Shame As The Means Of Correction

Dr. Michael LaitmanBaal HaSulam, “Matan Torah (The Giving of the Torah),” Item 8: This matter is like a rich man who took a man from the market and fed him and gave him gold and silver and all desirables every day. And each day he showered him with more gifts than the day before. Finally, the rich man asked, “Do tell me, have all your wishes been fulfilled?” And he replied, “Not all of my wishes have been fulfilled, for how good and how pleasant it would be if all those possessions and precious things came to me through my own work, as they have come to you, and I would not be receiving the charity of your hand.” Then the rich man told him: “In this case, there has never been born a person who could fulfill your wishes.”

The Creator intentionally created the creature so that it feels discomfort and as a result, cannot receive any fulfillment in its desire. This discomfort is meant to encourage the creature to become corrected to such an extent that it would not calm down until it bestows upon the Creator as much as the Creator bestows upon it. The creature cannot just receive any more because in that way it seems to neglect the Giver, His love and bestowal.

The love of the Giver is absolute: His bestowal is perfect and devoid of any intention to cause shame in the creature. We feel that shame is coming from us, out of the receiving desire. In our sensation, we do not attribute this desire to the Creator, and thus we do not “blame” the shame that awakens in this desire on the Creator.

“Wait! But there is none else besides Him. The Creator governs everything.”

True, but the question of ownership arises here. If I think of myself as existing, then I ascribe the receiving desire and the shame in it to myself. If I do not think of myself as existing, I can ascribe the desire and shame to the Creator. There are no other options; I cannot feel my existence and at the same time attribute it to the Creator: “He did it!” Do I have the point of my own existence? If I don’t, we have nobody to talk about. If I do, then precisely I desire and feel shame.

Thus, shame is the lever, the device that enables us to achieve correction. What is it? Shame is the difference between the receiver and the Giver, felt in the receiver. In other words, we have to reach this shame yet.

Thus, in the chapter “Inner Reflection,” The Study of the Ten Sefirot, Part 1, Baal HaSulam cites Rabbi Elazar who said that shame was prepared only for the high souls. They attain the Creator, His attitude towards us, and hence achieve shame. The more we advance in the revelation of the Creator, the more we feel shame that becomes the tool for correction.

We cannot correct anything without shame. It is useless to reproach a cat who has eaten sour cream. Only a human can blush and feel ashamed because he has this root, but the animate level can’t. Accordingly, on the human level, it all depends on how much I understand and consider myself a thief, the one who receives for the sake of reception, regardless of the Master, the Giver.

There are some subtleties: If I want to perform bestowal, I need to sense the Giver, to feel how much He wants to give me. I cannot have shame without this, meaning a sense of how much I should give Him in return. Then, there is no similarity between us, and I will not know how to behave and what He wants from me in reality.

In other words, without revealing the Creator, the creature cannot perform a single commandment, a single action of bestowal. If I do not have the image of the Giver in front of me, I have nothing to compare myself to.

I am like the poor man from Baal HaSulam’s example, and the rich man stands in front of me. He loves me, he gives me everything and is ready to do anything for me, even to become poor by making me rich. But I have to sense him, to feel his attitude and opposite to it, myself and my attitude. I have to understand that I am unable to return his love.

The problem here is not in fulfillment or in what he gives me. Otherwise, it would be enough just to stop accepting his gifts. Moreover, even if I wanted to repay him, what can I give to the owner of infinite treasures? What can I give to the Creator?

Thus, shame is the reason why the creature acquires the vessels of bestowal, the intention to bestow.
From the 5th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 6/23/11, “Matan Torah (The Giving of the Torah)”

Related Material:
Shame Is The Opposite Of Perfection
Shame That Keeps Us From Going Back
A Baby That Was Ashamed To Eat


  1. Is this why we want to change ourselves to be like the Creator when we realize through comparison how much we are not like Him inside ourselves?

  2. So, the poor man could never have anyone who would fullfill all of his wishes because even though he was given gold and silver and fed by the rich man he wasn’t able to truly receive what was given to him by the rich man. That is, he wasn’t able to receive from his friend in order to give back to him or bestow. What the rich man was saying is that if he isn’t able to do this, then it doesn’t matter who gives him what he desires.

  3. I know I am missing something here but I have a hard time understanding why I should be ashamed of recieving from the Creator when it is the Creators will and desire to bestow unto me and my nature and desire to recieve from the Creator? This becomes even more confusing when I think about prayer and the Creator’s response, especially when I give praise and thanks for the gifts bestowed upon me from the Creator such as faith, belief, God’s Peace, Light and enlightenment in my life and the corrections and advancements I recieve from the Creator as I walk the path of spiritual growth and attainment, which to me are the greatest gifts I recieve from the Creator. Why should I feel shame for recieving these gifts? Unless of course I do absolutely nothing in return.

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