Entries in the 'Baal HaSulam' Category

Threads Extending From Infinity

Dr. Michael LaitmanWhen we read Baal HaSulam’s book, The Foundations of Intention (Beit Shaar HaKavanot), which describes the system of the Upper Governance, we can slightly feel where our roots come from – how there is a transition from the First Restriction (Tzimtzum Aleph) to the Second Restriction (Tzimtzum Bet), and we exist inside its systems.

Keter of the World of Atzilut is called Ain (absence) or “the concealed mind” because it is fully nourished from Above, from the World of Adam Kadmon. The First Restriction governs the Second Restriction because it is impossible to plan anything unless you come from the final state.

I have to see the entire final picture: where each of its details comes from until reaching its place and how they all unite together. After that we can already break this down into small actions: how is it possible to carry them out, in what form, and how it is done with each soul and with groups of souls.

Therefore, Tzimtzum Bet, beneath which we are found, is governed from above, from Tzimtzum Aleph, and in general all the orders come to us from the World of Infinity. The general, final picture is the final, completely corrected state (State 3), and it entirely determines the initial state of the World of Infinity (State 1) and the entire process of correction (State 2).
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From the 3rd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 11/21/10, Beit Shaar HaKavanot

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Baal HaSulam, “This Is For Judah”

Baal HaSulamFrom Baal HaSulam’s article “This is for Judah”:

That bread, which our fathers ate in the land of Egypt. The Mitzva of eating Matza was given to the children of Israel even before they departed Egypt, relating to the future exodus, which was to be in haste. We, too, are as when we were enslaved abroad. Also, with this Mitzva, we aim to extend the redemption that will happen soon in our days, just as our fathers ate in Egypt.

We were slaves…“Begins with denunciation, and ends with praise.” Concerning the denunciation, it begins with the words “in the beginning, our fathers were idol worshipers,” or with the “We were slaves,” which is according to Halakha.

The reason for “beginning with denunciation and ending in praise” is, as it is written, “as far as light excellth darkness.” This is why “a wild ass’s colt is born a man.” And in the end, he acquires the shape of a man. This was so in the rooting of the Israeli nation, too.

The reason for it is that the Creator elicited Creation, existence from absence. Hence, there is not a single creation that was not previously in absence. However, this absence has a distinct form in the still, vegetative, animate, and speaking levels in creation.

We find that the beginning of the still is necessarily complete absence. However, the beginning of the vegetative is merely its former degree: sowing and decay. Also, it is the same with the absence of the animate and the speaking: the vegetative form is considered absence, with respect to the animate; and the animate form is considered absence, with respect to the speaking.

This is why it is written, “a wild ass’s colt is born a man,” as it is necessary for every person to begin in the state of a beast. And the writing says, “Man and beast Thou preserves, O Lord.” And as a beast is given all that it needs for its sustenance and the fulfillment of its purpose.

What is the advantage of man’s form over the beast from the perspective of their own preparation. Indeed, it is discerned in their desires, since God’s salvation of man differs from God’s salvation of a beast.

The only need in man’s desires, which does not exist in the whole of the animate species, is the awakening towards Godly Dvekut (adhesion). It follows that the whole issue of presence in the human species is in that preparation imprinted in him to crave His work, and in that, he is superior to the beast. And many have already said that even the intelligence in craftsmanship and in political conducts is present, with great wisdom, in many elements in the animal world.

Accordingly, we can also understand the matter of the absence that precedes the existence of man as the negation of the desire for God’s proximity, since one is in the animate degree. Now we understand the words of the phrase that said, “Begins with denunciation, and ends with praise.” This means that we must remember and research the absence that precedes our existence in a positive manner, as this is the denunciation that precedes the praise, and from it we will understand the praise more profoundly.

This is also the meaning of our four exiles, exile by exile, which precede the four redemptions, redemption by redemption, up to the fourth redemption, which is the complete perfection that we hope for soon in our days.

Exile refers to “absence that precedes the presence,” which is redemption. Thus, all the letters of redemption (Ge’ula) are present in exile (Galut), except for the Aleph, since this letter indicates the “Aluph (Champion) of the world.” This teaches us that the form of the absence is but the negation of the presence.

And we know the form of the presence – redemption – from the verse, “and they shall teach no more every man his neighbor …for they shall all know Me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them.” Hence, the form of the previous absence, meaning the form of exile, is only the absence of the knowledge of the Lord. This is the absence of the Aleph, which is missing in the exile, and present in the redemption – the Dvekut with the “Champion of the world.”

The absence in itself is what prepares the presence ascribed to it. We see that in the concept of freedom, which is a sublime concept, only a chosen few perceive it, although even the least among the people will not tolerate enslavement.

We begin with denunciation, so that through it the salvation will be thoroughly appreciated. Hence, we need to begin not from the time of Terah, but Egypt, where His love and work was already planted in a few within the nation. Also, the added difficulty of enslavement in Egypt is not a deficiency in itself in the life of the nation called “Adam.”

The absence prepares the presence, it is considered a part of His salvation, and should be met with gratitude, as well. Hence, we should not begin with, “in the beginning, our fathers were idol worshipers,” since that time is not even regarded as “absence that precedes the presence.” This is because they are completely devoid of the human type of presence, since they were completely removed from His love, like the neuter, which is devoid of love.

Hence, we begin with the enslavement in Egypt, when the sparks of His love were burning in their hearts, to an extent, but due to impatience and hard work, it was being quenched every day. This is considered “absence that precedes the presence.”

The concept of the freedom of the nation in the knowledge of God is a very high concept, which only a chosen few understand, and even then it requires appropriate preparations. Conversely, perceiving the hardships of enslavement is clear to all.
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The Secrets Of The Upper Governance, "One Inside The Other"

Dr. Michael LaitmanBaal HaSulam, "The Foundations Of Intention," Item 59: …Malchut of the First Restriction is concealed in the "unattainable head" (RADLA) by the secret of the "foundation stone," which the builders neglected. And therein lies the secret of the three heads of which The Book of Zohar speaks, since the first head, RADLA, is corrected as "one above the other," while the head of Arich Anpin is corrected as "one inside the other."

There is a head of a spiritual Partzuf (Rosh) that repels the Light and is therefore called "one above the other," and there is also a head that accepts the Light and sends it downwards as "one inside the other." These two heads stand at the head of the World of Atzilut and constantly balance each other out with their work. This determines the root of the Upper Governance, which comes to us from there.

It says about Malchut, "One above the other"; Malchut is separated from the World of Atzilut and we no longer know what happens there. We don’t understand the First Restriction (Tzimtzum Aleph) since it is at a completely different range.

It’s similar to my ear, which is able to pick up sounds only up to the frequency of 20 kilohertz; I cannot hear anything higher than that. The First Restriction works on "gigahertz" so great, a range so distant that I don’t even suspect its existence. It is unknown and unclear to me.

Such fine qualities of the desire to enjoy and the desire to bestow exist there, and such fine discernments that we don’t even touch it. We aren’t refined and sensitive enough for it. This is called "one above the other."

There is a reverse order of Lights and Kelim, meaning that the desire of Malchut lacks the Light of Keter, Yechida. It turns out that the Light of Hochma ascends into the vessel of Keter, the Light of Bina, into the vessel of Hochma, and so on, until the Light intended for Malchut enters the vessel of Yesod. This is the beginning of the lack of correspondence of the Lights to the desires where all the Lights are not located in their places.

And Arich Anpin is corrected as "one inside the other," meaning that the Light of Hochma fills the desire of Keter. That is why the desire of Keter experiences a lack, a feeling that it is not filled by its Light, since this Light is on a lower level, the Light of Hochma.

However, we have to understand that the only Light that can enter the desire of Keter is the one intended for it. I cannot hear with my eyes or see with my ears! We are talking only about the degree of the Light that fills the desire, and the degree of Light in the desire of Keter is now felt as if it is the Light of Hochma instead of Keter.

From the 3d part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 11/18/10, “Beit Shaar Ha-Kavanot”

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Accelerate The Time Of Liberation

Dr. Michael LaitmanFrom Baal HaSulam’s article “The Last Generation”: If all the nations of the world agree to that, then wars will no longer be in the world, for no person will be concerned with his own good whatsoever, but only with the good of others.

This teaching of equivalence of form is the teaching of the Messiah…It is then said “and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks.”

The Messiah is the biggest Light of Yechida that corrects everything when it descends. When we obtain a strong desire to reach the final correction (Gmar Tikkun), this Light will appear with all its might and will correct all desires.

Even much lesser Lights that we receive now create a connection between us and allowed us to organize a huge Convention which is the result of help from Above rather than our own achievement.

All that we see around us, our friends and the whole world, is the image of the Creator who stands in front of us and shows Himself through this picture. Even now, the power that we call “Messiah” is already here; it pulls the whole human race from its current state to the end of correction. These processes are called “the labor pains of the Messiah;” they represent the revelation of the power of the Messiah in the world, the very first state in the process of “birth.”

One way or another, by going through stronger affliction and wars or because of the growth of our understanding and desire to become corrected, this correction must be completed by the year 6000 according to this world’s calendar. This term is defined by six Sefirot of Zeir Anpin (VAK) and is divided into three periods, which are two-thousand years each, reflecting the influence of ZA (Zeir Anpin) onto the three worlds: Beria, Yetzira, and Assiya. Thus, we are obligated to achieve the state of correction.

From now and further on, we enter the era of the Messiah, and therefore the wisdom of Kabbalah is being revealed. This gives us a chance to become corrected right now rather than continuing to wait for the end of the given term.

Egyptian exile continued for only 210 years instead of the “determined” 400 years; similarly, we shouldn’t wait until the calendar indicates 6000. In spirituality, we can accelerate time and bring the final state closer so that we can implement it right now. It means that “Isra-el” (someone who strives directly to the Creator) “accelerates” time and moves it forward. This is why we can already (as we speak) be present in the time of liberation, at the arrival of the Messiah; it all depends on us!

The preparation period has ended and the informational genes (Reshimot) of the final stage have begun to emerge, revealing the method of their use: the science of Kabbalah and The Book of Zohar; now everything is in our hands.
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From the 3rd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 11/7/10, Baal HaSulam “The Last Generation”

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Kabbalists About Studying Kabbalah, Part 1

Dr. Michael LaitmanDear Friends, please ask questions about these passages from the great Kabbalists. The commentaries in brackets are mine.

Concerning the Obligation of Each Person to Study the Wisdom of Kabbalah

The study of the wisdom of Kabbalah is an absolute must for any person [otherwise he will not fulfil his purpose and will live his life in vain].
– Baal HaSulam, “Introduction to The Mouth of a Sage

The Creator feels no contentment in His world except when people engage in this wisdom [since with its help they will reveal Him]. Moreover, man was created only to study the wisdom of Kabbalah [since only by applying it a person reaches the purpose of his creation].
– Rav Chaim Vital, “Preface to the Gate to Introductions”

It is of utter [implicit] necessity [given from Above] for anyone from Israel, whoever he may be, to engage in the internality of the Torah and in its secrets [Kabbalah]. Without it, the intention of Creation will not be completed in him.
– Baal HaSulam, “Introduction to The Mouth of a Sage

The redemption of Israel [from egoism and, hence, from all of its problems] and the rise of Israel [its independence, safety, and the right place among the nations of the world] depend on the study of The Zohar and the internality of the Torah.
Baal HaSulam, “Introduction to The Book of Zohar,” Item 89

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Quantum Uncertainty Of An Uncorrected Soul

Dr. Michael LaitmanBaal HaSulam, “600,000 Souls“: There are three periods in a person’s spiritual growth:

1. The spark of the soul that alternately flares up and dwindles;

2. A particular soul, when a person perceives himself as part of 600,000 souls, the common soul;

3. Coming close to perfection, the common soul, because his egoistic desire has been fully corrected and no longer poses an obstacle. This enables him to become completely unified with the common soul of Adam.

There is a point here that is difficult to explain, similar to the principle of uncertainty in quantum physics. The fact is that there aren’t “many creatures,” but one single creation. Every person who perceives himself as creation is that creation, while everyone else in relation to him are not independent creatures, but parts of his own soul.

Therefore, even though it seems to us that there are billions of other creatures in existence, in spirituality, a person attaches all these parts to himself and in relation to his free choice, they are all at the end of correction. He is the only part that can be deemed as existent, from his perspective.

However, it is precisely in this separated form that he is considered non-existent and he has to attach himself to spirituality, to the common soul! He has to accept all the other parts which seem “foreign” to him as if they already are in the spiritual world.

He has to understand that “every person judges others to the degree of his own corruption,” and in fact they are already in the final, corrected state, while he is the only one who is not. So who is called creation, the only one that exists? It is precisely the one who isn’t yet “created” and still needs correction.

When we acquire the spiritual vision, we will see the world in this way. Baal HaSulam describes a very high state here. When it says that only one soul exists, it doesn’t mean that everyone just unites into one common soul, but that there are no separate souls in existence in all of reality.

This is a temporary illusion we have as a result of the three coordinate axes (time, motion, and space) through which our picture of the world is refracted. When these axes disappear and we stop being dependent on them, we will ascend above them and will see a reality where only one creation exists.

To achieve this we have to correct our egoistic desire, which is what evokes this illusion in us that there is a reality existing in time, motion, and space on the level of this world.
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From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 10/26/10, “600,000 Souls”

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Absence Precedes Existence

Dr. Michael LaitmanThe evolution of the will to receive pleasure is a lengthy process. The whole wisdom of Kabbalah tells us about changes in the will to receive (desire). Baal HaSulam explains that in this process, desire (absence) always precedes fulfillment (existence).

First I feel a lack of something, and then I acquire what is missing; thus, one follows the other. At the same time, the lack, or will to receive (desire), is more important than the fulfillment since desire determines fulfillment.

In spirituality, this law acts exactingly, without concessions and favors, and if the creature doesn’t wish to climb the next step, it will not ascend; it won’t even come close to it. Everything depends on the preparation, based on the feeling of lack and absence of fulfillment. This is why “absence precedes existence.”

According to this law, all levels of creation are developing: from still to vegetative, animate, and speaking. Man, too, is born at the animate level, and then evolves and ascends to its designated level. The same is observed in the development of our inner world. As diverse as humanity is, so are its desires, which are also classified by four degrees: still, vegetative, animate, and speaking (within the human).

What then does a speaking level in humanity look like? They are the people or desires aimed at equivalence with the Creator, at the ascension to and adhesion with Him. In order to gain a strong desire, aspiring to this exalted goal, we must exist on both sides: sometimes rejecting the spiritual world, not comprehending, feeling, or agreeing with it, and other times, yearning for it and seeing something profound, good, and vital in it.

So absence and existence give way to one another, Light and darkness, and only thanks to both of them, the correct, wholesome desire are formed. For this reason, we enter the group with the understanding that there is no other way but in unification. Only among the friends do I grow a new desire to become equivalent to the Creator, and not just appeal to Him egoistically. In the group I absorb the value of bestowal, and at the same time, I discover how intensely I hate it.

If I am not afraid, and am willing to bear the revelation of my own evil, then this is called absence which precedes existence, the preparation to liberation. Having found himself at the mountain of his own hatred, a person demands existence, equivalence to the Creator. And then the reforming Light comes to bring him back to the Source.
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From the lesson on 10/22/10, Rabash’s Articles

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Kabbalists About The Concealed Torah And The Revealed Torah, Part 8

Dr. Michael LaitmanDear Friends, please ask questions about these passages from the great Kabbalists. The commentaries in brackets are mine.

Studying the Concealed Torah Is Preferable to the Revealed Torah

Hence the Braita warns us (Hulin 24) to not wait [for our correction by the Light of the revealed Torah] longer than five years [of studying].

Moreover, Rabbi Yosi says that only three years are quite sufficient to be granted the wisdom of the Torah….

If one does not see a good sign within that length of time [from the time when he began to seek similarity with the Creator], one should not fool himself with false hopes and deceit [while studying the revealed Torah], but know that he will never see [in his studies] a good sign [attain correction].

Hence, one must immediately find himself a good tactic by which to succeed in achieving Lishma [the property of bestowal] and to be granted the wisdom of the Torah.

…The surest [easiest] and most successful tactic is the engagement in the wisdom of Kabbalah. One should leave one’s hand entirely from engagement in the wisdom of the revealed Torah, since he has already tested his luck in it and did not succeed [in correcting himself]. And he should dedicate all his time to the wisdom of Kabbalah, where his success [in achieving the goal of creation: similarity with the Creator] is certain.
– Baal HaSulam, “Introduction to The Study of the Ten Sefirot,” Item 23
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The Mind Only Evaluates Feelings

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: Baal HaSulam writes that “the most important sensation is the noetic sensation, given to man alone.” Does he mean that the mind is a type of sensation?

Answer: No, he doesn’t. We evolve through sensations or feelings. Feelings change, and we study what we feel. We consist of the heart (Liba) and the mind (Mocha). The purpose of evolution of the mind is to help us understand what we feel.

Uniting the heart and mind is called the expansion of the Light of Hochma (Wisdom) in the Light of Hassadim (Mercy). This is perfection, the Light of AB-SAG. The Light of Hochma or AB fully expands in the Light of Hassadim or SAG, which results in the soul’s attainment of the Light of Keter.

This is a thought which expands within and understands the desires, and the desires understand the thought. They “intertwine” complementing each other. And then, with the help of the mind, the feelings unfold and evolve (intensify), and with their help a greater development of the mind occurs.

If I get a stronger impression, my mind evolves and studies the cause of impressions. Our bestowing and receiving desires and thoughts constantly undergo development, the Light of Hassadim and the Light of Hochma grow. By clothing in each other they acquire perfection. Elokut (Godliness) indicates the clothing of the Lights in each other.

The degree of faith is expressed by the Light of Hassadim, and complete faith and love are expressed in clothing of the Light of Hochma in the Light of Hassadim.
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From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 10/13/10, “The Teaching of the Kabbalah and Its Essence”

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Kabbalists About The Concealed Torah And The Revealed Torah, Part 7

Dr. Michael LaitmanDear Friends, please ask questions about these passages from the great Kabbalists. The commentaries in brackets are mine.

Studying the Concealed Torah Is Preferable to the Revealed Torah

Even though they [unfortunately] do not succeed [do not reach correction of their egoism] through the practice in the revealed Torah, since there is no Light in it, and it is dry [not by itself, but rather] due to the smallness of their minds, they could still succeed by engaging in the study of Kabbalah. This is because the Light in it is clothed in the clothing of the Creator – the Holy Names and the Sefirot [for example, is closer to them]. They could easily come to that form of Lo Lishma, which brings them to Lishma [the property of bestowal and love]. [In spite of being unsuccessful in their study of the revealed Torah they still remain unwilling to change it into the study of Kabbalah and thus remain uncorrected.]
– Baal HaSulam, “Introduction to the Study of the Ten Sefirot,” Item 35

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