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Michael Laitman, PhD

Chapter 2.2 – Persistence

Naming a person is done in Kabbalah according to that person’s will to receive. For example, if a certain individual has a desire to attain the Creator, feel Him and cling to Him, then that person is named Israel (from the words Yashar El – straight to God), even if still at the beginning of the journey, and unable to see the Creator or where this journey will lead. It is the desire that counts.

When one realizes the Creator’s Will, that person is called a "Kabbalist", someone who has attained a certain spiritual degree. For that reason, Kabbalists are also called “One of Attainment.”

Kabbalists gradually understand that there is no one but the attaining of individual and the Creator. Strangers, acquaintances, parents, children and friends are, in fact, the Creator. He is the one standing behind these figures. One’s discovery of the Creator is called “attainment.”

The clearer the spiritual world becomes to us, the higher our spiritual degree is considered to be, until we finally realizes that everything around us is the Creator. Then we acquire an even greater attainment - all our desires, thoughts, feelings, and aspirations are also the Creator.

So where is man here? Man is the person who feels all this inside, who reaches this ultimate conclusion that there is none else beside Him. This precise feeling – is man. The appearance of that feeling is called "adhesion with the Creator".

But what is the difference between understanding and feeling? We are born as feeling beings, not as thinking ones. Our minds evolve only enough to allow us to comprehend what we are feeling. Let us take a child as an example: his desires are not great, and the child's mind is developed accordingly.

Another example is a person in the jungle needs just enough wisdom to provide the necessities for survival. The more we want, the smarter we become, because the mind must get us what we want. The mind is but a consequence of the evolution of our desires. We seek and find all kinds of ways to get what we want. Thus, a strong will is the key to the development of the mind.

We needn’t concern ourselves with developing the mind, only with developing the desire. A person who studies the wisdom of Kabbalah needn't be smart. It is enough to want to feel the desired. It is impossible to see the spiritual world with our mind’s eye, we can only feel it in our souls.

We should try to mingle with the suffering of the entire world, feel it, and experience it. Afterwards, we will be able to receive the Light of the entire world in the corrected vessel. Every time one learns about another person’s pain, we should not regret that it is not us suffering. Rather, we should regret that people don't relate to suffering as a revelation of the Creator, because their vessels are still corrupted. People perceive the Providence of the Creator in the wrong way.

Do we have to justify the Creator when we feel bad? The wisdom of Kabbalah is also called "the wisdom of truth". It is called this because a person who learns it learns to gradually feel the truth in an increasingly acute way. One cannot lie to oneself when standing before the Creator. It is then clear that the feeling in one's heart is the only truth there is.

But is the bad feeling not a testimony to man’s accusation of the Creator? The good feeling in and of itself is already gratitude to the Creator. We speak to the Creator with our hearts; there is no need for words. Thus, in order to justify the Creator, I must always feel good.

When we hear that there is murder, oppression, and terrorism in the world, we must recognize that this is the best possible thing for our world, and it is only considered "bad" because of our corrupted souls. That is why our only option is to ascend spiritually and correct our vessels so that the evil we see and hear of will be perceived as good in our eyes.

Our only concern should be that in the process of the correction of the vessels and the spiritual degree, we will see how good He is to us and to the entire world.

Someone who is still climbing the degrees of the first spiritual world – the world of Assiya (called “all evil”) - still feels events as bad. One who feels that the Creator's actions are bad is regarded as “evil” because he or she condemns the Creator. (In Hebrew, the words "evil"-Rasha - and "condemn"- Marshia-come from the same root).

Later on, when entering the world of Yetzira (called “half bad and half good”), that person alternately feels what happens as either good or bad. It is as if the person is midway between each extreme, not knowing precisely how to define the situation.

The world of Beria is called “almost good”. When we correct our vessels enough to ascend to the world of Beria, we feel with growing certainty that the Creator wants only what is best for us. Hence, when we have climbed to the world of Yetzira, we are called "incomplete righteous. When we ascend to the world of Atzilut (called “all good”), we see only good there, without a hint of evil. Consequently, if we have climbed to the world of Atzilut, we are called “complete righteous” (we justify the Creator and thinks that what He is doing is right).

Our feelings constitute our attitude toward the Creator in each and every situation. We cannot have a completely positive attitude toward the Creator and justify Him completely before we rise to the highest degrees, and that can only be in the world of Atzilut.

We should not stay in his current evil state, but should try and rise above it as fast as possible after we have examined and analyzed our situations. Then, we should try to reach a better state. But the truth is that we can never see our actual state while in it. Only when he moves to a new level, when we are certain that we really did attain a new degree, can he examine and analyze his previous state.

For example, a ten-year-old child, who is angry with his parents because they do not want to buy him a motorbike, cannot assess his situation correctly. But what can he feel besides insulted? When he grows older he will be able to assess the event correctly. The most important thing is to try to move from accusing the Creator in favor of a higher state.

It has been said that the Creator created the world in order to delight His creatures. But that does not mean that He wants to delight us because we suffered before. The Creator did it without any considerations and regardless of the amount of torment we had suffered. Staying immersed in pain never brought anyone to happiness. Only self-correction brings one to the good. Humanity can go on suffering for thousands of years, but this will never bring any kind of correction; it will only increase man’s desire for correction.

It is written in the Introduction to the Book of Zohar (item 6): “Our sages have instructed that the Creator created the world for no other reason, but to delight His creatures. And here is where we must place our mind and heart, for it is the ultimate aim of the act of the creation of the world. And we must bear in mind that since the thought of Creation is to bestow to His creatures, He had to create in the souls a great amount of desire to receive that which He had thought to give. For the measure of each pleasure and delight depends on the measure of the will to receive it. The greater the will to receive, the greater the pleasure, and the lesser the will, the lesser the pleasure from reception.

So the thought of Creation itself, dictates the creation of an excessive will to receive, to fit the immense pleasure that his almightiness thought to bestow upon the souls. For the great delight and the great desire must go hand in hand.”

If I want to eat a little, then I take little pleasure in the food. But if I am very hungry, then eating gives me great pleasure. Thus, because of His desire to give the maximum amount of pleasure, He created in us this immense will to receive, to equal the amount of pleasure that He thought to give us. However, when we want something very much but cannot have it, then we suffer tremendously.

Increasing my desire for spirituality is a very complex question. We are incapable of feeling spirituality before we cross the barrier. We can only feel desires for self-indulgence. When I begin to realize this and understand that it is bad, we feel very bad about ourselves. Not only are we not nearing the Creator, but on the contrary, we find ourselves drifting away from Him. At first we didn’t think we were that bad. Does that mean that we were closer to Him? And now, when we feel ourselves as evil, is it the Creator pushing us away and making us feel worse than before? It is the complete opposite! It is the Creator pulling me to Him!

Our progress is measured by our negative feelings. That is because as long as we have not corrected our vessels, shame helps our correction more than anything. The only thing that enables humans to remain humane is the shame. Unpleasant situations direct us more quickly in the right direction than pleasant situations, which normally corrupt even more.

To suffer from your egoism means to hate it, while clearly seeing that it is in you. Hatred serves to keep us away from the source of the agony. That, in turn, serves to build the right frame of mind for progress and desire for nearing the Creator.

We finally come to a state where we realize that we will not be able to resist committing a sin, even if we know about it in advance. Yet we still want it, or when we see it coming, we do nothing to distance ourselves from it, but simply stand and wait.

All this belongs to the part of correction. There is nothing that we can do by ourselves. All we can and should do is learn from every obstacle and failure along the way. Even if we sometimes think that we have overcome some situation, it will take no more than the next minute to realize we didn’t overcome anything.

Sins and wrongdoing do not actually exist. They are all situations that we must go through in order to know the nature that was created by the Creator, so that we feel the necessity of correcting ourselves. If we can relate to everything that happens in this manner, then that is an act toward correction.

Let us take the sin of Adam ha Rishon as an example: the Creator created a soul and gave it an anti-egoism screen that can resist a certain amount of pleasure. After that, He placed before it a greater pleasure than it could resist. As a result, the soul could not resist the temptation and received the pleasure in order to receive, meaning it sinned. A sinful act is receiving in order to receive.

The soul consists of ten Sefirot divided into internal Sefirot and external Sefirot. The corrected part is considered internal, and the one that is as yet uncorrected, external. It is the external part that gives us the sensation of the world around us. This is where the feeling that there is something around us comes from. But in truth, everything I see around me is actually inside. It is the uncorrected vessels that create a fictitious reality around me, but a person who enters the spiritual realm feels it at once.

We begin to need the Creator not only when He makes us suffer, but also when he lets us understand that it is He who stands behind the suffering. It is precisely then that we cry for help. In that state, our entire agony is concentrated in "the point in the heart" where the darkness is felt, and it is in that dark point that the connection with the Creator begins.

The question will continue to trouble us until we cross the barrier. Although the questions will be asked by the same individual, they will always come with new vessels and new insights. Nothing ever regresses, only progresses, and we must experience all those situations.

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