The Mechanics of Initially Perceiving the Creator
In order for one who is still under the influence of egoism to perceive the closest Upper Object (the Creator), the Creator must equalize some of His qualities with those of the lower being—the person seeking a connection with the Creator.
He will endow some of His altruistic qualities with egoistic attributes, and can then come into balance with the person seeking connection with Him.
Initially the lower part was not able to perceive the Upper Spiritual State. However, because the Creator hid His highest altruistic qualities behind egoistic ones, He was able to descend to the level of the person so that the person was able to perceive Him.
Because we perceive higher qualities as being egoistic, we are unable to truly grasp their essence. It appears that there is nothing positive in the spiritual that may bring pleasure, inspiration, confidence, or tranquility.
It is precisely at this point that we have an opportunity to exercise our willpower. We may, instead, declare that the absence of pleasure and taste in the spiritual and in Kabbalah is because of the Creator’s deliberate concealment for our own sake. Because we do not yet possess the necessary spiritual qualities, it is therefore impossible for us to perceive the Upper spiritual pleasures; rather, all our earthly desires are governed by egoism.
The Partial Revelation of the Creator
It is crucial for beginners to understand that they are given depression and distress in order to overcome them.
This gives them the free will to conclude that their lack of pleasure comes from a lack of appropriate altruistic qualities in themselves. Hence, the Upper One must hide His true qualities from them.
Therefore, we must remember that the first stage of perceiving the spiritual is the feeling of spiritual deprivation. If the lower part is capable of realizing that the Upper One is concealing Himself because of their incongruity of qualities, and if that lower part asks for help to correct its own egoism by raising a prayer (Ma’N), then the Upper Part partially reveals Himself (lifts His AHaP) and displays His true qualities, which prior to this moment, were disguised beneath egoism.
As a result, spiritual pleasure also becomes apparent.
This spiritual state is known as a person’s “lesser spiritual level” (Katnut). The Upper Part, in a way, elevates the lower part to His own spiritual level by revealing both His grandeur and the grandeur of altruistic qualities. By seeing the magnificence of the spiritual and comparing it to the material, we may spiritually rise above our world.
The Need to Acquire Faith Above Reason
When we perceive the spiritual, regardless of our will, our egoistic qualities are changed into altruistic ones, that is, into the qualities of the Creator. In order to allow the lower part to take complete possession of the higher first level, the Upper Part wholly reveals Himself and all His qualities to that lower part; meaning He reveals his Grandeur, makes Gadlut.
At this point, the person perceives the Upper Part as the One and Only Absolute Sovereign of everything in the universe. At the same time, the lower part grasps the highest knowledge of the purpose of creation and of the Upper’s dominion.
It becomes clear to the lower part that there is no other way to conduct oneself than in the way prescribed by Kabbalah. Thus, the lower part’s reason now requires proper action. As a result of this clear awareness of the Creator, one must deal with the contradiction between faith and knowledge, between the right and the left lines.
Now, having acquired altruistic qualities (Katnut), the lower part prefers to proceed only by means of faith in the strength of the Creator. This serves as an indication of the seeker’s sincere desire to come closer to the Creator.
However, the Creator’s Revelation of His grandeur (Gadlut) now obstructs one from advancing by faith. Consequently, the individual must willingly dispense with the acquired knowledge.
The Work With the Spiritual Screen
When one pleads to proceed blindly, relying only on one’s faith in the magnificence of the Creator, rather than by realizing His power and grandeur, and only by using reason in proportion to one’s faith, the Creator is compelled to limit His disclosure. When such an action compels the Creator to diminish His disclosure of His general dominion, His omnipotence, and His Light (Ohr Hochma), this is called “the screen of Hirik.”
Through this screen, we are able to diminish the revelation of the Upper reason (the left line) to the point at which this revelation can be balanced with faith, the right line. The correct correlation between faith and knowledge is called a “spiritual balance,” or the middle line.
We, as individuals, determine the state we desire to be in. Once the correct correlation of faith and knowledge is in place, we can then attain perfection. This is known as “the middle line.”
The part of revealed knowledge (the left line) that we can use in proportion to our faith (the right line), by proceeding by faith above reason (the middle line), is added onto those spiritual qualities that we possessed before, in the state of Katnut. The newly acquired spiritual level is known as Gadlut, meaning big and complete.
After the first complete spiritual level has been attained, we will become equal in qualities to the very first (the lowest) state of the spiritual ladder. As was mentioned earlier, all the states, or steps of the ladder, overlap with each other.
Having reached the first level, we may discover the presence of a higher level within us. Using the same principle as when advancing to the first level, we can proceed step by step to the goal of creation—complete unification with the Creator on the highest level.
An essential part of our spiritual ascent is a special process that requires that, on discovering a greater evil within us, we ask the Creator to grant us the strength to overcome that evil. We then receive strength in the form of a greater spiritual Light.
This continues until we actually reach the original level and size of our souls: at that point, our egoism is completely corrected and filled with Light.