Question: Not everything that I do in life requires me to solicit help from my friends or from the Creator. However, these actions still lead me to the goal; for example, I get up in the morning and head to the congress all by myself. But there are actions I have been unsuccessfully trying to implement for 20 years now. Does it mean that these actions require applying the efforts that we talk about in the wisdom of Kabbalah?
Answer: No. If you can’t do something at all, then it’s not about your effort. Exertion is about asking to be given strength to do something. Our appeal for forces is the exertion. We apply lots of efforts, but all of them are directed towards ourselves. Efforts start when we see that we are powerless to do anything at all. Real exertions are above human powers. Only when we run out of energy, a place for exertion appears.
How can it be? Let’s say, I can lift a maximum of 100 pounds. Where is my effort here? I won’t lift more than this anyway. So, my effort is about asking for additional strength to increase the load. I did everything that was in my power: I got ready for the congress, registered, arrived, but in fact I am not there yet. We talk with friends, have joint meals, go for a walk, the weather is great, the air is clean…Are any of these actions considered to be my efforts? No! But it is only due to our efforts that we have gathered together.
Our effort is that we want to come to unity, and for that, we perform various actions. If as a result of these actions, each discovers that he did not achieve anything, if he did not rejoice, and groans and cries for salvation, it is called “We shall do and we shall hear.”
“We are ready! So give us strength!” This is what we scream about. In Kabbalah, this demand is called an effort. The Creator performs the action, not us. Our contribution is only the demand.
Question: But this is contrary to my masculinity. I literally humble myself before the Creator…
Answer: So, lower yourself a little. No big deal! Do you always have to be macho? Where you will humble yourself you will see greatness. Modesty is a great thing. Our efforts are all about our demand to be humbled. You have to “pay” your friends to have them help you achieve this.
Question: Are there any examples of this in nature? Do I humiliate a child to raise him?
Answer: No, all you do is repetitively add complications to a child’s life and set up tasks of increasing difficulty for him. As to becoming more humble, it doesn’t originate from Above. You are the one who has to come to this point. This condition emerges when you are helpless, powerless to act and unable to reach the goal. Imagine that you want to lift 400 pounds even though your limit is 350. So, you ask the Creator to help you. Does He humiliate you in this case?
Of course you did everything that was in your power: exercised a lot in order to lift 400 pounds so that you do it yourself rather than be indebted to anybody else. Yet, a spiritual path is different; here, you have to get the power of bestowal, the force of the Light, that you are still lacking. You cannot receive it if you don’t ask for it.
You have to bow your head since otherwise you won’t be able to use this force. Similarly, a young child given adult things would get hurt. The child should move ahead step by step and understand causes and possible consequences so that his knowledge and powers will be a result of his own personal experience. Otherwise, he will turn into a terrible and destructive monster with a little intellect.
Question: Why are our efforts to unite not enough for the Creator? Why does He want us to appeal to Him?
Answer: Your demand signifies that you can use the powers that He gives you correctly. If you open your bestowing vessel properly, it means that you know how to handle the force He gives you, and vice versa, the absence of the correct demand shows that you are not ready to use the Creator’s gift correctly and that it would only hurt you and others if He grants it to you.
This is the reason Plato and Aristotle were against exposing the sciences to the masses. People would acquire powers without any idea of the relationships that exist in nature, without any understanding of cause and effect, and this would lead to complete destruction
Question: So it makes no sense to carry out the actions I can do myself?
Answer: That is true. Accordingly, it is said, “Better sit and do nothing.” If humanity could only be satisfied with basic needs in food, having a family and children, then its path would be much more successful since, in this case, all their other forces would be devoted to the internal advancement and the rest would be left up to the Creator.
From the 2nd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 1/15/13, The Zohar