We can’t even imagine how much the environment in which we grew up has shaped us for life. We were constantly exposed to examples of how to profit in our egoistic desire. This is how the others conducted themselves, and from them we learned to do the same. We never received a single example of how to perform acts of bestowal! That is so even when we were taught “good” behavior or it was explained that certain behaviors were in our best interest.
In other words, we were constantly receiving egoistic examples. The program of reception aimed at securing an egoistic gain was simply “embedded” into us. Then a habit became a second nature, and now I can’t see the world in any other way. Possibly, if I saw the world in waves of bestowal, instead of reception, I would see a completely different picture. Who knows, maybe I would see something which I presently cannot discern?
I simply grew up and became like I am. Now, an enormous work is required in order to transform my nature. But perhaps the time will come when children will be growing up in a different way, in an environment of teachers, parents, family members, and society in general in which everybody relates to each other completely differently: altruistically. Then children would be influenced in this altruistic manner.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 6/6/10, Article, “Concerning the Importance of Society”
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A question I received: We have to rise MAN (Mayin Nukvin, a prayer). Is this action performed within the desire?
My Answer: MAN means that I’m asking for the force of bestowal. From within Malchut, I turn to Bina and ask Bina for the ability to bestow. However, I have to reach the state whereby becoming filled with this prayer (MAN) is enough for me; I feel joy from being able to rise MAN.
How does the Torah describe this state? It is when you come into the “daylight.” A “day” is when you have nothing and have been wandering in the desert, looking for MAN (the desire to bestow), and you find it. When you do, it enlivens you, satisfying all of your tastes. It contains everything that you desire.
What kind of “taste” is it? Where is it coming from? What is MAN? It comes to you from Bina. It is when a mere possibility to make a plea to the Creator is enough for you: “I have the connection with Him. I can ask Him. Nothing else is important to me.”
Yet, don’t I want to have the desire within which I can reveal the Creator? No. I’m satisfied by merely having an aspiration to Him. This constitutes my fulfillment now. The connection with the Creator through the group fulfills me.
"But what kind of connection is it? How can you have anything? You have nothing." True, but can I appeal to Him by rising MAN? When this is possible, that’s enough. This is called “wandering in the desert,” acquiring the properties of “Hafetz Hesed” (he who doesn’t want anything). In the desert you are deprived of everything, you truly desire nothing for yourself. Yet thereby, you acquire the correction by the property of bestowal, similarity to the Creator, and this is your fulfillment.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 6/6/10, The Zohar
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Shamati #81: "Concerning Raising MAN" – Lessons
5 Minutes of Light: "What is Practical Kabbalah?"
In order to understand and feel where we are, we have to grow spiritually. In the material world, a drop of semen starts to grow in the mother’s womb and then, after coming out into this world, continues to live in a larger space, ultimately becoming a human being. Similar processes take place in our internal spiritual development.
At a certain stage of our earthly lives we begin to sense a drop of spiritual semen that is called “the point in heart,” a desire toward spiritual development. This means that the point has unwrapped itself. We didn’t exist in this world before our parents gave birth to us. Similarly, we are brought to spiritual birth by our father and mother (also called “Abba ve Ima” in Kabbalah).
Spiritual growth happens under the influence of a force called the Upper Light. It leads us through concealments and revelations of the Light. It “shakes” us by revealing itself and showing us reality and then hiding it from us again. It plays with us and increases and decreases our aspiration toward it. The Light influences us by altering the states we go through: good and bad, and in clarity and confusion. If our reaction is right, we develop: one more moment, one more day, and one more week.
Our development can last for thousands of years or we can complete it in a year or two. Everything depends upon the individual. All we need to know is how to react to the force that triggers our development, and to start connecting everything to one source: “There is None Else Besides Him.” He hides behind our visible wrapping of reality.
I start to discern Him and dig deeper into this reality. I do this in order to feel this power and understand how it works through all the “coverings” of this world including: close friends, strangers, nature, and even myself when it changes me internally.
With the internal changes, I begin to sense myself as a black box that understands and feels to a small degree the influences it undergoes. I begin to understand that my only task is to react to what’s happening to me. Impulses come from a visible reality, from those who are close to me, from strangers, friends and enemies; all of them are shadows that block the Upper Force from me.
If I manage to connect with the Creator through this concealment, it is called “a shade of holiness” since I build my relationship with the Creator through the resistance of concealment. At this point I begin to understand the show He is playing for me, and through it, I attain Him.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 6/4/10, Shamati #8
A question I received: How can we demand correction at present when we are entirely in egoistic desires?
My Answer: Of course, we can’t demand correction at present. If I’m an absolute egoist, how can I ask for correction? However, what’s demanded from me is to ask for a bit of bestowal to the extent that I’m able to ask while still in egoism. This means that while you’re in Lo Lishma, (that is, in a lie, in the ego, in your desire for pleasure, and in thoughts about yourself), you are making a weak cry that you want to be giving.
Of course, it’s a lie, and you don’t want to love others, to give to them, and become similar to the Creator. You simply don’t know what bestowal is, and because of this, you are able to say these words. If you knew what it was, you’d run away immediately. The truth is concealed from you so that you don’t know what you are asking for. Bestowal is so opposite to your nature that it’s really death for your present desires and qualities.
In the science of Kabbalah, we study the relationship between Lights and desires. There is a vessel or desire with the Light opposite to it. Beside this, there is another state in which desire is not true but false, and the Light which is opposite to it is not Direct but Surrounding. This is exactly the state that we’re in now. However, for now, we ask that this Light come and bring us this desire to give as if we want to become giving, and it works because of this.
The system is designed such that, from our current state in which we do not want the next state, but nonetheless are asking for it, we can come to this next state, we can start wanting it, receive it, and be in it. This is caused by Reshimot, the spiritual genes, which remain in us from the corrected state that later shattered. These Reshimot awaken Lights in the World of Atzilut that are far from us. We can attract them to influence us, and then they are called Surrounding Lights.
Certainly, we’re in a lie and don’t want bestowal or to love our neighbor. It is true. The Torah does not hide this fact from us. On the contrary, it tells us that the Creator is concealed and the spiritual world is concealed because if you saw it, you would never want it.
Thus, spirituality is concealed so that you can imagine that it’s good for you even in your egoistic desires. When you imagine some egoistic reward for yourself, as if you want the spiritual world, the Light still influences you and changes your desires and thoughts from receiving to giving. This is how it works. The system was designed exactly for this process.
It works in this way not only in our state when we ascend from this receiving level to the first degree of giving; after crossing the Machsom (the barrier to spirituality), we ascend from state to state according to the same principle: by desiring the undesirable. Although, at those stages “a person’s soul teaches him,” and we have some support because we are already in the spiritual world.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 6/2/10, The Zohar
My Answer: The only thing that a person takes with him from this life is the spiritual path that he went through; this does not vanish. After all, in regard to spirituality, we are, and continue to be in the same reality, but it is slightly hidden from us.
I am constantly situated in my soul, in spite of the fact that I don’t feel it, I continue to work with it and go through different states. All this occurs in my eternal soul. The fact that I now see physical bodies and this world around me is a “mirage” of my spiritual state.
If I work internally now, then I will begin my next reincarnation from a higher spiritual state, and I will come to a Kabbalah group faster and will be more successful in my studies. The entire previous path will remain within me in the form of spiritual genes (Reshimot); it doesn’t vanish. In the spiritual world nothing vanishes at all; things disappear only in our world because this whole world will eventually vanish. In the meantime, nothing that I have acquired through my egoistic desire remains, since the desire itself vanishes, only the external clothing remains.
Every time the soul goes through a new reincarnation, it builds an environment for itself according to its ability and the necessity to correct itself. Why do I exist in this environment and not a different one? It is because my soul requires this. No calculation is performed in regard to the bodies; they exist in connection with each other, in this world, in all of the situations that are necessary for the soul’s correction.
Meanwhile, the body is not taken into account. Actually, it doesn’t exist at all; it is a virtual illusion that presents itself to us in this form. In actuality, only the soul exists, but we are unable to feel it. And its development clearly determines what happens to the bodies.
Therefore, in the end of “Preface to The Book of Zohar” Baal HaSulam writes that only the correction of the souls will help us correct our world and perceive this corporeal life as more kind. All the offenses that occur in this world are a consequence of the necessity for the soul to be corrected. At the same time, there are no actions or corrections in this world: changes are only possible through the soul.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 6/2/10, Article “Which Degree Should One Acheive?”
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The Zohar, Chapter "Tetzaveh (Command)," Item 114: There are five abstentions on the day of atonement—eating, drinking, bathing, lubrication, wearing shoes, and intercourse—to be assisted by the five upper sides, HGT NH, which the day of atonement, Bina, brought out, and which are her gates.
Since we must transition from the perception of reality in the egoistic desires to the perception of reality in the desires of bestowal, the authors of The Zohar (like all other Kabbalists), tell us about the various corrections we must make in our desire; we move from one rung to the next, in order to further advance each of our five senses toward spirituality. All five senses are connected with each other, and for this reason we always have a spiritual Partzuf, meaning a definitive perception of reality with limitations.
In order to transition from the current perception of reality to a more advanced one, we must increase our desire and attract the Reforming Light to it. In this way, we will build the next Partzuf that is our self on a higher level. We do this by opening more and more of the senses, the perception of reality. This is the way we advance.
All of the obstacles that the The Zohar describes, such as the "scapegoat," the "five prohibitions," and so on, are solely limitations. We perform these limitations according to the Kabbalists’ recommendations, and as a result, we come to corrections faster. After all, they tell us in advance what is worth doing on every step, in order to direct oneself to the perception of reality on a more complex, inner, and deeper level. Then, without fail, we advance with greater speed and certainty.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 6/3/10, The Zohar
The Zohar, Chapter “Tetzaveh (Command),” Item 102: …When it was said, “Fetch two he-goats, one for Me and one for that delator, the Sitra Achra, so he will think that he has eaten from My own meal, and will not know of the joy of our other meal. He will take that part,” GAR of the left, which is sent to the desert, to the place of ruin, to give him back his dominion, meaning to the middle point of the ruined world….
We read in all the Kabbalistic books about actions that we need to do in order to reveal the real world by having proper vision and perception. For example, when I don’t know where I am, I try to make my senses more acute, I clean my glasses to clear the fog before my eyes. I try different things to help orient myself to the strange place that I can’t make out.
Kabbalists give us the same kind of prescription: the things that we need to do in order to clear our sensory channels: vision, hearing, taste, smell, and touch (five Sefirot), in order to orient ourselves in the new space and to be able to discern it. This is why The Zohar tells us that if there is a disturbance in our perception, the so called “GAR of the left,” then we need to stop using it, and “send it to the desert.”
In other words, The Zohar describes the way we are to work with our senses and what we need to do in order to become closer to the proper orientation in the space where we exist. Essentially, the entire wisdom of Kabbalah only speaks about attaining the perception of a new reality instead of perceiving this imaginary world.
After all, we’re not actually going anywhere, we don’t fly or move, we remain in the same place and state. We simply keep perfecting our senses. This is why Kabbalah is called the science of reception, the science of perception (in Hebrew, the word “Kabbalah” comes from the word “Lekabel” – to receive).
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 6/3/10, The Zohar
There is a concept of “entering a union,” when the parties sign a commitment to treat each other well in the future if the relationship worsens, problems and misunderstandings emerge, hatred breaks out, or lack of understanding comes to replace understanding. However, even if I fall into such a state where it seems obvious to me that the other side has become my enemy, I will still treat him as a friend according to the agreement that I once signed with him. This constitutes the strength of the union.
When is it possible to enter such a union? If we are close and our qualities match, then we enter a union. We don’t need it right now since there is understanding between us and even love! However, we sign this agreement in case I come to feel opposition and hatred – then I am obliged to keep myself in such a relationship by force.
In other words, I can “fall” and see you and me hating each other, but still I need to treat you like before. I know that everything depends on me, and the whole of reality outside of me is unified and perfect. This is where the concept of a union comes from – I rely on the fact that all the changes occur only in me: the good ones and the bad ones. Everything depends upon my outlook of things: “Everyone judges according to his own shortcomings.”
Therefore, when I sign such a union agreement, I establish and direct myself to the fact that the world is good and perfect, and all the changes occur only in me. This is the foundation of a spiritual union, and it exists eternally. Our Patriarchs (the Kabbalists of the past) entered such a union having corrected their parts of the common soul which is called “the Merit of the fathers.” And we can use this merit if we join them and go back to the state of that union that exists between them.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 6/3/10, Article “Ancestral Merit”