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Article "The Essence of Religion and its Purpose" - Lesson 3

July 27, 2005
Lecturer: Michael Laitman, PhD

We are continuing to study the article "The Essence of Religion and its Purpose." We are reading from Kabbalah laMathil, page 18, "The Essence of Religion is to Develop in us the Sense of the Recognition of Evil."

I would like to remind you that by “religion” we refer to the means for attaining the purpose of creation. The true meaning of “religion” has absolutely no connection with various world religions, such as Judaism and others. In general, Kabbalah has nothing to do with what mankind has constructed for itself in this world. Before proceeding to the study of Kabbalah, we should burry all previous knowledge, instilled by education, everything that we have read or heard about. Previous beliefs should not be mixed into this or brought along to the lesson. Otherwise, we will get confused, will not learn the correct definitions, and will not know what a Kabbalist writing for us really has in mind.

There is a reason why this science is called “hidden.” One can reveal it, start mastering and comprehend it only under the condition that he, following the Kabbalists, will attribute the correct definitions to the terms, the essence of which he has previously defined by other, non - Kabbalistic sources.

We study the six volume Teaching of the Ten Sefirot (TES – Talmud of Eser Sefirot) — a very big and important book. In the Introduction to TES Baal HaSulam dedicates a few lines to the order of study. If through the study a person wants to progress towards the goal of creation correctly, he needs to know how to study correctly, approach the study so that it becomes the beginning of the path to the spiritual world. So for this reason Baal HaSulam writes that first of all, one has to trace the correct definitions, provided at the end of each part of TES. One comes across various words in the text — “light”, “Kli”, “desire”, “religion”, “commandment”, “Torah” — and has to know exactly what the Wisdom of Kabbalah means by these terms. The meaning of each of them differs from the notions we are used to. The Wisdom of Kabbalah gives us different interpretation, different understanding, and different essence.

This is why we have to be extremely careful of misreading them. Sometimes it takes years before one starts reading the texts correctly and understands what Kabbalah is actually telling him about. Earlier, he used to read the text equipped with incorrect dictionary, and regardless of his knowledge of Hebrew prescribed the words a different meaning. This is very, very important, and hence I remind you and warn you again about the need of knowing the correct definitions.

For example, if the article speaks about the essence of religion, the word “religion” means the means for the attainment of the goal. As a rule, by “religion” Baal HaSulam refers to Kabbalah which is exactly such means. Its sole purpose is to develop in us the feeling of recognition of evil.

As we discussed already, evil within us is our ego. The Creator existing outside of us is perfect. He is the state of continuous, absolute and kind bestowal, He is Good and Doeth Good for the wicked and the righteous. We, on the other hand, perceive this bestowal in its opposite form, because our vessels, our egoistic attributes are opposite to it. We have to perceive, to understand this, we have to determine for ourselves that this is so — through this we realize the first phase of progressing towards the goal.

How can we arrive at a conclusion that the entire evil is within us and that in order to start perceiving the Upper reality we have to change only ourselves?Baal HaSulam says that the means for this is “the essence of religion” — the Wisdom of Kabbalah. This is why we study it.

The Essence of Religion is to Develop in us the Sense of the Recognition of Evil Our sages say: “Should the Lord mind whether one slays at the throat or he slays at the back of his neck?”

The Creator pays no attention to the physical actions of a human being that in this world are called “commandments.” For one can perform them both out of good or bad desire, with good or bad intention. This is not important. Bodily movements do not testify to what a human being wants, what he has in mind, what goal he is pursuing through the means of external action. A person who rips open another human being with knife can seem both a killer and a surgeon. Who knows? There are many examples that only after attesting someone’s intention (say, we are able to check it) can we decide on the nature of his action.

Therefore, our entire work amasses to correction of the heart, intention, and not corporeal actions that we should not be mindful at all. They say nothing about the true deed of a person.

“After all, the Mitzvot were given for the sole purpose of purifying (Letzaref) the people.”

Ultimately, we, just like a jeweler (Tzorev), have to refine, purify our egoistical desire so that not even a dash of personal interest is left on it. We have a desire equipped with the intention that strives towards personal profit. So, we must cleanse the desire from this intention so that the matter of desire is left in its pure form, and the intention is transformed into love for the neighbor, his benefit. All the actions that we commit in order to re - direct our intention from self - fulfillment to the benefit of neighbor relate to the process of purification, unification of the creatures, and the actions that we perform are called “commandments.”

Hence, commandment is an action of correcting the inner part of a human being, his intention. This correction can occur in us only if we attract upon ourselves the Upper Light that Reforms. It is said: “I created the evil inclination and Torah as a spice.” Why? It is because the light in the Torah is a Light that Reforms. In other words, there is a force that comes from above. It exists outside of a person, and if he or she wants to correct, purify himself, then by the means of certain actions he can attract this force, this energy upon himself. It corrects him, equipping him with the altruistic intention instead of egoistical. This is what purifying the creatures, purifying Israel is. Specifically such actions are called “commandments.” Meanwhile, the means, i.e. the Upper force that corrects a person is called “the Torah.”

“That purification has been thoroughly clarified in the article the Giving of the Torah, but here I would like to clear out the essence of that development, which is attained through Torah and Mitzvot.

Bear in mind, that it is the recognition of the evil within us. That the Mitzvot can purify those who delve in them slowly and gradually. And the scale by which we measure the degrees of purification is the measurement of our recognition of the evil within us.”

Feeling the evil within himself, a person hates this evil to the same measure and distances himself from it. I understand and realize that there is a property within me that makes me feel bad. It is me who feels bad. I egoistically weight, measure, and evaluate this. Consequently, I hold myself back to the same measure, move away from this property and thus gradually abandon all of my evil.

I must know what out of all of my properties and habits, what out of all of my characteristics that I was born with or acquired over time, what out of all that exist within me is called “evil.” How can I find this out? At the moment, I do not really feel the presence of evil within me; however, judging from the words of the Kabbalists, I’m evil in my entirety. How can I arrive at this conclusion? And how can I find the strength to move away from evil?

Sometimes I think that certain properties of mine are bad. For example, I want to quit smoking, or go on a diet, do something good, healthy and beneficial for myself — but I’m not able to. The matter of fact is that I do not recognize the evil enough. I must recognize the evil to the measure that would be sufficient to abandon it completely. How can I acquire the strength for this?

So, the Kabbalists say that our entire study of Kabbalah has a single purpose to it: to evoke the recognition of evil within us to such a measure that we could abandon it, would be unable to stand it any longer.

“In every being there is a natural willingness to reject any evil from within him.

Nobody can endure the evil, everybody rejects it — to the different measure, however. Occasionally, one is able to stand it for a little longer, but later one reaches the condition in which one simply must get rid of it. How can we quickly reach such recognition of the evil? How can we, in the fastest way possible, recognize it to the measure sufficient to cast it away, to speed away from it as if it did not exist? This, in essence, hastens our progress. So from where can I draw such strength, such an understanding, verification of reality in order to immediately see my evil and reject it? Imagine that you can do it in a few minutes, purify yourself from everything that prevents you from being in the spiritual, eternity, perfection, on the threshold of the new world. Wouldn’t you go for that?

Nothing is more important for us now than to realize what in particular prevents us from feeling the good. The Creator, Good and Doeth Good, prepared for us a full abundance of good — now nothing is more vital than seeing why we do not feel this, why we do not exist in the eternal world. What is the evil that obstructs my way?

“But the difference between one person and the next is only in the recognition of evil. That a more developed person notices about himself a greater amount of evil, and hence rejects and separates the evil from within him to a greater extent, while the undeveloped senses in himself only a small amount of evil, and will therefore reject only a small amount of evil. As a result, he leaves all his filth within him, for he doesn't recognize it as filth.”

The level of one’s development determines the extent to which he recognizes the evil. To the measure of the recognition of evil, a person, naturally, moves away from it automatically. By nature, we refrain, keep away from what is bad for us. The problem is only in how to reveal that this is bad. Afterwards, everything happens naturally, thanks to our egoistical desire. Hence, I move away from evil to the measure I see that this is evil.

“And so as not to tire the reader, we shall clarify the general meaning of good and bad. Evil, in general, is nothing more than self love, called egoism, since it is opposite in form to the Creator, who hasn't any will to receive for Himself, but only to bestow.”

Seeing the picture of our world before us, we exist in the Upper Force, and it acts upon us. It is characterized by good, bestowal, while we, on the contrary, are immersed in reception, the properties opposite to it. For this reason we feel ourselves opposite to what comes from it. It follows that our ego is the source of all evil. For it makes us see the Creator’s good bestowal as bad, opposite. A person perceives this bestowal as darkness, because the property of bestowal is odious and disgusting for him.

drawing 1

Our ego sees evil in bestowal. However, if we transform our ego into its opposite, into altruism, into the property directed outwards — we will perceive the same bestowal of the Creator as good, as Light. We do not have to change anything except for establishing the fact that ego is evil, while altruism, bestowal — good. It is enough for changing our inner attitude, for re-defining the values — and we will immediately become alive, as the Creator, in the property of bestowal. We call this state the eternal and perfect life without any limitations, because then we will be like Him.

Until we develop a desire to do this, our ego will continue to develop constantly (see the spiral in the drawing). As a result, we feel being increasingly opposite to the Creator and thus in the course of thousands of years of our development experience evil stronger and stronger.

Today this brought us to the global crisis. Humankind is gradually coming to an understanding that specifically ego, specifically the human essence destroys our life on earth, including nature, ecology and, in general, everything that we do inside of ourselves and in the society. It becomes clear that human ego is the only thing that deprives us of good life. Such realization has to bring us to the conclusion that we must free ourselves from this property, refraining, pushing aside from it. The only problem is that by studying himself and society, man does not know how to do this, how to master his ego.

And here comes the Wisdom of Kabbalah. Today, the whole world, without knowing why, starts to develop an interest in it. The goal of this progress is to understand that there is a method that could help to correct one’s ego, transforming it into the opposite property. And then we will feel that the Light is the good. As is it said in the Torah: “God saw that the light was good.”

”As we've said in the Giving of the Torah, that pleasure and sublimity are measured by the extent of equality of form with his Maker. And the pain and intolerance are measured by the extent of change of form from his Maker. Thus, egoism is loathsome and pains us, as it is opposite in form to the Maker.”

Baal HaSulam makes a very logical argument here, although we do not catch it completely. All of our suffering — says Baal HaSulam — are caused by us being internally opposite to the Creator’s bestowal. The reason for all of our suffering, without exception, is that our nature is opposite to the Creator. We hate this reason; however, we do not recognize it. And this is why I do not have to convince myself that I suffer, and evoke the sensation of suffering within myself — there is plenty of suffering in the world and in my personal life. I lack only recognition, only understanding of what is the reason for all this suffering. And the reason is my oppositeness to the Creator in properties.

drawing 2

“But that loathsomeness is not divided equally among all souls, but is given in varying measures. For the savage, undeveloped person does not regard egoism as a bad attribute, and he thus uses it openly without shame or restraints. He steals and murders in broad daylight wherever he finds it possible.”

Recognition of evil varies in measure and depends on the individual.

No so with an animal: it differs from man in that it never harms the others intentionally. This simply does not happen. If an animal attacks someone, it is because nature compels him so, not the desire based on his free decision. There is a program instilled in a dog, wolf, or a lion: to devour others in order to satisfy their hunger. The moment hunger is satisfied, he stops paying attention to those around him. You can go for a walk next to him — he won’t touch you. He does not need you, for he is full already.

In contrast, man knows no limit. He wants to consume the entire world and even more than that. He delights when the other feels bad — this is a quality that the animated level does not possess. In other words, man has a boundless ego. This is the situation with development of ego.

However, another kind of process is taking place in man as well: development of recognition of his ego. Some recognizes it more, the others – less. As we recognize our own ego, we hide it. This is not correction, we simply cover it with nice words: “thank you”, “excuse me.” We know that we have to relate to the others this way in order to politely take advantage of them. This is not a correction of egoism. Rather, this is its “correct” application that nevertheless stems from the recognition of evil.

For example, a child comes up to you and grabs something from your hands, without realizing that this is bad. A grown - up may also come up and take it away from you; however, he can also delicately ask you for it, or resort to stratagem, as lawyers do. One way or the other, this is not correction, although still this is recognition of evil: I cannot use ego directly. Baal HaSulam says that this is already testifies to a certain level, to the difference between developed and non-developed person. But as far as “the people on the street” are concerned, non - developed person openly uses his ego, while a developed person knows how to cover it up.

At the next level, a more developed person starts to realize that this evil is really a bad thing, that his ego is evil for him himself. Now he no longer needs to hide egoism, using others for his own fulfillment — a person starts to realize his ego relative to the goal, relative the true and genuine essence. It is then when he sees that this is evil.

For example, statistics show that almost every person who won the lottery money lost it later. Really, after winning, these people were unlucky their entire life. I read an article that discussed these “lucky ones” one by one. This is not some philosophy — this is naked facts. Yet, it would be nice you win, wouldn’t it? On the one hand, we face facts, and on the other, I have never seen that they would convince someone. Why? Because this is not recognition of evil. Everyone thinks: “This will not happen to me. Just give me a few millions, and I will feel good.”

By this I want to tell you that development is a very gradual and relative thing. It is one thing — development of ego, and the other — development of its realization, whereas a person tries not to demonstrate before the others, using his egoism and the other people for self-fulfillment. Finally, this is completely different from when a person starts to recognize the evil in egoism, and understands that it is not worth using it. This is the same as to understand that winning a jackpot in the lottery is unprofitable. Why? Because it brings me evil. Here one needs a very strong inner realization. A person really has to be developed — then this keeps him from utilizing his personal ego.Without this realization it is impossible to ask of a person to hold himself — this is suppression.

Hence the only path of development recommended by the Kabbalists is education only by personal example without any coercion. There is no coercion in the spiritual. Because developing, we have to walk the levels of recognition of evil all the time. I decide for myself what is bad, and to this extent I withdraw, move away from that evil.

“The somewhat more developed person senses some measure of his egoism to be evil, and he is at least ashamed to use it in public, to steal and kill openly. But in secrecy he still commits his crimes.”

For now, his realization of evil has developed only up to this level. A person does not want to show to the others that he is a thief. All of us don’t, right? It is said that Adam HaRishon was a thief. “Theft” means using one’s own ego in hiding.

“The even more developed feels his egoism to be a loathsome thing indeed, until he cannot tolerate it within him and rejects it completely, as much as he detects of it, until he cannot enjoy the labor of others. Then begin to emerge in us the sparks of love for others, called altruism, which, in general is the good attribute.”

A cardinal change occurs in relation to man’s nature.

All previous degrees were called for development of ego as well as the means for its application and fulfillment, so that I was smarter, so that I knew better the laws and nature of others, so that I was able to use them without any loss to myself, and so on. Such is a contemporary type: a businessman, a lawyer, “a good” politician who dupes everybody — in other words a person who develops in the world of men and belongs to the upper class.
Later, a person comes to the second level of recognition of evil in his nature. Before, he used to think that ego helps him to conquer the entire world and rule over them, but now he sees that its acts harm him, that such relation to reality brings him only evil. Then a person starts to hate this property and, accordingly, switches to love for neighbor.

But we don’t really see this happening in the world, and we ourselves do not feel anything like that, while starting to study Kabbalah. Are we really starting to hate ourselves? Theoretically, I can agree that ego possesses a destructive power and I should get rid of it. However, there is a long way from here to truly needing this and really hating one’s egoism.

We have to uncover the evil within us. Ego is evil, and not only in theoretical analysis of human nature. This is noticeable already today, and humankind has sufficient grounds to make a proper conclusion, however, as a rule, we say: “What can we do? This is how things are. Hence, we have to introduce the laws that regulate our mutual relationships, not allowing a person to inflict too much harm to others. We have UN and a few other organizations — let them deal with this.” Humankind still keeps developing all these mechanisms because it cannot find the other means and in general, it cannot understand that ego can be curbed and even corrected. Truth to be said, we nevertheless hope to somehow pacify the ego, but we see that it is breaking loose, pushing a person towards drugs, terror, anything you like.

And nobody even dreams about correcting the ego. “To transform ego to its opposite, to altruism? This is not real.” People are only laughing at it: “We have already tried this in Kibbutzim, in communistic camp, in other places, we suffered enough.” Everybody says that, and they are right. This comes from the lack of understanding, lack of knowledge about the true means for correction of egoism, which allow one to recognize his evil to the degree so that a person would run away from it as from the most destructive thing in the world, as from death. If through any action or means we were able to see that our nature is killing us, that it treats us in the most awful manner — we would develop a desire to come out of it, from our skin, from our body and run somewhat father away.

Cancer patients who come to see me feel this way. There is something inside of a person that eats him alive, and he cannot get rid of it. He would like to extract this from himself — but he is not able to.

However, where can we get the means in order to see go great is the evil that exists within our nature? For this we need the light that acts upon us from above and is called “the surrounding light.” Particularly in comparison to it we feel that our nature is evil. We will be able to imagine, to somehow feel from what we are separated and what we are missing because of our ego. If I saw and felt what I am missing, what my ego is causing me, and how it is eating me from within, taking away life away — naturally, I would run away from it.

Hence the purpose of our study must lie in attracting the light that Reforms, according to the principal “In Your Light we see light.” Thanks to this, we will be able to recognize the evil within us. What is the essence of the science of Kabbalah? What is its strength? In that that it develops in us the feeling of recognition of evil — and nothing more. Nothing more is needed. To the measure of recognition of evil, you run away from it and turn to the side of good. Hence, sitting at the lesson or applying all these means that the Kabbalists advice us, and in general, doing anything that relates to the science of Kabbalah, we have to stick only to this approach: let the light to come and illuminate the truth for me, showing me my current condition, and what to have to come to in my inner property.

“And that too evolves in him gradually.”

Even when we already resolve that ego is evil, while bestowal is good, the process is divided into a multitude of stages.

“First there develops in him the love and desire to bestow upon his family and next of keens, as the verse goes - “thou shall not ignore you own flesh”. When he develops further, the attribute of bestowal expands in him to the people around him, which are his town's men or his nation. And so he adds, until he finally develops love for all humanity.”

The goal is for a person to feel no difference between anyone in the world, so that everybody was equal for him and that he felt the same love for all. In other words, a person gets out of himself and feels only the others.

We have studied already that we are the outcome of the single soul of Adam HaRishon. If one of us feels this way towards all the rest of the souls that are part of Adam HaRishon, then he relates to them as does the Creator — manifesting the property of love and bestowal. Through this a person becomes worthy of being like the Creator, of reaching the equivalence of form with Him. I and the Creator are identical and exist in one property. As a result, I and the Upper force exist in the same state. This is exactly the good that the Creator intended for us, wanting to bring us to the state in which He Himself exists. Only such state is absolute good.

drawing 3-1

A person approaches this state gradually. At the beginning, he feels the exit out of himself in love for neighbor. Instead of egoistically using the others he, on the contrary, serves them. As we said before, this is similar to the work of body organs, whereas each of them takes care of the organism in general itself taking only what is needed to sustain capacity to work so as to be able to fulfill its function. This is how an individual soul feels the entire “body”, sensing how the light, the Creator fill the entire vessel of Adam HaRishon. As a result, a person attains the infinite form of existence.

Question: What one should aspire for: revealing the evil or sensing the delight?

This is a good question. In essence, we have to aspire towards the goal. Being in a certain condition, I have to aspire towards the goal, the spiritual elevation, in short, the spiritual. My intention consists of rising above my condition. By constantly picking myself to pieces, I will fall into despair. I will grieve, continuously cursing myself, my condition, and my entire life. By doing so, I will not attract the Light that Reforms.

drawing 3-2

In contrast, aspiring towards the spiritual condition, I attract from there the Surrounding Light (Ohr Makif). When it comes upon me, I, naturally, see my evil — I see it very clearly, in comparison to this light — and discern it as evil. For this reason we have to aspire only towards positive things, only towards our good future so that it is revealed as soon as possible. Seeing myself as bad in this good future, to this measure I will distance myself from my own bad properties that prevent me reaching the good.

We have to always aspire towards good, towards more elevated things that are detached from this reality, detached from ego. In fact, all of the material that we study strengthens us in the right direction.

“Bear in mind, that two forces serve to push us up the rungs of the aforementioned ladder, until we reach its head in the sky, which is the purposeful point of the equality of our form with our Maker. And the difference between these two forces is that the first pushes us from behind, which we refer to as the Path of Pain, or the Way of the Earth.

From that path stems the philosophy of morality called Ethics, which is based on an experimental knowledge, through examination of the practical intelligence, the essence of which is but a summation of the visible damages that result from the nucleons of egoism.”

drawing 4

I exist in my current condition. It makes no difference how I perceive myself: as more or less developed, as a person who has or has not already attained the spiritual degrees. In either case, beside me there are always two forces that can hasten my progress.

The goal is reach the equivalence of form with the Creator, become like Him, reach His degree. According to His program, I am already there — for Him this is settled in an absolute manner. And this is why I have no choice — I must reach the final condition.

And so, behind me the Creator activates nature which pushes me towards this. I have no choice. For in me there is an instilled will to receive that evolves increasingly (see the spiral in the drawing). The bigger it is, the more evil I feel in my world.Suffering increases, and out of hopelessness I undergo development in search for some possibility to get rid of them. The Creator sends me blows — I run away from them. He sends me problems again — I resolve them, and there is no end to my ordeal.

In essence, I develop through this, albeit unconsciously. We witness this in the process of historic development of people and human society in general. We experience evil and move away from it, hoping that the other version will prove to be preferable (see the broken line from the arrows on the left). This happens continuously, in all aspects of life.

However, development always arises from suffering. As a result, our entire life turns into flight from misfortunes and problems towards something that is possibly better. Baal HaSulam calls this path “the path of suffering.” Generally speaking, its benefit is that it gives us a possibility to identify our ego as the source of suffering. Without having the ego, I would not perceive nature that continuously acts upon me and pushes me forward.I would develop in a different manner. Let’s see what the other path of development is.

“These experiments come to us by chance, meaning not as a result of a conscious choice.”

We exist in the world, and the world demands of us an entire series of actions. Upon rising in the morning, I must go work, perform various acts, take care of various things and solve one problem after the other. I want to eat, drink, rest; I’m obliged to work, supporting my own needs and the needs of my family. In addition, the whole world weights upon me constantly demanding of me something. And I’m permanently indebt to everybody.

Baal HaSulam writes that this happens without our knowing. Man continuously undergoes development, albeit unconsciously. Since he is always pre-occupied with his flight from misfortunes and problems, he is unaware that thanks to upheavals in his life he develops and reaches something.

“Despite that they are certain to bring us to the aim, for the image of evil grows ever clearer in our mind…”

We feel and perceive our life as increasingly bad and purposeless.

“… and to the extent that we recognize its damage, we distance ourselves from it and thus climb to a higher rung in the ladder.”

Gradually, through suffering we are able to come to the recognition that ego is evil. Possibly, we will even succeed in escaping it.

Flight from ego is a widespread phenomenon. Say, I feel suffering. What should I do with it? I can solve the problem and, employing even greater efforts, acquire money or fame. On the other hand, I can simply escape from troubles and problems into drugs, meditation. Through this, I will lessen my desire for pleasure, and I will need nothing. A glass of rise a day — that’s enough. Or even less than that. And what say those who delve into narcotics, meditation or Eastern teachings? “Yes, we are egoists, but I do not feel my ego.” This is a certain means that allows one not to feel the evil.

drawing 5

However, life goes on, and ultimately, it will compel man to develop his evil. All those who want to suppress their own nature in order to feel good will not have any other choice. This will not help them. We develop no matter what, and thus nature will compel them to realize their suffering. By suppressing it, they only make their own path longer. There are many Israelis among those who travel to the Eastern countries. They assume that they will be able to feel peace through this.

Suffering will compel us to develop our ego, meaning to realize it.Ultimately, we will reach the state when we will come to hate it and will need to get rid of it. To truly get rid of it, not in a way they do it. There is a big difference here. Because we, on the contrary, aspire to transform nature in order to, as Baal HaSulam says, instead of love for oneself acquire love for neighbor.

Dropping the burden of my own ego, lessening the desire for pleasures, I, in a way, neither love myself, nor the others. I simply lower myself to the still level [of nature] and do not want anything. I care not about the surrounding people, and they should not look at me either. I enter into a certain niche and freeze, as if dead. True, I do not feel suffering, however, on the other hand, I do not utilize nature in order to progress.

The Wisdom of Kabbalah states that ego has to be big. You must develop to your maximum ego and determine that it is evil. It is so foul that you transform it into good (see arrows on the right in the drawing).

Here happens something that we have discussed already. In essence, what is good and bad in our ego? We have desire and intention (see the drawing below). The desire in itself is neither good nor bad — this is the matter of creation. However, intention can be directed towards oneself, the egoistical usage of all properties of one’s desire or towards the benefit of one’s neighbor. Specifically the intention can be good or bad, while desire is simply the matter.

drawing 6-1

The problem is that people who try to find an escape from suffering or ponder about man’s positive development do not understand this. There is intention, and there is desire. We are not permitted to work above the desire, we cannot artificially lessen or enlarge it. This is nature. We have to develop in our desires the way they are. Hence, according to Kabbalistic education, a person should not be restricted in any way. As Reshimot awaken in him, he must develop through them.

But we really have to attract the Upper light. It will pour upon a person, and he will see what his intention truly is: good or bad. Then he will work only on his intention. What we need is one's relation to his neighbor. We should not worry about the desires. Rather, we should care about one's relation, which can either be turned towards personal benefit or towards benefit of the other.

drawing 6-2

“These experiments come to us by chance, meaning not as a result of a conscious choice. Despite that they are certain to bring us to the aim, for the image of evil grows ever clearer in our mind, and to the extent that we recognize its damage, we distance ourselves from it and thus climb to a higher rung in the ladder.

The second force pushes us consciously, that is of our own choice.”

Meaning, we can also develop consciously.

“The second force pushes us consciously, that is of our own choice. That force stands in front of us and pulls us forward, and that is what we determine as the Path of Torah and Mitzvot. For observing Torah and Mitzvot in order to bring contentment to our Maker, rapidly develops that sense of the recognition of evil, as we've shown in the Giving of the Torah. And here we benefit twice:

A)We do not have to wait for the ordeals of life to push us from behind, since the strength of their push is measured only according to the measure of the agony and destruction. On the contrary, through the subtle gentleness that we feel when working sincerely to Him, to please Him, we learn to recognize the lowness of the sparks of self love, as obstacles on our road to receiving that gentle taste of bestowal to the Lord.”

We attract upon ourselves the Upper Light paying absolutely no attention to the ego, suffering and everything else (and this answers your previous question). Only a light that Reforms is important to us. As a result we are drawn forward. Naturally, we feel everything that is awakened by suffering, egoism, and our nature as evil. However, we long for good and because of this recognize evil very quickly.

Moreover, I attain the qualitatively different recognition of evil. It is no longer the reason for my suffering and thus I must run away from it. This is how things are at the bottom (look at the lower right part of the drawing), when my ego brings me bad sensations. The whole world advances this way, and, regrettably, we see what is happening with them.

drawing 7

On the contrary, in my current condition I do not study anthropology or philosophy, I do not investigate social problems, ultimately reaching a conclusion that ego is evil. I do not look at it, rather, I study the Wisdom of Kabbalah which brings me the surrounding light. Of course, I recognize evil that’s below, however, I long for good, because I see my progress in the light that comes to me, in realization of the purpose of creation, in the necessity to reach the Creator. I continuously long for good through the good itself. “As a result of awe and fascination”, - writes Baal HaSulam. I feel endless good, because I already feel the goal that I want to reach, and as if exist in it.

For example, if in a month of two some wonderful things are in store for a person, if he is up to something good, then he already feels pleasure. Because the light from this gift, fulfillment that is waiting for him come to him from the future to the present.

This is what advancement by the path of Torah and Mitzvot (commandments) is. “Mitzvot” means correction which we have to undergo. Moreover, we undergo it with joy — this is not hard, this is not connected with constant escape from suffering. Torah is the light that comes and corrects me. “The Light of the Torah reforms a man.” It brings us back to good, and this is what the Creator is.

Hence, we can develop through a light that Reforms, or through suffering. Moreover, the path of suffering is very long and hard, although the whole humanity goes by it. We, on the contrary, must first apply the method of quick and pleasant development on ourselves, and later transmit it to the entire humanity. We are the chosen people particularly in this respect: we have the method of Kabbalah. All the rest of the systems are not really the methods. They allow one to escape from the evil, lessen the desire, in order to sense less suffering in it, dwelling into drugs, etc.

This is why our primary task is to familiarize ourselves with this method of quick self-correction and later reveal it to the entire humanity.

We will continue the article in the next lesson.

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