Wednesday, April 13, 2005

R' Ashlag Ch. 20 (sect. 1)

Rabbi Yehudah Ashlag's "Introduction to the Zohar"

-- as translated and commented on by Rabbi Yaakov Feldman


Ch. 20


“Now that we've explained all that we can solve our very first question, which was, ‘What are we essentially’?”.

-- See 1:2.

“What we are in essence is the very thing everything else is, which is a ratzon l’kabel (incarnate) -- no more and no less.”

-- Our will, some would say *need*, to take-in all the time is ubiquitous, boundless, utterly normal, and not to be denied. What differentiates us from each other, though, is just what we want.
-- Some want only the bare minimum, other more, and others the maximum. Some who want the bare minimum want it for healthy reasons, others for unhealthy ones; and the same is true of those who want more and the most. Some only want material things, others want some combination of material and spiritual things, and some only want G-d. But even someone who wants G-d alone *wants* Him and for his own reasons, and thus is no less “wanting” than the person who wants as much material delight as he can get, though his Object of desire is far more sublime.
-- There’s very much to be said about this, needless to say, but suffice it to say that R’ Ashlag’s point is that we each want and are rarely willing to give (unless we get more in return, the way we’re all willing to pay to get the things we want, though no one who gives money in such an instance would likely be termed altruistic). And anyone who thinks he or she is indeed and utterly altruistic is either a hypocrite, an innocent or naif, or a liar (though we each can be altruistic to degrees).
-- That’s not to say that altruism isn’t attainable, because it is; *it’s just not yet in our midst*.

“But we’re not (comprised of a ratzon l’kabel as) the ratzon l’kabel manifests itself now in the second era, as a desire to take-in and for our own benefit alone; but rather as it manifested in the first era in G-d’s Infinite Being, which is to say, in its eternal form of a willingness to take-in in order to gratify (another -- and in this case,) our Creator.”

-- What we said above not withstanding, still-and-all humankind isn’t *essentially* selfish. We’re only selfish “for now”, i.e., for the 6,000 years that comprise this second era. What we are at bottom is selfless, and only willing to take-in so as to give in return -- but again, that’s not how we know humankind and ourselves to be now. But we’re to know that we’ll eventually be so selfless that the *only* reason we’d ever accept anything (from G-d, from Whom everything comes at bottom) would be to give it back (to G-d), one way or another.

(c) 2005 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman

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