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Yehuda Leib Ha-Levi Ashlag (Baal HaSulam)/Letters
Letter 56
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Letter 56

23 Kislev, Tav-Reish-Tzadi-Bet, December 3, 1931

To ... may his candle burn:

I received your letter today and I understood it. And yet, I believe that you should also know my view regarding your words, although in my estimate, you still do not perceive them. For this reason, the words will not delight you, nor will they be pleasant in your eyes, and for that, the truth will show its way.

Many say, “Who will show me good?” And yet, very few find it. We should therefore understand where is that great and relentless obstacle that mercilessly fails so many.

I have already pointed out to you several times the famous law in the holy books, that nothing is given unless by merit, meaning through labor, which everyone calls “awakening from below.” Without it, no bestowal from above, called “awakening from above,” will ever happen.

These words and laws are known to all, but their extent is not known, or they do not want to know it. For this reason, there is a big edifice of the Sitra Achra [other side], which stands and makes allowances in the matter—that it is not necessary to exert beyond human capability. In dire times, one has an entire lore from authors and books showing the kindness and mercy of His guidance with a person who is not so meticulous. He has a thousand pre-prepared proofs for it, instantaneously, as it is written, “The Creator does not criticize His creations.”

Our sages said about the such, that the Torah is called SAM, for if he is not rewarded, the Torah itself becomes to him a potion [SAM] of death, for they are learning Torah from wicked SAM, and from him they understand. His words of Torah are immediately accepted by the heart, and are always kept in the memory, for they contemplated them day and night, God save us from him and from his followers.

What shall we do for those, and how can we reach out to them, or slightly move them from their places when they are not at all ready for an awakening from below? I wish to say that even if we succeed, with the Creator’s help, to draw upon them the greatest awakening of the body, to crave and covet Him, they will still not want, or will not be able to—with that power of theirs—to give the measure of awakening from below that is needed for an awakening from above. This is something about which the Creator has never made allowances, since days of old until this day and always, for “He has given an unbreakable law.”

It is said about it, “In full measure, when You send her away, You contend with her.” The Creator measures a person one portion at a time. It is also written, “For the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet full,” referring also to our topic. The iniquity of the Amorite is the Klipa [shell/peel] that keeps and surrounds the fruit, called “awakening from above,” or “the land of Israel.” That Klipa will not move from its place even as a hairsbreadth before Israel complement entirely the necessary measure of awakening from below, called “merit,” meaning the labor and exertion beyond human capability.

Anything that one can do is merely called “work”; it is still not considered “labor.” When Israel reach that point, they complement their amount, and then it is called “The iniquity of the Amorite is full.” In other words, it is evident that the land of Israel and the glory of the Creator, being the Shechina [Divinity], do not belong to them.

Then they break that Klipa called “Amorite,” and raise the Shechina from the dust, and not a moment sooner, as in the verse. This is the meaning of the explicit number, four hundred years, which shows the great precision in that matter, that there are no concessions here at all. As our sages said, the matter of skipping over the end, which was mandatory and obligatory for Israel, that skipping caused all the exiles to this day.

It is also known that the general and particular are equal. That is, in each one from Israel, concerning his soul, there is the matter of coming to the land, and all that is said concerning the whole of Israel, and that in his awakening from below there is that same number, 400 years, which is 400 of death, and 400 of life. Our sages said that the meaning of 400 years of enslavement refers to the place in which he is permitted to pay back the measure of his labor precisely, for in that there are no concessions even as a hairsbreadth.

This is why our sages said, “I did not labor and found, do not believe,” and also, “The Torah exists only in one who puts himself to death over it,” as well as “He who wishes to live shall put himself to death,” and many others likewise.

In contrast, they said, “I labored and did not find? Do not believe,” for they knew that that wicked SAM, whose lore is in his hand to show that it is possible to find the Creator’s salvation without labor beyond human capability, by which one is made to release one’s grip on the awakening from below and is repelled each day into a great abyss.

Afterward, when he returns and recognizes his falsehood and finds his faith in the words of our sages—that the lack of labor and awakening from below had lowered him to the netherworld, he therefore wishes to strengthen himself and dedicate himself to serving the Creator—he promptly returns to him with new heresy, that labor, too, does not help at all because He, God forbid, does not hear the prayer of every mouth. That is, he has pre-prepared proofs to show that there are those who exert but do not find at all. This is why they warned, “I labored and did not find, do not believe.”

Thus, I have shown you the web in which the robbed souls that have no comfort are judged, meaning that mistake in interpreting the word, “labor.” However, truthful is the verse, “They who seek Me shall find Me.”

I still see much evil in the world, where those caught in the web of the Sitra Achra labor needlessly, which is only a depiction of punishment. That is, it does not join the count of 400 years whatsoever, and for this my heart aches more than anything.

About the such, a person should brace himself with prayer, “May He grant, etc., that we will not labor in vain,” for it requires great success in that matter.

You should also know that the labor and exertion that appear in one’s heart during the prayer is the most reliable and most guaranteed to reach its goal than any other matter in reality.

Yehuda Leib