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The Introduction to the Book "From the Mouth of a Wise Man" - Lesson of June 16, 2004

Lecturer: Michael Laitman, PhD

Kabbalists are convinced that everyone has to study the science of Kabbalah. If they do not do it in this lifetime, they will have to come back to this world again and learn this science.

Man descends to this world to achieve a certain goal. Kabbalists assert that this goal can be achieved only with the help of the science of Kabbalah. However, at once a question arises:

What is specific about the science of Kabbalah? Why is it that people have to master this science and if they do not, their life is considered not worth living? Why does the perfection of a human being depend on the knowledge of Kabbalah?

What is the point of studying Kabbalah? For example, if my specialty is physics, chemistry or any other field of science and I lose interest in it, I can stop doing it and no one can force me: this is not for what I was born. It is quite another matter with Kabbalah. A person who has never studied it, who fails to master it and realize it within himself is considered to have wasted his life.

In order to understand it we have to accept the Kabbalistic method of definition "The incomprehensible is indescribable" (no names can be given to things that cannot be identified). We are talking here about things that this science has not yet attained and those that are beyond our comprehension, for instance, the essence of the Upper Force. Therefore, Kabbalists refuse to discuss it even theoretically, let alone try to identify or name it.

That is to say: on the one hand, we have to study the science of Kabbalah, which speaks about the revelation of the Upper Force; on the other hand, we say that we can reveal, perceive and research it only if we attain it tangibly in our senses. In other words, this is a very practical science.

All definitions that are ascribed to the Upper Force relate not to its essence, but rather to the Light that is coming from it. In other words, they refer to what fulfills us and not to the source of fulfillment. "Infinity" in Kabbalah means Light being emitted from the essence of the Upper Force. Because Kabbalistic scholars defined the Light coming from the Creator towards its creation as infinite, they named it "Infinity."

Why do we call the Light infinite or Infinity? It is because we exist in the originally created state that has no boundaries, no limits for reception of fulfillment. Hence, we define ourselves (our Kli), our state, as infinite.

In pharmaceutics there is a notion of "quantum satis" (lit. up to a complete satiation). We call it "Infinity."

There is an unshakable law for Kabbalists that even thinking about the Higher Power is forbidden because it is quite impossible to conceive of it. Moreover, it is impossible to give it a name, since if we were to try, it would point to a certain degree of understanding.

Therefore, it is said: "That which is not attained cannot be named." For how would you give a name to something that is beyond your comprehension? The problem with philosophy and other sciences consists in the fact that they contrive various definitions without apprehending the spiritual reality of the objects.

In Kabbalah, it is forbidden to research the very words "God," "Creator," i.e., everything that relates to the Upper Worlds and all that man cannot clearly perceive as scientific data.

However, the Light emanating from the Upper Force can be researched, analyzed, named, and characterized based on this analysis. Since all of us receive this Light, which defines the substance of our existence, its study and correct application is our responsibility in this life. By studying the Light, we study the effect of the Upper Force upon us.

So what do we have to study? We should aspire to be filled with the Upper Light. The qualities of the Light, meaning our qualities that the Light changes, constitute the subject of this science.

This knowledge is the substance of Kabbalah. The correct application of this science helps to fill us with Light from the Upper Force. It is a glorious reward for our efforts.

That is to say, Kabbalah is a practical science that teaches us how we should change ourselves and what we will receive as a result. There is nothing else in this science but the Kli and the Ohr (Light) and a condition according to which the Kli (vessel) gets filled with the Light. This condition is called "screen" or " equivalence."

The Introduction to the Book From the Mouth of a Wise Man preceded the Baal HaSulam's principal work The Study of the Ten Sefirot. He soon realized the need to write an academic multivolume textbook and put the first book aside. Thus, Pri Hacham (From the Mouth of a Wise Man) has remained unpublished.

The Zohar tells us that all of the Upper Worlds were created to bring every single person to perfection. This was the reason for the creation of the Universe. As it is said, "The purpose of the action is expressed in the idea of creation."

Everything is created from the final state, which is impossible to achieve without all the intermediate stages. They were given to be used as auxiliary means on our path. The final result always determines the intermediate stages. Hence, based on the final result (merging with the Creator) such intermediate stages that were opposite to merging with Him had to be created. All of these interim states are called worlds.

All of the worlds, even our world and man within this world, were created based upon the primary reason - to fill the created beings with the Light. Man consists of two substances, one within another - a soul within the physical body.

Thus, in the beginning, man was placed by the Higher Power into its lowest condition - a physical body, the soul within. Then, through a system of descending worlds, the Upper Force affected him in order to develop his soul, a spiritual vessel for reception of the Light, until it is completely filled. For it is said, "And the land (Heb. "Eretz" derives from "Ratzon" (desire) will be full of the knowledge of the Creator, and everyone will know Him".

All the Kelim will be completely corrected and filled with the Light. All together in their corrected state they are called the "soul"; uncorrected, they are simply referred to as man's desires.

The human soul consists of 613 desires to be satisfied by the Upper Light. In the beginning, this desire is egoistical, having the intention to be satisfied for its own sake. We do not know that it consists of 613 desires. This concealment exists only with regard to us. In reality, this Kli is initially present within us.

As a result of learning Kabbalah (i.e., by attracting the Upper Light), man develops a new intention, according to which his every desire, from the tiniest to the most extensive one, is to be fulfilled for the sake of similarity to the Upper Force.

The Light that comes as a result of our studies gradually provides us with the screen on the increasingly greater portion of the Upper Force.

This gradual change in intention from egoistical to altruistic is called the act of correction. According to its similarity to the Upper Force, the corrected desire is filled with the Light, with the sensation of this Power, the Creator. After intentions for all 613 desires have been corrected, man attains all the Light coming from the Upper Force to him personally. Such a condition is called "Personal Correction." In this way, man achieves a complete personal unity with the Upper Force.

This unity is referred to as the Final Correction (Gmar Tikkun). The Light that descends from this level compels us to move. Only the Light that descends from this ultimate state determines all of our actions and states; from there it pulls us towards itself.

The states that we feel every moment, regardless of whether we want to learn or not, or whether we feel good or bad, seem spontaneous, chaotic. In fact, it is not so: the Upper Force determines all of our states, i.e., by our corrected state of fulfillment as regards our present condition.

There is a law in Kabbalah that states: "Nothing disappears in the spiritual." We are in a completely corrected state, and this state is all that exists. All the other states are false. They are necessary just to make us realize that our only state is completely corrected, eternal and perfect.

We exist in the absolutely perfect, unique state at the Creator's level, but not with regard to our consciousness. We have to reveal by ourselves that we are equal to the Creator, meaning we need to regain consciousness. Such a return to the correct state is defined as the "Teshuva" (return). This is the return in our sensations.

All souls are different in their qualities. This difference in qualities is the reason why people have different features. What makes us different even in appearance is the consequence of the differences in our souls. But differences or similarities in souls do not depend on their qualities. They depend on the individual, egoistical, intention of each soul to fill itself.

Today we differ from each other both in our outward appearances and in our inner properties. Naturally, the souls differ in combinations of their egoistical characteristics. In our souls both you and I consist of ten Sefirot, but my ten Sefirot form a totally different combination from yours. Hesed, Gevura, and Tifferet, etc. are combined in us differently. Hence, we are different. Yet, as soon as our intentions are directed to the Creator, we merge with each other. At the same time, all of our inner distinctions disappear.

The most important thing is intention. Naturally, our inner structure will always remain different, but these distinctions will complement each other because all of our desires will merge.

If a person corrects his intention, he brings his soul together with other souls and adds their desire and Light to his own. Such a condition is called the "Final Correction of the Souls." The complete filling with the Higher Light is called the "Universe of Infinity." This condition brings about complete awareness of infinity, perfection, peace and full knowledge.

In spite of our differences that will remain, by acquiring the intention for the sake of the Creator, we neutralize our individuality and merge because all individualities are directed to the One. When we merge with each other, each of us attaches to his soul, to his ten Sefirot, the Sefirot of all the others. The sensation of fulfillment in all the other souls is infinite.

The actions of a man who strives to achieve the Upper realm lie in the correction of his intention from the egoistical to the altruistic.

A desire to be filled with the Upper Light becomes similar to the Upper altruistic Force.

Of course, we cannot transform the will to receive into the will to bestow because the Creator created this desire. He created it opposite to Himself on purpose so that we will remain as creation and not the Creator. However, it is in our power to correct the intention with which we use this desire. Intention is all that we have to correct.

From this it follows that man should never reproach himself for his initial properties, and think that he is so imperfect and unwise. It has nothing to do with the problems that we have to solve. We should not pay attention to our innate qualities because they are necessary. In no way should we try to eradicate or correct them artificially.

We have not the slightest idea how different our properties (even the worst, most terrible and savage of them) become if they receive the altruistic intention. They turn into an enormous spiritual Kli. This is extremely important because quite often we mistake our desires for the root of all evil instead of our intentions. I want to steal, I lie, I am treacherous, I am a murderer and rapist, you name it. These are my natural properties, and I must not regard them as bad.

I have to concentrate on my intentions above them. Today scientists assert that genes determine everything. A person is a thief or a miser because it is in his genes. What can we demand from a person if everything in him is genetically predetermined? This actually confirms that we should occupy ourselves not with our qualities, but with our intentions.


Question: Is it possible to steal for the Creator's sake?


Certainly, you will steal for His sake. The Zohar offers an amazing explanation of this phenomenon. You will steal not from others, but from yourself, while turning your egoism into altruism. This is called AHP de Aliya, when you quietly, secretly, stealthily perform such actions, to which your egoism would otherwise never agree. By dodging and furtively stealing from egoism, you pass the "loot" to the world of Atzilut.

Question: It turns out that all of these negative properties should be applied to egoism? Say, if I am greedy, will I turn it against egoism?

To be a miser with regard to egoism is great! You will try not to give anything to your egoism. All of your qualities will work to the full. You cannot realize them today, but armed with the intention for the sake of the Creator, you will be able to do all that. You will feel what it means to kill, rape, rob, and steal for the sake of the Creator. This refers to the use of your personal egoism.

All of your negative qualities and properties are now aimed at using others for your own benefit. Once corrected, they will be directed to using your egoism for other people's sake and for the Creator. This is called the transformation of the intention from "one's self" to "for the Creator." We change the vector, and our qualities come to their genuine realization. These things are amazing.

The corrected desire is filled with the Upper Light.

As a result, people begin to understand the qualities of the Upper Force, its goals, the idea of his creation. And this is their reward.

I will tell you even more: "Whatever is in egoism was created by the Light." While studying the 4 phases of the development of desire, we find out that the Creator emitted the Light, which created the Kli. Whatever is present in the Kli is the consequence of the Light's influence. This means that the Kli is opposite to the Light. This resembles choosing a glove that will fit the hand. Everything that is inside the Kli is absolutely identical to the Light, albeit with a minus. Hence, there is no need to change anything, even a single desire in the Kli. We work with intentions only.

This is what makes Kabbalah so different from other methods. These methods presuppose suppression of properties, destruction of one's nature. Kabbalah emphasizes that it is forbidden to do that. On the contrary, nature was created to be fully realized, to flourish. It is good if someone is bad, evil, and awful. How can a person correct anything before he realizes what he is like? By destroying your nature you believe that you become righteous, when, in reality, you have only suppressed it, hidden it, in order not to feel it.

This is the principal distinction between the science of Kabbalah and all the other approaches to human nature.

Before a person completely corrects his soul, he will be obliged to descend to this world again and again because man has to reach the highest spiritual level, the World of Infinity, merging of all souls and filling them with the Upper Light during his life on Earth. Therefore, every generation is a repetition of the preceding one, i.e., the appearance of the souls in new bodies. This demonstrates the importance of the science of Kabbalah.


Question: I steal in the street and I steal not for myself; are these two different actions?


No, these are not different actions. They are quite the same with regard to egoism. What difference does it make? You should fill your egoism with something totally opposite - with bestowal upon the Creator. How will you do that? You will steal from your egoism.


Question: If I steal from my egoism, will it then be fulfilled?


In this case egoism is filled with the Light. If you correct your desire and make it similar to the Light in the intention, it becomes filled with the Light that created it. There can be no better, more perfect fulfillment for our desire.

The Light created for itself a desire, which said: "I do not want to feel this Light" and the Light disappeared. What does it mean "the Light disappeared"? Of course, it did not go anywhere; the desire simply stopped perceiving it. Malchut of the World of Infinity said: "I am unwilling to feel the Light." Now it says: "However, I wish to feel it for the sake of the Creator." In other words, the same sensation returns, but now it is 620 times greater than before - NaRaNHaY instead of Nefesh.

Hence, there can be no question of fulfillment. The most perfect fulfillment is that which created this desire. It never left; we just regain this sensation.


Question: If I reveal this desire, does it mean that it will be satisfied?




Question: It turns out that the words "for yourself" are omitted from the commandment "Do not steal," is that not so?


That is quite right: "Do not steal for yourself."

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