Entries in the 'bestowal' Category

The Fruit Of The Tree Of Knowledge

Dr. Michael LaitmanRabash, Dargot HaSulam (Steps of the Ladder), “The Matter of Tu Bishvat”: The Creator wishes for a person who observes a commandment, which is a fruit, to have both the tree and the fruit taste the same, in other words, for his intention to also be “Lishma,” for the sake of bestowal.

We must go through several stages in our work. First of all, we need to descend to the degree described as “I created the evil inclination.” Here, a person becomes acquainted with his nature, and he sees how bad, opposite to goodness, he is.

Goodness is Light, the property of bestowal. Where can I see the property of bestowal so as to measure myself in comparison to it and determine the evil wherein I exist? Where is this evil and the Creator who created the evil inclination? I must attain the Creator who created the evil inclination in me, and opposite to it, I must have the Torah as a spice.

After all, there can be no darkness without light, and no light without darkness. We do not attain anything on its own, but only in comparison to its opposite. This is why man attains the bad nature in him only to the extent of his good deeds. This is the only way we can comprehend evil.

So, the sinners that the Torah speaks of are special and great people. The degree of the sinner is a very high degree. One works in relation to goodness, trying to overcome the evil in him and attain goodness. Then, he comes to understand evil, reveals the sin of Adam (Man or Human), and begins the process of correction. In this way, the revelation of evil is a part of this process.

Only after having understood evil, one begins to test whether the “tree” and the “fruit” are the same and whether they are in one direction, toward bestowal. After all, “fruit” is bestowal, not self-fulfillment.

One tries to be above his egoism. He determines it to be evil which he needs to rise above. Over and over, he discovers that he wants and is able to enjoy and determines this to be a “plague of Egypt.” He is ready for anything but self-fulfillment.

Then, he rises above all the possibilities to receive pleasure and comes to the real fruit: bestowal. Pleasure from bestowal is the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. This is faith above reason, the faith grown on the Tree of Knowledge. The only way one grows is by rising above evil, above the property of reception that is being revealed in him, and refusing to use it in any way. Then, fruit grows within him.

This symbolizes Tu Bishvat, the “New Year of the Trees.” Why is it trees instead of fruit? It’s because for now, one is still acquiring the property of bestowal and he is still to learn to receive for the sake of bestowal.

On the spiritual path, we constantly keep discovering incorrect forms in us. As Baal HaSulam writes in the “Introduction of Talmud Eser Sefirot,” only those whose degree of patience has withstood merit to enter the King’s palace, the “garden” with the Tree of Knowledge in the middle.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 1/20/2011, Writings of Rabash

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Supernatural Powers

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: Do supernatural powers exist in our world?

Answer: The natural and the supernatural are measured in relation to man, according to his nature and the level of his development. For example, if a person living 500 years ago was shown a plane, he would be very scared at seeing this metal bird flying through the air without even moving its wings!

However, supernatural does not stand for anything more powerful than me. Right now there is something that controls me, but tomorrow I will control it. Supernatural stands for something “above my nature,” something that I will never attain naturally.

The nature of our world is completely egoistic. It is the desire to receive pleasure from everything possible, to come closer to beneficial things and farther from harmful things. The opposite nature, bestowal and love, is above this level.

The forces of bestowal and love are greater than our nature since they do not have the limitations that come from perceiving things only for the sake of one’s individual pleasure. These forces can only be activated on the condition that you acquire them by rising above your nature into the opposite nature. Then you will have a different perception of reality, as it is written: “I saw a reverse world.” This reality is not limited by time, space, and movement. It is infinite and harmonious, without collisions or boundaries. Once you attain it, you exist in it.

We do not feel that reality now because we possess opposite qualities. But those who have acquired qualities above their nature do perceive it. You could say that this kind of person, who is called a Kabbalist, has supernatural powers.
From the program “Ask the Kabbalist” on 6/23/10

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Kabbalah Is The Science Of Love

Dr. Michael LaitmanA person comes to Kabbalah after awakening to the need to learn the concealed upper force, the purpose and the reason for his existence, and the meaning of his life. As he goes through stages in his spiritual development, a person reaches a critical point and begins to think about the ways to attain the spiritual world. Previously he used to think that spirituality could be attained with what he has, meaning the five senses, the mind, and the regular perception of reality.

But at a certain stage, one begins to feel that the spiritual world cannot be revealed this way and that to do it, he needs to change himself. That’s when he remembers a famous saying: “I created the evil inclination and the Torah for its correction, because the Light contained in it returns one to the Source.”

Every person envisions the spiritual world in his own way. The wisdom of Kabbalah defines it as the property of love and bestowal where a person comes out of his egoistic properties and begins to reveal the higher reality in the properties of bestowal that are opposite to his.

Kabbalists explain that it is necessary for us to develop the property of bestowal, that is, to perform the correction of the heart (desire). This means that if right now our desire works to receive, we need to change it so as to perceive the desires of others like our own. The entire method consists of correcting our ego, which desires to consume everything, through developing a sense above it, which means to come out of our desire.

By the time I came to study Kabbalah, I already had over twenty years of education. I was a scientist and an entrepreneur, whereas all of the Kabbalists who I happened to study with were simple people. I remember having a conversation with Rabash when he told me that he began his employment as a blacksmith assistant, then was a shoemaker, and at the end of his career he worked at a tax collector’s office. Yet, I was convinced that I would be able to attain more with my mind. It took me time to understand that Kabbalah is a science of feelings and that we need to correct our heart.

The wisdom of Kabbalah explains that the mind awakens in us only to the extent of the heart employing it. The heart wishes to know what it is feeling and why, where feelings come from, and how they can be changed. And then the heart employs the mind.

It is a known fact that our mind works better when we are facing problems and misery. The need that arises develops the mind. Thus, the function of the system called “mind” is to help us fulfill our desire.

The wisdom of Kabbalah is a science of developing the feeling of love. In other words, I need to attain an ability to connect with everyone else’s desires or needs and accept them as my own. My concern for the needs of another as my own is called my love for him. This bears no relation to receiving fulfillment or pleasure from someone else, but on the contrary, my pleasure will come from fulfilling others.

People who start studying Kabbalah acquire new feelings in the heart which enable them to gradually begin to understand that in reality there is infinite fulfillment and pleasure from being able to come out of one’s own self and fulfilling others. This gives a person an incessant and unlimited opportunity which suddenly reveals a new perception of reality, a new horizon to him.

This is because a person who comes out of himself and begins to feel the needs of others instead of his own ceases perceiving himself, and gradually comes to a state when he no longer needs to take care of himself. When we find the property of bestowal, we receive the fulfillment there and acquire the upper world through it, becoming like the Creator.
From my lecture in “Kabbalah L’Am” Hall on 12/21/10

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Now Is The Time For Independent Work

Dr. Michael LaitmanEverything is comprised of two triangles: the upper one with the Direct Light and the lower one with the Returning, Reflected Light. The triangle with the Upper Light is diminishing due to the descent of the worlds from Above downward so as to supply the creature with the place for existence in which it can realize its bestowal, raise the Reflected Light.

Now Is The Time For Independent Work
We can make a cut at each level and see these triangles: Depending on the strength of the Direct Light, the creature is capable of raising the Reflected Light. The higher we rise, the greater the Direct and the Reflected Lights are.

It seems to us that we live in some kind of world, but in reality, there is nothing beside desire and the Light, and we always carry out the work of the Creator whether we want to or not, realize it or not, are aware of it or not, or agree with it or not. We always work for the Creator, the only difference being our willingness or not.

The still, vegetative, and animate levels of nature operate without awareness, by natural instinct. But at the speaking degree, we have to comprehend, attain the root, agree with it, and only then act correctly.

Hence, while we were developing as “primitive people” having remained so over thousands of years until very recently (with the exception of Kabbalists who revealed the upper world, starting with the first “man,” Adam HaRishon), we advanced under the pressure of our egoistic desire that pushed us to evolve.

We applied a lot of effort throughout history. We worked hard to harvest the land, produced various things and products, fought, invented machines and new technologies, built houses to only destroy them later, carried out revolutions in all areas and levels of life. In short, we exerted effort to exist, to receive the Direct Light. These efforts were our “Reflected Light” in the spiritual worlds.

This is the essence of our material development. It is material because it took place inside the egoistic desire.

In our perception of reality, it seemed to us that we produced concrete and fixtures, relationships in the society, crops, but essentially, we produced the Reflected Light and inside it, received the Direct Light. Meanwhile, it seemed to us that we worked in the material world, surrounded by our machines, factories, houses, fields, and products.

This is how it seemed to our egoistic desire, whereas in reality, the desires (Kelim) with the screen and the Lights at the still, vegetative, and animate degrees were at work. And we all behaved like obedient children, carrying out everything that the Creator wanted. Nobody could escape this since that’s how the will to enjoy and the Light that acts upon it work.

And when we reach the speaking degree, considerations become completely different. This is why we no longer have the strength… The Creator tells us: “Do it yourself, alone!” And I’m at a loss: “Do it myself, while nobody is forcing me…?”

The Creator awakens me only occasionally and awaits the Reflected Light from me. Now, He wants me to do it by myself. This is the work we have to complete.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 2/8/2011, “The Essence of the Wisdom of Kabbalah”

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Don’t Let The Source Dry Up

Dr. Michael LaitmanWritings of Rabash, ““What Is He Who Does Not Have Children In The Work”: A tree that does not bear fruit is like a childless man who does not give birth to anyone. A person and the Torah are called barren if they do not have children.

Question: How can we refine the common intention that is aimed at help from above?

Answer: Help comes only in response to a desire to unite. That is why we study together to attract the Light of correction. All of us together must discern the desire to unite (the common prayer) because otherwise not one of us will have the right request or the strength to continue on the path.

A person has a basic desire: to feel good. Sometimes in addition to it the question about the meaning of life arises in him, which is a desire to acquire Light. That is when he begins studying the science of Kabbalah. Before he had this additional desire, he developed like an animal following the orders of his earthly desire. We take a person into account only from the moment when he aspires to something higher.

How does a person use all of the inclinations that are given to him? After all, development is only possible by virtue of a desire being added to him from the common Kli . But a person must include himself in it, similar to a tree that receives all the forces from the surrounding environment, such as the earth, air, sun, and so on. If a person knows how to accept everything for the benefit of his spiritual growth, then he will absorb this need from the environment and with it will request the Light that Reforms during the study.

This Light constructs one’s inner process whereby one’s inner qualities, objectives, and notions grow. That is how a person advances. He continuously thinks about how to receive an ascent from the environment. To do this, he has to lower his head before the friends and elevate them in his eyes as the best people of the generation. At the lesson he has to not forget why he studies. In the end, a person only receives an additional awakening from the group, but then the Light has to come and aim him correctly.

Thus, with the help of all of these factors, a person provides himself with the forces for growth. He has to check: Do these forces produce any fruits? On one hand, he advances in the left line, continuously revealing the evil inclination that the Creator made. Alternating with this, he reveals the Torah as a spice: He understands what to do with the evil inclination and how to discern the Torah with its help, which is the Light, the quality of bestowal.

Thus, as a person carries out the advice of Kabbalists, he reaches a certain sensation. Even if it is not a real vestment of Lights into vessels yet, nevertheless new details of perception emerge in him—specks of Light that clothe into Kelim. True, for now it is not felt as fulfillment, but as Surrounding Light—the Light that Reforms. A person is still on the path to the Source. He still hasn’t reached goodness, even to a small degree. Yet, he is moving forward.

Therefore, the most important thing is to fear that he will not have children, that he will remain without a strong desire, will stop halfway and wither by a dried up source. If you have a desire, it is necessary to discern the evil inclination in it, which is formless and opposite to spiritual advancement. Then one has to add the Torah as a spice, the Light that Reforms to this. If the Torah brings fruits, then it is no longer childless.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 2/8/11, Writings of Rabash

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How To Break The Wall Between Us

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: How can suffering suddenly bring a person to bestowal?

Answer: Indeed, from a corporeal, "commonsense" point of view it’s impossible to attain bestowal in this way. If a person feels bad, then he only thinks about how to improve his situation, to try to fix the problem directly, to fill the void.

That’s how human psychology works: If I feel bad or something is missing, I turn to a doctor for medicine, try to make more money, steal something, or do anything to fill the void. But after all these attempts and a number of blows, I begin to ask: "When will it end?"

A person falls into despair, depression, or starts using drugs, all that only to somehow numb his pain because he sees that nothing he does can help him. So how is it possible to make the transition to bestowal? To that end we have preparations on the corporeal level as well as spiritual genes.

On the corporeal level a person starts thinking about giving because he sees that there’s no other choice. He is ready to give to others so that they will give to him as well, so we will all feel good; otherwise, we would just devour each other like wild beasts.

That’s a simple selfish calculation at the level of our world, and it’s possible specifically because we are not at the animate degree; rather, we possess dangerous weapons that enable each of us to destroy everyone. It eventually brings us to an inevitable conclusion that our salvation lies only in bestowal. Many understand that by now, and only a madman would wish for the next war.

But aside from the corporeal reason that makes us understand that giving may be useful, our Reshimot (spiritual genes, records) from the breaking are awakening within us, from the easiest ones to the increasingly coarse ones. They make us feel that we are moving in the wrong direction and bring disappointment in our development.

Those who are progressing under the pressure of corporeal and spiritual Reshimot begin to come closer. It turns out that Kabbalists who engage their own spiritual development and people leading a normal, corporeal life but are beginning to ask about life’s meaning are coming closer to each other. Although the latter have no point in the heart, they are nevertheless asking very similar questions.

The opinion of the masses is gradually approaching the opinion of Kabbalists. There’s still a wall that separates them, but ordinary people are coming closer and closer in search of an answer, although they are not yet asking how to correct themselves. There will be a time when they will come and ask: "What should we do?" And then you’ll have to be prepared to show them how to achieve perfection.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 12/22/10, "The Peace"

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The Second Force

Dr. Michael LaitmanIn order to explore bestowal, we must obtain a second force. The still, vegetative, and animate degrees are egoistic matter; hence, we are able to use our own egoistic nature to explore them. Our instruments are tuned into its “range.”

But the human (speaking) level is a degree similar to the Creator’s, which is why I need a spiritual force in order to explore it. Then, I will be able to study my matter by comparing it to the Creator’s, one against the other.

Therefore, before I gain the force of bestowal, I am not a true Kabbalist. A Kabbalist is a person who works with two forces while exploring the Creator. He doesn’t explore himself; he studies the Creator Who has revealed everything to him. He continues to submerge deeper into Him with the help of the force of bestowal. The greater the force, the more he gains and comprehends by making his will to enjoy equivalent to this force.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 12/15/10, “A Handmaid that is Heir to Her Mistress”

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Striking Self-Gratification

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: How do we experience “Zivug” (spiritual coupling, merger of the Light and the Kli) in our spiritual work?

Answer: Zivug” is unification by way of a screen. If you are resisting your ego, the will to receive pleasure (desire), in order to merge with the Creator for the sake of bestowal, and if you have the force of resistance, a screen, you enter a “Zivug.” It is regarded as “Zivug de Hakaa” (mating while striking).

You push the Upper Light away from your desire to receive pleasure by way of a strike, meaning that you are unwilling to receive it directly, for self-gratification. You are willing to receive this “treat” only to equalize yourself with the Upper Light, and not because you are “hungry,” even though you are really starving.

You are prepared to refuse all of these pleasures and not receive them in order to satisfy your hunger, but to perform a calculation and accept them only inasmuch as you can delight the Host. This is regarded as a strike.

By doing so, you don’t reject the Host but the pleasures that are trying to enter your will to receive directly. You are willing to receive them but indirectly, only if and after you have analyzed whether this will truly be in order to be similar to the Host and connect with Him in mutual bestowal.
From the 2nd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 12/2/10, Talmud Eser Sefirot

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Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: The Creator is concealed, but instead of Him I have the group. How can I see pure bestowal in it?

Answer: There are always disturbances in the group, and it is precisely with their help that we can do wonderful exercises, practicing to become similar to the Creator. Any negative must be used precisely as it was intended in order to turn it into a positive.

Everything is for the best; we only have to act correctly, without backing down from what is happening and by building the right attitude to it. “Everything is for the best” does not mean that we accept the inevitable ahead of time, as people commonly do. Rather, above the disturbance or example we received, we must first of all discern the final point, the corrected state. Then I will find the way to turn the incorrect into the correct, to unite myself in the present, the disturbance (which may be related to the friends, the Creator, or even my personal circumstances), and the goal of creation.

I will find out how to correct any aspect, be it a desire, intention, thought, or event. Not only will I be able to justify it and attribute it to the Creator, but I will also attach it to a connection with Him. I will understand to what extent I have to reconstruct my desire and way of thinking in relation to the given event, and how much I have to change my perception of the event in order to see that the Creator has brought me goodness.

The sign of this will be joy: I am happy because the Creator has given me the opportunity to come that much closer to Him. That is how our efforts gradually accumulate into a great possession.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 11/28/10, The Zohar

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You Won’t Figure Out Anything Without The Light

Dr. Michael LaitmanOnly the group can give you the desire to change your nature, and only the Light can change it, and only then will you really understand what bestowal is!

Today it seems to me that bestowal is simply to bestow to others. But that is completely incorrect!

How is it possible to bestow to others if in spirituality we unite as one whole without any differences between us? To whom do I bestow in that case: to others or to myself?

Therefore, right now we have absolutely no understanding of what bestowal is. This spiritual notion seems to get lost somehow. If I ascend to some spiritual level and see that on it everyone unites together, then it would seem like I have no one to bestow to: I am the only one everywhere!

We cannot understand this until the Light comes and gives us this spiritual vision. We egoists think that bestowal is when we give to another person by overcoming our lack of desire.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 11/18/10, "The Essence of Religion and Its Purpose"

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