Table of contents
Yehuda Leib Ha-Levi Ashlag (Baal HaSulam)/Shamati
The Advantage of a Land
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 Kippurim 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 Quench 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 as a Burnt Offering 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 Descen
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

34. The Advantage of a Land

I heard on Tevet, 1942

It is known that nothing appears in its true form, only through its opposite, “As the advantage of the light from within the darkness.” This means that everything points to another, and by the opposite of something, the existence of its opposite can be perceived.

Hence, it is impossible to attain something in complete clarity if its parallel is absent. For example, it is impossible to estimate and say that something is good, if its opposite, pointing to the bad, is missing. It is the same with bitterness and sweetness, love and hate, hunger and satiation, thirst and saturation, separation and adhesion. It turns out that it is impossible to come to love adhesion prior to acquiring the hate of separation.

To be rewarded with the degree of hating separation, one must first know what is separation, meaning from what he is separated, and then it is possible to say that he wants to correct that separation. In other words, one should examine from what and from whom he has become separated. After this he can try to mend it and connect himself to the one from whom he has become separated. If, for example, he understands that he will benefit from joining with Him, then he can assume and know what is the loss if he remains separated.

Gain and loss are measured according to the pleasure and the suffering. One hates and stays away from something that causes him suffering. The measure of the distance depends on the measure of the suffering, since it is human nature to escape from suffering. Hence, one depends on the other, meaning that to the extent of the suffering, one exerts and does all kinds of actions so as to move away from it. In other words, the torments cause hatred for the thing that induces torments, and to that extent he moves away.

It follows that one should know what is equivalence of form in order to know what he must do to achieve adhesion, called “equivalence of form.” By this he will come to know what are disparity of form and separation.

It is known from books and from authors that the Creator is benevolent. This means that His guidance appears to the lower ones as good and doing good, and this is what we must believe.

Therefore, when one examines the conducts of the world, and begins to examine himself or others, how they suffer under Providence instead of delighting, as is fitting for His Name—The Good Who Does Good—in that state, it is hard for him to say that Providence is behaving in a manner of good and doing good and imparts them with abundance.

However, we must know that in that state, when they cannot say that the Creator imparts only good, they are considered wicked because suffering makes them condemn their Maker. Only when they see that the Creator imparts them with pleasures do they justify the Creator. It is as our sages said, “Who is righteous? He who justifies his Maker,” meaning he who says that the Creator leads the world in a manner of righteousness.

Thus, when one suffers, he becomes far from the Creator since he naturally becomes hateful of He who imparts him torments. Consequently, where one should have loved the Creator, he now becomes the opposite, for he has come to hate the Creator.

Accordingly, what should one do in order to come to love the Creator? For this purpose we are given the remedy of engaging in Torah and Mitzvot [commandments], for the light in it reforms him. There is light there which lets him feel the severity of the state of separation. Bit by bit, as one aims to acquire the light of Torah, hatred for separation is created in him. He begins to feel the reason that causes him and his soul to be separated and far from the Creator.

Thus, one must believe that His guidance is benevolent, but since he is immersed in self-love, it induces disparity of form in him, since there was a correction called “in order to bestow,” and it is called “equivalence of form.” Only in this manner can we receive this delight and pleasure. The inability to receive the delight and pleasure that the Creator wants to give evokes in the receiver hatred for separation, and then he can discern the great benefit from equivalence of form, and then he begins to yearn for adhesion.

In turns out that every form points to another form. Thus, all the descents where one feels that he has come to separation are an opportunity to discern between something and its opposite. In other words, from the descents, one should learn the benefits of the ascents. Otherwise, he would be unable to appreciate the importance of being brought near from above, and the ascents that he is given. He would not be able to extract the importance that he could extract, as when one is given food without ever having felt hunger.

It turns out that the descents, which are the times of separation, create the importance of adhesion in the ascents, while the ascents make him hate the descents that the separation causes him. In other words, he cannot assess how bad the descents are, when he slanders Providence and does not even feel whom he slanders, to know that he must repent for such a grave sin. This is called “slandering the Creator.”

It follows that precisely when one has both forms he can discern the distance between one and the other, “As the advantage of the light from within the darkness.” Only then can he assess and appreciate the matter of adhesion by which the delight and pleasure in the thought of creation can be acquired, being “His desire to do good to His creations.” Everything that appears to our eyes is but what the Creator wants us to attain the way we do, since they are ways by which to achieve the complete goal.

Yet, it is not so simple to merit adhesion with the Creator. It requires great effort and exertion to acquire the sensation and feeling of delight and pleasure. Before this, one must justify Providence, believe above reason that the Creator behaves with the creatures in a manner of good and doing good, and say, “They have eyes but they see not.”

Our sages say, “Habakkuk came and ascribed them to one,” as it is written, “The righteous shall live by his faith.” It means that one need not engage in details, but concentrate his entire work on a single point, a rule, which is faith in the Creator. This is what he should pray for, meaning for the Creator to help him to be able to go with faith above reason. There is power in the faith: Through it, one comes to hate the separation. This is considered that faith indirectly makes him hate the separation.

We see that there is a great difference between faith, seeing, and knowing. Something that can be seen and known, if the mind asserts that it is worthwhile to do that thing and he decides on it once, that decision is enough regarding that thing that he decided on. In other words, he executes according to how he had decided. This is so because the mind accompanies him in every single act so as not to break what the mind had told him, and lets him understand by one hundred percent, to the extent that the mind brought him to the decision he has reached.

However, faith is a matter of potential agreement. In other words, he overpowers the mind and says that it is indeed worthwhile to work as faith asserts to work—above reason. Hence, faith above reason is useful only during the act, when he believes. Only then is he willing to exert above reason in the work.

Conversely, when he leaves faith for but a moment, meaning when faith weakens for a brief moment, he immediately ceases the Torah and the work. It does not help him that a short while ago he took upon himself the burden of faith above reason.

However, when he perceives in his mind that this is a bad thing for him, that it is something that risks his life, he needs no repetitive explanations and reasoning why it is a dangerous thing. Rather, since he once fully realized in his mind that he should practice these things, of which the mind tells him specifically which is bad and which is good, now he follows that decision.

We see the difference between what the mind asserts and what only faith asserts, and what is the reason that when something is based on faith, we must constantly remember the form of the faith, otherwise he falls from his degree into a state suitable for one who is wicked. These states might happen even in a single day: One may fall from his degree many times in one day since it is impossible that faith above reason will not stop even for a moment during one day.

We must know that the reason for forgetting the faith stems from the fact that faith above the reason and the mind is against all the desires of the body. Since the desires of the body come by the nature imprinted in us, called “will to receive,” whether in the mind or in the heart, hence, the body always draws us to our nature. Only when we cling to faith does it have the power to bring us out of the bodily desires and go above reason, meaning against the body’s reason.

Hence, before one acquires vessels of bestowal, called Dvekut [adhesion], faith cannot be in him on a permanent basis. When faith does not shine for him, he sees that he is in the lowest possible state, and it all comes to him because of the disparity of form, which is the will to receive for himself. This separation causes him all the torments, ruins all the buildings and all the efforts he had put into the work.

He sees that the minute he loses faith, he is in a worse state than when he started on the path of work in bestowal. In this way, one acquires hatred for the separation since he immediately begins to feel torments in himself and in the entire world. It becomes hard for him to justify His Providence over the creatures, that it is in the form of good and doing good. At that time, he feels that the whole world has grown dark on him and he has nothing from which to derive joy.

Hence, every time he begins to correct the flaw of slandering Providence, he receives hatred for the separation. Through the hatred he feels in the separation, he comes to love Dvekut. In other words, to the extent that he suffers during the separation, so he draws nearer to Dvekut with the Creator. Similarly, to the extent that he feels the darkness as bad, he comes to feel that Dvekut is good. Then he knows how to value it when he receives some Dvekut, for the time being, and then knows how to appreciate it.

Now we can see that all the torments that exist in the world are but preparation for the real torments. These are the torments that one must reach, or he will not be able to acquire anything spiritual, as there is no light without a Kli [vessel]. These torments, the real torments, are called “condemnation of Providence and slandering.” This is what one prays for, to not slander Providence, and these are the torments that the Creator accepts. This is the meaning of the Creator hearing the prayer of every mouth.

The reason the Creator responds to these torments is that then one does not ask for help for his own vessels of reception, since we can say that if the Creator grants him everything he wishes, it might make him farther from the Creator due to the disparity of form that he would thus acquire. Rather, it is to the contrary: One asks for faith, for the Creator to give him the strength to prevail so he can be awarded equivalence of form, for he sees that by not having permanent faith, meaning when faith does not shine for him, he comes to doubt Providence, and he comes to a state called “wicked,” that he condemns his Maker.

It turns out that all the suffering he feels is because he slanders Providence. It therefore follows that what hurts him is that where he should have been praising the Creator, saying “Blessed is He who has created us in His Glory,” meaning that the creatures respect the Creator, he sees that the world’s conduct is unfitting for His glory, since everyone complains and demands that first it should be open Providence that the Creator leads the world in a manner of good and doing good. Since it is not revealed, they are saying that this Providence does not glorify Him, and that pains him.

Thus, by the torment one feels, he is compelled to slander. Hence, when he asks of the Creator to impart him the power of faith and to be rewarded with the quality of good and doing good, it is not because he wants to receive good so as to delight himself. Rather, it is so he will not slander; this is what pains him. For himself, he wants to believe above reason that the Creator leads the world in a manner of good and doing good, and he wants his faith to settle in the sensation as though it is within reason.

Therefore, when he practices Torah and Mitzvot, he wants to extend the light of the Creator not for his own benefit, but since he cannot bear not being able to justify His guidance, that it is in a manner of good and doing good. It pains him that he desecrates the name of the Creator, whose name is The Good Who Does Good, and his body claims otherwise.

This is all that pains him since by being in a state of separation, he cannot justify His guidance. This is considered hating the state of separation. And when he feels this suffering, the Creator hears his prayer, brings him near Him, and he is rewarded with Dvekut, for the pains that he feels from the separation make him be rewarded with Dvekut; and then it is said, “As the advantage of the light from within the darkness.”

This is the meaning of “The advantage of a land in everything.” Land is creation; “in everything” means that by the advantage, meaning when we see the difference between the state of separation and the state of Dvekut, through it we are granted Dvekut with the everything, since the Creator is called “the root of everything.”