From one world to another
“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”?
Listen now 14 minutes
Giving with love
We are created from the dust of the earth. That means we all have the innate nature of desiring to receive happiness and goodness. This is in accordance with the Purpose of the Creator in His creation. So then why do we feel embarrassment or shame when we receive without having earned what we are receiving? This feeling of shame stems from another aspect of our Creation, an aspect connected with our true purpose in the world, that of tikkun.
Although our inbuilt nature is that of receiving we also were given the quality of being able to give. This came about with the union of the Sephirah of Malchut with that of Binah, whose aspect is that of compassion and giving unconditionally.
By giving to the other unconditionally we convert a finite separated vessel of receiving into an infinite channel for the goodness of the Creator.
From Rabbi Avraham Mordecai Gottlieb’s commentary on Matan Torah of the Baal HaSulam.
Listen Now (Podcast about 18 minutes).
Love your neighbor as yourself: This is widely known to be a mitzvah that encompasses the whole of the Torah. But why should that be? There are many other mitzvot that deal with our relationship with God. Why are they also included in “Love your neighbor as yourself?”
We find that although the Scripture writes “Love your neighbor as yourself”, the Sage Hillel in the Talmud put it in another way. “Don’t do to your fellow what is hateful to you.” Why did he turn it around? Does the language of love teach us something about ourselves?
Drawn from the the article Matan Torah by Rabbi Yehudah Lev Ashlag with the commentary of Rabbi Avraham Mordecai Gottlieb with grateful acknowledgment to my chevrutas, David Bar Dov and Ilan Bengal
Podcast talk 15 minutes