Food Crisis – Rising Food Prices and the Meaning of Life

Food Crisis - Rising Food Prices and the Meaning of LifeToday’s daily lesson mostly revolved around questions from students about the crisis in food and rising food prices. Here are some questions and answers from the first part of the lesson,* as well as a link to the third part of the lesson (see “About the World Food Crisis” at the bottom of the post):

A question I received: Food prices around the world are on the rise. Whether it’s corn, soya beans or rice – everything is getting more expensive, and it’s only getting worse. Can you explain this, and where it’s leading us to?

My Answer:

A question I received: Suffering brings people to ask about the meaning of life. But if the suffering is based on not having any food to eat, then how can one think about the meaning of life while being hungry? [Read more →]

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The Freedom (Baal HaSulam)

Baal HaSulamFreedom of Will

Does man have the freedom to act according to one’s own free will?

If we consider our actions, we will find they are compulsory, that we are forced to do them, and that we have no freedom of choice, since our actions are driven by either pleasure or pain. Thus, we haven’t the freedom to choose pain or to reject pleasure.

Man’s advantage over the beast is only that one can endure suffering for a remote, future goal. However, here, too, it is not a choice, but rather a calculation. It follows that Providence guides every person towards the goal, using pleasure or suffering, and without consulting us.

The social environment determines what people enjoy; every movement they make is subjugated to the fancies of society.

It follows that if there is no freedom of will, one is not one’s own master. And if we are not our own masters, that is, if we do not do what we want to do, but what society dictates, then there are no reward and punishment. [Read more →]

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Women as Leaders of Nations

Women as Leaders of NationsA question I received: These days, many women are taking national leading positions. Some examples are Angela Merkel (Germany), Tarja Halonen (Finland), Vaira Vike-Freiberg (Latvia), Cristina Kirshner (Argentina), Pratibha Patil (India), Gloria Macapagal (The Philippines), Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf (Liberia), and Yulia Tymoshenko (Ukraine). It also looks like France and the USA are next. What does Kabbalah have to say about this situation of women taking national leadership?

My Answer: It doesn’t correspond to the spiritual system. In our era, equal rights seems correct and just, while the demands of spirituality (where the woman helps, directs, strengthens and approves, while the man attains the Upper Light of correction and fulfillment) seem sexist.

Nevertheless, if we don’t correspond (as much as humanity’s desire for spirituality develops) to Nature (the Creator, the property of absolute love), we’ll disfigure our existence. Our dissimilarity and imbalance evoke the negative forces of correction, which we feel as suffering, and Nature (the Creator) will nevertheless make us follow its laws by force.

So we can follow Nature laws either by being forced, i.e. through the path of suffering, or we can consciously will ourselves to follow them. The place of our freedom is not in inventing our own paths, because there’s only one truth and only one path to it (the same path through which we descended from the World of Infinity). The place of our freedom is in our aspiration (our request for correction), above our egoistic aspirations (to receive), and our striving toward the goal of Nature (to bestow).

Why is it that women are being allowed to take leadership positions in our times? It’s because they use their egoism more carefully than men. When it comes to today’s enormous egoism, a woman’s egoism is better and calmer than a man’s.

(In the photo: my daughter and I.)

Murphy’s Law and the Law of the Torah

Murphy\'s Law and the Law of the TorahMurphy’s Law: Murphy’s Law states that if something can go wrong, it will definitely go wrong. This law has many variations: If you drop a slice of bread, it’s sure to fall butter side down; the change in the cash register will always end just before it’s your turn; if you just washed your car, then it’ll start raining, and so on. People think that Murphy’s Law is nothing but folk wisdom, which ironically portrays our perception of the world. However, this law stems from real “wrong” things happening to real people.

The Law of the Torah: How do Kabbalists feel about the law that they discover? In my blog post “Klipot (Shells) – Harmful and Helpful (Advanced),” there is an explanation about the role of evil (Klipot), stating that everything takes place with the aim of bringing humankind to correction, either by way of good or evil, i.e. according to how one perceives good and evil. There’s just one force operating in nature, but it manifests in different ways depending on how we act. When we aim our actions at the goal of creation, this force helps us. On the contrary, when we aim our actions in opposition to those of this force, it holds us back.

Moreover, this force (of the Creator) that helps everyone who aims themselves at the goal of creation, also creates disturbances for them, which helps them develop by motivating them to move faster toward the goal. In Kabbalah, Murphy’s Law, the law on the level of our world, manifests as the law of the Upper World: “There is none else beside Him. He is good and does good!

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Mass Media – Change It and You Change the World

Mass Media - Change It and You Change the WorldThere’s nothing more criminal in the modern world than the falsehood and irresponsibility permeating mass media. Anybody can write, anything can be written, and it also costs next to nothing, reaching and spoiling everyone. A person’s destiny completely depends on the environment (see Baal HaSulam’s article, “The Freedom“). Crimes, crises and suffering are all results of the involuntary absorption of incorrect and harmful information. Mass media feeds us this information and gets us hooked on it, changing the way we think and ruining us. Thus, by changing mass media, we’ll change the world!

Mass media needs to change to the degree we change. However, it needs to lead the way, as a group helping us reach a higher goal.

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Klipot (Shells) – Harmful and Helpful (Advanced)

Klipot (Shells) - Harmful and HelpfulA quote from The Book of Zohar – regarding Klipot, which can be either harmful or helpful.

There are three Klipot, encompassing all kinds of Dinim (Judgments) and the Klipot in the worlds:
a) “Stormy wind,” regarding Malchut from the aspect of Din (Judgment) before being sweetened with Bina.
b) “Big cloud,” regarding Dinim that are revealed in the left line, when they illuminate without the integration of the right.
c) “Burst of flames,” regarding the Dinim de Malchut which ascended to Bina.

All the types of calamities and punishments that befall Israel, are from these three Klipot. [Read more →]

Freedom Is in Another World

Freedom Is in Another WorldA question I received: What prevents women today from being free, growing creatively, and enjoying life? What is making them suffer, run around like crazy doing errands, without a break, and always compare themselves to others? Women have always fulfilled whatever society has demanded of them, whether in their family, society or country. In primitive society, a woman took care of the home and gave birth; in the industrial society, she took part in production, and in times of war, when human flesh was needed, she was praised as a mother-heroine. Simone de Beauvoir wrote, “the liberation of a woman is not a matter of the collective masses but a process of individual development.”

My Answer: Our time is different because now both individual and collective evolution have been exhausted, and we haven’t yet reached the conclusion we need to reach: that the only path of progress left is the one above our nature, and into another world.

The Peace (Baal HaSulam)

Baal HaSulamThe very essence of the spiritual law is the love of others. In practical terms, it can be defined as “giving to others” so as to remember the intention.

The Necessity of Caution with the Laws of Nature

The safekeeping of creation extends from the Creator, who undoubtedly has purpose in His actions. Thus, one who breaches any of nature’s laws corrupts the goal, which is built over all of nature’s laws, put together. Hence, nature will punish him.

It makes no difference whether the supervisor is called “nature,” meaning mindless and purposeless, or is wise, knowing, sensitive, and whose actions are purposeful. In the end, we are obliged to keep the laws of Providence, i.e. the laws of nature. Moreover, we all admit that one who breaches the commandments of Providence – nature’s laws – should be punished.

Providence demands that we keep the law of giving to others in a way that each of us will work in the full measure required to guarantee the success of society. As long as we are idle in keeping this law in the fullest measure, nature will continue to punish us. And besides the blows we suffer today, we should consider the drawn sword for the future. We should draw the right conclusion: nature will eventually defeat us and we will all be forced to obey its laws in the fullest required measure.

The Wheel of Transformation

Although we see that bodies change from generation to generation, it is only so with bodies. The souls – the very essence of the body – do not disappear. Instead, they move from one body to the next, and from one generation to the next. [Read more →]

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We’re All Children of the Creator

We\'re All Children of the CreatorA question I received: When disseminating Kabbalah in Arabic, should we hide the fact that Kabbalah is the Jews’ “property,” so to speak, so that we don’t arouse antipathy and repel them from it? What will Arabs in Israel and the world think about people who disseminate Kabbalah? How do you think we should disseminate to them?

My Answer: We have to disseminate Kabbalah in the whole world, to all nations. We are all children of the Creator, and we received this wisdom at a time when we were all one human race in Ancient Babylon. At that time, there was a sudden outburst of egoism, and one man, a Babylonian priest named Abraham, researched this phenomenon and discovered what was causing it.

Egoism, as Abraham found, was the cause of disharmony among people, and it had to keep evolving in humanity, constantly and gradually, through four phases (HaVaYaH), until reaching its maximum level, from the year 1995 and on. Humanity would then start finding out that egoism is an evil distinct from us, and would desire to eradicate it.

At that time, people would need the method of correcting egoism, and this is what Abraham had discovered all those years ago. This method is called “Kabbalah.” During his life, Abraham organized only a small group of students who adopted and practiced this method, and this group developed throughout history until the time when the method would be needed by everyone – the 21st century.

Throughout its history, this group went through many ascents and descents and collided with the nations of the world, in order to adapt the method to their evolving egoism. And this all took place in order to realize Kabbalah in our era. Now is the time for Kabbalah to be disseminated to the whole world, and applied by by those same ancient Babylonians who have settled all over the Earth since the time of Abraham.

The Zohar explains the collision between Jews and Arabs today, and these events prove the book’s authenticity. Bnei Baruch maintains a large website in Arabic. Its students include Israeli Arabs as well as Arabs from all the Arabic countries, and we receive many letters and questions from them.

Influence Of The Environment

Influence of the EnvironmentA question I received: Why are people afraid to fall under the influence of a certain environment, such as a sect? One way or another, they’re influenced by their surroundings, and even though their surroundings are broad, they still aren’t free. Maybe it’s because the influence of a broad environment – the whole world – isn’t felt so much, creating an illusion of freedom?

I think that this is the main obstacle in disseminating Kabbalah, i.e. the demand for a person to create a proper environment for himself. People today don’t even want to start a family because they’re afraid of being dependent on their spouses and children. They feel a basic fear towards it. But maybe this will change as they experience more and more suffering?

My Answer: You’re right. Besides the society that Kabbalah urges one to create (whether a civilization or just a group of Kabbalists for now), all other societies (civilizations, religions, communities) are sects, because they impose their views on people and manipulate them. We know that that’s how the mass media and the government operate.

Take religious people as an example: Instead of providing their children with knowledge and the opportunity to choose their own path, religious people deliberately don’t educate them and impose upon them a special dress style, in order to keep them dependent on their environment.

Even though the environment rules over the person, he doesn’t feel subjugated because others encourage conformity to society, and this fulfills his ego. But today we see that egoism is outgrowing the social framework, because it’s getting ready to turn to the Creator. Therefore, people are acting against their environment (their families, clans, or religions). It takes time, but people will soon discover that a person isn’t free in any society or even within himself, and that freedom can only be found within a group that seeks to attain similarity with the Creator.

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