Baal HaSulam, “A Speech for the Completion of The Zohar”: Had it not been for the engagement in Torah and Mitzvot Lishma (for Her Name), to bring contentment to the Creator with them, and not to benefit ourselves, there would have been no tactic in the world that could help us invert our nature.
If we try acting on our own, we won’t have the slightest chance. Only by engaging in the Torah, i.e., the Kabbalistic methodology with the intention Lishma can we invert our nature.
First of all, there is a problem with the terminology: I don’t know what the Torah and the commandments are or what the intention Lishma is. It’s clear only that it is about some remedy, some “working tool” by which we can convert our evil inclination into a good one. How can we possibly understand it?
From my current egoistic state (1), I have to transition to the next, altruistic step. For that, I have to cover a certain path that is called “The Torah and Commandments (Mitzvot) Lishma” (2.) Even though in the beginning I don’t understand a thing, I am facing a given “reality” that I cannot hide from. I am originally placed in this reality and I am on this path, which becomes extremely hard if I don’t have a desire to learn how to implement the Torah and commandments to obtain a correct intention.
Anyway, I will have to transition from the first state to the second. But, I can do it two ways:
- through suffering;
- by the path of Torah and commandments.
We are told that there are two options that we have to choose from. And don’t even think that the path of suffering also leads you forward. Simply each time when you are not ready, first you go by the path of suffering and then you go to the implementation of the Torah with the intention Lishma.
It’s impossible to advance under the blows because we have to become wiser and more experienced on our path; we have to understand more and assemble fragments of the system into one picture, etc. And it all depends on our readiness to reveal the Light that descends to us. The Light comes to us and we can immediately make a step forward without suffering on the benevolent way if we are prepared for this beforehand, but if we are not prepared correctly, we will plunge into sufferings.
Question: What kind of “benevolent Path” is it? Is it really so smooth that we go without a hitch?
Answer: “The good path” is that no matter what happens to us, we still find it pleasant, beautiful, and great. The difference is in the preparation. It is hard to understand, yet.
Imagine a mother brings home a book and gives it to her son. Her son thinks that it is an adventure story about pirates and treasures, but after unwrapping it he sees that it is a math book. That’s a pity! His mother is bad now and the whole day is awful.
However, if he is a smart boy, properly prepared and willing to become a “great man,” he will understand that he needs to learn more. In this case, he’ll get upset if his mother gives him a storybook with pictures. After all, he doesn’t need pirates; he needs knowledge.
Then, he will be overjoyed to receive the textbook; this is a gift! His mother is good, the day is perfect, and all of life is an adventure. Proper preparation turned mathematics into real delight.
Thus, the whole question is what does one consider a pleasure and what does one want to achieve? The same Light comes down to us; however, it can bring us suffering and darkness—dark instead of daylight. Without proper preparation the Light is too strong for our vessels, desires. The Light and vessels don’t “fit”: The Light is not absorbed because we cannot shield it with the Light of Hassadim. So, it turns into darkness for us.
In fact, there is no darkness. The sensation of darkness is caused only by the fact that we cannot accept the Light in the clothing of Hassadim.
Question: Still, does the good path allow us to avoid pain that comes from changing our own nature?
Answer: Ideally, you won’t feel any pain at all. However, as Baal HaSulam writes, we practically move ahead not through suffering, nor by the path of the Torah, but rather by our “corporeal”, “middle” path in which all the differences occur. And yet, at the same time, we can maintain connection without detaching from the spiritual process and we can understand why we get whatever we go through. Our readiness is variable, but we know we are on the path and it all depends on our preparedness.
Question: Why am I “knocked off” my feet while I am on my spiritual path? Why does it happen to me if I am already trying to hasten time?
The Light comes to all and shines for all equally. However, new Reshimot appear in us every moment and that’s why we see black or white “stripes” against the Light.
Once, a spiritual vessel existed that was corrected and perfect. The Light poured into it. Then, the vessel was corrupted, and now it’s as if we are watching a film about it, frame by frame.
There is a “light bulb” in a spiritual projector, and a film is running in front of it that shows various images: people, animals, houses, etc. The entire movie, all these shots, is, in essence, just the Reshimot of a broken soul. This is how we see them while we are “on this side” of the projector. Our brain perceives these “pictures;” we “see” them with the part of our brain that works as a screen where images of the surrounding world are depicted to us.
In essence, all we see is an unchangeable white Light. There are no changes on the Creator’s side; He is the Good and He does Good to all. He does not change, only the Reshimot of the broken soul changes. We see ourselves and watch our own “movies” that are created by our vices! That is why it is said: “Everyone denies according to their own flaws.” The only things that are shown to us are our flaws. This entire world is nothing but the “shattered “I.”
Question: How does this “movie” become different if we accelerate our path?
Answer: The difference is whether we are prepared or not. It depends on us, on how we build our advancement: whether we are “on schedule” or we accelerate? How can we hasten the process? We can do it with the help of the group.
It turns out that we have everything we need. We are given very specific things that we require. How many years do we have to look at this mechanism to finally understand how its works?
If the group is properly prepared, we welcome the “film” like a boy who cherishes a textbook and not entertaining fiction. We accept the “frames” of our lives and learn how to enjoy them.
It’s no coincidence that the modern world is in crisis. Where did it come from if technically speaking we can correct all problems? Before, small crises pushed us ahead, whereas now, no matter what we do, we don’t improve things, any changes will be only for the worse.
Today all of humanity watches this “movie” and sees a series of new conditions that are caused by the lack of connection among us on a global scale. That is why we have to be concerned about our general correction.
Accordingly, without correct preparation, all subsequent “frames” will appear to us in very unpleasant forms; each time they will become worse and worse. After all, the spiral of Reshimot continues to unfold; they reveal in us one after another, thus depicting the picture of the world to us.
It means that there are no other remedies except the right preparation of an individual, a group, or all of humanity. Everything depends on preparation. The Light can come or not to the screen (Masach) in the head of a Partzuf. If there is no screen, the Light will be go to the force of restriction (Tzimtzum) even though it wants to enter inside the desire. In this case, the Partzuf will completely fall into impurity.
If the Partzuf has a screen, it will accept the Light as something it aspires to; it attaches to the Light and produces and interaction with it (Zivug), connection with the Creator.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 12/19/13, Writings of Baal HaSulam