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 slaves, who serve their master for the sake of reward. Rather, be as slaves who serve their master not for the sake of reward. And the fear of Heaven should be upon you” (M Avot 1:3).
“Israel are given two names in their relation to the blessed Holy One: slaves, as is written, For Mine are the Israelites as slaves (Leviticus 25:55); and sons, as is written, You are sons to YHWH your God (Deuteronomy 14:1). When a man knows the blessed Holy One in a general sense he is called slave. He obeys the commands of his Master, but he does not have permission to search His treasuries or inquire into the secrets of His house. When a man knows Him in a specific sense he is called son, the firstborn son of the blessed Holy One as is written, My son, My firstborn, is Israel (Exodus 4:22), he should not exempt himself from the category of slave. He must serve his Father with every kind of service that involves the honor due to his Father. So every man should be a son to his Father, searching His treasuries, gaining knowledge of the secrets of His house, busying himself with them, and being a slave to his Father… A son cleaves continuously to his Father without any separation at all, and no one can prevent him. A slave performs service for his Master and engages in the restoration of the worlds. He who comprises both of them together in a single conjunction is the man who restores the Mystery of Faith [Shekhinah] into a single whole, without any division, and who joins everything together” (Zohar 3:11b-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 and good impulses, 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).