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The Superiority of Man to the Beast

We find that the only need in man’s wishes, which does not exist in the whole of the animate species, is the awakening towards Godly Dvekut (adhesion). Only the human species is ready for it, and none other.

It follows that the whole issue of presence in the human species is in that preparation imprinted in him to crave His work, and in that, he is superior to the beast.

Baal HaSulam, “This Is for Judah”


The absence that precedes man’s existence is the form of the beast. This is why it is written, “a wild ass’s colt is born a man,” as it is necessary for every person to begin in the state of a beast. And the writing says, “Man and beast Thou preserves, O Lord.” And as a beast is given all that it needs for its sustenance and the fulfillment of its purpose, He also provides man with all that is necessary for his substance and the fulfillment of his purpose.

Therefore, we should understand where is the advantage of man’s form over the beast, from the perspective of their own preparation. Indeed, it is discerned in their wishes, since man’s wishes are certainly different from those of a beast. And to that extent, God’s salvation of man differs from God’s salvation of a beast.

Baal HaSulam, “This Is for Judah”


All animals completely rely on nature and are utterly incapable of progressing beyond nature, helping themselves without it. Man, however, has been gifted with the power of thought. Using this power, he gradually becomes free of the chains of nature and surpasses it. He imitates the work of nature and works similarly. He does not wait for nature to give him chicks, for the hen to come and incubate the eggs. Instead, he builds a machine that incubates the eggs and hatches chicks for him, just as the natural hen.

Baal HaSulam, “The Nation”


And the most important thing in this whole diverse reality is the sensation given to the animals—that each of them feels its own existence. And the most important sensation is the noetic sensation, given to man alone, by which one also feels what is in one’s other—the pains and comforts. Hence, it is certain that if the Creator has a purpose in this Creation, its subject is man. It is said about him, “All of the Lord’s works are for him.”

Baal HaSulam, “The Teaching of the Kabbalah and Its Essence”


The spirit of the beast descends, meaning it sees only from itself onward. It does not have the intellect and wisdom to look at the past in order to correct the future. Man has an advantage to it for the spirit of man rises, meaning toward the past, looking at the past as one looks in the mirror to see how to correct one’s flaws. Similarly, the mind views past experiences and mends one’s ways henceforth.

This is why beasts do not evolve and they are still standing in the same place where they were created, since they do not have the mirror through which to understand how to correct the ways and gradually develop, as does man. Man evolves daily until his superiority is assured and sensed, for he is yet to ride upon the high planets.

Baal HaSulam, “Writings of the Last Generation”


And now sons do hear me: The “Wisdom cries aloud in the streets, she utters her voice,” “Whoso is on the Lord's side, let him come unto me,” “For it is no vain thing for you; because it is your life, and the length of your days.”

“You were not created to follow the act of the grain and the potato, you and your asses in one trough.” And as the purpose of the ass is not to serve all its contemporary asses, man’s purpose is not to serve all the bodies of the people of his time, the contemporaries of his physical body. Rather, the purpose of the ass is to serve and be of use to man, who is superior to it, and the purpose of man is to serve the Creator and complete His aim.

Baal HaSulam,

“Introduction to the Book, Panim Meirot uMasbirot,” Item 6


Animate: We see that each animal has its own characteristic; they are not confined to the environment but each of them has its own sensation and characteristic. They can certainly operate against the will of the Landlord, meaning they can work in bestowal and are also not confined to the environment. Rather, they have their own lives, and their vitality does not depend on their friends’ life. Yet, they cannot feel more than their own being. In other words, they have no sensation of the other. And naturally cannot care for the other.

Speaking has virtues: 1) It acts against the will of the Landlord. 2) It is not confined to its contemporaries like the vegetative, meaning it is independent from the environment. 3) It also feels the other, and hence can care for them and complement them, by feeling and regretting with the public, and being able to rejoice in the solace of the public, and by the ability to receive from the past and from the future. Animals, however, feel only the present and only their own being.

Baal HaSulam, Shamati [I Heard], Article no. 115,

“Still, Vegetative, Animate, and Speaking”

Concerning Still, Vegetative, Animal and Speaking:

Man’s advantage over animals is that he can aim at a remote goal, meaning to agree to a certain amount of current pain, out of choice of future benefit or pleasure, to be attained after some time.

Baal HaSulam, “The Freedom”


And man’s pre-eminence over all animals is that our minds are developed to such an extent that all the body’s events are depicted in our brains as images that we experience as concepts and rationalities.

Thus, the mind and all its deductions are but products that extend from the events of the body.

Baal HaSulam, “Body and Soul”


The Animate. Each creature feels itself, concerning attracting what is beneficial to it and rejecting the harmful. It follows that one animal equalizes in value to all the plants in reality. It is so because the force that distinguishes the beneficial from the detrimental in the entire Vegetative is found in one creature in the Animate, separated to its own authority.

This sensing force in the Animate is very limited in time and space, since the sensation does not operate at even the shortest distance outside its body. Also, it does not feel anything outside its own time, meaning in the past or in the future, but only at the present moment.

Atop them is the Speaking, consisting of an emotional force and an intellectual force together. For this reason, its power is unlimited by time and space in attracting what is good for it and rejecting what is harmful, like the Animate.

This is so because of its science, which is a spiritual matter, unlimited by time and place. One can teach others wherever they are in the whole of reality, and in the past and the future throughout the generations.

Baal HaSulam,

“Introduction to the Book, Panim Meirot uMasbirot,” Item 3

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