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Lesson 2

Congratulations! You have made it through the first lesson. But the question arises, “What does all of that have to do with me?” The answer is simple: “Literally everything.” You see, we were created for only one reason: to receive complete, unlimited and absolute pleasure, delight. But in order to accomplish this, we must know how this system known as “the spiritual worlds” operates. Every law under which our corporeal world operates stems from the spiritual worlds. This is where our souls were before we were born, and this is where they return after our lives end.

However, we are only interested in the middle part, between those two events, that period where we are enclosed within this physical body and we have a heartbeat. This is precisely what Kabbalah helps us with—how to use everything in this life to accomplish the goal of experiencing the Creator. To ascend spiritually, we need to know everything and use all the possibilities we are offered.

First of all, we must know about what is all around us in this world in which we live. We need to understand the different categories of existence here: inanimate, vegetative, animate, and speaking, and how they work. Then, we must understand ourselves. I do not speak of the animal in which we are incased, but the soul within that animal. We need to understand how it grows, what part we can play in the soul’s development, and then do all we can to advance in our spiritual ascent.

This does happen naturally, but the process is extremely slow, bloody, painful, and ends right where you are today – learning how to accelerate the process in a conscious manner. So we end up with a choice. We can either take the responsibility into our own hands and do what the Creator is moving us toward willingly, or we can be coerced into the process by the Creator through suffering. This latter path is called “the path of pain.” As for myself, being a chicken at heart, I prefer the less painful path and will agree to do tons of work in order to avoid it.

The Wisdom of Kabbalah is not about how to take care of our problems in this world. It does not cure our financial difficulties or help us find a life mate. But it does tell us exactly how to meet our spiritual responsibilities, and not be forced to advance through more troubles. In that way, it helps us to solve the overall problem from which all of our daily problems are sent to us. All of our headaches and sufferings are thrown in front of us for a single reason: to bring us to the point of beginning our spiritual ascent.

But after we discover how everything works—the laws of the spiritual worlds, who sends them to us and why—we can use our everyday challenges to help us to behave correctly and move farther along toward the Creator.

Between the lowest part of the last spiritual world, the world of Assiya, and our world, this corporeal world in which we physically exist, lies a barrier known in Kabbalah as Machsom. Once we cross this barrier and enter the spiritual worlds, we begin a path of 6,000 steps toward the end result known as the End of Correction – Gmar Tikkun. Every single time we take another step up that ladder, it represents the removal of a layer of concealment of the Creator.

The End of Correction follows the correction of all our desires. The first stage in studying Kabbalah consists in reading as many pertinent books as possible and “digesting” as much knowledge as possible. The next stage is group work, when the student’s and group’s desires merge. The student’s Vessel enlarges proportionately to the number of group members.

In the group work stage, it is the group that symbolizes the Creator, since everything located outside us is the Creator. Throughout time, Kabbalists have had groups. Only within the framework of a group and based on the mutual ties fostered by its members can students advance in their understanding of the spiritual worlds.

The study of Kabbalah is, in fact, a two-part process. In the first part, we study creation and its ascent from that initial thought of the Creator right down to the level of Our World. The second part is the study of the trip back up, from where we exist today all the way back up the same path to the highest level. It is important to note that the physical body does not go anywhere; we remain right where we are. We ascend in a spiritual way that arises from our efforts and the development resulting from those efforts.

In our first lesson, we learned about the initial stages of the process of creation and the parts of the creature. Now that we have learned a bit about the creature’s anatomy, let’s continue. You will remember that the creature decided not to take in all the light, but only a part of it, say 20%. The other 80% was left outside. That Light is called Surrounding Light, or Ohr Makif.

The Light that is taken within is located in the Toch, the body, and the Surrounding Light, the Ohr Makif begins to influence the creature now. It says, “You see how pleasant it is to accept a portion of the Light? You do not know how much pleasure remains outside, just try to accept some more.” We can understand that it is better not to experience pleasure at all than to experience just a tiny bit of it. Pleasure exerts pressure both from outside and inside and it therefore becomes much more difficult to oppose. Ever try to eat just one potato chip?

In many ways, it is much easier not to eat any potato chips at all if we can only eat one. We can go for days, weeks, or months without a chip, but can we eat just one? The Partzuf is the same way. As long is it was not taking in any Light at all, it could remain in that state for a long time. But now that Light is inside, it is like enjoying the taste of the potato chip as you eat it, and also looking down seeing the whole bag lying there. There is pressure from two places, not one. You are enjoying it on the inside, and see there is plenty more as well.

The Partzuf is being pressured from both inside and outside now. But it has already calculated how much it can take in for the sake of the Creator. If it takes in even the smallest amount of extra Light, that tiny bit of Light dooms it to receiving for itself and feeling that horrid shame, which is much worse than not getting the pleasure.

There is only one thing it can do. It can only reject the Light it has within in order so it can return to its initial state of emptiness before accepting any Light inside. And this is exactly what our creature, the Partzuf, does. The Light taken within for the sake of the Creator is called Ohr Pnimi. The Surrounding Light that was the Light not allowed within is called Ohr Makif.

The pressure these two Lights exert at the same time on the screen (Masach) in the navel (Tabur), which is that border in the Partzuf that separates the Toch and the Sof, is called the “beating within and without.” In Hebrew it is called Bitush Pnimi uMakif. In other words, these two Lights exerted pressure on the border that divides the areas where the creature accepted pleasure and did not accept pleasure.

What is actually occurring inside the Partzuf? The Light was taken inside the mouth, the Peh, and shoved the screen down to the level of the Tabur that equaled that 20% the creature calculated it could accept for the sake of the Creator. The Tabur (the Navel) is the place in the Guf (the body), where the creature decides it must not take any Light lower into the Guf. When the creature determines it cannot handle the pressure and must expel the Light from its body, the Masach (screen) rises back up to the mouth (Peh), shoving the Light away. Actually it is not that the creature cannot handle the pressure. It turns out that what the creature discovers is that this is not satisfying the goal, to receive only in order to please the Creator.

So how did the creature know how much to take in? How did it arrive at that figure of 20%? That is the Rosh’s department. Before the creature ever let any Light within the Toch, it had every bit of information it needed to make the decision. It knew what kind of Light it was, what kind of delight it would bring, what its own desire was, and how strong its force is opposed to the delight for its own sake.

Remember that the first thing the Partzuf does is to refuse the Light, rejecting it completely. That Light is called Ohr Hozer (Returning Light). Within that Light is all of the information that is needed for the Rosh to calculate. According to this information, as well as the information remaining from the state when the Partzuf was filled with Light, and from the state following the restriction of the Light, the Partzuf keeps a memory of the past, an imprint called Reshimo.

So what really exists in the spiritual? Only the desire to delight and the delights that satisfy that desire. You might remember the term, Aviut, all the information about the desire the creature has. The Rosh has this as well as information about the Light. The process of expansion of that Light within the Partzuf is called Hitlabshut (clothing). One can truly say that there is only the Creator and Creation.

Figure 5. Five Partzufim: Galgalta, AB, SAG, MA, BON

Every time the creature expels the Light and then begins calculating, it has information from its previous state. It has a memory of the desire and a memory what the Light was like. In Kabbalistic terms, it has Reshimo of Aviut (the desire) and Hitlabshut (the Light). That is all it needs in order to know precisely what it felt when the Light was last taken in. Now it can make proper calculations about what to do next and how to carry it out.

The first time the Light is taken within the Partzuf is called Galgalta. After the creature rejects the Light because the pressure is too great for it to handle, it attempts to once again take in the Light, say 15%. But in order to do that, the Toch must shrink, and that is exactly what it does. The Toch (Interior) decreases in size, allowing the Rosh (Head) to only reach where the Peh (Mouth) once was. The new place of the Peh is in a place called Chazeh (Chest) of the prior Partzuf, Galgalta. This new Partzuf is called AB. We will have more on this process later.

There are actually five different Partzufim (plural for Partzuf) in a spiritual world. Their names are Galgalta, AB, SAG, MA, and BON. Remember, a Partzuf is a spiritual phase, a mechanism of calculations that is independently calculating how to correct itself where it can receive in order to bestow to the Creator. In each Partzuf, less and less Light is taken within.

So how are the levels of Aviut (desire) and Hitlabshut (Light) determined? Actually this begins back at the start where Galgalta is determined to have an Aviut of level 4 and a desire of level 4. Remember that it took in all the Light, then rejected it. It had the maximum levels of both Light and desire. We shorten the way this is written to (Light, Desire), and in this case (4,4) when talking about these determining factors for making calculations.

The next Partzuf, in this new case called AB, keeps that data and lowers its level to match a (4,3) level – Light level 4 and desire level of only 3. That way it knows it can take in the Light safely.

For SAG, the level will be (3,2) and so on. Each Partzuf lowers its capacity to fill its body, the Guf, with Light for the sake of the Creator more and more. It is also important to note that nothing is ever lost in spirituality. Each preceding part is within the current part. So in reality, what is really being described here is a system, not an evolution.

As previously stated, there are five Partzufim to each world and there are five worlds: Olam Adam Kadmon (Olam means world), Olam Atzilut, Olam Beria, Olam Yetzira, and finally Olam Assiya. Five worlds with five Partzufim each means that altogether there are twenty-five Partzufim, which emerge from above to below. There will be much more about them later on.

Our world is a state of Malchut (absolute will to receive) that is characterized by the absence of a screen, meaning it lacks the basic requirement to be considered a Partzuf.

Flip back to the diagram (Figure 4) in the previous lesson and take a quick look again. In the Partzuf shown, there are actually two different conditions it can be in. The first condition is when it accepts Light from the Creator and enjoys the pleasure. This condition is called Hochma. Remember the first phase, Phase Aleph called Hochma when the Creator’s Light entered the Vessel and pleased it? One might wonder if there is any correlation between that phase and this condition. Rest assure that it is not coincidental.

The second condition is when the Partzuf only wants to give and be like the Creator, and also enjoys that state. This condition is called Bina. Remember that the second phase, known as Phase Bet, is called Bina as well. It is rather obvious that these two conditions, Hochma and Bina, are exact opposites. The first has to do with receiving and the second has to do with giving.

Actually, there is a third condition as well. It is a mixed one where the creature takes in some of the Light, but only the amount it can receive in order to please the Creator. The rest of the Partzuf remains empty. By now you have probably guessed that this condition is called Zeir Anpin.

It is important to know that there are two kinds of Light. Light of Hochma is the Light of pleasure. Light of Hassadim is the Light of correction. It is the Light that builds the Masach, the screen we have been talking about. So as an example, let’s say we have ten percent of the Light of Hochma and ninety percent of the Light of Hassadim. This condition would fall under the category of “mixed” and be called Zeir Anpin.

The absolute final stage is our beastly creature, Malchut. It is the genuine 100% no-holds-barred, “give-it-to-me-because-I-want-it” stage of desire to receive. This condition has another name, Ein Sof, which means “World of Infinity.” Infinity here is not like the scientific term, infinity, but rather relates to unlimited receiving, the characteristic of Malchut. This is what happened right before the first restriction; Malchut devoured everything by its own choice. But it also suffered the consequences, the incredible feeling of shame.

Actually, this initial acceptance of every bit of the Light is an absolute necessity. In order to feel the spiritual shame resulting from receiving without giving in return, it is first necessary to perceive the Creator, to perceive His properties, to feel Him as the Giver, to see His glory. Then the comparison between His properties and the creature’s own egoistic nature will bring about the feeling of shame.

We are no different. Our first task is to simply perceive the Creator. But this requires a lot of work all in itself. The glory of the spiritual, the Creator, does not just happen all at once; it unfolds in front of us. As it does, the first thing that appears in us is a desire to do something for Him.

We see this all the time in our world. When someone has the opportunity to do something for a very famous person, such as a movie star or a government leader, they will do it with pleasure and enjoyment. If the President of the U.S. or our favorite movie star asked a personal favor from any of us, no matter what our political affiliation, we would probably jump to do it simply because of the great importance of the person requesting it. This type of work is considered a privilege, not work, because we receive so much pleasure from “being allowed” to do the task.

The aim of our entire work is the revelation of the Creator, His Glory, and His Might. Once this level is reached, what we witness will serve us as the source of energy to do something for the Creator’s benefit. This revelation of the Creator, it should be emphasized, will occur only when a person has already acquired a definite desire to use the revelation only for altruistic purposes, i.e., to attain the altruistic attributes, or bestowal.

Now back to our creature. Malchut rejected all 100% of that Light and is actually still willing to receive Light, but does not want to use its own will to gobble everything it can. It knows that if it acts with its own will and receives for its own sake, it moves farther from the Creator. It then makes the First Restriction, called Tzimtzum Aleph. By doing this it returns to the state of emptiness, but it also likens itself to the Creator.

This act of giving away causes a feeling of being absolute and complete. It may seem that being empty and complete contradict each other. But I am not talking about empty as in hungry. This emptiness is a lack of need of pleasure. In our world, this would correspond to being satisfied. This is because the delight received does not disappear. The one who is doing the giving feels the one who is receiving constantly while giving to him and sending him pleasure. So the creature is able to constantly feel the delight and in two ways, in quality and in quantity.

The Creator created Vessels in an absolutely ingenious way. They are organized in such a way that they progressively absorbed the Light’s attribute of giving relentlessly. Through the process of this absorption, they became similar to the Light. But how in the world can Malchut be similar to the Light and still receive delight?

Earlier, we talked about how Malchut placed a Masach, a screen, on all of its desires, making it impossible to receive for its own sake. So when the Light comes to Malchut, the creature pushes away every bit of the pleasure. Next it decides that it will only take in as much Light as it can to please the Creator. If it does receive in this manner, it is the same as giving without restraint.

From the condition of Malchut in the World of Ein Sof where Malchut was still gobbling up everything it could, then made the Tzimtzum Aleph, there remains a memory, a Reshimo. This Reshimo is composed of: (i) level 4 Hitlabshut (information about the quality and quantity of Light) and (ii) level 4 Aviut (information about the force of desire). Using these two kinds of memory, Reshimo of the Light and the desire, Malchut carries out a calculation in its Rosh (head). It determines that it is able to receive the first twenty percent of Light for the sake of the Creator.

Let’s break this down in percentages, observe what is happening, and see where all this Light is going. 100% of the Light that comes to Malchut is called Ohr Yashar (Direct Light). That entire amount of Light is rejected and is called Ohr Hozer (Returning Light). Malchut decides to take in 20% of the Light. That twenty percent of the Light that enters inside is called Ohr Pnimi (Inner Light). The greatest part of the Light, the remaining 80% left outside, is called Ohr Makif (Surrounding Light).

You will remember that there are five Partzufim in each world in the spiritual. The Partzufim are called Galgalta, AB, SAG, MA, and BON. Galgalta was the first Partzuf to receive a portion of the Light. After the creature decided the pressure from both within and without to accept more Light was too great, it expelled the entire amount of the Light. This was because even if it took in the smallest amount of additional Light, it would feel immense shame.

As the Light enters the Partzuf, the screen lowers from the Peh to the Tabur. As Galgalta pushes away the Light, the screen returns to the Peh (Mouth) that divides the Rosh (Head) and Toch (Interior) and once again the Partzuf is empty. At this point all is fine once more because no pleasure can be felt in this state. As the screen rises back to the Peh, it weakens and the Aviut decreases.

This entire process of withdrawal of the Light in a Partzuf is known as Refinement, Hizdakchut in Hebrew. But on the other hand, during the Hitpashtut (expansion of the Light into the Partzuf), the screen becomes coarser. In other words, the Aviut actually increases.

This increasing and decreasing Aviut (desire) makes sense if we actually look at what is happening. As the Light enters the Partzuf and lowers the screen, more and more pressure is placed on the screen that keeps out the Light. This is because the screen is being pressured by the Ohr Pnimi, the Light inside it, and also by the Ohr Makif, the Light outside it. As the pressure increases, so does the desire. But as the screen rises and pushes out the Light, the pressure weakens. As the pressure from the outside and inside weakens, the desire (Aviut) lowers.

Once all of the Light was rejected from Galgalta, the creature still had memories. Those Reshimot (plural for Reshimo) were all about the quality of the Light, as well as how much was taken in, (level 4 Hitlabshut), and Reshimot about the force of the desire Galgalta had (Aviut).

But the level of desire that registered was not level 4, it was level 3. Why? One measure of Aviut disappeared because the Partzuf realized that it is impossible for it to work with a desire in that fourth level. So now the Reshimot are written as (4,3), Light of level 4, but force of desire on level 3.

So because the Aviut lowered to level 3, the screen, the Masach, descends from its previous location, being the Peh of Rosh, to a lower level that will correspond to a force of desire equal to level 3. Remember the levels of Keter – Phase 0, Hochma – Phase 1, Bina – Phase 2, Zeir Anpin – Phase 3, and Malchut – Phase 4. Now when you refer back to figure number 4, those interior levels inside the Toch part of the Partzuf will become a bit clearer.

After the Hizdakchut, the withdrawal of the Light, the screen is lowered one level, one section. That means that the screen lowered to between the sections of Keter and Hochma in the Toch. This place in Galgalta is known as Chazeh, the place of level 3.

Now the whole process starts over. Once again the Light presses on the Masach, the screen, from above. The screen first rejects 100% of the Light as before. The creature then makes a calculation to accept some of the Light, but once again, only down to the Tabur of Galgalta. But remember, the screen has lowered a level, so there will be less Light entering. The process of Hitpashtut (expansion of Light) is happening again.

Once the Light reaches the Tabur (the navel), the screen begins to feel the pressure from both inside and out as before. The creature must get rid of the Light just like the first time. The screen rises, losing Aviut as it does. When the screen finally makes it back up to the Rosh, the head, new memories, Reshimot, fill the Partzuf. This time the levels are (3,2). Remember, that means the record of the Light has lowered one degree to level 3 Hitlabshut and the memory of the Aviut has lowered to level 2.

Just as before, the screen lowers to a level corresponding to its level of Aviut and the Partzuf shrinks once more. The screen is now at the level between Hochma and Bina, of Galgalta where the Chazeh exists in AB, the second Partzuf. This new Partzuf is known as SAG.

Once again the screen lowers and the same thing that happened in the first two Partzufim happens again. The screen rises back up to the Peh of the Rosh of SAG, and the Reshimot lower to (2,1). The new Partzuf created in the process is called MA. After the exact same process happens in MA, Reshimot of (1,0) come out from the Hizdakchut (withdrawal of Light) of MA and the final Partzuf, BON, is formed.

Each Partzuf consists of five parts: Shoresh Keter (Root, 0), Aleph Hochma (1), Bet Bina (2) , Gimel – Zeir Anpin (3) and Dalet Malchut (4). There is not a desire you have ever had, currently have, or will ever have that does not contain these levels. No desire may appear without them. This formation is a rigid system that never changes.

This last level, Dalet or Malchut, feels all of the four previous desires. These desires are what the Creator used to create it. Malchut gives names to each of these desires and it is those names that describe how the creature perceives the Creator at any given moment.

This is exactly why the Kli is called by the name of the Creator: Yod Hey Vav Hey YHVH. What these letters represent, the desires we are made of, are studied at length in Kabbalah. They form something akin to the skeleton of a person. That person may be big or small, may be skinny or obese, but a person remains a person no matter what.

Now, before we end this lesson, let’s clean up a few things. The Partzufim that are filled with the Light of Hochma are called Galgalta and AB. If they are filled with the Light of Hassadim (Mercy), they are called SAG, MA, and BON. All the different names of all the Partzufim are based on the combination of these two Lights that exist within a particular Partzuf. Every single thing written in Kabbalah as well as in the Torah is no more than spiritual Partzufim that are filled with either the Light of Hochma or the Light of Hassadim, or both, but in different ratios.

After the birth of the five Partzufim: Galgalta, AB, SAG, MA, and BON, all the Reshimot disappear. All the desires that could be filled with the Light, for the benefit of the Creator, have been exhausted. At this stage, the screen completely loses the ability to receive Light for the Creator and can only resist egoism without receiving anything.

So what happens here is that Malchut makes that First Restriction and then it can receive five portions of Light. You will remember that we spoke of the spiritual worlds. That first world mentioned, Adam Kadmon, is made up of the five Partzufim that were just created. Malchut has completed all five of its Reshimot

At first, in the World of Ein Sof (Infinity), Malchut was completely filled with Light. After that First Restriction, because of this system of Partzufim, it will now take in Light only up to the level of Tabur. Now Malchut must fill up the part that is below Tabur, called Sof (End) and spread Light all the way down to its Sium (Conclusion).

The Creator wants to fill Malchut with unlimited delight. All that is needed to achieve this is to create the conditions for Malchut to have the desire and the power to fill up the remaining part, or in other words: to send the delight back to the Creator.

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