he cannot persuade his body to annul itself completely. It turns out that precisely when one sees that there is no hope that his body will agree to work for the Creator by itself, one’s prayer can be from the bottom of the heart, and then his prayer is accepted.

We must know that by attaining Lishma, one puts the evil inclination to death. The evil inclination is the will to receive, and acquiring the desire to bestow cancels the will to receive from being able to do anything. This is considered putting it to death. Since it has been removed from its office, and it has nothing more to do since it is no longer in use, when it is revoked from its function, this is considered putting it to death.

When one contemplates “What he has in his work which he works under the sun,” one sees that it is not so difficult to enslave oneself to His Name for two reasons:

  1. Anyhow, meaning, whether willingly or unwillingly, one must exert in this world, and what has one left from all the efforts he has made?

  2. However, if a person works Lishma, he receives pleasure during the work, too.

According to the proverb of the Sayer of Dubna, who spoke about the verse, “You did not call Me, Jacob, for you labored about Me, Israel,” he said that it is like a rich man who departed the train and had a small bag. He placed it where all the merchants place their baggage, and the porters take the baggage and bring them to the hotel where the merchants stay. The porter thought that clearly the merchant would take a small bag by himself, and there is no need for a porter for this, so he took a big package.

The merchant wanted to pay him a small fee, as he usually pays, but the porter did not want to take it. He said, “I put a big bag into the hotel depository, which exhausted me, and I barely carried your bag, and you want to pay me so little for it?”

The lesson is that when one comes and says that he exerted extensively in observing Torah and Mitzvot, the Creator tells him, “You did not call Me, Jacob.” In other words, it is not My baggage that you took. Rather, this baggage belongs to someone else. Since you say that you had much effort in Torah and Mitzvot, you must have had a different landlord for whom you worked; so go to him to pay you.

This is the meaning of “for you labored about Me, Israel.” This means that he who works for the Creator has no labor, but on the contrary, pleasure and elation. But one who works for other goals cannot come to the Creator with complaints that the Creator does not give him vitality in the work, since he did not work for the Creator, for the Creator to pay for his work. Instead, one can complain to those people for whom he worked to give him pleasure and vitality.

And since there are many purposes in Lo Lishma [not for Her sake], one should demand of the goal for which he worked to give him the reward, namely pleasure and vitality. It is said about them, “They who make them shall be like them, everyone who trusts them.”

However, according to this, it is perplexing. After all, we see that even when one takes upon himself the burden of the kingdom of heaven without any other intention, he still does not feel any vitality, to say that this vitality compels him to take upon himself the burden of the kingdom of heaven. And the reason he does take upon himself the burden is only because of faith above reason.

In other words, he does it by way of coercive overcoming, unwillingly. Thus, we might ask, Why does one feel exertion in this work, with the body constantly seeking a time when it can be rid of this work, as one does not feel any vitality in the work? According to the above, when one works in humbleness, when his only goal is to work in order to bestow, why does the Creator not impart him taste and vitality in the work?

The answer is that we must know that this matter is a great correction. Were it not for this, meaning if light and vitality had illuminated immediately when one began to take upon himself the burden of the kingdom of heaven, he would have vitality in the work. In other words, the will to receive, too, would have consented to this work.

In that state he would certainly agree because he wants to satisfy his desire, meaning he would work for his own benefit. Had that been the case, it would never have been possible to achieve Lishma since he would be compelled to work for his own benefit, as he would feel greater pleasure in the work of the Creator than in corporeal desires. Thus, he would have to remain in Lo Lishma, since he would have had satisfaction in the work, and where there is satisfaction, one cannot do anything, as without profit, one cannot work. It follows that if one received satisfaction in this work of Lo Lishma, he would have to remain in that state.

This would be similar to what people say, that when there are people chasing a thief to catch him, the thief, too, runs and yells, “Catch the thief!” Then, it is impossible to recognize who is the real thief so as to catch him and take the theft out of his hand.

However, when the thief, meaning the will to receive, does not feel any flavor or vitality in the work of accepting the burden of the kingdom of heaven, in that state, if one works with faith above reason, coercively, and the body becomes accustomed to this work against the desire of his will to receive, then he has the means by which to come to work that will be with the purpose of bringing contentment to his Maker, since the primary requirement from a person is to come to Dvekut [adhesion] with the Creator through his work, which is discerned as equivalence of form, where all his actions are in order to bestow.

This is as it is written, “Then shall you delight in the Lord.” The meaning of “Then” is that first, in the beginning of his work, he did not have pleasure. Instead, his work was coercive.

But afterward, when he has already accustomed himself to work in order to bestow and not examine himself—if he is feeling a good taste in the work—but believes that he is working to bring contentment to his Maker through his work, he should believe that the Creator accepts the work of the lower ones regardless of how and how much is the form of their work. In everything, the Creator examines the intention, and this brings contentment to the Creator. Then one is rewarded with “delight in the Lord.”

Even during the work of the Creator he will feel delight and pleasure since now he really does work for the Creator because the effort he made during the coercive work qualifies him to be able to truly work for the Creator. You find that then, too, the pleasure he receives relates to the Creator, meaning specifically for the Creator.