Using Every Kabbalah Convention To Rise Higher

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: Are the Kabbalah Conventions necessary in order to accumulate forces so we can rise from the descents that follow? After all, those are the times when we have the chance to exercise our freedom of will, to make a choice between two forces – “to receive or to bestow,” and thanks to the Conventions we are then given the strength to rise?

Answer: Before each Convention we undergo a preparation, and then at the Convention we acquire the force of unity. It is a spiritual force because it arises among us. Later on, once the Convention is over, we feel egoistic emptiness, heaviness, and apathy.

This does not happen by accident; nothing is accidental. We experience a spiritual descent on purpose because a new, uncorrected desire is revealed in us. At that point we should use the force that we obtained during the Convention to rise to the same level of inspiration that we experienced at the time of our gathering. Ideally we should feel the descent for just a fraction of a moment and then immediately rise to the altitude of the Convention. However, this takes a lot of training.

Actually we don’t attain this state all at once, but climb the steps toward it by repeatedly rising and falling a little more each time. That is how we gradually advance towards the state that we sensed at the Convention.

This is real, practical work – practical Kabbalah! Since our success depends on the effort that we apply after the Convention, we have to prepare for this state ahead of time in the same way that an old man double-checks to see whether or not he has lost something. In other words, we have to prepare for a Convention, as well as what will happen after it is over, before it begins. If we are able to do this, then we’ll soon find ourselves ascending 125 steps on the path of the Upper Worlds.

From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 8/19/2010, “Introduction to the Book, Panim Meirot uMasbirot

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Be Your Own "Donkey Driver"

Dr. Michael LaitmanI use the word "Stimulator" to call the system that we must now build because it comes from the Greek word “Stimulus,” meaning a sharp, pointed stick used to poke donkeys in order to keep them moving. Our “donkey” (“Hamor” in Hebrew) is our egoistic desire (“Homer”) which only understands the language of a “stick.” Yet, instead of driving this “donkey” by painful poking, we want to awaken the human being in us who looks ahead and yearns for the future on his own. We need a stimulus, but a positive one. We need to be driven by “lovesickness,” the desire to attain this state. This should be the only force driving us ahead, instead of corporeal pain pushing us from behind.

We have to invoke just one kind of suffering inside us, the question, “Why haven’t I attained unity with the Creator yet? Why am I not in awe of Him?” The first stage in returning to the Creator is “repentance from fear,” which occurs when I put forth efforts to cultivate an inner sensation of awe regarding the spiritual goal, the Creator, and bestowal, instead of running ahead because I fear painful blows that come after me. That is how I change my motivation or Stimulus.

If I run ahead motivated by the strikes (fears about things in this world or punishment in the world to come) then I am not returning to the Creator. In fact, this is how humanity has advanced naturally for thousands of years, but it isn’t spiritual evolution. It is the evolution of desire where we replace an unpleasant state of existence with a new, hopefully better one.

Yet, returning to the Creator is described as “Tshuva (return of) Hey to Vav,” which means that I invoke my own inner fear of not having the quality of bestowal and love. But what can I do if in actuality I am not concerned about this and feel no fear? Where can I get it? The answer is only from the environment!

If the environment paints a picture for me that makes me realize how horrible my condition is and, at the same time, that there is something incredibly wonderful awaiting me, then I will strive toward it. This is the correct, spiritual stimulus that enables us to advance. This way of advancing is correct because it is voluntary, and we therefore make this entire process an “awakening from below.”

However, if I don’t arrange an environment that instills this yearning for advancement in me making me run because I fear that I haven’t attained this goal yet and terrible misfortunes are following me because of it, I will never move into the next moment! In fact, I won’t move one bit.

That is why we need a “stimulator” and a positive one!

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From Hate To Love In An Instant

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: The Zohar causes so much darkness and evil to be revealed. How can a person ask for love while seeing all the evil? How can I ask for good in spite of the evil?

Answer: We think that there is a great distance between hate and love, but this is not the case. First of all, they are the same thing because everything occurs in the same desire. When you go from one to the other, you do not move through space. Rather, the Light performs a change inside you causing you to move from one extreme to the other in one instant

When you look at things without the Light, you do not see anything and all is presented to you as darkness, negative feelings, and hate. However, as soon as there is Light, you reveal goodness, love, and sweetness. There are no prolonged actions here. You “turn on” the Light, and it immediately changes everything. The whole picture of reality instantly changes.

Right now we are in darkness, and that is why we cannot believe that the Light can emerge in one instant. However, when it emerges, it always happens very suddenly, like during the exodus from Egypt.

From the 2nd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 8/19/10, The Zohar

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The Essence Of Sacrificial Offerings

Dr. Michael LaitmanThe Zohar, Chapter “VaYetze (And Jacob Went Out) – Part 2,” Item 373: With all the offerings, it does not say, “Observe,” as it is written, “Shall you observe to offer,” since observing [(Tishmeru) is ”keep,” (Shamor)] is the Nukva, who should bring closer above, to ZA, as it is written, “Shall you observe to offer unto Me,” offer the Nukva in its time, in the right and left [lines] of ZA, who are Abraham and Isaac.

The whole essence of sacrificial offerings is to come closer, to build the middle line by classifying desires. Whenever possible, desires should be used for merging and connection. The ones that are impossible to use that way should be removed as obstructions and filed. One should connect the right and the left lines so that the “fire blazes” and the Returning Light rises to the Creator. All discernments are performed only through the “sacrificial offerings” of one’s egoism.

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Kabbalists On Kabbalists, Part 5

Dr. Michael LaitmanDear Friends, please ask questions about these passages from the great Kabbalists. The commentaries in brackets are mine.

Who Is a Kabbalist?

However, understanding the meaning of the word “spirituality” [property of bestowal] has nothing to do with philosophy [since philosophy doesn’t deal with the correction of a person, and philosophers investigate using their egoistic qualities]. How can they discuss something that they have never seen or felt? [For they perceive only within their corporeal properties, whereas spirituality is attained through the property of bestowal which is opposite to corporeality and egoism.] What do their rudiments [about their ability to perceive spirituality] stand on? [It is obvious that it stands on complete ignorance.]

If there is any [true] definition that can tell spiritual from corporeal, it belongs only to those who have attained a spiritual thing and felt it [and thereby can distinguish between spiritual and corporeal]. These are the genuine Kabbalists [those who attained spirituality while living in this material world]; thus, it is the wisdom of Kabbalah that we need [to get to know this world better, understand why we exist, and how to live correctly].

– Baal HaSulam, “The Wisdom of Kabbalah and Philosophy

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Pride Cuts Us Off From The Light

Dr. Michael LaitmanIt is said, “I cannot dwell in the same place with the proud.” Where there is pride, there can be no Light.

At first, a guest treats himself with food from the Host’s table; he doesn’t feel or see that the Host exists. Suddenly he discovers that the Host does exist, and the dishes he treats himself to come from His table with everything belonging to the Host. A guest also learns that the dishes on the table were not put there by chance; rather, they were prepared specifically for him with love. He sees that the Host loves him and has to respond to Him in some way. This is why he becomes incapable of receiving from Him. He doesn’t know what to do!

The problem is not in receiving, but in the relationship itself. I don’t want to feel indebted, nor do I want to be in a place where I’m loved or hated too much. Moreover, a surplus of love is a hindrance since there is nothing I can repay or return for it.

How can I repay Him for the love I’ve received? I can accept enjoyment from Him, but it’s my animate part that receives pleasure, and yet His love is directed at the human being in me! What should I do? Through this, He forces me to relate to Him with all my heart. I either have to stop visiting Him or think of a way to repay Him.

Therefore, I separate myself from Him with pride, using it as a barrier. I rise above His attitude towards me, above hatred and love as if they don’t exist. It operates in me like a protective force, a self-defense that allows me to not feel shame or love.

Pride originates from the vacant space within creation and stems from the Serpent, Malchut of the World of Infinity. All other properties can be corrected except for pride because it separates us from the Creator, breaks the connection with Him.

If I am in a group, everything is permissible (conflicts and so on) except pride. By being proud, a person cuts off the influence of his surroundings and thereby has no chance to advance.

From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 7/14/10, “Introduction to the Book, Panim Meirot uMasbirot

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Pictures From The Unity Evening In Beer Sheva

Pictures from the Unity Evening that took place August 18, 2010 Beer Sheva, Israel.

Starting The Long Journey Upward

Dr. Michael LaitmanThe Zohar, Chapter ”Lech Lecha (Go Forth),” Items 146-150: He said, “When a man goes to sleep on his bed, his soul departs from him and goes up, as it is written, ‘At night my soul longs for You.’”…

Afterwards, she walks and roams and rises according to her degree.

That Nefesh that was rewarded with rising appears before the King and adheres with a desire to be seen, a sublime craving to see the pleasantness of the King and to visit His palace. This is a man who always has a share in the next world.

What is the soul (Nefesh)? When I desire to unite with the others and feel how through this aspiration I connect with similar desires of the others, the place of our oneness and unity is called “Nefesh” in relation to me. Everyone may feel it differently, but for me Nefesh is the first spiritual step. If I can later strengthen this connection despite my growing egoism and obstacles, I can attain the next spiritual degrees: Ruach, Neshama, Haya, and Yechida. But the place of my very first contact, my desire for unity to occur, is called Nefesh.

I have to create a place for all of our desires to come together! And when everybody is there (and so am I), when I have connected them with my effort (and they have given me the opportunity to enter and join them), there, in the place of my exertion and my oneness with all the others, I will finally undergo all the spiritual states that The Zohar tells us about.

All I need is to desire this connection and feel as if I’m already in it, which will indicate my entering the state of Nefesh. The Zohar tells me about what happens next, in this oneness. There is only one relationship which experiences ups and downs, various adventures, and spiritual states. The Zohar doesn’t discuss anything else. As a matter of fact, The Zohar talks solely about the spiritual world since spirituality can be found only in our oneness.

From the 2nd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 7/27/10, The Zohar

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Why The Head Decides For The Body

Dr. Michael LaitmanWhat is it about the Aba Ve Ima of the world of Nekudim that makes them the “head” of the world of Nekudim with respect to the body, the ZON (Zeir Anpin and Nukva)? They have the illumination from the Upper Partzuf, Keter. This illumination is protection from egoistic desires; it’s the Light of Hassadim guarding them from the desire to receive pleasure. Even if this desire emerges suddenly, the Light of bestowal protects them from egoistic reception. For this reason, Aba Ve Ima is the head.

What is the difference between the head and the body? In the material world they are made from different material: the brain and the flesh. However, what’s the difference between the spiritual head and body (Rosh and Guf)? How does thought differ from desire? Isn’t desire the only thing that was created by the Creator?

The spiritual head is the separation from the desire to receive pleasure that allows a person to carry out actions above the desire to receive. By receiving an illumination from Hassadim, the Light of bestowal, the desires or spiritual vessels (Kelim) become the head. This Light allows them to disconnect from the desire contained within them and perform a calculation above it, as though looking from the side objectively, like an independent observer.

A head is the part where an objective decision can be made. This separates a human being from an animal and, in general, from all of nature (the still, vegetative, and animate). Spiritually, the differences lie in the fundamental essence and not in the material itself, like in our world.

From the 3rd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 7/5/10, Talmud Eser Sefirot

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