The Positive Truth about Our Negative Desires

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The Positive Truth about Our Negative Desires

Michael Berg
May 8, 2018
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Very often on the spiritual path, we come to find that we have negative traits or negative desires, and our instinct upon finding these places of negativity tends to be to beat ourselves up over them. We think, “I must be a bad person if I have these desires. I must be disconnected from the Light of the Creator.” Rav Ashlag in his commentary on Ten Luminous Emanations spells out for us, however, that this could not be further from the truth. Our negative desires are in fact the purpose of our creation, and what’s more, they are our single most powerful opportunity to transform our darkness and reveal Light. 

"Our negative desires are in fact the purpose of our creation."

There are many instances in the Torah where the Israelites speak badly about Moses. They speculate that his thighs are big because he is stealing all of their money, eating, and growing fat. They are afraid he is trying to steal their wives. Though he has not done any of the things they are accusing him of, what was it about Moses that made the Israelites respond in this way, and how can we learn from it in our own lives?

Rav Ashlag writes that Moses was born with every single negative trait possible. Because the soul of Moses was so great, so too was his negativity. There was a root of negativity in Moses that the Israelites recognized, even though their accusations about him were ultimately false. So, while Moses was born with these negative traits and desires, he was also able to overcome them and transform into a righteous soul. 

"We should see our negativity for the blessing it truly is."

There’s an important lesson here that we can apply to our lives. Just like Moses, we all have negative desires. They don’t make us bad people. On the contrary, they are an indication of the great potential of our soul and the Light that we came to this world to reveal. Rav Ashlag is teaching us that not only did the Creator design us to have negative desires, it is actually a fundamental part of who we are and our relationship with the Creator. Now, this doesn’t mean that we give in to our negative desires. Just like Moses, our work is to learn how to overcome them. But what we should absolutely not do is look at ourselves as negative or lesser because of them.

We should see our negativity for the blessing it truly is: a gift to engage in the process of revealing the Creator’s Light in this world. It provides us a chance to do the real spiritual work necessary to build a closer connection with the Creator, and to receive the endless blessings the Creator wishes to impart upon us.