On the path we reveal various flaws, and that is how it should be. However, it is a completely different matter when I am able to accept them with understanding by virtue of my preparation and the support I receive from the environment. Then I will see the flaws as a kind of exercise. And an exercise is no longer a bad thing.
When encountering a problem, I don’t panic, feeling weak and confused. On the contrary, I know that I have been given this problem in order to overcome it and receive a reward. It does not trip me so I fall down and does not cut me off from the path to goodness.
The entire matter lies in the preparation, which enables me to see everything as a chance for advancement, rather than an avalanche of troubles that we want to run away from or even to end our own lives.
The aim at the goal decides everything. If I am in a caring environment, then it “brainwashes me” and explains that all the defects are being revealed as exercises for a person who wishes to grow. Then I use them in order to advance. Moreover, I am happy about the flaws that become revealed.
And vice versa, without the appropriate upbringing, without the support and help of the environment, I cannot correct and turn every flaw into a trampoline for leaping forward. Instead of this, I am always immersed in evil.
In this regard humanity faces free choice: How to accept everything that becomes revealed on the path? If I recognize the problems in advance, if I prepare an environment for myself and desire to advance forward, then the flaws are revealed gently. I already understand them, am ready for them, and accept them as signs of advancement.
Question: What defects are you talking about? About the realization of evil inside of oneself, or about tsunamis and other natural disasters?
Answer: If you prepare, then you no longer need a tsunami. Then the flaws will not be troubles for you, but challenges. They won’t be unresolved problems, but tasks. Similarly, a diligent child does not need strict measures. Instead we let him gather a Lego or puzzle, and so on. He does not receive a difficult life from us, but exercises which he likes. Even if they make him sweat a bit, they also give him pleasure.
Baal HaSulam, “The Essence of Religion and Its Purpose”: The sweeter the fruit is at its end, the more bitter and unsightly it is in the earlier phases of its development.
No one is as wise as an experienced person. In the initial phase, he already sees the final perfection. But how can we be wise if we don’t see the end?
We have to learn on the examples that Kabbalists give us and find evidence for them with every step we make. We have to reduce all of the states we go through to one as we attain them on our small spiritual experience.
Everything happens gradually, by way of ascents and descents: a little bit of bitterness, and a little bit of sweetness. We have to overcome problems time after time in order to grow more and more. Our entire growth lies in overcoming the bitter states of the fruit until we begin to discern what is sweetness.
To develop does not mean to strengthen our initial state because then it will become increasingly more bitter. Rather, we must turn bitter to sweet, create the opposite, acquiring the quality of bestowal above the quality of reception so it would begin to grow. Then we sweeten the initial state, the phases of the maturation of the fruit, the spiritual vessel.
At every state we have to focus not on the quantitative growth, but on qualitative improvement. We turn everything that’s bitter into sweet by virtue of understanding that the bitterness was given to us in order to overcome it. We work above it and then greater sweetness emerges in us out of that growing bitterness, until the fruit (vessel) ripens.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 3/24/11 on Global Education
Answer: Prepare yourself. If you are about to attend a wonderful, pleasant, and joyful event, then you prepare for it in advance. You anticipate it and enjoy this beckoning illumination of the future. And you receive great inspiration from that.
Therefore, as we get closer to the worldwide convention that will be held in New Jersey, we have to prepare ourselves already now. Everything depends on preparing the desire, “What do I plan on correcting? What do I want? What will I get out of it? How do I want to appear there?” I have to imagine all of this in detail, as if I am already there. Therefore, we have to make all the songs available on the website, as well as everything that will happen at the cultural programs and the other events so people can become familiar with it, understand it, and already be able to imagine how it will happen.
A child grows by imagining the future, and then it comes true. If a person does not experience this reverent desire at all times, if he does not increase his desires, and even his worries and fears, then he does not gain anything. He must already now wait impatiently, wondering, “How will this happen? When? In what way? How will I be inspired? How will I participate?”
This is necessary in order to grow up. If children did not receive the aspiration toward the future from nature, then they would not be able to grow. But for us, this aspiration is given as freedom of choice. Do you want to grow up? Then find a way to receive the greatness of the goal from the environment, and then you will grow. There is no other method! If we don’t learn on the example of small children, if we don’t implement these actions in practice, then it would be a shame to let our lives go by wasted.
From the 2nd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 3/24/11, The Zohar
Writings of Rabash, “Love of Friends”: A man found him while he was wandering in the field and asked him, “What are you looking for?” To which he replied, “I am looking for my brothers. Tell me, where are they?” … This is talking about a person who has veered off the path of the spiritual development, who does not know the true way there, who has already reached despair and thinks that he will never attain his goal. That is why he answers, “I want to be in the group where there is love of friends because then I will be able to ascend up the path leading to the Creator.”
That is how we wander around, not knowing how to reach the right state. We don’t understand how to establish the connection with spirituality and where to find it. However, in fact we are already in the spiritual world now, which is why we are wandering around this field. We already have the opportunity to establish a relationship with the group and to connect with the friends, but we are unable to do this. Thus, we walk by, like we are blind. We are already in the right place, but we cannot find this connection, as if we are wandering around in the dark.
This darkness is not outside, but inside of us, as a result of our blindness and lack of understanding. What’s missing here is some kind of epiphany in feeling and reason so I would understand in what form I have to connect with the friends. Then I will find how to make the breakthrough to the spiritual development, to the first contact with spirituality which is called “three days of absorption of the spiritual seed.”
For that I have to understand how to bind myself to the environment the right way, and that is the most difficult thing to do. In our world we know of cases when a woman is unable to get pregnant. And it is much more difficult yet to get into the spiritual world.
The Torah talks about the great problems of infertility that each of the fore-mothers had and how difficult it was for them to get pregnant. This is a symbol of how difficult it is to bind oneself to the environment.
How, then, is it possible to help a person who feels that he is lost and does not see any chance of advancing spiritually? He has put years into it and seems to know and understand everything, other than the direction. At first he thought that the knowledge he receives will help him, or some kind of actions, or maybe time will do the job.
But later he reveals that nothing helps him and then he becomes confused. That is when an angel comes to him and finally asks him, “What are you asking for? What are you looking for here?” Then the person checks himself and starts to understand that he lacks precisely the connection with the environment, “I am looking for my brothers!”
This is already a great attainment where you understand that you will be able to realize your spiritual development only on this path, inside of the connection with others. The group turns into a spiritual place. Instead of the material, physical group that he sees now, he will feel the inner connection between everyone and will turn this connection into mutual bestowal. He will reveal the net connecting them, which is called the system of the upper worlds, and all of the worlds will enter it.
This group will become the place where he will gradually reveal all of the spiritual levels, until he will come so close to the other 125 levels that he will unite with them into one whole. This will be called the end of his correction (Gmar Tikkun).
If a person begins to feel that he will be able to realize his spiritual development precisely in this way, through the relationships with the environment, this means that he is wandering around the Creator’s field and looking, while knowing what to look for and what to ask for. He still has to go through a difficult road up ahead, but this point where he decides that the spiritual world can only be reached through unity with the environment is extremely important. That’s because it is opposite to all of his previous, material, egoistic development.
This point marks the beginning of his development and his connection with others “from himself outwards, for the sake of bestowal.” Therefore, this point is the beginning for the new path.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 3/23/11, Preparation to the WE! Convention
Question: I try to think about our unification, the connection between us all the time, especially during the reading of The Zohar. But how does the Light work on me when I attempt to exert these efforts? What changes does it perform in me?
Answer: The Light is at absolute rest, it does not do anything with you. You perform all the changes. Can you use the Light? Do it! If not, then don’t. It’s similar to electricity: Is it connected to an electric outlet? If so, use it! How? Any way you want! You can use it to run a refrigerator, a heater, anything you want.
How does the Light affect you? It doesn’t. You elicit this action from it.
It is said: "I did not change my HaVaYaH (the plan of creation)," which means that the Creator is at absolute rest. This is why the Light does not do anything! You perform everything with your own actions; you transfer yourself to the next state. And if we say: "Let the Light work" or "the Light does this or that," we simply ascribe our actions to it.
We activate the law, and it works. The law is in action; its formula is known. It exists beyond us and is called "the law of the similarity of properties of the Lights and desires (Kelim) or the "law of balance."
There are no actions from the side of the Light. The Light carried out the only action: It created the desire to receive pleasure, "existence from absence." And by the way, it’s not the Light we are talking about.
And the desire to enjoy, existing in that Light as created from "absence," changes all the time. All the transformations of properties, the development by the four phases, etc. that we discuss occur only relative to that desire, the creature. All of it is the changes of the desire to receive pleasure inside the constant Light.
From the 2nd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 3/24/11, The Book of Zohar
The difficulty lies in the understanding that the group, the environment, is not a temporary setting that won’t be necessary after a while. The group never disappears, and it is impossible to gain spiritual fulfillment by any other means. From these strangers, people I once resented, from their internal world, I have to construct my own soul.
And instead of seeing their faces, personalities, and behavior, I must see only their internal desires so that I build a “spiritual body” from them, which I could bestow to and get inspired by. And if we do our mutual work in this manner, we will provide the guarantee, a sensation of support, the forces for development and bestowal for everyone.
Then, you will feel as though you are protected from evil in this group, as if you are in “Noah’s Ark.” We often find such “sanctuaries” along our path. It is similar to the mother’s womb where we develop in stages: embryo-feeding-maturity (Ibur–Yenika–Mochin), until we are born on a new spiritual degree, in the new world.
This is how we view the group until our connection with it is so strong that we begin receiving the Light through it, the properties for our new development, as in Noah’s Ark, the mother’s womb. And later on, we are born and start developing a connection with this environment as with the Upper Mother (Ima Ilaa): We receive through it the influence of Aba ve-Ima and even higher.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 3/23/2011 Preparation for the WE! Convention