What Is A Spiritual “Rise Above”?

Dr. Michael LaitmanBaal HaSulam, The Study of the Ten Sefirot, Part 1, “Table of Questions and Answers for the Meaning of the Words”: Question 26: What is “above”? Hishtavut ha Tzura (equivalence of form) of the lower one with the upper one is a “rise above.”

There are no rises and falls, nor movements to the right or left. All of this is evaluated only relative to qualities, and we are talking about their transformation, reaching the similarity of properties of the lower one and the upper one.

However, what happens when the lower one “rises” toward the upper one and becomes the same? Does it disappear completely and turn into the upper one, or does the lower one exist next to the upper one?

Each one is left with their desires, aspirations, and natural qualities which do not change. The matter of the will to receive remains unchanged. It is said: “The way their faces differ, their souls differ as well.” Nothing changes in a person besides the intention with which he uses all of his desires and qualities.

If we are the same in our intentions, in their level and strength, then this means that we are on the same level. If one is lower and the other is higher, this means that the intentions of one person are still weaker than the intentions of the other.

The lower one is rising toward the upper one, “becoming like Him,” but not Him Himself. Of course, the difference between them remains.

When I ascend toward the Creator by the 125 steps of the ladder of equivalence of form, I feel Him on each step, even on the smallest one, and I become attached to Him in some form. With each following step, I connect with Him and come to know Him more and more. Nevertheless, the Creator and the creature remain, as well as the connection between them, Dvekut (adhesion)—one does not disappear inside the other.

So, a “rise above” is the equalization in terms of the qualities of the lower one to the upper one. They are equalizing only in terms of their form of bestowal, while each one remains with their natural qualities.
From the 3rd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 6/22/2011, Talmud Eser Sefirot

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Defining The Terms Is Key To The Study Of Kabbalah

Dr. Michael LaitmanAt the end of “The Introduction to The Study of the Ten Sefirot,” Item 156, Baal HaSulam writes that adopting the right definitions is of primary and paramount importance in the study of Kabbalah. They must be at our disposal, placed in our mind as if on book shelves so that I can pick out the right term without even thinking how I need to understand, to feel, and to picture the meaning concealed behind each word in the text.

Otherwise, I will be confusing myself and generating in myself the wrong impression and perception, which doesn’t correspond to the truth. This is a very important key to studying the wisdom of Kabbalah. If you do not correctly decipher what is written, you will become completely confused.

We are not studying for the purpose of getting to know how many angels there are in the sky and what their names are, and we are not memorizing which spiritual objects (Partzufim) exist somewhere out there. We need to apprehend that everything that has been written about is inside of us, inside our soul, which we have not revealed yet.

Let this spiritual system be concealed from us for now, but it is inside of us and not somewhere out there. We are not talking about angels in the sky, but about man’s inner forces. Everything is inside man, and there is nothing else besides him. It only seems to us that other people exist around us, but in reality, all of them are parts of myself. That is why the phrase of “love thy neighbor as thyself” seems to be speaking about another person until you come to understand that this is actually you, yourself, and everything belongs to you.

Kabbalistic terms need to be known by memory, meaning that you need to be attached to their true spiritual meaning and not to imagine it in your current perception. When I come across words like “sun,” “moon,” “up,” “down,” “entering,” and “leaving” of the Light, all of the most technical terms, and even the ones that are barely related to this world, I still need to check myself as to whether I am keeping to the right definitions. This will eliminate 99% of all confusion and mistakes.

Furthermore, I will not need a lot of long explanations if I adopt the correct definitions. That is why it is so important to study the appendices to each chapter of The Study of the Ten Sefirot: Table of Questions and Answers for the Meaning of the Words.” This is even more important than studying the main text of the book.

Even though we cannot remember all of these definitions yet, to understand and to feel them, we at least we need to look at how these spiritual definitions differ from those inside of us because we  usually already have a certain material picture about each of the words and concepts.
From the 3rd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 6/20/2011, Talmud Eser Sefirot

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Clarifying The Women’s Desire

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: If all of the desires keep changing and taking on different shades, must I long for something specific, or do I need to strengthen the desire in the form closest to me at the moment?

Answer: No, the women’s desire must be formed into a collective, aggregate, integral women’s desire aimed precisely at the goal. Each woman must analyze the desires inside of her and aim them at the goal to the maximum, as much as it is possible at any given level, in each state she finds herself in.

However, after these desires are basically formed, they must be felt by the men. And men will undoubtedly feel them since they are built this way; they gradually feel the women’s desire. This is like in a family where the wife may not say even one word to her husband, but he feels how she is quietly pushing on him, as if pointing, wanting, and waiting for something from him. He feels this, and he will not relax until he fulfills her desire. In some way he eventually must resolve it.

In the same way, the men should feel this from the women, and the women must constantly work on crystallizing in themselves a more and more definite desire.
From the 2nd lesson at the Moscow Convention 6/10/11

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The Catalyst Of The Spiritual Desire

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: How can people who don’t feel any aspiration for spirituality be able to reach it if this requires a latent memory about it, a forgotten taste? Why do they suffer uselessly?

Answer: People do suffer uselessly, and that is why we have to bring to them the method of development without the blows. Then even if a person does not have spiritual genes (information about previous states), he will receive them from others thanks to the mutual inclusion.

It’s like in our world when you are resting in an armchair in front of the TV with a cup of coffee, watching a soccer game, and you think that you don’t need anything more. But suddenly they show you some commercial that convinces you that you absolutely need some object. You immediately forget all about soccer and start thinking about how to buy that thing. The advertisement takes away your sense of tranquility and awakens your desires.

We do not understand just how dependent we are on the influence of the environment. If we did not have that influence, we would be like animals in a forest. After all, according to the desires of our bodies, we don’t need anything besides the vital necessities.

Everything that is beyond the boundaries of necessity are things we wish for only due to the influence of society, which pressures me and convinces me that I need one thing, and another, and a third, and then I feel like I have to obtain those things.

If from every direction, via all the means of mass information, society now starts telling me that I need spirituality, then besides the simple necessities of this animate body, all I will need is spirituality. This is all we have to do—place ourselves under the influence of the right environment. And I don’t need anything else! It’s not necessary for the spiritual gene to awaken in me because the external environment will perform all of that work.

Spiritual genes awaken in special people who suddenly receive that kind of infusion from above and dash forward. This is special care from above. But others have to develop only by virtue of the environment.

Therefore, if we don’t build the right environment around all of humanity, if we don’t disseminate this knowledge across the whole world, then the world will have to advance only by the price of enormous suffering.
From the 3rd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 6/24/11, “General Introduction to the Book, Panim Meirot uMasbirot”

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Be Wise And Naive At The Same Time

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: What do we need in order to realize that all the problems and blows that we experience in this life are, in fact, the Creator’s messengers?

Answer: We need the opinion of the environment, public pressure. It is necessary to link the two opposites: on one hand, to feel strong fear and on the other, to be a hero, to simultaneously be both very naive and very smart, depending on what is being discussed.

We usually get confused between them. When we should be naïve, to lower our heads, and just trust, we act like a “smart aleck” and take pride in it. When we should be clever, we act like fools.

A great deal of our energy and time is consumed until a person gets straightened out. Sometimes, a tiny little mistake made in only a moment or over a few days costs us ten or twenty years of hard work.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 6/26/2011, Writings of Baal HaSulam

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Correction In Word And In Practice

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: Why is it that I understand what needs to be done, but I don’t always have the strength to remain dedicated to the goal?

Answer: This is because understanding happens only in reason, whereas a dedicated attitude toward unification and connection must be in the desire. However, reason and desire are two different things. I can say lots of smart and great things with my mouth. My mind would agree with all of them, but I cannot find the desire within to carry out even the simplest action.

The desire requires correction, and in order to correct it, first of all, I have to annul myself before the friends so as to receive through them the Light that Reforms, provided that we study correctly in the right group. Then, in this partially corrected desire, I’ll be able to carry out some tiny action.

From my head, I can talk about the highest possible states even now, but in order to manifest them within the desire, I need to labor hard and persistently. I still need to find the form in which to draw the Light that Reforms and how to accept and use it correctly. Words are not enough for this.

There are plenty of wise guys in this world if you only judge by words. It is said: “Believe the wisdom of the nations,” but the difference between a “nation of the world” within man and “Israel” (aimed “straight to the Creator”) is that the former only understands with reason the entire spiritual world; it doesn’t want to correct itself. However, “Israel,” aimed straight to the Creator, corrects its desires.

These two parts may contradict one another completely. A person may appear to be an angel in terms of what he says by showing thorough knowledge and a strong grasp of the theory.  (Like the “Kabbalists” that Baal HaSulam once met in Jerusalem did who knew all the books by heart.)
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 6/26/2011, Writings of Baal HaSulam

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Resurrecting The Body Or The Soul?

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: It is written that we must feel spirituality to such an extent that “all bones will speak.” But if a person died and no bones are left, how will he feel spirituality then?

Answer: This passage speaks about man’s spiritual vessels regarded as “brain-bones-tendons-flesh-skin,” the five spiritual degrees. We have to come to a spiritual state which can be described as “all bones will speak.”

This is a revelation in a very powerful, internal spiritual vessel of the “bones,” the vessel for the Light of Hochma (Wisdom), which already contains “marrow” (the Light of Hochma). “All bones will speak” is an action when the spiritual vessel, “bones,” which contains the Light of Hochma in it, eventually reveals this Light in the “tendons,” Bina, an even more external vessel.

I wish you this kind of revelation! As to the corporeal bones, don’t worry about them; we know exactly how they end.

Try to perceive the materials we read not in their corporeal, but authentic sense. We read books that talk about the soul, not about our biological body. The body is regarded as “matter” or “a donkey” (Homer), and its fate is the same as that of all other animals who live and die.

But for as long as it lives, we ought to manage to revive our spiritual body: to resurrect it from the dead. If the soul is dead at the moment, revive it! Draw the Light to it that will breathe life into it.
From the 3rd part of the Daily Kabbalah World 6/24/2011, General Introduction to the Book, Panim Meirot uMasbirot

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The Safest Place On Earth

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: The external society is constantly goading me on with threats of humiliation and harm to my Self. Feeling this “knife” pointed at my throat, I cannot stop chasing after material things. Why don’t I feel the same in the group?

Answer: Indeed, in certain predicaments, a person desires to be “pricked” by some external stimulus since he is unable to wake up on his own. But such an approach is incorrect. Only when a person is unable to arrange a necessary “disturbance” by employing the group and the books, only then he will feel the “knife at his throat.” However, if he knows how to arrange it, then he is given some time, then some more, and some more. Besides, the group is also supposed to take care of a person and be responsible for waking him up.

On the whole, there are two ways for us to evolve: through suffering or the power of the Torah. It depends on my interconnection with the group: how much I put in and receive from it in return.

I need to keep receiving guarantee and assurance from the friends. Essentially, I am supposed to feel like a baby in his mother’s arms. There is no safer place in the world than that, is there? A baby calms down in the mother’s arms; he doesn’t want to be placed in the crib or anywhere else, but only to remain in the place where trouble doesn’t exist by definition.

This is mutual devotion; it is natural both in the baby and in the mother. They are programmed by nature, whereas we must achieve this above our nature. Imagine: The group, like a baby, is in your arms, while you, like a baby, are in the arms of the group.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah World 6/24/2011, “The Freedom”

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Kabbalists On The Nature Of Man And The Nature Of The Creator, Part 10

Dr. Michael LaitmanDear Friends, please ask questions about these passages from the great Kabbalists. The commentaries in brackets are mine.

The Superiority of Man to the Beast

All animals completely rely on nature and are utterly incapable of progressing beyond nature, meaning beyond the qualities they are created with. Man, however, has been gifted with the power of thought. Using this power, he gradually becomes free of the chains of his nature and develops it from reception to bestowal. His task is to take example from nature and act like it.

He does not wait for nature to give him chicks, for the hen to come and incubate the eggs. Instead, he builds a machine that incubates the eggs and hatches chicks for him, just as the natural hen. Having learned about the purpose of his development, man does not wait for nature to bring him to similarity to the Creator by the slow and evil path of suffering, but rather hastens and betters his development by the power of Light.
– Baal HaSulam, “The Nation

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