What Is the Machsom?

By Developing One's Desires, Kabbalah Also Develops One's MindA question I received: What exactly is the Machsom? I wanted to find a precise definition in Talmud Eser Sefirot and other technical studies, but couldn’t manage to find it. In fact, this concept doesn’t seem to exist in any article or book by Baal HaSulam or Rabash. So, my questions are:

1. Is it a technical Kabbalistic term (like Masach, for instance)?
2. If it is, why don’t the greatest Kabbalists of our generation mention it?
3. If it is not, why do you use it, and can the Machsom be explained by another non-technical term?

My Answer: The Machsom is a word that Rabash often used during our private conversations. In his public talks he used it rarely, because he never talked about the practical crossing of the Machsom. There are rare instances when it is mentioned in the text. Here’s one such instance:

תשמ”ה – מאמר כ’ 1984/85 – מאמר 20

אנו צריכים לדעת, שיש שני מפריעים, שעומדים נגד האדם ולא נותנים לעבור את המחסום, להגיע לאהבת ה’, היות שהאדם נולד עם רצון לקבל לעצמו…

Rabash’s 20th article from 1984-1985:

We have to know that there are two obstructions standing before man, preventing him from crossing the Machsom and attaining love for the Creator, because man is born with the will to receive for himself…

I advise you to look for it in the texts on your own. I’m sure that there are other instances, although they are rare.

Related Material:
Laitman.com Post: The Machsom Is the Same Everywhere – Even In Japan
Laitman.com Post: The Machsom Can Be Crossed Individually and As a Group
Kabbalah Today Article: The Spiritual Gardener
Baal HaSulam: “Introduction to The Study of the Ten Sefirot,” Item 1
Baal HaSulam Article: “The Bond,” Item 18


  1. Hello my friend,

    I’ve had a particular insight on the subject of the Machsom today as in other subjects as well. That an enormous amount of pain is felt during one’s birth (descent – spiritual death), as well as in one’s death (ascent – spiritual birth, or simply ascent), this also relates to people experiencing near-“death”-experiences. Curiously other approaches and techniques i have read about in past years don’t reflect any pain in the process rather than profound relaxation in order to induce a sort of ‘prison’ state in the muscles and body. So the people of the world have been given the world Adam Kadmon (Egypt or exile) in order to feel the excruciating pain for not understanding it at all in order to cross the Machsom, this is clear, and if one doesn’t cross it willingly then the Creator will make him cross unwillingly.

    So the question is: inducing pain is absolutely necessary in order to cross the Machsom and full fill the Creator’s will and make him happy with this (work at one’s soul) or should one reject pain at all cost in order to engage in making the body fit for the upper light, enslaving it to the Creator?

    It is often written we perceive both worlds simultaneously, we don’t cross the Machsom simultaneously while walking, thus it is also written no body can make any altruistic effort without moving a single muscle, then the healthiest way to live is by making the least effort in this world, saving energy except in situations that the effort is worth it, lowering all expectations on whatever material things Pharaoh can give us once it will always be temporary pleasure, fullfillment and awakening of the deceitful lights.
    It is also written we already live in the worlds of BYA. This puzzles me because there is a hidden reality in this world (Adam Kadmon), i can perceive from smallest particles, to an endless flow of waves, movement and auric fields in objects, also there have been several sensations my body now perceives once i’ve engaged in the study of kabbalah, no sound or smell sensations yet.

    I’m wondering, how do i use these things, what benefit can they bring if they can bring any benefit? Are they of any use at crossing the Machsom? Will one learn how to use these once he has crossed the Machsom?

    Another thing that has crossed my mind is that, if everyone we perceive actually live in their Adam Kadmon world, surrounded by light, then we don’t have contact with them at all in this world and their reality is completly unavailable from us in Adam Kadmon, yet we are all connected in one place, and this is the one thing we have in common and with which we can make contact. It’s strange trying to compreend love in this way, is it complete altruism or simply blind faith one constructs through his screen? Where he imagines such a person is feeling this or that..
    I guess the hardest thing to know would be that all the people we perceive were actually living a different time or even dimension than ours in such a way that what we perceive would be like some sort of recording. Yet if any of us knew this we would have no regard to anyone in the world and would commit the worst of deeds.

    No need to reply Rav, in fact crossing the Machsom has made me very uneasy the past few weeks so i’ll continue my study anyway.
    Have a nice week!

    Tiago (derived from hebrew יעקב),

  2. Baal HaSulam mentions machsom several times in “Preamble to the Wisdom of Kabbalah”, and defines it for us as well….

    “Machsom – a partition between the spiritual world and ours.”

  3. Baal HaSulam’s definition still requires explanation. What is the “partition”? It seems clear that this is something that exists within oneself. As we correct our selfish desire to receive (ego) we eventually cross this barrier, this partition.

    This quote helps:

    “Therefore, the principle consists in crossing the barrier in spite of our own nature. It happens unconsciously; man does not know what he is heading for or when it might happen. After crossing the Machsom, man begins to see that, until that moment, he was in a dream-like state.”

    ― from “Introduction to the Book of Zohar V1: The Science of Kabbalah (Pticha)”

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