STILL, VEGETATIVE, ANIMATE, AND SPEAKING
Still is something that does not have an authority of its own. Rather, it is under the authority of its Landlord and must satisfy every wish and desire of its Landlord. Hence, when the Creator created creation for His glory, as it is written, “everyone that is called by My Name and whom I have created for My glory,” it means that the Creator created creation for His own needs. The nature of the Landlord is imprinted in the creatures, meaning all the creatures cannot work for another, but for themselves.
Vegetative is that which already has its own authority to some extent. It can already do something that is contrary to the opinion of the Landlord. This means that it can already do things not for itself but to bestow. This is already the opposite of what exists in the will of the Landlord, which He had imprinted in the lower ones to work only with the will to receive for themselves.
Yet, as we can see in corporeal flora, even though they are mobile and expand in width and length, still, all the plants have a single property. In other words, there is not a single plant that can go against the method of all the plants. Rather, they must adhere to the rules of the flora and are incapable of doing anything against the mind of their contemporaries.
Thus, they have no life of their own, but are parts of the life of all flora. This means that all the plants have a single form of life for all the plants. All the plants are like a single creature and the individual plants are specific organs of that animal.
Similarly, in spirituality there are people who have already acquired the force to overcome their will to receive to some degree, but are confined to the environment. They cannot do the opposite of the environment they live in, yet they do the opposite of what their will to receive wants. This means that they already work with the will to bestow.
Animate: We see that each animal has its own characteristic; they are not confined to the environment but each of them has its own sensation and characteristic. They can certainly operate against the will of the Landlord, meaning they can work in bestowal and are also not confined to the environment. Rather, they have their own lives, and their vitality does not depend on their friends’ life. Yet, they cannot feel more than their own being. In other words, they have no sensation of the other. And naturally cannot care for the other.
Speaking has virtues: 1 – It acts against the will of the Landlord. 2 – It is not confined to its contemporaries like the vegetative, meaning it is independent from society. 3 – It also feels the other, and hence can care for them and complement them, by feeling and regretting with the public, and being able to rejoice in the solace of the public, and by the ability to receive from the past and from the future. Animals, however, feel only the present and only their own being.
By Rabbi Yehuda Leib HaLevi Ashlag, "Baal HaSulam"
From the book "Shamati" ("I Heard")
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