A Splinter In Your Finger Or How To Read The Zohar

Dr. Michael LaitmanReading The Zohar is a very special kind of reading. We are the will to receive pleasure. The Creator cultivates this desire in us and leads us to the group. We are talking about people who, according to their inner evolution, are now expected to start uncovering spirituality.

From the group, I receive additional desire called “aspiration” which I obtain thanks to my work in the group while making efforts to unify with the friends. Despite my unwillingness to become one with them, I work on it by employing all possible means to receive awakening from them.

Thereby, I receive from the group the following: 1) additional awakening or the yearning for spirituality; 2) awareness of evil, my egoistic nature, and unwillingness to unite with the others; and 3) the value of the goal of becoming identical to the Creator, achieving bestowal.

Knowing all these conditions, I undertake reading The Book of Zohar. Now, while reading The Zohar with the desire to attain bestowal, with the awareness of my existing in the will to receive pleasure, employing additional desire that I obtained from the group, I demand transformation.

However, what does it mean to “demand transformation?” If I already reside in these desires and the forces are already working on me, I will be transformed for certain since The Zohar, per se, is the Light.

What does it mean that “I draw the Light, attracting it?” My attitude toward the studies must be such that right now, while reading The Zohar, I tap into the force of Light so it may affect, transform, and correct me.

In itself, the Light doesn’t do anything. Desire grows and changes due to the constant Light that remains at absolute rest. Therefore, when I demand transformation from the Light, I don’t really ask it from the Light. I ask for my desire to change and become more powerful in demanding the Light.

While reading The Zohar, we should think in the above manner. As a result, we will realize that it is all up to us, and we stand across from the unchangeable force that is willing to assist and reform us to the better.

Therefore, I begin reading The Zohar with all my demands for correction, a greater egoistic desire that opposes the Light, the desire to be reformed, and equalize myself with the Light at least somewhat. I must feel this central demand to be reformed in my will to receive like a thorn that keeps bothering me.

This is what my approach to reading The Zohar must be. I have to feel this “thorn.” After all, if I had a splinter in my finger, then, try as I might, I wouldn’t be able to focus on studying, reading, and listening because a powerful, sharp pain would distract me.

We should feel this “sharp pain” within us while reading The Zohar such that it won’t go away. The moment I stop feeling it, I’m not studying the Torah, but some fancy science, as it is written: “Believe that the nations possess wisdom.”

“The nations” are those who don’t wish to change. If a person desires to change, it means that he is “studying the Torah” since the Light contained in it reforms and returns us to the source, the Creator. That’s where the difference is.

The very same person can be “the nations” at one moment and “Israel” (aspiring to the Creator) the next. As soon as he doesn’t wish to change, he is regarded as the “nations of the world.” Then, he is studying fancy knowledge. The moment when he wishes to change and become similar to the Creator, he is “studying the Torah,” that is, demanding the Light that Reforms.
From the 2nd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 12/17/10, The Zohar

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We Will Live!

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: It is unclear how I can enjoy bestowal and giving when I do not have anything myself?

Answer: We are not talking about material bestowal, meaning the still, vegetative, and animate levels of desire (although it is also important if done correctly). First of all, in order to bestow, we have to correct our desire and intention so that they are aimed at this form.

Bestowal doesn’t mean that I start stuffing you with all kinds of pleasures that you don’t need. To bestow, I have to first develop myself to such a degree that I will start feeling your desire as my own.

Your desire is next to me, and I have to attach it to myself as if it is my own. Then, I begin fulfilling your desire as my own, thereby turning it into mine. This is what wisdom of Kabbalah is all about (it means “the wisdom of reception” in Hebrew). Look at the sophisticated game here!

At first, I thought that it was someone else’s desire. Then, I crossed over this “psychological barrier” (Machsom), attached this desire to myself, and now I feel your desire as my own. You became more important to me than I am, like a baby to its mother, who sees the purpose of her life in it and is willing to bestow to it endlessly, thinking solely about her baby.

In the same fashion, I attached myself to you; your desires became more important to me than my own, and all I do is work for your benefit! This means that I relate to you in complete bestowal. And since your desire became mine, I feel pleasure in it. It is I who feels pleasure by fulfilling it.

In this way, I gradually re-attach all souls to myself. After all, they used to be part of my “self.” But I was suddenly cut off from all these parts, and instead, my mind was implanted with some “microchip” that makes me hate the parts of my own soul. And I start despising and hating them instead of loving them.

Now I need to rise above this confusion and overcome this psychological rejection. And as soon as I start treating them as my own authentic, integral parts that are inseparable in their connection with me, I will bestow to them and enjoy it!

I did this work, corrected myself, and now feel pleased. We are not expected to do anything else but overcome this psychological barrier and repulsion so that love may replace hate. Then, we will be truly enjoying ourselves.

You will feel that these specific parts, alien to you for now, are the foundation for the root of your soul. You will reveal the Creator in them in particular. And the part of the still, vegetative, and animate degree, which you previously thought of as yourself and your world, has nothing to do with you at all. It is the lowest level in relation to you. Who is interested if they live or die? And they do indeed die, and you are left to live with your soul!

Therefore, before you leave this material world, it would be better to reach at least the first degree of the soul. Then, you won’t regret parting with the body.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 12/17/10, “The Freedom”

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The Children Correct The Parents

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: Why is it written in Part 8, Item 29 of Talmud Eser Sefirot that the lower one corrects the upper one? What does this mean?

Answer: The lower one (the world of Atzilut) corrects the upper one (the world of Nekudim). That’s because the world of Nekudim broke instead of attaining the full correction

It is necessary to reveal the evil inclination, the ego, as it is written, “I created the evil inclination and I created the Torah for its correction.” But the evil was not revealed in the world of Nekudim, and therefore it becomes revealed during the breaking. It then becomes possible to build the world of Atzilut, “the Torah for its correction.”

The entire world of Atzilut and its entire apparatus is Atik. Arich Anpin, Aba ve Ima, and Zeir Anpin in relation to Nukva of the world of Atzilut is called the system of “Torah” that brings the Light that returns the souls ascending into Malchut to the source of goodness. Therefore, after the breaking of the world of Nekudim, the lower one corrects the upper one.

Likewise, in our souls, which are fragments from the breaking of the common soul of Adam HaRishon, we also correct the body of the broken Adam. We are the surviving parts of this system and we have to correct it. Adam HaRishon, the upper one in relation to us, broke, and we, the lower ones, correct him.

The same thing happens in our world. The next generation has to correct the mistakes made by the previous generation. The children correct what the parents did, first with the help of the parents, and later ascending above them and taking everything that the parents left behind uncorrected in order to continue the correction. In other words, the children correct the parents, meaning they correct what the parents revealed.

The same thing happens in the world of Atzilut: On one hand the lower one corrects the upper one, but on the other hand the Upper One provides the instruments for correcting Himself.
From the 2nd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 12/21/10, Talmud Eser Sefirot

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Bitter Medicine Instead Of Sweet Lies

Dr. Michael LaitmanThe Light always brings me a sensation of the gap between the Light and the desires. It always gives me a bad sensation and it cannot bring me anything good. Firstly it always gives me a realization of evil, which is the truth. As much as I am able to ascend above the sensation of “bitter versus sweet” to the analysis of “true versus false” in order to clarify the truth in spite of the bitter taste, to that extent the Light is able to influence me.

But where will I get the strength to hold on to the truth so strongly even when I feel bad? I can only receive this additional force from the environment. Therefore it’s pointless for us to cry out to the Light. The Light influences us to the degree we are ready for it. It can wait a thousand years until we are prepared by way of very slow, gradual development, or it can drastically increase its influence at every second if we are ready for it.

There is no delay from the Light’s end. The delay depends only on how ready I am to tolerate the gap between the Kelim and the Lights, to be “above knowledge,” above the bodily suffering, when I am ready to be in the truth even if it’s bitter. Indeed, it really is bitter not to use the Kelim of reception, the desire for one’s own sake, while remaining in the intention of bestowal.

Therefore, we do not have any other means to speed up our development other than to connect with the environment. However, connection with the environment is also extremely painful. I cannot overcome myself. I can spend thousands of hours pleading with my friends to unite, but it will all be nothing but words. After that I stumble across my inner wall and am unable to do anything more than words.

However, if we at least try to do this together, then each person receives an impression from the others and thus reaches the point of truth: that he is unable to do this and must break precisely through this wall. Then he demands it from the Light that Reforms.
From the 2nd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 12/21/10, Talmud Eser Sefirot

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Aspiring To Future States

Dr. Michael LaitmanKabbalists write about various states of the souls, which are states they have actually gone through. What matters is the extent to which we want to imagine these states and identify ourselves with them. They are all indications of how we give pleasure back to the Creator, and by virtue of this aspiration we reveal the same action from His end. That is how we enter unity with the Creator: He gives to a person and a person gives to Him.

These are the states that Kabbalists tell us about. The more we aspire to them, the more the force or Light from there influences us, bringing us closer to the states of unity and leading us into them.

This continues along the whole path. It doesn’t only happen now, when we are just getting ready for actually entering these states of interconnection, but also later on, when we will feel the spiritual actions better. One way or another, only our aspiration, only our raising MAN, a prayer for higher states of mutual bestowal and revelation of love, will help us ascend to newer levels each time.

This is the approach that the soul must follow until the end of correction. Only this kind of work will enable us to move forward.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 12/21/10, The Zohar

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An Imprint Of The Upper System

Dr. Michael LaitmanThe Zohar, Introduction, Chapter “Lock and Key,” Item 42: That carving that was engraved in Bina was engraved and hidden in her, as one who hides everything behind one key, and the whole of that one key is hidden in one palace. And even though everything is hidden in that palace, that key is the most important because that key closes and opens.

It is a great question and a great mystery: How is the spiritual system organized in order to correct the egoistic desire, which is opposite to the Creator in every way?

Two absolutely opposite forces, Bina and Malchut, united under the influence of a third factor, the intention. Thus, they built a system that really is able to facilitate correction with the help of the forces of reception and bestowal, producing an intention in the lower ones.

This mechanism is in the three upper Sefirot of the world of Atzilut, whereas the lower seven Sefirot are operated by the lock and key. The system is ready to be used: If we activate it, it will influence us. We do not feel how its Lights influence us, but in the meantime they descend, already organized in the right combination. They are what changes our desire so it reaches equivalence with the intention.

The Book of Zohar explains the secret of the upper system that connects the forces of the Creator and creation in order to make us similar to Him. We do not know how the process of change takes place in us, and thus we study its mechanism as a “miraculous quality” (Segula). More and more we come to understand that we do not understand anything. We grow more and more disillusioned with our own forces and not seeing any way out, we put our hopes in the upper system, and then on the contrary, we rejoice about this dependence.

Finally, we gradually begin to be included in the system. We are ready for it to make all the necessary changes in us in order to change us so we match it. If a person expresses willingness to do this, the system begins to influence him.

In this way, the first action from our end is to bow our heads. Then the upper system literally “engraves” its form in a person and he becomes similar to the Upper One.

From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 12/21/10, The Zohar

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Waiting For Open Heart Surgery

Dr. Michael LaitmanIs it possible to attain peace in our world and the upper worlds? “Peace” means absolute fullness and perfection, which is not when I feel good but a moment later am already unsatisfied. If it’s perfection, then it’s forever.

Is it possible to attain this, and is it programmed in nature, or is it just some unrealistic dream I have while in fact, I won’t ever feel good? Furthermore, if peace in the world is possible, then how can we reach it?!

We see how the situation in the whole world is deteriorating. It would seem as if humanity has all the opportunities to develop toward goodness, but instead it slides down into an abyss, unable to locate the right path no matter what.

Man constantly entangles himself in greater and greater problems. Everyone knows how to reason beautifully and intelligently, but in actuality it turns out that we are unable to reach any good results, and that applies to the general and the individual cases.

So why is it that nature always places us into a situation that’s opposite to peace and perfection? And if we are meant to achieve this in the end, then how can we?

Baal HaSulam writes about all of this in his article “The Peace,” which we are now starting to read. There cannot be peace in the world as long as there are people left who are unsatisfied with something. That would already be a lack of perfection.

The world develops with each passing day, becoming an increasingly more integral system, all of whose parts are interconnected like cogwheels. No one has freedom to move one millimeter in any direction and in any sense, whether it is one’s desire, thought, or action, without influencing everyone else.

That is why there cannot be peace and perfection in the world as long as there is even one unsatisfied person left, who disagrees with the current state being perfect. This is the law of the integral system. We are all connected as organs of one body where the illness of even one organ is felt in the entire organism.

On the other hand, making progress toward peace is a gradual process both with regard to the whole world and any of its parts. The world today is like a sick person who is lying on the operating table waiting for open heart surgery. Of course, in this situation the doctor won’t pay attention if the patient complains about a small scratch on his leg. That is why the world’s correction will happen gradually.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 12/20/10, “Peace in the World”

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Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: According to the spiritual roots, which nation will have the most difficult time joining the process to attain peace in the world?

Answer: It is difficult to answer that question right now because the process is very complex. Yet it doesn’t have to be difficult because the operating force is the Light; it discerns the desires.

Precisely for this reason, the lowest desires can feel their lowliness and start ascending. Thus, it is possible for a connection to emerge between the desires where the first parts to awaken will be ones we did not even suspect.

For example, we suddenly found many people in South America aspiring to spiritual development and having the right sensation and understanding of this method to attain the Creator. On the other hand, Europe, a place that was always considered the world’s cultural capital, still remains deaf to Kabbalah. However, no one knows what will happen tomorrow. Everything can flip upside down!

That is why we disseminate the science of Kabbalah all over the world; whoever is due to awaken will awaken.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 12/20/10, "Peace in the World"

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Daily Kabbalah Lesson – 12.21.10

The Book of Zohar — Introduction: “Manula and Mifteha,” Item 42, Lesson 2
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Talmud Eser Sefirot 3, Part 8, Item 29, Lesson 16
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Baal HaSulam, “Beit Shaar HaKavanot,” Item 88
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Rav Yehuda Ashlag “Peace in the World,” Lesson 2
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