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A Kabbalistic Approach to Spiritual Growth

A Kabbalistic Approach to Spiritual Growth: Part 18 – Inter-inclusion

As we have seen, the initial stage of education–when the student first awakens to a new understanding–and the integration of this new understanding within the practical application of what has been learned are parallel processes. But even more than that, each must be included in the other if the educator's efforts are to be effective. The unique way that each student can integrate these insights into his or her personality and life must be clear at the very outset. Similarly, the most general expression of will–the simple desire to good which is the initiation point–must remain even within the most developed state of integration.

This dynamic is known as the principle of inter-inclusion and is a basic rule of Kabbalistic thought. It teaches that the particular–which means every individual detail or possible outcome–is always concealed within the generic–that is, the class, general principle or starting point. And vice versa.

In regard to education, inspiration is considered the generic because it stimulates a universal and undifferentiated will, while integration is the particular because it directs the highly personalized expression of that will through the details of each individual's life.

The Book of Proverbs confirms this principle:

Educate the youth in accordance which his way, and even when he grows old, he will not abandon it

In this verse we see that:

  • "educate the youth" is a reference to generic education

  • "his way" clearly means the particular way the youth is to be educated–in a manner that speaks to him

  • "when he grows old" again refers to the particular–a time of the student's life

  • “he will not abandon it” refers back to the generic education he received

In other words, when the student is inspired by a desire for good, the effect of that inspiration will persist and have concrete impact on his or her life only if the personalized seed is present in that experience of inspiration. Production line education won't hold in the long term. While the awakening to love God is identical for everyone, nevertheless its experience is not uniform. The educator must be sensitive to the subtle differences between individuals and vary his approach accordingly. In this way, the educator suggests the path by which each student may draw a given lesson into his or her heart and life.

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