What It Means that the World Was Created for the Torah
Article 3, 1990
RASHI brings the words of our sages about “In the beginning [God] created,” “for the Torah, which is called ‘the beginning of his way,’ and for Israel, who were called ‘The holy of Israel, his first crop.’”
We should understand what it means that “The world was created for the Torah.” “Torah,” simply put, is the King’s commandments, who commanded to observe them. But are the King’s commandments lacking, and want to have someone following them? Do they have feelings?
We can say that the King wants His commandments followed. But this pertains to a flesh and blood king, who wants to command them and enjoys this. But we cannot say this about the Creator, that He wants to be given respect and that they will keep what He commands them.
Also, we should understand what our sages said, that the world was created for Israel, meaning not for the Torah. Therefore, we should understand if the creation of the world has two reasons or is it one reason, meaning that both point to the same thing.
It is known that the reason for the creation of the world was His desire to do good to His creations. In order to carry out the perfection of His deeds, meaning so there would not be shame, a Tzimtzum [restriction] and concealment were established, so the delight and pleasure would not shine unless the receiver has the intention to bestow. Otherwise, there is a concealment of the face of the Creator. For this reason, we were given the commandment of faith that He leads His world as The Good Who Does Good, whereby the commandment of faith in the Creator, and by observing the Torah and Mitzvot [commandments/good deeds] on the basis of faith, the matter of shame will be corrected.
However, because of the creation of the creatures, who were created with a desire to receive for themselves, the creatures cannot achieve a degree where all their actions are for the sake of the Creator and not for their own sake. This is why the will to receive is called “evil,” and one who walks in the path of this evil is called “wicked.” The will to receive for one’s own benefit is called “evil inclination” because all it depicts for one to do is to do everything only in a manner of self-reception, and this harms a person.
This means that this is the only reason why a person cannot obtain the delight and pleasure that the Creator wishes to impart upon the creatures, since there was a correction on this quality, called “will to receive for oneself,” since the will to receive is opposite from the Creator, whose desire is only to bestow, while the will to receive cannot be a giver.
In order to have equivalence of form, meaning that while a person receives he will be able to aim that the reception will be in order to bestow, this is already considered that he bestows. This is called “equivalence of form” or Dvekut [adhesion], since in spirituality, equivalence is called Dvekut, although in the act he is receiving. This is called “receiving in order to bestow.”
However, how can one achieve equivalence of form? Since the Creator created this will to receive, how is it possible to revoke the nature that the Creator created? There was a correction on this that while it is impossible to revoke the nature of the will to receive, an intention to bestow is added on top of it. It follows that the will to receive, meaning that a person sees something from which he can enjoy, remains. In other words, a person still enjoys in the end, but with a different intention. This is called “receiving in order to bestow.”
However, how can one have a different aim than to receive for his own benefit, but rather for the benefit of the Creator? Our sages said about this, “The Creator said, ‘I have created the evil inclination; I have created the Torah as a spice.’” In other words, through the Segula [merit/virtue/remedy] of Torah and Mitzvot, a person can obtain the desire to bestow. This is the only way by which one can be rewarded with vessels of bestowal, and our sages said about it, “The light in it reforms him.”
It follows that through the Torah, a person will obtain vessels of bestowal, and then he will be able to receive the delight and pleasure that the Creator wants to give to the created beings. In this respect, the Torah is called “613 counsels,” meaning 613 tips by which one is rewarded with vessels of bestowal.
Afterward, once he is rewarded with vessels of bestowal through the Torah, he must receive the delight and pleasure that is found in the thought of the Creator. That delight and pleasure is also called “Torah,” meaning that at that time, the 613 counsels become 613 deposits. This means that in each Mitzva [singular of Mitzvot] there is a special light.
This is as it is written (“Introduction of The Book of Zohar,” “General Explanation for All Fourteen Commandments and How They Divide into the Seven Days of Creation,” Item 1), “In Torah and Mitzvot there are ‘We shall do’ and ‘We shall hear,’ as our sages said, ‘Doers of His word, to hear the voice of His word. In the beginning, they do, and in the end, they hear.’ When observing Torah and Mitzvot as ‘doers of His word,’ prior to being rewarded with hearing, the Mitzvot are called ‘613 counsels,’ and are considered Achor [back/posterior]. When rewarded with hearing ‘the voice of His word,’ the 613 Mitzvot become Pekudin, from the word Pikadon [deposit], for in each Mitzva, the light of a unique degree is deposited.”
According to the above, we can interpret what we asked, What does it mean that the world was created for the Torah? Does the Torah have feelings, that she should feel that she needs someone to observe her? We also asked, But elsewhere, our sages said that the world was created for Israel?
The thing is that both point to the same thing—that the reason for the creation of the world was His desire to do good to His creations. It is written (Midrash Rabbah, Beresheet) that when the Creator wanted to create Adam HaRishon, the angels objected to this saying, “What is man that You should think of him? Why do You need this trouble?” The Creator replied to them that it is like a king who has a tower filled with abundance but he has no guests.
It follows that man’s creation was in order to do good to His creations. This is why they said that the creation of the world was for Israel, who are called Resheet [beginning]. Yet, what is the delight and pleasure that He wanted to give them?
Our sages came and told us that the delight and pleasure is the Torah. That is, the creation of the world was for Israel to receive and enjoy the delight and pleasure found in the Torah.
It follows that when they said, “The world was created for Israel,” and when they said, “The world was created for the Torah,” it is the same.
However, here we are speaking of the receivers, which are Israel, and here, of what Israel receive. That is, one speaks from the perspective of the Kli [vessel], and one speaks from the perspective of the light. Yet, they are both one—light and Kli.
However, we should interpret what they said, “The world was created for the Torah,” in two ways: 1) The Torah is regarded as 613 counsels, 613 tips for subduing the evil, as it is written, “I have created the evil inclination; I have created the Torah as a spice.” That is, through the Torah, the evil is corrected because “the light in it reforms him.”
In this way, we should interpret what our sages said (Shabbat 33), “Were it not for My covenant day and night, I would not place the ordinances of heaven and earth.” They interpreted “day and night” to mean the Torah, as it is written, “And you shall reflect on it day and night.” In other words, were it not for the Torah, the world would not exist.
We should interpret that through the Torah, whose light reforms him, the world can exist. In other words, it will be possible to receive the delight and pleasure because the Torah will correct the evil in the creatures and they will have equivalence of form by which the flaw of shame will be corrected.
Naturally, if the Torah did not reform, it would be impossible for them to receive the delight and pleasure. It follows that “I would not place the ordinances of heaven and earth,” so everything would be useless.
It follows that here the Torah is regarded only as counsels, meaning tips by which to receive the good.
2) The Torah is considered 613 deposits, which are the holy names. As is said in the “Introduction of The Book of Zohar” (“General Explanation for All Fourteen Commandments and How They Divide into the Seven Days of Creation,” Item 1), “In each Mitzva, a light of a unique degree is deposited, which corresponds to a unique organ in the 613 organs and tendons of the soul and the body. It follows that while performing the Mitzva, one extends to its corresponding organ in his soul and body the degree of light that belongs to that organ and tendon. This is considered the Panim [face/anterior] of the Mitzvot,” which are then called Pekudin.
Now we can interpret what our sages said, “The world was created for the Torah,” meaning that we say that the reason for the creation of the worlds was in order to do good to His creations. That delight and pleasure is found in the Torah, which is called “the names of the Creator,” whose general name is The Good Who Does Good.
The names given to the Creator are only by way of “By Your actions we know You.” For this reason, since they attained from the Creator delight and pleasure for themselves and for the whole world, they named Him, The Good Who Does Good, as our sages said, “Good for himself, and does good to others.” This means that they perceived that they received abundance from the Creator, and also perceived that the Creator does good to others, too.
However, we cannot speak of the Creator Himself, as it is written in The Zohar, “There is no thought or perception in Him at all.” This means that it is impossible to speak of the Creator Himself because we have no attainment in the Creator. It follows that what our sages said, that the world was created for the Torah, and what our sages said, that the world was created for Israel, are the same thing. The only difference is between the light and the Kli. The light is called “Torah,” and the Kli for reception of the light is called “Israel.”
This matter is explained in the book A Sage’s Fruit (Part 1, p 118), where he explains the matter of “the Torah, Israel, and the Creator are one.” These are his words: “Thus, you see that the meaning of the 620 names, being the 613 Mitzvot of the Torah and the seven Mitzvot de Rabanan [lit. commandments of our great sages], are, in fact, the five properties of the soul, meaning NRNHY. This is because the vessels of the NRNHY are from the above 620 Mitzvot, and the lights of NRNHY are the very light of Torah in each and every Mitzva. It follows that the Torah and the soul are one. However, the Creator is the light of Ein Sof [infinity], clothed in the light of the Torah, which is found in the above 620 Mitzvot.”
It follows that “Israel” and the “Torah” are the same thing, except the difference is whether we speak from the perspective of the light or from the perspective of the Kli.
However, the order of the work is that since we were born after the sin of the tree of knowledge, we are already immersed in the will to receive for our own sake, on which there were the Tzimtzum and concealment. For this reason, the order of our work begins in work Lo Lishma [not for Her sake]. That is, when we begin to observe Torah and Mitzvot, we must believe even if Lo Lishma, since without faith, even if Lo Lishma, we cannot work.
Wherever the work is on the basis of faith, it is hard work. That is, only where the reward and punishment are revealed, the work is called “within reason” because we immediately see the results.
But when the reward and punishment are covered and we must only believe in reward and punishment, even Lo Lishma is a great effort. However, this is still not so bad because it is not against the nature of the will to receive for oneself. But if we want to achieve Dvekut, called “in order to bestow,” the body begins to resist with all its might, and it is impossible to emerge from the control of the will to receive without help from above.
It was said about this, “Were it not for the help of the Creator, he would not overcome it.” The advice for this is Torah, since “the light in it reforms him.” Afterward, when he is rewarded with vessels of bestowal, he is rewarded with the quality called “the names of the Creator,” which is the delight and pleasure that was in His thought to give to the created beings. This is the meaning of what they said, that the reason for the creation of the worlds was to do good to His creations.