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5. The Purpose of Studying Kabbalah

The Light that emanates from the writings of the great Kabbalists will help us overcome two challenges: our stubbornness and our tendency to forget the suffering caused by our willfulness. Prayer is the pathway to all correction, which the Creator will see in our hearts.

When we engage fully in prayer, we will attain whatever relief we seek; whatever correction we require.

But in order to achieve correction, we must give ourselves over completely to this effort – in body, mind and spirit. True prayer and the response to it, i.e. relief, come only on the condition that one has engaged one’s utmost effort, giving oneself entirely over to this effort, both quantitatively and, most importantly, qualitatively.

It is only by learning Kabbalah properly, however, that we can learn how to eradicate our egos and thus achieve personal redemption. Our yearning for relief must be so strong that we commit to our studies completely, unable to be diverted for a moment from the search for ourselves in the wisdom of Kabbalah.

However, if we have not yet been cornered by suffering, like the frightened beast in his cage, and still yearn for pleasure in the deepest corners of our hearts, then we will not realize that egoism still lives within us. Egoism is the enemy we must vanquish.

Until we do so, we will not be able to reach through our anguish and make a total effort to find in Kabbalah the strength and the way to escape the confines of our own egoism. Freedom will not be ours until we vanquish the ego that lives within.

However, although we may be filled with determination for this sole purpose when we begin studying, our enthusiasm may inadvertently escape us during the course of our studies. As mentioned before, our desires determine our thoughts, and our minds act as supporting instruments. The mind merely seeks the means to fulfill the will and desires of our hearts.

What is the difference between studying Kabbalah and other systems? The answer is simple: it is only by studying Kabbalah that we can find the strength to liberate ourselves from the chains of egoism.

While studying Kabbalah, we are able to examine at first hand descriptions of the Creator’s acts, His characteristics, our own characteristics, and their disparity from those of the spirit. Kabbalah tells us of the Creator’s goal for His creation, and of the ways we may correct our egos.

We may see the Light of the Kabbalah, the spiritual force that helps us defeat egoism, only when we study Kabbalah. The other elements of these teachings merely draw us, against our will, into a discussion of material actions and legalistic matters.

Some may study Kabbalah merely to expand their knowledge; if so, they will be able to approach it only as a direct narrative. They will not be able to extract the Light of the Kabbalah from its pages. Only those who study Kabbalah for self-improvement will receive this benefit.

Kabbalah is a study of the system of our spiritual roots. This system emanates from Above. We may study it in accordance with strict laws which, when merged, point toward a single supreme purpose: "the revelation of the Creator’s greatness, so that His greatness may be comprehended by the creations in this world."

Kabbalah, the perception of the Creator, consists of two parts: the written work of the Kabbalists, who have already perceived the Creator; and the body of knowledge that is perceived only by those who have acquired the spiritual vessels and the altruistic yearnings into which they can receive spiritual sensations, or the perceptions of the Creator.

If, after reaching a spiritual elevation, we sink to impure desires, then the good desires that we had during our spiritual elevation will join with the impure desires. The accumulation of impure desires gradually decreases and continues to do so until we are able to remain permanently in the elevated state of solely pure desires.

Once we have completed our work and revealed to ourselves all of our desires, we will receive a Light from Above so immense that it forever brings us out of the shell of our world to dwell permanently in the spiritual world. Yet, those around us will not even be aware of this fact.

The “right line” denotes a condition in which the Creator is always correct in our eyes; we will justify the Creator’s supervision in everything. That state is called “faith.” From our earliest attempts at spiritual development and elevation, we must try to act as if we have already attained complete faith in the Creator.

We should imagine that we can already feel, with all our essence, that the Creator rules the world with utmost benevolence, and that the whole world receives only goodness from Him. Yet, after examining our own situations, we may see that we are still deprived of all that we desire. Looking around, we may see the entire world suffering, each person in his or her own way.

Despite this, we must tell ourselves that what we are seeing is a distorted image of the world, as seen through the magnifying glass of our own egoism, and that the true picture of the world will be revealed to us only when we reach a state of complete altruism. Only then will we see that the Creator rules over the world with this purpose: to lead His creations to perfect enjoyment.

In such a state, when our faith in the Creator’s absolute goodness prevails over what we see and feel, we are experiencing a state called “ faith above reason.”

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