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Article "From Lo Lishma to Lishma"

Shamati, Article #64
Lesson by Rav Michael Laitman, Bnei Baruch, Israel
September 21, 2006
Lecturer: Michael Laitman, PhD

We are reading in the book Shamati, Article 64, From Lo Lishma to Lishma.

From Lo Lishma one comes to Lishma. If we pay close attention, we can say that the period of Lo Lishma is the more important time, since it is easier to unite the act with the Creator.

This is so because in Lishma one says that he did this good deed because he serves the Creator in wholeness, and all his actions are for the Creator. It follows that he is the owner of the act.

However, when one engages in Lo Lishma, one does not do the good deed for the Creator. It turns out that one cannot come to Him with a complaint that he deserves a reward. Thus, for him the Creator is not in debt.

It's very hard to talk about Lo Lishma and Lishma since you can only feel one from the other. The gap between the Creator and the creature is not because the creature is made of the substance of a will to receive. The substance of the will to receive doesn’t separate. The fact is that before the real gap in Ein Sof appears, it was as it is written about Rabbi Elazar, that “He is One and His Name is One.” That's how it was prior to the Tzimtzum (restriction), prior to the disclosure of the gap between the Creator and the creature.

This means that disclosure was only with respect to the receiver who discovered the shame. He then covers that shame by changing his intention from Lo Lishma to Lishma. And this is enough. He then goes back to be in unity, in “He is One and His Name is One,” that He is the Light and His Name is the Kli. And it doesn't matter if he is from the substance of the will to receive, because he works with all his substance and his qualities with intention to bestow.

But the transition from Lo Lishma to Lishma is actually the transition in the creature's state, from this world to the spiritual world. Those who donot switch to Lishma also don't understand what Lo Lishma is.When a person is in both these states, he can compare his own situation with respect to the Creator and deduce many perceptions out of it.

The ordinary situation of a person who didn’t receive the awakening yet and doesn’t feel that he has some inclinations, some efforts to reach unity with the Creator, is not in Lo Lishma. He’s just outside of the whole relationship between him and the Creator.

Lo Lishma is already having special moments where the individual determines, just as we determine every situation only with respect to the receiver, that his state is Lo Lishma. He doesn’t fall into unconsciousness, but attains the state as being Lo Lishma by wanting to be in Lishma as much as he can picture it. And then he determines that he is in Lo Lishma, that his actions are still in some way aimed for a reward.

As Baal HaSulam says in the Introduction to Talmud Eser Sefirot that although he aims to benefit the Creator, to give Him contentment, still in some way, somewhere in the back, at the end there is this intention, a self-interest to have something from it. Then one can say that this whole intention is called Lo Lishma, that something will come out of it for the person’s own benefit.

So Lo Lishma is an intention to benefit the Creator and something to himself as well. It’s a very high degree. It’s when a person is already sweating and exerting to do something that the Creator will reallyenjoy, meaning in bestowal, in equivalence of actions. As the Creator relates to reality, so does he relate to reality, and does it against his will to receive before he receives the Masach and the ability to do such actions in order to bestow. But still there is the intention there to receive for one’s self.

It’s a very difficult situation when he discovers that he is made of both these discernments. And because he still can’t act Lishma but only has an inclination to it, a desire for it, exerting and preparing for it, then with respect to the Creator he is like a little boy with his parents.

He can’t really do anything. But, because he wants,he is very sweet and pleasant to the Creator. One might say the Creator gets great contentment from a person who tries to do that, even though he still doesn’t have a complete intention. Actually that already depends on the quantity of the effort. One has to complete one’s fill of effort, according to the effort that corresponds to the reward, and then he receives strength that reforms him and gives him the ability to work with the intention Lishma. One can’t say that the Creator doesn’t have contentment from that person. On the contrary, it’s like a little baby or a little boy, you can call that state “my beloved son Ephraim.”

On the other hand, there is an addition here, as Baal HaSulam says, that a person cannot lie or fool himself. He absolutely knows that he is in Lo Lishma and hence, takes no pride in it and has no demand of the Creator for the reward because he understands that he is in Lo Lishma. After all the thoughts and the great efforts he still can’t get rid of wanting and aiming for the reward for himself, and that this wanting is really the reason for his work. Even if he wants to receive only one percent in return, it means that his foundation is still not corrected: if he doesn’t get that one percent, he can’t perform the ninety-nine other percent. In other words, the ninety-nine other percent he does are also for that one percent that he will get out of it.

Let’s say a person who works for an employer gives one hundred percent of the profit to his company. But out of the one hundred percent he gets one percent for himself, so he actually works for that one percent. It is the same in a state when a person hasn't crossed the Machsom (the Barrier), hasn't received the correction from Above. He aims to benefit the Creator but still, with all his intentions, actions, and desires, the basis remains self-gain.

Thus it puts him in a very tense situation: he understands that he can't ask for anything; he understands that he doesn't deserve a reward according to his level of correction; he doesn't fool himself. He understands that he is still at the degree of a wicked , and underconcealment. That state is also a very respectable state in the eyes of the Creator because a person puts his effort in very difficult situations, hidden from him; he tries just like a baby with his parents. It brings Him great contentment. On the other hand, one considers himself wicked, and doesn't ask for a reward, and understands that he still has to progress and add efforts.

The Lo Lishma is something very great. According to Rabash, Baal HaSulam said that as much as we can appreciate Lishma, of which we have no understanding since it's a different world, and one can't picture it, the Lo Lishma is even greater (it should be in our eyes) than the Lishma. That's how sublime and important is Lo Lishma.

If that's the case, why should one switch from Lo Lishma to Lishma? From the time of the darkness and the concealment he makes the maximum effort: “everything that is within your power to do, do.” He should remain in that state. Because he's got all the information; he doesn’t lie to himself, he craves the Loved One. Why should he then switch to Lishma? Only for the purpose of creation.

That switch happens at the final point, without any connection to oneself. A person does that only because the Creator says that his goal is to reach unity. And unity is unity of intentions. That's why a person goes into Lishma; to bring contentment to the Creator.

You might say that at the last second, that something that is for himself disappears.

Hence, why did he do that good deed? Only because the Creator provided him an opportunity that this SAMwould compel him and force him to do it.

For example, if people come to one’s house, and one is ashamed of being idle, one takes a book and studies Torah. Thus, who is one studying Torah for? It is not for the Mitzvaof the Creator, to be favored in the eyes of the Creator, but for the guests who have come into his authority, to find grace in the eyes of man. Thus, how then can one seek reward from the Creator for this Torah, which he engaged in for the guests?

It follows that for him, the Creator did not become debited, and instead, he can charge the guests, that they would pay him a reward, meaning honor him for studying Torah.

It means that a person doesn't ask for a reward from the Creator in Lo Lishma, because he understands that he is in Lo Lishma and by this he doesn't bring the contentment to the Creator. He only prepares himself to reach that degree, because you can only bring contentment to the extent that you are in the equivalence of form in the intention. In that respect, one is much cleaner than a person who is in Lishma for when Klipot appear within him, ruthless desires to receive in order to receive, he sees how unclean he is.

However, one cannot debit the Creator in any way.

When one performs self-examination, and says that finally, I engage in the Torah, and tosses off the cause, meaning the guests, and says that now he is working only for the Creator, then one should immediately say that everything is conducted from Above. It means that the Creator wanted to grant him engagement in the Torah, and he is not worthy of receiving an element of truth. He is unworthy of receiving the truth, hence the Creator provided him a false cause, and through this cause one engages in the Torah.

It follows that the Creator is the operator, and not the individual. Then, moreover, one should praise the Creator that even in a state of lowness that he is in, the Creator does not leave him and gives him power, meaning fuel to want to engage in words of Torah.

The status in Lishma compared to Lo Lishma is a much more difficult status. Of course, a person has already prepared himself and received the Masach, as we read it in Baal HaSulam, “The prince receives from the King, from his Father, the shield and the sword to be actually similar to the Father who protects His Kingdom.” But he immediately falls into a state where he discovers unity with the Creator. According to the measure of unity with the Creator he is in confrontation with “There is None Else besides Him,” when the possibility to seemingly do something by himself disappears and he must go with the real faith above the reason to bestow with faith above reason.

How can one do anything if the Creator controls all of one's levels—his understanding, sensations, the preparation for all his states, the summation of all the states; when there is neither past, present nor future with respect to Him and the individual is also integrated in It? What’s left for the individual?

As Baal HaSulam depicts in ThouHast Hemmed Me in Behind and Before, where then does the creature find a place for effort, for work, to express itself? One has to invent, create the situation for oneself. And here one sees that the Creator has prepared this artificial state for him called Klipot (Shells). That when the Klipot, the big desires which are not yet corrected, awaken, then in between those two states—in order to receive and in order to bestow—one has a possibility to express himself in between those two lines, to build the middle line.

And then outside of the Ibur (fetus), we can get into the Yenika (suckling) even in Mochin (mindedness), which are very different stages in the creature’s manner of expression because he discovers a whole world that is constantly different in his state with respect to the Creator.

Again, we have to understand that the more one progresses and acquires the Masach, the Masach helps him stand opposite the love, against the giving of the Creator, against the presents, the pleasures. And although he discovers “He is One and His name is One” and that “There is no One else beside Him” and that He is benevolent to the good and to the bad, he first of all builds the placeof concealment, the place of work in order to express, to build his own personality.

And these states are very, very difficult, compared to us. Because it turns out that everything has been prepared for us, there is concealment, there is a place here for work; there is a society. If you want, you can receive strength, and you can have everything, like a baby. Of course, one needs to bring all these things together correctly, and progress, but these things are already there for him. Whereas the person who is beyond the Machsom has to build, by himself, the place for expressing his love for the Creator, for the equivalence of form, because he discovers that “There is None Else besides Him.”

That’s why from one phase to the other, the degrees are much more serious, difficult, according to the measure of one’s evolvement. A person is considered more independent because, in his relationship with the Creator, he creates the place for him to be independent.

You find that if one pays attention to this act, one notices that the Creator is the operator, in the form of, “He alone does and will do all the deeds.” Yet, one does not put any action in the good deed. Although one makes that Mitzva, he does not do it for a Mitzva, but for another cause (man), and the cause extended from the separation.

The truth is that the Creator is the cause and He is the reason that compels him. But the Creator is robed in him in another clothing, and not in a clothing of a Mitzva, but for another fear or another love. It follows that during the Lo Lishma, it is easier to attribute the good deed and say that the Creator is the doer of the good deed, and not man.

This is simple, because one does not want to do the thing for a Mitzva, but for another cause. However, in Lishma, one knows in oneself that he is working because of the Mitzva.

This means that he himself was the cause, [He has got a Masach and there is an act.] meaning because of a Mitzva, but not because the Creator did not place the idea and the desire to make the Mitzva in his heart, but he himself chose it. The truth is that it was all done by the Creator, but private Providence cannot be attained by a person prior to attaining the matter of reward and punishment.

We learn that there are four phases in attaining complete unity between the Creator and the creature; the double concealment, single concealment, reward and punishment, and love. The double and single concealments are below the Machsom, (the barrier), and reward and punishment and love are above the Machsom.

Reward and punishment are also called the disclosure of the General Providence. Love is called the disclosure or revelation of Private Providence even though the work is seemingly different because in reward and punishment he corrects his Galgalta ve Eynaim ( GE). It’s as if he corrects himself. In the degree of love he corrects his attitude to all the Kelim, toward the public, acquires the public‘s Kelim and is then awarded its comfort. It turns out that he is called complete or incomplete righteous in both these degrees.

Whereas below the Machsom he is in concealment and he feels that concealment. He feels the concealment of the action and the attitude of the Creator toward him in double concealment. And in single concealment, he can justify the concealment from the Creator’s attitude, because he discovers the goal to some extent, but still feels that the Creator is hidden.

It turns out that the whole process in all four degrees, the more progressive the steps in these degrees are, the sensation of reality in each degree is much more different than the previous ones in the upper degrees compared with that of the lower degrees. In each of the degrees of reward and punishment, and love, a person discovers a very different world.

That's similar to us with respect to kids. There is a gap in the depth and understanding of everything, of all new things that kids discover, even though they are in the same world as we. The child is in the same world as a grown up but compared to him what does he perceive of the world, in regard to actions, intentions, fulfillments?

This is actually what a person is like when he is in different degrees of spirituality. Of course, he is in a certain measure of revelation of the Creator toward him. But what kind of measure is it? It’s like revealing the measure of life, the revelation of this world to an infant or to a child versus to a grown up. It’s very extreme. The picture that appears to a person is very different.

This is why it’s difficult for us to talk about the degrees and how he discovers that the Creator does, did and is doing indeed all the deeds, that He is the reason, that “there is None else beside Him,” that He is always there, united. Each time a person discovers, actually he is discovering the state of Unity, the only state that exists. But because he is discovering it out of searching, out of the absence of completeness, the absence of unity, he then can feel the unity. He’s got a gap between his Kelim and what he attains. This gap gives a person the sensation that he exists and that he is keeping a certain measure of equivalence of form.

This is why he thanks the Creator for creating this concealment, the darkness so as to give a person a reality where this creature which is the will to receive, because he received the intention to receive called Lo Lishma, and that of the in order to bestow called Lishma so through these two forms of in order to receive and in order to bestow he becomes able to feel his own existence in the Upper Light.

We have to understand and remember that the discernments in Lo Lishma and in Lishma are not below or above the Machsom. Above the Machsom too the Lo Lishma is expressed in the left line, in the Klipot when a person feels how he works in order to receive with respect to the Creator, how he wants to exploit the Creator, that he wants to use Him instead of giving to Him. He wants the Creator to be his own slave and not his boss. Just like Pharaoh says to Moses “who is the lord that I should obey his voice?” This is actually the form of our ego—spiritual ego which is above the Machsom, confronting the Creator. And a person is in between them.

It means that this gap between the natural state of a person in Lo Lishma, and in Lishma that a person gains and acquires his form for himself, that gap remains. Without it, it’s impossible to progress and the more we progress we discover the size of Lo Lishma, the Klipa within a person. And on top of it we can express the magnitude of the love, the oppositeness, the correction, where the gap between them is actually what brings about man’s level.

The more a person progresses his right line and left line, i.e. the corrected or not corrected, the Klipa (shell) on the left line and the Kedusha (sanctity) on the right line, the more they grow. And the gap between them determines the level of a person. We don’t measure a person’s level according to the 125 degrees. But actually, this sensation, the level is in the gap between the Klipa and the Kedusha that a person attains. He gets the level of the Kli from the contradicting impressions that he receives from both sides. (See drawing No.1)

This is why in our situation, when we are below the Machsom and we feel being there, in Lo Lishma, we don’t know what Lo Lishma is, because we don’t have the Lishma. We don’t have that real gap that appears in us that we could talk about. But above the Machsom the gap is there within a person as discernments of the volume of his own Kli.

That’s why below the Machsom we remain in a point, and above the Machsom from that point a level, a Partzuf, is made specifically by these two discernments, standing one opposite the other.

We shouldn’t think that past the barrier there is nothing, that everything is fine. On the contrary, when it’s OK, a person disappears. But by creating the Klipot opposite of Kedusha, the Creator gives us a possibility by the confrontation between them within us (because everything is within us), to build a space where one exists, a place that is in me.

Question: Is the request for correction still considered as the Lo Lishma?

When a person is below the Machsom and asks for correction of his intentions, when ninety-nine percent of him in his intentions he seemingly really wants to give to the Creator, and there is one percent for himself, we can’t say that these ninety-nine percent are for the Creator. That's because there’s no such thing as having, say, 613 desires or ten desires, it doesn’t matter how, and in one out of one hundred I think of myself, and the rest of the ninety-nine are all for the Creator.

Rather, in each of these desires deep down I discover—I am the one to discover, and not with respect to something or someone or for some measurement, but I am the measuring instrument, I am the gauge—that in every plea, in every desire that I am with respect to the Creator and want to give to Him, and to do everything for Him, I discover at the end of it, my sensation, my plea, my love for Him, I discover that in every desire, deep down it’s still for me.

I discover that if there hadn’t been some connection to me in there, first of all, it would have disappeared from me. I still don’t have the Masach (screen) to be detached from myself. I can’t even picture being able to turn to Him, if it’s not for my own flesh, from me, if I don’t feel it in a form of reception, then how do I feel it at all?

So it turns out that each and every desire is connected to me, to my own flesh. They’re all egoistic, even though we said that in ninety-nine percent they’re not. Let’s say, of the nine Sefirot in each desire, they are all Okay, except the tenth Sefira. But that's it. Thus, that’s why it’s called Lo Lishma.

But it is already such a Lo Lishma that a person can’t do more, that he discovers that deep down in his own flesh this is his nature and that he can’t help it. He can’t escape it. And then from the Lo Lishma he comes to Lishma.

Just as with the general correction when we are going to correction we then discover in that correction the correction of Galgalta ve Eynaim (GE), and then AHP de Aliyah. We only correct AHP de Aliyah, and then the stony heart is corrected. We need to correct the Galgalta ve Eynaim and AHP ( de Aliyah) , say those of the ninety-nine percent, and then the stony heart, the one percent. That’s what it says, that’s how it appears in us, even though we then come to understand what the stony heart is. Then you realize it is actually 99.99 per cent. The GE and the AHPde Aliyah is a pretty thin line in the area of the complete circle.

But one is similar to the other, meaning to the extent that you are able to, as it says, “whatever you can do by thy strength do,” which means you filled your cup of effort, and then the person enters.

That’s why a person cannot think that there is or that there can be a relinquishment here on the part of the Creator, that He will allow him to enter sanctity, Kedusha, from any situation. On the other hand, a person should be certain that in every situation, if he gives the right desire, he can cross the Machsom immediately, even if he just started learning yesterday, and enter this process. But it happens only on condition that the desires, the efforts, the will get corrected, as Baal HaSulam tells us in the letters, “for I am lovesick,” that there has to be a situation, where it doesn’t let him sleep, until only this goal stands before a person.

When a person comes to study normally, the Creator gives him that sensation, according to his small desire: that that’s the only thing that’s important. We feel it with beginners. But then he should express it on top of every desire of this world. And then a person begins to lower seemingly himself from the craving for spirituality. That’s why many leave the campaign. But in any case the demand to reach Lishma appears, and we’ll have to cross the Machsom.

Question: Can Ein Sof create any kind of corporeality? Will it be better to live in a world without good and bad?

Would it not be better to be in a world without good and bad? Then we couldn't determine anything, what’s without good and bad.

We are a sensing material. The Creator is the Giver. I am the one who feels what comes to me, what fills me. And the sensing one can only be when he is made of two discernments: plus and minus, more fulfillment, less fulfillment, which are interpreted in me as a little better or a little worse, or as good or bad, or a little worse or a little better. It’s also good and bad. It’s all relative.

There are no absolute good and bad. Well, they exist, but not in me presently. The absolute good and bad are either the Creator, the Unlimited Light that is in the third state, Gmar Tikkun (the final correction) in the world Ein Sof or the Light of Dvekut. It's not the Light that feels reality prior to Tzimtzum Aleph (the first restriction), but the Light that appears at the end with respect to the creatures. The Light is also there before Tzimtzum Aleph, but it’s not revealed to the creatures as the Light of completeness. It appears as such only in the third state. This is called the Good, the Absolute Good.

Or bad appears as darkness. But this darkness either appears with respect to the sensation, as it appeared then, prior to the Tzimtzum, or the darkness appears as darkness from my correct intention, where my intentions are to receive and not to bestow. And then I determine this as being darkness.

But in any case, in between, however we judge it, the creature cannot feel anything without having something opposite it. It can only feel in the gap between things, because it is not the first. He is the creature created by the Creator. If we can put it this way, in the Creator there is a sensation without a need, without a gap between the situations. There is the sensation by itself. And in Him it is completeness. He is complete in and of Himself.

A person is created as opposite from the Creator to reach completeness, and that’s why his completeness is built on deficiency. And the deficiency must remain and sustain above itself that wholeness. Otherwise the situation will disappear, as only darkness or only light without any contrast between them; and we wouldn’t know where we are. We can see only in the gap between situations.

Take whatever you want: some food, some salt and pepper. You have to have them otherwise you won’t feel anything. You can’t just have only bitter or only sweet. There’s no such thing. Those who prepare food know, well maybe they don’t know, but this is what we do naturally. We have to break every situation, even the best. Otherwise we won’t feel the flavors. Give a person everything he wants, he’ll just commit suicide. He’ll end his life because he will feel no taste.

Why do we have these examples? Why is it that in developed countries the percentage of suicides is so high? Because people don’t feel any taste.

Ask some resident in a village who’s working very hard. He enjoys life: he has some beer, he has friends over: “When you know more, you ache more.” There are many researches about it, too. I read an article that says that beyond a certain level of income, a person doesn’t feel that he is receiving more. They need to feel (the contrast.) You know rich people’s games? They hire a taxi, and for a day they play cab drivers. They need it.

The British have a whole culture around this, and an upbringing too. I was there at Oxford and other universities. The conditions they live in are very difficult. It’s like living in the army, where in the winter they have no hot water. Go and take a shower! It’s the same there. The benches they sit on, dishes and plates are from 200 years old, and that’s the nobility. And they pay tons of money to bring up their children in a very harsh way. Up until a short time ago you could beat up a child. You could whip a prince.

If a person loses the gap between the worst Kelim and the best Kelim in him, he loses the possibility to enjoy, to face, to feel life, to understand. It all comes as one opposite the other. That’s why it says that there’s no joy unless you resolve doubts.

It’s very difficult. It’s unclear why, what, at the level of thoughts, because you have corporeal desires: money, honor, knowledge. The knowledge is seemingly the highest level, where, if you have a question and you resolve it, that resolving, when you feel the great darkness, and you’ve reached some solution, that’s the real joy. And so without the question you won’t have it.

You might ask why it is like that. But if it weren’t like that there wouldn’t be a creature, only the Creator. In Him it is bestowal without deficiency.

Question: It turns out that if a person doesn’t feel right and left, the gap between them, he then doesn’t feel life?

Yes. That’s why, when a person rises, he doesn’t lose the previous degrees. That’s why Rabbi Shimon had to be Shimon from the market.

Let’s say that Rabbi Shimon is at the degree of Gmar Tikkun. And then he falls into the level of this world, or you might say that he goes from plus to minus, i.e. from the right to the left line. It doesn’t matter how you put it. But normally we picture it as falling into this world. That’s why it is called Shimon from the market. Shimon from the market is not in the Klipa. He is at the level of world, and from that state he reaches Gmar Tikkun. And he has to experience the gap between them.

Droving No. 1

That’s why until the last minute, until he actually reaches Gmar Tikkun, he has to experience life in this world. He has to be alive in this world, because otherwise what’s the basis upon which he receives these gaps, these degrees? He has each time to fall into the sensation of this world, detached from spirituality, from every attainment, from everything, as if he’s born anew every time. And over that gap is being built within him, the spiritual Kli.

We are creatures, created beings. We need the “as the Light excel of darkness.” It’s the only way we can feel ourselves, our existence and our state. Everything is only from one opposite the other.

That’s why in every act, in every situation, we build the new state. Before the correction, we say to remember the Exodus from Egypt, when we were in the Klipot and came out of them and reached some correction. Our basis is always corruption.

That’s why in every new degree, it always first appears as another part of the uncorrected desire, another layer of the 613 desires. In all we have 613 degrees that are either in the degree of Aviut Shoresh (root) that I correct, or 613 degrees that are on a deeper level of, say, Aviut Aleph that appears in me. But I always discover the minus, the deficiencies, the corruptions. Or you might call it the left line, the Klipot. And from them I begin the new degree. “A person can correct only what he has within,” the new corrupted Reshimot that appear.

Hence if we don’t see a person falling, but he constantly exists in the same way, we call him sacred still. He studies; he does everything, all the Mitzvot, meaning going through the motions. That is, he does what he was taught, but he does not progress. He only adds more days, more years. At ninety years old he is the same, as he was at Bar Mitzvah age. He didn’t ascend the degrees, because no new desires to cope with appeared in him through the wisdom of Kabbalah, which draws the Light that Reforms.

It's impossible draw the Light through another kind of study. (If a person studies it), he then feels the gap between himself and the Creator, and determines that he is wicked and wants slowly, through the study, to invest efforts in the group in order to be righteous. It means to immerse himself in the love of man to reach the love of God. If all these states don’t appear and are kept within a person, then he can’t do anything.

That’s why the greatest situations, the highest situations, keep within them the worst states.

I didn’t believe Rabash that’s what he was feeling. Fifty years back; every state, the most despicable states that he exp erienced—it all stays.

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