Baal HaSulam, “A Speech for the Completion of The Zohar”: 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.
Question: How can we recognize this opportunity and use it correctly?
Answer: It has several signs, and the first is when we are not left in peace. If we don’t wake up, then what kind of chance does it give us? We usually “wake up” either in a coffee shop, or bar, or during a football match on the TV. Can we really wake up for correction if our nature is simply an egoistic desire to receive pleasure? We only wake up because of purposeful, special, and qualitative troubles.
Over thousands of years of development, humanity received plenty of simple blows. If a single generation of long-lived people had experienced this, they would look incredibly pitiful. This is why we reincarnate from generation to generation—to come namely to qualitative blows.
Today, we have food, clothes, and shelter. Each of us lives better than the kings did five hundred or a thousand years ago. Refrigerators, air conditioners, microwaves, mobile telephones, cars, or if worse comes to worst, public transportation are the attributes of our modern life. The entire world is in front of us. But not that long ago, even Europe looked very differently: People lived in terrible conditions and had inconceivable social relationships.
We all are relatively well-off. So what is lacking in our lives? We lack joy, purpose in life. What do we live for? The paradox of our life is that we have everything we need, but we hardly enjoy our existence.
Previously, it was the other way around. Had a person had a loaf of bread every day, he would have wanted nothing else. Having this “bliss,” he would have stayed in bed the entire day. Whereas today, people rest on their couches because they are emptied by the abundance. This is what is called qualitative blows. Rebellious children, broken families, fears, worries, and confusion—a person does everything to avoid them, but there is no place to run.
On the other hand, the world is being “pulled together” by a single net, and we worry because of the New York stock exchange, European crops, heavy rains in remote areas, or conflicts in other countries. We are connected with everyone and depend on everything. We constantly feel pressure and uncertainty. Thus, we are forced to take care of others.
As a result, we all experience disasters that are aimed particularly at us, and that shapes one single question in our brain: “What’s the purpose of my suffering?” Baal HaSulam formulated this question a little differently: “Who is it who enjoys what’s happening? Or even more precisely, whom do I delight?” The problem is that there are no answers to these questions.
In general, the current period of our lives represents the “opposite side” of the era of Messiah. Before anything else, we must reveal a desire. That’s why the Light comes to us through the “back entrance,” from behind. Our duty is to reverse it in such a way that it shines before us. Rabash writes about it in his article “The Matter of the Association of the Quality of Mercy with Judgment.” The upper one seems to me as something very gloomy and repulsive until I rise “above reason” and start revealing Him and getting attached to Him. I transform myself into my opposite (оr do the same with Him in my eyes), and then we turn face to face to each other.
However, He still shines to me through the “back side” and causes disasters that gradually drag me to a correct approach by building a vessel within me.
This is how we have passed all levels, all historic stages. Baal HaSulam writes that any state is preserved until it becomes unbearable. Then we destroy it and build something else instead.
However, this time we don’t have to destroy or build anything at the level of this world. Rather, we must comprehend and digest what’s going on with us, explore the situation we are in, and understand and acknowledge it. The main thing is to realize that the upper one has to perform all changes. But it’s not because we are powerless; after all, He did everything previously as well, albeit without us being aware of it. Today, we must acknowledge this fact and make sure that we accept every action that the upper one does, and that we must elicit all of His actions, ask for them and thank Him for them, and thus constantly accompany all of His steps.
This is actually the “work for the sake of the Creator”: I get to know Him, I begin merging with Him. This is the specifics of our last developmental stage: We get to know the Creator better and better, until we know Him completely. In other words, finally, we will see that everything that happens to us, including “negative” events, were prepared for us by Him solely to make us know Him better. This kind of knowing Him is impossible without our participation. This is exactly what is still concealed from us.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 2/11/13, “A Speech for the Completion of The Zohar”