Lesson No. 2 : The Foundation for Establishing the Society
The Need For A Good Environment In Order To Advance Me On The Spiritual Ladder
1. It is written about this, “O Lord, the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup; You maintain my lot. You placed my hand on the good fate, to say, ‘This take for you.’”…
Now you can see the true meaning of their words. It is indeed true that the Creator Himself puts one’s hand on the good fate by giving him a life of pleasure and contentment within the corporeal life that is filled with torment and pain, and devoid of any content. …
And one’s choice refers only to the strengthening. This is because there is certainly a great effort and exertion here before one purifies one’s body to be able to keep the Torah and Mitzvot correctly, not for his own pleasure, but to bring contentment to his Maker, which is called Lishma (for Her Name). Only in this manner is one endowed with a life of happiness and pleasantness that come with keeping the Torah.
However, before one comes to that purification there is certainly a choice to strengthen in the good way by all sorts of means and tactics. …
—Baal HaSulam, “Introduction to The Study of the Ten Sefirot”
2. One cannot raise oneself above one’s circle. Hence, one must suck from one’s environment. And one has no other counsel, except through much work and Torah. Therefore, if one chooses for oneself a good environment, one saves time and efforts since one is drawn according to one’s environment.
—Baal HaSulam, Shamati, 225 “Raising Oneself”
3. Although everyone has “his own source,” the forces are revealed openly only through the environment one is in. …
Thus, Rabbi Yosi Ben Kisma correctly assumed that, if he were to leave the good environment he had chosen and fall into a harmful environment in a city where there is no Torah, not only would his former concepts be compromised, but all the other forces hidden in his source, which he had not yet revealed in action, would remain concealed. This is because they would not be subject to the right environment that would be able to activate them. Only in the matter of the choice of environment is man’s reign over himself measured.
—Baal HaSulam, “The Freedom”
4. However, there is freedom for the will to initially choose such an environment, such books, and such guides that impart to him good concepts. If one does not do that, but is willing to enter any environment that appears to him and read any book that falls into his hands …
In consequence, he will be forced into foul concepts that make him sin and condemn. He will certainly be punished, not because of his evil thoughts or deeds in which he has no choice, but because he did not choose to be in a good environment, for in that there is definitely a choice.
Therefore, he who strives continually to choose a better environment is worthy of praise and reward. However, here, too, it is not because of his good thoughts and deeds, which come to him without his choice, but because of his effort to acquire a good environment which brings him these good thoughts and deeds. It is as Rabbi Yehoshua Ben Perachya said, “Make for yourself a Rav, and buy for yourself a friend.”
—Baal HaSulam, “The Freedom”
5. Our sages said, “Make for yourself a Rav and buy for yourself a friend.” This means that one can make a new environment for oneself. This environment will help him obtain the greatness of his Rav through love of friends who appreciate the Rav. Through the friends’ discussing the greatness of the Rav, each of them receives the sensation of his greatness. Thus, bestowal upon one’s Rav will become reception and sufficient motivation to an extent that will bring one to engage in Torah and Mitzvot Lishma.
They said about that, “The Torah is acquired by forty-eight virtues, by serving friends and by meticulousness of sages.” This is so because, besides serving the Rav, one needs the meticulousness with friends, as well as the friends’ influence, so they will affect him the obtainment of his Rav’s greatness. This is so because obtaining the greatness depends entirely on the environment, and a single person cannot do a thing about it whatsoever.
—Baal HaSulam, “A Speech for the Completion of The Zohar“
6. If one does not have any desire and craving for spirituality, if he is among people who have a desire for spirituality, if he likes these people, he, too, will take their strength to prevail, and their desires and aspirations, although by his own quality, he does not have these desires and cravings and the power to overcome. But according to the grace and the importance he ascribes to these people, he will receive new powers.
—Baal HaSulam, Shamati 99, “He Did Not Say Wicked or Righteous”
7. Each one should try to bring into the society a spirit of life and hopefulness, and infuse energy into the society. Thus, each of the friends will be able to tell himself, “Now I am starting a clean slate in the work.” In other words, before he came to the society, he was disappointed with the progress in the work of God, but now the society has filled him with life and hopefulness.
Thus, through society, he obtained confidence and the strength to overcome because now he feels that he can achieve wholeness. And all his thoughts—that he was facing a high mountain that couldn’t be conquered, and that these are truly formidable obstructions—now he feels that they are nothing. And he received it all from the power of the society because each and every one tried to instill a spirit of encouragement and the presence of a new atmosphere in the society.
—Rabash, “What to Look For in the Assembly of Friends”
8. “In the multitude of people is the king’s glory,” it follows that the greater the number of the collective, the more effective is the power of the collective. In other words, they produce a stronger atmosphere of greatness and importance of the Creator. At that time, each person’s body feels that he regards anything that he wishes to do for holiness—meaning to bestow upon the Creator—as a great fortune, that he has been privileged with being among people who have been rewarded with serving the king. At that time, every little thing he does fills him with joy and pleasure that now he has something with which to serve the king.
To the extent that the society regards the greatness of the Creator with their thoughts during the assembly, each according to his degree originates the importance of the Creator in him. Thus, he can walk all day in the world of gladness and joy.
—Rabash, “The Agenda of the Assembly 2”
Mexico Convention – “One Heart For All” 7.17-19.2015 Lesson No. 1