Master Kabbalists

The Essence of True Humility

In Ten Luminous Emanations, Rav Ashlag explains that the Ten Sefirot are like circles within circles. It is sort of a dichotomy. On one hand, a circle that surrounds another circle might indicate that the one on the outside is more important. On the other hand, if you look at the bottom point of the circles, the inner circle is technically higher than that of the outer circle. The essence of the circles is that there is no higher or lower. The lowest sefira, Malchut, on its own does not have any sense that Keter is better than it. Keter, the highest and purest of all the Vessels, has no sense that it is better than Malchut. 

We can relate this concept to the way that we see negativity in other people. The kabbalists teach that the ultimate level we are meant to reach is where we don’t see any negativity around us. A true tzadik, a righteous person, is someone who has achieved that level of consciousness, while a rasha, an evil person, sees only negativity in the world. But there is a middle ground between a tzadik and a rasha. That level is to see the negativity in other people, but not allow it to create judgment. A person may be a thief, but that information does not make us think any less of him. Not judging someone is not about being blind. It is about two concepts living together. Seeing the negativity, but not judging for it.

Rav Ashlag reminds us that the difference between the reality of the Endless World and our limited, physical reality is that in the Endless World, there is no higher or lower, purer or less pure. This is the reality of no ego. One of the ways that we decide whether or not we are connected to the Endless World or to the limited world is if our world view is one of having higher and lower realms. 

It says that Moses was the humblest person, even though he was the one person in the history of the world chosen to reveal the Torah. He was a historically unique soul. How was it possible that he achieved this level of not seeing himself as higher in any degree? When Moses viewed his work in this world, he viewed it just like the work of the worms. The worms have a job in this world, just like the cows, the horses, and all other animals have their work. Moses knew he had his role, and it didn’t make him any better than the worm. That is the consciousness of true humility. It wasn’t that he was blind to who he was and what his purpose was and what he had to do, but he also had clarity that it does not make him higher than any other species in this world.

There is no higher or lower. That is an illusion of our physical reality. Our goal, if we want to connect to the Endless World, is to come to a point where we no longer perceive higher or lower. We can do all the spiritual work, but if we still view ourselves as higher or lower spiritually than others, then we cannot achieve a lasting connection to the Endless World. In order to be a channel, a person has to be connected to the consciousness that there is no higher or lower. It doesn’t mean that we are blind to our own purpose, just that our work is no better or worse than anyone else’s.

*Adapted from Michael Berg’s Ten Luminous Emanations Lesson 53.

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