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    Introductory Course to Kabbalah

    Lesson 5 - The Development of the Desires

    By Michael Laitman, Ph.D

    Kabbalah Lessons courtesy of

    The Development of the Desires

    • Is there any connection between the pleasures in our world and the pleasures in spirituality?

    • When do I begin to fulfill spiritual Reshimo?

    • How do material desires fit together inside myself with the desire towards spirituality?

    • Why are there fewer suicides in underdeveloped countries?

    • How should children be educated in a manner useful for their development and not oppress them?

    Is there a connection between the spiritual desire to receive, the Screen, the Upper Light, the spiritual pleasure - and what we are feeling here in this world, meaning through our five senses?

    There is no connection at all, because this is our world. What does it mean that there is no connection? - Very simple: the pleasures I can receive through my five senses, I receive without a screen. I receive them according to my desire to receive - which is dependent on the Reshimo I have at the source of the pleasure. These Reshimo are predetermined, but dormant. I have to work on this only in order to activate this Reshimo. If I have a small Reshimo, the goal is to make it a little bigger. Let us say, I want to eat, but not enough. But I am working with that desire. And these entrances and the entrance of the sixth sense are completely independent of one another.

    It is possible to be a great Kabbalist, and to work with the sixth sense, with the screen, on very high steps, and at the same time to enjoy all my five senses, - there is no contradiction in this.

    Does it not annul the five senses?

    It does not annul the five senses. On the contrary, the end of correction means that you have reached the highest step, and at the same time you are in your body, in this world, and are connecting in your soul these two opposite points as one. You are really arranging them. By that you have really fulfilled the Purpose of Creation.

    How are those two spirals connected to the point in the heart, and to the material Reshimo?

    We have already talked about this - we have numerous developmental steps, or what is called - reincarnations, which is the term we use. We have many incarnations during which we fulfill these material Reshimo, which are divided first of all into the desire for animal-like pleasures, found in animals and humans alike - the desire for food, for family, for sex, for shelter, for the pack. Afterwards there are the desires for fame and for knowledge.

    After man has fulfilled all of these desires, follows the desire for spirituality. This does not mean that things are clear cut, that I advance from one to the other - from corporeal pleasures to the desire for money, and then I want only money, and all that belongs to food does not interest me any more. Not true! However, I have developed the former in such extent, enough to now open in me the will for money in a certain measure (everybody in his own, personal way, according to his or hers soul's structure); now I start to work with honor. All of a sudden I wish to work for honor, let's say I want to be a Member of Parliament or something similar. It is not as if forget about money or about corporeal pleasures, simply, they are all working together. I have developed them enough and now they are developing some more through honor also, and so on. So it is with the desire for spirituality; along with it, I also develop the former pleasures more and more. Honor, for example, greatly disturbs the spiritual development. It disturbs it in a positive way. As any other disturbance, it comes in order to highlight to me where I am imperfect, and so on.

    That is to say - these senses are always accompanying a Kabbalist. It is written that "he who feels greater than his friend, his desire is greater than him", and "from the times of the destruction of the Temple, the flavor of Beria, Yetzira, Assiya has remained with those who serve the Creator". This means that the lowest animal-like desires remain only for those who are working for the Creator's sake. Especially inside those who open this channel, the sixth sense, the other five senses are working very, very strongly. But he feels them in a purposeful manner and they are helping him toward the goal.

    Does suffering help in the development of the soul?

    What can I tell you? There a billions of people suffering, all of Africa is starving, and this does not bring them to be involved with the development of the soul. On the other hand, the highest rate of suicides is found in the most developed countries, and not among the Africans. Where is the highest rate of drug-users? In Europe. Those who hardly have enough to eat, live in poverty, and those that grow drugs do not use them.

    It is written, "suffering purifies the body", or suffering purifies the desire to receive. Those are not sufferings that we feel through the lack of corporeal pleasures. They are sufferings of love, that we long for spirituality and do not attain it. Then solely those sufferings purify us and draw us nearer to spirituality.

    And again, Kabbalah is against suffering. According to the Wisdom of Kabbalah, man should tread wisely - so that he derives enjoyment each and every moment. Otherwise he is cursing the Creator instead of justifying Him and does not correctly read the situation happening to him. This is because each situation we find ourselves in happens only in order to correct us and to bring us to a more spiritual and higher state. We are never in a state where we do not progress. Each day, each moment, we are constantly progressing. However, even someone who does not feel it yet should understand a little and reflect on it. It is indeed so.

    And whoever enters a state of suffering and does not want to emerge from it, and even enjoys it - this is called Klipa (shell). These are the powers that stop man, and even in a certain way lower him; and we have to resist it. That is why this is a big problem for beginners as they are starting to feel how rotten, how distant from sanctity they are and in what measure they lack what they want. And they are still immersed in egoism, in the egoistic desire to receive, "I lack, I lack, I lack", and man despairs. Just the opposite from what should be.

    That is why progress, real progress, consists of man opening the possibility for himself to criticize his way only on the condition that he is able to remain joyful. Baal HaSulam writes about it in one of his letters: that man should be joyful twenty three and a half hours a day, and only for half an hour to check on where he is at.

    You have said before, that there is this moral system working on the simple people. My question is, is it possible in the state that the world is in, to open the whole world, to behave as is "everything is allowed."?

    The question is, how to educate this generation, to cross over from the morals method to the method of Kabbalah, to develop in accord with Nature? I don't know. We have a group of our youngest girls here. We do not know, I do not know even how to educate children. I obviously have ideas on the subject, but we do not have any from our greatest Kabbalists - and I am no greater. I am not going to write books on spiritual education, I know my place.

    To our regret, we have not yet received from the great one, from above, any method how to approach children. The great Gaon of Vilna has indeed written some three or four hundred years ago that from nine years onward, the Wisdom of Kabbalah may be taught to children. Because there is nothing more natural for man than to know that there is more and more around him to be achieved and to grow. And these questions are asked from a young age: Who am I? What am I? What I am here to do? Later, as a result of all our troubles, we forget these questions.

    But, in any case - there is no method yet. Like there is no current method on how to approach the whole nation, if it does not feel the lack of spirituality, and still finds itself in previous matters. Therefore, either through studying we speed up the whole humanity toward it, or - like it was at my Rabbi's. I like to learn from examples, and this is a good example, that occurred right in front of my eyes. When I brought him students from Tel Aviv, there were non-religious young men among them including some that he absolutely did not want to accept. And he told me that if possible - they should not come. There were some about whom he said: let them come, and from being present they will develop, even if their point in the heart has not developed yet; they were there together in the group, they went to pubs together, they spent time together and all of a sudden in some of them the desire for spirituality was ignited. And they were pulling along all the other guys, and so many were joining, whole groups. We saw that this was indeed of use, that people were all of a sudden arriving, without knowing why, just because "Itzik is here, I want to be here as well", like a club. And afterwards, we saw that these people had indeed developed, that he has overtaken his friend Itzik, and has progressed even further.

    We do not know the ways of the soul, in what manner and at which speed it is progressing. It can suddenly leap forth, and I have seen it myself. And the opposite is also true. I have many examples of people that were so pure, and so open to it, they understood immediately, they discovered so many things that I envied them for it, they were so advanced, grasping the material.
    All of a sudden they began to backslide, to dry up and to leave, and if they did not leave, they stayed in Kabbalah only formally. That is why it is impossible to know in advance, I would say even that I am not wise enough, and I have seen that my Rabbi did not see it either. It is not possible to predict how far someone will go forward, in what measure he will progress and where his stumbling-blocks will be. This is true about any other soul, and even if he is little and inconsequential, there is nothing you are able to tell. Even as we see with our own eyes, we cannot say about a person - what his life's path will be. That's how it is.

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