Kabbalists On The Torah And Commandments, Part 6

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

The Essence of the Work in Torah and Mitzvot

If one’s intention in the Torah and Mitzvot is not to benefit the Creator, but oneself [if the intention is egoistic], not only will the nature of the will to receive [for oneself] in him not be inverted, but rather, the will to receive in him will be much more than what he was given by the nature of his creation [before he began to study the Torah].
– Baal HaSulam, “A Speech for the Completion of The Zohar

The purpose of the whole Creation is that the lowly creatures [people of our world] will be able, by keeping Torah and Mitzvot [by attracting the Upper Light of correction through studying Kabbalah], to rise ever upward [climb the rungs of love and bestowal], ever developing [by correcting themselves], until they are rewarded with Dvekut [complete similarity of properties] with their Creator.
– Baal HaSulam, Matan Torah (The Giving of the Torah), Item 6

The whole of the Torah and the Mitzvot [means of correction] were given for the sole purpose of cleansing Israel [those who aspire for the Creator], which is the cleansing of the body [elevation of altruistic desires], after which he will be granted the true reward [for their effort in correction], which is Dvekut with Him [complete similarity to the Upper Force], the purpose of Creation.
– Baal HaSulam, The Arvut (Mutual Guarantee), Item 27

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An Inseparable Pair: The Light And Desire

Dr. Michael LaitmanThe Creator created something totally new “from absence” (Yesh Mi Ain), and it is regarded as “desire.” We don’t know what it is; it is simply a sensation of some kind of lack, need, but of what? Since the Creator created this desire, it is the need to feel Him.

Experiencing Him makes us feel pleasure which remains as a memory in that initially created desire, and desire starts yearning for it on its own. Thereby, it begins to understand itself and realize what it is yearning for and what is worth desiring. This triggers the development of desire from this first initial need created by the Creator.

Creation is a completely unique act that can be accomplished only by the Creator, by the force of the Upper Light. The entire process that follows becomes the evolution of the created being led by the interaction of its two participants: desire and the Light. Nothing new occurs in this process. Something new appeared only in the point of “existence from absence” (Yesh Mi Ain), which is regarded as the creature (Nivra), from the Hebrew word “Bar” (outside of the Creator).

Everything that we see here, in this world, and in the upper, spiritual worlds is the work of that very same desire to enjoy. On one hand, we know that the entire work is done by the Light. On the other, it is written that no changes occur in the Light; what does change is only the will to enjoy. In that case, who is working?

At this point, we have to draw a clear line between the following:

1. Changes may occur only within the will to enjoy (desire);
2. But only the Light can perform an act.

Therefore, this work is mutual: Desire always stands against the Light and must demand from Him certain actions. Until the Light affects it, desire will not change. However, until desire wishes to change, the Light will not affect it. Therefore, they work together, in tandem.

This bond between desire and the Light defines all changes and relations that may exist among created beings and between them and the Creator in the upper worlds and in this world.

We think that we are addressing each other, whereas each of us is a mere desire to feel pleasure, appealing to the Creator. Only He is hiding from us, making us experience various beings, attributes, the sources of pain and pleasure. But, essentially, beside man there is only the Creator.
From the 3rd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 12/24/10, “The Freedom”

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Egyptian Plagues Without External Disasters

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: Has the world already entered the period of Egyptian plagues, or do they still lie ahead?

Answer: They lie ahead. And yet, we shouldn’t compare previous stages of development with those that await us. In truth, the material nature of our path gets gradually replaced by the spiritual one.

Try telling your ancestors who lived a few centuries ago that you have everything yet are not satisfied with life. To them, you live a fabulous life. In your home, there is a device in the wall that makes water run when you turn it on. You have a button that when pressed, makes the light shine brighter than day. And you have a screen that shows you a full view of the entire world.

People would simply not understand what you lack. And you, amidst all this abundance, don’t know what to do with yourself. The rich interior of your home and your world signifies how empty you are within.

Therefore, Egyptian plagues are not corporeal but internal troubles. Time after time, you discover the lack of inner fulfillment; each blow reaches deeper and deeper into a complex, multi-layered desire. However, these plagues take place very quickly, penetrating a person’s inner feelings. On the outside everything stays calm; one does not need to be ill or physically suffer.

Of course, if we don’t take advantage of the Light, the plagues will arrive in the form of corporeal misfortunes. The principle is simple: If we advance ourselves and the world in the spiritual direction, the plagues will be taking more of a spiritual form. If we fail and the world doesn’t choose spirituality, it will experience them in a material form.

In the Writings of The Last Generation, Baal HaSulam writes that there may even be world wars, followed by enormous suffering. But we must try to undergo these blows internally. The Torah and the method of Kabbalah provide man with an opportunity to make the entire analysis very quickly by completing it internally, without involving the corporeal world.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 12/24/10, “Perfection in Life”

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Renouncing Egoism

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: Why are Egyptian plagues necessary if a person has already chosen the spiritual path?

Answer: Are you sure he has? In an instant, he will be attracted by something else. Is it possible to rely on one’s desire? With only a slight push, without thought, he will begin chasing new bait.

Our sages say: “Do not trust yourself until the day you die.” Do not trust yourself until you have undergone the ten Egyptian plagues and decided that you must get out of Egypt. Do not trust until the Pharaoh within you will not hear: “Let My people go so they may serve Me!” Do not trust until you have risen above your desire.

Until then, a person is a machine controlled by the desire from within and by the pleasure outside. From the description of the Torah, we see how much one has to go through.

In the beginning, Jacob’s sons resist Joseph, who collects (Osef) them together for a special job. In Egypt, seven years of plenty give way to seven years of famine. Then the Pharaoh’s oppression begins, followed by plagues, that is, disasters running over egoism. Only then does a person stop identifying with egoism, breaks away from it, and builds a screen.

The plagues disconnect us from our desire, and we get a chance to look at it from aside. In fact, a person naturally withdraws from what makes him suffer. But before the Egyptian plagues arrive, he doesn’t yet feel that his desire and he himself are not the same thing.

It is not just about the troubles being implied. It is written: “Come to Pharaoh.” The Creator appears next to you and says: “Side with Me rather than with your desire, and together we will go to Pharaoh.” You step out of your desire and rise above it, and this is what the exodus from Egypt is all about: time after time, plague after plague, until all ten Sefirot have been worked out.

I can’t break away from egoism until I realize that it is evil. Only then can I start breaking free from its embrace and more clearly see how alien, evil, and opposite it is to me. And I finally come to a complete darkness, the darkness of Egypt.

Desire no longer appeals to me. How do I live now? I have turned myself off, renounced everything I used to be and lived by, all qualities, ideas, and desires. Rising up, I look at it all and don’t understand what I should do now. This is the threshold of breaking free, fleeing from Egypt in the night.

After this, we acquire the power of the Torah and begin consistently working with the lights, correcting the desire. And then, into our intention, we receive the Light of Hochma (Wisdom), clothed in the Light of Hassadim (Mercy). In other words, we enter the land of Israel.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 12/24/10, “Perfection in Life”

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At Every Moment There Is A New Sky And A New Earth!

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: Can we say that renewal is an indication of a person’s advancement? And if he isn’t renewed, then he doesn’t advance?

Answer: Of course! A new sky is a new degree of Bina, bestowal, and a new earth is desire, Malchut. A new firmanent is a new screen. That is how a person evaluates himself. After all, we cannot measure efforts. We evaluate ourselves only by the speed of the renewal of Reshimot (informational data).

It is written that at every moment Nukva (Malchut of the world of Atzilut) becomes a virgin again, meaning a new desire or Kli. This determines the speed of your advancement. A new Reshimo becomes revealed every time, a new Kli or desire, and you have to start correcting it and advancing.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 12/27/10, The Zohar

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Do Not Torment Yourself In Vain

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: I haven’t realized all my material desires yet, but I have already come to Kabbalah. What does it mean?

Answer: It isn’t a problem, continue [with your studies]. As the Torah states, and as Baal HaSulam explains in the “Introduction to TES,” a person need not abstain. Our path is not the one of deprivation; we advance only by way of the Light that Reforms. By working in the group and arranging the intention correctly during the studies, we draw the Light, and it reforms us.

Our body has nothing to do with it; there is no need to torment and deprive it, or submit life to strict limitations. The wisdom of Kabbalah doesn’t demand of a person anything but to study with intention. Everything will work out, despite our evil, inclinations, lust, and irrelevant thoughts. Let the Light work it out and do your best not to stand in its way.

When we feel “smart,” we tend to act independently, inventing artificial restrictions, as if we know what is good or bad for spiritual attainment. It is a completely incorrect approach. If we give the mind absolute power, nothing will be achieved. In truth, your mind always derives from egoism, the corrupted desire. How can it unilaterally define the next step of its correction?

Hence, we only arrange correct conditions for the Light to work on us. This is what the method is all about. Nothing else is needed. Don’t interfere with the Light; on the contrary, assist it to the best of your ability to affect you.

Use anything that evokes the Light’s influence: the group, unification, gatherings of friends, dissemination, the studies, events, and meetings. After all, the Light pours only on the unity of souls from where it departed during the breaking and whereto it returns if the souls make an effort to reunite.

First and foremost, you should be doing inner work on the background of external actions, with all the fibers of your soul, and keep trying to unite with the friends, anticipating the Light that will come and unify us for certain. This is the source of correction.

In our world, there are no other means, neither inside nor outside of a person. Only this will allow you to reform yourself and the entire world that is sinking into a global crisis.

Today, everything we have achieved in thousands of years begins falling apart, demonstrating to us that the Kli (vessel) is an empty desire which we have to do something about. Nowadays, emptiness has become the common fate.

Therefore, we need to reveal the correct method which is based on unity. We need to find the place of the breaking and draw the Light that Reforms, that is, that unifies us and brings us back to the collective soul. Only the Upper Light that appears in our unity will endow us with the sensation of an authentic life.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 12/24/10, “Perfection in Life”

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A Few Definitions From The Study Of The Ten Sefirot

The Study of the Ten Sefirot, Part 2, Chapter 1, “Table of Questions and Answers for the Meaning of the Words” and Part 2, “Inner Reflection”:

35) What is Keter? (Part 2, Chapter 1, Ohr Pnimi, Item 200)
The impact of the Shoresh on a degree is called Keter (Crown). It comes from the word Machtir (Crowning), meaning surrounding. Because it is purer than the entire degree, it orbits around and above the entire Partzuf.

29) What is Hochma? (Part 2, Chapter 1, Ohr Pnimi, Item 200)
Knowing the definite result of every detail in the entire reality is called Hochma (lit. wisdom).

7) What is Bina? (Part 2, Chapter 1, Ohr Pnimi, Item 200)
Contemplating the conduct of cause and consequence in order to examine all the consequences that stem from something is called Bina.

24) What is Zeir Anpin? (Part 2, Histaklut Pnimit [Inner Reflection], Item 13)
Zeir Anpin means “Small Face.” Ohr Hochma is called Ohr Panim, as it says, “A man’s wisdom maketh his face to shine.” That is why the general Partzuf of Keter in Olam Atzilut is called Arich Anpin, meaning “Great Face” for it consists primarily of Ohr Hochma.

Therefore, Behina Gimel (the third phase), whose essence is only the Ohr Hassadim (bestowal, mercy) that extends from Bina, but which also has He’arat Hochma (wisdom), though its essence is not of Hochma, is called “Diminished Face.” In other words, it is called Zeir Anpin, because the Light of its Panim is diminished and decreased compared to Behina Aleph (first phase).

39) What is Malchut? (Part 2, Chapter 1, Ohr Pnimi, Item 200)
The last Behina is called Malchut because the authority that extends from it is firm and in full control, as is the fear of the King.

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Write A Prayer

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: When you are “being stewed in the same juice” with the group, you start feeling hate toward the friends. How do I apply a “spiritual mind” to this specific point in order to rise above hate? What exactly should I do?

Answer: You wish to find a solution to the issue at the level where you are and don’t understand that the problem emerged in order to drag you to another place. Do you wish to resolve it or get rid of it? You have to move yourself to another place until you discover hate and resentment once more, and you will have to move yourself from that point as well.

In the end, in order to rid ourselves of hate, we have to correct our mutual connection each time. Sometimes, it can be done with the help of a shared meal, a joint action, some artificial change, and, at other times, by studying together; or, perhaps, time will accomplish this.

However, the most reliable means is a prayer. When you are in a state of inspiration, when you feel hate and simultaneously realize that you must rise above it, try to write a prayer, and let the group read it every day as an act of unity. It will work.
From the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 10/29/10., “Come unto Pharaoh – 2”

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Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: An absolute majority of psychologists and psychiatrists state that sexual orientation is not something a person chooses, nor can it be adjusted. All attempts to alter sexual orientation have been unsuccessful.

Does a gay person have to re-define his or her sexual inclination in accordance with Kabbalah’s requirements? Does he have a choice?

Answer: Kabbalah doesn’t ask a person to make any changes on the material level. If the intention of a person is “to love his neighbor,” that is, to correct his egoism, then all his worldly actions will be right.

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The Mind Is A Universal Connection

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: How can concentration of thought bring a person to the revelation of the spiritual world?

Answer: Everything is clarified in the thought. We are not talking about our mind which was artificially “pumped up” in a university so that we would become “smart.” The mind is the power of analysis and synthesis, the power of the connection of opposite opinions in one person.

Bina, which we consider to be the desire to bestow, is thought. Thought is Malchut de Hochma,, while Malchut that receives from Hochma is Bina. The collective Malchut which rises to Bina and becomes its Nukva is also Nukva de Hochma since it desires to reach Hochma, not Bina.

In other words, thought is fundamental. Thought is my ability to perceive in Malchut the higher qualities of Hochma and Bina and to work with them. The mind is my ability to build equivalence to the Creator. The universal connection that I reveal is the mind, wisdom, the network [of interconnected souls].

Our brain is arranged in the same, exact manner. The intellect or the mind is the measure of life force, the ability to understand, control, activate, and perceive.

Where does it come from? It is a consequence of two forces: the force of Bina (the desire to correspond to the Creator) and the force of the Creator (who clothes the creature to the extent of this correspondence). This is the mind of the creature: the Light of Hochma (Wisdom) clothed in the Light of Hassadim (Mercy).

Therefore, if we try to attain this network, to understand what connections exist in it and according to what laws it operates, and if we want to know how to reveal and recognize the connection that already exists between us, we achieve what is called “the creating mind,” the Creator, and attain Him. As it is written, “From Your actions, we know You.”
From the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 10/29/10, “Come unto Pharaoh – 2”

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