Studying Kabbalah Is Beneficial Even While Playing Computer Games

Studying Kabbalah Is Beneficial Even While Playing Computer GamesQuestions I received from students who are starting out on the spiritual path:

Question: The way I see things now, I am not sure of anything: I don’t know what the truth is, whether the Rav is real, whether I am on the right path, whether I understand the books correctly, and if I have fallen beneath reason. There are things that I have to accept without knowledge, yet still be critical of them. However, my mind is limited, and hence my criticism is also limited. The way things are going, I might as well be using red strings or thinking that there are “souls” on a plate of food that I eat (“correct”). Is there some basic rule of thumb that I should accept, and then use it to discern the true direction, instead of remaining a puppet that’s controlled all the time?

My Answer: You should only accept the Kabbalists’ advice to study in a group, and wait for the Upper Light to make everything clear to you. I think that by fully participating, you will attain results in four to six months.

Question: I like downloading your lessons and playing them in the background while doing something else, for example, playing computer games. But later I start feeling guilty and thinking that I should either be serious about studying Kabbalah and dedicate all of my time and attention to it, or quit deceiving myself and stop studying altogether, because there’s no use studying the way I do. What do you think?

My Answer: Even this kind of study of Kabbalah is beneficial. However, soon you will decide that it’s time to leave the games behind and start paying more attention to the lessons.

Question (from a German student): I study Kabbalah and I would like to move ahead, but this is very difficult when studying alone. I am not Jewish, I don’t speak Hebrew, and I don’t know who to turn to. I am skeptical about the Kabbalah “experts” who have sprung up everywhere all of a sudden. Maybe I am just being too cautious and not trusting enough? Where can I get certainty about my path? Are there groups or individuals who help people like me find their way?

My Answer: Our German and Austrian groups, our online classes, and our entire archive are ready to help you immediately and at no cost!

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The Book of Zohar. Chapter “The Two Points”

The Book of Zohar.The Book of Zohar. Chapter “The Two Points” (abridged)

120. Rabbi Chiya began and opened (the Light), “The beginning of Hochma (wisdom) is fear of the Creator, and those who observe this rule receive all the goodness.” He asks, “The beginning of wisdom?” One should rather say that the end of wisdom is the fear of the Creator, for fear of the Creator is the property of Malchut, which is at the end of Hochma (wisdom). He replies: Yet, Malchut is the beginning of the entrance to the degrees of reception of the Supernal wisdom.” Hence, it is written, “Open to me the gates of justice,” meaning that the gates of Malchut, called “justice,” are the Creator’s gates. And if man does not enter these gates he shall not reach the Supernal King through any other, for He is concealed and detached, and has erected many gates (conditions) on the path to Him.

121. And at the end of all the gates He erected a special gate with several locks, several entrances, and several chambers, one atop of the other. And He said, “Whoever wishes to reach Me, let this be the first gate on his way to Me.” Whoever enters through this gate –will enter.” Only this is the first gate to the Supernal wisdom, the gate of fear of the Creator, Malchut, which is hence called “beginning.”

122. The letter Bet in the word BERESHEET (IN THE BEGINNING) indicates that the two are joined together in Malchut. Both are points: one is concealed, while the other is revealed. However, since there’s no division between them, they are called THE BEGINNING, which signifies only one, rather than two, for he who takes one, takes the other as well, for He and His Name are one, as it is written, “And you shall know that this is the Creator’s only name.”

123. Why is Malchut called “fear of the Creator?” It is because Malchut is the Tree of Good and Evil: If man merits, it is good, but if he does not, it is evil. This is why fear dwells in that place. And this gate (condition) leads to all the goodness that exists in the world. ALL THE GOODNESS signifies two gates, two points (the joining of Bina and Malchut) that are as one.

124. To all those who act, it is the faithful mercy of David that upholds the Torah. Those who keep the Torah seemingly create it themselves. All those who study the Torah – there is no action in them, but those who keep the Torah – in them there is action. And the world exists by this force, eternal are the wisdom and the Torah, and the throne stands just as it should stand.

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Freedom from the Angel of Death

Freedom from the Angel of DeathA question I received: I would really appreciate it if you would explain the following quote from Baal HaSulam’s article, “The Freedom”:

Whereas if there is no such spark in man, but all the sparks of his essence are dressed in bestowal of contentment to their maker, then it is neither absent nor dead. For even when the body nullifies, it only nullifies from the aspect of reception for self gratification, in which the will to receive is dressed, and has no right to exist but through it.”

I don’t understand – how is it possible that when this body dies (which you said is perceived as changing one’s shirt), the desire to bestow does not die with it? When I die, then even if I will still have the desire to bestow, I won’t be able to bestow anymore – I won’t be able to realize my desire!

Or suppose that instead of dying, I survived a car accident or a serious disease, but I lost my limbs and had brain damage; then even though I am still alive, I will not be able to bestow! Without a body you can’t bestow to your friends or participate in dissemination. So how does one’s desire continue to exist and be realized if the body no longer exists?

My Answer: Here’s an explanation of Baal HaSulam’s quote that you cited: “Whereas if there is no such spark in man, but all the sparks of his essence are dressed in bestowal of contentment to their maker, then it is neither absent nor dead. For even when the body (egoism) nullifies, it only nullifies from the aspect of reception (the desire) for self gratification, in which the will to receive is dressed, and has no right to exist but through it.”

The desires remain. What changes is their intention or “clothing.” We live inside these desires, and we also perceive our body, or its presence, inside a certain desire, which becomes revealed in our “I” for a period of time (our life), and then decreases and disappears. This is what gives us the feeling of life and the gradual death of the body.

Read the “Introduction to the Book of Zohar ” and you’ll see what Kabbalah means when it says:

  • The death of the body – the death of the egoistic intention
  • The revival of a body – the birth of the altruistic intention

We only perceive our animate body until we correct our entire soul; that is to say, until we correct all our desires from “for myself” to “for others, for the Creator.” Then the perception of the body will disappear, because the desire in which we perceive this body will be corrected into bestowal, and it will become eternal because it helped us correct all the other desires.

Take this as a foundation: There is only the Light and the desire, and you feel everything (this world or the world to come) inside the desire. Everything depends on the desires – their size, quality, and similarity to the Light.

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Destiny and the Root of the Soul

Destiny and the Root of the SoulA question I received: You say that everything we experience in each reincarnation comes from the root of one’s soul. Throughout my life, and especially in childhood, I wondered, “Why do I perceive the world through my body, and not through someone else’s?” The answer to this is – because I have my root of the soul. But why do I have the root of the soul that I have? If I had a different root of the soul, then I would perceive reality differently. I understand that the Creator does not do anything by accident, so I’m sure that this question is justified and has an answer.

My Answer: The common soul of Adam divided into many pieces, called Bnei Adam (the sons of Adam, the word for “people” in Hebrew). Each part or separate soul descends, while worsening its qualities, to the lowest level – our world, where it perceives itself as a physical body with a world around it. This perception is the most detached one from the Creator, and it is fixed (permanent) – it cannot be corrected.

However, there is a “point in the heart” – one desire out of all the others, which can be corrected and raised up to its root in Adam. “The body” is the lowest desire, and it goes through life cycles in order to reach the state when it will be possible for a person to start developing this “point in the heart.” Each “point” of Adam corresponds to a particular “body” with its own destiny.

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Men, Women, and the Soul’s Correction

Men, Women, and the Soul's CorrectionQuestions I received on women’s spiritual advancement:

Question: Dear Rav, I have a practical question. How do a woman’s Reshimot differ from a man’s? Or is it more that she endures the states of her man in the Hisaron (lack)?

My Answer: A woman is the desire, and a man is the correction of the desire, the intention of bestowal. In our world, a woman waits for a man to do something, such as to marry her, and her part in this is relatively passive.

This comes from the spiritual roots: When the soul acquires the intention of bestowal, it is called a man, whereas a soul that’s unable to bestow is called a woman. The parts of the Kli or soul are also called male and female for the same reason.

So, without paying attention to your gender in this world, start being a man – that is, actively participate in your private correction and humanity’s common correction! Otherwise, regardless of your gender in this world, you are a woman.

On the other hand, a woman’s desire is very strong and steady. Hence, one has to be a strong woman on the inside (have a strong desire), and a strong man on the outside (have a strong intention).

“A woman never has enough clothes” – this reflects the soul’s correct desire for correction, an aspiration for beautiful clothing – the Light of Hassadim, which reveals the woman’s (the desire’s) beauty. In other words, the Light of Hochma is revealed in the Light of Hassadim.

Question: What should a woman do when she studies Kabbalah together with her husband?

My Answer: Study separately just like everyone else, and study together with your husband for at least fifteen minutes a day.

Question: How should a woman act toward the other men in the group?

My Answer: The group bears no relation to her!

Question: What should she do to help the group advance?

My Answer: Help disseminate in every way possible together with other women, and study.

Question: What should a woman’s attitude be to the men’s and women’s Kli in the group?

My Answer: All the women together are helping the men and studying – whether on their own, together, or with their husbands. Women don’t have a group, but they unite in order to combine their efforts in dissemination, to help one another, and to study. In other words, they can unite in every way other than to implement the principle “love thy neighbor” among them.

Question: Recently I heard that women should not watch the second part of the morning lesson (the Talmud Eser Sefirot) in real time, because there is a chance that their female essence may change.

My Answer: Nonsense. A woman does not have to study Talmud Eser Sefirot, but she’s not forbidden from doing it!

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