Entries in the 'freedom of will' Category

Between Mercy And Judgment

Dr. Michael LaitmanIt is written in King Solomon’s Book of Proverbs (Mishlei): “He who spares his rod hates his son.” Parenting is built on judgment and mercy, just as we are governed by judgment and mercy from Above. There is no place here for unconditional love because the child must sense a balanced influence of these two forces.

In so doing we show him that he has freedom of choice. Let him make his choice every time, but he has to know that the wrong choice will instantly result in a negative reaction. As he grows, the child will acquire increasingly greater freedom for independent action because the negative response, for example, the “rod,” will be increasingly concealed. In the end, we will raise a person who lives in a wide world and knows that he exists between these two forces, reward and punishment, and that in order to follow a straight path, he has to actualize his free will in every step he takes.

The attitude toward all children, from the littlest ones to big kids like us, has to stem from exerting and controlling judgment and mercy, gradually annulling them in accordance with the education level. We give the child more and more freedom, passing to him control over himself, until he comes out into the world and accepts from us these “reigns” of judgment and mercy, so as to become an independent person in their optimal combination, in the middle line.

This is what we instill in him, and he accepts from us the right and left lines, reward and punishment, and continues to build himself with their help.
From the Talk on Education 9/29/10

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A Choice Without Hints

Dr. Michael LaitmanWe cannot imagine what freedom of will is. To a certain extent, we feel free, but, in fact, we are completely governed, which includes our thoughts about freedom. Therefore, we don’t understand what the spiritual world is.

When we face the Creator, we perceive Him to be a vital, defining, and implementing Force. At the same time we have a certain “point of preparation” within which we are able to detach ourselves from Him. This is when our freedom of choice uncovers itself; after this point, we repeat the restriction and begin to shape our freedom.

So far we are similar to a fetus in the mother’s womb. Is it in any way independent? No, it is the one who is being developed. Its reality is a reminder of the future; its freedom is still ahead of it.

In our world a person represents a collection of pre-set qualities. There are no conditions for freedom of choice, but only its illusion in protein matter. The initial condition for freedom is to become similar to the Creator without “hints,” from scratch. If something awakened you in advance, that isn’t freedom.

This is why a special point of the Creator wakes up in us. We develop it in opposition to our egoistic nature. “A point of desire” against “a point of Light,” they both emerge as a result of the breaking. By correcting a connection between them, we independently achieve similarity to the Creator. Without this “tool,” we wouldn’t be born and become equal to the Creator.

GE (Galgalta ve Eynaim), sanctity, is above, AHP (Awzen, Hotem, Peh), wickedness, is below, and Tifferet, the middle third, is in the middle. It is a special state that is called “Klipat Noga.” Above is the property of the Creator, below is the property of the created being, and the middle is my “neutral territory.”

This is where an equal fight between sanctity and wickedness is taking place. I am the one who defines the outcome of the struggle between them. It is the place where I can correctly control these two forces that the Creator made on purpose so that I can build my freedom and independence.

A Choice Without Hints [21913]

From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 9/24/10, Shamati #97

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The Elusive Point Of Freedom

Dr. Michael LaitmanIt seems so easy to just let the force of the Light come and correct us, making us love our neighbor! So why is the process of correction so difficult? The difficulty comes from the fact that this entire process is concealed, and that is in order to give us the freedom of will.

To be free means to go against my desire and understanding, when I don’t want it directly! My animalistic body does not aspire to this and my egoism does not help me do this. I have to find a new motivation to advance, which does not stem from my qualities. Otherwise I would just be increasing my animate egoism.

The reason for my advancement must be outside of me, in the environment. In order to advance, I have to use something that does not belong to the egoistic desire, and therein lies the entire difficulty. If not for this, every person would aspire to correction. Who wouldn’t want to receive perfection and eternity, feel the Creator, see all of his fate from beginning to end, and control it!?

Any person would agree to exchange this temporary world for an eternal one. However, people feel that this is too exalted, too difficult, and unattainable. And it’s all because we have to reveal the point of our free choice, called "the middle third of Tifferet."

We understand what love is and what hate is, but it’s not clear what a neutral state is, "the middle third of Tifferet." On every degree we have to make our choice while in that state. Otherwise we won’t be independent of the Creator.

What’s the point of creating a miserable creature that suffers in this world, and then giving it the knowledge that there is a perfect state and one must only use a means called the Torah to go from a bad state to a good one? In fact, any machine could do the same thing if there is good and evil, and a means to go from evil to good. There is no free choice here.

Religions operate according to this scheme of two lines. The difference between Kabbalah and religion is free will, the third line. A person has to find the point where he can carry out actions independently of himself and his earthly choice, so he won’t look for self-benefit.

If we find this point and act based on it, it means we freely build ourselves and are independent of our previous nature. We cut ourselves off from it and give birth to ourselves, instead of having the Creator do it.

This point of independence poses the difficulty. It constantly confuses us and erases everything we understood and felt a moment ago, immersing us into a "fog" all over again. But it is happening because we are being led into a completely different dimension of life where we will reveal the true reality instead of the unconscious state we are in today.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 9/27/10, “The Love for the Creator and Love for the Created Beings”

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Kabbalists On The Language Of Kabbalah, Part 7

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

Each lower world [sensed in the desire to receive] is an [opposite] imprint of the world Above it [sensed in the desire to bestow].
– Baal HaSulam, “The Essence of the Wisdom of Kabbalah

All the stubbornness we detect [relative to our sensory organs] in the conduct of nature [of our egoism] in this world [our initial properties] is only because they are extended and taken from laws and conducts of Upper, Spiritual Worlds [that descend to the level where they clothe in the opposite property of reception instead of bestowal].
– Baal HaSulam, “The Freedom

Now you can understand that the Mitzvot in the Torah are no more than laws and conducts [of nature] set in Higher Worlds, which are the roots [foundation] of all of nature’s conducts in this world of ours [which is an opposite imprint of the Upper World]. The laws of the Torah [the laws of the Upper World] always match the laws of nature in this world as two drops in a pond.
– Baal HaSulam, “The Freedom”

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An Accelerator On The Spiritual Path

Dr. Michael LaitmanThose who are called “Isra-El” (striving to the Creator) advance by their own individual work and separately from the rest of humanity. This is on account of the Reshimot that have awakened within them and the Creator wishing to bring them closer to Himself.

They enter a special process called the revelation of the soul (the Creator or spirituality which is one and the same). Step by step, they have to gradually uncover the continuous process that every person needs to go through in accordance with the speed with which their Reshimot are realized.

An Accelerator on the Spiritual Path
We can only accelerate this process, not change it. We can hasten our development if, by using all the means possible, we process our states faster and more correctly. We do not change the states themselves or the order in which they come. Our only freedom is to make use of the study and the connection between us in order to enhance our awareness and sensitivity so as to understand these states faster and justify them.

By being prepared for these states, we make them pass at a faster rate and thereby build a different attitude toward them. Then, we perceive every state positively and with understanding. Other than our attitude to what’s happening to us, we are absolutely powerless to change or influence anything.

Our attitude to all the states that we perceive and undergo (which, obviously, come from the Creator) constitutes our intention. The intention is my attitude to my sensations and to their Source for “there is none else beside Him.”

From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 9/16/10, “What is the Matter of Sufferings in the Work”

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Wishing You A Good Record In The Book Of Life

Dr. Michael LaitmanKlipat Noga is a state of “half good/half evil,” and it’s a very fragile and stressful state. It is as though a person is standing on the edge between performing a grave crime or, on the contrary, a very good deed should he receive help. However, he swings back and forth unable to lean one way or the other. It’s as though he is split in two without the strength to perform a final choice, not knowing on which side of the scale to place a final, determining grain.

On one hand, he is unable to reject his ego which is the enormous desire to enjoy and his entire egoistic “possession.” On the other, he understands that if he does not free himself from it now with help from Above, he won’t be able to pass to the other side and enter the spiritual world. In this manner, he stands on the threshold not knowing on which side to step. He is like a knight at a crossroads. This is a state where one needs to make a choice.

Here, only the group, only the Upper Light can help a person finally make up his mind and pass himself over to the hands of the Upper One, transitioning to bestowal through faith above reason. The prayer here is not about help since this would mean that a person has already made a decision. The prayer is about the state in which he is unable to choose. This state is the beginning of the year or the beginning of a new change.

On one hand, we feel that we are wicked, and on the other, we lack the strength to reject all these egoistic qualities and states. We are unable to imagine how it is possible to live without them or how to make a step in order to rise above it. Only the Upper Light that comes to us during this state helps us make a choice and elevates us to faith above reason (bestowal over reception). It is then that the New Year begins for us, and this is called “a good record in the Book of Life.”

The Upper Light, the Creator, puts His signature in the book of life for us and guarantees to a person that from now on that person will proceed by the good path. Before this, one should do all that is in his power to bring himself to this choice. The direct translation of a “New Year (Rosh Hashanah)” is a “beginning of changes” or a “head of changes.” They need to occur often for us and always be for the better: toward the Creator who is “good and does good.”

From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 9/8/10, “Letter 67”

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Maintaining The Spiritual Trajectory

Laitman_421_01Question: How do we constantly remain on the “spiritual trajectory,” meaning at the point of making a decision that the spiritual space and unity come before material achievements?

Answer: As soon as we succeed in creating this kind of connection between us, “a place for revealing the Creator,” it immediately fades. This is done so that we are able to make this decision again and again. Every moment should be the “Beginning.” And what helps a person to make this constant choice is only a strong environment which allows him to maintain a connection (see Baal HaSulam, “The Freedom”).

It is impossible to maintain this decision on your own for longer than a moment. We need to bring ourselves to a correct society, like putting a seed into soil, and receive the realization of the importance of the goal from it. Then you will be able to unite the points of decisions, forming them into a straight line to the goal.

From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 8/9/10, “Rosh Hashanah”

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The General And The Particular

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: How do you reconcile the notion of Private Providence and one’s individual prayer with the notion of general spiritual laws that every person must comply with?

Answer: You will not understand this until you stop separating yourself from the general system. The “particular” is a type of connection between you and the system of souls, which stems from your state. Meanwhile, the “general” is the basic condition of the group.

A person can never receive anything for himself. Indeed, on his own he has no capacity in which to receive spirituality. A person’s individual spiritual capacity exists outside of him. It is in the desires of others that he is able to attach to himself with the help of the Upper Light, like a mother who lives within her child’s desires.

Aside from the desires of others, every one of us has only a “point,” their individual root. What can you do with a point? Only connect it to all the other parts of its soul: the desires of others.

This matter of connecting yourself to the general Kli is what we call Private Providence. The notion of “myself” as an individual (a point) does not exist in reality! This point feels itself only with respect to the environment, whether egoistically (our world) or altruistically (the spiritual world). Without the environment it cannot feel anything, even itself.

Therefore, our development relates exclusively to the environment, and our freedom of will lies only in choosing a better environment. After all, my environment today will be me tomorrow.

From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 9/5/10, “What is the Matter of My Making A Pact in the Work”

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Stem Cells Of The Soul

Dr. Michael LaitmanNothing disappears in spirituality. On the contrary, the differences between the souls become even more vivid. Every particular soul possesses special qualities that create the entire wealth of perceiving the Creator. This happens precisely by virtue of connecting with the opposite qualities of other souls. That is how the mutual perception of the Creator becomes 620 times greater than the perception of a separate soul.

The size of our spiritual vessel (Kli) is not defined by its quality, but quantity. That is why every soul is revealed more powerfully and uniquely. This is similar to stem cells which are universal and can be used like building blocks to build everything else. The heart, liver, kidneys, and lungs can all be built out of this basis called the stem cell.

The same thing is true in spirituality. For now each of us lives inside the “stem cell” of his own soul. Later we will begin connecting to the general system, the group, or the system of souls that we reveal in the group, and by attaching them to us, we will then connect to the Creator who becomes revealed in the system of souls. That is when we will also begin to attain ourselves: Who we are, what we belong to, what our soul is, what my mission is, and what my main quality is out of the entire sum of qualities accompanying it.

Therefore, when we advance in spirituality, every person becomes more and more connected with everything, but at the same time he stands out more and more, becomes more unique because by connecting with others, he increases his own “stem cell.” That is why Baal HaSulam writes in the article “The Freedom” that every person must develop, rather than suppress, his unique qualities. By virtue of every person’s uniqueness, we will attain a huge, perfect vessel of the soul in which we will be able to perceive the entire spiritual world and the Creator 620 times greater than at the beginning of creation.

From the 2nd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 9/1/10, The Zohar

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He Is The Beginning And The End, But I Am In The Middle

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: Who is to blame for my downfalls in the final analysis: me or the Creator? Are they a result of my effort or lack thereof?

Answer: It is said about the Creator, “I am the beginning and the end.” “I am the beginning” means that each initial state is not up to a person. Usually, it doesn’t have anything to do with whatever took place previously.

I am not talking about regular folks in whom the “genes” (Reshimot, orders from Above) unwind mechanically and sequentially, and the questions of the purpose of life and attaining free will don’t arise. Rather, I refer to a person who has already received the void to fill and senses it through the surfaced question of the purpose of life. Such a person can fulfill himself by entering the group (the collective system of souls) and analyzing his ascents and descents since this state initiates his spiritual journey.

Everything is evaluated in relation to freedom of choice, not to the state itself. My condition itself doesn’t matter; it can be good or bad. What matters is how I am employing it right now. In other words, only the “derivative” is evaluated.

I don’t change the world, nor do I correct it. I correct my participation in it.

From the 2nd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 8/31/10, The Zohar

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