You are here: Kabbalah Library Home / Michael Laitman / Books / The Path of Kabbalah / Part One: The Beginning / Chapter 1.11 – Freedom of Choice – To Operate Above Nature
Michael Laitman, PhD

Chapter 1.11 – Freedom of Choice – To Operate Above Nature

There is no point discussing freedom of choice before a person acquires spiritual forces, and the ability to operate above his nature. Freedom of choice is the freedom to operate against one’s desires. That is the only time one is able to decide freely.

The Light that comes from the Creator created the desire for pleasure in four phases. Those phases constitute the creature. This creature then gradually begins to materialize until it comes to our world, where it is shattered into a multitude of little fragments. Each fragment is called a "soul". As souls ascend to higher levels, they gradually change their attributes, using a special system that constantly moves the souls from one place to another, so that they will help one another correct.

The Torah, the Kabbalah, and all the Holy Scriptures were written by people who climbed the spiritual ladder and wrote their instructions from there. Many Kabbalists climbed these steps, but there are conditions that limit the amount of people permitted to write. There are only three Kabbalists who attained the very last degree and were permitted to describe the system. They are Rabbi Shimon Bar-Yochay, author of The Zohar, the Ari, author of The Tree of Life, and Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag, author of The Sulam Commentary on the Zohar and The Study of the Ten Sefirot.

These books were all written after their authors ascended to the degree of the Creator in every property and capability. If a person acquires the attributes of the Creator, he becomes free. Such a person is not limited in any way, he is above everything.

Kabbalah rarely mentions one’s ascent in the degrees, though it is the most important thing for us. The books speak primarily of one's descent from the worlds Above. The descent is described in detail in the Zohar, in the writings of the Ari, and in The Study of the Ten Sefirot. We learn about the ascent from below from letters and articles that Baal HaSulam and Rabash (Rabbi Baruch Ashlag) wrote to their students.

There seems to be a shortage of material that describes the ascent. But the reason is that the complementary material should only serve to encourage a person to attain the state of “this world," and act as a springboard for the ascent to the spiritual world. Once we are in the spiritual world, the books that speak of the worlds from Above downward, their structure, the Partzufim and the Sefirot, serve as "manuals" for ascent, because the path from Above downward and from below upward is the same.

If a person who studies The Study of the Ten Sefirot is at a certain spiritual degree, and that person learns about the attributes of a higher degree, it makes no difference to him if he is studying about the concatenation of the worlds from Above or the ascent from below. The important thing is for one to study the attributes of a higher degree to know what to equalize with and then aspire to it, determine what requires correction, and so on.

A world is an empty state of the soul. Consequently, “this world” is only a concept. A world is Malchut, a vessel, a soul. The term “this world” indicates that the soul is completely empty, in utter darkness.

There are only five spiritual worlds. And although “this world” is not considered a spiritual world, it is however, a conscious, pseudo spiritual state that precedes the entrance to the spiritual world. In that state a person already acknowledges his irrelevance with regards to the spiritual world.

It is most important for us to push ourselves from our current state to the state of “this world,” which is the descent to the state of Egypt. The acute sensation of that state is called the “exile in Egypt.” Then we will push ourselves into the spiritual world. Once in spirituality, his troubles are over because we will have the Creator to guide us.

At that stage, we will already have a close connection with the Upper Force; we will be in close contact with it and connect with it as we connect with each other in this world. All the questions of this world disappear instantly the minute we cross over to the spiritual world.

Each degree poses new questions. The answers to those questions come in the form of knowledge and strength. The problems of this world disappear once a person attains the first spiritual degree. It is written: “One’s soul shall teach him.” This means that the soul teaches us how to advance. From that point on there is no darkness; we have a ‘map’ to guide us in the ‘spiritual country.’

The word Olam (world) comes from the word Ha’alama (concealment). It means "the inner state of the soul". There is nothing in reality except the soul, the "self,” and the Creator. Every thing that we perceive as real is only a reflection of our attributes on our senses. If our attributes were corrected, we would feel nothing but pure Light filling the vessel. This is the state of Ein Sof (infinity).

A world is a transition phase, when the soul is only partially corrected. The soul perceives the Creator according to its measure of correction. Its corruption makes it feel that there is something that can go against the Creator. This apparent "power" or "influence" is called the Sitra Achra (Other Side). In such a state, the soul is called Olam, meaning "concealment".

It occurs when the Creator is only partially revealed. This partial revelation is necessary because there cannot be a sensation of concealment if there is not some disclosure, there is no way to know you’re in the dark without knowing there is Light.

The greater the disclosure, the greater the sensation of the Creator; the greater the concealment, the greater the sensation of the Sitra Achra. If the Creator is totally concealed in our world, then all our forces turn against Him. The truth is that these forces are very weak compared to the spiritual impure forces. Our egoism, our evil force is tiny. The higher we climb and the greater the disclosure the Creator becomes, so grows the force that opposes the Creator.

These dark forces continue all the way from this world through the world of Atzilut. The Pure Forces (the Creator) and the impure forces (the Sitra Achra) remain parallel throughout the climb from bottom to top.

Back to top
Site location tree