Part Two of Chapter One, and the Beginning of Chapt. Two

The End Goal

The end goal of creation is simple. Our Sages have told us that God created the universe so that He can bestow pleasure upon His creations.[1] That’s just what He wanted to do. He did not have to, as He lacks nothing, not even the need to actualize His goodness. He is complete perfection.
This type of will and desire is something that we cannot comprehend. All of our desires and wants are based on a lack that we want to fill. We want food because we are hungry, we need energy. We want money because when we don’t have it. And we even want to do good because we miss doing good, or we feel good when we do good. That’s not it for God. He created the very concept of desire.[2]
And it follows that if the purpose of creation was the pleasure of His creations, then He must have created the concept of a desire to receive. He created souls with an amazingly intense desire to receive.
This had to be, because pleasure and desire have a proportional relationship. The greater the desire for something, the more pleasure is involved. It’s true that there’s always room for dessert, but we like saving room for dessert just so it will taste better, if not to keep our figures slim.
If you receive a gift that you don’t really want or need, you aren’t so excited. If you just ate a large hamburger, the experience of eating an entrecote steak is just not the same.
The more the desire, the greater the pleasure. This is why God created His souls with an intense desire to receive, so they would fully enjoy the good that He wished to give them. This desire is the source of our problems, as well as  the source of our answers.

Chapter Two – Self Knowledge

 Something New

With the knowledge of our necessity for having a  desire to receive, we can get a grasp on how it is that the creation can be considered new. The desire to receive cannot be something that came from God’s “essence”[1] before the creation of souls, because from whom would He receive? He was everything, lacking nothing, as He is now.
The desire to receive must introduce  a new type of consciousness, a perception of separation from the whole. Only when there is perceived otherness there can be a concept of lack, and a desire to receive. God’s indivisible unity leaves no “room” for a desire to get from the other. He is everything, and all He could want is to give to the other, if He so chose. And He did. He generated the concept of a lower level consciousness, something that could be a part of Him without fully realizing it.[2]
The whole universe is essentially comprised of this lower consciousness, this desire to receive. The gift of good, the ultimate pleasure, the gift of Himself, it comes straight from God’s “essence,” and is nothing “new.”

Spiritual Distance

We can see just how far creation is from its creator, despite being a part of Him. From our perspective of duality, with our desire to receive we are polar opposites with the Creator. He has the purest desire to give and bestow goodness, whereas we were created to receive. In the realm of the spiritual, being dissimilar causes distance.[3]
This idea can be understood in the case of two friends. When two people love each other, they are said to be close – even if they are each on the other side of the planet. When people have feelings of animosity, we say there is distance between them – even if they are sitting at the same table.
And it works the other way as well. Bob and Frank are very close friends, but Bob is a Republican and Frank is a  liberal Democrat. Sometimes this can cause distance. But they have many other things they have in common, like a love of chess, nature, and many core values.
Certainly it would be very difficult for them to maintain a “close” relationship if their core value system was completely at odds. How about if whatever Frank loved Bob despised and vice versa! What if Frank was a mafia hitman, and Bob was a pacifist cult member? With absolutely nothing in common it would be like they are “from different planets,” and “as far as the East is from the West.”

Like A Rock

It is clear that when referring to the abstract and the spiritual, the less similar one thing is to the other, the farther away they can be considered. Incongruence, being dissimilar, is like the minor’s pickax, hewing the stone from a mountain. To the degree that two things are unlike, to that degree their distance increases.
God has no desire to receive whatsoever – as far as He is concerned, and in true reality, there is no one to give Him anything. We were created for the purpose of receiving the ultimate good, and therefore must have a desire to receive it. This definitely causes some distance.  This is what makes us “a part” or an “aspect,” whereas he is the greater whole of everything.
All of God’s light which the soul receives comes directly from God, straight from His essence. So the only difference that exists between God and a soul is the fact that the light is contained within the vessel of the desire to receive. It is thus an “aspect” of the greater whole. A rock from the mountain. It has the perception of separateness, the desire to receive, and this makes it only a part, but on a higher plane it is no different than the whole.
As I mentioned in the introduction, I have tried to present these concepts as simply as possible. They are very deep, and have many ramifications. I hope that they serve to open your mind, to see that there are answers, but that nothing worth knowing is simple at first.
Stay tuned for Chapt. 3: The Bad Stuff!!
 
 
 
 

 


[1] When we talk of God’s essence, we mean the truth of His existence that we cannot possibly understand. Even the noun “essence” can’t be applied as anything that can be conceived of, any linguistic description, was created by Him. So we use the word for convenience sake.
[2] See Nefesh HaChaim, Sha’ar Gimmel for an explanation of the concept “Mitzido u’mitzideinu, from our perspective vs. His perspective.” Also, See Shiurei Da’aas ? and his amazing candle in the mirror analogy. The analogy is basically this: If you lived in a universe with no sense of  touch, only sight, if you saw a candle in a mirror there to you there would actually be two candles according to the rules of that dimension.
But if a person who had other senses saw it, his reality would see only one real candle. The analogue: There are different levels of reality, and to God they are all illusory, it is all Him, He is One, and nothing has ever changed in any way. But in our level of perception lower levels of reality are existant.
[3] On an abstract level this can be understood in this way:. When something is beyond the physical, there is no space or time. If something is identical to something else, then it is the same thing, which is obviously like being in the same place. Being dissimilar,  so that one concept is separate from the other, takes it out of the same “space” so that it can be something else.

 

 


[1] See introduction to Mesilas Yesharim.
[2] This understanding discerns Jewish mysticism from that of any religion I have come across. The fact that God had absolutely no need of any kind to actualize His goodness makes creation an act of pure altruism – even His desire to give was created. When we perform His commands, even when we do not understand them, or even want to comply, then we complete a circuit of real relationship and unity. This is opposed to a partnership of self interest, or co-dependence – even when the other’s benefit is also in mind.  See chapter four.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.