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Whose Reality Is Reality?

All the worlds, upper and lower,

are contained within.

–Yehuda Ashlag

Of all the unexpected concepts found in Kabbalah, there is none so unpredictable, unreasonable, yet so profound and fascinating as the concept of reality. Had it not been for Einstein and Quantum Physics, which revolutionized the way we think about reality, the ideas presented here would have been brushed off and ridiculed.

In the previous chapter, we said that evolution occurs because our will to receive pleasure progresses from the Root level to the Fourth. But if our desires propelled the evolution of our world, then does the world actually exist outside of us? Could it be that the world around us is really just a tale we want to believe?

We’ve said that Creation started from the Thought of Creation, which created the Four Basic Phases of Light. These Phases include ten Sefirot: Keter (Phase Zero), Hochma (Phase One), Bina (Phase Two), Hesed, Gevura, Tifferet, Netzah, Hod, and Yesod (all of which comprise Phase Three—Zeir Anpin), and Malchut (Phase Four).

The Book of Zohar, the book that every Kabbalist studies, says that all of reality consists of only ten Sefirot. Everything is made of structures of these ten Sefirot. The only difference between them is how deeply they are immersed in our substance—the will to receive.

To understand what Kabbalists mean when they say that “they are immersed in our substance,” think of a shape, say a ball, pressed into a piece of plasticine or another kind of modeling clay. The shape represents a group of ten Sefirot, and the clay represents us, or our souls. Now, even if you press the ball deep into the clay, the ball itself will not change. But the deeper the ball is immersed in the clay, the more it changes the clay.

How does that feel when the players are a group of ten Sefirot and a soul? Have you ever suddenly noticed something that was always around you, but a certain feature of it slipped your attention? This is similar to the sensation of the ten Sefirot sinking just a little deeper into the will to receive. In simple words, when we suddenly realize something we hadn’t realized before, it’s because the ten Sefirot went a little deeper into us.

Kabbalists have a name for the will to receive—Aviut. Aviut actually means thickness, not desire. But they use this term because the greater the will to receive, the more layers are added to it.

As we’ve said, the will to receive, the Aviut, consists of five basic degrees—0, 1, 2, 3, 4. As the ten Sefirot immerse deeper into the levels (layers) of Aviut, they form a variety of combinations, or mixtures of the will to receive with the desire to give. These combinations make up everything that exists: the spiritual worlds, the corporeal worlds, and everything within them.

The variations in our substance (will to receive) create our tools of perception, called Kelim (plural for Kli). In other words, every shape, color, scent, thought—everything that exists—is there because within me there is an appropriate Kli to perceive it.

Just as our brains use the letters of the alphabet to study what this world has to offer, our Kelim use the ten Sefirot to study what the spiritual worlds offer. And just as we study this world under certain restrictions and rules, to study the spiritual worlds we need to know the rules that shape those worlds.

When we study something in the physical world, we must follow certain rules. For example, for something to be considered true, it must be empirically tested. If tests show that it works, it’s considered correct, until someone shows—in tests, not in words—that it doesn’t work. Before something is tested, it’s nothing but a theory.

The spiritual worlds have boundaries, too—three of them, to be exact. If we are to reach the purpose of Creation and become like the Creator, we must stick to these boundaries.

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