You are here: Kabbalah Library Home / Michael Laitman / Books / The Path of Kabbalah / Part One: The Beginning / Chapter 1.6 – Landmarks
Michael Laitman, PhD

Chapter 1.6 – Landmarks

We might be amazed to find along our spiritual path that not only are we not evolving, but we have come to a halt, or are even retreating. We will find that our chances to enter the spiritual are rapidly dimming. But it is at that precise stage when we feel our inability to cope with the obstructions that indicates an impressive progress.

If we only stop for a moment, we will see that we are in fact advancing more rapidly. However, we are trying to measure our progress with senses that are just beginning to evolve. Any correction and change that we perform brings us closer to acquiring the aim to bestow. But for that we need to go through a great many changes. We must discover what our “self” really is and what it wants from us, what "the will to receive" means, the discover of the substance of Creation, and the meaning of life and death.

We come to the conclusion that life means feeling the Light, and death is the sensation of darkness, the absence of the sensation of the Creator. We go through many different situations until we know the true meaning of "good" and "bad".

A barrier is a curtain that hides the Light from our world. How is the barrier different to the screen? The nature of the screen is completely different than that of a barrier, in that the entire Light stands before the screen and nothing hides it but man, who rejects it with the power of his desire to not receive for self-gratification.

The barrier, unlike the screen, stands outside us, covering the Upper Light. The screen is something we erect inside us from our understanding and consciousness of the desire to resist the egoistic reception of the Light, prevent it from entering us in an egoistic form. If we do let the Light in, we want our objective to be to give to the Creator. When there is a screen, there is no need for the curtain, because the screen can resist the Light.

The Division of the 125 Degrees that Constitute Our Way

There are 125 degrees of attainment between our world and the world Ein Sof. But all we need for our correction is to reach the world of Atzilut, meaning the end of the Second Restriction. We have to cross the worlds of Assiya, Yetzira and Beria, each consisting of 2,000 years (states, degrees). Thus, the sum total of the corrections we have to go through is 6,000, after which we enter the corrections that belong to the First Restriction.

Our soul consists of five parts: Keter, Hochma, Bina, Zeir Anpin and Malchut. They are divided by the intensity of their will to receive, and form two groups: Galgalta and Eynaim (Keter and Hochma), and Awzen, Hotem, Peh (Bina, Zeir Anpin, and Malchut). Keter is called Galgalta (skull), Hochma (wisdom) is called Eynaim (eyes), Bina (intelligence) is called Awzen, Zeir Anpin is called Hotem (nose), and Malchut (kingship) is called Peh (mouth). The structure of all souls is identical: the first part of the soul enjoys giving, while the second enjoys receiving.

We should only concern ourselves with correcting our Galgalta and Eynaim (GE), our vessels of bestowal, the desires to give. Our spiritual path begins with an ascent above our world. An ascent is a gradual correction of our Galgalta and Eynaim. By ascending to the world of Atzilut, we confirm that our vessels of bestowal are corrected. We cannot correct our vessels of reception.

So what can we do? We can gradually raise our vessels of reception (AHP) from the worlds of BYA to the world of Atzilut. We first raise the AHP from the world of Beria, which is the AHP with the least amount of egoism. After that we raise the AHP from the world of Yetzira, which are more egoistic, and finally we raise the AHP from the world of Assiya, the most egoistic of all vessels. We don’t actually correct the vessel/desires, only connect them with their corresponding GE, and combine them with the altruistic desires.

After every correction we receive more Light. The correction is called an “ascent.” There is an ascent from each of the places of the worlds of Beria, Yetzira, and Assiya. The AHP that rise to the world of Atzilut are not "real" desires to receive (vessels of reception), they are not our “self,” our “stony heart.” We are incapable of correcting that part. The only part we can correct is a small portion called AHP de Aliyah (raised AHP). But no greater correction is needed. As soon as this correction is made, the Creator Himself will correct the stony heart.

In order for us to know what we must correct, we have to see and feel what it is that needs correction. For that there are ascents and descents that do not depend on us called "an awakening from Above.” These are the holidays, the Shabbat (Saturday, the seventh day of the week) and the beginnings of the month. They are given to us only because we have already corrected our vessels of bestowal, want nothing for ourselves, and are already in the world of Atzilut.

The first act – the ascent – will be the joining of the AHP de Aliyah of the world of Beria; the second will occur by adding the AHP of the world of Yetzira, and the third will be the adding of the AHP of the world of Assiya. When a person has already climbed these three degrees, the stony heart is corrected, constituting the End of Correction.

We can feel pleasure from receiving or from giving. The pleasure from giving is felt in the vessels of bestowal while the pleasure from receiving is felt in the vessels of reception. But both types of vessels are corrupted in us.

The easiest to correct are the vessels of bestowal. We correct these by giving not for our own pleasure, but to please the receiver. Those vessels are easier to correct because the act (giving) and the purpose (for another) are in the same direction.

The vessels of reception allow us to enjoy only when we receive. They are much more difficult to correct because we have to please another by receiving. This demands a much tighter connection with Creator because receiving runs through the core of the “self,” the human ego.

For that reason, the AHP are corrected gradually, following the correction of Galgalta and Eynaim. Thus, it is not as difficult to ascend to the world of Atzilut with vessels of corrected GE, as it is to add the AHP to them, because the correction of the AHP contradicts the aim.

All five worlds are like curtains that hiding the Light of the Creator. The lower the world, the more it covers the Light. The worlds/screens end at the barrier, which hides the Light completely from our world. Only a tiny spark called “Minute Light” enters our world. It is just enough to sustain life on earth. The Creator made it so we can live without a screen. In the absence of Light and having only a minute OF Light, there is no necessity for a screen.

That feeble Light is divided to many particles. It turns the atoms, moves the molecules, creates every substance, and urges it towards development and growth. It revives every degree of existence, the still, vegetative, animate and speaking – our own degree.

And if we acquire a screen over even the smallest will to receive, through our studies, our groups, and our teachers - a screen over root coarseness - then we are already able to resist the dimmest Light – the Light of Nefesh, that however small, it is still far greater than the “Minute Light.” At that point we are able to stay in that Light without receiving it for ourselves. The screen, in that case, functions like the barrier - the transition from this world to the spiritual world.

For example: if a person has been taught not to steal and someone puts a $100 bill before us, we will not steal it. But the minute we face the temptation of a larger sum than the sum we’d been taught not to steal, we will not be able to resist; all our previous education will be insufficient to resist that amount.

The same applies to spirituality: where there is the Light of Nefesh, we work for the Creator without any difficulty, feel Him, maintain contact with Him and enjoy ourselves because we want to please Him. We have a sufficient screen for this degree that protects us from receiving for ourselves. That state is called "the world of Assiya".

Then, as a result of our studies and the additional efforts we make, we acquire a screen over a greater measure of egoism, that of Aviut Aleph (first degree coarseness) and can now receive the Light of Ruach in order to bestow. Accordingly, we have protection against stealing a larger sum of money, say $1000. In such a case, we pass from the world of Assiya to the world of Yetzira. In the same way, when acquiring a screen for second degree of coarseness, we ascend from Yetzira to Beria.

By passing from one world to the next, the curtain falls off the previous world and instead we place over it a screen that suits the coarseness of that world. The screen that covered the higher world moves into the vessels and the higher world appears. When that happens, we are able to keep the law of the world we are in, and therefore do not need the law. We rise above it and keep it of our own conscious will.

Since our soul consists of five parts, we must acquire five separate screens in ascending degrees of power, according to the coarseness of the egoism. We cross the barrier when we acquire a screen of root coarseness and attain the spiritual degree of the world of Assiya.

A screen for first degree coarseness raises us to the degree of the world of Yetzira. A screen for second degree coarseness raises us to the degree of the world of Beria. A screen for third degree coarseness raises us to the degree of the world of Atzilut. And finally, a screen for fourth degree coarseness raises us to the degree of the world of Adam Kadmon.

Above Adam Kadmon, the soul ascends to the world of Ein Sof. There are five Partzufim in every world, comprised of five Sefirot. Each time a person acquires five new Sefirot, he acquires a new degree, a new Partzuf. If it is in the world of Assiya, the first five Sefirot give us the ability to attain the Partzuf of Malchut of the world of Assiya. The next five Sefirot raise us to Partzuf Zeir Anpin of the world of Assiya. Five more Sefirot and we come to Partzuf Bina of Assiya, five more and we are in Partzuf Hochma of Assiya, and the last five Sefirot render us Partzuf Keter of the world of Assiya.

In this way, the soul acquires the screens in the root coarseness of the world of Assiya and goes over to the first screen of the first screen of the first degree of coarseness of the world of Yetzira. The soul continues this way until it crosses all the worlds and all 125 degrees.

When we are in the world of Assiya with our root coarseness, our soul evolves through a number of degrees like a fetus in its mother’s womb (Bina). The conception lasts nine months, the same time it takes for a woman in our world.

The birth of the soul is the transition from root to first degree coarseness, from the world of Assiya to the world of Yetzira, which corresponds to the birth of a baby in our world. In the world of Beria, the soul evolves and receives Light that gradually increases its screen.

But in the world of Beria, the soul is still in a state of Katnut (meaning it only has vessels of GE). Beyond the world of Atzilut begins the gradual process of the growth of the soul, the acquisition of the vessels of AHP. Growth continues until the age of thirteen, the Bar Mitzvah age. At this stage the soul becomes independent in Atzilut, and has the screens with which it can commence receiving in order to bestow by adding the vessels of reception denominated AHP de Aliyah.

There are two Partzufim called Zeir Anpin and Nukva (Malchut) in the world of Atzilut. They relate to one another in various ways, depending on the situation of the soul (Katnut or Gadlut). These states are called Zivug (spiritual mating).

The term, Eretz (land) in the spiritual world refers to where you are or the place you are headed. The word, Eretz comes from word Ratzon (desire). Our soul consists of one big desire (Eretz) with many smaller "lands" inside them. There are desires called the “nations of the world” or “abroad” and there is the Land of Israel, which is the closest desire to the Creator. The neighbors of this Eretz – Jordan, Egypt and Syria-want the Land of Israel because that is where the Creator can be found.

The correction process begins with the finest desires, called “Israel” or Galgalta and Eynaim. On the one hand, they are the closest desires to the Creator, but on the other, they are the farthest. This is because of the law of the oppositeness between Lights and vessels.

For us to return to the Creator, we must be the greatest egoist, because we must feel that there is something very important missing in our lives. On the one hand, egoistic vessels are far from the Creator, but on the other hand, when we invert our intentions, we will become the closest to Him.

When we begin to study Kabbalah, we slowly learn to sort out our desires in order of coarseness. When the sorting is done, we determine which of our desires we can begin to correct. When we begin the work with our desires, we begin to see where we are on the spiritual map.

Back to top
Site location tree