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Article "There is a Discernment of the Next World and There is a Discernment of This World"

Shamati, Article #75
Lesson by Rav Michael Laitman, Bnei Baruch, Israel
October 10, 2006
Lecturer: Michael Laitman, PhD

We are reading in the book Shamati, Article #75, There is a Discernment of the Next World and There is Discernment of This World.

There is a discernment of “the next world,” and there is a discernment of “this world.” The next world is considered “faith,” and this world is considered “attainment.”

It is written about the next world, “they shall eat and they shall delight,” meaning that there is no end to the satiation. This is so because everything that is received by faith has no limits. However, what is received through attainment already has limits, since everything that comes in the Kelim of the lower one, the lower one limits it. Hence, there is a limit to the discernment of this world.

Baal HaSulam explains to us in the Introduction to theTalmud Eser Sefirot and in other places that this world and the next world are not as people think. They think this world is where we live now, in our body, and the next world is when we leave our body and go to some other place, some other dimension. They think that there is a different environment or atmosphere called the “next world.”

From the perception of reality, we learn that everything we feel is felt within our Kelim (vessels). Outside of our Kelim there is Atzmuto (His Essence), a root to what we feel, which we never attain. We cannot attain outside of ourselves, just within and only within our five physical senses or five spiritual senses.

And the sensation is one which has no time in it, whether before life, after life, before death, after birth, or whatever. We can only talk about the desire we feel inside—it feels whatever it feels. The fact that we identify with this desire at every moment and we’re attached to it gives us the sensation of our present vitality. So that’s how we divide the state into “now” and “later.” But it is actually only subjective with respect to the individual.

The reality which is perceived in the desire, that which is the substance of creation, that which was created, which is the entire creature, is divided into what is felt now—knowing, attaining in the Kelim, in the desires that are scrutinized—and the reality that is felt as what is next. We can only talk about that reality. Because this is what’s inside of the Kli (vessel), according to the measure of the correction of the Kli, “the judge has only what his eyes see.”

So what is the reality that we feel as “next”? How can we feel what will be? We feel what will be because there is a connection between the Partzufim. The system, the ladder of degrees, was built from above downward, and a part of the Upper One is within a part of the lower one. When we go back up the ladder, we have the present state, which is what we receive in our Kelim according to the correction in our Kelim, in its realistic attained form. It is we who construct this picture out of our 613 desires, where each desire is in some measure of equivalence with the abstract Upper Light. The sum of all these desires, their impressions from the quality of bestowal, builds a picture in us, the picture of reality.

Reality is our measure of equivalence with the abstract Light, and that’s what we perceive. If that measure of equivalence is already in our Kelim that are corrected for it, it is considered here and now or “this world.” If the picture that is depicted in us is a picture of qualities that still need to be corrected, how can we picture anything in them?

We are able to build the picture because our correction is divided into two phases. The correction of the Kelim from “in order to receive” to “in order to bestow” is called purity. And then we are filled with the attainment of reality called the Light of Hassadim (mercy), which is still not knowingness, only the correction of the Kelim. But already within it we attain not with a clear attainment in the Kelim, but what is called “in the future” of the Kelim of the Upper One, connection to the Upper One.

It is like the little one is attached to the big one; just like a fetus in its mother’s womb. We can express all of these forms as impressions from adhesion, from integration in the big one. Life is in all these forms, just like we have in our lives: fetus, suckling, a little one, an old one, or a woman. As in our lives, all these forms of desires to receive are times when a person doesn’t attain, cannot work, make an effort and accordingly attain the world. But one can attain it by being dependent, by relying on someone else. That’s a form that precedes clear attainment, greatness. It’s called “perception of the next world.”

As mentioned, the perception is in the Light of Hassadim, in the annulment of the lower one with respect to the Upper One. We talk about it as Gadlut (adulthood) of the first kind as we learn in the world of Nekudim. That only the vessels of bestowal, Galgalta ve Eynaim (GE) , of the lower one are in adhesion with the AHP (Auzen, Hotem and Peh) of the Upper One, and thus attain something of the Upper One.

Afterwards, from this adhesion to the Upper One in the vessels of bestowal alone, comes the ascent to the Upper One with the vessels of reception of the lower one. And then the lower one becomes like the Upper One, and what it had attained previously as the “next world,” it now attains as its “this world.”

That’s how we always pass from one state to another. That which I attain in vessels of bestowal, in Galgalta ve Eynaim, is the “next world.” And then I correct my AHP and attain the same degree as a veritable attainment and this is called my “this world.” So, again, we have the “next world” – “this world,” the “next world” – “this world,” and that’s how we progress through the ladder of degrees.

Question: What is this Upper One that we adhere to? Who is it?

It is called Boreh (the Creator), from the term Bo-reh (come and see). Anything that’s higher than me, maybe after each of a thousand degrees, is called Creator. I don’t know who the Creator actually is. I have no attainment in it, no understanding. I can not even picture anything beyond a degree that is a little higher than me that I somehow guess, attain, and in some way know.

Any higher degree is called Creator with respect to the lower one, because in the descent of the Partzufim and worlds from Above downward, the Upper degree, the Upper Partzufgave birth to the lower Partzuf, so it’s truly called its Creator. This Upper One was made of Malchut de Ein Sof. After the Tzimtzum (restriction) and decision to reach the Thought of Creation through the Masach (screen), Malchut de Ein Sof began to evolve and became divided into many degrees: five worlds, 125 Partzufim, or degrees, from the world Ein Sof (Infinity) to this world.

Each higher degree begets a lower degree, and that’s how the connection between them is made. There are several other forms of connection between them. And we who are in this world, this corporeal world, should go back up from one degree to another until we reach the world Ein Sof. And we have to do it here, in our state, where we feel ourselves alive in this corporeal world.

And the ascent in the degrees is so that if I’m at a certain degree, I feel the higher degree like my own Creator, and I gradually begin to know it. First, I know it as the next world, which is unattained, but I feel it to some extent in my vessels of bestowal. When I already have the vessels of bestowal, then I’m annulled towards that degree, I’m integrated in it, like a seed in the womb and I develop in it, in the Upper One. And what I feel in it, in my vessels of bestowal, is called the next world.

In the next world there are very many states, such as the nine months of pregnancy or two years of Yenika (suckling), as we learn in spirituality. Or up to the thirteen years of age, when the lower one develops until it attains the Upper One in its vessels of bestowal. And then, when it develops all its vessels of bestowal, which is called “finished its youth,” then it begins to resemble the Upper One in its vessels of reception, to be actually like the Upper One. This is called rising to the degree of the Upper One and gradually becoming like the Upper One. In that too, there are many degrees, up to seventy states, degrees, called seventy years of a person.

So, one completes the degree, and before him there is the next degree, which he also attains in Ibur (impregnation), Yenika (suckling) and Mochin (adulthood). And that’s how it continues every time. Every time he ascends to some degree, he is considered to have entered into his “this world.” And when he acquires that degree and begins to acquire a higher degree, then he begins to acquire his “next world.” Afterwards, when he acquires that higher degree GE, and begins to rise with the AHP toward it, it’s considered, that this “next world” becomes for him, his “this world,” and so on.

So you have 125 degrees or 125 incarnations from below upward. One stay in each degree is called an incarnation, a person’s life. Then, when he goes from one degree to another, he becomes separated from the previous degree. It’s called death. He is dead to the previous state and ascends to a higher degree. There is a gap between the degrees where he must completely replace his ten Sefirot, his HaVaYaH, and he receives a new Partzuf. It’s called death of the previous state and life in the new state.

And thus he progresses until he reaches Ein Sof. When he corrects all of his Kelim and all his 125 degrees he went through, they all connect together into one attainment called Ein Sof, unlimited,where there is nothing more to correct, then there is no “next world” or “this world.” Everything becomes one reality, because it’s the full, complete attainment of the Creator.

The Creator then appears as Light that fills him without any limitation. Without any limitation means that the entire person’s Kelim are in equivalence with this Light and attain it in its fullest form, in the way the Light created the Kli. That’s how the Kli in reverse attains the Light, according to what it received, when it was created by the Light. Now it realizes itself in return, to the fullest.

Question: Is there an Upper One, something that I can feel as if I am an infant before it, prior to reaching spirituality?

Before spirituality, a person in this world doesn’t picture to himself that there is anything at all. He may believe people who told him there is something. It’s called popular faith, religions.

We’re not talking about that because we’re only speaking from within the correction of the Kelim and the attainment within the corrected Kelim. And we do not talk about what a person imagines or was told by people who also imagine.

The wisdom of Kabbalah is a science. It doesn’t deal with what you imagine. It deals with what you attain realistically within your Kelim. It means that you research your emotions, what you’re made of, the mind and the heart. The heart is all of your sensations; the mind is how you criticize the emotions and direct them because our nature is to feel. And when I delve in the scrutiny of who I am, and what I am, what I am integrated with, what I am made of, how I feel, how I think, what my perception of reality is made of, my world—then who I am and what I feel is my whole picture about me and my world.

And I try to know it not from the subjective me, personally, but to see it as something objective, scientifically, regardless of me. So this whole business—all those impressions, investigations and observations—are in fact the subject matter of the wisdom of Kabbalah. That’s why this wisdom never engages in what you imagine.

According to the law that “the judge has only what his eyes see,” you don’t know by a name or a word anything that you don’t attain. You speak only from within your attainment in the Kelim, within your corrected Kelim in such way that you can feel discernments beyond the corporeal, egoistic, natural will to receive with which you exist.

The wisdom of Kabbalah primarily researches desires that are corrected to be able to feel beyond what desires naturally feel. For us, it is called hidden for now. This is why what we attain in the wisdom of Kabbalah, what we research and feel, is called the wisdom of the hidden with respect to an ordinary person. But for a Kabbalist, it is called the wisdom of the revealed because it is revealed to him through the research he performs. The Kli of the research is he himself.

So, that’s how we attain the real picture of reality. And we don’t deal with “I imagine, I believe,” in the sense that it is accepted in this corporeal world. The researchers of Kabbalah stay completely away from all the philosophies, even the abstract forms of all sorts, which in the past used to be clothed in matter and then came out of their clothing, their Kelim. Even about that we are forbidden to talk. We may talk only of form clothed in matter. All the more so, we don’t deal with things we can’t picture even in abstract form. Unlike the way religions do, picturing all kinds of things that come to a person in a form that is totally fantastic imagination. The most accurate science there is—the wisdom of Kabbalah—can’t engage in this.

Question: What does “it’s not easy to satiate” mean?

It means literally that you can only reach the real picture through corrections.

Question: Can we say that the next world is the abstract form, and this world is form clothed in matter?

No. Form clothed in matter is what we attain now. It is the form of bestowal, which is clothed in our matter, in the will to receive. The will to receive corrected itself to a certain form of bestowal. It’s called form clothed in matter. Once the form is clothed in matter, we can use our imagination to imagine it as if it is not clothed in matter, but this is after it is clothed in matter.

We always talk about the form that is clothed in matter as “this world.” The next world can’t be in the abstract form. The next world for us is the next degree, which I haven’t attained in my vessels of reception but I already feel it. I am already subordinate to it to some extent. I belong to it with my vessels of bestowal, in GE. I can picture the form that was clothed in matter in me as abstract form by using my imagination, yet it is the previous one that was clothed in matter. But I am forbidden to engage in the condition where it is not clothed in matter, because then it is not considered science. It is imagination, and I don’t know how you can talk about form detached from matter.

The form that is not clothed in matter is something ideal. It’s like the Creator without clothing in the creature. You can talk about it and picture it however you want; there is no justification to say anything about it. That’s why the sages of Kabbalah do not accept these discernments at all, from the very beginning.

That’s the whole problem of philosophy. They start to build all kinds of assumptions according to forms abstracted from matter, approximations of what will be, what could be, through analysis and synthesis. And then you end up with apparent results where it is clear that you depended at the beginning as if on the right basis, where it once used to be clothed in matter, but you became distanced from this connection between form and matter. And then you reach conclusions that are completely unrealistic. And this is called philosophy.

That’s why Kabbalah and philosophy are two investigations where the forms of research do not ever converge. Philosophy is entirely imagination; Kabbalah is entirely within the Kelim that are corrected and it is spoken only out of that.

Question: Is there a sensation of the next degree for those who are below the barrier? And if there is, what is it?

When we are below the Machsom (barrier), we are still under double concealment and single concealment. Baal HaSulam describes the degrees in the Introduction toTalmud Eser Sefirot. Below the Machsom, there is a double concealment and single concealment when a person experiences states called sins and mistakes. Is there a sensation of this world and the next world in them, to some extent? Certainly not the way we talk about it here.

While I’m under concealment, just from the name itself, the term concealment, I can never imagine the next state; it always arrives as a surprise for me. It is specifically these hardest, most confused states that suddenly afford me great gain, some illumination, some new feeling, attainment. It’s usually like that. “Light excels from within darkness.”

Yet on this path of concealment there is something called the path of Torah. As it is written, “ Torah defends and protects one, when one engages in it and also when one does not engage in it.” There is a kind of process that I experience in something that is known to me where I can already somehow picture what will probably be the next steps, states.

But as Baal HaSulam says here, for me to actually feel the next world, meaning my own higher degree, in my vessels of bestowal, when I am like a child, who knows the adult and the life of the adult, can’t understand it in my Kelim, can’t live in it, but actually am somehow in it—this can’t be until we cross the Machsom (barrier), acquire the Masach (the screen) , and through the Masach we are to some extent in adhesion with the Upper Degree. If we are still in concealment about the next states, it is impossible. It’s like guessing. And from experience we already know that this guess is usually incorrect.

Well, you might say yes, after the confusion, and the decline, and everything there will be a state of scrutiny and ascent, corrections in something and then probably again. But other than that, it is not considered attaining the next degree or state where you can say that this is my next world.

Question: When we are in a state of the greatness of the Gadlut (adulthood) of the degree, is the “next world” the cancellation before the next degree? It was said before that “this world” is when we are in a state of the smallness of the degree and that Gadlut, the attainment of AHP, is the “next world” when the Gadlut of the degree already exists. Is the “next world” the annulment before the next degree?

You attain the next degree only in your vessels of bestowal. You can’t understand it, feel it as it is itself. You feel it only in vessels of annulment toward it, where you join your GE with the AHP of the Upper One. It’s called Gadlut of Bina Aleph (adulthood of the first kind). It is similar to Gadlut de Bina Aleph which we study as it happened in the world of Nekudim, when the AHP of the Upper One is complemented with your GE.

With what do you complement? With respect to you, you complement it; you use the AHP of the Upper One with something. But what can you receive from the AHP of the Upper One? You can only receive according to your Kelim, according to your vessels of bestowal, like a little one. He receives from the Upper One as much as he needs for his own little life. This is not the attainment of the Upper One. It is simply in order to study the Upper One, to gradually receive from it such bestowals that will help you correct your AHP, to be similar to His AHP. And then you really rise to His degree, state, and that’s all.

It’s similar to all the phases of the evolution that we experience in growing up in our world. I am annulled with respect to that above, with respect to my parents, society, environment, in kindergarten, in school, in university in all these states. By canceling myself I receive from them powers, understandings and help and thus become like them.

Question: Why does he call this the next state and not the state that he attains now in his Kelim?

He doesn’t attain the state of the Upper One yet in his present Kelim. He only learns from the Upper One how to be like Him. He is willing to cancel himself with respect to the Upper One so that in the future he will acquire the same state. It’s called that he is about to acquire the “next world,” that’s it.

Question: What exactly is faith below the barrier?

In Kabbalah when you study articles, letters, all the more so Talmud Eser ha Sefirot, there is no such term as “faith” as it is here in our world. In our world, faith is when someone tells me something and I take what he told me as a fact. I don’t attain it in my Kelim at all. He tells me there is something there, and what he tells me is enough for me and I live accordingly. Anyone can tell anyone whatever they want this way. There are many rumors, beliefs in the world, because a person does not attain ones own existence in forms other than this life, the way we are in it right now. Then he accepts what he is told about all sorts of forms of existence of another kind, another type.

Is there any truth to them? How do you know whether yes or no? Kabbalah as a science absolutely does not accept this approach. Like any science, it is according to the law that “a judge has only what his eyes see.” The meaning of eyes is that it is a clear, strong, reliable attainment. Vision is the most reliable of all our senses. In courthouses, too; everywhere, it is not idly said: judge. There are always eyewitnesses in the court, not hearing witnesses or anything else. Did you see? That’s how you question the person, the witness. So that’s why we rely only on that.

What people in our world imagine about forms of existence when a person is rid of this life is imaginary, fictitious form, without any connection to the truth.. First of all, this is because we can’t even picture it to ourselves. At present we don’t have the Kelim with which to picture the form of existence of a person without our five senses.

Because our whole lives, everything we can feel right now, understand, picture, and imagine, it is all within our five senses. We can’t imagine anything beyond that. Even if you build the most imaginary picture, it will still be made of elements, the items that you feel in the five senses. And because these five senses belong to our biological body, the flesh and blood body, when that body doesn’t exist, these forms don’t exist in our perception.

What does exist? What does exist is what a person receives in his raw desire, bare of flesh and blood, of this body. This is what we learn in the wisdom of Kabbalah. A person can attain these forms of existence, those not of the body, if he identifies with his desires without the bodies, without the corporeal. And the wisdom of Kabbalah deals specifically with that; that is its topic: how to bring a person to a state where he identifies not with his body but with his desires, in and of themselves without the body. What he will feel in them will be the real picture. Not the little, limited picture we feel right now, but the real picture of his existence, without connection to the life or death of this body.

So that’s why the wisdom of Kabbalah has no connection with popular faith or religions, as they picture this world and the next world. Baal HaSulam explains it very nicely in the essay Body and Soul. In The Essence of Religion and its Purpose, he also explains what the wisdom of Kabbalah says about a person’s goal, what he should attain in his life: that a person was created in our limited form, so that from that limitation he can come, see, feel and experience his life without any connection to whether it is clothed or unclothed in a body. It’s called the eternal life, which does not change. Through the wisdom of Kabbalah, when we reach the perception of the true reality that is independent of our body, then we see that world, meaning that perception, and we don’t care about our lives, if it is in this body or not in this body.

That’s why a Kabbalist, you might say, passes from this biological life to death and from death to life without any change in his perception of reality. Nothing changes for him. In his sensation and attainment he is in the same state either in the biological body or outside of it. Because for him, his body doesn’t constitute some vessel, a house, in which he exists and that’s it. He exits his five senses into five Sefirot.

Question: How is that detachment done? People will say that to be detached from the five senses is Buddhism.

A person isn’t detached from the five senses. He remains in the five senses, he lives in them. He has his family, his life, his work; he performs his function in this world. Beyond this, he feels a reality that is not limited to the Kelim of our five senses, those in which he perceives the picture of this world.

He’s got a truer picture beyond this. It is like an adult who feels how he sees the world and how a child sees the world. These are two forms of perception in the adult. He can play with the child, at the child’s degree, the level of perception of the little one. And at the same time he can be at his degree, in his perception, understanding connections, the reasons and the results.

And there are no reasons and results for the little one. These things don’t exist; he’s got his own little world. He doesn’t have any more questions than that about what is there. In a similar way, the Kabbalist attains as though two worlds. One doesn’t interfere with the other; there is no opposition, no collision between these two pictures. They are clothed one in the other. On the contrary, in this form of perception he can realize himself in the most corrected way with respect to others, in which he is with them in reciprocal perception, common perception, like a grown-up toward a little one. He can descend to the degree of the little one and at that degree bring support, learning, and education to the little one to bring him up to his own degree.

This is why one who lives in both these states, the eternal state and the corporeal state, is a great asset to this world. Only he can bring the right education to this world so that the whole world ascends to the spiritual degree, to the purpose of creation. If you follow him, then you enter the real process that you have to experience. If you don’t follow him, then you’re beaten by nature because nature forces you notwithstanding to progress in that direction. And you don’t know where to escape to.

That’s why Baal HaSulam explains that in our world, according to the evolution of the world, there are always people who are here in perception of both realities. And they are the ones who can teach humanity to which form they should progress. Not the way philosophers or politicians or other people imagine. For them it passes from one phase to another in the correct perception because the next states are already in them. So those who follow Kabbalists generally actualize the councils and do not err. They don’t fall into these pains, blows and troubles, just like the way our world constantly does. When you come out of one, you enter another blow; you go from blow to blow.

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