On attaining Ruach Hakodesh (holy spirit) in our times
After our warnings in the previous gate of all the types of attaining (supernatural revelations/powers and the dangers), one should not despair (due to the difficulties involved). Because on the verse "And Devorah, was a woman prophet...", (there is a commentary from) Tana D'Bei Eliyahu: "(says G-d) I testify on Myself heaven and earth, whether man or woman, whether gentile or Jew, whether slaveman or slavewoman, everyone according to his actions, the Ruach Hakodesh will dwell on him". (i.e. anyone can reach Ruach HaKodesh even women, slaves, or non-Jews).
Behold with our own ears (and eyes) we've heard and seen special individuals who reached the level of Ruach HaKodesh in our times. And they could foresee future events, some of them were wise men who attained wisdom which was not revealed in earlier generations. And in order to not cause despair to those who approach holiness to become holy, I will clarify some matters and open like the crack of a pin hole, "and G-d who is good, will not withhold good to those who go with pure intentions (b'tamim)." At first, we will clarify a few things on the matter of attainment (of Ruach HaKodesh), and in gate 8, I will write the order of conduct for them with G-d's help, may He be blessed (yisbarach).
Behold the path which is the best of all (i.e. the safest path which has no danger) is like we wrote in the name of Tana D'Bei Eliyahu, and this is the path which the early non-worldly, pious ones tread. It is:
1) to return a powerful return (repentance) from everything that they damaged.
2) and after that to make complete and whole one's soul by fulfillment of the positive commandments, and by total kavana (intent) in prayers, and through toil in the torah lishma (with pure motives and) with zeal, like an ox pulling a yoke (who plows fields) until one's strength becomes weakened. And also with minimal eating and drinking, rising midnight or a bit less (for the midnight prayer and to learn torah in the peacefulness of late night) and by distancing oneself from all negative middos (character traits), and by distancing oneself from all men even for matters of idle speech.
3) After that, to purify his body by frequent tevila (immersions in a mikveh).
4) After that, to go in solitude sometimes and to contemplate in Yiras H'shem (awe and awareness of G-d's presence), and to put YHVH (G-d's name) in one's eyes (mentally) always. And he should be careful to keep his thoughts empty of all the vanities of this world and instead to cling to love of Him, yisbarach, with a great longing, and through this it is possible that he will merit Ruach HaKodesh through one of the following ways.
One way is that he will bring down to his soul supernal light from the (primary) root of his soul about as mentioned earlier in Gate 5, and it will reveal itself to him. This is complete Ruach HaKodesh.
The second way is through toil in torah study or through fulfilling a mitzva which our Sages have said in Pirkei Avos (Ethics of the Fathers 4:11) "whoever does a mitzva acquires for himself one advocate." And it is created from this (mitzva) an angel mamash (literally). But this only applies on condition that he will fulfill it always and with great kavana (intent) like its halacha. Then this angel will reveal itself to him. This is the matter of what you find in books on the matter of the angels called "Magidim". But if the mitzva is not done like its halacha, then that Magid will be mixed with good and evil, truth and falsehood. The third way is through his piety as above, Eliyahu HaNavi will reveal himself to him, and according to his piety, the revelation will be greater.
The fourth way which is greater than all of them, is that he will merit a revelation from the soul of an early tzadik who died (such as King Solomon). If from one of those which are of his root soul (i.e. close to his soul's root) as is known or from another but because he did some mitzva (exceptionally) similar to this tzadik. One who merits this level, will attain that they will teach him wisdom and hidden secrets and wonders of the torah. All this is according to his actions.
The fifth and lowest of all is that he will see in his dreams future events and wisdom close to Ruach HaKodesh.
Behold this way is the straight path (i.e. safest and best path) since the man does not bring under oath supernal forces (using holy names as in Gate 6 above) but rather uses the power of his own good deeds and holiness, certainly the Ruach HaKodesh that will come to him will be pure without any evil at all. Unlike the other case when a man forces and seeks with the swearing in of forces by using actions, special prayers, and unifications, that if he does the slightest error, it is possible that he will reach external (dangerous) things mixed (with evil).
There are other ways through acts, and I will clarify them in Part 4, and they are to bring down on oneself one of the 5 ways above even though they don't come on their own (i.e. to accelerate the process). But this requires great holiness and purity in order that they should not be in them mixtures (of evil) as we said. But the first path (i.e. the 5 step "safe" path above) is the one which treaded even the early generations like the Ramban wrote on the verse "And to cling to Him" (Devarim 11:22 and 30:20), and in the holy letter which he wrote on the 5th chapter regarding Ben Azai who would sit and learn and the fire would flame all around him. (not sure where this is)
To clarify the attainment of Ruach Hakodesh (holy spirit) in our times with great conciseness
One must go through 5 purifications.
The first is to return (repent) from all one's sins, whether in (transgressing) negative commandments, whether in refraining from positive commandments, whether in all Rabbinical decrees, whether in all types of bad middos (character traits), and not to return to them at all. And especially all those who carry the penalty of Kares (cutting off of the soul), or death, or chilul H'shem (desecrating G-d's name through bad actions not befitting a religious Jew), and guarding of Shabbat, and from Nida, and all forms of wasting seed (for men), and from oaths even if they are true, and from staring at women, and from lashon hara (talking negatively about someone, even if it's true), and slander, and frivolity (acting foolishly), and devarim betalim (useless chatter), and to distance from arrogance, anger, irritation, sadness, and to habituate oneself in humbleness, humility, and to be happy with one's lot.
The second purification is in the fulfilling of the biblical positive commandments and the Rabbinical commandments. And especially with fixing times for torah study, and prayer with kavana (intent), and Birkas HaMazon (grace after meals), and all the blessings on benefits (food, incense, shoes, etc.) and to love every Jew like the apple of his eye and to honor Shabbat in all its details, and to rise every night after midnight to mourn Jerusalem and to toil in torah, and that all one's actions should be for the sake of heaven (pure motives, not to get reward etc.), with love.
The third purification is at the time one prepares for holifying (lehiskadesh) himself with Ruach HaKodesh. (not sure what he means here)
The fourth purification is with purifying the body through immersions in the mikveh and by wearing clean clothes.
Then, he should enter his house alone after immersion and in holiness. He should be in a place where the voices of men will not disturb him nor the noise of birds. And if it is after midnight, it is best for all these things. He should close his eyes and remove his thoughts from all matters of this world - as if his soul left his body, like a dead man who does not feel anything at all. Afterward, he should courageously strengthen himself with tremendous desire to meditate on the upper world and to cling there to the roots of his soul and to the supernal lights. And he should imagine to himself as if his soul left him and ascended above. And he should picture the upper worlds as if he is standing in them. And if he did some yichud (unification) he should meditate on it to bring down with this light and energy to all the worlds. And he should have intent to also receive his portion at the end. And he should meditate in thought as if he received the Ruach until some amount. If he does not feel anything, it appears that he is not yet fitting and ready. Therefore he should strengthen himself more from then on in service and holiness and return after some days in solitude in the manner described until he will merit and the Ruach will settle on him. (this discussion will be detailed more in part 4)
When the (Ruach) will dwell on him, he should check that perhaps he is not yet pure and clean and this Ruach is from the "other side" (side of evil), or at the least a mixture of good and evil. And the story of Ben Azai and Ben Zoma (mishnaic sages) who ascended to Pardes is proof. This one can discern through what is revealed to him. If all his words are true or truth and falsehood mixed together, or if his words are Devarim Betalim (useless talk) of matters of this world, or things which are not in line with torah, or the like. Because then, one must push it away from oneself, and also to strengthen more and more in his service until all his things are faithful and with fear of heaven, etc.
And know that in the beginning the Ruach will settle on a man in infrequent intervals. And also they will be simple things which are not deep, and also his words will be few. As time goes by, strengthen yourself in all the details we specified.
(here's an example from Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato of a first revelation:
"I will describe the matter concisely. On Rosh Chodesh Sivan 5486, while I was unifying a yichud, I fell asleep. And when I awoke, I heard a voice say: 'To reveal I have descended, hidden secrets from the holy King'. I quickly stood up afraid, and afterwards strengthened myself. The voice did not stop and told me a secret. On the second day, at the same time, I tried to be alone in the room, and the voice returned and said another secret, until one day he revealed to me that he is a maggid sent from shamayim (upstairs), and gave to me special yichudim to do every day and then he will come. I did not see him, only I heard his voice speak through my mouth. And afterwards, he gave me permission to ask questions also. After about 3 months, he gave me some tikunim to do each day in order that I merit a revelation from Eliyahu hanavi. And then he commanded me to write a book on Koheles, which he would explain to me the secret meaning of each verse. Afterwards, Eliyahu came and said some secrets. And he said that now, MT the great prince (Metatron). And when he came, I knew it was him because of the words of Eliyahu. And from then on, I recognized each one by himself. And also, there were souls of (tzadikim) which revealed themselves.." - excerpt from the book Yarim Moshe Igeres 12)
Behold, the general principle is: purification of the physical until the other extreme and uprooting of the random thoughts and the power of imagination in oneself completely (i.e. clear head). And he should cling to the supernal realm totally and absolutely, and behold one must contemplate everything we wrote in Part 1 Gate 6, because there is clarified the order and manner of attaining piety in greater details.
Practical methods for attaining Ruach HaKodesh
I have already clarified in Part 3 Gate 7 that there are 5 types of attainment. They are: (1) Ruach HaKodesh, (2) souls of Tzadikim, (3) angels which are called "Magidim", (4)Eliyahu HaNavi, and (5) dreams. And for all of these things it is possible to reach them by themselves (indirectly) through the holiness of a person and his toil in the torah, without need for any other action (from here we see an explanation for the supernatural powers found in great talmudic sages). It is also possible to reach them through specific actions after the prerequisite that the person is fitting and prepared for the attainment. And this latter manner (the specific actions) will be clarified in this part from all that is found in the books of the early Sages, and it is divided into 3 gates. Gate 1, on the manner of actions. Gate 2, on the manner of attainment. Gate 3, on the conditions for attainment. And I have already written in my large book, which is called "Etz Chaim" some yichudim (unifications), and types of wondrous ways on the matter of attainment. And if H-ashem, may He be blessed, will decree, I will write them here with a clear explanation in a separate part.
(Translator's Note: Rest of Gate 1 is not fit for translation due to the danger involved for those who are not fit (i.e. all of us)...) Rav Chaim writes there:
"and the one who is brazen in using this [holy] name and does not guard it, he will be punished and destroyed from the world. He will die childless. He will inherit his lot among the humiliated, he will be of eternal treachery, his fire will never extinguish and his worm will not die (a reference to Isaiah 66:24), and from civilization he will be banished, and from light to dark they will cast him."
(He also writes above in Part 3 Gate 6:
"And this is also the matter of practical Kabala. Therefore it is forbidden to practice it, because inevitably he will also cling to the evil which is attached to the good. He thinks to purify his soul but defiles it through this evil.")
On the manner of attainment
(here R.Chaim Vital zt'l brings down some quotes from various books) Rebi Pinchas the son of Yair says "zeal brings to cleanliness, cleanliness to purity, purity to separation, separation to holiness, holiness to humbleness, humbleness to fear of sin, fear of sin to piety (chasidus), piety to Ruach HaKodesh, and Ruach HaKodesh to the resurrection of the dead, and resurrection comes through Eliyahu."Igeres HaRamban z'l, he sent it to his son from Ako to Barcelona. (Rav Chaim now quotes word for word the famous letter. see end of article Ramban's Cure for Anger here for the text).
Rav Yitzchak from Ako wrote in the name of HaRav Moshe, a student of Rav Yosef Gikatlia of blessed memory: "the man whose heart has inspired him to repair his middos (character traits), and to straighten his ways and actions, and to chase after humbleness with absolute wholeheartedness, to be insulted and not insult [back], to hear other's mocking him and not answer them, immediately the Shechina (Divine Presence) will rest on him and he will not need to learn from flesh and blood because the Ruach Elokim (spirit of the Al-mighty) will teach him.
I have found written that in Tractate Kalah Chapter "judge your fellow...": says Aba Eliyahu zt'l (Eliyahu HaNavi), 'Always, the torah is explained only to he who is not a "kapdan" (impatient, irritable), so too I will reveal myself only to he who is not a kapdan.'
He who wishes to learn wisdom must attach himself to these 3 attributes - "yira" (fear and reverence of G-d), humbleness, and simcha (joy); that he should fear sin, be humble, and happy with his lot. And when he reaches to the understanding of these levels, he will attain wisdom.
There's a story of a man who would fast for most of his days, and he made many good charities and helped orphans, but he would chase after leadership positions (honor). He came to the mystics who had attained the level of prophecy and said to the greatest among them. "my Master, in your kindness, tell me the reason why after I have done all these good deeds, why have I not merited the level of prophecy, to say future events like you?"
He answered him, "take a bag full of figs and nuts and hang it around your neck. Then go to the main street of the city in front of all the important people, and gather youngsters. Say to them 'whoever wants that I should give him figs and nuts, let him come and smack me with his hand on my neck and after that on my cheek.' If you do this many times, return to me and I will guide you in the way to attain truth."
He answered "My master, how could an important and honorable man like me do these things?"
The Mystic answered him "Is this a big matter in your eyes!?? This is just the easiest way you'll need to do if you want your soul to see the light of truth." (since he needed to break his lust for honor) Immediately, he stood up and left disheartened.
Rav Eliyahu Vidish, author of "Reishis Chachma" testified to me in the name of his Rebi, HaRav Moshe Kordovero z'l author of "Pardes Rimonim", that whoever wants to know some matter, he should habituate himself in kedusha, tahara, and yiras chet (holiness, purity, and fear of sin), and especially on that day. And at night, after he has recited the Shema prayer before sleep, he should meditate a bit in his mind without any other thoughts at all. Then he should think about his question until sleep falls on him and he sleeps. And he should be alone in the house in a place where no man will awaken him. Then they (i.e. upstairs) will answer his question during his sleep, and he should be careful that others should not disturb his sleep then.
Writes HaRav Yitzchak from Ako z'l, among the conditions for perishus (separation) and hisbodedus (meditation) is to distance oneself from all sins (whether accidental or voluntary) which cause the removal of the light of the Shechina (Divine presense) from the soul of the sinner. Because, if men act badly, they form a barrier between their soul and the light of the Shechina, and they will remain in darkness. But if they are good, one will find with them the light of the Shechina.
On the condition for attainment
[On] The second manner for attaining the 3 types as above (i.e. different types of attainment - Eliyahu, souls, etc.). I will not write down any actions through swearing in [using holy names], and pronouncing holy names except through thought and contemplation only, or through prayers to G-d in the way of prayers.
You have already known that all matters of attainment require that a man be alone in his house so that others should not disturb him from his thoughts. And the man himself must meditate in his thoughts until the opposite extreme - that he should remove his body from his soul, as if he does not feel that he is wearing a physical [body] at all. And according to how much he can remove the physical, so too will be the power of the attainment. And if he senses a noise or movement that nullifies his thoughts (concentration), or if he himself will come to some physical thought, behold, the thought of his soul will disconnect from being attached to the higher realms and he will not attain anything. The reason is that the holiness on high cannot rest on a man as long as he is clinging to the physical even just a hair's breadth. And therefore the prophecy or ruach hakodesh is called "tardema" (deep sleep), or "chalom" (dream), or "chizayon" (vision).
The bottom line is that even if a man is worthy to have the Ruach HaKodesh rest on him, if he doesn't habituate himself in this, to remove his soul from his body completely - the Ruach HaKodesh will not rest on him. And this is the secret meaning of the "bnei neviim" (students of the prophets) that played before them drums and pipes, etc. (Shmuel 1:15), because through the sweetness of the sound of the music, the meditation fell on them during the sweetness of the voice, and they would remove their souls (from their body). Then the player would stop the music, and the bnei neviim, would remain in the same supernal clinging and they would prophecy. Behold this is the first condition.
The second condition is that the man must nullify from himself all the things that cause an interruption in his meditation. Because in the first condition, we mentioned only the physical things, which naturally cause an interruption in the meditation. However, now, we will speak about spiritual things which interrupt. And they are the forces of tuma (impurity) which come from the yetzer hara (evil inclination) who is enclothed in the man himself. And they are strengthened through the sins of man.
Therefore the one who comes to meditate, must first do teshuva (repentance) from all that he sinned. And afterwards to be careful not to continue to sin on any of them. And afterwards to habituate himself to remove from himself the bad middos (character traits) which are ingrained in him, such as the middos of anger, sadness, kapdanus (irritation), useless speech, and the like. And after he has repaired the sicknesses of the soul, whether in sins or in middos, then the ruach hatuma (force of impurity) does not have the power to interrupt his clinging to the supernal (hebrew:elyonim). And then he can habituate himself in the nullification of the physical from himself like mentioned in the first condition. And after [mastering] all this (the 2 conditions), he can start with actions which bring to clinging with the supernal, like we will explain with G-d's help, as I have found in the words of books, and in the words of meditators.
However, the matter of the 2nd condition, which is to remove from oneself the forces of tuma (impurity), and this is through repentance of his sins, and distancing from the bad middos, I have already explained the matter as I have found in the books. And after I have taught you the 2 conditions mentioned, I will now mention the actions which are to cling the power of the soul of a man to the supernal, after he masters the 2 conditions mentioned. With this we'll start:
(Now R.Chaim Vital zt'l will bring down some actual practices for attainment. I have only translated the first. Note that at the end of this book's introduction he claims to have personally verified that these methods work.)
Meditate alone in a house as before, and wrap [yourself] in a tallis, sit and close your eyes, and remove yourself completely from the physical, as if your soul has left your body, and it ascends to the rakia (firmament). And after the removal (of the physical), read one mishna, whichever you want, many times repeatedly, back-to-back, very quickly - as fast as you can, while keeping a clear pronounciation, and without skipping any words. And have intent to cling your soul with the soul of the tanna (Mishnaic Sage) which is mentioned in that mishna. And this is through your intent that your mouth should be a kli (instrument) through which go out the letters of that mishna, and the voice which comes out of the instrument of the mouth, is sparks of your inner soul which go out and read that mishna. And they become a chariot, in order to allow for the enclothment inside it of the soul of that Tana, the author of that mishna - and that his soul should become enclothed in your soul. And when you become tired from reading the mishna, if you are fit for this, perhaps, the author of the mishna will enter your mouth, and become enclothed there as you are reading the mishna. And then, as you are reading, the mishna, he will speak through your mouth, and greet you "shal-om". And everything that you will then think in your thoughts to ask from him, he will answer you, and speak through your mouth. And your ears will hear his words. You will not be the one speaking through your mouth, he will be the one speaking. And this is the secret meaning of (King David's words:) "the spirit of G-d spoke through me, and His word was on my tongue." (Shmuel II 23:2) (some of tehilim was composed in this manner)
And behold, if you are not worthy for this lofty level, it is possible that it will come in another way. That is through the great speed of your mouth (in reading the mishna), you will become tired, and your words will silence without your intent, and you will sleep lightly. Then, in that sleep, you will see that they will answer your question whether in hint or clearly. Everything according to your intent. And if you do not merit one of these 2 ways, know that you are not yet fit for this, or that you were not able to remove yourself well from the physical. (note the mishna is filled with layers of secret meanings.)
(ok. Here's part of the next one.)
Purify your body and sanctify it from impurities. Clean your hands from all forms of theft and bribery, as it is written (Tehilim 24:3) "who will rise to the mountain of G-d, and who will rise to His holy place? One with clean hands, and a pure heart...he will lift (yisa) a blessing from G-d...". And you should purify your inside to be like your outside (tocho k'baro - that your outside should reflect your inside, i.e. the purity of heart of a child) as it says (above) "and a pure heart". And then he will "lift a blessing from G-d", which refers to the level of prophecy, as it is written (by the prophet Bilam - Bamidbar 23:7), "And he lifted his message and said..." And he should tie his spirit above and afterwards he can draw his wellspring below. At first learn the reasons for mitzvos in revealed matter (some talmud), and afterwards a little of the nistaros of G-d (mystical torah). Learn torah and do mitzvos and refrain from all unnecessary speech that day. And immerse in a mikve, dress in white clothes, and go to a clean place away from all forms of tumah (impurity), and away from dead bodies or cemetaries. Distance yourself from all forms of worry, despair, or sadness and dress yourself in great simcha (joy). Separate yourself from the physical and ascend in your mind from firmament to firmament (of the seven firmaments mentioned in Part 3 Gate 1) until the seventh firmament which is called Aravos. And picture that above Aravos there is a great yeriah (curtain), white and enormously huge. And on it is engraved the name Y-H-V-H in ashuri (torah) script in enormously huge letters. Each letter, like a mountain, of form white like snow. And you should join the letters...
(R.Chaim will now quote a book:) The book Meiras Einayim (enlightening of the eyes), in parshas Ekev, on the verse "and to cling to him": "And I, Yitzchak the small one, son of Shmuel from Ako says, that whether for special individuals (yechidim) or for the general public, that whoever wants to know the secret of the connecting of his soul on high, and the clinging of his thought to G-d on high, in order that he acquires with that constant and uninterrupted thought, the Olam Haba (World to Come), and that G-d will be with him in this world and in Olam Haba, he should imagine in front of his eyes the letters of G-d's unique name (Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh) may He be blessed, as if they are written in front of him on a book in ashuris script (hebrew in sefer torah handwriting), and every letter should be large in his eyes without limit. This means that when you put the letters of the unique name in front of your eyes, the eyes of your imagination should be on them (i.e. picture them), and the thought of your mind and your heart on the "Ein Sof" (infinite), everything simultaneously, the seeing and the thought - both of them together. And this is the secret meaning of the true clinging mentioned in the torah "and to cling to him" (Devarim 30:4), or "And in Him you will cling (Devarim 10:20), or "And you who cling to G-d" (Devarim 4:4).
Rabbi Yisrael Furmansky suggested instead to go back and forth between the two. i.e. first think about "Ein Sof", how everything is absolutely nothing relative to G-d, then picture the Y-H-V-H in one's imagination, then back to Ein Sof, etc.)
And all the time that the soul of man clings to him, may He be blessed in this way, no bad thing will happen to him, and he will not ever come to error in any matter of his matters, whether in intellectual or emotional, and he will not fall in the hand of chance (the natural order) because as he's clinging with G-d, he is above all happenings, and rules over them. And in honor of H' may He be blessed, he should be careful not to cling his thoughts in Him except in clean places, and not in dirty alleyways, and not with unclean hands, and not in front of idols, or the like. And I heard from a wise G-d fearing man, that he saw the pious Rebi Yitchak the son of the Ravad z''l who he served, and he said that the pious man (R.Yitzchak) all of his days, his physical eyes did not see anything because he was blind, and when he needed to go to some place, he would say to his student who went with him that when he reaches a place of idol worship, hurry your footsteps as much as possible. And it appears to me that all of this he did in honor of HaShem, may He be blessed, because he needed to not think while in a place of ultimate tuma (impurity) thoughts of Him which is the ultimate kedusha (holiness). And he would hurry to passover in order to return to the point where he left off.
And if you ask, why should we cling our thoughts in this name more than any other name (of G-d)? It is because this name is the source of sources and the cause of causes and everything is included in it, from the keter to the atara, from Ein Sof to Ein Sof, and it is the cause of all existence from the keter to a small mosquito. And on this great name said the great composer of Israel (King David) "shivisi H' lenegdi tamid ki miyemini bal emot" ("I have set G-d before me always, He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved" Tehilim 16:8). In saying "before me", it is a hint to what we wrote, that his eyes and heart were always to G-d as if they were written in front of him....
(note this is brought down as the first halacha in the shulchan aruch (code of Jewish law) in the Rama. The Chafetz Chaim explains this verse as follows (from Shem Olam part 2 ch.10): "the general principle, is for every good person to contemplate always how HaShem's presence fills the world, and that he is standing before Him to do His will. This is what is meant by 'shivisi H'..', that 'I have constantly contemplated that I am standing before G-d to do His will", and this is what G-d said to Avraham - "Walk before Me and be Perfect.." (Bereishis 17:1), which means contemplate always that you are standing before Me."
The Arvei Nachal (chelek 2 111b) writes: "All the time one fulfills the verse "shivisi H'...", he won't come to arrogance, or honor seeking, while he is standing before the King of kings, the holy One blessed be He, but if he momentarily forgets even a little bit - this is the meaning of the verse "vatechasrehu me-at mElokim" (you lacked a bit of G-d) then immediately "vkavod vhadar teatrehu" (and honor and glory surrounds you).
...After a man has merited to the clinging (of his thoughts to G-d), he will merit to the secret of 'equality' (explained shortly), and if he merits the secret of 'equality', he will merit to the secret of 'meditation', and after he has merited to the secret of 'meditation', he will merit Ruach HaKodesh, and from this to prophecy, which means, he will prophecy and say over future events (he will also be able to look with his soul's eyes and not just his physical eyes. This will give him supernatural, clairvoyant powers.) And on the matter of "hishtavus", Rebi Avner said to me: A wise man, among the misbodedim (meditators) came to me seeking that I accept him among the misbodedim. The master said to him "blessed are you my son to G-d, your intentions are good. However let me know if you reached the level of 'equality' or not." He answered "Rebi explain your words." He said "For two men, if one of them honors you and the second insults you, are they equal in your eyes?"
He answered "no my master. Because I feel pleasure and contentment from the one who honors me, and pain from the one who insults me, but I don't bear any grudge against him."
He answered "My son, go in peace, because as long as you haven't reached 'equality' until your soul doesn't feel the honor from someone who honors you, nor the embarassment from one who shames you, you're not prepared to have your thoughts tied with the supernal when you come and meditate. Go and humble more your heart in truth until you have reached 'equality', then you'll be able to meditate.
The matter of equality, comes through the clinging of one's thoughts to G-d, may He be blessed. Because the clinging to G-d causes that man to not look at others' honoring him, nor at their shaming him. He will also not be worried about forces of evil. You can see when G-d was with [King Shaul], and Shaul's thoughts were clinging to Him, he removed the sorcerers from the land, and similarly, he did not care when the evil men insulted him when he was coronated as king over Israel (shmuel I 11). But when G-d left him, he transformed into a different person. He went after the sorcerers (shmuel I 28:7), and also he became furious with anger on the righteous Kohanim which did not sin against him and he spilt their blood for nothing...And if so, a man must first do a great humbling in order to merit the hisdabkus (clinging to G-d) and this comes through fulfilling the mitzvos with all his strength (emphasis mine). And also to cling absolutely to the trait of humility, that his eyes should be below and his heart above. (the reason that one must try to fulfill his obligations to G-d to the best of his ability is that otherwise thinking about Him can only bring one to shame - Mesilas Yesharim)
(next approximately 20 pages were not translated due to the abstraction and dangers involved. Rav Chaim warns in part 4 gate 1:
"...and on condition that he who uses this (holy name) is a vessel prepared to receive the spiritual energy, and that he is fit for this (i.e. a very holy person), but if he is not, then G-d will change to cruel and they will "then turn into the degenerate plant of a strange vine", G-d forbid (a reference to Yirmiyahu 2:21)
..."and the one who is brazen in using this [holy] name and does not guard it properly, he will be punished and destroyed from the world. He will die childless (his children will be massacred). He will inherit his lot among the humiliated, he will be of eternal treachery, his fire will never extinguish and his worm will not die (a reference to Isaiah 66:24), and from the world he will be banished, and from light to dark they will cast him." (i.e. he will bring down a destructive spirit which will lead him into the clutches of the Forces of evil.)
For the detailed "road map" of practical preparations, see the unequaled Path of the Just by Rabbi Moshe Luzzato (who many regard as the primary successor of R.Chaim Vital) (this book is unique in that it not only tells you what to do, but it also tells you in what order to do them, i.e. which step must be mastered before moving on to the next step.)
translation of Shaarei Kedusha by Rabbi Yosef Sebag
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