If everything happens according to the Creator’s plan, then what good are our efforts? As a result of our own work, based on the principle of reward and punishment, we acquire from Above an understanding of the Creator’s rule. We then rise to a level of consciousness where we clearly see that it is the Creator who rules everything and that everything is predetermined.
First, however, we must reach this stage, and until we do, we cannot determine that everything is in the hands of the Creator. Also, until we reach that stage, we cannot live or act according to its laws, for this is not how we understand the world to operate. Therefore, we can act only according to the laws of which we are aware.
Only when we have put forth efforts based on the principle of “reward and punishment” do we become worthy of the Creator’s complete trust. Only then do we have the right to see the true picture of the world, as well as the way it operates. And when we arrive at this stage, and realize that everything depends on the Creator, we long for Him.
One cannot oust selfish thoughts and desires from one’s heart and leave it empty. Only by filling the heart with spiritual, altruistic desires instead of selfish ones can we replace the old aspirations with opposite ones, and in this way obliterate egoism.
Those of us who love the Creator are sure to feel revulsion toward egoism, since we know from personal experience how much harm the ego can cause.
However, we may not have the means to rid ourselves of the ego, and will eventually realize that it is beyond our power to oust egoism, since it was the Creator who had endowed us, His creations, with this quality.
Although we cannot rid ourselves of egoism by our own efforts, the sooner we realize that egoism is our enemy and our spiritual exterminator, the stronger will be our hatred of it. Eventually, this hatred will bring the Creator to help us overcome the enemy; in this way, even our egoism will serve the purpose of spiritual elevation.
The Talmud says, “I created the world only for the completely righteous and for the complete sinners.” It is understandable why the world would be created for the absolutely righteous, but why wasn’t the world also created for those who are neither absolutely righteous nor absolute sinners?
We inadvertently perceive Providence according to the way it affects us. It is “good” and “kind” if it is agreeable to us, and “harsh” if it causes us suffering. That is, we consider the Creator either good or bad, depending on how we perceive our world.
Thus, there are only two ways for human beings to perceive the Providence of the Creator over the world. Either we perceive the Creator and see life as wonderful, or we deny the Creator’s Providence over the world, and assume the world is ruled by “forces of nature.”
Though we may realize that the latter scenario is unlikely, our emotions, rather than our reason, determine our attitude toward the world. Hence, when we observe the disparity between our emotions and our reason, we begin to consider ourselves as sinners.
When we understand that the Creator wants to bestow only benefit and good, we realize this is possible only by drawing closer to Him. Thus, if we feel distanced from the Creator, we perceive this as “bad,” and then we consider ourselves to be sinners.
But if we feel ourselves to be so evil that we cry out to the Creator to save us, asking the Creator to reveal Himself to give us the power to break out from the prison of our egoism into the spiritual world, then the Creator will help us instantly.
It is for this form of human condition that this world and the higher worlds were created.
When we reach the level of absolute sinner, we can cry out to the Creator and eventually rise to the level of the absolutely righteous.
Thus, we can only become worthy of perceiving the Creator’s greatness after we have rid ourselves of all conceit and realized the impotence and the baseness of our personal desires.
The more importance we ascribe to becoming close to the Creator, the more we perceive Him and the better we can discern the Creator’s various nuances and manifestations in our daily lives. This deep, impressive awe of Him will give rise to feelings in our hearts, and as a result joy will flow in.
We can see that we are no better than those around us, and yet we can also see that, unlike us, others have not earned the Creator’s special attention. Moreover, others are not even aware that the possibility of communicating with the Creator exists. Nor do they really care to perceive the Creator and understand the meaning of life and spiritual progress.
On the other hand, we are not clear how we merited such a special relationship with the Creator, in that we are granted, if only just occasionally, the opportunity to concern ourselves with the purpose of life and our bond with the Creator.
If, at that point, we can appreciate the uniqueness of the Creator’s attitude toward us, then we can experience boundless gratitude and joy. The more we can appreciate individual success, the more deeply we can thank the Creator.
The more nuance of feeling we can experience at each particular point and instant of contact with the Creator, the better we can appreciate the greatness of the spiritual world that is revealed to us, as well as the greatness and might of the omnipotent Creator. This results in stronger confidence with which we can anticipate our future unification with Him.
When contemplating the vast difference between the characteristics of the Creator and those of His created beings, it is easy to arrive at the conclusion that the Creator and created can only become compatible if the created beings alter their absolutely egoistic nature. This is only possible if the created nullify themselves as if they do not exist; thus, there is nothing to separate them from their Creator.
Only if we feel that, without receiving a spiritual life, we are dead (as when life has left the body), and only if we feel a compelling desire for a spiritual life, can we receive the possibility of entering this spiritual life, to breathe spiritual air.