What Is, “A Cup of Blessing Must Be Full,” in the Work?
Article 38, 1990
It is written in The Zohar (Pinhas, Item 630), “‘Full,’ which is said regarding a cup of blessing, is as it is written, ‘A cup full of the blessing of the Lord.’ So a man should be whole, as it is written, ‘And Jacob came whole.’ There must not be any flaw in it, for ‘all that has a blemish will not approach.’ Likewise, the letters Aleph-Lamed-Mem [mute] with Yod-Hey are the letters of Elokim [God], are as the count of ‘cup,’ namely eighty-six [in Gematria]. For this reason, the cup must be full, for if you reverse the word Ilem [Aleph-Lamed-Mem, mute], you will find Maleh [full], for the [word] ‘cup,’ in Gematria, is ‘full,’ Yod-Hey.”
We should understand the following:
1) What does it imply that when wine is poured into a cup and it is full, it is called “a cup full of the blessing of the Creator”? This means that if the cup is not filled with wine, the blessing of the Creator cannot be?
2) Why does it say, “So a man should be whole,” like the cup with the wine? What does it add to us by this? After all, if the cup is already filled with the blessing of the Creator, why does man also need to be like that, implying that otherwise he cannot receive the blessing? Therefore, with regard to whom is the cup called “blessing of the Creator”? Does the cup need the blessing?
3) The most perplexing is what he says, that man should be whole, as it is written, “All that has a blemish will not approach.” This implies that one who has a flaw can no longer approach the Creator. This means that one who is missing a limb can no longer approach the Creator and must stay far from the Creator and has no freedom of choice.
4) What does it imply that he says Ilem [mute] and Maleh [full] are the same letters, that a cup in Gematria is Maleh Yod-Hey [filled with the Creator]?
To understand all the above, we must remember the whole order of the work that we were given to do, as it is written, “Which God has created to do.” We said several times that there are two opposite discernments before us, which are called 1) the purpose of creation, which is His desire to do good to His creations, meaning for the creatures to receive delight and pleasure, 2) the correction of creation, for the creatures to strive to bestow upon the Creator, so He will enjoy. That is, the will to receive for oneself wants to enjoy, and the Creator gave him this desire, but he relinquishes this desire and wants only for the Creator to enjoy.
It follows that the two are opposites. Hence, it is hard work to achieve such a desire called “desire to bestow contentment upon one’s Maker,” and relinquish the desire for self-benefit.
In order to be able to emerge from the control of the will to receive, we must begin in Lo Lishma [not for Her sake], meaning for our own benefit. In other words, by observing Torah and Mitzvot [commandments/good deeds], he will be rewarded in this world, as it is written in The Zohar, that he will have life, health, and sustenance. Otherwise, he will not be able to enjoy the corporeal life in this world. When a person believes this, he has someone who compels him to observe the Torah and Mitzvot. This is called “believing in reward and punishment, meaning that he observes Torah and Mitzvot because he is afraid of punishment and expects to receive reward.
Sometimes the reward and punishment are expressed in a person as reward and punishment in the next world, where there are the Garden of Eden and Hell, and this is the reason compelling him to observe Torah and Mitzvot. And since from Lo Lishma we come to Lishma [for Her sake], meaning that the light in the Torah illuminates to him that there is a different manner of reward and punishment—where the reward is to be rewarded with Dvekut [adhesion] with the Creator. At that time, he can feel the greatness of the King, that this is the reward he expects, and he regards as punishment when he sees and feels that he is separated from the Life of Lives and that he is far from the Creator. This, to him, is the biggest punishment.
It follows that even when a person already has some sensation of Torah and Mitzvot, which the Lo Lishma has caused him, when sometimes he begins to feel a little bit of the greatness of the Creator, this causes him to want to annul before Him as a candle before a torch. At that time, a person cannot understand why he wants to annul before Him now, and annul all of his own reality before the Creator. Rather, this comes to him as though it is a natural thing, meaning that even though he does not understand what is being done with him now—that he wants to annul—but in reality, so it is. This is called “an awakening from above,” where a person’s hand does not reach. “Hand” means attainment, from the words “When a hand attains,” meaning that a person does not understand why he wants to completely annul before Him.
However, later, when the awakening departs from him, a person begins to yearn to achieve annulment before the Creator, and wants to obtain the feeling he had while in ascent, but now he begins to see how far he is from this, and all his organs resist such ideas as annulling self-benefit and that all his concerns will be how to bring contentment to his Maker.
At that time, he sees that the world has grown dark on him. He cannot find a place from which to receive vitality, and then he sees that he is in a state of descent and lowliness. When he comes to such a descent, he sees that no one has such bad thoughts. However, one should believe in the sages that such thoughts come from above, meaning that from above, they want this person who now wants to approach the Creator to suffer descents because by having descents, he will feel the need for the Creator to lift him.
This is as it is written, “He lifts the indigent from the trash.” That is, precisely when he feels that he is in the trash, meaning that all those things that he regarded as trash, as animal food, who eat the waste that people throw in the trash, and of which they say that it is food that is unfit for human consumption, as he himself says during an ascent.
But now that the Creator wants to bring him closer, a person should feel his lack, and then he can receive a filling for the lack. It follows that precisely when a person is in the trash and from there searches for his food, when he sees to what state he has come after all the labor he has given in order to obtain the desire to bestow contentment upon his Maker, then he can make an earnest prayer. Yet, a person does not always have the strength to believe.
However, when a person is already standing near the place from which he will receive the help from above, and “near” means that the Kli [vessel], meaning the desire to bestow, is far away from him, then he sees that only the Creator can save him. As Baal HaSulam said, this is the most important point in man’s work, for then he has close contact with the Creator because he sees one hundred percent that nothing can help him but the Creator Himself.
Although he believes this, still, this faith does not always illuminate for him that specifically now is the best time to receive the salvation of the Creator, that specifically now he can be saved and the Creator will bring him closer, meaning give him the desire to bestow and emerge from the control of self-love, which is called “exodus from Egypt.” In other words, he comes out of the control of the Egyptians, who afflicted Israel and did not let them do the holy work. “And the children of Israel sighed from the work, and their cry rose up to God,” and then the Creator brought them out from the exile in Egypt.
In other words, since the people of Israel felt the enslavement and wanted to escape from this exile that the Egyptians were enslaving them, when they came to this important point of feeling their lowliness, the Creator brought them out of Egypt. This is as the ARI says, that when the people of Israel were in Egypt, they were already in forty-nine gates of Tuma’a [impurity], and then the Creator brought them out from Egypt.
This means that they already came to the worst lowliness, the lowest that can be, and then the Creator brought them out.
It follows that when a person sees that he is in utter lowliness, he should believe that specifically now is the time when the Creator will bring him closer. And if the faith does not shine for him then, on the spot, he escapes the campaign.
It follows that the whole order of the labor that He has given is seemingly for nothing. But later, he is given another awakening from above, and once again he forgets what he had during the descent, and thinks once more that he will no longer have descents, and so on repeatedly. A person needs great mercy in order not to escape the campaign. Although he uses the counsels that our sages said, “I have created the evil inclination; I have created the Torah as a spice,” but the person says that he has already used this advice several times to no avail.
He also says that he has already used the advice “He who comes to purify is aided,” and it is as though all the counsels are not for him. Thus, he does not know what to do. This is the worst state for a person, meaning he wants to escape from these states but has nowhere to run. At that time he suffers torments at being between despair and confidence. But then a person says, “Where will I turn?”
At that time, the only advice is prayer. Yet, this prayer is also without any guarantee, so it follows that then he must pray to believe that the Creator does hear a prayer, and everything that one feels in these states is to his benefit. But this can be only above reason, meaning although the mind tells him, “After all the calculations, you see that nothing can help you,” he should believe this, too, above reason, that the Creator can deliver him from the will to receive for himself, in return for which he will receive the desire to bestow. Then, when a person receives from the Creator the desire to bestow, he becomes whole with the Creator, meaning he has been rewarded with equivalence of form, which is called “unification.”
At that time, a person is considered “unblemished,” since all of man’s blemishes are that he has bad thoughts about spirituality. That is, instead of feeling the importance of Kedusha [holiness], that it is something very important, when he wants to annul before Him, when he has love of the Creator because of the yearning for the Creator, to him it is the opposite. That is, he feels the resistance of the body.
All this comes for lack of faith in the greatness of the Creator, and how can he approach the Creator with the blemishes he has within him? This is the meaning of what we asked, How did they say that one who has a blemish shall not approach? for it means that he no longer has any choice to be able to approach the Creator. In other words, the verse, “therefore choose life,” was not said about him. Can this be said?
However, in the work, we should say that a “blemish” means a lack, meaning lack of faith in the Creator. Thus, “all that has a blemish will not approach,” meaning cannot approach the Creator. Instead, first he must correct his blemishes, meaning do good deeds with the aim to be rewarded with faith in the Creator, that He watches over the world as The Good Who Does Good.
Now we will explain what we asked why it is implied that “a cup of blessing should be filled with wine,” otherwise it is not regarded as a cup of blessing. And he says, “So a man should be whole.” But what is the connection between the cup and the man, that if the cup must be full, so should man be whole?
The answer is that the cup is the Kli in which wine is placed. A Kli is called “a lack,” and in the lack enters the filling. Wine is called “abundance,” and with respect to the abundance, there is never a lack, since “Nothing is missing in the King’s house,” and as it is written, “I the Lord do not change,” meaning that there is never a deficit in the light. Rather, everything depends on the receiving Kelim [vessels], so they are complete Kelim and not broken ones.
As we learned, there was the matter of the breaking of the vessels, where from the breaking of the vessels emerged the Klipot [shells/peels]. The breaking of the vessels means that just as when a physical vessel breaks, if you place a liquid in the Kli, it all spills out, so it is in spirituality: If the cup, called a Kli, is not full, but the Kli is deficient with the Creator, the abundance exits to the outer ones, namely to the Klipot.
The intimation that the cup must be full means that the cup should be in equivalence of form with the abundance that comes from the Giver. Then the cup can be full and the abundance will not go to the external ones. In order to understand the intimation, they added and said, “so a man should be whole” and there will be no flaw in him. This is when the cup is called “a cup of blessing.”
In other words, man, who is the Kli that should receive the abundance of blessing, should be whole with the Creator. This means that all of man’s concerns should be only about the benefit of the Creator and not about his own benefit. This is called “a complete cup,” implying that man should be complete, and then the cup can be full.
In other words, if the Kli, called “cup,” implying to the receiving individual, the blessing can be full in the Kli, and it does not spill over from the blessing, meaning the Kli, to the outer ones, who are the Klipot. Rather, everything stays in Kedusha, since man has no blemish, for a blemish in spirituality means that there is a mixture of will to receive. If a person has corrected himself from all the flaws, which is the will to receive for himself, what remains is a cup full of the blessing of the Creator and no abundance flows out to the external ones.
Now we will explain what he says, Ilem [mute] with Yod-Hey is the letters Elokim [God], and it is the same number as “cup” [in Gematria]; hence, a cup must be full, for if you invert the [letters of the] word Ilem you will find Maleh [full]. We should understand what this implies to us.
The ARI explains the Lord, God [Elokim] after the name of the Kli that is fit to receive the abundance, called “light.” He says that the order of scrutinies is that the sparks and Kelim must be raised from BYA to Atzilut for Ibur [impregnation] in Ima. At that time, 320 sparks ascend, comprising thirty-two Behinot [discernments], where each Behina [singular of Behinot] comprises ten, thus 320 Behinot.
The breaking occurred because of Malchut of the quality of judgment that was in each Malchut in each of the thirty-two paths. Hence, the first correction was that Abba, called Hochma, sorted and removed the Malchut of each Behina. This is regarded as removing the Malchut in each path, which is called Peh [mouth], which is Malchut, from which the degree is revealed and shines.
This is as he says in The Study of the Ten Sefirot (Part 12, Item 246): “The Ubar [embryo] does not speak at all, for it is Ilem, from Elokim. Hence, it is mute, devoid of speech. This is the meaning of ‘Or who makes him mute.’” And it is written (The Study of the Ten Sefirot, Part 12, Item 221), “Now (at the time of Yenika [nursing]), they will be filled with the letters Yod-Hey and become complete Elokim.”
We should discern between speech and mute in the work. Speech means revealing, when a person already has Yenika in spirituality, and he feels that he is nursing from Kedusha, for nursing on milk indicates Hassadim, for the quality of Hesed [mercy] is bestowal, when a person is rewarded with vessels of bestowal and all his actions are for the sake of the Creator and he has no concerns for his own benefit. This is regarded as the quality of Hesed.
However, before the Yenika there is Ibur, meaning that the upper one corrects him. This can be when a person is like an embryo in its mother’s womb, where the embryo annuls before the mother and has no view of its own, but as our sages said, “An embryo is its mother’s thigh, eats what its mother eats,” and has no authority of its own to ask any questions. Rather, it does not merit a name. This is called “mute,” when he has no mouth to ask questions.
This is so when a person can go with his eyes shut, above reason, and believe in the sages and go all the way. This is called Ibur, when he has no mouth. Ibur means as it is written (The Study of the Ten Sefirot, Part 8, Item 17), “The level of Malchut, which is the most restricted Katnut [smallness/infancy] possible, is called Ibur. It comes from the words Evra [anger] and Dinin [Aramaic: judgments], as it is written, ‘And the Lord was impregnated in me for your sake.’”
We should interpret the meaning of “anger and judgments.” When a person must go with this eyes shut, above reason, the body resists this work. Hence, the fact that a person always has to overcome, this is called “anger, wrath, and trouble,” since it is hard work to always overcome and annul before the upper one, for the upper one to do with him what the upper one wants. This is called Ibur, which is the most restricted Katnut possible.
The correction is as our sages said, “Abba, who is Hochma, gives the white,” meaning he whitens the lower one from its will to receive, so a person begins to feel that the will to receive is waste, as it is written, “Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow.” At that time, it is considered that “His mother gives the red,” meaning that Bina is called “light of Hassadim,” which is the light that comes into vessels of bestowal. That is, once a person has come to know that the will to receive is called “waste,” he receives the desire to bestow. All this is considered that the upper one works and the lower one annuls itself without any criticism. This is regarded as having no “mouth,” and this is called “mute,” which means he has no mouth.
Afterward come the states of “birth” and Yenika [nursing]. At that time, he already has a mouth, meaning that he has his own authority and he already knows what he is doing. He already has permission to make his own choices, which is regarded as being on his own. This is regarded as receiving Ruach, which illuminates when he already has his own authority in Kedusha. But in Ibur, he had only Nefesh, from the word Nefisha [rest/stillness], meaning still, which has no independent movement but the upper one moves it in every action.
At that time, he receives a complete name from Elokim, meaning that being in Ibur, Ilem [mute] from Elokim [God], meaning that he did not have his own authority, that he owned the work, but rather everything was attributed to the upper one. When he was born and has his own Yenika in Kedusha, he is a full name of Elokim. This is the intimation that that which was mute from its own perspective, has now become full. That is, he has been rewarded with Yod-Hey from Elokim, which implies a complete name, “cup” in Gematria, which is the number four—Elokim, which is 86—and then the cup is full.
In other words, when a person has corrected himself into the domain of Kedusha, it is called “a complete Kli,” and this is called “a cup of blessing,” meaning that the blessing can already be in it, since the Kli is corrected so that everything that it receives will remain in Kedusha.
By this we understand what it implies that the cup should be filled with wine. It implies to us that the abundance will remain in the Kli and nothing will spill out from there to the outer ones. Rather, everything will be in order to bestow. It follows that when speaking of the Mitzvot, it all pertains to branch and root. This is why a cup of blessing must be full, which implies to spirituality, meaning the order of man’s work to achieve the purpose of creation.