The most important determinant of the perception of pleasure is the thirst for pleasure, which in Kabbalah is known as a “vessel.” The size of the vessel is determined by the degree to which one feels the need for the lack of pleasure.
For this reason, if two separate vessel-people receive the same pleasure, one will receive a feeling of absolute satiation, while the other will feel no sense of possessing anything and, thus, be very depressed.
Therefore, every person must strive to live in the given moment; taking knowledge from the previous states; with faith above reason in the present state, we have no need for the future.
Advancing Along the Path of Faith
If Kabbalah says that something is “forbidden,” it actually implies that something is impossible even if one desires it. The objective, however, is not to desire it. For example, if an individual works in a certain job for an hour a day, and does not know any other workers who have already been rewarded for their work, that person will worry whether there will be pay for the performed task, but much less than the person who works ten hours a day.
The latter must have much more faith in the boss, but must also endure greater suffering at not seeing others being rewarded. And if one wishes to work day and night, then that person feels an even greater awareness of the concealment of the boss and of the reward. This is because the worker has a greater need to know whether there will be the promised reward in the end.
However, those who travel by faith above reason develop in themselves an immense need for the Revelation of the Creator, and along with it, an ability to confront the revelation. At that point, the Creator will unveil the entire creation before them.
The only way to avoid the use of egoistic desires is to advance by the path of faith.
Only if we refuse to see and know from fear of losing the capacity to work altruistically will we be able to continue to receive strong feelings and knowledge to the degree that advancement on the path of faith will not be impeded.
The Antidote for Human Egoism
It thus becomes clear that the crucial point of not working for the sake of the self emanates from the necessity to abandon the limited egoistic possibilities of attaining pleasure. Instead, one must seek to gain the unlimited possibilities of receiving pleasure outside the narrow boundaries of the body. Such a spiritual “organ” of perception is known as “faith above knowledge.”
Those who reach the level of spiritual development at which they can work without receiving any reward for egoism become compatible in qualities with the Creator (and therefore, achieve closeness with Him, because in spiritual realms it is only the difference in qualities that separates objects, as there exist no concepts of space and time).
Endless pleasure is also gained, unlimited by feelings of shame as when one receives charity. When we perceive the all-encompassing, invisible presence of the Upper Intellect, which permeates the entire universe and holds domain over everything, we receive the truest sense of support and confidence. Therefore, faith is the only antidote to egoism.
The Return to the Creator
Human beings by nature only have the power to do that which they comprehend and sense. This is known as “faith within reason.” Faith is called an upper, confronting power, which gives one the ability to act even when we do not yet realize or understand the essence of our actions; that is, faith is a force that does not depend on our personal interest, egoism.
It is said that in the place where a ba’al teshuva (one who wishes to return and draw near the Creator) stands, a complete righteous person cannot stand. When one corrects a new desire, one is considered to be completely righteous. When one is incapable of correction, one is called a “sinner.”
But if one overcomes oneself, then one is called “a returning one.” Since our entire path leads only toward the goal of creation, each consecutive new state is higher than the preceding one and the new state of the “returning one” is higher than the previous state of “the righteous one.”