Spiritual Simulator: Questions of the Day
Question: I have an opportunity to study with my group in New Jersey, but this group is new. Wouldn’t it be better for me to go to the Brooklyn group? They have many years of experience and a well equipped classroom?
Answer: I recommend staying where you are and building your own group. This advice does not only apply to you, but to all the new groups. Connect among yourselves and with us, my lessons, and the Learning Center. This is enough. Old groups often have their problems, and you need to advance. Be independent!
Question: How far do I have to go in ascending above reason if the group seems flawed to me? It is written, “Do not sit at a gathering of fools.” What if the friends are harming my spiritual progress?
Answer: You’re right, yet a person has to understand that this state was sent to him from Above. He never sees the truth. If instead of constantly criticizing others, he accepts them above reason, then even a tiny spiritual spark from his friends will help him to advance.
We have to perceive reality the way it is. I was not placed in random, accidental conditions, but in a situation the Creator created for me. He is the one who determines what I see and feel. Therefore, one can and must always advance above reason. While I help build the group and employ constructive criticism, at the same time in the spiritual regard, I must always view the current state as the most effective and the best for my advancement.
Difficult confrontations and collisions in the process of the group’s formation and activity do not belong to spirituality. This is material work, but in the process we build, destroy, and build again.
At the same time, in a completely different dimension, each of us considers the friends great, bows his head before them, and sees them as “angels” sent by the Creator.
We are talking about two dimensions of perception and we have to learn to separate them from one another. On one hand, the group is a structure in this world. On the other hand, the group is a connection of souls that I must be included in. These dimensions of the group’s perception require different attitudes.
I may not agree with the forms of dissemination, with the friends that skip lessons and don’t fulfill their responsibilities to the general structure, but when I unite with them for the sake of my spiritual progress, I have to advance above my own opinion and knowledge and lower myself before them.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 10/10/10, “The Matter of Above Reason”
The Language of the Kabbalists Is a Language of Branches
[After the language of branches was created] all the beings of the tangible creation and all their instances have become to them like well-defined words and names, indicating the High Spiritual Roots. Although there cannot be a verbal expression in their spiritual place, as it is above any imagination, they have earned the right to be expressed by utterance through their branches, arranged before our senses here in the tangible world.
– Baal HaSulam, “The Essence of the Wisdom of Kabbalah”
Freedom of will is the most important topic because it poses the main question of our lives: Are we absolutely controlled from Above like any other part of nature? We see that everything operates under the governance from Above, meaning the governance of Nature (the Creator). There is nothing beyond Nature. We can discern the governing force in some actions, but in others, their governing force is concealed from us.
When we are young, we think we master our own lives, but as we mature and acquire life experience, we come to understand that it is life that controls us, and not the other way around. Indeed, where is the possibility for freedom of will when we discover strict and constant laws operating on all levels of nature: physical, chemical, and biological? And if there is a place where we do not see a law, it means that we haven’t yet revealed it as opposed to there being no law that operates with absolute certainty.
How can there remain an uncontrolled part of nature that wouldn’t be affected by any law? This is simply impossible! In all places where we reveal nature, we discover a strict regularity.
Then what is freedom of choice? Is it a possibility to do as I please without being subject to a deterministic law of nature? Where can freedom of choice come from? Can there be a white spot in nature that doesn’t comply?
It turns out that all of our apparent freedom is an illusion of a small child left to play in his room under strict supervision, yet thinking that he is free. That is, free will is explained only by our ignorance. And is this what we call freedom? Then what is man? Another part of nature completely controlled from Above without even being aware of it? If we are nothing but puppets, then we neither do good nor bad. What can be expected of me when everything I do follows the law?
All the things I suddenly wish to do are natural instincts that manipulate and control me from both inside and outside. There can neither be reward nor punishment if we are just ordinary “cogwheels” in creation. But what is the meaning of it all, if the entire existence is a prepackaged game?
It means first and foremost that we need to figure out whether we still have any freedom of will, and where it lies. After all, if there really is a choice here, then it is possible to either score very well or lose everything.
Therefore, freedom of will is the main theme in Kabbalah because it is the beginning of the next stage: whether we have freedom, and if so, how and where can I use it to the maximum benefit.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 10/8/10, “The Freedom”
Answer: If you don’t feel good, then turn to the friends and ask them for strength. Doesn’t the Light control all the atoms and molecules? And doesn’t health come from it as well?
Do you really think that the material nature lives by its own laws and only the soul is influenced by the force of the Light? This entire “dream” of the picture of our world, including all the bodies and everything else, is a projection of the Light. So why shouldn’t I ask it for everything I need?
You need conditions that enable you to be entirely devoted to bestowal. These conditions are what you should ask for. The group must also help you do this: If we understand that we absolutely depend on the Light, then it will be easier for every person to turn to the Light with a demand.
This is true for every demand. For example, I put my hand in my pocket hoping that I will take out a million dollars. It didn’t work? That means I have a problem with a lack of faith. There is nothing that I couldn’t demand from the Creator for the sake of bestowal. If you are certain that you desire bestowal, then demand it. That is how you correct your Kelim. Demand it, but not for yourself.
Question: Should I demand it from the Creator or the group?
Answer: When I turn to the group, I have to turn to the Creator who is concealed inside it. The group itself does not have any forces. But when I delve deeper, to the force of unity among friends who have already revealed the grain of spiritual desire, the Creator is present in that grain and His force is not limited in any way.
There is no limit to the Light. It is present and unlimited even in a small and weak group. I am the one who determines what I will derive from it.
Thus, I must always turn to the Creator through the group. He is the source of all the strength. My request must happen only according to the principle, “Israel (me), the Torah (the group), and the Creator (the Light) are one.”
During the study you can demand anything you lack (including health and success) to enable your thoughts to be about bestowal. That’s because everything belongs to one desire, but you correct it in different forms. However, in reality we are always talking about the same lack of Light inside the vessel.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 10/11/10, “Who Testifies Upon the Person”
The Zohar, Chapter “VeYechi (And Jacob Lived),” Item 660: This is so because the Torah is elucidated in thirteen qualities, thirteen qualities of Rachamim that extend from the thirteen corrections of Dikna de AA. And it is all one, for there is no separation there. They extend from above downwards in unification, from the thirteen corrections of Dikna de AA, from there to the thirteen of Bina, from there to the thirteen of ZA, and up to the place that stands on the separation, the Nukva.
The Zohar speaks of an extremely important part in the Upper system of governance called “the thirteen corrections of Dikna.” There is a special Partzuf, a system called Arich Anpin. Through it, the Light trickles downward and descends on us in droplets. We are unable to perceive the Light as a direct flow, but only drop by drop.
In Hebrew, “drip” is “Nozel,” so receiving a trickling of fulfillment is called “drops of luck” (Mazalot). Hence, there is a saying: “It all depends on luck,” which means it all depends on these droplets of the Lights trickling down.
This system is very exalted and profound; it determines everything that occurs with every person and all of us together in this world and even above it, until the very final correction. Therefore, when we read about this system and wish for the corrections, the Lights, and help to come from it, it is a very unique and effective state that can bring tangible results.
The entire Zohar was written by its authors from the height of this Upper system, Partzuf Arich Anpin or Zeir Anpin (ZA). ZA is a subsystem of Arich Anpin that influences us. If we desire to be awakened by the Light, the system works on us. The Zohar speaks solely about that.
A question arises: Why then do we need twenty volumes of The Zohar? Isn’t one standard book enough? Could we not keep reading the same book over again? What difference does it make? The difference is that with each page of The Zohar, we awaken a new manifestation of the Light.
From the 2nd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 10/8/10, The Zohar
The Torah is referred to as both “the elixir of life” and “a deadly poison.” A person who corrects himself, wishing to be equivalent to the Creator and to perceive the concealed part of reality, uses the method called the “Torah.” It is a special program found in nature.
When we use it correctly, we reveal nature in its fullness along with our true existence. We sense not just a useless existence in a temporary body, but the other part of reality, the spiritual world.
Ultimately, we correct our instruments of perception. We only perceive a minor part of reality in our five senses, but we can grasp another part of reality in a new sense which is built on bestowal outward, instead of consumption. The method of correction does not break anything, it only completes. It allows us to acquire the power of bestowal and experience the World of Infinity, that is, the unlimited reality.
However, there is danger here: an incorrect use of the method. We reveal a special force in nature that we did not previously know existed. This force is called the “Light.” Its influence can either be positive or negative.
When I aspire towards love of others (unity) from the beginning, this force’s influence is directed the same way. However, if I did not direct myself towards unity from the very beginning, then this force increases hatred in me. In this way, the Light helps me when used as intended, and if I do not use it as intended, then my egoism increases in order to display my hatred of others. Everything depends on the way I intend to use the force of the Torah.
This is why there is no coercion in spiritual development. After all, if a person is not ready to aspire towards his correction, he can inflict harm upon himself. Regrettably, we see many examples of incorrect study of the Torah around us.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 10/8/10, Shamati #161
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