Baal HaSulam, Ohr Bahir: Confidence is faith in yourself. In the psychological sense it is a feeling of endurance. That’s because nothing will endure in the face of desire besides exhaustion or impatience in efforts.
Therefore, a hero feels a powerful force of patience within and does not give up in the face of anything, believing in himself and his strength. But a weak person feels that he does not have the force of patience, and when another person causes him to suffer, he cannot endure and therefore immediately surrenders to him.
Question: What is faith in yourself? It sounds egoistic.
Answer: The text is written in a way that it is deciphered differently below, in our world, and above, in the spiritual world. In our world you are willing to endure if you believe that you are right, if you aspire to the goal, if you really need something, or if you love the people for whom you make efforts, such as your children, relatives, and those close to you. On the other hand, in spirituality everything is done by the force of the Light that influences you.
It’s not a secret that heroism in our world is the force of egoism. We need envy, a passionate desire, self-love and other stimuli to “light ourselves up” and acquire the ability to endure. Besides, we receive the ability to endure from nature. Some people are able to endure great suffering from birth.
But when a person enters the spiritual world and begins working for the sake of bestowal, this stops playing a role. There are no more strong or weak. Everyone is on the same level and is not assisted by their material nature in any way. In the spiritual world a person needs the force that dresses Lights in him.
Obviously, here too every person differs from others, but he differs by his spiritual purpose, which is determined by the root of his soul. In every other regard he feels weak and powerless. The further a person advances, the weaker he feels, and the more he depends on the Light that reforms.
At first we are all heroes, “real men.” But then we begin to get weaker until we find that we have nothing left. That is how we get “broken,” realize our weakness and thanks to this, understand that we actually do not have to be able to do anything besides look for the forces to persist and endure.
I only have to find the force of faith. Then I will acquire the ability to endure, the force of bestowal operating above knowledge. Let me feel empty inside, let me have nothing worthwhile to work for, let me be completely devoid of energy because my egoism does not push me forward and does not give me forces. Yet, if I receive the force of bestowal from the Light that reforms, then I can already realize it. The degree of my confidence depends on this.
In the material world, the degree of my confidence depends on how much is contained in my receiving Kelim. But in spirituality it is on the contrary: The degree of my confidence depends on how much is contained in my bestowing Kelim.
No one has any “special favor” here and no one exceeds others in power. Every person descends to zero and experiences total emptiness and weakness, and then begins acquiring the force of bestowal that comes from above. But it happens only on the condition that he is merged with the upper one. The receiving desire must always be annulled before the upper one so that the bestowing desire would give a person the force of endurance and confidence.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 3/3/11 on Confidence
The Creator becomes revealed through various forms of bestowal, but He becomes revealed in us, in the receiving desire. Otherwise we would not feel those forms. They come from above, but we must accept them and become similar to them from below, from our end.
This makes all the great difference. We have a similar example in our world when we understand, see, feel, and taste something, but then we have to replicate it ourselves. There is great work contained in this. In the spiritual world Ima lowers her lower part into Zeir Anpin and gives him an example with her Reflected Light (Ohr Hozer). When the upper one acts that way, the lower one cannot fail because he sees a ready-made example.
In the same way, we give small children tested, reliable examples that do not allow them to make mistakes. But when a child wants to replicate what we have shown him on his own, this is already a problem. He makes a mistake and sees that he must first acquire strength and knowledge.
Analogous processes happen in the spiritual world. Even though the Creator gives us examples and even though all the levels come from Above, they come in the opposite form. They lack our efforts, connected both to the desire and the understanding, meaning efforts in the heart and the mind.
Only by adding our efforts in the desire and the mind do we realize the examples given by the upper one, thus turning them from darkness to Light. After all, at first they are immersed into darkness for us because we feel that we are unable to do this ourselves. Rabash writes about this in the article, “The inclusion of the quality of mercy into judgment.”
The Creator is called a “sage” because He has the Light of Hochma and all the necessary forces. A person who takes an example from the Creator is called “the student of a sage” because he copies the Creator’s forms of bestowal.
However, we have to understand that this is not just copying an action. First of all, we have to agree to take on these forms because that is something we do not want at all. If we agree to it, meaning we restrict ourselves in some way and create a place inside of us where they can manifest, then we are ready to perceive these forms in our receiving desire, and then to understand how they are built and replicate them. This is talking about studying in spite of our desire, together with the desire and the mind, until we see how we can express and realize the Creator’s examples in practice on our own.
A long chain of actions lies between our willingness to receive an example and bringing it to life. And all of this is called “the Creator’s work” because we use the example we received and realize it ourselves by means of the force and the wisdom that also come from above.
Throughout this entire process we must only have the desire to advance—the desire we receive from the environment.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 3/2/11, Writings of Rabash
Question: What is group preparation for the lesson, and does it evoke the Surrounding Light to a greater extent?
Answer: Group preparation for the lesson requires everyone to take on responsibility for the entire group. What is meant by the principle of “If I am not for me, who is for me?” It means that I am responsible for the awakening of the group, and in this way, I tip the scale for the whole world to the cup of mercy.
I make sure my friends never forget about the goal. Why are we here? What degree are we to attain? We strive to attain the degree of “man” (Adam), similarity to the Creator. This must be extremely important for us. Then, we will not forget about what matters during the lesson and will not be distracted by foreign thoughts.
I make sure this happens to all of my friends. I help everyone stay on track by caring for them. We are looking at a fairly quick process on the way to success when the entire group operates this way.
An individual can only succeed if he is the chosen one, a special soul. We are only saved by unity. I do not see any chosen people here. Every person assumes that there is an individual path for him. However, he is absolutely wrong, especially in our time when there is no need for chosen people. On the contrary, today, the masses need to join in the process of correction.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 3/1/2011, Writings of Rabash
Before we all come to the lesson, each of us needs to prepare for it. I prepare to place myself under the influence of the environment now. There are great powers, the Creator’s powers, in my friends, and I wish to be under their influence. Only this can change me.
The environment is like a reactor, a great mechanism, a therapeutic section, or a whole hospital. It changes, heals, and forms me in accordance with the first spiritual degree. This is how I should treat it, like emergency help which I need constantly.
I come again and again in order to receive therapy sessions, and gradually I become cured. I hear more and more, agree more and more, and feel more and more. I see how previously nonexistent foundations are revealed in me, and I become more sensitive to the environment as a whole. I begin to feel special phenomena that come from it, different evidence of the presence of the upper force in it.
Gradually, this seeps into my sensations and then into my mind. New impressions become imprinted in my feelings, and changes in them bring me new thoughts which connect and accumulate into understanding. In this manner, I establish a continuously tighter connection to the upper force which is revealed to me.
This is why one needs to build the right attitude to the environment, especially during the studies. This is the most important thing for a person since, thereby, it is as if he comes to the only healing procedure, performs the only action for correction which can be realized in him and help him conquer the spiritual world. A person "conquers" it by changing himself. Therefore, it is written: "A hero is one who conquers his evil inclination," meaning changes it in accordance with the spiritual desire.
It is not in our power to transcend ourselves without inner changes. This only works somewhat in our world, although later we always see that this does not bring any real, permanent benefit. It happens every time, and then it returns as a boomerang of yet another failure in order for us to learn the simple rule: Any use of egoism is to our detriment.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 2/28/2011, Writings of Rabash
Kabbalists differ from one another in their degrees of development, their degrees of understanding and attainment. Naturally, this is also related to the types of souls that come down to our world in every generation.
In in his prophecy, Baal HaSulam writes that the Creator said to him: “’Take this sword in your hand….’” Essentially, this sword is a sign that the Creator has given him the power to correct the enormous human disharmony. “’Good things will happen through you, for until now, I had no such faithful man as you….’”
In one of his letters, Baal HaSulam writes that the Ari is a great Kabbalist who has revealed the method of correction to us. We are unable to appreciate their true height. For example, according to Baal HaSulam, Rabbi Akiva was naturally higher than Rashbi. However, Rashbi has revealed more to us than Rabbi Akiva, and he is more valuable in our eyes because we receive more from his instruction.
Likewise, the Ari is also extremely great and important for us. He developed the method of our correction because his soul pertains to the Messiah’s type, the son of Joseph (Mashiach ben Josef). Baal HaSulam writes that since then, there has not been a single person who was able to fully understand the method of the Ari. There have been many sages, but Baal HaSulam was the first one to merit receiving the soul of the Ari.
This does not depend on the person’s strengths, wisdom, or even his efforts in studying. This is activated by the inner purpose evoked by the system of souls, and this is why Baal HaSulam says that he simply merited it, while many others before him did not.
We do not understand this. We only see that one way or another, every person in the world has his own destiny which is referred to as his “luck,” his root. We need to be happy that we have received instruction from a person who was the new incarnation of the soul of the Ari in order to give us the method of correction in modern times.
This is why we use the works of Baal HaSulam. When you prepare for the lesson, it is very important to feel that you are about to study the primary source, the highest and most authentic source.
Even though we do not understand the spiritual world, it sometimes seems to us like someone has gotten lucky in the corporeal world, like someone has gotten ahead by chance. Success takes a lot of strength and effort for some, and fortune seems to be smiling on others.
According to Kabbalah, we understand that this comes from the root of one’s soul. This is why meriting a teacher like Baal HaSulam is a reason for great joy and a basis for assurance. We receive help from a special soul that works as a medium for the Creator to influence us and for us to connect with Him.
In the end, we receive strength from Above through the entire system of corrected souls, and we make sure to pass it on to the uncorrected souls, to every person who has not yet found contact with the force that corrects and fulfills us.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 2/28/2011, Writings of Rabash
As we advance on the spiritual path and go through different states, we are like babies because we do not know how to develop or what happens to us, and we get confused. This is what happens to small children: They are ready to accept anything you tell them since how could they know the truth? They are completely in your power.
In the spiritual world we go through the same “infantile” states. So what remains for us to do? After we make great efforts to understand anything through reason and the right organization of our work, as in any science, we must realize that in Kabbalah a scientist is a person who has developed spiritual qualities of perception to feel the world he is setting out to research.
Therefore, when approaching the study, we have to think about the Light that corrects us. This will enable us to enter the sensation, and then also to enter the understanding of the world that becomes revealed to us. First we feel it and then we understand what we feel.
This can be seen with babies: First they only feel “good” or “bad,” and nothing besides that. Later they start to understand what this depends on, how to come closer to the good and avoid the bad, and so forth.
Sensations come first, with sensations being specific fulfillments inside the desire. But in order to be fulfilled, the desire has to change under the influence of the Light, going from reception to bestowal. To this degree it will begin feeling spiritual fulfillment, fulfillment by the quality of bestowal, fulfillment by bestowing.
Therefore, it is forbidden for us to regret the fact that we do not understand the material we study or the ways of our work. A person who thinks he understands anything is a fool. A person who is proud of knowing, understanding, and perceiving, and who leaves the lesson full of energy, understanding, and pride, is the one that has to realize how low he is in that state because there is no prayer or request in his heart, and therefore no progress.
Precisely when a person experiences lack of fulfillment, a feeling of his own insignificance, total lack of understanding or feeling, and confusion, when he is in a total fog and does not understand what is happening to him, that is when he is in the best possible state for the upper Light to influence him. These moments come to us only at times. At first we don’t like them very much, but later we begin to value them.
So what do we have to prepare before the study? It is the desire for change. By changing our sensations we will understand where we are and what is happening. But first we must feel and be in the spiritual state, meaning to live in actions of bestowal.
From the 2nd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 3/3/11, The Zohar
Only two elements exist in reality: the Creator and the creature. Ultimately, the creature feels the abundance the Creator gives to it. And if the creature changes, it happens because the Creator changes it whether for the best or the worst, in all different forms, depending on subjective sensations.
We give different names to the Creator’s influence upon the creature: “judgment” and “mercy,” “good” and “evil,” according to what is being revealed to us. One way or another, all these definitions do not go beyond good and evil because they are conditioned by our desire to receive pleasure.
There are simply many forms of good and evil since the desire for pleasure consists of different levels. The Light has imprinted different forms in it with its influence. This is why we divide the Creator’s influence into three types:
This is the order: revelation, correction, fulfillment. This process consists of many stages inherent to every desire and groups of desires that are included in one another. They are all distinguished according to their level of Aviut (coarseness) in depth and power, and their mixing evokes thousands and thousands of responses in us.
For example, a part of my desire is in the stage of revelation, another part is going through correction, and the third part already might be fulfilled. Correlations of desires are so diverse and change so much that we experience a countless amount of reactions and sensations. They form the image of the world where we exist.
In the end, we only perceive the manifestation of the force of desire, broken into many pieces in our perception. Naturally, we are unable to control desires, their groups and combinations, and especially the stages that we experience. This is why in our advancement we only need to strive toward the greatest closeness to the Creator, the property of love and bestowal, toward unity.
We evoke the Light, its strength, and its manifestation through this aspiration. As it approaches us, we go through the stages of revelation, correction, and fulfillment in our desires.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 3/1/2011, Writings of Rabash