The Zohar, On Major Corrections
Adam was the first person to reveal the order of actions that lead to spiritual success. He passed on this wisdom to his disciples “mouth to mouth.” And everyone can add to his friend (Baal HaSulam, “The Teaching of the Kabbalah and Its Essence”).
One: The Creator is One, all of reality is included in Him at all times; everything stems from Him; He is perfect despite the seeming imperfection of creation. Kabbalists call this investigation “One.”
Abraham laid down the basis of this investigation. In his Book of Creation, he arrived at the conclusion that there are not two different authorities of good and evil, but rather everything is ruled only by good (Baal HaSulam, “The Character of Kabbalah”).
The Book of Zohar, Preface (abridged)
1. Abraham is the root of mercy in the souls. That is why he corrected the common soul (Shechina) and made it suitable for fulfillment by the Light of Mercy.
But if the Light of Mercy (Hassadim) stayed in the souls of Abraham’s disciples (the “people of Israel,” the group he created), they wouldn’t be able to exercise their desire to receive pleasure. That is why the correction of mercy didn’t bring the Thought of Creation to completion. This is because the main idea behind the Thought of Creation is to please the creatures specifically by receiving fulfillment from Him.
2. This is the reason why Abraham (the property of bestowal) gave birth to Isaac (the property of receiving). As a result of Abraham’s correction, Isaac discovered the existence of the common soul which was in the state of a complete perfection filled with the Light of Mercy. He then sensed its desire to receive the entire perfection that was pre-determined by the Thought of Creation.
In other words, Isaac awakened in it the desire to receive from the Creator for the sake of bestowal which means that the desire to receive emerges only because of the desire of the Bestowing One; if the Bestowing One didn’t desire it, the soul wouldn’t possess even the tiniest desire to receive anything at all from Him.
This type of receiving for the sake of giving is considered bestowal since it is a quality that is not supported by egoism. It completely corrected the general desire (Shechina) to receive the entirety of abundance that was programmed at the time of creation.
3. However, since the world was not ready for complete correction, the villain Esau appeared and corrupted the process of correction.
Esau didn’t follow “receiving solely for the sake of bestowal” as per Isaac’s correction; he sinned by receiving “for his own sake.” Even when he came to understand that the Bestowing One didn’t want him to receive, he still continued to receive pleasure for his own sake and that’s why Klipot “bonded” with him.
Since Jacob was aware of Esau’s “defect,” he corrected the Soul within the property of trepidation. That’s why it is said: “his hand grasping Esau’s heel.” As a result, the corrections of Abraham and Isaac were united and no wrongdoing occurred.
4. But this correction was not final since it resulted from fear of sin that comes from “Esau’s heel.” When complete correction takes place, the fear of “Esau’s heel” is annulled, and trepidation appears out of the greatness of the Creator. Jacob’s fear serves to correct all generations of the people of Israel until complete correction is attained.
5. Everybody has to go through correction, and by doing so perceive the soul created by the Creator. This means obtaining the “qualities of the forefathers.”
Only after the acquisition of such properties, correction of the soul commences; it takes off from the same place which Jacob left for us, meaning elevating trepidation to a degree at which it depends solely on the greatness of the Creator. Afterward, the Upper Light is attracted through this elevated property of trepidation to guide us towards complete correction.
6. The reason for all afflictions that emerge in this world is exclusively to correct the desire to receive within souls so that they become ready to receive all of the abundance included in the Thought of Creation.
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