Baal HaSulam, Shamati #121, “She Is Like Merchant-Ships”: In the verse, “She is like the merchant-ships; she bringeth her bread from afar.” When one demands and insists that “she is all mine,” that all the desires will be dedicated to the Creator, the Sitra Achra awakens against him and claims, “She is all mine,” too. And then there is a tradeoff.
When a person receives an awakening regarding the Creator from above, the power of the Sitra Achra also is awakened in him to make freedom of choice possible for him, and so two forces are active simultaneously.
A tradeoff means that one wants to buy a certain object and the buyer and seller debate its worth, meaning each of them claims that he is right.
The person is torn between these two forces, for both of them are pulling him: “…meaning each of them claims that he is right.”
And here the body examines to whom it is worthwhile to listen: to the receiver or to the giving force. Both clearly argue, “She is all mine.”
One force insists that it is preferable to advance along with this world and take everything that is possible from life, and another force pulls him toward spirituality, claiming that this world is not worth anything and is built this way only in order to rise above it, and the person ruins his life, torn between the two forces that trade between them.
And since one sees one’s lowness, that in him, too, there are sparks that do not agree to observe the Torah and Mitzvot even as a dot on the iota, but that the whole body argues, “She is all mine…”
The “dot on the iota” is the point, the beginning of all the letters. However, the person is not prepared to realize even this small point for the sake of bestowal.
…then, “she bringeth her bread from afar.” This means that from the removals, when one sees how far one is from the Creator, and regrets, and asks of the Creator to bring him closer, “she bringeth her bread.”
Bread means faith. In that state one is awarded permanent faith, since “God hath so made it that men should fear before Him.” This means that all the removals that one feels were brought to him by the Creator, so he would have the need to assume the fear of heaven.
He would have the need to serve the Creator because otherwise he will not be able to escape from the quagmire of life.
This is the meaning of “that man doth not live by bread only, but by everything that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord.” This means that the life of Kedusha (Sanctity) within one does not come specifically from drawing closer, from entrances, that is, admissions into Kedusha, but also from the exits, from the removals. This is so because through the dressing of the Sitra Achra in one’s body, and its claims, “She is all mine,” with a just argument, one is awarded permanent faith by overcoming these states.
This is our way. We are constantly given various physical temptations to confuse us, and it is up to us to reduce their value without foregoing them. It is impossible for us to abstain or be ascetics since we must use everything that there is in our world but in the framework of a reasonable, regular existence. Regarding everything that goes beyond the necessities, we must turn to spirituality. Both of these aspects must balance.
Our method is not mysticism and not religion. It is impossible to abstain from anything. A person must reasonably use all of the means that are at his disposal in this world, and turn all of his desires upward to resemble the Creator, to connect to Him.
“Reasonably” refers to something that we could forego, but don’t because we decide that this is necessary for our normal existence. In a case like this, it is “neither praised nor condemned.” Essentially, as of today, the entire world is advancing toward this state.
Today there are an increasing number of inhabitants on the face of the earth; there is less and less work, more and more unemployed, social benefits are being cut, and so forth. According to statistics, 50% of all of the property on the face of the Earth is owned by 1% of the entire population.
Ultimately, this will force the world through wars and revolutions, or through awareness, to reach the decision to produce and consume only what is necessary to survive reasonably and with dignity.
In the past, there was a condition, “Eat bread with salt, drink little water, sleep on the ground, lead a sorrowful life, and labor in the Torah” so that everything would be okay. But a few hundred years before our era, Kabbalists made special corrections for us in the system of management, and now there is no need for a person in our world to impose any physical and corporeal limitations for the purpose of correction. He can consume reasonably and calmly everything that is necessary for his health, for his existence, without limitation. So if my mind is always busy, with spiritual advancement, in a group, in study, and in dissemination, then it is not important how much I drink and eat with friends. There are no limitations.
Now the world is advancing toward achieving sustainable consumption. In any case, we have nowhere to flee. The external atmosphere and environment, and even the state of the economy and industry economic obligate us. Therefore, a person will be involved only with rational servicing of the body and all of the rest he will aim toward the spiritual level.
However, this article states that even if a person places himself in the middle line, nevertheless he will be drawn constantly toward the right or the left, the left or the right. In order to advance, we must be between the two lines of development. On the one hand, we seem to be drawn toward spiritual development, and on the other hand, we are drawn toward various disturbances, away from the side of the right line.
This means that one should unite everything with the Creator—that is, that even the exits stem from Him—and when he is rewarded, he sees that both the exits and the entrances were all from Him.
Being humble means being in the middle line all the time, being fixated on “There is none else beside Him” with the help of the balance of the two lines when the person understands that the two lines equally come from the Creator, and only so he would realize freedom of choice and advance.
Moses tolerated the humility, which is why he was called humble since the lowness made him glad. Thus, in each degree, one should hold onto the lowness, and the moment he loses the lowness, he immediately loses all the degrees of Moses that he had already achieved.
“Nullity” means that the person does not have its own forces, and all the forces to move forward, he receives from the Creator. In other words, I am not a power generator, I do not have them. Everything that I have: power, intelligence, desire, domestic status, external circumstances and the fact that I get to awareness at every moment of his life – all my Creator substitutes. There were no accidents or something that depends on me.
Lowness means that a person doesn’t have his own forces, and all the force to advance, he receives from the Creator. In other words, I cannot create power by myself because I have no power. All that I have is energy, intelligence, desire, an inner state, external circumstances and what I become aware of every moment in my life. All of this comes from the Creator. There are no accidents here or something that depends on me. The only thing that depends on us is understanding what is happening, making the right choice, and bringing all that we feel within us and around us to the one and only source.
This is the meaning of patience. Lowliness exists in everyone, but not every person feels that lowliness is a good thing. One does not want to suffer.
The person begins to understand that he is not the main source of intelligence, thought, action, decisions, or anything. All of this comes only from the Creator. This helps him adhere to the Creator, and if he understands this more and more deeply, he simply melts into it.
So our work is to attribute everything that we have, in the heart, in the mind, our decisions, our vision, everything that we feel within our senses, everything that happens around us and within us, to the one and only source. This is the principle of “There is none else beside Him.” If we attribute everything that we do to the same origin, we achieve adhesion with the Creator.
From the Kabbalah Lesson in Russian 2/10/14