Attainment of Unity of the Universe
The main subject of research for the science of Kabbalah concerns the interconnection of all parts of the universe. All the elements of a vast reality, indeed, all the five worlds ruled by the uniform law of nature interconnect and unite until they create a single whole whose parts are included in and bonded together one with the other.
Further, the researcher of the upper world finds that all these worlds and the science of Kabbalah are united into ten realities called ten Sefirot (Heb. for ten radiances). They make the order of five parts, which form a point designating the world of Infinity.
The beginner in Kabbalah must begin his studies from one point, and from there move to the ten Sefirot in the first world below the world of Infinity, called Adam Kadmon (Heb. for man’s prototype). Subsequently the student discovers how the numerous details existing in the world of Adam Kadmon continue, spread, and submit to the order of cause and effect, to the laws found in astronomy, physics, and other earthly sciences.
Therefore, the established laws are completely interdependent, and the law of gradual development of one phenomenon from another cannot be violated. The development moves from a single point to the multitude in the world of Adam Kadmon. This world begets four more worlds that emerge one from another as imprints of a seal. They continue expanding until we reach the whole variety in our world. After that, we return to our research to include all the details of reality, one into another, until we reach the world of Adam Kadmon, the ten Sefirot, the four basic levels, and finally the initial point.
Even though the material is still unknown, it can, as in any other science, be researched by means of logic. For example, when we study anatomy, we see that certain organs interact, though we may have no idea of the general subject – a living man. Nevertheless, with time, after comprehending this science from studying individual parts, we can deduce the general rule of how the whole body works.
A similar case is when a person who begins to study the upper world, a world of which he has no knowledge, can only be acquired from the combination of all its elements. He should comprehend all its details, as well as all the factors, reasons, consequences and their interactions, until he attains the wisdom. As soon as he learns everything, down to the smallest detail, he will achieve the general knowledge.
It is only nowadays that the whole world is beginning to study the wisdom of Kabbalah. The reason this science was not previously studied does not lie in its inscrutability, for an astronomer has no idea of stars and planets, yet he studies the processes they go through as a science. The knowledge of the wisdom of Kabbalah is no more hidden from humankind than astronomy. Its details and processes are well explained in Kabbalistic textbooks, even those intended for beginners.
The reason for the concealment of the wisdom of Kabbalah is that Kabbalists themselves were hiding it for thousands of years up to our time, when there is an urgent need for it in the world. However, humankind has now sufficiently developed its egoism so that it realizes the fallacies and death inherent in the state of its development.
Purpose of Creation
As nothing created by the upper governing force is purposeless, there is no doubt that the force itself has a goal. From the diverse reality created by the upper force, special significance is attached to the human rational sensation that makes it possible to feel the suffering of one’s neighbor. Therefore, if the upper governing force has a goal of creation, man is its object and everything was created exclusively for man to reach his spiritual destination. We should acquire the ability to feel the upper force that rules over us in the same way we feel everything around us.
Because of achieving similarity in the properties of bestowal and love, a sensation of immeasurable delight emerges within a person to the point of a marvelous feeling of absolute contact with the upper force.
Conception is Revealed through Reaching the Goal
It is well known that the result of an action is always present in the original conception. For example, someone who wants to build a house draws it in his thoughts and makes it his goal. Based on that picture, he develops a construction plan so that the set goal could be achieved successfully.
It is the same in the universe. After discovering the goal, one understands that the order of creation in all of its manifestations is predetermined only in accordance with this goal. In this way, man develops and ascends in his property of bestowal until he feels the upper force as his neighbor.
Man gradually acquires the property of bestowal as if climbing the rungs of a ladder, one after another, until he reaches the goal. Moreover, know that the quantity and the quality of these steps are determined by two different realities:
Material reality: The order of revelation of the upper light from above - downward, from the Primary source that determines the measure and quality of the light emanating from the Creator’s essence. This light goes through a sequence of concealments until material reality and material creations emerge from it.
Reality of the Supreme mind: After the revelation of the upper light from above - downward, the reverse movement begins. Climbing the rungs of the spiritual ladder, humankind continues ascending until it reaches the purpose of creation. Both of these realities are researched in all their particular details by the wisdom of Kabbalah.
Upper Ruling Force
Kabbalists characterize the upper ruling force, which is usually called the Creator, as absolute kindness. This is how they attain it in their own sensations. That is, it cannot possibly cause harm to anyone. This fact is perceived by Kabbalists who attain it as the principal law of the universe.
Our common sense tells us that the cause of every evil is egoism, “the desire to receive pleasure for one’s own sake”, (or simply “the desire to receive”). This passionate pursuit of one’s own well-being, called forth by “the desire to receive”, is the reason for harming one’s neighbor, because the desire to receive aspires to be fulfilled. When creation gains satisfaction in its own well-being, then no one in this world will harm his neighbor. In addition, if we occasionally encounter a creature that harms another for reasons other than “the desire to receive”, the only reason for that lies in the habit that originated in this desire.
Since we perceive the upper governing force as absolutely perfect, it is clear that no “desire to receive” is present in it. Therefore, it has no reason whatsoever to harm anyone. Furthermore, it possesses the “desire to bestow”, the desire to pour its goodness upon the created beings.
Whatever good or bad feelings creatures may have are sent by the upper force, which possesses one single quality – the desire to bestow, to be good to them. Further, this is the only law that determines its attitude towards creation. It follows from this that all creatures obviously receive only good from it, and they were created for no other reason but for the reception of its goodness.
Therefore, Kabbalists refer to this force as “the absolute goodness”.
Upper Governance is Purposeful
Let us look at the current reality governed and controlled by the upper force and see how this force does only good.
By taking even the smallest created being that belongs to one of four kinds: still, vegetative, animate or speaking, we will see how that single creature, as well as its entire species, are being purposefully ruled in their cause and effect development. This is similar to a fruit on a tree that has the good final goal of ripening.
Botanists can explain how many stages a fruit goes through from the moment it appears until it reaches its final purpose of complete ripeness. However, none of the stages preceding the last one bear even the smallest hint of its final state of beauty and sweetness, but contrary to that, they are opposite to its final form. The sweeter the fruit is in the end, the more bitter and more ugly it is in the early stages of its development.
Even more striking is the difference between a developing and a mature species on the “animate” and “human” levels. An animal whose mind remains small after the completion of its growth does not undergo any serious changes in the process of its development, whereas dramatic changes take place in the human mind towards the end of its development. For example, a one-day-old calf is called a bull because it is already strong enough to stand on its feet, walk, and can avoid dangers around it.
At the same time, a one-day-old man is similar to a creature deprived of all feelings. If someone who is unfamiliar with the realities of our world were to see these two newborn creatures and to describe them, he would surely refer to the baby as the one that would never reach its goal. He would consider the calf a future great hero. Thus, if we judge by the development of mind in the calf and the baby, then the latter is a mindless creature unable to feel anything.
Therefore, it is striking that the upper force that governs the reality created it as nothing but a form of purposeful management, which does not take into consideration the order of levels of development.
With that in mind, we say that the experienced person is the smartest, for only the one who has gained experience, i.e., the one who has the opportunity of observing creations at all stages of their development up to the final perfect stage, is unafraid of all the deformed pictures of the creation at different stages of its development. He just believes in the beauty and perfection of completed development. The science of Kabbalah explains the meaning of the step-by-step development that is obligatory for each created being.
Thus, a detailed research of the upper governance in our world shows that it can only be purposeful. Its kind treatment is not felt until the creation reaches the final stage of its development. Until then, the developing creation always appears to its observer in its outwardly unattractive form.
Two Ways of Development: the Path of Suffering and the Path of Kabbalah
We can conclude from the aforementioned example that the upper ruling force has the quality of absolute kindness and that it rules over us purposefully. It stems from its own perfection without any trace of evil. This means that the purposefulness of its governance compels us to accept the order of passing through various states that are connected by the law of cause and effect, until we can receive the desired goodness, thus reaching the goal of creation. We are as a splendid fruit at the end of its ripening. This result is guaranteed to us all.
The intent of the upper force is to bring us to a similarity to its quality of absolute good. All its actions are dictated by this goal. Two paths are prepared to bring us to the goal:
The path of suffering represents the order of creation’s self-development that, because of its nature, has to follow this path moving from one stage to the next, which is connected to the previous one by cause and effect. In this way, we develop very slowly until we realize the necessity of choosing good, denying evil and reaching the purposeful connection sought after by the ruling force. However, this path is time-consuming and full of pain and suffering.
The path of Kabbalah is easy and pleasant, capable of making us worthy of our predestination in a short period of time and without suffering.
In any event, our final purpose is pre-ordained. It must be reached, and there is no way of avoiding it, for the upper force firmly governs us in two ways: through the path of suffering and through the path of Kabbalah. By looking at the surrounding reality, we can see that we are being simultaneously managed in these two ways.
The Essense of Kabbalah is in Leading Us to the Realization of Evil
The purpose of all man’s actions in his aspiration to attain the upper world is the realization of evil within him. He discovers that his natural egoism stands in his way to the upper world. All the difference between created beings lies in the extent of their realization of evil. A more highly evolved creature comprehends a higher degree of its evil. Therefore, it recognizes evil and pushes it away more than an undeveloped creature that feels a lesser degree of it. It leaves it within, because it does not feel it as evil.
The basis of every evil is the love for oneself called egoism. This quality is opposite to the upper force that only possesses the desire to bestow.
The essence of pleasure consists in the degree of similarity of man’s properties to those of the upper force.
The essence of suffering and impatience lies in the opposition to the properties of the upper force. That is why egoism itself causes us pain through our realization of the difference between our properties and those of the upper force.
The feeling of repugnance to egoism is different in every soul. An undeveloped person does not consider egoism a bad quality and therefore openly uses it without shame. A more developed person already feels a certain degree of his egoism as evil, and therefore, hesitates to use it in public and continues using it secretly.
A highly evolved person feels egoism as something so disgusting that he cannot tolerate it. Therefore, he expels it completely in accordance with his level of realization, for he neither wishes nor is able to receive pleasure at the expense of others. Sparks of love for his neighbor begin to awaken in the person. They are called altruism, which is the basis of good. This quality gradually develops in him. First, he develops a feeling of love for his relatives and wants to take care of them. When the quality of altruism develops within him even more, a degree of bestowal upon everyone around him, his neighbors, his community, and all humankind grows in him as well.
Conscious and Unconscious Development
Two forces push us forward and compel us to climb the spiritual levels until we reach its summit – the final goal, when our properties become equal to those of the upper force:
One of the forces propels us without our choice or realization. It spurs us from behind; Kabbalists call it “the path of suffering”. Ethical and educational systems based on empirical knowledge tested by the practical mind stem from it. The essence of this system is nothing but evaluation of harm caused by the growing sprouts of egotism. These experimental data were received “by chance”, i.e., without conscious realization or choice. However, it serves its purpose rather convincingly, because the degree of evil manifesting and growing in our sensations compels us to avoid it, and thus to ascend higher.
The second force pushes us forward by means of our conscious awareness. We choose this force on our own. It draws us from the front and Kabbalists call it “the path of Kabbalah”. By taking this path and following the advice of Kabbalists with the intention of making our properties equal to the upper force, we quickly realize our evil and receive a double benefit:
We do not have to wait until our life experience starts pushing us from behind by means of pain. At the same time, our intention to reach similarity to the upper force helps us to develop the same realization of evil without suffering. As soon as we begin to aspire to become equal to the upper force, we feel its purity and sweetness. The comprehension of the meanness of self-love develops in us. This growing revelation of evil develops in combination with a feeling of pleasure and peace of mind that slowly emerges within us because of a similarity to the upper force.
We gain time because we act consciously; it is in our power to do more and thus speed up the process of our correction until we achieve absolute equality to the upper force.
The Science of Kabbalah is Intended for the Benefit of its User
The difference between the Kabbalistic method of correction and other educational methods lies in the purpose. What standards should the corrected person meet: those of society or those of the upper force? This is what makes Kabbalah as distinct from ethics as the spiritual differs from the material.
Ethics sees its goal as building a happy society in the way that the practical mind, based on life experience, comprehends it. This goal does not promise an individual any benefit beyond the limitations of nature. If the goal is not out of reach of criticism, then who can prove to a person once and for all that he has a fair share of benefits, so as to make him relinquish a certain part of what is due to him for the sake of society?
Contrary to that, the goal of development with the help of the Kabbalistic method promises to make the person happy. This is because the person who has attained the property of love for his neighbor merges with the upper force in accordance with the law of equivalence of form. He transcends the narrow borders of his cruel world and enters the immense and infinite world of bestowal to the upper force and created beings.
The system of ethics obliges the person to seek people’s liking, which is similar to renting something with payback by the end of the term. Man’s habit for such work prevents him from climbing even the steps of ethics, for he gets used to such efforts that are well awarded by those around him for his good deeds.
Whereas the person studying Kabbalah for the sake of bestowal to the upper force in similarity to its actions and receiving nothing in return, really climbs the moral levels. Little by little, he acquires a new, different nature of bestowal to his neighbor. He receives nothing for himself, but the bare necessities to sustain his existence in this world.
It is only in his way that man can truly rid himself of his natural egoism and all of nature’s interdictions. For when he abhors any reception for his own sake, when his soul is free from all unnecessary and excessive bodily pleasures, when he stops craving wealth, recognition, and power, he then freely enters the realm of the upper force. He is guaranteed protection from any harm, because all harm is caused by egoism alone.
It is therefore obvious that the wisdom of Kabbalah serves those who use it, while being of no benefit to those who ignore it. In addition, even if all of man’s actions are aimed at his correction, this is only a means to reach the goal of becoming equal with the upper force.