Question: When we are in such close proximity at the Kabbalah conventions, what are we trying to overcome, the grip of the ego? Or are we trying to feel our friends’ desire, to make everybody feel good? What should we think about while we are there?
Answer: I personally recommend that you try feeling the collective state as much as possible. Don’t dig into yourself, don’t do the “soul-searching.” You’ll never find the soul anyway because you don’t have one and neither does anybody else. Your soul is beyond you!
Try to feel the collective state, the common spirit of this exalted gathering of desires for unity, attended by people who put huge effort and means into it, anticipating such an event for many months or even years so as to reveal in this unity the integral upper force of Nature, the force of love and bestowal—the Creator. You need to catch the collective spirit. And when it starts working in you, do the only correct and most effective action: lose yourself in this common spirit, just like an embryo in the mother’s womb.
Then you will get to feel how this property of bestowal gradually works on you, forming and building in you a new sensory organ for this new property (or dimension). This new sensory organ isn’t aimed at you, the precious, but at the will to bestow, at those whom you love.
If you want to succeed, leave all thoughts about yourself and dissolve in the convention’s collective spirit. Take advantage of every minute we spend together.
From the Virtual Lesson 5/29/2011, Fundamentals of Kabbalah Series
All traditional customs in Judaism are an imprint from spiritual, Kabbalistic actions, but only in corporeal, egoistic desire. True spiritual actions are performed in two spheres: reception and bestowal.
After we lost the connection with love of others, with bestowal and the upper world, what we have left within the framework of this world is called Judaism. This is the form in which Kabbalah exists for a person during the period of exile. However, for select few, it reveals itself in two spheres: spiritual and corporeal.
That’s why in religion there are certain customs carried out according to tradition. Instead of performing these actions inside oneself, as spiritual actions, they are performed on the outside.
The Shulchan Aruch (Set Table), the book of religious laws, describes spiritual actions, but in material form. When it says “wash your hands,” this means you have to take your spiritual vessel of reception (“hands”) and clean it by dipping or washing it in the Light of Hassadim (Mercy). It explains how to make the wedding canopy, Huppah, for connection with the Creator, how to separate the pure desire (Kosher) from the impure one, or how to slaughter an “animal,” meaning one’s own egoism, the right way.
Any action performed throughout the day is a reflection of spiritual processes. That’s why the Shulchan Aruch describes a person’s life in detail from the moment he wakes up and thanks the Creator: which foot has to come off the bed first when waking up, how to put on shoes, and how to dress, by first putting through the right hand, a symbol of the desire to bestow, and then the left one, a symbol of the desire to receive.
Everything is described down to the last detail because this follows the correction of the soul. “Body” is the soul, and the book explains how to correct it, how to clothe it, wash it, how to feed it (meaning how to fill it and with which Light, Hochma or Hassadim, and in which order), and how to bless different types of food, types of satisfaction for the desire to receive. This is what the Shulchan Aruch talks about.
Before the destruction of the Temple, the whole nation had been carrying out these actions, each one at his own level and working on his soul. Everyone knew what this meant in relation to his soul and the Light.
However, the moment we lost a connection with the spiritual world and fell down into egoistic reception, we did not have a soul anymore, so there was nothing to correct by performing all these actions. That’s why people started performing the same actions on their bodies, with this corporeal flesh, in the material world, and at the material table where they eat, instead of filling the soul with the Light.
If we open the Talmud, we will see a set of rules that we have to follow in relation to others (for example, how to pay your neighbor if your animal has harmed his), but this implies a spiritual level. The entire Talmud is talking about the actions of a person who is working on the correction of his soul, but they are described through animals or work in the field, using the language of allegory.
If you are in the spiritual world, it’s clear to you that it relates to the spiritual world, the soul. For you, it’s as though this world doesn’t exist. You understand that it’s impossible to correct anything by alternately pouring water on one hand and then on the other, and that these actions are performed only as a token of the material world’s similarity with the spiritual world.
If one exists in the spiritual world, he or she acts the same way in the corporeal world as well. However, a material action does not correct the soul. It is merely a cultural tradition, a nation’s history, a mode of life to which one is accustomed from childhood.
In reality, we perform these actions in our inner correction. In other words, we take parts of our desire and with actions such as these, we lift them from the egoistic level, filling them to the level of bestowal toward others and the Creator. This is exactly what the Shulchan Aruch and the entire Torah talk about, which teaches us how to do it.
However, when we lost our spiritual connection, we started treating this as material actions. Right hand, left hand, bull, or donkey, a person understood and studied them as if they were corporeal laws.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 5/29/2011, Shamati #40
Question: What is the “faith” that Kabbalah is talking about?
Answer: Faith is the Light of Hassadim (Mercy), the force of bestowal or Bina, the Creator’s property, nature. If the property of faith starts taking over your will to receive pleasure, you come to understand what bestowal really is.
To receive an imprint of bestowal, you have to first start feeling it and know how it tastes. Thereby, you will know what it is. Such a unification of irreconcilable opposites may seem impossible, but the intention to bestow begins ruling over your desire for pleasure, and it wishes to be used to bestow.
Such a property is observed even in a selfish desire which feels another as part of itself. In that case, it can’t be authentic bestowal. This is like a mother who is considered as giving since nature forces her to feel that her child is a vital part of herself. It’s as though he is still inside her, and that’s why she bestows to herself. She cares more for him than for herself since she views him as the most precious part of herself.
Hence, even though a mother bestows to her child, someone outside of herself, it’s not considered that she has attained spiritual degrees and is acting for the sake of bestowal. This is merely a natural instinct.
In order for the will to receive to start working with the intention to bestow, it has to receive the upper Light, the special force. We only say that it comes from some place outside. In fact, it wakes up in a person and begets in him the desire to bestow to another, the love for him.
“Another” is a person for whom I previously felt hate, resentment, and distance. I didn’t feel him as related to me, but rather felt him as an alien, an outsider. Despite all this, I suddenly feel the desire, capacity, and aspiration to bestow to and fulfill him. I want to view him as myself, while I realize that I don’t need anything in return.
If I expect to receive pleasure in return, it’s as though I act egoistically. That is, bestowal shouldn’t bring me any pleasure. On the contrary, it makes me suffer since in order to bestow to another, I have to deprive myself. Then, what could possibly make me want to give?
Therefore, we receive a specific force called the Light that Reforms. I begin to feel that on one hand, I am dealing with a stranger from whom I desire to receive, to take something he has. However, instead, I receive an external force that allows me to bestow to him without receiving any pleasure or benefit from it directly.
If I were to enjoy bestowal immediately and directly, it would be egoistic. However, I don’t feel him naturally as part of me and do not enjoy bestowing to him. It is the other way around. I overcome my egoistic desire, which doesn’t get fulfilled and becomes even emptier than before, and transfer all my efforts and fulfillment to him.
If I were to be asked why I am doing it, I wouldn’t have an answer in my selfish will to receive. There is another answer, though. What I do feel is the Creator’s greatness, my connection with the upper one; I fulfill the desire of the One who is higher than I am. I am motivated by a much more exalted ideal. However, words can’t explain it since the ego will always twist it so as to get some compensation from it.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 5/29/2011, Shamati #40
Baal HaSulam, “The Peace”: The tough, egoistic resistance between people, along which international relationships deteriorate, all these will not cease from the world by any human counsel or tactic, whatever it may be.
Don’t think that the world will be able to correct itself. Even if people realize that our egoism is the evil of the world, correction is impossible without the “spice,” meaning without the method of Kabbalah. We have to give the world the Light that Reforms, but it can be done only by studying the wisdom of Kabbalah in one form or another, according to the various types of desires, that is, the people in our world.
In any case, we have to give them the Light. Egoism cannot be corrected by any other way. Nothing else can help here, neither psychology or sociology, nor wonderful endeavors or troubles. The only thing that can help is attracting the Light that Reforms. We have no chance without it.
Indeed, the Light includes the goal and the program for achieving it, all the stages that we have to pass through. Without the Light, we are like animals that cannot make a single move. The Light has to come and influence us. Then, we will come into motion.
So, why do we experience troubles and all kinds of changes? In fact, they aren’t changes, but namely troubles that will intensify until we, at least some of us, start attracting the Light, at least a small portion of it.
Development is carried out only by the Light. We should be thoroughly aware of this. There is no chance that the egoistic desire, itself, will find a path of development. Throughout the centuries, this opportunity was found through the Light that came without waiting to be called and it continuously pushed us forward.
Today, we have crossed the threshold after which we have to precede the arrival of the Light by our own desire addressed precisely to the Light. From now on, everything starts with “our initiative,” with “a prayer and good deeds.” This definition means that we, ourselves, have to want to evolve, not in the egoistic pursuit of new pleasures, but above egoism. Awakening, rising, has to come from our side.
Moreover, we won’t be able to evolve unless we form a request within ourselves, expecting that in return, the force of the Light will come and influence us, giving us new properties of unity and love so that we will merge into a global, integral whole. Only this Light carries our future states. We don’t know what they are nor how to pass through them, but our work, in essence, is simple: We are looking for the force that develops us.
That’s all; we don’t need any special wisdom. I don’t know in advance what awaits me. Sometimes, I notice something new in my mind and feelings, reveal a new, thin layer of understanding and sensation. It looks a bit like the effect of the Light that awakens and corrects our desires. We shouldn’t interfere in its work, but rather speed up our development as much as possible.
The Light will never affect us until we ask it to do that. We must be the first to ask. This is what it demands. This request, this necessity initiates a spiritual action on the matter of desire. Thanks to it, we reveal who we are and who the Creator is.
At our low degree, we understand a higher degree at least a bit, in order to merge with it. We don’t understand it completely, but only at the place where we are attached to it. To adhere to a point within the mother’s womb, one has to become equal in properties with her.
In this way, the created beings do a big job, wishing to merge with the upper one within a tiny segment of perception. Then, they want the upper one to cancel them, filling them with its Lights of development. Similar to an embryo, we ask for the Lights that bring development, not for those that bring pleasure. In this way, we reach equivalence with the Creator.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 5/29/2011, “The Peace”
Love of Others Is the Means to Attain the Love of the Creator
The first stage is love between friends and then they can attain love of the Creator.
– Rabash, The Rungs of the Ladder, “What Is the Substance of Slander and Against Whom Is It?”
The attitude toward the friends is more important than the attitude toward the Creator because the bestowal upon one’s friends brings one to bestow upon his Maker.
– Baal HaSulam, “Introduction to The Book of Zohar,” Item 19
We must study the essence of the love of the Creator based on the study of love of the friends…since the properties of love of others were only imprinted in humans for reaching love of the Creator.
– Baal HaSulam, “Introduction to The Study of the Ten Sefirot,” Item 69
Baal HaSulam, “Preface to the Wisdom of Kabbalah,” Item 1: Rabbi Hanania Son of Akashia says, “The Creator wished to cleanse Israel; hence, He has given them plentiful Torah and Mitzvot (commandments), … It is as our sages said, “The Mitzvot were only given for the purification of Israel” (Beresheet Rabba, Parasha 44). We must understand this cleansing, which we achieve through Torah and Mitzvot, and what is the Aviut (thickness/coarseness/will to receive) within us, which we should cleanse using the Torah and Mitzvot.
We know that only one force works in the world besides which there is nothing else. But in that case, it seems to be doing some really “silly” things. Why did it make us selfish, coarse, dark, insensitive, and, basically, just bad?
Is it really a good creation? If the Creator is perfectly good, how can we get something bad from Him? If the creature is bad, we should blame the Maker who created it. Where else can a flaw come from if not from its root? Besides, if the Creator made such vice and intentionally created us flawed and selfish, why did He later give us a remedy called the Torah and Mitzvot (commandments) and force us to correct what He corrupted and made bad in us?
These questions run deep. Indeed, we begin to understand them only when we start climbing the spiritual rungs. That’s where we come to realize that the advantage of the Light can be learned solely from the darkness. If we didn’t have this darkness in the first place, we wouldn’t be able to attain the Light. It can’t be found in any other way.
Don’t think that it’s a payment for your work and somebody needs you to do your job first and get rewarded for it afterwards. It’s only you who needs it because if it weren’t for this darkness that you turn into the Light, you would have no chance whatsoever to feel what the Light is!
We get to see it only when we enter the spiritual world and start carrying out these acts of correction by transforming darkness into the Light with the help of the Torah and Miztvot, a specific sequence of spiritual acts that we need to perform with perfect accuracy.
From the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 5/23/2011, “Preface to the Wisdom of Kabbalah”
Answer: The brain, as well as desire, doesn’t care what we gain pleasure from, but the Creator is playing an “unfair” game with us. He placed a condition for us: If in this world, this life you wish to derive pleasure from sweets, you can do so, for now.
It is similar to how we treat our children. They have to grow to become adults. Hence, day by day, over the first 18 years, we give them everything we possibly can. A child breaks toys, disobeys, does things wrong, while you continue treating them kindly. What other options do you have? It’s hard to raise kids. All you can do is keep giving them what they need.
Clearly, nature also gives everything to its children: desire, strength and the will to grow. They run, play, and are always in motion. Everything is made so as to give a person a chance to grow. Have you grown? Now, it’s your turn to work and serve in the army. It’s so different from your previous life! Childhood has ended; you are a grown-up now.
In the spiritual world, the Creator puts us in a similar condition. You are given an opportunity to start growing in spirituality in a small state (Katnut) and receive all that you need just like children in this world. However, as you grow, you are placed in increasingly difficult conditions. You have to give more, pay, and love to get something in return.
The Light stays at absolute rest. Desire wants to enjoy the Light. But in between, there is a condition, like there is for a grown-up in this world: If you wish to keep enjoying yourself, you have to pay, complete your desire, the vessel that receives the Light. The pleasure remains the same, but due to the above rule, you can’t enjoy it. Hence, we have no choice: We must reach bestowal.
We say: “But I want to feel pleasure directly. Place me in Malchut of Infinity! Give me pleasure right now. Fill me up!” But, no, we are told: “Malchut of Infinity? Sure thing! But all you will find there is a horrible void.” How so? That’s because of the same condition, the First Restriction. If you are not similar to the Light in your properties, you will feel nothing but darkness.
So, all pleasures expand from the Light. Even if someone enjoys killing, that, too, is derived from the Light. There is no other source of enjoyment. However, there is a condition: If you wish to know real, everlasting pleasures, you must receive them in the will to bestow. You have no choice—this is the rule.
From the 3rd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 5/13/2011, Explanation of the Article, “Preface to the Wisdom of Kabbalah”