Crime, Punishment, And The Light Of Correction
Question: If “there is none else beside Him” and everything is done only by Him, then why am I considered to be a sinner?
Answer: When the evil becomes revealed to me for the first time, this is not yet considered to be my sin. However, if after having discovered an evil desire within, I still plan on using it, now this goes on my account. When this happens for the second time, it is considered to be a sin. It is like repeatedly tasting the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. However, it is only when this happens for the third time that I am considered to be a real sinner. The second time is only the revelation that I exist in evil.
Let’s say, I committed a crime, but this was my very first time. Even courts take this into consideration as extenuating circumstances. I am given a light punishment as a warning to help me never do anything like this again. In other words, I am given the force of correction.
However, when, regardless of the correction that I am given in accordance with the transgression, I still repeat the crime because the criminal desire that awakens in me is even greater than the punishment or fear of a crime, this means that I have really sinned.
When I transgress for the first time, the magnitude of my evil is revealed to me. For now, this is not called a sin. The second time, I reveal how big of a crime against the Creator it is, and I am given a punishment for it that is slightly greater than the sin.
If I now reveal this kind of desire in me for the third time, and the desire is even bigger than before, then this difference is called "the evil inclination" because it is in it that I go against the Creator. This is the force of the Pharaoh within me. Now, this is a real sin. It is there where I need to repent and ask for forgiveness. Now I am undoubtedly a sinner.
The first time is merely the creation of a vessel (the desire). The second time is the evaluation of my sin. While the third time is the true crime, it is only as the result of this crime that the appeal for correction appears.
However, the most important part is that all of this is only possible through the Surrounding Light which comes in the form of a “group” or the connection within which the Creator exists. This means that “Israel (one who strives toward the Creator), Torah (the Light of correction), and the Creator are one."
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 9/14/10, “Preparation for the Reception of Torah”
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So much is said about what must be done with the recognition of egoistic desires one must resist, by choosing the intention of bestowing, and this is all immensely helpful. Not much is ever mentioned about what must be done with the constant inclination to painful sensations that the Creator sends. They are not attractive, and quite debilitating, yet the Creator sends such anxieties and sensations to me, in the form of what scientists call mental illness. They must be corrected, by the intent to bestow, in arvut, while they return as a daily feature of affliction, with more potency and frequency than any desire for pleasure. I really want to view them as blessings, as I try to bestow, but it feels like they circumvent getting what I need from the group, though I constantly intend to bestow for the group’s sake, rather than my own. I am just a helpless baby, so much of the time.