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Michael Laitman, PhD

Chapter 1.4 – The Awakening of the "Point in the Heart"

The study of the wisdom of Kabbalah is research of man’s relationship with the Creator. It explores man's every thought, desire and in fact, the entire reality one attains with one's senses. Even in our world, below the spiritual world, there are degrees of attainment. At the beginning of our preparation period for spirituality we begin to understand the connections and relationships between the spiritual objects, although this understanding cannot be compared with the actual sensation when spirituality is attained.

When the Zohar says, “Go and ask Rabbi Shimon and Rabbi Abba,” it means that you should ascend to their degree and ask why they present things the way they do. When the Zohar writes that a certain person met Rabbi Shimon it means that that person rose to the degree of Rabbi Shimon, and can therefore see and understand what Rabbi Shimon can.

This is how a degree gets its name, and when we ascend to it, we are called by that name. If we attain only a part of that degree, we are regarded as "a son to it." That is why we are considered the sons of Adam, because we are all parts of the degree called "Adam," and our task is to attain that part individually.

A person who rises to a certain degree feels what happens in it, attains its characteristics, and sees the Creator accordingly. By climbing higher, the pictures that were seen in the previous degree will change, as well.

It is not like a movie theatre playing 125 different films, one for each degree, because there is only the Simple Upper Light and the person rising to a certain spiritual degree. We acquire certain spiritual attributes, and thus feel a part of the Upper Light. That part is what we call, "world." We can even feel a tiny part of the Upper Light in our egoistic attributes, which we call “our world.”

All that really exists is the will to receive this or that attribute of the Creator. The acquired attributes present us with a certain image. Different people who attain the same attributes of the Creator will see the same picture, despite their different desires, but from different angles. It is like a debate where the number of opinions is equal to the number of participants.

Because of different thoughts and ideas, we also have different perspectives on the world. However, the general picture remains the same. It is also the same regarding our varying personal experiences, although we agree about the appearance of things.

If we try to understand one another with our attributes or our will to receive, we only grow farther from each other. We can understand each other only through the attributes of the Creator that we will attain in spiritual degrees.

The First Man was created with nothing but altruistic desires, meaning vessels of bestowal. He tended to all the trees in Paradise because he could use all his altruistic desires. If so, then how could he have corrected his egoistic desires (vessels of reception), if he didn’t have them, or to be more accurate, if he didn’t feel them within? The sin of the First Man was premeditated. He had to sin, to taste off the Tree of Knowledge, and mingle with the egoistic desires (vessels of reception) in order to create a complete mixture of the vessels of bestowal and the vessels of reception. Only afterwards would there be a gradual correction of the vessels of reception.

There seems to be no sin here, because it was premeditated by the Creator. But in fact, there is still a breach of the rules, whether knowingly or unknowingly. Did Adam know? No, he did not. Did he want to commit a sin? No, he did not. But did he break the law? Yes, he did.

Even corruption in spirituality is no coincidence; everything is always done for one purpose – to correct the egoism and unite it with the altruism. If an altruistic spark, a vessel that appeared there at the moment of the sin of the First Man, were not in every egoistic desire, egoism would have been incorrigible and spiritual ascent made impossible. Thus, the First Man's sin was a necessity.

We live in complete spiritual darkness. The Surrounding Light shines on the outside and awakens our egoism, our will to receive, yet cannot penetrate the egoism. This is how we are awakened to spirituality.

To further awaken us, not necessarily to spirituality, but to any personal achievement, a part of the Surrounding Light must (seemingly) be inside us. For that purpose the “point in the heart” is inserted into our selfish hearts. This point is a gift from Above. It is the lowest point of a higher spiritual object, the posterior of a higher Partzuf.

Looking from Above, there is nothing but a vessel, screen and Reshimot (reminiscence). But if we look from below, we find that the soul has three lines: right, left and middle. Man must gradually overpower each of the lines and unite them. This process consists of the suffering of the left line, the ability to cope with it through the forces of the right line, and the reception of the Light of the Creator in the middle.

There is a certain duality here. From the Creator’s perspective, everything is clear and foreseen, including the sin of the First Man and its detailed process of correction. Everything has its place and time. In fact, everything is already at the end of correction. But for us, it is all a secret. Man has yet to discover the rules governing the hidden. We must move ahead with faith above reason, with the unknown pressing and encouraging us to strain to find the Creator and maintain the constant contact with Him of our own choice.

But we and the Creator have opposite characteristics, and because of our egoism we are afraid to connect with Him because we don’t know what the good inclination is, let alone pure altruism!

From the perspective of the Creator, nothing ever changes; everyone is at the end of correction, delighting in the Light of the Creator. What changes is the anguish that we begin to feel as a result of our egoism and our continuing attempts to correct it from the starting point to the world of Ein Sof, from reception to bestowal. If a person in our world does not get this altruistic point, this spiritual attribute from Above, it will be impossible to perform any spiritual acts.

It is written that at the moment of one’s spiritual birth, one immediately gets the “posterior of the holy soul,” meaning the last (and lowest) degree of the soul, referred to as a “point” because of the restriction. This is placed in our hearts, in the midst of our selfishness.

Without that point people remain in the animate degree. Their desires do not reach beyond the level of this world. Such people can be attracted to pseudo spiritual ideas and philosophies, predict the future, and be extremely sensitive, but there is nothing that connects them with spirituality. Only the "point in the heart" can bring us out of the beastly state and raise us to the spiritual.

These people may appear alike on the outside, but you can see the difference only when you have equivalence of spiritual attributes, when the "point in the heart" becomes a whole Partzuf. Sometimes such a point can remain dormant in the heart for many life cycles. If that point is absent, a person can study Kabbalah for years and be with a group, write everything down, and do everything necessary to attain spirituality, but to no avail.

Even if one joins a group to become a teacher and takes pride in the knowledge attained, if there is no inner desire for unification with the Creator, the group will spiritually reject this person. Thus, success in achieving spirituality depends on the presence of the "point in the heart."

Rav Laitman asked his teacher if the "point in the heart" could be acquired if it wasn't there to begin with. His teacher replied that if a person enters a group and sees that everything revolves around one desire-to find the Creator-and if that person sees others arriving from afar with only this objective, then, with the right books and the right teacher, the person without a "point in the heart" can pick up the general desire, even if the point has not yet been awakened.

However, it is known that an extremely strong desire can awaken the "point in the heart." Even the Ari mentioned it.

In order for an individual to be included in the united desire of the group, that person must be in complete agreement with that desire. This is because even when this point does exist, its attributes vary from person to person. For instance, it is known that Rabbi Yosef Karo, who wrote the Shulchan Aruch (the Jewish code of laws), a priceless piece of work, slept during the Kabbalah lessons with the Ari.

Of course, there were people who absorbed the Lurianic Kabbalah (the Kabbalah of the Ari) naturally, and there were people who could not understand it and had troubles disconnecting themselves from the Kabbalah of the Ramak (Rabbi Moshe Kordoviro). The Ari introduced a fundamental change in the method of the study of Kabbalah, enabling us to study Kabbalah from below, meaning from the perspective of the vessels, the souls.

Ramak’s study method examined the world from the perspective of the Lights, meaning from the perspective of the Creator, whereas we study it from the perspective of the screen, which helps the Light expand. Rav Laitman studied Kabbalah with many teachers, but could find no answers until he was shown the books of the Ari and Baal Hasulam.

The Upper Degree is the Creator, our own future state. The lower degree is the creature in his current state. The degrees are like an accordion, opening up to us as we progress.

What is time? Is it a changing, living concept? And if so, does it exist outside or inside us? Does each degree keep its own time?

The concept of “time” is a consequence of the work of the shells. We continue to feel "time" just as long as we refuse to agree with the Creator about everything that happens to us. But time disappears after our complete correction, when nothing further needs to be changed and everything is at complete peace.

The root of time is the discovery of the deficit and the need for correction. The First Restriction created an empty space intended for correction. The restriction happened because the desire, which is opposite to perfection, and the contradictions could not be reconciled immediately. This is what created “time” and “space” in our world. These two contradictions can be brought together by changing either time or space. Before the First Restriction, there were no “time” or “space.”

If there were a special timer that could be connected to man’s heart, we could see the axis of the spiritual life in different people. Some live a thousand years, and others live only for a minute. Our ordinary clock shows only the "still" time, meaning the pace of progress of the still toward the purpose of Creation.

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