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Intention During the Study

15) In the end, preparation for the lesson has to be as follows. Although you come to hear from your Rav, you have no choice: you come to hear from someone Higher. Here you encounter the Creator, through the book, through the group, through the guidance and assistance of an instructor, through everything. You have to make yourself see that the state of affairs is terrifying and difficult, as if the world is about to collapse. It's hard to come to study prepared with that mindset every morning. But the more we try, accordingly, the Upper Light acts from above and changes us.

(New Month Meal, December 12, 2004)

16) I must come to the lesson as if it were a life-and-death medical procedure - as a person with kidney disease who needs dialysis; as a diabetic, losing consciousness without a shot of insulin; as someone suffering from oxygen deficiency… In short, imagine any need of your body that is necessary for its existence.

This is what my inner feeling has to be before coming to the morning lesson. Then it does not matter how I study, when I study. I may not even hear the lesson, I may hardly listen to it, because I'm constantly pre-occupied with a single question: do I benefit from the lesson, is it filling my pressing need or not, and am I getting better thanks to it? This is when the effectiveness of the lesson is maximized.

We can work on this desire only indirectly, because we cannot change our desires, man is not the owner of his own heart. As Baal HaSulam writes, we can realize our freedom of choice only through the environment. The environment is the books and the group, and only with their help can I make my heart feel a need for that to which the books and the group are leading me.

It follows that during the 21 hours besides the three hours of the morning lesson, I have to be concerned with the question “Do I realize that I’m terminally ill?” In other words, I start from the end: if I do not have that kind of demand during the morning lesson, then it is not considered studying Torah. It is said: “I've created the evil inclination and I've created Torah as a spice, where the light in it corrects.” This is why our entire work has to be focused only on the need with which we come to the morning lesson. Nothing else depends on me, except cultivating the need.

One has to come here with the determination of a sick person with one last hope who comes here with absolute confidence. He has been told that his days are numbered, and today he hears on the radio that, here, there is a cure for his illness. Can you imagine? This is how we have to relate to the means we have at our disposal. Other than that, nothing matters.

Rabash used to say all the time: “Where is that pharmacy where I can buy a need for a medicine before I buy the medicine itself?” In the pharmacy they don't sell you a need, just a medicine. Yes, we have the source of the correcting light, but it operates on us according to our desire. I can’t just sit in front of a book! Of course, I’m not corrected; I was born as “a wild ass”, with “evil inclination”, etc. But I don’t have any evil inclination inside me, I’m not “a wild ass” if I don't realize that I am! If I don't determine what my illness is, what is the diagnosis? The diagnosis has to match exactly with what is being treated with this medicine, i.e. Torah.

This is why our entire work is only to prepare the need for correction. This is what we say: the light is perfect, it is in eternal rest, and the Kelim in their desire to change invoke its influence upon them. That's it.

So, what shall we do during these 21 hours besides the three hours of the morning lesson? During this time we have to work on two opposing factors.Firstly, we focus on the Greatness of the Creator, the greatness of the goal, the effectiveness of the correcting light. Spirituality has to look great in my eyes in all of its manifestations, not just great in some abstract sense, but rather, as it is directed towards me. I need to be sure that there is a cure for me. And secondly, from the other side, I work with my own situation: how terminally ill I am, how I suffer because of my ego, etc.

We cannot tell ourselves these things and be inspired by them. We can be inspired either by the books, or by far the most powerful, the group. Both books and group are, in essence, the only means by which a person can impact his own desire, to evoke the correcting light of the Torah. In other words, this is the only means by which a person is capable of accelerating his development from the state “in his time” (Be-itah”) to “will speed it up” (Achishena). (Isaiah, 60:22). This is the only choice man can make.

For this reason a person has to come up with a daily schedule: listen a bit, read a bit, spend time with friends. During the entire time besides the three hours of study, a person has to find himself within a system of self-preparation. This is not just free time! You cannot be together just during the time of study. You need to make sure that you prepare yourself for a lesson. That’s why you need to have gatherings, common meals, to communicate, do something together... It does not matter what. Everyone needs to bring his own tip to the common Kli, to the group, which, in his opinion, has the best effect on him. This is how we will find a way. Even if we don’t, it doesn’t matter. We will be engaged in the single most important thing: in the search for the need for the Creator. And the result is that suddenly we feel this desire, thanks to what, we don’t know: we can feel it at absolutely any place and time. The light affects the Kelim and “rocks” them. Meanwhile, what we have to focus on is this: We have to determine which actions can be the most effective for us during the day so that we come alert to the lesson, impatiently waiting for the treatment – the correction.

The most important thing is the time before going to sleep. Half an hour or fifteen minutes, it does not matter how long, for five minutes, at least, before bed, before you go to sleep, I cannot tell you how long it should be. Sometimes two sentences or two words are enough. This is what one falls asleep with, and he passes through the entire night and wakes up with them in the morning. Sometimes one reads for 20 minutes or listens to music. It does not matter exactly what, however, before going to sleep, one must find something inspiring, to which he will wake up in the morning. We know from the TES about the necessity of “Kriat-Shma” before sleep, since without it, one will not wake up – will not pass by the “night guards”. Without this a person does not have the strength to go through the darkness of the night. After getting up he is ready to continue this awakening.

In other words, one is forbidden to get up in the morning ("forbidden" means that one can not agree to it, and "morning" means before the lesson) with an empty head and an empty heart. If he feels the emptiness this only means that he did not get ready before sleep – this is absolutely so; there is no other reason.

One can watch the evening news. Rabash, by the way, also listened to the news, after which he read Shamati, and then went to sleep. But it did not happen often that he fell asleep (and we used to fall asleep next to one another on the trains, in the hospitals) without opening his Shamati notebook. During the day he used to always carry the Psalms in his pocket (I also always had them in my car), or the letters of Baal HaSulam. He opened the source and read a quote. It was enough for him to sustain his thought and work for some time. His thought and his work differed from ours.

At work: I think that in our world there is no such job where one is unable to look in the book every hour for the duration of one minute. Even if one applies his mind to his work, which has to do with programming or computers, and cannot hold on to the thought, it does not matter. If this is what one wants, there is no other way, and these are the conditions. One minute is enough, the rest does not depend on him. One knows, for instance, that once an hour he has to arrange the “connection” with the Source for himself.

Mid-day article and communication: Preparation for the lesson must define your communication over the phone, the time when you listen to the article, your work in the evenings. Everything must come out of one goal: to come to the lesson with great desire. It is not necessary to talk about it aloud. It is enough for this goal to be present in some form within us. The most important thing is for you to receive an impression from this. We know that it is possible to listen to some lecture for ten hours and not to hear it; it will go in one ear and out the other without registering. Or it is possible to listen for twenty minutes or an hour when suddenly one word may “turn us on” and affect us. Therefore it is necessary to search…"I've labored and I have found". You are not obligated to come up with great results. The “labor” (Igati) is entrusted to the person, but the “result” (Matzati) to the Creator. This is all.

During the day you should have some kind of meeting and read something together. However, each person is also required to prepare himself for the meeting in a special way, just like he prepares for a lesson. He tells himself that during that meeting he will receive an impression from the entire Kli; that each person in the Kli also desires to receive an impression and awaken these two types of Reshimot: Reshimot De-Aviut and Reshimot De-Hitlabshut. This is your group activity that you perform now in order to prepare yourselves for the upcoming morning lesson.

The meeting can last for five minutes; you do not need more than that. However, you must be in a special state during these five minutes. Prior to that, you have to think for a couple of minutes and be aware that this is really a special time. In an essence, except for those five minutes, when you are connected with the group, you do not have more time for that during the day.It is absolutely necessary to do that – either during the day, or, perhaps, in the evening, before sleep, because there is no other opportunity for daily group work.

Everything else is done in accordance with how much free time you have – you come here, do some work, engage yourself in some dissemination projects in the evening, or do something else. Ultimately, this Reshimo has to generate the demand for the greatness of the Creator, for the realization of evil and for the light, which brings us back to the Source. It does not matter what your group responsibility entails. If you are able to unfold this chain to its final point, it means that you have succeeded.

(Lesson on November 18, 2004)

17) During the lesson, we should feel the lack, meaning our lack for the attainment of the Creator, the property of bestowal.

On the one hand, there should be a need. On the other hand, if we do not act out of joy, it means that we do not have any connection with the Torah – there is no equivalence of form. In other words, the necessity and the joy must go hand-in-hand. We should not be depressed. When we spoke about a terminally ill person, I probably did not stress enough that the person was rejoicing over a remedy that he had found. It is an unprecedented joy. It is a need and a revelation of its fulfillment: the need is to be healthy, and health as the fulfillment. Thus, we must be joyful.

..Everything has to come from the spiritual inspiration: Look, what means we possess! The means for the attainment of the Creator; nobody has anything like that. We just have to demonstrate at least a tiny necessity in the means, and the means will whirl us like a flying carpet. However, before you step upon it, you are asked: do you want it or not? If you absolutely want it – come on in and then we take off.

...We do not lack anything except the necessity. There is a King’s feast right in front of me, but I do not have an appetite. This is what we have to feel, otherwise our action does not originate in perfection and it is not connected to the Creator – to the Torah. We must value the means, the goal and the group, which can bring us to the right necessity. Our entire path - including the feeling of lack, everything that we pass through - goes along with uplifted spirits, joy, singing and dancing. This is like a musical. Then the necessity that you uncover comes out of joy that there is medicine that you can use.

...We need the greatness of the goal, of the Creator, of Torah, and all the means at our disposal, so that, as a result, we would uncover in us a demand. The demand must come out of perfection. Remember that, this is extremely important. Otherwise you will be sitting here for years without making any progress, immersed in despair and eat yourself alive, as it is said: “A fool sits doing nothing and eats himself” (see Koelet 4:5). Moreover, this is arrogance: “Look at me, how much I suffer. I suffer for myself and for all of mankind”. This is Klipa at work – as they say, "doing its dance" – and it is not good. You have to be constantly overflowing, constantly on fire. When the necessity uncovers itself – you rejoice over it even more, for the sweetening is prepared for it in advance.

...Everything must start from the fact that we are connected with the Creator, we just need to realize it. Being part of the process is actually a great adventure – to such an extent that by advancing, we start to prefer the process to the final state. Bestowal on its own, the search for it, the realization of it, becomes the reward.

There is no place in man’s life where he cannot rejoice. Even in the worst place, if in his tiniest thought there is glimmer of the connection with the Creator, if he is not detached from it, then he is in the process. Our prayer should be directed only towards maintaining this awareness and not falling into an unconscious state. As Baal HaSulam writes, the greatest punishment in the Universe is the disconnection of man from the Creator, even if it is just for a second.

... The need is revealed only from the perfection that you see in the Creator and the method; otherwise, it will not be the right need. You will be miserable and won't be able to move.

Work is done in the right line. First and foremost, this is work in realizing the goal and its greatness. The goal is bestowal. The greatness of bestowal goes before everything. Then I start using my left line and examine this, little by little, when it is possible. Let's say for half an hour daily: whether I am involved in it or not, what am I lacking to be truly inside? In the right line, I examine bestowal and realization of its importance without relating it to me; I just examine what bestowal is as such. In contrast, the left line always has to be revealed only in relation to the right line. Otherwise, I cannot say that I want to turn it into bestowal. You have to understand that if you adhere to the right line, which is bestowal, then everything you reveal is directed towards the Creator. Everything flows into one process, one purpose. If your starting point is not perfection, then it is the desire to receive. It cannot be any other way.

...What kind of need should I evoke during the lesson? The need has to be such that would allow me to remain in the "womb" of the Higher degree, and also, it has to be as strong as possible, so that I desire to grow without losing the recognition that I exist inside of Him. That is why Baal HaSulam wrote TES in this kind of form. He explains a system to you and you stay in its thoughts all the time: “I'm inside this system, it functions and acts on me now. I want to be an active element of this process; I want to act together with it. No matter what Baal HaSulam says about ascents, descents or connections, I want to participate in it”. The moment you enter the Higher degree it becomes your mechanism. Baal HaSulam does not speak about Partzuf Abba Ve Ima as if it existed outside of you and operated in a particular way. No, you discover that this mechanism exists inside of you, because ultimately, you attain the entire Infinity. Besides this, there is only simple Light. That's why you need to reveal the need during the lesson from within your existence in the Light, in the greatness of the Creator.

You have to be confident that this will happen at the end of the present moment. Not the next moment, for moments are separated by intervals and an interval can last for a long time. This will happen exactly at the end of the present moment.

(Lesson of November 19, 2004)

18) When the intention precedes the action, it is the real action. The study is not called an action, because you study with your eyes and your bestial intellect, therefore it is not called an action, but a deed of a beast. Where is there a spiritual action in the fact that you sit in front of a book, the fact that you read? Where is the spiritual action?

What I want as the result of my study is called my action. That is what I activate, that is what I can somehow think about, and therefore it is called “action”. About the intention it is said: “The hidden (intentions) are to the Creator” meaning that He gives them as a gift – as a reward for your effort in the action.

From here we see that the action is not just study. In return for the study we do not receive intention from above, but an “action” is the demand to receive the intention. Baal HaSulam writes about this in the Introduction to TES (Item 18), that there is effort in quantity and effort in quality. Quantity of effort has value as well, but not for effort without any intention in it, but he is discussing the extent to which my study includes hours of effort and strain, demanding the intention. Overall this is what gives the power, the intensity – the time, multiplied by the demand for the reward, meaning the extent of my longing to receive.

If I study for two hours, and during the two hours I have a hundred percent desire to receive intention in order to bestow, and that the light of correction will come and correct, then it is considered that I have made a hundred percent effort. But if I studied for two hours, and out of them only during two minutes I thought about the intention, then I made a quantity effort of an hour and fifty-eight minutes, and a quality effort of two minutes. The quantity effort is also important, since eventually a person wants to reach quality effort, but he or she forgets. This forgetfulness brings the person to suffering, and to a request and prayer itself, that his or her efforts and ability of quality effort will increase. That occurs until the person reaches quality effort. But without quality effort, a person does not receive from above an action of the surrounding light such that it would give him or her intention in order to bestow. Over the desire that is revealed, we must place an intention in order to bestow, and that is called crossing the barrier.

(Lesson of February 25, 2005, Steps of the Ladder, Part 2, Article 586, “One Who Comes to be Purified”)

19) Preparation for the morning lesson is as follows: in the evening before the lesson, a person is already thinking how to make sure that the lesson helps him. He is thinking that during the lesson he will ask in such a way that the Creator will answer him. This entire preparation is the key to success, and besides this, there is nothing else.

At the beginning of the lesson, the air should be condensed from the tension of each individual – an inner tension that each individual came with, demanding and undergoing this preparation deep inside. Hence, it clearly follows, that everything has to be prepared in advance; the table is set up, books are laid out. Do not say a word to anybody, do not disturb a friend, silently enter keeping inner focus, sit, concentrate even more, and start a lesson. This is called the intention. The rest lies inside, but this is the beginning.

(Daily Article, October 11, 2004)

20) Studying resembles the connecting line that is being offered to us.

In the past, when there weren’t telephones everywhere, it was impossible to connect to another country from home. Therefore, I would go to the post office and order an international phone call. After I made the order, it was then announced: “The line has been received, please come into the booth to talk”. Then I would go into the booth, take the receiver and begin the conversation.

This is very similar to what we experience during study. Right now you are being offered a line, and someone is announcing: “Speak! You have only a few minutes to express what you think, what it is that you want, and for what you are asking”. In essence, this is what the time of studying is; you should relate to it specifically in this way. In other words, a person must silently say to himself what it is that he wants from his studies, and to thread this through the studying itself as a leitmotiv. The study is words, and a person has to insert his intention and his thought into them. Kabbalists are required to make the external words seem simple and trivial, but inside of them they hide great strength and a powerful yearning for the goal.

A person’s entire action is focused on this. After all, the action consists in the intention during study. It is our thought and our intention that influences reality. In addition, this happens only during the time of the lesson. In comparison to the process of studying, all the other periods of our activity are truly secondary and they help very little. It is only during study that we acquire the opportunity to send our pleas upwards, to have an influence, and to demand that which you consider the most important thing to you. If the thoughts and desires are united, if they come from the group, from the meeting and from the unification; then they have an influence above to the corresponding degree.

The unification or community is greater than the individual, as a dime is ten times greater than a penny. In addition, since people desire a connection, they are therefore willing to reject themselves in order to unify with the Creator. This is in essence a completely different action. Attaching yourself to the group – this is already a vessel for receiving the light. On the other hand, an individual is not a Kli.

The Creator is harbored in between – at the junction between the two broken parts. This is equivalent to what was said: “The Shechinah is between a husband and wife”. Therefore, if the prayer or the plea during the lesson encompasses the entire group, then its action is really directed at the goal. On the other hand, the prayer of a single person has almost no effect.

If a person is not able to combine the studies with the goal, then he has to simply divide every thought into two halves by saying to himself half of a sentence about the goal, and half of a sentence about the material being studied, until they combine into a single whole for him. By doing this he will be able to “package” one thing into the other. This happens the same way as waves become covered by modulation; we send our demands up on the background of the lesson.

I once asked Rabash: “What should I do if I am only able to think about one thing?” “Think about the goal”, he answered. This is okay even if you are not able to hear the words of the lesson. If there’s an opportunity to turn to Him, then you are capable of doing this. Give a few percent to the study, and let the prayer be the other 95 percent. This is what we lack.

Right now I look at our group and at the groups around the whole world.What keeps the people at the lessons? We see people from the overseas groups. What keeps them here? Suffering!

Suffering is what brought people to the lesson, and they are holding their breath as they look at us: what if something will suddenly come from there? Suffering keeps them there and keeps them from going home; only suffering evokes everything. And there is no doubt that nothing will come from this kind of scheme. The connection with the Upper Force cannot emerge by way of my evil – that is, when I feel bad. It is possible only through the path of goodness – that is, when I ask for goodness, await it, yearn for it, and feel myself standing not under a hail of blows, but rather on the threshold of something good.

A person has to await the Creator’s greatness in his own eyes, and the arrival of the light that will give him the opportunity to ascend. This does not mean that he will ascend with regard to his egoistic perception, as when he feels good because he received something. Rather, it will be from the evaluation of bestowal as something that lies above our world, and it is worthwhile to become equivalent to it. To sit and wait, the way hundreds of people around the whole world are sitting and waiting right now – this is not what is called “the path of the Torah”. This is the path of suffering.

Specifically because there are many of us and we are together, we are therefore obligated to give each other the greatness of the spiritual. I cannot dance around in front of you; you yourselves have to do this with regard to one another. Otherwise, whatwill happen – a one-man show? The groups and friends have to influence each other.

Groups in other countries: right now you are looking at the screen and you see Bnei Baruch. What are you thinking about? I see that people barely understand the material that we are studying. This is completely normal; we are not required to have knowledge. However, the intention during study is necessary. You should not wait for something to come from above or from the central group – Bnei Baruch; rather you should create a support mechanism with your intention. What do I want from the lesson? What kind of unification? What kind of a common Kli, which is filled by the revelation of the Creator to His creations? This is what is called “the Science of Kabbalah”; this is what it means to study Kabbalah. We are studying the way in which the Creator becomes revealed in the vessels or in the souls. The Science of Kabbalah is the study of the revelation of the Creator in creation and to the creatures.

It is important how capable a person is to grasp the material with the mind and work with sensations – in any case, a person has to work on intention, rather than simply sit and wait: maybe another wise thing will suddenly come from there. We have to think more and more about what the intention is during the lesson and what is the demand. We are losing only with regard to this aspect; that is, we are not able to make quality efforts.

In the Introduction to TES (Item 18), Baal HaSulam writes about the "amount of effort" and the "quality of effort". The "amount of effort" is determined by the amount of our available time that we spend studying – at home, together, etc. However, the "quality of effort" is determined by the demand we put forward during study. I demand for the power to come and correct me, to focus my thoughts in the right direction, so that I desire nothing else but the goal.

A great number of groups with dozens of people are sitting at the lesson. They are here, but where is the quality of effort? In other words, where is the demand for the revelation of the Creator to His creations in this world? If we don’t expect and demand this during the study, we are not studying Kabbalah.

When we see each other on the screen, start focusing on this intention: we demand the revelation of the Creator to His creations in this world; we want this to be more important than anything else. That's all. Another, deeper understanding of the quality of effort will come later, however, this comes first.

This approach, as I already mentioned, is consistent with the definition of the Science of Kabbalah: it is the method for revealing the Divinity of the Creator to His creatures.

Keeping our intentions, we nevertheless must feel that the line that we open during the study is a certain "pipe" connecting us with the spiritual world, and that through this "pipe" we can affect the spiritual with our intention. We progress only by sending the Creator as much intention as possible at the time of study. The more solid and generalized the intentions of the group, the closer they are in relation to the goal, the more they are charged with the feeling – a genuine prayer – the more effective is our plea. Nothing but this will help us.

With the exception of one hour set aside for the study of TES, all of our actions during the day or night – no matter what we are doing – are needed only to ensure that we approach this hour in joy. It is joy for finally having an opportunity to infuse into the study, literally by force, all the revelations that we have acquired earlier, outside of study.

One can compare this with having a one-minute audience with the King. A person is given only one minute to tell the King about his problem, and during this time the King is ready to listen. Such should be the preparation and feeling at the time of study. If we do not work on this together, we won't take advantage of the only means at our disposal. Everything else is the path of suffering. Only this action is called the path of the Torah: we attract upon ourselves the light, bringing us back to the Source.

Some people in our overseas groups are not that familiar with the study material; however, they attend the lessons regularly. Praise and honor to them. There are others who study, yet, do it without passion. I see their thoughts as they observe us through the screen: "Maybe, there will be some explanation?" Some even think: "When will this boring TES lecture end?" I understand everything and this is why I'm telling you; one must work on building the demand. It's necessary to discern and "whiten" the intention of each member of the group, each group, and all the groups together. One should also remember to Whom we’re addressing our demand. This and nothing else should be the subject of our discussions and correspondence, for nothing else can help to attain the goal.

Nothing can help us to keep the intention and not lose it. One can scribble the reminders all over his hands; one can surround himself with excerpts and quotations from all sides. Try it; I'm not saying you shouldn't. I can surround myself with all sorts of signs, set an alarm clock – what not. However, if the goal is not important, the intention slips away and disappears. Under what circumstances does the goal become important? When one gets the impression from the group, he sees that everyone is doing this, that this is important. Then one also starts feeling that this is important, for we are dealing with a genuine opportunity to communicate with the Creator, meaning, to effect our own development.

This is what our work is all about. One shouldn't expect that one would soon start thinking about the most important [matter] without any obstacles.

There will always be obstacles in this regard, because this is our only field of action. There is no other work. This is the expression of our attitude toward the Creator as well as our desire that He help us.

During the day, realizing the greatness of the Creator and the importance of the attainment of the goal, one has to prepare himself and reach the condition so that one can express, during the study, all the accumulated inner tension. Read Item 19 from the Introduction to TES one more time, where Baal HaSulam talks about the intention.

We have to understand that there is the spiritual world, and that we can affect it only through our intention during the study. For this reason we are given the Torah, and the light contained in it brings us back to the Source. If not for this, we would advance only through the path of suffering. Thus, we advance either by the path of suffering, or the path of the Torah. You choose. If you choose the path of suffering – stay at home, and that's it. We gather here in order to follow the path of Torah, which means: to evoke the light, bringing us back to the Source. And this is possible only during the study.

We have gone over this material a thousand times. If you want to refresh your memory, we can do it. However, our work is only this. It is only this, the intention during the study. I hope that this will become the topic of our Spring Congress. We already are in the process of constant joint study.

The groups throughout the world, thank G-d, are relatively stable. Now, we have to build them and to unite them with each other correctly. I see that people on the screen are looking at me with anticipation that I will tell them something. However, I have nothing to say but this: guys, let's start working. And it does not matter how much you know. He who is wise does not study.

(Talk on February 8, 2005)

21) Intention determines everything. It is not even worth opening a book without the intention. If, in order to establish the right intention, you need one hour to prepare for the lesson, it is better that you come one hour later, or, come on time and prepare yourself for the intention here. This is an important and serious aspect, and it applies to everyone who studies at the morning lessons without an exception. Analysis of what should be the intention at the time of study is mandatory and more important than everything else.

Engage in the study only if you do not lose the intention. This is where the difficulty lies. Experiencing difficulty in keeping the intention, you call obstacles upon yourself. Then you start "playing" with the material and with the intention for it. This resembles the real analysis of what measure of a desire for delight can we utilize in order to create the intention for bestowal above it; how deep shall we delve into the study and engage our reason, so that we keep the intention directed towards adhesion with the Creator? By keeping the intention and focusing on the study at the same time, we "implant" the intention to the study material. In the future, we will be able to "implant" the intention for the sake of bestowal to the material of our desire for delight in the same exact manner.

Question: What should be the right intention during the study, if every moment of the lesson different unrelated thoughts and states race through your head?

Different states and thoughts sent to you during the lesson are so called "obstacles". Overcoming them, we define our relation to the study. We act only from the basis of our need. Until we feel the need, we cannot artificially retain a single thought, or follow anybody's advice. If a need is absent in a person, there is nothing else to tell him but to get connected to the group, and absorb the needs of the fellow men. However, if the connection between us is such that the group does not give a person a "rebirth" every single moment, that is, does not renew his desires, you will not advance correctly. You, as well as your fellow men, must have the need that you received from the society, and the intention on which you work individually during the lesson. Remember: it is not worth taking more from the study than the intention permits you. Make sure that the intention does not abandon you.

(Talk on December 11, 2004)

22) We study how the Upper responds to the request of the lower; and you ask how it is possible to study this dry material and realize that it discusses you, the way you are related to it. Well, you study exactly about what you want to happen. If you want to feel but you do not, then that sensation also is added to your request.

But even if we do not talk about sensation, but according to logic: the upper system is organized in such a way that Keter and Abba ve Ima, GAR, the whole system belonging to the Creator is in a state of stand-by towards you, just waiting for your desire to be ready to receive from it. It is a tube of infinite diameter, which opens up according to your request. That is how it happens.

So during the study you must ask to have a request, as written in TES, since “the request opens the gates”. What can be closer to a person than what he or she studies? You become included in that request, in that desire as it is described. That is how the request goes through:

The Keter is entirely ready. There are in it Hasadim (Mercy) as well as Gevurot (Judgments), Hochma de Abba, Hasadim de Ima – everything is ready, but they are in a state of Panim ve Achor (face to back), awaiting your request. So during the study you must ask to be included in that system. Not necessarily in Nekudim, because anywhere is the same, these are the same ten Sefirot that are organized in this way.

During the study you must ask that your request would be MAN. MAN means Mayin Nukvin (Female Water), meaning a true lack. “Nukvah” (female) is a name for Malchut, and “Water” is Bina. Meaning that Mayin Nukvin” is Malchut that wants bestowal just like Bina. That is why it is called MAN, and therefore, the lack rises from Malchut to Bina. It is the lack of Malchut who desires to rise to the height of Bina, and that is your request.

In part seven of TES we read exactly about these issues. If you would ask about a different part of TES that is not so related to our state it would be different, but there is nothing closer to the description of our state than the description of the raising of the lack in part seven – that is exactly the request we pray about.

There is no doubt that if this is forgotten the study immediately turns into meaningless passing of time. It is not entirely meaningless, because a person later considers what he or she gained from the study, and the person is also included with the others, who are in the correct intention more or less. But there is no doubt that the intention is most important, meaning the demand that something of the processes you read about will occur within you. Later on, when the situation will become clear to you, you will see that you are in it and that you were in it. Eventually, the concealment is only on your sensation. You are present raising MAN and as a result you receive the lights that pass through you. Everything is already in the form of bestowal, only you are lacking consciousness. It is concealed from you although you are actually in it now. Therefore, you simply request that your true desire and state will be revealed to you.

(From morning lesson of January 11, 2005)

23) In TES it is written about the intention, not about the desire itself. Matter and desire go through actions because the intention constantly changes. The lights act on the desire from above and the desire moves from there to here to the extent of the intention that overrules it, no more. The desire itself does not change; it is the intention that determines what occurs.

It can be imagined as a metal worker, who bends a sheet of steel and forms it into something. The shape that the sheet metal will attain is like the intention of the person as he or she expresses it in the matter. That is how we study about the actions in the study of TES.

All of the actions described in TES are intention only. Without intention the Partzufim would not have descended from infinity to our world, nor rise back up to infinity. The entire path is intentions over matter.

Say, if you have fifty grams of intention to perform some action, then you take fifty grams of matter and you execute. You do not touch all the rest. The rest is under restriction and is not revealed to you at all. It is always a part of the left line that is revealed, which you can hold and use with the right intention, as well as a part that you do not use, even with correct intention. These are the Toch and the Sof of the Partzuf, and that is how you build a Rosh.

Overall, what we attain from state A in infinity and up to state C at the end of correction is the Rosh. In actuality, the same infinite is filled both at the beginning and at the end, but the difference is in the Rosh – the Rosh is the intention. Thanks to the Rosh, the person receives NRNHY instead of Nefesh, because the person knows the host, relates to Him, and receives the entire NRNHY in bestowing to Him. In relating to Him, a person receives an additional impression, additional recognition, and awareness. All of these additions are intentions. Within the intentions is revealed the realization of the Host, the thoughts of the Host. Meaning that in the intending to act like the Host, the person gets to know Him and receive His degree.

The Creator created all of the actions upon the desire, and man has nothing to add to them. The Light that built the desire divided it into pieces, filled it and emptied it, and to all of these actions from above to below, man only needs to add the intention. The descent from above to below is in order to enable man to build his intention gradually from below to above. In the actions that you will have to undergo with the desire, at each level more desire is added portion by portion, however, you do not determine anything. These gradations, the division into a hundred and twenty five steps already exists, and you just add your intention. That is why there is nothing in the entire creation except the addition of intention. We have nothing to worry about, the actions will continue to come forth as they do now, we are not owners of that, and we have no control over it. The actions will come at the same rate in which we attain the correct intention, and we determine the rate according to the speed in which we find the correct intention.

After all explanations, whichever path you will choose, and from whatever side you will go, you have nothing but intention. Kabbalists discuss only intention.

(Lesson of February 25, 2005, Steps of the Ladder, Part 1, Article 503)

24) We lack the realization of evil in life. If I worried about something right now, I would not be able to sleep, right? As Rabash says, if you yell out to a person in the middle of the night “Your house is on fire!”; he will get up instantaneously; he will not stay in bed. Therefore, the problem is in our understanding that we are on fire, and only the surrounding light can save us. In turn, I can receive the surrounding light only now, when I study TES, according to my intention, my desire, and my demand. I have nothing else to receive here, but the surrounding light. Greater or smaller number of Reshimot, seven kinds of screens, twenty more of some other categories – this is completely unimportant. I must extract the surrounding light from here, which will save me. However, the problem is that I do not feel that I am on fire. To understand this, I have to plead now against my own will: let this surrounding light show me that I am in danger.

... I must get accustomed to what I am reading, as if it is happening inside of me. I am making an inner action of bestowal to the Creator, which is being described in this book. And if I imagine that I want to be inside of it and I am in it - it’s already a prayer. I don’t have to say, “Now I want You to send me the surrounding light”. It is not necessary. It’s enough that I want to take part in that action, in order for it to occur in me. This is what calls upon the surrounding light.

For instance, a child is playing with his toys as if they are not toys but his father’s tools. A child has a little wooden hammer, and other things that are like that, and he thinks that this makes him be like the adults. The same holds for us. We do not have to get mixed up in such definitions as “the group”, “the World Kli”, and ”intentions”. No. It is enough if I want to connect to what is being discussed. Therefore, we, as a rule, do not study negative things.

For instance, we usually talk about the breaking of the vessels only on certain occasions, say, on the mourning day of the ninth of Av. But in general, we do not study the breaking. Why? - Because we try to study clean actions. You get involved in it; you want to stay in it like a child.

– I want this.
– Why?
– Just do.
– What will it give you?
– I don’t know.
– What does it mean to be on such levels?
– I don’t know.

And this is enough, in order to awaken the surrounding light. Only from within such sensation, being already inside, can you tie the entire group to it. You want to bring the entire world into it; you want to feel how everybody is bonded by one action. You are already somewhat inside of it; you are flowing along with the text, feeling the desire for this to happen in you. You will be able extend this condition, only if this is taking place. The entire humanity, all the souls in the common state of bestowal will be turned to the Creator along with you. Then the thoughts, corresponding to this condition will come to you.

… It doesn’t matter how much I understood. What matters is whether I kept the intention for as long as I was reading the text. The degree of my understanding has to be put not even on the second, but on the third place. First, I have to keep the intention, flowing along with the text and willing to actually participate in it. Second, later I have to make sure that I understand the words correctly, interpret every word spiritually. This means that the right interpretation makes my adhesion with this particular action stronger. If I interpret correctly what "the screen" is, it means that I engage in action, with a desire or against it, Or, for instance, "the upper light" has to be interpreted correctly. Everything, understood according to Baal HaSulam’s interpretation strengthens your intention to participate, feel, and live in the action, which you are reading about using a correct approach.

That is why Baal HaSulam cares so much about the interpretation of words and says that we have to know them by heart. Through this, you strengthen your intention during the study. The interpretation of words is not meant for knowing everything in theory, passing the exam and becoming a clever guy.

25) We have to try to somehow feel what the spiritual systems are. They are located within me and they determine my life, but I do not perceive them, in the same way that I do not perceive my liver and kidneys. There are many organs in my body that I do not feel. I also do not feel the spiritual systems, and they are concealed from me even more. If one of the systems in my body gets sick then I immediately feel that something is not right. In contrast to this, even if my spiritual systems are completely defective, I do not feel it.

During the entire time of a person’s studies, he must try to think that everything that he is being told about his body is inside of him. I am referring to the body of the soul, rather than the animal organism; this is where all of these processes become realized. If a person wants to learn to apprehend his soul in order to pass into it and to live in it, then he must apprehend this system.

A person is able to live in this world without knowing its structure. However, in the spiritual nothing becomes revealed to a person until he apprehends it. Otherwise he can harm himself. Therefore, we have to try to find what we are studying inside of ourselves. We aspire towards this by making efforts, and then the lights exert their influence. In Item 155 of the “Introduction to TES” Baal HaSulam writes: “…Although they do not understand what they study, nevertheless, because of their strong desire and aspiration to understand the material that they study, they evoke the surrounding lights on themselves…”

We have to imagine ourselves as if we apprehend the entire volume of the world of Infinity. Everything that happened in the Malchut of Infinity and in the first nine Sefirot, is located inside of us. This entire area is the sphere of the souls of creation. The First and Second Restriction happened inside of me, as well as the expansion of all the worlds. The immersion into my material, its creation and reconstruction by way of various processes – all of this takes place inside of the desire to feel pleasure. The desire to feel pleasure – this is who I am. Based on the desire for pleasure, I then pinpoint that my “I” exists as well as something else: the worlds, other souls, angels, “demons”, “spirits”; and all of this is there because I am not corrected.

When I correct myself then I will see that I, meaning my desire for pleasure, am filled by the light of Infinity. Therefore, everything that we study took place inside of me and inside of each one of us. This is what every person should say to himself. This took place inside of me, within states that I do not perceive until I begin to think about them. Then, I have to return up into the world of Infinity, along the same states and events, and in the same order. All of the past, present and future events, which are produced by my efforts as I ascend into the world Infinity, take place inside of me. The Light of Infinity, which I reveal, is also inside of me. We must only reveal what is concealed inside.

A person should concentrate on the fact that everything is located inside of him. You should not look for some kind of a star that is far away or near. All of this is inside of me. Then, a person begins to think that the notions of “close” and “far” are determined by his attributes, or by how much a thing is spiritually close to or far from him. If, from the very beginning, a person will think that everything is located inside of him, then everything will look different and will have a different meaning to him.

(The lesson of November 19, 2004)

26) We should not be concerned with the amount of knowledge that we have acquired or that we lack. Very different kinds of people are present here. They understand and do not understand the material; they know or do not know the “Teachings of the Ten Sefirot” - this does not make any difference.

The most important thing is that, right now, as we read the book, they know that it is referring to them and to everyone. In other words, each person knows that the book is talking about him, that he is in these states and on these levels, and that everything is inside him. Although a person does not yet feel that this is happening inside of him, nevertheless, by cleansing himself of various trivialities and thoughts of this world, he will immediately discover that the inner events are his life, his perception and the state in which he exists.

Therefore, when we aspire for the internal rather than the external, we aspire to understand and to perceive precisely where this process is happening inside of ‘me’. Then, accordingly, the study exerts its influence on us. After all, Infinity is our innermost point, and right now we exist in the most outer form relative to it. So let’s begin learning that which is called “the inner part of the Torah”. All of these systems are located inside of me, and through my efforts I will reveal them and feel my inner spiritual reality. The Klipa (the clothing) of this body will disappear, and I will live only inside of the spiritual perceptions, or in the spiritual world.

(Lesson of November 19, 2004)

27) In order to attain the Goal, we need only one thing: unconditional faith. That is all.“Unconditional faith” means the following: I believe that there exists only one thing that can save me, the light that brings me to the Source during the lesson. I need a certainty, a realization that there is nothing else, that without this I am dead, and only if the deliverance comes, will I live. It is similar to a terminally ill person who cannot think about anything else except for what can save him.

Imagine yourself in the place of a terminally ill person. You know that if you receive the light, you will instantly obtain a long and beautiful life, free of suffering. If you do not, you will deteriorate even more and die. If such a sensation is present in a person then he has unconditional faith in the method.

Your faith must be directed in the following manner: “Now, I'm approaching bestowal, similarity of form to the Creator, and it will make me feel good”. I cannot take myself out of my calculations and do not want to feel good. However, I want to come to the Creator, to bestowal.

We must reach unconditional (correct) faith, established and tested. Then we can say that we are OK.

Question: how can we attain it? Baal HaSulam only says that everything depends solely on it.

If you do not have faith, then demand it through your efforts in the Torah and various acts of preparation. As Baal HaSulam says: “The student must pledge before the study”. In other words, he wants it to be so. He just wants it, and that's all; moreover, he does from the furthest point. Gradually, it is formed. However, it happens exclusively based on the desire of a student, who, in turn, does everything in order to consolidate his efforts, his work, his dissemination, and his group – only to demand faith during the study. If he has it, then to that degree of faith, the light will come, correcting the Kelim, and returning him back to the Source. Then, certainly, from Lo-Lishma he will attain the state of Lishma.

Progress is measured by the degree of our realization of the necessity to attain Lishma.

And it does not matter if I envisage that it will make me feel good – this is always present in our subconscious. The degree of realization of the necessity is evaluated by the use of our free time, by exerted efforts, our inner craving and striving. Sometimes the opposite happens: we suddenly discover that we have many other goals, that there are other important things in life. Nothing can be done about it. It is said: “Live it, but do not die in it”. It is called lack of faith. Thus, “to believe” means to discern that the attainment of Lishma is the goal of life, and we have nothing else to do in this world. We were created for that and also to understand that it can be attained only using the correct approach to the study.

This is called faith. If you believe that by doing this, you are saving your life, you will pay even a million dollars. If you don't have them, go to the bank and get a loan. Please. Then, work your entire life. Or, alternatively, work for ten years, and then you'll acquire life. Faith is a vessel for spiritual attainment. It is not just a condition with which we, so to speak, can open the gates to the spiritual world. This is the Kli, confidence, your focus, access to the Creator, the desire to attain bestowal. All of it, as a whole, is called faith.

Faith – this is the Kli for the attainment of bestowal, being absolutely convinced that this is going to happen if I think and concern myself only about it.

(Lesson of October 29, 2004)

28) The calculation is performed with us only to the extent that we demand it, and to the extent of how connected the entire group is during the study, that is, during the time when we work on our intentions. However, I see that thirty percent of people are sleeping at the lessons, and they do so without feeling that they are letting everyone else down. I am not saying that each person has to demand a “burning heart” from himself. Sometimes there are states when this is impossible, and I too have been through them. However, it is unacceptable when a person agrees to sleep at the lesson with such a light attitude. This is one of many examples. You know that sometimes I fall asleep as well. However, our obligation is to exert efforts.

(Daily Article, December 7, 2004)

29) There are people who can study, and there are people who cannot because of distracting thoughts, fatigue, and other factors. Those who can study have a corresponding urge, desire, and mood. And those who can’t are currently in the state of “desert” and have to apply efforts: to concentrate as much as possible on study and appeal to nothing else but the light that brings them back to the Source. They should plead for developing some interest, for establishing a certain connection within which revelation could happen. They should plead for pouring light to grant them an ability to stay in the state of “desert” in relation to their own ego. As for bestowal, on the contrary, they should demand to develop an urge for it. However, people who stay in their internal desert are not capable of this, unless they receive help from those who are in a good state, who study by their own will and desire. They have to help the others.

We are like one man divided into many pieces. Instead of passing through state after state individually, we can pass through these states together. By doing so, we save time; we help each other and become connected one into the other. This is why during the study, in particular, each of us has to apply maximum efforts, keeping one common intention.

Here, I now see people who don’t have a desire for study. They can’t, they are not able; the material is dry, incomprehensible. The answer to “Why do I need this?” is in order to attract the light that brings us back to the Source. You are given a lack of interest on purpose, so that you would ask for correction. When you are interested, you are not asking for correction. You are already fulfilled by knowledge as such and you find food for your mind. That is why the state in which one has no interest and connection can be a blessed state if we react to it correctly. However, in such a state one is not able to act solo. He needs the help of the surrounding society. That is why study always takes place in a group, and those of us who have the will power and desire have to support those elements of perception and the colleagues who now are in the state of “desert”.

Baal HaSulam says that if one object passes through various states in the spiritual, then in our world, there are many objects that find themselves in various states. In the spiritual, man and woman constitute one Partzuf. The same applies to children and all the rest. Various states are sensed inside a person. Still, vegetative, animated, and human levels exist inside a person. Night, day, earth, and heavens, all exist inside a Partzuf.

Things are different in our case. Everything is divided into internal and external parts, into a great number of people, each of who has something specific. Adam HaRishon includes all the souls. All the nations of the world and, in general, everything is in one Partzuf, while here, in our world, everything is broken into a multitude of pieces. If we unite into a single entity and each does his own thing and also partly connects to the other, then the other does not have to occupy himself with that particular part. This is how we help each other. If we reached this unification among us and performed a united act, we would finish the correction. Multiplicity of actions is due to the fact that we are not connected to each other.

So, whatever applies to one person who goes through a series of states in the spiritual, in the material, it spreads out to a great number of people who can unite into one single entity, unite their individual little actions with which each is burdened and can finish them all. This opportunity should be utilized particularly in the society.

That is why it makes no difference who wants to learn and who doesn’t. What matters is our relation to the passing states. Furthermore, it shouldn’t matter to a person at all in what state he is currently. States come from above. Don’t tell me that Sitra Achra contrives it; everything comes from the Creator. Each state is blessed and necessary, and you just have to realize it according to what is sent to you from above.

You have no desire for study? Wonderful! It’s excellent that I have no desire for study. It means that now I have to try to overcome this. Where are the powers of the society? Where are yesterday and the day before yesterday? After collecting all of this into a single picture, I nevertheless have to demand the light that brings me back to the Source. The Creator has to give me powers, but not to fill my ego in a false way, so that I may cheerfully move forward and study with enthusiasm. No. It’s okay if I don’t feel fulfilled doing this. It’s okay if I don’t have a desire for such a study, and it’s okay if I carry on without a desire. Now I want to draw the light that brings me back to the Source. Now I want to acquire the strength to go above the knowledge. Let me connect to the study not through my reason, but above it, above the knowledge.

In this case who will benefit more? A person for whom the material seems dry benefits more. He just has to realize the situation correctly. On the other hand, he who is in an uplifted state, who uses reason, works during the lesson, writes things down, makes drawings - he, possibly, is not utilizing his current state correctly. Possibly, he just studies with his external reason, how PartzufimAbba and Ima turn to each other either face-to-face or back-to-back - and forgets about himself. It’s a different matter if we study in a group. Even if someone forgets about himself, even if he studies with enthusiasm, in an uplifted state and experiences positive sensations, while the other, on the contrary, rejoices the lack of desire for study (because this creates preconditions for praying, allows him to apply efforts and, possibly, be honored with something above the knowledge) - nevertheless, in a group everyone makes up for each other.

With what do they do this? It is done through efforts. Applying efforts, you want to study, while I don’t. Then you supplement me, and I supplement you. We are like one man. In the spiritual, there is only one man, although here we are divided into many. If now we can constitute one man, we make up for each other. For example, your ascent complements my dryness.

This is the manner in which we have to work here, as if it is a lab. Together, we work on a state sent to us from above. We deal with something, with the material called “our condition”. Everyone, as if working with chemical substances, conducts tests that he is assigned, and as a result, together, we work on common material, which is given to the group from above. From above the group is treated as a single body. If someone is working on something, exactly as if in a chemical lab - then in general, we are engaged in a common action here and begin to ascend.

Each of us has to pay attention to his state at the time of study and keep in mind that all of us work together.We need these two factors: everyone works on his inner state, and together we work in relation to the Creator. That is all. We do not need anything else. It is so simple.

(Daily Article, December 7, 2004)

30) The most important for me is to flow in that stream, to feel that I am inside. And it does not matter, what remains in my mind after the study. Actually, this later helps me to go deeper into the intention, into the emotional unification with the text, though this is secondary. This way, everything develops correctly. A person stops demanding just knowledge and begins to care about living in it, like a child, as if actually performing actions. Or even if he doesn’t perform them, the accomplishment goes along with him. We have to reach a point in our study, when we forcefully enter this state in our sensations and don't give ourselves a break. Then we will succeed.

This has nothing to do with the studies in a university or school; this is something completely different. Start to understand what is being asked of us. It is said: “Believe in the wisdom among the people but do not believe in the Torah among the people". Because right now you are demanding the Torah, the light (Ohr) that brings you back to the Source, not the wisdom. This is a very-very fine relation, which is very different from our usual approach to studying any science.

It is necessary only to acquire this approach. Nothing else is needed. Compared to this, everything else simply does not exist. And then we will feel the power, hidden in the book, in this tool passed to us by Him. Frankly, except for this text, we do not have any other connection with the spiritual. To benefit from this key factor is the only thing that is important; not more and not less.

(Lesson on TES, October 26, 2004)

31) We read many articles together. This should not get in our way. A person can pass into a new state during each new second. We have to leave the previous state and try not to hold on to it inside of ourselves. The moment any state, no matter how high it is, remains in a person for longer than an instant, it turns into a Klipa. A new state should stand before a person during each new instant. If a person is not trying to hold on to his states, this means that, first of all, he does not correlate them with himself, since the desire to remain in any state comes exclusively from his benefit. If a person does not attribute the states to himself, then he will come to correction or the End of Correction. Therefore, whatever state a person goes through is not important to him. The important thing is for him to go through them faster. We may read thousands of articles a day, and this will not get in our way, because it is really possible to go through a thousand states during the course of a day.

You should not try to activate your memory and try to remember various things. Do not use your perception and do not hold on to it; do not try to feel the same thing in the next instant as what you feel right now. No. If you felt something for an instant then you have already apprehended it. You should not concern yourself with more than this; you have experienced this perception in your life, and that’s the end of it. The next time everything will be different, bigger and better, and it will have a different inner definition. There is nothing to cause worry. The most important thing is to go through all of the perceptions in your thoughts.

This is why it was said that during each new moment the Malchut of Infinity is empty once again, and a virgin once again. We should do the same thing. A person should be new during each instant, as if he is reborn. In this case, we erase everything that came before, and once again we become empty and ready for work.

(Daily Article, January 17, 2005)

32) Nothing related to the study will help you, except the lights that act on Reshimot. All clever things that you learn here are not worth more than other sciences that you have studied from other books. You can convince yourself that you are studying spiritual events and Sefirot that ascend along the levels, as well as the lights; nevertheless, all of this is secondary in comparison to the influence of the surrounding light. If it does not act upon you, you will not understand the genuine meaning of anything that is written in TES. In you current state, you do not understand the laws described by Baal HaSulam. When that which you have been studying for ten years will finally become revealed to you, then, you will see the entire picture in a totally different way, and in a totally different dimension and comprehension. Therefore, you should aspire for the study to bring you bestowal, rather than knowledge.

(January 24, 2005)

33) If a person wants to attain that which is happening to him, then he is yearning for attainment and this exerts an influence on him. Everything else is merely accompanying perceptions: you are close, far, or somewhere in the middle, but in any case it is mainly a person’s desire that works. Right now you do not have to think about the fact that the surrounding light, which shines in the inner part, will pour on you from the outside and will cleanse your vessels; and about the fact that the light that comes, cleanses the Kli and therefore the Kli becomes finer; - all of this is just knowledge. You are simply yearning for that very state. The desire that pulls you is truly the fuel, like a missile that takes you there. The desire acts, the desire works, and there is nothing that exists other than the desire, whether it is the desire to bestow or the desire to receive pleasure. Desire is the force, and everything else is the material that does not possess any actions. Therefore, the work is done specifically by a person’s desire.

When we together want the same thing, then we build the common desire. If, in addition to this, each person also thinks about everyone else and about the fact that it is not only himself who wants to reach the goal but also everyone else; if everyone comprises a single Kli, then this desire becomes much greater and greater. The only thing that is necessary is the desire.

…You should ask questions at the lesson about the Teaching of the Ten Sefirot, and Baal HaSulam gives a basis for this in the Introduction to TES. There are several reasons for this.

First of all, a person studies by the way of reasoning; he cannot study without utilizing the mind. This is the nature of our Kli. The Creator did not create the mind in order for us to neglect it and depreciate it. We have to work with our Kelim; we really have to understand the material that we study and construct it in our heads. You see how Kabbalists tried to write all of this in an orderly way, even though they were not writing especially for us, but rather for those who are already present in the events described. They specifically want to correct those people.

Imagine how many Kabbalists throughout history have made mistakes. You may think: “They made mistakes – so, what’s the big deal about that? This means that they did not really know the scholastics”. However, this is not scholastic to them. If a Kabbalist is present in genuinely spiritual events, then he performs corrections by reading about them and doing them. A book with instructions is a good teacher for him, and he corrects the soul by using it. Obviously, he himself will ultimately be able to reveal that which he is reading. It is said, “Man's soul will teach him”. However, this will take a lot of time. Therefore, a person is able to do the same thing easier by way of working in the inter-inclusion with other souls. A great benefit is hidden in the use of others’ attainments. This is the first reason.

The second reason: Take, for instance, a person who has reached the spiritual and has to use this book as the authority for his actions, just like a gymnastics manual that shows how and describes how many times you should move your arms and legs in order to become healthier. Reading TES is the same thing. While working on this, a person activates his inner Kelim and performs corrections by doing this. In addition, he performs these corrections in accordance with the common system that Baal HaSulam has already revealed, and in this way a person becomes included in this system. Whatever the level of his understanding may be, even if he only annuls himself, a person follows in the footsteps of a great Kabbalist and goes on the path that the latter has marked.

We are not present in the spiritual attainment yet, and we receive the surrounding light from the study. The most important sign, which is the quality of the effort, is measured by the demand or by the perceived lack: how will this benefit my correction? This benefit depends on the pain that you experience while you demand correction, and on how much your pain is goal-oriented. You are not worried about how your day will go, but rather about how clearly you have clarified the goal to yourself, or specifically that which you desire. The volume of the Teachings of the Ten Sefirot is lying in front of you, and this will help you to enter the spiritual. What for? What will this give you? What are you living for? What do you expect from your studies? If you are going to arrive somewhere, then what will this mean? What exactly do you have to achieve? What is the nature of the point towards which you aspire right now? All of these questions are part of clarifying the quality of the effort.

A person, who concurrently studies and also works in attainment, gradually comes to the correct relationship between the studying and the inner work. He becomes aware of the fact that it is precisely the inner work that will bring him to the goal. At the same time, the quantitative signs of studying, such as how much the person knows, how deeply he understands, how deeply he answers or asks questions; are determined by his animal attributes. Therefore it is said: “It is not the smart person who studies”. One person was given a sharp, clear and penetrating mind, while another was not. This is completely unrelated to spiritual attributes. This attribute is inherent to a person who likes to study and comprehend.

Some people by their nature do not activate their mind and they seem to work on intentions more. However, it is possible that their work on intentions is not strong enough. Others put a lot into studying and later they see that studying does not bring them towards the goal, although they were hoping that it would. After all, as a rule they succeeded in life specifically with the help of knowledge, information and perceptiveness. Then they become disillusioned with their mind and, just as they were diligent in the studies before, they now use all of their strength to work on intentions.

We can identify other reasons, but we should understand that a person has to work with what he has been given. We cannot compel him and tell him what he should and should not use. Everything must become revealed to a person naturally, until he finally comes to the realization of good and evil. We are only talking about how we can go through these stages more quickly, but it is necessary to go through them, and nothing can be done about that.

You have to ask questions and try to understand the material. However, the truth is that, with time, a person still becomes immersed in the theme that is painful to him. If he feels pain from the thought “Why am I not advancing?” then he ceases to connect this to knowledge, such as: how and where did each of the Partzuf's Melachim fall? A person naturally no longer worries so much about acquiring facts, because he understands that it is not this knowledge that will help him to become the one who bestows. This happens naturally.

(From the lesson on TES, January 2, 2005)

34) I think that a disciple, who really wants to comprehend the material, has to work hard and a lot during a lesson. Maybe not necessarily to write everything down, but one has to do work. Every disciple must create a strict, unchanging system for writing things down, drawing. In either case, it defines limits, establishes a clear framework for our three-hour morning lesson.

... I think that if one wants to learn something, to comprehend, to establish a connection with something, he has to read it at least a hundred times, even two hundred times. Only afterwards can he see if he has something inside of this or not. But first, read the material at least dozens of times. Without memorizing, it won't work. This is both deliberation and perception; there are many things to it.

It is necessary to know the articles of "Shamati" practically by heart. After that, continue with "Shlavei HaSulam" – a soft interpretation, which you don't necessarily have to know by heart.But as far as "Shamati" goes, I think that one has to really know it pretty much by heart.

It seems to us that if we change a word, or switch places, this is not so terrible. But why did Rabash write it in this particular way? He wrote in line with Baal HaSulam's thinking and according to the way he re-approached it internally. Who knows how his thought, his brain used to work at that time? But if you repeat the same words, you, in a way, will program your mind to follow exactly the same path. Your current brain in an animal-like state does not follow it. It seems that the words you are reading are compiled incorrectly; however, they are recorded according to Baal HaSulam's frame of mind and the speed of his thought. Hence, it is worthwhile to copy the precise order of the words in your brain, and then the entrance of the words in your mind will arrange your mind correctly.

... There are virtually no commas or periods in the "Shamati" articles. The whole book of "Shamati" is one long article. This is not a collection of articles, but one block. You must put into your mind and start thinking according to these patterns at least at the corporeal level, although they really refer to the spiritual order of words and passages. This is how we embark on study; this is how we learn. This is what I did myself.

(New Month Meal, December 12, 2004)

35) I tell you to write things down because we have to be connected to the study material. As far as the Study of Ten Sefirot goes, it is not important how much you understand; however, there must be some order. You must strive to find yourself in this entire system: the worlds, circles, lines, how does it relate to the Upper Governance; how do you ascend in this system, how does the light come down on you, what is the place where you exist. This is how I feel. I don't know, maybe someone else feels something different. I have to find myself there, to understand the path I have to follow, to understand what influences me, what can I govern and influence. In other words, the study has to be like a prayer. You have to find yourself in this whole system. For this we have to write things down. Turn your study into a prayer – that is, when you learn abstract things, draw conclusions, suppositions and use them for your personal progress.

(New Month Meal, December 12, 2004)

36) From the very beginning, I perform actions by making efforts during the study and attracting the light of correction. This is called an “action” or “my intention during study”, which is the same thing. In return I receive the light AB-SAG from above, the force of correction, or the correcting light; it is not important what name we use for it. Now I have an intention for the sake of bestowal on that whole desire for pleasure that is revealed in me. A desire that relates to this world has become revealed in me. The spiritual desire has not yet become revealed. Then, I clothe the intention “for the sake of bestowal” on this world. That is, I am ready to reject this entire world, for the sake of bestowing to the Creator. This means that I have already attached myself to Him, as a seed in the mother’s womb.

I have attached myself and I begin my nine-month phase of development as a fetus. How do I develop? I have already received the intention “for bestowal” on the desires of this world, but now the desire for the spiritual becomes added to me, and I begin to work on this additional desire, which increases with each passing day. This is called “day by day”. Ultimately I have to go through all of the days of the intra-uterus development, to go through three "sections”, through a number of qualitative changes, etc.

But what am I doing in essence? I am growing my intention, on the background of the increased desire for pleasure. When the egoistic desire becomes increased in me, then I still perform the same action, but I already see much more when I study. I have a different connection and a different character of my relationship with the Host; I already begin to perceive Him. However, since I perceive Him, my work also consists in neutralizing this perception. This work is even more difficult.

Now, when I can see the Host, I have to conceal Him; otherwise I will not have the intention for bestowal. I hide His revelation in the form of pleasure for my egoistic desire to feel pleasure. If I do not conceal Him, if I do not place a barrier between us, or the Machsom, then the Creator will place this barrier automatically. Each time, I myself have to create this barrier; otherwise I will not be able to carry out the condition of the First Restriction. Each time, the work becomes more and more difficult. I have to create the concealments myself, as it is said: “Moshe concealed his face, because he feared seeing the Creator”. This is how a person advances.

In short, action is the name for the search for the means that will bring me to the correct intention. In the spiritual, these means are contained not only in the study; but various other opportunities become revealed. These are the opportunity of working with the group, with the teacher and with other means. In any case, “action” is the name of what I desire and of what I am doing to achieve the intention. If I do not simultaneously do anything to achieve the intention, then this means that I am not performing any action. If I am only studying then this is not called “performing an action” that can give me the intention.

(The lesson of February 25, 2005, The Steps of the Ladder, Volume 2, article 586, “For the one who comes to be Purified…”)

37) It is necessary to read on a regular basis articles or letters written by Baal HaSulam or Rabash that discuss the work. The entire matter of work is how to attain the vessel of faith. So a person should connect to this source, to this provider as much as possible during the day, at every opportunity, in the hope that the awakening to faith and bestowal that is in these writings of the great ones will affect him or her. This is also the case when coming to study. Before study one needs to rejoice in the fact that he or she has arrived, and is now with friends and in a study routine. It is good, day after day, during one’s entire life, to acknowledge, “this is what I was created for and therefore I study. I am happy that I have a different destiny than all other people in the world. I have arrived for the meeting with the Creator, and even if He will not act on me in any way, I have much to be thankful for. Even though I will not be able to do anything, being present is already a major gain.” In this way, gradually, one becomes used to the framework on one hand, but also gets out of the framework on the other hand. Such an attitude is helpful in finding points to hold on to while progressing deeper. With the continuing influence of the connection with the Creator, providence is revealed to him more and more, and in such a way, through the study, he enters into the knowledge of the material.

(Daily Article, December 13, 2004)

38) It is written, "one learns only what one's heart desires". We have to find the places to which our heart leads us. You scan through the book and suddenly get this reaction to something that you read, these places are very important and you have to mark them. In a different situation, at another time, I will see something else, but each time, in this way, I will see how I change, advance. Paragraphs, expressions that were completely incomprehensible before, that had me wondering why anyone bothered to write this, as it is just taking up space, suddenly are seen to have such inner depth and light within. That light takes me to such depth, such a realm that I didn't even think existed in reality. Suddenly, it turns me like a screw and screws me in.

We always start from places that we feel closer to, that we understand. We should not look for hardships. As far as the regular study of the Teaching of Ten Sephirot is concerned, we act as usual. Whether it's hard or easy, we keep on studying, because here we don't have to study in order to understand. However, when you talk about inner work, you have to feel your response, and choose places that are close to you, to your heart.

(New Month Meal, December 12, 2004)

39) It is not within man’s power to overcome one’s will. Only through demanding this correction during the lesson does the power, the surrounding light that illuminates the person to the degree that he or she has faith and demand for it, correct him or her, and the desire changes into the vessel for the reception of bounty.

It is done this way on purpose, to give man the possibility of turning to the Creator, and not to think that one can perform the corrections directly on one’s own will by oneself. One should not think that he is above his nature, like the Creator who can control His nature, because in that one’s pride will only grow. But in having to turn to the Creator for correction, in having to recognize the evil within oneself and the greatness of the Creator, one begins to relate correctly to the entire system of creation. The Creator does not desire that one be forcefully subdued by the upper power, because in general, one’s appeal to the upper power is intended for receiving the intention of bestowal from it. In this, to the extent that the person requests it, the person receives the attributes of the Creator and becomes equal to Him. It means that the Creator does not leave the person at his previous level, but elevates him, according to his demand toward His own level.

In this way we gain twice: 1. We don’t fall into the ego, the desire to receive, into thinking that we can correct ourselves. 2. We turn to the Creator, we begin to be dependent on Him, meaning that we rise to a higher level. Initially we are included in its AHP and later on we request correction. “Correction” means to be like the Galgalta VeEyinaim, like the level itself.

We need to remember that nothing can be achieved except by the power of the prayer during the study. It is only this action that brings a person change, progress, and salvation. All other things we have in life, whether we would want to use them or not, whether we are conscious or unconscious about the manner in which it acts upon us, everything is meant eventually to push us to this point, of arriving at the book with the correct intention. The right books are in front of us, but it is the desire we need to accumulate. During the study there is not much we can do, but before the study, in between study times, at any other time, is the time of preparation.

(Daily Article, November 11, 2004)

40) We are vessels, experiencing sensations. A “vessel”, " Kli" is that which "senses" and sensation cannot be dictated by the intellect. These are two different and opposing systems. You are asking me to tell you about examples or actions that will help you improve the sensation. I can give you a thousand and one tips, but you will forget them in a second, because you want to come to a desired sensation through the intellect. What can we do? A very simple act: we gather together and we begin reading books that discuss our corrected state, desiring that it exist in us. That is all, just reading. But in order to gather and read and think, a few preliminary actions are needed in order to awaken in us the understanding of and the desire for the necessity and imperativeness of shared study, since there is no choice. The bottom line is that this is the action, nothing else. Why are we reading all these books? We read them because they describe for us our corrected state. To the extent that we desire that it happen, it will happen. The surrounding light acts.

(Daily Article, January 5, 2005)

41) If you sort through your desires, you can use your first nine Sefirot for bestowal; Malchut, the Stony Heart, cannot be used for bestowal.

What does this mean and bestowal upon what? It means bestowal to the connection with the rest of the souls. Only in the connection between you and the rest of the souls is the Kli discovered in which the Creator is revealed . The vessel for the inspiration of the Shechinah is the connection between the souls. We need to think this way during study.

We are now learning about the correction of the 288 desires as opposed to the 320 parts, meaning that each one has to examine all the vessels within, all of the possibilities of connecting with others. This is actually the correction. The person freezes, closes, and conceals the desires that do not help him to connect with others. That is how the person’s actual form of bestowal is revealed. In that, the person reveals the vessel in which the Creator will appear.

We are now studying about things in which the intention and the study are one and the same, and this is actually true everywhere in the wisdom of Kabbalah. We have to awaken and examine this issue constantly. If we do, the intentions and the study will be connected as one. The person and the study, with the intention to reach the correct state while studying, will be as one. If we study in a group, where everyone desires to connect, it turns out that we are in a laboratory and we are performing the experiment on ourselves. Whoever notices this will sense how much it advances him, and whoever does not is drilling a hole in the envelope of the Kli.

(Daily Article, February 15, 2005)

42) We have to realize the following: on the one hand, the Kabbalist can clothe the words of wisdom in the best way for us, and in doing so hold us in the correct intention, not letting us lose the direction, path, or comprehension of that which we can attain by reading and discussing the material. On the other hand, the effort nevertheless comes from us doing our part. Our efforts are turned precisely towards this, while thoughts and obstructions arise from our nature, each individual being built differently. We have to work on overcoming these obstacles and must purify the intention.

We should not think about our desires and thoughts, or about what happens to us in this world. Also, we shouldn't think about the spiritual as such, the way it is investigated in the Kabbalistic books, meaning, about the world of Atzilut, about the world of Adam Kadmon and restrictions, about ascents and descents, and about all the other things, scrutinized in TES. In other words, we should not think either about the spiritual or ourselves.

We have to think about one thing: how during the study we can remember that it is precisely this which brings me to the goal, like a carriage, train, or plane, - something that I board and set the course to the destination. A person has to think only about this; his efforts have to be directed only towards this. This is our opportunity for free will. Nothing else can help a person to reach what he wants, the thought of creation.

(Daily Article, February 24, 2005)

43) At the time of reading TES, one should think about the fact that our entire correction is conditional upon adhesion to the Upper.

We are not allowed to utilize ourselves, our personal attributes. Our desires and thoughts in their current form are not intended for spiritual work. However, after we adhere to the Upper degree, and to the level of our adhesion, we, thanks to this cohesion, will see that we are changing. We can engage ourselves correctly in bestowal only by the means of such incorporation. This means that Malchut connects to the first nine Sefirot, to Yesod.

Thanks to this incorporation, to the degree that Malchut is connected to Yesod and entrusts itself to it, taking upon itself all the work in the properties of the first nine Sefirot, to the degree that the properties of Malchut become equivalent to the properties of the first nine Sefirot, removing differences in the outer manifestations, that is, [to the degree the properties of Malchut become equivalent to] bestowal, Malchut can work. This must be the intention during the study.

Work in the spiritual is possible only to the degree of the adhesion with the Upper, when we take upon ourselves everything that characterizes it – above reason, above everything, purely because of the adhesion and dedication to it. This takes place, first of all, in the group. This is where we check: are we really ready, wanting, yearning to take upon ourselves – only theoretically – that which characterizes the Upper. This is why we need to think about the common Kli, where we unite with one purpose only – to bond with the Creator.

(From the lesson of February 16, 2005)

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