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The Essence of the Science of Kabbalah

Kabbalah puts it very simply: the Creator created desire. The Creator in Himself is called Atzmuto and is inconceivable. He is inaccessible to any science. The name "Atzmuto" speaks namely of His inscrutability.

The Creator creates desire and carries out some actions that affect it. These actions constitute the subject of the science of Kabbalah, and that's what we study. Everything that is beyond the inconceivable Creator can be defined as Kabbalah.

His thought brings forth creation (desire) and acts within that creation while transforming it in various ways. From the initial state of conception - as a point within the Creator's Light - up to the development of this desire in its most egoistical form, it is led to its final correction when it assumes the ultimate altruistic form of complete equivalence to the Creator.

All that occurs to creation, in the thought that emanated from the Creator, constitutes the subject of the Kabbalistic research. Absolutely all that is not the Creator relates to His creation.

The science of Kabbalah includes all forms of the Creator's attitude to creation. Now you can imagine what this science is; it is the Creator's thought being realized. How is it realized; with what purpose in relation to each of us (together and separately) in the course of our lives, in all the worlds, including ours (with their structures and laws) and in us - within these laws and worlds? Kabbalah studies all of this including the functioning, structure, and purpose of the universe.

It appears to include absolutely all besides the Creator. Naturally, we study only the part of it that we can apprehend. As a result of our development, we have to know all that the science of Kabbalah includes.

We need to focus only on one thing - the Creator's Light that develops and corrects us. If we aspire to be exposed to its influence, it will transform us. Coercion is unacceptable in spirituality; hence, correction takes place only to an extent that a person desires it. This desire should be sincere and true; it should come from the heart.

We study the structure of the Upper Worlds without understanding what it is. Many volumes were written by Kabbalists about the structure of the universe. However, in the same way an ordinary person has no need for the ten-volume composition on theoretical physics by L.D. Landau and E.M. Lifshitz (it is called "The Talmud of modern physicists"), we also use only a small part of Kabbalah. We study a portion of "The Study of the Ten Sefirot," which describes a tiny fragment of the Baal HaSulam's knowledge.

We apply only the aspect of the science of Kabbalah that can most efficiently influence, correct and elevate us through all paths and levels towards our goal - merging with the Creator.


Fundamentals of Kabbalah


"The science of Kabbalah discloses the cause-and-effect order of the Upper Forces' descent, which submits to invariable and absolute laws. These laws are interconnected and directed to the revelation of the Upper Governing Force - the Creator."

That is to say, Kabbalah studies how these forces descend from the supernal, general, perfect and eternal force - the Creator - and how they change with regard to us in the process.

The laws, according to which it takes place, are as invariable as the laws of this world. We can apply them in many different ways, but the laws themselves do not change.

The forces descend from above down and influence man in accordance with strict and absolute laws to elevate him, or (which is the same) gradually reveal the Creator to him while he exists in this world.

Everything that was created by the thought emanating from the absolute Creator exists only with respect to us. Kabbalah studies how this t hought is clothed in forces and how these forces create matter (the will to receive), from which man emerges later. It describes how man gradually rises from the lowest point of our world and with the help of these forces reaches the highest point of merging with the Creator, at the same time uniting in himself two extreme points of the universe. In other words, it includes absolutely everything while leaving out nothing in the entire universe. All thoughts, actions, manifestations and feelings in all the worlds - including ours - make up the subject of the science of Kabbalah.


Law of the General and the Particular


The law of the general states that all of humanity will have to come to the inevitable revelation and complete attainment of the Upper Governing Force. The law of the particular asserts that even before all of humanity (all the souls) achieves such a perfect state, certain individuals in every generation can accomplish this task.

This is the general Thought of the force that is emanated from the Creator. The entire creation was created to achieve similarity to the Creator, to merge with Him, attain Him, and become equal to Him. This is the general law of the Universe.

No force, action, thought - nothing that comes from the Creator or occurs within creation - exceeds the framework of this general law. It includes everything. It is general and all-embracing. This thought, that turned into a force and then into an action, encompasses the entire structure of the universe.

Although it may seem to us that something defective, bad, not included in the thought, opposite to it, it is utterly impossible. All that happens in desire, thought and action is included in this general law, which leads creation to its ultimate state, and constitutes its integral part. By looking at it from the outside we naturally can misunderstand it, but the law remains the same.

That is to say, we speak only about how certain individuals or humanity as a whole are moving towards the state of eternity and perfection. There is no other goal, no other advancement, and no other direction.

Question: Is our only action a request for correction? If this law is in force, why should we ask it for something? It is like asking the law of gravity to pull me towards the ground and not in the opposite direction when I jump. If it works anyway and affects me on all sides, why should I ask about it?

There is some misunderstanding: a person mistakenly believes that it is not worth making efforts. Had the laws not been directed to the purpose of creation (i.e., our return to the Creator), it would have been worthwhile asking: "Return us to Yourself," and the Creator would have forewarned our wrong actions while drawing us nearer to Him. However, if all laws and actions lead us towards Him in any case, why then should we ask Him for it? Aren't we approaching Him anyway?

The general law asserts that all of humankind will necessarily achieve the goal. The particular law states that a few individuals in every generation can achieve the goal before others. So if we are advancing in that direction, why should we ask the Creator, study, and make efforts? Let us sit comfortably and idly beside a fire in a cave or before a TV set in a modern apartment and wait until these laws start taking action.

The fact is that these laws affect and attract us to the goal, only to the extent that we cooperate with them and agree with the direction, purpose and actions. Man consists of thoughts, desires, and actions and has to compare his thoughts, desires and actions with the Creator's thoughts, desires and actions towards him. If they correspond, then the law that draws him closer to the goal begins to influence him.

If a person himself does not aspire to the divinely pre-ordained goal and makes no headway, then negative impressions accumulate, until he realizes the necessity of advancement.

However, such amassment of negative sensations, impressions and the realization of our evil (my unwillingness to move towards the Creator; my nature opposes this advancement towards bestowal, altruism) does not propel us forward. We regard it as progress, whereas it is a mere accumulation of a negative potential, which is sufficient for creating in us a genuine desire "to advance towards the goal at least by a millimeter." Thus, the pulling force - the Light that returns us to t he Source - affects us and we approach it by that millimeter.

Therefore, although up to now humanity has covered a long and dreadful path of ordeal and suffering in the course of its evolution, it hardly advanced towards the Creator. Although it has partially realized its evil, this realization is aimless and not connected with the Source. Yet, as soon as humanity realizes its evil, it will acquire a true desire for the goal. It will ascend from the lowest level of our world to the next level - the beginning of the Upper World. Our entire world constitutes just one level; there are no other levels in our world.

What does it mean, "The beginning of the Upper World"? It is the beginning of some similarity to the Creator, the emergence of desire that is equivalent to His.

Question: Should the law of the particular be revealed before the law of the general?

The law of the particular states that an individual or a small group of people can advance this way and not necessarily all of humanity. The law of the general states that eventually all of humanity is obliged to reach the same goal.

This means that we can simultaneously study the correspondence, interdependence, containment or, on the contrary, encouragement and assistance in the influence of the general upon the particular. I find out whether humanity helps me or I help humanity; whether we can act as a group or everyone should act separately; and so on. However that may be, there are individual forces that influence each and everyone, and the general forces that affect all of humanity.

At the same time, we should understand that according to the souls' structure, humanity resembles a pyramid: 90% of all the souls (the lower part of the pyramid) in terms of their structure relate to a weak desire - they are unaware of their predestination and goal. Only their general inclusion in one another enables them to realize their mission, ascension and fulfillment. Just a small number of people - a few percent of the entire humanity - consciously and purposefully advance towards the goal, while others do the same owing to their inclusion in them.

This by no means detracts from anyone's soul because that is its structure, the way it was created. If a person realizes himself correctly by 100%, he too reaches the state of eternity, infinity and perfection like others. As a result, when the entire construction reaches its predestination, all difference between the souls disappears.

Question: How does observing the particular law affect observing the general law?

A question arises: "If all of humanity was created at the same time, albeit everyone at his individual level of desire (zero, first, second, third, and fourth stages of desire, which we call the inanimate, vegetative, animate, and human levels), then, in principle, all people should aspire to the goal in accordance with their individual levels of desire. Why then does it happen differently?"

We see how over human history, the aspiration for the goal emerged in certain individuals: philosophers, scientists, religious figures and people who sought the meaning of their life. Others had no interest in it. If we look at humanity - not through the eyes of Kabbalists, but as ordinary people - how many human beings seeking the meaning of life will we see? In the majority of people, this question relates to simple notions: life is unhappy without money, power or recognition, etc.

However, only a very few individuals aspire to something that is above our life. Why does this aspiration appear at all; why does this law affect not only humanity as a whole, but also individual souls; and why is it divided into the general and the particular? Why can't there be one law for all? Why should some people be singled out? Perhaps it signifies some shortcoming in the law? After all, humanity is one single organism.

The fact is that humanity's correction depends on its desire to achieve the goal. In order to impregnate our egoism with non-egoistical, altruistic desires that are completely foreign to us the Creator carries out a purposeful correction, spiritual elevation of some souls, and works on others with their help.

As a rule, such souls are not free and do not belong to themselves. They constitute kind of individual forces - the Creator's representatives in this world - therefore their destiny is different. We learn in Kabbalah that there is a soul, which kept returning and incarnating in different bodies in the course of human history. Adam, Abraham, Moses, Rashbi, the Ari, the Baal HaSulam are the same soul that keeps descending to this world to pass us a new kabbalistic method that corresponds with its epoch. It tells us about this universal law and explains how we can use it correctly to advance towards the goal and ascend spiritually.

The same soul in a new form descends into 5 layers of Aviut - into newly revealed desires. It started as Adam Rishon and continued as Abraham, Moses, Rashbi and the Ari. Baal HaSulam already transforms the Ari's kabbalistic method and formulates it in a final scientific form of the science of Kabbalah.


Plurality of Spiritual Bodies, Sefirot and Worlds


The science of Kabbalah studies ways of achieving the ultimate purpose - man's similarity to the Upper Force, to the general governing force called the Creator. It studies the structure and interconnections between multitudes of spiritual bodies.

Let us take for example a small animal, whose role is confined to subsistence and survival for a period of time necessary for reproduction, thus ensuring continued existence of the species.

A live organism is called elementary if it reproduces itself and has no other individual, independent, higher or subsidiary purpose. The most primitive single-celled organisms (for example, amoebas), split into two and cease to exist, then split again and die.

In principle, we observe the same phenomenon in people. Ask them for what purpose they live, and they will tell you, for the sake of children. "Okay, and for what else? - What else? For the sake of children." This is the most primitive, lowest form of existence. Yet, a conviction is firmly fixed in public consciousness that if a person takes care of his family, he can serve as a model. In reality, this is the lowest level of desire.

While researching the simplest animal organism, biologists and physiologists discover that it constitutes a complex conglomerate, consisting of thousands and thousands of fibers and tendons, although many thousands of other such conglomerates still remain unknown to man.

That is to say, we see that the sustenance of even such an insignificant and primitive existence requires a great number of details, connections and functions, about which we do not- most probably - will not know.

By analogy from this example, we can understand the variety of multiple combinations and connections that we need to learn in order to reach the ultimate purpose.

By the example of our world, while researching a living organism, we see in it an enormous number of different parts, connections, functions and profound wisdom. All of this is very complex, but the Baal HaSulam continues by saying simply that in order to achieve the ultimate goal, we need to know it all. This is not quite clear.

The fact is that the ultimate goal can only be achieved as a result of the attainment, desire and complete realization of all that is in man. We have to learn consciously all of the Creator's actions on ourselves. We should understand our own nature and how He controls, changes and brings us to the very last and perfect state.

We realize it to the extent that we can carry out the same actions (we are the only object, on which it can be done), we "correct ourselves."

I ask Him for correction, merge with him, and become His partner in this process of my spiritual advancement. It is written: "Mi Ma'asecha Yikarnucha" (I will know You by Your actions). It turns out that we cannot achieve the goal unless we know all of His actions and His attitude towards us.

That is to say, we need to see how this law applies to ourselves, discover where it comes from, how it acts, what its final purpose is, and how we can see its application to ourselves.

The Creator wants us to learn to work like Him - to take over the control of the universe. We have to know all of His laws and their influence, but we should not just study them as we study the law of physics and chemistry, and so on.

For example, there exists the law of gravity. If I drop something, it falls to the ground. I can calculate the speed of a falling object - depending on its weight - and determine exactly where it will fall. However, this is not enough. We have to study these laws, starting with the point of their descent: why they were created this way; why all the souls and objects in all worlds, down to material bodies were created with their help; what happens to each atom or body in all of their interactions, up to the last final state.

Only when a person embraces the science of Kabbalah in its entirety and the universe at the deepest levels of its attainment, can he realize what the Creator created. He understands the Creator and becomes equal to Him with regard to the universe, only when he fully comprehends the entire existence. This is called merging with the Creator in one's properties.

Therefore, the science of Kabbalah gives us the full knowledge of the universe. Unless we absorb and realize it in ourselves, we will not achieve the goal.

On the face of it, it seems to be a formidable task to make every one of us a physicist, chemist or biologist in the Upper Worlds as well as in the entire existence. In principle, man attains absolutely everything at all levels. Unlike with other sciences, we apprehend everything from within forces, which act and realize these functions at the inanimate, vegetative, animate levels of nature, etc.

Now think again about the importance of the science of Kabbalah for humanity. Without mastering it, we cannot advance towards the goal. In other words, we will mark time and accumulate suffering until they compel us to study this science.

Question: Does the notion "study" mean that we should see the Upper Law behind every action, every law? Where is the sensational factor here?

Is our attainment sensational or intellectual? One cannot be separated from the other, as we say that the "Ohr AB-SAG" is a combination of Hochma and Bina. This is because we are the will to receive pleasure - a desire that either feels delight or suffers for lack of it. To achieve pleasure in the state of suffering, desire creates the mind, which processes information, thinks and becomes an auxiliary organ that is necessary only for obtaining the desirable.

If at any moment of time my desire coincides with my ability, then I do not need a mind. What will I do with it? If a person is to develop, he should be challenged with difficulties and problems. Deprive him of fulfillment and he will start searching for it. Thus, he will develop his mind. Therefore, the higher the level of desires is in an object of the universe, the bigger mind it should possess; otherwise it will not be able to realize desire.

If you wish your children to develop, limit them, do not give them everything they want - let them find it, get it by themselves. All children's games are based on this principle. Every time we give them a task, make them want to achieve the goal; we should make it difficult enough to develop their mind. That is to say, the mind is auxiliary, secondary with respect to desire.

The Creator created desire. When desire felt the lack of fulfillment, it started searching for it. The system that has developed as the result of this search is called mind.

Fulfillment is sensed inside of desire. We may ask: "Does a scientist feel pleasure in the mind or in the heart?" Only in the heart (it is written, "Lev Mevin," heart understands). Even the aspiration for sciences, for the attainment of something irrational and seemingly imperceptible, is still felt in the heart. Why then is it described as abstract and not as perceptible? Because it is extremely detached from animate desires, hence we feel it not in live substrates, but in what the intellect demands. However, it concerns desire and not the mind.

The mind is an executive mechanism that acts purely mechanically and only for the sake of reaching the desirable. In reality, the mind is an absolutely lifeless machine. It always serves desire, hence we spiritualize it.


Two Paths: from Up Down and from Down Up


The science of Kabbalah shows us two parallel paths of attainment of the Upper Governing Force.

We can divide the idea of the Upper Governing Force, the Creator, into two types of influence or two modes of its apprehension. That is to say, we attain the Creator in His two manifestations with regard to us - from His influence from up down and from down up.

These are two equal paths, the only difference between them being that one descends from the Creator to our world, and the other begins in our world and ascends the same levels that were formed by the first one.

All the levels are completely identical; the sole difference lies in how you enter them - from above or from below.

The Upper Roots, forces descend and gradually manifest along the first path (from up downwards). Therefore, this path is called in Kabbalah the "order of descent of worlds - Sefirot and Partzufim." Descent means a step-by-step revelation with regard to us, moving away from the Creator - materialization.

The second path is defined in Kabbalah as the apprehension of the Upper Force - the Creator from down upwards. In our advancement along this path we have to reach equivalence with every level that was formed during the descent. Thus, we attain the Upper ideal Force (Creator) in portions, while climbing 125 descending levels that now become levels of ascension.

A person who attains the Upper Force is obliged to rise along the same path while gradually revealing each detail and level in complete accordance with the laws that were established during the Upper Force's descent.

We create nothing new: neither ourselves nor the higher levels and the methods of matching ourselves to them. We just apply our desire to become similar to them. If I wish to climb the level M+1 while being on the level M, I reach it, provided I have genuine desire for that.

How can I desire to be on the higher level while being on the lower one? It is possible because the AHP of the upper level is in me. It gives me the sensation of the upper level, of the difference between the levels - of something that I need achieve in order to reach the upper level.

Only the will to ascend depends on me. The properties of both the lower and upper levels, and the transformations that I have to make in myself, are all predetermined by the descent. Hence, only one thing depends on me - desire. However, this desire is based on both the realization of my present condition as absolutely evil and unacceptable, and on the knowledge of the next state.

Let us take, for example, a cancer patient. There is a force inside him that is killing him. He would sacrifice everything just to cut it out of his body, but he has no idea how to do it. He feels that it lives inside him, but does not know how to get rid of it.

We need to have at least that feeling in order to climb from our present level (free ourselves from it) to the higher one. We should see the upper level as perfection, life, peace, delight - everything without which I cannot live even for a second.

When such tension exists between the states M and M+1, then a person crosses this potential barrier between them and ascends the next level. At the same time, laws and conditions are predetermined by the initial descent.

Complete attainment of the Creator is a gradual process. It manifests in man's sensations over a certain period of time, depending on how fast he purifies himself of his egoism, until he attains all the properties of all the descending levels.

Since we need to adapt, get used to various definitions within us, realize and compare all the existing factors, this process stretches in time. Very much here depends on the environment, on the effort a person makes, on his ability to adapt to the situation, on the intensity of his thoughts during the day, and, most importantly, on where he gets strength to think about the goal and constantly to remain in these desires.

When we feel pain, we constantly think about it. What should we do to feel pain? That is what can compel us to concentrate our thoughts on the goal and aspire for ascension.

It is written, "Kinah, ta'avah, ve kavod motzi'im et ha-adam min ha-olam." Kinah is envy, Ta'avah is passion, and Kavod is honor. These three seemingly negative qualities - envy, passion and desire for honor - take man out of this world. It has a negative connotation, meaning that these three qualities seem to destroy. They really destroy, but this change is for the better.

Kabbalah never speaks about anything negative, simply because there is nothing negative. We just need to use envy, passion and desire for honor correctly, to rise from our present level in this world to the next - higher level. This is achieved by the correct realization of envy, passion, and aspiration to recognition.

By looking at other people I envy them, want to be honored by them, and wish to enjoy the ultimate delight - the Creator. These seemingly negative properties enable me to absorb other people's desires and aspirations. I wish to be like them, above them; this drives me forward, burns me and gives me no peace.

Thus, I receive strength for advancement and, whether I want it or not, I constantly think of how I can be better than others. This gives me an opportunity to rise from one level to the next.

Remember this phrase well. The entire world interprets it negatively, whereas in reality it is very positive: "Envy, passion and desire for honor take man out of this world." "Out of this world" means from man's present level.

These properties were not created in vain. They are necessary to help us to ascend from one level to the next, where these "pernicious" aspirations would become even greater. Everything that was created in us serves nothing but our spiritual advancement.

Consecutive attainment of all the levels is predetermined. Every subsequent level is higher than the previous one, which resembles rungs of a ladder.

This is not just a higher degree of attainment - a person completely changes, as if expanding from within the attainment, its depth. The difference between the levels consists in the depth of their attainment.

Even now we are in the World of Infinity, but we feel only its tiny part called "this world." Nothing exists but the World of Infinity and us. The rest is a number of filters that cover our sense organs. The most powerful filters that conceal the World of Infinity in our present state are called "this world." By overcoming them we begin ascending the higher level.

What does "the higher level" mean? We see the next layer of the World of Infinity even better through this world. As it reveals itself, it assumes the name Assiya and so on. That is to say, we penetrate deeper into matter, thought, sensations and the Creator's plan.

Question: Why do just these three particular properties - envy, passion and desire for honor - elevate a person from one level to the next?

The Baal HaSulam explains it in "The Introduction to the Book 'The Tree of Life.'" He says that aspiration for honor really raises a person to the next level of desire: from craving for wealth to honor, fame and recognition. We see that these three properties manifest one after another at these levels, but - as the Baal HaSulam explains - they also exist simultaneously in every one of us, in various combinations, to move us from one level to another. It would be wrong to simplify things and say that we want either money, or fame, knowledge, sex - everything is mixed in us. Hence, these properties (envy, passion and desire for honor) are predetermined by the properties of the levels.


Abstract Terms


Many people mistakenly assume that all the names and notions used in the science of Kabbalah are abstract, and that we randomly ascribe them to some objects - as in such sciences as physics and chemistry, where every visible object, action or force are given names because people so decided.

This erroneous view appeared because Kabbalah studies the Upper World that transcends time and space - the realm that can only be perceived by someone who has mastered the Kabbalistic method. Since very few people master this wisdom and attain the Upper World (i.e., they perceive the object and do not call it this or that way because they were taught so), many believe that whatever concerns the Upper Worlds is a number of abstract categories totally detached from reality.

In fact, everything is quite the contrary: Kabbalah describes nothing that does not reflect the reality attained by Kabbalists. Where do they get all that they describe? All of this comes from their tangible attainment of this reality.

The stringent Kabbalistic law states: "Only the true attainment can be described and named. Whatever is unattained cannot be defined by words."

In Hebrew I would say it with one phrase: "Ma she lo nasig, lo neda be shem u'mila (That which is not attained cannot be named or defined)."

At the beginning we attain an object, feel it within our desire because desire constitutes our essence. Besides, we start measuring the filling of our Kli. We measure all of its properties - quality and quantity, depth and brightness - and from this attainment of the Kli we name the object.

Our study is based on Gematria. We say that only the structure of "Yud-Hey-Vav-Hey" (stages 0, 1, 2, 3, and 4 of the Kli's development) exists. When this Kli is completely developed, it gets filled with the Light and we can measure the filling in each of following parts:

Every Kli should consist of 5 parts. Stage 0 (point) is the Creator's representative with regard to the entire Kli; Malchut is the receiving part; and three parts - Hochma, Bina, and ZA - are the so called intermediaries, the intermediate properties between the Creator and creation.

Both the Light that passes from the Creator to creation and the Reflected Light that creation sends back to the Creator are the Kli's fulfillment. This fulfillment plus its rigid structure "Yud-Hey-Vav-Hey," which is identical in all of us, give a name to the object. That is to say, the object's name is "Yud-Hey-Vav-Hey." All of us have it, but the screen and the Light that fills these four letters are different in everyone. We give various names to objects according to the Light's variations.

For example, "Moshe" is the Gematria of his name minus 26 (26 is the Gematria of Yud-Hey-Vav-Hey). Thus, we receive the Light that fills the Kli and determines the essence of the level called "Moshe".

The essence of every object is determined by the light, which it can reveal, accumulate, feel and realize at any given moment. That is its name. First, Kabbalists attain some spiritual state in their own desire - Kli - the "Yud-Hey-Vav-Hey" shell. They feel, realize and measure this filling, and then say: "I have become Moshe," etc. By perceiving it within, they give names to all the o bjects and actions in the spiritual world.

Hence, it is said that only the true attainment can be described and named. Otherwise, where will it come from? If you do not attain it, then it does not exist for you. We can neither see nor feel something that is beyond our perception. Therefore, there can be no abstract objects, notions or definitions in Kabbalah; all of them are the result of the Kabbalist's attainment. He always points out at what depth he attains this or that spiritual property, object or state.

There is a difference between a child's and an adult person's attainment of the world. Similarly, one can ascend the next level as a child or as an adult. However, this passage to the higher level is possible only if you fully apprehend it and it becomes the result of emergence of the next level. That is to say, you attain it to such an extent that you understand how the next state arises from it.

Thus, you are born in the next state after going through the transformation. It is as if you go through the entire evolution - from dinosaurs to modern man. This is called a consecutive cause-and-effect development. The next state is completely determined by the previous one and stems from it in accordance with the law of negation of the negation.

Kabbalists attain every level absolutely; otherwise, they cannot ascend to the next one. Therefore, complete spiritual attainment occurs both in the mind and in the sensations. This forms what we define as the true attainment: Hochma and Bina merged together (Ohr Hochma dresses Ohr Hassadim). There is no other way to achieve it.


Reality Comprised in the Science of Kabbalah


Similarly, there are things that we perceive in our material reality whose essence we are unable to grasp even in imagination. Let us take for example such phenomena as electricity and magnetism.

There are many different forces whose existence we suspect. We partially detect some of them and somehow can interact with them, control them, and adapt them to ourselves. However, there are forces around us that are imperceptible. No one knows when we are going to perceive them, perhaps never.

These forces are real because we use them. For example, let us take electricity. Can somebody see it? We can feel only the result of its manifestation. We cannot feel, smell or taste it. I can detect it only with the help of special devices or feel electric shock. Similarly, I can feel the manifestations of magnetic force or radiation, etc. That is to say, the more powerful the forces are, the more eluding they are. Nevertheless, we perceive their possibly negative influence.

Yet, who will say that these forces are unreal, when our knowledge about them satisfies us completely. It does not bother us at all that we have no idea about their essence. Their names are so real and familiar to us (as if we actually feel them) that little children know the name "electricity" as well as "bread" and "sugar."

We live among these forces, while perceiving their mostly positive consequences (those that we want to reveal).

We never attain the object itself, only its influence on us - only its interaction with our senses.

I cannot say whether this glass exists or what it really looks like. It may be something unimaginable to me, but that is how it appears in my senses. However, I have no clue what its real essence is.

There is a question without an answer because it is useless to say what it is without the object that perceives it. There is a need to know who perceives it and how he defines it.

The same applies to every object, property, thought and action (material or spiritual). We can speak only in regard to the observer. Nothing exists beyond one who attains reality. Only the force called the Creator exists. Why does it exist? It exists because it manifests in my senses in a certain way. And what if it does not manifest? If it does not manifest in my senses, it does not exist.

Thus, we always judge based upon this law: "Only the true attainment exists and can be named and characterized. It exists only with regard to us."

We need to take it in and get used to this idea because less than rigorous fulfillment of this condition deludes man and leads him astray. We can only speak of and rely on what we attain scientifically - both in our world and in the spiritual one. The rest should not be taken into consideration because it does not exist.

We have the same attitude towards various religions and their precepts. From this standpoint, we are complete materialists. Similarly, we aspire only to explicit attainment in the spiritual sphere. Attainment is the last and ultimate degree of knowledge. You not only learn about an object, but also discover from where and why it came into being; for what purpose it exists; and what form it will assume in the future.

However, as little as we can attain the essence of the Upper Force, the essence of beings created by it is equally unattainable. All the material objects that our hand can touch (i.e., the most comprehensible research) are attained through actions, which provide us with an impression as a result of our senses' interaction with them. This satisfies us completely, despite the fact that we know nothing of their essence.

It is enough for us to perceive an object and form our conception of it, based on our sensations, without attaining its essence. At the same time, we realize that we apprehend not the object itself, but its influence upon our sense organs or, rather, the reaction of our senses to its influence.

Equally, we cannot attain our own essence; all we know about ourselves is a sequence of actions that stem from the essence.

I do not know who I am and I never will. Hence, it is said that everything exists within the Creator - "There is none else beside Him." We attain in our senses only the manifestations of the Creator's essence in them. We perceive this attainment as ourselves and the allegedly existing surrounding world. Afterwards, we discover that neither the world nor we exist; all that we can say is that we attain everything this way.

Hence, all the terms and definitions found in Kabbalistic books are real although we cannot attain their essence. A person is quite satisfied with his complete knowledge, although only the actions are attained. This attainment is achieved as a result of an interaction between man and the Upper Force. However, this is sufficient for us and we do not feel any lack of knowledge, as we do not feel any need for the sixth finger - being perfectly content with five.

That is the way we are created. Can we imagine having six fingers? What will we find, determine, feel with its help? We do not know because we have no desire for it. Our desire precisely matches our five innate senses. It may lead us into the depths of attainment, when the five senses turn into five Sefirot and onward to five stages of the Direct Light.

Question: When I feel the Creator, one of the spiritual levels, some spiritual object, do I really feel Him or perceive my own sensations?

This question stems from human psychology (the psychology of this world), and from all of our erroneous conceptions, realizations and sciences. They are fallacious because all that we apprehend is picked by our present senses, which perceive reality out of their dissimilarity to the Creator.

If I could single out some part within me, make it similar to the Creator - attain, measure and determine something inside it - then I would say: "What I have attained is a part of the Absolute." That is to say, this attainment - which is really correct, true and objective - is not mine. First, I acquire the Creator's senses, and then I attain, measure and feel in them something that is not part of me. I do not ascribe my own qualities to that object and do not evaluate it from the point of view of my properties.

If I grasp things this way, then I really attain eternity, truth and perfection. On the other hand, if I do not change and apprehend something in my own present senses, then my attainment may be characterized by the following phrase: "Kol ha-posel be mumo posel," which means: "Everyone criticizes in accordance with his flaws." In other words, I assess everything with relation to my properties (positive or negative). It turns out that I do not evaluate the object itself, but "weigh it on my own scales."

There is a very precise condition: "First, correct yourself - get out of your states, sensations, properties and acquire the Creator's objective properties - and then perceive and analyze everything." Hence, unlike all other sciences, Kabbalah is called absolute.

Based on these properties and attainments in a new Kli (not mine, but that in which I am similar to the Creator), I look upon psychology, philosophy and even exact sciences and see how subjective and limited they are. This is because I perceive them in my small, insignificant, defective and biased senses. Whether I want it or not, I assess them from within myself and cannot abstract my mind from the benefit I expect to receive.

Be that as it may, my desire always evaluates negative, positive and absolutely abstract categories and manifestations with regard to itself: "Are they good or bad for me?"

If I make a Tzimtzum (restriction) and acquire a screen - and then analyze, determine and feel above my egoism (in the Reflected Light above the screen) - only in that case can I objectively and correctly perceive reality regardless of my sensations, my personal qualities, and the thought about what I will gain from it.

We can get rid of that thought only under the influence of the Upper Light. Such an action is referred to as the "Mashiach" (Messiah, deliverer; a derivative of "Moshech" - that which pulls out). It frees you from yourself, makes you objective. Only then can you say that you engage in true science, that you are a genuine researcher. Otherwise, every scientist is biased. He works forcedly for his own benefit and can do nothing about it. He is motivated by envy, desire for honor and respect, thirst for money or for knowledge. In any case, he has his own interest.

Kabbalistic knowledge is absolute and objective also because it can be measured. Kabbalah studies only what can be perceived and measured in our new inner property. We do not invent anything because it is impossible. If you have a Kli, then you can feel the Light in it, which you can measure and describe. This is the subject of your science.

People often debate whether Kabbalah can be considered a science. I cannot argue the point because there is no one to argue with. First of all, one should realize the falsity of our views on the earthly sciences and, only then, after clarifying the difference between them and Kabbalah, can we understand what Kabbalah is.

Question: Why is the attainment of all properties that make up the complete knowledge sufficient for us without the attainment of the essence?

In fact, the question about the essence exists within us. However, in order to develop the need, desire for the revelation of the essence all the preliminary, additional elements forming the last level are necessary.

The Creator constitutes the essence. We say: "Mi Ma'asecha Yikarnucha" (I will know You and Your thought by Your actions). "You" means that I attain Him - the essence. If I do everything the Creator does, on the same matter, on myself, then from these actions I begin to understand His thoughts and plans with regard to me. I ascend to the level of the action defined as "Mi Ma'asecha Yikarnucha."

All the same, this thought, this knowledge exists with respect to me. It is necessary to create me and lead me through all transformations. I do not attain that which does not refer to the Thought of creation (Machshevet HaBeria) as regards me, that which is above it. At least, that is what Kabbalists tell us.

On the other hand, they assert that some other reality exists after the Gmar Tikkun (i.e., after one completely attains all of the Creator's actions). Upon fully correcting myself, I become a bsolutely equal to the Creator in all actions, meaning that I imitate them - take over His plan and thought (all that may be called the Creator as regards to creation). Kabbalists say that the next reality exists beyond that.

They do not tell us what that reality is like because totally different Kelim, properties and sensations exist there. They are above the point of our creation. It is unknown what and how we attain at that level. Our goal is to become similar to the Creator. Kabbalah describes how to do that. Nothing is said about what happens after that. It is written that this evolutionary process is endless (the word "process" implies that each state is superseded by the next, more perfect one).

Therefore, I cannot say anything concrete about it and my own suppositions cannot be a topic for discussion. We should adhere to the strict law that states: we can speak only of what is described or what we attain ourselves.

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