If a person is advancing correctly, then he is not confident or self-assured on the spiritual path. He does not arrogantly believe that he knows everything that has to happen to him and his life, but rather, he trusts only the One who governs him and makes all the actions. He knows that he must only join the One who Governs and Bestows, the Upper Ruler. That is the key to advancing correctly.
However, if a person is self-confident and proud, thinking that he knows everything, then he won’t even understand that he is on the path of a petty proprietor and that he hasn’t tasted what spirituality really is.
You shouldn’t be ashamed to admit your mistakes. The true path is when you reveal your mistakes and correct them, only to discover more mistakes, and so on.
A question I received: What’s the difference between the books written by the Kabbalists of the past and the books written by modern Kabbalists?
My Answer: Baal HaSulam says that Rabbi Akiva certainly knew more than Rabbi Shimon, since he preceded him – he was his teacher. However, the level of Kabbalists before Rabbi Akiva was higher still.
It goes without saying that Baal HaSulam knew less than Rabbi Shimon and less than all the previous Kabbalists. However, in order to take care of us, he was given an opportunity to learn and express his degrees. This is what he writes about himself.
We evaluate a Kabbalist based on his books,“This is an amazing book! I understand everything in it! He is a great Kabbalist!” But if I understand his books, then maybe he is not so great after all.
In other words, we rate a person based on how close he is to us and to what extent he can descend to our level, not according to his elevation, but according to his ability to be a teacher. And in order to become our teacher, it is not necessary for him to be great.
Along with the historical development of egoism in each person and in society as a whole, the level of Kabbalists is becoming lower.
During the “times of the Temple” (the Temple is the soul of each person in the state of bestowal and love, and the fall of the Temple is the descent into relationships of hatred) people clearly perceived the spiritual, meaning they felt love and commonality, lived as one man, and were similar to the Creator. They understood and felt these things on their own.
We cannot imagine what that means. It is written that compared to them, we are like donkeys next to people. This is not an exaggeration or a beautiful expression; they had a completely different mind, vision, and sense.
(From a lesson on the article “The Essence of the Wisdom of Kabbalah,” from 10.28.09)
Our job is to begin the work of our correction, but we shouldn’t worry about its completion. This doesn’t mean we should leave the work in the middle, but rather, we must always consider the result as being the right one, because it comes from the Creator.
It only seems to us that we know how everything has to develop. But in reality, all of a sudden something opposite happens. We are influenced by the Upper Light and the environment, and therefore we are changing. That’s why we see that the work we started turns out to be completely wrong. And then we begin everything anew.
This is our work of correcting ourselves, “the correction of mistakes,” which the Creator completes for us. We always have to start from the beginning, without despair, trying to break through toward Him (toward the quality of bestowal in us).
We have to make every effort to complete the action, even though the result will be absolutely different from what we expected. This happens because the Light turns us into the opposite. That is why we go through so many changes in the process of the spiritual work.
The fact is that we don’t know what the outcome should be. We don’t know what the attribute of bestowal is, and that’s why we have no clue what will be the result of any step we take. If our efforts result in something opposite to what we thought, this may actually be a good sign that we are coming closer to the truth.
A question I received: Can we change the destiny that has been prepared for us from Above if we attain the roots?
My Answer: Definitely! You will then change everything from suffering to goodness because you will start to see goodness instead of evil in everything taking place. Everything will change (in your perception). You will accept everything and see that it is good and beneficial for you. See Baal HaSulam’s article, “The Creator’s Concealment and Revelation.”
A student studying the science of Kabbalah has a problem: in order to understand what the teacher is saying, he has to be on his level. The teacher may be talking about very high spiritual levels, but since all the levels are similar to each other and each has the same details as all the others, the student can at least understand what is being said according to his present spiritual level.
However, if the student still hasn’t ascended to any spiritual level and exists only in this world, then he cannot understand the language of branches. The language of branches means that a person attains the things existing in this world, the branches, as well as their roots on the spiritual level. Then he has a clear understanding of the connection between the two and he can attain what the teacher says.
But if the student does not attain the roots, then he cannot attain what the teacher is telling him. The teacher will be saying words that the student cannot identify. When a person attains only this world, he does not attain the branches because he does not know their roots. The branches are what descend from the roots. There cannot be a branch without a root or a root without a branch. The language of branches cannot even start unless one attains the spiritual essence, the roots of the branches.
Therefore, a student cannot understand the teacher until he attains the spiritual roots. Only then will he be able to attain all the connections between the roots and branches based on his teacher’s words. Unfortunately, this is a fact. Therefore, the study of the science of Kabbalah is only for those who possess spiritual attainment.
As long as a person doesn’t have spiritual attainment, he has to be clear on the fact that he is not studying the science of Kabbalah. He is only using its “wondrous quality” (Segula) in order to reveal the roots. This is the only reason we study.
Therefore, we shouldn’t get confused by trying to collect knowledge about “something,” but should focus only on the fact that we need the Light that Reforms, and we need it as fast as possible. If we attain the roots with the help of the Light, then we will understand what Kabbalah is talking about. Then, when we study the concepts described in the books, we will be studying this science. Currently, however, we are not studying it because we don’t know the connection between the roots and branches, since we haven’t yet attained the roots.
The science of Kabbalah starts with spiritual attainment, and not before that. Before it, you can only aspire to evoke the influence of the Light upon you (Segula).
Presently, all of humanity has reached the state of being the broken vessel (Kli) of the common soul. This was not always the case; in previous generations, we were individualists and everyone was on their own, scattered and remote from each other. It is this separation and lack of connection, which does not allow the formation of a spiritual vessel.
When these disconnected parts try, but are unable, to unite the fragments (individual souls) into a vessel in order to form a common soul (Adam), everything falls apart. This is known as a broken Kli, and is the revelation of egoism. It is then that we reveal what is broken as well as what exactly must be done to correct and repair what is broken.
In other words, until a person tries to tune into the group, he does not see the egoism, through which he will see the Upper World, once he is able to correct it.
This is precisely what has been happening recently. The Upper Force is arranging us in such a way that as the egoism grows, we begin to see that we exist in one global vessel. This vessel is broken, and the Light that wishes to correct it flows out through the cracks between us, through our broken connections.
Therefore, humanity must quickly be brought to a realization that our salvation lies in our unification.
(From a lesson on “The Essence of the Wisdom of Kabbalah” 10.28.2009)