Question: Life in our world appears as one endless heartache, with small breaks to give a person time to get back up on his feet after a blow, just to receive the next one. This is human history and the life of a separate person. What kind of progress is that and where are the gifts that the Creator gives to creation?
Answer: Imagine that I am in a faraway galaxy where I gaze at infinite reaches of space and look for something in that infinity. I accelerate to the speed of light and slowly move through billions of light years, coming closer to our galaxy, our solar system, and our earth. I land on the earth’s surface, and here I discover people.
It’s difficult to imagine the scale upon which I could compare such different proportions. Analogously, we do not understand what kind of system we are in. We know how to make measurements and to do research on our own scale, according to our proportions. We compare weight to how much we can lift, distance to how far we can see, good and evil—with what is good or bad for us. Our entire spectrum is a tiny fragment of the enormous total scale and our distinctions are miniscule.
However, now we are talking about the spiritual system in which our entire universe is imperceptibly small. We are talking about mechanisms that are enormous due to their qualitative characteristics. Compared to them, our entire world is in one quality—a small egoistic desire that is enlivened by a small spark of Light. The matter of this desire is created as “something from nothing” by the Light that broke through to here, outlining an exact projection of the spiritual creation.
And now, from this state, you are speculating about the suffering of all of humanity. True, that is how we feel. Every person negates things according to this own imperfection and judges according to what his eyes see. But what can you do? That is how we have to advance, and right now we are unable to perceive anything more. There is a gigantic canvas unraveled before you, but you cannot make it out.
We are only able to slightly catch on to the simple fact that there is a lack of desires, a lack of vessels. The questions abound, “Can the unchanging Creator change? Can He create a stone that He can’t lift? Why did He initially make us imperfect?” But all of these riddles are useless.
We have to understand one principle from our lives: We have to go through opposite states. Only from these opposites, by recognizing the advantage of the Light from the darkness, do we form the vessels for a higher, more elevated sensation. When I acquire the vessels that are ready for it, the world will open up to me. Nothing is hiding from me behind a stone wall. I must simply build the vessels inside of me in order to see reality.
This development is necessary and the Creator cannot make it happen ahead of time. Why? For now, I do not know why. I can make certain conjectures, but that won’t give me anything. I will brush everything aside, saying, “I don’t believe it! He could do it!” And there are no other facts in front of you.
Yet there is a rule: The advantage of the Light is attained from the darkness. Any thing is evaluated only from its opposite. That is why we must go through these states step by step, forming the vessels for revealing the reality we are in.
We are in the world of Infinity, but you do not feel that. So develop your vessels. You have been given the opportunity to develop them, or stated otherwise, to correct them. You were deliberately given broken desires that are opposite to the corrected ones. What for? So you would grow and collect them, understanding and revealing the world.
There is no other way to go. And later you will justify the creation. The lengthy process, lasting several thousand years throughout which we suffer, is the truth on our scale. However, in reality we do not realize what kind of proportions we are in. Besides this tiny “room,” there is an entire world our there that you have never seen. You are like a worm living in a radish—this is the example Baal HaSulam gives.
Question: But why is this worm told about the Giver and His love?
Answer: In order to aspire to this, in order to let him understand that there is a goal for which it’s worthwhile to climb out of the radish. Moreover, not only do you receive the understanding of this, but also the means to do it. We are all like worms in a radish, but if each one of us starts to push the others toward the outside, we really will come out.
Therefore, there is a solution. As long as you were satisfied by life in this world, no one offered it to you. But now you are being placed in a new, global system and given the solution.
From the 5th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 6/23/11, “Matan Torah (The Giving of the Torah)”
Answer: Your efforts determine your qualities of perception, your sensitivity, and then you make the revelation. Everything is in front of you, but your lack of sensitivity does not allow you to reveal the system of connection between the souls that The Zohar tells you about. Your efforts and prayer build the instruments of perception inside of you in order to feel that picture.
Question: I repeatedly keep trying to build my intention anew, but it seems like I make the same efforts and feel the same thing I did a week ago, as if nothing changed….
Answer: Suppose I am among musicians. Looking at them, I see how they listen to every sound and discern the combination of different sounds, and I see how important this is to them. As I look at them, I learn about how to treat sounds. Then, as a result of my efforts, I become more sensitive and begin feeling them.
Then I ask the musicians questions and they explain things to me, but I don’t understand their explanations. “A fourth,” “a fifth,” “glissando, “forte”—these words don’t say anything to me, just like the unintelligible terminology in The Book of Zohar.
But I want to learn them! That is why I try to become a bit more sensitive to them and to feel them. Then, because we are in a special system, according to my efforts, desire, and aspiration, I begin to feel. That is how a child develops as well: He wants to become big and is always running around, never tiring and researching everything around.
We wonder: How can children watch the same cartoon or listen to the same story a thousand times over? However, it’s a thousand times to us because we don’t develop any longer. But a child lives in that story. When he listens to the tale about Little Red Riding Hood today, to him this is a completely new story, not like yesterday. You look at him and think, “Fine, I’ll tell him the story. Let him sit quietly, calm down, and enjoy it….” But he hears this story anew every time! And even though he also knows it by heart, when he repeats it together with you, he relives it all over again. It’s similar to how you have to eat today even though you ate yesterday. That’s what happens to him too!
Therefore, our entire work is to develop the sensitivity to acquire new qualities of perception.
From the 2nd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 6/23/11, The Zohar
The Book of Zohar, Chapter “Truma [Donation],” Item 217: The soul of every living thing” is a soul that exits the One who lives forever, Yesod de ZA. And because he is His, for all the blessings come forth from Him and are in Him, and He waters and blesses below, toward Malchut, this soul that comes forth from Him has permission to bless this place, Malchut.
Malchut is the desire that every time takes on new forms in its intention to bestow, and then it feels that it becomes filled by Yesod. This means that Malchut becomes similar to Yesod according to the law of equivalence of form. In reality, it becomes like the first nine Sefirot because Yesod comprises all of the nine Sefirot.
When Malchut resembles the first nine Sefirot, it signifies that the creature becomes similar to the Creator to some degree. To the extent of similarity between them, to the extent to their similar properties, Malchut obtains the same form as the first nine Sefirot and exists in adhesion and oneness with them.
From the 2nd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 6/21/11, The Book of Zohar
Question: Why didn’t the Creator create the will to enjoy that would be able to bestow right away? Why didn’t He create only bestowal without reception? Why should we reveal this property of bestowal ourselves, exercising our free will? Why do we need this “dual” attitude toward the creature where the matter itself, the will to enjoy, is egoistic and evil, and the form that it should acquire is good?
Answer: If I treat these two opposite forms properly, it is thanks to them that I set a correct attitude toward the Host. The correct attitude cannot appear if I do not contrast one against the other, meaning the desire to bestow that I can develop within myself against the desire to receive that is embedded in me in the negative form opposite to bestowal.
Thus, I give thanks for the negative quality as for the positive one, for the bad state as for the good one. After all, the negative form is necessary and correct, and together they combine into one form and lead to one goal.
We see in the corporeal world that atoms are built with a combination of two opposite charges, the minus and the plus, and with neutral particles. Thus, connections occur between different, opposite elements.
Then, atoms combine in various structures, molecules, and crystals. Chemical elements become connected according to their valence, that is, the number of electrons (the negative particles) existing on the orbit that are free to make a connection.
All life is based on unification and separation, on connection to all kinds of forms. All these are manifestations of the desire to enjoy. If a molecule has two electrons that are free to make a connection with others, that indicates its ability to connect. We always talk about desire which we measure either by the number of free electrons or relative to forces or some other qualities, such as the forces of attraction and repulsion.
As a result, it is always about desire. Yellow and green lights, different sounds, water, and the sky are various kinds of desires. We are inside this desire. Nothing but desire was created.
However, inside this desire, I have a sensation of self and the outside world: the inanimate, vegetative, animate, and speaking levels, or in terms of the spiritual qualities: “root, soul, body, clothes, palace,” which are also desires. I have to unite and manage all of them so that I can bestow with their help.
The entire picture of reality, the billions of people, the universe, and the spiritual worlds revealed in the connection between us are forms of desire. I cannot do anything besides revealing more and more of what is inside this system, this sphere. It is revealed to me depending on how much I am able to bestow with the help of all these forms of desire.
We live in our sensations, and that is why we do not understand what desire itself is. Rather, we understand: “I feel, I want.” Desire does not exist separately, but only as I sense it. The perceived desire is already “I.”
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 6/21/11, “Preface to the Wisdom of Kabbalah”
Baal HaSulam, “Matan Torah (The Giving of the Torah)”: Here before us is a clear law, that in all 612 Mitzvot (commandments) and in all the writings in the Torah there is none that is preferred to the commandment, “love thy friend as thyself.”
This is because they only aim to interpret and allow us to keep the commandment of loving others properly, since he specifically says: “The rest is its commentary; go study.” This means that the rest of the Torah is interpretations of that one commandment, that the commandment to love your friend as yourself could not be completed were it not for them.
“The Torah” is the Light that corrects our desires. We have to correct all our 613 desires and turn them into bestowal. It can be bestowal for the sake of bestowal (“whatever is hateful to you, do not do to another”), in the state of Hafetz Hesed when we do not harm another . And in addition, we can love the others as ourselves, meaning to receive for the sake of bestowal. In this way, we have to advance.
Only man exists in this world, and if he wants to correct his relationship with a fellow human being, then he reveals in himself 613 kinds of this relationship, which represent 613 corrupt desires. Then, he starts to correct them through the Light that Reforms by studying the corrected system. The Torah talks only about the corrected states, about fulfilling the “commandments,” meaning about the corrections that we have to go through.
The “Introduction to The Book of Zohar” explains that the Torah is divided into 613 counsels and 613 deposits. It is about 613 Lights that correct in us 613 egoistic desires directed to another.
We are talking about neither ourselves nor this world, but about the relationship with the other. Wishing to get closer to him, to reach him, I reveal 613 corrupt desires: This is the realization of evil. Then, I want to correct them, and in response to each desire a corresponding Light comes and performs correction. How it does it exactly, I do not know, and this is not my business. I just want to disclose evil and correct it to good, but I leave “technical details” to the Light.
As a result, my desires become corrected (obtain the intention to bestow instead of the initial intention to receive) and become filled with this altruistic intention. This means that the Light is present in them.
In reality, what can the corrected desire be filled with? It can be filled only with the following: I want and actually can bestow to the other. This is the fulfillment that we call NRNHY. Initially, from the side of the Creator who created the desire to receive, only the small Light of Nefesh was given, a spark, thin Light, acting in reality.
There are only a spark and the point of desire created as “existence from absence.” Everything else, without exception, comes only from the relationship between the Creator and the creature, who want to kindle the flame of love between them. According to the law of love, it is enough to give at least a fraction to the one who loves me, and then my attitude attached to this gift makes it infinite.
We should realize that by identifying our 613 desires that are revealed in relation to the other and correcting them from reception to bestowal, we obtain a large vessel of bestowal. And it is based on the very point of “existence from absence” that feels only its desire for pleasure. We have this point, and above it, we build a huge vessel which is all attitude, bestowal, and love.
Its essence is that very point. Expanding, being imbued with sensations, the desire remains the same. All it has is the sensation of what, how, and from whom it receives. In other words, it is the perception of the Creator’s attitude to it.
In the four phases of the Direct Light, there are just the desire and the Light of the first phase. Everything else comes from the reaction, the creature’s response as it perceives the Giver rather than gets filled. Once the first phase (a point of desire with the tiny spark of the Light of Nefesh) begins to feel itself at least a bit, it immediately starts to develop in relation to the Giver.
Thus, we must understand that the entire spiritual vessel, the entire spiritual world, is based on the interrelationship between the creature and the Creator. Nullifying this relationship, either through our own fault or not, we remain in our small, dark desire, which is our reality.
From the 5th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 6/21/11, “Matan Torah (The Giving of the Torah)”
Baal HaSulam, The Study of the Ten Sefirot, Part 1, “Table of Questions and Answers for the Meaning of the Words”: Question 5. What is Ohr Hochma? An Ohr (Light) that enters the emanated being in the first expansion of the Direct Light and is the general sustenance and essence of the emanated being.
From the side of the Creator, creation ends at the four phases of the expansion of the Direct Light, Malchut of the world of Infinity. That is, He created the point “from absence” (Yesh mi Ain), which develops along the four phases under the influence of the upper Light surrounding it.
The Creator’s influence upon the point of creation is called the zero phase, Keter, and inside this point, the developmental phases of one, two, three, and four are occurring. The last, fourth phase of the development of the point “from absence” under the influence of the Light is called Malchut of the world of Infinity.
This is what the Creator wanted to give to the emanated being in order to develop the desire to enjoy in this point so that the perception, the feeling of the Light, the attitude of the Giver towards it is regarded as “infinite.” It is clear that we are not talking about physical distances here, but defining the qualities of the internal essence of this point. Now it perceives and feels the Creator, absorbs Him inside of itself without any restriction, which is called infinity, endlessness.
This point of creation completely accepts, without any restrictions from its side, everything that the Creator wants to give thanks to His qualities of being the good that does good. Everything that happens further is already the reaction of the emanated being having reached, with the help of the Creator, such a high, complete, and wonderful development.
Now, accepting everything that the Creator gives it, the emanated being begins to change itself internally and from its own side reacts to the Light that fills it. In other words, this is the guest’s reaction to all the good that he felt from the Host and the fulfillment given by Him. Now, he has to respond to this fulfillment and love that has been revealed to him.
This does not stop at the state of Malchut of the world of Infinity, although from the side of the Creator, the work is complete. Now, the emanated being builds all kinds of screens and concealments inside of itself. It rejects the treat; it wishes to conceal the relationship of the Host toward it until it reaches reciprocity.
Furthermore, all of this is happening inside of the guest, and it is as if the Host does not even know about it. The guest refuses and accepts, puts up various conditions, in order to accept the treat from the Host. Everything that happens below Malchut of the world of Infinity is the internal development of the emanated being desiring to become like the Creator.
That is why “the Light of Hochma is the Light that enters the emanated being in the first expansion of the Direct Light,” meaning during the first direct influence of the Surrounding Light felt by it. Indeed, everything exists in the upper Light, but to the extent of its development, the emanated being feels as if the Light is altering its influence on it. The very first influence of the upper Light onto the emanated being, which is “the general sustenance and essence of the emanated being,” is called the Light of Hochma (Wisdom).
In other words, I am sitting across the Host, and before anything, I see in front of myself all of the “food,” the source of life. Without it, I cannot exist; I will die.
However, after I receive this nourishment and begin to live (as it is said, “if there is no flour, there is no Torah”), I can make calculations regarding my reception. That is why the Light of Hochma is called the basis of life and is present, openly or concealed, in all mutual actions between the Creator and the creature.
Even when we are talking about the state in which there is only one Light, Hassadim (Mercy) and no reception at all, this is said to be “almost” separated from the Light of Hochma. It’s not completely separated from reception, but “almost.”
It is the same in our life up to some necessary, minimal level which is neither condemned nor praised since it is needed to support existence. This is the amount of receiving the bare necessities of life as defined by the emanated being itself.
From the 3rd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 6/19/2011, Talmud Eser Sefirot
Opinion: Nick Bostrom (Professor, Faculty of Philosophy, Oxford University), Existential Risks: Because of accelerating technological progress, humankind may be rapidly approaching a critical phase in its career.
Today, we are doing something we have never done on the Earth before. If natural factors haven’t been able to destroy the human race over hundreds of thousands of years, they will extinguish us in the approaching century.
The paradox lies in the fact that without technology our chances to avoid the global risks will equal zero, while having technologies gives us a bit greater chance to escape extinction, although it’s the technologies themselves that generally cause those risks. The major leading factor of why risks increase is the discrepancy between man’s maturity in terms of ethics and morals, and the growth of the power of the technologies created by him.
To minimize the risks of technological disaster, we need to do the following:
My Comment: Technologies that we produce are the direct outcome of our selfish attitude to the surrounding society and nature. Only our balance with nature could bring us to the wise use of technologies. But to achieve it, it is necessary to transform man’s nature first. And that can be done solely by the force that created us: “I created the evil inclination and the method for its correction.”
Question: What is the group? Is it a kind of idea, people, or something else? Why is it so difficult to unite with people who aren’t like me?
Answer: Every person in the world is connected through his soul with the other souls. You need to enter this inner system of interconnected souls as though you’re diving to the ocean floor. And there you will discover the network of connections that binds all people.
Everyone is included in this network: Hitler, Stalin, Ahmadinejad, Moses, Abraham, and you. All the people you know only by their external form, as well as those you know on a deeper level, are all interconnected in the best possible way.
In the external world, every one of them fulfills a precise role in order to awaken the others to draw closer to this network, to dive into it, and find themselves there, bonded with everyone in heart and soul. You need to find the inner contact with them. The group is the inner unification of souls. And you must include yourself together with the rest.
Of course, speaking of the group, I’m primarily referring to those who study with us. But if you enter into this connection, you will see that this network unites everybody, even our greatest enemies.
We must understand that the external shell in which we exist in our world is given to us so that we could compel one another to do inner work. This whole game is necessary for you so that the Creator, the force which connects us internally, would be revealed in its external manifestation as well.
Internally this connection is maintained by Him, but externally it’s up to you do carry it out! And if you manage to erase the chasm between the internality and externality, this will constitute your complete correction.
From the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 3/25/2011, Writings of Rabash