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Opinion (Dmitry Zhukov, biologist): “In the Great Encyclopedic Dictionary, it is written that love is “aiming at another person, human community, or idea.” The form of love that is most interesting for the wide masses is love between two biologically unrelated people.
“This kind of love can be characterized as a mental disorder, typified by an overvalued idea in the form of another person’s attention, accompanied by a constantly changing, unstable effect. According to the International Classification of Diseases, in subsection F63.9, love often can belong to the following subgroup: ‘Disorders of habits and interests, unspecified.’
“A person in love unconsciously satisfies a range of needs. It is important to emphasize that different people can have a completely different range. Obviously, people’s desire is to satisfy a hedonistic need, that is, the need to obtain pleasure, which is in this case is often called sexual.
“Besides hedonistic love, people in love satisfy many other needs, primarily in increasing self-esteem. We often love more those people who allow us to demonstrate our merits – physical and mental. It is easy to see the fulfillment of need in the possession of a prestigious object that causes the envy of others and again increases a person’s self-esteem.
“The need for leadership, in the desire to control a situation underlies the love of mature women for young men. Often love is formed on the basis of the opposite need, in the need for submission, to follow the leader. Typically, the basis of love is the need for emotions.
“This need triggers many forms of human behaviour, but love is the most pleasant, although very expensive way to satisfy it. Among other requirements, satisfied in a state of love, we can note the need for stable social contacts. Note, that not all people have this need. This form of love is closely connected with the concept of ‘friendship.’
“As to the physiological mechanisms in love, they are unknown. More precisely, there are many descriptions of changes in the work in various systems that take place in the subjects, who claim that they are currently in a state of ‘romantic love.’ The activity of many regions of the brain, hormones, the work of the cardiovascular, digestive and other systems also change. But the mechanisms that trigger love are completely unknown. More precisely, they are purely psychological (the presence of needs) and are not studied in physiology.”
My Comment: According to Kabbalah, there is no love: there is a desire to receive pleasure. This is not only so for the human being, but all of nature: still, vegetative, and animate. The most developed part of the animate nature is the human being. Love can be only spiritual, i.e., only based on the selfless desire to give, to fulfill others. And such a property may occur in a person only under the influence of the Upper Light, the property of bestowal. The implementation of the wisdom of Kabbalah allows us to attract its influence on us.
Question: Why is fear the first Mitzva that includes within it all the Mitzvot of the Torah?
Answer: Fear is a characteristic of Malchut reached through the desire to receive. If I work with the desire to receive in order to correct it, I am standing on the right point from which I can always begin. Every level begins from fear. Every time I fall and begin to build the next level, I first experience all kinds of fears.
Question: If I fall, then I fall. Why must there be fear in this?
Answer: First it is necessary to clarify what is called falling. If you have a bad mood or a bad feeling, this is not a fall. A fall is an inability to approach the Creator, to bestow to Him. I fall if I lose interest in the friends, the desire to be with them, and to feel the warmth and closeness in our connection. Everything depends on this according to what I check regarding my fall.
I feel bad because I don’t have love for others, and from this I don’t have love for the Creator. It is specifically this condition that I establish as a descent. When I come to a group, I don’t feel any desire to connect with the friends to discover the love between us that is called the Creator.
If I perceive that I don’t have a desire like this, this is already good; this indicates that I am in exile. Attaining exile is a great attainment because I see that “there is no divinity within me” (Devarim 31:17).
From the Preparation to the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 3/14/14
Answer: That is, from now on I only look at how to awaken and to attract the Light to me more. I understand that this is the only remedy, and I am a sick man lying unconscious and depend upon this Light one hundred percent. Each and every moment that I abandon this Light, I am dying, and as long as I am held within it, I continue to live. I live within this feeling.
Question: But what can continuously hold us in a feeling like this?
Answer: Fear! Fear that the Light will leave me. It is very important for me to be healthy, to advance through the power of bestowal. This becomes my eternal concern, a real obsession.
I feel myself in a field of forces that shakes me all the time, agitating like waves in the sea, unable to relax. The group must provide me with a field like this. A person cannot do anything by himself.
First and foremost, a mutual feeling in the group like this is imperative for us, where we depend upon the Upper Light, the help of the Creator; we must awaken this all the time. That is how we transform the path of “in its time” (Beito) to the way of “I will hasten it” (Achishena). This is the realization of mutual guarantee.
Question: Where exactly is the freedom of choice of a person? Through which actions does he attract the Light to himself?
Answer: I must yearn for the Light that Reforms and to be integrated into a group so that it will hold me in a connection with the Light and in anticipation that with the help of the Light, I will change myself and will begin to be concerned about the Creator. In the meantime, I don’t know what giving contentment to the Creator is, but at least I begin to be care about Him as about a friend.
From the Preparation to the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 3/9/14
There is a general misconception about the meaning of thanking the Creator. We fall down to our knees and coax the Creator, ready to make any sacrifice, like in ancient cultures, etc. But this is entirely wrong. We should know what it really means.
Praising the attribute of love and bestowal expands our mind and our desires because if we do this, we draw the Surrounding Light (Ohr Makif) upon ourselves and open ourselves to its influence, although we don’t actually understand what we are doing. In any case, even on the lowest level there is an outcome.
Praising the attributes of love and bestowal in the group among the friends, elevates in our eyes the Creator, the upper force, which is called so because it is above us in quality, and so we can come closer to revealing Him. All the beautiful phrases about love of the Creator, praising the Creator, yearning for Him, bowing to Him, draw us closer to the Creator.
Most of us don’t understand this attribute because we are only in the material world, but now we begin to see that it isn’t matter but actually forces that give us the feeling of matter and of its mechanical movement. We realize that the Creator is the only attribute that exists in nature, the attribute of love and bestowal.
Therefore, it’s necessary in the group to constantly keep and raise gratitude, and the greatness and uniqueness of our work. Then we don’t simply raise the spirit of our friends, which is also important, but attract the Surrounding Light (Ohr Makif), which acts on us and corrects everything.
We can even take turns in the group so that every day several people will engage in praising the Creator, the group, the study, etc., that is, both the objective and the means for attaining the goal. Taking turns was common practice in the 17th century in Ramchal’s group and among serious Kabbalists.
When we artificially exalt bestowal and love—although it’s not perfect and the spiritual work exhausts us because it is unnatural for us and we don’t always feel like dealing with it—it is specifically in these states, if we try to praise them a bit, we summon an enormous Light upon us since we yearn for it artificially.
We should understand that it is in these states, when we don’t feel glad and don’t feel the greatness of the friends, the connection between us, the goal of creation, when we feel tired, distant, and detached, they are all guidance! They are all interferences! The spiritual state is continuous and eternal.
If the states we are in change, it is only so we will raise the standard even higher. We actually have to rise above ourselves artificially since otherwise it isn’t considered work. All our work is focused against the ego, against what is revealed in us every moment.
Even if I am suddenly in a state that I laugh with the friends, feel impressed, and a feeling of love and unity erupts between us, I should understand that it is all given to me from Above, so that I should ascend even higher because this state isn’t mine. Like an old man, I should look for: “Where I have lost something? Where I can find an even higher state?” I shouldn’t denounce my current state, but rather look for the penny I have lost here and ascend.
This means that we are never given a certain state so that we should relax and let go! This is clear egoism! The shell (Klipa) immediately begins to operate on us and it is very hard to leave it afterwards. It accumulates like slag, like waste material, which we have to process later, just like we pollute the earth and the oceans and later have to do something about it. Without this we will not reach spiritual life.
In this sense, it is very important not to enjoy what we are given at a specific moment but rather to find pleasure in our efforts! We should get used to this.
All our efforts, all our spiritual life is above the first restriction (Tzimzum Aleph) above the Machsom (barrier). Restriction is a state in which we make our accounts with our ego and begin to calculate only how to exit ourselves and to find pleasure in it.
It isn’t masochism, it isn’t self-beating and self-mutilation but rather accepting an egoistic ascent with great efforts, but this effort is included in the Upper Light. I hope that we will gradually begin to feel this now. Let’s get ready for it.
Baal HaSulam, “Introduction to The Study of the Ten Sefirot,” Item 128: All that concerns he who does not pain himself with the public, and is not awarded seeing the comfort of the public, for he will not be able to sentence them to a scale of merit and see their consolation. Hence, he will never attain the attribute of righteous.
It’s impossible to advance without empathizing with the sufferings of society because each step has to be perfect. Therefore, there is no choice but to feel the suffering of society. This happens at each stage to achieve a state of the righteous or a full righteous.
In these states there are many levels. The entire vessel is divided into many parts, each of them must reach the level of a righteous and then the degree of a complete righteous. Therefore, people must prepare for this desire, the need for the filling, that is suffering.People aspire to bestowal and unity, but they are unable to reach them and are looking for the ways of attracting the Light that Reforms. We have to sense these desires from the outset.
We have to observe the rule of loving our neighbors not only while we are building the Temple, although it embodies precisely this vessel, a house of sanctity, but also we have to look at the giving of the Torah. The question is: “Are you ready to for it?” It’s not about whether or not you are “able to” do it at this time, but are you “ready to go for it?” If the answer is “yes,” then just do it!
It means that we have to feel the suffering of society because we have to feel the desires of our neighbors as our own. But there is a subtlety as we don’t pick up our neighbors’ desires for food, family, money, power, or knowledge directly. Rather, we should be compassionate and feel others’ pain as our own since it is something that matters to them at their level. But we have to decipher their states from our level and understand that the reason for their affliction is a deficiency of the Light that Reforms, a shortage of the Upper Light’s presence in their desires.
Their desires require correction and therefore they experience multiple problems: diseases, troubles with children and family, and all sorts of troubles. The reason for all these sorrows is a deficiency of the Light in general. At our level, we are able to understand this situation and then transfer their prayers into our plea (MAN). This is what it means to be imbued with the the suffering of the public.
The question arises about how can we penetrate their spiritual desires if they don’t yet aspire to spirituality but only crave material fulfillment? Let’s say I am at the 50th stage, but the general public does not represent my immediate lower Partzuf since it has not yet reached the 49th level. Is it possible that I see their desires in the 49th stage?
The fact is that we see the general public’s desires solely from the level we’re on, as all the stages already exist. All one can do is sense the desires of society that are at one’s same level. This means that one raises society’s desires to one’s own level. That’s why even a complete righteous can be impressed by the suffering of the public in a very material state, even before the preparation period, prior to Lo Lishma. After all, the state already exists in the spiritual world.
From the Preparation for the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 3/5/14
Question: How can parts of a whole be different in radiance? What does “each in its own way” mean?
Answer: Each cell, molecule, atom, and their parts have a purpose and a job of its own. We are supposed to reveal the nature and purpose of each tiny detail of the creation to the very latest “trivia.” Ultimately, we have to get to the original point “something out of nothing”, to the origin of the desire, and then correct it in the point of its origin.
By doing so, we revoke “something out of nothing.”
All desires are unique and interconnected. However, we get to know their structure not by going deep into their peculiarities as we are used to in our deterministic society, which is fragmented into individual pieces. No, in spirituality, we grasp things through a dynamic integration of all their parts. There desires are not alienated from each other. Each of them is at all times intertwined with the rest of the whole (613 minus one).
Question: According to your description, we should be real geniuses to…
Answer: It is said: “It is not the wise who learns.” We get to know the world through “tastes, flavors” (Ta’amim). A chemical formula that precisely describes the properties of a substance doesn’t tell us anything about its properties; whereas, if we sense the substance, we immediately understand everything about it.
That’s why knowledge in spirituality is tasting. You can write a long novel about some flavor, but I still cannot imagine it. However, if I taste it, I will immediately resolve the problem and know what exactly it is. Just knowing the taste is sufficient because a flavor includes and reveals the origin of the substance, its properties and nuances. Then, when reading an appropriate name of a thing I have already tried, I will already know what it is about.
Spiritual attainment doesn’t need anything but nullification before the group, humility of the will to receive over the will to bestow.
Question: Then, who are the ones who collect the data and how do they do it?
Answer: A completely new form of HaVaYaH emerges in a desire, the four discernments of the direct Light. There is nothing but them. That’s what we actually attain. All worlds, actions, partitions, and corrections are built into the original, non-variable structure of HaVaYaH.
The key to attainment is the unity of friends reinforced by the Light. Only unanimity provides us with knowledge and wisdom. After we leave a state of detachment and re-assemble broken parts, we penetrate into their nature, thus reaching attainment.
This is the only reason why the shattering took place: detached fragments formed a shattered picture that is totally opposite to their own nature. By collecting them back together, we get to know reverse forms of unity, thus we “re-assemble” the Creator. However, we don’t re-assemble Him in the sense of the internal fulfillment of the vessel; rather, we do it externally. Nevertheless, because of this process we attain Him.
Question: Consequently, it means that unification influences everything at the atomic level of this material world. Can it really be so?
Answer: The world that we see currently is a picture of our own flaw, as if we are X-rayed and see the outcome on the screen. We see our own corruptness, the belly of our egoism that continuously strives for more self-fulfillment.
That’s why when we change, the entire world changes with us too. It is said: “And I saw an upside-down world.”
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 2/14/14, Writings of Baal HaSulam
Baal HaSulam, “Introduction to The Book of Zohar,” Item 67: When a person from Israel enhances and dignifies one’s internality, which is the Israel in that person, over the externality, which are the nations of the world in him, that is, when one dedicates the majority of one’s efforts to enhance and exalt one’s internality, to benefit one’s soul, and gives minor efforts, the mere necessity, to sustain the nations of the world in him, meaning the bodily needs, as it is written (Avot, 1), “Make your Torah permanent and your labor temporary,” by so doing, one makes the children of Israel soar upwards in the internality and externality of the world as well, and the nations of the world, which are the externality, to recognize and acknowledge the value of the children of Israel.
Question: There is internality and there is externality. It’s clear to me. Yet, I don’t understand what to prefer one over another means.
Answer: There is a soul and there is a body. Here “body” is not used in the physical sense of the word. At the speaking level, a body is a will to receive. What is a human being in the first place?
It’s not a physical body. Even a monkey has hands and a rooster has legs. Human beings stay above the animate level because they have the ability to attain the Creator. Even though human beings belong to the animate level, they still have an additional potential: a desire to search for the Creator.
We are “strange monkeys” who have unlimited developmental horizons.
“What are you looking for in our forest?” monkeys ask; “Have you lost something?”
“I am looking for my brothers. I want to find father.”
“Here is your father, don’t you see?”
“No. I am looking for the source of life. There is something missing in my life. I want to know why I live. Is there anything besides bananas out there? It’s hard for me to abide without searching.”
“I don’t know myself yet, but I have to find a sense in life. My existence is insipid and flavorless.”
“Try these wonderful bananas!”
“That won’t do! I still have a desire that is beyond just having daily bread.”
This additional desire is called “a Man” (Adam). Our internal quest addresses an aspiration to become similar (Domeh) to the Creator, to His properties and nature.
A monkey begins searching without having any clue about anything at all. So far, the search is cloaked in egoistic development.
The development is rigidly oriented to earn more money, have more success, and to build more. This process has been going on for hundreds of thousands of years: There was agriculture, then industry emerge, complicated social interactions, countless human achievements, and still the monkey is never completely happy or satisfied.
In the tangle of monkeys’ desires, inside lurks a rush to sense the Creator. But this aspiration is unarticulated, implicit, as if hidden under several layers of clothes, other desires. New unexplored lands and continents seem so attractive to monkeys! Monkeys strive to explore the world and its laws: “What’s there in the skies? What’s in the depth of the Earth? What is on our friends’ minds and in their hearts?” Monkeys develop sciences and technologies that represent evolutional milestones in the language that monkeys understand.
In essence, in the very depth of their minds, behind all feasible efforts in science, philosophy, and the latest technologies, monkeys aspire to the revelation of the source of reality.
With time, monkeys become much stranger and begin calling themselves “human beings.” This situation continues until a once hidden desire begins manifesting itself more vividly. Then, monkeys start searching for certain natural powers; they engage in mysticism and astrology, start looking for sacraments, noticing “signs” that are around and inside them. They ascribe mysterious properties to various things and phenomena and create innumerable theories. As a result, they still find nothing.
Yet, the monkeys’ deepest desire gradually emerges and emerges even more. Suddenly, among thousands of highly developed monkeys shows up one by the name “Adam.” It’s not an accident that his parents gave him this particular name. This newly established enormous desire finally divulges the upper force that launched the entire reality with everything that ever existed.
This man is called “the first man” (Adam Ha-Rishon) since he is the one who acquired a human appearance: similarity with the upper force. Thus, he revealed the Creator.
He was followed by many others throughout twenty generations before Abraham. Some of them managed to attain a human level.
Consequently, a thirst to reveal the upper force is built into this type of monkey. So far, their egoism was only accompanying them towards this force. They are trying to build a better life and they try various remedies since their internal appeal is still hidden.
Similarly, we “trick” our children to engage them in beneficial activities by placing things that are good for them in attractive wrappings so that they gradually move in the desired direction. The same applies to monkeys, they slowly approach the question about the purpose of their lives driven by numerous challenges, disappointments, and goadings. This is how any advancement happens.
In ancient Babylon, there were huge arguments among people. They had no idea how to resolve them. The situation became so acute that they began screaming: “We want to know our King!” These were very advanced thinking, progressive monkeys. It took them hundreds of thousands of years before they proclaimed their desire to get “acquainted” with the upper force. They were no mere primitive idolaters, they built ziggurat. With their tower reaching for the heavens, in essence, they were engaged in spiritual actions working with the forces of nature, although egoistically.
In short, this is the time when monkeys’ desire to reveal the upper force began. However, they didn’t know how to reach it. They had a multi-millennia long tendency of technical and social progress behind them so they decided to continue on this path but encountered a crisis since it is impossible to attain the Creator this way.
We have to understand they lived pretty modestly, they had enough to eat, and all their efforts were directed to attainment of the upper force.
At the time of Babylon, monkeys approached the human state to a certain degree. Something changed in them. They started to aspire to the source, to the upper force.
Since then, a development of a new methodology of attainment was launched. This methodology discloses the truth to us. It doesn’t matter whether the truth is pleasant or comfortable. I am not looking for comfort; rather, I want to know.
We can continue this path of attainment only by acquiring an even bigger degree of egoism. It means that we have to move on to the next step.
Babylonian “additional” egoism allowed a small part (approximately five thousand people out of three million) to prevail, rise above their selfishness, become Galgalta ve Eynaim and join Abraham’s group. The majority was not able to cope with their egoism and they forgot about the purpose of their lives, the “tower to the heavens,” i.e., about the search for the upper force. They fell under the burden of self-love and were spread around the world and continued establishing their material existence.
Amplified egoism divided them into two parts: internal and external. This process continues until now: a small part, the house of Abraham, Israel, develops and corrects itself, whereas the bigger part (AHP) should only gain the willingness to correct, but it is unable to do so on its own and is corrected solely through Galgalta ve Eynaim. This explains why the entire world also has to go through a big crisis and many disappointments so that in the end they connect with Galgalta ve Eynaim and support it.
As prophet Yeshayahu (Isaiah) said, “nations of the world” will carry “the sons of Israel” on their shoulders to the Temple. They are capable of doing it although they are unable to correct themselves on their own. Galgalta ve Eynaim is a transitional point between AHP, the “nations of the world,” and the upper force.
Hence, together both parts will attain complete correction.
Why do monkeys prefer internality to externality? They ask themselves a question about the purpose of life: “Why do I do anything at all? What do I live for? Why do I develop industry, sciences, culture, education, and political systems? Why do I discover new lands? Why do I conquer the cosmos?”
Nowadays, at least half of the world goes through various stages of disparity. A huge number of people are taking anti-depressants, light drugs or alcohol. These are signs of weakness and helplessness. Nobody has an answer to the deepest question ever: “Why am I here?”
People do not realize it, but they feel emptiness and devastation. If they will be deprived of television or other types of mass media that confuse them even more, if they are freed of everything they are forcefully “fed” by from dawn till night, what will they be left with?
People are forced to work hard, but it is unnecessary. By working hard, they are purposely distracted from the major question evoked by nature. Today, this question becomes very dangerous. It’s like a match that can ignite a worldwide fire.
Nobody wants to listen to this question. People are afraid of the pain that they carry inside. When one asks oneself this question, one’s entire life turns into a big painful spasm. Who wants it? People are trying to find some joy; they don’t want to be submerged in a total despair.
People are ready to kill when questions about the meaning of their life bring up pain that cannot be cured by any known medication.
Humankind does everything it can to avoid aching: tourism, fashion, cinema, TV, entertainment; there is no end to the “alternatives.” Do whatever you want, but do not wake up anguish that has no solution.
Nevertheless, a question about the sense of life wakes up irrespective of politicians or other professionals who know how to turn this question upside down. Their efforts are not successful since they contradict the purpose of creation.
However, people need to “cook” and “ripen” internally. By all means this process depends on the opportunity to have wide access to the methodology of correction that carries a ready-made remedy, a beautiful life saturated with a sense of eternity and perfection as well as an endless ascent for everybody instead of diseases or the absurdity of our current existence.
On one hand, the methodology of correction presents a clear explanation of the situation we are in at this time. It explains why this situation happened to us and how to correct it. On the other hand, it provides a strong practical technique of correction that shows immediate positive results.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 3/3/14, Writings of Baal HaSulam
Preparation for the Lesson
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The Book of Zohar — Selected Excerpts, Parashat “Bereshit-1,” “A Prayer for the Poor,” Item 184
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Writings of Baal HaSulam, “Preface to the Wisdom of Kabbalah,” Item 24
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Writings of Baal HaSulam, “Introduction to the Book, Panim Meirot uMasbirot,” Item 9
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