It is really not easy to arrive at the sensation of need of true love. In our world, the only love that exists is love for one’s own self. When I love something, I want to come closer to it, bring it close to me, and fulfill myself with something. In other words, I wish to “get hold of it.” For us “love” is acquisition. “I love” means that I like the fact that it is mine—this is what the desire to receive pleasure says.
Naturally, it brings a good sensation. But we value this quality in man as if it was referring to his good qualities, which is because our entire world is made of “consumers.” We do not love anything in any other way but in our egoistic desires.
Love that Kabbalah speaks of is completely different, and we are not able to understand it well. There is the upper force that does not depend on us and that has existed before we were created, without us, that is, before the Creator had the desire to create the creature. The creature is something that exists outside this upper force, the Creator, and perceives Him.
To perceive Him means to understand, feel, and attain His qualities. To bring the creature to the point of perceiving the Creator, it was necessary to create the creature with the qualities opposite to the Creator’s: in egoistic love. And development must bring the creature to love of the Creator referred to as “love thy neighbor.” After all, no one else exists beside the Creator and the creature.
We must go through this development on our own, that is, we must feel, understand, examine, and evaluate all the details of perceiving the Creator. And at the end, we must change our egoistic love—the desire to enjoy that only allows us to perceive ourselves and encapsulates us within ourselves—to the development of perception of what exists outside of us. This is why the one external to us is called a “neighbor.” And since this perception is given to us by the Creator’s degree, position, it is referred to as the good inclination.
There is nothing beside these two states: either I perceive myself or I perceive the Creator. But this transition is absolutely not clear to us since I am absolutely separated from the second state and am unable to feel it. To help me go from perceiving myself to perceiving Him, the Creator prepared a certain illusion within my egoistic desire, my perception of myself, which gives me the feeling of not being alone.
This is why I feel like I am in an environment that is referred to as my “neighbor” and includes the still, vegetative, and animate world, and the people, that is, different creatures, different parts of creation. And I, a certain regular person, feel how I can use this environment either for my own interests or as an exercise to try to do it for the sake of the environment.
My need to act for the sake of the environment arises when my desire for the Creator awakens. I do not understand this desire yet, I do not know the Creator, and this is why I am given this exercise: Try to treat your neighbor, those who are outside of you, altruistically. This is the place where you will be able to build your love for your neighbor.
When through these exercises you will acquire new qualities and understanding and will perform multiple clarifications, then you will be able to come closer to having a connection with the Creator.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 11/29/2011, Writings of Rabash