Article No. 29, 1990
Our sages said (Sanhedrin 26b), “Rabbi Hanin said, ‘Why is the name of the Torah Tushia [gumption/resourcefulness]? It is because she Mateshet [exhausts] a person’s strength.’” We should understand this. After all, our sages said (Avot, Chapter 6:7), “Great is the Torah, for she gives life to those who make her, as it was said, ‘For they are life to those who find them, and a healing to all his flesh.’” They also said (Iruvin 54), “If his head aches, let him engage in Torah; if his throat aches, let him engage in Torah; if his stomach aches, let him engage in Torah, as was said, ‘a healing to all his flesh.’” Thus, this contradicts the above said.
To understand this, we must first understand what is the Torah. That is, for what purpose did the Creator give us the Torah? Our sages said (Kidushin 30), “I have created the evil inclination; I have created for it the Torah as a spice.” This seems to mean that if there were no evil inclination, He would not create the Torah, as it is written, “I have created the Torah as a spice.” Can it be said that the Torah was created for the evil inclination?
The Zohar says (“Introduction of The Book of Zohar,” “General Explanation for All Fourteen Commandments and How They Divide into the Seven Days of Creation,” Item 1): “The Mitzvot in the Torah are called Pekudin [Aramaic: commands/deposits], as well as 613 Eitin [Aramaic: counsels/tips]. The difference between them is that in all things there is Panim [anterior/face] and Achor [posterior/back]. The preparation for something is called Achor, and the attainment of the matter is called Panim. Similarly, in Torah and Mitzvot [commandments/good deeds] there are ‘We shall do’ and ‘We shall hear.’ When observing Torah and Mitzvot as ‘doers of His word,’ prior to being rewarded with ‘hearing the voice of His word,’ the Mitzvot are called ‘613 Eitin,’ and are regarded as Achor. When rewarded with ‘hearing the voice of His word,’ the 613 Mitzvot become Pekudin, from the word Pikadon [deposit]. This is so because there are 613 Mitzvot, where in each Mitzva [singular of Mitzvot], the light of a unique degree is deposited, opposite a unique organ in the 613 organs and tendons of the soul and of the body.”
According to the above, it means that the Torah and Mitzvot are discerned in two degrees: 1) An advice, as it is written, “613 Eitin.” That is, by observing Torah and Mitzvot, they will have the strength to cancel the evil inclination. By this we should interpret what is written, “I have created the evil inclination; I have created the Torah as a spice.” That is, the Torah is considered a spice for the evil inclination. In The Zohar, this is called “613 Eitin.” 2) Torah for the sake of Torah, which are regarded as 613 Pekudin. This Torah is the names of the Creator. We attain this Torah after we have corrected our actions and can work in order to bestow and not for our own sake.
However, when beginning to walk toward attainment of the vessels of bestowal, we said that for this we need the Torah as Eitin, called 613 Eitin. There is also work before this, namely the first manner in which we begin to observe Torah and Mitzvot. This is called Lo Lishma [not for Her sake], and this is the first discernment.
The second manner is when we want to work Lishma [for Her sake]. At that time, we must do everything we can in order to achieve Lishma, meaning to be able to come to do everything in order to bestow.
Afterward, we arrive at the third manner, when we are rewarded with the Torah, called “the names of the Creator,” which The Zohar calls “613 Pekudin.”
Therefore, when beginning to observe Torah and Mitzvot in the first manner, meaning in Lo Lishma and in order to receive reward, as it is written in The Zohar (“Introduction of The Book of Zohar,” “General Explanation for All Fourteen Commandments and How They Divide into the Seven Days of Creation”), The beginning of man’s work in Torah and Mitzvot is because of reward and punishment in this world, or reward and punishment in the next world. In this state, he still does not need the Torah and Mitzvot as Eitin. Rather, to the extent that he believes in reward and punishment, the reward and punishment obligate him to observe Torah and Mitzvot, and not because of the advice, “I have created the evil inclination; I have created the Torah as a spice,” where the Torah is the counsel against the evil inclination within man, and the man wants to emerge from its control. That is, a person wants to emerge from self-love and do everything for the sake of the Creator, and this is why he observes Torah and Mitzvot. Instead, the will to receive for himself obligates him to observe Torah and Mitzvot.
Thus, what does “From Lo Lishma we come to Lishma” mean? since we see no connection between a person observing Torah and Mitzvot in order to receive reward, that should make it a springboard for him to shift from Lo Lishma to Lishma. Our sages said, “because the light in it reforms him.” That is, the light in the Torah shines to a person so he will feel that he is not regarded as human, but that he is like any other animal, as it is written (Yevamot 61), “You are called ‘man,’ and the idol-worshippers are not called ‘man.’”
By this we should interpret what we asked, What does it mean that they said, “Why is the Torah called Tushia?” It is because she exhausts a person’s strength. But they said the opposite: “a healing to all his flesh.”
The meaning is that when a person learns Lo Lishma, the Torah makes him feel that the quality of “man” in him is very weak. That is, the “man” power within him is very weak and he is like all other animals. But what is the form that the man sees? It is that the “man” in him is very weak.
We know that the main difference between man and beast is that a beast has no sensation of the other. This is called “will to receive only for one’s own sake.” This is also called “evil.” In other words, the will to receive for oneself is called “evil’ because the Tzimtzum [restriction] and concealment were on it, so that no light of Kedusha [holiness] may reach into this will to receive.
Since this will to receive is all that interferes, so we cannot receive the delight and pleasure that He wished to give to the created beings, this is why it is called “evil,” or “evil inclination.” However, it is difficult to understand why when a person observes Torah and Mitzvot with the aim, “I have created the evil inclination; I have created the Torah as a spice,” it bring a person the feeling that there is evil in him, meaning that he was happy at the time of ascent, and then he suffered a descent and feels the bad in him, and why does he have many descents?
It is because the Torah is the spice for the evil inclination. Thus, why do we not see that the evil inclination loses its power? Instead, each time, the evil appears anew. We see that there are many descents when we begin to walk on the path of doing everything in order to bestow. That is, each time, the evil is renewed with greater forcefulness than before he began the work with the aim to achieve a state where all his actions are for the sake of the Creator.
The thing is that the part of the will to receive for himself that is called “evil” has already been cancelled in him, yet there are other parts that he has not cancelled through the light in the Torah.
We can understand this through an allegory. Let us say that the will to receive contains 100 kilograms of pleasure. Yet, a person cannot cancel 100 kilograms of pleasure all at once. If he were to see the size of the evil within him, he would immediately escape the campaign. Therefore, this takes place gradually.
In other words, in the beginning, a person feels that he can receive one kilogram of the corporeal pleasures. When he receives an ascent, the power of the evil is cancelled in him, meaning he can overcome the one kilogram of pleasure that he felt in corporeal things. But since he must receive the strength to cancel all 100 kilograms of pleasure that there is in corporeality, and he cannot overcome 100 kilograms of pleasure right away, he is given one more kilogram of flavor for corporeality.
Consequently, he suffers a descent, since he had the power to overcome only one kilo of pleasure. When he is given a feeling of greater pleasure, he suffers a descent as a result, since he surrenders under a great pleasure. When he overcomes, which is called “an ascent,” he is made to feel three kilograms of pleasure in corporeality, until he completes all the overcoming that there is in work in order to bestow in corporeal pleasures.
Assume he can already overcome all the corporeal pleasures and work with them in order to bestow. Certainly, this requires constant help from above; otherwise, one cannot overcome even the smallest pleasure, as it is written, “Man’s inclination overcomes him every day. Were it not for the help of the Creator, he would not overcome it.”
However, a person must always seek help. If he were to be shown the measure of the lust in the will to receive, he would immediately see that this work is not for him. Hence, in the beginning, he is shown small flavors in corporeal lusts. But afterward, once he has received the power to overcome all the corporeal lusts, a person is rewarded with receiving spiritual lusts, where there is the matter of Masachim [screens], which is about overcoming the light of spiritual pleasures.
But there, too, it follows an order. That is, we begin, for example, from a small degree, meaning light of Nefesh. When he can receive this in order to bestow, he is given the light of Ruach, until he is rewarded with all the NRNHY, as it is written in The Zohar, “When he is born, he is given Nefesh. If he is rewarded further, he is given Ruach.”
This is as our sages said (Sukkah 52), “Anyone who is greater than his friend, his inclination is greater than him.” “Great” means that he has been granted an ascent in spirituality, meaning that he can already overcome a certain measure of pleasure and receive it in order to bestow. Then he is given pleasure once again, and on that measure of pleasure he is still unable to overcome.
When he is rewarded with overcoming this pleasure and becomes great again, meaning achieves Gadlut [greatness/adulthood], which is called “an ascent,” he is given an even higher degree, which he has never overcome. Therefore, now he sees that he is worse. That is, he is unable to overcome this degree.
Now, too, the same sequence takes place, where he asks the Creator to give him the strength from above to be able to overcome this great measure of will to receive, as well. This is regarded as the lower one ascending to the upper one to seek the power of the Masach [screen].
By this we should interpret what our sages said, “Why is her name Tushia? It is because she Mateshet [exhausts] a person’s strength.” That is, each time, according to his greatness, he receives a greater measure of evil. In other words, the greater the pleasure, the harder it is to overcome it. It follows that “man” means “a giver,” as it is known that “man” in Gematria is MA, and MA is called ZA, a Giver. BON is called Malchut, the receiver. MA is the male, “man,” a giver, whereas Behema [beast], which is BON in Gematria, means female, receiving and not giving.
It follows that in Gadlut, which is the greater light, it is harder to overcome. Thus, the quality of “man” grows weaker every time because each time, he has a greater light.
By this we should interpret what we asked, “If his head aches, let him engage in Torah.” According to what Baal HaSulam said, “If his head aches” means that his thoughts are not in order. “If his stomach aches” means that everything that comes into his stomach is for his will to receive. “Let him engage in Torah,” as was said, “It is a healing to all his flesh.” That is, through the Torah, he is rewarded with Gadlut because “The light in it reforms him” and he is rewarded with being great.
Afterward, he is rewarded with a higher degree on which he still did not have the power to overcome, and he must ask the Creator to be given help to be able to overcome this, as well. It follows that each time, we should speak of two opposite things.
We should always discern two sides in each degree:
1) The lower one ascending to Gadlut, which is called “an ascent” in degree. He begins to appreciate what it means to be close to the Creator. Now he understands that he should be concerned only with the benefit of the Creator, and he himself should not merit a name. That is, he does not need anything for himself and he can relinquish both corporeality and spirituality. Where it concerns his own benefit, he relinquishes, and all his actions will be only to bring contentment to his Maker. This is considered that the Torah gives life to all, as it is written, “Great is the Torah, for she gives life to who make her, and a healing to all his flesh.”
2) “Anyone who is greater than his friend, his inclination is greater than him.” That is, afterward, he receives a greater pleasure. In other words, as long as he has not been rewarded with vessels of bestowal, he is still attached to corporeal pleasures. Then, each time, he receives a greater taste for corporeal things so he will have to overcome the will to receive for himself, for a person is not shown the measure of the pleasure that is found in corporeality because he will not be able to overcome. Rather, there is a certain measure that each one feels in corporeal pleasures.
But when a person begins to walk on the path toward doing everything in order to bestow and not for his own benefit, he is given from above more sweetness in self-love. It follows that when he begins to enter the Gadlut of the work, meaning that he wants to be among those who work in order to bestow, then each time, he is given more taste for self-love, so naturally, each time, he sees that he has more evil.
According to the above, we see that even during the preparation, when a person wants to begin to work in order to bestow, although he was still not rewarded with this, the matter of “Anyone who is greater than his friend, his inclination is greater than him” already begins. That is, when a person wants to begin the work of great ones, who engage in order to bestow, he receives many ascents in the form of “the light in it reforms him.” At that time, he is regarded as “great.”
Afterward, he is given more evil to taste, so he will ask the Creator to help him. It follows that we should make two discernments here: 1) The Torah gives him life and he becomes great. 2) Afterward, he is given bad, as said above, that “Anyone who is greater than his friend, his inclination is greater than him.”
It follows that then he is in a state where through the Torah, he has become great. He came to see the truth, that the strength of the quality of “man” in him has exhausted its strength and he is like a beast, in the sense that the will to receive for himself in him grows stronger in him every time, to the extent of the good that he received from the Torah, which reforms him.
Therefore, we should explain why the name of the Torah is Tushia. It is because through the Torah, he sees that the “man” power within him is weak, and only his “beast” power has strengthened.
It is the same in spirituality. That is, once a person has been rewarded with vessels of bestowal, there is constant overcoming of his Aviut [thickness]. Each time, he must ascend to his upper one and ask for the power to overcome the will to receive, which is now greater than his strength to overcome that he has from what he received before, since now he received greater Aviut. Hence, there, too, meaning after he has been rewarded with vessels of bestowal, he must always go forward in order to correct the will to receive, each according to his degree.
It therefore follows that when a person wants to begin the work of bestowal, he sees that he has only a little bit of evil. That is, he knows about himself that he has a little bit of evil. It follows, that the bad he has comes from what he knows about himself. For this reason, a person understands that he has the power to overcome by himself. Therefore, as was said, “Anyone who is greater than his friend, his inclination is greater than him.”
It follows that from above, he is given the awareness of the evil, meaning that the evil that has now been revealed to him comes from above. At that time a person stands and thinks, “From where did this evil come to me? since, according to the rule, ‘The light in it reforms him,’ in the beginning, I already felt that I received an ascent in spirituality. Thus, what is the reason that now I have more bad?”
He regards this bad that he received now as coming to him from above reason. That is, the reason cannot understand how he fell to a state of lowliness, called “evil,” meaning that now he received a feeling for all the corporeal things that before he began the work of bestowal, he was already far from them, but now he received greater closeness to self-love.
This is as it is written in the book Panim Meirot: “The meaning of ‘a good reward for the righteous’ is their own attainment of those degrees that through their good deeds, they returned the lights to the upper ZON. The punishment of the wicked is the meaning of the words, ‘One opposite the other.’ To the same extent that a person is rejected from attaining the eternal light, he descends into the pleasures of the filthy Klipot [shells/peels], which are called Sheol [netherworld] and Avadon [oblivion], since a certain attitude has emerged within him that enables him to tolerate them.
It follows that the bad that appears in a person does not come from himself. Rather, he sees as though this bad has come to him above his own reason. At that time, a person sees that there is no way he can overcome this bad that has been added to him now by giving work and labor. But what was the result? He received more bad. Thus, he asks, “What will be the end?” since no work and labor help him out of the governance of evil, which is self-love.
The answer is that a person must know that as the bad came to him from above, so his emergence from the bad will come to him through help from above. Therefore, a person should not be impressed with the fact that he sees that he is utterly incapable of emerging from the governance of evil by himself. Instead, he must know that as the evil in him has been added to him each time not by his own strength, since he did not labor in order to get more bad, but it came from above, namely above reason, which a person does not understand, likewise, he should believe that he will also receive from above the strength to emerge from the evil.
In other words, everything that comes from above reason is cancelled above reason, and we can say that the fact that a person is in exile, under the governance of reason, did not come to a person by his own doing. Rather, it is from above. Likewise, redemption, too, comes from above.
It therefore follows that when a person begins the work of bestowal and knows that he has a little bit of evil, he still does not find such great flavor in self-love. However, when he wants to cancel his self-love and work in order to bestow, he receives from above more passion for self-love. That is, he is shown what was hidden from him, the size and power of control that exist in self-love.
At that time, a person sees that he is on the complete opposite end of the Creator, for the Creator is all to bestow, and man is all to receive. When the Creator helps him, a person feels the greatness of the Creator, how the Creator is treating him in order to deliver him from the governance of evil. Then, each time more bad appears in a person, meaning that a person is lowlier, he sees that the Creator is tending to a lowlier person.
By this we should interpret what our sages said, “Rabbi Yonatan said, ‘Wherever you see the greatness of the Creator, there you find His humbleness.’” This means that wherever a person sees the greatness of the Creator, he sees that the Creator is humble, tending to him personally, in private Providence. Therefore, when the Creator becomes greater, the person sees that the Creator is more humble.