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Baal HaSulam, “Introduction to the Study of the Ten Sefirot,” Item 59: Hence, when one is granted repentance from fear… now he evidently sees that there is Providence of reward and punishment. It is clear to him that all the suffering he had ever felt was a punishment from His Providence for the sins he had committed.
Why is Providence being revealed to us? It is because it cannot spoil us. Each time we get an adequate measure of concealment that prevents us from blaming the Creator and His Providence within our desires that were initially destroyed and by doing so, we descend even more.
The step that is good for us is being concealed from us for our own protection. Just like parents who “diminish” their love to their children and start demanding more from them. They demonstrate “cruelty, insolence and stubbornness” to the extent that the wellbeing of the child requires. They regret that they have to “limit” their love, but there is no other way. This is called “suffering of Shechina” which has to be concealed from the lower ones.
However, when a person reveals His Providence, which is based on reward and punishment, he rids himself of any limitations. Now, he can misbehave like a child who suddenly realizes that his parents love him unconditionally and endlessly and that’s why he drops all barriers.
Kabbalists wrote a lot about this situation. As it is said, “The one who spares the rod hates his offspring.” It is essential to use rigidness and perseverance while constantly balancing between judgment and mercy.
The Creator has to conceal Himself from those who have receiving desires. He can open Himself only to bestowing desires, although, it is true only in regards to His Providence rather than to the Lights. By all means, it is also the Light, but it deals with intelligence rather than with feelings.
This stage is the starting point of human development. It should be clear to us that we advance only while acquiring the correct screens and powers. Thanks to them, if the Creator manifests Himself as absolute goodness and is ready to fulfill all of our desires, we won’t lose our independence. At the time of concealment we protect ourselves, and even more so.
When we were in concealment, we had nothing to “steal”; now, we have something to steal and should hold back from doing so. While in concealment, we don’t regard the Creator as good and benevolent. Our duty is to prevent ourselves from being spoiled by this sensation. It’s prohibited to undermine one’s fear because of the Creator’s abundance and our attitude towards the Creator. On the contrary, our fear has to continue growing: “Will we be able to give to the Creator at such a high level? Are we capable of rising above everything that is being revealed to us?”
Revelation of the Creator weakens us greatly since it compliments desire. It’s as if the Creator tells us: “Do whatever you want. There are no restrictions. You are welcome to have half of the kingdom or the whole kingdom.” This is where the problem lies: Are we capable of avoiding such confusion?
The most important thing is not pleasure, but rather illusion and complete disarray. All of a sudden we soared into the skies: “Everything is fine; we can do whatever we want; it’s easy! Previously, we didn’t realize that everything came directly from the Creator and was permeated with love. Moreover, we are in complete agreement with Him and He indulges us in our caprices…” That’s where we can get into trouble.
That’s why we have to constantly work on our desires until we reach the level of bestowal. When the Creator reveals Himself to us, we still carry on our path. However, this completely wide-open revelation” is only a trick, an invitation to the wrong side to us to continue expanding the screen and using ingenuity against the evil inclination, against Pharaoh.
It’s as if the Creator and Pharaoh approached us together as in the “Scroll of Esther,” where it is even harder to tell who the Creator is and who the Ahasuerus (the king) is. The king supports Haman, while Mordechai sits at the gates in the street, and we don’t know for sure which of them is right.
At times like this, we cannot endure without the right environment that evokes us to life.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 1/26/12, “Introduction to the Study of the Ten Sefirot”
Answer: It is better if you do both, but you cannot accomplish it at once. It takes a long time. It is similar to working with some novel device or entering a new society. Initially, we don’t know anything about them. We start exploring their behavioral patterns and reactions to the environment and eventually analyze the initial data and our impressions; we figure out what impacts this mechanism and what doesn’t.
Gradually, we begin to sense the nuances of the system; we learn how it reacts to external factors. It doesn’t matter whether it is a human society, a family, a person, or a machine. All systems react to external influences.
When we study the upper system: Aba ve Ima, ZON, worlds of BYA, and Atzilut, we gradually start assigning our own properties to them under the influence of the surrounding Light. We can tell the difference between Aba ve Ima (Father and Mother) and ZON, which occupies a position that is lower than Aba ve Ima or the worlds of BYA; we distinguish between right and left lines, and recognize Arich Anpin with its “brain partitions” and “hidden intelligence.”
We begin sensing definitions. It’s as if we know people that belong to a certain group or as if we connect a familiar person with a concrete sensation: pleasant or unpleasant, intimidating or not.
When we get to know The Zohar and other Kabbalistic books, we link Kabbalistic notions of internal and external nature with our own sensations. Thus, we begin to assemble all images into one picture, no matter what we read: a weekly chapter of the Torah, “Study of the Ten Sefirot,” or The Book of Zohar, which is written in an allegorical language. We start collecting all images into one picture.
It’s about the upper system to which we belong and its influence upon us. It doesn’t matter what time and place we are talking about: Egyptian slavery, wandering in the desert (as described in the Torah), shattering of the worlds, or correction described in the “Study of the Ten Sefirot.”
Not only do we start to understand that all sources talk about parallel events, only using different languages; we also begin to connect them to ourselves. First, we thought that everything was outside of us and that some upper system was somewhere else, whereas we are here in this world. But later, our self-vision starts to differ and we recognize that everything is within us and about us. The whole Torah is instruction (Orah) that helps us enter the authentic system in order to avoid the state of unconsciousness and keep us away from the condition of living without any clue of where we really are. This is how a person gradually advances.
When we open The Zohar or any other Kabbalistic book (The Study of the Ten Sefirot, Tanakh, Midrash, or Psalms), it depends only on the person and his in-depth sensation that all these sources speak about him, the Creator, and the buffer that connects them together, that is, the world, humankind, the group, and our teachers, the great Kabbalists, the authors of the books that connect us with spirituality.
Then, it doesn’t matter what “language” we are using and what style we cling to; all that matters is whether we have enough time and a suitable place for authentic actions. We feel that we stand across from the system that facilitates revelation of the Creator to us. This system is both external and internal and the Creator stays inside of it until “Israel” (the people), the Torah, and the Creator connect into one whole as all of us always strove to attain.
It will come gradually.
From the 2nd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 1/26/12, The Zohar
Answer: This is true, but we shouldn’t overlook the initial principle that states that the only thing we have to do is work on our desires and demands; the result will come from Above. It doesn’t make a difference if we face even a thousand confusing situations. All we do is prepare a desire for each state.
There is total confusion around us; we cannot trace internal connections and don’t understand a thing. We don’t have to understand: All we have to do is to want. We are not obligated to comprehend the situation and assemble fragments of the whole picture into one. Our task is to want to connect them together with the help of the Light that reforms. The more confusion there is, the better.
If we regard our work incorrectly, it seems that we don’t advance at all. We get more and more confused and frustrated; looking back, we are frightened by events in recent years, and looking forward, we don’t see even a glimmer of hope. Rabash once told me: “If at the time you leave a lesson you don’t feel more empty than the day before, it means that the lesson was unsuccessful.”
The lesson should end with a sensation that we don’t have anything. “What do I do?!”—I cry out. My cry has to resound.
From the 3rd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 1/26/12, “Study of the Ten Sefirot”
Answer: A good indicator is one’s discovery of the deficiency from which the spiritual Kli (vessel) is constructed. As it is written, “God will complete for my sake.” This means that, in response to this deficiency, the attribute of bestowal will truly arrive. Through it, our spiritual Kli will be filled.
We were given the initial Kli, HaVaYaH, about which it is said, “I the Lord do not change (Ani HaVaYaH lo Shiniti),” “Yod-Hey-Vav-Hey,” or the four stages of the direct Light. We can broaden it only by attaining the root through the tip of the “Yod” through which all of the HaVaYaH is filled to the same extent to which we open to Her the place of fulfillment, our deficiency.
The fulfillment is measured by the extent of bestowal that is acquired by this HaVaYaH (Yesod of Neshama – foundation of the soul). The soul (Neshama) is filled with the letters: “Yod-Vav-Dalet” (the complete spelling of the letter “Yod”), “Vav-Yod-Vav” (the complete spelling of the letter “Vav”), “Hey-Yod” (the spelling of the letter ”Hey”), and so on.
How can the Kli of HaVaYaH, the “skeleton” of the soul, be filled with letters? After all, the letters are also Kelim. Does that mean that I seemingly fill a pail with empty cups? Is that called filling? I wanted to be filled by the Light! The bestowal that the Kli acquires is specifically called the Light. It fills it, and it doesn’t need anything else.
Therefore, the acquiring of deficiency for the desire to bestow is the essential preparation of the person himself. When the desire to bestow arrives, it will fill the Kli with longing for bestowal, for love. There is no other filling: only this!
When a person is filled with the attribute of bestowal, he studies the Creator, the upper force, and becomes like Him. It is especially in this that he feels the fulfillment, that is to say, the filling is the Masach (screen) and the returning Light.
This is what we need to long for, to prepare for. All the work is just for this purpose. The main problem is not to become confused and not to replace the real fulfillment from bestowal, from the desire to bestow, the desire to love, with other fillings. No other fulfillment is able to give us more from this corporeal life than the very “small candle” and the awakening to spiritual life, meaning a kind of weak luminescence that stimulates the desire to receive and forces it to search for real fulfillment.
Therefore, all of our work is to search for the correct deficiency, and thanks to it, we become familiar with the Creator. That is what we can add to His work.
The Creator created the desire to receive, and we add to this desire our new correct form. We take this raw material and sculpt from it what seems to us as good and correct. Thus, we complete the creation.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 1/30/12, Writings of Baal HaSulam
If I feel indifference toward the friends and nothing disturbs me, it is a sign that I haven’t begun to discover hate and certainly not love. However, if I already feel repelled by them, it is the influence of the upper light that is shining on me to show me my evil, my ego.
Not everyone is ready for this kind of work: It is possible that a person may connect with others and feel good; it’s pleasant, it’s interesting to go to the desert with everyone with all that hugging, and he doesn’t feel any hate. Hate can only be revealed by the Light that reforms.
Does it surprise you that this is the way It reforms you? Yes, this is the way to Him.
It is important not to despair that you have discovered hate that repels you. Don’t shout, “Where is my advancement? What kind of reward is this for my efforts?”
If you continue despite everything, if you want to connect with the friends because there is no other choice and Kabbalists advise you to do so, if you annul yourself, then you will understand that it is possible to reach bestowal and the revelation of the Creator only through connection. But you see that by yourself, you cannot connect and then you realize that connection is only possible with the help of the Surrounding Light.
The hatred towards the friends also comes from the Light, but this happens without our request. It is the revelation of evil. In order to correct it, a person must relate to the upper force purposefully and ask It to be revealed so that we will have the opportunity to connect with others.
There are many ascents and descents, disappointments, and a long period of helplessness on this path when you can’t annul yourself or turn either way. We are purposefully being exhausted this way until eventually the Light from Above comes to help us, and we begin to appreciate the friends. Here too you should check whether you appreciate them for no reason or whether you appreciate them because you appreciate the Creator.
Israel, the Torah, and the Creator should always be joined into one, and then this aims you in the right direction. Israel (you) is full of hate; the Torah (the upper Light) reforms you, helping you build the love on top of the hate. And then in the middle line, when you correctly connect the right and the left, you reveal the Creator and it all merges together into one.
This is the focus of our work.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 1/31/12, Writings of Rabash
At certain moments we are able to feel a yearning for bestowal, for giving, for closeness, for embracing, for the unity of the hearts, but the next moment we cool down. This is because we are not corrected, and our impression comes from the ego.
The ego agrees to give in for a moment and adhere to another egoistically to feel the connection. Then, I feel proud that I managed to connect, and this is what holds me. However, a minute later a new Reshimo (reminiscence) cools down my enthusiasm.
Sometimes, a person is ready to jump off the tenth floor. For a moment, he is ready to do anything due to the despair he feels in his broken heart, but the next second he already regrets it and begins to think logically. It happens this way because it stems from the one and only egoistic desire a person has.
How can we be in the corrected state for a longer period of time, both in mind and heart, and not regret the decision we took, even though it is higher than us and against our nature? How can we consciously throw ourselves as if we were stepping out of the tenth floor into open air, and, while hanging in the air, know what is happening to us, be ready for it and want it to happen?
This isn’t a rash, crazy step coming from the despair of a broken heart, but from a clear, rational decision. This can only be done if you have another force, the force of bestowal, acting against the force of receiving. The Light that influences a person enables him to hold himself this way and to reach an informed decision.
A spiritual action never takes place according to the heart’s desire alone; it should be deliberate, calculated in both the heart and the mind. The more the upper Light operates and shines upon a person, the more he is able to make the right decision, giving his own life, his soul, and, at the same time, sticking to the decision for a long time, until he completes that level and rises to the next level.
With regard to the present level, he will never change his decision. When the next level comes and a desire grows, he will fall and rise again to the next state. The sign for such advancement is a constant feeling of happiness.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 1/29/12, Writings of Rabash
We want to prepare for a congress in the Arava desert, if it will take place. After all, we can’t designate dates for congresses according to the calendar, but only according to our readiness. Thus, every day during this month before the congress, we must assess ourselves: Are we really ready to go and attack?
Let’s use a tailor as an example. He receives orders from people, and sews pants, shirts and hats for them. This is the way he earns a living, and it is enough for his sustenance. Is it worthwhile for him to advertise himself, or not? If he is a good tailor and can show off his work, it is worthwhile to promote himself.
However, if he doesn’t prepare the right advertising slogans, doesn’t know exactly how to sell himself, and isn’t confident of success, then it’s preferable for him just to keep quiet and remain as is. After all, if he advertises himself knowing that his work isn’t very good, then he won’t even earn the same living that he earned before.
Therefore we need to think hard before we are going to take a leap, to grow spiritually: Do we have the means in hand in order to rise, or not; do we have the deficiency, the need, the readiness? Are we equipped to go out to attack?
From the 2nd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 1/30/12, The Zohar
Answer: The message cannot be heard in a vacuum. There must be “air,” the attention of the hearts, through which the sound waves are transmitted. Otherwise, you’re just silently opening your mouth and no sound comes out. The desire that can pick up your words and carry them to a distance isn’t ready yet. This is the whole problem.
So what can we do so that this desire will appear? We can distribute our materials in the streets and at the events we hold, which is what we do, but this is not enough. It isn’t by chance that Kabbalists kept quiet until our time, until the egoistic desire started taking on the form of the general crisis. It wasn’t even a prohibition, but simply an inability to communicate something to the people.
Even if the wisdom of Kabbalah were opened before them, they wouldn’t have seen anything. Using the example of current events, we have been talking about the problem of unemployment for a long time, but only now it is beginning to emerge. Everything is delayed; we are always ahead of things.
We can only make efforts to do our best in dissemination, making sure that it doesn’t turn into “unripe fruit.” Everything must happen all in its time, so that people will understand our ideas correctly. Otherwise they will have the impression that it is just empty talk.
Therefore we should wait a while. We don’t want them to suffer, of course, but still the serious problems must reach the headlines, so that we can come out with our ideas. People need to hear from us what they are ready to hear.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 2/1/12, “Introduction to the Study of the Ten Sefirot”