This Path Can Only Be Surmounted by Those Who Walk It

This Path Can Only Be Surmounted by Those Who Walk ItA question I received: I have been taking part in the lessons offered by Bnei Baruch. It seems to me that I’m a worse person than when I started studying. What am I doing wrong? I believe that I understand the importance of the group, but I don’t feel love for the group per say. Instead I feel this deep and ever widening divide. I’m judgmental and cynical, in my personal life I’m depressed, angry and irritable, and there is no logical rationale for it, but nonetheless I feel all of these emotions strongly. It’s like my mind or one part of me is on one track yet the feeling part of me (which drives me) is on another track headed in the opposite direction, coupled with a love/hate relationship with Kabbalah and the studies. Add to this the fact that I’m confused…

In the lessons we are made to understand that the material we study refers solely to spiritual states, but what is the goal ‘practically’ speaking? What kind of person am I supposed to be?

My Answer: All of us experience states like this, when we assess whether the spiritual growth offered by Kabbalah is correct or even necessary. Right now all of humanity is entering a period of reassessing its values, and this is why it is experiencing a crisis in all areas of life – education, politics, society, family, science, ecology, nature, and so on.

In addition, we are assessing our corporeal existence and the need to add spirituality to it (the revelation of the Upper World and the Creator) in our uncorrected egoistic desires (heart) and thoughts (mind). Your egoism will still go through many “disappointments” on the path of spiritual development, because egoism does not feel any fulfillment on this path, but just the opposite. To develop spiritually, one must eradicate one’s egoism. That is to say, one should not eradicate one’s desires and thoughts, but only their use “for one’s own sake,” changing it to “for the sake of others.”

So how can one advance away from egoism without having egoism’s support on the spiritual path? Egoism is against spirituality, and this is why egoism, our nature, is described as “Help against you,” because eventually it annuls itself. This happens because when you egoistically study Kabbalah in a group, attempting to create a connection with each other, then you attract the Upper Light, which corrects egoism. So the disappointments and descents are just egoism’s perception of the lack of egoistic fulfillment. Your future fulfillment will not come from reception, but from bestowal, from fulfilling others. It will come from the feeling of love and the realization that everyone is connected into one whole.

Hence, the only thing that will bring you to the goal – the eternal goal of creation, is persistent study, participation in the group, and dissemination, in spite of your egoism – “As an ox to the burden and as a donkey to the load.” All the Shamati articles speak about this, so always keep reading them. And remember – this path can only be surmounted by those who walk it!

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“And God Created Man In His Own Image”

And God Created Man In His Own ImageA question I received: Can you say more about the meaning of man being created in the image of his Creator? Kabbalah says that image means imprint, as in an impression taken by a mold to make a mask or as in a signet ring, where the Upper Force is the ring design and mankind is the wax imprint which is opposite in form (or essence) to the Creator. It is much more common in my society to be taught that we are made in the image of God, like that is a good thing, as in the saying “he is the spitting image of his father.” The whole of Kabbalah seems to me to stand on this definition of the word “image,” so I believe it is very necessary to explain the definition of the Hebrew word for “image” in terms that come from the source texts, including Genesis.

My Answer: The Light (pleasure) imprinted itself in the desire, thereby creating a matching desire that wants to be filled by It. Then the Light revealed its “bestowing” essence to this “desire to be filled,” thus showing the desire Its opposite nature. This compelled the desire to become equivalent to the Light – to become “bestowing.”

We are the ones going through this process, whether involuntarily or voluntarily. We go through it involuntary until a desire to do it voluntarily awakens in us. We then involuntarily come to Kabbalah – the method of becoming similar to the Creator voluntarily.

When one begins to implement the equivalence to the Creator voluntarily, one then takes control of himself and his world. Everyone will attain this, whether by suffering or by understanding that it’s necessary, and then by realization and love.

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How Do You Avoid Becoming Relaxed On the Path?

How Do You Avoid Becoming Relaxed On the Path?A question I received: The first revelation of evil (egoism) and the perception of the property of the Creator which follows it are very powerful. When you experience this for the first time you start running after your Beloved nonstop. But as time goes by and you put the needed amount of efforts into it (and maybe even more), this quality gradually disappears. You start to relax and to doubt that it ever happened.

How do you reveal the evil of the following degree? How do you avoid becoming relaxed? How do you follow the Creator’s desire and keep advancing? If one was brought into this world and “awakened,” then this couldn’t have happened in vain. One can’t continue living like before. So how do you “climb” out of this world again? I would really like to receive an answer to my question, even though you have said many times that one attains the real answer in his soul.

My Answer: You have described everything correctly and vividly. Previously you were not advancing by your own efforts, but by the desire that you received from above – the point in the heart. However, now in order to develop this point into the ten Sefirot and to perceive the Upper Light or the Upper World in the ten Sefirot, you have to make your own efforts. Now you will have to go through the exhausting period of accumulating efforts and perceptions, and of self analysis. The only things that can help are:

  1. Patience
  2. Exaltation of the goal
  3. The realization of your inability to change on your own
  4. Confidence in the Light of Correction.

All of these can only be received from the right environment (see Baal HaSulam’s article “The Freedom”).

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Neither Side Is Right In the Georgian War

Neither Side Is Right In This WarTwo questions I received on the conflict in Georgia:

Question: What are we supposed to think about the aggression that’s happening in Georgia? “Way to go! Egoism is growing! Everything’s going according to plan, right?” I don’t agree with this.

Personally, it pains me to see innocent people bombed, and I see their pain as my own. And why is the entire world ganging up against Russia? I think that Russia is the true “Israel” (according to the Kabbalistic definition of Israel), and not Israel. What do you think about this?

My Answer: I put all of my efforts into enlightening all people. What about you? And by the way, aren’t the bombs that are falling on Georgia, Russian? What makes you think that Russia has the property of Israel more than other countries? Is it Russia’s suppression and extermination of its own people during the seventy years of the Soviet regime? Or is it because it has supplied the entire world with weapons? Or because it is encouraging the development of the military atomic industry in third world countries? Or is it Russia’s aspiration to bring the other nations into submission and impose its “truth” onto the entire world? What’s more, Russia has done all this by oppressing its own people!

To ascend above egoism means to make everyone equal, to love everyone, and to unite, instead of bringing everyone into submission like “the older brother.” I am not a politician, and I am not defending or condemning any side in this conflict. I am only pointing out a persistent tendency that Russia has. I think the period of Russian prosperity was when it was connected with Europe, when the Russian tsars were in power. And that’s because the tsars came from Europe, but they reformed and built Russia.

One can only judge an action after ascending above one’s personal and national egoism. I feel very sorry for the people of Russia, because once again, they will suffer from everything that is happening more than anyone else!

Question: The war in Georgia is helping us understand that egoism is evil. But how can one justify it from the Creator’s point of view, how can one ascend over one’s nature?

My Answer: No one is right in this conflict, because people are being forced to collide by egoism. Don’t condemn anyone, but instead disseminate the truth which will draw the Light to our world and correct everyone. This is our only thought, desire, and objective.

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