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The Making of Life

In his “Preface to the Wisdom of Kabbalah,” one of his introductions to the Sulam commentary on The Book of Zohar, Baal HaSulam explains the difference between spirituality and corporeality. He says that anything that has an aim to bestow, like the Creator, is spiritual, and anything that has an aim to receive, opposite from the Creator, is corporeal. Prior to Adam’s breaking, there was no such thing as an active aim to receive. Hence, his breaking also marks the first appearance of physical reality.

In Chapter Three, we said that the four-phase pattern continues through the whole of Creation. Our world is no exception to the rule. Hence, the first substance to appear was the still, or inanimate substance, representing the smallest level of desires.

Following the still, came vegetation, then animals, representing the animate level of desires, and finally humans—the physical manifestation of the speaking level. The last desire to appear was the desire for spirituality, for the Creator. As we’ve explained in the previous section, this last desire is both the most powerful, and the only one that can achieve the Creator (altruism).

Of course, things didn’t go quite as quickly as we just described them. First appeared the minerals, billions of trillions of tons of minerals, which gradually formed the galaxies, stars, and planets. Then, lost in these trillions of tons of matter, there appeared a tiny speck called “Planet Earth.” And on this Earth appeared the vegetative level. Naturally, the vegetation on Earth is infinitely smaller in mass than that of the still matter on Earth, all the more so compared to the quantity of inanimate matter in the whole universe. The animate, which appeared after the vegetative, has a tiny mass, even compared to the vegetative. The speaking, of course, the last to appear, has the least mass of all.

The spiritual level appeared just “recently.” Since we are speaking of geological times here, when we say recently, we mean that it emerged only a few thousand years ago.


The full size of Creation is incomprehensible. If we look at the pyramid of Creation (Figure 8) and think of the proportions between every two adjacent levels, we will begin to understand just how recent the desire for spirituality really is. If we “compress” the time the universe has existed—approximately fifteen billion years—into a single day of twenty-four hours, the desire for spirituality appeared 0.0288 seconds ago. In geological terms, this is now.


Thus, on the one hand, the higher the desire, the rarer (and younger) it is. On the other hand, the existence of a spiritual level above the human level indicates that we haven’t completed our evolution. Evolution is as dynamic as ever, but because we are the last level to appear, we naturally think we are the top level. We may be at the top level, but we are not at the final level. We are only at the last of the levels that have already emerged.

The final level will use our bodies as hosts, but will consist of entirely new ways of thinking, feeling and being. In this level, we will perceive reality very differently than we do today. It is already evolving within us, and it is called “the spiritual level.”

No physical changes or new species will be required, just a transformation in our perception of the world. This is why the next phase in evolution is so elusive; it is within us. This phase will evolve whether or not we are aware of it. However, with awareness and active participation, we can rush its emergence and make it much more fascinating and enjoyable. The wisdom of Kabbalah teaches how we can become aware of the spiritual level within us, and participate in its evolvement in the most effective and beneficial way for us. It was for this purpose that Kabbalah was created.

As Above, So Below

If we draw a parallel between the earthly phases and the four basic phases of Light, the still era corresponds to the Root Phase, the vegetative era corresponds to Phase One, the animate era to Phase Two, the speaking era to Phase Three, and the spiritual era to Phase Four.

Planet Earth’s scorching youth lasted several billion years. As it cooled, vegetative life appeared and reigned over the planet for many more millions of years. But just as the mass of vegetation is much less than that of the still, the vegetative period was much shorter than Earth’s inanimate period.

Following the completion of the vegetative phase, the animate period arrived. As with the previous two degrees, the animate era was much shorter than the vegetative era, matching the proportion between the vegetative and animate masses.

The human phase, which corresponds to the speaking level of the pyramid, has only been around for the past forty thousand years or so. When humanity completes its evolution of the fourth (and last) phase, evolution will be complete and humanity will reunite with the Creator.

The Fourth Phase began some five thousand years ago, when the desires for spirituality first appeared. So if you examine the pyramid in Figure 8, you will find that we actually have a very broad-based pyramid here. Each level contains much more substance and lasts much longer than the one above it.

Nevertheless, each degree is totally subjugated and controlled by its adjacent superior. This is why the correction of the entire world depends on the correction of the last and highest degree—the spiritual.


The Point in the Heart

When Kabbalists write about the heart, they are not referring to the pump in our chests. The heart is the sum of our desires to receive pleasure. When the desire for spirituality appears, Kabbalists call it “the point in the heart.” This point is very important because once it appears it sheds a new light on everything we experience and gives our lives a higher, spiritual meaning. This point in the heart is what eventually leads us to spirituality.


As in the spiritual world, the name of the person who first experienced this point was Adam. He was Adam ha Rishon (The First Man). The name, Adam, comes from the Hebrew words, Adameh la Elyon—“I will be like the Most High” (Isaiah 14:14)—and reflects Adam’s desire to be like the Creator.

These days, at the start of the 21st century, evolution is completing its development of the Fourth Phase—the desire to be like the Creator. This is why more and more people today are looking for spiritual answers to their questions.

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