Question: Our task is to transform common people’s routine desires into a plea to the Creator. How do we do that?
Answer: A mother clearly understands why her baby is crying, although the baby does not realize why he cries. The same principle applies here: We have to transform people’s desires, otherwise they won’t match the Light. People cry about troubles in their material lives, but the Light won’t respond to their complaints since He was the one who created them.
It is said: “Come to Pharaoh since I hardened his heart.” It’s the Creator who arranges our troubles and I cannot ask Him to release us from hardships, why then would He have sent them? We have to refer to Him with a different request—our appeal to help us rise above our woes and allow us to choose going through anguishes because only by doing so can we perceive Him. This is how we rise to bestowal beyond receiving.
But we are incapable of achieving this state! We are deeply sunk in egoism; we suffer; we strive to at least rid ourselves of pain as we are unable to sense enjoyment.
We should demand from Him: “Give me the power that allows me to stay above my pain.” We particularly need to be aware of our unwillingness to experience pain and our desire to stay above it: Let my body suffer, but I still can be a step higher than my body; affliction will help me escape my egoistic desires. If suffering vanishes, I will return to the Pharaoh; however, if affliction persists, I will do anything in my power to try to avoid pain.
So, suffering is a necessary prerequisite to make me run away from the Pharaoh, from my egoism. But where do I run? I beg the Creator for deliverance: “Give me a chance to escape and rise above the Pharaoh.” Even though I deal with a tiny part of the common evil, this is the kind of work that I have to do consciously. My job is not to stay a miserable animal, but rather to rise to the level of a human being. I have to realize that the human is higher than the animate level. We should draw a rigid and obvious line of separation between these two states.
- The animal in me suffers. Let it suffer! It’s just my egoism, it’s Pharaoh, with all its pain and darkness that thickens to the degree of the “Egyptian darkness.”
- I am above suffering striving for bestowal.
But where do I get energy to accomplish this? I am so weak that I run away from the slightest pain. The more I advance spiritually, the more sensitive I become, and things that were quite easy for me previously turn out to be unbearable. I cannot tolerate anything at all, even physical trouble.
This is what we work diligently with: We strive to rise above our desires through which we tend to suffer more and more. We find Egyptian darkness in the place where there previously was the Light, but in fact nothing changes except our assessment of events.
This is how “good” Pharaoh becomes “bad”; a bright sunny day turns into unbearable darkness.
Such a state seems exceedingly dreary and gloomy to us; we have to rise above the growing pain and regard suffering as help.
It is said that “Pharaoh brings the sons of Israel to deliverance,” but only on the condition that they really strive to get elevated above their egoism.
They understand that affliction helps them rise above their troubles and separate themselves from egoism since nobody is able to voluntarily approach suffering; instinctively, people retreat from trouble as far away as possible.
So, the Pharaoh helps me by pushing me away, whereas the Creator helps me by hardening the heart of the Pharaoh. My task is to ask the Creator to grant me power to stay above and to regard bestowal more important than receiving.
Otherwise, I will simply be crying out in pain like a person who is not focused on growing and instead sobs about the multiple problems in his life. This is what we see today while the humanity is going through a crisis. People have nowhere to go; they are helpless, and therefore, they don’t want to know anything, “Give us an anti-depressant, alcohol, painkillers, sedatives, drugs” – whatever helps them disconnect from their pain.
We ask the Creator to keep us above our pain so it doesn’t deafen us, but rather, gives us another shape. Our work is to plead: “Give me a chance to bestow and enjoy it.” We shouldn’t bestow for the sake of receiving; we have to learn how to enjoy bestowal. If we do, we’ll go beyond knowledge, and attain bestowal for the sake of bestowal, thus acquiring contentment through a great sense of belonging rather than through fulfilling our egoism. It doesn’t matter if we suffer within our egoistic desires; we enjoy in our sense of belonging to Him. Those are two different kinds of vessels. Similarly, people in this world are proud and enjoy serving those who they consider worthy and great.
This is how we prepare ourselves; others will follow. In fact, an enormous desire to be pleased hides behind the “façade” of our civilization. Our goal is to correct this desire; otherwise, people will continue to suffer uselessly.
From the 2nd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 4/9/12, “Questions and Answers Regarding the Brazil Congress”