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    Introductory Course to Kabbalah

    Lesson 4 - There is No Coercion in Spirituality

    By Michael Laitman, Ph.D

    Kabbalah Lessons courtesy of

    There is No Coercion in Spirituality

    • Does spiritual development entail "being satisfied with little"?

    • Why did people start to run away from prayer houses to the big wide world?

    • Why does Kabbalah not say, "it is forbidden" and "shame on you"?

    • Why do people use drugs?

    • How do I begin my correction?

    Is the goal to restrict use of the five senses to a minimum, in favor of the sixth sense? Truly live in it and in them (the five senses), only in order to breathe a little, to eat a little...?

    No. Just the opposite, as there is nothing coming from Above that has not been created for a reason. Rather, all things that have descended here, at their source, or during ascent, they exist in an ever more refreshing, grand form. All the desires are very big, even the most animal like ones.

    You will see how much more you will want to eat. You will also see the same intensity with all other pleasures. Why is this happening? It is no joke, as it is written about in Kabbalah books in a very explicit manner. In Kabbalah there is nothing to hide, we are talking about souls. In fact you are going to develop the space for pleasure. If you have a place for a small pleasure, then you need nothing more: like a righteous one only wants a glass of water and a slice of bread, God willing, only this. From it you do not become a Kabbalist. A Kabbalist has to swallow the whole world, and little by little, through the Light coming to us we begin to feel it. And also this notion - in Kabbalah you are not told to stop receiving. On the contrary - the Wisdom of Kabbalah explains that you should receive and enjoy yourself to the fullest, in the most perfect manner, as much as you possibly can. However, these ideas are complicated and require real wisdom.

    To begin, everything that we learn is about the way to develop the ability to receive. Not, God forbid, on account of some sort of restriction of our senses, no. A student of Kabbalah is forbidden to withdraw from society, to put all sorts of restraints upon himself. He has to continue functioning as usual; Kabbalah obligates one to marry, to live a normal life, to work, to serve in the army, to do everything that members of his generation do. It is written - "among my people I am dwelling". This is to say, I have to function just like everybody else in my generation, average.

    And I have seen this at my Rabbi's place. If I was going shopping for different things, or to bring him something in particular, he used to say "Ask everyone, as many as you can, and bring me the average opinion of whatever they all think or use. It is forbidden otherwise." It used to be so even in the smallest matters, even when we were admitted to the hospital, sometimes we had no alternative and we had to take a private room, but usually we were given a room like everybody else. There is an opposite principle here - whoever uses something special for himself only, and not for everybody - he loses.

    In practical terms this means, continue to be as usual, and do not put any restriction from your side - this is not from holiness.

    On the contrary, we have two approaches to this world: there is the approach called "education through morals" and there is education by interior development. Morals tell us: "it is not nice, shame on you", do not do it, do not do this, do not do that, they are slapping your hand all the time - "do not touch". By this they are limiting man, and do not let him develop. It is good for the "common folk", to keep them in rein. He who wants to rule over a nation uses exactly this approach. And in truth, almost until the present, it was working - because people had not yet developed in such measure. The souls had not arrived yet to the same level as the last generation, that is to say that their spiritual gene had begun to awaken. They have come to a point where they already have to nurture their center, their point in the heart. Before that, the moral approach was working well, was supporting the people, all of them were religious, everybody was going to the synagogue, coming back, studying, everything was agreeable.

    Until it came to the point where the will to receive grew, this spiritual gene already had realized itself almost completely. It remained inside us only to open the sixth sense, and to proceed into the spiritual world.

    We see by ourselves that it is not working any more. A moral education has already stopped working and you can not say to somebody "shame on you". If that is what you are telling him, later - he has no choice but to start using drugs. Once this happens he is finished. There is nothing to do; you have to let him develop.

    That is why Kabbalah teaches us not to say "shame on you". Not to limit a person in anything, just the opposite. Contrary to the morals method, according to which "this world is not worth anything, there is nothing that you need from it, go only to spirituality". Kabbalah says - no. This world is very good, and you can enjoy yourself here - and indeed, one can.
    That you are unable to, or cannot, or you do not have the opportunity - that is another matter, but do not say this of the world. However, you have to discover by yourself that spirituality is much greater, richer and attractive than all material riches.

    Why is it that the morals education is not able to do this? - Because it does not open the spiritual world. They are not able to say to a person, look, you have to prefer this over that; look, it is clear what exists in spirituality. Kabbalah does exactly that: it opens the spiritual world for man, and anyway he will - in the best way, without any restriction - manage both. There is no coercion in spirituality - this is a very important law. There is no coercion, including on yourself.

    In as much as you enter the feeling of the sixth sense, at the same time you begin, little by little, to criticize the five senses, and see in what measure you are in an illusion. I would say that it is not exactly an illusion - you clothe your five senses over the sixth sense, and really see it as one perspective. You can ask: why is the sixth sense one? Let me have a few channels, like in this world. The truth is that in the sixth sense there are also five channels, called the Five Sefirot - Keter, Hochma, Bina, Tifferet, Malchut. And also the impressions we receive in them are called Five Lights: Nefesh, Ruach, Neshama, Chaya, Yechida. In spirituality they are called just so: sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch. It is only us that say it is one sense. Why? -Because we are receiving the whole package as one. In our world we can be blind, G-d forbid, or deaf. In spirituality it is not possible - if you receive, you receive the whole package, the whole NRNHY (Nefesh, Ruach, Neshama, Chaya, Yechida), and then the senses clothe themselves one upon the other, and inside they are creating an impression, one whole, perfect image.

    There is no one born in this world who receives an impression and excitement from these five senses that does not do something with them. Let us say, that we are going from one place to another without a feeling of spirituality, with no understanding of what spirituality is, - we do not even have any desire for it. Let us say that I am living in some village, my father was a shepherd and I am also a shepherd like him, and also my son, and my grandson, and that is how it works, and rolls, and rolls. In the final analysis, this is how we are doing also. The question is this: are we doing something by just living in this world, through the five senses? Or are we also only receiving and returning information, materials and in the end nothing comes out of it? No. We are fulfilling these records. We have always, in each and every record, its private, very own NRNHY, even in our records, and afterwards, when they all come together, they are giving us a perfect image, from the beginning to the end, as one image. Our whole life, this life and all the preceding ones, did not pass purposelessly, man has not lived by chance. That is why it is forbidden to despise even the lowest man. This contempt can express itself in the thought - why doesn't man use the opportunity that he has been given to break into spirituality. That is to say - not to contempt, but attempt to make him do it. But simply to contempt - no. On the contrary, I would say. Baal HaSulam says that even in the existence of the smallest louse, or some small insect, no matter where, his existence is needed. And that is why he has been created, and by this he has been chosen to fulfill its small part of the general will.

    Without fulfilling the whole will in all its details, nothing will come of it. That is why we must not despise people who are not drawn yet to spirituality; help them - yes. By helping them, I help myself, as we are connected to the same system.

    If Kabbalah develops the place of pleasure, then what is the matter of restriction?

    The Creator has created the will to receive. What is the meaning of the will to receive moving away from The Creator? The will to receive remains the same, it is unable to restrict itself; it restricts itself from receiving the bestowal. There was a very big space here for receiving the Light, afterwards it closed - this is called restriction. It is not the restriction of the will to receive itself, the whole volume remains, this space retains the same volume, the same size, only a restriction occurred. That means: it is not closed, but there is a cover.

    How do we open this cover? The cover that existed before was not proper. We need to open the cover only with the purpose to climb back upwards. Not in order to receive here in this place, but so that every reception will mean an elevation on the one hundred and twenty five step Ladder.

    What do I begin my correction with? I am doing the restriction, let's say the First Restriction and then I am opening myself, in as much as I can elevate higher than my present state, and still higher, so that it moves all the time. Only by doing this can we start opening the cover.

    If I can receive the Light and progress toward it, then I am opening myself to the reception of the Light. Otherwise, I will remain in my present state until I receive sufficient power for what is called - The Barrier, so that the filling is received for development.

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