Entries in the 'Holidays' Category

“Shavuot: Light In The Midst Of Chaos” (Linkedin)

My new article on Linkedin “Shavuot: Light in the Midst of Chaos

The Jewish holiday of Shavuot, the celebration for the giving of the Torah, has a special meaning this year. While Israeli society is under missile attacks, there is no festive atmosphere. It is a time to make a seminal decision about the people we want to be and how we want to face the future: in division and quarrels or to become guarantors for each other, to look at our actions through the world’s lens or through a deep introspection of our role as a people that received at the foot of Mount Sinai.

The Austrian Chancellor hoisted the Israeli flag on the roof of his office as a sign of solidarity with Israel. The Czech President tweeted a picture of his country’s flag next to the Israeli flag with a heart. Slovenia, Hungary and Poland expressed support for the struggle against Hamas, and Western governments, the UK, France and Germany, strengthened Israel with words of appreciation.

But the enthusiastic demonstrations of support by world leaders will have very limited affect, particularly if it only stems from personal sympathy with Israel. Politicians send hearts and wave Israeli flags in large cities in their countries, yet simultaneously hordes of enthusiastic people wave Palestinian flags and demonstrate against Israel.

If the clashes on the home field are not enough, then the clashes also spread abroad. In Germany synagogues have been vandalized and Jewish communities in Europe are on high alert for possible attacks and clashes.

This is the real way humanity looks at us, not through the diplomatic smiles and handshakes that come from some world leaders. The hateful demonstrations will far outweigh the expressions of support. Hostility will replace the former friendships until we are not tolerated anywhere in the world; no place will be left where a Jew will be able to live in peace.

But there is a way out. It is through our unity. Rabbi Akiva said, “Love your neighbor as yourself is the great rule of the Torah” (Jerusalem Talmud, Nedarim). When Israel received the Torah it received a power that elevated them above their egoism and division—the root cause of all the threats the Jewish nation faces—and made them love each other as themselves. It reminds us that only if we unite will we succeed. Otherwise, the Talmud warns us, “There will it be your burial” (Shabbat 88a, Avoda Zarah)

Mount Sinai, the place where we received the Torah, symbolizes thoughts of siná, hatred toward each other. From the time of ancient Babylon to this day, the ego has not stopped growing and overpowering us, demanding more at the expense of others and tearing us apart as Jews. And there, at the foot of the mountain, we were first required to make a far-reaching decision as a people: either we would be united as one man in one heart or we would endure ongoing suffering and external pressure.

There is no sooner or later in the Torah, these are eternal laws. What we go through in these difficult days is another link in a chain of predicaments we have experienced as Jews throughout generations. The external pressure today requires us to unite and create a protected space between us.

We received the Torah, the method to connect us, the means to cover all crimes with love. This is how we became a people, the Jewish nation or “Israel,” which stems from the Hebrew words “Yashar Kel” (“straight to the Creator”). It refers to a state where we are granted the method to attain the Creator, the quality of love and bestowal, through our freewill.

The connection between us, the Jews, harnesses what the wisdom of Kabbalah explains are the seventy roots of the nations of the world. We are included in them and involved with them after a long exile in which we have absorbed those roots. Therefore, if we connect, we will radiate the power of the connection between us to all of humanity. The roots will all come together and grow into a strong tree that bears fruit for everyone, each and every one. And the stronger we become, the more we will radiate light to the nations of the world, and the more we will gain the world’s support as chaos will transform into peace.

The Strength Of Unity

931.01Question: What is the connection between Passover and receiving the Torah? Why did the people of Israel receive the Torah on the 50th day after leaving Egypt?

Answer: The fact is that from the exit from egoism (from Egypt) to the ascent to the level of the quality of bestowal, which is necessary to enter into the realization of love thy neighbor as thyself, 50 levels must be passed. These are the 50 days.

There are seven degrees from Bina (the property of bestowal) to Malchut (the property of receiving): Hesed, Gevura, Tifferet, Netzach, Hod, Yesod, and Malchut. 7 times 7 equals 49. This means that it is necessary to reach these 49 steps.

On the 50th day, it becomes possible to contact the property of Bina (the property of bestowal). Having achieved this property, a person can already receive an instruction called Torah.

Question: Are all these figures: 40 years old, 600,000 men, etc., steps?

Answer: Yes, these are states that you must go through.

Question: Who are the 600,000 men? What are these steps?

Answer: This means the six parts of Zeir Anpin: Hesed, Gevura, Tifferet, Netzach, Hod, Yesod, each of which consists of ten thousand.

It turns out that 60 times 10,000 equals 600,000. When we raise ourselves spiritually, we rise from the level of Malchut to the level of Zeir Anpin, and from the level of Zeir Anpin to the level of Arich Anpin. This is a power of multiplication by a factor of 10,000 . Therefore, it turns out that the capacity of our association is 600,000. All these figures speak only of a qualitative change within a person.

Question: But did such events take place? Did 600,000 men stand at Mount Sinai?

Answer: There were perhaps millions, but only 600,000 were ready to receive the condition of “love thy neighbor.”

Question: But again, is this the number of people or the quality? Is that sort of the strength of those people who were ready to receive the Torah?

Answer: Yes, by uniting with each other, they created such a force.
From KabTV’s “Spiritual States” 6/3/19

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“What Happens On Shavuot?” (Quora)

Dr. Michael LaitmanMichael Laitman, On Quora: What happens on Shavuot?

On Shavuot, we celebrate the giving of the Torah. It is the day when those called “Israel,” i.e., those who are directed “straight to God” (i.e. “Israel” comes from the words “Yashar Kel” [“straight to God”]), were given the Torah—the method of spiritual development through free will, as opposed to developing under an unconscious program of development by the upper force.

Through such a discovery, the people of Israel became capable of perceiving and sensing the full reality—the upper force of love and bestowal—and themselves within this reality. Instead of taking unconscious steps in the dark, and not knowing what they truly encounter or why, they decide to direct their own desire at the goal of revealing the complete picture of reality, and they themselves make that determination instead of the upper force doing it to them.

On Shavuot, we celebrate our ability to understand, feel and attain the upper force that works within us, and we acquire the ability to identify ourselves with its acts. This upper force, which is also called “the Creator,” “Nature,” and several other names in the wisdom of Kabbalah, operates whether or not we identify with it. However, by attaining how the upper force works on us through developing our own desire for it before the upper force itself awakens such an attitude in us, we express our love for the Creator. In the wisdom of Kabbalah, this is regarded as “freedom from the angel of death.” (The “angel of death” represents the human ego that makes us unconsciously direct ourselves at corporeal fulfillment at the expense of other people and nature.)

We can then express our own view of the purpose of creation and our path to it. While we cannot choose any other purpose or path to it, since they are predetermined, our freedom in such a process is our own participation in it, our own decision, choice and presence to partake in the process. Otherwise, we have no freedom. The upper force gave us a chance to participate freely in creation. It means that we assert ourselves and our independence, which happens to the extent that we identify ourselves with the upper force. This is the true meaning of becoming a human being (“Adam” [“human” in Hebrew], from the words “Domeh le Elyon” [“similar to the most high”]).

Based on the first part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson on May 29, 2011, Shamati article 40, “The Giving of the Torah.”
Written/edited by students of Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman.

“The Secret Of The Book Of Zohar” (Linkedin)

My new article on Linkedin “The Secret of The Book of Zohar

This Thursday evening, we will celebrate LAG ba Omer, the 33rd day of the Omer count, which begins the day after Passover and ends forty-nine days later, on the eve of the holiday of Shavuot. The 33rd day is very meaningful for several reasons, but one in particular captivates millions around the world: On that day, nineteen centuries ago, was the conclusion of the writing of The Book of Zohar, the seminal book in the wisdom of Kabbalah.

When Rashbi and his ten completed writing the book, they realized that humanity was not ready for it. In order to use this book of love correctly, humanity needed to feel how deeply it is immersed in hate. At that time, even though they themselves were in constant flight from the Romans, who wished to kill them, they knew that as a whole, the world had not revealed how hateful human nature really is. As a result, in yet another selfless act, they concealed the book that they had written so arduously.

There is a good reason why this day is celebrated as a great day for humankind: The Book of Zohar was written in a special way and for a special purpose. It was concealed for a reason and was later revealed for just that reason. And these days, we are living out this reason.

Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai (Rashbi) was a great kabbalist. He attained the highest degrees of spirituality and his name is mentioned countless times in the Mishnah and the Gemarah, the fundamental books in Judaism. However, Rashbi’s uniqueness is not in his superior spiritual attainment, but in his relentless efforts to share it with humankind. The spiritual world is the complete opposite of ours. While our world is based on egoism and destructive competition, the spiritual world is the negative image of ours, consisting of pure love and giving. This is why The Book of Zohar stresses, “Everything stands on love” (VaEtchanan, Item 146).

The basic unit in the spiritual world consists of ten subunits. These subunits are unique, and often contradicting expressions of love and giving, which complement each other to form a strong and stable structure called Partzuf. These subunits of love are called Sefirot, from the Hebrew word sapir [sapphire], which unite into the basic spiritual unit, called Partzuf. Subsequently, Partzufim [pl. for Partzuf] join together and build the entire spiritual world. Because the Sefirot are expressions of love and giving, and they form all that exists in spirituality, the entire spiritual world is one of love.

Because our world consists of pure egoism, or as the book of Genesis tells us, “The inclination of a man’s heart is evil from his youth” (Gen. 8:21), we are completely disconnected from the spiritual world. In fact, we’re so opposite from it that we cannot grasp it with our senses.

But Rashbi, who dedicated his life to connecting humanity with this world of love, had found a way to bridge the chasm. Together with his son, he assembled eight keen disciples who were willing to dedicate themselves to this noble task as he was, and together, the ten of them formed a semblance of a spiritual Partzuf, which, as just said, also consists of ten Sefirot.

But the process was not easy. Rashbi and his disciples were human, and therefore inherently selfish. Forming a ten did not make them a spiritual Partzuf. They had to overcome their egoism in order to become similar to a spiritual Partzuf, which was a long and gradual process. But as they learned to become more spiritual, loving, they put their experiences down in writing, and thus wrote The Book of Zohar.

No one had done this before them, and no one has done it since. Bit by bit, they opened up their own egoism, prevailed over it, and wrote about it in allegories and in the language of Kabbalah. At the end of their spiritual journey, they had transformed their nature entirely from hatred to love, and shared it all with us in this magnificent book. This is why The Book of Zohar is so important to humankind, especially today, when hatred is overtaking every aspect of our lives.

In the portion Aharei Mot, Rashbi’s ten gave us a glimpse into the process of feeling the hatred and transforming it to love that they had experienced. They wrote, “‘How good and how pleasant it is for brothers to also sit together.’ These are the friends as they sit together, and are not separated from each other. At first, they seem like people at war, wishing to kill one another. Then they return to being in brotherly love.”

But Rashbi’s ten did not stop there; they also shared why they made all those efforts. In their words, “And you, the friends who are here, as you were in fondness and love before, henceforth you will also not part … and by your merit there will be peace in the world, as it is written, ‘For the sake of my brothers and my friends let me say, ‘Let peace be in you.’’” Indeed, they wrote The Book of Zohar not for themselves, but for the rest of the world to find peace and love.

However, when Rashbi and his ten completed writing the book, they realized that humanity was not ready for it. In order to use this book of love correctly, humanity needed to feel how deeply it is immersed in hate. At that time, even though they themselves were in constant flight from the Romans, who wished to kill them, they knew that as a whole, the world had not revealed how hateful human nature really is. As a result, in yet another selfless act, they concealed the book that they had written so arduously.

Over the centuries, humanity has revealed deeper and deeper layers of its nature, that indeed, it is all evil. When enough evil was revealed, The Book of Zohar was revealed once more. However, it was still not time for everyone to get to know it and be able to use it for its purpose: transforming hate to love.

Only now, since the end of the 20th century, our acknowledgement of our nature is sufficient for us to truly need this book of love and giving. This is why the greatest kabbalist in modern times, Rav Yehuda Ashlag, wrote the complete Sulam [ladder] commentary on The Book of Zohar, which explains every word in it, so we can all benefit from it and be able to transform ourselves the way Rashbi’s disciples did back when they wrote it.

Indeed, LAG ba Omer marks a very significant day in the history of humankind, when a rope was thrown to humanity to pull it out of the quagmire of hatred and into the pool of love that is the spiritual world.

Passover From The Point Of View Of Modern Realities, Part 12

543.02Question: Four sons are mentioned In the Passover story: one loves to ask questions, the other is a villain, the third is naive, a simpleton, and so on. What do they represent in us, in society?

Answer: They exist in every person. When a person begins to search for his spiritual path, these four sons appear in him: one is smart, one is stupid. But the most important is the one who does not know how to ask questions.

Everyone else has some questions from this world, they can formulate them, but this one cannot say anything. He wants something, but he does not know what exactly. And so he is bursting with a question with no answer. It is about him that it is said: “And the one who does not know how to ask, to him you shall open.” Open what? It does not say. It says: “To him you shall open.”

Question: Reveal what?

Answer: If there is a question, then it is possible to talk.

Question: What would you wish for the whole nation and all people in general?

Answer: Revelation of this question. First, to ask it beautifully, correctly, so that it hurts, so that we really want to get out of our nature that intoxicates us during our short and unhappy life.

And so that with the help of this inner quality—that we want something but what exactly we cannot say—to get an answer to it and reveal it. The answer did not come, but the path opened. So it is said: “to him you shall open.” Not answer it—open it.

Question: And what will he realize?

Answer: This is only if you ask the right question. When it fully bursts from within, then the same pressure from within will reveal the way.

Question: And this will be the beginning of the exodus from Egypt?

Answer: Yes. This is the real way out of Egypt. Therefore, the Passover story speaks precisely about the one who cannot even ask.
From KabTV’s “News with Dr. Michael Laitman” 4/12/19

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281.02Question: How can a secular person adhere to the right path?

Answer: How can a secular person stay on this path? It is impossible! He must understand what he is doing, where he should come to, to what state. He must see which forces are guiding him.

Usually, a secular person is like a small child: he runs to where he is pulled to, to what kind of games. This requires serious educators who know what to do, who can go out to people and explain to them what really to do, and who can lead people.

This is a huge mission and a huge effort. It is very unrewarding. We know what happened to Moses as he began to lead these people. In the end, he led the people to the Land of Israel, and he died on Mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab that is facing Jericho. This is, in general, the fate of real teachers.
From KabTV’s “News with Dr. Michael Laitman” 4/12/19

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749.02Question: When the Jewish people approach the Final (Red) Sea, Yam Suf, suddenly this sea opens up. Behind, the army of Pharaoh, in front, the sea, and it parted. What needs to happen for a person to suddenly see the sea or water mass is his salvation?

Answer: The deep sea can only do one thing: kill me completely. And I agree to this state, to die spiritually, physically, no matter how, just not to remain in the captivity of my egoism. Egoistic slavery is worse than any other condition, so I throw myself into the water.

Question: We are not referring to the suicides that occur in our time, are we?

Answer: No! What does that have to do with it? Is there any movement toward this in our time? Does it come from the same reason? No! In our time, it’s all out of boredom.

Question: There is an opinion that not all Jews came out of Egypt. Were there Jews in Pharaoh’s chariots that chased the Jews?

Answer: These are the so-called Erev Rav (mixed multitude). These are the Jews for whom being in Egypt was a blessing. They want to stay in their egoism and believe that they are right. And they have the Creator in this egoism, and He does not need to be approached by correcting themselves to love others, and through love of others to love the Creator.

We don’t need any of this: “We can live here, calmly, well. We do not need the land of Israel, and we do not need to go there at all; when the Creator wants, He will lead us there himself, but in the meantime we will sit here and wait.”

Question: In the story of the exit from Egypt, we see that chariots are destroyed, although someone is saved. They say that some strange people joined the Jews and then chased them through the desert. How does this happen? All the same, these people who do not agree to follow the predetermined path, this goal, will be destroyed?

Answer: This is Erev Rav, the “mixed multitude.” There are a lot of them, they surround the Jewish people from all sides. By their origin, they are Jews, but they do not feel that they should go to the Creator with their thoughts, with their motives, in “love your neighbor as yourself,” in unity with each other.

Throughout Jewish history and today too, they see their mission only in preventing the movement of the Jewish people to build a temple, that is, to create such a connection between themselves in which the Creator would be revealed.

Question: Who will win in the end?

Answer: In the end, of course, they will not win. But looking at what is happening today in the Jewish people, we see what power they have.

Question: How can a person at any given time, being in the environment that he has, correctly distinguish between Erev Rav and Jews who are going to the goal?

Answer: A person who strives for connection with others, for love for others, and from love for others to love for the Creator, he is a Jew, he is really going to the Creator.

The most important thing is the connection, because in it egoism is gradually destroyed and a person rises above his egoistic nature into the quality of bestowal, to the quality of love for one’s neighbor.

And for people who believe that they can exist without connection with others, you can immediately see that they are, in general, sole proprietors, loners. They invent a completely different lifestyle for themselves. Everyone who follows certain rules believes that for him there is already the meaning of life, and paradise prepared for him, and so forth.

In fact, this is absolutely not the case. “Attain your world even in this life”—this is what the Torah, the wisdom of Kabbalah, calls for. And so all their attempts are a big mistake and a disappointment.
From KabTV’s “News with Dr. Michael Laitman” 4/12/19

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400Question: Now we see that American Jews, extreme left-wing and totally against Israel, still feel like Jews. In Israel itself, there is a diversity of opinions and attitudes. How can such a large and diverse nation feel that we are in Egypt and choose this road?

Answer: The people are not numerous, it is just that each Jew is “too much.” Each of them represents a huge number of inner people within him. Therefore, it seems to us that there are many of them and they are everywhere. Sometimes it seems that there is no one else in this world except the Jews.

This is a special quality that is manifested in humanity this way. I hope that humanity will very quickly realize this in the kind sense of the word and understand what to do with it.

What should Jews do? There is only one way out—to unite in a good way. If not, then instead of the good Pharaoh who was in Egypt during their first seven years, there will be an evil Pharaoh during their second seven years.

Seven years are not years, but the period of government—Hesed, Gevura, Tiferet, Netzach, Hod, Yesod, and Malchut. It is the upper system of control that descends and governs in a good way, and if not, it also turns around and begins to govern in an evil way. If you do not understand in a good way, it will be in a bad way.

As a result, it turned out that Jews left Egypt a little earlier. This is done on purpose.

Although it was predicted that they would be in Egypt for four hundred years, since all four stages of self-awareness and egoism and the exit it from it must be completely passed (by the name of the Creator—Yud-Hey-Vav-Hey,—Keter, Hochma, Bina, Zeir Anpin, Malchut), but they stayed there for only two hundred and ten years because the so-called years fall on the rest of the period before our time. But even in our time, we are still in exile.

By exile, we mean spiritual exile, not physical. The fact that we ended up here or someone ended up in America and the person says: “I am not in exile, I am in the holy land”—this is all wrong. We are still in exile.
From KabTV’s “News with Dr. Michael Laitman” 4/12/19

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570Comment: Before leaving Egypt, the Creator gives an edict: sacrifice a lamb, keep it at home for 14 days, tie it to a bed.

My Response: All the problems that we see in the text must be understood correctly. We are talking about a person, about his inner qualities. The lamb represents the quality of Bina, which develops in us. Herbs, earth, wine, the burning bush, etc., symbolize everything that happens inside a person.

A person is a small world, he contains absolutely all the qualities of our world. The fact that the world seems to exist outside of us is actually a reflection of what is inside of us.

That is, I see a table in front of me, because its state is inside of me, and therefore it seems to me that it exists. There are my hands lying on this table right now. In fact, there are no hands, no table, nothing. These are just my inner qualities, which paint reality for me in this way.

And the same Egypt, and the same Pharaoh with all the huge pyramids—all this exists only within us.

Comment: If we take the last sacrifice, then the lamb in ancient Egyptian mythology is a deity.

My Response: The Jews bred them, killed them, and ate them.

Comment: They were sacrificed. The Creator said: “Sacrifice it in a certain way.”

My Response: Precisely because the Jews killed and consumed these lambs for egoism, that is, for the Egyptians who are in us, this is sacred, and for the quality of ascent to the Creator, on the contrary, it is an opportunity to rise above egoism.

Question: Despite the indignation of egoism itself, right?

Answer: Sure. How else can you rise above it if you do not resent it?

Comment: It is said that the children of Israel were slaves for quite a long time.

My Response: So far, we have not been able to get out of egoism, to break away from it.

Question: So they perform a sacrifice in front of the enraged Egyptians and Pharaoh, as if they take a very decisive inner step and choose the side of the Creator, to follow Him instead of Pharaoh. To do this, there must be a great inner readiness, awareness in a person. Where does it accumulate, at what expense?

Answer: This is a conscious inner necessity that gradually manifests itself in a person, naturally, with the help of the Creator, with the help of the light. By itself, it does not originate and develop in the person himself.

After all, all these people who were called Jews, came to Egypt in order to develop their altruistic striving to connect with each other and with the Creator, and therefore to manifest the quality of the Creator. By their actions among themselves, they attract the quality of the Creator to themselves.

Question: In our time, is this readiness maturing in the Jewish people or not? Should there be a cumulative measure? How do you get to this measure so that a person actually chooses the side of the Creator and advances and fulfills one’s role?

Answer: To do this, you need to spend four hundred years in Egypt, or at least two hundred and ten years, as it really was.

Question: Do they feel that this is Egypt?

Answer: Of course! Even Abraham was in and out of Egypt. It is not a problem. To be “in Egypt” means to feel oneself in the slavery of egoism. When egoism, on the one hand, gives you everything you want in this world—take it, enjoy it—and then you throw it all away and prefer to get out of it.
From KabTV’s “News with Dr. Michael Laitman” 4/12/19

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583.02Question: Why does the Pharaoh say after each plague: “I will let you go out, and you will sacrifice to the Lord, your God, in the desert, but do not go far away; entreat on my behalf.” and then he adds, “No! You will not go anywhere!”

Answer: It is the nature of man that says to him: “Yes, you can break away from egoism, you can go forward because you see that these blows help you.” But they do not really help to get out of Egypt.

They only help you rise above them when you prefer to be with the Creator instead of being in Egypt in spite of all your egoistic rewards. Otherwise, you will never get out of Egypt! Only without any egoistic benefits.

Just close your eyes and that is it: in a dark night, in a hurry, almost without collecting anything, run away from your egoism. It is the only way you can get away from it.

Question: The Creator repeats every time: “And the blood will be for you a sign upon the houses where you will be, and I will see the blood and skip over you, and there will be no plague to destroy when I smite the land of Egypt.” It is as if all this falls on the Egyptians’ heads, and the Jews stand apart. Why does this happen?

Answer: Because all the aspirations of a person toward the Creator, which are called Israel in him or the Jews in him remain intact because they lead a person to this goal. And everything that does not lead to it but is in the egoism gradually dies away in the process of fighting it. And a person must pass ten blows in order to completely break away from egoism and start his new path.
From KabTV’s “News with Dr. Michael Laitman” 4/12/19

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