Michael Laitman
Founder and president of Bnei Baruch Kabbalah Education & Research Institute

What Is the Difference between Material Joy and Spiritual Joy?

We feel joy from material fulfillments when we fulfill our own desires.
We feel spiritual joy when we fulfill other people who were initially strangers, but who we then turn into our loved ones. We thus rejoice in their fulfillment.
The difference between these two kinds of joy is that material joy comes from fulfilling our own desires, which is limited; while spiritual joy comes from fulfilling others’ desires, which we feel as unlimited.
Why do we feel limited fulfillment in material joy and unlimited fulfillment in spiritual joy?
Material joy comes from fulfilling our self-aimed corporeal desires where we can only fulfill ourselves. These desires are thus limited in volume, and consequently, in the amount of the force of joy in its sensation. In other words, our lives are limited by the size of our world, i.e., our perception of reality that we receive in our five senses.
When we start fulfilling others, we reach a degree of limitless fulfillment, where we gain a sense of eternity and perfection.
However, we can reach such a degree on condition that we love others, i.e., when we are ready to fulfill others endlessly, because we then simultaneously connect with the upper force of love, bestowal and connection.
This upper force gives us everything we need in order to fulfill others. We then channel this upper force through us to others as they become our most beloved and desirable people. Accordingly, we gain a boundless opportunity to fulfill everyone and feel great joy by doing so.
Spiritual joy is thus the feeling of an immense and eternal joy that we feel when an endless stream of pleasure passes through us, giving us a feeling of the spiritual eternal life. In order to reach such a degree, we need to first start loving others.
“Love your neighbor as yourself” is the main commandment because if we approach it, we then advance optimally toward spirituality and come to fully realize ourselves. If we make no moves toward loving others, then whatever we do in our lives drifts away in its transience.
About the Author
Michael Laitman is a PhD in Philosophy and Kabbalah. MSc in Medical Bio-Cybernetics. Founder and president of Bnei Baruch Kabbalah Education & Research Institute. Author of over 40 books on spiritual, social and global transformation. His new book, The Jewish Choice: Unity or Anti-Semitism, is available on Amazon: