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After a person is awakened to spirituality, the rest of his ascent depends on the deficiency. This is the only thing he is required to do—to have a deficiency called prayer, MAN.
This is possible only when a person is grateful that he has received such a yearning. Then he increases the importance of the goal by himself; the importance of the next level. In addition, it is possible if above all this he also develops another deficiency in him, to ascend not for his own sake but in order to bring the Creator contentment. It is like the famous example of the guest who wants to please the host.
Thus he prepares himself to receive help from Above which will make his desire the right one. Even if a person doesn’t understand to what extent our account is actually egoistic, it makes no difference and for the time being this is also enough. Later he will see that his account isn’t clean. This is why the time of preparation is called Lo Lishma (Not for Her Sake).
It is a natural egoistic account and it is impossible to skip above our ego all at once. It opens up gradually to the extent we can make an effort and work against it—against things we find pleasant, against our habits, and to the extent that we are ready to step on our pride in order to connect with others.
All this isn’t simple, but if a person constantly pays attention to it, he advances. Our problem is that everyone is trying to escape and to hide in his corner, to hide behind the studying, behind the desire to know what is written, which has nothing to do with spiritual advancement and the inner correction. A person fills his mind with dry facts and neglects the work in the heart.
The work in the heart is working against the heart, in order to turn the “stony heart” into the “heart of flesh.” But we forget where our main exertion should be. Everyone finds some comfortable spot and thinks that he has found the way. Thus he descends even from Lo Lishma, since Lo Lishma is when despite being in my ego I still make some efforts to rise above it.
Where is the daily work to connect with others, to concede, to step on myself, to annul my “self,” to accept the importance of the group’s opinion, to become a slave to the mission? Can I examine myself and see the state I am in? This is called Lo Lishma.
All of Moses’ work in Egypt is an example of working in Lo Lishma. He wants to escape the enslavement, but he is afraid because he understands that he is under the domination of Pharaoh, of his ego, and he doesn’t know how to talk to him. It reaches a state that the Creator Himself takes him and brings him to Pharaoh and helps him in everything that he does.
The Creator Himself fights the Pharaoh. He says: “Come to the Pharaoh!” But in the meantime a person is afraid. He knows that the ego totally controls him and how weak he is when he confronts him. He is in a constant dilemma: On the one hand, he is ready, and the other hand he isn’t. If he could at least ask the Creator to go before him, just to hide behind Him and thus stand before the Pharaoh; but he actually doesn’t want to go and he doesn’t have the guts to turn not only to his ego but also to his own attributes, called “the nation of Israel.”
But by being in a system that connects him with Pharaoh, the Creator, and the nation he has to clarify all these connections. He cannot hide behind some theory or some work that is only a means. It is very important to clarify what Lo Lishma means.
When a person enters the state of Lishma (For Her Sake), things become clearer and more decisive. We cannot say that it gets easier, but one profits from experience. In the meantime, however, during the time of preparation, a person escapes to some corner ready to sit there until his last day. It is a great problem if the group doesn’t spur him and guide him. He has to feel that he is lower than them in order to hear what they say.
The feeling of helplessness on the one hand and the necessity to advance on the other is a state called Yomim Norai’im (the Days of Awe). A person is in a state of anxiety since he has no fear of not being able to fulfill the Creator’s desire, of not being able to allow Him to be revealed to all the created beings, of not being able to sacrifice himself for the convergence of the Creator to the created beings.
All this evokes fear in him. He really wants to fulfill this stage in practice, so that it will be called the beginning of a new year for him.
From the Preparation to the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 9/14/12
The force of Love of the Creator that from the beginning isn’t found in the created being is transferred to him in an inverted way. This is called the evil inclination. According to the measure of love with which the Creator relates to us, it enters us in a reversed way and breeds in us the force of hatred, a degree of separation. If we would invert it now, then it would turn to love.
We must transform this hate back into love. That’s all! This is called the “mountain of hatred” transforms into the “mountain of holiness.”
We work only on our intention. We don’t consider the desire since it was given to us by nature. Everything depends only on where our thoughts are directed. Thus, it doesn’t matter what a person’s desires are. They don’t depend on him. From the beginning there are Taryag (613) desires, and all of them are for the sake of reception. Man wants to take advantage of the Creator and thus it is called Pharaoh. And all of our work is in transforming this Pharaoh into a holy angel.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 9/13/12, The Zohar
Different than our corporeal world, there is no time, place, and motion in the spiritual world, but only ascents and descents in the attributes of receiving or bestowal. This is the scale we move along all the time. Our states are measured only with regard to the spiritual “worlds,” the Partzufim and the Sefirot that continue from the top down through 125 degrees.
Except for our ascents and descents, there is also the motion of the degrees themselves that can move together with us. If I am in a certain world, for example, in a certain perception of reality and it’s suddenly “upgraded”: I feel that it becomes clearer, that it is more illuminating; I receive greater powers, understandings, and discernments. All this is not regarded as my doing, but it’s a kind of “exercise” I am put through in order to show me something.
It’s like a small child who is being picked up and suddenly feels that he is big: New horizons open up before him; he can reach things that he couldn’t reach before. Then he begins to direct the one who carries him where he wants to be carried to and which doors to open. Similar behaviors come from Above and are revealed in our world. Therefore there are different ascents:
These movements are depicted to us as special times or special states. On the whole each state is special and never repeats itself; there isn’t a moment that is similar to the next. We should say that it isn’t by chance that people divided time the way it is. Clearly the days and the nights correspond to the sundial and the month is determined by the lunar calendar. But how did people decide on the division of the day into 12 daytime hours and 12 nighttime hours? The wisdom of Kabbalah explains this cycle of 24 hours divided into minutes and seconds as the result of the mutual relations between Zeir Anpin and Malchut.
On the whole, it’s about a multiplicity of different influences upon the created being, which means on Malchut, from Above. This is where the ideas of a fallow year and Yovel (Jubilee, the 50th year) come from. As well there are special states called “times” or “holidays.” They are not connected to phenomena on the still level, but are controlled by a special program. The point is that there are special roots that have to be revealed and fulfilled specifically in us and not just in the world or by some customs. These states “illuminate” for us by preparing us so that in the future we will actually receive and fulfill them.
Today we receive faint illuminations from them, but in fact these are the degrees. In the spiritual world a person ascends the degrees of “Sunday,” “Monday,” “Tuesday,” “Wednesday,” “Thursday,” “Friday,” and “the Sabbath.” He must feel these states sequentially, one after another. A spiritual day can last a couple of seconds or it may linger for several weeks. It makes no difference since the corporeal time has nothing to do with the spiritual time.
Thus the “holidays” are states, “examples,” levels to which a person rises. As a whole they are in the ascent and are fulfilled by an awakening from Above by a certain illumination that adds something to a person who has a spiritual perception. Such additions are called “Rosh Hashanah,” (the new year), “Yom Kippur,” etc.
For every such ascent that is received from Above, a special kind of work is required below, by the created being of course. It’s because he wants to use this ascent in order to correct himself and fulfill the additional affluence that has reached him, on a new level. It’s the same on the Sabbath when an awakening from Above requires special work from us. It isn’t a time of rest, but rather quite a busy day in which there are more prayers and other customs. When the Upper invites the created being to ascend to an upper level, the work during the ascent obligates the lower to perform many actions.
The first holiday is Rosh Hashanah, which symbolizes a new beginning. I want to be a human being, Adam, to resemble the Creator. This is the reason for the spiritual process that I want to go through. Thus, Rosh Hashanah is called the day of the Creation of man; this is the day on which man was created.
In corporeality it’s also reflected in a special way: 5773 years ago there lived a guy called Adam and on that day he discovered spirituality; he discovered the Creator. For the first time in history one of the two-legged creatures discovered that there is a spiritual world and the upper force. He was the first to resemble the Creator and we call him the “First Man.”
In the article “The Teaching of Kabbalah and Its Essence,” Baal HaSulam says, Adam HaRishon was the first to receive a sequence of sufficient knowledge by which to understand and to successfully maximize everything he saw and attained with his eyes. And this understanding is called the “wisdom of truth.”
Since that day, when man first identified with the Creator and fulfilled his name, which was given to him “by chance” by his parents, we count our years. This means that even our calendar is initially based on the revelation of the Creator to the created being.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 9/14/12, Customs of Rosh Hashanah
Answer: It is a sign that you haven’t prepared yourself. First, you must lower your pride, to subdue yourself to the environment, and to begin feeling that the friends are great people moving forward. While you are somewhere far behind, all alone, like a sleeping baby who was forgotten in his carriage.
Everyone has already moved forward a long way, and you, because of your pride, think that you are so special that you advanced forward by yourself. However, it isn’t so. It is they who moved forward, and you were left behind. First, you must acknowledge this. The detachment from the connection with the environment is the first reason for all the failures.
The problem is that you don’t have a deficiency, that there is no pressure. It is because you are not clarifying what is important. You constantly must make such efforts. If I constantly think about something, it becomes the most important thing for me and I don’t forget it during the study.
Besides, all the groups should work on this in order to awaken in everyone the importance of the spiritual goal. This is called the “mutual guarantee“—when we inspire one another to feel that there is nothing more important than bestowal. However, if everyone is under a kind of general anesthesia, a person cannot go against the power of the whole group, so he, too, falls asleep.
The problem is that you are used to advancing on someone else’s fuel, instead of each spurring others and then receiving from them much more that you have invested. The group should work as an amplifier of the individual passion of every individual desire.
However, I see that everyone is waiting for me to obligate this boat to move by my shouts and pressure. Without it, it is rocking on the waves, waiting to be pushed forward. The moment I stop pressuring, everyone immediately looks at me to see why I left. It is impossible to advance this way.
From the 2nd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 9/11/12, The Zohar
Baal HaSulam, “Peace in the World”: Because indeed, we have already come to such a degree that the whole world is considered one collective and one society. Meaning, because each person in the world draws his life’s marrow and his livelihood from all the people in the world, he is coerced to serve and care for the well-being of the whole world.
What was clear to Baal HaSulam almost a century ago still is unclear to people today. We have reached such a state in our evolution that we all are dependent on one another in a tight way, directly.
Question: Why is it still unclear?
Answer: See for yourself: Everyone “pulls the blanket” to his side and doesn’t understand that eventually, he is causing himself even greater harm than in any other way.
The entire point is that if I invest in the well-being of the public, I don’t see any self-benefit in it. If I take something from the public, I see a real benefit from it.
However, Baal HaSulam says the opposite: The system is already “closed.” It is “tied up” in a perfect, whole way inside itself. So, if you work for the public, you get a return that is ten times greater, and if you take from the public, your loss is ten times greater. However, we just keep on going, not understanding what is going on.
Question: What conceals the truth from me?
Answer: It is my ego. There is an integral system that is being revealed today. Actually, the system of Ein Sof (Infinity) is being revealed to us, of the Shechina, the vessel of the general soul in which we are all connected.
Up until now, let’s say until 1995, everyone grew in his private desires for ages, in the root phase and phases one, two, three, and four. Now, a person discovers that having no choice, he is connected to everyone, and everyone is connected to him.
The strings of mutual connection make a great, complicated integral system, and there is even a certain scientific field that studies this. Before, each part was not connected so tightly to the others. It developed individually, and that was the general trend. However, since the 1950’s, we have begun to feel the global trend, and today, everyone has reached his personal limit and only needs to develop in mutual connection with others. There is nothing left but that. This is the trend until the end of correction.
This means that even the egoistic benefits, at first sight, are possible only by connection, only by using connection. This is what is being revealed to us these days.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 9/11/12, “Peace in the World”