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The Quest for the Thought of Creation

Even though the Creator wants us to receive the pleasure of becoming identical to Him, He didn’t give us this desire to begin with. All that He gave us—the creature, the united soul of Adam ha Rishon—was a craving for the ultimate pleasure. However, as we can see in the sequence of phases, the Creator did not infuse the creature with a desire to be like Him; this is something that evolved within it through the phases.

In Phase Three, the creature had already received everything and intended to give back to the Creator. The sequence could have ended right then and there, as the creature was already doing exactly what the Creator was doing—giving. In that sense, they were now identical.

But the creature didn’t settle for giving. It wanted to understand what makes giving pleasurable, why a giving force is necessary to create reality, and what wisdom the giver obtains by giving. In short, the creature wanted to understand the Thought of Creation. This was a new craving, one which the Creator did not “plant” in the creature.

At this point in its quest for the Thought of Creation, the creature became a distinct, separated being from the Creator. We can look at it this way: If I want to be like someone else, it necessarily means that I’m aware that someone besides me exists, and that this someone has something that I want, or is something that I’d like to be.

In other words, I not only realize that there is someone else besides me, but I realize that that someone is different from me. And not just different, but better. Otherwise, why would I want to be like Him?

Therefore, Malchut, Phase Four, is very different from the first three phases because it wants to receive a very specific kind of pleasure (hence the thicker arrow)—that of being identical to the Creator. From the Creator’s perspective, Malchut’s desire completes the Thought of Creation, the cycle that He originally had in mind (Figure 2).

Regrettably, we’re not looking at things from the Creator’s perspective. Looking from down here, with our broken spiritual spectacles, the picture is less than ideal. For the Kli (a person), completely opposite from the Light, to become like the Light, it must use its will to receive with the intention to bestow. By doing that, it turns its focus from its own pleasure to the joy the Creator receives from giving. And in so doing, the Kli, too, becomes a giver.

Actually, receiving in order to give to the Creator already happened in Phase Three. With regard to the Creator’s actions, Phase Three had already completed the job of becoming identical to the Creator. The Creator gives in order to bestow and Phase Three receives in order to bestow, so in that they are the same.

But the ultimate pleasure is not in knowing what the Creator does and replicating His actions. The ultimate pleasure is in knowing why He does what He does, and acquiring the same thoughts as His. And this, the highest part of Creation—the Creator’s thought—has not been given to the creature; it is what the creature (Phase Four) must achieve.

There is a beautiful connection here. On the one hand, it seems as if the Creator and we are on opposite sides of the court, because He gives and we receive. But in fact, His greatest pleasure is for us to be like Him, and our greatest pleasure would be to become like Him. Similarly, every child wants to become like its parents, and every parent naturally wants his or her kids to achieve even those things that the parent did not.

It turns out that we and the Creator are actually pursuing the same goal. If we could comprehend this concept, our lives would be very, very different. Instead of the confusion and disorientation so many of us experience today, both we and the Creator would be able to march together toward our designated goal since the dawn of Creation.


Kabbalists use many terms to describe the will to bestow: Creator, Light, Giver, Thought of Creation, Phase Zero, Root, Root Phase, Keter, Bina, and many others. Similarly, they use many terms to describe the will to receive: creature, Kli, receivers, Phase One, Hochma, and Malchut are just a few. These terms refer to subtleties in the two characteristics—bestowal and reception. If we remember that, we will not be confused by all the names.


To become like the Creator, a giver, the Kli does two things. First, it stops receiving, an act called Tzimtzum (restriction). It stops the Light entirely and doesn’t allow any of it into the Kli. Similarly, it’s easier to avoid eating something tasty, but unhealthy, than to eat just a little and leave the rest on the plate. Therefore, making a Tzimtzum is the first and easiest step to becoming like the Creator.

The next thing that Malchut does is to set up a mechanism that examines the Light (pleasure) and decides if it will receive it, and if so, how much. This mechanism is called Masach (screen). The condition by which the Masach determines how much to receive is called “aim to bestow” (Figure 3). In simple terms, the Kli only takes in what it can receive with the intention to please the Creator. The Light received within the Kli is called “Inner Light,” and the Light that remains outside is called “Surrounding Light.”

At the end of the correction process, the Kli will receive all of the Creator’s Light and unite with Him. This is the purpose of Creation. When we reach that state, we will feel it both as individuals and as a single, united society, because in truth, the complete Kli is not made of one person’s desires, but of the desires of the whole of humanity. And when we complete this last correction, we will become identical to the Creator, Phase Four will be fulfilled, and Creation will be completed from our perspective just as it is completed from His.

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