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Shamati Nr 43 The Matter of Truth and Faith

August 15, 2004
Lecturer: Michael Laitman, PhD

Truth is called what a man feels and sees with his own eyes.

"In other words truth is determined according to the rule: "a judge has only that which he sees with his own eyes". The eyes are considered to be an absolutely authentic testimony, the ears - are not. "I have heard" - does not mean anything. However, if I am a mentally sane man and I have seen, then it represents a testimony that it is indeed has happened. I can be asked at court: "Did you see or not?" If I answer yes: "Yes", then they would ask doctors: "Is he normal or not?" "Yes". Then my vision, my testimony is accepted as a fact, that it really happened, in other words it is considered to be truth.

Truth is what one feels and sees in one's eyes. This discernment is called "reward and punishment", meaning that nothing can be gained without labor.

It is like a person who sits in his home and does not want to do anything to provide for himself. He says that since the Creator is good that doeth good, and provides for all, hence He will certainly send him his needs, while he himself is required to no action.

Of course, if this person behaves in this manner, he will starve to death. Reason too necessitates it, so it appears to the eyes, and this is indeed the truth, meaning that he will starve."

The direction of the article appears a bit ambiguous, but this is what Baal HaSulam is saying to us: only the eyes can testify to truth with which reward and punishment are probed. Although one may declare that the Creator is good, he will not see the good if he idly sits at home.

"At the same time one must believe above reason that one could obtain all one's needs without any exertion and trouble because of private providence. In other words, the Creator does and will do every deed, and one does not help Him in anything, but the Creator does everything, and one cannot add or subtract."

Both assertions are correct yet they completely contradict each other. So which one is right?

How can we reconcile this contradiction so that we could clearly see and attain truth? How can we combine these attitudes: "Im Ein Ani Li, Mi Li" (if not me myself, who would help me), and its opposite, "Ein Od Milevado" (there is none else beside Him), being that on one hand, I have to take a full responsibility of myself and on the other hand, everything comes from the Creator? This is the main problem we face.

"The truth is that without prior efforts it is impossible to reach anything. However, if there exists a state that is opposite to it, then how it can be called true? The answer is that truth does not refer to the way and to the situation. Rather, truth refers to the sensation that the Creator wanted one to feel like that; this is "truth". It follows that the matter of truth can be said precisely about the Creator, meaning about His desire, that He wants one to feel and see this way."

I don't know how to explain this to you. We have to rise above ourselves to the level where lies the solution of the problem, where two absolutely different consequences descend: either everything depends on the Creator, or everything depends on me, and where they intersect.

"Yet, at the same time, one must believe even though one does not feel and does not see with one's mind's eye, that the Creator can help him without any exertion to all the profits that can be gained, this is only with respect to private providence. However, one cannot reach private providence, prior to reaching an understanding of reward and punishment."

In reality, these are two degrees of the Creator's attainment. The first degree is when it seems to a person that there is a reward for every act. On the second degree, he already sees that there is absolutely no connection between his act and what appears to be a reward. He finds there is no reward, rather the act itself is the reward, which is called Private Providence of the Creator.

"The reason that one cannot attain the matter of private providence before one attains the matter of reward and punishment is that private providence is an eternal thing, and one's mind is not eternal. Hence, something eternal cannot clothe in something not eternal. Thus, once one has been awarded the discernment of reward and punishment, the reward and punishment become a Kli (lit. Receptacle) where private providence can clothe."

That is, one understands: "I do everything the way I am supposed to do, for there is no one in the world but me". However, after one corrects himself in hope of receiving a reward, one realizes that, apparently, there is no such sequence of events whereby by doing something one receives a reward. One rises above that state and sees that there is no act that he had performed, nor is there a reward. It is just the way how this manifested in his Kelim (Vessels).

"Now we can understand the verse, "O Lord, do save, O Lord, do succeed."

What does it mean: save us and let us succeed?

""Do save" refers to reward and punishment. One must pray that the Creator will provide one with labor and exertion by which one will have reward."

This is the first part of the work, whereby gradually Kelim is created in him.

"...At the same time one should pray for success, which is private providence, meaning that one will be awarded all the profit in the world without any labor and exertion."

This is difficult. "So be it, now I labor. As a result, I will get smarter, take it to another level, and begin to understand that everything is not the way it seems. But presently, I have nothing else to do: I labor." In other words, there are two degrees or states: "It is Okay, even if I do not understand now, I will later."

No, this approach is wrong. Without fulfilling the conditions of the next degree (that there is no reward and punishment, that everything is Private Providence of the Creator) now, while still being on the lower degree, we won't be able to advance. In other words, any movement (if we want it to be the spiritual movement) must be by faith above reason. Meaning, the movement must contain an element of one's adhesion with the Creator (who rules over me completely), along with "now I do everything by myself, I rule over myself". Only then does a person unite, through his action, with the Creator.

It is as Baal HaSulam writes in the article "Achor ve Kedem Tzartani", that a horse wants to find the thought of a rider, so as to follow it. He does not want to simply move, or even move obeying the rider. Rather, he wants to go above his actions to the thoughts of the rider, to unite with him there.

We have to do the same in each of our actions. We must reach the degree called "eternal governance" at the beginning, not after passing the state of "reward and punishment". As Baal HaSulam writes (page 63, "Letters"): "Israel (i.e. the one who strives towards the Creator), Oraita (Torah, i.e. all our actions that we do), and Kudshe Brichu (the Creator) must be as one."

Israel is he who does everything to draw closer to the Creator. On His end, the Creator does everything, and no action is required for the part of a man, for the action that seemingly has to take place between them already exists. However, all of that as one, not as a sequence, whereby it seems to me as if I do something, then it comes from the Creator, and somehow turns out to be a certain way.

In other words, on each degree, one bonds with the Creator in the following way: in each of one's present actions and thoughts, meaning before one thinks and starts doing something, one wishes to reveal the desire, the plan, and the demands of the Creator. Then one will feel that they are together - he and the Creator.

It is extremely difficult to do this in our world. This is because whatever happens in one body in the spiritual world occurs in several bodies in our world. Hence, the picture of our world throws a person out of a state in which he would be able to combine everything together. One spiritual object in our world breaks up into several of its' branches.

"We also see this in corporeal possessions (discerned by their separation in places, meaning in two bodies, whereas in spiritual matters everything is examined on a single body but in two times). There are people who obtain their possessions through great exertion, energy, and great wit, and at the same time we see the opposite, that people who are not so witty, who do not have that much energy, and do not make great efforts, succeed and become the greatest property owners and possessions in the world.

The answer is that these corporeal things extend from their Upper Roots, meaning from reward and punishment, and from private providence. The only difference is that in spirituality, it appears in one place, meaning in one subject, but one-by-one." E.g. one is poor, another is rich - in reality it can be one soul, only that in one it manifests as an action, and in another as a reward. "...meaning in one person but in two states, and in corporeality it is in one time, but in two subjects, meaning at one time and two different people."

For this reason, it is very hard for us to reconcile Private Providence with our effort. Our confusion is multi-layered. If in the events in the spiritual clothed the objects of our world as their copies, it would be very easy to contrast them.

Why then did He make this so difficult for us? Why this gets allocated into a multitude of different bodies of our world?

We can understand how desire got into a multitude of different bodies. Upon shattering of the general desire, each private desire was shattered as well. In other words, each of them is egoistically shut inside itself, exists inside of itself, and cares only of its' own fulfillment. Meaning, each tiny desire also breaks up into separate bodies in our world, into separate objects.

In the spiritual they are combined, and work jointly for one defined goal. In our world they are broken apart, each working towards its own goal - for itself. Therefore, each spiritual state of same object in our world is divided into many different material objects. One soul passes various states in our world in different bodies that change, die, and are born.

All this happens for one specific reason: despite all the confusion, we ourselves could rise above the level of our actions. That is, to carry out the actions completely, we should simultaneously strive to perceive the Creator's preliminary actions within us. Moreover, our actions should follow the desire completely, with us being convinced that it is Him who acts and does everything without our own involvement. These two aspirations, these two attitudes towards the same actions have to coincide.

Then in this attitude towards what happens every second (it is identical both from his part, and from the part of the Creator) one starts perceiving the Creator, and finds there a point of their connection. This point does not exist in between two objects. On the contrary, it is above them, it is where the two merge. Then the state of confusion of who is first - man or the Creator - goes away. Such perception, that there is no beginning and no end, no man or the Creator, is called the spiritual.

Question: How do these two sensations, the two strivings, coincide?

They coincide in one's perception. One feels that all of his actions and all actions of the Creator happen by one mutual desire, one mutual action, one mutual flow. There is no separation between man and Creator, everything happens simultaneously. There is no first and second, everything just happens simultaneously. In other words, it is a vestment of the Creator into creation.

It is attained on such level which then is called the spiritual. You simply look at the surrounding world and see how it is set into motion from inside by the force of the Creator. By His thought, with people but shadows, automatically perform that which is aroused in them by the Creator.

And who are you? You are the one who wishes to follow that which is aroused in you by the Creator in an intelligent, conscious manner. In other words, all your consciousness, a vision of the picture you now receive, must be directed mindlessly on becoming included in the picture.

In other words, even consciously, together with your knowledge of all this, you still want to participate in the process, without there being any difference between you and the Creator. As your consciousness increases, so do the obstacles. But now they are intended to give you an opportunity to include yourself more and more into the sole governance there is - the Creators' governance over the creatures.

This is the essence of climbing the spiritual ladder. Moreover, such a connection should be absolutely attainable and real. Meaning, one should perceive it absolutely clearly in all of his senses.

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