Like a Hired Worker He Waits for His Pay
“Antignos of Socho received the tradition from Shim’on the Righteous. He would say: Do not be as servants, who serve their master for the sake of reward. Rather, be as servants who serve their master not for the sake of reward. And the fear of Heaven should be upon you” (M Avot 1:3).
“By these two [designations] are Israel called by the blessed Holy One: they are called ‘servants,’ as is written, they are My servants (Leviticus 25:55); and they are called בָּנִים (banim), ‘children’, as is written, You are children of YHWH your God (Deuteronomy 14:1). When a person knows the blessed Holy One in general terms, he is called ‘servant,’ for he carries out his Master’s command—but he is not permitted to search among His treasures or the mysteries of His house. When a person knows the blessed Holy One in particular terms he is called בֵּן (ben), ‘son,’ His beloved—like a son who searches among His treasures, among all the mysteries of His house.
Even though hes is called ‘son,’ firstborn of the blessed Holy One, as is said, My son, My firstborn, is Israel (Exodus 4:22), he must not remove himself from the category of ‘servant’—serving his Father with all the rites that are the honor due his Father. So is required by every person: to be a son to his Father, searching among His treasures, to know the mysteries of His house, striving after them; and to be a servant to his Father.
Mystery of the matter: there are two rungs above with which a person must be adorned; they are a mystery of faith, and they are one: One—mystery of servant; the other—mystery of son. This servant is called lord of all the earth (Joshua 3:11); the son, as we have established, My son, My firstborn, is Israel; all is a single mystery of faith. A person must be adorned with these rungs, to be enveloped in the mystery of faith.
… In the service rendered by a person to the blessed Holy One, there is an act of service in which a person must incorporate both—being servant and son, to be adorned by the blessed Holy One. What is that? The service of prayer, in which a person must be servant and son, to be embraced by these supernal rungs: serving a and arraying prayer in the mystery of the servant, performing the service of the restoration of worlds; and attaching his will to mysteries of wisdom, cleaving to his Lord through supernal mysteries in the mystery of the son; and all in a single totality. Happy is the share of the person who knows to adorn himself with supernal mysteries, as is fitting!
A son cleaves to his Father always, without any separation at all; none hinders him. A servant performs the service of his Master, arranging arrangements of the world. he who possesses both in one totality, in a single nexus, is the person who arrays the mystery of all faith in one entirety—without any separation at all, uniting all as one. This is the person about whom the blessed Holy One proclaims among all the legions and camps of all worlds, throughout all firmaments, ‘Show care for so-and-so, trustee of the palace! The mystery of the palace and the treasures of his Lord are in his hand!’ Happy is he in this world, and happy is he in the world that is coming!
From that day on, that person is recognized and recorded in all worlds. Whenever he requires, all supernal legions and camps are mindful to be with him; and the blessed Holy One desires none but him alone. A voice arouses, ‘It is fitting for the Unique to be with the unique; Unique engaging with unique! [cf. BT Pesaḥim 118a; Midrash Tehillim 117:3].
We have found the mystery of these two rungs in one verse, as is written: he said to me, ‘You are My servant, Israel, in whom I glory‘ (Isaiah 49:3). He said to me, ‘You are My servant—servant; Israel—son; for when they are a single totality, then is written in whom I glory” (Zohar 3:111b-112a, Piqqudin).
“A son honors without the object of receiving reward, but nonetheless, he is commanded to honor father and mother. If he does not want to perform this, his parents can punish him until he unwillingly agrees. If he is a grown son, the court of justice can force him. If he does not want to, it is written about him: ‘This son of ours is wayward and rebellious, he does not heed our voice’ (Deuteronomy 21:20). He is then sentenced to stoning. But in the case of a slave who serves primarily to receive reward, if he does not comply with the orders of his master, his master can dismiss him from his house and take someone else. He cannot do so with his son; either he complies and performs his command, or he puts him to death.
The Holy Lamp [Rabbi Shim’on son of Yoḥai] said to him: What caused him not to perform his command, even though he is his son? The Faithful Shepherd [Moses] replied: Surely the mixture of evil [in the world of Beri’ah (Creation)]. This mystery caused Israel to sin before their Father in heaven. This is the secret of And they sacrificed their sons [and their daughters to the demons] (Psalms 106:35). This caused the slaying of Israel and the destruction of the Temple. For this reason, we do not accept converts in the days of the Messiah, but YHWH alone did lead him, no alien god by his side (Deuteronomy 32:12).
As Israel stems from the Tree of Life [there is a] good and evil servant. The good servant is from the aspect of Metatron, a loyal servant to his Master [since מְטַּטְרוֹן (Metatron), and שַׁדַּי (Shaddai) are numerically equivalent, see BT Sanhedrin 38b]. The evil servant is from Samael. He who is from the Tree of Life has a share in the World that is Coming. He [Ze’eir Anpin] is a son from the aspect of בֵּן יָהּ (Ben Yah), Son of God—בִּינָה (Binah)—and He inherits Malkhut, which is ה (he) of יהוה (YHWH). How does He inherit Her? By performing the commands of Father and Mother. For Malkhut is the mitsvah of the King. Of Her it says: Why do you flout the king’s command? (Esther 3:3). The mitsvah and the King’s command affect the positive and negative commandments.
The mitsvah is from Torah, which is Tif’eret. Here, there is no division [between Torah and mitsvah, since the Torah is general and Her mitsvot are Her particulars, cf. Zohar 1:246a: ‘There is no voice without speech, and there is no speech without voice—surely, general needing particular and particular needing general’]. The blessed Holy One is Truth, His Torah is a Torah of truth. He is His Torah and its mitsvot. Just as Binah (Understanding) is Torah and mitsvah of Ḥokhmah (Wisdom) there is Torah [Ze’eir Anpin] of Beri’ah (Creation), and Ḥokhmah (Wisdom) of Beri’ah (Creation) and Binah (Understanding) of Beri’ah (Creation) and so it is with all the qualities [sefirot]. Here [in the world of Beri’ah (Creation)] Son may be without the mitsvot and mitsvot separated from Torah. From here the wayward and rebellious son. But from the aspect of Atsilut (Emanation), there is no separation. One is in no danger of sin; there is no punishment and no reward and no death [because there are no קְלִפּוֹת (qelipot), shells, in the mystery of No evil will sojourn by you (Psalms 5:5) (Sullam)]. This Torah [of Atsilut (Emanation)] is the Tree of Life, the reward of the world that is coming, for this Tree of Life is called the World that is Coming. No reward pertains to it because this son does not toil in Torah in order to receive reward—not in deed, not in speech, and not in thought” (Zohar 3:82b, Ra’aya Meheimna Qedoshim).
“If the blessed Holy One had not created the evil impulse and the good impulse, which are light and darkness, there would not have been any decrees or offences for the man of Beri’ah (Creation). So man was created with both, as is written: See, I have set before you today life and good and death and evil, that I charge you today to love the Lord your God, to go in His ways and to keep His commands and His statutes and His Laws (Deuteronomy 30:15). They asked him: Why all this? Better He had not created darkness. Then man would have no reward or punishment as opposed to being created and having to sin, thereby causing much.
He said to them: It was right to create him in this way because Torah was created for his sake, for it contains punishments for the sinful and rewards for the righteous. Thus, there can be no reward for the righteous or punishment for the sinful without the man of Beri’ah (Creation). He did not create it a wasteland. He formed it to be inhabited (Isaiah 45:18). They said, ‘Indeed, we have certainly now heard what we had never heard before. It is now clear that the blessed Holy One did not create anything that he did not require’ [cf. M Avot 4:3, in the name of Son of Azzai]” (Zohar 1:22a, Tiqqunei ha-Zohar).