The Introduction to the Article “The Preface to the Wisdom of Kabbalah”
All introductions composed by Rabbi Y. Ashlag (The Baal HaSulam) are written to allow a reader to enter the essential material, understand, and absorb it. As well, all introductions are separate Kabbalistic compositions, possessing their own spiritual power and depth.
1) It is said in The Book of Zohar (weekly chapter Tazriya, p.40): “All worlds, the Upper and the lower, are inside man. All that is created in the world is for man’s sake and everything lives and develops because of man.”
It is necessary to understand: Is man not content with this world and everything that is in it, existing to serve and develop him, that he desires the Upper worlds too?
The Torah is a Kabbalistic book. It was written by the greatest Kabbalist Moses. The Book of Zohar is a Kabbalistic commentary for the Torah. The Book of Zohar, as well as the Torah, is divided into 5 books and weekly chapters. One of the weekly chapters is entitled “Tazriya”.
It is said: “The Creator created man with a full name. And everything that is created is absolutely perfect; everything is found in it.” From the above statement, we see that all worlds, the Upper, and the lower, everything that fills and animates them, all except the Creator, is inside man.
2) In order to explain the above, one would need to expound the entire wisdom of Kabbalah. Through further studying, the meaning of these statements will be revealed at a later stage.
The point is that the Creator’s intention is to bestow delight. The moment the Creator thought to create souls and delight them, they instantly appeared before Him in their perfection and exaltedness. They were filled with infinite pleasure, which the Creator thought to bestow upon them. His thought alone completed the entire Creation and required no physical actions.
A question arises accordingly: Why did He create worlds, restriction upon restriction, down to our relatively tiny world, and then place the souls – the created beings – into the insignificant bodies of this world?
If the Creator is omnipotent, why did He not provide man with everything necessary? Why did He not allow each of us to do something of our own will? If desire alone were enough – each of us would have created a much better world than this. Why then did the Creator do it all this way?
If we are suffering now in whatever manner to reap the benefit in the future – it also points to imperfection.
3) The answer is in the Ari’s book “The Tree of Life”. “…It is created by Him so as to demonstrate the perfection of His actions”. However, we need to understand: how could such imperfect action emanate from the perfect Creator? Moreover, the created beings must correct and spiritually elevate themselves through actions in this world.
Why did He create such a seemingly low world with imperfect bodies and put infinite souls in them? Was it done so that afterwards they might discover what perfection means? That is to say, the Creator created the most insignificant world and the most insignificant man, whereas man himself has to sweat in order to achieve perfection. Is this the aim and perfection of the Creator’s actions?
The fact is that two parts should be distinguished in the souls: the light and the vessel. The essence of the soul is its vessel (Kli), and the abundance with which the Creator thought to delight the souls is the light (Ohr), which fills the vessel.
Since the Creator thought to bestow pleasure upon the souls, He was bound to fashion it in the form of a desire to receive delight. The size of the desire to receive pleasure determines the amount of pleasure received. You should know that the desire to receive pleasure is the essence of the soul. It is created from nothing, and is called “Kli” – the soul’s vessel. The abundance and delight that fill the vessel are defined as the light of the soul, emanating from the Creator.
This light spreads out from the Creator. Only the desire (the Kli), the vessel, was created. The light emanates from the Creator Himself as pleasure and fills the vessel. In other words, the primary goal was to bestow, the secondary – to create someone who would desire to receive pleasure. Overall, there are two components in the creation:
The vessel – the desire to receive pleasure, the soul, Adam HaRishon, creation
The delight that emanated from the Creator
4) Creation is something that did not exist before, i.e., something born out of nothing. Yet, how can we imagine something non-existent in the Creator? He must include absolutely everything. It is said that the entire creation is no more than a vessel (a Kli) of the soul, a desire to receive pleasure. So it is quite clear that such a desire is absent in the Creator. Hence, the desire to receive is a totally new creation, non-existent before, and is defined as born out of nothing.
We cannot imagine what “nothing” is. Everything that exists in our world has its prehistory, its previous form; it is born out of something. For example, solid matter is formed out of gas. What does it mean to be formed out of nothing? We are unable to understand it. Afterwards, while apprehending spirituality, we will become participants in the comprehension of this process.
5) One should know that, in spirituality, closeness and remoteness are determined by equivalence (similarity) or distinction of properties. If two spiritual objects have the same form, i.e. the same properties, they are bound together constituting a single whole. If there is no distinction between the two objects, they cannot be divided into two. The division is possible only if a difference between their properties is found.
The degree of distinction in their properties will determine the distance between them. If all the properties of two spiritual objects are opposite, then they are infinitely remote from each other, i.e., in a state of absolute remoteness.
In our world, when we say one object resembles another, it means they both exist, but are identical. In the spiritual world, this is impossible. Everything in it differs by the distinction of their properties. If there is no distinction, the two objects merge and form one. If there is a partial similarity of properties, then they merge in their common properties as two overlapping circles. A segment of one circle overlaps with a segment of the other, thus forming a common area.
In the spiritual world, there are two properties: (i) “to receive pleasure” and (ii) “to bestow pleasure”. There is nothing except these two. If we juxtapose one with the other, we will see they are completely opposite and have no point of contact between them. However, if the property “to receive” is changed into the property “to bestow”, i.e., the creation and the Creator will have some common desires, then they will move closer and bond with one another in these properties. The rest of their opposing desires will stay remote. Initially creation was created as absolutely opposite to the Creator.
6) Human thought is unable to grasp the infinite Creator’s perfection. There is no way to express or describe Him. However, by feeling His influence, we can understand that He desires to bestow delight upon us, for his only goal is to give us pleasure, fill us with bliss.
The souls’ properties are absolutely opposite to those of the Creator. Whereas He is a giver with no trace of the desire to receive in Him, souls were created with only the desire to receive delight. Hence, there is no greater antithesis of properties and remoteness from each other than this. Therefore, had the souls remained in their egoistical desire to receive pleasure, they would have been forever separated from the Creator.
No words of our language may describe Him, for we are separated from Him by our properties, and cannot feel Him.
It is worth pointing out here that this Introduction was written by a man, the Baal HaSulam, who had grasped it all in himself. He says he felt the Creator and His actions, saw His absolute kindness. At our level of understanding, we are yet unable to feel it.
Why is it not enough just to desire delight in order to receive it? Why do I have to approach near to the Creator, make my properties equal to His, merge with Him completely? Why could He not create such a state where the creation would, on the one hand, would receive pleasure, and on the other, bestow pleasure as does the Creator? In fact, then the Final Correction would come immediately, creation would merge with the Creator, being filled with His light, becoming equal to Him.
Why do we have to accomplish this entire evolutionary process in our senses, perceive each desire as egoistical and opposite to the Creator; then correct it, make it altruistic, similar to Him? Why do we have to feel how we approach Him, merge with Him? What do we gain from it?
7) Now we can understand what is written in the book “The Tree of Life”. The creation of all the worlds is a consequence of the Creator’s perfection in all His actions. However, if He had not revealed His powers in the actions He is performing on created beings, He would not have been called “perfect”. Nonetheless, it is still not clear how imperfect deeds could come out of the perfect Creator?
Moreover, the Creator’s actions are so imperfect that they need to be corrected by man. It is clear from the above statements that creation is a desire to receive pleasure. Although it is quite imperfect due to its being completely opposite to and infinitely remote from the Creator, it is nonetheless this specially created property of “reception” that is necessary for Creation to receive the Creator’s delight.
Here arises a question: “What did the Creator create everything for?”
A Kabbalist who speaks only out of what he has attained asserts that He created us to bestow His delight upon us.
For example, say that I come to visit a person and see before me a magnificent palace. The host comes out to meet me saying:” I have waited for you all my life. Come and see what I have prepared for you.” Then he begins to display all the delicacies and offer them to me. I ask him:
– Why are you doing all this?
– I am doing it to delight you.
– What is in it for you if I am delighted?
– I need nothing but to see you delighted.
– How can it be that you do not need anything?
– You have the desire to receive pleasure and I do not. Therefore, my delight is in giving pleasure to you.
On the finite human level, we cannot understand what it means to give without receiving anything in return. This property is absolutely opposite to our nature. Hence, it is said: “Only in my sensations can I know Him.” Above it, I am unable to grasp. I have no way of knowing if the host has some secret idea or intention.
If the Creator has intentions as regards us, but does not reveal them, we are unable to know them. Each of us being created as a vessel can understand only what enters it. That is what fills our hearts and minds. When we develop our vessels to the maximum, we will receive in them everything that emanates from the Creator. Then we will feel that He is absolutely kind and has no thoughts other than to bestow delight upon man.
There are the so-called 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th millennia, after the 6th millennium – the 6 thousand levels of the Creation’s attainment of the Creator. It reveals His thoughts, merges with Him so completely that no questions remain. It is not because the vessel is filled, but because the Creator allows the vessel inside of Himself.
This equivalence of form can be achieved in two ways. Either we improve our properties or the Creator will worsen His. The correction of souls occurs when the Creator descends to their level by worsening His properties and merging with them; He then starts to improve His properties, simultaneously improving those of the souls, as if pulling them out of their taint.
For example, a teacher joins a group of youngsters, pretending to be as frivolous as they are; he starts to liken his properties to theirs, and then, by improving himself, begins to make them a little better. In this way he corrects them, elevates them from their low level towards the light of the true intelligence.
Therefore, there needs to be an initial worsening of the Creator’s properties in order to become equal with the creation, followed by the improvement and subsequent correction of the created souls.
This process depends on the Creator; it is carried out by Him and therefore is defined as “the Creator’s work” (Avodat Hashem). However, man must be willing to go through this process if he wants the Creator to change him. Hence, he has to prepare himself and have the strength and understanding to justify the Creator’s work. Such a person is called “a righteous man”, for he is able to justify the Creator’s actions.
The desires to receive and to bestow constitute two opposite moral and spiritual vectors, intentions. One is directed inwardly, the other is directed outwardly. However, the fact is that later, in the process of the evolution of creation, these desires take many different forms.
Each Sefira and Partzuf represents different kinds of desires. We study desires in their “pure” form, but in fact, a Kabbalist who grasps them, feels them as much more complex. However, the desire to receive pleasure is always at the heart of creation, whereas the desire to bestow is at the heart of the Creator’s influence upon created beings.
Outwardly, the Creator may act as if He desires to receive, as is illustrated by the Baal HaSulam’s example of the host and the guest. This example includes all elements of our relations. The host says, “I prepared it all for you; chose only the things you like. I will be delighted to watch you eat. Can you not give me that pleasure?” Thus, he can make the guest sit down and eat. After such persuasion, the guest feels he is obliged to eat and enjoy the meal. Otherwise, how would the guest reciprocate with the host for all his efforts?
However, the guest has a different problem; whatever he does, the desire to receive pleasure is constantly “burning” inside him. That is how he is created, and there is no getting away from it. He can only enjoy what he receives. How can he give? By receiving: to give for the sake of receiving. As a result, his act of giving is nothing more than a means to receive what he desires.
According to my nature, I can receive both in action and in intention. My action may be giving or receiving, but my goal is the same – to receive pleasure. Man unknowingly seeks delight; it is our natural desire. In other words, the essence of my action depends solely on my intentions.
With the help of intention, I can reverse the essence of my action. I can receive by giving as in the example of the host and the guest. In any case, I can only receive; I am unable to give anything. With the help of intention, I can only receive, either “for my own sake” or “for someone else’s”.
Therefore, the relations between the Creator and man may take innumerable forms. They change on each level of man’s spiritual growth. The Creator changes with regard to us through a system of His concealments, demonstrating one of His properties at a time in accordance with our ability to be equal to Him.
If the Creator shows us His genuine, absolutely perfect properties, the way He is, we will not be able to become equal to Him. That is why he diminishes, coarsens, and rather adapts Himself to us. We only have to rise onto this tiny level, become similar to the Creator in one little property.
As soon as we do that, the Creator starts revealing Himself in this property on a slightly higher level, and in other properties too. Through a system of worlds, He conceals His perfection, allowing us to liken ourselves to Him and ascend spiritually.
“Olam Hazeh” (“our world”) is man’s inner sensation of being in a state of absolute egoism. It is in this state that man feels that there is a Creator Who is extremely remote and completely hidden from him.
In view of his created properties, man is totally opposite to the Creator and spiritually distant from Him. Such an inner sensation is called “Olam Hazeh.” One may sit in his room and simultaneously be in “Olam Hazeh”, or in the worlds of Assiya, Yetzira, Beria, and Atzilut – man’s inner states that link him to the spiritual levels.
The Creator is in a constant state of absolute calm. What does this mean? The Host, having found out what you like most, prepared a special meal, and is waiting for you. When you come to Him, He persuades you to accept his treat. In spite of all these actions, we still say the Creator is in a state of absolute calm, since His intention “to bestow upon creation” is invariable.
By absolute calm, we mean a constant unchanging desire. It exists only in the Creator, in all His deeds. These deeds are countless, infinite and vast. Since all these variations of deeds remain unchanged and seek only after one goal, we define them as a state of absolute calm.
Here we see no movement, since there is no change. Yet how shall we give for the sake of receiving pleasure? In our world, we are constantly doing it. For example, somebody brought me a cup of tea. Why did he do that? Because he enjoyed doing it, otherwise he would not have done it. Our action of giving or receiving does not matter at all. Mechanical action does not determine anything.
Everything is determined only by the intention. There are four combinations of an intention and action:
reception for the sake of reception;
giving for the sake of reception;
giving for the sake of giving;
reception for the sake of giving.
The first two combinations, “action-intention”, exist in our world. The third and the fourth exist in the spiritual world. If man can achieve such an intention, it means he is in the spiritual world. Spirituality begins when one gives in order to please. This is something we do not understand; giving for the sake of pleasing. Where am I here? I am “cut off” from my ego, from my desire to receive. I give something and please somebody without receiving anything in return… Can this be possible?
Then there is also “reception for the sake of giving”. When we study it in the spiritual objects – Galgalta, AB, SAG – it seems quite simple. Actually, we are unable to imagine such a phenomenon in our life.
The fact is that to receive pleasure through giving is not forbidden. However, bestowal must be purely spiritual, without a trace of 'for one’s own sake'. First, man makes a Tzimtzum (a restriction), “ascends” to such a spiritual level, and acquires a quality of complete disregard for his own needs. Only then can he bestow and be delighted, receive pleasure through giving, i.e., the delight he feels is not as a result of his bestowal, but a consequence of someone enjoying his act.
Tzimtzum Aleph (The First Restriction) is not just an action performed in the world of Infinity. If man is able to restrict himself and not think of his own benefit, he then starts to ascend, “to count” his spiritual levels.
Movement is defined as a change of desire, or more accurately, the desire to which he can add his intention “for the sake of the Creator” and not “for his own sake”. If your desire is constant in size and direction, you are considered to be motionless. Suppose you wish me well only in 20% of your intention. If your desire is only such, then you are absolutely motionless. If it changes with regard to me, then you are in motion.
While climbing the spiritual levels, man is in constant motion with regard to the Creator. It also seems to man that, regarding himself, the Creator is constantly moving towards him. This is because as man rises to a higher level, the Creator's revelation of Himself to him increases, i.e., he sees that the Creator is more kind and wants to bestow upon him. In man’s sensations, the rapprochement is mutual.
However, we say, “the Upper Light is absolutely motionless”, the Upper Light, not the one that comes upon him, i.e., the Creator’s intention, not His light. We cannot feel the Upper Light until it enters the vessel. Inside the Kli we can feel the different varieties of light , and the way it affects us. However, the Creator, the Upper Light, is absolutely motionless, for His only unchanging desire is to bestow delight upon us.
How do we know this? There are people who have ascended to such a high level, where they could fully grasp the Creator’s desire with regard to creation. They reached the level of the largest Kli and entirely filled it with the Creator’s light. They are unable to rise higher, but can see that everything that comes from the Creator to creation is absolute kindness.
“From Thy deeds I will know Thee” – I cannot know the Creator’s thoughts; I can only verify that everything He does is meant for me, for my ultimate good, demonstrating His infinite kindness. Then I may say His attitude to me is absolutely kind.
What is it to be absolutely kind? We do not mean He Himself, but rather His properties regarding me. The Creator Himself is incomprehensible. If man in his Kli, be it the Baal HaSulam, the Ari or Rabbi Shimon, achieves The Final Correction (Gmar Tikkun) and receives from the Creator everything he can – he becomes the sole receiver! Perhaps he alone enjoys the Creator’s attitude and others do not. We see that in our world the Creator treats one better and another worse. How can we assert that He is absolutely kind to all?
The fact is that, while climbing the spiritual levels, man absorbs all the vessels of all the souls, attaches all created souls to his. He absorbs their sufferings and performs their corrections. It is called “he who suffers with the whole world is rewarded by the whole world”. Man receives the light descending to all souls. Therefore, in his ultimate state, each Kabbalist is afforded such sensations as if he alone was created and he is Adam HaRishon. Hence, he knows and feels what the Creator does with each soul.
We all exist in one perfect state, but do not feel so. Our sensations are unimproved and distorted; according to them, our state is imperfect. Our inner feelings are so unrefined that we nevertheless perceive our most blissful state as imperfect.
Even now, we are in an absolutely perfect state. However, we are sent such thoughts and feelings that it seems to us that we are in a different, bad state, as it is said, “When we return to the Creator, we will see it was a dream”.
Then we will realize that our sensations were totally unimproved, that we saw reality quite differently from what it really was at the time. We could not perceive it correctly, for our senses were incorrectly tuned.
In fact, all souls are in a perfect state. No bad state was ever created by the Creator. He created a perfect soul that is in full confluence with Him. It is completely filled with the light and is delighted by His greatness and power.
Why then do other states exist? Because there is no way we can presently feel this perfection. Why are all worlds inside us? For unless we correct these concealments and distortions inside, we will not be able to sense where we really are.
Actually, we are in there and feel it, but not in our present state. A Kabbalist in this world is constantly performing corrections. He suffers and worries while making these corrections in himself. Further, there are special souls in our world that take upon themselves the general corrections of the entire world, thus “pulling” it towards the universal good.
Even in our most “lifeless” states, we go through tremendous changes. We cannot feel them. Oftentimes, a day flashes by like one moment, but at other times drags on for eternity…
Question: “What does it mean when the Partzuf receives the light and then expels it?”
In our world, it is impossible to return what was already received inside. Nevertheless, as we speak about spirituality, we mean sensations. Imagine feeling wonderful, then wretched, then wonderful again, and wretched again. This is in some way similar to receiving the light and expelling it. This example demonstrates the impossibility of juxtaposing spiritual actions with our material body. They are of a very different type.
The Kli’s desire to acquire a screen and liken its properties to the Creator’s after the First Restriction is just one of a number of “external” corrections, so-called “attires”. The inner property, the desire to receive pleasure, remains unchanged in accordance with the spiritual law that holds: “desire remains unchanged”. In other words, the size of the created desire never changes.
The Creator created the desire in absolute conformity to the light with which He wishes to fill creation. Neither the size of this desire, nor its quality, is subject to change. Only the creation’s intention during reception alters. Reception can be either “for the Creator’s sake” or “for one’s own sake”. There is a host, but I can neither see nor feel him; all that I see I use for my own sake. This state is called “our world”.
Feeling the Creator and being able to push away what He offers me means that I have crossed the Machsom – a partition between the spiritual world and ours. I already have an intention not to use my egoism: desire remains and is by no means diminished, but its use was modified from “for one’s own sake” to “for the Creator’s sake”.
First, I only restrain myself from receiving “for my own sake”; then I can correct my intention and make my screen so powerful that I will be able to use my egoism “for the Creator”, i.e., begin to receive “for His sake”.
My spiritual level, my place in the spiritual worlds, depends on how much I can receive for His sake. If I can thus receive one fifth of the light destined for me, then I am in the world of Assiya; if I can receive two fifths – I am in the world of Yetzira; if I receive three fifths – I am in the world of Beria; if I receive four fifths – I am in the world of Atzilut, and if I receive five fifths – I am in the world of Adam Kadmon. Once I am able to receive everything that emanates from the Creator, I return to Olam Ein Sof (the world of Infinity), i.e., the world of Unlimited Reception.
That was the world of Unlimited Reception without the screen, before Tzimtzum Aleph (TA). Now, I can also receive the light endlessly, but with the help of the screen. This state, which is so strikingly different from reception prior to TA, is called the Final Correction. There are no levels in the world of Infinity, although more and more new conditions for reception arise.
We do not study the state of creation once it achieves the world of Infinity, since everything related to the state after the Final Correction is called “Sitrey Torah” (secrets of the Torah). Everything related to the state before the Final Correction is called “Ta’amey Torah” (tastes of the Torah). Ta’amey Torah may and must be studied by all. Everyone is obliged to grasp them. They may be apprehended in two ways (more often in their combination): by “way of suffering” or by “way of the Torah”; in any event, the result will be the same, differing only in time and sensation. All people will have to apprehend Ta’amey Torah, i.e., master Kabbalah – the science of attaining the light of Torah.
Thus, as it was said above, the desire itself remains unchanged. It is only the screen that changes. In accordance with the screen's magnitude, I take only the part of my desire that I can use for the Creator’s sake. In any case, whatever part of my desire I may use, I always receive a certain part of the light in all my five levels of soul.
Suppose there are five dishes on the table in front of me. I have to cut some layer off each dish, whereas “the thickness” of the layer would depend on the magnitude of my screen. I always have NaRaNHaY – five lights-pleasures (Nefesh, Ruach, Neshama, Haya, and Yechida) felt in five parts of my desire to receive delight (Keter, Hochma, Bina, Zeir Anpin, and Malchut).
If I received the light in one of my desires, it means that I received it in five parts of the desire (five Sefirot) being on the same level of Aviut. It means that this reception of the light (Partzuf) emerged (was born) because of one Zivug de Haka’a (the screen interacting with the light).
It is similar to ordering a set meal. There are various kinds worth $10, $20, $30, $100, and $1000, but each consists of five courses, since I always have a combination of five desires. This is how my desire to receive was originally designed. Similarly, I have five senses. Each dinner consists of my five desires, Keter, Hochma, Bina, ZA, and Malchut;inside them, I receive the lights, Nefesh, Ruach, Neshama, Haya, and Yechida.
The vessel and the light are common names, but the Partzufim have specific names. For example, Partzufim in the world of Adam Kadmon are called Galgalta, AB, SAG, MA, and BON, in the world of Atzilut – Atik, Arich Anpin, Abba ve Ima, ZON, etc.
After the 'Fall', creation, the common soul, Adam HaRishon, split into thousands of souls. In the process of their correction, the souls ascend and occupy certain places in the spiritual worlds. In order to give these levels brief and accurate names, they are called Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Beit HaMikdash (the Temple), Cohen HaGadol (the High Priest), Shemesh (the Sun), Yareach (the Moon). In correspondence with these levels and states, names were given to the weekdays, Sabbaths, holidays, etc., depending on how the worlds and the souls in them ascend and descend.
Now we can understand what the Torah really speaks about: it describes only spiritual reality – worlds, Partzufim, Sefirot and souls. For describing the souls and what happens to them, “the language of branches” taken from our world is used. Hence, you will not find Kabbalistic names like Keter, Hochma, Bina, Atik, and Arich Anpin in the Torah. More precise, specific names, designating a definite level or a part of it in a certain state, are applied. In such a case, this level would for example be called a place of rest in a desert or some action, etc.
Regardless of ascents or descents of the world, the soul is always enveloped in some outer shell. At the moment, we call our shell “this world” or “our world”. If man works on himself and crosses the Machsom, alongside this world he would feel another world, i.e., more outward forces, a greater manifestation of the Creator; man will distinctly see the light emanating from Him, establish a tangible contact with Him.
Man reaches this or that level in accordance with the magnitude of the acquired screen, because each world and each level represent a filter: from the world of Infinity to our world, there are 125 levels, i.e., 125 filters between the world of Infinity and our world.
I was completely filled with the light in the world of Infinity. In our world, I am totally deprived of the light, and can neither see nor feel it because all these filters conceal it from me. Supposedly, each filter conceals 125-th part of the light. Since there are five worlds, each containing five Partzufim, which in turn include five Sefirot, they total 5x5x5=125 levels. What is the meaning of these levels?
As with glass, each of them restrains the light. For example, take a piece of red glass. Why is it red? It is because it restrains the color red. How can I prevent this level from restraining the light coming to me? It is very simple. I have to match the properties of that level. In other words, it restrains the light for me because I am not allowed to receive it.
If it reaches me without being deferred by the filter, I will receive it “for myself”, since I have no screen for it. Therefore, my screen must be equal to the properties of that level’s filter, in which case I myself would be able to weaken the light. Thus, if I acquire a screen as powerful as this particular level, I match its properties and all its restrictions disappear for me; they cease to exist.
Therefore, gradually, level by level, I abolish all these levels-filters until they all vanish and only the light remains. Such a state signifies attainment of the world of Infinity. It is endless and has no limitations, since I neutralized them all.
When I reach a certain level, I begin to feel and grasp everything on it quite distinctly. I myself become the property of that level. Hence the Torah says, “Everyone has to be like Moses”, i.e., must rise to the level reached by him, since in the spiritual worlds “Moses” is the name of a certain level, and anyone who reaches it is considered to be like Moses.
Each time, man increases the magnitude of his screen according to the properties of the level before him. Any level above me is defined as the Creator; I cannot see anything beyond it since it is His manifestation for me. Therefore, each time, I have to match my properties to the Creator in front of me. On each level, He is different, revealing Himself to me more and more.
To what extent? Suppose a person might steal $1000 lying before him, but if there is only $100, he would not do so. It means that he already has a screen for $100, so this sum may be placed before him; he will be able to reject it, altruistically work with it. Therefore he is not affected by the ban “Do not steal” with regard to $100.
If he is able to strengthen his screen and not to steal $1000, then this amount will not be a limitation for him, and it could be placed before him. Likewise, he must strengthen his screen before the infinite light that is destined to fill him “is placed” before him.
When man is able to receive all this light for the Creator’s sake, he will experience a delight 625 greater than Malchut (creation) in the world of Infinity. Why will he receive more pleasure? Why was Malchut’s (soul’s) descent from the world of Infinity to our world necessary? For what purpose was the separation from the Creator and gradual return to Him?
It was done so that, with the help of the freedom of choice, by will and power, he might achieve an elevated state like the world of Infinity. Being in the world of Infinity was initially determined by the Creator, not by man. If he achieves this state by himself, he acquires his own new vessels, his own screen, his own sensations, earns his own eternity and perfection.
The fact is that because of man’s independent efforts, he prepares himself for feeling what is really bestowed upon him in the world of Infinity. When Malchut of the world of Infinity was born by the Creator’s thought, received the light and later restricted itself from further reception, it felt only a tiny part of it, for its vessel was not yet ready.
As creation begins to ascend from a point totally opposite to the Creator, from complete darkness, when hunger and the desire to enjoy this light are gradually accumulated, creation consequently begins to be delighted with the same light, but the delight is already 625 times greater than before the beginning of correction.
The light does not change; everything depends on hunger, on the desire to receive the light. If man is not hungry, he will not be able to enjoy even the best delicacies. If he is starving, even a crust of bread will become a source of tremendous pleasure. Thus everything depends on how strong the hunger is, not on the light. One can receive a scanty measure of the light, but the vessel will have a huge pleasure in that.
On the contrary, the light can fill everything around, but if the vessel feels no hunger, it will feel, out of all this light, only Ohr Nefesh, a very small light. The entire Universe and its control are designed exactly to prepare the Kli for receiving perfect delight; in other words, that it might really feel what the Creator bestows upon it. For that, it must move away, then gradually and independently draw nearer.
“The language of branches” exists only in Hebrew, but it could be made on the basis of any other language. In other languages, the relation between the spiritual root and its consequences in our world cannot be traced. It does not exist even in Modern Hebrew. Nevertheless, if we take basic Hebrew with all its roots, then there is a clear connection between the root and the consequence.
Such a connection exists in every language, but in other languages, no one has ever tried to find it. No Kabbalist is pointing out the connection between the spiritual and the material in Chinese hieroglyphs or in Latin letters, etc. In Hebrew, thanks to Kabbalists, we know these correspondences, for example, why the letter “Aleph” is written this way and not another.
What do we really express by it? We express human sensations. One can take the language of music, colors, or any other language. Everything that can be used to express human sensations, notions, comprehension, can be utilized as a language. It is possible to speak about spirituality in any language. Hebrew is unique in that it has a ready code. However, if there is a Kabbalist who knows the roots of any other language, he will be able to do the same with it.
The forces standing behind Hebrew letters form combinations expressed in a certain letterform. Hebrew is within the root of other languages. Inscription of the letters in other languages actually come from the same root as the Hebrew letters. However, they are modified, so the connection between letters in other languages and their spiritual roots are different.
When we comprehend a certain spiritual level or sensation, when we feel something in the spiritual world, we know what to call this sensation. So what can be done if we have not yet comprehended the spiritual, when the sensations cannot be expressed in words, when we do not have an appropriate language? What should be done to find this language?
In the spiritual world, there is no language, no worlds, and no letters; there is only the vessel’s sensation of the light. The fact is that every spiritual vessel has its branch in this world; everything descends from the world of Infinity downwards to our world. Then all the sensations of our world rise to the world of Infinity. Therefore, if we take any point in the world of Infinity, it is possible to trace a straight line passing through all the worlds down to our world, to its branch.
Thus it is possible to say that the soul of Adam HaRishon, broken into 600 thousand parts, exists in each of the spiritual worlds. The arrangement of the spiritual worlds is absolutely identical. The difference is only in the material from which they are built. In any world, the soul feels its condition, the influence on it, and its interaction with a certain spiritual level.
If one takes the projection of this soul on our world, one will find in Hebrew the notions corresponding to spiritual conditions. Then we can take words from our world, assuming that with their help, we speak not about the objects of our world, but with the help of these words, we speak about the objects, forces, and actions in the spiritual world. Such complete correspondence is a result of our use of one and the same language. The difference is only in the plane of this or “that” world, where the intended notion exists.
Our language is a description of objects, actions, sensations, reactions, interactions.
Everything we have in our world exists in the spiritual one – the similar picture on all 5 levels. Hence, on each stage, on any of the 125 levels, regardless of where you are, you can always take our language and describe what is going on at that level. However, only someone who has already been on that level can really understand you. The one who has not yet been there will suppose that you are talking about our world, or the level he is on at the moment of reading or listening to your account.
The Torah is written in the language of branches at the level of the world of Atzilut. However, unprepared people understand what is written in the Torah literally, thinking that it is talking about our world. They take it as a collection of stories. Thus, the language of branches describes spiritual actions that take place simultaneously on all levels.
“The Preface to the Science of Kabbalah” studies the birth, development, and arrangement of the worlds. When the Upper worlds spread down to the level of our world, the souls begin to rise from our world to the world of Infinity.
The soul rises because it absorbs all the qualities, knowledge, and revelations from the previous levels. Therefore, it knows exactly what happens on all the lower levels. Kabbalists are in the world of Atzilut. So how do they call the actions taking place there by the names of our world? The fact is, they do not lose the connection with our world; they live in both worlds, feeling simultaneously what is going on in the world of Atzilut and in our world.
They know exactly the correspondence between one and the other; therefore, they call the objects in the world of Atzilut according to the properties of those that appear in our world as a projection coming from the spiritual worlds. In the world of Atzilut, there are no man-made objects (e.g. radio sets, computers etc), but all other objects and forces are present there. The Kabbalist sees that a certain object in our world is the consequence of the same object in the world of Atzilut. Therefore, he gives the object (root) in the world of Atzilut the same name born by the corresponding object (branch) in our world.
There is no connection between Kabbalistic comprehension and meditation or any other “mystical” notions. Everything that is studied by esoteric specialists, mystics, and pseudo-kabbalists, belongs to the human psyche, and is in no way connected with spirituality, attainment of the Creator or Kabbalah.
Most of these people do not have the slightest idea of what a screen is, and without the screen, spirituality cannot be grasped. Pseudo-Kabbalists who have heard about the screen, believe they already have it, imagining they are already in the world of Infinity. Kabbalah is a secret science; it cannot be “narrated” to anyone. Only the one who feels is able to understand.
Therefore, all methods, teachings, and religions belong to the comprehension of the latent qualities of the human psyche, to the product of human brain activity. These people can do a lot. They can cure, foretell the future, and relate the past – everything that refers to the body. Man has potential powers to do whatever he wants with the physical body.
However, to enter the spiritual world, one must have a screen. That is why the various kinds of predictions, tricks, miracles, including those that really exist, must not be confused with Kabbalah. One may foretell the future the way Wolf Messing and Nosrtadamus did; one can know the past by looking at a person, but none of this has anything to do with spirituality.
Whatever refers to the body, to our world, can be predicted and changed; there is nothing supernatural in that. Each of us, if he so desires, may move away from the disturbances of civilization, and start cultivating such powers, and abilities. We lost these capabilities because they were substituted by the products of civilization.
Every person has these natural inclinations. People with these kinds of abilities who are capable of looking at themselves critically, say that there is a Creator, but they know nothing about Him, or have nothing to do with Him. However, predicting man’s future, seeing his past, or making something against his will, is not connected to the world of spirit. Since these abilities are unconnected with the soul, they die together with a person.
The soul is a vessel, created with the help of the screen. If there is no screen, there is no soul. While there is no screen, there is only “a point in the heart”, the soul embryo. In the process of acquiring the screen, the first (still very small) ten Sefirot begin to emerge. The larger the screen gets, the larger the ten Sefirot under it become, but there are always 10 of them.
If man has no screen, then he will die as he was born, no matter what great abilities he had or what he did in this world.
Do you think that when a yogi does not breathe, it makes him spiritual? To enter the spiritual world, man must devote all of his strength, time, and desires to that end. Only the desires necessary for one's existence in this world need attending. For the spiritual world to open up, a real desire is necessary. Only the one who really desires it will enter the spiritual world. If you combine Kabbalah studies with something else, other than for taking care of your existence, it means that your desire is split.
Right now, man can judge only from the level on which he is. He cannot know what he will be like on the next one. Everything completely changes on another level, man’s entire inner world. Thoughts, desires, reactions and outlook – everything changes. Everything is taken out of you, leaving only flesh, your outer shell; the rest is reinstalled anew.
Hence, we cannot understand how this desire can be the only one. We cannot understand it now, since we are not yet on that level. When we gradually ascend to a higher level, we will feel that this desire is really formed. This desire is the only requisite for entering the spiritual worlds; and when you meet this condition, the gates of spirituality will open up before you.
It should be pointed out that even a great Kabbalist cannot predict man’s potential abilities. A fortuneteller might correctly predict his earthly, material future, but not man’s spiritual future. Moreover, when coming across a Kabbalist, a genuine fortuneteller feels that a prediction of his future is beyond his abilities.
A Kabbalist is not interested in developing the abilities to predict his future. Forces of our world are necessary for this, and as a rule, they are totally undeveloped in a Kabbalist.
A fortuneteller can name all the ailments and bodily problems of a Kabbalist. However, he has nothing to say about his “self”. He can only determine his physical condition at a given moment.
A Kabbalist is constantly looking for the connection with the Creator and does not try to guess how or what he has to do to earn a better future. It would never cross a Kabbalist’s mind to know his future. Such a desire belongs to the impure forces and not to Kabbalah. By grasping the Upper world, a Kabbalist comprehends the ways of correction of all souls.
All information in the spiritual world consists of five parts (Behinot). One Zivug de Haka’a in the Peh de Rosh, although it involves only one kind of light, leads to formation of a Partzuf made of five parts. What does it mean – one light? One light is a general state. It consists of five parts that differ from each other quantitatively and qualitatively. However, they must always be together, as a whole set. It is similar to a sensation that is the product of five composite sub-sensations in our five senses: touch, smell, sight, hearing, and taste.
Since five lights come to me, there must be five desires inside me. The difference between them has to be both quantitative and qualitative. However, all of them ultimately act together. I cannot make one desire bigger and another smaller. They form a certain combination. The light entering the vessel passes four levels. In turn, the vessel consists of five levels of the desire to receive pleasure.
Now let us review paragraph 7:
7) And now understand what is written in the first part of the book “The Tree of Life”: “The creation of all worlds is a consequence of the Creator’s perfection in all His actions. However, if He had not revealed His powers in the actions that He is performing on the created beings, He would not have been called “perfect”.
Thus, since the Creator is perfect, all of His actions must be perfect. That is why He created the worlds. On the contrary, the worlds are a concealment of the Creator, the remoteness from Him.
On the face of it, however, it is not clear how imperfect deeds could come out of the perfect Creator. Moreover, the Creator’s actions are so imperfect that they need to be corrected by man. From the above statement, understand that, since the essence of creation is a desire to receive pleasure, it is quite imperfect due to its being absolutely opposite to the Creator (while He is perfect and giving, the creation only receives, is imperfect, and its properties are opposite to His). On the one hand, it is infinitely remote and detached from Him. On the other hand, it is something new, born out of nothing. Creation was created to receive, and be filled with the Creator’s delight.
This means that the desire to receive pleasure, albeit quite contrary to the Creator and absolutely imperfect, is, nevertheless, exactly what the Creator had to create.
However, if the creations had been distanced from the Creator by their properties, He could not have been called the Perfect One, since imperfect actions cannot come from someone Perfect. Therefore, the Creator restricted His light, created the worlds, restriction after restriction down to our world, and put the soul into the body of our world.
By “our world”, we do not mean our physical world, but the set of egoistical desires corresponding to the lowest stage of development of the worlds.
“To study the Torah” means to learn for the sake of correction, not to read a book called “the Torah”. “To observe precepts,” means to perform spiritual actions with a screen, not to carry out mechanical actions. Through studying the Torah and observing its precepts, the soul achieves a perfection that it lacked in the beginning of creation. It signifies the equivalence of its properties with those of the Creator. The soul would deserve to receive all the pleasure that was in the Thought of Creation. Now it will completely merge with the Creator.
It means that, apart from the delight, an additional reward is prepared for the soul, and this reward is called “merging with the Creator”. Thus it is not just a reception of the entire light, but a merging with the Creator, a receiving of the light that appeared because of an equivalence of properties.
The equivalence of properties and merging with the Creator is much higher than just receiving the light, since because of the equivalence of properties, the soul rises to the level of the Creator. It not only receives the light from the Creator, but also ascends to His level. Thus, it rises from the level of creation to the Creator’s level and also comprehends that which is above its nature.
8) Only through indulging in the Torah and the Commandments with an intention not to receive any reward for it, but for pleasing the Creator, generates a special power (“Segula”) that enables the soul to reach the state of absolute unity with the Creator. Gradually, the soul advances by acquiring more and more new properties equal to the Creator’s, as is said in the article “The Preface into the Science of Kabbalah”.
This ascent, merging with the Creator, consists of five levels: Nefesh, Ruach, Neshama, Haya, and Yechida. These are received from five worlds: AK, Atzilut, Beria, Yetzira, and Assiya.
When the soul rises to the world of Assiya, it receives the light of Nefesh. When it rises to the world of Yetzira, it receives the light of Ruach. In the world of Beria, it receives the light of Neshama. In the world of Atzilut, it receives the light of Haya; and in the world of Adam Kadmon, it receives the light of Yechida.
Each of these five levels is in turn divided into its own five sub-levels also called Nefesh, Ruach, Neshama, Haya, and Yechida. It receives them from the five Partzufim that form each of the five worlds. Each sub-level has its own NaRaNHaY, which it receives from the ten Sefirot forming each Partzuf.
With the help of the Torah and the Commandments with an intention to please the Creator, created beings gradually acquire vessels-desires from the above-named levels until they completely merge with the Creator.
Thus, a greater desire to bestow is gradually formed in the soul. In accordance with this, the soul is filled with more and more light until it achieves a complete equivalence of properties with the Creator.
At this stage, the fulfillment of the Thought of Creation takes place in the souls: reception of all the delight the Creator prepared for them. Moreover, since the souls acquired the desire to bestow, they fully merge (Dvekut) with the Creator and experience a perfect, eternal and infinite pleasure, much greater than the reception of the light.
So the creation achieves:
1) The reception of pleasure prepared for it in the form of NaRaNHaY.
2) The equivalence of properties with the Creator, i.e. it rises to the Creator’s level and gains a perfection equal to His.
We cannot yet imagine this level. We are used to operating with such notions as life, death, time, and pleasure. However, when it refers to the spiritual levels, we have neither words nor sensations to imagine or describe such states.
In the process of acquiring the screen, man begins to modify his properties, accordingly receiving the light and gradually ascending. Five major levels (worlds) are divided into five sub-levels (Partzufim), which in turn consist of their own levels (Sefirot) – and all of these are characterized by greater and greater likeness to the Creator.
While man is yet uncorrected, each of these levels is a concealment of the Creator from him. When man receives correction, the same level becomes a revelation of the Creator and a light for him. That is to say, on the one hand, each stage is the concealment of the Creator, and on the other – His revelation.
Each stage is a certain level of the Creator’s properties. Let us assume that the world of Infinity corresponds to 100% of the Creator’s properties, and is the highest level. Then our world corresponds to 0% of the Creator’s properties. The remaining spiritual Universe is between them, and is divided into 125 levels, which correspond to 125 measures of the Creator’s properties.
As it was said, we have to rid ourselves of egoism, because egoism is an inferior Kli, orvessel. The moment it starts feeling pleasure, the feeling eliminates the desire; as a result, the pleasure dies away. This means that the moment the desire is satisfied, the pleasure immediately disappears. Thus an egoistical Kli can never be satisfied. Therefore, egoism is given to us only for its correction, that we may be able to feel eternal and perfect delight in it.
Man feels that he has reached a certain level only when he is there. Then he knows what level he is on and what level he has already passed. He sees the next level before him, the one he has to reach. While seriously studying genuine Kabbalah from the authentic books, in the right group, he begins to understand the next level of his ascent.
At the beginning, he feels only the concealment of that level, i.e., the Creator is hidden from him in it. Then man begins to grasp what properties the Creator possesses and how he can acquire them. There are many stages along this path, but the first one is the most difficult. Compared to the first stage, comprehension of the rest of them is much easier.
It proceeds from the fact that on the first level, the largest Kelim-desires are being born; precisely those Kelim that appear on the first level, afterwards show up on the last one. This is because there is a so-called inverse relationship between the lights and the vessels.
Right now, we are in a condition wherein we do not know really which Kelim we are using. Although we are using very complex Kelim already, they have not yet manifested in our sensations. The biggest Aviut from Shoresh, Aleph, Bet, Gimel, and Dalet is in the world of Assiya. However, the biggest screen is in the world of AK – this is the screen of Dalet, in Atzilut – the screen of Gimel, in Beria – the screen of Bet, in Yetzira – the screen of Aleph and in Assiya – the screen of Shoresh.
One should always pay attention to what we refer to – whether it is the screen or the desire this screen is “dressed on”. Therefore, this is the most difficult stage of our work. Entering the spiritual world is the major problem in man’s entire spiritual quest.
Afterwards man confronts other problems and the work becomes completely different. He already knows clearly what to do; gets an idea of the 10 Sefirot he acquired, has some true comprehension of the entire Universe. The Universe is built according to one principle, so if man has acquired his own (even the smallest) 10 Sefirot, then he readily knows what the Torah talks about, albeit on the level of his 10 Sefirot.
If, for example, a man born in the jungle were brought to the civilized world, he would not know how to use certain technical devices. A person who grew up in a developed country, may not know the processes inside those devices, but he knows how to use them, because he lives among these objects. The same principle applies to a person who has reached the minimum level in the spiritual world. He has a slight idea about spirituality, already has Kelim (albeit the smallest). The innermost processes are perceived on the higher levels.
When a man acquires a screen, he makes a Zivug de Haka’a and receives the Inner Light inside, which gives him an idea about spirituality. We do not feel anything outside of us, we feel the world within, the spiritual world. This Inner Light, which fills the Kli, provides the measure, which we call “the level” or the light, the level of “Nefesh”, “Ruach”, “Neshama”, “Haya”, and “Yechida”.
To go forward, man should constantly absorb, pass Kabbalistic texts through his mind and heart, be filled with it all the time. There is no other method apart from studying Kabbalah with the right books, guided by a Teacher, and working in a group. Collective efforts are very important. Even a group of beginners is already a spiritual force, despite the fact that its members hardly imagine what they study Kabbalah for and what goals they have. It will be able to attract very strong spiritual light by its own efforts in the future.
King David described all the spiritual states that a soul or a man goes through, from the lowest to the highest. King David (David HaMelech, Malchut) is called so, because he himself passed through all the spiritual states and described them. His book “ Tehilim” (“Psalms”) is the highest level in Kabbalah, which includes all possible states of the soul.
If man acquires all properties of the Creator, all His desires, habits, powers, such a state is called merging with the Creator.
It means that man becomes equal to Him. What does he create? By giving to the Creator, he creates himself, creates the screen, or rather becomes the Creator’s equal partner in creating himself.
The Creator created egoism, man; and man makes altruism, the Creator out of egoism, out of himself. Naturally, he does not create it out of nothing (“Yesh mi Ayn”) as the Creator has made our desire to receive pleasure, egoism, out of nothing. However, turning this desire into its opposite is man’s goal. This process is called “correction” (Tikkun). Actually, it is a birth of a completely new quality. Indeed, the Creator created man’s egoism and man creates the Creator.
What does it mean that the creation is made out of nothing? We know it from Kabbalists. They study all the Creator’s properties and see that He is absolutely kind and complete. Hence, He made the Creation out of nothing. When man ascends, making his properties equal to the Creator’s on the high levels called “the tenth millennium”, where the Torah’s secrets are revealed, he sees the creation itself and the way it was created by the Creator.
The only sources we study are the book of the “Zohar”, the Ari’s books, the books written by the Baal HaSulam and the Rabash. Nothing else can be read independently. One can read the books of the series “Kabbalah – the Secret Science”, but nothing else. The Pentateuch can be read only when man can understand that it has an inner, Kabbalistic meaning, and is not merely an historical narrative.
A long time passes before man automatically begins to see the spiritual actions behind the words of the Torah. It is better to read the Book of Psalms; there at least human feelings are described. Although spiritual feelings are meant there, they are more or less equivalent in our world. One will not be misled as much as by reading the Torah.
It is necessary to study how to observe the precepts in our world. There is the “Shulchan Aruch” for that purpose. The commandments should be kept on a “simple” level. Josef Caro wrote the “Shulchan Aruch” especially for those who wish to study Kabbalah, and want to know how the precepts should be observed without having to study the Gemarra folios and having no time left for Kabbalah. One may not read The Zohar in Aramaic, only the Baal HaSulam’s commentary.
9) It will not be difficult for you to understand now what is written in The Book of Zohar, that all the worlds – Upper and lower – and everything that exists in them were created only for man. All these levels were created only to fill up the souls, to direct them to perfection, to the degree of merging with the Creator, which is absent from the moment of the Thought of Creation.
In the beginning of creation, five worlds were formed from the Creator’s level down to our world to place the soul into the material body of our world. The material body is the desire to receive without giving anything in return. This is the final form of the desire to receive pleasure for itself. That is why man’s properties in our world are absolutely opposite to the Creator.
By studying Kabbalah, man gradually begins to comprehend the properties of giving. According to his comprehension, he gradually ascends, learning the properties of the descending levels that have the property of bestowal. Then he reaches the level of the desire only to give, receiving nothing in return. As a result, man completely merges with the Creator, i.e., reaches the state for which he was created. Therefore, all the worlds were created for man’s sake.
Thus, all the worlds are created to help man ascend from point zero, upwards, opposite to the Creator, and finally to reach the last point – merging with the Creator, to cover the entire journey beginning from the complete concealment of the Creator, passing 125 levels, each representing a greater revelation of the Creator.
We have already spoken about the fact that the Creator deliberately concealed Himself behind five worlds, each consisting of five Partzufim, each Partzuf having five Sefirot, overall, 125 levels of concealment. All this was done for making man absolutely remote from the Creator.
Man cannot feel the Creator, he thinks he is independent, believes he has freedom of will – freedom to develop and utilize his egoism as he sees fit. Such conditions are called “our world”; in fact, they are the Creator’s forces affecting us in a state of complete concealment.
Everything that surrounds us in this world is just the last level of the various forces that influence us on behalf of the Creator. Whatever man feels, inside and around himself, everything we call “our world”, is the last level that can possibly exist in the Universe.
As soon as man, with the help of his inner work, is able to eliminate the nearest level of the Creator’s concealment from him, to draw this curtain apart, he immediately starts feeling the Creator in this minimal 125th part.
It does not mean that 125 levels conceal the Creator from us proportionally. The lower the level, the more it conceals the Creator. As soon as man pulls away the lowest curtains separating him from the next level, the Creator’s light immediately begins to shine upon him, and he begins to see the Creator behind all that exists around him in this world.
The still, vegetative, animal and human levels of nature – all that is around man and inside him, all his animal cravings and desires for power, honor, fame, aspiration for knowledge – for him, everything now becomes a manifestation of the Creator.
He feels how the Creator affects him, his “self”, with the help of his surroundings and inner properties. The first level of revelation, though the most difficult, is the most important, because by overcoming it, man immediately establishes contact, albeit minimal, with the Creator, and never loses it. There is no way back. Thus, the correct beginning is paramount.
Sometimes, man seems to have lost all he had gained, and has fallen from his level. However, this sensation is deliberately sent to allow him to rise even higher. The spiritual levels are built in such a way that the concealment of the Creator on each of them depends on man’s correction. The concealment is given to him on a level he is able to overcome.
Let us suppose that man has corrected 10% of his intention to receive. This means that he receives pleasure in these 10% not for himself, but for the sake of the Creator. Therefore, the measure of concealment and revelation of the Creator is the same level, its back and front parts. In other words, there is nothing outside man; all the levels are built for him and are inside him.
All the spiritual worlds are inside man’s soul, forming a ladder between him and the Creator. That is, they are 125 levels of our properties. Around us, there is only one thing: the completely altruistic property to bestow and please us. We call this property the Creator. However, our inner property is absolutely egoistic.
The gradual correction of man’s inner properties is the purpose of his existence in our world. Everyone must correct himself. The sensation of the Creator that man gains during his correction is called “spiritual ascent” from one level to another, or from one world to the next. All this takes place solely internally.
We have already said that the surrounding world is just a reaction of our inner properties to the Creator’s influence, i.e., all worlds, Partzufim, Sefirot, everything that we ever talk about is inside the person; there is nothing outside. One may say that outside there are only the four properties of the Direct Light.
The descending light creates man and all his inner properties. All the spiritual worlds in us are just the measures of sensing the Creator. All the angels, devils, dark and light forces are no more than man’s inner forces, specially created in him by the Creator to help him constantly correct and overcome his natural egoism.
Initially, they were systematically restricted, world-by-world, and descended to the level of this material world to insert the soul into the body, to dress man’s “self” in absolutely egoistic properties, infinitely remote from the Creator, the most opposite to His properties.
They are called “the qualities of this world”. What is meant here is not a number of material objects surrounding us – liquids, gases, solids. By material world, we mean absolutely egoistical qualities, from the least to the most developed, regardless of whether it is a baby or the greatest grown-up egoist in the world.
When the Kabbalists say “the body of this world”, they mean the desire to receive. There is the body of our world – an egoistic desire to receive, and there is the spiritual body – the same desire to receive, but already with the screen, which means an egoistic desire transformed into an altruistic one.
As stated, in order to make man wish only to receive, the Creator put the soul into the body of our world. This is the so-called “animal” state, as the proverb says, “man is born like a wild donkey”. Thus, when man descends to this world, he receives egoistic desires called “body” and with his properties becomes absolutely opposite to the Creator, infinitely remote from Him.
The Creator gives man only one little altruistic quality called the “soul”. If man starts indulging into the Torah and the commandments with the right intention, he gradually acquires the Creator’s desire “to bestow”.
The highest level is the desire only to bestow without receiving anything for oneself. Achieving this state, man completes his way to the Creator and merges with Him. Closeness and remoteness of the spiritual objects take place because of an equivalence or difference of properties. Therefore, by achieving the state of absolute desire to bestow, i.e., the last 125-th level, man is rewarded with complete revelation of the Creator.
Thus, all the worlds with everything that fills them are created only for man’s sake and for his correction. Observing the Torah and the commandments, with the intention to bestow pleasure upon the Creator without receiving anything in return, means adherence to the spiritual laws that man learns as he climbs these steps.
Each time, when he is in a certain spiritual state, there is always a choice before him, what to do, how to think, feel, choose his thoughts, intentions, inner decisions. Although the Creator has not yet revealed Himself to us, we have to try to compare all our thoughts, decisions, and opinions with our intention to acquire His desire to bestow.
The way we analyze and choose each opinion and decision, is called “a commandment” (Mitzvah). When man fulfills this law correctly, he stimulates the candle, allowing a little more light to enter his spiritual desire.
On the higher levels, upon man's entering into the spiritual worlds, he corrects his absolutely egoistic desire, and with the help of a Zivug de Haka’a (Stroke Contact) receives a portion of the light. The light he receives is called variously “the Torah”, “the Creator” or “the light of the soul”.
There is a so-called Essence of the Creator (Atzmuto HaBoreh). We do not feel the Essence of the Creator, but only His influence. We are like a black box: whatever penetrates through our five senses – sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste, or with the help of these devices, which only widen the range of our sensations – all this creates a picture of this world in us, seemingly existing outside of us.
However, this world is only a product of our inner sensations, something pressing us from outside. It is like making a body out of clay and giving it a kind of sensitivity. When I press on it, it will have an inner reaction. It feels this pressure in its sensations; somehow, it is reflected in it. The body calls this outside influence (or rather its reaction to it) a certain property.
Now, if someone pricks it, the body will call this outside stimulation (or its reaction to it) some other property. It has no idea what affects it from outside, but feels only its reactions to whatever presses on it. All the creation’s reactions to the numerous outside influences create inside it a feeling of “the surrounding” world.
If a person is deprived of one of his senses from birth, say the sight, he must build a picture of the surrounding world with the help of the remaining four. The resulting picture differs from ours.
If we are able to widen somehow the range of our senses (we cannot add any more senses), then the picture of the world will instantly change. At any rate, we will perceive only what “enters” us (that is how we call our reactions to the external influences), and not what is outside.
Another additional stimulation, called the Creator’s light, will enter us. He Himself will enter us, not just press us like a piece of clay from outside. He will enter and start filling us according to the extent of the equivalence of our properties to His. All our essence is “a piece of egoistic clay”; if this “piece” succeeds in acquiring the Creator’s properties, i.e. learns to give, then there will be no difference between them. The outer boundary between Him and the “piece” will disappear. They will merge into one; the Creator will fill this “clay” from inside, and it will be in complete harmony, fully merged with whatever is outside.
This state is the most perfect, comfortable, eternal, and absolutely good. “The piece of clay” must achieve this level. Man must reach it, beginning with the lowest level, called “our world”. The soul dressed into the body, forces it to work before it can ascend.
The soul at its zero stage is an egoistic property, but in its final state, it must be transformed into an altruistic one. In case man is reluctant to do it on his own free will, he will be assisted from above, and then, spurred by hard sufferings, “he” will be compelled to agree. Each of these “pieces of egoism” (souls) has to overcome all 125 levels. These “pieces” are divided only because each of them feels its own small desire.
In the process of likening their properties to the Creator’s, they begin to feel the commonness and inseparable continuity of their mass, the absolute unity of all these egoistic splinters. They understand that they represent a single whole. The more man is corrected, the more he sees himself as an absolutely inseparable part of the whole, i.e., he depends on everybody and everybody depends on him.
If the creation is one whole organism, then it does not matter which part of it receives and which part gives. It is easier to be corrected as a small piece, and when all the pieces have corrected themselves, they merge in their sensations into a single whole – this is what they call: the merging of the souls.
There is much interference, all specially sent to us. Finally, only persistence wins. Man does not have to possess any special inclinations, intellect, particular qualities, or properties. He should only be persistent, or rather, show the ability and courage to endure; only this will lead to victory.
Each of us is the way the Creator made him; nothing can be done about it. All our inner changes in thoughts, desires, and ambitions – all of these are programmed in us from above, and they all must be corrected. It is that very material, that ‘piece of clay’ that we must work on.
A corrected egoistic property, which the Creator’s light enters, is called a “Kli” (the vessel). A person who has just begun his study of Kabbalah can be told everything; everything enters him, nothing is forgotten, and nothing disappears. When necessary, he will recall it, but will do so only after his correction. When he has the minimal inner vessels and this information is necessary for his work, it will emerge, “surface” out of his subconscious.
Man himself will have to sort out this information and work with it. At this stage, he should not be given ready answers to his questions; now he has to search and find the answers.
Being on the high levels of the spiritual development, man suffers not because the souls on lower levels feel bad. He suffers from an inability to fulfill the Creator’s desire as regards these souls, their present state; i.e., from the fact that not all souls feel the unity with the Creator the way he does. In addition, he naturally tries to accelerate this process by dissemination of Kabbalah, by spreading the knowledge about the necessity of correction, while others interfere with his mission.
Man needs the entire world in order to complete his spiritual work, because it consists not only in self-correction, but also on each level there is certain mutual work to be done with the rest of the souls.
A Kabbalist must feel the entire world, feel its sufferings, absorb them on his level, and correct them. Moreover, on each level, the inclusion of all the souls into his and his own into all other souls takes place.
10) Now after having grasped this much, you may study Kabbalah without fear of materializing the spiritual. The beginners in Kabbalah are confused because it is said that all 10 Sefirot and Partzufim beginning from the world of Atzilut and down to the 10 Sefirot of the world of Assiya are absolutely divine and spiritual, i.e., in fact it is the Creator Himself.
On the other hand, it is said that all these worlds were created because of the Tzimtzum (restriction). Then how can one say the divine Sefirot, which refer to the Creator, appeared after the Tzimtzum? Besides, how should one take such notions as quantity, up, down, rise, fall, spiritual merging, separation etc.? How can all this be said about the divine and perfect?
It is said, “I change nothing; I am everywhere, the only One unchanging Creator”. How can one say that transformations and restrictions exist in the perfect One, since any change speaks of imperfection?
The question is simple: what we call worlds – is it the Creator or the creation? Why are beginners confused by it? It is because, as a rule, they materialize it. They try to imagine these worlds in the form of material objects. It is a natural reaction for a man limited by his reality. Yet, how can he be given the correct perception; is it possible at all?
There are risks for people who study Kabbalah without a true guide, a person that would constantly direct them, prevent them from getting off the right track, and from materializing spirituality. For this reason, Kabbalah was kept away from the masses for centuries. If, at the beginning, man deviates one millionth of a degree from the right way, then in time, this deviation from the goal will gradually increase.
Consequently, the more he advances and, as it seems to him, draws nearer to the goal, the more he moves away from it. Therefore, the Kabbalists made certain demands and restrictions for those who wanted to study Kabbalah. It is better to remain on the mechanical level of observing the commandments (the common Surrounding Light shines upon man and purifies him slowly) than to study Kabbalah alone.
Unfortunately, we see self-taught Kabbalists and to what it has led them; they fabricate their own concepts about the spiritual world, populate it with all kinds of bodies, forces and their interactions, with winged angels, devils, witches, hell, and paradise, etc. They do this without understanding that the spiritual world is only inside of man’s soul, while only the Creator is outside.
The Kabbalists were deeply concerned about all this. The principal commandment is not to make an idol out of your own egoism. Whether you want it or not, you worship it anyway – it is an idol made inside of you; from your birth, you worship only your own desires, thinking only about how to satisfy them.
Not to make an idol means not putting your own idol in place of the Creator. If you truly desire to enter spirituality, to have any contact with it, do not make a false picture of it in your imagination, for it leads astray. It is said, “To sit and do nothing is preferable to making a mistake”.
A question arises: Can a man studying Kabbalah interfere with other people’s matters? Can he explain anything to them? He can and should, but very carefully. A book can be given to read; one can talk a little about Kabbalah, but never argue the point.
It can be harmful to you. You will lose everything you have gained by your own efforts and studies. Kabbalah should be popularized unobtrusively, never try to convince a person. It will not help anyway. Man’s egoism is stronger than any influence from outside. You will never make him change his mind. You can direct him only if he wants it. Man perceives something only when he feels he can fill his desire.
11) From the above statement, we can conclude that all these worlds, Partzufim and the processes taking place in them (ascents, descents, restrictions etc.), are all man’s inner vessels of reception, the properties of his soul.
That is to say, everything about which one reads in Kabbalah transpires inside of man’s soul, and has two aspects: what happens in thought and what happens in action. It is similar to a situation in which a man builds a house: the end of his action is already integrated into his original plan.
The image of a house, the very notion “house” in man’s thoughts, is different from the real house, because the structure existing only as a plan is made of the material of his ideas. As the process of building begins, the plan acquires other qualities, different properties that gradually materialize, and turn into a structure made of wood and stone, etc.
The thought materializes more and more until it comes to its final form, expressed in the materialized idea – a house. Also with regard to the souls, one should differentiate between the two parts: the plan and the action. The state of souls in the world of Infinity, i.e., when they were united with the Creator, before all restrictions, one with the Thought of Creation, is called “the souls in the Thought of Creation”.
In the Thought of Creation, these souls are in the Creator without any distinction between them. This state is called Ein Sof – the world of Infinity. A similar state continues in the worlds of Adam Kadmon and Atzilut. The state, wherein souls receive, and are separated from the Creator, is called “the souls in the act of creation”. This separation takes place on the level of the world of Beria.
The world of Beria (the word “Beria” derives from the same root as the word “bar” which means “out of”, “except for”) is the first one below the world of Atzilut, under the Parsa. Starting from the world of Beria, there is a transition of the souls into the state of “action”.
The world of Beria is the first world, where the souls, as it were, fall out of the Creator’s plan and become more materialized, “independently” existing. All the thoughts and desires in our world and in the spiritual ones descend to us from above. What one should do with these thoughts and desires in our world and in the spiritual ones is the subject of our studies.
Nothing that is inside or outside you is created by you. You react to any outside irritation according to your animal nature. Any reaction of this kind can be calculated in advance and your actions can be predicted in any given situation. So where is even the slightest freedom of choice or freedom of will here? Freedom of will is only in the effort to understand how the Creator would act in my place and react similarly.
Somehow or other, the entire world obeys the Creator’s will; not even an atom can move against it. The difference lies in the fact that a Kabbalist consciously tries to correlate his actions with those of the Creator. With all his desires, he wants to follow the stream that the Creator set in motion for the entire Universe. Thus, he enters the most comfortable state of absolute “relaxation” (freedom and eternal peace).
Time stops, everything disappears except for the sensation of infinity, because there are no disturbances, no contradiction between you, the entire Universe and the Creator. It is said that every soul is included in Malchut of the world of Infinity, called “the central point”, for this point is the Thought, and all the vessels come out of it, all the properties of the soul in action. This action begins in the world of Beria and continues into the worlds of Yetzira and Assiya.
Everything found in the worlds of Infinity, Adam Kadmon and Atzilut, still belongs to the Creator’s Thought. We know it from the emanation of the four phases of Direct Light. The light coming out of the Creator is called “Behina Shoresh”. Then the light completes the creation of the Kli, but it has no independent sensations. This phase is called “Behina Aleph”.
In phase Shoresh, the light came out of the Creator; in the phase, Aleph, the Kli came out of the Creator. Both of these phases are still under the Creator’s complete power, totally in His Thought; they are not yet separated from Him. The world of Adam Kadmon corresponds to phase Shoresh; the world of Atzilut corresponds to phase Aleph (Galgalta is Shoresh le Ohrot, AB is Shoresh le Kelim).
Tzimtzum Aleph (the First Restriction) was performed on that central point, i.e., on its property, to the extent that it is a Thought as regards the future souls. Regarding the Creator, there is no restriction in this point, only concerning the souls coming out of this central point.
You must know that all these vessels, Sefirot, and worlds down to the world of Beria, which descend from this central point in consequence of the Zivug de Haka’a, are called “Ohr Hozer” (the Reflected Light). They are all considered as "The Thought of Creation", without being distinguished as independent souls. However, these transformations are already included in the plan, then realized in action, in the process of the souls’ descent from the world of Beria. Before the world of Beria, they are still inseparably connected to the Creator’s properties.
The introductions to the Kabbalistic books are very complicated; their purpose is to dispose the man who studies Kabbalah correctly, to channel his inner efforts in the right direction. If one deviates from this course, he is unable to understand a Kabbalistic book.
Man’s task is to realize what happens to him, and how the Creator works with him from above, so that he will completely agree with the Creator’s actions. The righteous person is the one who justifies the Creator’s actions. When man gives completely and enjoys, he lets in the Upper Light through himself, which then returns to its Source; it is the Reflected Light (Ohr Hozer), which comes from above as Direct Light (Ohr Yashar) and is reflected, completely filling the entire vessel. Ohr Yashar dresses onto Ohr Hozer and man becomes a single whole with the Creator.
Man approaches the Universe in essentially two ways: (i) called “Da’at Ba’alabaitim” –
petty owners’ opinion, i.e., the opinion of egoistic masses. (ii) – “Da’at Torah”. The word “Torah” derives from the word light (Ohr, Ohra’a – the way to the Creator). These two approaches are absolutely contrary to each other.
The problem is that while we are still in the bounds of our world and have not yet acquired the spiritual properties, we cannot understand that those two approaches to the Universe are opposite to each other. It happens because as man acquires the spiritual properties, time and space merge into one point for him and all movement stops.
This is when he begins to see everything as absolutely static, nothing happens around him, but everything takes place inside him. According to his inner spiritual state, his spiritual qualities, and properties, man begins to see a totally different world around him.
Every time these qualities are transformed in him, he sees a completely different picture. Then he discovers that the entire picture around him is in fact absolutely static, and it changes only inside him, according to the transformation of his properties, the organs of receiving “external” information (external – illusory, in fact only man is changing).
In fact, there is static, amorphous, homogeneous spiritual light around us, which is called “The Creator”. Similarly, with our five senses, we also have five spiritual ones: spiritual eyes (sight), ears (hearing), nose (smell), mouth (taste), and hands (touch). Depending on their qualities, carrying capacity and sensitivity, we will constantly receive different impressions from this homogeneous spiritual light. The most primitive impression is the one we receive today.
The homogeneous spiritual light is perceived in our senses; it forms a cumulative picture of the Universe in our consciousness, which we call “our world”, “this world”. If our senses change a little bit, i.e., become less opposite to this light, come closer to it in their properties and receive altruistic properties, then they will begin to perceive it more correctly, more as it actually is.
Such complex sensations of oneself through one’s own five senses will give him a picture, which is called the world of Assiya. The world of Assiya is no more than the measure of sensation of one’s correction or difference from the light, from the Creator. Therefore, it is said that all worlds are inside man.
If we develop our senses even more, by changing our egoism into spiritual altruism, we will receive an even more correct picture of the light, called the world of Yetzira and so on. On the highest level, when we completely correct ourselves, we will perceive an undistorted picture of the Upper Light, i.e., the homogeneous light will fill us, enter through our five senses, and then we will feel the Creator Himself in all His true properties, thoughts, and desires as regards us.
Man must reach this state of complete merging with the Creator while still being in our world. Man’s attitude to everything around him, as well as his reactions, are dictated by the level he is on, i.e., everything is determined by his present, partially corrected and uncorrected properties.
You cannot change your attitude about what is going on, nor react differently to it until you change yourself. Then your inner, improved, new properties will naturally earn you a different and better attitude.
When man begins to study Kabbalah, it seems to him that he will be able to progress with the help of his reasoning mind, analyzing, researching, and making conclusions. One writes a summary, another is tape-recording the lessons – it is natural, because the mind is our tool of perception and analysis of the world. However, this is true only in the bounds of our world.
In fact, spiritual comprehension occurs differently. When man makes an effort, although his intentions are absolutely egoistical, he attracts upon himself an increased emanation of the Surrounding Light (Ohr Makif). This surrounding emanation is already directed at a certain person, and not at the masses.
A person who studies according to the Kabbalistic method, attracts to himself a personal emanation of the Surrounding Light. This light begins to push man forward to spirituality; it “pulls” him up. This is a totally different way: not with the help of one’s mind; it actually deprives man of his earthly mind: little by little he is sent circumstances with which he is bound to struggle. The light forces him to act; it “throws” him from side to side, from one circumstance into another, to arouse new sensations in him, to prepare him to feel spirituality.
The emanation of the Surrounding Light intensifies and we begin to feel worse. Why? We feel that, there is something on the outside, stronger, and better, that cannot enter us. Thus, we experience periods of depression. In fact, this means that the actual reason for our depressions is that we receive from above a more powerful emanation.
Man can in no way predict the next level in his spiritual development by his own mind. A possibility to somehow consciously control one’s spiritual states (actually, they are not spiritual yet) disappears. Indeed, it is done to bring man to part with his earthly mind, to let him acquire a mind of a different sort: faith above reason. It is called “enter Ibur” (enter into the state of an embryo) inside a higher spiritual Partzuf.
It can only be done when man completely shuts off his intellectual, analytical properties belonging to this world. He totally surrenders to the higher force and wants to be completely included in it. The masses shun this approach. In Kabbalah, when man progresses by faith above reason, he first controls what is going on with him and then consciously switches off his mind.
The masses exist in faith below reason. The Zohar calls them “Domem de Kedusha”. “Domem” means 'still', 'lifeless', “Kedusha” means 'holy', i.e., “the holy still level”. What does this mean? There are five levels in the Universe:
– and one more, the highest level – Divine.
These are the five levels of nature. In the spiritual world, according to this division, there are also five levels of development of man’s inner properties.
What is the meaning of the lowest “spiritually still” level? One is in the same static, “motionless” state, one similar to the 'still life' in nature, perhaps even a stone. This is because you were created so, and were told how everything should be done.
One makes everything on a “still” level, without an attitude of one’s own, without a personal spiritual intention, one just carries out certain spiritual actions that correspond to the spiritual laws, but performs them “mechanically”, without involving one’s personal “self”.
In the spiritual world, interaction between the human soul and the Creator takes place. The general interaction between man and the Creator is divided into 620 different actions, called commandments, 620 laws, spiritual actions that man carries out when he passes all levels, beginning from our world and up to the level of completely merging with the Creator.
There are 620 levels separating us from the Creator, each of which is overcome by the fulfillment of a certain spiritual action, which is called a commandment (a law or condition).
This spiritual action is fulfilled only by man’s intention, or rather by changing his intention from “for himself” to “for the sake of the Creator”. The size of the altruistic intention with which man performs the action is determined by the spiritual level he has reached.
If we carry out all 620 spiritual actions, in only mechanical way, without correcting the intention, as do the masses, we attract a Surrounding Light that maintains these masses in the way that it preserves 'still nature' in a certain form. This light inspires them to continue to do what they were taught, but does not move them forward, does not turn them from the spiritually 'still nature' into the 'vegetative' one.
To pass from the spiritually 'still nature' into the spiritually 'vegetative', one must have the special method that we study here. The moment man passes this threshold and becomes spiritually 'vegetative'; he has already entered the spiritual world. Then later, when he first develops his vegetative nature, that is, if he performs certain spiritual actions, constantly corrects his intentions, and thus carries out, perhaps, 100 precepts, this refers to the vegetative spiritual layer. Next, if he performs 100-150 precepts, this refers to the animal spiritual layer. After performing 200-300 precepts, this refers to the human spiritual layer. The remaining precepts belong to the Divine layer, Keter. I offer this idea as an illustration, not as a specific example.
All spiritual levels, from zero to 620, are based on the principle that man changes himself internally, constantly improving, becoming more and more similar to the Creator, until there is no difference between them.
However, on our present lowest level, we can observe the commandments only mechanically. Mechanical action will never let us pass from the 'spiritually still' level to the 'vegetative' one. Only with the help of Kabbalah, one can break through it. This method attracts onto us the special Surrounding Light and pulls us out of this world, transforming “a stone” into “a plant”.
Man is born as any other animal in this world, and there is nothing spiritual in him. The only thing you can say about man, with all the “intricacies” one can acquire from all kinds of oriental teachings, is that all this belongs to the inner “mental” (let us just put it this way) level of an animal called “man of our world”. These various 'wisdoms' speak about forces that accompany our physical body.
Auras, Chakras etc. all exist, but they are biological, bio-energy structures of the human body. Animals possess them too; as a rule, they are even more sensitive to bio– and psycho– fields than man is. Anyone can develop these abilities.
All this refers to the physical body, but science has not pursued this research. Nowadays it has started developing more, and many things are not clear yet, but in principle, all this is subject to tests and research on an absolutely scientific basis, involving no spiritual corrections of man himself. Of course, man morally influences these fields, but still remains an egoist, or rather an egoistic altruist (gives for his own sake).
Thus, man is born with all these mental dispositions, which he can develop. There is only one more peculiarity: apart from egoistic desires, man can be given only one more desire, which is non-existent in our world. This is a desire to give, which is a spiritual desire. It is called “Nekuda she baLev” (a point in the heart).
Later we will examine how it is inserted into a human heart. In fact, it is inserted into man’s egoistic “self”, i.e., our entire organism is built on our egoistic “self”. All of a sudden, a point, an embryo of the spiritual, altruistic “self”, enters egoism. In principle, this point has nothing to do with man, because he is a totally egoistic creature.
Biologically, man is very similar to animals. He differs from them only by this “black point”. Why is it called “black”? Is it not spiritual? It is because it is not yet filled with the light. With the help of Kabbalah, when the individual Surrounding Light begins to shine, it illuminates this “black point”, and thus it begins to feel tension, disparity between itself and the light.
Continuing to study, man gradually begins to develop this point; it expands, until ten Sefirot are formed in it. As soon as there are the first ten Sefirot in the “black point”, they are included in the structure of the higher spiritual Partzuf; this is then called “Ibur” (conception). This point is an embryo of the soul. The first 10 Sefirot acquired by man are called the soul, the vessel of the soul. The light that fills them is called “the light of the soul”.
Man should develop this point up to a degree where it will enable him to turn all his egoistic properties into altruistic ones. A “black point” begins “to swell” as man adds egoism to it and turns it into altruism. This point is Sefira Keter. Out of it, with the help of additional egoism, 10 Sefirot begin to develop. The more egoism man adds to it, the bigger spiritual Kli, called “soul”, he receives.
However, if this does not happen, then as man was born an animal, so he will die. On the other hand, if he has developed his spiritual Kli even a little bit, albeit he has not reached the spiritual world, and if he has been influenced by the spiritual light, it remains in him forever. Because this newly formed quality does not refer to the body, does not die with it, it refers to the “black point”, which is spiritual, i.e., eternal. Therefore this work, this effort is not lost.
How can one make at least 10 of the smallest Sefirot out of this point? Let us assume that we take one gram of our egoism and provide it with a screen. Egoism plus the screen combined with this point gives us the smallest spiritual Kli. There is no need for a screen as far as the “black point” is concerned, because man receives it from above.
Now let us come back to the question of free will. In the Baal HaSulam’s book, “Pri Hacham. Igrot”, it is written, “As I have already said on behalf of the Baal Shem Tov, before one performs any spiritual action (a commandment is meant), there is no need to think about the Creator’s personal Providence, but on the contrary, man must say: 'If I don’t help myself, then who will?'”
However, after he completes this action with the absolute confidence that everything depends only on him and the Creator does not exist at all, he has to collect his thoughts and believe that he has performed this spiritual action not by his own efforts, but only thanks to the Creator’s presence, because such was His initial intention.
One should also act similarly in everyday, regular proceedings, because the spiritual and the earthly are alike. So before man leaves home to earn what he has to earn during the day, he must completely switch off the thought of the Creator’s personal Providence saying: “If I don’t help myself, then who will?”, and do exactly what the rest of the people who earn their living do in the world.
But in the evening, when he comes back home with what he has earned, he should by no means think he has earned it by his own efforts, but believe that if he had not left home at all, he would have got the same. Since it was planned by the Creator in advance how much he had to earn during that day, in the evening he had to receive it anyway.
In spite of the fact that in our mind, these two approaches to the same action contradict each other, and neither our mind nor our heart perceives them, man must believe it anyway. It seems contradictory to us, because our properties are contrary to the Creator’s, and have not entered the spiritual space yet, where all opposites unite in a single whole and all contradictions disappear, “drown” in the Unity.
There is the Divine Providence called HaVaYaH – which means that the Creator controls everything and man can in no way take part in this control, and that all his thoughts, desires, actions, etc., are given to him from outside. Then there is the Divine Providence called “Elokim” with Gematria (numerical value of Hebrew letters and words) equal to “Teva” (nature). This is Providence through nature, when man, regardless of the Creator’s absolute control, acts according to his nature.
If man tries to combine these two kinds of Providence inside him (although they do not match in his mind, nor in his heart, he actually goes above his mind), these attempts finally lead to their union, and he sees there is no contradiction. However, until we reach such unity, we will ask the same question all the time: who has done this – the Creator or I? Moreover, there is no getting away from these questions until we come to the level where HaVaYaH – Elokim concur; then we may understand.
We speak here about man’s attitude to action. Before acting, man consciously decides to be under the control of Elokim; it gives him an opportunity to analyze his actions and his attitude toward them. Thus, he juxtaposes these two systems and brings his “self” to the likeness with the Creator, constantly remembering their existence.
If man forgets or does not know about the existence of the two systems, he is influenced only by nature (Elokim), not by the Creator’s personal Providence (HaVaYaH). Without juxtaposing these two systems, accepting only one of them (either He controls everything or I do), it turns out that either the Creator or man does not exist. Man’s advancement to the Creator is only possible when he can forcefully combine these two providential systems in himself before each action.
12) I will give you an example from our world. Let us assume that a man is hiding from strangers, so that no one can see or feel him, but he is not able to hide from himself. It is likewise with the 10 Sefirot that we call Keter, Hochma, Bina, Hesed, Gevura, Tifferet, Netzah, Hod, Yesod, and Malchut. They are just 10 curtains behind which the world of Infinity is concealed. The souls will have to receive whatever light the 10 Sefirot transfer to them from the Infinity in the future.
Note well, there are Infinity, the 10 hidden screens and the Souls.
If a soul is behind all 10 “covers”, it does not feel the world of Infinity at all. As the soul “takes off” these “covers”, it approaches the world of Infinity and begins to feel it more and more.
The measures of sensation of the world of Infinity are called the worlds: Adam Kadmon, Atzilut, Beria, Yetzira, Assiya, or levels of the spiritual ladder, 620 levels, 125 levels, 10 levels, Sefirot. It does not matter how one calls them; the path and the distance are the same.
Souls acquire the properties of the light depending on how much of it and from which level of the 10 Sefirot they receive, behind whatever “cover” they happen to be. The light inside the 10 Sefirot is absolutely homogeneous and static on all levels of all the worlds, whereas the receiving souls are divided into 10 levels, corresponding to the properties of the names of these levels.
This means that the Creator is indivisible and unchanging in Infinity. Being on one of the levels, the soul receives through the screens-concealments of the Creator and, naturally, it already receives the distorted light.
Each of these names – Keter, Hochma, Bina, Hesed, Gevura, Tifferet, Netzah, Hod, Yesod and Malchut – means a certain property, concealing and at the same time revealing. On the one hand, each name speaks of how much it conceals the Creator, on the other hand, it speaks of how much I reveal the Creator if I ascend to that level. These are two contrary directions – the measure of concealment and the measure of revelation.
All of these concealing screens about which we now speak act only in the world of Beria and below, for the souls receiving this light are only in these three worlds Beria, Yetzira and Assiya.
What does this mean? The souls can even be higher than the worlds of Beria, Yetzira, and Assiya, but only as they ascend with these worlds. In other words, the souls are always in these three worlds. The notion “ascent of the worlds” means that, if man leaves this world, he can be in the world of Assiya, then in the world of Yetzira, then in the world of Beria, but he cannot ascend above the world of Beria. If he ascends, he does it only inside these worlds. Through his efforts, he makes these worlds ascend with him. These worlds are his cover. With these worlds he ascends to Atzilut, and then to the world of Infinity.
In the worlds Adam Kadmon and Atzilut, the souls exist only in Thought, being inseparable from the Creator. Hence, these 10 “covers” act only in the 10 Sefirot in the worlds Beria, Yetzira, and Assiya. Nevertheless, even in these worlds the 10 “covers” are considered absolutely divine, down to the very end of the world of Assiya.
There is no distinction between the Sefirot and the Creator, exactly as before all restrictions. The difference is only in the Kelim that the 10 Sefirot consist of, since in the worlds Adam Kadmon and Atzilut, the power of the 10 Sefirot has not yet manifested sufficiently, for these 10 Sefirot are only in a Thought. Their Kelim begin to express their concealing power only in the worlds of Beria, Yetzira, and Assiya.
However, due to “the covers”, the light in these 10 Sefirot remains unchanged, as stated: “I never change, – the Creator says about Himself, – I am omnipresent and “change” only in man’s eyes, depending only on his ability to feel Me and the degree of correction of his properties, his eyes”.
13) Questions may arise: if there is no manifestation of the souls receiving the light in the worlds Adam Kadmon and Atzilut, then why are the 10 Sefirot there, the 10 Kelim? What are the worlds Adam Kadmon and Atzilut for, if there are no souls there? If these worlds do not conceal or hamper anything, then what is their role? Also, if they hamper the light by various measures, then who is it for? There are two answers:
a) All the worlds and the Sefirot must develop this way.
b) In the future, souls must receive from the 10 Sefirot in the worlds Adam Kadmon and Atzilut, due to the ascent of the worlds Beria, Yetzira and Assiya to Atzilut, and then to Adam Kadmon. Hence, there must be steps, places prepared in advance in these worlds, so that the worlds Beria, Yetzira, and Assiya could ascend there, enter them, and receive a greater revelation of the Creator.
Otherwise, a soul cannot ascend; it can do so only with the worlds of Beria, Yetzira, and Assiya, because this is the way the souls will have to ascend there, and these worlds will shine upon the souls at the time. Then each of them will receive its level out of these 10 Sefirot.
14) Thus, we see that Kabbalah speaks about all the worlds and levels, about everything but the Creator. It refers to the Kelim, the vessels that measure off the states of concealments for the souls, so that afterwards they will be able to receive the light from the world of Infinity according to their levels. All these concealing curtains affect only those who are supposed to receive the light and not the One, who like the Source, hides behind them, i.e., they do not influence the Creator.
The worlds are levels like lifeless filters in our world; they hamper the light, but contrary to the live souls, they cannot consciously take part in the process of communication with the Creator. The Sefira (screen, world) by itself is a lifeless device for concealing the spiritual light from the souls. What kind of a device is that? We have already spoken about it – this device inside us is our egoism.
15) Hence, we may divide these Sefirot and Partzufim into three parts: the Creator’s Essence, the vessels, and the light. We have no way of understanding or feeling the Creator Himself, neither in our sensations, nor in our mind.
There are always two opposite properties in the vessels, “concealment” and “revelation”, because the vessel first conceals the Creator, so that these 10 vessels, called the 10 Sefirot, represent the levels of concealment. However, after the souls are corrected, according to the spiritual conditions dictated by the 10 Sefirot, these levels of concealment turn into the levels of revelation, attainment of the Creator.
Thus, it turns out that the vessels consist of two properties contrary to one another, and the degree of revelation inside the vessel (man, the soul) is the same as the degree of concealment. The rougher the vessel (the soul), i.e., the more it conceals the Creator and the more egoistic it becomes in the process of correction, the more powerful the light that is revealed in it at the end of correction. Thus, these two opposite properties are in fact just a single one.
The light inside the Sefirot is a measure of the Creator’s light received by the souls according to their corrected properties. Everything comes out of the Creator: both the vessels and the light that fills them. Therefore, there are always 10 lights inside the 10 vessels, i.e., 10 levels of revelation according to the properties of the vessels.
We cannot distinguish between the Creator and His light. Outside of the vessel, He is imperceptible, impossible to grasp. We can attain only what enters our Kelim, our corrected properties. We comprehend only what comes from Him, what dresses onto our vessels, i.e., our properties consisting of the 10 Sefirot. Hence, whatever we perceive in the Creator we call the light, although it is a subjective sensation inside the corrected properties of our souls.
The vessel feels that it exists independently, but this is an illusion. What can we understand about the Creator? We reveal our own corrected properties. According to what we call them, kindness, mercy, etc., we attribute these properties to the Creator. The purpose of creation, the degree of our unity with the Creator, lies in an absolute likeness to Him, in revealing all His greatness, eternity and perfection.