“If he performs one Mitzva [commandment], he is happy, for he has sentenced himself and the whole world to the side of merit.”
There is no serving the Creator and observing the Mitzvot [commandments] except Lishma [for Her sake]—meaning to bring contentment to one’s Maker. Yet, our sages have already instructed to engage in Torah and Mitzvot even Lo Lishma [not for Her sake], since “from Lo Lishma he will come to Lishma”… I say that the first and only Mitzva that guarantees the achievement of the aspiration to attain Lishma is to resolve not to work for oneself, apart for the necessary works—merely to provide for one’s sustenance. In the rest of the time, he will work for the public: to save the oppressed, and every being in the world that needs salvation and benefit.
There are two advantages to this Mitzva: 1) Each one will understand that he is working because this work is approved and agreeable to all the people in the world. 2) This Mitzva may better qualify him to observe Torah and Mitzvot Lishma, since the preparation is part of the goal. This is so because by accustoming oneself to serving people, one benefits others and not oneself. Thus, one gradually becomes fit to observe the Mitzvot of the Creator under the required condition—to benefit the Creator and not himself. Naturally, the intention should be to observe the Mitzvot of the Creator.
There are two parts to the Torah: one concerns man and the Creator, and the other concerns man and man. And I call upon you, at any rate, to engage and assume that which concerns man and man, for by this you will also learn the part that concerns man and the Creator.
Work, of any kind, should include thought, speech, and action.
We have already explained the “practical” part of the one Mitzva: One should agree to dedicate all of one’s free time to benefit the people in the world. The aspect of “thought” is more imperative in this Mitzva than in Mitzvot relating to man and the Creator since in Mitzvot between man and the Creator, the “act” in itself testifies that the intention is to benefit one’s Maker, as there is no other room for such an action but Him.
Yet, with what concerns man and man, they are justified in and of themselves, since human conscience necessitates them. However, if one performs them from this perspective, he has not done a thing. In others words, these actions will not bring him closer to the Creator and to actual work Lishma.
Thus, each person should think that he is doing all this only to bring contentment to his Maker and to resemble His ways: As He is merciful, so I am merciful, and as He always imparts good, so do I. This image, coupled with good deeds, will bring him closer to the Creator in a way that will equalize his form with spirituality and with Kedusha [holiness], and he will become like a seal, fit to receive the true Higher Abundance.
The “speech” refers to the prayer in the mouth—during the work and in fixed times—for the Creator to turn one’s heart from reception to bestowal. Also, it is contemplating the Torah and matters that promote achieving it.
It is hopeless to wait for a time when a solution is found that enables one to begin the work of the Creator in Lishma. As in the past, so is now, and so will it be: Every servant of the Creator must begin the work in Lo Lishma, and from that achieve Lishma.
The way to achieve this degree is not limited by time, but by his qualifiers, and by the measure of one’s control over one’s heart. Hence, many have fallen and will fall in the field of working Lo Lishma, and will die without wisdom. Yet, their reward is nevertheless great, since one’s mind cannot appreciate the true merit and value of bringing contentment to one’s Maker. Even if one works not under this condition, since one is not worthy of another way, one still brings contentment to one’s Maker. This is called “unintentionally.”
Since it is an absolute certainty, the prophetic abundance must be received in those combinations of letters completely suitable for the spirit of beginners, that is, to benefit them and to be open to the self-interest of that generation. Only then is it guaranteed that the word of the Creator is accepted by the generation in the form of Lo Lishma, for the Creator did not prepare them in any other way.
Hence, this is the sign of a true prophet: His prophecy is best suited for the physical success of his contemporaries, as it is written, “And what great nation has statutes and ordinances so righteous as all this law which I set before you today?” It is so because the nearness of the physical success will confirm their truthfulness, that in the end, this is indeed the entry point.
The 613 Mitzvot, considered the holy Names, are private Providence for all who approach the reception of the Godly abundance. One must experience all these orders without a single exception. Hence, the complete ones crave them with their hearts and souls, to keep them down to their corporeal branches, as it is written, “In every place where I mention My name, I will come to you and bless you.”
Earlier sages chose a private way for themselves, and I have chosen a general way, since in my view, it better suits the Godly matter to be clothed in eternal letter combinations that will never change. I wish to say that with physical success, they will not change at any place or at any time. For this reason, my words are limited.
Because of the above reason, I was compelled to express spirituality in a general manner. Yet, instead, I chose to explain all the details and spiritual combinations down to very small details, which have no other source or origin other than this collective, meaning the purity of Kabbalah. And since I clarify the spiritual details without clothing in corporeal combinations, it will do much good to the development of attainment. This wisdom is called “the wisdom of truth.”
There cannot be mistakes or lies in prophecy, as how can there be a mistake in the light of truth that stems from the Creator? Rather, it is as certain as the rain and snow that fall from the sky on the ground and do not return there until their mission is successfully accomplished. Yet, there is a difference in the receiver, in the ground: Soil that has been prepared by stone removal and by plowing is better suited to receive than unprepared soil. Everything depends on the preparation.
Also, there are certainly differences in the receiving prophets. One is not at the same degree as the other. This greatness or smallness is measured by the preparation in that prophet: One in a lower degree due to absence of superb preparation will necessarily miss some inclination in the course of the light that pours upon him, of which it could be said that the light of prophecy does not suffer any mistakes. Yet, one’s smallness causes him multiplication in letter combinations, which is multiplication of conduits and vessels until he attains prophecy.
Although the truth in the prophecy ultimately appears in the desirable success, a prophet of a smaller degree still compels a longer way upon the people to whom he was sent. Conversely, one of a great degree, whose preparation is more complete, will suffer no deflection upon receiving one’s prophecy from the Creator. Hence, he will not multiply the vessels and conduits, for which his prophecy will be clear, concise, and easily accepted by those to whom he was sent.
Besides the above words, it is possible for the smallest of prophets to succeed in his prophecy even more than the greatest prophet—concerning the above-mentioned speed—since he relies on revelations of prior prophets who paved his way for him. Obviously, it also depends on the development of his listeners, since clear and concise words require a more developed generation, so they can understand him. If these two additions are added to one of small degree, he can succeed far more than a great one.
Although Moses received the Torah and the laws for all the generations, to such an extent that the prophet is not entitled to make any innovations, his prophecy was only given for a time. This is supported by the verse, “A prophet from the midst of you, from your brothers, like Me, will the Lord your God raise up for you, and to him you will listen.” If Moses’ prophecy were enough for all eternity, why would the Creator raise other prophets like him? Clearly, his prophecy was effective only for its time. When that time is through, the Creator sends another prophet to continue and complete His will.
Yet, the prophet is not permitted to renew or take away anything, for this would mean that there was a deficiency in the prior prophet. Rather, the words of the Creator are always complete, as it is written, “I am the first, and I am the last.” Rather, his only task is to extend that same prophecy to those generations that are no longer worthy of receiving from the first.
And the last prophet is the Messiah, who completes them all. He, too, is certainly not permitted to add or take away, but his success will be greater, since the whole generation will be fit to accept his words and be completed through him. This is so for two above reasons: either because of their greatness, or because of his contemporaries, or because of both.
The essence of prophetic success is to extend the upper light to the dwellers below. The one who brings it the lowest is the most successful. Above and below are measured in spirit and in physical benefit, since the physicality obtained by prophecy is the point that gives people footing, and it is known that the focal point in the work of the Creator is the first footing.
Their uniqueness is the unity of the Creator and the Shechina [Divinity]. A particular force is the prohibition on reception down to the lowest degree. The general force is increase of bestowal to the point of “with all his heart and soul.”