In the article "Matan Torah" (“The Revelation of Godliness”), Baal HaSulam writes that bestowal manifests itself through actions that are directed from one person to another and from a person to the Creator. Both of these actions are aimed at one goal: to attain partial similarity (through the 125 steps of the worlds) and then complete similarity with the Creator (the World of Infinity, a state of unity with the Creator). When a person acts for the sake of bestowal rather than for his own sake, he doesn’t feel the difference between giving to another person or to the Creator because anything beyond his own body is perceived as foreign.
What does it mean “to work for the sake of the Creator?” How do I imagine Him? I unite with my friends (people with whom I share the same goal), and for this purpose I rise above my egoism. Within this union, I begin sensing a more internal desire defined as “the Creator.” Through the group (Circuit 1), I influence Him (Circuit 2). In turn, both react to me. The Group and the Creator comprise two models of “strangers” or "others" that are present within me, both of which I can differentiate. I work with both models for the sake of bestowal and rise beyond my ego.
This is where the circle is completed. There are no “others,” I just imagined them within my ego (my desire to receive pleasure). I rise above my egoism and attain a state called “The Other – 1,” and then I rise even higher into a state that is called “The Other – 2.” Everything happens within me. The saying, “From love of the created beings to love of the Creator” refers to two steps of correcting my egoistic desires.
By “giving to the other” I want to be similar to the Creator, that is, to merge with Him. Everything is within me: In one case my desire is called “group,” “surroundings,” “humanity,” and “souls,” and in the other, on a deeper level, it is called “the Creator.” However, all of it happens within my corrected desire for bestowal. I am involved in two layers of relationships. It’s just harder for me to “give” to the Creator than to my fellow friends.
From the 3rd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 5/5/10, Article “Matan Torah”
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What is a Jew? This question is not as strange as it may seem at first glance. Let’s examine this free creature that was insulated and oppressed, trampled on and pursued, burned and drowned by all the rulers and the nations, but is nevertheless living and thriving in spite of the whole world.
What is a Jew that did not succumb to any worldly temptations offered by his oppressors and persecutors so that he would renounce his religion and abandon the faith of his fathers?
A Jew is a sacred being who procured an eternal fire from the heavens and with it illuminated the earth and those who live on it. He is the spring and the source from which the rest of the nations drew their religions and beliefs.
A Jew is a pioneer of culture. From time immemorial, ignorance was impossible in the Holy Land, even more so than nowadays in civilized Europe. Moreover, at the time when the life and death of a human being was worth nothing, Rabbi Akiva spoke against the death penalty which is now considered to be an acceptable punishment in the most civilized countries.
A Jew is a pioneer of freedom. Back in primitive times, when the nation was divided into two classes, masters and slaves, Moses’ teaching forbid holding a person as a slave for more than six years.
A Jew is a symbol of civil and religious tolerance, “So show your love for the alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.” These words were uttered during distant, barbarian times when it was commonly acceptable among the nations to enslave each other.
In terms of tolerance, the Jewish religion is far from recruiting adherents. Quite the opposite, the Talmud prescribes that if a non-Jew wants to convert to the Jewish faith, then it has to be explained to him how difficult it is to be a Jew and that the righteous of other religions also inherit the heavenly kingdom. A Jew is a symbol of eternity.
The nation which neither slaughter nor torture could exterminate, which neither fire nor sword of civilizations were able to erase from the face of earth, the nation which first proclaimed the word of Lord, the nation which preserved the prophecy for so long and passed it on to the rest of humanity, such a nation cannot vanish.
A Jew is eternal; he is an embodiment of eternity.
Leo Tolstoy, 1891
A question I received: I heard that you are getting more involved with inner dissemination and work on building a system of virtual (Internet) connection that will allow those who pursue spiritual growth to stay connected, develop, and to receive reminders and programs for their spiritual development.
What about other people who have never heard about the possibility of salvation and have never been exposed to the idea that suffering is here to help us correct ourselves and attain the Light and bliss? Aren’t you cutting them off?
My Answer: We are not slowing down the pace of external dissemination. But consider the following example: We are on board a plane and a flight attendant announces an emergency landing. She reminds us to first put our own oxygen masks before we put them on our children, which could be construed as a cruel requirement.
Here we are in “a plane crash situation” and we must put oxygen masks on ourselves before our children can take a breath of air (Light). Instead of doing so, we try to put oxygen masks on the children first, and don’t think about our imminent death. But will our children stay alive if we collapse first? There is no chance. They can only survive together with us.
Baal HaSulam writes in the “Introduction to The Book of Zohar,” Items 66-71 that dissemination of Kabbalah should radiate in waves from the center, from those who are interested in Kabbalah to those who are completely indifferent. All people are connected into a single soul of Adam. If those who have a point in the heart (are interested in the revelation of the Creator) build the spiritual connection among themselves and discover the Creator in it, then everybody will begin to feel that we have acquired the Upper Force and wisdom. It will then attract them to us and the Source.
A question I received: There’s a saying in the Torah that’s become very popular worldwide: “A Life for a life, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.” What does this mean from a Kabbalistic standpoint?
My Answer: Where there was a breaking, now a correction is needed at the same degree, on the same level, and in the same form. Where the desire was corrupted, we must now correct it, make it suitable to use. We need to discern correctly where the breaking took place, and correct it in the exact same place. Why? In so doing, we study what the Creator has done, the cleverness of His plan, and how He trips me up in every state so that I would demand His help and learn from His work.
The entire work in correction is called the Creator’s work because I discern the corruption, take Him by the hand, bring Him to that place, and ask Him to correct it. I imagine ahead of time how this state must be corrected. Once He corrects it, I complement Him, and thereby, He and I walk together. In this way, we are connected to the Creator.
If I were capable of making this correction on my own, I wouldn’t have a connection with the Upper Force. If the Creator were able to do it without me, then who would I be? What would be the point of my existence? This is the only way He and I can work together as partners.
The Creator mourns for the broken desires (Kelim). On one hand, He wants to correct them but, on the other, He’s unable to do it in the general system without my request, my demand, and precise instruction as to what to correct and where. Thus, He and I become true partners in this work.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 5/4/10, The Zohar
As a person rises from one level to the next and goes through various states, he mustn’t forget that there is just one force in reality. It’s not him or the environment, but only the Upper Force, the all-inclusive Nature, the Creator, who organizes all these states for him, and he exists in connection with Him.
It’s true that I have to lower myself before the environment and that I have to study the Kabbalah books that were written by wise people, Kabbalists, and that I must continuously build myself anew. But through all of these means, this wrapper, this entire theater, I am connected with the only Director who arranges everything by the rule, “Thou Hast Hemmed Me In Behind and Before.”
Then I don’t just go through levels and states or build a relationship with the group, but I am always connected to Him through all the means He has placed between us. They are like adapters that help me to reveal Him. Gradually, as I study them, I see that all these obstacles and degrees of concealment between me and Him are intended to help me change so I will become more and more similar to Him, to the Director who organizes everything for me.
Then I begin to perceive the surroundings, the atmosphere, the friends, studies, and teacher, as His representatives. I stop attributing any significance or existence to them in and of themselves, and they gradually disappear in my eyes. I no longer see them as having their own forces, power, and influence.
I relate them to the Creator more and more, and to this degree I justify them and the Creator, who acts this way with me. That is how I acquire a connection with Him. Then I love everyone, since they helped me attain adhesion with Him. And the whole world is then called “the holy Shechina” – one desire, inside of which the Light fills everything. And this desire is mine.
From the 8th lesson at the World Zohar Convention 5/9/10
If there is any evil happening in the world, it means that we are still unable to bring correction to the world. If people are still waging wars, destruction, and terrorism, scorn one another, lie to another, and try to profiteer of each other by any means, it means that we are failing to correct the world.
We exist inside the all-inclusive nature, but our balance with it depends on us, on man’s level. That is why we have to build an enormous spiritual vessel (Kli) among those studying Kabbalah. We have to unite with a strong connection so people all over the world will feel this power and be compelled to unite with each other.
That is how it happens. After all, where do all the different thoughts and desires come to us from? We don’t know about it, but they emerge from within and pass from one to another along the net of connection among us.
We are living at a special time. Baal HaSulam writes that we have to be very grateful to the Creator for living in a generation that has received the opportunity to disseminate the science of Kabbalah, which has reached us from antiquity.
We are the first generation that is able to use this science and attain eternity, to rise above this entire life, to come out of the boundaries of all the earthly limitations and enter a new dimension, the spiritual world.
From the 6th lesson at the World Zohar Convention 5/9/10