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25. The Process of Conforming to the Creator

Creation, an altruistic action, is the departure from egoism. It consists of setting a limit or a screen (masach) to the pleasure coming in the form of a spiritual Light. This screen in turn reflects pleasure back to the source. By doing this, we voluntarily limit our potential for pleasure, and thus set forth why we accept pleasure – not for ourselves, but for the goal of creation.

The Creator wants to give pleasure to us; therefore by delighting in this pleasure, we in turn delight the Creator, and this is the sole reason why we indulge in the pleasure. Notably, we decide for ourselves that the pleasure we receive should be from this: that we benefit the Creator and thus have the willpower to withstand receiving pleasure directly.

In such a case, our actions and the form of the Creator’s actions coincide, and in addition to the original pleasure, we also experience great pleasure from the concurrence of our own qualities with the qualities of the Creator – His greatness, strength, might, full knowledge, and limitless existence.

The level of our spiritual maturity is determined by the size of the screen that we can erect on the path of egoistic pleasure: The greater the strength of our countermeasures to personal interests, the higher the level achieved and the greater the Light we will receive "for the sake of the Creator."

All of our organs of perception are constructed as follows: when they contact incoming information through sound, sight, smell, etc., we can then interpret this information. Until the signal contacts these barriers we can neither sense nor interpret the information.

Naturally, all of our measuring instruments function in accordance with this main principle, since the laws of our world are simply the consequences of spiritual laws. Hence, new phenomena are revealed in our world and, so, too, our first unveiling of the Creator and then every subsequent sensing of Him solely depends on the size of the boundary that we are able to erect.

In the spiritual realm, this boundary is known as a vessel(kli). What we actually perceive is not the Light itself, but its interaction with the boundary on the path of its dissemination, which is derived from the influence of this Light on the spiritual kli of a human being.

Similarly, in our own world, we do not perceive the phenomenon itself, but only the result of its interaction with our organs of perception or with our instruments.

The Creator has endowed a certain part of Himself with an egoistic desire for pleasure, the desire that He Himself created. Consequently, that part stopped perceiving the Creator and senses only itself, its own state, its own desire. This part is called “the soul.”

This egoistic part is also a part of the Creator, since only He exists, and there is no vacancy that is not filled by Him. However, because egoism senses only its own desires, it does not perceive the Creator.

The goal of creation is having this part choose to return to the Creator through its own will and its own decision, to again become akin to Him in its qualities.

The Creator completely controls the process of bringing this egoistical part to unite with Him. But this control from the outside is imperceptible. The desire of the Creator manifests itself (with His own concealed help) in the desire to merge with Him that emanates from the depths of the egoistic part.

For the sake of simplifying this problem, the Creator has divided egoism into 600,000 parts. Each of these parts resolves the problem of rejecting egoism gradually, by slowly arriving at the realization that egoism is evil through the repetitive process of gaining egoistic qualities and suffering from them.

Each of the 600,000 parts of the soul is known as “the soul” of a human being. The period of merging with egoism is known as “the life” of a human being. A temporary break of the connection with egoism is known as “the existence” in higher, spiritual realms. The moment at which the soul gains egoistic qualities is known as “the birth” of a human being in our world.

Each of these 600,000 parts of the collective soul must, after a series of fusions with egoism, choose to unite with the Creator and to reject egoism, despite the fact that egoism is still within the soul while the soul is still [clothed] within a human body.

The gradual process of conforming to the Creator in qualities; the systematic approaching of the qualities of the soul to those of the Creator is known as “the spiritual ascent.” The spiritual ascent occurs along the levels or steps known as sefirot.

In total, from the very first to the very last step of merging with the Creator, the spiritual ladder consists of 125 steps or sefirot. Every 25 sefirot constitutes a finished stage, known as a “world” or a “realm.” Thus, aside from our own state, which is known as "our world," there are 5 worlds.

The goal of the egoistic part is to reach the qualities of the Creator while still existing in us, in this world, so that in spite of our egoism we can still perceive the Creator in everything around us and within us. The desire for unity is a natural desire within us all. It is a desire not influenced by any prerequisites or inferences; rather, it is a deep knowledge about the need to unite with the Creator.

In the Creator, this desire exists as a free wish, but in the creation, it acts as a natural abiding law. Since He created nature according to His own plan, every natural law represents His desire to see such an order in place. Therefore, all our "natural" instincts and desires emanate directly from the Creator, while inferences requiring calculations and prior knowledge are the fruits of our own actions.

If we wish to reach complete unity with the Creator, we must bring that desire to the level of instinctive knowledge, as if it had been received with our own nature from the Creator.

The laws of spiritual desires are such that there is no place for incomplete or partial desires – those that allow room for doubt or for unrelated wishes. For this reason, the Creator heeds only the plea that emanates from our very Depths, and that corresponds with the complete desire of the spiritual vessel on the level at which we exist.

But the process of the birth of such a desire within our hearts occurs slowly and accumulates unknown to us, on a level higher than can be grasped by mere human intellect.

The Creator consolidates all the small prayers we make into one, and upon receiving the final plea for help of necessary magnitude, He helps us.

Similarly, when we enter the sphere of action of the Creator’s Light, we receive everything at once, because the Supreme Giver is eternal and does not make calculations based on time and the circulation of lives. For this reason even the lowest of the spiritual levels generates a complete sense of the eternal.

But because we continue to experience a series of spiritual ascents and declines even after reaching the initial spiritual level, we exist in conditions such as the world, the year, the soul.

The dynamic soul, which did not yet complete its own correction, requires a place to move; this place is known as the "world." The sum of all the soul’s motions is perceived as time, and is known as a "year."

Even the lowest spiritual level generates the feeling of complete perfection to such a degree, that only through the individual’s faith above reason do we understand that elevating to the new state is nothing more than overcoming the "spiritual denial" of a higher spiritual level. Only by grasping this concept can one ascend even higher, to the spiritual level that one believed to exist and which one elevated above one’s own sense of perfection.

Our bodies function automatically in accordance with the laws of their own egoistic nature and habit. If we constantly repeat to ourselves that we desire only spiritual ascent, then in the end we will desire it. The body, by virtue of these incessant exercises, will accept this desire as a natural one. It is often said that a habit becomes second nature.

In the state of a spiritual decline, we should hold on to the belief that "When Israel is in exile, the Creator is with them."

When we are in a state of apathy and hopelessness, even the spiritual world presents no interest to us, because everything appears to exist on the level at which we exist at that moment.

Therefore, we must believe that this feeling is nothing more than our personal awareness, as we are presently in a state of spiritual exile and thus unaware oft the Creator, who is also exiled from our awareness.

The Light that emanates from the Creator goes through four stages before egoism is created. Only the last, the fifth stage (Malchut), is called creation because it perceives its own egoistic desires to delight in the Light of the Creator.

Thus, the first four stages are all qualities of the Light itself, through which He creates us. We accept the highest quality, that of the first stage, or the desire to delight a future creation, as the quality of the Creator Himself. At the end of the spectrum is the fifth stage of development, or the egoistical creation, which desires to counteract its own egoistical nature and to become akin to the first stage. Though attempts are made,they are only partially successful in this endeavor.

The first stage of egoism, which can counteract itself fully, is known as the world, Olam Adam Kadmon.

The second stage of egoism, is the world, Olam Atzilut.

The third stage of egoism, which forms a part of the fifth stage that can no longer be compared to either the first or the second stage, is the world, Olam Beria.

The fourth stage of egoism, which forms a part of the fifth stage, has no strength to withstand itself, so as to be compared to the first, second, or third stages, but can only resemble the fourth stage of the development of Light. It is known as the world, Olam Yetzira.

The remaining part of the fifth stage has no strength to aspire to be like any of the previous stages. It can only passively resist egoism by preventing itself from receiving pleasure (the action contrary to the fifth stage). This is known as the world, Olam Assiya.

Every world has five sub-stages that are called partzufim: Keter, Hochma, Bina, Zeir Anpin, and Malchut. Zeir Anpin consists of six sub-sefirot : Hesed, Gevura, Tifferet, Netzah, Hod, and Yesod. After the creation of the five worlds, our material world – the realm below the world of Assiya was created and a human being was created in it.

The human being was endowed with a small portion of the egoistic qualities of the fifth stage. If human beings ascend in the process of spiritual development from the bottom to the top within the spiritual worlds, then the part of egoism that is in them and, likewise, all the parts of those worlds that they used for their ascent, become comparable with the first stage, with the quality of the Creator.

When the entire fifth stage elevates to the level of the first, then all the worlds will arrive at the purpose of creation.

The spiritual cause of time and space is the absence of Light in the collective soul, where spiritual ascents and declines result in a sensation of time, and the place for the future presence of the Creator’s Light gives an impression of space in our world.

Our world is affected by spiritual forces that impart to us a sensation of time caused by the change of their influence. Since two spiritual objects differing in their qualities cannot be as one spiritual object, they exert their influence one after the other, first the higher and then the lower, and so on. In our world, this produces a sensation of time.

We are endowed with three instruments for the task of successfully correcting our egoism: feelings, intellect and imagination. With regard to the spiritual matter and form, the matter is represented by egoism, while its form is determined by the opposing forces, corresponding to our own world.

We define delights and suffering as good and evil respectively. But spiritual suffering serves as the only source of development and progress of humankind. Spiritual redemption is perfection, received on the basis of strong negative sensations, which are received as pleasant ones.

Since the left line returns to the right one, the misfortunes, suffering, and pressures are transformed into happiness, pleasure, and spiritual freedom.

The reason for this is that in every object there are two opposing forces: egoism and altruism, which are experienced as remoteness from, or proximity to, the Creator.

There are many examples of this in the Bible: the sacrifice of Yitzhak, the sacrifices in the Temple, and so forth. (In Hebrew sacrifices are korbanot, a word that is derived from the word karov – to advance toward something).

The right line represents the essence of the spiritual object, whereas the left line is actually only that part of egoism that can be employed by joining it to one’s altruistic intentions.

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