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Article "The Essence of Religion and its Purpose" - Lesson 1

July 25, 2005
Lecturer: Michael Laitman, PhD

In every person’s life, there comes a time when he starts asking questions, and having complaints such as, “What do I live for? What do I get out of this life? Why, is this world ordered in this manner, or actually not so well ordered, as it is obvious that everyone is in the imminent danger of extermination, feeling desperate and depressed? Or perhaps not everyone is in that situation, which is even worse; because if it were everyone, the feeling would be somewhat less dismal, but there are still some people who are supposedly living well…” and so on and so forth.

These questions and complaints that awaken within the person generate within him an impulseto start elevating himself above this world.

He then starts looking for all kinds of methods and advice that might provide him with some sort of an explanation regarding whether or not there is something outside of this life, beyond this world, thinking that if there had been no dying, this question might not need to be asked.

But in truth, this Kli (lit. vessel), this lacking, exists deep within us; and it starts awakening in us after having exhausted all means of self-fulfillment available to us in this world and having come up empty handed.

We thus turn to all kinds of methods that could provide us with an explanation, regarding “where we are” and “what we are”, but more importantly, pertaining to whether or not there are any means available to us, for improving our conditions.

This in turn, raises the question regarding the actual method, which leads us to the article we are going to read today, by Baal HaSulam, entitled: “The essence of religion and its purpose,” where Baal HaSulam actually explains what “genuine religion” is.

He says that genuine religion has nothing to do with the assortment of religions that humankind has made up for itself, nor with any kinds of customs, heritage, or spiritual heredity that is passed down from father to son. Nor is it comprised of any acts that must be performed in this world just because we are taught that “a commandment of men (is) learned by rote,” meaning that we have to do things because it is written that “the Creator had so commanded.”

Religion is rather something completely different, having nothing to do with what we have been accustomed to in this world where we have several religions; and we are going to find out what “religion” really is. Eventually, we will see that Baal HaSulam refers to religion as “the method of correction,” the method for “attaining the purpose of creation.”

And so he says:

“In this article I would like to resolve three issues:

A) What is the essence of religion?” meaning, what is this thing we call “religion?” when we say “religion”, “religious”, “religions”, what does it all mean? What is the essence of it all? What does it mean in terms of people, phenomena, and of the concept itself?

“B) Whether its essence is attained” through religion “in this world, or in the next?” meaning to begin with, there is a purpose to religion. He says that this concept does exist and that it isn’t just a concept, but a method by which one can attain something, something good; and that would be the reason for making use of it.

So the question is, whether or not one attains this “good thing” in this world or in the next, or maybe in both worlds? Of course we must also carefully examine the concepts “this world” and “the next world”, and find out what they actually mean.

And the third question is: “Whether its purpose” attained through religion “is to benefit the Creator, or the creatures?” well, this is also interesting. Which of them is going to benefit, both of them or only one of them, the Creator…or the creatures, human beings? Or is one just taking advantage of the other?

“At first glance, the reader may not understand the three issues that I set before me in this essay.” Really. Why? “For whom is it who does not know what religion is?” Meaning what kind of a Rabbi would he be, if he didn’t know these questions and their answers?

Not to mention its rewards and punishments that are destined to come mainly in the afterlife.” This is what everyone says: “Do the work in this life, and be compensated in the next (life),” or “this world is like a corridor, where the individual must prepare himself in the hallway,” and so on.

There are plenty of nice and genuine sayings, they just need to be properly explained, and then we might be able to understand them better. But the world is accustomed to the fact that this is how it works; you work here and “collect” there.

“Not to mention the third issue, for everyone knows that it is to benefit the creatures and to guide them to delight and happiness,” the Creator is so grand, He needs nothing and He is whole and complete. All He wants is to benefit us. So He gave us a place for work, this world - where we do the work as it is written: “In the sweat of thy face, shalt thou eat bread,” and then we reach Heaven; “and what else need we add?” these things are known to any child, anyone who studies these things only a little.

“Indeed I have nothing more to add. But because they are so familiar with the three concepts from infancy, they need not add and further examine them for the rest of their lives.” Meaning, it is so clear to everyone that these things are so obvious and merit no further examination, that no one does any kind of explaining; it is just a known fact that no clarifications are necessary, nor are they provided.

This leads the person to err by refraining from examining these things any further throughout his life, thus ending his life with the exact same beliefs he had as a child regarding the essence of religion.

“And that shows of their lack of knowledge in these exalted matters, which are necessarily the very foundation upon which the whole structure of religion is based.” In other words, one must examine these things, as they are the foundation of one’s approach to life.

Moreover, his meaning of the terms “religious” and “religion” is completely different, and we have to completely distance ourselves from the concepts we hold, about religion, religiousness, religious people, orthodox people and the entire religious establishment in general.

Baal HaSulam is referring to how the human being relates to his life. For instance, if there is such a thing called a Higher Power with which I’m dealing, that has created me and provided me with a space for toiling and laboring in this reality, and following which comes something else, then how does all that apply to me?

In other words, we must look at it as though we are living on a different planet altogether, not on this earth with this whole religious establishment and customs and practices and so forth, but in an existence where there is only a human being, his life and the Upper Force; a reality where there is some sort of a deal between them where if Man performs some special acts, he then merits some worthy compensation.

These beliefs are held by all. Even the most secular people have some sort of grasp and relation to them. To a certain extent, they even have inner morals and reckonings with regard to these things.

So we just need to take a fresh, un-prejudicial approach to these things, completely disconnected from reality in its entirety; we should examine them and see them for what they really are in essence. We will then realize that genuine religion, its structure and its method, have nothing to do with what we know.

And since these things are not being explained to either children or adults, Baal HaSulam says: “Therefore you tell me, how is it possible, that a child of twelve or thirteen years of age, can already thoroughly grasp these subtle notions,” meaning, even though these are very delicate matters, they are still not being explained to either little ones or grown ups.

“and so sufficiently, that he will need to add any further concepts and knowledge in these matters for the rest of his life?” meaning, the individual is not being provided with the proper guidance on how to approach this matter correctly.

“Indeed, here lies the problem! For this rash assumption brought with it all the recklessness and wild conclusions that have come into our world in our generation! And it brought us to a state where the second generation has almost completely slipped from our hands.”

Baal HaSulam is not lamenting the fact that the religious public is becoming gradually corrupt by not being provided with the correct education, nor that some of them have become secular as a result of it.

“The second generation” is a concept that refers to the generation of the exodus from Egypt, which refers to human beings who are searching for a path and are unable to find one; people who do not know how to search for that path, nor do they know in which direction they should be heading, and are thus left directionless.

“To avoid tiring the readers with long discussions, I have relied on all that I wrote in previous essays, especially on the essay “The Giving of the Torah”, which are all like a preface to the exalted topic ahead. Here I shall speak briefly and simply, to make it understood for all.”

In other words, it doesn’t matter that we haven’t studied the article, “The Giving of the Torah” yet, although he does go over it to some extent. We should rather apply ourselves to these things as if they were being revealed to us now for the first time, without prior knowledge. We must also understand that Kabbalists don’t ever base their writings on any other written material.

A Kabbalist is someone who breaks into a Superior Reality. There he sees how forces, lights, vessels and souls, all fall into place, how we are all being managed from there by these forces in order for us to go through some kind of process in this life, and continue that process in some higher dimension after this life.

When a Kabbalist uncovers his reality, both this world and the Upper World, he sees the relationship between the worlds and writes about it. Therefore, none of what we read in these articles refers to anything that “was written here” or “was written there”, as they like to say, but it all rather comes from the Kabbalist’s attainments and as a result of his scientific and practical examination of the reality that has opened before him. And thus he writes.

For example, Baal HaSulam is going to now tell us about the “absolute good”, the Upper Force that relates to all creatures by way of “absolute good.” He writes about that Upper Force as a result of his actual attainment, and not because it was written anywhere; although if it were written, it would have been the result of another Kabbalist’ attainments.

Whatever the case may be, they had in fact attained those things and did not just receive them by some telegram from the other world or by some other means of communications. Everything we know about spirituality that is found in our sacred writings comes from the attainments of Kabbalists.

“And first we must understand the Creator, who is the Absolute Goodness. Meaning that there is no way in the world that He will ever cause any sorrow to any person. And this we take to be the first concept,” meaning, above all else. There is an Upper Force whose primary nature is “Good and Benevolent”, the “Absolute Good”, as It lacks nothing. And if It lacks nothing and there existed anything outside of It, Its attitude toward that external something could only be one of “absolute good”.

Of course, we can’t just say that the Creator Himself is good, because “good” implies action toward something outside of Him. There is no mere “good”; only a reference to someone’s attitude toward someone or something.

This term “absolute good”, refers therefore, to the Kabbalist’s actual revelation of the Upper Force, the Creator, and his perception of the Creator’s attitude toward him, as “absolute good”, and thus he names Him.

And why does he say “absolute”? We study, later on, in the “Introduction to the Study of the Ten Sefirot”, and in the whole Wisdom of Kabbalah in general, that one can use the term “absolute” only after the examination of the attitude of the Upper Force toward one, throughout one’s entire history and reincarnations.

This examination must take into account, not only the Upper Force’s attitude toward one alone, but also toward the rest of the souls and all of humankind, in all of their situations and experiences throughout their incarnations.

As a result of this examination that I have conducted, having attained the Upper Force’s attitude and relation toward all creatures, and having confirmed with absolute certainty that the Creator has never treated anyone badly, only benevolently and without a trace of malevolence, then and only then can I conclude that He is the “Absolute Good”; “Absolute.”

And prior to that, it is not permitted for me to use that term to define Him, as it is written: “By Your actions we know You” and “The judge has only what his eyes can see”. Meaning, I must attain the Upper Force’s attitude toward all of the creatures throughout time and all situations, and only then, can I conclude that He is the Absolute Good.

And this is what Baal HaSulam is referring to; that if one attains this type of true recognition of the Upper Force, one is then able to perceive that He is the Absolute Good.

This brings us to another question: “If He is so good, then why do we feel so bad?” We will address that later on.

He says that “we take it to be the first concept” that the Upper Force is “the absolute good.”

“…for our common sense clearly shows that the basis for any evil doing in the world stems only from the Will to Receive.

That means that his eagerness to benefit himself makes him harm his fellow man, due to his Will to Receive self gratification. Thus, if no being would find contentment in itself, no being would ever harm another. And if we sometimes find some being that harms another, without any Will to Receive self gratification, it does that only because of an old habit that originated in the will to receive, which now rids it of the need to find a new reason.”

There are some great and profound things here. The “will to receive” is the feeling of emptiness in a person, or in any other creature as well. Emptiness is the “will to receive”, my desire to fill that void. And when I don’t find within me, something with which I can fulfill it, I break out of my own boundaries, go outside of myself, and start looking for something with which to fulfill myself.

Meaning, I have to take it from my exterior, from someone else, in order to fulfill myself. That is to say, that the will to receive is the reason for maltreating others; it actually pushes the person, and every other creature, to establish contact with another in order to take from the other and fulfill itself. And Baal HaSulam says that this is effectively the reason for all these kinds of actions toward our surroundings.

In addition to that, he says that it is also possible that the lack is not the determining factor, but that there is some prior habit; that though I had no wish to behave in a certain way, I am still compelled to do so by my habit. In other words, it isn’t my nature that has created the lack, the desire, but rather habit.

We see it with all sorts of things that people become accustomed to, creating desires for things through habit, just like with smoking and other trivial habits. By becoming accustomed to them, one already constructs inner desires that we must later fulfill.

And if we didn’t have inner desires for things, we would never go outside of ourselves to take things from others in order to fulfill ourselves. In other words, the will to receive, the lack, the hunger that we feel for anything, is the reason for all evil and for behaving badly with one another.

This raises another question: does this also apply to things that just happen between people? For instance, when a small child comes to me and sees me eating something tasty, a cake let’s say, and grabs it from my plate, we don’t get angry with him, do we? Why is it so? Because he just felt the desire, this natural desire that he had not created within him. It’s just his nature and so I don’t judge him.

On the other hand, I judge a mature person differently, because he has a mind that allows him to recognize that he is actually taking from me. He wishes to fulfill his natural desires just like the child, but he already knows that he is taking something from me; meaning, he takes me into account.

It could even go as far as his taking something from me not because he needed that something, but just because it would make him feel good that I don’t have that something. It would just make him feel better, to have me feel bad.

In other words, we do not reckon with the will to receive itself, the natural will, but with its actuation; the why and the reason for its activation by the person. For example, does the person have any accounts to settle with another that cause him to take pleasure in taking or stealing from the other, thus taking advantage of him? That is, in effect, the determining factor in how we look at a person’s actions; “stolen water is sweet.”

If there is some water next to me and I just take it and drink it, it is one type of pleasure. But if I take that water in a way that it would somehow harm another, or if drinking that water is for some reason prohibited, that would generate an additional pleasure because there are additional vessels involved. Or as we say in Kabbalah, that we measure a person’s actions by his intentions.

In other words, a person may do something evil deliberately or by mistake; the act is the same and the outcome is the same. But later on, that very same act could even be considered a Mitzva, meaning, a good deed for others, as it all depends on the intention.

Thus, we don’t really take the natural desires into account, for we all want to enjoy ourselves and we are all made of that substance that wishes to fulfill itself. But in addition to that substance, there is also an intention that is superimposed on the natural substance.

The degree of our intention to take advantage of another and to use them determines the level of egoism and reception of our actions. Thus the will to receive is not the determining factor, but it rather develops an additional desire with an intention to receive, on top of the natural will.

With regard to how we work with this will, both for the sake of receiving and for the sake of bestowing, there is certainly a great wisdom here. As a matter of fact, it is the main issue of the wisdom of Kabbalah.

This is true to such an extent, Baal HaSulam even says that if the will to receive comes as a habit, it is like we don’t take it into account, as it isn’t the result of a person’s special efforts. It is rather a force of habit or its preceding nature compelling him.

"And because we realize that the Creator is in and of Himself complete and needs no one to help Him to completion, since He precedes everything else, it is therefore clear that He does not have any Will to Receive. And because He has no Will to Receive, a reason for Him to harm anyone is fundamentally absent; it is as simple as that.”

The Upper Force is referred to as “Upper” because it manages all the other forces. In order to avoid confusion, we could also substitute the name “Creator” or “G - d”, which means “Nature” in Gimatria (Hebrew numerology), with the names “Nature” or “Upper Force”. So this Upper Force is the initial, primal force, out of which ultimately emerge all sorts of actions, creatures and so on.

And since this Upper Force precedes everything else, It needs no one; which is why It is in a permanent state of “absolute good”. However, that which emerges from It comes out lacking and with deficiencies, which is why it is said that these things “emerge from It”, “come out of It”, outside of the Perfection.

Question: With regard to the issue of habit; I’m not so clear about what you said, that we don’t take habits into account, and that they are not referred to as “will to receive”…

If we judge a will to receive not by the desire itself, but rather according to how the person utilizes it and the degree of cruelty in which he behaves with another in order to fulfill himself, it means that we are judging, measuring the will to receive according to the person’s intention and not according to the will itself.

Thus habits have no intentions. They are simply desires that were not in existence at birth, but were developed by the person into desires throughout life by force of habit and repetition.

Let’s look at smoking for example. No one is born with the desire to smoke. And when one starts smoking for the first time, one feels bad, as there is no pleasure in it; and it is even quite repulsive. But by repeating it again and again, one thus constructs a desire for something he had originally no relation to.

This desire then begins to demand fulfillment from the person, at which time we can refer to it as habit. And when one works with this habit, one uses it the same way that he uses a natural desire.

“Furthermore, it is completely agreeable to our mind as the first concept, that He possesses a will to Bestow goodness to others, meaning to His creatures. And that is evidently shown by the great creation that He has created and set before our eyes. For in this world, there are beings that necessarily feel either good or bad, and that feeling necessarily comes from the Creator. And once it is absolutely clear that there is no aim to harm in the nature of the Creator, it necessitates that the creatures receive only goodness from Him, for He has created them only to bestow upon them.

Thus we learn that He has but a Will to Bestow goodness, and in no way can it be that there might be any harmfulness in His domain. Hence we have defined Him as the absolute goodness. And after we have learned that, let us take a look at the reality that is guided by Him, and how He bestows only goodness upon them.”

When a Kabbalist attains the revelation of the Upper Reality, the Upper World, and discovers the force that acts upon us and upon our world from Above, he discovers that this force is absolutely good, and that Its Root is benevolent and primordial. And given that the Upper Force is primordial, It must be good, as the term “primordial” indicates something absolute.

In other words, the Upper Force lacks nothing, and that results in nothing but good acts toward those who have emerged out of Him, namely, the created beings.

Now, given that we don’t feel ourselves so good in this world, what is it that causes these good deeds and bestowal toward all created beings to be felt by the creatures as something so bad? Where does this inversion that turns His “good relation toward us” into “bad for us” occur?

Drawing 1

We are in existence in this world,“this world”, and there is this Upper Force, a single Force that acts upon us through all kinds of forces and influences, which according to the Kabbalists, are all good and nothing but genuine good. That Upper Force is called “His Essence” or “Creator”, or “Upper Force” and everything that comes from It is absolutely good.

“Good” means, eternal, complete, flawless, prosperous, fulfilling, without any lacking, becoming constantly better and greater; without any feelings of unpleasantness, ever. This includes being without even the kind of want that is constantly and immediately fulfilled, like when I want a drink of water, that I immediately get myself some water and drink it; not even that kind of want.

drawing 2

The “absolute good” means that I never even feel the want, not even for a second prior to fulfillment; I am just filled with pleasures all the time.

That is another thing to consider though. Given that our pleasure is usually felt by our fulfillment of something, by fulfilling our wants, how then, is it possible then, to feel pleasure without a prior wanting? Yet, the “absolute good” doesn’t even require that in order for us to feel good; it just becomes better and better, all the time.

If that is how it is supposed to be, and the Kabbalists do affirm that the Upper Force’s influence comes to us that way, why then do we feel ourselves so bad in this world, if indeed everything external to us is so good? What is happening? Could it be occurring here in the transition between these two worlds? Where here lies the problem that causes all the good that is coming from Him to turn into bad for us?

In truth, this is the biggest question; and we require nothing but to solve it!

The Kabbalists are called “Kabbalists” (“recipients” in Hebrew), because they have gone outside of this world and are therefore able to perceive and feel that which exists here in the Upper World, receiving all the good that the Upper World has to offer.

They are called Kabbalists because they actually know how to turn the bad into good, using this “patent” that enables them to receive that which is truly coming from Above, from the Upper Force.

Thus, the entire wisdom of Kabbalah is a method by which one can convert this bad feeling into a good one, into an absolute good feeling. We will find out a bit later why this bad feeling exists in the first place. But in any case, the absolute good feeling, containing no trace of bad, grants us the sensation of an eternal life and allows us to rid ourselves from death.

So let’s see how someone who has attained that state tells us about it and about the fact that we can attain it too.

“His Guidance is Particular Guidance

By observing the systems of nature we understand that any being of the four types – still, vegetative, animate and speaking, both as a whole and in particular, are found to be under particular guidance, meaning a slow and gradual growth by way of cause and effect, as the fruit up on the tree, which is guided with favorable guidance to finally become a sweet and fine-looking fruit.”

When we look at anything in our world, be it still, vegetative, animate and speaking, or even at those things that we do on our own, inventing all kinds of things in this world, one thing becomes apparent to us: that from the start to the finish of that particular thing that is being carried out, there is a process. And that there is nothing we can say about the inceptive state, for it is just a thought. It is found only in potential, in someone’s imagination.

Later we begin to give life to that imagination, until that which was agreed upon, becomes actualized. And during both the actualization process and the evolutional process, it is also impossible to say anything, regarding the finished product.

On the contrary, if for example we go into a construction site, or if we observe anything that is going through its developmental process like some biological forms, we see that their shapes are usually very strange, very confusing to those who observe, and very difficult to determine what they are supposed to become in the end.

The more developed something is, the harder it is to determine, to see or to guess, what that something is to become at the end, while it is in its initial or medial stages of development. And this is what Baal HaSulam writes about next.

“Go and ask a botanist, how many phases the fruit undergoes from the time it becomes visible until it is completely ripe. Not only do its preceding phases show no evidence of its sweet and fine-looking end, but as if to vex, they show the opposite of the final outcome.”

Why does it happen this way? Couldn’t it be different? Why isn’t it that from inception and on, the fruit becomes progressively sweeter, more beautiful and red and so forth? The creation and its process never take into account the process itself. Why is it so?

We have already spoken about it. There is the Thought of Creation, a thought “to do good to His creations”; to bring the creatures to a particular state called “The end of correction”. This “end of correction” state is included from inception in the Thought of Creation, “to do good to His creations”. That state itself then activates the Thought of Creation into taking the creature through this whole process, to this final state.

drawing 3

In other words, the final “End of correction” image is, in fact, the first image found here, from which all action emerges. This is unlike with us, where in our world when we do something, though we also imagine the final state and start performing all kinds of processes accordingly, we still just imagine that final state.

But in spirituality, this “end of correction” state is already in existence relative to the Creator, relative to the Upper Force; and it is just the created being, the human being, that must attain the recognition that he is, in fact, in that “end of correction” state.

We said that there is Olam Ein Sof (lit. the World of Infinity) or Adam HaRishon (lit. the First Man), which is the corrected state, the perfect state that was initially created by the Creator. In addition, we said that we are situated five worlds lower than this state, namely, five degrees of concealment (HaAlama) from this state.

drawing 4

Finally we said, that all we need do, is leap over that concealment by ourselves through conscious and deliberate efforts in order to attain the perception of ourselves as being in the corrected state of Ein Sof.

This means that the HaAlama, the concealment, exists only over our senses in order to allow us to correct our senses by ourselves, and thus attain the perception of where we are. But the truth is that we are already in existence in that final state, as it is the only state that truly exists, and there is nothing apart from that state.

This is referred to as “The final state is included in the initial thought”, meaning, that the Creator has created only this one state and that the concealment - a five world concealment (HaAlamot) – is only in relation to our perception. So all we need to do is bring ourselves back to consciousness.

This is why Nature is never wrong. The inanimate, vegetative and animate levels of existence are also never wrong; it is just the human being that makes mistakes. And the grander and more developed he is, the more mistakes he makes. This is because the human being, and only the human being, has a “free choice” to his actions; and thus it is written that “a beast makes no mistakes”.

drawing 5

This is particularly evident in the human being where we are unable to foresee any positive outcome to his evolutional process. On the contrary, throughout our history and our evolution, from the moment we have known ourselves, be it ten or twenty thousand years ago, we have been evolving into states of greater and greater egoism. The ego is becoming progressively greater and the human being is becoming more and more evil; and we are unable to see that we are evolving into something good.

But all of nature is created in such a manner that the final state is always known and present from inception; and this is a matter of the so called “debate” that we have with the Darwinian Theory, which claims that there is a definite evolution in Nature itself.

The evolution is not in nature, where subsequent stages are unknown and are therefore sought after. There is no searching in nature; ever. Nature doesn’t ever go out looking for “something better”. It just seems that way to us from our investigations, from our lack of comprehension that there are such and such forces, and that if we take them into account, we would find the best state. And after having reached the best state, we then start searching once more for an even better state, and so on and so forth. No.

The succeeding best state is already in existence from the starting point; nature is never wrong. There are lots of phenomena in nature that we can use to illustrate this. The electric fish, for instance, that kills by electrocution. This fish produces an electric shock in the capacity of five hundred volts, and it has a battery that consists of many smaller batteries, all of which are connected to one another.

drawing 6

Now if this fish did not know in advance that it would need five hundred volts, it might develop only a few of the small batteries, and then a few more and so on, which would be of no use to it as it must have, let’s say, all five hundred volts in order to function properly.

In other words, the final shape to be reached must be pretty much completely understood right from the start. That calculation must be there from the beginning, and it is to serve as the actual direction for evolution.

Thus the evolution in nature is never by seeking. And it is just the human being, which has the free choice to determine, whether or not his nature is evolving through searching or in an absolute and determined manner.

There are things here that will be revealed to us gradually. But coming back to the matter of discussion, our evolution is gradual, and we mustn’t make any decisions regarding the final state while in the process, as it is said: “Do not show anything to a fool before it is completed”.

“The sweeter the fruit at its end, the more bitter it is in the earlier phases of its development. And so it is with the animate and speaking types: for the beast whose mind is little at its end, is not so wanting while it grows. Whereas man, whose mind is great at his end, is very wanting while he develops. “A day old calf is called an ox”, that is to say it has the strength to stand on its own four legs and walk, and has the intelligence to avoid hazards on its path.

But a day old infant lies seemingly senseless. And should one who is not accustomed to the conducts of this world examine these two newborns, he would certainly conclude that the human infant will amount to nothing and the calf would turnout to be a great hero, that is if he were to judge by the wisdom of the calf compared with the wisdom of the senseless and mindless child.

Thus it is evident that His guidance over the reality that He has created is in the form of Particular Guidance, without taking into account the order of the phases of development, for they deceive us and prevent us from understanding their purpose, being always in an opposite position to their final shape.

It is about such matters that we say - “no man is wiser than he who is experienced”. Because only he who is experienced has the opportunity to examine the creation in all its phases of development, all the way through completion, and he can calm things down and not fear those spoilt images that the creation undergoes in the phases of its development, but only to believe in its fine and unique outcome.

Thus we have thoroughly shown the conducts of His providence in our world, which is only a purposeful care. That the attribute of goodness is not apparent before the coming of the creature to completeness, to its final ripeness. On the contrary, it rather always takes a form of corruption in the eyes of the beholders. Thus you see that God bestows upon His creatures only goodness, but that goodness comes by way of purposeful care.”

Thus, by observing any evolving object or creature, we become aware that it is gradually evolving into something, but that we are nevertheless unable to determine anything regarding its final state, just by observing the intermediary shapes it goes through in the process. Much like his apple example, where the sweeter and nicer it is to become, the bitterer, greener and sourer it is during all of its prior stages.

With human beings, this contrast is even more pronounced, where “A day old calf is called an ox”, referring to how ready the animals are for life, knowing what they need, eating the appropriate plants when they need to get better, staying away from danger and so forth.

When comparing a one year old human to a one year old animal, we see that the human is completely incapacitated; he knows nothing and he requires help and support. Now someone who is completely unaware of what would happen with the human ten or twenty years down the line, that this human will end up riding this animal and using it to his advantage, would think that the animal is going to evolve into a much more successful creature than the human. This is how we see it.

Thus, it is impossible to see anything during its evolutional process, only at the end. And this isn’t just once and for all, but with each and every one of the situations we go through in life. For instance, let’s say things were really bad for me, but now it is all better and I now understand why I had to go through that bad, in order to attain something good. The next day again something bad happens to me, and again, while in this bad place, I am unable to determine that something good will come out of it.

And thus time and again, I find myself in new situations where even determining anything about myself in each one of my evolutional stages is impossible to do before I actually arrive at the end of each state.

Everything is determined only by experience, just like he says: “no man is wiser than he who is experienced.” What does it mean “experienced”? It means that one has reached the final state of each and every stage, and is now speaking from his actual, personal experience.

And if I haven’t reached the final state, the good state - in any one of my situations or any one of my renewed states and desires – I then revert back to my state of confusion, bewilderment, and lack of justification toward that particular state. Moreover, not only is this true for anyone in particular, but according to the Kabbalists, this also applies to the entire creation.

The Kabbalists say that until one has attained the perception of the Upper World as well as the Creator’s relation to us and to all creatures, as being absolutely good in all of His actions upon us and upon all created beings in every situation throughout our incarnations, one is unable to affirm that the Creator is the “absolute good”. Moreover, if one hasn’t attained all of that, one cannot even say that the creation is good.

In other words, we must reach the state where the entire reality is open before us; where the whole reality that is within me is felt as good and flawless, without a trace of bad.

This raises another question regarding our ability to correct our past. In other words, I havein fact suffered in the past, whether it was a minute ago, ten years ago or even one-hundred thousand years ago, who knows. But given the fact that I havefelt the suffering, how could I even begin to say that I did not suffer? It is in the past after all?

In order to address that, we will study later on, about “being above time”, and what it means that “past, present and future, all connect”, resulting in a phenomenon where the past doesn’t merely feelas if” it never happened, but a reality where the past absolutelynever has happened.

These phenomena do not pertain to this world, but through our studies, we might make an attempt at feeling them to a certain degree.

Let’s reiterate.

“His Providence”, as they refer to it, or the actuation of the Upper Force upon us, is purposeful, although we find ourselves in a bad state, undergoing all kinds of unpleasant experiences that are to take us to the good state. So what are we to do? Are we supposed to just sit and suffer until we arrive at the good state, the state of the fruit that is good and ripe? Or is there nevertheless something we can do to make our situation better and convert it into good, at least from the moment we find out about it?

The Kabbalists tell us that it is possible to leave this feeling called “this world”, which is constantly bad and consists of nothing but unpleasantness, and enter a different kind of feeling called “The Spiritual World”, where one does actually receive the good.

This is the reason why we are now opening the method of Kabbalah, which teaches us how to receive the true Providence, in Its genuine form, which is the “absolute good”; and we shall see later on how it becomes realized within us.

And with that, we will conclude our lesson for today. And next time, we will continue with this article "The essence of religion and its purpose."

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