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Michael Laitman, PhD

What is a Spiritual Vessel?

Q: If a vessel is designed to receive Light, what is the meaning of a “giving vessel,” and how can the “will to receive” give?

A: The Creator created a desire to delight, meaning a desire to feel pleasure. Real pleasure lasts as long as the desire lasts–it is insatiable. 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 feeling 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 the “fire of hell.” There is nothing worse than the sensation of shame because it completely and directly destroys the one thing that we possess: our ego.

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) of 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 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 himself. 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, and despite the 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, and we both give to one another and express love for each other.

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 creature in order to delight him, 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.

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