It isn’t easy to answer a question of where is the point from which a person can determine whether he’s going to receive pleasure from egoism or from bestowal? Does a person want to be a slave to Pharaoh or to the Creator?
Our main task is to reach a point where we ask to change our ruler so that the force of bestowal would rule over us instead of reception. We study Kabbalah and carry out all the recommendations of Kabbalists in order to be able to make this choice.
We can come to this choice either by the path of suffering, through the natural progression of time (Beito), or by the path of Light (Achishena). On the path of natural development, only blows await us. This is when the Creator takes away all possible pleasures from Pharaoh, our egoism, or the desire to receive for oneself, and therefore we experience suffering. That’s why we are ready to exit from Pharaoh’s rule and to distance ourselves from him. After all, nature itself is forcing us to avoid that which causes us to suffer.
And then there’s the path of Light, “hastening of time” (Achishena). This is when our egoistic desire is still allowing us to receive pleasure, but we carry out various actions in order to build a new attitude toward the desire to bestow. And even though I receive egoistic pleasure and I’m under Pharaoh’s rule, I don’t feel that this is something negative: I’m enjoying life. However, I begin to look for a way to rise above him and to no longer depend on him, to start to value the quality of bestowal.
This means that I try to walk the path of Light so that the quality of bestowal would effect me and give me the understanding that Pharaoh is an evil ruler. His evil isn’t in the pleasures that he gives but in my receiving these pleasures for my own sake. This entirely new criterion is based not on pleasures, but on their direction, on who receives: I or the others (or the Creator along with others).
And then instead of judging the path through sensations, according to pleasure or suffering, I switch to a logical calculation of what’s good and evil, of true versus false. I come to realize that truth is bestowal, the upper force, the Creator, and I want this truth! And even if I feel good under Pharaoh’s rule, I still want to adhere to bestowal.
If a person comes to such a realization, he rises above the natural or the animal evaluation (Beito) and makes decisions on the level of “Achishena,” thereby pushing himself toward exiting from Pharaoh’s rule. And then he doesn’t need to go through physical suffering and receive blows to the desire to receive through various crises we feel in the world today and which will only increase in the future if we continue to progress by the natural flow of events (Beito).
His suffering becomes the suffering on the path of “Achishena,” the suffering of love. After all, he’s aspiring toward bestowal, something opposite to love of self. He asks the Creator, or the upper Light, to change his pleasure from egoistic to from bestowal. This is how a person advances.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 4/15/2011, Writings of Rabash