Entries in the 'spiritual work' Category

“According to the Sorrow, So Is the Reward”

610.2Question: The sources speak about reward. Is it correct to say that according to the effort one makes so will be the reward?

Answer: That is absolutely right. That is why it is said: “According to the sorrow, so is the reward.”

Question: I did not understand this for a long time, but today I finally understood and felt great, sincere joy from it. What happens to a person when the essence of what has been said suddenly becomes clear to him?

Answer: He simply receives a very small portion of the upper light.

Question: At the corporeal level, the concept of sorrow is associated with some kind of torment. But Kabbalah says: “Sorrow is a feeling of hunger.” That is, the more hungry a person feels, the more he will feel the pleasure from eating.

It turns out that the more spiritual hunger we have, the more pleasure we will receive from the fact that the Creator fills us with light. Is it true that I should feel not my own hunger but the hunger of my friends in the ten? If I start preparing a “meal” for them and they begin to receive fulfillment, it will be a great pleasure.

Answer: I think we should aim to feel the lack of a Kli (Vessel): what do we still lack so that we can attract the Creator, fill Him, feel our real Kli, real desire and deficiency (Hisaron).
From the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 7/25/23, “According to the Sorrow, So Is the Reward”

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Work To Want

Dr. Michael LaitmanBaal HaSulam, “The Inheritance of the Land”: Indeed it is said in the books that it is impossible for the souls to receive the good reward for which the Creator created them and the world, without the vessel prepared to receive, and a person cannot attain that vessel without exertion and the efforts to keep the Mitzvot; under pressure and war, a person fights with the evil inclination with many obstacles and concerns. The sorrow and exertion in the Torah provides a vessel for the soul so that it is ready to receive all the pleasure and goodness for which He created for the created beings.”

We can’t receive goodness and pleasure without hard work. Why? Because it is the hard work that stabilizes and builds the right desires in us for the fulfillment the Creator has prepared. It is impossible to manage without these desires, without the burden, without hard work and real sufferings. It is said: “You shall eat bread with salt, and drink water sparingly, sleep on the ground, live a life of sorrow, and in the Torah you shall work.” On the whole, all of humanity is going through a path of great sufferings, much worse than death.

Why does that happen? Why is it only in this way that we can clarify the deficiency that is aimed at the goal? Indeed, without acquiring this deficiency first, we will not feel the goal, and will not be incorporated in it. Perhaps we have already reached the goal but can’t feel it because we lack the experience.

So a lot of hard work is needed until we finally reach the leap, and it is revealed to us as the proper yearning. As we work, we make more and more efforts, and it becomes constantly harder to justify the way until we finally do not escape from Egypt. And the next step isn’t simple.

Kabbalists don’t hide this from us. On the contrary, they want to explain to us that our work is hard and that it is constantly growing harder. Don’t wait for everything to happen tomorrow, unless you are really able to add the wonderful tomorrow to the present. Here everything depends on you.

So we have to “keep the Torah and the Mitzvot,” which means to correct ourselves by drawing the reforming Light, whose influence connects us. The method of Kabbalah is meant to connect us. It is said: “I’ve created the evil inclination and I’ve created the Torah as a spice.” The Torah corrects the evil inclination, meaning the separation, and it corrects it by unity and love. So “Love thy neighbor as thyself” is the great rule of the Torah. We have to discover the hatred among us and the unity to correct it. We cannot escape it; we must unite as one.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 1/20/12, Baal HaSulam, “The Inheritance of the Land”

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On The Verge Of The General Ascent

Dr. Michael LaitmanBaal HaSulam, "Inheritance of the Land": And so Abraham wondered, “How will I know that I will inherit it?” meaning how will I know that the Children of Israel will receive such a great reward, since where will they get such big vessels that will be worthy of this wonderful receiving, and to this the Lord answered him, “Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them, and they shall afflict them four hundred years, and then they will have great exertion in the Torah and the Mitzvot….” This is the case for those who deal with the Torah, but those that deal with the fillings of this world and are not ready to deal with the Torah, how will they receive these vessels? Indeed the answer is that this is what is said in the Midrash, that Israel are not redeemed until they are united…."

So we see that we must connect with the world that provides us its deficiencies because we don’t have enough deficiencies of our own. In the same way we received the desires of the Egyptians in the time of the Exodus from Egypt.

Let’s see how things developed. After the exodus from Babel we went down to Egypt, we were there for 210 years and we went to Mt. Sinai. Then there was a series of ascents and descents until we arrived at the Land of Israel and built the first Temple. Then we fell from that degree and built the second Temple.

Thus we ended the work of the Egyptian exile. We corrected the whole legacy of 210 years in Egypt, all the evil inclination, with the help of the Torah, meaning the method of Kabbalah, which we received on Mt. Sinai.

After having fulfilled this level, we fell, we have been through two thousand years of exile, and now we have to ascend again. It is said about our state that: “The children of Israel were exiled only to add the souls of the gentiles to them," which is all the Babylonians. In the past, Abraham took a small vessel of Israel out of Babel, and now all of Babel have to reach correction. Here, in exile, we meet the Babylonians, we are mutually incorporated in them and together with them rise to correction, as one body that has a "head" and a "body." The head is the point in the heart (*), and the body is what we call "the nations of the world (NW in the drawing)."

Thus we reach mutual correction. The body cannot manage without the head, and the head cannot manage without the body.

On the Verge of The General Ascent
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 1/20/12, Baal HaSulam, “The Inheritance of the Land”

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A Wonderful Cake With Spiritual Filling

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: Can I feel something towards the Creator without any fulfillment?

Answer: There cannot be a relationship between the “guest” and the “host” without fulfillment. If I totally restrict myself, I detach myself from receiving, but I cannot respond to the treatment of the Creator either. My relationship with Him is possible only through the fulfillment that I receive from Him.

If I receive from Him, from His huge table laden with delicacies, even “a tiny slice of cake,” in this cake I feel His attitude towards me. It is for this reason that I take it, after I restrict myself internally, in order to feel only His attitude towards me in that cake.

Otherwise I can’t perceive how He treats me. I feel love and concern in the Light that comes to me. Then I take a piece of that cake in order to feel all that, not to simply enjoy it since that would be a Klipa (shell), egoism, but rather in order to build my attitude towards the Creator from it, in order to reach equivalence of form with Him, in order to reach a state of balance. This state in nature is called homeostasis, harmony with nature.

If I am in such a state with respect to the Creator, a certain relationship is established between us. This means that I am already on some spiritual level: 1, 2, or 3….

But the question is: Where do we go from here? After all, this harmonious system relaxes me, and I cannot reveal more than I’ve already revealed. I received from the host, I gave back to him, we’ve established a relationship of equality between us, and through the refreshments we make each other feel good and bring each other pleasure. But what’s next?

If I don’t feel an additional deficiency, I won’t be able to move. What’s important is: What will I have a new deficiency for: the refreshments or for the host, for strengthening our relationship, for greater connection with Him?

Here, according to my preparation, a new deficiency is revealed in me. After all, I want to feel the deficiency for a stronger connection with the host. In order to discover the right deficiency for the host, I must have an appetite for the refreshments.

But it could be that the deficiency for the refreshments is revealed before the yearning for the host. Here it depends on if I approach the development from the side of sanctity or from the side of impurity.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 1/20/12, Shamati #174

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Secret Security System Connecting The Hearts

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: What does a group that enters spirituality look like?

Answer: On the outside there are no special signs. Everyone seems like ordinary people. Inside will be everything we read about in the Kabbalah books. You will see the same faces, but you will treat them differently.

You will feel the internal network of connections among you. This is what creates the place where the spiritual world is revealed. It is as if you’ve received a flashlight, you turn it on, and in that light you begin to see stones, trees, animals, and people: a whole world.

This shining flashlight is your good attitude towards all the others, the mutual guarantee that you feel towards them. In the mutual guarantee that stems from you, you begin to discover the upper system and to see that in it, right there before you, there are trees, animals and people, which you didn’t see before.

But all the inanimate objects, plants, animals and people are not corporeal like in our world, but are spiritual. This is the picture that is revealed to you. They are the same familiar faces, but you discover the internal connection among them.

Many years ago I saw a movie about a diamond theft. The robbers sprayed a special spray and in this mist they began to see the laser beams that activate the alarm if someone crossed the room.

So it is as if you are also spraying a special spray around you, like a cloud of emotional attitude, of sharing, of a sense of connection and mutual guarantee, and in it you discover the laser beams that connect us to one another and see how they pass and tie everyone.

You discover this relationship, and see how it operates and manages everything. You understand what really motivates everyone.

Now, you see that everyone is moving, but you don’t understand which forces are moving them. Then you suddenly begin to feel, both physically and internally, how a hand enters the puppet and begins to move it from one place to another. This is revealing the governance and upper Providence.

Accordingly you learn how to adapt yourself to the system of this Providence, just as the movement of a good horse is adapted to the desires of the rider.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 1/20/12, Shamati #174

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Not An Ordeal But No Picnic

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: Why don’t we appreciate the path we follow? Why don’t we receive pleasure at every moment? Even if it isn’t easy, we’re still in a group, we’re together, and this in itself is happiness.

Answer: Actually, there are two sides to the coin. If you come here for the meals and the friendly atmosphere, then things will end here. Your ego won’t let you be attracted to something else. On the other hand, if you feel bad here, your ego won’t let you come here and instead of coming to the lesson, you’ll stay in bed.

So we need both things, both the joy and the frustration. After all there are many people here who have the left line, meaning who are critical. They ask themselves: What can I really get out of life? I don’t want to be just a Hasid. I want to advance. Hasids on any level are happy with what they have and don’t want anything more. But if I don’t want anything, how will I advance? How will I acquire an additional deficiency?

This is exactly what Abraham asked the Creator: “How shall I know that I will inherit it?” In other words: How will I want spiritual ascent? Abraham’s attribute is Hassidim, the Sefira of Hesed, and so he worried about feeling the deficiency to ascend to heights that seem unattainable.

The Creator answered him: “Know of a surety that your seed will be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and they shall afflict them four hundred years….” But what sufferings are we talking about here? About the sufferings you go through by the “Torah and the Mitzvot,” by the Light. These aren’t just bad feelings that you have. “The Egyptian exile” isn’t a synonym for unemployment, lack of money, or health problems. The Egyptian exile is the feeling of deficiency that comes from the posterior of the Light, when you feel that you lack spirituality, love, and adhesion. These are the kind of sufferings we have to reach, and hard work is required here. [Read more →]

Night: Prelude To The Day

Dr. Michael LaitmanBaal HaSulam, “Introduction to the Study of the Ten Sefirot“: However, when troubles and torments accumulate to a great extent, it causes a double concealment, which the books name “concealment within concealment.” It means that even His posterior is unseen.

A person is a desire to receive. If he finds the power to ascend above his egoism, he becomes equivalent to the Creator and then according to the extent of the equivalence of form, the Creator is revealed to him as the good and the benevolent, as the one who bestows. This is because a person who ascends above his desire also becomes good and benevolent. First His Providence is revealed to him based on reward and punishment and later it is revealed to him as the eternal Providence.

But if a person cannot keep himself above the egoistic desire in equivalence to the Creator, if he doesn’t have a strong enough Masach (screen), he cannot cope with the pleasure that appears before him, and it immediately turns into darkness for him. This is how a person feels the concealment. It isn’t emptiness, and it isn’t lack of knowledge, but rather a feeling of something that is hidden: There is someone out there, and I can distinguish it from my own corrupted qualities. After all, they are opposite to Him, and this is why I feel that He is concealed.

So the concealment is a kind of revelation. It is divided into two parts: double concealment and single concealment, but in any case it isn’t total detachment, like in our case. Here everything depends on the Masach, on my persistence in trying to keep myself above my egoistic desire to resist pleasures from the bestowal, and to relate not to the pleasures of bestowal but to the attribute of bestowal. I have to relate to the source, to the Creator, not because I am fulfilled by Him but because of His quality.

But if there are states with which I cannot cope, I enter concealment and this brings me great suffering. Yet these are spiritual sufferings. After all, the concealment refers to spiritual perception. This doesn’t refer to our “unconscious” world with its “beastly” needs, but rather spiritual sufferings when I cannot please the Creator. Great voids appear in me which cause me great pain and suffering, but I know from what and and why I suffer.  [Read more →]

Not For Me, But For The Other Guy

Dr. Michael LaitmanSuppose I wanted to steal something and I suffered because I didn’t know how to do it: “Why don’t I succeed? Where can I learn the art of stealing?” Then, under the influence of a good environment, I realize that my desire is bad. Thus, I find myself in a state of concealment; I don’t agree with my own attribute. My good image as a corrected “good guy” is concealed from me. “How can I be respected by others and myself, and not berate myself all the time?”

So, I progress and learn about the forms of concealment. As soon as I can see my perfect image, even though in a first approximation, my longing creates a prayer. Whether I want it to or not, the prayer emerges from my heart and I acquire the desired form. “Here it is; I don’t want to steal anymore! I don’t need anything.” And then I am fulfilled.

And it is the Light. So far, it is the Light of Hassadim, and even though it is much lower than the Light of Hochma, I prefer it now because it has another quality: I enjoy resembling the Creator.

Then comes the next phase of the correction: If I don’t need anything, can I bestow upon others? Then I get to work. It is divided into several parts. First I find out who I stole from in order to pay back the “debt.” Then I discover that I stole from everyone.

But on the whole, I begin to enjoy the fact that I am becoming equivalent to the Creator. I fill everyone with the Light of Hochma and that is the level of my resemblance to the Creator.
From the 3rd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 1/19/12, “The Study of the Ten Sefirot

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Do I Want The Revelation Of The Creator?

Dr. Michael LaitmanA person goes through phases of concealment and revelation on his spiritual path. Yet concealment is not an easy thing. Who is actually concealed? Where did He disappear to and where is He? After all, concealment is part of the revelation.

If I feel that someone is concealed, it means that I know him, I know who he is and how he should be revealed. In this case we already have something to talk about regarding concealment: After all, I already have an understanding, an attainment, a certain feeling, but they are the opposite of revelation.

So how can it be attained? First, I have to understand that at the moment I am detached in a state of unconsciousness. Then I probably have to feel that something is concealed from me. This is already a step forward. Then I go through a double concealment and a single concealment, followed by partial revelation and complete revelation.

So how do I go through all these phases? It all depends on the how the Creator is revealed to me. The question is: How can I hasten His appearance?

He wants to be revealed before the created being, and we too, at the moment, seem to want to reveal Him. But then it turns out that we actually don’t want that at all, because to reveal the Creator is to reveal the attribute of bestowal that rules the world, and to become one who totally bestows. This means that I become restricted; I lose myself, and totally forget about myself. My “self” ceases to exist. I can’t even think about this. So do I want the revelation of the Creator?

Here we begin to understand that it isn’t that simple, it involves very serious things, and they are all concealed inside a person. According to our nature, we hate the revelation of the Creator. After all, it is in contrast to the egoistic pleasures that we want. His gradual revelation is depicted as something awful to me: It is as if I rule the whole world and suddenly some monster begins to cut off pieces from it, one piece after another, until there is nothing left and it also swallows me. What’s more, I have to agree to that, to want it, to look for it, to beg for it.

So we see that the chain of these events isn’t revealed to us directly; we have to go through a preparation process that is not simple. First I enjoy the revelations, which may be pleasant or unpleasant for my egoism. Then I have to acquire a feeling that is above egoism, and then I see the opposite picture, that I am no longer being guided by the feelings of bitter and sweet, but by the criteria of truth and false.
From the 3rd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 1/19/12, “The Study of the Ten Sefirot

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There Is No Eye Of The Needle Without The Needle

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: What action helps us reveal the entrance into spirituality called the “eye of the needle?”

Answer: The eye of the needle is not an entrance even though we call it so. This is our readiness for work, readiness to accept everything that comes from Above.

The needle’s eye is first of all the needle itself. It’s not just a tiny opening. This means that I am ready for everything that the Creator is doing with me since His every action over me is very painful and opposite to my desire to receive pleasure.

Therefore, one has to advance to it very slowly and gradually. A person allows the upper Light a possibility to act to the degree of his readiness, to at least in some external form to come out of himself, from his ego, and to become closer to others.

This is why we are given a group. When you are able in some way to connect to your friends, the Light will act upon you and you will feel that you are capable of tolerating this. This breakaway from oneself elevates the person as he overcomes his ego.
From the 2nd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 1/17/12, The Zohar

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