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The Difference between Kabbalah and Religion - Lesson on July 14, 2004

Lecturer: Michael Laitman, PhD

It is said in the Baal HaSulam's letter ( Pri Chacham, pg. 70) that the Creator is constantly guiding us towards adhesion with Him. Adhesion with the Creator consists of two phases. The first phase is the accumulation of desires. This period is called the accumulation of passion, when one is striving to be with the beloved, but the beloved is constantly moving away from him.

It is said: "Dome dodi le tzvi" – "My beloved is like a deer". It escapes, and then turns its head back, as if attracting, inviting to pursue it. The Creator acts the same way: He awakens a desire for Him inside a person, but at the same time, conceals Himself, as if playing, flirting with a person (play, called "flirt", is not a simple play; it originates in the Upper roots and manifests itself in our world). This continues until a person develops a necessary desire, Kishui – tension. The need for adhesion with the Creator becomes such that one cannot live without it.

Here we have a problem. When a person is aspiring towards the Creator and works hard on it, it seems to him that the Creator has to react to it positively. That is, I make a lot of effort, and, as a result, the Creator comes closer to me; if I make a greater effort, I would feel even closer to the Creator.

This is not what happens. In reality, by putting effort into it, we constantly feel that our increasing efforts bring us a single reward, or result: the Creator is moving away from us. We feel that He is moving away from us and turning His head back. In other words, we realize that He exists and understand how distant we are from Him. This is followed by resentment. We feel bitter, because we would like our actions, efforts, study, and our desires to bring us a different result. What happens at the end is that the more effort one puts into it, the more one studies and works in the group, and the more one is willing to sacrifice himself, then the more distant one feels from the Creator.

We are facing a paradox here: those who study Kabbalah in the right way feel that they are drawn away from the Creator. This is what happens up until the Machsom. Only by breaking through the Machsom do they finally feel an instant adhesion with the Creator.

Those who follow the path of lies, people who feel that each day they are getting closer to the Creator, that they experience some states of attainment, irradiation, that all kinds of miracles are happening to them, and that they are receiving good signs – they content themselves with the process of study; with the process of working on themselves. They do not acquire additional desires. Desires are reduced, because at every step - supposedly towards the Creator – they are receiving what they desire.

They do not accumulate, on a constant basis, suffering and aspiration – Kishui, or, in other words, a firm desire, bitterness. Only after one accumulates this to its fullest measure, can one bond with the Creator, enter the Upper World, and cross the Machsom. This first phase before the Machsom is a test of those who aspire to the Creator at any cost.

It does not matter how they would feel – good or bad; it does not matter if their path is sweetened or not. On the contrary, the Creator will show them how miserable and petty they are. The Creator will distance Himself from them even more, will increasingly disregard them, and they will feel even more powerless on their path. This is where the true desire for the Creator is born: one either really wants the Creator, really wants to become a Kabbalist, or turns into a hunter of sweet moments, searching for something to sweeten his life, and nothing more than that.

This is why Kabbalah does not need any protective barriers. If a person goes through this phase and reaches the Machsom, then by passing this preliminary phase he gradually develops an internal desire only to bestow, to adhere himself to Creator, and to bond with Him.

Without any attempt to brighten up his own life or search for pleasant sensations but, on the contrary, not feeling, seeing, or receiving anything, a person is ready for one thing only: to do anything the Creator demands from him. Even without knowing what the Creator demands, he is willing to fulfill whatever the Kabbalists recommend to him.

When a person arrives at this conclusion and is ready for this, only then does he develop the true desire for the Creator. The Creator responds to this desire, if it is unconditional on the part of the person. Unconditional desire is called a prayer to which the Creator responds. In other words, this is a prayer for one thing only: I don't need anything, give me just this – a possibility to become like You in the property of bestowal. When this prayer is born in a person, he crosses the Machsom.

Until then, one accumulates desires, as a lover longing for his beloved. But this longing has to always be followed by bitterness, constant lacking, continuous aspiration towards the image of the beloved, sensing how distant one is from it, and how one is not able to draw any closer. This is from one side. From the other side, one desires it with ever greater passion.

This is how a person accumulates these two sensations. On one hand, he puts forth effort, yet does not get closer to the Creator, rather, one gets even more distant from Him. This is called the revelation of the evil in oneself; this is the revelation of how opposite one's properties are to the Creator's. On the other hand, one accumulates a passionate desire: "I still want to be like Him, I want to bond with Him".

When these two polar opposites, like Keter and Malchut, aspirations, desires, sensations, and concepts appear in a person when they reach their maximum (it is different for each soul), then one breaks through the Machsom. On one hand, there is aspiration towards the Creator, so called greatness of the Creator, and on the other hand – sensations of complete withdrawal, being exactly opposite, and unable to attain. This is what we can emphasize in the Letter, pg. 70, "Pri Chacham".

Today, we will go over the article "The Difference between Kabbalah and Religion". In the framework of this article, I, obviously, cannot go deeply into the subject of religion.

Throughout its history humanity has always adhered to various religions and faiths. Ancient books say that Abraham's father, Terach, had been an idolater. Abraham is regarded the first Kabbalist who received the knowledge of the Upper World, i.e., about the indivisible force, the unique and all-encompassing Creator, who created the universe and rules over it.

Prior to that time, as the Bible recounts, people believed in a multitude of deities. They imagined various forces controlling this world much like modern man does today. One's boss, wife, health, world, society, and nature today represent these forces. Most of us consider them the sources that influence every one of us.

Unless the person sees and feels one force behind all of these sources, unless he admits that there is a single, indivisible, governing force, he is defined as an idolater, a believer in many gods. One may call this force "the Creator" or "nature," etc., but it is one ruling, intelligent force that has a beginning, end, and purpose with regard to man.

If he believes in one omnipotent force that rules over all and calls it nature of the Creator, he is said to have faith in the Creator. Abraham was the first Kabbalist, and the first person that revealed this universal force, which stands behind the endless variety of forces that influence every human being including himself.

His father, the spiritual level or state preceding Abraham, was named Terach (believer of many gods). Abraham diverged from such faith, reached a higher level of attainment, the level of one indivisible Creator. At the beginning, it seemed to him that he was under the power of many forces, but he broke through this layer and eventually discovered that one single force rules over them all. He called it the Creator and began establishing contact with it.

Abraham called the science of attainment and revelation of this unique force through a multitude of forces whose influence man feels, Kabbalah. He formulated the fundamentals of this science to enable us to attain this single force, our root, and to merge with it. When a person attains his root, he reaches a state of absolute freedom, perfection, and eternity.

What is the difference between Kabbalah and religion beside the fact that there is only one root, and not a variety of roots, sources, and forces? And how should a person relate to it?

There are other religions that advocate faith in one, single Creator and reject polytheism, as it was known in ancient Greece, India, etc. So what is the difference between Kabbalah and religion?

Religion maintains that the Creator changes his attitude toward man depending on man's actions. In contrast to that, Kabbalah asserts that the Upper Force is invariant and cannot be altered by man's actions. It can change the person; therefore he perceives the divine providence differently.

There are several views of the world in which we live. We perceive it in our five sense organs. We have no idea of what is beyond us. We are like a box with five holes covered with a membrane.

If the properties inside the box are similar to those outside it, then depending on the extent of their similarity the external properties can be sensed and perceived internally. In other words, we feel not the outside influence, but our own inner properties that are similar to the outer ones.

How do we perceive sounds? I am surrounded by a countless number of waves. My auditory mechanism consists of a membrane with a set of sensory hammers that perceive the external influence. If my inner sensors on the inner side of the membrane function correctly, i.e., my auditory organ is in good condition, then I perceive a certain range of frequencies, say, from 15 Hz to 15 KHz. These are the oscillatory frequencies of my inner system. Within this frequency range it can perceive the fluctuations of the ostensibly external system.

If my sensory system is damaged and malfunctions, I either perceive nothing (as if nothing exists on the outside) or only a part of reality. Thus, anything can exist on the outside; my perception is determined exclusively by the sensitivity of my inner system, my five sense organs. Absolutely everything works according to that scheme.

Moreover, my system of perception is based on the principle of differentiation of the source of influence. If something affects me constantly, I stop perceiving it. A human perception of reality is based only on the comparison of two properties, on the transition between them.

It is a well-known fact that we stop perceiving a constant sound after a few minutes. Even if it vibrates, we get used to it and stop paying attention to it.

Scientists know that our eye cannot remain focused on the same point. It is moving slightly all the time from one spot to another. Unless it detects the difference between its states, it will not be able to perceive anything.

All of our sense organs register their inner excitation, internal picture of reality while presenting it as an external one. We create for ourselves an external picture of the world. However, if our properties were different, we would see a completely different picture. How can we imagine it? For example, there are elementary particles that can go through concrete and those that are impeded by air. We might find ourselves in conditions in which we would perceive air as concrete and vice versa.

In this way, we create the picture of our world from the unknown reality that surrounds us by our inner properties. We cannot transcend ourselves and see this picture on the outside because we are limited by our five senses. Science gradually begins to understand how limited our perception is.

At the time of Einstein people realized that both our perception and all of our attainments are relative. It means that the world exists, but not in the way we imagine it. It exists only with regard to its observer and in reality it can be quite different.

The next theory of perception of our universe, formulated by Hugh Everett, states that an unknown world exists around us and our inner picture depends on the correspondence of our properties with what exists on the outside.

Consequently, the world picture is a cross between our sensations and the properties of something that surrounds us. Research on the eye of an animal demonstrates that their perception of the world differs considerably from ours. They see the world in totally different pictures and images.

Kabbalah asserts that nothing exists around us. Modern scientists have come to the same conclusion. We cannot know what the surrounding reality is really like. Evidently we are exposed to some constant influence.

We exist in the midst of something constant. All that we feel as movement and transformation is only a reaction of our inner changes, our properties. Unless our inner properties change, the picture of the world will remain static. The latest scientific experiments corroborate this conclusion.

The science of Kabbalah maintains that indivisible, invariant, and absolutely static Upper Light surrounds us. Given this assertion, why is this Light still called existing? It is because it affects as the Absolute Good! We call this influence, this Upper Light that surrounds us, the Creator.

Kabbalah explains that the Creator never changes his attitude toward man. He is kind and good and creates goodness. We perceive all variants, pictures and measures of the Creator's influence as various images. If the forms of the Creator's attitude toward man can be sensed as power, warmth and other kinds of influence, then they can be called measures of goodness, which the person feels within. If he feels that these measures of goodness come from one indivisible force, it means that he exists in the sensation of the Upper World. He feels that this force constantly, invariably, treats him with absolute love and kindness. The person feels it to the extent of his similarity to this force.

There are situations when the person cannot feel the direct influence of this force. Instead, he feels various materialized images behind which this force is evidently concealed. Yet, it remains imperceptible and appears to him as many different forces. In that case the person belongs to this world, to the world of the Creator's concealment, when it seems to him that instead of one force, one attitude, there are various sources of influence.

Unlike Kabbalah, religion holds that the Creator changes His attitude toward man depending on man's actions. Many people believe that if they behave well, the Creator will treat them kindly.

Kabbalah affirms that the Upper Force is invariant. The Creator is absolute and unalterable. The Upper Light is static and man's actions change not the Upper Force, but himself. As a result of these changes he perceives the Upper Governance differently; he feels its growing kindness. Therefore, it seems to him that changes take place in the Creator, and not in him. Thus, our relationship with the Creator improves as a result of our changes although it seems to us that He begins to treat us better.

This resembles the relationship between parents and their little child. If the child's behavior improves, meaning that its properties become similar to those of the parents, then the child sees that they treat him well. He agrees with their demands because he feels that they love him. In the past, however, they seemed to be strict and forced him to do things against his will.

Thus, we reveal reality with regard to ourselves, whereas religion depicts it with regard to the Upper Force, which allegedly changes. What is the difference after all?

There is a vast difference between these two approaches, which makes Kabbalah so distinct from religion. The person knows that if he changes, he perceives the invariable Creator differently. Whereas religion asserts that by doing something, one compels the Creator to change with regard to him.

Kabbalah directs man to greater equivalence with the Creator. Religion suggests that instead of changing, we can ask the Creator with the help of our prayers and some special actions to change His attitude towards us. Kabbalah says that all we should ask for is change within ourselves. If we change, we will perceive everything differently.

This is the cardinal difference between Kabbalah and religion and that is what makes the person who realizes the need to change from the one who expects the Creator to temper justice with mercy.

In this way, religion forces man to look for ways to influence the Creator (e.g. dispensing charity, placing candles, etc.). Every religion has its own rituals. Kabbalah states: "You have to look for ways to become similar to the Creator, and then you will be able to perceive Him correctly. He will remain exactly as He is today. In the same way as demanding and strict parents turn into kind and loving people, the Creator's image changes in our perception in accordance with the change of our outlook on the world.

Man's actions transform him, hence he perceives the Upper Governance in a different way: if he becomes more similar in his properties to the Creator, he feels His benevolence. However, if the difference between their properties grows bigger (i.e., he becomes more egoistical), the person feels the Creator's more negative attitude. This means greater disparity between the Light and the Kli (vessel).

A great number of expressions from the Kabbalistic texts point to the Creator's invariable attitude toward His creatures. "I Lord do not change my Name (with regard to man)," ("Ani HaVaYaH lo Shiniti"), "He is good and He does good to the bad and the good," ("Tov u Metiv le Rayim ve le Tovim"), "The Upper Light is at absolute rest," ("Ohr Elion Nimtza be Menuha Muchletet"), etc.

All Kabbalistic books emphasize the invariability of the Upper Force and explain that the Light emanating from the Creator has formed the Kli, built all the worlds, created the soul, divided it into parts and is leading them toward correction.

The very same beam of Light that originates in the Atzmuto (the Creator's essence) builds our reality, our universe, our world and ourselves while leading us to the end of correction. This beam is indivisible, which means that it carries in itself only one thought, one intent - "to dispense goodness."

Therefore, while a religious person turns to the Creator with a prayer pleading to the Almighty to temper justice with mercy, a Kabbalist asks the invariant and indivisible Light to change him and make him similar to it. He formulates his request in the following way: "Transform me so that I will be able to be like You. Temper justice with mercy, but not to make me feel that You became kind. Change me so that I will perceive you correctly. I wish not to feel good, but to justify Your actions. I will be called righteous; I will be similar to You. By becoming like You and by justifying Your actions I will bring You delight. Thus I will also become the good one who bestows goodness upon You. My desire is to be equal with You, with Your Light."

Man pleads with the Creator for correction not because the state of being corrected is pleasant, but because it is similar to the Creator and pleases Him. That is the cardinal difference between the Kabbalist's and the common believer's attitude to the Upper Force.

Religious people accept the fact that now the Creator is angry. However, they never say that He is evil or treacherous because it is indecent and unacceptable (although this is exactly what they feel). As a rule, such people are afraid to utter these words, but instead, they implore the Creator to improve His attitude toward them, to become kinder. The Kabbalist always asks the Creator to make him better.

Kabbalah interprets a prayer not as a plea for a better attitude (because a priori the Kabbalist regards the Creator's attitude as the only possible and absolutely kind and just), but as a self-test, self-analysis. The person turns to the Creator not to implore Him to temper justice with mercy, for he knows that only absolute good comes from Him. Therefore, he judges, analyzes, and compares himself with the Upper Force and asks it to make him equal to it.

This attitude towards oneself and the Creator makes Kabbalah so different from religion. Although religion calls upon man to change his ways somewhat, it is completely based on pleading with the Creator to give him something. This originates in the ancient beliefs in various forces that needed to be appeased by sacrifice and implored to soften their attitude.

Here you may ask me about the Temple sacrifice. This is a very interesting system. There is a special part in the Talmud that is entitled "The Treatise on Sacrifice."

The Hebrew word for sacrifice is "Kurban," which derives from " Karov" (closeness). This word implies inner actions of man, where he sacrifices (corrects) the inanimate, vegetative and animate parts of his egoistical nature, elevating it to the human level.

Thus, his intention is to correct the above three levels of his desires for the sake of the Creator. In our world man's inner work is symbolized by the rite of sacrifice, i.e., in the trappings connected with the inanimate, vegetative, and animate nature.

The adherents of mass religions do not accept Kabbalah because all of them are convinced that man should only ask the Creator and everything will change for the better. This approach has led to the establishment of hierarchy of mediators between people and the Creator, who can be asked to pray and plead on behalf of others. Many people come to me and ask to pray for them, to ask the Creator to make them happy.

People believe that this way they can force the Creator to change with regard to them. Such beliefs have taken deep root in man's consciousness and will remain in him until he crosses the Machsom. Therefore, I have to assure them not to worry, that I will definitely pray for them. What should I pray for? Should I ask the Creator to change with regard to man? He cannot change. He always sends him absolute good.

Then what can a person plead for from Him? All he can do when his friend feels bad is to try to unite their Kelim and turn to the Creator in an attempt to elevate his friend, bring him closer to the Creator. By affecting other souls he tries to bring them closer to the Creator and improve their state.

This is the meaning of a prayer for another's sake. Asking the Creator to temper justice with mercy is futile because His kindness is absolute. One should unite with other souls through love and push them towards the Creator to let them feel that He treats them kindly. They will feel it because of their inner changes. Only this way can we influence other people's perception of the Creator.

Many times, while taking a stroll with my teacher Rabash or being at his side at social events, I saw dozens of people literally attacking him with requests to pray for their relatives' health, trying to kiss his hand, pleading him to ask the Creator to change something bad for good and so on. He did not even know how to react to these people, or what to answer... He just used to say, "All right, all right. Everything is going to be all right," or asked me to comfort them.

I remember how we once spent 20 days at the hospital. As soon as the patients discovered who he was, they started coming up to him and asking to pray for them.

He instructed me to call one of his students who liked to give blessings and pose as an important person. When the man arrived, he visited every patient of the entire huge hospital saying to everyone: "Rabbi Ashlag sent me to bless you." He recited a little prayer and said a blessing, and people calmed down and left us alone...

People need this psychological help and are ready to pay for it. While in a bad state, a person is prepared to believe in anything. He cannot feel his inner power to change or simply prefers not to think about it. Therefore, he is prepared for anything. We should understand that the change has to take place within us.

Some of us believe in miracles. Why are these miracles not revealed? Why is the Creator concealed from us? Why does He not change His attitude towards us? Why does he not make miracles? The answer is simple: there are no miracles!

By changing himself with regard to the Creator, man will feel a different universe, a different world... A modified attitude to the world will bring a new perception of the world. Nothing else is going to happen. The rest is either self-delusion or plain deception.

We learn in Kabbalah that only the Kli exists, and it must become similar to the Light with the help of the screen. Only in this way can it feel its existence in the true universe, in genuine contact with the Creator. There are no miracles

The Kli with the screen always perceives everything in accordance with the state in which it exists with regard to the Light. There are no miracles. Hence, there can be no undeserved states.

"Make me a miracle; adjust something so that I will suddenly reach a different state." Requests like this are senseless because this cannot happen and never will. We are dealing with stringent and immutable laws of the universe described in the Kabbalistic books. If it seems to us that there is another path and that we can achieve something with the help of tricks, miracles, incantations, and Kabbalistic manipulations, nothing will come of it: we will not build our Kli.

How can this be done? The person can build the Kli only by correcting himself. First, he acquires a desire, and then, having realized it as evil, he asks for correction. After he has corrected himself, he accordingly begins to feel a new universe within new desires. Yet, we perceive this new universe as a part of the common indivisible Light. This is the way we change, and, therefore, all we have to ask for is correction.

The fundamental religions reject Kabbalah because they live in the conviction that a person should only ask the Creator and everything will change to his advantage because the Creator will turn His face toward him.

If I cannot ask by myself, then I pay a visit to a prominent religious figure, a famous magician, or a "well-known Kabbalist." Some people willingly take advantage of it and are ready to offer their services for a proper compensation.

Such a person says: "Of course I will pray for you. Everything will be just fine." In a couple of days he will ask: "Is everything all right?" A person who is psychologically inclined to believe usually answers: "Yes, it is better now." Such beliefs form a system of relations among people who know how to sell their "special relations with the Creator as well as remarkable wisdom and qualities."

If a religious person speaks about his changes, he implies outward performance of such good deeds as reciting a prayer, or correcting himself (i.e., performing a ritual). They do not think about mending their hearts; it is enough to give charity, do some pious deed, and the Creator will change His attitude towards you accordingly.

We see that for thousands of years it has brought no result. However, since people know no other way to establish proper relationship with the Upper Force but with the help of Kabbalah, every generation repeats the same mistakes over and over again. Every new generation continues to think that, by performing pious rituals in our world, regardless of which religion practices them, we will persuade the Creator to change His attitude toward us.

For example, if I am facing a trial or feel bad, I will do something good, give alms to the poor. Then of course the Creator will be merciful to me. All religions approach it in the same way: I will do something nice and the Creator will change. Why will he change, for what reason? Am I striking a bargain? Scratch my back I'll scratch yours?

The Creator is invariant! Nothing can ever be changed by external actions. The Creator will change only if you transform, correct your inner desire. That is to say, you will feel it that way. Although the Creator never changes, the person will feel that His attitude changed.

Kabbalah urges us to stop dealing with outward trappings in the hope that it will bear fruit. It is enough to look back at thousands of years of human history to realize that the situation is not improving. This is useless work at which some make a profit. We need to start changing ourselves by working inwardly. The Creator asks for our hearts, not for our outward performances.

The commandment "Love thy neighbor as thyself" presupposes genuine love, not empty favors we do for each other. Do we seriously believe that the Creator made everyone unhappy so that we would correct the cruel world created by Him with these favors?

It turns out that everyone in this world feels bad, even awful, and naturally this comes from the Creator because there is none else beside Him! However, people are not like Him. They are kind, good; they treat each other much better than He treats them. The Creator bears ill will to all, sends diseases and misfortunes, and we correct His malice. We try to help each other, love each other. So it follows that we are much better than the Creator, doesn't it?

"Love thy neighbor as thyself" is not about simply performing some outward actions; it is rather about correcting one's heart. In accordance with that you will discover the Creator's true attitude to you and to everyone else.

Question: In childhood we feel the Creator's benevolence as the Baal HaSulam describes in the article "Peace." However, later on, He, as it were, alters His attitude to us and begins treating us with harshness. If there is no inner transformation, why then does this external change take place?

It is a fundamental mistake to think that something changes on the outside. A child grows, and at first the Creator treats it gently, only afterwards changing its attitude for worse.

When a person is in small egoistical states, he does not feel the Creator's severity or feels it only to a small extent. A stone, if pressed or crushed, would feel as bad. Plants are more sensitive to external influence, and animals perceive it even more keenly. Man's situation is worst of all.

While growing, a child with its small desires does not feel the Creator's harsh influence. Therefore, when we look at it from the outside, it seems to us that the Creator's attitude to the child is favourable and merciful. In fact, it has nothing to do with the merciful Creator; the child's small level of egoism makes it feel that way.

Our condition is far worse than that of animals! We need to cover our body, to serve ourselves, and spend millions of hours building an entire world around us.

Animals need nothing of this sort. They do not suffer from our diseases. Most probably, they would not have diseases at all if they did not exist near man. What I am trying to say is that when our egoism grows, its manifestation forces us to believe that the Creator changes His attitude toward us.

We look at house pets and it seems to us that their life is better than ours. Yet, if a dog were given an additional portion of egoism, it would immediately feel the same blows that befall man. All of this means that when the Creator seems to be changing His attitude toward us, it happens only because we are changing.

If a person changes, improves himself, while at the same time growing more similar to the Creator, he begins to see how the Creator treats everyone with absolute good, how the Upper Light manifests in the entire world. The Creator permeates the world, and there is nothing in it but the Kelim completely filled with the Light. That is how man's perception changes, although everything remains as it was before.

We now feel that the world is in a state of crisis and constant shock. However, if we begin transforming ourselves with regard to the Creator, we will see how He fills this world and treats it with absolute kindness. By rising up to the level of souls, the Kelim, we will see how differently they perceive reality and that their perception is based on the degree of their correction. Hence, a person who grasps the Creator's true attitude toward all souls is regarded as one who attains the Upper World.

The conviction that God can change His attitude to man tends to create envy of those chosen ones who are in favor with the Creator and allegedly deserve His greater love. In this way antagonism develops not only among people, but also between religions. Individuals and confessions compete for the Creator's sympathies.

Instead of hanging their fate on themselves and their own correction, people hang it on the Creator, which leads to jealousy, competition, and mutual animosity. Some begin to believe that they are right and their opponents are wrong and place blame for their misfortunes on those with different views. They are certain that if they destroy their adversaries, the Creator will definitely treat them better. Thus, the wrong attitude to the Creator leads to totally perverted relations between groups of people. The reason for this lies in man's inability to associate his destiny with the degree of his correction. In fact, this is the only factor that determines his state in the universe.

Question: Everything is just, the world is harmonious, and at the same time a person sees that evil exists. How can this be reconciled?

How does a Kabbalist reconcile with it? On the one hand, he perceives this world's evil in his five senses. He reads newspapers, watches TV, and sees how other people perceive this reality.

On the other hand, in his sixth sense he sees the Creator's true attitude to the world. In other words, his sixth sense, which is attached to the Creator like a probe, enables him to look upon the world through His eyes, while perceiving reality in his five innate senses exactly as all other people.

Consequently, thanks to his being in two different states, he can influence people and help them to approach the Creator. In this case, a Kabbalist develops two views of the world. One is similar to the outlook of all other people, and he does not associate himself with it. He knows that others see the world in this way. He perceives reality differently through his sixth sense. This ability to see and feel the world in two ways enables him to connect with us and to help us. Yet he associates himself neither with his five senses nor with our outlook.

Question: Why did Kabbalists write such texts as Pentateuch, a prayer-book, Psalms, if man has no knowledge of Kabbalah and perceives reality as if the Creator changes His attitude toward him?

Unless a person has received kabbalistic knowledge, his perception of the world is confined to the five natural senses. He has no other external point of reference and believes that the world is the way we see it. So, if the Creator hides behind this world, He affects us all exactly the way the world does. Therefore, naturally, the world is supposed to change, for what can I possibly change within myself?

Since I perceive everything in my five senses, I make an egocentric picture of the world. I am in the center of it, and my task is to make the world treat me better. Nature, animals, and people - they all have a certain attitude toward me. All I need to do is to improve that attitude.

Does the Creator stand behind it all? If so, then I have to make Him change His attitude toward me so that through them He will treat me well. I will plead with Him or other gods (it makes no difference to me). I know that I have to change the world's attitude toward me. This is what an ordinary person in our world thinks and feels because he has no other senses.

However, when the Kabbalists transcend the boundaries of our world and look at it from the outside, they see that the Creator always treats us with absolute good. The problem is that we misinterpret the picture of our world. We think that the world we perceive really exists outside of us. In reality it does not; rather it is based upon our sensations, images, and inner properties.

If our inner properties change, we will see a totally different world. Everything will be different! However, we cannot imagine it because we are unable to get out of our body and see everything from the outside, the way the Kabbalists do.

They advise us not to waste time on useless matters and remember that the Creator is invariant. We create the picture of our world with the help of our sense organs. By changing ourselves, we will see that the world is changing by itself. Ostensibly, the Creator's attitude toward us will be changing, but in reality we will simply feel the world differently.

In this way, a naughty child that improves his behavior feels his parents' good, kind attitude. The child understands that this is the right attitude. The problem is that until we cross the Machsom, all of this will remain just words. We need all of the Kabbalists' explanations only to develop a correct request to the Creator.

It should not be a supplication, "Change Yourself! Why are You so cruel?" Rather, it should be a request about correction, "Your kindness is absolute. Change me so that I may understand Your good attitude and become like You."

That is to say, a prayer, a plea to the Creator is necessary, but it is effective only if it asks for correction. In the language of Kabbalah it is called raising MAN. It is the only efficient way to influence the Upper Force. Everything is prepared for man in the Kelim of AHP of the upper Partzuf, and it is the absolute good. Therefore, if the person wants to connect with the higher level and to feel this good influence, he should first correct his Kli. That is why MAN is defined as the request for correction. Prior to that request a person should go through the realization of evil, ask himself: "What is so bad in me?"

Question: You say that there are no miracles, but isn't the MAN raised by the Kabbalistic group a miracle?

The MAN of the Kabbalistic group is not a miracle. There are no miracles. MAN is a request for correction. When we pray together for someone what does it really mean? Let's say he has problems with his boss at work. Do we want him to feel good? We are connected with him in one aspiration to the Creator and wish him to feel the Creator's influence as more correct, closer to the truth.

In this way, by including that person in ourselves we help him to change and start feeling the Creator's influence as positive. If people treat each other this way, they change themselves and perceive the world differently.

If we gather a number of people who are connected, and they wish well to one another, they will certainly feel better and more comfortable. How do they change the Creator's attitude to themselves by that? They perceive Him (His invariance) more correctly because in their love for each other they approach Him.

Question: What does it have to do with my boss at work?

Your boss is just a puppet! It is the Creator's way to show His attitude toward you, and now you unite in one Kli with those who pray for you. They wish you love and wellbeing. They try to become similar to the Creator in their attitude toward you; hence your relations with the Creator become more intimate, and all of a sudden you start feeling that your boss treats you better.

It depends on how you perceive your boss. Do you look at him or at the One who is in him? Everything is pretty simple: stop looking at external shells. All that is left inside is what we read about in "The Study of Ten Sefirot".

To understand the Kabbalist's true attitude toward the Creator, we may open a Kabbalistic Sidur (prayer-book). It contains no ordinary words that express human feelings.

The Kabbalistic prayer-book consists of numerous repetitions of the separate Hebrew letters Aleph, Bet, etc., and instructs the reader to raise MAN to a certain Sefira or bring different Sefirot together, and so on. All that is written in it designates spiritual actions, which the person has to carry out in the process of his correction. On achieving the equivalence of form with the Creator, he will receive the Upper Light. That is the difference between the God of religion and the Kabbalistic Creator.

We study it in parts 11 and 12 of "Talmud Eser Sefirot," which speak about corrections that are designated by man's gradual awakening, rising, starting the day, planning his actions, etc. The book speaks about inner, spiritual states.

The study of the structure of the universe provides the student with a clear idea of the Creator, who is at the top of the spiritual ladder, and of man, who is at its very bottom. The rungs of the ladder are the worlds. Thus, the purpose of creation is in our independent ascent. This means that man finds the reason of his states and turns to the Creator for correction, for His help to ascend this ladder. Man's egoistical desires are gradually corrected and transformed into the altruistic ones, making him more and more similar to the Creator.

This is the true meaning of ascending the rungs of the spiritual ladder. On realizing his evil nature and independently formulating a genuine demand for correction, the person climbs the next rung of the ladder getting closer to the Creator in his desire. His egoistical intentions, thoughts, desires, and properties become altruistic. Therefore, Kabbalah defines the change of intention as spiritual ascent.

Drawing Nr 1

The changes are measured in accordance with the levels, which characterize the degree of equivalence to the Creator. He is regarded as absolute altruism (100%). After crossing the Machsom man reaches zero level and gradually begins his ascent to the Creator. This 100% of gradual likening to the Creator are graduated into 620 or 125 levels. This division into levels is relative. In a similar manner, we measure our life by dividing it into decades, years, months, days, minutes, and seconds. These levels constitute the milestones of spiritual life. Man ascends them until he completely merges with the Creator in his properties.

It is only natural that the detailed study of the universe prevents the person from thinking that the Creator changes His attitude toward him depending upon his requests. In this way, Kabbalah forms in us the correct attitude to the universe, to the Creator. It tells us: "The Creator is invariant, only you are changing. You will not be able to change by yourself. The Light created you, therefore you have to ask it to transform and correct you. All your inner states and perception of the world depend only upon your equivalence to the Upper Light, the Creator. The more similar to it you become, the better you will feel."

The person's sensations depend solely on the states that he has to go through in order to understand the Creator's true attitude toward him. As the child in our world has to understand his parents' true attitude, so man too has to go through all possible states and attain the entire universe. He is destined to gain experience and become equal to the Creator in his mind and sensations.

A question arises here: Why did the Creator not create us capable of perceiving Him as good, eternal, and perfect? This is because according to His plan, we have to become equal to Him, and not just perceive Him this way. However, we will not be able to achieve that goal unless we see His state as the best and most desirable. To that end, we have to be in the opposite condition.

That is why the Kli was created as an impressed state, property completely opposite to the Light. This Kli has to correct itself and become equal to the Creator only to the extent it feels the need to do that. Whether we want it or not, we are obliged to go through all the opposite states and from them ask for correction and attain the equivalence of form with the Creator. Only this way, by becoming like Him, will we justify Him and share His love.

From the above it follows that even the corrections that are said to be desirable and which we carry out within ourselves to attain the Creator's invariable attitude toward us are not the self-corrections that we need to make directly. We have to go through all levels, all extreme states, and contrasting sensations, in order to acquire experience and receive an opportunity to feel the entire universe from end to end.

We need all the states that exist in the Kli. We have to experience the most terrible states that are completely opposite to the Creator in order to desperately wish to reach the equivalence of form with Him.

Man's correction implies a change in his attitude toward reality, when, regardless of everything, he appraises them as absolutely positive. This brings him the sensation of sweet delight. Finally, a person discovers that nothing changes but his own attitude to the invariable state in which he was initially created and in which he constantly exists.

That is what man reveals. It is said that when a person enters the Upper World, he discovers that he was always in that state. We do not exist in any other state but in the World of Infinity, in the state of perfect fulfillment.

"The Introduction to the Zohar" says that the Creator created the World of Infinity. Afterwards we allegedly descend to the level of our world, and then return to the original state of the World of Infinity by our own effort.

The first state is the World of Infinity.

The second state is the descent to our world and the ascent back to the World of Infinity.

The third state is our final return to the World of Infinity.

In reality, we continue existing in the World of Infinity all the time, our path being a gradual realization of our true state. The sensation of the World of Infinity slowly and gradually appears in us; hence this process is called the ascending of levels of worlds to the World of Infinity.

Nothing changes - all the worlds exist within us. Our inner properties change, while this infinity - the infinity of the Kli and of our fulfillment is gradually manifested. Everything but the Creator, the indivisible Upper Light vanishes completely.

Needless to say, the study of Kabbalah enables the person to understand the universe and his own place in it. This leads him away from the conventional prayer accepted in society, which begs the Creator to change. Indeed, a prayer constitutes the central, most important action in all religious practices, whereas everything else is organized around it.

The first thing that the student of Kabbalah begins to feel is unwillingness to pray, i.e. to ask the Creator to change His attitude. However, the Kabbalistic books contain just these requests: "Have mercy upon us, be gracious and kind."

The fact is that in Kabbalah we define a prayer as self-judgment. The word " Tefila" (prayer) is derived from " Lehitpalel" (to judge, appraise oneself). This reflexive verb implies the request to the Creator about changing, correcting oneself and raising MAN.

This is the correct attitude of man to the Creator. It transforms his world outlook, compels him to be in the state of the true prayer every moment of his life. He constantly seeks what else he can correct in himself in order to approach the Creator. That is the actual meaning of genuine prayer. Hence, it is said: God grant man to pray all day long so that every minute of his existence he would be raising MAN and constantly seeking what else in him needs to be corrected.

It is natural that by focusing man's attention upon inner contemplation, transformation, and correction, Kabbalah distances him from performing external rituals and fulfilling various religious injunctions.

Until a person feels the necessity to find an answer to the question about his life's meaning, he will continue holding on to religion. Therefore, we need not tear such people away from their faiths, religions or any other ideas.

If a person believes in red strings, holy water, beads, amulets or generally accepted customs, we should by no means force him to change his ways, or show our disdain. Every person is obliged to go through the process of inner self-knowledge, develop the correct attitude toward creation and the Creator.

He has to acquire the right desires and intentions, form his new self from within. By imposing our ideas on someone, we deprive him of the opportunity to go through all states on his own. That is why we should never persuade anyone in anything. Instead, we should offer a book. It provides the person with knowledge, and leaves him the right to use it as he sees fit.

If some people among us are unable to give up their faith in miracles, fetishes, rituals, we should not dissuade them. They have to continue remaining in this state until they feel the need to let it go.

We should have a respectful and positive attitude toward all faiths, customs, and methods that offer people their own patented recipes on how to become happy. Lately, all of them have thrived while meeting the needs of people to find themselves in this world, discover their essence. These methods will exhaust their potentialities in a few years. They will enable people to "grind" within them all these ways of searching for the Creator, life's meaning, eternity, and happiness. Thanks to them people will come to Kabbalah faster. Nothing in the world should be negated, rejected or regarded as harmful. Everything is necessary. We should wait until people grow out of them and come to the true method of the Creator's attainment.

Question: You say we should not scorn other methods, but our explanations negate everything else.

On the one hand, we say that we should carefully look upon everything that is present in man and not scorn other methods because everyone has to work his way through all theories and beliefs and arrive at the necessity of correct attitude toward the Creator. A person has to go through all stages of his egoism's development, and upon reaching the last phase, he will need Kabbalah, the method of attaining the Creator and self-correction.

On the other hand, when we tell a person about himself and Kabbalah, do we not impose on him our own method? Is that your question?

Question: Is our explanation so rational and logical that it negates everything else that exists?

This is absolutely wrong. A person cannot act under the influence of the mind. Human mind was created to serve desires. The Light created desire, and the mind, intellect, was gradually formed next to it in order to satisfy it. Our mind serves our heart. It constantly seeks an opportunity to fill us. Hence, no matter how many clever things we might say to the person while appealing to his mind, his heart will lead him where the desired fulfillment is at the moment.

We know it quite well: however smart we may be, when our heart suddenly starts speaking, we lose interest in theories and intricacies. We want what our heart desires, and that motivates all our actions. Therefore, you can freely talk to all people about Kabbalah. Eventually, after listening to you, every one of them will return to the state determined by the development of his heart's egoism.

If he still prefers to believe in red strings and all kinds of amulets today, he will remain in that state all the same. He will say that your method is wrong and he will be right with regard to himself because he cannot see anything in it at the moment. If it cannot fill his Kli, then it is wrong.

If he is satisfied with meditations or some other methods, it means that they are right for him. You will not be able to persuade him because logic is powerless here. When the matter concerns the fulfillment of the heart, the Kli, logic fails. Logic can only affect the mind.

So on the one hand, we should not be afraid to disseminate the knowledge of Kabbalah because only those who have reached their last desire will use it. The rest, even if they hear you, will fall into their desires or will go to various centers to study Scientology, Hinduism, or even something that is taught under the name of "Kabbalah." They will leave for other places anyway.

They will say that your path is wrong or too difficult. It is based on the realization of evil, hence it is very long. You have to suffer for many years until you develop a sufficient aspiration for the Creator, feel His importance and raise the true MAN. As it is written: "And the children of Israel sighed," and only after much suffering could they flee from Egypt.

Therefore, we can unobtrusively speak about Kabbalah: give information for the mind while taking care not to damage the heart. A person has to go through all states in his heart, hence it is said that coercion is unacceptable in spirituality.

Question: We speak about the last generation, so why are very few people today really mature for the true correction?

The period of the last generation will continue for many years. This does not mean that people grow up, give birth to children (presumably every 25 years) and this is considered the next, new generation. The last generation implies the last stage of development of man's egoism. It begins to feel that it must be corrected, otherwise it will destroy itself.

The last stage starts with the realization of evil. Now it begins to manifest in the entire humankind as the realization of absolute disorientation, threat of destruction, and disillusionment. This constitutes the beginning of the stage called "the last generation."

However, this process will continue for a long time until humanity realizes the need to become similar to the Creator and appeals to Him for correction, and as a result will be filled with the Upper Light. The last generation does not mean that everything should end abruptly. This is the last stage of egoism's development, when it realizes the need for correction.

Question: How does it happen that millions of people turn to various faiths: Catholicism, Christian Orthodoxy, and Islam?

It depends upon the properties of each particular soul. There are different types of souls, and each type is characterized by a particular way of feeling and thinking. Therefore, they developed a certain idea of the Upper World and the Creator.

Various human beliefs emerged in this way. Later on various religions were forcibly imposed by fire and sword. Judaism has always stood apart from other religions in this process. Until today it is forbidden to coerce someone into another faith. Try to convert to Judaism and you will see how many obstacles will be put in your way.

This ban stems from Kabbalah, which clearly excludes any possibility of coercion. Other religions did not have Kabbalah. They thought that their truth would be indisputable only when the entire world would believe in it. Thus, no one would be able to call it a lie.

In a similar way, we arrive at a conclusion today that since almost everyone uses drugs, society needs to legalize them. What can be done if all do it? Thus, instead of trying to correct ourselves in accordance with social standards, we try to adjust these standards to ourselves (uncorrected as we are).

By spreading forcibly, religions tried to prove to the entire world that their widespread expansion is an endorsement of their verity. This completely contradicts the spiritual principle, which forbids coercion of desire. Therefore, people will have to go a long way to understand their role with regard to the Creator. In this or future lives we will see how all of these problems will be revealed and corrected.

Question: Why do we not say that Kabbalah is the real truth?

There is nothing real or unreal. What a person feels in his heart and desires at the moment is real and true in his perception. If, like a little child, he believes in some doll, action, or idol, he should be left alone.

Gradually, through realization of evil, i.e., by seeing his opposition to the Light, the person should understand where he is right and where he is wrong, and make the necessary conclusions while going through all the stages of correction. That is why we cannot say that one religion is closer to the truth than another and that all religions are worthless in regard to Kabbalah. This is absolutely wrong.

Man contrived it all based upon his inner world, and he has to change that world by himself. The Creator is invariant. Man has to change himself only of his own free will. Thus, he will gradually develop in accordance with cause-effect chain. All of his actions will lead him to the purpose of creation with his own complete, real Kli.

In no way should we blame anyone. In reality, everything that exists is necessary. Therefore, Baal HaSulam writes in his article "The Last Generation" that when humankind reaches the state of Final Correction, there will still be people who will adhere to their religion.

Think of what he says! He says that some souls (people) will probably have to go through correction at the highest spiritual levels, in the state of Final Correction, while sticking to their religions. Even at the last level no one has the right to interfere in their spiritual development.

When I was young, I used to tell my Teacher: "What's the problem? I will approach the person and explain everything", or in other words, will coerce him. Rabash always said: "Do not even think about it. You have no right to tell a person anything." He has to go through it all, only then will he consciously (not forcibly) realize the truth and will be ready for it.

Look at how a fetus grows in the mother's womb: it slowly, gradually, and independently goes through all stages. The right education should therefore be based on forming a proper environment, which would accelerate the person's development. His individual Reshimot have to be manifested, while his environment should contribute to their maturing.

What does Baal HaSulam write in his article "Free Will"? Provide a person with an auspicious environment (more light, warmth, water, and fertilizers) to allow his inner properties to manifest. No more than that. You have no right to influence him in any other way. Any other way of influencing the person is wrong and unacceptable because he is being coerced into the realization of someone else's Reshimot.

Therefore, the circulation of Kabbalah should be passive and non-aggressive. We can disseminate knowledge, offer people to open our book, but on no account should we coerce or persuade them.

Question: A person influences others even unconsciously, doesn't he?

We do not speak about it. It does not matter. All the same, every one of us perceives the external information in accordance with the Reshimot, with the heart's desire.

Question: When we explain that a person has to change, not the Creator, people accept. They are ready to agree with the law of the equivalence of form, but to be like the Creator sounds too incredible. Is there a more plausible explanation?

You are asking why we, members of the Bnei Baruch group, lead a religious way of life, perform rituals and so on? First, our religious way of life is very liberal. Still, why do we do this? We are doing this – and I say this constantly – out of necessity.

This necessity consists of two aspects. One of them – we exist in a certain society, among certain people, who, out of all nations of the world, must master the method of Kabbalah first, in order to pass it on to all humanity. This is how this nation was created. The truth is that this is not a nation. In essence, this is a Kabbalistic group, ninety-nine point ninety-nine percent of which has forgotten what it represents to begin with.

Imagine the Bnei Baruch group that has existed, say, for fifteen years. During this time, say, ten thousand have people passed through it. Today, the Bnei Baruch group consists of one hundred fifty people. Where are the rest, the other ten thousand? The rest passed through and did not stay, but they represent a nation existing around the Kabbalists.

This is what happened with the Jewish nation. Once, there was a group of Kabbalists. People were born, and so on; people used to come and go, because, spiritually, they were not mature enough to be Kabbalists. However, they formed a mass around the Kabbalists, and this is how the nation came into existence; and around it are the rest of the souls, the entire world.

To be a chosen people first of all means that the rest of those people (whose level of development today is not that of Kabbalists) should master Kabbalah, and attain a certain level of development, knowledge, and correction that would allow them to cross the Machsom and become teachers for the rest of the world. It is said: "They have to teach". This is the reason why Kabbalah is given to a certain group of people.

Because we are inside of this group, this nation, we are obliged to take upon ourselves all the external attributes. We are doing so that this nation accepts us; easily unites with us, and has no difficulty understanding and believing that we really have a correct method for correction; for bringing the world to its purpose.

For this reason we have to choose a psychologically correct image. And this is exactly how we are trying to behave. In other words, there have to be certain external attributes, certain behavior, etc. Yes, there is nothing we can do about it. I do this by choice and I explain this to everyone. This is first.

Thus, why do we oblige ourselves to perform all sorts of religious conventionalities? First, as I already said, it's for the people to see that we come from a particular root, which involved Kabbalists, and so on, that is – from tradition. Second, it’s because by carrying out these actions a person remembers what's behind them.

Take, for example, a book of Ari about precepts – " Taamei Mitzvot" ("The meaning of Precepts"). In the book we will find all the precepts of this world – separating meat from dairy, different laws applying to conjugal life, laws pertaining to day-to-day behavior, and absolutely everything else that is there, meaning, all of 620 precepts - and will see their explanation in the spiritual sense.

In the spiritual sense this refers to the interaction between Kli and Light by the means of the Screen. Man can do this while he does or does not exist in a [physical] body, without any external attributes. This is Kli and Ohr (Light) – interaction. In turn, these 620 actions manifest in certain actions in this world, without having any connection to the spiritual, as it is stated in the article "Body and Soul".

Why do we do this? - In order to remind ourselves that the spiritual actions do exist. In this way, we return more quickly to the thought about where we really exist. If these external actions do not bring us back to the internal actions, then we are dead, and they have no meaning. This is exactly what is said: "Precept without the intension is dead". If it does not evoke in you an intention for correction, then it makes no difference, it does not leave any trace, any correction.

However, we perform them in order to remind ourselves that internal action does exist. That is why Kabbalists, describing these precepts, described them both at the Supreme level and also at the level of our world. They told us: "Do them also at the level of this world". Why? Then you will be able to remind yourselves about the inner correction, about performing them at the root, and not at the branch level.

You don't need much for this. To remind ourselves about the roots, take these 620 actions that exist at the roots and see which of them we can perform at the branches level. You will see that out of 620 spiritual actions, by analogy, we can observe a maximum of twenty in our world.

This is because nowadays, our world has lost its complete resemblance, even in its corporeal form, to the spiritual world. So it is worth observing the remaining twenty or so bodily precepts, so to speak. They (whether you want this or not) remind a person of the existence of the Creator and the need to establish an internal connection with Him.

They remind us of this, because we are simultaneously studying the Science of Kabbalah and searching for the connection with the Creator. In contrast, they, naturally, do not remind ordinary religious people of anything. This is simply a ritual, and that is why religious people are not performing any correction. This is the reason why an ordinary believer is called spiritually inanimate.

Question: When we see that it is a person and not the Creator who has to change - it is accepted. They are also ready to accept the law of the equivalence of form, but to be like the Creator – this is too much. Are there any explanations in between?

That is, all of our explanations are, basically, good and acceptable except for one: when we say that we have to become equal to the Creator, resemble Him. The claim that a person has to become like the Creator looks a bit too bold.

How can we present it correctly to the people? Only if we formulate correctly what is "the Creator" and "resemblance to Him". If the Creator represents the property of absolute bestowal (good and bestowing goodness), then becoming similar to Him, meaning, trying to become as good and bestowing goodness as He is (which, in our world, is realized as the principle of "love thy neighbor as yourself") – is not such a difficult thing to explain. This cannot be received with a lack of understanding or feeling that this way of thinking is some sort of impudence.

People simply perceive the Creator as the Absolute, - the unattainable, unreachable, eternal-everlasting, and so on. By doing so, they lift the concept of the Creator out of clear definition (that the Creator is a force and a property) and place it at the degree which, they claim, is a priori incomparable to that of a human being.

If we say that our egoism is created by the Creator's reverse influence, in other words, our egoism is like the Creator's imprint – that the Creator imprinted His face, His image, so to speak, in egoism – then we can reproduce this image using an intention pointing from egoism back towards the Creator.

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