We are unable to understand what the intention “for the sake of bestowal” (Lishma) is since we are always in the desire to enjoy, opposite to bestowal. And what seems to be bestowal to us in this world is just another form of egoism pretending to bestow so that when we give to someone, we indirectly receive even more from them.
And that is why we do not understand the meaning of “Lishma,” complete bestowal without any profit for oneself. Baal HaSulam says in Shamati No. 5 (“Lishma Is an Awakening from Above, and Why Do We Need an Awakening from Below”) that it is not for the human mind to grasp how such a thing can happen in the world.
Also when a person is really working to reach bestowal, he begins to understand how unrealistic this goal is. How is it possible to stop thinking about oneself, to receive a thought, action, or desire which is directed to the “outside,” without caring about one’s own benefit? This is because one is only able to understand that he will attain something by engaging in Torah and Mitzvot. There must be self-gratification there; otherwise one is unable to do anything.
Instead, this is an illumination that comes from Above, and only one who tastes it (receives from Above) can know and understand what he has received. And therefore there is nothing to go by before this, not a simple understanding or even a slight perception of what bestowal, “Lishma,” is.
It is written about it, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” This means that first one needs to “taste,” to receive a sensation, and then one can understand.
Why then should we invest our effort and work to implement the recommendations of Kabbalists if nothing will help until the Creator gives us the other nature? Isn’t it easier to wait until you receive it?
The answer is, as our sages said, “It is not for you to complete the work, and you are not free to idle away from it.” This means that one must give the awakening from below since this is discerned as a prayer. A prayer is considered a deficiency, and without deficiency there is no fulfillment. We need to obtain a desire suitable for filling with the quality of bestowal.
But how can I ask for something that I’ve never tried or needed, something I do not have, and I know absolutely nothing about? It follows, that one’s work is needed to receive the Lishma from the Creator only in the form of a lack and a Kli (vessel). Yet, one can never attain the fulfillment alone; it is rather a gift from God.
However, the prayer must be a whole prayer, that is, from the bottom of the heart. This means that a person knows one hundred percent that there is no one in the world who can help him but the Creator Himself. Meaning that a person needs to invest all of his efforts to not receive anything, to arrive at a broken heart. Only then will he finally hear the desperation inside from all the efforts that he invested and realize that only the Creator can help him. And then the Creator hears his prayer.
See how much effort and frustration is needed in order to move from state to state, to attain a deeper understanding that I cannot, I am unable to, I do not want to! And thus, I descend step by step, penetrating ever deeper into the heart, until I reach the true prayer.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 7/5/2011, Shamati #5