THERE IS NONE ELSE BESIDES HIM
It is written, “there is none else besides Him.” This means that there is no other force in the world that has the ability to do anything against Him. And what man sees, that there are things in the world that deny the Higher Household, the reason is that this is His will.
And it is deemed a correction, called “the left rejects and the right adducts,” meaning that which the left rejects is considered correction. This means that there are things in the world, which, to begin with, aim to divert a person from the right way, and by which he is rejected from Sanctity.
And the benefit from the rejections is that through them a person receives a need and a complete desire for the Creator to help him, since he sees that otherwise he is lost. Not only does he not progress in his work, but he sees that he regresses, that is, he lacks the strength to observe Torah and Mitzvot even in Lo Lishma (not for Her Name). That only by genuinely overcoming all the obstacles, above reason, can he observe the Torah and Mitzvot. But he does not always have the strength to overcome above reason; otherwise, he is forced to deviate, God forbid, from the way of the Creator, even from Lo Lishma.
And he, who always feels that the shattered is greater than the whole, meaning that there are many more descents than ascents, and he does not see an end to these states, and he will forever remain outside of holiness, for he sees that it is difficult for him to observe even as little as a jot, unless by overcoming above reason. But he is not always able to overcome. And what shall be the end?
Then he comes to the decision that no one can help him but the Creator Himself. This causes him to make a heartfelt demand that the Creator will open his eyes and heart, and truly bring him nearer to eternal adhesion with God. It thus follows, that all the rejections he had experienced had come from the Creator.
This means that it was not because he was at fault, that he did not have the ability to overcome. Rather, for those people who truly want to draw near the Creator, and so they will not settle for little, meaning remain as senseless children, he is therefore given help from Above, so he will not be able to say that thank God, I have Torah and Mitzvot and good deeds, and what else do I need?
And only if that person has a true desire will he receive help from Above. And he is constantly shown how he is at fault in his present state. Namely, he is sent thoughts and views, which are against the work. This is in order for him to see that he is not one with the Lord. And as much as he overcomes, he always sees how he is farther from holiness than others, who feel that they are one with the Creator.
But he, on the other hand, always has complaints and demands, and he cannot justify the Creator’s behavior, and how He behaves toward him. This pains him. Why is he not one with the Creator? Finally, he comes to feel that he has no part in holiness whatsoever.
Although he occasionally receives awakening from Above, which momentarily revives him, but soon after he falls into the place of baseness. However, this is what causes him to come to realize that only God can help and really bring him closer.
A man must always try and cleave to the Creator; namely, that all his thoughts will be about Him. That is to say, that even if he is in the worst state, from which there cannot be a greater decline, he should not leave His domain, namely, that there is another authority which prevents him from entering holiness, and which can bring benefit or harm.
That is, he must not think that there is the force of the Sitra Achra (Other Side), which does not allow a person to do good deeds and follow God’s ways. Rather, all is done by the Creator.
The Baal Shem Tov said that he who says that there is another force in the world, namely Klipot (shells), that person is in a state of “serving other gods.” It is not necessarily the thought of heresy that is the transgression, but if he thinks that there is another authority and force apart from the Creator, by that he is committing a sin.
Furthermore, he who says that man has his own authority, that is, he says that yesterday he himself did not want to follow God’s ways, that too is considered committing the sin of heresy. Meaning that he does not believe that only the Creator is the leader of the world.
But when he has committed a sin, he must certainly regret it and be sorry for having committed it. But here too we should place the pain and sorrow in the right order: where does he place the cause of the sin, for that is the point that should be regretted.
Then, one should be remorseful and say: “I committed that sin because the Creator hurled me down from holiness to a place of filth, to the lavatory, the place of filth.” That is to say that the Creator gave him a desire and craving to amuse himself and breath air in a place of stench.
(And you might say that it is written in books, that sometimes one comes incarnated as a pig. We should interpret that, as he says, one receives a desire and craving to take liveliness from things he had already determined were litter, but now he wants to receive nourishment from them).
Also, when one feels that now he is in a state of ascent, and feels some good flavor in the work, he must not say: “Now I am in a state that I understand that it is worthwhile to worship the Creator.” Rather he should know that now he was favored by the Creator, hence the Creator brought him closer, and for this reason he now feels good flavor in the work. And he should be careful never to leave the domain of Sanctity, and say that there is another who operates besides the Creator.
(But this means that the matter of being favored by the Creator, or the opposite, does not depend on the person himself, but only on the Creator. And man, with his external mind, cannot comprehend why now the Lord has favored him and afterwards did not.)
Likewise, when he regrets that the Creator does not draw him near, he should also be careful that it would not be concerning himself, meaning that he is remote from the Creator. This is because thus he becomes a receiver for his own benefit, and one who receives is separated. Rather, he should regret the exile of the Shechina (Divinity), meaning that he is causing the sorrow of Divinity.
One should imagine that it is as though a small organ of the person is sore. The pain is nonetheless felt primarily in the mind and in the heart. The heart and the mind, which are the whole of man. And certainly, the sensation of a single organ cannot resemble the sensation of a person’s full stature, where most of the pain is felt.
Likewise is the pain that a person feels when he is remote from the Creator. Since man is but a single organ of the Holy Shechina, for the Holy Shechina is the common soul of Israel, hence, the sensation of a single organ does not resemble the sensation of the pain in general. That is to say that there is sorrow in the Shechina when the organs are detached from her, and she cannot nurture her organs.
(And we should say that this is what our sages said: “When a man regrets, what does Shechina say? ‘It is lighter than my head.’”). By not relating the sorrow of remoteness to oneself, one is spared falling into the trap of the desire to receive for oneself, which is considered separation from holiness.
The same applies when one feels some closeness to holiness, when he feels joy at having been favored by the Creator. Then, too, one must say that one’s joy is primarily because now there is joy Above, within the Holy Shechina, at being able to bring her private organ near her, and that she did not have to send her private organ away.
And one derives joy from being rewarded with pleasing the Shechina. This is in accord with the above calculation that when there is joy for the part, it is only a part of the joy of the whole. Through these calculations he loses his individuality and avoids being trapped by the Sitra Achra, which is the will to receive for his own benefit.
Although, the will to receive is necessary, since this is the whole of man, since anything that exists in a person apart from the will to receive does not belong to the creature, but is attributed to the Creator, but the will to receive pleasure should be corrected to being in order to bestow.
That is to say, the pleasure and joy, which the will to receive takes, should be with the intention that there is contentment Above when the creatures feel pleasure, for this was the purpose of creation – to benefit His creations. And this is called the joy of the Shechina Above.
For this reason, one must seek advice as to how he can bring contentment Above. And certainly, if he receives pleasure, contentment shall be felt Above. Therefore, he yearns to always be in the King’s palace, and to have the ability to play with the King’s treasures. And that will certainly cause contentment Above. It follows that his entire longing should be only for the sake of the Creator.
By Rabbi Yehuda Leib HaLevi Ashlag, "Baal HaSulam"
From the book "Shamati" ("I Heard")
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