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Article "First Will Be the Correction of the World"

Shamati, Article #69
Lesson by Rav Michael Laitman, Bnei Baruch, Israel
October 4, 2006
Lecturer: Michael Laitman, PhD

We are reading from the book Shamati on page 98, Article 69, First Will Be the Correction

He said that first will be the correction of the world, then will be the complete redemption, the coming of the Messiah. This is the meaning of “but thine eyes shall see thy Teacher,” etc., “and the whole earth shall be full of the knowledge.” This is the meaning of what he wrote, that first the interior of the worlds will be corrected, and subsequently the exterior of the worlds. But we must know that the externality of the worlds is a higher degree than the correction of the internality.

'Said' meaning Baal HaSulam said that first, the world is corrected and then there is complete redemption. That's clear. It's because the whole of creation is the will to receive. In the beginning it was given to us in a corrupted form with the intention to receive. The substance of creation, the will to receive is unchanging, except for its intention and how to use the substance, which is called "egoistic in order to receive." And because of that, matter was distanced from the Creator in all five degrees in the full depth of the desires that exist in the matter. We have to correct how we use this matter, these desires, in order to bestow. In simple words it’s called "correct the actions from reception to bestowal, from unfounded hatred to the love of man, to love the Creator."

The Light, the Creator, the Thought of Creation, the principal existence, the Creators connection toward the creatures does not change. Thus to the extent the will to receive changes in its intention to bestow, to that extent, it feels similar to the Light. Its similarity to the Light is what it feels as filling. Therefore initially, there is a correction of the desire and then the sensation of redemption when it exits the state of first being controlled by the will to receive to the complete redemption, to bestowal.

In that correction there are two primary phases. First is the absorption of the intention to bestow, which is called "correction of Galgalta ve Eynaim, Katnut (smallness), internality." First, you have to acquire this attribute of bestowal. That’s called the "correction of Israel," which is when Israel corrects themselves. Israel doesn’t belong to creation. It’s the quality of bestowal, the intention to bestow, which is captive by the nations of the world, which are called the "desires to receive," the substance of creation. These intentions to receive are called "Israel in exile." They have to be corrected so as to be in order to bestow.

Afterward, through these intentions, we correct the use of the substance of creation itself, the desires. We use the substance of creation, the desires to receive. It’s called Aviut (coarseness) Gimel and Dalet in order to bestow and then it is certainly called "we come to implement the thought of creation." Because the important thing is the whole process of correcting the externality, the Aviut, the desires themselves. That’s why in the correction you first correct the internality, Israel and then through it the correction of the externality the nations of the world.

And the root of Israel is from the interior of the worlds. This is the meaning of “for ye were the fewest of all peoples.”

'Fewest' means that there’s no Aviut in the Kelim (vessels). Israel receives the Aviut during the breaking, during the integration with the nations of the world in order to be corrupted from the intention to bestow to the intention to receive and to 'ride' over the substance of the will to receive so there will be a connection between the intention and the substance. So we first correct the intention from ‘in order to receive,’ to ‘in order to bestow’ and then use it on the matter.

So the root of Israel is the internality of the world, which is the meaning of "But you were the fewest of all peoples." 'Fewest,' namely it rides over the Aviut of the Kelim. And certainly the Thought of Creation relates to the Kelim themselves.

However, by correcting the interior, the exterior is corrected, too, though in small pieces. And the exterior will be corrected every time (until many pennies accumulate into a great sum), until all the exterior is corrected.

The main difference between the internal and the external is, for example, when one performs a certain Mitzva, not all the organs agree to it. It is like a person who fasts. We say that only his interior agreed with the fast, but his exterior is feeling discomfort by the fast, since the body is always in opposition to the soul. Thus, the difference between Israel and the nations of the world should only be made concerning the soul; but concerning the body, they are equal: Israel’s body, too, cares only for its own benefit.

The desire wants fulfillment, and the intention is not important to it. In order to receive, in order to bestow is determined by the internality. The desire that relates to this intention is called "externality." The consent in the heart that should be in one’s correction has to be sensed in a person as the second nature. There’s no such thing as agreeing in the mind and disagreeing in the heart. Or the opposite, in the heart one agrees and the mind doesn’t or maybe the heart and the mind does, but the body doesn't or vise versa as it is written, "All my bones shall say."

The correction should come in such a way that all the degrees of the desire will work so that a person will not feel that he has any difficulty in making actions of bestowal in all of his levels, in the mind, in the heart and all kinds of actions that appear in him.

Of course, this change is impossible to do by a person, because a person can force himself in his mind or in his heart out of fear. Or he can convince himself to do something, that is worthwhile, because if it hadn’t been worthwhile, he wouldn’t do it. He can force himself to reach all kinds of internal, external actions but it is written that "There is no coercion in spirituality" that the correction must be in the full depth of the intention and the desire.

A person cannot make this kind of correction happen by himself. He doesn’t have the tools, the means to change his nature and this can only happen through the Light that Reforms. He submits to keep the means, and adds efforts every single time. Then each penny is accumulated into a large account and there is sufficient influence of the Light that Reforms so that it corrects a person.

But until the Light corrects him at some point after thousands of little efforts, until then a person feels that he is worse, more corrupted and farther away from corrections. Because he tries to correct himself every time but still hasn’t filled his cup and the Light that Reforms still hasn’t appeared. So he discovers more and more corruptions, when he tries to correct something new but he fails again and again. That’s why "A thousand go into a room and one comes out to teach." Because the way of Kabbalah is opposite from ordinary reason where according to the effort, the reward is instantaneous. A person knows that some reward, result is given according to what he tries to do.

But here, according to what he tries to do, according to his own reason there should be progress but instead, he feels the opposite, distance. That’s why it doesn’t fit his intellect and the person leaves this whole process. But when he understands that the Light that Reforms works only on the complete desire and the complete desire is the broken heart that a person discovers with his own powers when he’s not afraid to analyze himself, then the Light works and changes his nature.

Hence, when individuals in the whole of Israel are corrected, the whole world will naturally be corrected. It follows that the nations of the world will be corrected to the extent that we correct ourselves. This is the meaning of what our sages said, “Rewarded—sentences himself and the whole world to a scale of merit.” And they did not say, “sentences the whole of Israel,” but “the entire world to a scale of merit.” In other words, the internal will correct the external.

The important thing is the correction of the intention both when it is in Israel and when that intention is in the vessels of reception called the "nations of the world." That’s what should be corrected. You don’t correct the desires themselves; you only correct the intentions over the desires.

Therefore, we have to correct ourselves. And then to the extent that within Israel it is arranged, as Baal HaSulam explains at the end of the Introduction to the Zohar, that if one worries about the correction of the internality, the intentions, if one prefers that to keeping practical, physical Mitzvoth (commandments), then to the extent that one prefers one to the other, to that extent the internality rises over the externality. And then the whole order is arranged in all the degrees from up down: within Israel, among the great ones in Israel, the people of Israel, the nations of the world, the righteous of the nations of the world, abusers of the nations of the world.

The highest degree, that is, those who are engaged in the externality of the Torah in Israel, switched their engagement from externality to internality and instead engaged in Kabbalah to correct themselves, then by that, they would induce a correction in the whole pyramid of humanity and will bring the whole world to correction.

Of course the primary and the most decisive part are in those parts of Israel that engage in externality that will have to switch their engagement to internality. In order to compel them to do that, all the other parts, in and of themselves can hear what is important and demand and create external conditions so that that part in the people of Israel that engages in the externality of the Torah will change its engagement and engage in internality of the Torah as Baal HaSulam explains at the end of his Introduction to the Book of Zohar.

Question: Baal HaSulam says that first of all there’ll be the correction of the world but then he talks about internality of the world, Israel, and then the nations of the world. Isn’t it a contradiction here or maybe that’s a different dimension?

The articles of Shamati were talks by Baal HaSulam during meals with his students, so maybe the language is not that clean, especially when it is changed from oral to written. Rabash didn’t write it while he was hearing it. Usually it was after the meal; he would sit and write what he had heard during the meal. Just imagineyou’re hearing what I’m saying, (I’m not like Baal HaSulam of course, but still) look at the degree the student was in that he went after the meal and sat and wrote what his teacher had said. So perhaps, a connecting word is missing here and there. But we have to take into account that these essays are Shamati (I heard); they’re not articles written by the author who went over what was written, and signed every letter in its internal form.

We have to understand that besides the letters and the articles of Rabash, these are the only articles from Baal HaSulam in which the essence of internal work of a man—one who is willing to correct himself, that a desire an urge appeared in him—was given to us. Sometimes, there are such states where Baal HaSulam had to say a special phrase in the beginning to turn the conversation to his students. We have to take into account that from each article you can take out its essence, which is what he actually wanted to convey and perhaps the rest was influenced by the environment.

Question: We say that external actions through our hands and legs in our world have no meaning.

Only if these actions by hands and legs talk about a summary of a persons decisions. What do the actions themselves, which I do with my hand, indicate? They indicate that I have decided that this act is worthwhile for me either as an escape from pain or acquisition of pleasure. Otherwise I wouldn’t be able to move my hand. Why did I decide that it was worth it? Here, there is a question. Is it either in order to receive or in order to bestow? From the outside you can’t see it. A person does some actions. Are they in order to receive or in order to bestow? It doesn’t matter which actions he does by hands and legs.

It's as if someone is lying in the middle of the street, shaking his arms and legs. You don’t know what he wants. You can’t say anything about a person, what happens to him inside, which calculations he has. Of course, there are calculations but in the end, are the calculations for his own good or for the Creator’s good, for humanity’s good, because it’s the same: they are outside of his own body, outside of his own desires. That's what's important.

So they say that those who think about external actions, hands and legs, that they the most important thing to keep, this is called engaging in externality. Then his attention has to be meticulous in every external act.

Those who think about why they do it—either for self-benefit in this world or the next world, to be happy, so my kids will be healthy, so I will make some money, to succeed in something—and performs every Mitzvah meticulously, this is still called an uncorrected form. Because he does things on the outside, his intentions are to gain for himself.

Of course, if he does these acts, they keep him in some framework, in some habit. They build out of him a clear form of a person, that those are his concerns and direction in life. But the Torah requires that we rise from our intentions to receive called "egoism," "unfounded hatred," whereby we worry only about ourselves (‘only for ourselves’ means that it is at someone’s expense, that I want to use it to exploit everyone for my own good), so that from that we will switch to the intention to bestow called 'love of man,' or 'love the Creator,' because the Creator is also 'other' from us. And then when a person does external acts they will be like a framework in life to him.

For the time being, it is good if a person does them and keeps doing them because it keeps him in a framework that he’s used to and around it he can test what he does, and why. But certainly, the important thing is a correction of the heart, which is called the "internality."

It's impossible to know from the outside what a person's intention is when he performs actions in his life towards society or towards himself. So the means or the way to change the intention from in order to receive meaning for himself, to benefiting his fellowman, which is called "in order to bestow," that change is very, very difficult for a person. One cannot do it; one is only required to do the preparation.

If he really puts his heart into making this change happen, then the change itself happens through the Light that Reforms, the Light that created the desire. The Light, which created the intention over the desire to receive can also change this intention to be in order to bestow. That’s what we should engage in. This is why we were given the Torah whose Light reforms. That is the whole power of the Torah.

We should engage in books that talk about spirituality, about the states in which a person is corrected, with his intentions to bestow. If a person pays attention and wants to reach these states to be in bestowal to his fellowmen, then he begins to demand in the study the cure so the Light will come to him and reform him. It will stir him outside of himself toward humanity, toward the Creator. If he has that demand and it repeats itself again and again during the study (it's possible only during the study, while reading books that talk about corrected states), then slowly, when he wants it to happen, he will make an effort and that draws sufficient Light that Reforms, which changes his intention.

Question: Where is the sin of a person who pictures a completely abstract image of the Creator and engages in the Torah according to the rules?

The sin is that a person pictures an image of the Creator, "do not picture a statue or create an image." There is no Creator outside of the creature. The Creator is my corrected form, which I can imagine. And it can't exist outside of the creature. The Creator is the attribute of bestowal, which the creature receives at all the degrees. And the Creator changes every time. The Creator comes from the words "come and see:" correct yourself, come and feel this new quality of yours, your new desire, bestowal, the love that you have for others. This in fact is the Creator.

G-d forbid you should imagine the Creator outside of a person. We learn about this in the Preface to the Book of Zohar that we should not engage in the abstract, meaning, say a single word or have image in an abstract form. We should only engage in substance, the will to receive, in the form clothed in matter. The Creator is what appears to us in the Kli (vessel). Outside of our Kli nothing appears and nothing is felt.

Therefore, a person should not even imagine the Creator as something outside of him. It is his own corrected form, his own corrected quality, his own corrected intention, the love that is created in him as a result of the correction. "Come and see," meaning come and discover within you—that’s the Creator, when the Creator is dressed in the corrected vessels of a person.

That’s the only way to discover. That’s the only thing we should wait for and not for anything external, outside of a person. Outside of us there is nothing, including Upper worlds, spirituality. Everything is within a person, within the Kli of the soul or Malchut de Ein Sof. You can put it however you want because names don’t change anything here.

Question: What’s so special about those who engage in the Torah compared to the rest of the world that seemingly believes in some abstract Creator? Why aren’t they considered as harming and bringing all the destruction and disaster to the world? They picture the Creator as something outside of them. What’s so special about them?

To answer this question, we have to go back to the roots. What the Creator created is a desire to enjoy and this desire to enjoy is the whole of creation. In order to give the desire to enjoy some connection to Himself, He developed it to the degree where this will to enjoy begins to feel Who gives it pleasure.

I feel that there is someone who wants to delight me. From that, I begin to feel that He loves me and then I begin to feel that I only want to receive from Him and use Him. From this, I begin to feel that He gives, He thinks only of me and I am the opposite. I start to reveal it one measure corresponding to the other measure; the darkness, the Kli opposite the Light, the Creator.

Then within the will to receive there begins to form some connection to that source, to one’s own source. The source of its liveliness, vitality and pleasure, sensation and understanding, it all comes from something that preceded it. That’s what it begins to attain, as we learned in the four phases of the Direct Light.

Then as a result, there comes the sensation that it feels very bad, negative from the Giver. Why? First of all, it discovers the Giver is complete, and itself as incomplete because it depends on the Giver. Second, it discovers that the Giver is eternal, whole because He is independent of anything. Why? Because His quality is such that nothing can harm Him. Beyond that, he discovers that the desire of the Giver is only to give. The pleasure of the Giver is only for the creature, to have pleasure from Him, like the law of love, that the lover wants the loved one to enjoy from the lover.

From all these sensations that the creature experiences it begins to feel how despicable it is compared to the quality of bestowal. And that sensation is called shame. It is not shame as in our world for being caught doing something unpleasant, whereby we feel ashamed. (If we hadn’t been caught, we wouldn’t be ashamed.) Here, it is the discovery of the quality of the creature compared to the Creator. (For the time being, we us, this might be with respect to others.) But from that sensation the creature begins to crave to change himself.

And then it discovers that to change itself. "Itself" remains, the creature is unable to erase himself even though he would like to, he can’t do that, he can only work with that sensation of shame, which appear in him. That’s why the Tzimtzum (Restriction) was only in Behina Dalet (Phase Four) and not in the Tet Rishonot (Upper Nine), in the first three Behinot.

This is why the creature takes all of the discernments of how the Creator relates to him in TetRishonot, the first three Behinot and wants to adopt them. Not so that Behina Dalet will be as it came out but so it will be like Keter, like the Creator. This is the goal that it sets for itself. Otherwise, it can’t exist, and it can’t sustain itself and continue to feel the shame.

Therefore the change is not in the desire itself, in the substance of creation, which is the Behina Aleph (Phase One) of the desire. But the change is in all the Sefirot, all the qualities that it feels as the qualities of the Giver as it adopts them to itself in such a way that they become its own qualities. This is all that it decides.

The creature feels the previous qualities before the desire, which are the qualities of the Creator, they are within the raw desire as Behinot Shoresh, Aleph, Bet and Gimel. And when it attains the Creator's bestowal, these discernments of bestowal are called "Israel." It acquires them; it wants to acquire and to work with them. In order to really acquire them over the substance of the creature each desire within it must be mixed with these qualities, with these intentions because they are qualities from the perspective of the Creator. From the perspective of the creature, they are intentions, additions and directives as to how its own substance should work. So that every desire in the creature be incorporated with these intentions to bestow, there has to be a breaking here, mixing between the substance of creation, the desire, and the intentions.

This is why in the beginning, we receive all of our own desires with intentions to receive. First, we have to correct the Tet Rishonot, the intentions to be in order to bestow. This is called exiting this world to the Upper system, the pure and impure worlds of BYA ( Beria, Yetzira and Assiya). Right now we’re results from impure BYA here in this world. So, we have to go above it, in between those two systems and there begin to correct the intentions. That’s the process we go through.

Question (cont'd): What is special about Israel who engages in externality compared to those who call themselves believers in the Upper Force?

What we now call Israel after the breaking is not the Israel that we are talking about, the qualities of bestowal. These are already qualities of bestowal incorporated with vessels of reception and corrupted along with them and that fell to a state of in order to receive. But in Israel, their internality means that their intention is the most important and the desire is added to the intention. And in other Kelim called the "nations of the world" the desires are the main thing and the intention is added to it because they were mixed with the Tet Rishonot, Upper Nine during the breaking. And that’s called "Israel going out to exile."

It might be clearer if it’s explained historically. The Torah tells us, in the beginning there was one nation, Babylon. From that nation there was one man, an ancient Babylonian, who discovered the intention to bestow, Godliness, he was called "Abraham." He organized a group of people who also wanted to cultivate in themselves, that intention to bestow. That created a big group of Kabbalists that became large enough to be called a "nation," although there is no such nation among the nations as it is written in the Torah, "It’s not a nation." And here too, it is written that "You are the fewest among all people." So, it’s not a nation, it’s just an intention, they carry the knowledge, the means for the correction of the world.

The whole world continues to evolve through egoism and the people of Israel evolved through the intention that developed in them. Every time the will to receive grew, they were accordingly strengthening their intention to bestow. It continued until the ruin of the FirstTemple. There came a time when Israel had to be mixed with all the nations. So they lost this intention to bestow and with intention to receive (as it is written). They switched from "Love thy friend as thyself" as Rabbi Akiva taught his disciples. All of his twenty four thousand students fell to the level of unfounded hatred and by that, they caused the ruin of the whole nation.

Consequently, that group of Kabbalists fell from the internal spiritual degree to the external degree and thus, it became like all the nations. That’s why that state is called "exile" and they left the land of Israel because corporeality follows spirituality. In spirituality Eretz (Land) is the desire and Israel, straight to God, is the intention to bestow. So, they went abroad exiled because in spirituality they lost their intention and therefore in corporeality they went out of Israel. They had to because the root determines what happens in the branch and if it happens in spirituality, it also happens in corporeality. As a result, they were mixed with the nations and they did as they needed to do.

By that, they gave all the wisdom that they could develop to the nations of the world and the nations of the world gave Israel the egoism that was in them. When the mixture was complete, which happened as Kabbalists determined around about the 20th century, then after this mingling came the time of correction. In the time of correction the group of Kabbalists must first of all elevate itself from this corrupted state of exile to a corrected state and then in so doing, correct the nations of the world too. The whole breaking, the fall, the ruin and the exile only happened so as to be connected with the nations of the world and to correct them.

The nations of the world in and of themselves, without the mixture of the intention of Israel in them, cannot correct themselves, as it is written, "The Creator walked among all nations and wanted to present them the Torah but no one wanted to receive it." The Kelim themselves could not directly correct themselves through the Light that Reforms. In order to draw the Light that Reforms, the Kelim have to have an intention that "I want" this correction and I hope He will help us to want it. When I feel like a critically ill person and I open the book with thirst, I don’t care what I read as long as I get this cure quick. Otherwise, that’s it, I’m dead. I can’t stand myself in this corrupted form, it just burns me like death.

If a person feels this way, the Light works on him and corrects him, puts the intention to bestow in him. But to want it a person should be integrated with Israel, with the intention to receive and feel the corrupted Israel, how much it is in order to receive. This is why there should be integration between Israel and the nations of the world. This is why the nations of the world cannot receive the Torah to begin with; they feel no connection to it. Within them there has to be the corrupted intention so as to feel that I am the opposite from the Creator and to want to be corrected.

In the meantime, Israel went through this whole process and the nations of the world evolved egoistically. Now, even though the intention to receive was given to the nations of the world through the exile, in and of themselves, they cannot correct themselves but only want correction to some extent. Now the nations of the world also have that division into externality and internality. Their internality is called the righteous among the world and their externality is the opposite, the detrimental ones, the destructors. If it hadn’t been for Israel that was mixed in the nations of the world, they wouldn’t be that bad, they wouldn’t receive in order to receive, they wouldn’t have this intention.

That’s why it is written that "Calamity comes to the world only because of Israel." And in themselves they cannot correct themselves; they can only want the correction to some extent. But the correction itself should come from Israel that is integrated with the nations of the world during the exile. And now, upon this integration they must bring themselves back to the corrected state. The part of Israel in them called internality of Israel must first correct itself and then the externality of Israel will be corrected. The externality of Israel is connected to the righteous among the nations of the world in the internality in the nations of the world. The externality in the nations of the world will be corrected only at Gmar Tikkun (the end of correction).

That’s the order, but with many more details. Until the internality is corrected, the externality must put pressure on it, make it want and feel the necessity of the correction. This is why Baal HaSulam says that there must also be an apparent expansion of the wisdom of Kabbalah at some extent among the nations of the world even before Israel is corrected. That will force Israel to correct, that will bring them to Jerusalem, as it is written in Isaiah. That the externality will still demand the correction from the internality so the nations of the world will feel that they need the Torah to some extent. Then it’ll be easier for Israel to do their task as the chosen people.

There are a lot more details here. There are three lines and the mixture and the wars, integration, correction but that’s the process. So that group of Kabbalists that fell from spirituality must return to spirituality and correct itself and cause the correction of the world.

Question: After this long process Baal HaSulam writes, “Rewarded—sentences himself and the entire world to a scale of merit.” Why awarded? It seems to be something was given free.

Why? Doesawarded mean free? Is that how it is in ordinary words? He still made an effort. The only question is, was he awarded or not awarded? There is no clear connection between what you did and what you received. You’re awarded a prize. Perhaps you worked very hard and that’s the reward. But they say it’s a prize because it’s not just a reward that’s accepted by people. It’s something respectable, very special that’s separates you. Perhaps, like in Kabbalah, awarded means purified. You corrected yourself and according to the size of your Masach (screen), within the purity that you received in your Kelim you felt the quality of bestowal, the Light. And this is called being awarded according to the purity you have acquired.

A person uses his corrupted Kelim, which he wants to correct. Correspondingly, he receives the Light that Reforms, which turns him around and that completely changes his nature so, "I labored and found." Because I can work but I don’t directly make the correction, I don’t attain spirituality. I do all kinds of things here in this world, in my corrupted desires and suddenly, something new lands on me, a whole new world, a new sensation, a new life; everything is new. There is no connection; I didn’t even know in advance what might happen. That’s why it’s called "I labored and found," not I labored and won or bought. So, in this reward or being awarded there’s also the finding, meaning, it’s not like direct continuation between what a person does and what he receives.

Question: For the internality of Israel to correct themselves, accordingly, the externality of the nations of the world has to demand it of them? As Baal HaSulam said that those who engage in the externality of the Torah should demand those who engage in the internality of the Torah.

It would seem to be yes. But we have to understand that externality can’t demand the way that internality can. First, externality is far heavier, harder and you can’t ask of it as from the corrupted internality. Secondly, we have to understand that Israel themselves are intended to correct the world.

That’s why in every detail when they correct themselves, they have to actually make sure these corrections will be for the entire world because to begin with, they were meant for that. It means that from now on, from the beginning of the way a person who is going to correct himself, he must know the whole way, what is before him, what he does with his actions to the world.

And he should be responsible and want it to happen. He must understand that his own correction is actually intended eventually for the whole world. And if he doesn’t place before him that purpose, it’s not considered a complete intention. He must reach the intention to correct himself as an element from the whole of Israel so the whole of Israel will be corrected; so it’ll be mixed with the whole world and correct the whole world in such a way that everyone will be as one group and the Kli for the inspiration of Divinity, so that the Creator, while filling the Kli of the creature, will be revealed in that.

This intention becomes clearer afterwards inside. That’s the internality of attaining the Thought of Creation in the creature and adhesion with Him, the sensation of life, caaled the Torah of Life that should be revealed in it. But these are the things that a person starts to understand later on, what else exists inside, joins naturally, within this intention.

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