Question: People believe that they will be rewarded if they keep the commandments of the Old Testament and punished if they break them. Is it really like that? I know that some people put on tefillin before going for a medical check-up and believe that it will help them.
Answer: According to the wisdom of Kabbalah, a person is one big desire to receive, which makes him opposite to the system of nature in which he exists.
In order to achieve connection with the system, he must correct his desire from egoistic and caring only about himself, to altruistic and acting for the benefit of the general system. Obviously, only then will he be fulfilled because he will belong to the entire system and not be disconnected from it as he is now.
That is why our entire work is centered on transforming our nature from radical individualism to complete integration with the system. This transformation happens as a result of correcting the desires of the individual. As we begin to correct our desire, we discover that it is not just a single desire; it consists of 613 parts.
All these 613 parts are egoistic, but they can be corrected with the help of a certain force hidden in nature, called Light. When we attract this force of bestowal and love that corrects and transforms, then is can be said that we are keeping the Torah and Mitzvot.
Every time we correct another and another egoistic desire, we connect it to the general system with the help of this Light that Reforms, the Torah.
In the Kabbalistic sense, keeping the Torah and Mitzvot is engaging in the work of correcting desires from egoistic to altruistic and integrating this connection with the general system. Ultimately, a person becomes an integral part of the entire system. To the degree that he connects with the system, correcting one desire after another from individualistic to altruistic, he begins to sense the system to a greater and greater degree.
This means that he increasingly reveals the general system of all of reality, climbing the steps of attainment of worlds, spiritual levels, understanding increasingly more and experiencing it. This is the revelation of the true reality for a person that is offered to him by the wisdom of Kabbalah.
Question: Where are the rewards and punishments in all of this?
Answer: Rewards become everything that help me correct another of the 613 desires and connect it to the general system. In this manner, from complete disconnection, I come to complete integration with the system and this becomes a reward for me because now I can be a useful element of the system. And punishment is the revelation of my disconnection from the system.
Question: There is a spiritual punishment for breaking the commandments that is called karet, which literally means “excision” or “cutting off” from the collective soul of Israel. What is meant by this?
Answer: The separation of a person from the general system is the punishment of karet.
Question: What does “death penalty” mean? Why does the system enact such punishment?
Answer: Punishment by death can only be on the egoistic desire, like s a person treated with chemotherapy or radiation that kills a cancerous tumor within him. That is, punishment by death is carried out on the tumor. In the general system there are no such punishments, only in egoism.
The entire system of reward and punishment is only with respect to a person’s egoism. Egoism can receive punishment and even the death penalty, while at the same time, the person begins to live as an integral part of the system.
From KabTV’s “A New Life” 2/2/16