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Not for One’s Self

Life is considered to be a state in which we perceive desires for attaining pleasure, either from receiving or from giving. If the desire to attain pleasure disappears, then the new state is that of unconsciousness, fainting, or death. If we are in such a state that we clearly see and feel that we cannot receive any more pleasure, for example because of the shame that we feel for past actions.

If we suffer so much that even the smallest pleasure we get out of life is neutralized, then we will no longer feel like living. Thus, by means of the surrounding environment, enemies, bankruptcy, or failure in one’s work, those who are ascending spiritually may experience sensations of hopelessness, despair, and a complete lack of meaning of existence.

Therefore, we must put all our efforts into receiving pleasure from performing deeds that are considered good in the eyes of the Creator, and in this manner bring happiness to Him. Such thoughts and actions contain such tremendous pleasure, they can neutralize the greatest suffering in this world.

We may already be at the stage of being able to perform altruistic acts. Whatever action we may be engaged in, we will not be calculating personal gain, and will think only of the well-being of the One for whom the act is done (i.e., for the Creator).

However, if at the same time we do not receive pleasure from our altruistic actions, then such actions will be considered as pure giving. For instance, observing the commandments only for the sake of the Creator will not accord us the Light of the Creator (the pleasure) that corresponds to each commandment. This is because the process of self-improvement is not yet complete.

Having received the pleasure from the unobstructed Light of the Creator, one would be at risk of awakening one’s egoism and, then, having that egoism demand to receive pleasure at any expense for reasons of self-gratification. t that point, the person would not be able to resist this pleasure, and would obtain it not for the reason of pleasing the Creator, but from the sheer force of the desire to attain pleasure.

Kelim, with which we perform altruistic acts, are known as “vessels of bestowal.” A spiritual object has a structure similar to that of the physical body, and consists of 613 organs.

In general, the design of the spiritual forces is similar to the physical structure of our bodies.

For this reason, 248 vessels of bestowal are located above the upper torso of the spiritual object and correspond to positive spiritual acts, which each person is obligated to perform.

The Light that is received by one who observes the above spiritual acts is known as the "Light of grace" (Ohr Hassadim), or "concealed grace" (hassadim mehusim). The Light of wisdom (Ohr Hochma) is concealed from the recipient.

One with strong willpower will rectify one’s feelings to such an extent, this individual will be able to perform altruistic acts as well as receive pleasure from them for the sake of the Creator, that is, to receive pleasure into the past egoistic desires. This process is known as “Receiving for the sake of Giving.”

Consequently, that person will be able to receive the Light that is contained in every spiritual act.(The commandments of the Bible are spiritual acts. Because every person in our world is obligated to fulfill these commandments regardless of their spiritual level these are a necessary preliminary stage in accordance with their primary spiritual goal: to bring pleasure to the Creator).

The first stage we go through when trying to understand the purpose of creation is working on ourselves for personal gain ("not for His name") since there are many ways to feel pleasure – eating, playing games, receiving honors and glory, etc. These methods, however, allow us to feel only small and fleeting pleasures. The motivations behind such actions are "for the self."

We can attain much greater pleasures by having faith in the Creator; in the fact that He is Almighty; in His Oneness with respect to ruling over the entire world, including everything that happens to each of us, in His dominion over everything that concerns each of us, in His willingness to help, when hearing our prayers and in having faith in all of the above.

Only after we have accomplished the first stage of this work will we receive very different, special sensations of a higher spiritual state. As a result, we will no longer be concerned with whether or not we will gain personally from our actions. On the contrary, all our thoughts and calculations will be directed toward attaining spiritual truth. Our thoughts and intentions will focus on yielding to the essence of the true laws of creation, to perceiving and carrying out only the Will of the Creator, which itself will ensue from our perception of His grandeur and power.

Then, we will forget about our past motivations and will realize that we have not the slightest inclination to think or worry about ourselves, that we completely surrender to the grandeur of the all-transcending Supreme Reason, and cannot hear the voice of our own reason at all. Our main worry will center on how to do something pleasing and agreeable for the Creator. Such a state is known as "not for oneself."

The underlying cause of faith is the fact that there is no greater pleasure than to perceive the Creator, and to be filled with Him. But in order for us to be able to receive this pleasure unselfishly, we need the Creator to be concealed; the state of concealment allows us to observe the commandments without receiving any pleasure in return. Such an act is considered "not for the sake of the reward."

When we reach this state and create such a spiritual vessel, we immediately begin to see and perceive the Creator with our entire being. The reason that earlier prompted and convinced us to work for the Creator for the sake of personal benefit disappears, and is even compared to death, because we were once connected to life, and attained this feeling by virtue of faith.

But if we begin to work on attaining faith above reason when we are already in the corrected state, we receive back our souls, the Light of the Creator.

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