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Yehuda Leib HaLevi Ashlag (Baal HaSulam)

166. Two Discernments in Attainment

I heard

There are two discernments: 1) the cascading of the worlds from Above downward; 2) from below upward.

First discernment: “that God has created and performed.” This means that the Creator has prepared for us a place for work.

Second discernment: when we begin to engage and clothe from below upward. However, before we achieve the completion of the degree, we cannot know anything for certain. This is called “learning first, understanding next.”

A little one, who is beginning to eat bread, still has no knowledge, but only of the bread. And when beginning to grow, he begins to understand that there is a reason for the bread, which causes the shape of the bread, that shapes it as it appears to our eyes: white, soft, tasty, etc..

Then he attains the shape of the bread, after it has been taken out of the oven: the bread is too soft and very hot, until it is not fit for eating. There is an act missing—the cooling and drying over time, when the air makes the bread fit, giving it the shape of the bread as it appears when it comes to the table.

But then he begins to research further, and sees yet another shape—before it is placed in the oven. Although it has a similar shape, there are great differences. Thus, the heat of the oven makes the bread larger and more solid, and crusts its face. Previously, it was white, and now it is a different color. And when he begins to research he sees that the bread acquired its shape and weight even before it was placed in the oven.

Thus he continues until he comes to the state when the wheat is taken and sowed in the ground. Until then, he can only receive from the bread, meaning reduce the bread that exists in the world. But afterwards he already knows how to add.

Similarly, in spirituality, first one needs to receive from below upward, and can only receive and not add. But afterwards, in the second state, one can add, as well.

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