Question: If a prayer is a plea for correction, rather than elimination of suffering, why is it written that one should pray for the latter?
Answer: It is written that one should pray to reduce suffering because in the place where I am feeling it, the flaws of my egoistic desires are revealed to me. They are what I am praying about, meaning that I may discern what is wrong in me and how I can correct that area in order turn it to bestowal.
If we are speaking about a normal person, he prays to feel good, to get to an open faucet that pours abundance from Above into his hands. His pain is material, meaning within the desire to receive pleasure. This is what he is seeking fulfillment for. Therefore, his prayer is corporeal and naive.
He doesn’t view his pain as the means to come to the Creator. He simply wishes to calm it down, subdue it, fill the internal void. This is how most people usually pray, be they secular or religious folks. All of them strive to feel good, which makes them willing to pray for it. All they do is beg: “Give me, give me, give me” because their ego is suffering, and it has to be pacified.
A true prayer is when I say: “There is none else besides Him.” He created the egoistic desire in me, “the evil inclination,” and I have to find out what it is. If my desire to enjoy is hurting, I need to use prayer as a remedy. After all, the Creator created this desire. He is responsible for the pain I am feeling and nobody else. I feel the pain in the place where I haven’t become complete by unifying with the Creator, but I must.
Let’s say I am in the first grade. They gave me homework to do, but I didn’t do it. I didn’t prepare for the exam and failed it. Now, I have to take the consequences. I suffer, but this suffering is appropriate for my age, for the first grade.
In the same way, every person feels pain in the area where he didn’t pass the exam, didn’t correct himself, didn’t keep up with the Creator’s “curriculum” toward the goal, the state of correction. Therefore, he should thank the Creator, the upper Light, who instills in him this sensation of pain. It is a symptom of illness that is given to you so that you go to get the treatment for it, and then you will be well.
Hence, don’t look for ways to make the Creator ease your pain; rather, seek how to cure it. In fact, if you simply shut it down, then tomorrow, you will wake up with a much greater pain. Today, you took a painkiller, stopped feeling the pain, and are happy to be seemingly okay. But you are deceiving yourself. Tomorrow it will be worse!
In other words, there are those who treat all their pains and daily problems with any drug, any painkiller there is, just to get rid of suffering. They pray to be granted neither suffering nor a reward for it. Others pray to let there be suffering if it points out to them where they need to correct themselves in order to gradually reach the Creator’s degree. For that, they are willing to accept it and thank the Creator equally for what is bad and what is good. After all, these sensations are there to wake us up and guide us on the path.
These are two very different methods. There are those who cry: “Save me, give me my peace!” This is the way of the masses. However, those who say “No, we will use all this pain in the most efficient way” are the Creator’s workers. After all, we wish to do His work since we desire to be His partners. If He is awakening us, we are willing to wake up.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 5/9/2011, Shamati No. 113
Today humanity is trying to unite. People instinctively understand that together is better than alone. Different countries are trying to make agreements over and over again, to enter a union that will make them stronger and more successful. But do they succeed in doing this? In the end we see that this leads to conflicts and even wars. The problem remains: We do not know how to unite.
However, the urge to consolidate has naturally permeated humanity for many years already. This is the partnership that is inherent to nations and people: I guard myself and yet I still see that it’s worth it for me to unite with others. Together we will create a monopoly and become stronger than everyone else.
This drive that has not grown any weaker will eventually bring us to such enormous troubles that nature itself will show us the need to unite. It is revealing to us that we have to merge into a single, global, integral whole, to totally complete one another, to become perfect, whole, and accept the “round world” where all the parts are interconnected.
If nature puts the challenge this way, then how should we now build human society? After all, the problem of egoism is concentrated only in human society. This is the only place where egoism works against unity. As a result, we discover that we are incapable of uniting.
Why did the Creator put a stumbling block in front of us, making us different and unlike one another? If we were the same, everything would be clear: Every person gives a certain amount and receives a certain amount, and the matter is settled.
Yet we are different, and therefore we have to ascend above egoism and activate the intention for the sake of bestowal, without any connection to personal benefit. Only on this condition will man be completely able to unite with others. Then he will reach bestowal for the sake of bestowal, and then—reception for the sake of bestowal. Only if every person takes this path will perfect unity emerge among us.
This is why we were not created the same: because otherwise we would solve the problem on the material, animate level and would become tantamount to ants in an anthill.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 5/12/11, “The Peace”
Why does the unified force of nature, which we call the Creator who created us, develop us in such a peculiar way, by keeping us completely lost in our thoughts and desires? Why and for what purpose did He give us the deceitful illusion of this reality and continues to tangle us up so that we, like little children, keep running back and forth looking for pleasures, trying to grab more and more? What do we attain in all this mess?
Specifically by trying to recognize one causative force, one source, in this confusion, we make ourselves similar to this force. Out of 613 desires, 613 thoughts, and a numberless variety of predicaments, we build ourselves as one whole.
Therefore, the whole purpose of our spiritual work is to reach unity, mutual guarantee, become “as one man with one heart,” and unify into one desire, one spiritual vessel. We are doing it all in order to bring ourselves closer to adhesion with the single, unified force, the Creator, when all of us, as one whole, and the Creator merge together.
Baal HaSulam writes about it in his well-known article, “There Is None Else Besides Him:” It is written, “there is none else besides Him.” This means that there is no other force in the world that has the ability to do anything against Him. And what man sees, that there are things in the world that deny the Higher Household, the reason is that this is His will [to show Himself to us in such split condition, as if there is He and the forces against Him].
Because of this, we are given an opportunity to gain power over and recreate ourselves, while overcoming the confusion that makes us doubt the one force, the Creator, and trying to constantly find only Him in the image presented to us. This is what our work entails.
From Lesson 8, WE! Convention 4/3/2011
The text of The Zohar is difficult to read in some places since it seems tasteless, doesn’t excite, amaze, or prompt us to respond. I see that it lulls everybody to sleep. What can be done, if we are separated from the spiritual state and have to connect with it? How else can the method of connection be built?
The state which I have to approach is beyond my feelings and desires. Nevertheless, how can I impel myself to come close to it? A small child looks at a driver with eagerness: A driver appears great for him. A pilot is even greater. A fireman is simply a hero. A child sees examples and wants to follow them. He has a sensation, example, vision, and connection. He can visualize the desirable state in the ego in which he exists. Nature itself forces him to desire this. Then, he moves selfishly, driven by his desire, urge, and aspiration.
We face the concealed world. It is hidden because now I don’t have any desire for it, so much so that I don’t see it and reject it. It isn’t even opposite to me since then I would see it as hateful, disgusting, repelling. But I don’t have even that.
So, how can I get closer to it? It cannot be seen because I don’t have any desires for it or any organs to perceive it. I was given a possibility to read about it, but I hear words and don’t know what they mean. I don’t have in me, in my world, in everything I am familiar with, any comparable phenomena.
If I am told about this concealed world by means of the words of our physical world: “the sun,” “the moon,” “an elder,” “mountains,” “sea,” “hills.” This baffles me even more because I begin to imagine what is happening in our world and not in the spiritual one. As a result, these words distance me even further. What can be done?
Therefore, Kabbalists use the language of Kabbalah. Reading the text written in the language of Kabbalah, you are prone to fewer mistakes because you see that Kabbalists talk about something unknown to you: technical terms that describe desires, clarifications, screens, Lights, degrees, and different numbers. All this is technology telling about something concealed from me. This text is much easier to read: It’s less confusing.
Why was The Book of Zohar hidden throughout centuries? It waited for our time so that people would not become confused and begin to materialize it. Until Baal HaSulam wrote his Sulam commentary on The Book of Zohar, it was very difficult to read it. If the masses started reading it, they would have imagined who knows what.
Even now, there are “teachers” who connect parts of the human body with spiritual activities: the right hand with bestowal, the left with reception. They tie a red string on the left hand, and it means correction for them. They haven’t reached spiritual attainment, and they think it is about what happens in our world. They don’t transfer this into the internal sensations, where we discover spiritual forces.
We must keep reading The Book the Zohar with perseverance and wait for the Lights concealed in the worlds to affect us. And it works! We have no book more powerful in its impact than The Zohar.
It is impossible to connect with the concealed world in another way. You need an adapter, an intermediary. What is this intermediary? You are told about something unknown, and you persist with your friends to aspire to it. Although you still have nowhere to aspire to, but if everybody says that it is important and concealed, you start to be impressed from what is still empty for you and to give it importance. Why? It’s because this is important for your environment.
Although it is not important for the environment either, and they simply work on you, this is sufficient. Then, you can develop a desire for the spiritual world which is opposite to us, and you cannot desire it. Thus, we reach spirituality by virtue of desire without a desire.
Otherwise, you will never reveal the spiritual world, or you will reveal it under the pressure of greater suffering, when overtaken by blows, you will rush to spirituality out of hopelessness, and not because you developed a desire for spirituality together with your friends. This is called development by the path of suffering, and not by the path of Light. Decide what you want!
If you are given an opportunity to move forward with the Light, to awaken it with your desire absorbed from the environment, but you don’t use this opportunity, suffering will befall you because you have to advance in accordance with the plan of creation.
It follows that the only free choice we have is to advance either by means of good or evil. But the fact that we have to advance is beyond all doubt. You have only a possibility to choose between the two paths, like a child who can opt either to become good or to remain bad. The end of the path is decided and known, and the time has been set. Everything was given initially except for your approach.
So now, we are at the point of an extremely critical decision: Do we see medicine in the reading of The Book of Zohar? It is true that I want to sleep, nothing disturbs me, the text doesn’t attract me, and it’s completely tasteless. The Zohar makes me sleepy….
But this is the true state. You are shown that you have no connection with spirituality. Get the desire from your environment now! Each is responsible for providing others with mutual guarantee so that they wake up. Then, out of total awakening, when we wish to wake up everybody, the Surrounding Light will come and make a small change in us. And we will immediately begin to sense what is written in The Zohar.
From the 2nd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 5/6/2011, The Zohar
The wisdom of Kabbalah is the physics of the integral world. What this integral world is all about, we don’t know. We attain only a tiny piece of it which we are able to perceive through the sensory organs of our physical world, similarly to all other animals.
On the other hand, unlike them, we have a more capable mind, greater desire, and hence we fit into the world a little bit better than regular beasts, while trying to take the most advantage of it. Yet, our sensory perception as based on our five sensory organs: vision, hearing, taste, smell, and touch is much worse than theirs. They are quite better at sensing nature than we are.
Only our mind and ego are more advanced, and that is why we are greater than beasts and are more cruel and perverted. We can take advantage of this world that they are also aware of. However, in any case, we are able to perceive but a small part of reality.
The wisdom of Kabbalah explains to us our entire existence, the attainment of authentic reality. According to the wisdom of Kabbalah, the major difference between our limited perception of this tiny piece of reality and the ability to see a broader reality, as if to soar out of this narrow cage of our closed little world to the enormous and beautiful outer world, lies in knowing how not to make ourselves dependent on all kinds of changes, forces, and acts, but rather perceive one single force.
As soon as we start pulling this infinite number of forces, actions, chances, and thoughts, all of this surrounding mess, into one unified force more and more, it signifies that we are climbing the ladder of the worlds, until we reach the world of Infinity where there is, indeed, only one force and where all thoughts, desires, perceptions, predicaments, and actions, absolutely everything that was so confusing to me before, become unified. That’s when we attain that “there is none else besides Him,” this singular force, the Creator.
From Lesson 8, WE! Convention 4/3/2011
The Book of Zohar – Selected, Chapter, “Mishpatim (Ordinances), ‘You Shall Not Follow the Masses in Doing Evil,’” Item 429
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