“And you should know that as regards the essence of the man as he is in himself without matter, we have no conception of it whatsoever. Our five senses and our imagination can only show us the actions of the essence, but cannot reveal to us anything of the essence as it is in itself.
… Our own essence itself, or what it consists of, is completely unknown to us. I feel and know that I take up a place in the world. I am solid, I am hot, and I think, which are some manifestations of the actions of my essence, but if you were to ask me, “What is my essence, my Self from which all these manifestations come?” I would not know what to answer you. Behold! The Divine Providence has withheld from us the ability of conceiving of any essence. We are able to grasp only overt manifestations or images of actions, which come forth from essences.”
Rabbi Yehudah Lev Ashlag, Mavo Le Zohar.
The Kabbalists teach us that our essence is the same as that of God’s — like a stone is composed of the same material as the mountain. So, if we want to act in accordance with our essence, that means acting in accordance with an aspect of ourselves we cannot sense directly. This is why Rabbi Ashlag’s teaching in his work, Matan Torah, that all altruistic acts, whether done for the sake of the other, of for God, seem to us to be meaningless and empty.
Clearly we have to get out of the paradigm of thought and concepts woven around us by our basic ego nature. But how? How do we get to act ” out of the box”?
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