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Correcting Myself – Correcting the World

Our sensors are very unrefined. We cannot even feel what happens inside our own body, the molecular collisions, or the birth of new cells. Therefore, there are many changes that need to take place in order for us to start feeling anything.

It takes some time for us to feel when a new phenomenon starts. But before the feeling is created in us, millions of wheels must revolve inside us, entire mechanisms have to perform many corrections before those corrections are felt by us.

The study of the Kabbalah works on various levels of our soul, in attributes of the will to receive that we cannot feel just yet.

This is how it happens: a person reads; he understands nothing and feels no reason to study, because it works on attributes below the threshold of his feelings. It is like a person filling a glass of water and wondering why the bottom part of the glass has to be filled if he only drinks of the top. There seems to be no reason to concern myself with the other parts.

Man’s will to receive is corrected through the study of the Kabbalah. The study deals with the different levels of the soul, the vessel and the desire, which are at the bottom of the glass. He doesn’t touch them, does not drink them, and does not feel their actual taste, as long as they do not reach the top, where he actually begins to feel.

But very slowly one does begin to feel. It is a slow process because the will to receive, our egoism is very deep and complex. It is adapted to the light – the number of attributes in the will to receive matches that of the light. Therefore, even if one doesn’t understand what one is studying, one must continue to study with the intention to attain the attributes of the light, and not for the purpose of mere understanding.

Without this intention, without the desire to attain the light, nothing will be gained. The power of the study and the light works on us according to our power of intent and desire. But the disclosure is a slow and gradual process. But if we connect everything we feel with the primary question – “What is the meaning of my life?” all other questions, which are consequences of this one, are answered by themselves.

When a person corrects his desire, his aim, all other parts of creation below him, the living, vegetative and still, participate in the ascent, though they are unaware of it. They cannot feel it, because it is something that can only be felt in the human degree, in spiritual changes. But the general affect of the light is felt at all levels of creation.

The other parts of creation do not feel within them the question of the meaning of their lives, but the fact that man asks it, and studies the book “The Study of the Ten Sefirot,” with the intent to connect himself with the upper one, with the light, joins all other parts of creation to his question, includes and corrects them within him. By the way, this is why man can feel nature inside him. For example, when we fly over mountains, their mighty silence, and their intense expectation for the revelation of the Creator can be felt clearly.

Man raises all parts of nature: the still, vegetative, and the animate. Every form in him, all the species in him rise along with him, without any work on their part. The ‘act’ is the work with the screen – a correction with the intent ‘for the Creator,’ to give. That is man’s goal. Others, however, do not have a goal, because only man can correct, only man asks what he is living for.

The world is changing according to man: if man changes a little for the better, so does the world. But those changes are so small that we cannot detect them. Yet they do necessarily and immediately happen, both for better and for worse.

Creation is always under a gradual process of development (evolution), which depends on the changes of man. Thus, even an atom or any other particle has a need to guard itself, its structure. That’s its egoism.

Power is an external manifestation of a desire. When I want something – I insist, I push, and pull, I do anything I can, this is called a desire. When we speak of the powers of nature, such as gravity, the electric force, or a chemical force, in the end, they are all but two: the pulling force, which wants to receive, and the pushing force, which wants to give. They are the only two forces in nature, and everything else is but combinations of them.

In the spiritual world there are only man and the Creator. Man is the desire to give to the Creator, and the Creator is the desire to give to man. All other creations, meaning desires, apart from the desire called man, have no freedom of choice, and are therefore called “angels.”

A will to receive that has no freedom of choice and has not come to the possibility to purify itself must be added to one that does have the freedom of choice in order to purify and correct it. This is man’s work.

Generally speaking, there are two kinds of angels: “good inclination” and “bad inclination.” In the soul of the “first man,” the collective soul in the world of Atzilut, there are all creations in their corrected state. If the soul of the first man hadn’t been broken, man could add the tree of knowledge to his soul and instantly attain the end of correction. Then all other degrees of creation would receive their complete correction along with him.

Question: What is the essence of the degrees that are not “man”?

Answer: All the degrees, which are not “man,” are aspects of the desires. There is the root (Shoresh) discernment (Behina), the first (Aleph), second (Bet), and third (Gimel). Only the fourth degree/discernment (Dalet) is called “man” or the degree of “speaking.” The previous degrees – the still, vegetative and animate, are intermediary degrees in the evolution of creation and have no possibility of independent movement, internal or spiritual.

The fourth degree is the desire that independently decides what to receive and how. The other degrees simply don’t have that feeling and hence have not the option of inner independent movement. That is why the ‘residents’ of those degrees are called “angels.”

Question: And who corrects them?

Answer: The fourth Behina. It stems from them and was created last, as the Torah says, that man was created last, on the sixth day.

At this point we should ask the following question: if willpower is that strong, then why can’t a Kabbalist, being the one who performs all the corrections of nature, manage all of nature? He can indeed. A Kabbalist is a person who has corrected his nature and attained the higher degrees of creation. He sees how the world is managed and what laws it abides by. He agrees with these laws because he has corrected himself, and sustains the existence of these laws with his power of will. That is what gives him the permission to manage nature. Science has also recently discovered that man can influence degrees of still, vegetative and animate in nature, with his thoughts alone.

Question: What does it mean to manage nature?

Answer: All parts of creation, man included, are sustained and managed by a force called “Nature,” or “Creator,” whose attribute is bestowal (in Hebrew the word is Hashpaa, which comes from the word Shefa – bounty). When a Kabbalist attains a certain degree of correction, once he has acquired a certain amount of will to bestow, meaning to give, he can join nature – to that degree – in the management of nature. The Kabbalist, being in the degree of ‘speaking’, can be included in the degrees of ‘still’, ‘vegetative’ and ‘animate’ of nature according to his degree, and add much bounty and change the laws of nature. Through him, nature becomes more merciful.

As a result of his connection with other souls and inclusion of all other souls in him, the Kabbalist raises the other souls as well, depending on how corrected he is compared to them. The amount of his influence on others depends on the degree of his soul and its uniqueness, meaning what part of the soul of the first man it comes from – Rosh (head), Guf (body), Raglaim (legs) or some other part. It is not up to the Kabbalist, but his degree of correction greatly influences the rising of the souls and their readiness for correction. This way (but not only) the Kabbalists help the world.

A person can tell right from wrong to the extent that the light shines. Just as when one walks by the light of a flashlight and can see only as far as the light reaches, so also man can only tell right from wrong to the depth of his egoism where the light reaches. Hence, it is only the amount of revelation of the Creator to man that can show him his real nature, how evil it is, and want to correct it. Therefore, if we ask of the Creator to reveal himself to us so that we can see ourselves for what we are and correct ourselves, and not for egoistic pleasure, then that is the prayer he answers.

So what do we need the wisdom of Kabbalah for? We can take a prayer book, or the book of Psalms, perhaps go to the Wailing Wall (the western wall of the temple in Jerusalem) and cry for help from dawn to dusk. But to whom would we cry? To the very same one who brought us this evil? To the one who deliberately beats us? And if we do cry for him, would he stop?

The Creator will not listen to our cry because the torments have a reason! The Creator wants to attain correction through these plagues. We have to understand that and reply: “You are doing right in beating me. Because of that I understand that I am evil. However, give me a chance to see where my evil is and correct it.” That is precisely the kind of prayer he is waiting for, and that is what we should ask for. This is what we have to teach people: that our pleas to him should be directed toward correction.

There is only one desire: to delight the creatures. There is only one goal: to make the creatures feel eternal pleasure. The unique thought of the Creator is the one thing that exists in the world, it is everything and everything works for it. Hence, everything abides by one law only – to return creation to the Creator, to the light, to pleasure.

You are asking for pleasures for yourself, but that can only be obtained through correction. Therefore, instead of asking for favors from him, we should ask for correction. Through it, we will obtain the pleasure. One who realizes that the plagues come to him in order to correct himself, has already begun the correction. We gradually attain wisdom and change ourselves as a result, meaning obey the commandments of the sender of the plagues. I should not relate to the plagues themselves, but look at the giver of the plagues. I should feel the pains as a means without which I will not respond and turn to him.

One must rise above his bad feeling and start to work with his mind. He must start to examine why he feels so bad, why is he being beaten? Surely there is someone who sends these troubles, so what is their purpose? At that point one begins to get mad: “Is this what you call “desire to delight your creatures?” “There is nothing worse than what you are sending me!” When a person begins to ask, he no longer relates to the beating only, but has already got the sense to see that there is a reason for the trouble. He begins to correct himself and thus improve his situation.

That is what we are trying to show: Guys, there is a purpose here! There is a reason. It is not the Arabs or the Gentiles who are at fault for what is happening to us, it is WE. We are being beaten from above because we haven’t started to correct ourselves. Let’s begin to improve ourselves and the beatings will disappear.

There has to be a new consciousness in the public, one that is above emotions. There has to be reason as well as emotions. We need reason in order to relate to good and bad critically. If I feel bad, it must mean that there is a reason and a purpose for it. We must explain it to everyone. The public is stuck in a state of “I feel bad,” or “I feel good.” It can take hundreds of years before people start asking: “Why is this happening to me”?

Our goal is to explain what our present state leads to. As Baal HaSulam writes in his article "The Essence of Religion and Its Purpose": “Religion is not for the good of the people, but for the good of the worker,” meaning the purpose of religion is not to benefit people, or to benefit the Creator; it is there to benefit those who are working in order to be corrected. The entire creation was created for that ultimate goal. But if you judge what happens to you only by feelings of “good” or “bad,” you remain in the degrees of still, vegetative or animate, but never in the degree of speaking, and that is the degree we need.

Question: How can a person keep awakening the question about the meaning of his life inside him all the time?

Answer: That question constantly surfaces in us as a result of pains. The Creator does not forget us. Everyday he adds more and more pains. Our only problem is how much we have to suffer before we realize that torments come for the sole purpose of awakening in us something that is above the sensation of pain. Until then we will consent to a routine of civilians and soldiers being killed daily in terror attacks or road accidents. People think there is nothing they can do, and that it must be the price we pay for living here.

It is an escape from recognizing the reason for the pains. Instead of asking why this happens to us, and perhaps there is a purpose to it, we calm ourselves down and accept it. Even when we suffer more beating, we try to reduce the painful sensation. Even if dozens of people died every day, we would still feel as though it is just one person a month. That is what happens in our society today. By being heroes and ignoring the pains and the beatings, we inflict even greater beatings on ourselves, until the pain and torments will force us to say: “Enough, there is a reason for this, let’s find it, it is somewhere in us.”

I call that ‘heroism’ and blindness of not feeling the pain, “stupid egoism.” It is like the fable about the ostrich hiding its head in the sand in the face of danger. Such actions have already become a strategy in our country. Politicians brag about their narrow-mindedness and compete about their lack of understanding in what they are faced with.

A person who concerns himself with the reason for the pains is different to others, in that he has a more developed soul. Therefore, it is his duty to explain to others that there is a reason for the pains, that they are something, which aims to demand of us to unite with the upper force. It is enough for people to concentrate on the beater rather then on the beating, that it is the Creator bringing us closer to the good. If we begin to think about the goal, instead of the beating and our egoism, we will solve all our problems.

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