Attaining the Upper Worlds, Part 2
With Rav Michael Laitman, PhD
Bold and in quotes: Original text of Baal HaSulam
Regular: Transcription of dubbed commentaries of Rav Laitman
Capitalized Italics: transliteration from Hebrew
[From Introduction to the Preface to the Wisdom of Kabbalah, Item 2]
And accordingly we need to ask why He created the worlds, restriction after restriction down to this opaque world and garbed the souls in the opaque bodies of this world.
Meaning that if the Creator created the World of Infinity, then here there is a created being filled with Light. We do not sense this state, but it exists. We will feel it sometimes.
Why do we follow it in this order? That is to say, from this state of wholeness, from its heights, it begins to descend through the worlds until it reaches this world, the worst, the lowest, and we are here, without having even a moment where we feel happy and full. We do not feel eternity or wholeness, and our whole life is just leading to some place, where we don’t want to think about what that might be, and so on.
Why does it descend from such a high state to such a spiteful state? That is the question. Meaning, is it necessary? And if so, there are other questions. Why did the Creator do it? How can it be that He is perfect and He did such a terrible thing? How is it possible that we’re suffering and on the other hand, we say that He wants to benefit us? There are a lot of questions. In the meantime, the question is: Why, if He initially created something good called the “World of Infinity” and the created being in it, did that thing later descend down to our world which is filled with evil?
3) And the answer is in the “Tree of Life,” which is in order to bring into the Light the wholeness of His actions.
Meaning, what is the evolution from above to below, from the World of Infinity down to this world for? “In order to bring into the Light the wholeness of His actions.”
It means that if we would have been in the state of Infinity filled with all the bounty, we would not feel the wholeness of the Creator’s actions. How is that possible?
On the contrary, it is here where wholeness is not revealed, but rather a descent from the whole and eternal, down to our world. On the contrary, what is revealed here is the breakdown of Providence and of the Creator’s relation to the created being.
So not exactly. Why? Baal HaSulam will explain this issue for us later on. The issue is that the created being which the Creator initially created, entirely filled, didn’t feel any lack and therefore couldn’t feel the filling either.
The rule of pleasure is that the vessel precedes the Light. I need to yearn for the pleasure, and then when the pleasure comes to me I can really enjoy it, to the extent of my hunger and appetite, the extent of the desire that I had before the filling. And in this state (in the World of Infinity), we didn’t yet have any lack, no yearning.
Thus, there’s another question here: Do I now have to descend from the infinite state, which is good and full, to a state of minus infinity? Must I go through all sorts of troubles and torments and emptiness, to feel hunger and yearning, to explode with emptiness? And only if I feel opposite to it, then I can later reach the good? Does the process really have to work like that?
Baal HaSulam will explain this for us later, and that this is why the wisdom of Kabbalah was given to us, so that we can develop an appetite, a vessel, without having to arrive at it through sufferings from minus Infinity to plus Infinity.
The truth is that it’s not important how much you understand. You’ve heard me speak about this already. It doesn’t matter, I just give what is necessary and later it will gradually grow there, and a person will feel it from the inside. It isn’t by means of the intellect that we arrive in the Upper Worlds. The sensation and the openness is attained by inner work. That is when, what we threw in there begins to work.
And the answer is…
3) [Since all that the Creator created] … is in order to bring into the Light the wholeness of His actions. And it is indeed necessary to understand how it is possible that from the whole [which is the divine], emanated actions that are not whole to the degree that they had to be completed through actions and deeds in this world.
How can it be, that we, the miserable, small, lowly creatures in this world can add anything to spirituality when our entire universe is like a tiny particle compared to the smallest spiritual world?
How is it possible that we can really activate the entire spiritual system from here?
We do not understand, we do not sense. You can even say that we don’t even belong to it.
Why would we, from the level that we’re on here? If there is any connection, where would we get the brains and the ability? We can’t even take care of ourselves properly.
But definitely, once we comprehend the entire system, we see that it is specifically from the lowest world, from the worst place, when the worst lack of powers and understandings are revealed in man in totality, that specifically in this way, from such a state, man suddenly begins to reveal inside himself the means, the vessels, with which he bestows through all of the worlds to the highest part, to the Creator Himself.
Meaning that there is great importance to our descent here into this world, into this miserable situation we’re in, and the problem is just that we don’t understand how to make something good out of it.
And the issue is that it is necessary to discern in the souls the aspect of Light and the aspect of vessel, since the essence of the souls that were created is the vessel that is in them [a desire to receive, to enjoy]. And all the bounty that the Creator thought to bestow upon them, is the Light that is in them. [Meaning that overall we have Light and vessel—a desire to receive and a filling.What the Creator created, which is not in Him, is only the desire to receive.] And this is considered to be the vessel of the soul. [That is how it is called—a vessel]. And the aspect of the enjoyment and the bounty is considered to be the Light of the soul which is drawn from His essence: existence from absence.
Meaning that we need to discern between a desire to give enjoyment, which is called “the Creator,” and a soul, which includes a vessel, a desire to enjoy; and the bounty that comes to it – Light. A vessel comes, existence from absence, and Light comes from His Essence, from the Creator Himself.
Meaning, what is the Light in itself? Light comes from the Creator. The Creator Himself actually resides inside the vessel and the sensation of the Creator in the vessel is called “Light.”
Thus, don’t think that there are three things; there are only two altogether. There is a Creator and there is a created being. And the sensation of the Creator inside the created being is called Light. I enjoy Him; that is all.
Initially, He created me so that He will be able to enter me and give me pleasure, so that I will sense Him. Later, as you’ve already heard, there’s a restriction, where I don’t want to sense the Creator, but only willing to sense him according to the extent that I give Him pleasure, just as He wants to give me pleasure.
And eventually it turns out that the Creator is in me, giving me pleasure in this, and I am willing to feel Him in order to give Him pleasure in return. This state is called “adhesion.” That’s the state we need to reach in that we equalize with each other; I attain the level of the Creator, eternity, wholeness, and that is actually the goal of creation.
Question: If the Creator has no vessels of reception, what does it mean ‘to bestow to Him’?
If the Creator is a desire to bestow, then He wants to give. How is it possible that He wants to receive from me as He has no desire to receive? Listen to what you are saying, “He has desire to give and so what if I don’t receive? Then He can’t give? Then He suffers, right?” Yes. So He has a desire.
Can I play with Him? What are you laughing about? Do you have children? You see how small children play with their parents. So what is it here? Desire is already a lack, only desire to bestow, you may say, is not a lack. But still, it is a dependency, definitely a dependency on whoever the desire depends on. That’s it.
And by the fact that the Creator creates the created being with the desire to receive, He certainly becomes attached, dependent, on the created being. That’s it.
Question: If the child doesn’t eat the mother suffers…
Yes. If the child doesn’t eat, the mother suffers. Yes, exactly. This is true. Thus, if we want to understand this rule well, and sense Him as the giver; our problem is that we do not sense. Until the moment that it is felt, there’s a problem. The moment you begin to sense the Upper Power, everything will be clear - how to play with Him; how to really set up the entire relationship in the right way.
Question: So what changes in the relationship? What’s new?
The only thing that is new is the desire to receive, of the created being. The desire to bestow, of the Creator is not considered to be an innovation, and the pleasure coming from Him. Of being bestowal to the created being is also not an innovation. The innovation is what did not exist in the Creator. And it may be called Beria (creation). Beria is considered as Bar (separated) from a certain level. It is being external to a certain level, something that did not exist before and comes from absence. So before, there was no desire to enjoy, to receive. It was formed out of the Creator’s desire to bestow and became coarser.
Here, for the first time we can talk about cause and effect. Cause – the desire to bestow of the Creator. The effect of the desire to receive, the desire to enjoy from Him. That’s it. And that is called “existence from absence.” It is something that did not exist previously, and now it exists. That is called innovation. There is nothing new besides that. Only the desire to receive which was created emerged from nothing, out of the desire to bestow.
And this action is really not understood by us, because everything we see has come from something that preceded it, that prepared it.
And here, from the desire to bestow, comes a desire to receive. That is why it is called “absence from absence.” This action is not understood by us. It is called “the Act of Creation.”
Besides this, everything, all that exists, exists and evolves, acts according to absolute and clear cut rules. Only, there’s a problem with this; we cannot grasp it.
We begin to comprehend this again as we rise from this world back to infinity and really attain that same root. Then we also start to understand how it happened that existence came out of absence. Where did we come from? Where did this desire to receive suddenly emanate from, in creation?
This is really not for us now; we can’t understand and we can’t feel it.
So what he is saying is:
Because since God, Blessed be He, thought to bestow upon them, it follows that He necessarily made them of the essence of the desire to receive His pleasure. Since according to the amount of the desire to receive the bounty, so will the pleasure and the enjoyment grow.
And you should know that this desire to receive is the entire essence of the soul as it is created ‘existence from absence,’ and it is considered to be the vessel of the soul, and the joy and the bounty is discerned as the Light of the soul which is drawn ‘existence from existence’ from His Essence.
Meaning, that we have a desire to receive, and we have Light inside of it. The desire to receive is called the created being; the Light in it is actually the Creator, felt in this way in the created being. There is nothing else besides these two things. This is the entire creation. There is nothing else. All else that we imagine for ourselves—after angels and ghosts, people cows, vegetation, no matter what—all these objects can be attributed along with what fills them. Their life or lack of life, it doesn’t matter, anything we can point out, can be attributed to either to the Creator or the created being, the Light or the vessel. There is nothing besides those.
Item 4, Clarifications.
4) Because creation means a renewal of something that did not exist previously, which is considered ‘existence from absence.’ Indeed how can we imagine anything that is not included in Him, Blessed be He.
Meaning, if the Creator is whole, how can it be that something is not in Him? Meaning that this one single thing, which really was renewed, now existence from absence, desire to receive, did not exist before. It is really existence from absence because lack does not belong in the Creator. And if we talk about the desire to bestow, the desire to bestow is not a lack—it is the nature of good to bestow. When we finally attain the Creator we grasp Him as benevolent.
We have no idea what good is, because in us it comes in the form of ‘one who feels’ and ‘what is felt.’ There is a subject; there is a perceiver, and what is perceived. So we do not know what good means. We only feel the good within our own lack.
So we will also arrive there; we will feel it. And once we feel what this category means, philosophically maybe—I don’t know how to express the concept of ‘good’—nature, in and of itself is an action that is good. It is called “to bestow.” We sometimes feel it, you know, I feel well, I want to share it with others.
It only comes out of us in a form of a desire to receive, since through that giving, I enjoy even more, by the fact that others are enjoying. I bring their vessels closer to me and become included in them. That’s all that we have. His desire to bestow isn’t coming from a lack, but from the nature of the good.
The nature of the good means that what it does. It’s not possible that there should be any lack or any damage caused to any of the created beings its action. And what we feel—constantly we have complaints—you now, if besides us there is only the Creator then where do all the bad things come from that I experience, if not from Him?
So it seems to us like “why do we deserve this from Him?”, from what is supposedly good. Why does good and bestowal turn into the opposite when it reaches us?
And so we really have to equip ourselves with a great wisdom called the Wisdom of Kabbalah. This is the wisdom of how to correctly receive what emanates from Him, so that it won’t reach us in its opposite way.
5) And it is necessary to know, that connection and disconnection in spirituality are derived only from equality and difference of form.
Meaning that there is only me and the Creator, and nothing else. And there is between us some connection or we are remote to some extent or completely separated—closer, less close? There could be all kinds of relationships in our states. So he says, there could be connection or there could be detachment, but in spirituality, it depends on the extent of the equality of form, of qualities between the spiritual entities.
Meaning, that to the extent that I am equal or similar to someone in qualities, we are closer. The more different we are, the more remote we are.
If we talk about spirituality, then in spirituality we have a simple rule. Spirituality is forces. It is force. It is not matter; only force.
Matter—what we sense in this world—is only an illusion. So there is one force and another force and some distance between them. What is the distance between them? It is the extent to which one is different than the other. If it isn’t different, then it is one, it’s the same thing.
If they are completely different from each other, then the distance between here, is infinite. Here the distance is zero. And the distance between them could be greater or smaller, to the extent that they equalize. Accordingly, it could be that one and the other are located in some common area.
I may have some common attributes with another soul, and then we are in one area at some level between us. It may be that we are so similar to each other that one is inside the other, and there is nothing that would separate us. Then we are like one. And there could be detachment. Meaning, that if we disregard time, space, distance, that is, all the things that belong to our world, and if we begin to talk about spiritual concepts, just the forces, like fields, magnetic fields, any kind of fields or forces, then we’ll simply have to recognize equality of form and difference of form.
It is also like that with us. I could live in the same room with somebody for my entire life, but could be very remote from that person in my opinions and in my character, and distance in corporeality is entirely irrelevant when it comes to the distance between us.
And the opposite: people could be very far away from each other, they could be two continents apart, and they could still be as united as if they are together. It all depends on what is common to them.
It is the same thing in spirituality. Only in spirituality, it is so crucial and noticeable that the bodies themselves don’t even matter, only the inner part, what is inside of man. That is why Baal HaSulam says the difference between distance or closeness between two spiritual entities is only according to the closeness or remoteness of the form between them.