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”