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Baal HaSulam, “A Speech for the Completion of The Zohar”: We should know that spiritual matters are not like corporeal matters, where giving and receiving come as one. In spirituality, the time of giving and the time of receiving are separate. This is because first it was given from the Creator to the receiver; and in this giving He only gives him a chance to receive. However, he has not received a thing yet, until he is properly sanctified and purified. And then one is rewarded with receiving it. Thus, it may take a long time between the time of giving and the time of receiving.
Question: Why is there a disparity between the time of giving and the time of receiving?
Answer: Giving is bestowal and receiving is bestowal. But the giving prepares the “vessels” in us, the details of perception. After all, there is no concept of “time” in spirituality, but when it comes to our “matter,” to our desire to receive, the upper bestowal cannot be in contact with it.
There is a “shell” between them that keeps the dualism of their relationship—separation and mutual connection.
How does the Light reach the vessel in the first place? How can the connection between these two opposite attributes exist? There is nothing like it in our world. When fire and water come in contact, one of them annuls the other, but they both belong to one world and the inner nature that is aimed at conquering, at mutual annulment, is concealed in them.
On the other hand, when a spiritual force reaches a corporeal force, they cannot come in contact, they cannot “get to know” one another.
The first attempt to come in contact would evoke mutual annulment in them. We know about such phenomena in physics. Contact between opposites is simply impossible.
This is the reason for the “shell” that should be highly respected, which is wonderful, powerful, whole, and very complicated.
It is exactly what creates the right connection between “Holiness,” which means the attribute of bestowal, and the egoistic desire that simply wants to receive pleasure. The “shell” brings the “lie of the truth” and the “false truths” to life, what “has not been said to the end,” and “what has not been fully clarified,” as areas that “coordinate” between the poles that cannot be tied into one. We use such tricks in politics and in other fields.
So the time of giving is not the end of history. All of creation—its essence is in the difference between the time of giving and the time of receiving.
The chain of events from the top down into this world and the ascent back from the bottom up are only so that from state 1 we will reach state 3, and they are the perception of the Creator’s message to the created being. You also see how long it takes to “digest” this idea and to respond to it.
Question: According to what formula does the connection between the opposites exist? How is the string from the upper to the lower actually drawn?
Answer: If we speak about an initiative that comes from the upper, it is possible only if we annul ourselves and receive His desire as the one which determines things instead of our own desire; this is the connection.
Using the same technique, we bring different parts in contact, equalize their ranges, and use a certain link as a “coordinator” between them.
We have to create a certain place in which this equivalence takes place.
In spirituality it is the seven lower Sefirot of Bina, the “mother’s womb,” the lower third of Zeir Anpin to which Malchut connects.
We have to design this special “adaptor” which in Kabbalah is also called YESHSUT, or the system of TzeLeM.
One way or the other, the task of the two sides that are connected is for each side to annul itself in order to connect to the other. But while the upper can do that since it is perfect, the lower, being totally imperfect, attains it, accepts it, and annuls himself before the upper.
It is about simple things. In everyday life we constantly renew our place on the scale of connection and communication. In media, instruction, education, and culture the connection is built even instinctively by itself. If I want be in contact with another, I have to withdraw from my uncompromising stance to some extent, and to accept the other’s opinion.
Question: How does the lower become adapted to the giving of the upper?
Answer: The upper descends to the lower and gives him what he wants, but in this “package,” in this message, there is the whole inner force that develops the lower.
After all, the lower only wants to “fill its belly.” He doesn’t want to grow and doesn’t know what it is. But in the “milk” of the upper, which means in the Light of Hassadim, there is the “blood” that operates, the Light of Hochma that raises the baby. The lower would not be able to grow without the “blood” in the “milk.”
First, during the time of Ibur (gestation), the lower annuls himself before the upper and agrees to receive everything from Him. Then he receives the “blood”—the direct bestowal of the upper. Then the lower becomes more independent and the upper intentionally designs a system in the lower one that matches it and that is used as an adapter between them. It is exactly like the mechanism of lactation, feeding milk. In fact, it is about the same “blood,” about the Light of Hochma, but it receives the “dress of Hassadim.” Now the lower can compare the attribute of bestowal that is typical of the Creator and the attribute of receiving that is typical of the created being, and when he grows, he receives them both simultaneously.
But at this point, the lower is still small because he annuls himself with regard to the “milk,” and agrees to receive it from the upper…
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 2/10/13, “A Speech for the Completion of The Zohar”
Rabash, Letter 16:Thus, we can see that to be rewarded with Lishma (for Her Name), we first need to prepare the biggest Lo Lishma (not for Her Name), and then we can achieve Lishma. And similarly, Lo Lishma is called a “lie” and Lishma is called “truth.”
When the lie is small and the Mitzvot and good deeds are few, he has a small Lo Lishma, and then he cannot see the truth. Hence, in that state, he says that he is walking on the good and true path, meaning working Lishma.
But when he engages in Torah all day and all night in Lo Lishma, then he can see the truth, since by the accumulation of lies, his lie increases and he sees that he is indeed walking on a false path.
And then he begins to correct his actions. In other words, he feels that everything he does is only Lo Lishma. From this point, one passes to the path of truth, to Lishma.
If a person makes small effort, then by his minor actions he draws the Surrounding Light a little and so his actions do not accumulate in a short time in one place to such an extent that the Light that is drawn by them can illuminate the truth and show the person the state he is really in.
When the Light illuminates in a low intensity, a person doesn’t see the difference between himself and the Light. It adds some color to his life, some taste, some understanding and feeling, but the Light is not powerful enough that the person can see how opposite his attributes are from the Light.
Like the “four phases of the direct Light,” it is impossible to see our oppositeness from the Light until the fourth phase. We only see it in the last phase in which the created being restricts himself, an action that is opposite from his nature, and results from the false state that he has revealed.
A great deal of work is required from the group to pressure a person and motivate him, to not let him calm down, evoking envy, lust, and honor in him, and thus forcing him to do what he has to do. He needs to perform as frequently and as intensively as possible certain actions called “good deeds” that bring contentment to the Creator.
Here he needs to work with the lie and with the truth by clarifying what good deeds really are, what it means to bring contentment to the Creator, and what exactly the Creator is. When he clarifies all these questions, a person gradually advances to the critical point through which he passes from Lo Lishma (not for Its Name) to Lishma (for Its Name). This point is called the Machsom (barrier), the border of the upper world. So with the help of the Light, a person takes himself out of the state of death and brings himself to life.
All this is achieved thanks to the group pressuring all its members. Unless a person feels the group pressure, he will not be able to do anything since the Light only comes to us through the group.
From the Preparation to the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 2/10/13
Answer: It is said, “It isn’t the wise who learns.” Your understanding or your lack of understanding have nothing to do with your advancement.
Suppose there is a wise man who has read many books sitting next to you. On the other side, there is a person who isn’t very clever but who has a big heart. There are people who excel neither in their feelings, nor in their mind, and there are others who have plenty of both, but all this has nothing to do with our advancement. It doesn’t matter whether you understand the material or not. We should understand one thing only: the principles. Can you hear them? Can you evoke yourself to that?
Sometimes you may want to hear them, but you don’t. Then patience and persistence are helpful. Even if everyone has already entered spirituality and a person may be ten years behind, he actually “gains” more by acquiring the depth of the clarification, the ability to see the global picture. In short, we should be patient and persistent. The main thing is not to leave the path, to subdue yourself no matter what comes from Above. It’s because eventually the Creator determines everything and although it may not be very simple, a person gains a lot by that.
Baal HaSulam writes about that in his article “The Attribute of the General Hidden Wisdom”: The undeveloped person cannot wait for the payment for a long time. He has no patience, like a child, who wants to receive the payment now, and cannot wait for even one moment. And he chooses jobs for which he is paid immediately, even if the wages are lower. One can learn how to be a taxi driver and receive an immediate payment from the passengers without any delay. On the other hand, he can spend years studying to become a musician, for example. And a more developed person can restrain himself and choose jobs for which one is paid more, even if the payment may be much later. And we should know that this is the scale to measure the wise, since it depends on the corporeal development of every individual, and whoever can prolong the payment can get much higher wages.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 2/6/13, “A Speech for the Completion of The Zohar”
Question: I feel that during the lesson I lack the recognition of the greatness of the goal, what should I do?
Answer: On the whole, a person lacks only one thing: the right awakening that can only come from the group. What have you done about that? Have you sent letters demanding that the friends help you? Did you give them presents according to what each of them likes? You have to evoke the friends’ attention so that they will think about you, so that they will worry about whether you understand the greatness of the goal, so that that they will not forget you in their prayer…bribe them with something!
During the lesson it’s already too late to correct the corruptions. You use what you have prepared. The whole preparation is done before the lesson. The day turns to evening and the evening turns to night and a person finds himself in the dark, confused and lacking understanding. Then he prepares himself for the meeting with the Light. From midnight he rushes toward the Light by arranging his vessels, his desires. He comes to the lesson with a ready load, after having raised his requests to the Creator. He connects everything that he has to the study.
Thus, the time of the study is already the result of the events that happened during the day. Get ready, think about what seems important with regard to this, but don’t forget: Everything that you do during the lesson is a result of your activities before the lesson. Check it and you will see that it’s really so. During the moments of awakening in the morning before the lesson and during the lesson itself, you will deal with what you filled yourself the day before; everything depends on yesterdays’ preparation.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 2/6/13, “A Speech for the Completion of The Zohar”
Question: Some of the virtual groups in the US need your guidance. We, both men and women, gather in the platform TeamTalk 4, in the same folder for lessons, workshops, and other group activities. Only the names of women, not their faces, are viewed. Should it be up to the men in our groups to decide, based on their perception, whether this practice should continue? Some of them feel having the women there increases unity in our virtual group. Please provide your guidance.
Answer: There are different kinds of working together. There are those in which men, for greater efficiency, should stay separate, for example, the lessons and our workshops, which are broadcast from BB Israel. And there are those that require the collaboration of men and women: dissemination projects, discussions about life in the group, and others, which include men and women.
In the lessons and workshops, we know that even in the physical groups where men and women are present, they do not sit together, but separately. In any case, a woman’s name on the page can carry a man’s fantasy far from the topic of the lesson, not less than her photo.
That is why it is worthwhile to understand together, without hypocrisy and feigned “liberalism,” in what exactly and in what cases women’s presence can damage men’s spiritual work. I have repeatedly explained this issue. Having done this clarification, it will be easier for you to make decisions.
So, for example, then it would not be difficult to create separate “women’s” and “men’s” folders for the lessons and other occasions when it is necessary to separate the groups, but in the folders where general questions are discussed, and in general in any other case, you will not need to hide the women’s names and faces.
In the News (from Popsci): “If you need an American to do something, don’t mention the common good, team work or caring for others. A new study in Psychological Science this month found that trying to get Americans to think and act interdependently failed-and may have even decreased motivation.
“After being prompted to think about either independence or interdependence, a group of Stanford students were given difficult word puzzles to solve, and later, a physical challenge (squeezing a handgrip for as long as possible).
“’Chronically independent European Americans’ fared much worse when primed to think about interdependence while completing the task. For bicultural Asian-American students exposed to both the independence-loving culture of America and a more communally based East-Asian culture, thinking about either value set was equally motivating.
“In another test, students viewed a website about a class promoting environmental sustainability. White American students said they would put less effort into the course when the description emphasized things like working together and taking other people’s views into account, rather than when it prioritized taking charge and being unique. …
“’Currently, if we want to inspire Americans to think and act interdependently, it may work best to actually emphasize their independence to motivate them to do so,’ suggests MarYam Hamedani, one of the study’s authors. ‘Tell them, ‘Be the change you want to see in the world’ instead of ‘We’re all in this together.'”
My Comment: Awareness of individualistic egoism will occur in the USA in an acute form. In advertising independence, freedom, competition, and individualism, the whole world will manifest the process of recognizing these trends as evil and the need to correct them and will force society to change it. A person must experience much stress and the realization of evil of his nature to begin to see the world connected in a single harmony, instead of focusing on each one separately.
Answer: If I come to self-annulment as a necessary state for the first contact with the spiritual world, then there is no difference concerning to what I cancel myself. I will still be given such pictures, put before such facts, when I have to annul myself, literally “cutting my flesh.” Then, the people I hate the most will be shown to me in an uglier light and I will have to accept them as loved friends, closer than my own children.
From the Virtual Lesson 2/3/13
Question: Millions of people in the world are waiting for the Messiah. Why didn’t the Kabbalists explain from the start the meaning of the concept of “Messiah”?
Answer: It is impossible to explain that to people. I will try to explain it to you and you will try to pass it on to others.
We are in a big world, a huge reality, but we only grasp a small part of it that is called “this world.” Life and death, everything happens in this little area called “the universe.”
Everything depends on awareness. All in all, our bodies belong to the animate level, but as of today, we identify with it: feed it, wash it, and put it to bed; in short, we constantly are concerned about it.
That is the way I am built, as long as my body lives and is healthy. And if I am sick, then I feel bad, and if it dies, then I also die along with it. Since it seems to me that besides it, nothing exists.
But the time has come when we can develop our awareness and rise above the body so as not to feel life in it and see the world through it. This new, broader, higher perception is not limited by the framework of the body and is called “integral awareness.” With the help of the connection with others, I rise above my physical body, and through the connection between us I begin to feel reality in a much broader sense. It is perceived not only within my body, but also within several bodies together, in the connection between us. I feel us all as one new body.
It used to be only me, but now we are building different kinds of connection between us to the point that we begin to live a new mutual life in one system, all of us together. Instead of isolated and limited self-existence, each one feels the life of our general, spiritual body, or soul.
And the way to feel this is only now opening before us. If I feel more of what is within the soul than what exists in my physical body, then I feel myself within this new spiritual body. Actually, in both cases we are speaking about desires; even though these desires are mutual and are found “above reason,” they are already desires of bestowal. This is because I am like everyone who is found above my body that is covered by the Masach (screen).
In this way, we enter a new reality, a new world, acquire new values, and measure life and death differently, as well as health, illness, etc.
Question: Why are the instructions given to us by Kabbalists so vague? Why can’t we understand by now what we are supposed to do? What are the ways to connect with the group and bow our heads in front of our friends? All is unclear. Probably, it’s supposed to be like that, but what does this mist hide?
Answer: First of all, there is no intention to make your life miserable whatsoever. You should remember that the creation has no other way to become similar to the Creator. Not at all!
Imagine that you are an expert chef with steaks and you have received an order for a special steak. For that, you need beef from a special breed of cattle raised to a certain age that grazed in a pasture at a specific altitude, as well as spices that are made of particular plants grown in a specific area, etc. You bring forward a list of requirements because you know that otherwise you can’t make the dish.
It is similar here: The creature cannot attain similarity with the Creator on any other terms. I would say that it’s not even up to Him. Once He decided that creation had to become similar to Him, these two conditions (creation and its similarity with the Creator) automatically dictate all the rest.
First, the Creator connected creation with Himself; this is described as “the creation of the world” in which the creation disappeared. Then, He added a single point to the creation, “something out of nothing.” Then, the creature started to grow inside the Light, and from this point on everything unfolded without the Creator’s interference or participation.
Here, as a binary system, there are two positions: zero and more than a zero. In other words, the Creator and of something that sticks out of the Creator. The creature that is different, external, and opposite to Him is called “creation”; it was made as “something out of nothing.”
Everything else is developing by itself. That’s why it is said: “The end of action is incorporated in the original thought.” Besides these original conditions, the Creator doesn’t need anything at all. He made the desire to receive; the rest stems from the opposition between the Light and the vessel, the giving force and the receiving desire, the Creator and the creation, meaning a point that in essence is a little bit different than the Light. These conditions are quite sufficient.
You ask: “Why did the Creator make our life so miserable? Can’t He change anything?” The very question is incorrect, since we are not yet at the level that allows us to see the whole picture and thus justify the Creator. However, even our tiny knowledge demonstrates that an alternative path is impossible. There is love and bestowal; anything that is opposite to these notions can reach similarity with Him only in one way. This applies to all times and circumstances from the beginning of creation until the end of correction. At that point, you’ll see that everything is perfect and nothing happens “accidentally.” So far, we are still very small and immature; we are squeezed in our niche and haven’t even started to follow the path that will eventually allow us to sense these things.
It seems to us that the world is huge and it’s a little scary to us. The entire universe, all our properties and troubles, everything that fills you now is only a small particle of the real world. Even though we measure this realm in kilometers and kilograms, from the point of view of the authentic reality, it simply doesn’t exist. And yet, even from this world, which is a divergent part of “something out of nothing” we can start our journey. It’s very desirable to accelerate our speed in order to cover this path on our own.
So, there are two forces, two details of perception: the Creator and the creation that is a little different from Him. These two details determine everything there is. That’s why today you cannot receive anything else but what you are already getting. Wishful thinking doesn’t work here.
The moment creation was made, as soon as “something out of something” gave birth to “something out of nothing,” everything became subordinate to the rigid law including all “cases” of our freedom of choice. Everything is included in the law, although curtains of concealment hide this law from us. In fact, the mist is illusionary. There is no mystery here. The fog that embraces our consciousness is purely of a psychological nature and is meant to “calibrate” us correctly.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 1/31/13, “A Speech for the Completion of The Zohar”