Baal HaSulam, “Introduction to the Study of the Ten Sefirot,” Item 133: And only the heroes among them, whose patience endured, defeated the guards and opened the gate. And they were instantly awarded seeing the King’s face….
Question: What is the degree of “patience endured?”
Answer: A person arrives at the wisdom of Kabbalah “dying” to attain everything and all at once, but when he or she doesn’t succeed, they start getting angry at themselves, the Creator, and the whole world. This is how a person’s healthy, strong egoistic desire expresses itself when it realizes that it doesn’t have any chance to be fulfilled because it’s totally opposite to the source of fulfillment.
The degree of patience is formed in a person when he begins to understand what the spiritual path entails and comprehends the necessity of each stage. As if with a pair of tweezers, grain by grain, he collects his accumulated impressions, fully aware that without them, he cannot assemble the “building blocks” of his soul. After all, a person’s soul contains thousands of various details within it, each of which must be refined, and that is why it is impossible to leap over a certain stage.
Baal HaSulam writes that it is only the one who walks a long path to corrections that wins the most due to the fact that he or she undergoes deeper discernments. In fact, our soul is not just a two-dimensional puzzle, but rather a complex structure that expands in depth in every direction because each soul must contain all souls within it.
It is a multidimensional spiritual space where a person with his body is connected with absolutely every soul as if besides himself, there is no one else. Therefore, a person has to perform very big discernments.
So, the measure of patience doesn’t imply the degree of your self-composure or, conversely, impatience. The Creator is an immutable law of nature, and there is nothing you can do. For example, in truth, you can yell at a machine all you want when you can’t make it work, but it won’t help whatsoever.
The degree of patience is when a person strives to obtain the correct approach to his spiritual advancement with the help of his environment. In other words, until we all unify, our Kli (vessel) will not be complete, and we will not be able to enter the Creator’s chambers. We must reach a certain minimal degree, a so-called Seah (amount of efforts). This requires patience.
You must constantly turn to the group and ask it for support and learn patience from the others. However, it is only regarded as patience when, in fact, it is mutual engagement with the others.
Patience is when I know that I will not obtain spirituality before the others. I have to work together with them, advance them, and then, in the last turn, I will enter the spiritual world.
It is precisely the awareness of my being the last one which defines the degree of my patience. It is a very important property that derives from the fact that there is nothing but a single Kli (vessel) and the Light, while I only stimulate them toward unification.
That is, when everyone strives to reach the summit of a mountain and step into the King’s palace, I don’t run ahead of them all, but push them from behind. I am the last in line. If I am willing to do that, it means that I have the endurance of patience. If I assist everyone, then after they become transformed, I, too, will be reformed.
No one can come to correction before his or her environment. It is regarded as: A person is unable to raise himself above his circle since it is a wholesome system where all its parts interact with each other.
How, then, will there be one part that is corrected within it while another is not? Therefore, the more a person strives to elevate his environment, the more exalted he or she becomes. Only this kind of approach leads to success.
Also, the degree of one’s patience is measured by his or her ability to turn suffering from having to compose oneself into bestowal and pleasure. In that case, that measure of patience that “endured” this work turns into a great Kli (desire).
After all, all impatience is an authentic expression of ego that is “burning” with desire to be fulfilled and hates everything that holds it from getting such fulfillment. The degree of a person’s patience tames this ego, reforms it, and becomes the criterion of the spiritual advancement of man.
Ultimately, the measure of patience is the very same uncorrected Kelim that separate me from the Creator since it is in them where I feel the impatience.
From the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 2/25/2011, “Introduction to The Study of the Ten Sefirot”