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An extensive group of worldwide volunteers work together to bring the message of Kabbalah to you:
We all came from the World of Infinity, which is a single desire in which we’re all connected together as cells of a common body. The connection that existed before our descent into this world was maintained by the force of the Creator; He “suppressed” us with His Light and united us forcefully.
Then He left us, “restricted Himself,” and the Light disappeared. The desire began descending lower and lower as it moved further away from the Light, until it broke completely into small fragments. As a result, every fragment felt separated from the others and absolutely unconnected to them.
But then, we went through an even deeper downfall, and now we are beginning to reveal that we are connected to others; however, our connection is negative, making us want to use or even kill each other. Our connection is negative and opposite to what it ought to be.
We have to arrive at this realization in order to then start ascending toward a connection among us, to the same Malchut of the World of Infinity. However, this time we will rise to it on our own, by preparing ourselves with the help of the study and various actions, and by desiring to advance toward the corrected state.
The entire correction amounts to us uniting together. That’s why it’s written, “’Love your neighbor as yourself’ is the main rule of the Torah.” As the desire becomes corrected, it is filled with Light. According to the law of the equivalence of form, the more the desire opens itself up to bestowal, the more the Light will fill it. From the side of the Light there are no restrictions; all the restrictions are always done from the side of the desire.
The middle line does not exist initially and we do not know its measure, but it constitutes the entire “human being” inside us. We have to create this human being so he will be equal to the Creator. So how do we build and create the middle line in the Creator’s image, if it is to consist of two forces: male and female, right and left? We don’t know what this connection is or what form this creature called “man” should have. When he is born, he will be called our “self.” But before that happens, it’s as if we don’t exist at all.
We cannot know any of this ahead of time because we don’t see the Creator. When we complete this work and build precisely ten Sefirot, rather than nine or eleven, then the result will be called the Creator – “Come and See” (Bo- Re). We will reveal ourselves and the Creator together because a person cannot be revealed without the Creator and the Creator – without man; they can only exist together.
We don’t have any example or image of what the middle line is. We have to search and ask for it in order to begin finding the examples and the connection. That is how we start to see the game that the Creator is playing with us by awakening different feelings in us; this is His way of giving us hints to help us find the middle line.
Otherwise we won’t be able to understand it; we can only find the middle line by searching for it and trying to imagine it while in the darkness. This is the entire art and work of building the “Temple” – the manifestation of the Creator’s image on all levels of our desire: still, vegetative, animate, and human.
The ten students of Rabbi Shimon who wrote The Book of Zohar are the ten Sefirot of the corrected soul. This is why they are able to bring to us the Upper Illumination (Zohar), the Light that originates from the head of Zeir Anpin. This Light comes from the highest source, and as such, it is the highest possible Light that can reach us.
As I try to find the qualities that The Zohar describes inside me, I have to understand that all ten Sefirot exist inside me even on my small level. I just can’t discern them inside my desire, which is like a single drop. For now my desire still lacks aim, yet it is like a drop of semen that already contains everything that will happen to it later on – all the qualities and all of life. It is missing only my effort; this is what I have to add to that drop, which is like a drop of semen from which a person (me) will develop.
The effort is made by working with the environment (the group) and the book. The environment inspires me with a greater desire for the spiritual goal, but most importantly, it gives me the right desire. Sometimes a person is burning up with a great desire and thinks that he doesn’t need the group, but that is because he can’t see that his desire is incorrect and not aimed at the goal. It can only be a correct desire if he lets it pass through the group. His personal desire will never be aimed at the Creator because the Creator becomes revealed inside the connection between the souls (us). Therefore, we have to let all of our desires pass through the group. That is how we will receive the force of unity and bestowal from all the group members.
If you are simply burning up with a great desire for Kabbalah and the Creator, this doesn’t mean anything yet. You still don’t desire spirituality because spirituality is bestowal and love for one’s neighbor, and those are things you surely don’t desire very much. You have to let your enormous desire pass through the group, and then you will see how much it really is or isn’t aimed at spirituality. Maybe you will be left with five ounces out of the 100 tons of desire that is burning inside you. But those five ounces will be aimed at the goal and you will really be able to use them to turn to the Creator. As for the rest of the 100 tons, you are simply burning up with them but standing in the same place, not going anywhere.
This is why we have to bring our drop of “spiritual semen” into the right environment: It’s in order to receive the force of bestowal and the right direction from it. The group molds us like dough, which can then be placed into the oven in order to bake into bread.
It is written, “I created evil and the Torah to correct it” because the Light in the Torah reforms. Correction occurs only according to a person’s intention. As the Ari explains through his student Chaim Vital in “The Preface to the Tree of Life” and as Baal HaSulam says in “Preface to Talmud of Ten Sefirot,” everything depends on the intention of a person who studies the Torah. All the books that talk about the correction of the soul are called “Torah.”
A person reaches a true demand for correction only if he intends to correct his soul and wants to attract the Light in order to be corrected. He has to reach the feeling that he needs to correct his qualities, which is attained by studying his qualities compared to the qualities of the Creator. Then he sees that there is a great distance between these qualities and understands the state that he must attain. At that point a demand for correction emerges in him.
Books that were written by the Kabbalists who reached spirituality and attained the Creator are called “sacred books” since they talk about bestowal and love for one’s neighbor. This is why it is written that people study the Torah only if they strive to reach bestowal.
“Torah” means the Light that comes to a person in order to correct him. The words of the Torah fill a person’s soul to the same degree as his level of correction. It says in the “Preface to the Book of Zohar” that the Torah is divided into 613 corrections (Taryag Eitin) and 613 fulfillments (Taryag Pkudin), where “613 corrections” signify the Lights that come to a person in order to correct his 613 desires to receive for himself, turning them into desires to receive for the sake of others. Thus, the Lights transform all our desires into the desire to bestow. The “613 fulfillments” are the Lights that fill our corrected desires with the Light of the Torah. This is why we always need to begin The Zohar lesson with the correct intention – each person on his own and all of us together. Our correction and our bright future depend on it.
There’s no doubt that when many people join together, they have much more power and strength than each one had by himself, especially now that they strive to reach the same goal together – the revelation of the Upper Force which governs them. A union such as this has much more power, making the intention even more important. This is why it is extremely important for us to learn to achieve the correct intentions before the lesson starts.
Baal HaSulam gives a detailed explanation of this in the “Preface to Talmud Eser Sefirot,” where he writes: “Therefore, each student has to reinforce his faith in the Creator and know that He governs over us,” where “reinforce the faith” means the strength of bestowal. In other words, before the lesson starts, I have to desire to attain the properties of bestowal. This is the reason why I study. “Then,” continues Baal HaSulam, “his heart will be ready because ‘Lishma’ will extend from ‘Lo Lishma.’” This means that out of our natural desire to receive, we will attain a true intention – the desire to reach the Upper Force – bestowal. It is the intention that defines the quality of our studies as well as all the results we can expect.
While reading The Zohar, instead of looking inside ourselves and identifying what’s written in the book as our own properties, we mistakenly start imagining historical characters and events. In this manner, the words that appear familiar become obstacles to experiencing The Zohar.
The words are only symbols. They consist of letters where each letter is a symbol representing a spiritual property. The sum of several spiritual properties comprises a small system called “a letter” (in Hebrew it is called “Ot” – meaning a symbol or sign). A letter expresses a certain property, an action, and a spiritual structure. It consists only of a desire that is shaped in a certain way. Desire is matter, and the forms that it assumes are called “similarity with the Creator.”
There are four such similarities with the Creator in Malchut, nine in Zer Anpin, and nine in Bina. They add up to twenty two. Also, there are five forms that bear a restrictive or coarse property at all five levels of desire (0-4 Aviut), and five letters MaNTzePaCh that indicate the Parsa (borderline) between Atzilut and the Worlds of BYA. This is why the Hebrew alphabet has 22 main letters and five additional letter that replace the regular letters. This is the MaNTzePaCh – the letters that appear at the end of the words.
These words contain no corporeal taste, flavor, or connection with history or people. Rather, they are only forces and properties of desires. At first we don’t see any difference between all these words. It doesn’t matter if they are names of people, animals, actions or plants; we still don’t know what they mean and simply try to understand. At this initial stage they are just symbols with unknown meanings.
It is similar to trying to understand hieroglyphs: I don’t feel anything nor can I tell the difference between them. Words and hieroglyphs are symbols that outline states of my desire.
Therefore, when we read The Zohar, we have to detach from stereotypes, feelings, and relationships that are associated with each word, and instead start searching for their spiritual meaning. The only thing I know for sure is the fact that everything I am reading about is happening within me. I know nothing else since I am dealing with a world that isn’t revealed in me yet; these phenomena exist in me in a concealed form. I have to apply effort in order to uncover these phenomena inside myself by disconnecting from all corporeal images that are triggered in me by these words.
I won’t be able to see these properties within myself if I only use my own effort. However, by applying my effort I can attract the Light that Reforms, which will correct my intention and make me use my desires in order to bestow rather than to receive. To the extent of obtaining such qualities, I start to feel The Zohar’s words.
My Answer: If the Creator didn’t treat us mercifully, then we’d never be able to correct ourselves. After all, in our initial state we are incapable of telling good from evil. Therefore, we naturally incline toward evil, since it is the basic quality that we are created from.
If the Upper Governance were to act from the side of evil with the same force as from the side of good, then we would always choose evil and we would be banished from the Upper World like any other sinner. If that were the case, we would never be able to reach the goal.
That is why a correction or addition is made from Above where my natural, inherent qualities aren’t taken into account. Indeed, it was the Creator who created the evil inclination; therefore, the only considered factor is how well I can utilize the means given to me – the group, the teacher, and the Kabbalah books – in order to take even the smallest step toward correction in spite of my nature. This is why it is written that the Creator treats us mercifully.
A person needs to exert a lot of effort in order to reveal that he is a “sinner.” He has to wholeheartedly wish to rise, to reach selfless bestowal and love, because only then can he reveal that he is completely opposite to this quality.
In the first stage of the spiritual path, the stage of preparation, our work lies in revealing our true nature. This is called revealing the mistakes and the transgressions (Shgagot and Zdonot). From the moment a person adjusts to the group and begins to work correctly, wanting to love the others and unite with them in a mutual guarantee, he immediately reveals that he doesn’t want spirituality, bestowal and love of friends. Instead, he neglects and hates everyone.
It is because one quality is revealed opposite to the other, which is in fact, the revelation of the truth. Until a person reveals all his “mistakes and transgressions,” he will not cross the Machsom.
Crossing the Machsom means that I have revealed all the evil inside me, and now the Light of Correction can unite us and we can become similar to the Creator. Then the Upper Light will clothe within our mutual desire instead of many desires, and this whole system will unite and be one – Echad. The Light is the degree of our unity. It gives us pleasure and an impression called Light, where Light is a sensation in the desire of those who attain unity and love. This is why He is called the Creator, which means “come and see” (Bo-Re). Attaining the quality of bestowal within the desire is called the Light and the Creator.
Therefore, we have to unite in order to enter the spiritual world, but first we need to reveal the hatred between us. We have to feel how we don’t like each other and always justify our own behavior towards others. When we reveal the hatred, we feel like we can’t stand it since we want to love the others along with all of their shortcomings. We want to love them even if they hate us.
It is precisely at that time that we reveal that we are situated in hatred and are unable to do anything about it. By hating another person, I also hate myself. This is our innermost foundation, and we need a great Light in order to reveal it. This hatred is called Mount Sinai (the mountain of hatred), and it is precisely where the giving of the Torah occurs.
My Answer: We all work on uniting in order to achieve a common desire to reveal the Creator, the quality of bestowal. There is no separation between the personal ego and the collective one. I depend on you, you depend on me, and everyone depends on everyone. If one person drills a hole in our collective boat, everyone will drown.
Therefore, the individual and the group are united as one (Echad). If we are marching into battle together to reach a goal, then does it really matter if it’s an individual or a group? It is like a team: either we win together or we die together. A society has all that an individual has and vice-versa. Therefore, the concept of “the individual” disappears and it becomes irrelevant whether I succeed or someone else does. It is everyone’s success or failure that matters. The group and I are the same thing.
This is called a mutual guarantee. The fact is that we are unable to achieve it on our own, but it’s what the Light of Correction (Ohr Makif) wants for us. We are given a condition: to unite as one man with one heart. However, we are unable to do this. We reveal our inability to bond, which is known as “the broken Tablets.” We understand that we are incapable of this since we are opposite to the Torah.
Unity is not what I imagined spirituality to be. I imagined it as something I can acquire using my ego. However, when it comes down to it, I don’t want spirituality because it is opposite to everything I ever imagined it to be. This is true evil being revealed in me: the fact that I don’t want unity and I am unable to achieve it. This is called the “Golden Calf,” where the Upper Force makes a calf for me. It is done by Aaron, the quality of kindness (Chesed), and this revelation occurs inside a person as a result of tremendous effort.