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Baal HaSulam, “The Love for the Creator and Love for the Created Beings”: “Here comes Hillel’s statement to the foreigner who came before him and asked to be converted, as it says in the Gemarah, When he came before Hillel, to teach him the entire Torah while standing on one foot Hillel replied, “What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor: that is the whole Torah while the rest is commentary; go and learn it.”
Kabbalistic terms and concepts are different from those commonly used. A “non-Jew” is one who acts for himself. A person who is not a “Jew,” “Jewish” (Yehudi), and is referred to as “non-Jewish” or the “nations of the world” is someone who does not seek unity (Yehud). The category “Israel” (ישראל) includes only those who aim “straight to the Creator” (Yashar-El – ישר – אל), to bestowal, who aim towards loving others as they love themselves, towards unification, solidarity, oneness, guarantee, and all the rest that characterizes our community and cohesion. After all, it is love for others which enables us to reach the love of the Creator.
If a person wants to rise to the rung of bestowal, the level of love for others, because it will bring him adhesion with the Creator, it means he wants to be a Jew, to turn his desire to receive for self-gratification into a desire to receive in order to bestow. Thus, everything is quite simple: To become a Jew means to correct your egoism. That is what the method requires of us. And Hillel summarized it in a few words: “Do not do to others what you don’t wish to be done to you.” It is also said that the conversant first approached another sage, Shammai, with a request to teach him to love others as he loved himself. But Shammai rejected him, because one cannot immediately “leap” to the rung of love for others. In this case, Shammai represents the left line, the Light of Hochma, the properties of judgment, whereas Hillel represents the right line, the Light of Hassadim, the property of mercy.
This implies that the principle of “do not do to others as you don’t wish to be done to you” means bestowal in order to bestow, or mercy. However, mercy contains at least two facets: prohibition and obligation.
Thus, guarding others from harm and helping them to do good, I begin moving towards real acts of bestowal. Hillel’s principle teaches me to think and even act in this direction, but so far, not on my own initiative. I play the role of a positive factor (+) before a negative factor (-) of others. My “plus” can enter his “minus,” but only if there is a special contact “block” in the middle. This “block” depends on me: It is I who “approves” (OK) his inclusion.
Here is an example: Yesterday you lost a paycheck in the street and I found it and brought it to you. In this way, I have not done to you what I don’t wish to be done to me. But can it be considered a true act of bestowal? After all, I contributed to your receiving the amount written on the check.
Indeed, Hillel’s principle implies not only preventing others from trouble but also promoting their good, but the help derives not from my corrected desire that turned into a “generator of good” and knows how to distribute it to others. I have not transformed yet but just helped abundance to pass from its source to the “consumer,” to the destination. It was I who set this mechanism (V) in motion, who “opened the faucet.”
Therefore, my role here is not to deliver the abundance but in approving its delivery, the “transaction.” That is what I determine whether the “faucet” will open or not.
Question: How do I open this “faucet” in my ten?
Answer: By participating. I call on all the Light that Reforms. And it manifests in my guarantee.
Question: The action itself is clear, but how do I mentally accept it? After all, I’m always full of discontent.
Answer: In thought, I’m already good to another because I wish the same attitude to come from them. I think well of them, but still do not feel that it hurts me in any way; it doesn’t step on my ego since I am not working with it and don’t engage it.
Of course, I feel envy, hatred, and am driven by passions and vanity. To approve good for others is against my ego. On the contrary, I would like everyone to have less than me.
However, it does not hurt nor diminish my “fixed assets,” and therefore, I am willing to agree for another to receive what he is entitled to. After all, no one is threatening my property and to take away what is mine.
On the other hand, if I am working not just from mercy but with the intention to bestow, I am taking something away from myself and giving to the other. It is not subject to Hillel’s principle; here, we are talking about the “withdrawal from my account” according to the principle “love others as you love yourself.” Wanting to “gobble up” the whole world, I offer this world to others “on a golden platter,” canceling my self-interest, my acquisitions.
Today, all of humanity finds itself in the position of a non-Jew who approached Hillel. Whether it likes it or not, it has no other way out but to switch to the principle of “do not do to others what you don’t wish to be done to you.” We are facing this rule of Hillel’s before the intermediate stage, without which we cannot attain true love of others. “Do not do to others what you don’t wish to be done to you”; in this phrase lies our entire correction.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 5/30/13, Writings of Baal HaSulam
We are already starting to get acquainted with the states of spiritual work, although it is difficult to agree with them and get used to them. Every time we find it difficult to justify them because spiritual states come as if a person is born again. All of a sudden something happens to him and he no longer recognizes himself, is not familiar with the world in which he exists, does not understand his reactions, the influences that prevent or help him, enemies and friends.
A person gets confused. He wants to learn this new inner reality in which he finds himself, but cannot. It’s as if he got a new internal program and thus is not familiar with himself and with the world. All the reactions become new and completely unknown. Having found himself in a new world, he loses the previous conviction, the old attitude to everything.
We need to get used to this! However, it’s impossible to get used to it because every time you get into a completely new state. And the further a person advances, the more different the states are, alternating one after the other. Despite the increasing rate of change, the states themselves are becoming more contrasted and separated from each other.
The state that occurred only a day or two ago can be very different from the one today, and the person feels terribly confused and loses stability in the world, as if he completely disappears. His states become increasingly opposite and the speed with which they replace each other is growing. With every change in state there comes a time when a person does not understand what is happening, even though he already has great previous experience.
When a new state comes, it’s so different from the previous one that it erases everything that was in the past. A person in the next state is not familiar with anything, and thus he does not understand what is happening to him; it’s as if this happens for the first time. And in fact, this state does occur for the first time as a new information gene (Reshimo), a new reality is revealed.
It’s impossible to explain this to strangers because they will not understand. They do not understand how this person can suddenly know nothing and become confused. How is it possible that a great Kabbalist suddenly cannot solve, understand, and feel even such simple things that are available to an ordinary person? But this is our life, and so we gain, degree by degree, the spiritual ladder.
The main thing is to love these states and to be aware that they increasingly bring us closer to an understanding of the Creator, to His likeness. There is no better state than when a person feels confusion, darkness, helplessness, knowing that in the vessels with which he will soon be able to work, he will find the quality of bestowal, meaning, a more correct attitude to the state is revealed.
In fact, it’s in this way that concealment is taken from him. Once in my childhood I read a story about horses transporting carts underground in coalmines. They never went up and therefore were not used to sunlight. So, when they were old and no longer able to work, before emerging from the mine, a few bags were put on their heads. On the surface, the bags were gradually removed: first one, and after awhile, another, so the horse would become used to the light gradually.
Here we are in the same situation. Each time when our state changes, it’s as if another bag is removed. And it will continue until we get accustomed to the real Light.
If a person understands that the work is done on him so that he would become accustomed to the Light and could see the Creator and His actions in his world, then he accepts this work with gratitude. He understands that this work in the twilight, in the dark, is very valuable because it creates the new tools of perception in him for the discovery of the true spiritual world. All this work is called carrying out a commandment, and if a person is happy about this, this is called the joy of commandment.
From the Preparation for the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 9/3/13
Question: How can we create a supportive atmosphere in the global group that will enable each one to feel that he belongs to the whole?
Answer: First, the friends must understand that they cannot advance without an environment. These are not just nice words that you can hear wherever collective efforts are needed. No, it is about surviving or perishing.
From the spiritual perspective, I am a zero. I open a spiritual account only if I am incorporated in the group and receive the vitality of the friends through them. There is no other way. The group is the umbilical cord that ties you with the Partzuf AVI within the level of the Creator.
Question: What if a friend is repulsed by the group?
Answer: It is the natural work of the ego. It is revealed precisely when we want to get closer to one another and we encounter repulsion. Repulsion from the desire to get closer is called ego.
However, when we don’t try to get closer, the ego is not revealed. The feeling of repulsion in this world only is called ego, but, in fact, it isn’t the ego that we must correct since it isn’t against the Creator. It isn’t revealed to me against the real connection.
The real ego is the force that stands in my way of connecting with the friends. I want it, but the Creator trips me and says, “No, I will not give it to you. Here, I demand a special action from you that is called faith above reason, a Masach (screen) and the Returning Light. If you want to overcome your ego, go ahead. You must demand the Light that Reforms in order to do so.”
Then, having no choice, I cry out. Thus, the Creator forces me to turn to Him in order to receive the Light, in order to think about the attribute of bestowal.
From the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 9/2/13, Writings of Baal HaSulam
Baal HaSulam, “The Peace”: …he who alters even a single law harms and damages the purposeful aim that the Creator has set, and will therefore be punished by nature … it is best for us to meet halfway and accept the words of the Kabbalists that HaTeva (the nature) has the same numerical value (in Hebrew) as Elokim (God)—eighty-six. Then, I will be able to call the laws of God “nature’s Mitzvot (commandments),” or vice-versa, for they are one and the same…
Question: Lately, I took a course on “watchful driving.” Among other things, I was told about traffic signs that alert drivers of nearby railway tracks. If one ignores them, one can get hit by a train. However, there are no traffic signs on our roads of life, and we get “hit by trains” more than once. It’s about the laws of providence that we are supposed to sense inside us. Studying them requires time. Until we learn them, we will be hit by many “trains.” Why didn’t nature place visible signs so that we could use them and explain their meaning to others?
Answer: Definitely, if we had traffic signs on our path, we would observe the traffic rules, or at least we would acknowledge that we violate the laws of providence. However, there are no signs and we don’t know what to expect. Why is it set up this way? Why is it that, only after going through multiple accidents, we eventually begin observing the rules?
To begin with, let me ask you a counter question: What makes you think that, in this world, we act differently? Here is an example: We vote for a law that prohibits talking on a cell phone when driving. When we violate this law, we lose driving privileges for three months. Why? It is because professionals in this field know that speaking on the phone while driving leads to multiple accidents and tragedies.
So, we can trace a similar pattern here. Our affliction grows until we reach a critical point. Only then do we create some sort of defense.
Previously, bridges were erected without parapets. Later, it was realized that people tend to fall from bridges. So, they began to build guardrails. It’s always like that. Any action of ours is elicited by pure necessity. Guardrails did not bring us pleasure. So, they were invented solely because of distresses that were caused by their absence on bridges and only after the necessity to build them became obvious.
Egoism pushes us to receive pleasure. Preventive and prophylactic measures do not fill us with delight. We want to cross the road where we feel like it. We choose to take something that doesn’t belong to us, we do not care that this action of ours is called “stealing.” This attitude results in having a multiplicity of various social systems: judicial, law enforcement, and so forth. In general, all of them are meant to temper our primordial egoism.
Today, a new developmental stage has begun. We must become acquainted with the Creator. How? If we continue feeling good, we never will begin a relationship with Him since experiencing pleasant sensations never pushes us forward. All we want is to enhance the good states we are in. Do we care from whom and why we receive pleasure? It’s enough for us to sense them. Nothing else bothers us since all we do is fulfill ourselves here and now.
However, as soon as we reveal the evil and realize that we cannot escape from it, we begin asking questions, and only afterward do we begin building guardrails or stepping on the brakes or doing something else to protect ourselves from trouble.
An egoistic desire to receive pleasure is our nature. This desire manifests itself diversely. It doesn’t allow us to protect or secure ourselves without giving us a visible reason for doing so. However, when it comes to receiving maximum pleasure, it doesn’t mind insuring us. Our attempts not to harm our neighbors still sit outside of this paradigm. They have nothing to do with bestowal as of yet, nor are they included in our initial plans. The delight we get is an enticement, a bribe. It shields our eyes and pushes us away from a correct way of thinking without even letting us realize it.
So, all of our assertions regarding the traffic signs are unfair. Your statement is correct only if you are not oriented toward the goal: attaining the Creator. It’s true only if we don’t study the system that He made for us so that we familiarize ourselves with the master who created it.
We must figure out exactly what He does with the help of the system He created and the ways He governs this system. It’s as if we swallow this system and let it settle inside us. Then, we begin following its laws. It continues working in us, but, from this point on, we watch it happen, analyze it, and control it.
This is what our free choice is about. By controlling the system, we constantly self-check if our actions correspond to what He would do. As it is written, “Thou hast hemmed me in behind and before.” This is the way we familiarize ourselves with the Creator and try to be similar to Him and even exceed Him a little. We run forward and try to predict His actions. By acting so, we learn both the back and the front side.
In general, all that we need for our self-correction will come to us in due time. The entire system is not only precise, but it’s absolute. It sends ideal portions to each and every one under all possible circumstances. If we received one gram less, we would feel it as an affliction that is not originated by love. If we received one gram more, this supplement wouldn’t come from love either, since it would deprive us of the freedom of choice.
We cannot justify His governance yet, but we need not justify it at the time. We should not try to be righteous as of yet. It is said that those who share other people’s affliction console them. Thus, they justify the Creator for their sufferings. After we finish our path, we’ll justify everything.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 08.28.13, Writings of Baal HaSulam “The Peace”
We should clearly understand one thing: our success completely depends on the Creator and nobody else besides Him. “We are not the ones who will finish the job, but it’s not up to us to refuse it.” We must act applying maximum energy and at the same time staying confident that the result is solely in the Creator’s hands. We already know it very well. It has been proven dozens of times. We realize that we are playing a game the results of which are known beforehand, that everything comes from Him and that He is the One Who organizes everything with a divine “cunningness,” and that there is nothing at all we can do about it.
You can lie on the couch all day long and in the evening you’ll receive your salary as if you worked all day. However, we are obligated to accept the upper governance and work all day long. The same applies to our external dissemination. These two lines teach us the way that the spiritual realm is built: out of contradictory properties that look totally incompatible to our brain. It’s fine for now! Later, we’ll be given a different kind of mind.
Let’s hope that with each day we’ll need the Creator more and more. At the same time, we have to be cautious of weakening the other side of the coin and make sure that our own contribution in the process also has to expand day after day. Without it, we won’t have a need for the Creator. These two lines do not cancel or annul each other. If we manage to act so, we’ll accelerate creation of the first spiritual vessel.
We should apply our efforts as if we were “an ox under a yoke or a donkey to the load,” meaning that we should run faster and use our energy mechanically. As to our intentions, we should clearly realize that in every action of ours, the Creator is both in front of us and behind us, and that He “embraces us from the front and the back,” and that we work only together with Him.
Later, we’ll figure out that He works inside us also . Then, where are we in this picture? This is the point at which we start attaining a transcendent power, the spirit that dresses into everything around us. We understand that “There is none else besides Him” and that there is also a tiny point from which we look around and see that “There is none else besides Him.”
This particular point has nothing in it at all: It has neither volume nor width. It’s just a point that emerged “out of nothing” (Yesh Mi Ayin); it’s a point from which we observe that “There is none else besides Him.” Finally, we get to realize that the Light, the desires, and all states that we’ve been in throughout all of history, and in everything, there exists only one force, the Upper Force. “The Creator is the first and He is the last.” There is no other revelation that is greater than this one.
However, when we say that “There is none else besides Him,” it doesn’t mean that we don’t exist, since in order to make this statement, somebody has to be present in all places, in each and every property, in each of His actions, and then from that point, we have to decide (being on the opposite side) that in fact “There is none else besides Him.” By doing so, we completely merge with Him, meaning that we achieve cohesion and become equal to Him in all our actions, thoughts, programs, connections, etc.
It’s our duty to test everything there is in the Creator in order to comprehend that everything is about Him and finally arrive to a conclusion that ““There is none else besides Him.” All we have left is this one black point out of which we look around, but it’s a peculiar point from which the entire universe can be observed, from edge to edge, in all directions and ranges: the entire Malchut of the world of infinity.
From the 3rd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 8/27/13, “Group and Distribution”
Opinion (Nicholas A. Christakis, physician and sociologist at Yale University, co-director of the Yale Institute for Network Science): “The natural sciences are evolving with the times. The perfection of cloning techniques gave rise to stem-cell biology; advances in computer science contributed to systems biology.
“In contrast, the social sciences have stagnated. They offer essentially the same set of academic departments and disciplines that they have for nearly 100 years: sociology, economics, anthropology, psychology and political science. This is not only boring but also counterproductive, constraining engagement with the scientific cutting edge and stifling the creation of new and useful knowledge. Such inertia reflects an unnecessary insecurity and conservatism, and helps explain why the social sciences don’t enjoy the same prestige as the natural sciences.
“One reason citizens, politicians and university donors sometimes lack confidence in the social sciences is that social scientists too often miss the chance to declare victory and move on to new frontiers. … So social scientists should devote a small palace guard to settled subjects and redeploy most of their forces to new fields like social neuroscience, behavioral economics, evolutionary psychology and social epigenetics, most of which, not coincidentally, lie at the intersection of the natural and social sciences. Behavioral economics, for example, has used psychology to radically reshape classical economics.
“New social science departments could also help to better train students by engaging in new types of pedagogy. For example, in the natural sciences, even college freshmen do laboratory experiments. Why is this rare in the social sciences? When students learn about social phenomena, why don’t they go to the lab to examine them — how markets reach equilibrium, how people cooperate, how social ties are formed? Newly invented tools make this feasible. It is now possible to use the Internet to enlist thousands of people to participate in randomized experiments.”
My Comment: Further development of the social sciences is related to changes in society, to society acquiring a new property of bestowal and love. Scientists, who study social processes, do not have this property yet, and therefore, they cannot examine them.
First, they need to acquire new properties themselves and then study how they will be born and manifest in society. So, precisely the scientists have to learn themselves, then explore the manifestation of these forces in our world and explain them to wide circles of society, up to the point of creating new disciplines.
Each and every action of ours should contain a vibrant appeal to the Creator. Any material activity that is not accompanied by intentions like: “Why am I doing this? Who am I interacting with together (with Him)? Why am I doing what I am doing (in order to reveal Him)?” Any action of ours that is not associated with clarifying these questions is completely useless.
If one prioritizes material actions and success above spiritual activities and attainment, one descends to the “ground” level instead of committing a spiritual deed. It’s a shame to waste time on such things. Our existence is not meant for it.
Does it mean that you approach others to tell them how wonderful it is to be together? Is it really your goal to organize a kibbutz or a collective farm? Not at all! You want to talk with them about unity and about an exceptional force that each of us contains inside because (from this point on, you should continue the dialog internally, in your thoughts) the power of unity will allow us to reveal the Creator in order to please Him.
You are obligated to continue this formula to the very end. We have to start with the Creator and conclude with the Creator. The Creator has to be in the beginning of our thoughts and He must be at the end; in the middle, there is our material world. It’s as if you start from state 1 of the world of infinity, go all the way down, from top to bottom, to this world, to state 2, and then return back to state 3, to the world of infinity at the end of correction.
Each of our actions is an implementation of the entire chain: from the world of infinity in the beginning of creation to the world of infinity at the end of creation. Repeat it to yourself as a mantra; it’s important that you do it until your heart begins feeling it. It’s as if you try to start up a dead engine; you try as many times as needed until it starts working.
Each time you do it using your material desire, which as of now doesn’t have anything in common with any kind of spiritual activity. You repeat it, as a child who doesn’t understand the meaning of words, until you start understanding. The Light impacts desires, clarifies and connects them until one begins feeling what one reiterates. Out of my own experience, I know that it works, although it requires lots of time.
However, there is nothing we can do about it, since the time, in fact, is just a chain of changes that we experience in our desires. Each time we go through a new correction. It’s a blessing that we have received a job that requires assistance of the upper force. Even if we artificially proclaim that we need the upper force, we can be assured that various troubles and enemies will not force us to understand how much we need the upper force.
We are the ones who define what route: the path of Light or the path of suffering. This is a very concrete choice: We either go one way or the other. The Creator wants us to connect with Him. If we obligate ourselves to do that with the help of a group and by keeping in mind the importance of the goal, then we’ll choose a positive and concise way. If not, then the “help against us” appears. At this time, we feel it on our skin. This is wonderful, since it’s help from above; it’s already a revelation of the upper governance.
From the Preparation for the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 8/23/13
It is said: “Don’t accept bribes, since bribery blinds the eyes of the wise and perverts the words of the righteous.” Let’s say we happened to correct ourselves and became equal to others. Let’s say we even managed to reveal the Creator within our connection with friends. However, when we reach the next level, our egoism “jumps.” Our ego offers us “a bribe” by whispering into our ears: You are superior to others, you are stronger than them, you can do something that nobody else can do, and you are the sighted!
It’s important that we understand that at this time our egoism provides us with two kinds of fulfillment: wealth and sight, meaning a fulfillment of the heart (egoism) and a fulfillment of the mind. It’s as if we suddenly rise above our environment. To the extent of our elevation, we are granted the opportunity to “love our neighbors,” since “loving our neighbors” compensates for our elevation above them. If we reject the bribe, we won’t grow.
The ranges of “tools” we are using expand to wealth and knowledge. If we don’t work with these new tools, how will we grow? We must use them! At the same time, with the help of wealth and additional knowledge, we become obligated to love our neighbors. At this point, our neighbors become crucial to us. We should do everything in our power for them as we would care for our baby.
Question: So, does it mean that if one is allowed to make an enormous breakthrough in knowledge and acquires the ability to govern the masses, then one has to transform this knowledge to love?
Answer: It’s a tremendous work! It’s something that King David described in his Psalms. He was at war for his entire life. The power that was given to him, he covered by love. He fulfilled his mission towards his people differently, not as any other king. A king is the one who is the most loving; otherwise, he is not a king. It is called “Kings of Israel.” “The Kingdom” stands for Malchut.
From Kab TVs “Mysteries of the Eternal Book,” 5/24/13
Our work is to discover the higher force. And not for the sake of assuring us through confidence, some basis for our lives, but in order to please the Creator. And this is the opposite of the confidence that we seek in our world, which is that we feel ourselves secure in our ego, that we have power, knowledge, full barns, health, as masters of the country and world.
But the confidence in spiritual work is not focused on me because there is nothing in me that attains a higher level. I need to discover the Upper Light, to discover the Upper Light in the clothing of confidence; this means being in a state opposite that which is considered secure in our world.
The confidence is in the abandonment of my desires to receive. And the more that I rise above them and depend on what is higher, the more I receive of the Light of confidence. Separation from the present state and integration with what is higher, making it possible for me to do this, gives me a sensation of confidence.
This happens precisely when a person feels lost and is not ready to do anything on his own. Everything that I had before: Some kind of understanding, attainment, emotion, connection with friends, with the Creator, all the various forms of support on the way, all this disappears. I feel that I have lost everything and I have nothing to rely on. I have no other choice but to be freed from all my unfulfilled egoistic desires.
In the beginning I am lost and don’t know what to do with myself. I am concerned that I don’t feel the usual confidence in knowledge, in the intellect; everything disappears. The Baal Shem Tov passed through states like these when he forgot the alphabet, all his knowledge was erased, like a nursing infant.
We must understand that if a state like this is given to us, it is a great help from above, when all of my egoistic confidence is erased, all my material foundation. And then I fall into concealment of the face of the Creator, as was said about Moses: (Psalms 30:8) “You concealed your face and I was terrified.” After all, I don’t know what I rely on. And it’s specifically then that I feel an opposite point, a new confidence based on the dependence that is higher.
This is dependence on the conditions of the “Tzimtzum,” the “Screen,” on all of my receptive Kelim in which I don’t want to receive any illumination. I will be satisfied with only a little in order to sustain life in my beastly body, beyond this I don’t want to get any illumination within my ego, even minimally, so I will not feel the confidence of the “landlords.”
I want to be completely dependent on what is higher, like a fetus in his mother. What is higher will do what He wants with me now; I myself don’t seem to exist! I absolutely nullify myself, as if I don’t take up any space.
If I have succeeded a number of times in realizing this, then illumination will reach me, giving me a feeling of confidence in my dependence upon what is higher. The upper provides me with this confidence, like an adult does with a child that snuggles up to him.
In the beginning I adhere inwardly to what is above, like a fetus in his mother’s womb, because I have no possibility of holding onto Him myself. I only nullify myself, and the rest of the work is entrusted into the hands of what is above.
The more that I grew, more and more bad qualities, desires to receive, were developed in me. I need to overcome them in myself in order to grasp what is higher even more strongly and to feel my dependence on Him. This is just the way a child holds onto his mother.
That is how we must see ourselves adhering to the upper all the time. In a state of maturity, I adhere to Him so much that even though all of my desires are foreign and opposite to Him, I carry out actions through which I try to be like the upper and not be detached from Him.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 8/09/13, Shamati #72, “Confidence Is the Clothing for the Light”