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Third Talk: Five Worlds – Five Levels of the Will to Receive

There exist five worlds between the Creator and our world. They are called: Adam Kadmon, Atzilut, Beria, Yetzira and Assiya. Beneath the world of Assiya there is the Machsom, and our world is below it. Our goal while still located in our world is for our soul to attain the level of the world of Ein Sof, meaning, to attain complete unification with the Creator. That is, when our soul is clothes the body of this world, to change the attributes of egoism into the attributes of the Creator on each spiritual level until our entire egoism is replaced by altruism. When that occurs, our soul’s attributes will become fully equivalent to the Creator’s attribute.

In our world, the following two egoistic attributes are enacted: “to receive for the sake of reception” and “to bestow for the sake of reception”. The spiritual worlds are built on the following attribute: “to bestow for the sake of bestowal” or “to receive for the sake of bestowal”. The first task of a person who wants to pass into “the world to come” is to restrict the use of his desires, or to perform Tzimtzum Alef. This means to stop working with egoism or with the egoistic desires.

We are not able to change our “desire to receive” because this is the only thing created by the Creator. However, it is possible and also necessary, to change the intention in the desire from “to receive for one’s own sake” into the intention “to receive for the sake of the Creator”. Hence, we can see that the action does not change outwardly; rather it is only the intention that changes.

Therefore the methodology of changing the intention (something that no one can see and that is hidden from everyone) is called the secret Science of Kabbalah. It is the methodology of how to receive by changing the intention. The important thing is what I am thinking when I perform any given action, and what goal I am pursuing when I act. All 125 levels are degrees of gradual correction of the soul’s intention, from receiving for one’s own sake to receiving for the sake of the Creator.

The five worlds are levels of the desire to receive, beginning with the weakest desire (Keter) and ending with the strongest (Malchut). These are built starting at the top (the Creator) and descend downwards to creation. As the light comes from the Creator and passes through the worlds, it becomes weaker and therefore suitable for being perceived by the weaker altruistic desires. When the soul receives the light of correction from above, it begins to change the intention “for its own sake” into the intention “to receive for the sake of the Creator”, or “to bestow”.

The soul reaches the Machsom line only if it performs the Tzimtzum Alef on all the desires it perceives in that state, that is, when it totally refuses to work with egoism. However, it is not yet able to receive anything for the Creator’s sake.

When the soul corrects its intention to bestow on the level of Keter, it enters the world of Assiya located above the Machsom. That is, when it is able to counteract the weakest possible egoism by not receiving anything and nullifying itself in the light of the upper. If the soul is able to counteract its egoism in the light of Hochma, it ascends to the level of the world of Yetzira.

The soul continues this way by increasing its ability to work against greater egoistic forces each time, ascending to the next (higher) spiritual level, until reaching the world of Ein Sof. The soul acquires its essence as a spiritual substance only after crossing the Machsom and ascending further.

In the spiritual world a person is dealing with pure naked desires that are not clothed in various appearances of our world. A Kabbalist who is in the spiritual ceases to investigate our world because he correctly perceives it as the natural result of the branch from the spiritual root. For him, it is more interesting to see the cause, or the beginning root, rather than the consequence, located on an incomparably lower level than the root, from which all desires and causes originate.

A person who ascends, thereby changes all earthly desires into the desire for the Creator. At first he wants to possess the Creator egoistically, in just the same way he previously wanted to receive everything in our world. As it is said: a person wants the Creator so much that this passion does not allow him to fall asleep!

Gradually, a small light called Ohr Makif, which constantly surrounds a person, begins to shine for him, whereby he reaches a request for the spiritual with the help of this light, using a desire stronger than all other desires. Finally, with the help of the same light, a person passes the Machsom and receives the intention of bestowal.

Only the Upper light of the Creator is able to raise a person in this way; to provide the answer to all his human efforts for the spiritual, to bring him to the state where desire for the spiritual is so great that it does not let him fall asleep and suppresses all other desires.

All souls go through the same stages during their path, but each soul’s assignment in this world is different. Also different is the speed with which different souls to go through the same path.

Every thought, every desire and every movement a person makes in our world, regardless of the person, is given to him with one single goal: to ascend and to come closer to the spiritual. However, the majority of people go through this advancement in a natural way on the unconscious human, animal, vegetative and still levels.

Everything is predetermined and pre-programmed by the goal of creation. A person’s free choice consists of whether he agrees with everything that happens to him, whether he begins to understand the goal towards which everything is directed, and whether he himself wants to be an active participant in all of the events happening to him.

All thoughts and desires in the world of Ein Sof pass through a person. However, a person “picks up” only thoughts corresponding to his level. On today’s level, a person is able to not think about new discoveries. However, when he increases the level of his knowledge and concepts, he suddenly begins to dream of something complex. This means that he is meant to feel and perceive a more complex realm of perception.

The realm of a person’s activity is constructed in this way, or his picture of the perception of the world in which he lives. If a person develops further, even deeper thoughts come to him with a different connection between things. Everything depends on a person’s level of development, because this determines his bounds of perception or the part of the world of Infinity a person perceives.

There is no other way to develop the desire for the spiritual, to evoke Ohr Makif, to personally take part in fulfilling the goal of creation, and to shorten the natural path of achieving this goal, other than studying in a group under the direction of a teacher. Only the light that begins to shine can help change the egoistic properties (being the only obstacle on the spiritual path) into altruistic properties.

Ohr Makif changes our desire to receive into the desire to bestow and takes us past the Machsom. We say that we do not want anything from the material world and that we want only the spiritual. If we knew that going through the Machsom means changing the intention with regard to who and what we think and worry about, we would run away.

To continue, we now enter the territory above the Machsom where we encounter an ocean of light. This is the light of the Creator, which shines on us to the degree that our exaltation of the Creator is greater than our egoistic desire. This gives us the opportunity to gradually acquire the property of the light itself, or to bestow.

The most important thing is to pass the Machsom. A soul that has received the light knows the entire path after passing it, because the light teaches it. There already exists an unraveled map and instruction for each subsequent step and every action. These are the instructions that Kabbalists have described for us in their books.

Every bad thought is opposite to the Creator’s good thought, but how can we change a bad thought into a good one? First, we have to understand that the thought is bad; to realize its evil in order to then come to the decision of correcting it. We can see this evil only in the Creator’s light or in His greatness. However, if light does not shine for a person, then he is blind and exists in the dark, under the Machsom where light does not penetrate. A person exists in this world and believes that all his thoughts are good.

When a person becomes illuminated by the light of the Upper or surrounding light called “Ohr Makif”, he begins to see his own entire essence. This is called “the realization of evil”. Without this illumination by the light, a person tries to justify himself and he is always correct in his own eyes. However, the realization of his own ego in the illumination of the light pushes a person to turn to the Creator for help. Moreover, thanks to the illumination, a person already sees the source of the illumination and he precisely knows to Whom he has to turn.

If the person’s plea is genuine, the Creator alters his nature. However, the desire to receive does not change; the only thing that changes is the intention from “receiving for his own sake” into “receiving for the Creator”, which corresponds to bestowal. This is how the gradual change of a person’s attributes into the Creator’s attributes takes place on each of the 125 levels.

Each level includes several processes:

As a result of these actions, another part of a person’s desire becomes equivalent to the Creator, enabling him to pass to the next level. This continues on each level, until all of a person’s attributes become equal to the Creator’s attribute.

A person’s desires determine his action. It is impossible to perform actions without desires! For example, tomorrow morning I have to wake up early, therefore I am going to sleep early today. Am I doing this against my desire? No! No one in this world is able to perform actions without the desire and without fulfilling this desire with pleasure. The desire is the energy or moving force that gives a person the opportunity to do something.

Sometimes it seems to us that we are doing something against our desire. This is not the case. We simply perform a calculation, that it is beneficial to do something even if opposing the desire. If beneficial to a person, he undertakes various unpleasant and undesired actions.

By choosing, a person is able to bring another desire closer, to create it and to realize it. Not a single one of us would be able to move even a finger without receiving the moving force for this or bringing another desire closer.

A person who does something good for another person thinks that this is really the case and that he truly does this action unselfishly. However, if he enters the whole depth of his thoughts he will see that he does everything with just one goal: to do something good for himself only, and everything else is his own lie.

If in addition a person studies Kabbalah, he is able to see how all of this works; that each is an absolute egoist and does not think of anyone other than himself, not even his own children. Simply, in the current stage the entire system of thoughts is faulty, and it seems impossible to a person to do something for another’s sake.

It is only possible to give to someone when receiving something in return, or benefiting in some way. One should not be ashamed of this fact. This is our nature. We either receive for self-gratification, or give in order to benefit from it in some way. This is no one’s fault. The only thing we need to do is aspire towards changing our attributes to the Creator’s attributes.

Kabbalah teaches people to accept a person just the way he was created. We cannot hate someone for this or get angry because we see these attributes in him. Nevertheless, it is difficult to communicate with the external world and to have the patience to observe the petty egoism of someone you may encounter. However, each person is created the way he should be. We should only try to help each other to change the attributes we have been given into the altruistic attributes.

What is suffering? It is everything that opposes our desire. As the Talmud says, if a person puts his hand in his pocket and takes out one coin, but he wanted another one, then he experiences suffering. Suffering is everything in life that does not correspond to our desire. We perceive suffering whenever we are in a bad mood, sick, or when we do not want to do something.

However, everything being done is happening for our good. One way or another, everything that happens advances us towards reaching the goal of creation. Except, in our distorted perceptions, good seems bad and sweet seems bitter.

In reality, it is possible to feel what is good only after passing the Machsom. Right now, however, everything is perceived as suffering. This happens due to the lack of fulfillment by the light. After all, light remains outside as long as our desires have not received the altruistic intention.

While a person is not getting closer to the spiritual, the will to receive is the angel of life for him. However, by studying Kabbalah and attracting the surrounding light to himself, the person gradually sees how much his will to receive for himself is an obstacle to changing his egoistic nature into altruism. He sees that this is a real enemy of advancing forward, and his desires become the angel of death instead of the angel of life.

When a person comes to realize the evil of his own egoism in comparison to the attributes of the light that he has perceived, a huge desire emerges to remove these chains at any cost. However, since one is unable to do this on his own, in despair he cries to the Creator for help. And he receives this help, if this is his only plea and it is authentic.

A person who wants to come closer to the spiritual has to be like everyone else: he has to work like everyone else and to have a family and children. The important thing is what he does in the two-three hours that are free from work and responsibilities at home. Does he spend them in front of the TV or in a restaurant, or does he put efforts into achieving the spiritual goal?

In either case, a person cannot talk about his spiritual work to anyone else; he has to thoroughly conceal what he feels with relation to the Creator. This is done in order not to damage another person’s spiritual path. Every person has a different path. Once reaching full correction, everything will become revealed since there will be no place for obstacles of egoistic jealousy.

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