From Publisher

A Guide to the New World: why mutual guarantee is the key to our recovery from the global crisi

 

Copyright © 2012 by Michael Laitman

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Published by ARI Publishers

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ISBN: 978-1-897448-72-4

 

Library of Congress Control Number: 2012905804

 

Translation: Chaim Ratz

Associate Editor: Mary Miesem

Copy Editor: Claire Gerus

Layout: Baruch Khovov

Cover: Inna Smirnova

Executive Editor: Chaim Ratz

Publishing and Post Production: Uri Laitman

 

FIRST EDITION: JANUARY 2013

First printing

Attaining The Worlds Beyond – Light that brings Correction

There are two kinds of Light of the Creator: the Light of knowledge, reason, and wisdom (called Ohr Hochma), and the Light of mercy, confidence, and unity (called Ohr Hassadim). In turn, Ohr Hochma comes in two types according to its action upon us

At first, when the Light arrives, we discover our own evil. Then, when we have discovered the evil, and realize that we should not use egoism, this same Light imparts strength towards those egoistic wishes, so that we can work (take pleasure) with them, but not for our own sake. Finally, when we gain the strength to overcome our own egoism, this same Light makes it possible for the corrected, formerly egoistic desires to take pleasure in altruism.

On the other hand, Ohr Hassadim bestows on us the desire “to give” rather than “to take” pleasure. For this reason, from the 320 uncorrected desires of the soul, the action of Ohr Hochma separates the 32 parts of Malchut (which are gradually sensed as spiritual ascents take place, just as the individual gradually comprehends the full depths of his evil and shudders at the realization of his own essence) from the desire to receive personal pleasure, because we have realized that egoism is our worst enemy.

The remaining 288 desires have neither an egoistic nor an altruistic direction, as they are simply sensations (like those of hearing, sight, etc.), which can be employed in any way we choose: either for ourselves or for others. Under the action of Ohr Hassadim, we develop a desire to work altruistically with all 288 sensations. This occurs after Ohr Hochma has replaced the 32 egoistic desires with the 32 altruistic desires.

A correction under the influence of the Light occurs without a sensation of pleasure derived from it. One only senses the difference in qualities between one’s own egoism and the magnificence of the Light. This alone is sufficient to break free of bodily desires. It is thus said, “I have created in you egoistical tendencies, and I created Kabbalah as its cure.”

But then, having corrected one’s desires, one begins to receive the Light in order to delight the Creator. This Light, also known as “Torah,” is called “The Names of the Creator,” because the individual receives into one’s self and soul a part of the Creator, and assigns names to the Creator in accordance with the pleasures received from the Light.

We can enter the spiritual world only by becoming completely unselfish (hafetz hesed).

This is the minimal prerequisite to ensure that no egoistic desires could ever seduce usl and thereby cause harm, because we want nothing for the self.

Without the protection of the altruistic tendencies with the quality of Ohr Hassadim, when we begin to receive the unbounded pleasure from the Upper Light, we will inevitably desire to gratify ourselves, and thus will bring about personal ruin; we will never be able to leave egoism for altruism. Our entire existence will consist of pursuing these pleasures, which are inaccessible to our egoistic desires.

But Ohr Hassadim, which imparts on us a striving toward altruism, cannot shine its Light into our egoistical desires. Egoistic desires are sustained by a spark of the Light within us that was forcibly put there by the Creator to resist the laws of the nature of spirituality. This enables us to maintain life in us because, without receiving any pleasure, human beings cannot survive.

If this spark of the Upper Light disappeared, we would immediately perish. Only by doing so could we break away from egoism and from our unfulfilled desire to be gratified, thereby bringing us absolute gloom and despair.

What is the reason that Ohr Hassadim cannot enter egoism? As was demonstrated earlier, the Light itself carries no distinction between Ohr Hochma or Ohr Hassadim, but the individual determines this distinction. An egoistic desire can begin to take pleasure in the Light, regardless of the Light’s origin; that is, it can begin to take pleasure in Ohr Hassadim for its own sake. Only a desire that has been prepared for altruistic actions can receive the Light in order to take pleasure in altruism; that is, to receive the Light as Ohr Hassadim.

An individual receives pleasure from three types of sensations: past, present, and future. The greatest pleasure is derived from the sensations of the future, because an individual begins to anticipate the pleasure in the present, that is, the pleasure is experienced in the present. In this way, anticipating and thinking about objectionable deeds are worse than the deeds themselves, because the anticipation prolongs the pleasure and occupies the thoughts of the individual for a long time.

Present pleasure is usually short in its span, in light of our petty and easily satisfied desires.

Past pleasure, on the other hand, can be repeatedly recalled in one’s mind and enjoyed. Thus, prior to engaging in an act of goodness, it is necessary to dedicate a lot of time to thinking and preparing for it. This allows us to take in as many different sensations as possible, so that later we can remember them in order to recreate our aspirations toward the spiritual.

Because egoism is the essence of our nature, we desire to delight in our lives. So if we are given from Above, into our desires, a small seed of a soul, which by its nature wishes to and tries to exist on anti-egoistical pleasures, then egoism can no longer motivate these types of actions. Thus, there is no more gratification from such a life.

This is because the soul gives us no rest, constantly reminding us that we are not living a true full life, but merely existing. As a result, we begin to see life as unbearable and full of suffering, because regardless of our actions, we are incapable of receiving pleasure. At the very least, we cannot be satisfied by anything, because the soul does not allow us to be satisfied. Thus it continues until egoism itself decides that there is no other solution but to listen to the voice of the soul, and to follow its directions. Otherwise, we will never be at peace.

This situation can be described as “the Creator bringing us back to Him against our will.” It is impossible for us to perceive even the smallest pleasure if we did not feel the lack of it beforehand. This lack of a desired pleasure is defined as “suffering.”

The ability to receive the Upper Light also requires a prior desire for it. For this reason, when we are learning, and during other actions, we should ask to feel a need for the Upper Light.

“There is none else but Him.” Everything that transpires is His desire, and all creations carry out His Will. The only difference is that there is a small group of people who carry out His Will because they so wish. The experience of unification of the Creator with the created is only possible when there exists a congruence of desires.

“A blessing” is defined as an outpouring of the Light of mercy (Ohr Hassadim) from Above, which is possible only when we are engaged in altruistic acts. It is said by the Kabbalists: “The needs of your people are great, but their wisdom is slight.” The needs are great precisely because the wisdom is slight.

Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag said: “Our state can be likened to the state of the King’s son, who was placed by his father in a palace filled with all kinds of treasures but with no light with which to see it all. So the son sits in the darkness and lacks only the light in order to possess the riches. He even has a candle with him (the Creator sends him the possibility to begin the advance toward Himself), as it is said: ’The soul of a human being is the candle of the Creator.’ One needs only to light it by his own desire.”

Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag said: “Although it is said that the goal of creation is incomprehensible, there is a great difference between its incomprehension by the wise man, and the ignorance of the simpleton.”

Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag said: “The law of the root and the branch implies that the lowest must reach the level of the highest, but the highest does not have to be like the lowest.”

All our work consists of the preparation to receive the Light. As Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag said: “The most important is the kli – vessel, even though kli without light is as lifeless as the body without the soul. Thus, we should prepare our kli in advance, so that when it receives the light it works properly. This can be likened to a man-made machine that operates on electricity. The machine will not work unless it is plugged into the electrical source, but the result of its work depends on the way the machine itself is made.”

In the spiritual world, all laws and desires are diametrically opposite to those of our world.

Just as in our world, it is extremely difficult to act contrary to knowledge and understanding, so in the spiritual world it is extremely difficult to progress with knowledge.

As Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag said: “It is said that when everyone stood during the service at the Temple, it was very crowded, but when everyone prostrated themselves, there was plenty of room.” The act of standing symbolizes the state of “greatness” of partzuf, the receiving of Light; whereas the act of prostrating is a state of “smallness” and represents the lack of Light.

In this lower state there was more room and a greater feeling of freedom, because in the state of the Creator’s concealment, those in the process of spiritual ascent feel the potential to advance against their reason, and this is the source of joy from their work.

Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag used to tell the story of a great Kabbalist of the last century, Rabbi Pinchas ,from the village of Korits. Rabbi Pinchas had no money even to buy Ari’s The Tree of Life,and was forced to teach children for half a year in order to earn the money needed to purchase this book. Even though it may appear that our bodies are an obstruction to our spiritual ascent, it only seems this way because we are not aware of the functions that the Creator assigned to them.

As Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag said: “Our body is like an anker (a part in a watch); even though the anker stops the watch, without it the watch would not work, it would not move forward.”

At another time, Rabbi Ashlag said: “In the barrel of a long-range shotgun there is a special threading which makes the exit of the bullet difficult, but precisely because of this threading the bullet flies farther and is more accurate.” In Kabbalah such a state is known as kishui.

Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag said: “Everyone is so accustomed to interpreting the Bible in accordance with the concepts of this world, that even when it is explicitly stated in the Bible, ’Guard your souls,’ it is still understood to mean the health of the body.”

Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag said: “An individual is in the spiritual state to the extent that he realizes that his egoistic desires are, in essence, the impure force.”

Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag said: “The lowest of the spiritual levels is attained when the spiritual becomes most important and comes before the material.”

Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag said: “In only one thing can a person display haughtiness; that is, in asserting that no one else can please the Creator more than he himself.”

Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag said: “The reward for keeping a Commandment is in gaining the perception of the One who commands it.”

Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag said: “The worries of this world are of no concern to those engaged in spiritual ascent, just as the person who is seriously ill does not worry about getting his salary, but only about surviving the illness.”

Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag said: “In the spiritual, as in our physical world, if something occurs to us because of circumstances that were beyond our control, this fact itself will not save us. For example, if someone inadvertently falls off a cliff, the mere fact that he fell, even though he did not want to fall, will not save him from dying.

The same is true in the spiritual world.” When Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag was sick, a doctor was called to come and see him. The doctor prescribed rest and peace, suggested that it was important to calm down the patient’s nerves, and remarked that if he was to engage in learning, he should choose something uncomplicated like The Psalms.

When the doctor left, Rabbi Yehuda commented, “It seems that the doctor thinks it possible to read The Psalms superficially, without looking for a deeper meaning.”

Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag said: “There is no place in between the spiritual, altruistic ’giving’ and the material, egoistic, impure ’receiving.’ If at every single moment a person is not bound to the spiritual, he forgets about it altogether and remains in the impure and physical state.”

It is said in the book, HaKuzari, that the King Kuzari, when it came time to select a religion for his people, turned to a Christian, to a Muslim, and finally to a Jew. When the King heard the Jew, he remarked that the Christian and the Muslim both promised him eternal heavenly life and great rewards in the world to come, after his death. On the other hand, the Jew spoke of the rewards for the observance of the Commandments and the punishment for disobeying them in this world.

But it seemed to the King that it was more important to be concerned with what he would receive in the world to come, after death, than with the way he should live his life in this world.

The Jew then explained that those who promise reward in the world to come, do so because they want to distance themselves from the falsehood in this manner, to conceal the lie and the meaning in their words. In a similar fashion, Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag explained that the words of Agra, the concept of yehudi (“Jew”) is the name for one who attained the entire spiritual world, the whole world to come, while in this world.

This is what Kabbalah promises us as a reward. All of the rewards of Kabbalah must be received while a person is in this world, specifically while in the body, to feel everything with one’s entire body.

Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag said: “When a person feels that the impure forces, that is, egoistic desires, begin to press him, this is the beginning of his spiritual liberation.” Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag said, commenting on the Kabbalah “All is in the hands of God, except the fear of God”: In respect to everything that a person asks of the Creator, the Almighty decides whether to grant that person what is asked of Him or not to grant it.

However, the request to grant one the ’fear of Heaven’ is not decided by the Creator, but if a person truly yearns to have the fear of God, he will surely be granted this request.”

The Screen and the Three Lines

Selected excerpts from Michael Laitman’s blog:

What is the Screen?

A question I received: What is the screen? What is it made of and how can I recognize it?

My Answer: The screen is a force that enables you to think about others instead of yourself. It is when you acquire a different way of thinking, feeling, and making decisions. When this happens, it is as though you are born anew!

This is called a miracle – “The miracle of coming out of Egypt.” It is when you come out of your egoistic desire and suddenly begin to care for others. All your thoughts begin to work in this manner.

Right now it seems like a frightening change. Who would want this? And even though we do talk about this, inside we are very afraid of it.

However, the Upper Light will perform this change on us. I don’t know how it will do this. It will simply happen in the same manner as it created us. This change in a person is called a miracle. The Light that created our desire can also perform this “upgrade” on it.

 

How Does The Spiritual Masach (Screen) Work?

Question: How does the spiritual Masach (screen) work?

Answer: On one hand, the Masach doesn’t let the upper Light enter our ego and work with it. This means that it keeps and sustains the restriction of the desire.

On the other hand, it gradually adjusts the attribute of bestowal of the upper Light to our desires, and by detaching us from our previous desires, it enables us to acquire new desires for love and bestowal. A Masach is the most important part of the soul.

From the Kabbalah Lesson in Russian 12/18/16

 

What is Working In Three Lines?

Question: What is working in three lines?

Answer: Working in three lines is the complete mutual connection between your inclinations.

The left line is the egoistic desire to receive, to enjoy. By ascending above it, a person restricts its use.

Working in the right line means receiving the upper Light and using it inside yourself as the attribute of bestowal.

The middle line is the combination of the right and left lines inside you. In the right combination, you can use your egoism only to the extent that it is aimed at bestowal.

From the Kabbalah Lesson in Russian 12/18/16

Selected Questions about the Study of The Zohar

The Segula [Power] in The Book of Zohar

There is another magnificent power in it: All who engage in it, although they still do not understand what is written in it, are purified by it, and the Upper Lights draw closer to them.

Baal HaSulam, “The Teaching of the Kabbalah and Its Essence”

Question: I am not really sure how the Segula in The Book of Zohar works.

Answer: In our current situation, it’s hard to understand it. This is why it is called Segula.

Let us say that I am told that if I jump on one spot ten times, the lamp on the ceiling will switch on. I don’t know what the connection is between them. Perhaps a switch was placed under the floor, and there is a counter that counts to ten and switches it on after ten counts, but I don’t know that. There must be a connection, but it’s hidden from me. In Kabbalah, such a hidden connection is called Segula.

In other words, Segula is a law that exists in Nature, but one that I still don’t know. Those who have already studied themselves and it are telling me, “If you use it in such and such a way, you will activate it. You do not see it, but this is how you activate it.”

If an alien were to come to our world from another planet, he would look at a human baby and at a newborn calf and say that the calf will grow up to become a prominent figure, and the baby will grow up to small and helpless. However, we know that if you give both of them what they need, one will grow up to be a cow or an ox, and the other to be a human. This is a miracle, a Segula. We have grown accustomed to it happening, but it really is a miracle.

The little baby suddenly begins to understand, to react, to perform all kinds of actions. Each day, new abilities appear. How does it happen? After all, we didn’t do anything to make it happen. We have become used to the existence of a process of development, but in fact, it is a manifestation of the force of life, a spiritual force that acts in the creature and appears in such a way.

The same thing happens with our spiritual development. After all, the laws of spiritual development are no different, only this development is still hidden from us; we are not accustomed to it. But the day when people use these laws just as they do all other laws of Nature is not far.

Kabbalists are telling us that there is a force in Nature whose impact we can draw by studying The Book of Zohar. The more you study it, the stronger, wiser, more sensitive, and more understanding you will become. By that process, spirituality will appear to you because this book has the ability to change you.

But aren’t there other books that change me? There are, indeed. There are other books that change our perception of reality and help us discover the hidden realms. But The Book of Zohar affects the change more potently, yet more smoothly than any other book.

The World of Desires

A person who is in the dark and has always been in the dark. When you want to give him light, you first need to light a small light, like the eye of a needle, and then a little bigger. Thus, every time some more until all the light properly shines for him.

Zohar for All, VaYishlach [Jacob Sent], Item 91

Question: If I hear that everything is inside of me, how should I relate to those around me? How should I see the world? How should I consider those who love me, those who hate me, and generally relate to what happens around me?

Answer: We need to understand that there is the ideal, and there is reality. The ideal is what we will discover in the future, in our corrected states. For now, we are only learning that another reality exists in which everything is happening within us. For now, none of it is real for us, and perhaps everything that we imagine as a future picture is nothing like we see it.

We have no idea how our lives will change once we discover this picture. It is not that our world will change to some extent, but that a new world will appear before us. Hence, when we read in The Book of Zohar we must detach ourselves from everything we know and simply try to “dive” into it. At the moment, we cannot be in two worlds simultaneously. For now, we can only be in one world.

Therefore, we detach ourselves from the material reality and try to build a different picture, much like a child who wants to grow. Children want to be grownups in every way—in how they dress, how they behave, and in the eyes of others. They want everyone to treat them as adults.

We, too, should imagine in every way we can that The Book of Zohar speaks about our own new world, and that we are in it. In other words, this book discusses our internal qualities within which we exist, and within which we see a new reality. This game yields the impact of the light of correction upon us, and this new world appears.

So when the new world appears, does the old world disappear and we fly into heaven? Not quite. We discover a new life in our desires. Two desires—our own and that of the Creator—appear in us one opposite the other. We feel them, and we are in between them like a middle line, as our “selves,” and there is nothing else but that. Between the two forces there is me.

 

The Difference Between the Torah and The Zohar

“Open my eyes, that I may see wonders from Your law.” How foolish are people, for they do not know and do not consider engaging in the Torah. But the Torah is the whole of life, and every freedom and every goodness.

Zohar for All, Hayei Sarah [The Life of Sarah], Item 219

Question: Why do we need The Zohar if we already have the Torah?

Answer: The Zohar is a Kabbalistic interpretation of the Torah. Moses laid down the foundation, but the Torah is a coded book. There is a single code in it, but it is very deep. The Torah is written in “the language of the branches” [1]. The wisdom of Kabbalah explains the language of the branches and helps us read the Torah and understand what Moses really meant.

We are accustomed to relating to the Torah as a historic narrative about the feats of an ancient tribe. But Kabbalah allows us to see the upper roots through all that, the forces that evoke such actions in our world. Through Kabbalah, we can rise to the level of the system of forces that governs our world, and from there, we can correct and manage reality.

The Torah served as a correction method for those who lived since Moses’ time until the ruin of the Temple, which symbolized humankind’s detachment from the spiritual world. At that time, it became evident that Moses’ Torah was so remote from us that we could not correct ourselves directly through it. [2]

The Torah is simply too encrypted to be a guide for the souls that have fallen into corporeality. That fall created a need for another source of guidance. This is the time when The Book of Zohar was written. However, The Zohar was not written for the people who lived in those days—the beginning of the exile—but for our days—the end of the exile.

 

Woe unto one who says that the Torah comes to tell literal tales and the uneducated words of such as Esau and Laban. If this is so, even today we can turn the words of an uneducated person into a law, and even nicer than theirs. And if the Torah indicates to mundane matters, even the rulers of the world have among them better things, so let us follow them and turn them into a law in the same way. However, all the words of the Torah have the uppermost meaning.

The upper world and the lower world are judged the same. Israel below correspond to the high angels above. It is written of the high angels, “Who makes winds His messengers,” and when they come down, they clothe in dresses of this world. Had they not clothed in dresses such as in this world, they would not be able to stand in this world and the world would not tolerate them.

And if this is so with angels, it is all the more so with the law that created the angels and all the worlds, and they exist for it. Moreover, when it came down to this world, the world could not tolerate it if it had not clothed in these mundane clothes, which are the tales and words of the uneducated.

Hence, this story in the Torah is a clothing of the Torah. And one who considers this clothing as the actual Torah and nothing else, cursed will be his spirit and he will have no share in the next world.

Zohar for All, BeHaalotcha [When You Raise], Items 58-60

***

This chapter is only a taste of The Zohar. We tried to walk you through reading excerpts from The Zohar to make it easier for you to join the study. In the appendices you will find selected excerpts from The Zohar, as well as quotes from the greatest Kabbalists about the importance of the study of The Zohar. If you wish to delve deeper into the words of Baal HaSulam about the approach to studying The Zohar, you can do that in the appendix, “Introductions of Baal HaSulam to The Book of Zohar.”

Even if we first feel that we are not feeling anything while reading The Zohar, after only ten lessons over the Internet you will be able to feel very distinctly how The Zohar affects you.

The impact of the study of The Zohar is very powerful indeed, and as we said above, it does not depend on the level of our understanding, but rather on our efforts to perceive what The Zoharspeaks of. We only need to listen, to want to feel. This is the only way to know the world—our world, as well as the spiritual world.

The Book of Zohar is a lifeline that has been thrown to us by the Creator. If we grab the end of that line, we will be able to climb all the way to Ein Sof.

____________________________________________________________________

“How great is Your goodness, which You have stored up for those who fear You.”

“How great is Your goodness,” meaning how sublime and precious is the Upper Light called, “good.”

This is the hidden light, with which the Creator does good in the world. He does not deny it every day, in it is the world sustained, and upon it does it stand.

Zohar for All, Emor [Say], Item 3

 

Notes

[1] Kabbalists study the upper world, which is beyond the range of perception of an egoistic individual. According to them, from every object in the spiritual world, which is called “a root,” a force cascades into our world and produces an object here, which is called “a branch.” In his essay, “The Essence of the Wisdom of Kabbalah,” Baal HaSulam explains it in the following way: “There is not an element of reality, or an occurrence of reality in a lower world, that you will not find its likeness in the world above it, as identical as two drops in a pond. And they are called ‘Root and Branch.’ That means that the item in the lower world is deemed a branch of its pattern, found in the higher world, which is the root of the lower element, as this is where that item in the lower world was imprinted and made to be.”

[2] For more on this topic, see Baal HaSulam’s “Introduction to The Study of the Ten Sefirot”

The Friends

All those friends who do not love each other depart the world before their time. All the friends in Rashbi’s time had love of soul and love of spirit among them. This is why in his generation, the secrets of Torah were revealed. Rabbi Shimon would say, “All the friends who do not love each other cause themselves to stray from the right path.” Moreover, they put a blemish in the Torah, since there is love, brotherhood, and truth in the Torah.

Abraham loved Isaac; Isaac loved Abraham; and they were embraced. And they were both gripped Jacob with love and brotherhood and were giving their spirits in one another. The friends should be like them and not blemish them, for if love is lacking in them they will blemish their value above, that is, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, which are Hesed, Gevura, Tifferet.

Zoharfor All, Ki Tissa [When You Take], Item 54

The Zohar was written by a group of Kabbalists; hence, it can only be understood within the framework of a group. To connect to what is hidden in it, we must bond with all the other people who are craving it. Together, we form a group.

Only the connection between us will allow us to open the book because all that the book talks about is found among the souls. If we wish to bond, our desires will be called “souls,” and in the connection between them, we will discover the Creator, the light that ties us all together.

“How good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity, as well.” These are the friends, as they sit together inseparably. At first, they seem like people at war, wishing to kill each other. Then they return to a state of brotherly love.

The Creator, what does He say about them? “How good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity, as well.” The words, “as well” indicate the presence of Divinity with them. Moreover, the Creator listens to their words and He is pleased and content with them.

And you, the friends who are here, as you were in fondness and love before, you will not part henceforth, until the Creator rejoices with you and summons peace upon you. And by your merit there will be peace in the world. This is the meaning of the words, “For the sake of my brothers and my friends let me say, ‘Let peace be in you.’”

Zohar for All, Aharei Mot [After the Death], Items 65-66

If we do not consider the unity between us while reading in The Zohar, we will be missing out on the main point.

But wait! Until now, we said that we must feel these things within us, to look for the details mentioned in The Zohar within us, and now we are talking about bonding with other friends, bonding with a group outside of us. Isn’t there a contradiction here?

The thing is that even the group is not really outside. We must remind ourselves every moment that all that we feel as external to us is really within us.

We must tie the concept of “self” within us with the concept of “other” within us. We do not feel “others” who are outside of our bodies. Rather, they, too, are inside of us, within our desires. This is how our desires are divided. There are internal Kelim [vessels] and there are external Kelim, and we need only mend the connection between them. And the other people in the group are the first people that we will connect to ourselves.

On My Bed at Night

“On my bed night after night I sought him whom my soul loves.” The assembly of Israel spoke before the Creator and asked Him about the exile, since she is seated among the rest of the nations with her children and lies in the dust. And because she is lying in another land, an impure one, she said, “I ask on my bed, for I am lying in exile,” and exile is called “nights.” Hence, “I sought him whom my soul loves,” to deliver me from it.

“I sought him but did not find him,” since it is not His way to mate in me, but only in His palace, and not in exile. “I called him but he did not answer me,” for I was dwelling among other nations, who do not hear his voice except for His sons. “Did ever a people hear the voice of God?”

“On my bed night after night,” said the assembly of Israel, Divinity. “On my bed I was angered before Him, asking Him to mate with me to delight me—from the left line—and to bless me—from the right line—with complete joy—from the middle line.” When the king, ZA, mates with the assembly of Israel, several righteous inherit inheritance of a holy legacy, upper Mochin, and several blessings are found in the world.

Zohar for All, Ki Tazria [When a Woman Inseminates], Items 1-3

 

We should try to translate each word in The Zohar into its spiritual, internal meaning, and not perceive it in its familiar, corporeal sense. If we remain with the corporeal meaning, we degrade the Torah from the upper world to this world, and this is not why it was written. We must aspire to rise through it from this world to the upper world.

If we wish to reach Zeir Anpin, the Creator, to be in contact with Him, we must go through the mechanism called Malchut of Atzilut or “the Assembly of Israel,” through the collection of souls that are united directly to the Creator, meaning with love and giving. There is no other way.

If I do not see myself connecting all the broken souls within me and bringing them all to the Creator, to contact and to Zivug [coupling] with Him, then there is no “me.” This is a necessary picture that must always be kept in front of me. Otherwise, I am not going in the right direction.

Also, “me” means that I have taken myself through that mechanism of bonding among all the souls. This is the only way I can open up to The Book of Zohar. Why? Because the power of The Zohar was intended to keep the bonding among all those parts of me, which currently appear as not mine.

The Gate Over the Deep

These three sons of Noah are the persistence of the entire world … and from these the whole earth dispersed, for all the souls of people come from them because they are the meaning of the three upper colors in Bina, the three lines…

When the river that stretches out of Eden, Zeir Anpin, watered the garden, the Nukva [female], it watered her by the power of these three upper lines from the upper Bina, and from there the colors spread—white, red, and black…

And when you look in the degrees, you will find how the colors spread to all those sides, right, left, and middle, until they enter below, in Malchut, as twenty-seven channels of doors that cover the deep.

Zohar for All, Noah, Items 302-303

 

The more we can resemble the light, meaning its quality of giving and love, the more we will connect to it and discover its channels of bounty. In fact, even now we are in the world of Ein Sof, but it is hidden from us by all the worlds — Haalamot [concealments]—that exist within us, in our desire, because it is in contrast to the quality of the world of Ein Sof.

The twenty-seven letters, with the five final letters of Malchut, are twenty-seven channels that bring the abundance to it. They have been made into doors to cover the Dinim in Malchut, which are called “deeps.”

Zohar for All, Noah, Item 303

We ourselves are the ones who are building these channels and the doors above them. Once, these doors open a way for the light, and once they close it, like valves that open and close to the extent of our similarity with the light. Our efforts should be aimed at only one purpose—to make all our qualities resemble the spiritual qualities and receive light in them.

To the extent that we make the egoism in us similar to the light, we will discover within us the qualities of the Creator and the thought of Creation. There is a special part in The Book of Zohar, called Safra de Tzniuta [Book of Humbleness], which talks about it. This is also why it was said, “Wisdom is with the humble” (Proverbs, 11:2).

What Is Hell?

“Better is he that is ignoble and has a servant, than he that plays the man of rank and lacks bread.” This verse the evil inclination because it always complains against people. And the evil inclination raises man’s heart and desire with pride, and man follows it, curling his hair and his head, until the evil inclination takes pride over him and pulls him to Hell.

Zohar for All, VaYishlach [Jacob Sent], Item 16

 

Should we also feel that state of Hell? And how do Kabbalists know about it? They experienced it themselves. After all, it is impossible for one to discover anything if not through experience. So do we all have to be in Hell? Apparently, we do.

We always sink into the evil inclination first, and only then discover what it truly is. At first, we do not see that it is evil. If we did, we would not get into it. At first, it is appealing, shining, glittering, and wonderful. Thus, our egoism deceives us.

Here The Zohar speaks of a person who scrutinizes the various parts in one’s soul. He must be entangled, and out of that entanglement he must come down to a state of Hell. That state exists in every degree, and it is said about it, “There is not a righteous man on earth who does good and does not sin” (Ecclesiastes, 7:20). Only when one is in that state can one scrutinize the evil that lies within, and discover how much one is losing because of one’s evil, how impotent one is, when it comes to doing something with oneself without the help of the Creator.

We should remember that each word that was written by Kabbalists is based on their own personal attainment, for “What we do not know, we do not define by a name or a word [1].” The authors of The Zohar experienced all those states in themselves. Let us hope that we, too, will obtain these states. After all, they are part of the road to discovering the truth.

 

Notes

[1] Baal HaSulam, “The Essence of the Wisdom of Kabbalah”

The Sea Monsters

“Come unto Pharaoh.” It should have said, “Go unto Pharaoh.” But He allowed Moses into rooms within rooms, to one high sea monster, from which several degrees descend.

And Moses feared and did not approach, except to those Niles that are his degrees. But he feared the monster itself and did not come near because he saw it rooted in the upper roots.

Since the Creator saw that Moses was afraid and no other appointed emissaries above could approach it, the Creator said, “Behold, I am against you, Pharaoh king of Egypt, the great monster that lies in the midst of his rivers.” The Creator needed to wage war against him, and no other, as it is written, “I, and no emissary.” And they explained the wisdom of the monster that lies in the midst of his Niles to those “who travel on the road,” who know the secret of their Master.

Zohar for All, Bo [Come], Items 36-38

 

The Book of Zohar speaks about us. It tells us about what happens within us and only within us—albeit in a very peculiar way that often seems like a fairytale story or a history book. We have lungs, kidneys, spleen, and other organs. But in addition, in our feelings, there are many desires, qualities, thoughts, and drives. In other words, besides the physical body, there also exists the human in us.

Who is the human in us? If we open our souls up and examine them, we will find what the authors of The Zohar write about. In the human in us there are qualities known as “Moses,” “Pharaoh,” “monsters,” “Niles,” etc.. We must try to find them within.

What does searching for them within give us? In truth, it gives us nothing. However, by trying to find these qualities within we draw upon ourselves “the light that reforms,” and this is what we are meant to want. There is no danger of misunderstanding. Even if we understand everything backwards, it will make no difference. What counts is the effort.

Let us assume that a person walks out at the end of a Zohar lesson and thinks, “I did well today! I felt that I really understood what Moses and what Pharaoh mean within me.” Yet, this is completely meaningless. It may well be that next time, that same person will feel, “I didn’t get any of it today; it’s all dry. Except for a minute or two, I couldn’t even concentrate.” However, those few minutes are exactly what that person gained.

It is with good reason that Baal HaSulam wrote in the “Introduction to The Study of the Ten Sefirot” that the states of concealment are the states in which one can toil. One who strains during the darkness and feels that it is pointless should understand that states in which one is made to labor without receiving something to refresh the ego, pride, understanding, the mind, and the feeling are very good for one’s spiritual progress. We must welcome states that feel bland, since it is through them that we grow.

 

“And God created the great sea-monsters,” which is the whale and its female partner. The word “monster” [in Hebrew] is written without a Yod, since he killed the female, and the Creator elevated her to the righteous. Hence, only one great monster remained. Also, know that a whale is a pure fish.

The whale and his female partner are of a very high root. This is because the sea is Malchut from the discernment of Hochma, and the most important of all sea creatures is the whale. Thus, he is the whole of the Hochma in the sea, although he does not extend from Hochma herself, but from Bina that returned to Hochma, the left line in her, called, “the point of Shuruk.” This is why it is written about them, “And God created the great sea-monsters,” since Bina is called Beria.

And yet, his place was not determined as the sea itself, which is Malchut de [of] Atzilut. Rather, a place was prepared in the world of Beria, outside of Atzilut, below Malchut deAtzilut, which are the ten Niles.

Zohar for All, Bo [Come], Item 39

 

What does that depiction give us if we do not understand it and do not know how to connect it to us? Baal HaSulam could have explained the words of The Zohar in a little more emotional style, a little closer to us, in addition to the explanation of the language of Kabbalah. Yet, he leaves us room for effort, for searching for its meaning, what it is for, and where it is happening within us.

We are in Ein Sof, and there are 125 concealments from our current sensation to Ein Sof. We must try to feel our real state more and more vividly to “regain consciousness.” We are given this story specifically so we will begin to search. The search will yield within us new qualities and discernments with which we will begin to feel what we currently can’t. Otherwise, the ability to sense spirituality will not develop in us.

There must be an effort on our part here, as it is written, “The reward is according to the effort.” There is nothing else but effort here, which is why it was said, “You labored and found, believe.” When will finding come? When the upper light affects us sufficiently and the spiritual sense is complemented within us at its first degree.

Knowing has no significance here, only wanting. We must want to feel what is really happening here, and not the words. “Spiritual attainment,” as the Hazon Ish [1] said, “Is a subtle leaning of the fineness of the soul.” It is impossible to acquire it with the intellect, but only with the will of the heart.

It is with good reason that The Book of Zohar is abstruse. When we open that closed gate, we enter spirituality. Time and time again, day after day, without understanding what is happening, we will advance toward a state where all of a sudden, we will begin to feel something. At that point, internal responses to the words will awaken in us. And thus, we will naturally feel how a reality is formed within us and how a new world is being structured within.

 

Notes

[1] Rabbi Abraham Isaiah Karlitz (1878-1953), Faith and Confidence

Fear Not, You Worm of Jacob

The Creator placed all the idol worshipping nations in the world under appointed ministers, and they all follow their gods. All shed blood and make war, steal, commit adultery, mingle among all who act to harm, and always increase their strength to harm.

Israel do not have the strength and might to defeat them, except with their mouths, with prayer, like a worm, whose only strength and might is in its mouth. But with the mouth, it breaks everything, and this is why Israel are called “a worm.”

“Fear not, you worm of Jacob.” No other creature in the world is like that silk-weaving worm, from which all the garments of honor come, the attire of kings. And after weaving, she seeds and dies. Afterwards, from that very seed, she is revived as before and lives again. Such are Israel. Like that worm, even when they die, they come back and live in the world as before.

It is also said, “as clay in the hands of the potter, so you, the house of Israel, are in My hands.” The material is that glass; even though it breaks, it is corrected and can be corrected as before. Such are Israel: even though they die, they relive.

Israel is the tree of life, ZA. And because the children of Israel clung to the tree of life, they will have life, and they will rise from the dust and exist in the world.

Zohar for All, VaYishlach [Jacob Sent], Items 250-254

 

The point in the heart, the inner predilection that can awaken within each person, wherever he is, to reach directly to the quality of love and giving of the Creator, this is called Israel, Yashar [straight] El[God]. The rest of our self-centered inclinations are called “the nations of the world.”

On the way to the Creator, the point in the heart traverses many different states until it is finally rewarded with clinging to the “tree of life.”