Baal HaSulam, Letter 38: In former times, an attainment of the Creator had to be preceded by all seven external sciences and horrible self-torture. And despite all of that, a few have found favor in the eyes of the Creator. However, since we have received the teachings of the Ari and the services of Baal Shem Tov, it is truly equally available to everyone and the above mentioned preparatory stages are no longer necessary.
We don’t know how and to what extent a time of the material world corresponds to a spiritual time, the processes of descent and subsequent ascent when the vessels, the desires, begin to gather into one whole. But of course, the closer we get to completion, the more people are able to open the gates of holiness, the gates of bestowal. They resort to the help from ancestors who thoroughly explored the spiritual system, established themselves and fixed connections in it. So, step by step, going in circles one after another, generations ascend the steps of the wide staircase. Each of them goes farther, and some people make generations ascend a few steps in a row. This is a complicated process.
At the current stage, the thrust towards disclosure of the Creator embraces the whole masses. However, we must understand the immutability of spiritual laws. The Creator doesn’t sacrifice them, and thus, we also need to comply with the terms of ascent, albeit at a different level, according to the current state. Here comes the mutual guarantee, rejection of egoism, and striving in the right line in order to rise above the left line in unity and cohesion, thus trying to build a model of the higher world to the extent we are able to understand it. So we’ll move forward.
Baal HaSulam brings an example of a king who needs to move his treasury from one place to the other. All of his subjects are egoists; they wouldn’t be able to resist the temptation and certainly would steal any amount of money exceeding their ability to resist. Therefore, the king gives a penny to everyone, which doesn’t make sense to steal because royal prestige in their eyes is more valuable. Thus they move the treasure without losing it.
And we are the same. Though it is not the most worthy “fact of our biography,” nevertheless it is a fact. Let’s hope we will be able to bring our penny, and first of all, recognize it as a start. The majority of our work is dedicated to that—to figure out what our goal is and what it means to “find favor in the eyes of the Creator,” which means bestowing to Him, and how to come to such a request, raising it above all the others. After all, by overcoming them, we create a longing for the Creator and build His image.
All of that is done by many ministers of the King who carry pieces of His treasury through many intermediate stages like circuits, from one state to the other. In fact, it is a great way to go if we accept it as a precept of the King. After all, He enjoys every little step we take, each state, as parents enjoy seeing their children’s efforts.
It is necessary to stay on the course, but to remember about the King’s joy and to try to please Him at each stage, here and now, even in the smallest detail, on the lowest level. Indeed, there is nothing low in His eyes. He sends me all the states. And if I somehow try bringing pleasure to Him, that is enough.
That’s why people going in the right direction on the path always feel joy and ascent. We need to check ourselves: Where do descents should come from if everything is arranged from above? The Creator creates each state, and only one thing depends on me: to respond with understanding and feeling or at least with the awareness of the Creator standing behind the current circumstances. Then I can assert myself in giving to Him every second.
In fact, there are no despicable and unpleasant states in our work, if I take them internally from the hands of the Creator who teaches me. Just like the slave, from another parable by Baal HaSulam, who fought a war against the king’s minister who deliberately presented himself in different enemy disguises. Here we have the same story, and most importantly, do not forget that all our states at every moment in life come from the Creator. If we attain this level, then we will be able to perceive what is happening and react to it properly.
Let’s try to unite with the spirit of our ancestors: Ari, Rabash, Baal HaSulam, and others. Let’s not forget about that and help each other in devoting every moment to the service of the Creator.
It is possible. You are already capable of many things. You’ve made some great steps, and now the question is in something else—in pride. Of course, it comes from the Creator as well, and yet, how do we not indulge in it?
From a Conversation During the Meal Commemorating the Death of the Ari 7/25/12