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Michael Laitman, PhD

Chapter 2.9 – Spiritual Reward

People want to be rewarded for anything they do. Even when working to attain spirituality, we want to be rewarded because we are made of pure egoism and cannot operate any other way. Behind every act, there is always an aim; otherwise our egoism would not permit us to make even a single step!

We begin our spiritual work from zero, as if the Creator had shone on us from afar with the illumination of Surrounding Light. This illumination compels us to act and we decide to give up all beauties of this world in favor of a spiritual sensation.

We do not even know what exactly is it we want to receive, because the Light shines on him from a distance without clothing our vessels. At this point, the Light merely gives us the sensation of the future pleasure we will find in spirituality, which we cannot find in the world around us. The Surrounding Light operates on us and attracts us to spirituality, turning us into our own undertakers.

First, we want to use the spiritual world the same way we use this world. We believe that acquiring spiritual forces will give us the ability to predict the future, control it, perhaps even fly. But little by little, we come to realize that instead of all that, we must give all our strength and devote our every goal to the Creator. We must nullify ourselves and relinquish our control over ourselves in favor of the Creator's control over us. This is how we truly grow.

There is a question: “What is the connection between a Jew by birth, and a ‘spiritual Jew’? The answer is: In someone who was born Jewish, there is a there is a tendency to become a Jew in the spiritual sense. The Creator matches souls with bodies in a way that the ‘genetic’ Jews, as well as all those who join them, must correct themselves first. That is not an indication that Jews are higher quality than others. In fact, Jews today are greater egoists than are members of any other nation. In a corrected state, Israel is a corrected desire that is directed at the Creator. Israel is the name given to altruistic desires, meaning desires for bestowal ( GE – Galgalta ve Eynaim). The name "Gentiles," or "nations of the world," is given to egoistic desires, or desires to receive ( AHPAwzen, Hotem, Peh). That is why it is said that Israel, meaning GE will be a minority. When the rest of the nations are corrected, the Light of Hochma will appear in each and every soul, as well as in the collective vessel of mankind.

The nations of the world subconsciously feel their dependency on Israel. They are given that feeling by the Creator to press on the Jews and set them in motion towards correction. It is difficult for us to imagine what this means in terms of spiritual growth, when one group has to wait for another and is completely dependent on another for one's own correction.

The state of Israel is a gift from the Creator and has a right to exist only to the extent that it gives altruism the right to exist. This is the idea of nearing the Creator that is spreading throughout the world. The Creator’s Will to render delight is not enough. It takes movement on the part of man, too, from below, to want to receive this precise pleasure.

We still don’t feel this desire and are therefore slowly losing what we were given, without even being aware of it. We are still not ready to receive the spiritual Land of Israel. Furthermore, we are even willing to give our land away because we are not spiritually connected with the gift that we’ve been given.

The word Eretz (land) means Malchut, or Ratzon (desire). The word Yisrael (Israel) comes from the words, Yashar El (straight to God), meaning the land of Israel is a state where one’s every desire is directed toward the Creator. When a person is in that state, we say about him that "he is in the land of Israel, or that he has returned to it.

That is why it is said that there is nothing more important than being in the land of Israel. It is also said that all the Mitzvot are valid when performed in the land of Israel, and performing them outside of Israel is merely a reminder until such time that one arrives at the land of Israel.

That is why we are not only unable to receive the present of the land of Israel, but we are even willing to be rid of it. We do not feel the giver of the present, and that makes us unable to appreciate its importance.

As long as we are not cleansed from the shells, they will continue to pressure us. That is why, today, we are dependent on the Arabs. They will continue to run our lives for us until we replace our egoistic vessels with altruistic ones. Everything that happens in this land is defined by spiritual roots. These roots can be affected through our desires.

We have no other alternative except to be worthy of the land of Israel, either through the path of Kabbalah, or the path of pain.

When we try to make contact with the Creator, discovering and feeling Him, we perform our work under one of two conditions: “single concealment” or “double concealment.” One is completely blind while in double concealment, and the Creator is completely hidden. Such a person exists only in this world.

However, in single concealment, we begin to understand that it is the Creator who influences our work, though we are yet to feel the Creator explicitly. However, from time to time the feeling of connection with Him disappears and we sink entirely into our world once more. These states constantly change in such a person.

This struggle of a person with the self is expressed in one's free choice. Free choice is only possible in a state of complete concealment of the Creator. Therefore, one should appreciate this state, for it is the only state that can bear fruit and produce shoots that in due time will bear spiritual fruit.

The spiritual fruit is attained precisely in a state of concealment, when we advance without knowing or understanding anything; in total darkness, against every reasonable conception. When we attain the revelation of the Creator we reminisce over our dark past, for now when we see the Creator and feel Him, he seemingly lose our freedom of choice.

There are two kinds of providence: general and private. General providence is executed through the Surrounding Light and acts on mankind and nature as a whole. It is this providence that leads the entire world by a predetermined plan toward the end of correction. It leads to the realization of the fact that the technological "progress" is leading humanity to a dead end. It may render superficial sensation of satiation and abundance, but it produces an inner void, a complete emptiness.

Private Providence, on the other hand, works on each and every person individually, through Inner Light. A person who begins to seek connection with the Creator in our world is affected by the Private Providence of the Creator.

The contact with the spiritual world is created when there is a screen that rides over the egoistic desires. When we change our egoistic properties and turns them into altruistic ones, we receives the Light of the Creator in our corrected vessels, corrected properties.

The process of spiritual ascent is a long and strenuous journey. One must be reborn in every single degree until finally resembling the Creator, and then blending with Him completely.

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