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Michael Laitman, PhD

Chapter 2.3 – The Recognition of Evil

It is not enough to love the Creator and want to unite with Him. It is also necessary to hate the evil in you, meaning your own nature – the desire for self-indulgence from which you cannot escape by yourself. You should come to a state where you look inwardly, see the evil within you, and feel constantly tormented by it. You must know how much you are losing, and yet know that you will not be able to liberate yourself from the evil.

At the same time, we cannot come to terms with his state because we feel the loss that the evil inflicts on us, and the truth that we will never find the powers for salvation in ourselves, because that trait has been imprinted in us by the Creator.

In order to exit our world and enter the spiritual world, we must experience a number of specific situations: First, we must feel that the situation we are in is intolerable. That can happen only when we feel, even if slightly, what spirituality is and how different it is from our own state. We must feel that all the good is there, that it is unending abundance, tranquility, eternity and wholeness, and that everything is One Power that pulls him toward it.

In addition, there is the force in this world that rejects you from the situation that has now become intolerable to you. When these two forces – the one that draws toward spirituality and the other rejecting you from your current state – reach their peak, coupled with your awareness of total helplessness to liberate yourself from evil, that an explosion occurs and the Creator delivers you.

What you can and must do, is develop genuine hate towards the evil in yourself. Then, the Creator will deliver you from it. The Creator guards souls, proven by the fact that the Creator saves them from evil. If one has even the slightest connection with the Creator, that person is a fortunate individual.

All the situations that we experiences in spirituality continue to exist and can be returned to at any stage, corrected, and used to continue our progress. Because the Creator gives, His creatures must try to want the same thing. The reverse is also true, as the Creator hates to be a receiver. He is complete to begin with and needs nothing; therefore, His creatures should hate reception, because that is the origin of all evil. It is only through hatred of evil that it can be corrected and become subordinate to the sanctity of the Creator.

If we encounter states of emptiness, indifference and bad feeling, it means that his state already belongs to the next degree, which has not yet been corrected. Every situation begins in the dark. The day begins in the night; the vessels begin with the will to receive. Then they are corrected and receive the Light. Thus, every time we feel a new sensation of the evil, we should be happy, because the next phase will be the reception of the Light. There is no progress in the sensation of evil, because only the presence of two contradicting situations enables arriving at the middle line.

Baal HaSulam compared this movement to breathing: First, the lungs prepare themselves, empty themselves of air, and then fill themselves with new Light. In each and every place and in each and every thing there must first be a need or a lack. Only afterwards is the filling obtained.

Each person must come to adhesion with the Creator. This long process was predetermined in the design of Creation, and began thousands of years ago. Souls now continue it in every incarnation. There is nothing in the gigantic computer of Creation that occurs without a reason. Everything is tied to other things with invisible wires. The world is one living body, and any change in even the smallest and most remote area affects the entire being.

The still, vegetative, and animate do not experience mood changes. But there is not a creature on earth that does not have a Godly spark. They all must come to the purpose of creation – the end of correction. The still, vegetative, and animate degrees will follow in man’s footsteps. Each has its own time, conditions, and place that they must be in. Being in this same place without understanding why, and taking all these steps and actions, brings everyone naturally to the purpose of creation in one's own way.

This is the place to ask, "Why do some come to the wisdom of Kabbalah while others do not? The answer is very simple: those who come to the wisdom of Kabbalah have already accumulated enough agony to ask, “Who am I?” and “What am I living for?”

Those who lead ordinary lives never ask these questions. No one asks why they are happy, because if they are happy, they are convinced they deserve it. But if he suffers, then they don’t understand what they have done to deserve it, and that question never brings peace of mind. Everyone must labor alone in order to draw nearer to the Creator, instead of waiting until the anguish brings them to action.

There is no difference between suffering in our world and suffering in the spiritual world. Both suffering is a way for the Creator to control and guide us. If we could transfer the physical pain to spiritual pain, we would correct some of our vessels and in that equalize our attributes with the Creator’s, thus shortening our journey.

When a Kabbalist becomes physically ill, his body suffers. But because the physical body cannot attain spirituality, only one’s inner sensation becomes spiritual, corrected and awakens the Kabbalist, even as the body continues to suffer. While the soul of the Kabbalist continues to climb, his physical health continues to deteriorate.

Why then does the body not climb alongside the soul? Because the body cannot become spiritual! Spirituality is an inner ascent of the soul; it has nothing to do with the outer part, meaning the biological body. The body is doomed to perish and be buried in the ground. That is the end of its correction. When the body expires, one gets a new body, just as we change a shirt when the one we wear needs washing.

There are souls like the soul of Rabbi Shimon Bar-Yochay, the Ari, or Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag, that have already corrected themselves, and no longer need to descend to this world. They do it only to correct the world; they absorb agony from the entire world and thus suffer for it. That process is called the Hitkalelut (mixture/mingling) of the souls. Each soul becomes involved with other souls to help them correct.

We should relate to the corporeal pain as a call to spirituality and contact with the Creator. When a person is attentive to that call, all torments are corrected and diminish. One who enters spirituality sees everything that the Creator allows. But a Kabbalist only wants to see that which will enhance spiritual progress; the rest is unimportant.

Every new situation is taken as a springboard for an even greater ascent; for that reason, the student takes the most positive aspects from the current degree, those that will help the student achieve the next degree.

In his Introduction to the Study of the Ten Sefirot, Baal HaSulam writes of four degrees: Malchut, Zeir Anpin, Bina and Hochma. Those are degrees of attainment of the Creator ( Keter). When we attain the Creator, He reveals everything that occurred to us throughout the entire history of our souls. This includes the Creator's treated of us every step of the way, how the Light left, what torments we underwent, and why these things happened.

Only now can one see that the Creator had always been good to us, and never had any other considerations. The fact that we regarded those events as bad was because of our corrupted senses, which perceived the approach of the Creator as negative. Everything we now see brings us greater love toward the Creator. Because of this, we must learn of all that has happened to him in our newly corrected vessels.

In the next and final phase, the Creator demonstrates His attitude toward all the souls throughout the generations. Here is where we see how good the Creator has been to all His creatures. The result of such an attainment is eternal love for the Creator. The only thing that man cannot see is how each person will come to the Creator, whether naturally, or with the help of the Creator, and when.

There is sufficient quantity and quality of desire in man to begin with. We must only learn to use it with the right intent: either we use our desires to satisfy ourselves and receive as much pleasure as possible with the least possible effort, or we only want to please the Creator by receiving form Him the maximum amount of pleasure. In other words, we receive in order to bring Him contentment.

We cannot change our aim by ourselves. Only the Creator can do that. If, while we employ our desires, the aim “in order to receive” makes me hate the egoism, it is a sign that we have come to recognize the evil in us. At such a state, we will be rewarded with the alteration of the aim to bestowal. The passage from Lo Lishma (in order to receive) to Lishma (in order to bestow) is in fact, the crossing of the barrier between our world and the spiritual world. Such a state is called “birth”, the acquisition of the screen; it is the crossing of the Red Sea that separates between Egypt and the Land of Israel.

Only the aim changes when we attain spirituality. The will to receive does not diminish as a result of it, but continues to grow and renew itself in every spiritual degree. We said earlier that everything has already been created and there are no innovations anymore. It is true that the entire will to receive has already been created, but before the attainment of spirituality I was only shown a small and negligent part of it. Now, however, I find greater and greater egoistic desires in each degree, but only to the extent that I am able to correct their aim.

If you should feel the evil within, be proud and grateful. This means that you have merited the revelation of your evil.

Our inner feelings are connected to the final goal of everything that happens, the final outcome, to that who gave us this situation and the reason for it. We must know that the egoism is both opposite to the Creator, and of equal size. Furthermore, in each degree egoism becomes more and more aggressive.

It is forbidden to discuss what we feel with others, because the person you speak to is in a similar situation to yours and cannot help you. Thus, you might force your corrupted state on your friend. You can speak about it to a Kabbalist-teacher, but it is best to talk to the Creator.

To attain spirituality, you must sort out your egoistic thoughts in this world. You must recognize the evil in them and your inability to attain spirituality because of them. You must face the agony that accompanies the sensation of the oppositeness between the Creator and you, and hate it as vehemently as possible. Then, and only then, will you discover spirituality.

The recognition of evil isn’t merely an unpleasant mood due to an absent of some temporary thing that you want. Recognizing the evil requires the sensation of the Creator, the oppositeness of His altruistic nature to your own. You must feel your 100% egoism vs. His 100% altruism; you must feel that this situation is intolerable, a have a burning desire to correct it.

Starting from the barrier and Above, when one already climbs the spiritual degrees, one feels the Creator, our aim. Now we must constantly correct our attitude toward the Creator, our aim. This is where the work of the recognition of evil is done. The shells surface opposite the Light, opposite the correction of the vessels of reception into vessels of bestowal.

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