The Creator’s Light Hochma (Wisdom)
There are two kinds of Light of the Creator: the Light of knowledge, reason, and wisdom (called Ohr Hochma), and the Light of mercy, confidence, and unity (called Ohr Hassadim). In turn, Ohr Hochma comes in two types according to its action upon us.
At first, when the Light arrives, we discover our own evil. Then, when we have discovered the evil, and realize that we should not use egoism, this same Light imparts strength towards those egoistic wishes, so that we can work (take pleasure) with them, but not for our own sake. Finally, when we gain the strength to overcome our own egoism, this same Light makes it possible for the corrected, formerly egoistic desires to take pleasure in altruism.
The Light of Hassadim (Mercy) Develops Altruistic Desires
On the other hand, Ohr Hassadim bestows on us the desire “to give” rather than “to take” pleasure. For this reason, from the 320 uncorrected desires of the soul, the action of ohr hochma separates the 32 parts of Malchut (which are gradually sensed as spiritual ascents take place, just as the individual gradually comprehends the full depths of his evil and shudders at the realization of his own essence) from the desire to receive personal pleasure, because we have realized that egoism is our worst enemy.
The remaining 288 desires have neither an egoistic nor an altruistic direction, as they are simply sensations (like those of hearing, sight, etc.), which can be employed in any way we choose: either for ourselves or for others. Under the action of Ohr Hassadim, we develop a desire to work altruistically with all 288 sensations. This occurs after Ohr Hochma has replaced the 32 egoistic desires with the 32 altruistic desires.
Kabbalah Is the Cure for Egoism’s Rule
A correction under the influence of the Light occurs without a sensation of pleasure derived from it. One only senses the difference in qualities between one’s own egoism and the magnificence of the Light. This alone is sufficient to break free of bodily desires. It is thus said, “I have created in you egoistical tendencies, and I created Kabbalah as its cure.”
But then, having corrected one’s desires, one begins to receive the Light in order to delight the Creator. This Light, also known as “Torah,” is called “The Names of the Creator,” because the individual receives into one’s self and soul a part of the Creator, and assigns names to the Creator in accordance with the pleasures received from the Light.
Striving to Become Completely Unselfish
We can enter the spiritual world only by becoming completely unselfish (Hafetz Hesed).
This is the minimal prerequisite to ensure that no egoistic desires could ever seduce us and thereby cause harm, because we want nothing for the self.
Without the protection of the altruistic tendencies with the quality of Ohr Hassadim, when we begin to receive the unbounded pleasure from the Upper Light, we will inevitably desire to gratify ourselves, and thus will bring about personal ruin; we will never be able to leave egoism for altruism. Our entire existence will consist of pursuing these pleasures, which are inaccessible to our egoistic desires.
The Spark of Light that Sustains Egoism
But Ohr Hassadim, which imparts on us a striving toward altruism, cannot shine its Light into our egoistical desires. Egoistic desires are sustained by a spark of the Light within us that was forcibly put there by the Creator to resist the laws of the nature of spirituality. This enables us to maintain life in us because, without receiving any pleasure, human beings cannot survive.
If this spark of the Upper Light disappeared, we would immediately perish. Only by doing so could we break away from egoism and from our unfulfilled desire to be gratified, thereby bringing us absolute gloom and despair.