Table of contents
Yehuda Leib Ha-Levi Ashlag (Baal HaSulam)/Shamati
Prior to the Creation of the Newborn
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

245. Prior to the Creation of the Newborn

I heard in Jerusalem, Iyar 21, April-May

“Prior to the creation of the newborn, it is declared whether the drop will be a fool or a wise, etc., but righteous or wicked, he did not say.

Accordingly, we should ask: After all, a fool cannot be righteous since “One does not sin unless the spirit of folly has entered him. It is also written, “One who is a fool all his days, how can he have a choice if he is destined to be a fool?”

And we should also understand what is written, “I saw the virtuous, and they are few, He stood and planted them in each and every generation.” We should interpret that the word “few” means that they are growing fewer, and by planting them they multiply. We should understand the allegory of “planting them,” and also that the word “few” is in present tense. so how do the plants multiply?

We should interpret that fool or wise refer only to the preparation, as in “will give wisdom to the wise.” This means that there are people who are born with a strong will, a broad heart, and a keen mind, and we call this “wise” because he is capable of receiving His wisdom. Conversely, there are people who were born fools, meaning they are narrow people whose thoughts and desires are only about themselves. They do not know what it means to feel others since they do not understand what is bestowal upon others, so how can they achieve the degree of righteous? It is impossible to be righteous until we achieve love of the Creator, and if one has no love of others, he cannot come to love the Creator, as is explained in the words of Rabbi Akiva, “love your friend as yourself is a great rule in the Torah.” Accordingly, such people have no choice. And yet, “He did not say ‘righteous or wicked,’” which means that they do have a choice.

We should understand this the way our sages said, “I saw the virtuous, and they are few.” Virtuous means people who are capable and are ready for Dvekut [adhesion] with Him; these are few. This is why He planted them in each and every generation. Thus, the fools already have a choice—to go and unite and adhere to the righteous of the generation. By this they will receive the strength and the ability to take upon themselves the burden of the kingdom of heaven. They will be able to do the holy work since the righteous will bestow upon them their thoughts and desires. Through the assistance they will receive from the righteous of the generation, they, too, will be able to rise to the degree of righteous, even though inherently, they do not have these qualities. Yet, through the Dvekut with the virtuous ones, they will receive different qualities.

It follows that by planting them in each and every generation, the virtuous can raise their contemporaries to the height of the degrees. Had the virtuous been in one generation, the fools would have no way to ascend to the trail of holiness.

By this we will understand the correction of planting them, for the planting multiplied the virtuous. Likewise, placing a plant in the ground causes many branches to grow.

We can also understand the matter of choice. If one is born a fool, meaning far from matters of bestowal upon others, through connection with the virtuous, they will receive new qualities from the virtuous, who will influence the fools when they make a choice, meaning submit themselves to go and accept the guidance of the virtuous. Without it, their Torah will become to them a potion of death. Only through Dvekut with the virtuous will they be rewarded with Dvekut with the Creator.

It is known that when two people stand opposite from one another, one's right is opposite the other one’s left, and one’s left is opposite the other one's right. Therefore, when speaking of two ways, 1) of the right, meaning the path of the righteous, whose interest is only to bestow, and the path of the left is the way of the wicked, for their interest is only their own benefit, for which they are separated from the Life of Lives and are regarded as dead, as our sages said, “The wicked in their lives are called ‘dead.’”

It therefore follows that even when a person learns in the path of the right, he is still opposite the left side of the Creator. It follows that his Torah becomes to him a potion of death, for through the Torah and Mitzvot [commandments], if it is in the manner of the left then his intention is to increase his body. This means that previously he wanted only to satisfy his body with pleasures of this world. Now, by observing Torah and Mitzvot, he wants the Creator to also satisfy his pleasures of the next world. It follows that through the Torah, his vessels of reception grow. That is to say, previously he wanted only the wealth of this world; afterward, by engaging in Torah and Mitzvot, he also wants the wealth of the next world. Thus, the Torah causes death, for by this he is completed with a real will to receive.

It is even more so when he engages in Torah and Mitzvot on his left side, meaning that his initial intention is only to receive, which is regarded as left. This is certainly wrong. However, we should try to achieve Dvekut by becoming one with the Creator, and then there is no right or left; he achieves equivalence of form with the Creator. At that time, his right is the Creator's right. It follows that his body has become a clothing for the soul. Then, when he comes to engage in bodily matters, he will not engage in the needs of his body more than is suitable for his soul. Similarly, when a person makes a clothing for his body, he will not make the garment longer or wider than his body. Rather, he will try to make the garment exactly fitting for his body. Otherwise, he will not wear the garment.

This is like a tailor who brings a suit to a man. When the man wears the suit on his body, if the garment is too long and too wide, he will return the suit to the tailor. Likewise, man's body should clothe the soul, and the body should be no bigger than the soul, meaning the needs of his body must not be too much, beyond what he needs for his soul.

However, we must know that it is not easy to achieve Dvekut with Him, and “Not all who want to take the Lord may come and take. This is why we need the righteous of the generation. By adhering to a real teacher, whose desire is only to bestow, and then one should do things that his teacher likes, meaning hate what his teacher hates and love what his teacher loves, then he can learn Torah that will not be a potion of death.

This is the meaning of “He stood and planted them in each and every generation,” so that by this they will be able to connect to the virtuous, and they, too, will be able to achieve real Dvekut with Him.

Let it not be perplexing to you that there is a need for fools in the world. After all, they could all be wise. However, everything must have a carrier. This is why there is a need for fools—to be the carriers of the will to receive. By this, those who want to walk in the ways of the Creator can receive assistance from them, as it is written, “Then they will go forth and look on the corpses of the men who have transgressed against Me, for their worm will not die and their fire will not be quenched, and they will be an abhorrence to all flesh.” As our sages said, they will be ashes under the feet of the righteous, for by this the righteous will be distinguished, so they can praise and thank the Creator for bringing them closer. This is called “ashes under their feet,” etc., meaning that they will be able to go forward by seeing the end of the wicked.