Language of Branches
When the matter concerns the Upper World, which is independent of time, place, and motion, we have no words to describe it, because our vocabulary derives from the perception of our senses. Where neither our sense organs nor imagination work, we find ourselves powerless to express what we feel by this new sense we call the screen.
If that is the case, how can one possibly describe the research and sensations of the Upper World? Moreover, how can one reveal the Higher Knowledge with the help of words, in writing, through books, as it is accepted in scientific research? Indeed, information transfer must be utterly precise because if the language fails to be accurate by the incorrect use of even a single word, the entire notion will be distorted, and the student will become confused!
However, since all objects and forces in our world originate from their roots in the Upper World, and since everything begins in the Upper World then gradually descends to ours, Kabbalists devised a language with the help of which they can pass their attainments to one another both orally and in writing. They took the names of the branches in our world, where each name points at its root in the Upper World. Kabbalists have chosen this special language for their science and called it “the language of branches.”
We come across some “rude” definitions in Kabbalah that are not commonly used in every day language. Nonetheless, after Kabbalists have already chosen “the language of branches” for the description of their research in the Upper World, they cannot stop using its definitions due to their “rudeness,” for no other branch can be used in its place.
Everything that Exists in the Universe Originates in Infinity
The Notions that are Opposite in Our Perception are in Simple Unity in Infinity
Nothing of what we feel in our senses or attain in our mind is absent from the Upper Force. However, one should realize that, in our perception, all the notions are separated or contradictory. For example, the word “science” differs from the word “pleasure,” because “science” and “pleasure” are two separate notions. Similarly, the words “worker” and “work” are different because they designate two separate notions. The distinction between such opposites as “sweet” and “bitter,” are even sharper because they define opposite tastes.
However, “science” and “pleasure,” “worker” and “work”, “sweet” and “bitter,” and other different and opposite properties and forms are all united in the simple Upper Light, without any distinction or separation between them. There are three aspects to the Light:
One, implying that it is completely homogeneous,
Unique, meaning that the infinite number of forms that are emanated from it are united in its essence,
Indivisible, suggests that although the Light performs many actions, all of them merge into one single image that assumes different forms in our sensations.
Two different types of the Upper Providence: Before and After the Attainment
All notions in Kabbalah are simple and indivisible, although they consist of a great number of forms and properties in man’s perception. The material and limited observer distinguishes one particular form in the simple Upper Light out of a multitude of other forms.
Hence, we should differentiate between two aspects in the Upper influence:
The form of the Upper delight prior to its reception – the simple and indivisible Upper Light,
The individual and particular form the Upper Light assumes after it has reached the receiving vessel in accordance with the vessel’s properties.
The Soul is a an Aspect of the Upper Property
From this, it becomes clear what Kabbalists mean when they speak about the essence of the soul. There is no difference between the soul and the Upper Force, save the fact that the Upper Force is a whole and the soul is its part. The soul is as a stone chipped away from a rock, where the rock is a whole and the stone is a part.
Yet, how can we imagine the soul as a part of the Upper Force (property of bestowal), how can we distinguish between the two?
Spiritual Entities are Separated by the Change in Their Properties
Spiritual objects, properties of bestowal, are separated by the change in their properties. If a certain spiritual object acquires two dissimilar properties of bestowal, it immediately splits into two.
As the material objects separated by physical force move away from one another, so too do spiritual objects split as a result of the emerging difference in their properties of bestowal. The degree of such a difference determines the spiritual distance between them.
The Difference Between the Creation’s Properties and Infinity
The soul separates from the Upper Force of bestowal to such an extent that it can be called its part. However, if the Upper Force is the simple Light containing every possible variety of properties and forms, and encompassing all the opposites in the world in one simple unity of “One, Unique, and Indivisible,” how can its properties change? How can the part be different from the whole and consequently become separated from it, while still retaining the same property as the Upper Force with which it parted?
The universe and all its worlds have two aspects:
The limitless form of this reality called the Light of Infinity prior to the restriction;
The form of this reality after the restriction, where everything exists within the limits and measures of the four worlds: Atzilut, Beria, Yetzira, and Assiya.
The essence of the Upper Force is inconceivable to the human mind; hence, we cannot give it a name. We can only give a name according to a property that can characterize something. All our terms and definitions refer to the Light that is emanated by the Upper Force. The Light that spread and endlessly filled the entire reality prior to the restriction is called Infinity.
Work as the Soul’s Reward
Let us first understand the purpose with which the Upper Force created this entire reality that includes both our and the Upper worlds. If the Upper Force’s intention is to bestow delight upon created beings, why did it have to create the material world, so ugly and full of suffering? Was it not possible to delight the creatures without it? Moreover, why was it necessary to put the soul in such an insignificant, egoistical body?
Kabbalists who attain the Upper Governance answer this question in this way. One who undeservedly receives pleasure feels shame, which turns delight into suffering. To avoid this, our world was created to enable creatures to exert their own effort and to receive pleasure without shame.
Effort as Compared with Pleasure
How can we compare man’s efforts in the course of his short life with the eternal delight? Such a comparison shows that the efforts cannot compensate for the pleasures, which means that shame remains and the purpose – the eternal and perfect delight – cannot be reached.
This resembles a person who says to another; work for me one day and in return, I will satisfy all your needs until the end of your life. This sounds more like a gift than work, because the work that is done in this transient world is so incomparably insignificant as regards the reward and delights of the eternal world.
One Thought Created the Entire Creation
One thought or, rather, one action of the Upper Force, created the entire universe in its final form. This thought is the cause, the action and the performer of the action, the anticipated reward, and the essence of all efforts. Overall, it includes everything that can be conceived in the heart, and merges in the Upper Ruling Force. Therefore, man should believe that the universe exists in its unique and perfect form because the Upper Altruistic Force created it this way. Man just needs to correct his perception of this ideal state, which he perceives as imperfect due to the difference between his egoism and the altruism of the Upper Force.
How Could the Perfect Creator Make such Imperfect Actions?
All abundance and delight as well as all shortcomings and faults stem from the unique, perfect, altruistic Upper Force. Yet how can it be that so many contrasting properties?
Understanding the Thought of Creation
There is no doubt that the end of the action is embedded in the initial thought. The end of the action is the goal “to delight the creatures,” for which all was created. The Upper thought of creation is instant and final. Unlike man, the Upper Force requires neither time nor instruments for performing an action.
From this it follows that the thought “to create beings and delight them” immediately appears, and this Light spreads in all forms and measures of delight that the Upper Force conceived. All is included in this one thought. Kabbalists call it “the thought of creation” or “the Light of Infinity,” because we can neither attain nor give a name to the essence of the Upper Force.
The Will to Bestow Creates the Will to Receive
The Upper Force’s will to bestow creates the creation’s will to receive. This is a vessel in which creation receives delight.
At the outset of creation, the Light of Infinity filled the entire reality, meaning that, because of the will to bestow, the Light spread from the Upper Force, and the will to receive this Light/pleasure was initially included in the Light. This desire constitutes the measure of the spreading Light’s intensity, i.e., the measure of Light corresponds to the measure to enjoy it.
The will to receive, which originates from the Light is called “place.” Similarly, we say that a person has a place in his stomach for 1 kg of bread. It is clear that we do not mean the size of the person’s stomach, but rather, we speak about his desire for food, and the “place” for the reception of bread depends on his hunger. The same goes for the spiritual. The will to receive pleasure is a place where this pleasure enters, and pleasure is measured by the intensity of desire.
Desire Forms a State
The will to receive pleasure that originates in the thought of creation derives pleasure from the Upper Force, thus forming the state of Infinity. This allows us to understand how the Light of Infinity emanates from the essence of the Upper Force that has no name. The definition “Light of Infinity” appears because the will to receive is included in it. This new form, or property, constitutes the measure of this Light and has nothing to do with the essence of the Upper Force.
There is no Difference Between Desire and Fulfillment in Infinity
Although the Light leaves the Upper Force upon dressing the will to receive, this new form has not yet been defined as the change of the Upper Force’s Light because both the desire (Malchut of Infinity) and the fulfillment (the Light of Infinity) emanate from the Upper Force, from the thought of creation, and no disparity of properties is manifested in desire. The Light and the place are a single whole.
Restriction of Desire Induces Disappearance of Pleasure
The essence of restriction of desire lies in the fact that the will to receive pleasure, which is in the Light of Infinity (called Malchut of the World of Infinity) and which includes the entire reality, compared its own property with that of the Upper Force. As a result of this, it diminished its will to receive with the intention to correct it by way of creating all the worlds down to ours and thus to become similar to the Upper Force. However, with the contraction of the will to receive, the Light that filled it disappeared because desire is the place where Light enters. Therefore, the restriction of desire means that Malchut of the World of Infinity reduced its will to receive and expelled the Light, for there cannot be any Light without the Kli.
Separation of the Soul
Now let us clarify the notion of separation of the soul, which is said to be “a part of the Upper Force.” There was a question of how the form (properties) of the soul changes so as to become detached from the Upper Force?
From the above, it follows that a significant transformation of properties took place in the soul, because although the Upper Force includes all properties, it is clear that the property of the will to receive is absent in it. The purpose of the creation of souls being the desire of the Upper Force to delight them, it caused the will to receive to become their essence. The change of the soul’s properties caused its separation from the Upper Force.
In the same way that material objects move away from one another with the aid of a force, spiritual objects grow apart as a result of the change in their properties. The bigger the change is, the greater the distance between them. If their properties change so that they become opposite, the two objects can no longer receive from one another.
Two Separate Systems of Positive and Negative forces
After the will to receive is restricted and acquired the screen, it stops being a Kli of reception and leaves the system of positive forces. Instead, the reflected Light is now used in this capacity, whereas the Kli of the will to receive passes over to the system of negative forces.
Now this Kli, called the will to receive, is nullified, separated and expelled from the system of positive forces, and the reflected Light becomes the Kli of reception in its place. This is the difference between the positive Worlds of ABYA ( Atzilut, Beria, Yetzira, and Assiya), the system of positive forces, and the negative Worlds of ABYA, the system of negative forces. The Kli of reception in the positive ABYA is the reflected Light, that is corrected and coincides in its properties with the Upper Force. At the same time, the negative ABYA uses the will to receive as its Kli of reception. This Kli is opposite to the World of Infinity, restricted, and therefore separated from the Light.
Man Under the Power of Negative Forces
Man receives his sustenance from the system of negative forces; hence, he uses the will to receive the way they do.
The root of all evil is initially embedded in the thought of creation, which is to bestow delight upon the created beings. As a result of the development of five worlds of Adam Kadmon and the revelation of negative forces in the Worlds of ABYA, a negative (egoistical) material body comes into being. The system of negative forces sustains it.
The negative character of the will to receive is opposite to the Upper Force, which is only the will to bestow and please. The egoistical desires are defined as dead, because their properties being opposite to the Upper Force, they are completely detached from it and deprived of the Light of Life.
Therefore, the body sustained by the egoistical system and existing only in the will to receive is disconnected from the Light and its desire is always ready to devour the entire world. Even when people seem to perform acts of bestowal, their intentions are always egoistical, aimed at their own benefit.
Only with the help of Kabbalah, with the intention to acquire the properties of genuine bestowal and reaching the equivalence of form with the Upper Force can the student correct his or her intention from “for one’s self” to “for the sake of the Upper Force.” It is called “purification of the body,” which transforms the person’s vessel into one of bestowal.
As a result of such a transformation, the properties of the person become similar to those of the Upper Force, and he merges with it.
The Entire Creation Originates in the World of Infinity
The entire creation brought forth by the Upper Force is created of nothingness, i.e., it had no root before it appeared. This novelty strictly refers to the will to receive in each created being. Nothing else was ever created because the Light emanates from the Upper Force and contains nothing new. Creation originates in the World of Infinity and descends from the existing reality. Only the will to receive emerges out of nothingness. Everything new that appears in the world is the result of change in desire.
The Will to Receive is the Only Creation
It is nevertheless necessary to generate in created beings a new, changed property in the form of the will to receive. For how will they be able to move away from the Upper Force and become independent?
The will to receive pleasure is the principal quality of the entire creation, its cause being the thought of creation. It happens to be the measure of delight, hence it is called “place.” This desire descends to the property of death, cutting off the receiving vessels from the Upper Force.
Branch Aspires to Its Root
Because the nature of the branch coincides with its root, all the properties inherent in the root will be perceived by the branch as good. It will desire them and aspire to them. On the contrary, the branch will always shun the properties that are absent in the root. It will abhor them and move away from them. This law applies to every root and its branch.
Since the Upper Force is the root of all creatures, we will naturally love all that it includes and all that descends directly from it to us. The properties that are absent in it will be antagonistic to our nature, and we will perceive them as suffering.
The Source of All Pleasures and Sufferings in the World
We love peace and hate movement so intensely that all our movements are aimed at the achievement of peace and relaxation. This is because our root is motionless, and movement is opposite to our nature. We value wisdom, power, wealth, good qualities because they are inherent in the Upper Force. On the other hand, we detest ignorance, feebleness, poverty and humiliation because they are absent in our root. Therefore, we perceive everything that originates in the root, being the branches that descend from the World of Infinity, as pleasant and regard all that is absent in it as suffering.
Indirect Influence of the Upper Force
If the Upper Force and its creation is all that exists, then everything that creation receives either is emanated from the Upper Force or stems from creation itself. From this it follows that all unpleasant sensations are caused by the properties of creation and do not come directly from the Upper Force. This is similar to a rich person who invites a beggar to his house and offers him food and drink. He also gives him expensive jewels. The beggar simultaneously feels pleasure and shame. Both sensations are induced by the rich man’s attitude to him; however, the good influence comes directly from the host, whereas the awkwardness of the undeserved reception stems from the essence of the guest as a result of the host’s indirect action.
Compensation of Shame
From the above, it follows that we will always feel the property of reception indirectly instilled in us by the Upper Force as unbearable. The will to receive, a new property created in the receiver, is not evil in itself. Moreover, it makes up the essence of creation. However, the person who detects this property in himself feels how intolerable it is because it is absent in his root.
This world was created to let man feel shame before the Giver as a result of unmerited reception and the difference in their properties. In order to correct this situation, the soul descends to this world, incarnates in the body, and, through the study of Kabbalah with the intention to become similar to the Upper Force, it turns the will to receive into the will to bestow. The soul stops craving after pleasure; it now receives delight in order to bestow it upon the Upper Force, because the Upper Force wants the souls to enjoy its Light. As a result of purifying its egoistical will to receive, the soul stops feeling shame and consequently reveals how absolutely perfect the created beings are.
Therefore, because the will to receive is inherent in our root, we feel shame and cannot tolerate it. To correct this sensation, the Upper Force enables us to turn our egoistical desire into the will to bestow. This formidable effort can only be made in this world.
Double Win or Double Loss
Our world is utterly devoid of the Upper delight, and one has to make an effort to attain it. This is felt as suffering because it comes from the Upper Force indirectly. However, it is impossible to remain without any pleasure, for it too contradicts our root, which is full of delight. Therefore, man chooses to suffer and work hard to reach fulfillment. Yet because his reception is egoistical, he is never content. Furthermore, he suffers in double measure, working harder and harder and remaining empty and frustrated.
At the same time, those who transform their “will to receive” into the “will to bestow” (i.e., receive with the intention to give) win twice. They merge with the Upper Force and achieve peace because in this case they effortlessly receive delight from above.
The Thought of Creation Obliges all Parts of Creation to Achieve the Final Correction
The unity of the Upper Force manifests in our attainment of one purpose behind all properties and forms in the universe, in the all-encompassing thought of creation “to bestow delight upon the created beings.” This thought embraces the entire reality up to its complete correction, because it is the purpose of creation and at the same time its working force. The thought of the Upper Force is a law for the created beings.
Since the desire of the Upper Force is to please us, it created us as the recipients of its delight. After this law had become a part of our nature, we lost contact with the Creator and assumed the state of creation.
By moving away from the Upper Force, the soul reaches the state of a “separate body” in this world. While being in the state opposite the Upper Force, man can attract the Upper Light with the help of Kabbalah. It will correct his intention and consequently turn the will to receive into the will to bestow. This is our reward, because as long as the will to receive remains uncorrected by the intention “for the sake of bestowal,” man cannot receive any more pleasure without suffering of “shame.”
However, while correcting the will to receive, man achieves the equivalence of form with the Upper Force and can receive infinite delight.
Evidently, such spiritual properties as action, correction, work, reward, and many others, originate in one all-embracing thought of the Upper Force, “to delight the creatures.”
Spiritual movement differs from that which we perceive by our senses. Any change in properties is called movement because a new property is separated and moves away from the spiritual object. It acquires a name and a place. This makes it similar to a material object whose part moves to another place. Spiritual movement marks the appearance of new properties.
Spiritual Time, Past and Future
The essence of time lies in the sensation of movement. The human mind imagines and gives shape to a certain number of movements that are perceived in a sequence, one after another, and creates the concept of “time.” However, if man and his environment had been motionless, the notion of time would have ceased to exist.
The same applies to the spiritual. A number of changed properties defined as spiritual movements, one coming out of another in the form of cause and effect, are called “time.” The notions “before” and “after” always mean cause and effect.
Material of Creation
The material of creation is the will to receive pleasure and is referred to as a vessel.
Whatever exists in the entire creation that is not the will to receive refers to the Upper Force and is called Light.
The Will to Receive is the Primary Form of Every Essence
Since we cannot apprehend the essence, we define the primary form as the material. Although “the will to receive” is regarded as the form and manifestation of the essence, how can we perceive it as the material of the essence?
It is nevertheless the same in material objects, where the primary form of the essence is called “the primary material” of this essence because we neither perceive nor apprehend any material, our sense organs being unable to detect it. Our vision, hearing, smell, taste, and touch send only those signals to our brain that reflect some of the properties of the essence, which assume a certain form only through the contact with our senses.
If we take for example atoms that make up the primary basis of some essence singled out as a result of chemical processes, even they are nothing but properties that our senses perceive in this way. On the other hand, they are rather discernible due to the manifestation of the “will to receive and be received.” In them, we find that in accordance with the laws of these actions these atoms can be distinguishable in various combinations to the point of the primary material of this essence. Even then, they constitute the forces of the essence, not the material.
Therefore, we see that it is impossible for us to understand the primary material other than in the supposition that the primary form is the primary material, which contains all other forms that derive from it. It is especially so in the Upper Worlds because nothing of what we perceive in our senses exists there.