Table of contents
Yehuda Leib Ha-Levi Ashlag (Baal HaSulam)/Shamati
What Is the Day of the Lord and the Night of the Lord, in the Work?
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

16. What Is the Day of the Lord and the Night of the Lord, in the Work?

I heard in 1941, Jerusalem

Our sages said about the verse, “Woe unto you who desire the day of the Lord! Why do you need the day of the Lord? It is darkness, and not light” (Amos 5): “There is an allegory about a rooster and a bat that were awaiting the light. The rooster said to the bat, ‘I am waiting for the light since the light is mine. But you, why do you need its light?’” (Sanhedrin 98b). The interpretation is that since the bat has no eyes to see, what does it gain from the sunlight? On the contrary, to one who has no eyes, sunlight only makes it darker.

We must understand that allegory, meaning how the eyes are connected to looking in the light of the Creator, which the text names “the day of the Lord.” They gave an allegory in that regard about a bat, that one who has no eyes remains in the dark.

We must also understand what is the day of the Lord, what is the night of the Lord, and what is the difference between them. We discern the day of people by the sunrise, but with the day of the Lord, in what do we discern it?

The answer is, as the appearance of the sun. In other words, when the sun shines on the ground, we call it “day.” When the sun does not shine, it is called “darkness.” It is the same with the Creator. A day is called “revelation,” and darkness is called “concealment of the face.”

This means that when there is revelation of the face, when it is as clear as day for a person, this is called “a day.” It is as our sages said about the verse, “‘The murderer rises at daytime to kill the poor and indigent; and in the night, he is as a thief.’ Since he said, ‘and in the night, he is as a thief,’ it follows that light is day. He says there, that if the matter is as clear to you as light that comes over the souls, he is a murderer, and it is possible to save him in his soul” (Psachim 2). Thus, we see that in the matter of “day,” the Gemara says that it is a matter as clear as day.

It follows that the day of the Lord will mean that the guidance by which the Creator leads the world will be clearly in the form of good and doing good. For example, when one prays, his prayer is immediately answered and he receives what he has prayed for, and one succeeds wherever one turns. This is called “the day of the Lord.”

Conversely, darkness, which is night, will mean concealment of the face. This brings one doubts in the guidance of good and doing good, and foreign thoughts. In other words, the concealment of the guidance brings one all these foreign views and thoughts. This is called “night” and “darkness,” meaning that one experiences a state where he feels that the world has turned dark on him.

Now we can interpret what is written, “Woe unto you who desire the day of the Lord! Why do you need the day of the Lord? It is darkness, and not light.” The thing is that those who await the day of the Lord, it means that they are waiting to be imparted faith above reason, that faith will be so strong, as if they see with their eyes, with certainty, that it is so, that the Creator watches over the world in a manner of good and doing good.

In other words, they do not want to see how the Creator leads the world as The Good Who Does Good, since seeing is contradictory to faith. In other words, faith is precisely where it is against reason. And when one does what is against one’s reason, this is called “faith above reason.”

This means that they believe that the guidance of the Creator over the creatures is in a manner of good and doing good. While they do not see it with absolute certainty, they do not say to the Creator, “We want to see the quality of good and doing good as seeing within reason.” Rather, they want it to remain in them as faith above reason, but they ask of the Creator to give them such strength that this faith will be so strong, as if they see it within reason, that there will be no difference between faith and knowledge in the mind. This is what they, those who want to adhere to the Creator, refer to as “the day of the Lord.”

In other words, if they feel it as knowledge, the light of the Creator, called “the upper abundance,” will go to the vessels of reception, called “Kelim [vessels] of separation.” They do not want this since it will go to the will to receive, which is the opposite of Kedusha [holiness], which is against the will to receive for one’s own sake. Instead, they want to adhere to the Creator, and this can be only through equivalence of form.

However, to achieve this, meaning in order for one to have desire and craving to adhere to the Creator, since one is born with a nature of a will to receive only for one’s own benefit, how is it possible to achieve something that is completely against nature? For this reason, one must make great efforts until he acquires a second nature, which is the desire to bestow.

When one is imparted the desire to bestow, he is qualified to receive the upper abundance and not blemish, since all the flaws come only through the will to receive for oneself. That is, even when doing something in order to bestow, deep inside there is a thought that he will receive something for this act of bestowal that he is now performing.

In a word, man is unable to do anything if he does not receive something in return for the act. In other words, he must enjoy, and any pleasure that one receives for one’s own benefit, that pleasure must cause him separation from the Life of Lives, because of the separation.

This stops one from adhering to the Creator, since Dvekut [adhesion] is measured by the equivalence of form. It is thus impossible to have pure bestowal without a mixture of reception from one’s own powers. Therefore, for one to have the powers of bestowal, we need a second nature, so one will have the strength to achieve equivalence of form.

In other words, the Creator is the giver and does not receive anything, for He lacks nothing, meaning that what He gives is also not because of a lack, that if He has no one to give to, He feels it as a lack.

Rather, we must perceive this as a game. That is, it is not that when He wants to give, it is something that He needs. Instead, this is all like a game. It is as our sages said regarding the queen: She asked, “What does the Creator do after He has created the world?” The answer was, “He sits and plays with a whale,” as it is written, “This whale You have created to play with” (Avoda Zarah, p 3).

The matter of the whale refers to Dvekut and connection (as it is written, “according to the opening of man and the connections”). This means that the purpose, which is the connection of the Creator with the creatures, is only a game; it is not a matter of a desire and a need.

The difference between a game and a desire is that everything that comes in the desire is a necessity. If one does not obtain one’s desire, he is deficient. But with games, even if one does not obtain the thing, it is not considered a lack, as they say, “It is not so bad that I did not get what I planned because it is not so important.” This is so because the desire he had for it was only a game and not serious.

It follows, that the whole purpose is for one’s work to be entirely in bestowal, and he will not have any desire or craving to receive pleasure for his work.

This is a high degree, as it is what happens in the Creator. And this is called “the day of the Lord.” The day of the Lord is called “wholeness,” as it is written, “Let the stars of morning be dark; let it look for light, but have none,” for light is considered wholeness.

When one acquires the second nature, the desire to bestow that the Creator gives him after the first nature, the will to receive, now he receives the desire to bestow, and then one is qualified to serve the Creator in completeness. This is considered “the day of the Lord.”

Thus, one who has not been rewarded with the second nature, to be able to serve the Creator in the manner of bestowal, and waits to be rewarded with this, meaning with bestowal, meaning he has already exerted and did what he could to obtain that force, he is considered to be awaiting the day of the Lord—to have equivalence of form with the Creator.

When the day of the Lord comes, he is elated. He is happy that he has emerged from the control of the will to receive for himself which separated him from the Creator. Now he clings to the Creator and considers it as having risen to the top.

It is the opposite for one whose work is only in self-reception: He is happy as long as he thinks that he will receive some reward from his work. When he sees that the will to receive will not receive any reward for his work, he becomes sad and idle. Sometimes he comes to doubt the beginning and says, “I did not swear on this.”

Thus, moreover, the day of the Lord is attaining the power to bestow. If one were to be told, “This will be your profit from engaging in Torah and Mitzvot,” he would say, “I consider it darkness, and not light,” since this knowledge brings one to darkness.