LESSON 2: INDIVIDUAL WORK VERSUS GROUP WORK IN ACHISHENA
How do I Work in the Group in Achishena
From Personal Work to My Work with the Group Through the Positive Force that Pulls Forward
1. 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.
–Writings of Baal HaSulam, “The Freedom”
Our sages said, “Make for yourself a rav and buy 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, 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”
2. One must disclose the love in his heart towards the friends, since by revealing it he evokes his friends’ hearts toward the friends so they, too, would feel that each of them is practicing love of friends. The benefit from that is that in this manner, one gains strength to practice love of friends more forcefully, since every person’s force of love is integrated in each other’s.
–The Writings of Rabash, Vol 1, “Concerning the Love of Friends”
3. Therefore, each one must think how he can bring about a good mood to the other… It therefore follows that 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 everyone tried to instill a spirit of encouragement and the presence of a new atmosphere in the society.
-The Writings of Rabash, Vol 1, “What to Look for in the Assembly of Friends”
4. If he sees that the friends are at a higher degree than his own, he sees within reason how he is in utter lowliness compared to the friends, that all the friends keep the schedule of arriving at the seminary, and take greater interest in all that is happening among the friends, to help anyone in any way they can, and immediately implement every advice for the work from the teachers in actual fact, etc., it certainly affects him and gives him strength to overcome his laziness, both when he needs to wake up before dawn and when he is awakened. Also, during the lesson, his body is more interested in the lessons, since otherwise he will lag behind his friends.
–The Writings of Rabash, Vol 1, “Concerning Above Reason”
5. And in the matter of love, it is through “Buy yourself a friend.” In other words, through actions, one buys one’s friend’s heart. And even if he sees that his friend’s heart is like a stone, it is no excuse. If he feels that he is suitable for being his friend in the work, then he must buy him through deeds.
Each gift […] that he gives to his friend is like a bullet that makes a hollow in the stone. And although the first bullet only scratches the stone, when the second bullet hits the same place, it already makes a notch, and the third one makes a dent.
And through the bullets that he shoots repeatedly, the dent becomes a hollow in his friend’s heart of stone, where all the presents gather. And each gift becomes a spark of love until all the sparks of love accumulate in the hollow of the stony heart and become a flame.
The difference between a spark and a flame is that where there is love, there is open disclosure, meaning a disclosure to all the peoples that the fire of love is burning in him. And the fire of love burns all the transgressions one meets along the way.
-Rabash, “Letter No. 40”
6. I shall advise you to evoke within you fear of the coolness of the love between us. And although the intellect denies this depiction, think for yourself—if there is a tactic by which to increase love and one does not increase, that too is considered a flaw.
It is like a person who gives a great gift to his friend. The love that appears in his heart during the act is unlike the love that remains in the heart after the fact. Rather, it gradually wanes each day until the blessing of the love can be entirely forgotten. Thus, the receiver of the gift must find a tactic every day to make it new in his eyes each day.
This is all our work—to display love between us, each and every day, just as upon receiving, meaning to increase and multiply the intellect with many additions to the core, until the additional blessings of now will be touching our senses like the essential gift at first. This requires great tactics, set up for the time of need.
-Baal HaSulam, “Letter 2”
7. Everything that one feels that he is lacking and asks fulfillment for, he should not say that he is an exception or deserves more than what the collective has. Rather, “I dwell among my own people,” meaning I am asking for the entire collective because I wish to come to a state where I will have no care for myself whatsoever, but only for the Creator to have contentment… Therefore, he prays for the collective. This means that if there are a few people in the collective who can reach the goal of Dvekut with the Creator, and this will bring the Creator more contentment than if he himself were rewarded with nearing the Creator, he excludes himself. Instead, he wishes for the Creator to help them because this will bring more contentment above than from his own work. For this reason, he prays for the collective, that the Creator will help the entire collective and will give them that feeling—that they receive satisfaction from being able to bestow upon the Creator, to bring Him contentment.
The Writings of Rabash, Vol 1, “A Prayer of Many”