by Rabbi Yehudah Ashlag
1) It is written at the end of the Mishnah (Okatzin), “The Creator did not find a receptacle that holds a blessing for Israel, but peace, as it is written, ‘The Lord will give strength unto His people; the Lord will bless his people with peace.’”
There is a lot to learn here: First, how did they prove that nothing is better for Israel than peace? Second, the text explicitly states that peace is the blessing itself, as it is written, “giving in strength and blessing in peace.” According to them, it should have stated, “giving in peace.” Third, why was this phrase written to end of the Mishnah? Also, we need to understand the meaning of the words “peace,” “strength,” and what they mean.
To interpret this article in its true meaning, we must go by a long way, for the heart of sayers is too deep to search. This means that all the issues of the Torah and the Mitzva bear revealed and concealed, as it is written, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.”
Indeed, the Halachot (collective name for Torah and Mitzvot) are like grails of wine. When one gives one’s friend a gift, a grail of wine, then both the insides and the outside are important. This is because the grail has its own value, as does the wine inside it.
The legends, however, are as apples. Their interior is eaten and their exterior is thrown away, as the exterior is completely worthless. You find that all the worth and importance are only in the interior, the insides.
So is the matter with legends; the apparent superficiality seems meaningless and worthless. However, the inner content concealed in the words is built solely on the bedrock of the wisdom of truth, given to virtuous few.
Who would dare extract it from the heart of the masses and scrutinize their ways, when their attainment is incomplete in both parts of the Torah called Peshat (literal) and Drush (interpretation)? In their view, the order of the four parts of the Torah (PARDESS) begins with the Peshat, then the Drush, then Remez (insinuated), and in the end the Sod (Secret) is understood.
However, it is written in the Vilna Gaon prayer book that the attainment begins with the Sod. After the Sod part of the Torah is attained it is possible to attain the Drush part, and then the Remez part. When one is granted complete knowledge of these three parts of the Torah, one is awarded the attainment of the Peshat part of the Torah.
It is written in Masechet Taanit: “If one is rewarded, it becomes a potion of life to him; not rewarded, it becomes a potion of death to him.” Great merit is required in order to understand the Peshat of the texts, since first we must attain the three internal parts of the Torah, which the Peshat robes, and the Peshat will not be parsed. If one has not been rewarded with it, one needs great mercy, so it will not become a potion of death for him.
It is the opposite of the argument of the negligent in attaining the interior, who say to themselves: “We settle for attaining the Peshat. If we attain that, we will be content.” Their words can be compared to one who wishes to step on the fourth step without first stepping on the first three steps.
chanoch explains that this physical world is said to be upside down relative to the spiritual worlds. Thus the Sod needs to be learned first then the Drush then the Remez and finally the Peshat. Also the translation of Peshat is "unclothed" or "naked" as in raw naked energy. That is why one needs the higher 3 to protect oneself from raw naked energy. This is also why it tells us that we need Great Merit which can only be built from learning the hgher 3 levels.
2) However, accordingly, we need to understand the great concealing applied in the interior of the Torah, as it is said in MasechetHagiga, one does not study Maase Beresheet in pairs, and not the Merkava alone. Also, all the books at our disposal in this trade are sealed and blocked before the eyes of the masses. Only the few who are summoned by the Creator shall understand them, as they already understand the roots by themselves and in reception from mouth to mouth.
It is indeed surprising how the ways of wisdom and intelligence are denied of the people, for whom it is the life and the length of their days. It is seemingly a criminal offence, as about such our sages said in Midrash Rabba, Beresheet, about Ahaz, that he was called Ahaz (literally translated as “held” or “seized”) for he had seized synagogues and seminaries, and this was his great iniquity.
Also, it is a natural law that one is possessive concerning dispensing one’s capital and property to others. However, is there anyone who is possessive concerning dispensing one’s wisdom and intelligence to others? Quite the contrary, more than the calf wants to eat, the cow wants to feed.
Indeed, we find such mysteries in the wisdom even in secular sages in previous generations. In Rav Butril’s introduction to his commentary on The Book of Creation, there is a text ascribed to Plato who warns his disciples as follows, “Do not convey the wisdom unto one who knows not its merit.” Aristotle, too, warned, “Do not convey the wisdom to the unworthy, lest it shall be robbed.” He (Rav Butril) interprets that if a sage teaches wisdom to the unworthy, they rob the wisdom and destroy it. The secular sages of our time do not do so. On the contrary, they exert in expanding the gates of their sagacity to the entire crowd without any boundaries and conditions. Seemingly, they strongly disagree with the first sages, who opened the doors of their wisdom to only a handful of virtuous few, which they had found worthy, leaving the rest of the people fumbling the walls.
chanoch adds: This section is relatively easy to understand if one has the background in Bible and in Greek History. If you lack this information ask specific questions of those who do. Without specific questions there is no merit being built.
3) Let me explain the matter. We distinguish four divisions in the Speaking species, arranged in gradations one atop the other. Those are the Masses, the Strong, the Wealthy, and the Sagacious. They are equal to the four degrees in the whole of reality, called “Still,” “Vegetative,” “Animate,” and “Speaking.”
chanoch explains: Sagacious is a special aspect of wisdom. This person is connected to his or her intuition in a particular way.
The Still can educe the three properties, Vegetative, Animate and Speaking, and we discern three values in the quantity of the force, from the beneficial and detrimental in them.
The smallest force among them is the Vegetative. The flora operates by attracting what is beneficial to it and rejecting the harmful in much the same way as humans and animals do. However, there is no individual sensation in it, but a collective force, common to all types of plants in the world, which affects this operation in them.
Atop them is the Animate. Each creature feels itself, concerning attracting what is beneficial to it and rejecting the harmful. It follows that one animal equalizes in value to all the plants in reality. It is so because the force that distinguishes the beneficial from the detrimental in the entire Vegetative is found in one creature in the Animate, separated to its own authority.
This sensing force in the Animate is very limited in time and space, since the sensation does not operate at even the shortest distance outside its body. Also, it does not feel anything outside its own time, meaning in the past or in the future, but only at the present moment.
Atop them is the Speaking, consisting of an emotional force and an intellectual force together. For this reason, its power is unlimited by time and space in attracting what is good for it and rejecting what is harmful, like the Animate.
This is so because of its science, which is a spiritual matter, unlimited by time and place. One can teach others wherever they are in the whole of reality, and in the past and the future throughout the generations.
It follows that the value of one person from the Speaking equalizes with the value of all the forces in the Vegetative and the Animate in the whole of reality at that time, and in all the past generations. This is so because its power encompasses them and contains them within its own self, along with all their forces.
This ruling also applies to the four divisions in the human species, namely the Masses, the Strong, the Wealthy, and the Sagacious. Certainly, they all come from the Masses, which are the first degree, as it is written, “all are of the dust.”
It is certain that the whole merit of the dust and its very right to exist is according to the merit of the three virtues it educes, Vegetative, Animate, and Speaking. Also, the merit of the Masses corresponds to the properties they educe from them. Thus, they, too, connect in the shape of a human face.
For that purpose, the Creator instilled three inclinations in the masses, called “envy,” “lust,” and “honor.” Due to them, the Masses develop degree by degree to educe a face of a whole man.
The inclination for lust educes the Wealthy. The selected among them have a strong desire, and also lust. They excel in acquiring wealth, which is the first degree in the evolution of the Masses. Like the Vegetative degree in the general reality, they are governed by an alien force that deviates them to their inclination, as lust is an alien force in the human species borrowed from the Animate.
The inclination for honor educes the famous heroes from among them. They govern the synagogues, the town, etc. The most firm-willed among them, which also have an inclination for honor, excel in obtaining dominion. These are the second degree in the evolution of the Masses, similar to the Animate degree in the whole of reality, whose operating force is present in their own essence, as we have said above. This is because the inclination for honor is unique to the human species, and along with it the craving for governance.
The inclination for Envy elicits the sages from among them, as our sages said, “Author’s envy increases wisdom.” The strong-willed, with the inclination for envy, excel in acquiring wisdom and knowledge. It is like the Speaking degree in the whole of reality, in which the operating force is not limited by time and place, but is collective and encompasses every item in the world, throughout all times.
Also, it is the nature of the fire of envy to be general, encompassing all times and the whole reality. This is because it is the conduct of envy: if one had not seen the object in one’s friend’s possession, the desire for it would not have awakened in one at all.
You find that the sensation of absence is not for what one does not have, but for what one’s friend has, who are the entire progeny of Adam and Eve throughout the generations. Thus, this force is unlimited and it is therefore fit for its sublime and elated role.
Yet, those who remain without any merit, it is because they do not have a strong desire. Hence, all three above-mentioned inclinations operate in them together, in mixture. Sometimes they are lustful, sometimes envious, and sometimes they crave honor. Their desire breaks to pieces, and they are like children, who crave everything they see, and cannot attain anything. Hence, their value is like the straw and bran that remain after the flour.
It is known that the beneficial force and the detrimental force go hand in hand. In other words, as much as something can benefit, so it can harm. Hence, since the force of one person is greater than all the beasts and the animals of all times, one’s harmful force supersedes them all, as well.
Thus, as long as one does not merit one’s degree in a way that one uses one’s force only to do good, one needs a careful watch so he will not acquire great amounts of the human level, which is wisdom and science.
For this reason, the first sages hid the wisdom from the masses for fear of taking indecent disciples who would use the force of the wisdom to harm and damage. These would break and destroy the entire population with their lust and beastly savageness, using Man’s great powers.
When the generations have lessened and their sages themselves had started to crave both tables, meaning a good life for their corporeality, too, their views drew near to the masses. They traded with them and sold the wisdom as prostitutes, for the price of a dog.
Since then, the fortified wall that the first had exerted on has been ruined and the masses have looted it. The savages have filled their hands with the force of men, seized the wisdom and tore it. Half was inherited by adulterers and half by murderers, and they have put it in eternal disgrace to this day.
4) From that you can deduce about the wisdom of truth, which contains all the secular teachings within it, which are its seven little maids. This is the entirety of the human species and the purpose for which all the worlds were created, as it is written, “If My covenant be not with day and night, if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth.”
Hence, our sages have stated (Avot 4, Mishnah 7), “He who uses the Crown passes.” This is because they have prohibited us from using it for any sort of worldly pleasure.
This is what has sustained us thus far, to maintain the armies and the wall around the wisdom of truth, so no stranger or foreigner would break in and put it in their vessels to go and trade it in the market, as with the secular sages. This was so because all who entered have already been tested by seven tests until it was certain beyond any concern and suspicion.
After these words and truth, we find what appears to be a great contradiction, from one extreme to the other, in the words of our sages. It is written in The Zohar that at the time of the Messiah, this wisdom will be revealed even to the young. However, according to the above, we learned that in the days of the Messiah, that whole generation will be at the highest level. We will need no guard at all, and the fountains of wisdom will open and water the whole nation.
Yet, in Masechet Sutah, 49, and Sanhedrin 97a, they said, “Impudence shall soar at the time of the Messiah, authors’ wisdom shall go astray, and righteous shall be castaway.” It interprets that there is none so evil as that generation. Thus, how do we reconcile the two statements, for both are certainly the words of the Living God?
The thing is that this careful watch and door-locking on the hall of wisdom is for fear of people in whom the spirit of writers’ envy is mixed with the force of lust and honor. Their envy is not limited to wanting only wisdom and knowledge.
Hence, both texts are correct, and one comes and teaches of the other. The face of the generation is as the face of the dog, meaning they bark as dogs Hav, Hav, righteous are castaway and authors’ wisdom went astray in them.
It follows that it is permitted to open the gates of the wisdom and remove the careful guard, since it is naturally safe from theft and exploitation. There is no longer fear lest indecent disciples might take it and sell it in the market to the materialistic plebs, since they will find no buyers for this merchandise, as it is loathsome in their eyes.
And since they have no hope of acquiring lust and honor through it, it has become safe and guarded by itself. No stranger will draw near, except lovers of wisdom and its dwellers. Hence, any examination shall be removed from those who enter, until even the very young will be able to attain it.
Now you can understand their words (Sanhedrin 98a): “The Son of David comes either in a generation that is all worthy, or all unworthy.” This is very perplexing. Seemingly, as long as there are a few righteous in the generation, they detain the redemption. When the righteous perish from the land, the Messiah will be able to come. I wonder.
Indeed, we should thoroughly understand that this matter of redemption and the coming of the Messiah that we hope will be soon in our days, Amen, is the uppermost wholeness of attainment and knowledge, as it is written, “and they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, saying: ‘Know the Lord’; for they shall all know Me, from the greatest of them unto the least of them.” And with the completeness of the mind, the bodies are completed too, as it is written (Isaiah 65), “the youngest shall die a hundred years old.”
When the Children of Israel are complemented with the complete knowledge, the fountains of intelligence and knowledge shall flow beyond the boundaries of Israel and water all the nations of the world, as it is written (Isaiah 11), “for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord,” and as it is written, “and shall come unto the Lord and to His goodness.”
The proliferation of this knowledge is the matter of the expansion of the Messiah King to all the nations. Yet, it is the opposite with the crude, materialistic plebs. Since their imagination is attached to the complete power of the fist, the matter of the expansion of the Kingdom of Israel is engraved in their imagination only as a sort of dominion of bodies over bodies, to take their fee from the whole with great pride, and to be haughty over all the people in the world.
And what can I do for them if our sages have already rejected them, and the likes of them, from among the congregation of the Lord, saying, “All who is proud, the Creator says, ‘he and I cannot dwell in the same abode.’”
Conversely, some err and determine that as the body must exist prior to the existence of the soul and the complete perception, the perfection of the body and its needs precede in time the attainment of the soul and the complete perception. Hence, complete perception is denied of a weak body.
This is a grave mistake, harder than death, since a perfect body is inconceivable whatsoever before the complete perception has been attained. This is because, in itself, it is a punctured bag, a broken cistern. It cannot contain anything beneficial, neither for itself nor for others, except with the attainment of the complete knowledge.
At that time the body, too, rises to its completeness with it, literally hand in hand. This rule applies both in individuals and in the whole.
5) Now you will understand what is written in The Zohar: “With this composition, the Children of Israel will be redeemed from exile.” Also, in many other places, only through the expansion of the wisdom of Kabbalah in the masses will we obtain complete redemption.
They also said, “The Light in it reforms him.” They were intentionally meticulous about it, to show us that only the Light enclosed within it, “like apples of gold in settings of silver,” in it lies the cure that reforms a person. Both the individual and the nation will not complete the aim for which they were created, except by attaining the internality of the Torah and its secrets.
And although we hope for the complete attainment at the coming of the Messiah, it is written, “Will give wisdom to the wise.” It also says, “I have put wisdom in the heart of every wise-at-heart.”
Hence, it is the great expansion of the wisdom of truth within the nation that we need first, so we may merit receiving the benefit from our Messiah. Consequently, the expansion of the wisdom and the coming of our Messiah are interdependent.
Therefore, we must establish seminaries and compose books to hasten the distribution of the wisdom throughout the nation. And this was not the case before, for fear lest unworthy disciples would mingle, as we have elaborated above. This became the primary reason for the prolonging of the exile for our many sins, to this day.
Our sages said, “Messiah, Son of David comes only in a generation that is all worthy…” meaning when everyone retires from pursuit of honor and lust. At that time, it will be possible to establish many seminaries to prepare them for the coming of the Messiah Son of David. “…or in a generation that is all unworthy,” meaning in such a generation when “the face of the generation is as the face of the dog, and righteous shall be castaway, and authors’ wisdom shall go astray in them.” At such a time, it will be possible to remove the careful guard and all who remain in the house of Jacob with their hearts pounding to attain the wisdom and the purpose, “Holy” will be their names, and they shall come and study.
This is so because there will no longer be fear lest one might not sustain one’s merit and trade the wisdom in the market, as no one in the mob will buy it. The wisdom will be so loathsome in their eyes that neither glory nor lust will be obtainable in return for it.
Hence, all who wish to enter may come and enter. Many will roam, and the knowledge will increase among the worthy of it. And by that we will soon be rewarded with the coming of the Messiah, and the redemption of our souls soon in our days, Amen.
With these words I unbind myself from a considerable complaint, that I have dared more than all my predecessors in disclosing the ordinarily covered rudiments of the wisdom in my book, which was thus far unexplored. This refers to the essence of the ten Sefirot and all that concerns them, Yashar and Hozer, Pnimi and Makif, the meaning of the Hakaa and the meaning of the Hizdakchut.
Yashar and Hozer are Direct Light and Returning Light.
Pnimi and Makif are Inner Light and Surrounding Light.
Meaning of Hakaa is fully described as Zevug DeHakaa or Binding by striking.
Meaning of Hizdakchut is related to how to cleave to the Creator.
The authors that preceded me deliberately scattered the words here and there, and in subtle intimations, so one’s hand would fail to gather them. I, through His Light, which appeared upon me, and with the help of my teachers, have gathered them and disclosed the matters clearly enough and in their spiritual form, above place and above time.
They could have come to me with a great argument: If there are no additions to my teachers here, then the Ari and Rav Chaim Vital themselves and the genuine authors, the commentators on their words, could have disclosed and explained the matters as openly as I. And if you wish to say that it was revealed to them, then who is this writer, for whom it is certainly a great privilege to be dust and ashes under their feet, who says that the lot given to him by the Creator is more than their lot?
However, as you will see in the references, I neither added to my teachers nor innovated in the composition. All my words are already written in the Eight Gates, in The Tree of Life, and in Mavo Shearim (Entrance of the Gates) by the Ari. I did not add a single word to them; but they aimed to conceal matters; hence, they scattered them one here and one there.
This was so because their generation was not yet completely unworthy and required great care. We, however, for our many sins, all the words of our sages are already true in us. They had been said for the time of the Messiah to begin with, for in such a generation there is no longer fear of disclosing the wisdom, as we have elaborated above; hence, my words are open and in order.
chanoch adds: In this section Rabbi Ashlag explains why he teaches the Kabbalah systems to people not determined as worthy by others. Ultimately He is saying he was told that the generation is totally unworthy and thus it is time to expand the wisdom to all who will start to learn it.
6) And now sons do hear me: The “Wisdom cries aloud in the streets, she utteres her voice,” “Whoso is on the Lord's side, let him come unto me,” “For it is no vain thing for you; because it is your life, and the length of your days.”
“You were not created to follow the act of the grain and the potato, you and your asses in one trough.” And as the purpose of the ass is not to serve all its contemporary asses, man’s purpose is not to serve all the bodies of the people of his time, the contemporaries of his physical body. Rather, the purpose of the ass is to serve and be of use to man, who is superior to it, and the purpose of man is to serve the Creator and complete His aim.
As Ben Zuma said, “All those were created only to serve me, and I, to serve my Maker.” He says, “The Lord hath made all things for His own purpose,” since the Creator yearns and craves our perfection.
It is said in Beresheet Rabba, Parasha 8, that the angels said to Him: “‘What is man, that Thou art mindful of him, and the son of man, that Thou thinkest of him?’ Why do You need this trouble? The Creator told them: ‘Therefore, why sheep and oxen?’” What does it resemble? A king who had a tower filled abundantly, but no guests. What pleasure has the king from his fill? They promptly said unto Him: “O Lord, our Lord, how glorious is Thy name in all the earth! Do that which seems good to You.”
Seemingly, we should doubt that allegory, since where does that tower filled abundantly stand? In our time, we really would fill it with guests to the rim.
Indeed, the words are earnest, since you see that the angels made no complaint about any of the creatures that were created during the six days of Creation, except about Man. This is because he was created in God’s image and consists of the Upper and Lower together.
When the angels saw it, they were startled and bewildered. How would the pure, spiritual soul descend from its sublime degree, and come and dwell in the same abode with this filthy, beastly body? In other words, they wondered, “Why do You need this trouble?”
The answer that came to them is that there is already a tower filled abundantly, and empty of guests. To fill it with guests, we need the existence of this human, made of Upper and lower together. For this reason, this pure soul must clothe in the shape of this filthy body. They immediately understood it and said, “Do that which seems good to You.”
Know that this tower, filled abundantly, implies all the pleasure and the goodness for which He has created the creatures, as they said, “The conduct of The Good is to do good.” Hence, He has created the worlds to delight His creatures.
And since there is no past and future in Him, we must realize that as soon as He had Thought to create creatures and delight them, they came out and were instantly made before Him, they and all their fulfillments of delight and pleasure, as He had contemplated them.
It is written in the book, Heftzi Bah (My Delight Is in Her), by the Ari, that all the worlds, Upper and lower, are contained in the Ein Sof (Infinite), even before the Tzimtzum (restriction) by way of He is One and His Name One.
The incident of the Tzimtzum, which is the root of the worlds ABYA, confined to this world, occurred because the roots of the souls themselves yearn to equalize their form with the Emanator. This is the meaning of Dvekut (adhesion), as separation and Dvekut in anything spiritual is possible only in values of equivalence of form or disparity of form.
chanoch explains: Spiritual closeness is the concept of consciousness and how close to equal is 2 entities consciousness. Therefore spiritual separation is how far is two entities consciousness. This is a spiritual law and actually explains the difference between the spiritual and physical worlds.
Since He wanted to delight them, the will to receive pleasure was necessarily imprinted in the receivers. Thus, their form has been changed from His, since this form is not at all present in the Emanator, as from whom would He receive?
The Tzimtzum and the Gevul (boundary/limitation) was made for this purpose, until the emergence of this world to a reality of a clothing of a soul in a corporeal body. When one engages in Torah and work in order to bestow contentment upon one’s Maker, the form of reception will be reunited in order to bestow once more.
This is the meaning of the text, “and to cleave unto Him,” since then one equalizes one’s form to one’s Maker, and as we have said, equivalence of form is Dvekut in spirituality. When the matter of Dvekut is completed in all the parts of the soul, the worlds will return to the state of Ein Sof, as prior to the Tzimtzum.
chanoch adds: To me this is an amazing revelation of wisdom. The purpose of life for a receiver/human being is to cleave to the Creator meaning receiving in order to share pleasure with the Creator.
“In their land they will inherit doubly.” This is because then they will be able to receive once more all the pleasure and delight, prepared for them in advance in the world of Ein Sof. Moreover, now they are prepared for the real Dvekut without any disparity of form, since their reception is no longer for themselves, but to bestow contentment upon their Maker. You find that they have equalized in the form of bestowal with the Maker.
7) Now you will understand their words, that Divinity in the lower ones is a high need. This is a most perplexing statement, though it does go hand in hand with the above study.
chanoch adds: What is the definition of Divinity in the physical world. The dictionary defines divinity as the "state of being a God". Thus we realize that the soul starts as an aspect of God and then separates to become a receiver/human being and then returns to the endless world where one is again an aspect of God. What an amazing circle of unification. What actually is the purpose in this circle?
They have compared the matter to a king who has a tower filled abundantly, and no guests. It is certain that he sits and waits for guests, or his whole preparation will be in vain.
It is like a great king who had a son when he was already old, and he was very fond of him. Hence, from the day of his birth he thought favorable thoughts about him, collected all the books and the finest scholars in the land, and built schools for him.
He gathered the finest builders in the land and built palaces of pleasure for him, collected all the musicians and the singers and built him concert halls. He assembled the best chefs and bakers in the land and served him every delicacy in the world, and so on and so forth.
Alas, the boy grew up to be a fool with no wish for knowledge. He was also blind and could not see or feel the beauty of the buildings; and he was deaf and could not hear the singers. Sadly, he was diabetic, and was permitted to eat only coarse-flour bread, arising contempt and wrath.
Now you can understand their words about the verse, “I, the Lord, will hasten it in its time.” The Sanhedrin (98) interpreted, “Not rewarded – in its time; rewarded – I will hasten it.”
Thus, there are two ways to attain the above-mentioned goal: through their own attention, which is called a “Path of Repentance.” If they are awarded that, then “I will hasten it” will be applied to them. This means that there is no set time for it, but when they are awarded, the correction ends, of course.
If they are not awarded the attention, there is another way, called “Path of Suffering.” As the Sanhedrin said (97), “I place upon them a king such as Haman, and they will repent against their will,” meaning in its time, for in that therKIne is a set time.
chanoch explains: It is my understanding that the set time is the year 6000. At that time there will be in control of various nations 10 of the most negative souls in the history of the world. In our current world there are negative Kings over these following countries in my opinion: Russia - North Korea - Phillipines - Iran - Turkey. It does not appear to me that the other five have arrived and thus we can still bring Mashiach "by having HaShem hasten it".
By that, they wanted to show us that His ways are not our ways. For this reason, the case of the flesh-and-blood king who had troubled so to prepare those great things for his beloved son and was finally tormented in every way, and all his trouble was in vain, bringing contempt and wrath, will not happen to Him.
Instead, all the deeds of the Creator are guaranteed and true, and there is no fraud in Him. This is what our sages said, “Not rewarded – in its time.” What the will does not do, time will do, as it is written, “Canst thou send forth lightnings, that they may go, and say unto thee: ‘Here we are’?”
There is a path of pain that can cleanse any defect and materialism until one realizes how to raise one’s head out of the beastly crib, to soar and climb the rungs of the ladder of happiness and human success, for one will cleave to one’s root and complete the aim.
8) Therefore, come and see how grateful we should be to our teachers, who impart us their sacred Lights and dedicate their souls to do good to our souls. They stand in the middle between the path of harsh torments and the path of repentance. They save us from the netherworld, which is harder than death, and accustom us to reach the heavenly pleasures, the sublime gentleness and the pleasantness that is our share, ready and waiting for us from the very beginning, as we have said above. Each of them operates in his generation, according to the power of the Light of his Torah and sanctity.
Our sages have already said, “You have not a generation without such as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” Indeed, that Godly man, our Rav Isaac Luria, troubled and provided us the fullest measure. He did wondrously more than his predecessors, and if I had a tongue that praises, I would praise that day when his wisdom appeared almost as the day when the Torah was given to Israel.
There are not enough words to measure his holy work in our favor. The doors of attainment were locked and bolted, and he came and opened them for us. Thus, all who wish to enter the King’s palace need only purity and sanctity, and to go and bathe and shave their hair and wear clean clothes, to properly stand before the sublime Kingship.
You find a thirty-eight-year-old who subdued with his wisdom all his predecessors through the Genius and through all times. All the elders of the land, the gallant shepherds, friends and disciples of the Godly sage, the RAMAK, stood before him as disciples before the Rav.
All the sages of the generations following them to this day, none missing, have abandoned all the books and compositions that precede him, the Kabbalah of the RAMAK, the Kabbalah of The First and the Kabbalah of The Genius, blessed be the memory of them all. They have attached their spiritual life entirely and solely to his Holy Wisdom. Naturally, it is not without merit that a total victory is awarded, as this young in years father of wisdom has.
Alas, the devil’s work succeeded, and obstacles were placed along the path of expansion of his wisdom into a holy nation, and only very few have begun to conquer them.
This was so primarily because the words were written by hearsay, as he had interpreted the wisdom day-by-day before his disciples, who were already elderly and with great proficiency in The Zohar and the Tikkunim (Corrections). In most cases, his holy sayings were arranged according to the profound questions that they asked him, each according to his own interest.
For this reason, he did not convey the wisdom in a suitable order, as with compositions that preceded him. We find in the texts that the Ari himself had wished to bring the issues in order. In that regard, see the beginning of the sayings of Rashbi in the interpretation to the Idra Zuta, in a short introduction by Rav Chaim Vital.
There is also the short time of his teaching, since his entire time of his seminary was some seventeen months, as is said in the Gate to Reincarnations, Gate 8, p 49, since he arrived in Safed from Egypt soon before Pesach (Passover) in the year 1571, and at that time, Rav Chaim Vital was twenty-nine years of age. And in July 1572, on the eve of Shabbat, Parashat Matot-Masaey [.21.], the beginning of the month of Av, he fell ill, and on Tuesday, fifth of Av, on the following week, he passed away.
It is also written in the Gate to Reincarnations, Gate 8, p 71a, that upon his demise, he ordered Rav Chaim Vital to not teach the wisdom to others, and permitted him to study only by himself and in a whisper. The rest of the friends were forbidden to engage in it altogether because he said that they did not understand the wisdom properly.
This is the reason why Rav Chaim Vital did not arrange the texts at all and left them unorganized. Naturally, he did not explain the connections between the matters, so it would not be as teaching others. This is the reason we find such great caution on his part, as is known to those proficient in the writings of the Ari.
The arrangements found in the writings of the Ari were arranged and organized by a third generation, in three times, and by three compilers. The first compiler was the sage MAHARI Tzemach. He lived at the same time of MAHARA Azulai, who passed away in the year 1644.
A large portion of the texts came by him, and he arranged many books from them. The most important among them is the book Adam Yashar (Upright Man), in which he collected the root and the essential teachings that were at his disposal. However, some of the books that this Rav had complied were lost. In the introduction to his book, Kol BeRama (A Loud Voice), he presents all the books that he had compiled.
The second compiler is his disciple, MAHARAM Paprish. He did more than his Rav, since some of the books that were held by the sage MAHARASH Vital came by his hands, and he compiled many books. The most important among them are the books, Etz haChaim (The Tree of Life) and Pri Etz haChaim (Fruit of the Tree of Life). They contain the entire scope of the wisdom in its fullest sense.
The third compiler was the sage MAHARASH Vital, the son of MOHARAR Chaim Vital. He was a great and renowned sage. He compiled the famous Eight Gates from the patrimony his father had left him.
Thus we see that each of the compilers did not have the complete writings. It heavily burdened the arrangement of the issues, which are unsuitable for those without true proficiency in The Zohar and the Tikkunim. Hence, few are those who ascend.
chanoch exlains: If one does not grow step by step but tries to jump a step that person will easily be drawn astray. Since none of the three have all of the writings their books are skipping steps for the uninitiated.
9) In return for that, we are privileged by Him to have been rewarded with the spirit of The Baal Shem Tov, whose greatness and sanctity are beyond any word and any utterance. He was not gazed upon and will not be gazed upon, except by those worthy that had served under his Light, and they, too, only intermittently, each according to what he received in his heart.
It is true that the Light of his Torah and Holy Wisdom are built primarily on the holy foundations of the Ari. However, they are not at all similar. I shall explain that with an allegory of a person who is drowning in the river, rising and sinking as drowning people do. Sometimes only the hair is visible, and then a counsel is sought to catch him by his head. Other times his body appears as well, and then a counsel is sought to catch him from opposite his heart.
So is the matter before us. After Israel has drowned in the evil waters of the exile in the nations, from then until now they rise and fall, and not all times are the same. At the time of the Ari, only the head was visible. Hence, the Ari had troubled in our favor to save us through the mind. At the time of The Baal Shem Tov, there was relief. Hence, it was a blessing for us to save us from opposite our heart, and that was a great and true salvation for us.
And for our many sins, the wheel has been turned over again in our generation and we have declined tremendously, as though from the zenith to the nadir.
In addition, there is the collision of the nations, which has confused the entire world. The needs have increased and the mind grew short and corrupted in the filth of materialism which apprehends the lead. Servants ride horses and ministers walk on the earth, and everything that is said in our study in the above-mentioned Masechet Sutah has come true in us, for our many sins. Again, the iron wall has been erected, even on this great Light of the Baal Shem Tov, which we have said illuminated as far as the establishment of our complete redemption.
And the wise-at-heart did not believe in the possibility that a generation would come when they could not see by his Light. Now, our eyes have darkened; we have been robbed of good, and when I saw this I said, “It is time to act!” Thus, I have come to open widely the gates of Light of the Ari, for he is indeed capable and fit for our generation, too, and “Two are better than one.”
We should not be blamed for the brevity in my composition, since it corresponds and adapts to any wisdom lover, as too much wine wears off the flavor, and the attainment will become harder for the disciple.
Also, we are not responsible for those fat-at-heart, since the language to assist them has yet to be created. Wherever they rest their eyes, they find folly, and there is a rule that from the same source from which the wise draws his wisdom, the fool draws his folly.
Thus, I stand at the outset of my book and warn that I have not troubled at all for all those who love to look through the windows. Rather, it is for those who care for the words of the Creator and long for the Creator and His Goodness, to complete the purpose for which they were created, for with the will of God, the verse, “All those who seek Me shall find Me,” shall come true in them.
10) Come and see the words of the sage, Rabbi Even Ezra in his book, Yesod Mora, p 8b: “And now note and know that all the Mitzvot that are written in the Torah or the conventions that the fathers have established, although they are mostly in action or in speech, they are all in order to correct the heart, ‘for the Lord searches all hearts, and understandes all the imaginations of the thoughts.’” It is written, “to them that are upright in their hearts.” Its opposite is, “A heart that deviseth wicked thoughts.” I have found one verse that contains all the Mitzvot, which is, “Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God; and Him shalt thou serve.”
The word “fear” contains all the negative Mitzvot in speech, in heart, and in action. It is the first degree from which one ascends to the work of God, which contains all the positive Mitzvot.
These will accustom one’s heart and guide one until one cleaves to the Lord, as for that was man created. He was not created for acquiring fortunes or for building buildings. Hence, one should seek everything that will bring one to love Him, to learn wisdom and to seek faith.
And the Creator will open the eyes of his heart and will renew a different spirit within him. Then he will be loved by his Maker in his life.
Know that the Torah was given only to men of heart. Words are as corpses and the Taamim (flavors) as souls. If one does not understand the Taamim, one’s whole effort is in vain, labor blown away.
chanoch explains: Taamim is the trope. This is the notes that are used to chant the Torah. Yet they are much more. In spirituality less is more.
It is as though one exerts oneself to count the letters and the words in a medicine book. No cure will come from this labor. It is also like a camel carrying silk; it does not benefit the silk, nor does the silk benefit it.
We draw only this from his words; hold on to the goal for which man was created. He says about it that this is the matter of the Dvekut with the Creator.
Hence, he says that one must search every means to bring one to love Him, to learn wisdom and to seek faith, until the Creator rewards one with opening one’s eyes and renewing a different spirit within him. At that time, he shall be loved by his Maker.
He deliberately makes that precision, to be loved by his Maker in his life. It indicates that while he has not acquired that, his work is incomplete, and the work that was necessarily given to us to do today. It is as he ends it, that the Torah was only given to men of heart, meaning ones who have acquired the heart to love and covet Him. The sages call them “wise-at-heart,” since there is no longer a descending, beastly spirit there, for the evil inclination is present only in a heart vacant from wisdom.
He interprets and says that the words are as corpses and the Taamim, as souls. If one does not understand the Taamim, it is similar to exerting oneself counting pages and words in a medicine book. This exertion will not yield a remedy.
He wishes to say that one is compelled to find the means to acquire the above-mentioned possession. It is because then one can taste the flavors of Torah, which is the interior wisdom and its mysteries, and the flavors of Mitzva, which are the interior love and the desire for Him.
Without it, one has only the words and the actions; dead bodies without souls. It is like one who labors counting pages and words in a medicine book, etc. Certainly, he will not perfect himself in medicine before he understands the meaning of the written medicine.
Even after one purchases it, for whatever price is asked, if the conduct of the study and the actions are not arranged to bring him to it, it is like a camel carrying silk; it does not benefit the silk and the silk does not benefit it, to bring it to complete the aim for which it was created.
11) According to these words, our eyes have been opened concerning the words of Rabbi Simon in Midrash Rabba, Parasha 6, about the verse, “Let us make man.” When the Creator came to create man, He consulted the ministering angels, and they were divided into sects and groups. Some said, “Let him be created,” and some said, “Let him not be created,” as it is written, “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.”
Mercy said, “Let him be created, for he does merciful actions.”
Truth said, “Let him not be created, for he is all lies.”
Righteousness said, “Let him be created, for he performs righteousness.”
Peace said, “Let him not be created, for he is all strife.”
What did the Creator do? He took Truth and threw it to the ground, as it is written, “and it cast down truth to the ground.” The angels said before the Creator: “Why do you disgrace your seal? Let Truth come up from the ground, as it is written, ‘truth springeth out of the ground.’”
This text is difficult from all sides:
i. It does not explain the seriousness of the verse, “Let us make man.” Is it a counsel that He needs, as it is written, “Deliverance in the heart of a counsel”?
ii. Regarding Truth, how can it be said about the entire human species that it is all lies, when there is not a generation without such as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob?
iii. If the words of Truth are earnest, how did the angels of Mercy and Righteousness agree to a world that is all lies?
iv. Why is Truth called “Seal,” which comes at the edge of a letter? Certainly, the reality exists primarily outside the seal. Is there no reality at all outside the borders of Truth?
v. Can true angels think of the True Operator that His operation is untrue?
vi. Why did Truth deserve such a harsh punishment to be thrown to the ground and into the ground?
vii. Why is the angels’ reply not brought in the Torah, as their question is brought?
We must understand these two conducts set before our eyes, which are completely opposite. These are the conducts of the existence of the entire reality of this world and the conducts of the manners of existence for the sustenance of each and every one in the reality before us. From this end, we find a reliable conduct in utterly affirmed guidance, which controls the making of each and every creature in reality.
Let us take the making of a human being as an example. The love and pleasure are its first reason, certain and reliable for its task. As soon as it is uprooted from the father’s brain, Providence provides it a safe and guarded place among the beddings in the mother’s abdomen, so no stranger may touch it.
There Providence provides it with its daily bread in the right measure. It tends to its every need without forgetting it for even a moment, until it gains strength to come out to the air of our world, which is full of obstacles.
At that time, Providence lends it power and strength, and like an armed, experienced hero, it opens gates and breaks the walls until it comes to such people it can trust to help it through its days of weakness with love and great compassion to sustain its existence, as they are the most precious for it in the whole world.
Thus, Providence embraces it until it qualifies it to exist and to continue its existence onward. As is with man, so it is with the animate and the flora. All are wondrously watched, securing their existence, and every scientist of nature knows it.
On the other end, when we regard the order of existence and sustenance in the modes of existence of the whole of reality, large and small, we find confused orders, as if an army is fleeing the campaign sick, beaten, and afflicted by the Creator. Their whole life is as death, having no sustenance unless by tormenting first, risking their lives for their bread.
Even a tiny louse breaks its teeth when it sets off for a meal. How much frisking it frisks to attain enough food to sustain itself? As it is, so are all, great and small alike, and all the more so with humans, the elite of Creation, who is involved in everything.
chanoch adds: Please notice that Rabbi Ashlag is describing the existence and sustenance of the three levels is relatively easy while the animal level is relatively difficult.
12) We discern two opposites in the ten Sefirot of Kedusha (Holiness). The first nine Sefirot are in the form of bestowal, and Malchut means reception. Also, the first nine are filled with Light, and Malchut has nothing of her own.
This is the meaning of our discrimination of two discernments of Light in each Partzuf: Ohr Pnimi (Inner Light) and OhrMakif (Surrounding Light), and two discernments in the Kelim (Vessels), which are the Inner Kli (Vessel) for Ohr Pnimi and an Outer Kli for Ohr Makif.
This is so because of the two above-mentioned opposites, as it is impossible for two opposites to be in the same subject. Thus, a specific subject is required for the Ohr Pnimi and a specific subject for the Ohr Makif.
However, they are not really opposite in Kedusha, since Malchut is in Zivug (Copulation) with the Upper nine, and its quality is of bestowal, too, in the form of Ohr Hozer (Reflected Light). But the Sitra Achra (Other Side) has nothing of the Upper nine. They are built primarily from the Vacant Space, which is the complete form of reception, on which the first Tzimtzum (Restriction) occurred. That root remained without Light even after the illumination of the Kav (Line) reached inside the Reshimo (Reminiscence).
chanoch explains: it is necessary to read and study the Sefer "Ten Luminous Emenations" to understand the definitions included in this paragraph.
For this reason, they are two complete opposites, compared to life and Kedusha, as it is written, “God hath made even the one as well as the other”; hence they are called “dead.”
It has been explained above, Item 6, that the whole issue of the Tzimtzum was only for the adornment of the souls, concerning the equalizing of their form to their Maker’s, which is the inversion of the vessels of reception to the form of bestowal.
You find that this goal is still denied from the perspective of the Partzufim of Kedusha (Countenances of Holiness). This is because there is nothing there of the Vacant Space, which is the complete form of reception, over which was the Tzimtzum, hence, no correction will apply to it, as it does not exist in reality.
Also, there is certainly no correction here from the perspective of the Sitra Achra, although it does have a Vacant Space, since it has a completely opposite interest, and everything it receives dies.
Hence, it is only a human in this world that we need. In infancy, he is sustained and supported by the Sitra Achra, inheriting the Kelim of the Vacant Space from it. When he grows, he connects to the structure of Kedusha through the power of Torah and Mitzvot to bestow contentment upon his Maker.
Thus, one turns the complete measure of reception he has already acquired to be solely arranged for bestowal. In that, he equalizes his form with his Maker and the aim comes true in him.
This is the meaning of the existence of time in this world. You find that first, these two above opposites were divided into two separate subjects, namely Kedusha and Sitra Achra, by way of, “even the one as well as the other.” They are still devoid of the above correction, for they must be in the same subject, which is man.
Therefore, the existence of an order of time is necessary for us, since then the two opposites will come in a person one-by-one, meaning at a time of Katnut (infancy) and at a time of Gadlut (adulthood/maturity).
13) Now you can understand the need for the breaking of the vessels and their properties, as it is written in The Zohar and in the writings of the Ari, that two kinds of Light are present in each ten Sefirot, running back and forth.
The first Light is OhrEin Sof (Light of Infinity), which travels from Above downward. It is called Ohr Yashar (Direct Light).
The second Light is a result of the Kli of Malchut, returning from below Upward, called Ohr Hozer (Reflected Light).
Both unite into one. Know that from the Tzimtzum downward, the point of Tzimtzum is devoid of any Light and remains a Vacant Space. The Upper Light can no longer appear in the last Behina (discernment) before the end of correction, and this is said particularly about Ohr Ein Sof, called Ohr Yashar. However, the second Light, called Ohr Hozer, can appear in the last Behina, since the case of the Tzimtzum did not apply to it at all.
Now we have learned that the system of the Sitra Achra and the Klipot (Shells) is a necessity for the purpose of the Tzimtzum, in order to instill in a person the great vessels of reception while in Katnut, when one is dependent on her.
Thus, the Sitra Achra too needs abundance. Where would she take it if she is made solely of the last Behina, which is a space that is vacant of any Light, since from the Tzimtzum downward the Upper Light is completely separated from it?
Hence, the matter of the breaking of the vessels had been prepared. The breaking indicates that a part of the Ohr Hozer of the world of Nekudim descended from Atzilut out to the Vacant Space. And you already know that Ohr Hozer can appear in the Vacant Space, as well.
That part, the Ohr Hozer that descended from Atzilut outwardly, contains thirty-two special Behinot (discernments) of each and every Sefira of the ten Sefirot of Nekudim. Ten times thirty-two is 320, and these 320 Behinot that descended, were prepared for the sustenance of the existence of the lower ones, which come to them in two systems, as it is written, “God hath made even the one as well as the other,” meaning the worlds ABYA of Kedusha and opposite them the worlds ABYA of the Sitra Achra.
In the interpretation of the verse, “and the one people shall be stronger than the other people,” our sages said that when one rises, the other falls, and Tzor is built only over the ruins of Jerusalem. This is so because all these 320 Behinot can appear for the Sitra Achra, at which time the structure of the system of Kedusha, with respect to the lower ones, is completely ruined.
Also, these 320 Behinot can connect solely to Kedusha. At that time, the system of the Sitra Achra is completely destroyed from the land, and they can divide more or less evenly between them, according to people’s actions. And so they incarnate in the two systems until the correction is completed.
After the breaking of the vessels and the decline of the 320 Behinot of sparks of Light from Atzilut outwards, 288 of them were sorted and rose, meaning everything that descended from the first nine Sefirot in the ten Sefirot of Nekudim. Nine times thirty-two are 288 Behinot, and they are the ones that reconnected to building the system of Kedusha.
You find that only thirty-two Behinot remained for the Sitra Achra from what had descended from Malchut of the world of Nekudim. This was the beginning of the structure of the Sitra Achra, in its utter smallness, when she is as yet unfit for her task. The completion of her construction ended later, by the sin of Adam ha Rishon with the Tree of Knowledge.
Thus we find that there are two systems, one opposite the other, operating in the persistence and sustenance of reality. The ration of Light needed for that existence is 320 sparks. Those were prepared and measured by the breaking of the vessels. This ration is to be swaying between the two systems, and that is what the conducts of sustenance and existence of reality depend on.
You should know that the system of Kedusha must contain at least a ration of 288 sparks to complete her nine upper Sefirot, and then it can sustain and provide for the existence of the lower ones. This is what it had prior to the sin of Adam ha Rishon, and for that reason the whole of reality was then conducted by the system of Kedusha, since it had the full 288 sparks.
14) Now we have found the opening to the above study regarding the four sects, Mercy, Righteousness, Truth, and Peace, which negotiated with the Creator regarding man’s creation. These angels are servants of man's soul; hence, He negotiated with them, since the whole act of Creation was created according to them, as each and every soul consists of ten Sefirot in Ohr Pnimi and Ohr Makif.
Mercy is the Ohr Pnimi of the first nine of the soul.
Righteousness is the Ohr Pnimi of the Malchut of the soul.
Truth is the Ohr Makif of the soul.
We have already said that Ohr Pnimi and Ohr Makif are opposites, since the Ohr Pnimi is drawn by the law of the illumination of the Kav, which is prevented from appearing at the point of the Tzimtzum, which is the Gadlut form of reception.
The Ohr Makif extends from OhrEin Sof, which surrounds all the worlds, since there, in Ein Sof,great and small are equal. For this reason, the Ohr Makif shines and bestows upon the point of Tzimtzum, too, much less for Malchut.
Since they are opposites, two Kelim are needed. This is because the Ohr Pnimi illuminates in the Upper nine. Even to Malchut, it shines only according to the law of the Upper nine, and not at all to her own self. However, the Ohr Makif shines in the Kelim that extend specifically from the point of the Tzimtzum, which is called “Outer Kli.”
Now you can understand why Truth is called “Seal.” It is a borrowed name from a seal at the edge of a letter, at the end of the matters. However, it asserts them and gives them validity. Without the seal they are worthless, and the whole text is wasted.
It is the same with the Ohr Makif, which bestows upon the point of the Tzimtzum, which is the Gadlut measure of reception, until it equalizes its form with its Maker in bestowal. Indeed, this is the purpose of all the limited worlds, Upper and lower.
The protest of Truth regarding man's creation is its claim that he is all lies. This is so because, from the perspective of the Creator, man does not have an Outer Kli, which he needs to draw from the point of Tzimtzum, as she has already been separated from His Light. Thus, the Angels of Truth could not help man obtain the Ohr Makif.
All the limited worlds, Upper and lower, were created solely for that completion, and this man must be its only subject. But since this man is unfit for his role, they are all abyss and falsehood, and the labor in them – useless.
It is the opposite with the angels of Mercy and Righteousness, which belong specifically to the Ohr Pnimi of the soul. Because he has nothing of the Vacant Space, they could bestow upon him all the Lights of Neshama abundantly, in the most sublime perfection.
Thus, they were happy to benefit him and wholeheartedly agreed to man's creation. Because they are NHY that enter by Zivug deHakaa (Copulation in striking), they belong to the half of the Ohr Makif from the perspective of the Ohr Hozer in it.
The angels of Peace claimed that he is all strife. In other words, how will he receive the Ohr Makif? In the end, they cannot come in the same subject with the Ohr Pnimi, as they are opposite from each other, meaning all strife.
The Ohr Makif is discerned by two: the future Ohr Hozer and the future Ohr Makif. The Outer Kli for the Ohr Hozer is the Masach (Screen) and the Outer Kli for the Ohr Makif is the Aviut of Behina Dalet (Fourth Discernment) itself, namely the Stony Heart.
You find that Adam ha Rishon lacked only the Outer Kli, which belongs to the angels of Truth. He did not lack the Outer Kli, belonging to the angels of Peace. Hence, they agreed to the Creation, but claimed that he is all strife, meaning that the OhrYashar cannot enter the Inner Kli since they are opposites.
15) Now we have been granted the understanding of the rest of the verses in the sin of the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil, which are most profound. Our sages, who disclosed a portion of them, concealed ten portions with their words.
As a foreword, it is written, “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” Know that clothing means an Outer Kli. Hence, the text precedes to demonstrate the reason for the sin of the Tree of Knowledge, as it is written in the verse, “Libel is terrible for the children of man, for in libel you come upon him.”
This means that his sin had been prepared in advance, and this is the meaning of the words that Adam and his wife did not have an Outer Kli at the moment of creation, but only Inner Kelim, which extend from the system of Kedusha, hence they were not ashamed. This is why they did not feel their absence, as shame refers to a sensation of absence.
It is known that the sensation of absence is the first reason for the fulfillment of the deficiency. It is as one who feels one’s illness and is willing to receive the medication. However, when one does not feel that he is ill, he will certainly avoid all medications.
Indeed, this task is for the Outer Kli to do. Since it is in the construction of the body and is empty of Light, as it comes from the Vacant Space, it begets the sensation of emptiness and dearth in it, by which one becomes ashamed.
Hence, one is compelled to return to fill the absence and draw the lacking Ohr Makif, which is about to fill that Kli. This is the meaning of the verse, “And they were both naked, the man and his wife,” of the Outer Kli. For this reason, they were not ashamed, since they did not feel their absence. In that manner, they are devoid of the purpose for which they were created.
Yet, we must thoroughly understand the sublimity of that man, made by the hands of the Creator. Also, his wife, to whom the Creator has administered greater intelligence than him, as they have written (Nidah 45) in the interpretation to the verse, “And the Lord made the rib.”
Thus, how did they fail and became as fools, not knowing to beware of the serpent’s slyness? On the other hand, that serpent, of which the text testifies that it was more cunning than all the animals of the field, how did it utter such folly and emptiness that should they eat off the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, they would be turned to God? Moreover, how did that folly settle in their hearts?
Also, it is said below that they did not eat because of their desire to become God, but simply because the tree is good to eat. This is seemingly a beastly desire!
16) We must know the nature of the two kinds of discernments customary for us:
The first discernment is called “discernment of good and bad.”
The second discernment is called “discernment of true and false.”
This means that the Creator has imprinted a discerning force in each creature that executes everything that is good for it and brings it to its desired perfection. The first discernment is the active, physical force. It operates using the sensation of bitter and sweet, which loathes and repels the bitter form, since it is bad for it, and loves and attracts the sweet because it is good for it. This operating force is sufficient in the Still, the Vegetative, and the Animate in reality, to bring them to their desired perfection.
Atop them is the human species, in which the Creator instilled a rational operating force. It operates in sorting the above second discernment, rejecting falsehood and emptiness with loathing to the point of nausea, and attracts true matters and every benefit with great love.
This discernment is called “discernment of true and false.” It is implemented solely in the human species, each according to his own measure. Know that this second acting force was created and came to man because of the serpent. At creation, he had only the first active force, from the discernments of good and bad, which was sufficient for him at that time.
Let me explain it to you in an allegory: If the righteous were rewarded according to their good deeds, and the wicked punished according their bad deeds in this world, Kedusha would be determined for us in the reality of sweet and good, and the Sitra Achra would be defined in the reality of bad and bitter.
In that state, the commandment of choice would reach us, as it is written, “Behold, I have set before thee the sweet and the bitter; therefore choose sweet.” Thus, all the people would be guaranteed to achieve perfection, for they would certainly run from the sin, as it is bad for them. They would be occupied in His Mitzvot day in and day out, ceaselessly, like today’s fools regarding the bodily matters and its filth, since it is good and sweet to them. So was the matter of Adam ha Rishon when He created him.
“And put him into the Garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.” Our sages interpreted, “to dress it” are the positive Mitzvot, “and to keep it” are the negative Mitzvot. His positive Mitzvot were to eat and delight with all the trees of the Garden, and his negative Mitzvot were to not eat from the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil. The positive Mitzvot were sweet and nice, and the negative Mitzvot were retirement from the bitter fruit that is as hard as death.
Not surprisingly, these cannot be called Mitzvot and labor. We find the likes of that in our present chores, where through the pleasures of Shabbat and good days we are rewarded with sublime Kedusha. And we are also rewarded for retiring from reptiles and insects and everything that one finds loathsome.
You find that the choice in the work of Adam ha Rishon was by way of “therefore choose sweet.” It follows that the physical palate alone was sufficient for all he needed, to know what the Creator commanded and what He did not command.
17) Now we can understand the serpent’s craftiness, which our sages added, and notified us that SAM clothed in it, because its words were very high. It started with, “Yea, hath God said: ‘Ye shall not eat of any tree of the garden?’” Meaning, it began to speak with her since the woman was not commanded by the Creator. Hence, it asked her about the modes of scrutiny, meaning how do you know that the Tree of Knowledge had been prohibited? Perhaps all the fruits of the Garden were forbidden for you, too? “And the woman said… ‘Of the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat’; …Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.”
There are two great precisions here:
A. The touching was never forbidden; hence, why did she add to the prohibition?
B. Did she doubt the words of the Creator? The Creator said, “thou shalt surely die,” and the woman said, “lest ye die.” Could it be that she did not believe the words of the Creator even prior to the sin?
Yet, the woman answered it according to the serpent’s question. She knew what the Creator had prohibited, that all the trees of the Garden are sweet and nice and good to eat. However, she was already close to touching that tree inside the Garden, and tasted in it a taste that is as hard as death.
She herself had proven that by to her own observation, there is fear of death, even from mere touching. For this reason, she understood the prohibition further than she had heard from her husband, as there is none so wise as the experienced.
“Lest ye die” concerns the touching. The answer must have been quite sufficient, for who would interfere and deny another’s taste? However, the serpent contradicted her and said, “Ye shall not surely die; for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened.”
We must make the precision concerning the matter of the opening of the eyes to this place. Indeed, it informed her of a new thing, beyond her. It proved to them that it is folly to think that the Creator created something harmful and detrimental in His world. Thus, with respect to the Creator, it is certainly not a bad or harmful thing.
Instead, that bitterness that you will taste in it, when even close to touching, is only on your part, since this eating is to notify you of the height of your merit. Thus, it is additional Kedusha that you need during the act, so your sole aim will be to bring contentment to your Maker, to keep the aim for which you were created. For this reason, it seems evil to you, so you will understand the additional Kedusha required of you.
“For in the day that thou eatest thereof,” meaning if the act is in Kedusha and purity as clear as day, then “ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil.” This means that as it is certainly sweet to the Creator and completely equal, so the good and bad will be to you, in complete equivalence, sweet and gentle.
It is still possible to doubt the credibility of the serpent, since the Creator did not tell it that Himself. Therefore, the serpent first said, “for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened.”
This means that it is not necessary for the Creator to notify you of that, since He knows that if you pay attention to that, to eat on the side of Kedusha, your eyes shall be opened by themselves, to understand the measure of His greatness. You will feel wondrous sweetness and gentleness in Him; hence, He does not need to let you know, as for that He instilled in you the scrutinizing force, that you may know what is to your benefit by yourselves.
It is written right after that: “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes.” This means that she did not rely on His words, but went and examined with her own mind and understanding and sanctified herself with additional Kedusha,to bring contentment to the Creator in order to complete the aim desired of her, and not at all for herself. At that time, her eyes were opened, as the serpent had said, “And the woman saw that the tree was good for food.”
In other words, by seeing that “it was a delight to the eyes,” before she even touched it, she felt great sweetness and lust, when her eyes saw by themselves that she had not seen such a desirable thing in all the trees of the Garden.
She also learned that the tree is good for knowledge, meaning that there is far more to crave and covet in this tree than in all the trees of the Garden. This refers to knowing that they were created for this act of eating, and that this is the whole purpose, as the serpent had told her.
After all these certain observations “she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat; and she gave also unto her husband with her, and he did eat.” The text accurately writes “with her,” meaning with the pure intention to only bestow and not for her own need. This is the meaning of the words “and she gave also unto her husband with her,” with her in Kedusha.
chanoch adds: There are other similar explanations in other Sages writings. There are some minor differences between the explanations yet nothing significant or important to discuss.
chanoch explains: The salient points are as follows:
Adam and Eve were supposed to eat from the Tree of Knowledge at some future time - many Sages say that it was to have been after that first Shabbat or perhaps during that first Shabbat.
Nothing the Samech Mem said to Chava is untrue.
Chava was told something called a fence around the Torah. She expanded that fence to a "larger" distance.
Chava verified that the Tree smelled good and therefore knew it was good to eat.
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