The Purpose Of The Human Imagination

History Is the Unraveling of Reshimot Inside Us Kabbalists have a rule not to talk about anything except what they have actually attained, where attainment means the highest degree of understanding. In other words, until we achieve an absolutely clear realization, until the knowledge passes from the first nine Sefirot into Malchut, it is not called attainment.

Then what is the role of imagination and fantasy? Why are we given these qualities? Without imagination, advancement is impossible, and we see this from regular science. You can use your imagination, but the most important thing is not to take it for something that is really happening. However, without the imagination you would be an animal, not a human being.

Man’s entire merit over animals comes from our ability to feel the first nine Sefirot, to fantasize, and to make conjectures beyond one’s actual perception and attainment. An animal lives only inside Malchut, matter, and it feels only the forms that are clothed into it. We, however, are able to imagine an abstract form and essence, and this allows us to develop further and be called human beings.

However, we are prohibited from using our imagined knowledge until it enters our matter, just as it would with animals. This constitutes a paradox. We are always proud of being human, of having a mind that is above our animate body. However, we cannot rely on it until it acts for the benefit of the body, inside the desire.

In the spiritual Partzuf, we check our desires under a screen, and the head merely performs a calculation. Then everything occurs according to the matter that is able to take on the form of bestowal. Everything else is our external desires, and we cannot use them since we are not in control of them.

First we have to adjoin them to ourselves and accept all of the Light into them. Then the whole of reality will become unified and we will be able to use those desires. This will constitute our correction.

Until then, abstract forms only help to move us toward the full correction. With their help, we are able to connect to the Upper Level because we are able to see and check things; however, we cannot use them practically.

Our greatest problems in life come from the fact that we attribute what we desire to actuality and build plans based on fantasies, thereby separating from matter. Kabbalah advises us to fantasize in abstract form about the Upper Level and the future, but then work on ourselves in order to “pull up” our desires and matter to the level of that fantasy. Then the abstract form will clothe into matter; we will change instead of simply mistaking our fantasies for actuality.

Spiritual Growth Is Analogous To The Stages Of Human Growth

hiddenpart The most important thing for us right now is to formulate the correct approach to the study. Indeed, there really isn’t anything to study in the books of Kabbalah, since we can study only what we can sense with our feelings and investigate with our reason. However, what we’re presently doing is waiting and counting on a miraculous force (Segula), the Upper Light, trying to draw it to ourselves.

We exist in the state of concealment (single and double) until we cross the Machsom and begin to sense the Upper World. For now, our task is to come out of the unconscious state and start feeling that we’re in the state of concealment, that something is being concealed from us. This discovery (or sensation) of concealment is what will bring us to revelation.

We should feel as though we’re in the dark, and there is someone waiting close by, watching us through cracks and windows, “Metziz Aleynu Mi Halonot.” When we reach revelation, the first stage will be “bestowal for the sake of bestowal,” the qualities of Bina, Hafetz Hesed.

At this stage there’s no investigation; we merely acquire the quality and force of bestowal. That’s the state of single revelation. We then advance to “reception for the sake of bestowal” where we are able to conduct investigations. That’s the state of the double revelation.

If we relate this to human stages of growth, then the first stage of concealment (in which we presently exist) is like infancy. Then we rise to the level of “bestowal for the sake of bestowal” and acquire spiritual qualities – the qualities of Bina. This can be likened to the stage of accumulating knowledge and learning, or in other words, adolescence, youth, and formation (school, university).

After that we begin to receive for the sake of bestowal. At this stage we are like scientists that investigate and learn about the world, making new discoveries. That is where the science begins; it is when we’re working with desires actively by receiving inside them for the sake of bestowal. Therefore we are able to investigate them on account of being similar to the Creator.

There Are Some Desires We Can Never Use

Correction Depends Only On Desire, Not Knowledge The Zohar: “Hence they shall not eat… the femoral vein (Gid HaNasheh). It is forbidden even for pleasure, and it is forbidden even to a dog.

Why is it called “Gid HaNasheh”? Because it causes movement (“Menashe”); it moves people farther away from serving the Creator. And therein the evil inclination is instilled.

Here The Zohar explains which desires out of the sum total of our desires we can use, and which we cannot, as well as how to correct them and connect to them with one another. All these desires are egoistic, for the sake of self-enjoyment, and therefore, we have to place certain restrictions in effect when using them.

We can correct desires with Aviut (coarseness) below a certain level by using them for the sake of bestowal – that is, to receive for the sake of bestowal. As for desires with Aviut above that level, we can use them only by bestowing for the sake of bestowal.

Besides this, there are other desires that we mustn’t use at all, but only restrict them. The words “mustn’t” and “impossible” mean “unable to.” This is the only kind of prohibition that exists in the spiritual world.

However, because our desires are corrupted to begin with, as it is written: “I have created the evil inclination,” the first step on our path is exposing the evil. After that we advance by correcting our desires – by changing our intention of using them from “reception” to “bestowal,” from the easy to the difficult, from the simple to the complex.

The Zohar explains that we are given the change to reveal the full picture in every state; however, we can only reveal it to a small degree, as if it were compressed, as if we are zooming in on it. Therefore, in every state we have all the desires, the complete soul. In other words, the same World of Infinity is continually being shown to us at a different measure or resolution.

But whatever the case, we must discern every desire in every state. Therefore, although we haven’t yet attained the state of being able to correct great, lofty, and special desires, nevertheless by reading about these desires, which haven’t yet been revealed to us in our individual spiritual work, we awaken the Lights at those levels, and these Lights in turn correct us.

What Is Truth?

pick Baal HaSulam writes that “There is nothing higher than the truth and nothing lower than falseness.” But how can we know what is the truth and where to find it? Things only seem true in our imagination and fantasies, but we know that whatever seems true today will turn out to be a lie tomorrow. This is because our desire changes, and when it does, all the facts that we perceive, also change. Because the matter changes, the form that was present in matter yesterday is no longer visible to us today.

It turns out that today we are operating according to a form clothed in matter, and we consider this to be the truth. But tomorrow we will discard it and say that it was a lie, depending on what we see tomorrow. We always have to act based on the desire and the form in which it is clothed during the moment we are in that form.We don’t care that we used to think differently a hundred years ago, and that we will think differently two hundred years from now. Everything will be new – we will have a new life, a new sky and a new earth. Nevertheless, today we have to make all decisions based on today’s facts.

It follows that we have no right to judge others – those who are above or below us. How can we judge someone on a level beneath us if he is not yet corrected? After all, he is right in relation to his position.

All the mistakes, problems and punishments are given to us in order to “stuff” us into a form clothed in matter, so we won’t separate from matter and engage in abstract reasoning. It is extremely important to keep this in mind while studying The Zohar. After all, The Zohar is intended to lead us into the spiritual world, and in this area we are very tempted to give in to fantasies and mysticism. Our body really desires this since it will feel less suffering that way.

We have to make efforts to keep ourselves grounded within the framework of matter. By doing so, we will be performing a correction. We have to insert the form of bestowal into our egoistic form of reception, but they don’t fit one inside the other; they are absolutely opposite, and therefore our task is extremely difficult!

This is why The Zohar takes so much effort to be watchful of what is happening to us and what forms are clothing into us. After all, by separating from matter, we might imagine that we are already in the world of bestowal and Infinity.

Learning To Focus On The Spiritual World

pleasure While studying The Zohar, we are not trying to explain every phenomenon that we study; instead, we want to feel it. How is it even possible to explain something that a person doesn’t feel or see? That’s why we are talking only about the effort that a person makes when he wants to reach something he doesn’t know, see or grasp, but would do anything to move closer to it.

I am teaching you how to focus on the spiritual world. When you acquire spiritual vision, you will feel, and later on you will also understand. This is the meaning of the verse, “A judge has nothing but what his eyes see.” What’s the point of trying to memorize names if you don’t know what they refer to? We are now learning how to attain them, because attainment is when you feel something with utter clarity in all of your senses and heart. You exist in it, are completely immersed in the spiritual world, and actually become one with it.

We are talking about how to enter the sensation of a new world, like a baby that’s starting to perceive this world simply and naturally. We don’t explain anything to the baby from the beginning. He must first be filled with various impressions about our world, and then, by being able to differentiate between different qualities (cold vs. hot, light vs. darkness, hard vs. soft), he begins to form a mind that understands what he should aspire to and what he should move away from. He starts to discern what is pleasant and unpleasant, what is good for him and what is bad, what is true and what is false, what he likes and what he doesn’t.

However, with regard to spirituality, all of this comes only after we have revealed a fragment of the Upper World in our sensations. Right now we desire to attain this revelation, and therefore we don’t want to explain what is inside it; we only want to facilitate these new sensations in us.

We have to “unfocus” our vision from this world and stop seeing it in order to start seeing through a new focus, by concentrating our attention on something else. It’s like those 3-D pictures that first appear like a chaotic collection of disorderly shapes. But if you change the focus of your vision and stop concentrating on the surface of the image, if you try to peer inside, not focusing on the picture itself, but deliberately penetrating inside – then you begin to see it. We have to make the same effort – but through feelings rather than vision – when reading The Book of Zohar, and then through the sensations of this world, we will feel the Upper World.

Our Entire Life Occurs Between Two Lights – Hochma and Hassadim

author Kabbalists tell us that we exist in an invariable state called “the World of Infinity.” The Creator wishes to fulfill us infinitely, to give us infinite pleasure, and to bring us to a sensation of Him. Then we will feel perfect harmony, a luminous and perfect world where we are filled with the Upper Light. In addition, we will understand and feel the world in its entirety.

We are in this state even now, but are unaware of it. This is our only problem – that we are insensitive to it due to not having the sense that can feel this reality.

I have one sense, which I perceive as my physical body. This body has five senses of its own: vision, hearing, taste, smell, and touch. With the help of this cumulative sense called the “body,” I feel myself and the world.

Besides it, there is also another body called “the body of the soul.” If I reveal it, I will discover five senses there as well: Keter, Hochma, Bina, Zeir Anpin, and Malchut, which can also be called “spiritual vision, hearing, taste, smell, and touch.” Through the body of the soul, I perceive the spiritual reality, myself, and the world.

So what is the problem – why is it so difficult for us to reveal this spiritual sense and through it to feel that we are situated in the World of Infinity, that everything around us is filled with Infinite Light and there is no life, death, or any other limitations? The problem is just one thing: the lack of the Light of Hassadim. The only way for our soul to develop from the point that we currently have, for that point to expand and burst open, is by acquiring the Light of Hassadim – the quality of kindness (Chesed), love, and bestowal, the ability to come out of ourselves. We are situated in an ocean of Light – the Light of Hochma, the Light of the Creator, but we will only be able to reveal it if we open up to the outside by means of the Light of Hassadim.

Therefore, the darkness that is revealed in us is the pressure of the Light of Hochma in the absence of the Light of Hassadim, which comes from the soul. Our soul is still incapable of opening up and revealing the Light of Hochma in the Light of Hassadim – of seeing “day” instead of “night.”

We see the spiritual world, our spiritual life, in greater or smaller degrees of the Light of Hassadim. The entire process of our spiritual development and formation occurs between these two Lights – Hochma and Hassadim, or between two desires where these Lights are revealed – the desires of reception and bestowal.

Stated more accurately, there is one desire, but it can be implemented by us in two different ways: with the intention “for myself” or with the intention “for others.” Therefore, developing the Light of Hassadim, the quality of bestowal and love, the ability to come out of oneself, is the same as revealing the soul. We reveal the Upper World, the World of Infinity, to the extent that we develop the Light of Hassadim, the intention of bestowal inside us.

There are five levels of Aviut (thickness of desire) inside the point in the heart – the drop of semen of the soul, the Reshimo that is in us. By acquiring the Light of Hassadim on each of the five levels of desire, we reveal five parts of our soul and thereby open up an opportunity for the Light to enter it step by step, through the five degrees called five worlds (degrees of the Light’s revelation).

This is how we gradually ascend along the degrees of the worlds: Assiya, Yetzira, Beria, Atzilut, and Adam Kadmon – until we reach unlimited revelation, called “the World of Infinity.” Everything in this process depends on how much we acquire the quality of bestowal because through the quality of bestowal, we reveal the point in the heart and it becomes the soul, the Shechina, the receptacle for the Light.

There Is No World – There’s Only Me

onlyme I contain desires of all the levels of development: the inanimate, vegetative, animate, and human. The human level within me contains desires of all types of people that I see in our world. Therefore, in reality the whole world is inside me. All the robbers, liars, kind and righteous people, sages, and fools are inside me. In reality, this is all me.

It only seems to me that this huge world exists, but in actuality it is just imagined by my inner desires and qualities. They are depicted inside me in the form of inanimate, vegetative, animate, or human images in my four levels of desire.

Depending on how I see the world, I can understand to what extent I am corrupted or corrected, good or bad. In other words, I can understand which of my desires I need to correct.

If I correct my attitude towards the world, I correct myself. This is because when I see the world outside of me, I am better able to tell what is evil and egoistic in me, and how to attain goodness and bestowal to what seems external to me. When I correct myself, I see that the whole world becomes better.

In reality, there is no world. It only seems to me that all of this exists, but I am watching it as if I was watching a movie on a screen.

The Correction Of “The Stone Heart”

Why Is the Financial Crisis Bringing More People to Religion Our broken desires enumerate to a total of 320 (8x4x10). They are separated into 320:10=32, which is Malchut, as well as the other 320-32=288, which are the nine Sefirot up to Malchut. Stated differently, there are “288 spiritual organs” that we can work with, and the “stone heart” (Lev HaEven) – the 32 parts of Malchut. The correction of the stone heart amounts to not working with it. We don’t need to conquer these desires or implement them for the sake off bestowal. We just need to discern them and reject them.

However, we don’t perform this discernment on our own. It is done by the Light that comes to us. It colors the desires that pertain to the first nine Sefirot, 288 spiritual organs, into all the colors of the rainbow, and makes the 32 desires of the stone heart black, showing us that we cannot touch them. We can’t use them, since we have no power for this. As soon as you touch such a desire, you immediately fall under its power – into the hands of the evil angel Hatata, who “stands waiting for you at the entrance” into the spiritual world and leads you astray.

The first nine Sefirot are also not corrected by us, but by the Light. However, we can ask for this correction, whereas we are unable even to request for the stone heart to be corrected to bestowal. That’s because it holds such great pleasures that when we find ourselves before them, we are incapable of asking to be rid of them and to give the pleasure to someone who seems like a stranger to us. Therefore, we cannot touch these desires.

This is instilled in our nature; these desires are our primordial material. When we undergo correction, we adopt the Creator’s qualities. But our own material is incapable of correction. For example, imagine that I am situated in a place (a desire), where I can “hold the Creator’s hand.” The Creator says, “Let’s go to Pharaoh!” Then, even though I am small and weak, I hold His hand like a child holds an adult’s hand, and I’m not afraid of anything! I feel strong like a child who knows that the adult will give him anything he wishes.

However, the desires of the stone heart are for the sake of “Me and Me alone!” They lack the first nine Sefirot and the Creator’s “hand.” He is not present with me in these desires, and on my own, I am unable to do anything. The minute I am separate from the adult, I am incapable of anything, and by trying I will immediately cause damage to myself. This is the meaning of the desires of the stone heart.

Therefore, our work is to check all of our desires, qualities, situations and actions to the maximum and to clarify where we exist together with Him, in adhesion. We also need to discern the desires where we cannot be together with Him in order to avoid touching them or using them. By doing so, we will correct them.

Daily Kabbalah Lesson – 12.24.09

Preparation to the Lesson
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The Book of Zohar – Selections, Chapter “VaYishlach (And Jacob Sent),” Item 121
The Zohar lays out the spiritual anatomy of my soul. It is a guide to working with my desires.
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“Preface to the Wisdom of Kabbalah,” Item 90, Lesson 37
The lower degree shows the Upper Degree that it’s willing to grow by annulling itself. This obliges the Upper One to take care of the lower one.
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“Preface to the Book of Zohar,” Item 15
The world won’t find a solution to its problems until it stops confusing the desired with the reality.
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The Spiritual Meaning Of Light And Darkness

roots A question I received: Will I always feel darkness while being in the preparation stage, where my desires are not corrected yet?

My Answer: How can you feel darkness if you don’t know what Light is? The darkness you feel now comes from the fact that you feel bad from not having fulfillment in your desire to enjoy. However, this darkness is egoistic, rather than spiritual.

The Zohar talks about a different kind of darkness. It’s when you want to ignite your desire with love for the neighbor, bestowal, and a connection with others. It’s when you desire the Upper Light in order for it to reveal the connection between you and others. This is what Kabbalah means by Light and darkness. It’s when you reveal evil within yourself, work on yourself and want to connect with other people in order to bestow upon them, but you are unable to do so. This sensation is called “night” because you sink into the darkness of egoism.

However, if while being in this dark state, the night of egoistic desires, you make efforts during the study and you desire the Light to come and correct your attitude toward other people, and you believe that love for others is Light and day, then the night gradually dissipates and a tiny luminosity called “dawn” begins to emerge. You begin to feel your attitude to others changing,  you really want to bestow upon them, and you start to feel much closer to them.

Suddenly, you understand that Light means bestowing upon others. Light is kindness, the feeling that all others are parts of you. Previously you wanted to feel love and goodness inside these desires, but you couldn’t, and that’s why everything was so dark. But now in these same desires, you feel that you can be kind to others, and this means that the Light is shining from them upon you.

The difference between darkness and Light is only your attitude, whether you can bestow inside your desires or not. This is called spiritual Light. In order to attain it, the Surrounding Light has to come and correct your perception, thoughts, attitude, and definitions of good and evil, as well as what is Light and darkness, night and day. In spirituality, everything is measured relative to the force of bestowal.