Table of contents
Baruch Shalom Ha-Levi Ashlag (Rabash) / Articles
What Is, “For You Are the Least of All the Peoples,” in the Work?
A Congregation Is No Less than Ten
A Near Way and a Far Way
A Prayer of Many
A Real Prayer Is over a Real Deficiency
A Righteous Who Is Happy, a Righteous Who Is Suffering
According to What Is Explained Concerning “Love Thy Friend as Thyself”
All of Israel Have a Part in the Next World
And Hezekiah Turned His Face to the Wall
And I Pleaded with the Lord
And It Shall Come to Pass When You Come to the Land that the Lord Your God Gives You
And Jacob Went Out
And There Was Evening and There Was Morning
And the Lord Appeared to Him by the Oaks of Mamre
Ask Hayim if he put World instead of Work by accident
But the More They Afflicted Them
Come unto Pharaoh - 1
Come unto Pharaoh - 2
Concerning Above Reason
Concerning Ancestral Merit
Concerning Bestowal
Concerning Branch and Root
Concerning Fear and Joy
Concerning Help that Comes from Above
Concerning Hesed [Mercy]
Concerning Joy
Concerning Love of Friends
Concerning Prayer
Concerning Respecting the Father
Concerning Truth and Faith
Concerning Yenika [Nursing] and Ibur [Impregnation]
Concerning the Debate between Jacob and Laban
Concerning the Hanukkah Candle
Concerning the Importance of Friends
Concerning the Importance of Society
Concerning the Reward of the Receivers
Concerning the Slanderers
Confidence
Forevermore One Sells All That Is His and Marries a Wise Disciple's Daughter
Go Forth From Your Land
He Whose Heart Is Hardened
Hear Our Voice
How to Recognize One Who Serves God from One Who Does Not Serve Him
I Am the First and I Am the Last
If a Woman Inseminates
In Every Thing We Must Discern between Light and Kli
Is It Possible Something Negative Comes From Above
It is Forbidden to Hear a Good Thing From a Bad Person
Jacob Dwelled in the Land Where His Father Had Lived
Jacob Went Out
Judges and Officers
Know Today and Reply to Your Heart
Lend Ear, O Heaven
Lishma and Lo Lishma
Love of Friends - 1
Love of Friends - 2
Make for Yourself a Rav and Buy Yourself a Friend - 1
Make for Yourself a Rav and Buy Yourself a Friend - 2
Man Is Rewarded with Righteousness and Peace through the Torah
Mighty Rock of My Salvation
Moses Went
On My Bed at Night
One Does Not Regard Oneself as Wicked
One Should Always Sell the Beams of His House
One’s Greatness Depends on the Measure of One’s Faith in the Future
Peace After a Dispute Is More Important than Having No Disputes At All
Purim, and the Commandment: Until He until He Does Not Know
Purpose of Society - 1
Purpose of Society - 2
Repentance
Should One Sin and Be Guilty
Show Me Your Glory
Sometimes Spirituality Is Called "a Soul"
The Agenda of the Assembly - 1
The Agenda of the Assembly - 2
The Connection between Passover, Matza, and Maror
The Creator and Israel Went into Exile
The Daily Schedule
The Difference between Charity and Gift
The Difference between Mercy and Truth and Untrue Mercy
The Felons of Israel
The Fifteenth of Av
The Good Who Does Good, to the Bad and to the Good
The Importance of Faith that Is Always Present
The Importance of Recognition of Evil
The Importance of a Prayer of Many
The Klipa [Shell/Peel] that Precedes the Fruit
The Life of Sarah
The Lord Has Chosen Jacob for Himself
The Lord Is Near to All Who Call upon Him
The Main Difference between a Beastly Soul and a Godly Soul
The Measure of Practicing Mitzvot [Commandments]
The Miracle of Hanukkah
The Need for Love of Friends
The Order of the Work, from Baal HaSulam
The Reason for Straightening the Legs and Covering the Head During the Prayer
The Severity of Teaching Idol Worshippers the Torah
The Spies
The Whole of the Torah Is One Holy Name
These Are the Generations of Noah
These Candles Are Sacred
They Helped Every One His Friend
Three Prayers
Three Times in the Work
To What Degree One must Attain In Order To Not Reincarnate
Two Discernments in Holiness
We Should Always Discern between Torah and Work
What Are Banners in the Work?
What Are Commandments that a Person Tramples with His Feet
What Are Day and Night in the Work?
What Are Dirty Hands in the Work of the Creator?
What Are Holiness and Purity, in the Work?
What Are Judges and Officers in the Work?
What Are Merits and Iniquities of a Righteous in the Work?
What Are Revealed and Concealed in the Work of the Creator?
What Are Silver, Gold, Israel, Rest of Nations, in the Work?
What Are Spies in the Work?
What Are Torah and Work in the Way of the Creator?
What Are Truth and Falsehood in the Work?
What Are a Blessing and a Curse, in the Work?
What Are the Forces Required in the Work?
What Are the Four Qualities of Those Who Go to the Seminary, in the Work?
What Are the Light Mitzvot that a Person Tramples with His Heels, in the Work?
What Are the Times of Prayer and Gratitude in the Work?
What Are the Two Actions During a Descent?
What Are the Two Discernments before Lishma?
What Are “A Layperson’s Vessels,” in the Work?
What Are “Blessing” and “Curse” in the Work?
What Beginning in Lo Lishma Means in the Work
What Does It Mean that Before the Egyptian Minister Fell, Their Outcry Was Not Answered, in the Work?
What Does It Mean that Charity to the Poor Makes the Holy Name, in the Work?
What Does It Mean that Man’s Blessing Is the Blessing of the Sons, in the Work?
What Does It Mean that Moses Was Perplexed about the Birth of the Moon, in the Work?
What Does It Mean that Oil Is Called “Good Deeds” in the Work?
What Does It Mean that One Should Bear a Son and a Daughter, in the Work?
What Does It Mean that One Who Prays Should Explain His Words Properly?
What Does It Mean that One Who Repents Should Be in Happiness?
What Does It Mean that One Who Was On a Far Off Way Is Postponed to a Second Passover, in the Work?
What Does It Mean that Our Sages Said, “King David Did Not Have a Life,” in the Work?
What Does It Mean that We Read the Portion, Zachor [Remember], Before Purim, in the Work?
What Does It Mean that a High Priest Should Take a Virgin Wife, in the Work?
What Does It Mean that a Judge Must Judge Absolutely Truthfully, in the Work?
What Does It Mean that by the Unification of the Creator and the Shechina, All Iniquities Are Atoned?
What Does It Mean that the Creation of the World Was by Largess?
What Does It Mean that the Creator Favors Someone, in the Work?
What Does It Mean that the Evil Inclination Ascends and Slanders, in the Work?
What Does It Mean that the Ladder Is Diagonal, in the Work?
What Does It Mean that the Right Must Be Greater than the Left, in the Work?
What Does It Mean that the Right and the Left Are in Contrast, in the Work?
What Does It Mean that the Righteous Suffers Afflictions?
What Does It Mean that the Torah Was Given Out of the Darkness in the Work?
What Does the Rule "Love Thy Friend as Thyself" Give Us
What Does “May We Be the Head and Not the Tail” Mean in the Work?
What Does “The King Stands on His Field When the Crop Is Ripe” Mean in the Work?
What Does, “Everything that Comes to Be a Burnt Offering Is Male,” Mean in the Work?
What Is Above Reason in the Work?
What Is Do Not Add and Do Not Take Away in the Work?
What Is Eating Their Fruits in This World and Keeping the Principal for the Next World, in the Work?
What Is Half a Shekel in the Work 1
What Is Half a Shekel in the Work? - 2
What Is Heaviness of the Head in the Work?
What Is Making a Covenant in the Work
What Is Man’s Private Possession?
What Is Peace in the Work?
What Is Preparation for Selichot [Forgiveness]
What Is Revealing a Portion and Covering Two Portions in the Work?
What Is True Hesed in the Work?
What Is a Flood of Water in the Work?
What Is a Great or a Small Sin in the Work?
What Is a Groom’s Meal?
What Is a Light Commandment
What Is a War Over Authority in the Work – 1
What Is an Optional War, in the work? - 2
What Is the Advantage in the Work More than in the Reward?
What Is the Assistance that He who Comes to Purify Receives in the Work?
What Is the Blessing, “Who Made a Miracle for Me in This Place,” in the Work?
What Is the Difference between General and Individual in the Work of the Creator?
What Is the Difference between Law and Judgment in the Work?
What Is the Difference between a Field and a Man of the Field, in the Work?
What Is the Difference between the Gate of Tears and the Rest of the Gates?
What Is the Extent of Teshuva [Repentance]?
What Is the Foundation on which Kedusha [Holiness] Is Built?
What Is the Gift that a Person Asks of the Creator?
What Is the Help in the Work that One Should Ask of the Creator?
What Is the Importance of the Groom, that His Iniquities Are Forgiven?
What Is the Main Deficiency for which One Should Pray?
What Is the Meaning of Failure in the Work?
What Is the Meaning of Lighting the Menorah in the Work?
What Is the Meaning of Suffering in the Work?
What Is the Meaning of the Purification of a Cow’s Ashes, in the Work?
What Is the Meaning of “Reply unto Your Heart”?
What Is the Meaning of “Spies,” in the Work?
What Is the Measure of Repentance?
What Is the Need to Borrow Kelim [Vessels] from the Egyptians?
What Is the Order in Blotting Out Amalek?
What Is the Prayer for Help and for Forgiveness in the Work?
What Is the Preparation on the Eve of Shabbat, in the Work?
What Is the Preparation to Receive the Torah in the Work? - 2
What Is the Prohibition to Bless on an Empty Table, in the Work?
What Is the Prohibition to Greet Before Blessing the Creator, in the Work?
What Is the Prohibition to Teach Torah to Idol-Worshippers in the Work?
What Is the Reason for which Israel Were Rewarded with Inheritance of the Land, in the Work?
What Is the Reward in the Work of Bestowal?
What Is the Son of the Beloved and the Son of the Hated in the Work?
What Is the Substance of Slander and Against Whom Is It?
What Is the Work of Man, in the Work, which Is Attributed to the Creator?
What Is the “Bread of an Evil-Eyed Man” in the Work?
What Is the “Right Line,” in the Work?
What Is the “Torah” and What Is “The Statute of the Torah,” in the Work?
What Is “A Lily Among the Thorns,” in the Work?
What Is “A Road Whose Beginning Is Thorns and Its End Is a Plain” in the Work?
What Is “According to the Sorrow, So Is the Reward”?
What Is “Do Not Slight the Blessing of a Layperson” in the Work?
What Is “For It Is Your Wisdom and Understanding in the Eyes of the Nations,” in the Work?
What Is “For Lack of Spirit and for Hard Work,” in the Work?
What Is “He Who Defiles Himself Is Defiled from Above” in the Work?
What Is “He Who Did Not Toil on the Eve of Shabbat, What Will He Eat on Shabbat” in the Work?
What Is “He Who Enjoys at a Groom’s Meal,” in the Work?
What Is “He Who Has a Flaw Shall Not Offer [Sacrifice]” in the Work?
What Is “Man” and What Is “Beast” in the Work?
What Is “The Concealed Things Belong to the Lord, and the Revealed Things Belong to Us,” in the Work?
What Is “The Earth Feared and Was Still,” in the Work?
What Is “There Is No Blessing in an Empty Place” in the Work?
What Is “the People’s Shepherd Is the Whole People” in the Work?
What Is, His Guidance Is Concealed and Revealed?
What Is, If He Swallows the Bitter Herb, He Will Not Come Out, in the Work?
What Is, “A Cup of Blessing Must Be Full,” in the Work?
What Is, “A Drunken Man Must Not Pray, in the Work?
What Is, “A Ladder Is Set on the Earth, and Its Top Reaches Heaven,” in the Work?
What Is, “An Ox Knows Its Owner, etc., Israel Does Not Know,” in the Work?
What Is, “And Abraham Was Old, of Many Days,” in the Work?
What Is, “Anyone Who Mourns forJerusalem Is Rewarded with Seeing Its Joy,” in the Work?
What Is, “As I Am for Nothing, so You Are for Nothing,” in the Work?
What Is, “Calamity that Comes upon the Wicked Begins with the Righteous,” in the Work?
What Is, “Every Blade of Grass Has an Appointee Above, Who Strikes It and Tells It, Grow!” in the Work?
What Is, “Every Day They Will Be as New in Your Eyes,” in the Work?
What Is, “For I Have Hardened His Heart,” in the work?
What Is, “For You Are the Least of All the Peoples,” in the Work?
What Is, “He Who Is Without Sons,” in the Work?
What Is, “If a Woman Inseminates First, She Delivers a Male Child,” in the Work?
What Is, “Peace, Peace, to the Far and to the Near,” in the Work?
What Is, “Praise the Lord, All Nations,” in the Work?
What Is, “Return, O Israel, Unto the Lord Your God,” in the Work?
What Is, “Rise Up, O Lord, and Let Your Enemies Be Scattered,” in the Work?
What Is, “The Children of Esau and Ishmael Did Not Want to Receive the Torah,” in the Work?
What Is, “The Concealed Things Belong to the Lord Our God,” in the work?
What Is, “The Creator Does Not Tolerate the Proud,” in the Work?
What Is, “The Good Deeds of the Righteous Are the Generations,” in the Work?
What Is, “The Herdsmen of Abram’s Cattle and the Herdsmen of Lot’s Cattle,” in the Work?
What Is, “The Righteous Become Apparent through the Wicked,” in the Work?
What Is, “The Saboteur Was in the Flood, and Was Putting to Death,” in the Work?
What Is, “The Shechina Is a Testimony to Israel,” in the Work?
What Is, “The Smell of His Garments,” in the Work?
What Is, “The Torah Exhausts a Person’s Strength,” in the Work?
What Is, “The Torah Speaks Only Against the Evil Inclination,” in the Work?
What Is, “The Wicked Will Prepare and the Righteous Will Wear,” in the Work?
What Is, “There Is No Blessing in That Which Is Counted,” in the Work?
What Is, “There Is None as Holy as the Lord, for There Is None Besides You,” in the Work?
What Is, “There Is Nothing that Has No Place,” in the Work?
What Is, “Warn the Great about the Small,” in the Work?
What Is, “We Have No Other King But You,” in the Work?
What Is, “When Israel Are in Exile, the Shechina Is With Them,” in the Work?
What Is, “You Shall Not Plant for Yourself an Asherah by the Altar,” in the Work?
What Is, “You Will See My Back, But My Face Shall Not Be Seen,” in the Work?
What It Means that Esau Was Called “A Man of the Field,” in the Work
What It Means that We Should Raise the Right Hand over the Left Hand, in the Work
What It Means that the Generations of the Righteous are Good Deeds, in the Work
What It Means that the Good Inclination and the Evil Inclination Guard a Person in the Work
What It Means that the Land Did Not Bear Fruit before Man Was Created, in the Work
What It Means that the Name of the Creator is “Truth”
What It Means that the World Was Created for the Torah
What It Means that “Law and Ordinance” Is the Name of the Creator in the Work
What It Means, in the Work, that If the Good Grows, So Grows the Bad
What Placing the Hanukkah Candle on the Left Means in the Work
What Should One Do If He Was Born With Bad Qualities?
What is Unfounded Hatred in the Work
What is the Preparation for Reception of the Torah - 1
What to Look For in the Assembly of Friends
What “Israel Do the Creator’s Will” Means in the Work
What “There Is No Blessing in That Which Is Counted” Means in the Work
What “You Have Given the Strong to the Hands of the Weak” Means in the Work
When Is One Considered “A Servant of the Creator” in the Work?
When Should One Use Pride in the Work?
When a Person Knows What Is Fear of the Creator
Which Keeping of Torah and Mitzvot Purifies the Heart
Who Causes the Prayer
Who Needs to Know that a Person Withstood the Test?
Who Testifies to a Person
Why Are Four Questions Asked Specifically on Passover Night?
Why Is Shabbat Called Shin-Bat in the Work?
Why Is the Torah Called “Middle Line” in the Work? - 1
Why Is the Torah Called “Middle Line” in the Work? - 2
Why Life Is Divided into Two Discernments
Why We Need “Reply unto Your Heart,” to Know that the Lord, He Is God, in the Work
Why the Festival of Matzot Is Called Passover
Why the Speech of Shabbat Must Not Be as the Speech of a Weekday, in the Work
You Stand Today, All of You

What Is, “For You Are the Least of All the Peoples,” in the Work?

Article No. 40, 1990

It is written (Deuteronomy 7:7-8), “It is not because you are more in number than any of the peoples that the Lord desired you, for you are the least of all the peoples. Because the Lord loves you, and because He keeps the oath that He swore to your forefathers, the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.” Our sages said (Hulin 89), “‘It is not because you are more in number,’ said the Creator to Israel, ‘that I desire you, for even when I bestow upon you greatness, you diminish yourselves before Me.’”

We should understand what this comes to teach us, that our sages said that the Creator said to Israel, “I desire you, for even when I bestow upon you greatness, you diminish yourselves before Me.” If the Creator said, “Although I bestow upon you greatness, you diminish yourselves before flesh and blood,” I would understand this. But our sages said, “You diminish yourselves before Me,” meaning before the Creator. What degree is it, that if the Creator gives a person greatness, he does not pride himself before the Creator because the Creator gave him greatness?

If the king gives greatness to a person and extols him before the ministers, does the person pride himself before the king, as well? Can this be? If so, why is it important that they do not pride themselves before the Creator but diminish themselves before Him? In other words, before whom do they diminish themselves? It stands to reason that when a person understands the greatness of the King, he lowers himself even more before the king.

In order to understand this, we must remember the order of the work, which is the correction of creation. That is, in order to achieve Dvekut [adhesion], called “equivalence of form,” meaning in order to be rewarded with vessels of bestowal, a correction took place, which is called “Tzimtzum [restriction] and concealment on the Kedusha [holiness].” That is, the taste of Torah and Mitzvot [commandments/good deeds], where the delight and pleasure that He wished to give to the created beings became concealed. This is called “His desire to do good to His creations,” where everything He wanted to give to the creatures is clothed in Torah and Mitzvot, which The Zohar calls “613 Pekudin [Aramaic: deposits].”

It is as it is said in the Sulam [“Ladder” commentary on The Zohar], that Pekudin comes from the word Pikadon [Hebrew: deposit], for in each Mitzva [singular of Mitzvot] there is a special light clothed in that Mitzva. But because of the Tzimtzum and the concealment over them because of the correction of creation, in order to reach the light that is clothed in them, and for a person to receive the delight and pleasure clothed in them, he must first acquire the suitable Kelim [vessels] for the light, since there must be equivalence of form with the light—as the light gives, so the Kli [vessel] should work in order to bestow.

However, by nature, man has a desire to receive for himself, and not a desire to bestow. Thus, how can a person change his nature, which the Creator created? Our sages said about this, “The Creator said, ‘I have created the evil inclination; I have created the Torah as a spice.’” In other words, the Torah advises a person how to emerge from self-love and acquire the desire to bestow. The Zohar says that in that state, the 613 Mitzvot are called “613 Eitin [Aramaic: counsels],” meaning 613 counsels by which to acquire the desire to bestow, for only in the desire to bestow can the light, which is called “good and does good,” clothe.

Our sages said about this, “One should always engage in Torah and Mitzvot, even Lo Lishma [not for Her sake], since from Lo Lishma, he will come to Lishma [for Her sake].” Because the light in it reforms him, by this he will achieve the degree of Lishma.

Concerning Lo Lishma, there are many discernments:

1) Learning in order to provoke. This manner is the worst. Our sages said about this (Berachot 17), “Anyone who engages in Torah Lo Lishma would be better off not being born.”

2) Learning in order to be called “Rabbi.”

In those two discernments, he wants reward from people, and does not want the Creator to reward him for his work.

3) Learning in order for the Creator to reward him in this world—to have life, provision, health, etc.

4) Learning so the Creator will reward him in the next world.

5) He engages in Torah and Mitzvot because he feels that he is serving a great King. Therefore, he derives pleasure from engaging in Torah and Mitzvot. That is, because of this joy that he feels, that he is serving a great King, it is worthwhile for him to work. It follows that one who works because he is serving a great King also cannot be regarded as pure Lishma, although he is working for the sake of the Creator, meaning that he does not want any reward for his work. Yet, he does yearn to feel a good taste in this work because he is feeling a great King.

So, we must know that this is still not considered pure Lishma, since in the end, he yearns for the pleasure he will feel during the work. The pleasure he feels during the work is the reason he wants to be a servant of the Creator. It follows that the pleasure that the desire feels during the work is the only thing that makes him engage in Torah and Mitzvot. Hence, this, too, is considered Lo Lishma. However, this Lo Lishma brings him to Lishma, since the light in it reforms him.

This is as it is written in the “Introduction to The Book of Zohar” (Items 30-31), “The second division is from thirteen years and on. At that point, the point in his heart—which is the Achoraim [posterior] of Nefesh of Kedusha [holiness] dressed in his will to receive—is given strength. At that time one begins to enter the system of the worlds of Kedusha, to the extent that one observes Torah and Mitzvot. The primary aim is to obtain and intensify the spiritual will to receive. Yet, it is a much more important degree than the first; this is the degree that brings one to Lishma, as our sages said, ‘One should always engage in Torah and Mitzvot Lo Lishma, as from Lo Lishma, one comes to Lishma.’

“This is considered the maidservant of Kedusha who serves her mistress, which is the Holy Shechina [Divinity]. The maidservant brings one to Lishma, and he is rewarded with the instilling of the Shechina. Yet, one should take every measure suited to bring one to Lishma. And the final degree in this division is to become infatuated with the Creator just as one becomes infatuated in corporeal love, until the object of infatuation remains before one’s eyes all day and all night, as the poet said, ‘When I remember Him, He does not let me sleep.’”

After all this, begins the order of Lishma, called “desire to bestow.” And here, a person cannot bring himself to work entirely in order to bestow, meaning to want only to bestow upon the Creator “because He is great and ruling.” Man has no idea how to achieve this. This is regarded as the desire to bestow being in exile in Egypt. A person can understand this desire only above reason, since within reason, there is no grip on understanding this.

In other words, a person cannot understand how it is possible to do something from which one does not enjoy. It follows that even if a person does not require any reward for his work, what compels him to work is that the Creator will enjoy. From this he derives his pleasure. Hence, there is already a matter of pleasure here, meaning that he enjoys serving the King; this is his pleasure. But how can it be otherwise, that he will work without pleasure?

Therefore, when it is said that man must work in order to bestow, this is called “above reason.” Anything that is above reason, the will to receive for oneself is absent there. In other words, a person is told that he must work only so the Creator will enjoy this work. At that time, it is said that the person should be happy that he is serving a great King.

However, if the great King were to reveal His greatness and importance, the pleasure would be within reason. That is, the mind understands that it is worthwhile to serve a great King. But when a person must have faith in the greatness and importance of the King, he feels that he is serving a small king. Therefore, when he says above reason that He is a great King, there is no room for the will to receive to agree to this work, since all the pleasure is built on above reason.

Thus, it is clear why the body does not want to work when it does not see the importance of the King. Rather, it is told, although the mind necessitates, if the greatness of the King is not revealed, there is no more room there for the will to receive for himself. Thus, how can one work “because He is great and ruling”? This would be good if it were revealed, but Pharaoh king of Egypt, who said, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice,” governs this discernment of the greatness of the Creator.

Hence, the work is mainly in this place, meaning that here begins the matter of Lishma, meaning that he wants to work so the Creator will enjoy his work, and it does not matter to him what taste he feels. In other words, the work he does is to him as though he felt that the King is great, while in fact, he feels that the “Shechina [Divinity] is in the dust.” That is, he does not feel any importance, but tastes the taste of dust. And yet, he overcomes and says, “It is as important to me, as though I felt that I was serving a great King.” At that time, the will to receive certainly enjoys, as well, since he does not need to believe in the greatness and importance of the King.

However, how can one muster the strength to overcome the body when he feels that the Shechina is in the dust? What joy can he receive from this work? Even more perplexing, how can one need and want to work when he feels no taste in it? This would be understandable if he had no choice; we can understand when a person is forced to work. But how is it possible to want such a work, which feels tasteless? And since he does not have the strength to overcome and feel joy in such a work, how can he serve the King in such a lowly state, when he feels the taste of dust while serving the King?

Hence, in this regard, he does not ask the Creator to give him the revelation of His greatness, so he will feel a good taste in it. Rather, he asks the Creator to give him strength to be able to overcome the body and work gladly because now he can work only for the Creator, since the will to receive does not enjoy work that tastes like dust. Therefore, why is he working? Certainly, only for the sake of the Creator. There is no room for such work within reason, and in this work, a person sees that it is inherently impossible that he will want to work in such a manner.

In this work, in such a state, a person sees that there is no way that he will be able to work with the desire to bestow and not for his own sake. Such a thing can happen only through a miracle from above. And indeed, this is called “the exodus from Egypt,” meaning to emerge from the mind he has by nature, where it is possible to move unless he enjoys it. Conversely, here he is asking the Creator to give him the strength to work where he has no feeling or flavor, but to believe that the Creator enjoys this work, since it is all in order to bestow.

For this reason, this prayer is an honest prayer, since a person sees that he cannot hope to ever be able to do anything in order to bestow. It follows that a person feels that he is lost. At that time he has close contact with the Creator, and this is something that a person should appreciate—that he is asking the Creator to help him and there is no one in the world who can save him.

Yet, here comes the most difficult question: Who told the person that the Creator derives contentment from this work, which tastes like dust, and that this is the work that one should ask of the Creator because he wants to do everything only so that the Creator will enjoy?

The answer to this is “faith in the sages.” We must believe their words. It follows that this prayer that a person prays that the Creator will help him so he can work in a state of lowliness, and the taste is only the taste of dust, this can be only on the basis of faith in the sages, to believe them that only in this way can we achieve a state of Lishma, and not for our own benefit. In other words, only they know what is Lishma and how to achieve it.

According to the above, we can interpret what we asked about what our sages said about the verse, “It is not because you are more in number.” “The Creator said to Israel, ‘I desire you, for even when I bestow upon you greatness, you diminish yourselves before Me.’” We asked, Is it customary that one whom the king extols prides himself before the king? Thus, why do they tell us that Israel diminish themselves before the Creator?

We explained above that there are two discernments in the work: 1) When the Creator shines for him while he engages in Torah and Mitzvot and feels a good taste in the work, and feels the greatness of the Creator, that he is serving a great King and has already achieved the degree of “When I remember Him, it does not let me sleep.” 2) The work Lishma, meaning to bestow and not in order to receive reward. At that time, a person’s body resists because he does not feel any flavor in the work. However, he does not want any feeling of the greatness of the Creator because then this feeling gives him a reason that because of this feeling that he feels when engaging in Torah and Mitzvot, it compels him to engage in Torah and Mitzvot. It follows that it is no longer only for the sake of the Creator, but his own pleasure is included in it, too.

And since this work is entirely above reason, since there is no intellect in the world that can understand such a thing, and this discernment is called “Shechina in the dust,” and a person must believe that specifically from this work the Creator derives contentment, this is called work in the manner of “You diminish yourselves before Me.”

That is, when the Creator let them feel the greatness of the Creator, they do not say, “Now we do not need to work above reason, since the body, too, when it feels the greatness of the Creator, annuls “as a candle before a torch.” Instead, they say, “We want to work in the manner for, ‘for you are the least of all the peoples,’” meaning that all the peoples in a person say that this work is contemptible, inferior, and lowly, meaning that it is “Shechina in the dust.”

As our sages said, “‘It is not because you are more in number,’ said the Creator to Israel, ‘that I desire you, for even when I bestow upon you greatness, you diminish yourselves before Me.’” “I gave greatness to Abraham.” Certainly, at that time, he should be happy because he already feels the greatness of the Creator and he will no longer have resistance from the body. Yet, he diminishes himself and says, “And I am dust and ashes.”

In other words, he said to the Creator, “I yearn for the state of the work that was in a manner of, “I am the Lord your God,” in the manner of dust and ashes, meaning to the time when the work was to him “Shechina in the dust.” At that time, he was certain that his work was entirely to bestow, that the will to receive has no part in this. It follows that this does not mean that he diminishes himself before the Creator, meaning that he does not pride himself before the Creator. Rather, it means that he is diminishing himself in order to work in a state of lowliness, although the Creator is giving him greatness.

Likewise, the Creator gave greatness to Moses and to Aaron, and they said, “What about us?” In other words, they yearned for work, for a time when to them the Shechina was in the dust. At that time, when they feel no flavor in the work, the wicked comes and asks the “What” question, meaning “What is this work for you?” that you want to work specifically in this contemptible work? The wicked asks, “What is this work for you?” because then they were certain that their work was completely to bestow, and the will to receive had no part in it.

It is the same with David. The Creator gave him greatness, and he said, “And I,” meaning “I am the Lord your God.” This work was to him—when he wanted to take upon himself the burden of the kingdom of heaven, called “I am the Lord your God”—to his body, it was in the manner of “And I am a worm and not a man.”

The Even Ezra asks about the words, “And I am a worm and not a man.” He says, “It is unlikely that one will say about himself that he is not a man. He only speaks against the enemies, that they despise him and he is not regarded as anything in their eyes.”

Here, too, the meaning is that when the Creator gave him greatness, he did not say, “Now I no longer need to wage war against the body, since the body will annul before the Creator as a candle before a torch.” Instead, he said, “I yearn for a state of lowliness, so that my enemies, meaning the nations of the world within my body, will despise my work, since they said, “to work only in order to bestow,” and he would have no feeling in the work. This is a sign that he is not a man at all—when they despise the order of his work. This is regarded as “Israel diminishing yourselves before Me.”