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The Common Soul

The actual root of everything that happens here in our world is called “the common soul,” or as Kabbalists refer to it, Adam ha Rishon (The First Man). Adam ha Rishon is a structure of desires that emerged once the formation of the spiritual worlds was completed.

Once the five worlds, Adam Kadmon, Atzilut, Beria, Yetzira, and Assiya completed their development of the upper part of Phase Four, it was time to develop the lower part. Adam ha Rishon, which we know as “Adam,” is made of unworkable desires that couldn’t receive Light in order to give to the Creator when they were first created. If you look back at Figure 6, Adam is the next step in the development of Creation, and consists of the parts shown in the grey area in the drawing. The unworkable desires in that part, which formed the still, vegetative, animate, speaking, and spiritual, must now surface one by one and become corrected, or workable.

To do that, these desires will need the help of the worlds, the workable desires. This is why Adam ha Rishon evolves by the same degrees as did the worlds and the four basic phases.

The Great Fall

But with Adam, matters aren’t as straightforward as they were with the Upper Worlds. Although Adam is not aware of it, his desires are egoistic, self-centered; this is why he couldn’t receive Light to begin with. When he followed the example of the Upper Worlds and tried to receive Light, the pleasure of the Light was overwhelming and he wanted to receive it for himself.

Recall that when the Phase Four realized she wanted to become like the Creator, the first thing she did was to abstain from receiving Light for her own pleasure, in an act called “the Tzimtzum (restriction).” Adam’s present attempt to receive the Light despite the Tzimtzum was an attempt to revoke that decision. As a result, the Tzimtzum was reinforced in full power, and the Masach (screen) immediately repelled all the Light that Adam had received.

The repelling of the Light in Adam’s case is very different from the original Tzimtzum. When the Tzimtzum first occurred, it was a move forward from a state of reception without any consideration of the giver, the Creator. In Adam’s case, however, the pleasure made him “blot out” the Creator from his consciousness so he could receive the Light for himself without having to think of the Creator’s joy. This made Adam less like the Creator—the force of love and giving—than prior to his receiving the Light. This is why Adam’s attempt to receive Light for himself is considered a sin: it drives him away from the purpose of creation.

The Kabbalistic term for a “sin” is “breaking.” Thus, Adam ha Rishon broke. Kabbalists explain that Adam’s soul broke into 600,000 pieces. Each piece was a result of Adam’s egoistic attempt, and hence was egoistic, too. An egoistic element is detached from the Creator because it is opposite from Him. This is how our world was created, where the egoistic desires rule and the Creator is hidden from sight by our own egoism.

Adam wasn’t born an egoist; he only discovered his egoism when he tried to use his desires to receive the Light. His intention was to receive in order to bestow, just like the worlds had shown him. But his failure taught him that he was different from them, that he was essentially egoistic and had to be corrected before he could receive, as did the worlds.

The shattering of Adam’s soul into many pieces was actually a good thing. In breaking, the great egoistic desire was split into many little pieces of smaller desires, which are easier to correct. Each such desire exists within each of us. When everyone in the world corrects their own share of Adam’s soul, the whole of humanity will be corrected, one soul, receiving in order to bestow, at one with the Creator, and enjoying all the Light that He intended to give us in the Thought of Creation.

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