Using Obstacles For Our Benefit

Dr. Michael LaitmanWhat is the purpose of unity in the group and love of friends? We receive more and more obstacles, and we must connect them to the general jigsaw of unity. Each time we are aware that everything comes from Him, “There is none else beside Him,” “Israel, Torah, and the Creator are One.”

When we come to this, we see that we’re given huge help because it acts as part of reality for our benefit. We have the friends, the group, and together we can constantly connect everything that is happening to us to the unity of the Creator. Each one of us supports the others, and together we try to connect our aspirations in order to treat the Creator more objectively, while the general desire is constantly growing and being corrected.

In this case, I won’t be puzzled as to why I need the friends, unity, the group, and love towards the neighbor. Without this, I simply would not be able to solve the problems of connection between the Creator and myself.

This game is wonderful. As Baal HaSulam wrote in Letter 1, The truth is that all the wars in this exile are a truly wonderful sight, and all they bring is good. Elsewhere he gives the example of the ascent to the king’s palace. We constantly experience the sudden shifts and changes in this game, at times feeling the unity for a few minutes, then breaking into pieces and recollecting ourselves into one whole, on and on.

Working with obstacles is the main element of our work. First, we neutralize them, because one cannot sense the unity while sensing the obstacles. I just cancel them, in order to forget everything and connect with my friends. This is the smallest degree, the conception (Ibur).

Then I get obstacles of a different kind; I cannot simply cancel them anymore, I cannot erase them from my perception. Now I need to learn to always remain in unity, in spite of them. Desires of bigger and bigger Aviut (coarseness) arise, which cannot possibly be eliminated, I live with them: On one hand, I feel the obstacle to unity; on the other hand, I overcome it, I rise above it and connect nevertheless. This is called infancy (Yenika).

Finally, I start using the obstacles in order to unite; this is called maturity (Gadlut).

Thus, we always work with obstacles. There is nothing to do without them. They reflect the distance between the Creator and us, and we constantly cover this distance, first by neutralizing the obstacles, then rising above them and, finally, acting in accordance with them.

So the whole process can be broken down into two parts. After the preliminary stage, during which we prepare ourselves, comes a moment when we can unite. This is the first point above the Machsom (the barrier to spirituality): We enter bestowal for the sake of bestowal. In relation to the group, it is said about this: “Anything that you hate do not do to your friend.” This is still passive unity, I’m not yet truly united with the friends, but at least I’m not harming anyone. We might not be able to bestow to each other yet, but this is the way we advance.

And then we will reach reception for the sake of bestowal—the stage of love.

So the whole work is performed with the obstacles. And that’s why the only preparation is to seek the force and the means. When a person faces a problem, he finds out what can be of benefit to him and what to push away, so that it doesn’t get in the way. This is the way we always have to prepare ourselves in terms of obstacles, neutralizing and even using them whenever possible. Thanks to them we advance, and if there is an opportunity to unite while having them—all the better.

When we truly try to start working, we see that without mutuality we cannot make a single step forward. When I face an obstacle, I cannot overcome it on my own; I will forget and run away. Only in unity with others when we create the place in which to connect, we can start using the obstacles for the benefit of this unity. We unite in spite of them, and then we succeed.

And that’s why we shouldn’t treat the obstacles as individual effects of certain individual factors. The solution to any obstacle is in greater unity between people in order to reveal a form of bestowal, and this is what’s called the Creator.
From the Arava Convention 2/24/12, Lesson #4

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