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Article "Attaining the Unity of the Universe" - Lesson of July 13, 2004

Lecturer: Michael Laitman, PhD

We have come here to achieve a certain goal. Therefore, we have to think about this goal all the time; otherwise our study is pointless. What is our goal? We wish to attain the Creator, which means to become similar to Him. It does not matter how clearly we understand this goal; we should think only about it.

Whatever we read, we always read about how we can attain Him or what it means to be similar to Him. In short, we read either about an aspiration to the goal or about advancing towards it. That is all Kabbalah is about. Do not forget about it, otherwise the study brings no results. Always remember the goal!

We continue with the article "Attainment of Unity of the Universe". The Kabbalists who enter the spiritual world discover that nothing exists except the indivisible, unique force that governs, surrounds and consumes everything, including us. "We" are the soul created by this Upper force.

The soul gradually attains this Upper force. Such graded attainments are called worlds (the word "Olam" - world, derives from "Alamah" - concealment). While attaining this Upper force - the Creator, the soul concurrently feels that He is not yet completely revealed, hence, these partial revelations are called worlds - degrees of concealment.

These are the degrees of concealment of unity. Unity is the ultimate, most intense delight that one can possibly feel.

It is said that there is no greater pleasure in our world than settling doubts. After being lost in doubt, after searching and being confused, a person gets confounded in contradictions and is unable to resolve a problem. Then suddenly a person finds a solution. The solution comes because two extremes merge into a single whole and form unity. They complement one another and exist thanks to one another.

This unity which the souls reveal in everything, even in our world, is perceived as the greatest delight.

Therefore, peace is savored after a war. That is to say, first we sense a contradiction, reveal the lack of unity, completeness; realize the evil. Darkness should precede light because otherwise we will attain nothing. The Creator is initially perfect and, unlike us, He has no property that is opposite to Him.

We have to attain all that is opposite to the Creator and from this opposition we attain Him. Therefore, all our sensations, thoughts, and definitions - regardless of what we do, think, attain, or reason about are always based on the unity of two extremes: the Light and the vessel, desire and fulfillment, suffering and joy. Thus, everything is attained in comparison with its antithesis.

Our path to the Creator lies in the gradual revelation of unity of all extremes, from the smallest to the biggest. All the problems that we want to solve, the sensation of deficiency, confusion, and striving constitute our aspiration to unite contrasting states. One contradicts the other, yet later, when there is an opportunity to unite them, we experience immense pleasure.

The attainment of unity of extremes is the apprehension of one, unique, and indivisible force called the Creator.

The attainment takes place within a person and one can never determine what the solution will be by the sensation of the set task, i.e., by feeling contrasts, doubts, and incomprehension. In other words, it is impossible to know what the attainment of unity will be and how I will feel with regard to this indivisible force as two of its opposite manifestations - the Kli and the Light - merge into one.

Therefore, it is said: "There is no wisdom without experience" ("Ein Hacham ke Ba'al Nissayon"). Only the person who has gone through all the preliminary stages of revelation of unity, who summarizes and accumulates them (they become his personal experience), gradually reveals the power of the Creator's greatness in the rich diversity of these sensations.

One can imagine the Creator's attainment as a triangle whose apex is directed downward. Man attains the unity of two opposite, gradually diverging forces; hence the revelation of unity is based on the negation of unity of opposites (i.e. the states opposite to the Creator). The more man advances, the stronger he feels how incomprehensive, contradictory, inconsistent, impossible is the idea that there might be a sole governance and that most likely, it is the Creator. Finally he reaches the state of Rabbi Shimon (who felt he was a market trader) before he was about to attain the greatest sensation of the Creator's unity. It is said: "Everyone who ascends higher has greater desires (evil, uncorrected desires) because the opposition between the extremes are greater and there is nothing one can do about it: only practice, experience, and the path are of assistance here.

The path of Kabbalah is based on the accumulation of past experience which helps in all situations.

When a person is at the beginning of a level and feels torn between the opposites, when he cannot reconcile them within himself and fails to understand how the Creator can appear in such a horrible and strange state, he believes that there are evil forces that oppose the Creator's governance.

When a person lives in this darkness, only two factors can help him: the environment, which he prepared for himself in advance while being in a good state; and his experience, which enables him to admit and understand that such states are possible. Although he never experienced a situation like this, he had problems in the past that were resolved in such a way that just the opposition and confusion revealed the Creator's unity. Hence, it is said: "There is no wisdom without experience."

From this it follows that, in principle, our path is not very difficult. It consists of simple interactions between the Light and the Kli. When the Kli is revealed (the realization of evil, opposition to Light), we perceive it as incomprehension, unwillingness, detachment, remoteness and all that is opposite to unity, which we sometimes vaguely feel as ecstasy, the sensation of resolved problems, understanding, etc.

Thus, at the initial stage of attaining every level, we realize the contrast between the Light and the Kli.

At the second stage the Kli makes an effort, performs an act aimed at unity in defiance of its knowledge and sensations at the moment. This is called "faith above reason" (Emuna Lemala mi Da'at). By our conscious effort we unify the two opposite notions of Light and Kli and say: "They are one."

The entire world is pressing on me. Some people harm me and nothing seems to be right. No, it is the Creator who confuses me by hiding behind all of these circumstances and objects.

Every time He makes me feel that there is no unity, that there are many forces that influence me and on which I depend. Our task at every stage is to unite it all within us in defiance of our obvious convictions and in spite of what happens at the moment.

We have nothing but these two states: the lack of unity and incomprehension how it can be, and in contrast to that - our efforts.

We cannot unite them because the Creator fools us all the time into believing it is not Him. At the same time we keep trying to attain His unity: one moment we feel it, the next it is gone. In this partial way He allows us to touch His unity pointwise. Now He is here, now He is gone again.

What is the purpose of this game? Finally, we have to understand that we cannot independently establish real contact and reveal His absolute, eternal and invariant unity.

Our efforts only create within us a prayer, desire to receive this state from the Creator at last. When in the process of attaining this unity we begin to see that we cannot attain it by ourselves, then we also reveal the root of the problem. We discover that it is the Creator Who deliberately does it all to us to make us turn to Him for help.

Thus, we will connect with Him with the help of our request and reveal this unity inside so that this unity does not exist only outside of me. In other words, we have to enter the Creator and inside Him reveal this unity in ourselves.

While trying to solve the problem of unity we cannot unite opposite states, but have to ask the Creator to do that for us. When we ask Him, we really determine this unity, i.e., we enter it, and we say that everything depends only on Him.

Subsequently, we start feeling that the Creator determines everything within me, that He exists not in the external circumstances, but inside me, and all of my thoughts, feelings, and decisions are His.

This way, I gradually enter into Him, and then the true unity means that I dissolve in the Creator and all distinctions between us disappear. My "I" is not eliminated, I do not become a zero; no, I become equal to Him, I myself constitute this unity.

Therefore it is said: "He who aspires for the Creator, the actions that he performs and the Upper force (Creator) turn into One." They are attained in such a way that all distinctions disappear and the thoughts and actions of both man and the Creator merge into one point. This is the point, from which the Creator's Light emanates, where only an embryo of a new Kli exists within Him. The entire creation descends and develops from there, and man ascends back to that point, to its root.

There are two paths of attaining this unity: the path of suffering and the path of Kabbalah. All the Kabbalistic materials speak only about this. This science studies one single thing: what actions a person should make to start attaining the Creator's unity.

It is the same to attain the Creator or His unity. How does one attain the Creator? This attainment is based either on our opposition to Him or on our similarity to Him.

Open the book "Shamati" ("I Heard"), in which the Baal HaSulam gave us the whole theory of the spiritual ascent, and you will see that no other issue is examined there.

Baal HaSulam compares the process of revelation of unity with the development that takes place in live organisms and depends on the final goal.

He explains: "For example, a one-day-old calf already walks, sucks, knows what to do and feels what is good and what is bad for it. All of its natural instincts already function. The stages of its growth are not as contrasting as man's: a one-day-old baby is a mindless creature that understands nothing. Nature seems to be totally indifferent; but on the contrary, it tries to reveal the state, which is opposite to the final one."

Two Ways of Development: the Path of Suffering and the Path of Kabbalah

The Upper ruling force has the quality of absolute kindness and that it rules over us purposefully. It stems from its own perfection without any trace of evil. This means that the purposefulness of its governance compels us to accept the order of passing through various states that are connected by the law of cause and effect, until we can receive the desired goodness thus reaching the goal of creation. We are like a splendid fruit at the end of its ripening. This result is guaranteed to all of us without exception.

The thought of creation is simple: the Creator wished to create a creation that would attain Him and become as perfect as He is.

Creation constitutes something that is beyond the Creator and His unity. We all are created in such a way that we feel the lack of unity. Our primordial nature is darkness, the Kli (desire), and the Hissaron (deficiency). All in all, we lack the sensation of unity of all opposites and of their mutual support.

We are created with the lack of unity and our task is to reveal it. Whether we want it or not, everyone without exception is obliged to fulfill that task. Every individual soul and all the souls together will have to do that. So what is our goal then? At every stage of our advancement, in every state of disunion we have to aspire for the revelation of unity. Being separated from the Creator, I feel Him, myself and the distance between us, that is, I feel lack of resemblance between us.

The Baal HaSulam writes that man has to unite the Creator, the means of attaining Him and himself into a single whole. He compares a person who aspires to the Creator with a young man who longs for his beloved so that he could unite with her. Therefore, spiritual merging is compared with sexual union? in our world.

We describe the process of uniting with the Creator as fusion, i.e., the state in which no distinctions can be discerned. How can distinctions be absent if creation is opposite to the Creator? They support and complement each other; there is no Creator without creation and there is no creation without the Creator.

The Upper force's conception consists in enabling every soul in this world (which is opposite to the upper world) to reveal the unity of all contrasts and contradictions that man experiences in every state, revelation of unity being revelation of indivisible source that purposefully acts upon each soul. It wishes us to acquire its property of absolute love and bestowal. If we become similar to the Upper force, all contradictions between us disappear and we merge into one.

If I solve this problem, I begin to understand the Creator and unite with Him. I can understand Him, only to the extent that my properties resemble His, and then contradictions disappear. The equivalence of our properties is a means of our merging.

Therefore, the work on egoistical desire with the help of a screen is called Zivug de Aka'a (impact merging). By opposing my egoistical desire and wishing to establish contact with the Creator, I merge with Him and this fusion is opposite to the initial state.

This occurs because the Light is initially opposite to the vessel and my task is to defy the vessel and make it similar to the Light. Such a state is called Zivug, penetration of one into the other as in sexual union.

The intent of the Upper force is to bring us to similarity to its quality of absolute good; this goal determines all of its actions.

We have to reveal that all the Creator's actions (however corrupt and awful they might seem in our perception) are desirable and necessary, inevitable from the part of the Creator, because they are determined by the stages of development through which we are destined to go.

There is no chance of skipping any level, and only if we gradually pass through them one by one, can we achieve the goal. This goal dictates all our actions.

Two paths are prepared to bring us to the goal:

1. The Path of Suffering.
2. The Path of Kabbalah.

But do not think that there are two paths. The path is only one.

To reveal the Creator's unity a person has to solve this problem in all circumstances and situations that the Creator sends him.

I exist in the world that is full of various forces and opinions. In spite of this influence I have to tell myself: "The Creator creates this picture within me. I need to connect all of these constantly changing states, influences, thoughts, and doubts with one source that stands behind them."

As a result, I discover that I can accomplish this task neither by myself nor with the help of the group. I turn to the Creator and solve this problem together with Him. Yet this is my solution. I appeal to the Creator, I compel Him to help me, but all the same, I solve this problem together with Him.

If a person forgets that the Creator exists, he falls from the level of the search for unity (the task, which the Creator sets before him) to the lower level. He stops thinking that the Creator exists and draws the picture of this world for him, and plunges into the so-called "state of concealment." What is concealed from him? He loses sight of the Source that determines all and his contact with the Creator turns into the "path of suffering."

In reality, this is not a path, but rather a sequence of actions which he will perceive as unpleasant and cruel. They will guide him towards the point from which he will have to find the solution to the problem of unity.

In other words, if I sink below the level of the search for unity (searching for the Creator in this picture, realization of what He wants from me, how can I unite with Him using the picture of the world (unite into one: the Creator, I, and the world that seemingly exists between us) and feel only my own "I" and the world without the Creator, then I have stepped onto the so-called path of suffering.

This path is the order of creation's natural evolution from one state to another. All the states are interconnected by cause and effect. In this way, we slowly and gradually develop until we realize the need to choose unity. One way or another we come to the same conclusion. After many blows we finally realize the need to reject evil and to establish the purposeful contact with the Upper force. This path is extremely long and painful.

What the Creator is trying to do with us, if we fall? We fall only within our sensations. In fact, there are no falls. When the Creator is left out of the picture, we immediately start perceiving it as suffering.

By slightly rising to the level of realization of the Upper governance, I suddenly remember that the Creator gives me the picture of the world so that from inside it, and by means of it, I will get into contact with Him.

There is reason why world has this name: it is the concealment ("Olam" - Heb. "world" is from the world "Alama" - "concealment") The world is like a curtain between us, and instead of the Creator I see various characters, forces, myself with my thoughts and desires, and believe that I am in control of my life and have freedom of will.

If a person remembers his realization of the Upper force, he sort of shakes himself and breaks free from his exile. Exile is the sensation of the Creator's absence in one's world.

When you feel Him, but cannot yet compare yourself with Him, this is not exile anymore. This is the liberation that is similar to the exodus from Egypt, but the path from it leads through wilderness. You look for the Creator and see no way to merge with Him. You encounter many problems and irreconcilable contradictions. The Torah describes man's search for the formula of his connection with the Creator (the property of Bina) as a historical narrative in which people fight and fall.

40 years of wandering in the wilderness symbolize the attainment of the level of Bina. Bina corresponds to the Hebrew letter Mem ("ם", numerical value of 40), which resembles zero. By ascending that level, man as it were covers, protects himself from the forces that deny the Creator's unity.

The person who treads on the path of suffering falls from the sensation of the Creator and perceives this world as bad and evil. He forgets about the need to attain the Creator's unity and about the purpose of this world.

As a result the same laws affect him in a natural way. The Creator does not alter His attitude towards man, but the moment He disappears from man's view, man starts perceiving this world differently - as meaningless, useless, and full of suffering.

Developing egoism leads us to this perception; hence humankind sees the world in this way.

2. The Path of Kabbalah

This easy and pleasant path can make us worthy of our predestination quickly and painlessly.

The path of Kabbalah is a conscious quest with the help of a group of like-minded people, books, and work on oneself. Although it is called easy and pleasant, this path is not simple, but if we compare the path of Kabbalah with the path of suffering, which takes thousands of years, we find it can be completed within a lifetime.

It is considered easy and pleasant because if man chooses it, then even if he suffers and works very hard, he sees the goal and his efforts turn into the efforts for the sake of love.

When a person feels that he has to make efforts to get closer to his beloved, these efforts become pleasant because they enable him to feel greater sweetness in the union with the one he loves.

In this case our final goal is predetermined and compulsory; we see it in front of us and there is no way we can evade it because the Upper force firmly rules over us by means of the two paths - of suffering and of Kabbalah.

We think about the goal all the time; but if we forget about it, then the society that we created instantly rushes to our help and directs us to the goal. In other words, as consciously as we can, we always try to look for contact with the Creator.

By looking at the surrounding reality we can see that we are being simultaneously managed in these two ways.

Ideally, we can advance only by the path of Kabbalah (Torah, the Light). In reality, however, by attaining a new, greater level of egoism or, as we say, by expanding the "opposite triangle" (i.e., by feeling the increasingly growing contrast between the surrounding world and the Creator), we realize how powerless we are to see the unity of all. Man tends to forget and starts looking for his own solutions; that is the way things are.

Drawing Nr 1


The Essence of Kabbalah is in Leading Us to the Realization of Evil

The purpose of all man's actions in his aspiration to attain the Upper world is the realization of evil within him. He discovers that his natural egoism stands in his way to the Upper world.

However, this definition is incorrect: we do not aspire after the attainment of the Upper world. Actually, we have no need for it. The Upper world means greater concealment because the higher the world is, the more it is concealed. So there is no good news here.

From this it follows that the attainment of the Upper world is the revelation of the Creator's unity in even greater contradictions and disparities that we feel within. In the Upper world we do not find space filled with demons and angels. On the contrary, we attain one force and, simultaneously we reveal many other seemingly independent forces. By uniting them all in one, we reveal the Creator.

Besides the objects that we observe in this world, man attains only one force that stands behind and controls them all. A clear, explicit apprehension of this force is called the revelation of the Upper world. We reveal only the degree of unity in the universal governance.

When we say that the Upper world is full of objects, we mean the multitude of forces that control us, which we ultimately unite in one single force called the Creator.

We cannot help being amazed and puzzled when we read "The Study of Ten Sefirot." What does this book describe? It describes the soul that is influenced, controlled by two opposite spiritual forces.

Why are they opposite? One of them comes from the direction of the Kli, the other - from the Light. They can be called Hassadim and Hochma or Rachamim and Din (mercy and judgment). They are revealed in Zivug de Aka'a, inside our material. Nothing else exists.

Therefore, I wish to say that the attainment of the Upper Worlds is the attainment of various measures of the indivisible governing force. What does the expression "various measures" mean? This means the extent of revelation of its contradictions. The higher the world is, the deeper the contradiction between what seems to us and the solution for this contradiction. That is all. That is to say, one and the same problem is being solved constantly - the revelation of the Creator's unity.

All the difference between created beings lies in the extent of their realization of evil. A higher evolved creature comprehends a higher degree of its evil (i.e., its opposition to the Creator). This is the only parameter and, in general, the only way to evaluate oneself in relation to the ultimate standard - the Creator.

Therefore, it recognizes evil and pushes it away more than an undeveloped creature that feels a lesser degree of it and therefore leaves it within, because it does not feel it as evil.

Let us suppose I knew that in order to escape death, grave disease, or dreadful punishment I have to get up and come to this lesson. I would undoubtedly do so.

If I lack this confidence, if my group, my habit, my inner statute fail to convince me, then I stay at home. Everything is determined either by the need to avoid suffering or to receive pleasure.

If I knew that this brings me a million dollars, (it does not matter what sum represents a million dollars for each of us) I would not find it difficult to get up in the middle of the night and rush to the lesson because I would know that I gain much more than a few hours of sleep.

Therefore, everything depends on how much more important the Creator's revelation and my contact with Him are than the pleasure that I can imagine today in the state of separation from Him. This is the meaning of the realization of evil. This evil is perceived as the lack of contact with the Creator in the sham reception of pleasure that we seek.

Hence, it is said that the basis of all evil is love for oneself called egoism. This quality is opposite to the Upper force, which only possesses the will to bestow.

If so, wherein lies the attainment of unity? The attainment of the Creator and the entrance into the Upper world is equivalent to attainment of unity or to the achievement of the property of bestowal, inclusion into it, adhesion with it.

Those who imagine the spiritual world as something other than the attainment of the greater altruistic property, of bestowal, (when all the problems of unification between the Creator and creation together with all the conflicting circumstances that emerge because of it are solved) completely misunderstand this notion. The Upper world is our state at a more altruistic level.

A person who does not aspire to achieve it, whose actions are aimed at receiving everything from everyone, at placing everyone under his control who disregards the recommendations of Kabbalists, is in no way advancing towards the union with the Creator.

It is impossible to approach the Creator and at the same time behave in the opposite way: subdue others, dictate to them how they should develop spiritually, aspire to trample down the entire world.

There is no coercion in spirituality. This is the main principle in accordance with which we have to explore the spiritual realm. Our attitude towards ourselves and others should be based on it. The property of bestowal is opposite to coercion. There is no difference between the revelation of unity of all forces and the attainment of the Creator, of His property of bestowal.

Why can't I easily correlate the world's manifestation around me and the lack of bestowal within me? These things do not appear the same to me at all.

I see the big world around me with no Creator present in it. How can I know that if I start giving, everything will be good?

I perceive the world's picture in accordance with my egoistical Kli. I draw this picture on my egoistical substrate and the Creator is entirely absent from it. This world is governed by various forces, governments, financiers, and the military, all of which are mere puppets.

Since my egoistical property is opposite to the Creator, I perceive the surrounding reality accordingly. Hence, it is said: "Kol ha-Posel be Mumo Posel" ("Everyone judges by his own defect").

However, as soon as I transform my egoistical properties into altruistic, I become similar to the Creator. He enters into my world and begins revealing Himself in all that is outside and within me. It turns out that I merge with Him through the surrounding world.

The first and most important state that we go through is called the realization of evil. We understand that because of our egoism (i.e., opposition to the Creator) we perceive the surrounding world and Him incorrectly.

I do not cry to the Creator: "Why are You hiding from me?!" I cannot see Him and I do not know Him, but I was told that he exists. However, I am not looking for a way to perceive reality correctly as yet. Gradually, I start realizing why my state is so imperfect. And what is a "perfect state?" Kabbalists say that it is the state of similarity to the Creator, the state of absolute bestowal.

I am not in that state because I am opposite to Him. Since my nature is absolute egoism, I accordingly make a decision as to what I should do: I am going to change not the outside picture, not the surrounding world, but myself. As I switch my attention to the source of action and start changing myself, my perception of reality also starts changing.

In point of fact, reality does not change: I remain in the same perfect and corrected state (in the world of Infinity, Ein Sof). However, I will be able to feel it only after correcting myself. The entire world excluding me is perfectly corrected.

The person who begins attaining the world reveals that nothing exists around him but the Creator (i.e., the absolutely corrected state) and the completely corrected souls. It turns out that everything depends only on his personal correct inclusion in this picture.

The sensation of aversion for egoism is different in every soul. An underdeveloped person does not consider egoism a bad quality; hence, he uses it openly and shamelessly. A highly evolved person is aware of a certain degree of his egoism and is ashamed to demonstrate it in public; therefore he usually disguises its use.

In other words, the extent of man's egoism determines the way it will be used. Enormous egoism completely rules over people in defiance of education and caution. Some of them pursue their political goals; others resort to robbery and murder.

We see it in politicians, whose methods of communication cardinally differ from that of ordinary people. Their egoism is so enormous that today's enemy may easily turn into a close friend and ally the next day and back into an implacable enemy again by the end of that day. This is not considered enmity or friendship; rather, it is perceived as politically correct conduct.

The only importance is attached to what is rational and profitable and others' interests are bluntly disregarded. Such people aspire to fill their Kli at every moment of their existence. This conduct is considered quite normal, and the better they can take advantage of others to achieve their goals, the more commendation they deserve.

Such people are driven only by the inner program of achieving power. They can kill and confer decorations, steal and persecute - all the available means are good as long as their objectives are attained. If the person is focused only on the attainment of his goal and steadily advances towards it, he is believed to be a wise and prudent politician. Such people inevitably achieve their goals and usually serve as heads of our governments.

Thus, the degree of man's egoism determines how unceremonious his behavior is. And vice versa, when he begins to feel the ugliness of his egoism, this sensation defines his spiritual level and dictates all of his actions.

The level when a person already feels his egoism with regard to the Creator is necessary. Unlike politicians and ordinary people, the person attracts the influence of the surrounding Light upon himself with his own efforts.

The surrounding Light affects us and we perceive our own properties as opposite to the properties of this Light. This sensation of our contrast to the higher level (not to the Creator so far) turns into the realization of evil and compels us to diminish the difference between us (purification).

To be in the process of the preliminary spiritual correction means to reach the level of the realization of evil, to feel one's opposition to the Light, to the Creator's properties.

The opposition you feel within should suppress all the other negative sensations to such an extent that only this problem would be before you. When only this problem exists for you, then your desire to solve it is defined as "raising MAN," offering a prayer, appealing to the Creator.

The Creator responds only to the request for a solution to this problem (of disparity between you and Him). The rest is not considered a problem. All the problems will be accumulating within you until you realize that they are but the elements of this single problem: your opposition to Him. Everything else was created for this purpose, our entire world with all of its "problems."

When a person reaches this correct state (i.e., "Only the Creator and I exist, and I have to attain this truth!"), then this inner conviction is called "raising MAN" because man's suffering is felt by its upper level (the AHP of the upper Partzuf that is lowered into us), and just this desire can be included in the upper level.

This is a request for merging, correction, ascent to the level where man becomes one with the Creator. He already asks for what the upper level is ready to give (correction and fulfillment) and immediately rises to the Upper world's first level.

This will take place only when a person has only one desire - to become completely similar to the Creator. This happens automatically; nothing is supposed to rise anywhere. By the spiritual ascent we mean the advancement towards a more altruistic state. There is nothing else up there.

Everything depends on a person. A highly evolved person feels egoism as something so disgusting that he cannot tolerate it. Therefore, he expels it completely in accordance with his level of realization, for he neither wishes nor is able to receive pleasure at the expense of others.

He begins to feel that the Creator intentionally surrounds him with other people. He wants the person to understand through this confusion of relations with others that basically, it is his attitude towards the Creator who stands behind them all. These others are not one but many to enable man to unite with the Creator.

Ultimately, sparks of love for his neighbor start awakening in the person. They are called altruism, which is the basis of good. This quality gradually develops in him. First he develops a feeling of love to his relatives and wants to take care of them. When the quality of altruism develops within him even more, a degree of bestowal to everyone around him, his neighbors, his people, and all humankind grows in him as well.

A person perceives more and more distant souls as created beings that exist for the sake of the goal.

We see that the spiritual levels of the Creator's attainment are the levels of our increasingly greater realization and correction of evil. The expanding concentric circles of our good, altruistic attitude towards more and more people will ultimately embrace the entire human race.

The Baal HaSulam explains it in the Introduction to "The Study of Ten Sefirot." When a person becomes aware of his egoism and corrects it, he starts feeling other souls' desires as his own and corrects them. Thus, love for all creations and unity with them fills him. In this unity with other parts of the Kli he feels unity with the Creator.

The understanding that the revelation of the Upper world and ascending its levels is the increasingly greater attainment of the altruistic properties, the correct definition of the spiritual instantly answers man's question: "Does he aspire to it or not?"

Therefore, a person has to decide every time whether his idea of the spiritual is correct. If he perceives spirituality as some imaginary picture and believes that he aspires to a more comfortable state, then he clearly lost direction.

Question: Does it follow from your words that a person starts correcting other souls and develops the sensation of others only after the completion of his own correction?

No, it doesn't. The ascent to every level means unity of man with the universe. This unity is achieved in two stages.

The first stage of unity with the universe comes when I stop using my egoistical Kelim. This is called the correction of Galgalta ve Eynaim.

Let's take a look at this process. With regard to the spiritual my egoism equals zero: I want neither spirituality nor the Creator. This means that my egoism is only at the level of this world: I crave for bodily pleasures, I want to know and receive everything I see in it. The Creator does not exist for me; hence I feel only this world and have no other desires.

Then a point in my heart (the root of the next spiritual level) starts awakening. I have to develop it, fan it, and make it swell. In other words, I need to acquire the desire for the Creator. The Baal HaSulam compares it with a person who is mad with love.

Every one of us has experienced first love in his or her life. Man is intentionally given these states so that he will have a standard by which he can measure his feelings at times when everything grows dim. "Oh, I'm so enticed, I want her so much, I love her so much, I badly want her to stay with me, become mine." We have to have at least the same aspiration to the Creator, which are described in Song of Songs as "I am love-sick."

In one of the Baal HaSulam's letters this aspiration is likened to seemingly animate sensations. We ascend from this world; hence we take our examples from it. We experience it all only to compare it with our advancement to the Creator, so there is no need to be shy about using these words and expressions. This is the language of root and branch.

So we acquire a great desire for the Creator. When it rises above this entire world, this means that a person is ready to pass to the next level. This desire is not yet corrected, it is still egoistical. Yet it is directed only to the Creator. This indicates that a person has already reached the so far uncorrected spiritual state.

Now he only has to correct it. The Light (Ohr Makif) works on you and corrects your state. This is called "I tried, aspired, and found" (Yagati ve Matzati).

I cannot correct myself; the Light does it. However, I have to aspire for it. I want to attain the Creator both egoistically and altruistically at the same time. I cannot yet separate one from the other within me. The Baal HaSulam writes in the Introduction to "The Study of Ten Sefirot" that the states Lishma and Lo Lishma are combined together.

That is the way it should be. I have to understand that, on the one hand, it is my aspiration to altruism, while, on the other hand, it is still egoistical. This is my state and it can't be helped. However, I have this desire and if it exists in me, then by correcting it I can ascend the next spiritual level.

This way I receive my first correction and as a result I begin to understand what the altruistic property is. I acquire altruistic qualities and aspiration to the Creator. This starts from zero above the Machsom. In fact, it appeared first below the Machsom, but in the spiritual world it is considered to be zero level.

Subsequently, bigger and bigger egoistical desires emerge within me. As they grow from the Aviut 0 to 4 and become enormous, I correct them all with Galgalta ve Eynaim (GE), i.e., abstain from using them.

I correct and purify them using the properties of Bina and thus correct my GE. By neutralizing my increasingly growing egoism I gradually rise from our world to the world of Atzilut. When I reach the last egoistical level while receiving nothing for myself (as a righteous person who needs nothing for himself) and acquire all the properties of GE, then I completely entered the world of Atzilut.

Now I make another action. What does "correct GE" mean? I do not want anything from anyone. I merely correct my attitude towards others and stop using them selfishly.

Upon correcting my GE (i.e., after correcting myself with regard to the rest of the souls), I start correcting my AHP (Awzen, Hotem, Peh). I begin to absorb other souls' desires in order to correct and fill them.

My corrected GE enable me to work with them thanks to the property of complete Bina that I acquired. Bina's desire is to correct egoism and fill it with Light in the same way Ima fills ZON. Now I wish to do the same for other souls: I want to accept their desires because for me they are like AHP.

I absorb their egoism and correct it - feed it, fulfill it. This action is referred to as the attachment of AHP. My AHP are made up of all the souls, the rest of the Kli. Until I do that, I will not be able to complete my correction.

It turns out that when I attain the properties of GE, I become equal to the Creator. He is in the same state, wishing only to delight His creations and nothing for Himself.

What is my advantage with regard to the Creator? The fact is that I share the same egoistical properties with all the creations. Since I have my own egoism, my own AHP, I can correct, help, and fill them. The Creator is unable to do this.

My advantage over Him is that I am His messenger, representative in this world. This way by carrying out His actions I become like Him.

The correction of GE means that although all the souls gradually reveal themselves to me in such a way that I can use them, I do not want to do that. This process is defined as the gradual correction of GE. This is the manifestation of my unwillingness to use the surrounding world, the souls and the Creator selfishly. Afterwards, I will use the souls to fill them.

I constantly work with all souls, either refraining from their use for myself or using them in order to fill them.

Therefore, with regard to them I act as the Creator. The souls constitute the third party in a situation where I and the Creator are similar. I treat them in the same way He does: His attitude towards them is absolutely good, and, by acquiring the property of GE, I treat them similarly, without any self-interest. The way He wishes to fill them, I too correct myself and with His help can fill all the other souls.

Hence, it is said that man completes creation and leads it to the goal. The Creator and I become equal partners with regard to the rest of the universe. That is why He broke the common soul into parts and gave these parts an opportunity to treat others as He does.

Conscious and Unconscious Development

Two forces push us forward and compel us to climb the spiritual levels until we reach its top - the final goal, when our properties become equal to those of the Upper force:

1. One of the forces propels us without our choice or realization. It spurs us from behind; Kabbalists call it "the path of suffering." Ethical and educational systems based on empirical knowledge tested by the practical mind stem from it.

The essence of this system is nothing but evaluation of harm caused by the growing sprouts of egoism. This experimental data was received "by chance."

What does "by chance" mean? While existing on this planet, I and billions of other people feel destiny's blows, learn what is good and what is bad, and finally create a certain picture. Thus we decide what we should do and what we should not do in order to exist comfortably.

We bring this data together into what we call an ethical or educational system. In Hebrew it is called "Musar" (moral teaching). We create this system empirically and we ought to take it into consideration because it includes our entire previous experience.

What is good or bad about this system? It works well with regard to our world and badly with regard to where we have no knowledge or experience. That is to say, cause and effect are concealed from us; hence we have no idea of what we should do with regard to the spiritual world.

Ask a wise man in our world who engages in science, arts or philosophy: "What should be done?" and he will be at a loss how to answer your question. Because we do not receive the correct information about our actions, see no cause and effect, we cannot instruct the next generation: "Do this and do not do that."

That is why our education is worthless, and every next generation will be unhappier than the one before it. So in fact, the system simply does not work.

A system of education is the most important thing in the world. If we had sufficient experience and knowledge, our children would be happy. Next time we come to this world we would correct ourselves and live happily. We would pass this information from generation to generation and with its help would be able to act correctly.

However, we cannot do that, hence this path is called the path of suffering. We will never know how to advance based on experience because egoism is constantly renewed. The problem is that today I cannot approach my egoism with the previously accumulated experience. Every moment it grows, expands, and renews itself within me.

We have no experience to match our developing egoism; hence we constantly err. Only if we apply to it the knowledge of Kabbalists (above reason, above our understanding), who advise us how to deal with it, will we be able to act correctly. This is called "faith above reason."

We should understand that neither we nor anyone else has any past experience to manage our ever-growing egoism. We ought to draw on the experience of Kabbalists who have reached higher spiritual levels and blindly follow their advice because we perceive our new additional egoism incorrectly.

Unless we follow the advice of Kabbalists, our advancement takes place under the constraining influence of natural forces. They push us forward and we constantly receive bruises and bumps in the process. As a result, we do not progress correctly.

2. The second force pushes us forward by means of our conscious awareness. We choose this force on our own. It draws us from the front and Kabbalists call it "the path of Kabbalah." By taking this path and following the advice of Kabbalists with the intention of making our properties equal to the Upper force, we quickly realize our evil and receive a double benefit.

So what are the characteristics of these two paths?

The first one - the path of suffering - gradually teaches us that we should find another way to advance. In other words, we should stop relying on our own experience, strength, knowledge and memory, as well as on the advice of people like ourselves. That is because none of us has sufficient experience to know at every moment of time how to act in this world. Our egoism is constantly changing; every second we have a new Kli that never existed before and we do not know how to deal with it. Every new Kli requires a special method of interaction.

Our second opportunity is to use the opinion, knowledge and advice of Kabbalists who say that the only correct approach is to switch off one's egoistical mind and to act the way the spiritual level would act in your place - altruistically.

You unite all your thoughts and properties with the Creator, and interact with Him as if you and He form a single whole. This way, although you are not really merged with Him (do not imagine that you are actually one with the Creator), your efforts draw the Upper Light (Ohr Makif) upon you.

What does the Light do? As the Baal HaSulam writes, it stimulates within you the realization of evil. It does not make you happy right away. I do not immediately become similar to the Creator just because I aspire to Him and believe that there is none else beside Him.

He does not reveal Himself to me at once because I am opposite to Him and I still must correct myself. That is why evil is revealed to me! I feel it as suffering, and here a problem exists: I do not want to feel this evil because it hurts, so instinctively I move away from this path.

What should I do? How can I overcome this pain from being opposite to the Creator, bad, imperfect, and full of detestable properties? How can I get over pain and feel pleasure because evil was revealed to me?

What should I be thinking about so as not to let the realization of evil suppress my inner aspiration to advance? This sensation can be so overpowering that I will run away from it with my eyes shut.

This means that our goal is to feel all the stages on our path to the Creator as a constant pleasant and exciting ascent.

At the same time, while realizing our evil, we see how corrupt and insignificant we are. So what can we do?

Here a person needs a group which tells him: "What you are feeling now (your realization of evil) is in fact wonderful. This indicates that we advance towards the goal. This is the way we really are and now we reveal the truth. The revelation of truth does not pass unnoticed; the fact that your true state is revealed to you is a great victory."

The group should support the person and help him to understand that the revelation of evil within him is actually the best encouraging sign he can possibly receive from the Creator. In that case, he will perceive the realization of evil as delightful liberation and will say to himself: "I have achieved this state at last."

How can it be that I suddenly feel suffering as pleasure? This is possible because we consist of the heart and the mind. We may suffer in our heart (i.e., in our desires), but in our mind we can perceive it as pangs of love.

I associate suffering with the goal and appraise it with regard to the future state because the realization of evil occurs under the influence of the Ohr Makif. I already imagine and subconsciously look forward to attaining the next higher state.

I will become like the Light, not like my present Kli, although now I only feel contrast between them.

If a person receives the direction to the Light from the group and from its leader, he will not fear the realization of evil.

We do not have to wait until our life experience starts pushing us from behind by means of pain. At the same time, our intention to reach similarity to the Upper force helps us to develop the same realization of evil without suffering.

As soon as we begin to aspire to become equal to the Upper force, we feel its purity and sweetness. The comprehension of meanness of self-love develops in us. This growing revelation of evil develops in combination with a feeling of pleasure and peace of mind that slowly emerges within us as a result of similarity to the Upper force.

If we independently advance, we align ourselves with the Creator correctly and see our defects with regard to Him and look forward to our liberation and healing within Him.

This way we gain time, because we act consciously; it is in our power to do more and thus speed up the process of our correction until we achieve absolute equality to the Upper force and merge with it.

Question: What is the difference between the attainment of unity through the realization of evil and simply in the egoistical Kelim?

The typical realization of evil occurs not in the surrounding Light, but by itself. You get caught if you steal; you get exposed if you lie. Here I evaluate myself not with regard to the Upper Light, but with regard to the punishment I receive. Hence, I need to steal in such a way as not to be caught or if I get caught all the time, I have to stop stealing.

What is the conclusion I make? I can stop using my egoism because I have no other way out or I look for ways to use it legitimately and so as to avoid punishment. However, I do not try to correct egoism and my realization of evil happens not in the spiritual Light, but at the level of this world.

The spiritual altruistic Light, the Ohr Makif, descends upon us if we artificially begin to wish to become similar to the Creator and work in the group to attain that objective. As a result of that, the Upper Light affects us and with regard to it we feel our evil. This evil is totally different: it is not the fear that I will be caught and punished; I suffer because I desperately want to be like the Creator, but my nature is opposite to Him.

I evaluate my egoism in a completely different way. The path of suffering, Musar, compulsive education that forces man to refrain from evil does not correct him. We see: jails are still open; people become increasingly worse; and what was previously considered an outrage is accepted as a norm today. We can get used to the drug problem, tolerate prostitution, and connive at larceny.

Why do most human vices become accepted? This is because we are powerless against our egoism. We simply slacken our standards of the permissible. Only a downright murder still goes without acquittal.

This happens because we want to correct ourselves with regard to punishment, but not with regard to the Light. Correspondingly, we do not ask the Upper Light to correct us and remain as we are. Generations deteriorate instead of becoming better.

The system of compulsive education and interdiction (Musar) teaches humanity nothing. Its task is to bring people to the last level of the realization of evil and to let them see that they cannot get out of this situation by themselves and are in need of a completely new, different system of education and ethics.

Humankind will then discover that only Kabbalah provides an answer because this system stimulates the descent of the Upper Light and enables man to feel it and compare himself with it. Nothing short of that will help.

Until then, we will continue degenerating all the time.

Question: Why can't I attain the Creator's world by merely realizing the difference between myself and Him, without the realization of evil?

The following definitions of good: the realization of evil, the sensation of absence of the Creator's unity, and remoteness from real, true comfort (in the egoistical state we cannot feel it anyway because it disappears next moment) can be perceived only in contact with the root.

Is the attainment of the Creator and becoming an altruist the same thing? We should clarify what this expression, "the attainment of the Creator," really means. As a matter of fact, it is equivalent to the acquisition of the altruistic properties.

How can you acquire such properties? You have no other method, no other system of control, but a group of like-minded people. How can we approach this? Obviously, we cannot "fall upon" the entire world; hence, the best way to begin is by organizing a small group. What is the method, how can we know - how? To help us with that, a statute is given to us from the upper level.

Everything is interrelated; hence you only need to begin correctly. For example, in different languages the same object may have different names: table, stol (Russian), Tisch (German), Shulchan (Hebrew), etc. Now instead of different words, I will have this notion inside me. What does it mean "to go from the language to a notion" I will fill words with their inner meaning. Instead of using the words stol, Tisch, Shulchan, I will simply penetrate inside and perceive forces instead of an objects.

Delve into the notion, "I, the Creator and our unity" and you will see that nothing else exists. The rest of the properties, actions, and everything else that happens to us and within us are included in these three objects: I, the Creator and the means of our merging. At the moment they are torn within you because you use many different words to express the same notion.

Once you determine correctly of what you speak, all the contradictions will disappear.

Question: Why do I need to recognize evil, if I can see the Creator behind all that exists anyway?

To see means to perceive and one can perceive only if one is to a certain extent similar to the perceived object. This is true even in this world. Unless I have an inner mechanism capable of generating and perceiving an outside wave, I simply cannot hear it. All our earthly sense organs are based on that and so are the spiritual.

To feel the Creator means to be somewhat similar to Him. Consequently, I cannot remain an egoist and at the same time feel Him. In this case, I just imagine that I feel Him: I hear a voice from above or see visionary images. There are many people who experience such auditory and visual hallucinations. However, I have no way to feel the Creator without to some extent being an altruist.

This is possible only if my attitude towards others is the same as His. All spiritual work in our world stems from it. That is the purpose of this world - to let everyone prepare himself for a meeting with the Creator.

You may ask any questions that you like, but you will finally see that everything before you exists only for that and there is no contradiction at all. All in man and around him was created with one single purpose - to let him find a way to the Creator. The entire creation was meant only for that and we need not do anything else in this world! This is the only purpose for its existence.

Question: Is altruism a controlled egoism?

Altruism is a controlled egoism! You expressed it so wonderfully and so very correctly. We cannot get away from egoism and retain all its properties without suppressing them. We correctly use not egoism, but rather the will to receive. Egoism is the desire to receive pleasure for one's self. You use this desire, but already for pleasing others and consequently the Creator.

Question: On the one hand, the realization of evil is the absence of the will to bestow and the aspiration to similarity of properties with the Creator. On the other hand, the mind enables you to understand things and to advance. How can we prevent the mind from telling us that everything is all right?

The interrelation between the mind and desires can be different: either desire dictates what the mind should do or the mind tries to obscure desire. The mind and desire should interrelate in such a way that the left and the right line - desires and mind - coincided in the third point - the Creator.

In some cases (as in our world) feelings dominate over the mind and in others the mind neutralizes feelings or simply disregards them. In both cases the result is not good. Everything should be based on the middle line, between Hesed and Gevura, Din and Rachamim.

Question: The mind rejoices because the Kli is highlighted and the realization of evil takes place. This is like the right diagnosis - a new Kli manifests and offers more work. On the other hand, this joy subdues the desire for the realization of evil: everything seems to be all right.

If your aspiration to the Creator is powerful enough, the realization of evil becomes a pleasant experience for you, because it reveals your nature as opposite to the Creator.

Being afraid that this state will end, you will stop aspiring to the Creator and trying to reach the equivalence to Him in properties. Instead, you will want to remain in the same state while admitting to yourself: "Now I feel that I am opposite to the Creator. How good it is that I've reached this level!" This is called Klipah.

Sometimes a person sits and suffers while eating his heart out and at the same time enjoying it: "What a poor sufferer am I!" Such states can continue for a long time and a person can hardly get out of it by himself.

The best way is to do it under the influence of the society, which is capable of illuminating man's path. This way he begins to see that there is a higher state and acquires an additional desire for it. As a rule, envy awakens at this point and this is a very good feeling. If used correctly, it can give you a mighty push forward.

However, such states do exist. In every state, both the worst and the best, the Klipot (our egoism) have a way of slipping out in such a way that a person will start enjoying them. Even when there is no escape and the person is led to his doom, his egoism will still find something sublime in this state to justify its existence.

It is amazing what our egoism can do! It is really equal to the Creator in its power.

The Science of Kabbalah is Intended for the Benefit of its User

The difference between the Kabbalistic method of man's correction and other methods lies in their goal: what standards should the corrected person meet, those of society or those of the Upper force?

In other words, with regard to what do we evaluate ourselves? Do we want to become good citizens or do we aspire to become similar to the Creator? That is what makes Kabbalah so cardinally different from ethics, in the same way as spirituality differs from corporeality.

Ethics sees its goal in building a happy society the way the practical mind based on life experience comprehends it. This goal does not promise an individual any benefit beyond the limitations of nature.

Nowadays we are trying to introduce a new notion all over the world - "new ethics." What does it mean?

We can say to the society: "Folks would you like to live well? You see that misfortunes are befalling us all the time; hence we can be happy only if we change. If we become better and more altruistic, we will live well."

By setting this goal and putting ourselves in this position, we come back to communism and socialism that we have already lived through. The Baal HaSulam writes: "The impending blow will be appalling because we replace the goal with a substitute. The goal cannot be the achievement of good life in society. It should be to attain the Creator and to merge with Him."

Unless we reveal this Goal and aspire to attain it, all our efforts lead us in a faulty direction.

Therefore, it is wrong to appear on television and broadcast on the radio that we have to correct ourselves to be good and live well. This is the return to communism and nothing good will come out of it because we substitute the Purpose of creation with an artificial goal.

Our animate egoism that says "Let's make a good life for ourselves" will inevitably lead us again to a much greater fiasco than the one we are witnessing today.

Why is Russia in such a state today? The reason for it lies in the fact that the people there took the divine principle of bestowal, and although there was no trace of bestowal in what they did, they declared this idea as their goal, profaned it; and hence, caused harm of disastrous proportions to themselves.

If they had realized different ideas, they would have gone through all the processes and states long ago and achieved good results. Without this change they tend to plunge into dictatorship again only because they misused the divine idea.

If we say to the society: "To live well, let's study Kabbalah and correct ourselves. The instrument called the Upper Light will correct us and we will feel good," we will make the most terrible mistake and will cause irreparable damage to ourselves, to others, and to our children.

We have to explain to the society what the purpose of creation is: "There is one indivisible Creator, and our goal is to merge with Him." If all our actions are directed toward it, then all our intermediate states will be comfortable, but not egoistical. They will be pleasant because we will live in this goal and attain it.

Therefore, any other way of development, except gradual education of society and publishing textbooks is unacceptable. First, we have to promote Kabbalah among people through other sciences, arts, and culture and only afterwards will we come to publication of college and school textbooks.

People will begin to see how all things work around us and support this idea. The idea about the Creator's oneness and our unity with Him will not look unreal anymore. It will gradually receive a powerful backing from the society and a call for such advancement will be heard and accepted.

Therefore I believe that we should start disseminating these ideas through science, gradually describing these ideas and presenting them to the society in the right manner.

Question: It turns out that this idea can be accepted only by the young because the older generation is allergic to all of these communist ideas?

No, it would be wrong to say that only the young generation can accept these ideas and enter the Land and the old generation should die out as those who exited Egypt.

The communist slogan was: "I need to get rid of egoism to live happily in my society materially."

Our slogan is different: "I need to attain unity with the Creator and to rise to the spiritual level." Now the goal changes cardinally: we want to attain the Creator, not to reach social happiness.

The fact that the attainment of the Creator presupposes correction of egoism and its transformation into altruism is a consequence. It works differently because in the past it was based on compulsion, whereas now it stems from the realization of necessity.

A person cannot change anything within him unless he previously goes through the realization of evil and understands the need to correct it. He then asks the Creator for power of correction, receives it, and rises to its level and starts acting.

Everything changes: the goal and the means of its attainment. Only the definition remains the same - the alleged correction of egoism.

The society needs to go through gradual adaptation to this idea. This process should be voluntary because the true realization of evil comes from within a person.

Politicians will never understand it. I cannot imagine someone who was born and raised in Russia and who has any idea about the correct development. This country's reality turned inhuman relations into a norm. Their education is so tough that a miracle should happen for a person to hear and understand what we say.

Question: How will religion treat this idea?

We have nothing in common with religion or other theories. We have our own view; they have theirs -- and life will tell what is right and what is wrong. There is no antagonism here.

We have a great number of various properties and we do not choose which of them to correct. At a certain time and in certain circumstances we begin to see our shortcomings and try to correct them. Similarly, various philosophies and religions will really understand why they appeared and what their purpose is.

Nothing was created in vain; everything has its role and predestination under the sun. The Baal HaSulam writes that even at the end of correction there will be religions and that they have a right to exist. It seems incredible because religion is a set of rituals or faith in something supernatural. How can it exist if I consciously attain the Creator?

We cannot imagine these states, but these words seem to reassure us and say: "All contradictions will be resolved naturally and peacefully. Don't worry, Kabbalists will make no crusades. They will only show you that it is worth your while to start thinking about the reason of your suffering. Not against your will, but voluntarily. That is all."

Ethics sees its goal in building a happy society the way the practical mind based on life experience comprehends it. This goal does not promise an individual any benefit beyond the limitations of nature.

If the goal is not out of reach of criticism, then who can prove to a person once and for all that he has a fair share of benefits, so as to make him relinquish a certain part of what is due to him for the sake of society? In other words, within the framework of society we can only act for the sake of our egoistical benefit. To this extent, we can annul ourselves in relation to the society.

In contrast to that, the goal of Kabbalistic development promises man the attainment of happiness. A person who attains love for others in accordance with the law of equivalence of properties merges with the Upper force, transcends his narrow world of suffering and enters into the eternal world of bestowal to the force that created him to the creations.

A person can begin to treat others with love when he aspires to the sublime reward of merging with the Creator. "I am ready to love you if it brings me to unity with the Creator, to the attainment of eternity and perfection." Only this way we can have egoistical powers to think in this direction.

Therefore, we initially have to use the notion of the need for the Creator's revelation and merging with Him in our explanations. I cannot address the public by saying: "Folks, do you want to be healthy and happy? Let's annul our egoism and treat each other well."

This will be no different from the corrupt communism that we have experienced. I should, rather, say: "The ultimate purpose lies in unity with the Creator. Merging with Him is our reward." If I can direct a person this way, I will be able to enhance his understanding of the Creator's importance and the greatness of the goal that he will agree to give up his egoism. It will then be the perfectly correct action. Whereas by veiling of this goal (i.e., by creating a new ethical system of comfortable and nice existence) we commit a very grave mistake.

The Baal HaSulam writes in his article "Granting the Torah" about the terrible blunder that was committed in Russia, where they used this idea simply for attaining social well-being. Instead of attaining the Creator and bestowing to Him they wanted to achieve happy living in the society. By so doing they detached themselves from the Upper sources and entered the terrible 70-year period, which has not yet ended. Being at the peak of their economic, cultural, and social development, they tumbled down from that high level.

The system of ethics obliges the person to seek positive regard from others, which is similar to renting something with payback by the end of the term: that is, you give me, I give you, and we have a good disposition towards each other. Man's habit for such work prevents him from climbing even the steps of ethics, for he gets used to such efforts that are well awarded by those around him for his good deeds.

The ethical rules state that, provided we treat each other well, we will live happily. I treat you nicely; you treat me nicely. If you do not, I will compel you to treat me well. In other words, this constitutes a complete separation from the spiritual.

Whereas the person studying Kabbalah for the sake of bestowal to the Upper force in similarity to its actions and receiving nothing in return, really climbs the moral levels. Little by little he acquires a new, different nature of bestowal to his neighbor. He receives nothing for himself, but the bare necessities to sustain his existence in this world.

Herein lies the essence of genuine ethics or moral teaching: I should stop wishing anything for myself. Imagine what a difficult path lies before humankind before it realizes and agrees to it. Anything that comes short of this is not Kabbalah.

Only this way can man truly get rid of his natural egoism and all nature's interdictions. For when he abhors any reception for his own sake, when his soul is free from all unnecessary and excessive bodily pleasures, when he stops craving for wealth, recognition, and power, he freely enters the realm of the Upper force. He is guaranteed from any harm, because all harm is caused by egoism alone.

However, his goal is not the achievement of well-being. He desires to merge with the Upper force; that is his reward. Today we cannot understand it because we always transform this notion of confluence with the goal as the ultimate good.

It is therefore obvious that the wisdom of Kabbalah serves those who use it, while being of no benefit to those who ignore it. And even if all of man's actions are aimed at his correction, this is only a means to reach the goal of becoming equal with the Upper force.

This goal is so alien to our egoistical notions and desires that at the beginning it is difficult for us to imagine it. Imagine how enormously important this abstract goal should appear to us, so that we would be able to wish to relinquish our present properties and to merge with it!

At the same time, what a horrible tragedy we have to live through in our present properties to desire to give them up. Either we will be forced by appalling suffering, or the goal irradiated by the Upper Light will pull us up.

This must be a superhuman, heavenly force of the Upper Light that can solve this problem for us. In no way can we treat or solve it rationally.

I am immersed in my egoism and the enormous world is in front of me. I wish to devour it, to use it in its entirety. Suddenly, I have to imagine some goal of merging with the Creator, bestowal to Him. This is all very good for Him, but where am I here? I do not exist in this picture.

Attraction to this goal can be very simple and easy (it only seems to us that it is impossible) under the influence of the Light, which emanates from this goal. This Light attracts and at the same time corrects us: although we are drawn to it egoistically, the correction turns us into altruists. This happens without our conscious realization.

Therefore, the most important thing is to shut your eyes and draw the Upper Light's emanation upon yourself in accordance with Kabbalists recommendations. There is nothing else. You have no idea where this Light comes from; you cannot agree with it or attract it.

The ordinary mind cannot grasp it. Follow the advice that you receive from them. Through the history the ideas of people brought nothing but suffering: only following Kabbalists' clear instructions can help us.

You cannot imagine how much has been written by Kabbalists over thirty-eight centuries of Kabbalah's existence as a science. These powerful sources have come from a great spiritual height.

Thirty-eight centuries have passed since the first book on Kabbalah was written! I do not take into consideration the book "Angel Raziel" that appeared 5700 years ago. I start with Abraham's " Sefer Yetzira" ("The Book of Creation").

So it is your own choice - to take the path of Kabbalah or the path of suffering.

Question: We speak about the realization of evil. What stages does this process go through?

The realization of evil is a graduated process that passes from certain objects, causes, and goals to others.

Steps of recognition of evil:

1. First, I see evil in my friends;
2. After that I see my own evil in my attitude towards them;
3. Then I see evil in my attitude towards the Creator;
4. Finally, I see evil in the Creator's attitude towards me.

All of these stages are called the realization of evil, and we are obliged to pass them all to the very last one. We are facing the Creator, His Light, and realize the difference between the Light and the Kli, between us and the Creator. This realization of evil is, in essence, the opposite sensation of the screen's absence.

I imagine how wonderful it would be if I had the screen now and could turn evil into good with its help!

This is the last stage of the realization of evil, whereupon I ask for the screen, receive it, make a Zivug de Aka'a and merge with the Creator in my similarity to Him.

This stage of the realization of evil is preceded by very many other stages and unknown, incomprehensible causes until the ultimate cause is clearly revealed - the lack of similarity to the Creator and the absence of the screen.

Question: Can Kabbalists help the society in its realization of evil?

Through self-correction Kabbalists simultaneously correct their inclusion in all other souls. Therefore, the more numerous we become the stronger we will be. Even without turning to the society (simply by being one common soul), we already introduce the sprouts of correction to all other souls, and they begin to understand better and subconsciously admit that it is possible and that is the way it should be.

This occurs thanks to our inclusion in them, and our numbers with regard to the size of the world's population do not matter because everything is determined by Kabbalists' spiritual power, by the level of the person who aspires to the Creator relative to the entire humankind.

This is similar to a million blind people following one person who is able to see. They can take him by the hand and arrive at their exact destination. In the same way, every "sighted" person, who is in some contact with the Creator (he is in contact with the common soul; we all are in contact with the rest of humankind), influences millions, billions of people because his power is much greater than theirs.

The Baal HaSulam writes that one plant is at the level that corresponds to the entire inanimate nature; that one animal is at the level that corresponds to the entire inanimate and vegetative nature; and that one man is at the level that corresponds to the entire inanimate, vegetative, and animate nature put together. The person in the spiritual state or the one who aspires to it at least a little (even if he is not at the level but wants it to some extent) is at the level that includes all the rest as absolutely mechanical elements; so whatever happens within him applies to them all.

Therefore, by our correction we prepare the entire humankind for necessary states. We will see how the masses will be ready for correction without even knowing why.

Question: One person who aspires to the spiritual influences all. That means great responsibility, doesn't it?

The responsibility is enormous. If a person aspires to spirituality he becomes responsible for the whole world and he begins to feel it. This responsibility really begins to determine his life. Hence, it is said: "He, who accumulates wisdom, accumulates sorrow."

The Introduction to "The Study of Ten Sefirot" tells about four stages (worlds) of man's development: Assiya, Yetzira, Beria, and Atzilut. The person begins to share the pains of society and aspires to alleviate them and make his society better, healthier.

Unity with others, correcting and fulfilling them and ascending the spiritual levels are all the same. Every subsequent level means the Creator's greater inclusion in other souls through you, which manifests in these Kelim because every one of us has only one point, the rest of our Kelim are in other souls.

Question: Can we liken exile to the double concealment and the exodus from Egypt and entering the desert - to a single concealment? If so, what corresponds to the return to the Creator out of fear and out of love?

The Baal HaSulam explains in the Introduction to "The Study of Ten Sefirot" that in the beginning a person feels double or single concealment.

What is concealed from man? What is the Creator's concealment? Does this mean that there is some Creator (God forbid us from imagining Him this way) who is hiding from man? What is concealed is the fact that one indivisible force stands behind and governs everything. This is called concealment of the Creator.

The third and fourth stages of the Creator's revelation are called the return out of fear and the return out of love. The return out of fear means that a person asks himself: "Have I done everything for the Creator?" Fear is precisely this. The return out of love does not presuppose even this question.

Question: On the one hand, the sighted person's influence on the blind is enormous. However, it is very difficult to accept the Creator's idea without a point in the heart. Can Kabbalists initiate such a point in a person?

Until a person receives a point in his heart, he will understand nothing of what you want to tell him. When it appears, this point in the heart can be developed by means of lessons, conversations, etc. Man does not know what it is and how to develop it, but the desire to advance in the right direction should come from within a person. Nothing can be achieved through coercion.

Eventually, all people will have to come to such a state. The problem is that it is impossible to influence man's desires from outside. You cannot influence yourself to change your desire. Desires appear and change only under the influence of the Light. The Upper Light creates desire in four stages, and then gradually, in turn changes it. The Light is primary, desire is secondary; hence, we have no control over our desires.

In this world we only prefer one desire to another. What does "we prefer" mean? The Light reveals more pleasure in one desire and less in another. I make no decisions; like some device I simply determine: this gives me more pleasure and that less. There is no freedom of will in that; it is simply an unconscious calculation.

Freedom of will lies in drawing the Light. I want the Light to show me the next desire on my path to the Creator. It does not matter to me what it will be like as long as it brings me closer to the Creator. I do not look for it myself, but ask the Light to give it to me.

Where can I get it from? I will not find it within me and I cannot influence it. Neither can I get it from the outside people - they can only suppress it within me. Therefore, only a group can impart to me the importance of attracting the Light, which will reveal new desires within me. That is why we have to advance with the help of the Light, the Creator.

The dissemination of knowledge about the Creator should be above all like this: "The only means to receive from the Creator energy for advancement is to connect with Him." That is where we have to begin our circulation. Without referring to the Creator everything in the world is corrupt because you offer people other sources of correction, energy, and fulfillment that do not exist. This way, you lead them back to the path of suffering.

Question: Will those who studied Kabbalah and stopped come back?

One cannot leave Kabbalah because by means of it you connect with the root of your soul. It turns out that by severing ties with this root a person disconnects himself from the source of life. You cannot do that because such connection has to exist somewhere.

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