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Michael Laitman, PhD

Spiritual Fatigue

Q: Why do we sometimes reach a state where the Torah wears us out to the point of physical fatigue? Does it mean that we lack desire for spirituality?

A: Only those who learn Kabbalah, who study and work with a rabbi and with books in accordance with the principle, “I have created the evil inclination, I have created the Torah as a spice” (I’ve created the will to enjoy and I’ve created the Torah - Kabbalah - in order to correct it), are regarded as those who learn Torah. Only then will the Light of Correction (called Torah) shine on them.

But if we study without the aim to be corrected, only to gain knowledge, or to perform some physical acts, it is said that “wisdom in the gentiles – believe; Torah in the gentiles - do not believe.”

Those who do not set before their eyes the correction as a goal are called “gentiles” because they do not feel the need for the correction, but only for the benefits that come from the Torah in this world and the next. The Zohar says about such people, “The leech has two daughters that bark like dogs – Have, Have. Let me have this world, and let me have the next world.”

Only those who learn the Torah in the Kabbalah find that their strength grows weaker. This is because they study it to receive strength from Above, to be corrected and to resemble the Creator. They do not want to stay at the level of the satisfaction of their corporeal needs. As our sages say, “You are called man, and not those who commit idolatry.”

Those who commit idolatry are those who worship their evil inclinations and bow before their egos. You can either bow before the Creator, or before your ego, because only those two possibilities exist.

Bowing before something indicates the desire for it, or for the attribute it symbolizes. Bowing before the ego means a person places the ego above self; there is no desire to suppress it, but to feed on it.

The surrender to the ego is called “bowing before an alien god.” In the Kabbalah this is called, “idolatry.”

If the disciple studies Torah in order to become a “man,” the evil inclination sees that it has nothing to look for here and the natural forces weaken. But at that time, the person still does not have the spiritual powers of bestowal, and therefore is still not attracted to the Creator, as there is not yet the knowledge of who He is.

Being between the two worlds is the state that causes the indifference. It is a necessary phase. After that phase, the Creator gradually appears. Higher spiritual goals appear and the person moves on.

Regarding your question: If your fatigue stems from the lack of genuine desire for spirituality, it is important to understand that there is a work, Lo Lishma (not for Her name - not for the Creator) and Lishma (for Her name - for the Creator). Working Lo Lishma is spiritual work that first entails working with the intent for self.

In order to understand that you’re working Lo Lishma (and not everyone attains even that), you feel at least slightly - as though from afar - the meaning of working Lishma, so that you can compare the two and realize that you’re working Lo Lishma.

You should be aware that these are only mechanical acts. You must not delude yourself that you have reached anything substantial. Then, gradually, you must ask the Creator to plant in you the power to perform a genuine spiritual act, just for Him.

But all that happens gradually. A temporary physical weakness is a result of the passage from doing things for yourself, to doing them for the Creator. However, you have not yet acquired the strength to do it for the Creator - the aim Lishma.

When there’s an urge to do something for yourself or for the Creator, nothing is too difficult to achieve. But now, you are right in the middle, in between the situations, and it is a sign of progress toward the goal!

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