Wednesday, May 18, 2005

R' Ashlag Ch. 21 (sect. 3)

Rabbi Yehudah Ashlag's "Introduction to the Zohar"

-- as translated and commented on by Rabbi Yaakov Feldman


Ch. 21


"That's why, for example, people whose ratzon l’kabel is rooted in animalistic desires alone only need, think about, and plan things that would satisfy those sorts of animalistic desires (for the most part). For even though they'd be using their minds and reason just as (other) humans do, it's 'enough for the servant to be like his master' (see Berachot 58B), (i.e., they're satisfied enough identifying their selves with), their animalistic reasoning, and for their minds to be enslaved to and serve their animalistic will.”

"(It's also why) those whose ratzon l’kabel are preoccupied by (more) 'human' desires for the most part -- desires that aren't found in animals, like for respect or for power over others -- channel the great majority of their needs, thoughts, and plans on satisfying those desires as much as possible.'

"(And also it's why) those whose desires are mainly for (more transcendent and lofty things like) knowledge channel the great majority of their needs, thoughts, and plans into satisfying those sorts of desires as much as possible."

-- Since *everyone* (and everything) is ratzon l’kabel- and pleasure-driven, and noting too that some of us are rather body-oriented, others more ego-oriented, and others yet more ideal-oriented, R' Ashlag now delves a bit into the whole notion of how people respond to drives.
-- His contention is that ... regardless of what drives us: physical delights, ego-satisfactions, or more metaphysical sorts of pleasures like grasping deep and recondite concepts or experiencing sublime emotions, it all comes down to what we focus on. For while people driven by physical delights focus all of their resources on satisfying those sorts of urges (and are only too willing to subject themselves to their "master's" thoughtless whims), those driven by the need to satisfy their egos (which R' Ashlag terms "[merely] human" desires since they're neither distinctly animalistic nor exemplary), and those driven by more transcendent and lofty urges focus all of their resources on satisfying those urges ... again, the point is that we're *each* driven by a ratzon l’kabel regardless of how we express it. So no one can be criticized for his egocentricity, which is universal, so much as for his choices. But as we'd learned, there's also the option to act out of a ratzon l’kabel al m’nat l’hashpia.

(c) 2005 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman

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