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We need to construct a line between the Light and the Kli, between the desire and the Creator. We do this gradually, according to 125 levels, building the right intention to realize ourselves only in order to bestow to others or the Creator.
To do this, I receive the power of correction from the Light that Reforms. It corrects me and gives me all that is necessary. But it is up to me to find a yearning for the goal within myself. I must be the initiating factor; otherwise, there is no creation. After all, if I want the Light to do everything for me, it is as if I don’t really exist.
Initially the Creator created the desire. It belongs to Him. I am that desire that rushes for Light according to the way it shines. A game is conducted with me from above, as was said allegorically by the Kabbalists , the Creator plays with the Leviathan that He created. With the Light, He plays—wherever it shines, that is where the Leviathan turns. But this still doesn’t mean that I truly exist, since for now I am completely managed.
Even though I understand and feel that my entire life is like a chase after bait, this awareness did not come on my account as a result of my efforts. I’m given the feeling that I am running after bait and that I’m not different from the still, vegetative, and animate nature.
But in addition, I am given a Reshimo (reminiscence) that arouses questions in me: “Why am I running? What is the benefit? What is the goal?” And then they give me one additional question, which is “What is the purpose of life?” And this is done so that I will now begin to work on my own.
As long as I haven’t asked the question, “What for?” I could run after various pleasures all my life, which is what the whole world does. We consider people who are prominent experts or famous scientists to be smart, even though they are chasing the lures like everyone else. This is not their addition since they really aren’t doing anything and have no freedom of choice. Look at the world through the filter of intentions and you will see emptiness. There is no nature of the still, vegetative, and animate and there aren’t seven billion people, instead everything is pure. There is no additional place that a creature must make by himself. Only in a few, in whom the true question about the meaning of life has awakened can produce an independent desire. Even this desire was given to them from above, but they need to “work” with it through working in a group.
So where do we get the power for this? Where do we find the method? How do we even know what is required of us?
That is why there was the Shevira HaKelim (shattering of the vessels). If there had been one creature, he would have had nothing to do; he would not have been able to do anything. It is no accident that Adam HaRishon (the First Man) was called an “angel,” because he belonged to the animate level. But when there are other people beside myself who ask the same question, then we can support each other through the connection of our questions. If we overcome our ego, then each one of us inserts his yearnings into everyone, his addition, the meaning of a life directed towards giving. And this makes it possible for us to advance.
That is how I use the desires that the Creator awakens in my friends. Even though these desires are not ours, we internalize them within each one in the group and this already becomes our work thanks to which we build an even greater desire, an “added value” in each one. Essentially, this is the way we realize the work of the Creator. It is clear that the Light is what realizes it, but we organize it.
That is how we reproduce the operation that the Creator was doing in Ein Sof (Infinity), producing a desire. Even though this is not a new and unusual creative act, in spite of it all, it is a true addition. The Creator began the creation and ultimately we complete it….
From the 2nd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 6/21/13, The Zohar
Opinion (John Hagee, founder and senior pastor of Cornerstone Church, San Antonio, Texas, CEO Global Evangelism Television (GETV): “John Hagee declared on his Hagee Hotline show last week that God will destroy America because of the way President Obama and the Democrats are treating Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. ‘It’s proven by history,’ he said.
“’I am a student of world history,’ he said, ‘And you can wrap up world history in 25 words or less and here it is: the nations that blessed Israel prospered and the nations that cursed Israel were destroyed by the hand of God.’
“According to Hagee, the Egyptian, Babylonian, Ottoman and British Empires all fell because they did not give the proper respect to Israel, the only country ever to exist because God ordained it for his favorite people. Of course, real historians all agree that those empires all fell from their own weight because they became too large to control.
“’God could care less about our relationship with other nations,’ Hagee said. ‘But he’s watching what America does as it responds to Israel. If America turns its back on Israel, God will turn his back on America. And that’s a fact. It’s proven by history.'”
My Comment: On more than one occasion I have heard the same opinion from various people who are not historians or preachers. It apparently applies both to love and to punishment. But that is what makes it the Israeli nation as it performs its mission to be the Light to the nations of the world and bring the method of revealing the upper force to the world.
God will punish America and the entire world, but even before that it will start to punish Israel again because it is our incorrect behavior that causes the American attitude toward us.
It is not Obama who makes decisions, but us, through our attitude towards our responsibilities in this world! Indeed, we are the only ones in this world who have the freedom of choice (see the article “The Freedom”) to reveal the Creator in the connection between us.
This is the only free action that was left to humans by nature, the Creator, and it was given only to us, and for this we are hated. The nations of the world feel their dependence on the people of Israel, and anti-Semitism is their natural reaction to our behavior.
Answer: A person wants to sacrifice himself; he yearns unknowingly and without understanding that the spiritual action he performs is beyond his powers.
But this action is necessary so he can see the limits of his powers, so that his yearning forward will die, which means shatter; it disappears due to the unprepared form he made. But later he will be able to perform it as a result of many small actions.
Try to jump three meters high! The sons of Aaron wanted to take this level of in order to bestow for the sake of the Creator, for the sake of the whole nation, but it was beyond human powers, beyond the level they were on. Therefore, eventually the attribute of judgment was revealed, the rigidity, fire that can be both good and bad. In this case it swallowed them.
Question: But they did it with the right intention.
Answer: Their intentions were not justified. How can you go on such a mission if you don’t have the Creator’s clear support? All your attributes, all your actions of bestowal, stem only from the power you receive from Above.
You are nothing but a small egoist. Some new egoistic attributes are revealed in you, while you have to receive altruistic attributes, to connect them and to reveal the middle line on which you should work. This is called sanctifying a property, the attribute of bestowal, when you attract your ego, correct it by the altruistic attribute of the Light, and keep on advancing.
But if you don’t do that you have no right to use only the left line, no way!!
This is especially true on the level of the sons, since this is a small level. But Nadav and Avihu took the great egoistic potential that was revealed, which wasn’t prepared for them at all. It is like a youth who takes upon himself what even an adult cannot do since the adult understands that it isn’t in his power to do, while the youth thinks that he will be able to perform the mission he is given. But things aren’t that simple.
A the saying goes: “If youth knew; if old age could.” Therefore, old people realize that they cannot do something and don’t do it, while the foolish youth think that they can handle a task and gets so fired up that he gets burnt.
From KabTV’s “Secrets of the Eternal Book” 1/15/13
Question: It says that “the desire is in the hearts of the children of Israel at any moment, and if they had really asked, they would have been rewarded with the presence of Divinity.” What does it mean, “If they had really asked”?
Answer: A strong desire means that we only want a certain thing and nothing else: only to be incorporated in one another and in everyone so that there will be no room for anyone in the connection among us, and actually a spiritual vacuum is formed. We have a great passion that only the Creator will be able to appear in that empty space.
Such a place is revealed among us, which doesn’t belong to any of us and at the same time belongs to everyone. There is nothing of our ego there. We discover an upper dimension in the connection between us.
We have created such an area by throwing our ego aside, and our passion to be incorporated in one another are connected in a pure intention, in our reluctance to regard the ego. Therefore, this place becomes empty and already belongs to another dimension.
The space in which we are belongs to the animate level and the empty zone is the place for the formation of man. This is where the Creator is revealed: the first ten Sefirot, which are us, the ones who are included on this connection.
From the 2nd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 6/3/14, Shamati #66
And what is to be understood is what the importance is of the “merit” that his work comes through others. If so, then this is the phase of the “bread of shame” after all; so of what benefit is this?
And it is to be explained that “others” are called the Achoraim (backside) phase. That there are vessels of Panim (face), which are called vessels of bestowal, and vessels of Achoraim, which are called vessels of reception. And because of this, before a person is made whole, when he still hasn’t reached the level of “merit,” his work, which is the sacred work, is through the vessels of Panim, which are the vessels of bestowal; with them he can work on the sacred work.
Which is not so when he has merit. Then, his work, which is the sacred work, is done by others, meaning in the vessels of Achoraim, which are the vessels of reception. He can use them for the sake of heaven.
Vessels of the face are called Israel (straight to the Creator), for there are sparks that yearn for the goal of creation in them, even if in the meantime this is for the sake of reception. Their yearning is weak because they do not have great force of desire (Aviut).
And so if they are ready to activate the Achoraim, then they get energy from there to advance towards the goal of creation, to connection, to adhesion. There is an immense power in the vessels of Achoraim, yet it has no direction. This means that they are not directed towards the goal of creation, yet they have lots of energy. And if the vessels of Panim are ready to see that the vessels of Achoraim are theirs, then they join them to themselves and see part of themselves in them.
And that is how they get energy from the Achoraim, and give the right direction to the whole of the complete vessel that is already made up of the desires of Galgalta ve Eynaim and AHP.
And so the right stage follows: The direction comes from the vessels of Galgalta ve Eynaim, the vessels of Israel, and the energy for movement towards the goal of creation comes from the vessels of Achoraim, AHP, directed by Israel. So they reach the goal of creation together.
This is called, “Their work is done by others,” for they get the “work,” the energy for advancement itself, from the vessels of Achoraim. But this is on condition that they see the vessels of Achoraim as an inseparable part of themselves, as a single system.
And if not, then they need to advance through the energy that is in them, in the vessels of Panim. And since this is a weak energy, they are certainly not ready to advance quickly until they finally turn to the vessels of Achoraim.
So they need to sense the time and place where it will be possible to turn to the vessels of Achoraim to connect them to Israel and advance together. They need to acquire experience and build some kind of method to approach them. As it is written: “Train a child according to his way ” (Proverbs 22:6). This means that it is necessary to search for some form to approach people and connect them with us.
To the degree that Israel invests energy in the vessels of Achoraim, to the degree that they feel that everything is part of a single vessel, to this degree they can advance quickly. The feeling of movement comes in the vessels of Panim, but the clarification of the advancement comes specifically with the merit that the vessels of Achoraim is included in them.
From the Preparation to the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 6/5/14
“If a person takes a bundle of reeds, he cannot break them all at once. But taken one at a time, even an infant will break them. Just so, Israel will not be redeemed until they are all one bundle.”
(Midrash Tanhuma, Nitzavim, Chapter 1)
Throughout the history of the Jewish people, unity and mutual guarantee (otherwise known as mutual responsibility) have been the emblems of our nation. Countless sages and spiritual leaders have written about the significance of these two trademarks, hailing them as the heart and soul of our nation, and declaring that salvation and redemption can arrive only when there is unity in Israel.
In fact, the concept of unity has been so preeminent, it has exceeded that of devotion to the Creator and the observance of commandments. A considerable number of Jewish spiritual leaders and sacred texts throughout the generations stress the importance of unity above all else. Masechet Derech Eretz Zuta, written at approximately the same time as the Talmud, is one of numerous statements in that spirit: “Even when Israel worship idols and there is peace among them, the Lord says, ‘I have no wish to harm them.’ …But if they are disputed, what is it that is said about them? ‘Their heart is divided; now they will bear their guilt.’”[i]
After the ruin of the Second Temple, the preeminence of unity and brotherly love peaked. The Babylonian Talmud, among many other sources, teaches us that the reason why the Second Temple was ruined was unfounded hatred and divisiveness within Israel. The sources even declare that unfounded hatred is so harmful, it equals the impact of the three great evils that caused the ruin of the First Temple, put together: idolatry, incest, and bloodshed. Masechet Yoma teaches us that lesson very clearly: “The Second Temple … why was it ruined? It was because there was unfounded hatred in it, teaching you that unfounded hatred is equal to all three transgressions—idolatry, incest, and bloodshed—combined.”[ii]
Evidently, unity, brotherhood, and mutual guarantee are not only in the DNA of our nation, they are the substance of the lifeline that has spared us afflictions when we had them, and allowed for afflictions to unfold when we did not. In these trying times of distended self-entitlement and narcissism, we need unity more than ever, yet it seems more inaccessible than at any time in history.
Some thirty-four centuries ago, at the foot of Mount Sinai, we stood as one man with one heart, and by so doing we became a nation. Since then, unity has sustained us through rain and shine, as renowned preacher and writer, Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Halevi Epstein, describes in his acclaimed composition, Maor va Shemesh (Light and Sun): “Although the generation of Ahab were idol worshippers, they engaged in war and won because there was unity among them. It is even more so when there is unity in Israel and they engage in Torah for Her sake … By that, they subdue all who are against them, and everything they say with their mouths, the Lord grants their wishes.”[iii]
Following Moses, we came to Canaan, conquered it, made it The Land of Israel, and then were exiled once again. Subsequently, a handful of the nation—barely two of the original twelve tribes—returned to the land and established the Second Temple. But because we could not maintain our brotherly love, we were eventually overwhelmed by the enemy and were exiled for centuries to come.
Yet, division and unfounded hatred, which caused the ruin of the Second Temple and the exile of the nation from its land, did not arrest our development while in exile. Through much of the last two or so millennia, we kept to ourselves, maintaining relative separation from the cultural life of the nations in which we resided.
But roughly since the time of the Enlightenment, we have gradually adopted a culture that hails personal distinction and individual achievement, and condones exploitation of the weak and needy. In the last several decades, we have so excelled at the culture of self-interest and self-entitlement that as a society, we have become the complete opposite of the caring and humane community we nurtured at the onset of our nation.
In today’s world, the reigning tone and atmosphere are of self-entitlement and egotism to the point of narcissism. In their insightful book, The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement, psychologists Jean M. Twenge and Keith Campbell describe what they refer to as “The relentless rise of narcissism in our culture,”[iv] and the problems it causes. They explain that “The United States is currently suffering from an epidemic of narcissism. …narcissistic personality traits rose just as fast as obesity.”
Worse yet, they continue, “The rise in narcissism is accelerating, with scores rising faster in the 2000s than in previous decades. By 2006, one out of four college students agreed with the majority of the items on a standard measure of narcissistic traits.”[v]
And the majority of us Jews, progenitors of the tenet, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” not only sit by and watch as egotism celebrates, but also join the party, many of us even leading the pack, taking spoils wherever we can. We have embraced the maxim, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do,” with spectacular enthusiasm, and by so doing, many Jewish names have become synonymous with wealth and power. There is no doubt that we do not pursue wealth and power to present our heritage as superior to those of others. However, when Jews gain notoriety for the above two distinctions, they are noted not only for their gains, but also for their heritage.
As unfair as it may seem, Jews and the Jewish state are not viewed in the same manner as are other countries and nations. They are treated as special, both positively and negatively.
But there is a good reason why this is so. When Abraham discovered the singular force that leads the world, the one we refer to as “the Creator,” “God,” HaShem, HaVaYaH (Yod–Hey–Vav–Hey, the “Lord”), he wished to tell the whole world about it. As a Babylonian of high social and spiritual status, the son of a maker of idols and statues, he was in a position to be heard. It was only when King Nimrod tried to kill him and later expelled him from Babylon that he went elsewhere, eventually arriving at Canaan.
Yet, Rav Moshe Ben Maimon (Maimonides) describes how all along the way he kept looking for soul mates with whom he could share his discovery: “He began to call out to the whole world, to alert them that there is one God to the whole world… He was calling out, wandering from town to town and from kingdom to kingdom, until he arrived in the land of Canaan… And since they [people in the places where he wandered] gathered around him and asked him about his words, he taught everyone…until he brought them back to the path of truth. Finally, thousands and tens of thousands assembled around him, and they are the people of ‘the house of Abraham.’ He planted this tenet in their hearts, composed books about it, and taught his son, Isaac. And Isaac sat, and taught, warned, and informed Jacob, and appointed him a teacher, to sit and teach… And Jacob the Patriarch taught all his sons, and separated Levi and appointed him the head, and had him sit and learn the way of God…”[vi]
From Jacob onward, narrates the renowned composition, The Kozari, “Godliness is revealed in an assembly, and since then is the count by which we count the years of the ancestors, according to what was given to us in Moses’ law [Torah], and we know what unfolded since Moses to this day.”[vii]
Thus, unity became a condition for attaining the perception of God, or the Creator—as Kabbalists often refer to Him (for reasons we will not detail here, as it is beyond the scope of this book). Without unity, attainment was simply impossible. Those who were able to unite became the people of Israel and attained the Creator, the singular force that creates, governs, and leads the whole of reality. Those who weren’t able to do so remained without that perception, yet with a sense that the Israelites knew something that they did not, and had something that belonged to them, as well, but that they could not have.
This is the root of the hatred of Israel, which later became anti-Semitism. It is a feeling that the Jews have something that they aren’t sharing with the world, but which they must.
Indeed, the Jews must share it with the world. Just as Abraham tried to share his discovery with all his fellow Babylonians, the Jews, his descendants, must do the same. This is the meaning of being “A light for the nations.” This is the obligation to which the great Rav Kook, the first Chief Rabbi of Israel, referred in his eloquent, poetic style when he wrote, “The genuine movement of the Israeli soul at its grandest is expressed only by its sacred, eternal force, which flows within its spirit. It is that which has made it, is making it, and will make it still a nation that stands as a light unto nations, as redemption and salvation to the entire world for its own specific purpose, and for the global purposes, which are interlinked.”[viii]
This commitment is also that to which Rav Yehuda Leib Arie Altar referred with his words, “The children of Israel are guarantors in that they received the Torah in order to correct the whole world, the nations, too.”[ix]
And what exactly is it that we are obliged to pass on to the nations? It is unity, through which one discovers life’s unique, singular creating force, the Lord, or God. In the words of Rabbi Shmuel Bornstein, author of Shem MiShmuel [A Name Out of Samuel], “The aim of Creation was for all to be one association … But because of the sin, the matter became so spoiled that even the best in those generations were unable to unite together to serve the Lord, but were a few, alone.”[x]
For this reason, continues Rabbi Bornstein, only those who could unite did so, while the rest parted from them until they were able to join the unity. In his words, “The correction began with making a gathering and association of people to serve the Creator, beginning with Abraham the Patriarch and his descendents, so they would be a consolidated community for the work of God. His [the Creator’s] idea in separating people was that first He caused separation in the human race, at the time of Babylon, and all the evildoers were dispersed. …Subsequently began the gathering in order to serve the Creator, as Abraham the Patriarch went and called by the name of the Lord until a great community gathered toward him, who had been called ‘the people of the house of Abraham.’ The matter continued to grow until it became the assembly of the congregation of Israel … and the end of correction will be in the future, when everyone becomes one association in order to do Your will wholeheartedly.”[xi]
Considering the current global circumstances, it seems urgent that everyone know about the concept of unity as a means of attaining the Creator. Once all of us know and accept that tenet, peace and brotherhood will naturally prevail.
In fact, according to renowned Kabbalist, Rav Yehuda Ashlag, known as Baal HaSulam [Owner of the Ladder] for his Sulam [Ladder] commentary on The Book of Zohar, the need to know the Creator has been urgent for almost a century now. In “Peace in the World,” an essay dating back to the early 1930s, Baal HaSulam explains that because we are all interdependent, we must apply the laws of mutual guarantee to the entire world. While the term, “globalization,” was not as ubiquitous in treatises of his time, his words clearly illustrate his urgent need to make the world a single, solidified unit.
Here is Baal HaSulam’s description of globalization and interdependence: “Do not be surprised if I mix together the well-being of a particular collective with the well-being of the whole world, because indeed, we have already come to such a degree that the whole world is considered one collective and one society. That is, because each person in the world draws one’s life’s marrow and livelihood from all the people in the world, one is coerced to serve and care for the well-being of the entire world.
“…Therefore, the possibility of making good, happy, and peaceful conducts in one country is inconceivable when it is not so in all the countries in the world, and vice versa. In our time, the countries are all linked in the satisfaction of their needs of life, as individuals were in their families in earlier times. Therefore, we can no longer speak or deal with just conducts that guarantee the well-being of one country or one nation, but only with the well-being of the whole world because the benefit or harm of each and every person in the world depends and is measured by the benefit of all the people in the world.”[xii]
However, for the world to achieve that unity, that mutual guarantee, it needs a role model, a group or collective that can implement unity, attain the Creator, and by personal example, pave the way for the rest of humankind. Because we Jews had already been at that point, and the world subconsciously feels it, it is our duty to rekindle that brotherly love among us, attain that singular force, and pass on both the method of unity and the attainment of the Creator to the rest of the world. This is the role of the Jews: to bring the light of the Creator to the world, to be a light to the nations.
In “The Love of God and the Love of Man,” Baal HaSulam clearly describes that modus operandi: “The Israeli nation has been established as a transition. To the same extent that Israel themselves are purified by keeping the Torah [the law (of unity), which we said in the introduction was a precondition for attainment of the Creator], they pass on their power to the rest of the nations. And when the rest of the nations also sentence themselves to a scale of merit [unite and attain the Creator], the Messiah [the force that pulls us out of egoism] will be revealed.”[xiii]
Rav Yehuda Altar similarly describes the role of Jews in regard to the rest of the nations: “It would seem that the children of Israel, the recipients of the Torah, are the borrowers and not the guarantors, except that the children of Israel became responsible for the correction of the entire world by the power of the Torah. This is why it was said to them, ‘And you will be unto Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ …And it is to that that they replied, ‘That which the Lord has said, we shall do’—correct the whole of Creation. …In truth, everything depends on the children of Israel. As much as they correct themselves, all creations follow them. As the students follow the rav [teacher] who corrects himself … similarly, the whole of Creation follows the children of Israel.”[xiv]
[i] Masechet Derech Eretz Zuta, Chapter 9.
[ii] Masechet Yoma, p 9b.
[iii] Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Halevi Epstein, Maor va Shemesh (Light and Sun), Parashat (Portion) Balak
[iv] Jean M. Twenge and W. Keith Campbell, The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement (New York: Free Press, A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc. 2009), 1.
[v] Jean M. Twenge and W. Keith Campbell, The Narcissism Epidemic, 1-2.
[vi] Rav Moshe Ben Maimon (Maimonides), Mishneh Torah (Repetition of the Torah, a.k.a. Yad HaChazakah (The Mighty Hand)), Part 1, “The Book of Science,” Chapter 1, Item 3.
[vii] Rabbi Yehuda HaLevi, The Kozari, “First Essay,” item 31, 60.
[viii] HaRav Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook, Letters of the RAAIAH 3 (Mosad HaRav Kook, Jerusalem, 1950), 194-195.
[ix] Yehuda Leib Arie Altar (ADMOR of Gur), Sefat Emet [Language of Truth], Parashat Yitro [Portion, Jethro], TARLAZ (1876).
[x] Rabbi Shmuel Bornstein, Shem MiShmuel [A Name Out of Samuel], Haazinu [Give Ear], TARAP (1920).
[xii] Rav Yehuda Leib HaLevi Ashlag (Baal HaSulam), The Writings of Baal HaSulam, “Peace in the World” (Ashlag Research Institute, Israel, 2009), 464-5.
[xiii] Rav Yehuda Leib HaLevi Ashlag (Baal HaSulam), The Writings of Baal HaSulam, “The Love of God and the Love of Man” (Ashlag Research Institute, Israel, 2009), 486.
[xiv] Yehuda Leib Arie Altar (ADMOR of Gur), Sefat Emet [Language of Trut], Parashat Yitro [Portion, Jethro], TARLAZ (1876).
Writings of Rabash, “Steps of the Ladder,” Article 12
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The Book of Zohar, Selected Excerpts — “Middle Line,” Item 4
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Talmud Eser Sefirot, Vol. 6, Part 16, “Table of Answers for the Meaning of the Words,” Item 42
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Writings of Baal HaSulam, “Peace in the World,” “In Practical Life, the Four Attributes Contradict One Another”
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