© 2008-2011. A course in Kabbalah by Sephir.
Authentic Kabbalah Part 6
We see that the Light emanating from Atzmuto creates a Kli in four steps. That is why that final desire, named Bhina Dalet (Fourth Phase), is in fact the only Creature. All the phases that preceded it were only intermediate phases in its evolution. The final Creation consists of all phases simultaneously, but its essence is represented by Malchut.
The Light being spread out throughout 0-4 phases consists of 9 parts, called sephirot (plural from sephira), what literally can be translated as “shining”. Sephirot constitute a full spectrum of “faces” belonging to the Creator – in other words, sephirot represent a variety of ways that the Creator manifests Himself with relation to the Creature. Obviously, the Creator Himself is absolutely constant and invariable, however constantly transforming Kli makes the Creator appear differently, depending on the inner qualities of the Kli itself. This is why a pure and unvariable Light descending from the Atzmuto seems to consists of many parts.
Thus the Creator placed a goal before us : to ascend through all the sephirot toward Him, gradually revealing His actual quality of bestowal, and finally, to bond with Him by acquiring His quality. This goal is included in Bhina Shoresh, in which the Creator wants to entirely fullfil the Creature.
To sum it up, 9 sephirot constitute a sort of link between the Creature (Malchut) and the Creator. Those sephirot are as follows : Keter, Hochma, Bina, Hesed, Gevura, Tifferet, Netzah, Hod, and Yesod. At this point it’s not worth to delve into the details, but just keep in mind, that Bhina Gimel (Zeir Anpin) consists of the following parts : Hesed, Gevura, Tifferet, Netzah, Hod, and Yesod.
As we already cleared up, Ohr and Kli are inseparably united. Hence, although sephirot in fact refer to the Light, their names are used to indicate parts that the Kli consists of. So, in Phase 4 the finished Creation looks like this :
The following lesson constitutes a slight description of what happens next after the Malchut in phase 4 has been brought forth. This lesson might seem difficult, as it brings up many new terms that you need to learn by heart, but after you become familiar with this terminology you’ll be able to understand it better.
The scheme of perfect reception
The Creator has brought forth the Creation so that upon receiving the Light it may experience infinite pleasure, not in a selfish (egoistic) way, but rather in a perfect and an absolute way (altruistic). If the Light enters the Kli and fills it up completely, then the Kli can no longer receive because the desire is saturated by the Light, and in the absence of desire the pleasure passes away as well. Hence, it is only possible to receive endlessly when you do not receive for your own sake, meaning, you enjoy for the sake of the giver. Then Ohr entering the Kli does not neutralize the desire to receive. We do know already, that we cannot endlessly fulfill our desires in the corporeal World, as the pleasure that fills up our desires neutralizes the desires, and thus the pleasure itself (as Ohr and Kli are inseparably united and cannot exist without each other). Through experience we all know that when we are hungry and begin to eat, after a certain time we no longer feel the hunger, even if the most delicious dishes are made available. In our World there is nothing we can do to make it work differently, this is why Kabbalah doesn’t speak of preferable behavior in our World at all. The model of correct reception applies exclusively to the spiritual Kli, and only on this level it can be put into effect.
Hence, the main problem that Malchut had to face is that as soon as pleasure enters the desire and starts to satisfy it, this desire slowly fades away. And if the pleasure is stronger than the desire this can even lead to repulsion. So, how can pleasure be converted into something perfect? If man feels pleasure not within himself, but within others while pleasing them, then pleasure is infinite because it depends solely on the amount of pleasure he can still give and to whom he is giving it. The more people I give it to the more pleasure do I feel myself. Again, do not identify this dependency with our World, it has nothing to do with it – such a model cannot be applied to relationships between people in our world. This condition produces an eternal existence on the level of spirituality, the perfection, which is one of the attributes of the Creator. This is exactly the state the Creator wants us to come to. The ideal scheme includes the Creator constantly pouring the Light (altruistic bestowal) on the created being, whereas the created being consents to receive the Light only if by doing so it pleases the Creator (altruistic reception). This system is referred to as Returned Light or Reflected Light (Ohr Hozer), as opposed to the Straight Light (Ohr Yashar) emanating from the Creator.
The Creator has especially made the Kli in such a way that under the influence of His manifestation (Ohr Yashar) it will feel ashamed of only receiving. The Kli, using its freedom of choice, will reach a level where pleasure is not experienced in egoistic way, so as to please the Creator. In this case the Kli equals the Creator, meaning, Malchut ascends to the level of Keter and acquires His attributes. I realize, that such a description doesn’t convey you any idea of this state, but at this point just keep in mind that entrance into the spiritual worlds by acquiring just one degree of similarity with the Creator already means eternity, absolute pleasure and attainment.
Tzimtzum Alef and Masach
So, let’s step back to the finished Creature, Malchut, in the Bhina Dalet. We already cleared up that when the Light fills up the Kli with pleasure, the Kli gradually receives from the Light its attribute to give as well as sensation of the giver itself – the Creator. Malchut then begins to feel that its attribute is completely opposite to the attribute of the Light. It becomes aware of its own egoistic nature when compared to the giver, which causes such a feeling of shame that it decides (using his freedom of choice) to stop receiving Light and remains empty. This is in fact the first time when the Creature uses its freedom of choice, so this decision plays exceptionally important role in what happens next. The rejection of the Light from Malchut is called Tzimtzum Alef (hebr. The First Restriction). This is what Malchut decided to do in order to acquire equality with the Creator, which in fact is a state of equilibrium, as neither the Creator gives, nor the Creature does receive pleasure.
It’s been previously said that nothing can disappear in spirituality, therefore although the further development of Malchut consists of many stages, Tzimtzum Alef, as a rule, is present in all worlds that we’re about to study, including our world. It means no more and no less, that Ohr cannot enter the egoistic Kli, as it used to do in previous phases. This is why when the spiritual Kli appears within a human being for the first time, it remains empty, as it doesn’t match the quality of Light. Although the spiritual Kli grows up under the influence of Ohr Makif (surrounding Light), it cannot receive the Light untill it acquires a certain degree of similarity to the Light. Similarity to the Light is defined by strength of Masach (hebr. “the screen”), which is also known as sixth sense, as degree of its strength defines how much we’re capable to perceive. In other words, Masach constitutes our altruistic intention of the desire to receive. Depending on how strong this intention is, we can receive more and more Light, thus gradually filling up all the parts that Kli consists of, and thus receiving the information about the Creator coming along with the Light. The scheme of reception with Masach can be depicted as follows :
Hence, in order to cross Machsom and enter the spiritual world, one is supposed to develop Masach. Further spiritual development consists in increasing strength of Masach, thus ascending the spiritual worlds and thus revealing the Creator more and more clearly.
In order to understand the mechanism of reception with Masach we’re supposed to distinguish between several kinds of Light that appear as soon as a certain portion of Light is being rejected by Kli. Take a look at the following picture :
- Ohr Yashar is the straight Light emanating from the Creator, and in fact, this is the only Light that exists. Other kinds of Light represent subjective sensation that appears within Kli as it begins to use Masach.
- As we already know, when the guest faces the host and the table full of delicacies he first refuses everything. This sort of pleasure is called Ohr Hozer – it appears along with Tzimtzum Alef, when the Kli refuses reception whatsoever.
- Then the guest decides to eat a bit in order to please the host, even though he would like to eat it all in one go. This means that one must use his selfish desires, but in an altruistic way. As the guest starts to consider things, he understands that he cannot accept the whole dinner for the sake of the host, because his altruistic intention (Masach) is not strong enough. Therefore he only may accept a small portion of pleasure that could be received in altruistic way. This sort of pleasure is called Ohr Pnimi – it represents degree of similarity to the Creator.
- Let’s say, after having performed a restriction, Malchut can accept with altruism only a small portion of the Light, let’s say 20%, but it pushes away the remaining 80%. The part that has been pushed away is called Ohr Makif – it represents degree of dissimilarity to the Creator. In other words, Ohr Makif is the Light that cannot be accepted because of egoism being present in certain parts of the Kli.
Aviut and Kashiut
These terms refer to dependency between egoistic force and altruistic one. We already know that along with development of Kli (throughout phases 0, 1, 2, 3, 4) egoism grows up, so that in Malchut it reaches the higher degree. Hence, in the phase 4 the Kli consists of 5 layers of egoism. The level of egoism is represented by the term Aviut.
The term Kashiut refers to strength of Masach, meaning the force of resistance to receiving light. It is similar to a solid body that does not allow anything to enter it. Likewise, Masach prevents the Upper Light from entering Malchut. It stops and reflects all the light that was destined to fill Malchut. Kashiut corresponds with levels of Aviut, so that the bigger egoism is included in Kli, the strongest force of resistance is required. Hence, the more egoistic desire we deal with, the stronger Masach we’re supposed to develop.
Let’s step back to the term “world” (hebr. olam) that we used before. The genuine meaning of this term is inverse to understanding that we may have. The spiritual worlds constitute gradual concealment of the Creator. We already know that worlds don’t exist as an external reality, but they rather reflect properties that the Kli possesses (Aviut and Kashiut). The birth of spiritual Worlds is actually the realization of the five Sefirot: Keter, Hochma, Bina, Zeir Anpin, and Malchut, which were in Malchut itself. The spreading of the worlds from Above to Below matches the progressive increase of the Aviut of the four desires or phases from 0 to 4. It’s written :
The worlds are like a sphere surrounding Malchut. As an analogy, you can picture a man surrounded by spheres and using his organs of sensation to perceive only the sphere that is closest to him: the World of Assiya. By sharpening his organs of sensation and by modifying his qualities, man begins gradually to perceive the next sphere, and so on. All the worlds are a sort of filter placed in the Light’s path, a special Screen that blocks the Surrounding Light: Ohr Makif. As soon as man senses the presence of these worlds, he removes the screen-filters. This draws him closer to the Creator.
The Worlds appear as soon as a certain portion of the Light gets through Masach and enters the Kli. Depending on which parts of the Kli are being filled with the Light, the Kli senses the Creator in different ways. Hence, there are 5 Worlds corresponding with each part that Malchut consists of :
- Adam Kadmon
For instance, Adam Kadmon appears when KETER is being filled up with the Light. Likewise, Atzilut is associated with HOCHMA, Beria appears along with fulfillment of BINA, Yetzira corresponds with ZEIR ANPIN, and Assiya with MALCHUT.
Each World consists of 5 Partzufim (portions) that constitute gradual stages of fulfillment that a Sefira comes through. Similarly, each Partzufim consists of 5 sefirot. Hence, the entire spiritual path from MALCHUT to KETER consists of 125 steps (5 worlds x 5 partzufim x 5 sferot)
In the beginning, a man is located inside the worlds and he perceives their power and the constraints imposed upon him. How can one overcome these constraints? By performing an inner correction, corresponding for instance to the attributes of the World of Assiya. This means being an altruist on level zero.
After having been overcome, the World of Assiya penetrates man and can be sensed by him. In order to sense the World of Yetzira, it is necessary to acquire attributes similar to those of this world and to allow this world to penetrate us. At this stage we become level one altruists. The goal is to let all the worlds in, and to become similar to these worlds according to the following degrees of Aviut: 2, 3, 4.
By knowing how many steps are included in spiritual development you can actually understand what part of Kabbalah this course does touch upon. Adam Kadmon, what constitutes 1/5 part of spiritual path between Malchut and Bina. Obviously, what we actually learn in these lessons is but a brief overview of main concepts. The actual kabbalistic texts contains much more detailed explanaition.
As always, becoming familiar with the terms included in this lesson is a crucial requirement.
- Ohr Yashar
- Ohr Hozer
- Ohr Makif
- Ohr Pnimi
- Adam Kadmon
© 2008-2011. A course in Kabbalah by Sephir.
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