You are here: Kabbalah Library Home / Michael Laitman / Books / The Path of Kabbalah / Part Two: Phases of Spiritual Evolution / Chapter 2.1 – The Purpose of Creation
Michael Laitman, PhD

Chapter 2.1 – The Purpose of Creation

There are five worlds between the Creator and our world: Adam Kadmon, Atzilut, Beria, Yetzira and Assiya. Beneath the world of Assiya there is the barrier and under the barrier there is our world. Our goal in this world is to attain the degree the world of Ein Sof while our souls are still clothed in our corporeal bodies, thus attaining complete unification with the Creator. The properties of the egoism change in every degree, according to the properties of the Creator, until finally the egoism is completely replaced with altruism, and the attributes of our soul become identical to those of the Creator.

There are two properties to the egoism in our world: “receiving in order to receive,” and “giving (bestowing) in order to receive.” The first assignment of a person who wishes to cross over to the other world is to restrict the use of one's own desires. That state is denominated the “First Restriction.” It means that one stops working with his egoistic desires altogether.

We cannot change our will to receive, which is actually the only thing that the Creator created, but we can and should change the aim of our desire from receiving "for me" to receiving "for the Creator". Thus, the desire to feel pleasure does not change, only the aim.

For that reason, the method for changing the aim is called the “wisdom of Kabbalah”, and because the aim is concealed from the eye, the wisdom of Kabbalah is also called the “wisdom of the hidden". It teaches how to receive by changing the aim. Consequently, the important thing is the aim behind every act, the purpose for which one does what one does. The 125 rungs of the ladder are degrees of gradual correction of the aim of the soul from receiving "for me" to receiving "for the Creator". Thus, the desire to feel pleasure does not change, only the aim.

For that reason, the method for changing the aim is called the "wisdom of Kabbalah", and because the aim is concealed from the eye, the wisdom of Kabbalah is also called the "wisdom of the hidden".

When the Light of the Creator passes through the worlds, it weakens and becomes suitable for reception by the weaker, altruistic desires. When the soul receives the Light of Correction from Above, it begins to change its aim from "receiving for me" to "receiving for the Creator", which is regarded as giving.

After the soul performs the First Restriction over all its desires, it reaches the “barrier.” At that point, it refuses to perform any kind of work with the egoism, though it is still unable to receive for the Creator.

When the soul corrects its aim to give in the degree of Keter, it means that it is now able to overcome its weakest egoism and can refrain from receiving anything for itself. At that point it nullifies itself completely before the Upper Light. It is with this degree that the soul enters the world of Assiya, the first spiritual world above the barrier. If the soul can overcome its egoism when the Light of Wisdom shines in it, it rises to the world of Yetzira.

The greater the ability of the soul to resist its egoism, the higher it ascends in the spiritual degrees, until finally the soul comes to the world of Ein Sof. A soul is a spiritual entity that reveals its essence only past the barrier and the degrees above it.

The desires one works with in the spiritual world are bare, open; they are not clothed in dresses of our world. A Kabbalist stops studying our world once in the spiritual world, and regards it as nothing more than a natural consequence, a branch of a spiritual root. Of more interest are studies of the reason, the root, and the beginning of every desire, not its consequences in the lowest and corrupted degree.

A person who rises to the spiritual world replaces his corporeal desires with desires that are directed at the Creator. Just as the newly spiritual person wanted to enjoy every kind of pleasure in this world, now that person wants to enjoy the Creator in the same egoistic manner. That state is regarded as "suffering to sleep".

But through the illumination of the ever-Surrounding Light, there is a gradual increase in one's desire for spirituality and bring one to a state where the desire for spirituality becomes so intense, one cannot even sleep, overshadowing all other desires.

Only the Upper Light of the Creator can do such a thing to a person–answer every effort to attain spirituality and bring one to a state where the desire for spirituality becomes so intense, one cannot even sleep, overshadowing all other desires.

The process is the same for all the souls, but each soul has its own mission in this world. Each soul also has a different speed in which it makes its way to the Creator.

Every thought, every desire and every movement that we make in this world, regardless of who that person is, is given for one and only purpose: to rise and come closer to spirituality. However, in most cases, this progress happens naturally, on the unconscious level, in the degrees of still, vegetative, and animate, in man.

Everything is planned in advance, according to the purpose of Creation. Our freedom of choice consists only of agreeing with whatever happens to us, with our understanding of where it all leads and the desire to become an active part in the events of our lives.

All the thoughts and desires of the world of Ein Sof pass through each and every one of us. But only those thoughts that correspond to our current degree are "captured".

Our degree of spirituality determines our range of influence and our outlook on the world we live in. As we evolve, our thoughts will grow deeper and we will find new connections between the objects and the phenomenon of reality. The level of our development defines how perceptive we can be of that part of the world of Ein Sof that we can feel.

There is no other way to want spirituality and awaken ourselves to the Surrounding Light except by studying in a group under the guidance of a Kabbalistic teacher. It is the only way to take part in the acting out of the design of Creation and shortening the process by which nature leads us to attain it. Only the light can help us replace our egoistic attributes with altruistic ones. That is because our egoistic attributes stand as a barrier between the spiritual world and us.

The Surrounding Light switches our desire to receive with a desire to give, thus carrying us across the barrier. We say that we want nothing of the physical, but if we had known how essential the change is across the barrier, that it is a transition from total concentration on personal gain to pure concern for others, we would have escaped the whole process.

Only after we cross the barrier do we encounter the “ocean of Light”. The Light of the Creator shines only to the extent that we regard the Creator as more important than our egoistic desire. It is that importance that enables us to slowly acquire the Light’s property of bestowal.

The most important stage is the crossing of the barrier. Above the barrier, the soul knows the way by itself because it receives the Light, which teaches it the next steps and the needed operations like a tour guide, or a map. That is what the Kabbalists write about in their books.

How can a bad thought about the Creator be turned into a good one? We first need to understand that it is bad, so that we will think about its correction. That evil can be seen only with the Light of the Creator, through His greatness. However, if the Light of the Creator does not shine, we cannot see. In the beginning, we all think our thoughts are good. But we are in this world, below the barrier, in the dark, in a place where the Light doesn’t reach us.

When the Surrounding Light shines on a person, we begin to see our real essence. It is a process called “the recognition of evil.” But before the Light shines on us, we always try to justify ourselves. We think we are always right. But once under the Light of the Creator, we begin to see the evil in ourselves, which drives us to ask for help of the Creator, the source of that illumination.

If our request is genuine, the Creator will change his natures. But the will to receive itself doesn’t change, only the aim changes from "for me" to "for the Creator". That change is called “giving”. Thus, one gradually changes one’s properties to the properties of the Creator in each of the 125 degrees in the ladder.

Each degree consists of several processes:

The result of these operations is that a part of my desires become like the Creator’s, and I can ascend to the next degree. The process repeats itself in every degree until all my attributes equalize with those of the Creator.

Man’s desires determine his acts. Consequently, it is impossible to do something without wanting it! For instance: if I know that I have to get up early tomorrow morning, then I go to sleep early the night before. Is that against my will? No! No person and nothing in this world can do anything without first wanting it, and without satisfying the desire with pleasure, which is the energy, the motivating force that enables any movement whatsoever.

We sometimes think that we are doing something against our will, but that is not the case. We simply calculate and decide that it is better to do something one way and not the other, even if we are doing something against our will. One will endure many things if the calculation justifies them.

We sometimes think that we are doing something against our will but that is not the case. We simply calculate and decide that it is better to do something one way and not the other, even if we are doing something against our will. We will endure many things if our calculations justify them.

We make a certain desire close to our hearts and become able to carry it out by choosing it. But none of us can ever lift a finger without a motivating force, or without having a preliminary desire for it.

When we do something good for another, we think that it is really so, that we are actually doing something without seeking personal gain. But if we look deep into our thoughts, we will discover that it is all done for one purpose only: to please ourselves and only ourselves, and anything else is self-deceit.

When we begin to study Kabbalah, we begin to see how the system works, how everyone is a total egoist and thinks of no one but himself, not even one's own children. At that point, you discover that your entire system of thought is built on illusions, and you think that you can actually do something for someone else.

It is only possible to give something to another if you receive something in return, if there is a profit for you. This is nothing to be ashamed of; it is our nature. We either receive for the purpose of enjoying, or give in order to gain something by it. It is no one’s fault. The only thing that we should want is to change our attributes to those of the Creator.

Kabbalah teaches us to accept ourselves as we were created. We must not hate or even get upset when looking at our own or someone else’s properties. It is hard for such a student of Kabbalah to be in contact with the outside world. Students have little patience when seeing egoism in the people they encounter. But each person is created with intention, and we should only try to help others change their properties to altruism.

Anything that is against our desire makes us suffer. It is written in the Talmud that if we want to take a certain coin out of a pocket, but bring out a different coin, we already suffer. Anything in life that does not match our desire perfectly causes us to suffer. Any bad mood, disease, or a lack of motivation to do this or that is interpreted by us as suffering.

But everything that happens actually happens in our favor. Everything promotes us one way or another toward the purpose of Creation. It is just that our distorted feelings portray the good as bad, and the sweet as bitter. Pure goodness can only be felt above the barrier, but for the time being everything is interpreted as pain. It happens because the Light still cannot fill the soul before the desire acquires an altruistic aim that is suitable for the Light, consequently leaving the Light outside.

Until we attain spirituality, the will to receive is our “angel of life”. However, when we begin to study Kabbalah, we extend upon himself the Surrounding Light and slowly see how our will to receive is actually an obstacle that stands between our egoistic nature and its transformation to altruism. We begin to see that this desire is the real enemy of his spiritual progress, thus turning the “angel of life” into the “angel of death".

We begin our process of recognition of evil from within our egoism. The sensation of the Light stands opposite the properties of the Light that we begin to feel. A huge desire appears in us to remove these cuffs from his hands at all cost. But because we cannot do it by ourselves, we desperately cry for the Creator’s help. If our plea is earnest–it will be answered.

Those who want to attain spirituality must be like everyone else: they must raise families, work and live normal lives. The important thing is what they do in their two or three free hours a day, the ones in which they are not committed to family or work. Those are the hours that they must examine themselves to see if they spend them in front of the television, in a restaurant, or laboring to attain a spiritual goal.

The difference between men and women in our world is a consequence of the relationship between the male part and the female part of the soul. As a result, men and women have different outlooks on life, different obligations and different objectives.

The male and female parts of every Partzuf in the spiritual world complement one another: the female part contributes its desires and the male part contributes its screens. In the end, it is their combination that brings spiritual attainment and perfection, which results in the revelation of the Light, the revelation of the Creator.

The correction of one of these parts does not come at the expense of the correction of the other, as occurs in egoistic relationships, where each pulls toward one's own side. In spirituality, everything exists in one Partzuf, one body, whereas in our world, we come in separate bodies. Every object in the spiritual world can exist only if it complements another object for a mutual goal.

It is therefore clear that according to Kabbalah, there can never be a "real" family, with a "real" relationship between the sexes unless it is between souls that want to be corrected spiritually. Then, to the extent that they are corrected, so will the egoistic relationship in the family transform into altruistic ones.

Spirituality is an intimate thing for every person. It must not be discussed with anyone and one’s feelings toward the Creator should be kept to oneself to avoid spoiling someone else's individual progress. It is different for every person, and will become open to all only at the end of correction, since there will no longer be room for such obstructions as egoistic envy.

Back to top
Site location tree