Question: Why study Kabbalah?To answer that, we must read not only the explanations of the Kabbalists regarding the Upper Worlds, but also the connection between the Upper World and ours . There seem to be two separate parts to Kabbalah: the first speaks of the creation of the creatures as a consequence of the thought of the Creator (the Thought of Creation) and the evolution of the worlds. The Thought of Creation relates to the emanation of the Light from the Creator, the only power existing in the world. That Light builds a vessel for itself, a will to receive, that wants to take pleasure in the Light . The relationship between the Light and the vessel constitute the basis for the entire Creation. The only thing that was actually created is the vessel, and the light keeps working on it, changing it in order to bring it to the best possible state . Why, then, did the Creator not build a complete vessel to begin with? Because in order to be in a perfect state, we must first feel that state, and feeling it is only possible if we experience the complete opposite, the most incomplete state . Thus, each creature consists of two parts: The first is a descent, an estrangement from completeness, from the Creator. It is the lowest possible state, which is our world. But here in our world is where we find the best conditions for attaining the purpose of Creation. If we are created with the worst possible properties, the complete opposite of the Creator, then with a little bit of free choice, and with the help of the wisdom of Kabbalah, we will begin the ascent in the exact same degrees by which our souls descended . We will continue to explain below which, if any, freedom of choice we actually have, how to use it and who possesses it. We will see below that in fact, we are all servants of our own egoism and only the Kabbalists who climb the spiritual degrees have real freedom. Furthermore, the more they correct themselves, the greater is their capability to lead the world . We learn about the descent of the light from the Creator down to our world in The Study of the Ten Sefirot, in the Zohar and in the writings of the Ari. The other part, which talks about our ascent from our world back to the degree of the Creator is described quite vaguely in the books. This work is called the “work of God” – a work by which we equalize our form (properties) with those of the Creator .
Is Kabbalah the only way to feel the Creator, and if so, how can that be proven?
Yes, it is. Start studying and you will see that there is nothing as logical or scientific that provides a fuller picture of our world, and places all the sciences and other “wisdoms” in their place. There is nothing more realistic than Kabbalah. Thus, now that science has reached a dead end, the only true wisdom of Creation appears from Above. That is why Kabbalah is referred to as “the wisdom of truth .”
Will Kabbalah save the world?
The Zohar states precisely that this is so. What is Kabbalah? It is a spiritual force that rules our world. We will attain correction only if we draw the force down here for that purpose .
Certain mystical things are, in fact, a kind of drug that people try to use in order to escape their problems. Drug addicts are normally very quiet people, but the entire world seems to be against them. Why ?
The reason is that drugs cut a person completely off from the purpose of life. They prevent one from reaching our destination. When people take drugs, they completely deny their existence in this world, are cuts off from it, from the very place they were put by the Creator. The Creator wants to lead every person in a unique way, and drugs detach them from it. There are many questions involved in this issue. For example: if this is so, why then does the Creator place these choices in our hands ?
There is another question: why do we have the ability to rid ourselves of problems through ordinary medicine, instead of resolving our problems only through Kabbalah? But because there is a purpose to our being here, drugs and other elements that detach people from the purpose of creation will never be accepted by mankind . Spiritual Evolution
What are the situations one goes through during one’s spiritual evolution?
The Creator created the creature in only one state, called Ein Sof (No End, Infinity). That state exists forever in the same form and never changes. The creature merges perfectly with the Creator in that state. However, from the perspective of the creatures, meaning from the point of view of the creatures’ feelings, that state discloses itself in a gradual process, consequently consisting of a beginning, middle, and an end . The beginning is considered the existence of that state at the moment of Creation. The intermediate situation is the concealment of the Creator, and the final, the complete disclosure of the Creator before the creatures. Those situations are numbered respectively as 1, 2, and 3 . In situations No. 1 and 3, there is no room for any appearance of evil. The absolute good prevails as the sole attribute of the Creator with regards to the creatures. In the second state the creatures feel there is evil, although it is, in fact, only disguised good . The good appears gradually in the intermediate state, but not through the revelation of additional good, but quite the contrary, through the revelation of greater evil than before, its rejection and the discovery of the good that actually stands behind it. That system is applied because the revelation of the ultimate good is possible only through the discovery of the lowness and harm of the evil .
What are the degrees of one’s spiritual development?
A person’s spirituality evolves through the (spiritual) degrees of still, vegetative, animate and speaking . Still: the desire for physical pleasures, such as food and sex . Vegetative: the desire for money and wealth . Animate: the desire for respect and power . Speaking: the desire for science, self-awareness and to learn about the surrounding world . The spiritual: the degree where the desire for spirituality appears. In fact, this is no longer a degree, but a “meta-degree”, as the object of desire is outside this world .
How is the progress in spirituality expressed?
Spiritual progress consists of being in two opposite situations: right and left intermittently. It is as though a person walks on his legs, stepping on his right leg and then on his left. Each step provides him with further knowledge and faith. (In the source language, the word, Raglaim, means legs, but it also comes from the same root as the word, “spy”, meaning one who provides information .
What does the degree of one’s spiritual attainment depend on?
The degree of one’s spiritual attainment depends on one thing only: the willingness to endure in order to achieve one’s goal. There are no shortcuts .
How can I change my current spiritual degree, and what happens with my soul afterwards?
Regardless of the name you give it – Creation, Soul, Man – the preliminary state is always uncorrected. The soul must be corrected by itself, and ultimately attain the spiritual degree of the end of correction. Imagine a state where you have a broken tool that you are supposed to work with. The first thing you’d do is fix it. Only afterwards would you be able to use it. Kabbalah explains exactly how to correct that broken vessel, which is the soul that we received from the Creator . During the process of correction, one lives in two worlds, the Upper and the lower, that process, where the soul obtains the knowledge and the experience necessary for its advancement. Most important, one begins to feel new feelings and obtain different spiritual attributes. When the process of correction is complete, the person is equipped with spiritual properties for entering and remaining in the Upper World in a state of calmness, eternity, completeness, and peace . That spiritual degree (of the end of correction) is not described anywhere in Kabbalah , simply because there is no language with which to describe it. Beyond the end of correction there is a realm that is not described anywhere. It is there that we find the secrets of the Wisdom . There are subtle hints to that in the Zohar . That spiritual state is called Maase Merkava and Maase Bereshit. But those are all very subtle hints. It is in fact impossible to describe these spiritual feelings in words because the words and the letters in our language, are valid only in the correction zone (until the world of Atzilut), since that is where they are taken from. We cannot feel anything above the system of correction, and it is therefore impossible to describe those feelings in words and define it in terms and concepts that we understand . The first verse in the book speaks of heaven and earth. The two terms relate to two properties, an egoistic and an altruistic property. The egoistic property of “earth” (the soul) is corrected through the altruistic property of “heaven”. The entire process of correction is performed in seven spiritual degrees called “seven days ”. Of course, this name does not refer to our earthly days, nor does the text relate to earthly nights and days or light and darkness as we normally interpret them. The terms relate to spiritual degrees, spiritual sensations that one feels when one experiences the phases of the correction. It is a system that corrects our soul, when they are still in an earthly spiritual degree . The soul must be raised from the degree of Malchut to that of Bina, meaning the egoistic trait of Malchut must be turned into the altruistic trait of Bina. That process occurs through seven gradual corrections called the “seven days of the week .”
Will everyone eventually have to come to Kabbalah?
Absolutely, if not in this life, in the next, so why wait? Our lives are not sweet enough for us to keep returning here .
What is the reason for suffering?
Suffering exposes the lowness of the situation. It forces us to look for a solution, grow smarter and reassess the situation. A person who has everything seeks for nothing. At that point, pains come and turn the apparent fulfillment into emptiness and hunger. A person grows wiser as a result of the suffering; they begin to show him where to go and what to do with his life. But if the same result can be reached without the pain, then why suffer ? Kabbalah points to the way to approach the Creator, through the keeping of the spiritual laws. It is what we call the “path of kabbalah” keeping the spiritual laws of creation. All we have to do is to choose it .
Can a person be pushed into studying Kabbalah?
No. It can only be done passively. Give that person something to read and let things evolve naturally .
How does the recognition of evil appear in me? Is it different in a person who has committed a crime?
In an ordinary criminal, the evil inclination appears as a negative desire that is not connected with anything else. But Kabbalah portrays your evil in comparison with the good. Because of that you begin to feel your evil inclination as such . If you speak to a murderer, or a rapist, you will always find a person who thinks that what he did was just. Simply thinking that a certain person is evil is still not considered “the recognition of evil.” The recognition of evil is when one sees one’s self as evil. When comparing the self with the Creator, meaning when one can already feel the Creator to a certain extent through reading special texts that awaken the Surround Light, that sensation produces the recognition of evil . People who begin to understand themselves more deeply will not become felons. They do find seemingly appalling attributes in themselves, but they regard them as obscene and wicked, and not as qualities they would like to realize. They are presented with obscenity within them as if on a screen before their eyes, but at the same time they understand that it s the Creator who plants these attributes there. Thus, they are presented with Creation as it is inside them .
Is there not a paradox here? On the one hand, the Creator wants to give us delight and pleasure, but on the other He sends us pain!
Take Abraham, for example. We see that he did not want to go down to Egypt (symbolic of those of us who don’t wish to occupy ourselves with spiritual development). He thinks: “What do I need it for? It is hard, unpleasant, and goes against my ego.” A person can be pushed only by hunger, just as the famine forced Abraham to do down to Egypt. Spiritual famine, physical famine, and agony are the only things that compel one to act. This is what the Creator is waiting for . It is said that there is a path of kabbalah or a path of pain, meaning a good way or a bad way. In fact, the entire wisdom of Kabbalah were given to us only so that we would advance in the good way. But if we do not follow the good way, then the bad way will be our way to advance . If we identify ourselves with the soul while in this life, then we belong to the Creator and connect to Him. If he does not identify with the soul, then we do not bond with our souls after death. If we haven’t corrected even a single desire and made it equal in form with the Creator, then what makes you think that doing good or bad on earth entitles you with any spiritual ascent, just because you spent the last seventy years on earth ?
Is reality actually what we see around us?
We are captives in a picture of the universe that changes to match the changes in our inner properties. Our perception of the world changes only with the inner changes in us. But nothing really changes outside. There is only the Uniform, Simple Light around us, called The Creator. We discern only a tiny fraction of it with our senses, which we call “our world .” This means that this world is the smallest degree of the sensation of the Creator. If we intensify our senses, we will begin to feel the improved world alongside the sensation of this world, because the Creator would become more and more apparent . These very words were said by Kabbalists who ascended high in the spiritual degrees, came near the Creator and described their feelings and what they attained when they approached Him. The purpose is to enter that very source; only then will we feel the actual reality !
What is life for?
Life is a form of existence that has been joined with the lowest, most egoistic level of existence. It was given to us so we could try to rise from that lowly to a state where our souls had been prior to its descent to our world. If we can attain the same state we were in before we entered our bodies, it is considered the highest and most perfect state . Anyone who accomplishes this can be regarded as one who has fulfilled his or her role in the corporeal life. One comes to that state after quite a few lifetimes, during which some corrections had been made, with constant advances on an unconscious level. Only during the last one or two lives can spiritual progress be conscious .
We cannot tell what our role is in this world, what we should do and within how much time. There is not a fortune teller who can reveal this. Kabbalists, however, can do it, but are forbidden because that would halt one’s spiritual progress. If one were to do so, that person would only go by personal calculations, which adhere to egoism. That is why Kabbalists refrain from such activities . A spiritual path is a system of developing altruistic desires. Knowing what is going to happen in advance would be completely egoistic. That is why the term that defines spiritual progress is “faith above reason.” This means that a Kabbalist can see and know everything. He can also do anything, but chooses not to, because that would ruin his progress as well as his students . Do not experiment with prophecies and such; simply work on the development of altruism with faith above reason. Prophecy is forbidden precisely because it is possible (though, again, not for an ordinary person, only for a Kabbalist .
Why is it, that in the earlier phases of our development, when we are children, we fully realize our egoism, though our primary goal in life is to be rid of the egoism and become altruists like the Creator ?
This is because the insatiable desires of a child for pleasure and the ability to satisfy them is like a model of the evolving human being. Egoism is a necessary phase in our evolution. It is a partial answer to the question, “Why do we need the egoism if we must fight so hard to overcome it ?”
Why can’t we feel the spiritual world just as we feel our own?
If we examine ourselves, we will find that we are locked in an internal scrutiny: the five sensory organs allow us to feel that there is ‘something’ outside us. But if we had a different vision, for example if we could see X-rays, or ultra waves, we would see a completely different picture. If we were able to hear other frequencies, we would hear very different sounds. If our sense of smell and taste were different, we would feel different things . What we feel is unquestionably a fraction of something that exists outside us, and that fraction is what we call “our world .” Contemporary science accepts the fact that our research of the world is limited by our sensations.
Consequently, all our assumptions and measurements are subjective. The scientists themselves maintain that the results of their experiments depend on the experimenter, meaning they are subjective. Therefore, one cannot come to an absolute understanding of his or her environment, the reality in which that person lives . Let us assume that there are other forms of life on other planets. And let us also assume that they have other sensory organs than our own. They would naturally feel their world completely different than the way we see it. They would define it according to their sensory organs . Regression
Why must we descend to the lowest spiritual degree in order to be able to receive the attributes of the Creator? Can this process be avoided?
We creatures must have both the possibility and the strength to choose between two forces freely: our own egoism and the altruism of the Creator. One must be able to choose one’s way independently and follow it . In order to create that situation, the Creator must : Detach Himself completely from Creation, become disconnected . Create appropriate conditions for His Creations to discover and understand the universe . Allow Creation the freedom of choice . The Creator set up these conditions in a gradual process. The problem is that as long as we have a sense of the Creator, we are not independent – we are completely subordinate to the Light. The Light influences Creation and passes on its own properties. In order for His Creation to become completely independent, the Creator must detach Himself completely from them . In other words, only when we are devoid of any Light do we become independent in its every act. This operation, the departure of the Light from the vessel, is called “restriction .” Bereshit. It is the beginning of the process of the departure of Creation from the Creator.
The word, Bereshit stems from the word, Bar (outside), meaning the removal of Creation from the Creator so as to become a separate spiritual degree, between Heaven and Earth . “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” Heaven is the Sefira of Bina, which consists of altruistic properties. Earth is the Sefira of Malchut, which consists of egoistic properties. Man’s soul hangs between these two properties, which are the basis upon which the entire universe is built . The story begins with the creation of Creation, the Upper World, and the creation of Man, the soul. But it does not speak of the end of Creation. The goal of the kabbalah is to guide us in this world, to show us how to ascend to the highest spiritual degree, to a state of eternal wholeness .
How can mankind be so low and despicable, if God created it in His image?
Why did the Creator create man that small? The Creator did not create man small, but in His image. In order for mankind to attain that state through its own labor and equalize with the Creator, one receives a “point in the heart”, the beginning of the spiritual vessel. One must develop that point into a complete vessel by himself, through the study of Kabbalah, to the point where the vessel is able to receive the entire light of the Creator, and thus equalize with Him. Namely, our preliminary state is indeed microscopic compared to our ultimate goal, which is the equivalence with the Creator .
Can one know if one is making spiritual progress?
Only when one begins to study Kabbalah, meaning spiritual development, do the low and egoistic desires actually appear. That is the proof that one has really begun to evolve .
Can a person who has already climbed two or three degrees suddenly come to a halt, or even decline?
No, one cannot fall. One cannot even stop, and will continue to climb. Everything moves toward the final and best situation. It is either done by beatings from behind, meaning by nature, or in a positive way, when one is given a book and told that it is a means to accelerate one’s progress. This is a way to outrun nature’s beatings from behind. That is the entire difference between the path of kabbalah and the path of pain . We want to use Kabbalah in such a way that the next blow will not catch us. If we succeed, then we will never fall again. We say that there are ups and downs, but those are actually only internal feelings. At one time we feel close to the Creator, and at another time we feel uncorrected and far from Him. For that reason we define the first situation as an ascent, and the second as a descent . However, it is only our own parts that we feel in each of the situations. Both situations belong to the same degree, the same Partzuf. We cannot climb a degree without tasting his situation and the lowness of our current state . Aim
What is the right aim?
The right aim is the single most important and most difficult thing that a person must do. It is very hard to attain the right aim, built under various influences of the Light of the Creator on one’s ego .
The student gradually formulates the right aim, studies, corrects and intensifies it. One constantly realizes that what seemed like the right aim yesterday now appears as disguised egoism. And tomorrow he will yet again find that yesterday’s aim was the wrong one, and so on .
How do I know if my aim is right?
Indeed, how can we discern between wrong and right intentions? It can be done under a focused guidance of a group, a Kabbalistic teacher, and books. The group is the first and foremost power. Friends influence one another for better and for worse. The group should ultimately be comprised of people who are connected by spiritual laws from Above .
There are processes and movements in the group: apparent strangers can enter the group, and after some time they are no longer considered strangers. At the same time, people who were in the group are suddenly pushed out, as though a centrifugal power threw them out, without a reasonable explanation. They can be people who have already given everything they were supposed to give to the group. Each of us must fear that he or she might be that person .
That melting pot gradually builds the condition by which any person, who endures despite the egoistic personal discomfort, will ultimately break through to the spiritual world. There is a lot of internal hard work needed here. But one who takes that path finds daily innovations inside himself. One feels the inner changes and how the understanding of the world around you changes by the day. You see how you become smarter than others, and this is only a temporary reward. However, there are times when the surrounding light leaves completely, and one cannot see the next day. The surrounding light is a light that should enter one’s corrected vessel (one’s feelings) when it is corrected, meaning when one corrects his properties. That light is what creates the sensation of tomorrow, while in the meantime it shines from afar, from the future .
A person can sometimes lose the sensation of the future altogether and become depressed, as one’s mood is a result of the influence of the Light. If the Light begins to shine more brightly, then that person’s face will reflect a happy grin. Kabbalists experience these feelings consciously. The work is to try and carry on despite these situations. It is impossible to continue with the inner work when in such situations, and the only thing one can do then is to continue with a mechanical performance of whatever it is they were doing before that situation arose, such as attending classes and helping to disseminate Kabbalah .
In these situations, the brain is simply ‘turned off’ and there is nothing you can do about it .
If these situations are a consequence of previous spiritual effort, then they are monitored by a superior Partzuf that a person cannot feel. That Partzuf is one’s spiritual parent. Although we think we can do anything when we are in a good situation, or just explode when we are in a bad one, these states are all conducted from Above. They are given to us in order to show us how dependent we are on even the smallest amount of light. That is enough for us to understand who we really are . Miscellaneous
Can one influence the events of one’s life?
We learn about the structure and the function of every system precisely in order to understand where and how we can intervene, and what can we change. We cannot influence our spiritual root directly; it is the source from which we come, and we are at a lower degree, meaning our degree is derived from our root . But through the correction we attain equivalence of properties with our root, change how we feel about what we get from Above, and instead of feeling struck and tormented by fate, we begin to feel peace, serenity, calm and completeness. We attain a collective understanding .
We cannot talk about the thoughts of the Creator, but what merits one with the turning of the Creator to him?
It is certainly not one’s virtue that brought him that. It is simply that he got disconnected from the bottom part (AHP) of the collective soul called Adam ha Rishon. In such a person, there is a stronger expression of his egoism, therefore, the light affects him more strongly and pushes him more forcefully toward the purpose of Creation .
How is the fact that one is chosen expressed?
One’s “chosenness” is expressed in the greater selfishness, and consequently, a greater sensitivity to the negative in the world. That is why, in large groups of people, there is also a great desire for the satisfaction of selfish desires, and consequently great pains .
Are souls corrected in this world?
Answer: Every moment of our lives, whether knowingly or unknowingly, in the path of pain or in the path of kabbalah, our souls draw ever closer to the purpose of Creation, to the wholeness of the Creator. The worse the situation becomes, the faster we begin to understand and correct it .
What is the connection between the generations and their intensity of egoism?
Each generation is characterized by a certain kind of soul. In earlier times, finer souls came down with only a minimal amount of egoism. But those people were virtually devoid of selfishness and hence had little incentive for development. Almost nothing happened for many centuries, but gradually, over a period of time in which the souls incarnated from one generation to the next, a process of accumulation of egoism was underway. With it came the growing desire to escape the suffering induced by it, and to feel only pleasures .
In our generation, everything is happening at a fantastic speed. We want everything this world has to offer! We no longer settle for controlling this world, we want to control the other worlds, too. But that control can only be obtained if we exit the boundaries of our world, and for that we must change our natural egoism, the engine that operates man, and invert it to altruism, thus equalizing with the Creator.
I have already said that for that we do not need any special talent, only an exceptionally strong desire. These strong desires fill the rougher and at the same time most developed souls that descend to the world in our time and separate us from the previous generations .
But the Creator created the creature in order to delight him, so why does He deny us of pleasure?
No, it is not the Creator who denied us of the pleasure. It is the creature who refused to receive it ‘for free’. The creature was created perfect, like the Creator. The Creator cannot operate imperfectly. But the creature was so resistant to drawing far from the Creator that it refused to receive the pleasures that were offered to it .
Why did the Creator give the creature the ability to refuse?
Because just as the Creator has freedom of choice, so He cannot deny it from the creature. In spirituality the distance is measured not in meters, but in attributes (form), the very reception of the pleasure from the Creator without paying back creates an inevitable detachment .
So who in fact is the creature, and what is the way to become a Man?
The creature can be defined as a sort of a collective soul, a global one. That soul refused the unilateral reception of the Light of the Creator. Because of its desire for equivalence of form, it performs a restriction (the First Restriction). It does that by creating a complete system of partitions that prevents the entrance of the Light into the spiritual vessels .
Later on, Kabbalah tells us that there was a breaking in the vessels and the light was extinguished from the vessel. Kabbalah also tells us that after that, the collective soul was shattered and that brought it to its final state, which is the farthest possible from the Creator .
In order for a person who obtains a certain part of that collective soul to start the process of his correction, the Creator did the following : He gave the soul an absolute will to receive, called “pride”. As a result, man stopped feeling the Creator . He divided the creature into many little particles and placed them in the bodies of our world .
What is the difference between corporeal and spiritual suffering?
Pain and pleasure in spirituality are a consequence of a Zivug de Hakaa (spiritual coupling) between the light and the desire, using a screen. However, in our world, they are felt as the fulfillment or the absence of fulfillment of our egoistic desires. The sensation of the fulfillment or the absence of fulfillment is interpreted by us as pain or pleasure, or as good or bad .
That sensation is built into five vessels that serve as sensors, providing a general picture of the world around us. It is that picture that determines how we relate to this world – whether good or bad, compared to what we have at our disposal .
Pain express the lack of pleasure at a certain degree, while at the same time it expresses a need to feel pleasure at a higher degree. For that reason, pain is a preceding phase to the sensation of pleasure. In the spiritual worlds, however, there is no pain because there, this sensation is perceived as pleasure. The pain does not come as a result of a lack of pleasure, but as a result of great love. Consequently they are eternal and always good .
If I reach a spiritual world, will I accept any pain or traumatic event as a joyful one?
The Torah directly tells us that anything that happens is dome by the Creator, and not by anyone else. Only the Creator leads everything. It is the Creator who made all the tragedies and disasters. But why did He do it? However appalling it may sound, He did it for us. Only after we obtain spiritual attainment do we begin to understand the entire system of Creation and the calculation that brought to the worst events that happened to us. We will understand why tragedies are necessary for our existence and correction .
Unfortunately, it is the lack of the understanding of the necessity of the spiritual evolution that brings such tragedies on us. It is spoken of completely openly in the Zohar and in the books of the Ari. If we do not start studying the books of Kabbalah, the wisdom that guides our spiritual evolution, we will not evolve to attain the purpose of Creation. Our people and the whole of mankind will be pushed ferociously to the realization of the necessity of spiritual development. There will be no way to escape it. That is why we place such emphasis on the circulation of the wisdom of Kabbalah, so that everyone will know and recognize its importance .