It seems to every person that the Creator gives him preference compared to other people. Everyone has this trait because he senses that he comes from his own unique Upper root. Since a person does not feel this root in others, it seems to him or her that he or she is unique. This is the way the power of the breaking works.
However, there is no bad without good. We only have to use this sensation of our uniqueness correctly. In other words, rather than feeling as a king’s son born in the palace, a person has to reach the degree called “son” (“Ben” in Hebrew) through his own efforts. This is big and hard work.
A person has to erase this “exclusivity” from himself which he got in his head. He needs to do away with all his excuses and hopes that he is seemingly entitled to something. He has to understand that “he who did not labor, did not find.”
From the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 11/26/10, Baal HaSulam, Letter 52, 1928
Question: How do we strengthen the responsibility of every friend in regard to the mutual guarantee?
Answer: If the Light does not affect me to a sufficient extent and does not bring me to a state where I begin to care about the friend’s state, will I really think about him? Never! On the other hand, if I receive an awakening from the Light, suddenly I will feel such a desire. Either I have it or not. However, I need to contribute to having it.
Therefore, I do not eat myself up for not loving the friends. I don’t love them, don’t care about them, and don’t think about them because I am not connected to them. In order to change this state, I need the influence of the Light. If it affects me, I will think about others; if it doesn’t affect me, I won’t think about them. I need to determine exactly where and how I can cause a change.
Right now, I don’t love you, but the Light comes, and, suddenly, I do. Why is that? I don’t know; the Light does this. We only need to rouse its influence, and everything else is a consequence. However much desire, concern, and worry He gives me is how much I will have.
Hence, the most important concern is to awaken the Light, and this can happen only in the process of mutual studying. We await this phenomenon precisely from studying since there is no other means. During the studies, we think together, “When will the Light finally change and unite us?” This is the intention.
From the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 11/26/10, Talmud Eser Sefirot
Question: How can I think about the correction that The Book of Zohar brings us if I feel negative emotions such as hatred?
Answer: Prayer is whatever the heart feels. If there is hatred in my heart now, then this is my prayer, “I want to hurt my enemy.”
In order to correctly use the force that’s hidden in The Book of Zohar while reading it together in a group, I must first prepare my heart so it will desire the same thing the Creator desires. In reality, the Creator responds to every prayer, meaning the desires in our heart. That is why our world is so bad!
However, on the other hand, it is written that He responds only to the prayer that has gone through “the gate of tears.” So does He really respond to every desire, even the whim of a baby or the machinations of a villain?
Yes, say the Kabbalists who have revealed the system of our relationships with Him. A thief who has set his sights on some object, or a criminal who goes out “on the prowl” and is ready to kill someone, also desire to succeed and their prayer is also accepted. After all, we are talking about the desire of Malchut of the World of Atzilut, and everything beneath it, including our world, belongs to it.
Why, then, do we say that the desire can ascend into Malchut, or it can not ascend? The matter is that we draw a division into two types of desires:
– Some aspire in the same direction as the Creator’s will. Then they unite with the upper desire and are perceived as abundance from Above.
– Some do not match the Creator’s will. They also evoke the same response from Above as the positive desires, but are perceived by the negative desires negatively, as a negative reaction. This corrects a person, leading him down a lengthy, difficult path of suffering instead of the short, easy path where his desires coincide with the Creator’s desires.
That is why it is best for us to prepare for the right prayer and to use it when turning to The Book of Zohar. A person cannot sit at the lesson without any desires. One way or another, he desires something, and if his desire has been prepared ahead of time and aspires in the right direction, then he advances easily and quickly while reading The Zohar.
Besides, we have to remember that we are in the group, which helps us to strengthen our prayer. Thus, if a person’s thoughts are not aimed at the goal, then he takes an adversarial position in relation to the group and feels what seems like a negative reaction from Above even more.
Therefore, our entire work amounts to preparing for the lesson, that is, for reading The Zohar and other Kabbalistic books. Once we are at the lesson, it is difficult to change anything because a person’s heart is already tuned to a specific desire.
That’s why it is so important what thoughts I have when going to sleep and how I prepare for the lesson in the morning. These minutes play the decisive role. And we shouldn’t forget about the physical preparation so the body won’t fall into slumber.
Rabash writes the following in Article 36 in Writings of Rabash:
It is written, “He who hears the prayer.” Why does it say “the prayer” in the singular tense? Doesn’t the Creator hear all prayers? The matter is that we have to raise just one prayer: to restore the Shechina from the dust.
To pray for the restoration of the Shechina from the dust means to desire the revelation of the Creator, the quality of bestowal and love for the neighbor inside me in order to become similar to the Creator in this regard. If we all aim our efforts in one direction, then we are knocking on the gate that will definitely open.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 12/7/10, The Zohar
Question: How do I recognize the signs of drawing closer to bestowal?
Answer: It comes from within. We don’t feel the effect of the Light. Generally, we don’t know the underlying causes of events and judge our life solely based on the effects.
Electricity manifests by giving function to electrical devices or electric shock. Similarly, the Light remains “behind the scenes” and demonstrates to us the effects of its work. I don’t see the Light itself, but its effects.
We are all the Creator’s makings. How, then, may we judge what changes take place in us? The criterion lies in the fact that I begin to think differently, and treat myself and the world in a new way.
I change within; it is hardly noticeable from the outside. Changes unfold not in egoistic properties, but in the new, additional desires. On the outside, the person remains the same.
Hence, Kabbalah is regarded as secret wisdom. On one hand, it reveals what is hidden, and on the other, it is concealed from the eyes of the outsiders who are unable to detect my inner transformation. They simply don’t possess the properties enabling them to perceive it.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 11/30/10, The Zohar, Introduction, Article “The Rose”
Sometimes there are states, when a student thinks that he is smarter than the Teacher, that he understands something better, and that he can have his own opinion about inner work. He simply forgets that “the mistakes of sages are constructive, while the creations of the young are destructive.” It seems to a student that he is right from the rational point of view, and the Teacher is wrong about many things, or maybe he is just insufficiently informed.
However, the spiritual differs from the material, and a person who exists in the spiritual cannot be wrong. Furthermore, even if today it seems to you that the Teacher is wrong, this is not the case in perspective. This can be likened to how a child thinks that a tailor is ruining the fabric by cutting it into pieces. However, one who understands that it should turn into clothing thinks: “What can you do? He’s a child!”
A person who wishes to advance needs to proceed with faith above reason in spite of seeing mistakes in the Teacher’s actions since the whole nature is split into degrees, and one who is situated on a higher degree is likely to act correctly. And the evident mistakes of the Teacher are your own mistakes!
Therefore, we need faith. Faith means that I am working with the mind of the Upper One rather than with my own mind. I annul myself before him and accept what comes to me with joy. It may seem incorrect to me on my degree, but when I rise to a higher degree, I will reveal that it is the truth.
Everything depends on whether a person is ready to accept it. While it strengthens some because they understand that it is a good sign and they need to agree with the Upper governance, others cannot cope with their egoism and become more distant from the path and the goal. It is said about this: “Where the righteous go forward, the wicked go back.”
It is impossible to pass to a higher degree if I don’t accept it with faith above reason in relation to the teacher and the group. I accept everything they have and cancel myself, which is called being “Hafetz Hesed,” not desiring anything for yourself; this is the first correction.
From the very lowest to the very top degree, you should always advance by acquiring the level of “Hafetz Hessed” in regard to the Upper degree. This is called advancing with faith above knowledge.
Joy is a sign of faith! You are “happy with your lot,” and you wish only to agree with the teacher, the group, and the Creator: nothing more! You are happy because you are in consent with them, which means that you have reached correction and can go on to a higher degree. Your egoism has calmed down, and now you need to receive additional obstacles in order to correct them and receive the Light of Hochma in them, and this is already much more difficult.
Now you need to begin to bestow instead of just agreeing with the teacher and the group; you need to work with their desire instead of your own. Your desire should serve their desires, and they are always opposite! We need to go through a few inner overturns in our egoism! Therefore, the extent of faith in the teacher determines the height of the student’s degree.
From a lesson 11/26/10, Shamati
An Opportunity for Redemption
If the nations accept the method of Kabbalah [correction of their egoism], then [as a result of correction] the Temple [general corrected desire that became similar to the Creator] can be built and the ancient glory [similarity to the Creator and fulfillment by His Light’] restored. This would certainly prove to the nations the rightness of Israel’s [the group that was entrusted with giving an example to all the nations] return to their land, even to the Arabs. However, a secular return, such as today’s, does not impress the nations whatsoever, and we must fear lest they will sell Israel’s independence for their needs [which will inevitably happen unless we prove that everybody needs us].
– Baal HaSulam, “The Solution”
Question: We see that our efforts should result in a miracle. What must we do for it to happen?
Answer: We have to really want it, like a small child. However, a miracle happens after numerous efforts. You have to see what a monster your ego is and how it gets in your way, blocking all that’s good. You have to come to hate the ego despite the fact that you grew up on Pharaoh’s “lap,” played with his crown (Keter), and were a true prince who had everything.
Now, you hate your ego passionately and can’t remain in it. You’re ready to receive blows to the ego. You intentionally subject it to the ten plagues of Egypt in order to disconnect from it.
However, when we feel a blow, we instantly try to hide from it because we associate ourselves with the ego. Yet, if I disconnect from the ego, then I will agree to accept the blows: Let the ego receive the blows and suffer; the ego is not my “I.” I’m simply next to it.
Then, I’ll gradually begin to separate myself from the ego until I go through all ten plagues. I don’t associate myself with the ego, although the ego is suffering a great deal. This is the only way I can rise above it and escape.
Escape is exiting from Egypt. This is when I’ve almost disconnected from the ego, but there is still a thin thread left which I cut off in order to disconnect myself completely and run off into the darkness of night.
We must go through all the disconnections before reaching the final one by means of methodical blows. We have to rise above them.
Our work consists of no longer wishing to associate ourselves with Pharaoh: He is separate from me, and I’m separate from him. It’s true that I grew up in his home. I came from him, but it’s not my “I.” Now, Pharaoh is my biggest enemy.
The miracle is in the help that you get. This is how all miracles happen: We work and put in the effort in disconnecting from the ego and elevating ourselves, and in the end, a miracle occurs. The Light makes it happen after you’ve put in all your effort.
So, after working hard, let’s wait for a miracle. Happy Hanukkah!
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 12/1/10, Writings of Rabash, “Hanukkah”