Baal HaSulam, “The Arvut (Mutual Guarantee)”: Because the Torah was not given to them before each and every one from Israel was asked if he agreed to take upon himself the Mitzva (precept) of loving others in the full measure, expressed in the words: “Love thy friend as thyself” (as explained in Items 2 and 3, examine it thoroughly there). This means that each and every one in Israel would take it upon himself to care and work for each member of the nation, and to satisfy all their every needs, no less than the measure imprinted in him to care for his own needs.
This condition seems clear, yet in fact, all of reality is concealed here, all that life can give us. And since there is only one condition that stands before us which must be maintained, “And you shall love your friend as yourself,” so everything that happens in my personal life, in relationship with myself, with my family, with the environment near and far, with humanity, with the world, everything that has happened to me up until this moment, must be directed towards only one goal. And at every moment I must check, have I lived it to reach love for others?
If I begin to evaluate myself in this way, then understandably, at every moment there will be many questions for me: “Why? What for? How is one thing connected to another? What do I get out of this?” and so forth. Rejection and resistance will grow, but if I truly want to clarify what must be clarified and corrected, then everything will be considered according to only one criterion, according to that phrase, “And you shall love your friend as yourself.”
It’s written that this is a major rule in the Torah, in other words, this is the principle that includes all of reality, includes all of my incarnations, and in general, everything that has been. Therefore, someone who is ready to accept this principle as a basis, as a measuring rod for his life, he is ready to accept the Torah, the method of correction. You see, the whole Torah is designed only to realize this principle.
And conversely, someone who doesn’t direct himself towards this, he doesn’t need the Torah. He can read it, be interested in it as a historian, or use it in some other way. Throughout history, everyone has wandered through it as they saw fit. That said, the true Torah is revealed to me, moves me, and opens the way before me only on condition that I aspire to “And you shall love your friend as yourself.”
In this way I begin from a distance, from the greatest resistance, from an absolute lack of understanding, from the furthest place, until I gradually begin to understand that this is important, that this is connected to the entire reality, to the world, to all other people and to my ego. I begin to be interested in this principle at least in an egoistic form, with the hope of somehow gaining from this. And so I have something to hold on to already; this expression becomes important in my eyes because I see this as a means for receiving pleasure, knowledge of self, an opportunity to get something new. And even if this connection is not arranged as I would like it, and passes through the reverse side, this is still a connection, and it’s very important.
A state like this is called “Lo Lishma,” and it’s a high level where I am already holding onto the principle of “And you shall love your friend as yourself,” and through it, love for the Creator, Who is to be found in the other, in the community, as is written, “I live among My own people.” Therefore, everything is arranged for me except the intention.
First, from my “healthy,” materialistic, egoistic desire, I grasp this principle strongly; then it’s possible to speak about intention. First of all, it’s necessary to build a healthy relationship, as is written: “Educate the youth according to his way.” And the more ruthless his desire to fulfill himself, the better because then you can open the way before him and explain to him upon what progress depends.
In general, all the steps leading to both purity and impurity are subject to the same dependency and are found in the same way. Only the relationship is different. About this it is written: “The Creator made this opposite to that” (Ecclesiastes 7). We use the same Kelim for both egoistic and altruistic actions; and only in intention are these actions opposing.
Before me is the system of my relationships with the group. I give myself over to it and through it to the Creator, Who is within it. I want to adhere to Him and thereby fill myself with all the Light of Infinity. This is the desired, worthwhile and imperative approach.
If I begin to confuse myself with superfluous considerations, I only reduce my desire even before it grows, so that I will have something to correct. A person corrects only what is discovered in him, and one should not be ashamed or be timid because of his egoistic spiritual aspirations. This is normal. The main thing is to be clear, that specifically in the system called a “group” I will reveal the Creator.
In general, this system includes all of reality, and even though it now seems to me to be divided, later I will see that everything is included within it. So, it’s important to see the real state, even if at this stage it’s for my own benefit.
This is the beginning of self-nullification; this puts me in front of the perpetual questions: “How can I be incorporated into the system? How do I enjoy it?” And then the Reforming Light works on me. The system is built such that the posterior side of the upper is found in the front side of the lower, and therefore, even if I think about ascent egoistically, the upper perfects my defect and gives me a remedy for my ego. After all, this ego is directed towards “And you shall love your friend as yourself.”
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 4/25/13, “The Mutual Guarantee”