Chapter 9. The Language of Kabbalah
- FUNDAMENTAL CONCEPTS: A FRAMEWORK
- LIFE AND DEATH
- DELIGHT AND PLEASURE
- THE FEELING OF COMPLETENESS
- THE ACTIONS OF THE SCREEN
- FROM THE CREATOR TO THE CREATURE
- MALCHUT AND THE WORLD OF EIN SOF
- THE EVOLUTION OF MALCHUT
- THE LIGHTS OF MALCHUT
- DIRECTIONS OF DEVELOPMENT
- THE SPIRITUAL VESSEL
- THE LIGHT OF CORRECTION AND THE LIGHT OF FULFILLMENT
- TWO SCREENS
- SPIRITUALITY AND THE LOVE OF MAN
- 6,000 YEARS
- KABBALISTIC DEFINITION OF A JEW
- SPIRITUAL DIVISIONS
- THE SEFIROT YESOD AND ZEIR ANPIN
- THE SOUL
- AN AWAKENING FROM BELOW
- THE SPIRITUAL FORCE CALLED “MESSIAH ”
- WHO IS A FRIEND?
- WHAT IS HUMBLENESS?
- RIGHTEOUS AND EVIL
- GOOD AND BAD
- POWER OF LIGHT
- WHAT IS SIN?
- END OF THE WORLD
- FEELING THE PASSAGE
- THE TREE OF LIFE
Like any other science, in order to study Kabbalah, one must be aware of the language and terms. If I open up a book on particle physics, I am going to see terms like quarks, hadrons, gluons, flavors etc. Unless I have some reasonable definitions of what these words mean, I will be lost. So before we dive into the spiritual worlds and how they came into existence, let’s take a look at the language of Kabbalah along with some definitions.
By “God,” we usually refer to a higher power in general, the design of creation as it is expressed at any level. Any definition of something higher than you, the Creator, God, etc., relates to the feeling inside the creature. Since we cannot possibly feel anything outside ourselves, these definitions are always subjective.
FUNDAMENTAL CONCEPTS: A FRAMEWORK
Here are some common Kabbalistic terms that we relate to our corporeal world as well.
Light is perception of the Creator. There is only one Light and that does not change. But it is perceived in various forms due to differing states of the Vessels (the creature, the soul) – depending on the Vessel’s ability to receive. From this we learn that we have no concept of the Light that is outside the Vessel, because we cannot define something that is out of our sensation.
Light is the sensation of the Creator by the creature; what stems from the Creator; something that we feel as good, whereas we feel its absence as bad. The Light that is spoken of in the first day of the creation of the world is the uppermost Light, which includes everything in it. The rest of the Lights are but derivatives of it, particular manifestations of it.
Spiritual is that which is above our world. That which is absolutely not for me, but only for the Creator, when the outcome of the act is not related in any way to the one who performs it, even indirectly.
The soul is linked with the Creator, senses it and is filled by it, at least in the smallest amount. It is anything that is out of and above time, space and motion, which is not in any way linked with the sensation of the animate body, but is felt in some inner space in one’s senses – intended for the Creator only – and revealed only when one is in control of the spiritual barrier.
The spiritual is not a component of our world. The spiritual is in it, but it does not appear in it directly, but rather through “clothing.” Our world is a state where the will to receive enjoys only a very small Light, called “minute Light,” and we can enjoy it even when the aim of the desire is for me.
The Creator does this purposely. We can enjoy that tiny Light, although we have not yet acquired a spiritual intent to give to the Creator, and do not have a screen. The will to enjoy that is found within us is the smallest of the created desires. It is separated from all other desires of the soul, so that we may practice on it, and finally reach admittance to the spiritual world.
Baruch Ashlag compared it to how children were taught to write in the old days: pen and paper were too expensive, so children would be given a piece of chalk and board to write on, so that they would not waste precious paper, until they learned to write correctly.
The term, Klipot, or Shells, are impure forces that are above our world. They do not exist in a normal person and appear only when a genuine desire for the Creator begins to emerge. In order to intensify that desire, negative forces are incited. By resisting them, we increase and intensify are desire for the Creator. They were created specifically for that – to interrupt and produce doubts.
Although the Klipot do not exist in our world, we still do not define them as “spiritual.” They exist inside us and not outside us, and serve as a means and aid on our path to the Creator – a “help against ourselves.” As strange as it may seem, these negative forces push us toward the Creator.
In order to describe various situations of the soul, we tend to use a name that is specifically adapted to its spiritual level, instead of using many technical details. All the Vessels (souls) consist of ten Sefirot, and one’s body consists of 613 parts.
The Light that fills souls is what differentiates them from one another. The purpose of the name is to express attributes of the soul that is filled with Light. The sum of the Lights, or better put, the ten Lights that fill the ten Sefirot of the soul, are called Gimatria. That is why it is no more and no less than a recording of the spiritual situation of the soul and its fulfillment with Light by the Creator.
That Light depends on a screen: the attribute of the soul to give vs. its will to receive. The screen can only be acquired by the method of correction called Kabbalah.
Repentance is the return of the soul to the Creator, the place where it came from into this world. In the beginning, the Creator created a desire to receive. That desire was created without intent and was therefore called a “root.”
By a gradual intensification of the aim for me, the desire to receive moves farther and farther from the Creator until it is completely opposite to Him. The state where all the desires aim for me is called “our world,” or “this world.” In that situation, the desire feels nothing but itself, and that sensation is called “body” (a person in this world).
If the desire changes its intent from for me to for the Creator, then the change in the intent causes the desire to return to its preliminary situation, and it becomes like an embryo in the Creator. Each situation in the spiritual realm is measured against the Creator and is determined in relation to Him. The more the attributes of the creature equalize with those of the Creator, the nearer in nature to the Creator is the creature regarded, and vice versa.
With the aim, for the Creator, the desire changes its quality and changes from being a receiver into being a giver. In this way, it equalizes with the Creator. The creature feels itself not as before – a point, or an embryo – but as something complete and whole and equal to the Creator. In its equivalence with the Creator, the will to enjoy senses everything the Creator senses: unbounded pleasure, eternity, and perfection. That is the purpose of creation.
LIFE AND DEATH
The sensation of death or life begins with the admittance to the spiritual world, and not when a physical body is born or dies. “Death” is an exit of Light when the sensation of the Creator is gone from the Vessel, the soul. Our present state is considered worse than death because we don’t feel the Creator whatsoever. We do not even feel that we are denied of any Light, any sensation of the Creator. Feeling the Creator means receiving a soul, the awakening of that point in the heart in each of us.
The word, Kabbalah, is derived from the word, Lekabel (to receive). Kabbalah is the science that teaches how to receive a soul and, through it, to attain eternal life. “Death” means distancing from the Creator to its opposite pole (opposite attributes). The precondition to receive a soul is the existence of a Vessel, and a Vessel is the aim for the Creator.
Creation is eternal. Time and motion do not exist. We only speak of inner sensations of the creature. Changing inner situations evoke the sensation of time and motion. The Zohar speaks of spiritual degrees and of situations of the eternal soul, about measures of its fulfillment with the Light of the Creator. But the sensation of animate life can accompany a soul if a person receives it. Otherwise it is as it says: “…so that man hath no preeminence above a beast” (Ecclesiastes 3, 19).
DELIGHT AND PLEASURE
The purpose of creation is to delight His creatures. The complete Creator can only delight them with completeness. The Creator cannot create an incomplete creation. By “complete” we mean that only He fills the entire reality, which is why He is the only One. Because of that, we have a desire to be filled with Him. That desire is satisfied entirely, unreservedly. That is why His state is called Ein Sof (infinite).
But the Creator creates that situation for the creature to feel itself complete in its own right. For that to happen, the creature must attain a sensation of appreciation. We can only acquire that out of the sensation of the oppositeness of form and incompleteness. That is the purpose of us being distanced from the Creator to a state called “this world.” Here, the creature feels corporeal animate pleasure – our current situation – instead of feeling the Creator.
The more we creatures become aware of our incomplete situation – which is possible only by studying Kabbalah – the more we become aware of the perfection that is the Creator. We begin to realize that perfection is adhesion with the Creator, equivalence with His attributes, being filled with Him.
During our studies, we realize that to be complete means to be as close as possible to the Creator, as similar as possible to His attributes, and to equalize with His form. As a matter of fact, that is already the situation, but we cannot feel it as such, and therefore we cannot regard it as such.
As we come to understand ourselves and the Creator, we begin to feel the completeness as though we are returning to it. Our sensation of fulfillment in these situations is called “pleasure,” and the desire to feel the Creator as supreme completeness is called “Vessel.”
THE FEELING OF COMPLETENESS
It is only possible to understand and appreciate completeness when one feels the Creator, because only He is perfect. Furthermore, the power to correct is also given by the Creator. Therefore, the purpose of the study, in the beginning, is to attain the sensation of the Creator. Then, everything becomes clear. Before that, we cannot understand what completeness is, and the Creator chooses to be shown to us precisely through our most incomplete attributes.
THE ACTIONS OF THE SCREEN
Spiritual objects are things that the Kabbalist creates over his or her screen. They are the result of the impact of the Light on the screen of the Kabbalist. As a result, a new picture of the spiritual world is created in the Kabbalist’s mind. Spirituality is only born after a spiritual coupling, whose power determines the depth of the spiritual picture. If the Light does not hit the screen, nothing new is born, and all that a person gets is the picture of this world.
In other words, to beget a new spiritual object means to build from our substance (the desire) the image of the Creator, through the screen. In fact, the screen is a sculpturing tool in the hands of the Kabbalist. One observes him or her self from the side (restricts the desires, and erects a screen made of the intent not to receive for oneself). One uses the screen to cut off desires that one cannot simulate to the Creator (the “stony heart”).
Kabbalists bring desires in which they can resemble the Creator to equivalence of form with the attributes of the Creator, to the extent that their screen can bear it. Thus, the higher the degree, the more one resembles the Creator. One studies the attributes of the Creator (the upper nine Sefirot) and then adopts them.
FROM THE CREATOR TO THE CREATURE
Here is what happens from above downward:
The four phases of Direct Light.
The birth of the world of Ein Sof.
The First Restriction of Malchut.
The birth of the world of Adam Kadmon (AK).
The Second Restriction.
The breaking of the vessels.
The creation of the worlds: Atzilut, Beria, Yetzira, Assiya.
The creation of the soul of Adam ha Rishon (the First Man).
The breaking of Adam’s soul into pieces.
The descent of the pieces to our world.
The development of the souls by descending to our world, to our present state.
As you can see, the way down here is very long, but we can already come to certain conclusions about the nature of creation, the attributes of the Light and the Vessel.
MALCHUT AND THE WORLD OF EIN SOF
We must refrain from interpreting Ein Sof as a term of time or place. Ein Sof is something endless, unlimited by action or attributes—hence the name Ein Sof (lit. No End). Spirituality has no time or space. Therefore, these two limitations of our world do not apply to the spiritual world. For that reason we cannot imagine spirituality for what it is. We cannot imagine a cup that, although filled to the rim, is still in a state of endless filling (naturally, everything is measured according to the cup itself, because we measure everything with regard to the receiver).
Malchut, the soul, corrects itself through the worlds. The worlds are degrees of concealment or manifestation of Light. Time and again, the soul receives desires (which are the Vessels) and Light (the power to correct the desire) from the degrees.
By using that desire and the Light of correction, the soul, by correcting itself, seemingly rises to the same degree from which it received the power and desire to correct. All and all there are five worlds, within which there are five Partzufim, with five inner Sefirot. Together they make up 125 degrees. But there are still an enormous number of transitory situations.
Malchut is the tenth Sefira, the last one after the nine Sefirot of direct Light that extend from the Creator. Malchut receives the Light from all other nine Sefirot and divides in ten parts. Those ten parts of Malchut are the worlds and everything in them.
All nine other Sefirot before Malchut (also called the “Upper Nine”) are attributes of the Light. Malchut must resemble those nine Sefirot. The extent of resemblance between Malchut and the nine Sefirot, which are the attributes of the Creator, depends on the power of the screen in Malchut. But the resemblance of Malchut to the nine Sefirot exists even with the smallest screen.
Therefore, even a minimal screen should make Malchut resemble all nine other Sefirot. Thus, any spiritual attainment is comprised of a whole picture (which includes all the Sefirot). A picture with a minimal screen can be made of a small number of shades or details, but it still makes offers a relative picture of all nine Sefirot. Just as, when we are born, we perceive with all five senses, regardless of whether we are adults or children, the power (depth) of our attainment depends on the power of our screens.
THE EVOLUTION OF MALCHUT
The term, “world,” means concealment, hiding, limitation of the extension of the Light. But every situation of Malchut, of the collective soul, is also called a “world.” The world of Ein Sof is a state of unbounded fulfillment of the soul. Everything that fills the soul is called “Light” or “Creator.” But in order to be filled with the intent for the Creator, and thus equalize with Him, Malchut, the soul, gradually corrects the intent from for me to for the Creator. It empties itself in the first restriction, hides under five covers, worlds, and gradually, in accordance with the acquisition of the screen (the aim for the Creator).
Then, it exposes itself to the Light, the Creator, like a bride before her groom. Her degrees of correction, her exposure, her fulfillment with Light, are five worlds with five Partzufim in each world and five degrees in each Partzuf, all and all, 125 degrees.
It is also possible to divide the spiritual distance to 613 degrees (Mitzvot), or to 6,000 degrees – three groups of 2,000 in each. But the distance itself, the extent of the correction of Malchut, remains the same.
THE LIGHTS OF MALCHUT
Malchut (the soul) is divided into five parts (from fine to coarse): Keter, Hochma, Bina, Zeir Anpin, and Malchut, in ascending order of the power of the will to receive. The strongest desire takes the last part – Malchut. These desires receive five pleasures – Lights that fill them respectively: Yechida, Haya, Neshama, Ruach, Nefesh.
In the spiritual worlds there is a law called “the opposite value of Lights and Vessels”: the coarser the desire that aspires to receive greater pleasures, the more Light it extends. But the Light goes not into the coarse desire, but into the finest one, into the desire to give without reward for self, because the Light and the finest desire to give are in equivalence of form.
It is also customary to say, “The Lights enter the Partzuf gradually.” But any change in the Light means a change in the Vessel, and therefore, in the entire Partzuf. Everything is new each time, all five Sefirot and all five Lights.
Sefirot are attributes that are given to the creature, the lower one, through which to feel the Upper One, the Creator. That is why the Sefirot express supremacy, the attributes of the Creator, attributes that the Creator wants the creatures to attain in order that they feel Him.
Just as we capture a person by his mind, which is his essence (whereas the body is only an outer clothing), so is spirituality grasped through its clothing, because the essence is in the interior attributes behind the clothing. Externality is only needed for the purpose of acquaintance, and not in and of itself.
A person attains the Creator through the Sefirot, meaning through His outer appearances. Similarly, we know others for certain only after we know all their attributes and reactions in varying situations. Through the Sefirot we will ultimately come to know reality, which is all a dressing for the Creator, just as the body is a dressing for the soul.
The Creator works within a person’s soul. Therefore, those who learn to attain the Creator know Him and attain Him by His actions in their own souls, meaning by the action of the Light on their own points of Malchut.
Completeness is a pleasure that is sensed only after there is a hunger for something and a shortage of it, to the extent of the incompleteness that was felt prior to receiving delight.
It is impossible to sense continuous pleasure in this world, because nature has it that hunger and satisfaction do not come together. Precisely that attribute is given to the soul in order to feel hungry, in order to crave pleasure, so that one will learn that although one is able to satisfy the hunger, one will never get one’s fill.
But the Creator wants to delight us, which is why He sends us a special fulfillment. The souls try not to spoil that satisfaction by crossing the line. It is only in this way that they arrive at completeness. The hunger and desire do not go away—on the contrary. As a result, the souls extend more fulfillment from a wholeness that does not fade, an eternal wholeness.
We know that we enjoy eating because of prior hunger, the sensation of craving. As the craving disappears, so does the pleasure. The Creator gave the souls a great “trick” that prevents them from being satiated, despite their receiving pleasure. The fuller they feel, the hungrier they grow. That is the perfection of the action of the Creator.
DIRECTIONS OF DEVELOPMENT
When we say that everything moves from up downward, from the root to Malchut, one may misunderstand that we are speaking in terms of an area, place, or distance. In the spiritual world, there is no volume or place. It is like describing our feelings: we say “deep emotion,” “high note,” “great joy,” etc. Creation can be described as spreading from the Creator, from above downward; from the Upper One, from the exalted attributes, to the lower one, the lower attributes.
But we can also look at the development of creation from within, from the Creator outward to a point that draws farther from Him, like moving from the innermost, the most personal and hidden, to something external and less important. We can also speak about the development of creation as though the Creator surrounds it, “wrapping” it with His goal and controlling it from all sides. Creation is within, like an egg inside a brood hen.
There are other descriptions of just one thing: the relationship between the creation and the Creator. The actual words are merely tools that we use, depending on which attributes, characteristics, qualities, and interrelations we are talking about.
THE SPIRITUAL VESSEL
The Creator created a desire to delight, meaning a desire to feel pleasure. But when the desire to enjoy receives – it feels shame. That is why one cannot attain eternal delight by receiving, because receiving restricts the Light and even extinguishes it, thus nullifying itself.
For that reason, the only way to take pleasure is to enjoy not the pleasure itself, but the contact with the giver of the pleasure. If the pleasure of the giver is what you get from Him, then your pleasure will not disappear and will not diminish your desire for pleasure.
On the contrary! The more you receive, the more you give and enjoy. That process lasts indefinitely. However, the pleasure that we derive from sensing the one who gives is infinitely greater than the pleasure we receive when taking for ourselves. This is because the first kind of taking ties us with the Complete Giver, the Eternal One.
Thus, a mere desire to receive is not considered a Vessel yet, because it is unsuitable for reception. Only if there is a screen over the desire to enjoy (a screen is the intent for the Creator, meaning a willingness to take pleasure only to the extent that it delights the Upper One), does the desire become worthy of reception, and can then be called a “Vessel.”
From this, we can understand that all we really have to do is acquire a screen! When the will to enjoy receives and feels the giver, it feels both pleasure and shame, because by receiving we become opposite to the Creator. The presence of the giver makes the receiver feel shame, and that shame stops us from enjoyment. When we receive, we feel we must give something back to the giver, to equalize with the giver so as not to feel as if we are only receiving.
The sensation of shame is also called “hell.” There is nothing worse than the sensation of shame because it is the sensation of being totally opposite from the Creator. The Creator purposely paired receiving with shame. He could have avoided it, but the phenomenon of shame was created specifically for us so we could learn to receive from Him, to delight without shame.
That is why we, as creatures, (the will to enjoy) immediately felt ourselves to be receiving from the Creator and decided and acted out a restriction (limitation of the Light) on the receiving of the Light. That act is called the “First Restriction.”
A giving Vessel is one that still cannot receive for the Creator, but can only refrain from receiving, because if it would receive, it would be for itself. The creature can exist without receiving Light because the sensation of shame extinguishes its pleasure at its reception, and turns the pleasure of reception into torment.
Then, when we feel the desire of the Creator to please us, we decide that despite the sensation of shame, we will accept the pleasure because that is what the Creator wants. Therefore, by doing so, we can bring pleasure to the Creator for His Sake, not for ourselves. The act remains as before, and we still receive, just as we did when we felt shame, but the intent of the reception has now changed.
The decision has been taken only out of the desire to delight the Creator, despite our sensation of shame. But we as creatures discover that by acting for the Creator, we do not feel ourselves as receivers, but as givers, equal to the Creator.
As creatures, through our equivalence of form with the Creator, we feel ourselves as the Creator: total wholeness, eternity, unending love and pleasure. But the decision to restrict the reception of Light (the First Restriction), to receive Light only with the aim for the Creator, will come only if we feel the Creator, the Giver, because only the sensation of the Creator can awaken such a resolution in us.
The question arises: if the presence of the Creator can evoke such a sensation in us, how can we say that the decision was really for the Creator? After all, the First Restriction was a consequence of the shame, and the reception of the Light was seemingly a result of the pressure of the Giver.
Therefore, in order to take an independent decision to receive for the Creator and in order to resemble He who created the creatures in order to delight them, the Creator has to be concealed, so that His Presence would not be compulsive, like placing a knife on one’s neck. That is why there must be a situation where we creatures feel that we are the only ones here. Then, all the decisions will be our own.
THE LIGHT OF CORRECTION AND THE LIGHT OF FULFILLMENT
There is a Light that fills the desire to enjoy, meaning the Vessel, and there is a Light that corrects it. The latter is the Light that gives the Vessel the intent for the Creator and builds the screen over the desire. These two Lights act completely differently on the Vessel: the Light that corrects is called “the Light of correction of creation,” while the Light that fills it is called “the Light of the purpose of creation.”
The Light of correction can enter the Vessel even before there is a screen; it is specifically for the purpose of building a screen. It gives the creature a feeling that the Creator is supreme and mighty, and from that feeling the creature subdues its nature in order to draw near the Creator. That is how the Vessel acquires a screen. When one acquires the intent for the Creator, there is a Zivug de Hakaa (spiritual mating) and the Vessel is filled with Light.
A Vessel is a desire that receives Light, the response from the Creator. It is the intent not to act for me, but for interests beyond my own. That is why we don’t consider the mere desire to be a Vessel, but rather the screen, the altruistic aim to bestow, the returning Light.
The Light is the Creator. We always speak from the perspective of the Vessel, the creature. Any other perspective that is not from the sensation of the Vessel is unfounded. In the state of Ein Sof, after the Vessel receives the Light for itself (in order to receive), it decides never to do it again. It decides to restrict the reception of Light in its own desire to receive for itself.
That is called the “First Restriction.” From that state down to this world, all the Vessels wish not to receive Light in order to receive. In other words, the law of the First Restriction is kept in all the degrees. The power to keep the restriction is called a “screen,” because it protects the desire from using the Light for self-profit. But other than that, there is another screen – not just for maintaining the Restriction, but also for receiving the Light for the Creator.
SPIRITUALITY AND THE LOVE OF MAN
A true act of love is when I do something good for someone I love only because I want to delight that person, even without their knowing that I’m the one who did this good thing, and without looking to derive any pleasure from it. Love would be my only motivation to act.
A true act of altruism (love of man) is when one party does not know about the other party, whether or not the party is giving. Otherwise there is pleasure derived from it. If the Creator knows about a person’s act, this is already a reward. But for true giving, there need not be any kind of reward, except the very act of giving.
We always speak from the perspective of a person with real feelings and not of abstract creatures. One must come to that sensation of genuine giving step by step, meaning one must attain the spiritual level of giving while in the meantime performing it only mechanically. But all the while, we should be aware that such existence is only mechanical, in the degree of this world, our temporary place.
In the spiritual world, there is no such term as reason (mind). The mind is in constant pursuit of pleasure for me. Bina, however, is the state where the soul wants nothing for itself, a state called Hafetz Hesed (Delighting in Mercy).
The books of Kabbalah speak about 6,000 years, which are – in the language of the branches – 6,000 degrees that each soul must climb. They have nothing to do with a calendar that you hang on the wall.
Rav Baruch Ashlag compared birth and death in our world to the changing of one’s clothing. That changing is gradual from generation to generation, each time in more developed bodies with more developed minds and desires. There is no connection between the degrees in the spiritual world and the changing of the bodies. For some creatures, a thousand years of life will not be enough for them to enter the spiritual world, while others complete their corrections within a single lifetime.
KABBALISTIC DEFINITION OF A JEW
Abraham, who went from Mesopotamia to the land of Israel, is called the first Hebrew (and the first Jew), because he was the first to cross from idolatry to the land of Israel (land – Eretz and Israel – from the words, Yashar El, meaning “directly to the Creator”). He went over from a state of worshiping idols to recognition of the existence of a Higher Power that controls everything, and identified himself with that power of his own free will. That is why he was designated Hebrew (Ivri – from the word Over) and Jew.
The terms “Jew” and “Gentile” are completely different in spirituality from the meanings we are familiar with. A Gentile is one who wants to unite with the Creator for his or her own pleasure, while a Jew is one who wants to do it in order to resemble the Creator (meaning become an altruist). The word Jew comes from the Hebrew word Yehudi – Yechudi (meaning unique and unified), because that person unites with the Creator. As you can see, it has nothing to do with genetics or the location from which you come.
Creation – a desire for pleasure – divided itself into the nine attributes that it received from Him: the upper nine Sefirot, and Malchut, the tenth Sefira. Thus, everything in reality is initially divided by ten. Then there are other divisions: a Partzuf divides to the three Sefirot of the Rosh (Head), and the seven Sefirot of the Guf (Body).
Then there is a division to twelve, which stems from the number of Partzufim (faces) in the world of Atzilut. In the wisdom of Kabbalah you will find the explanations for every division and the interrelations between them.
THE SEFIROT YESOD AND ZEIR ANPIN
Zeir Anpin has to be in contact with Malchut, in order to convey the Light to her. For that to happen, he must build a special Sefira to serve as a bridge between Malchut and him, meaning that it will possess similar attributes. For that purpose Zeir Anpin consists of:
Hesed – the Keter of Zeir Anpin
Gevura – Hochma of Zeir Anpin
Tifferet – Bina of Zeir Anpin
Netzah – Zeir Anpin of Zeir Anpin
Hod – Malchut of Zeir Anpin
Yesod – the sum total of all the previous Sefirot (like a salad made of five original components that when put together, form a new attribute).
After Yesod comes the collective Malchut – the creature, the soul, the part that must unite with the Creator (Zeir Anpin) through equivalence of form. Malchut is the creature and Zeir Anpin is the Creator. Zeir Anpin is the one to which all prayers to be raised and corrected turn, and he, at the request of Malchut (MAN), builds a bond with her – contact and coupling – through his Sefira of Yesod.
The Zohar writes about the relationships between all five Partzufim of the world of Atzilut, which is the world that governs reality. It says: “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother” (Genesis 2, 24), meaning the soul will become independent from its mother and father, attain completeness and independent coupling with Malchut, to unite with the Creator, and create new Partzufim – corrected souls.
A soul is the Partzuf of Malchut of the world of Atzilut. Zeir Anpin, the Creator, is her husband. The Partzuf of Abba ve Ima – Hochma and Bina – provide the soul with everything she needs.
AN AWAKENING FROM BELOW
In the Kabbalah, everything is described from the perspective of the emotions of the attaining Kabbalist and the way the Creator is revealed to that person. Even when we speak of the Creator, and seemingly only about Him, regardless of ourselves, we still rely on our own understanding of Him.
Our desire for a spiritual ascent stems either from Above (the Creator), or below (from us). Of course, it is only the Light that rocks and awakens us, as Vessels. But then, either we clearly feel that the Creator is the one awakening us from Above, or we do not feel the influence of the Creator, but only the side effects of that influence: our inner will, meaning that there is suddenly an aspiration for the Creator because the Creator has secretly awakened us.
THE SPIRITUAL FORCE CALLED “MESSIAH ”
The term, “Messiah,” comes from the Hebrew word Moshech (lit. pulling). This refers to the pulling of people up from the ignominious worldliness to a higher level. The Messiah is a spiritual force, the Upper Light; the Upper Spiritual Force that descends to our world and corrects mankind, raising us to a higher level of consciousness. It is quite possible that along with it will also be certain leaders who will teach others to enter the spiritual world. But in principle, it is a spiritual force, not a flesh-and-blood personality.
Confidence is the ability to endure, to be constantly nourished by the goal. The attainment of confidence depends only on the attainment of Surrounding Light. That Light is ready and waiting to fill the soul when it completes its correction. Therefore, now, when that Light shines upon the soul, it gives it the sensation of protection and confidence.
Only a direct and concrete feeling of the Creator gives a person confidence and the ability to endure all the degrees of correction. It is done by the Creator purposely so that we will not be able to overcome even the lightest spiritual obstacle by ourselves, but will need the Creator every step of the way.
In our world, we can exist without the sensation of the Creator. But in the spiritual realm, we cannot. The extent of the sensation of the Creator is the extent of the actual confidence of a person, and I would add, our ability to defend against disturbances.
WHO IS A FRIEND?
The word, “friend” (Haver), stems from the word, “connection” (Hibur), unification. The connection is only possible if there is a resemblance in attributes, thoughts and actions. Thus, according to the equivalence of attributes, a friend can be nearer or farther. Your “friend” (Reacha) stems from the root Rea, which means “near.”
WHAT IS HUMBLENESS?
Humbleness is the most important trait. There is a special chapter in The Zohar called The Book of Humbleness (Safra de Tzniuta). Through the screen, we become like the Creator, precisely in the attribute of humbleness! This happens because we suppress our own nature and place the Creator above ourselves.
Humbleness demands of us to be aware of the lowness of our own nature, and to aspire to acquire the nature of the Creator – the attribute of giving, bestowing. Humbleness is the ability to activate our own nature to enjoy with the intent not for ourselves.
RIGHTEOUS AND EVIL
Any spiritual degree is divided in two parts: righteous and evil. If one justifies the Creator, that person is regarded as righteous, while one who condemns Him is regarded as evil.
A person who is in the world of Assiya is regarded as evil, but in the world of Yetzira, that person is regarded as evil and righteous. In the world of Beria, the same person is righteous. Before one enters the spiritual worlds, one does not fall into any of the above categories, because from a spiritual perspective, one does not exist.
A righteous person is someone who has attained a spiritual degree called “righteous.” This person has attained the screen that stands and prevents all pleasures from entering and filling the will to receive. That is why the righteous can always justify the Creator.
As for “the righteous that inherit the land,” in each new degree, the righteous inherits, or receives new desires (desire – Ratzon – stems from the word land – Eretz) and places over them a new screen, called “receiving for the Creator.”
GOOD AND BAD
The corporeal meaning of good and bad does not correspond to spiritual laws at all. It does not mean that it is opposite, that bad in our world is good in spirituality. That is not so! But it is true that our good deeds in our world do not promote us to spirituality.
I’m sure you’ve heard that the Creator is considered to be all goodness and benevolence, that He creates everything, and only good. So where is that good? What do we see around us? The answer is that the connection between this world and the spiritual worlds is nonexistent from below Upward. It can only be made from Above to below. Otherwise, everyone would willingly come to the Creator and would not need the correction from Above.
POWER OF LIGHT
Evil is lack of Light. It all depends on the intensity of the Light: when Light shines a little stronger, we feel it as good, as rest. That is the Light of which people speak who have experienced clinical death. A smaller amount of Light is sensed by us as states of depression, disaster and disease. It all depends on the power of illumination that shines over each person individually. “Bad” is actually the lack of Light.
There is no punishment in spirituality, only correction, which brings us to the attainment of perfection. In our present level of development, we normally picture a reward as receiving what we want. Therefore, the reward depends on the degree of each person’s soul.
One must reach a state where the reward will be found in doing something for the Creator. Then the effort to add to the intent for the Creator is considered work that merits a reward. However, the work itself is actually the reward. Its cause – the will to receive – and the effect – the reward – become one. Time and pain vanish, to be replaced with a sensation of total completeness.
WHAT IS SIN?
First, let me stress that anything that happens in our world has no bearing on the Upper World, because one does not evoke any spiritual act by one’s physical actions. When a person enters the Upper World, having acquired a screen, the person performs spiritual acts, using all of the 613 desires with the aim for the Creator, from the weakest desire, the first degree in the spiritual world, to the strongest, the highest desire of the spiritual world.
There are two types of pleasure:
The Light of Wisdom felt in the desire for pleasure.
The Light of Mercy felt in the desire to delight. Both types can be received only with the intent for the Creator, not with the intent for me.
There are four actions that can be performed, depending on the measurement of the correction:
Receive pleasure for myself.
Give pleasure (delight) for myself.
Give pleasure (delight) for the Creator.
Receive pleasure for the Creator. Ejaculation, in the Kabbalistic sense of the word, is an act of reception of pleasure, meaning Light of Wisdom, inside the uncorrected (lacking a screen) Malchut, while using the intent for me.
A correct use of the Light of Wisdom is attained only through a correct mating between the desire to give and the will to receive, between
Zeir Anpin and Malchut of Atzilut. The souls compel them to mate by raising a desire for correction, called MAN.
Only at the end of correction, when there is a screen over all the desires, will it be possible to receive without limits. That is why in the holiday of Purim there is a Mitzva to drink until you cannot tell between good and bad, because it symbolizes the End of Correction.
END OF THE WORLD
The end of the world refers to the end of the situation we are currently in, which is the worst and lowest of all. The end of that situation is considered a passage, after which a person begins to identify self with one’s soul, to be in the spiritual world. That ends the question of whether to live in this body or outside of it. One stops feeling under the authority of one’s own body, and that is called “the end of the world.” From now on, one feels only the life of the soul.
Hell is the sensation of shame – the only sensation that the ego cannot tolerate whatsoever, because it humiliates it and completely revokes it. The sensation of hell places the creature in a lower status than the One and Only, the Creator, Who exists outside him. It shows us that we are the lowest and the meanest of entities. The ego cannot tolerate this to such an extent that it is willing to give up its own attribute. That is the reason that hell is felt precisely by those who are called “evil,” meaning those who call themselves evil, because they want to become righteous and to justify the Creator’s actions towards them.
Paradise is a perfect state, one that is attained after having finished correcting our will to receive and attaining complete adhesion with the Creator. Adhesion means equivalence of all one’s attributes with those of the Creator, the attainment of complete awareness and the sensation of eternity and perfection. We are compelled to attain it, and we can do it in this very life.
Happiness is the sensation of the fulfillment of the internal capabilities of a person. It is fully clarified only when we realize precisely what and how we should fulfill, what our goal is, how eternal it is and independent, and to what extent it is the one meaningful thing in the world that is now being realized. In other words, happiness is the sensation of nearing the Creator, because that is the purpose of creation – a sensation of advancement toward a never-ending wholeness.
FEELING THE PASSAGE
A person goes through all the processes both before and after crossing the barrier, but the crossing itself is impossible to predict in advance. Crossing the barrier occurs only in a one-way direction, to the spiritual world but not back to ours. It means attaining Lishma, the intention for the sake of the Creator, and consequently, complete unity with Him, like a fetus inside its mother’s womb, hence being filled with such a sensation, we certainly realize we are THERE.
THE TREE OF LIFE
The Tree of Life means the correction of altruistic desires (above the Chazeh) and working with egoistic desires (below the Chazeh) with the intention to give in the entire Partzuf Adam.