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Baal HaSulam



I heard during a Shavuot meal

Concerning the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai: it does

not mean that the Torah was given then, and that now it is
not. Rather, the giving of the Torah is an eternal thing—the
Creator always gives. However, we are unfit to receive. But
then, on Mount Sinai, we were the receivers of the Torah.
And the only merit that we had then was that we were as
“one man in one heart.” This means that we all had but one
thought—the reception of the Torah.
However, from the Creator’s perspective, He always gives, as
it is written in the name of the Ribash, “Man must hear the ten
commandments on Mount Sinai every day.”

The Torah is called “the potion of life” and “the potion

• of death.” We should ask, “How can two opposites be in one
• subject?” Everything we see with our eyes is nothing more than
• sensations, but reality itself does not interest us. Hence, when
• one studies Torah and the Torah removes him from the love of
• God, this Torah is certainly called “the potion of death.” And if
• the Torah brings him closer to the Creator, it is certainly called
• “the potion of life.”
But the Torah itself, meaning reality in itself, is not taken
into account. Rather, the sensations determine the reality here

• And the Torah itself, without the receivers, it seems we

• should interpret the Torah in and of itself as Light without a
• Kli, where we have no attainment. This is considered “essence
• without matter.” And we have no attainment in the essence, even
• in a corporeal essence; all the more so with a spiritual one.

• And when one works for oneself, it is considered Lo Lishma

• (not for Her Name), and from Lo Lishma we come to Lishma (for
• Her Name). Hence, if one has not been awarded the reception
• of the Torah, he hopes that he will receive it next year. And
• when he receives the complete Lishma, he has nothing more to
• do in this world.
• This is why each year there is a time of reception of the
• Torah, since the time is ripe for an awakening from below, since
• then it is the awakening of the time when the Light of the giving
• of the Torah is revealed in the lower ones.
This is why there is always an
awakening from Above, so the
lower ones can act as they did
then, at that time.Thus,if one
continues on the path that the Lo
Lishma will bring him Lishma, he is
progressing correctly and hopes that
he will eventually be rewarded with the
reception of the Torah Lishma. But if
the goal is not always before his eyes,
he is moving in an opposite line from
the Torah, called “the tree of life,”
which is
why it is considered “the potion of
death,” as he is constantly
drifting away from the line of life.
“I labored and did not find, do not believe.” We must
understand the meaning of “I found.” What is there to find?
Find concerns finding grace in the eyes of the Creator.

• “I did not labor and found, do not believe.” We must

• understand; after all, he is not lying; this is not about the person
• himself, as an individual. Rather, it is the same rule with the
• whole. And if one sees that he is favored by the Creator, why
• “not believe”? The thing is that sometimes a person is favored
• by the Creator as it is in prayer. It is because this is the power of
• the prayer—it can act like labor. (We also see in corporeality that
• there are some who provide by exertion, and some who provide
• for themselves through prayer. And by asking for provision, one
• is allowed to provide for himself.)

• But in spirituality, although he is rewarded with being favored,

• he must still pay the full price later—the measure of the labor that
• everyone gives. If not, he will lose the Kli. This is why he said,
• “I did not labor and found, do not believe,” since he will lose
• everything. Thus, one should subsequently repay one’s full labor.