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The Creator is absolute good, writes Baal HaSulam in the article “The Essence of Religion and Its Purpose.” Indeed, the Creator is primary; He has no one to receive from; He is complete bestowal. If He gives, He gives goodness. Being primary means that He has nothing bad. This follows both from real attainment and from our intellectual conclusions.
But in this case, why do we see so many terrible things in our world? Of course, “There is none else besides Him” meaning the only acting force. Consequently, all comes from the Creator. How can it be that we feel our states as bad?
The fact is, Baal HaSulam explains that the management of the Creator is goal-oriented. In order to teach us, to lead us to the peak of awareness and understanding, the Creator has to take us through all sorts of rather unpleasant states. Due to them, we begin to discern what is good and what is bad, not in the eyes of our egoistic desire, as at the beginning, but in relation to the desire to bestow.
This scale is so opposite to the one built in us from birth that we do not even understand the essence of their oppositeness. We still have to discover it, and on the way it will be repeatedly presented to us in another form, in another shape, requiring a different approach. After all, every degree is opposite to the adjacent ones, both the lower and higher.
Thus, a person, of course, can never be sure of anything that he experiences. He only has the “anchor,” our world. Here, we are detached from spirituality and in every state return to this separation because with every step we need to fall to the lower degree, at least for a brief moment. We feel as if everything spiritual completely disappears, and then we ascend to a new degree.
The state of “this world” is special because here we can somehow exist without any intention, detached from spirituality. It may be an imaginary world, and yet we live in it, so to speak. Later we will see and understand that this is not existence, not being, but a kind of “fluctuation.” Nonetheless we can ascend the ladder of corrections only if we stand in this world, experience various phenomena in it, strengthen the group and try to make the necessary actions within it.
Here, we are engaged in dissemination; here, we want to see correction. Since we are not yet in the spiritual world, this imaginary, material world becomes the “foundation” for us, solid and unshakable. This means that the specificity of our group also comes out of this world.
Thus, the goal-oriented management of the Creator takes us through horrible states, peculiar to the process of growth, to the sublime and sweet fruit. It’s said that the advantage of light is known from the darkness. If the process is delayed, it also shows the height and the uniqueness of a particular creature. After all, the more complex the soul is, the more stages of growth it requires.
However, this is not directly related to its pace. We accelerate time when we desire changes every moment. If I have been in “business” for twenty years and have come nowhere, I should not reassure myself that I have a high soul that requires a long time for a “run-up.” No, I should judge my development not by the results, but by the speed of internal changes. That is what determines whether I go through the Light or through the darkness, by the path of the Torah or by the path of suffering.
And here, everything depends on the preparation from my side: If I prepare myself for changes, I accelerate time and turn the undesired path into the desired one. In fact, there is no “undesired” path. A person cannot admit, weeping, that the Creator leads him to the goal of creation. We are not a horde of slaves trudging to the absolute good, forced by a whip. This is simply impossible. No, at every stage and every moment, I have a choice between the path of the Torah and the path of suffering. The difference between them is determined by my preparation: whether I want to expose my state in advance and see how far it is from the goal of creation.
And the goal is my adhesion to the Creator, meaning a complete equivalence of form with Him. How is this possible? He is the desire to bestow and I am the desire to receive. We are polar opposites.
But can I make sure that I advance in the correct direction? To do this, I have a group in which I have to work. If I really strive, I wait as the Creator performs the necessary actions on me, arranges “exercises” for me. I am ready for them; I want them and accept everything willingly, with joy and gratitude, blessing for the evil as well as for the good.
But how can I check myself in this? The criterion is the following: When the burdening of the heart comes, I am glad, glad that I get a place to work, that the Creator has not forgotten me and shows me the height of the next degree. Now, I lack only the Light to rise to it in the altruistic intention.
Thus, the burdening of the heart shows that now I can ascend to the property of bestowal. This is the difference between the path of the Torah and the path of suffering.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 11/7/13, Writings of Baal HaSulam
Baal HaSulam, “The Essence of Religion and Its Purpose”: A more developed person recognizes in himself a greater amount of evil, and hence repels and separates the evil from within to a greater extent. The undeveloped senses in himself only a small amount of evil, and will therefore repel only a small amount of evil. As a result, he leaves all his filth within, for he does not recognize it as filth.
There is the highest, true picture of reality: the good and the evil in the eyes of the Creator. I am at the bottom and have to change my corrupt notion of good and evil according to the way He sees them.
Down here, everyone has his own scale, his own criteria. Everyone judges what is good and what is bad for him according to the yardstick of his egoism. This applies to our behavior with others, various activities, habits, etc. I can separate everything in life according to the categories of good and bad. Accordingly, I expect reward from good in this world or in the future world, and conversely, the bad promises me punishment here or there.
As a result, I am drawn to some things and try to stay away from other things. Everyone has his own “set table” (“Shulchan Aruch” is the code of laws and regulations); everyone determines for himself what he can get closer to and what to move away from according to his evaluation of reward and punishment. In Kabbalah, we add a higher “superstructure” to this, the criteria of good and bad things in the eyes of the Creator, according to which He rewards and punishes in order to bring a person closer to Himself.
So, I was assigned to turn my “set table,” to bring my analysis, definitions, and evaluations from my own realm to the realm of the Creator. I want to judge, see, recognize, and relate to the world as He does. It is said, “Make your desire as His desire.”
The whole method of correction is in essence a system or a machine, a device with which I change in myself the awareness of evil and good, switching it from the criteria of my evil inclination to the criteria of the Creator, the good inclination. We are talking about changing attitudes, feelings, and the principles of analysis and solutions; all of this fills my “container.” A basic program is transformed in me, which is designed for testing and decision-making, an expert system. Time after time, the Light comes and changes all of my inclinations.
With this, the “hardware” of the system remains the same: My “synapses” function as before; my “cells” still respond to impulses. But the Light gradually “reprograms” me, connects me in a new way, and creates new algorithms.
In this way, my spiritual “upgrade” is taking place, an upgrade from the original version of my own desire to the final version, the desire of the Creator. The method of correction develops time after time and increases the feeling of the realization of evil in me, helping me transform my view of the world, my tastes, and my mentality. Everything in me is gradually replaced with new parts, moreover, on my own accord and by my own desire.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 11/7/13, Writings of Baal HaSulam
Question: Why do we work especially on the 613th commandment which is love of others and the 612th commandment which is fear of the Creator, while these two commandments stem from all the other 611 commandments? This means that these two commandments had to be considered less important than all the others.
Answer: All we have to attain is:
All the other commandments are private corrections and actually make up these commandments, and so in Talmud Eser Sefirot we study only about these two corrections. But when we yearn for them we gradually correct ourselves by fulfilling the private desires the soul is made of in all its 613 parts. So think about these two corrections and all the other private forms will be fulfilled in you by themselves under the influence of the Surrounding Light (Ohr Makif).
Question: What does the ability of the group coming together each time before a new attack depend on?
Answer: It depends on the feeling that we are on the right path and that it is essential. We have to get closer together and to see that the connection between us is the only place for the revelation of the Creator. Everything that happens around the group is only meant to tighten the connections between us. The Creator cannot leave any opening. If I feel pressure on all sides: some pressure me, others shout at me and threaten me, and suddenly there is an opening, meaning a society, a group, a certain party, that invites me to join them and promises me that I will feel good with them, then I will surely run to them. But is this what the Creator wants of me?
So He must arrange a “siege” around you, so that you will have nowhere to run. Your enemies are already attacking you with knives, trying to slaughter you, and only if you have no choice, you begin to cry out to Him. Otherwise you will escape somewhere on the level of this world. It’s as if you enter a certain place and try to escape from it, looking for a way out. But both the first and the second doors are locked. Suddenly you find one door that is unlocked, so you will certainly escape in that direction.
But this would be a simple corporeal clarification and not the spiritual clarification that the Creator has prepared for us. The spiritual clarification takes place when you have no choice and have to turn to Him; then He saves you and raises you to Him, a certain level higher. So the clarification is possible only when you are in trouble, in a narrow spot. If you call the Creator from there, you receive the Light that Reforms that raises you.
The salvation, the Creator’s help, always comes through the Light; the Light reaches the vessels, corrects them, and you immediately ascend above all the interruptions. The next moment you encounter obstacles again; they become stronger and more sophisticated. Once again they close down on you on all sides and you try to escape, looking for a way out.
You should see how the Creator organizes such a sophisticated siege for you, which no one else can do. He operates through different people, through events, and eventually brings you to a state that you have no choice but to cry out to Him. Only thanks to the consolidation and the connection of the group that cries out to the Creator does it receive the Light that Reforms.
By the connection we understand that all the enemies and the troubles we encounter are not so bad and that it’s even a good thing, since they are help against you. Their pressure only helps us turn to the Creator. We don’t turn to the Creator in order to get rid of these troubles. They don’t worry us anymore. There is only one important thing and now we can ask the Creator to raise us above our nature, to resemble human beings a little, to resemble the Creator.
So the Creator’s help reaches a person when he is in a state of despair when he is about to jump into the Red Sea. It is possible, however, to advance without increasing the obstacles but by growing the connection. The sufferings don’t need to grow more intense, “neither them nor their reward”; that’s not the right way. I want to feel good every part of the way since I am advancing towards the Creator.
The end of correction is a state in which no interruption affects me, since I am above the obstacles. The obstacles remain, nothing disappears; the dogs that attack me become dinosaurs that surround me on all sides. But I am not afraid of them since I have a shield against them, the Light that comes and saves me.
From the 3rd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 10/29/13, Writings of Baal HaSulam
Question: Please expand on the subject of the “family in the last generation.” How is it possible, according to the example of mutual cooperation in a group, to convey this state to humanity?
Answer: If we want to understand and perceive something in the right way, we must pay attention to the soul and not the body. The soul is the yearning to unite, to disclose the ultimate driving force, the Creator. Therefore when we are talking about souls, we mean their attraction.
It seems to us that we are attracted to the external characteristics or the inner parts of a person. But in fact, they bring us together with our Reshimot (spiritual genes). This is not talking about a genetic attraction to each other, rather about a spiritual attraction. The genetic attraction is the envelope for the spiritual attraction. In other words, there is a certain tendency among the Reshimot to be attracted to each other and form an alliance between them. In our world, this is called the “alliance of the sexes,” the union between a man and a woman, essentially this is not a man and a woman, but rather it is Reshimot.
The idea is that among the Reshimot we need to connect the Reshimo de Aviut (a Reshimo from the strength of the Masach) and the Reshimo de Hitlabashut (a Reshimo from the power of the Light).
The Reshimo de Aviut is the female part, and the Reshimo de Hitlabashut is the male part. If these two Reshimot are connected together correctly, then they create a spiritual action with the Light, summon the Masach, and so forth.
It is the same here as well. It is said: “A man and a woman and the Shechinah between them”; where there is a man and a woman, there is a positive and a negative Reshimo. When they are connected together and create a Masach, an intention for the sake of the Creator, then the Upper Light is clothed within this Reshimo and begins to build a new Partzuf, which in this world is identical to childbirth.
Within this union are spiritual actions that we don’t know about yet. However, all of the physical actions and events that take place in our world are matched to spiritual activities.
A family in our world becomes the nucleus in which spiritual work is possible. Therefore if we are talking about a family in the last generation, then certainly mutual cooperation between the husband and wife will take place on the spiritual level. They will become a spiritual element by themselves that will work on uniting above their ego so that in the internal adhesion between them they will resemble the Creator.
This is very serious mutual work. I think that we have reached this. We already have examples of a husband and wife who are truly connected between them in this way. It all starts with working on oneself, and through this spiritual unification, a completely different effect within the family itself is achieved. This is possible.
From the Talk about Group and Dissemination 10/20/13