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Question: What does it mean to ask for connection with the Creator when in a difficult state, instead of trying to overcome the difficult state on one’s own?
Answer: Wisdom comes only with experience. We need to feel darkness many times, and then light, and again darkness and light. That is, we need to go through many unpleasant and pleasant sensations where I feel bad or good for all sorts of spiritual and material reasons, and I can do nothing about it.
Thousands of these experiences should change in me until I begin to realize that my perception depends upon my assessment, on the importance that I attach to the spiritual properties of connection, love, and my relationship to the others. I already start to guess what is hidden in this darkness and to feel it. I don’t just feel good or bad, but good and bad because of my relation to the group, because I don’t consider it important or don’t treat friends well.
There are many steps on this path, many small stages, not yet spiritual, but psychological barriers that must be overcome. And then comes the understanding that waking up out of the darkness, I start thinking about the screen, about the time when I can be above these feelings.
We have to go through the good and bad feelings, through day and night, until the end of correction. Although everyone goes through this in his own way, in the end, I begin to feel the need to rise above these feelings. I no longer want to depend on them and be their slave, but I want to be protected against them with a shield.
Let various internal impressions arise in me, but they should not affect my attitude toward the friends, toward the spiritual path, toward the importance of the goal and the Creator. I want to be independent in that from my egoistic desire and its sorrows. This requirement is being born in me: I want to be above the suffering of egoism, similar to the behavior of a true man in this world who bravely stands his ground, and nothing can shake him, no outside influence.
From this moment, I have a direct connection with the Creator because I begin to demand from Him. So far, I have asked for only good feelings, nice states, sweet fulfillment, that is, I demanded for my egoism. Now, I demand to raise me above my egoistic desire, and this the correct requirement for the Creator. I want to relate to the Master equally well, in the same direction, while remaining above emotions, above the sorrows of my ego. This is called the “anti-egoistic screen” (Masach).
Of course, these screens have a number of levels and features, but the work with the Light starts from this first screen. I want to restrict my desire to enjoy. And naturally, I feel everything that happens in it and the worry in myself. But all these emotions, cooking in my stomach, do not affect my vision, heart, and mind. There is a partition (Parsa) between them, which I feel as a diaphragm inside my body. Under this partition, in the “stomach” something is cooked and happens, but I want to identify myself with what is above this diaphragm: with the lungs, heart and brain.
From the Preparation to the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 3/28/13
Answer: In principle, there aren’t any. The two books were written from the level of GAR of the world of Atzilut. These two languages simply complete each other and help us in that way.
If we read books that were written only in the language of the Midrash, then it’s not clear to us as to what to attribute to them. One person might be caught in isolated details and would search for meaning in them, another would try to draw parallels, and so forth.
Therefore, in order to establish, to stabilize us with the right approach and not turn The Book of Zohar into what has been done with the Torah where everyone finds what he likes: psychology, sociology, history, law, and so on, Baal HaSulam inserted a kind of “physics” or “mechanics” of mutual spiritual activities into our learning. Thanks to this we know what he was really speaking about. His books describe a spiritual system of concepts methodically, and even though I am not there emotionally yet, I can already basically imagine the essence: the ten Sefirot, the relationship between them, their actions with regard to the upper Light found above them, how they identify with it and are filled by it.
So from the start, I can hold to the right direction without running away; after that, I can begin to clarify why the author writes like this, conveying emotions like these, using words like these of our world. Baal HaSulam communicates the upper system to me where everything is determined according to the nature of things found in the lower system, where I see the nature of the still, the vegetative, the animate nature, and humans in all their diversity and richness and all the mutual connections between them. My feelings are derived from the world in which I am found, but simultaneously Baal HaSulam describes the upper world for me: “See how it is constructed.” And so without choosing to do so, I begin to receive some kind of stimulation, begin to connect seemingly separate details, and so I advance forward.
There are many things hidden there that we do not know. When we begin to become a little more sensitive, even subconsciously, with slightly greater feeling, we receive an illumination that develops us…
From the 2nd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 3/29/13, The Zohar
Question: When something happens in a group, the group attempts to solve its particular problems by itself instead of turning to other groups and screaming, “Help us!” Does someone need to suggest turning to get help or does the entire group need to decide that we really do have a problem and the time has come to scream so that they will hear us?
Answer: In our group in Israel, the same thing happens. I feel that when one friend or another falls, wait a day or two to see if the others respond to this or not. If not, I suggest they tell all the others. That is, there must be constant examination and there is no getting around it.
And the group has no right to remain silent in circumstances like these since this would be harmful to all the rest.
I shouldn’t hide my non-participation in something, my detachment from the spiritual path, from the search, from the tension, from the progress forward. I cannot be silent about this because in doing so I will cause people to fail.
It is like a group of soldiers who go out on an offensive and suddenly one of them is not ready to move forward. Others are depending on him. What will happen if he doesn’t carry out his mission? They will all be killed; nothing will succeed. Therefore, in order not to undermine the group, he must tell them that there is something that is not okay with him, perhaps that his leg or his hand is not working correctly.
Also, if an entire group falls, this undermines other groups. We cannot think only about ourselves. If we think like this, we are saying that mutual guarantee doesn’t exist, that there is no mutual obligation. So, in general, there will be nothing! Think well about this.
From the European Convention in Germany 3/23/13, Lesson 3
Answer: This says that everything lies in front of you from the start. All the things that you are about to discover already exist. When a person is born, he gradually discovers new things for himself, and it seems to him that they haven’t existed before. This is how it feels. But actually, everything already exists; we only need to prepare our Kelim (desires), and the corresponding limits of the universe will be immediately revealed in them.
In general, for the entire reality lying in front of us it’s necessary only to add the intention to bestow, the Light of Hassadim, and to that degree we discover the perfect reality. We lack only this.
And therefore I don’t intend to correct the present corrupted reality. I intend to add the attribute of faith, the attribute of bestowal, to my relationship to everything. This is correction—faith above reason.
Accordingly, I don’t need to correct myself from within, I simply need to exit myself to the outside and connect with what is there. Everything is already in front of you, the problem is that you are not there, outside of yourself. It’s necessary to carry out this action, going outside of yourself, and then this reality will become yours. Today, you aren’t ready yet to reveal it, but it exists. You only need to “put on your glasses” in order to see it.
We build the spiritual Kli above the will to receive, above impurity. “Pharaoh” does not disappear anywhere, the will to receive remains, and moreover, it remains in its brutal form, and at the end the “stony heart” is added to it. But we need to rise above it, to go over it.
I protect the impurity (Klipa) that covers my will to receive; similarly, the peel protects the fruit until ripens fully. Otherwise, the fruit will rot, and I will not attain my completed correction. I construct my entire relationship to reality while the peel protects my will to receive: “Don’t just disappear for me. My hatred, jealousy, cruelty, laziness, all these things remain, I need you.” It’s as if I wrap my egoistic characteristics in some package, and I exit from them to the outside. And on the contrary, if they disappeared, I would be left with nothing, and I would have nothing upon which to build myself.
Question: So how does a person go outside of himself?
Answer: For this it’s necessary to reach total helplessness. Then a kind of hole in the heart will open for you, in which you feel that you can go outside—and you will ask for this. But in the meantime you haven’t reached true prayer, you haven’t been “pushed” enough to find the Creator.
Question: How does a person reach true prayer in order to get help?
Answer: This happens only after he loses hope completely, but he still stands on the path. It’s necessary to reach a state of recognition of evil on one hand, the greatness of the goal on the other, and to maintain this gap.
First, I feel bad because I am in the egoistic state. This state is an unbearable evil for me. But the problem is not that it’s bad for me. I have to cancel my “self” and want this to be bad for me because I am not ready to bestow to the Creator. Thus, the evil manifests opposite the love of the Creator. And second, I recognize the greatness of the goal, which for me is goodness.
When I hold these two extremes, I reach the true prayer, a request for correction.
The goal is so great in my eyes that I can’t abandon it. And all the time my concern is that the greatness will only grow more. Ultimately, I hold onto two extremes: the greatness of the goal and the evil of my present state.
There must be pressure here from the group that gives me awareness that the greatness of the goal is namely to bring contentment to the Creator. And then I begin to think of how to flee from my present bad state, which is bad specifically because I am far from the goal.
After all, “the end of an action is in its initial thought.” The goal obligates me to everything. By aspiring to the goal, I understand that I can’t manage without the environment because I will reach the goal specifically among the friends. I know that I can’t do without the teacher because he holds me together with the group on the path and brings the Light that fills us. I understand that I can’t do without books because with their help I learn the spiritual system and arouse myself. When I study, it’s as if I am in that system, and I summon from there the Light that Reforms. And finally, I realize that I can’t manage without dissemination since the group is a small part of the collective vessel of humanity which I also need to be concerned about.
Everything derives from realizing the importance of the goal. I interpret to myself the final state in which I, the group, and the teacher are joined with all humanity such that the entire spiritual system comes to life among us. Its Lights will fill and tie us with one another into a single Malchut of the world of Infinity. And in it, we will reveal the One who has formed it, the Root that has produced the four phases of the Direct Light. And this is the Creator.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 3/13/13, “Introduction to The Book of Zohar”