Happy New Year Around the World!

Here’s a video clip from the Happy New Year contest that I wrote about before:

The Book of Zohar. Chapter “The First Commandment”

The Book of Zohar.The Book of Zohar. Chapter “The First Commandment” (abridged)

189. BERESHEET BARAH ELOKIM (In the beginning the Creator created) is the first commandment, the root and foundation of all creation, called “fear of the Creator” or RESHEET (beginning), as it is written: “Fear of the Creator is the beginning of wisdom.” It is also written, “Fear of the Creator is the beginning of knowledge,” for this fear is called “the beginning.” And it is the gate (the first property) that leads to faith (the property of bestowal). And this Mitzva (law of the universe) is the foundation of the whole world (all other laws are derived from it).

190. There are three types of fear, two of which have no real basis, but one does. If man fears that his children may die, or fears illness or bodily suffering, or fears for his material well-being, this kind of fear (even if constant) is not the basis or root, for only desirable consequences constitute the cause of fear. This is called “the fear of punishment in this world.” But there is also another type of fear: the fear of punishment in the world to come, in hell. These two types of fear – the fear of punishment in this world and in the world to come – do not constitute true fear.

191. The true fear is the fear of the Creator, for He is great and almighty, for He is the Source of everything, and all else is nothing compared to Him. Man should concentrate all his attention on attaining this kind of fear.

192. Rabbi Shimon started to weep, wailing, “Woe if I reveal and woe if I do not reveal: If I reveal the means of attaining fear, the sinners will know how to work for the Creator for their own sake (without exiting their egoism, and hence they won’t correct themselves). And if I do not say how to attain fear of the Creator, it will not reach my friends (those who do wish to exit their egoism). Wherever there is true fear (which allows one to act above one’s egoism, not for his own sake), opposite it and correspondingly below stands an evil fear, which strikes and prosecutes. It is the scourge that whips the sinners (punishing them for their sins. This is why he is afraid to reveal it, for the sinners may learn how to avoid punishment, and punishment constitutes their correction).

193. But he who fears the punishment by whippings, the true fear of the Creator cannot descend upon him. Instead, evil fear overtakes him in the form of fearing punishment by whipping.

194. Therefore, the place that is named “fear of the Creator” is called the beginning of knowledge. This is why this Commandment is included here. And it is the foundation and source of all the other Commandments of the Torah. And whoever observes the Commandment of fear of the Creator, thereby observes all the others. But he who does not observe the Commandment of fear of the Creator, does not observe the other Commandments of the Torah, for this Commandment constitutes the foundation for all the others.

195. Therefore, it is written, “IN THE BEGINNING” (signifying fear) THE CREATOR CREATED THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH. For whoever transgresses FEAR, transgresses all of the Torah’s Commandments (laws of the Upper World, which are based upon bestowal). And his punishment is the evil scourge – the evil fear that whips him. Further in the Torah, the words, “AND THE EARTH WAS UNFORMED AND CHAOTIC, AND DARKNESS WAS UPON THE FACE OF THE DEEP, AND THE SPIRIT OF THE CREATOR” refer to the four punishments of the wicked.

196. WITHOUT FORM refers to strangulation. CHAOTIC refers to stoning – the stones that fall into the great deep to punish the sinners. DARKNESS signifies burning. THE SPIRIT OF THE CREATOR refers to beheading.

197. The spirit of the Creator means beheading, for the scorching wind (Ruach Se’ara) is a flaming sword – punishment for whoever does not observe the Torah and Commandments that are mentioned after the Commandment of fear, called “foundation,” as it includes all the Commandments. This is because after the word BERESHEET (BEGINNING), which signifies fear, and further it is written WITHOUT FORM, CHAOS, DARKNESS and SPIRIT – the four penalties of death.

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Is There Anything Spiritual About Works of Art?

Is There Anything Spiritual About Great Works of Art?A question I received: In a previous blog entry you wrote, “Everything relating to the body’s desires (such as food, sex, and family) that exceeds the normal needs, is superfluous. Hence it is harmful for the body and the soul, as well as for all of the surrounding nature, and it makes man imbalanced with nature. These excesses usually appear under the influence of society. Besides the bodily desires, there are additional desires that emerge in man because he lives in society. If he lived alone in the woods, then these desires would never emerge in him. There are the desires for wealth, fame, power, and knowledge.”

But what about man’s desire for beauty and the arts? Is spending time on the arts also harmful? And if there is nothing spiritual in this world, then how do you explain the masterpieces of art?

My Answer: Everything man creates in our world comes from his desires, whether physical (food, sex, and family) or social (wealth, glory, power, and knowledge). All art was brought about by man’s desire to express himself, or in other words, by the desire for glory, to stand out, to prove something (even if it’s to himself), to express his way of seeing things, and so on.

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Scientific Theories Cannot Prove that God Exists

Scientific Theories Cannot Prove the Existence of GodNews Report (translated from smi.marketgid.com): “Polish priest proves the existence of G-d.” 72-year old priest and mathematician Michael Heller has been awarded the world’s largest scientific prize for his work that indirectly proves the existence of G-d. Father Heller’s theories not only contain a proof of G-d’s existence, but also cast doubt on the existence of the corporeal world around us.

Father Heller has developed a complex formula that is able to explain everything, even randomness, through mathematical calculations. Previously, German researchers conducted a series of mathematical calculations showing that the probability of God’s existence is 62%.

My Answer:
As usual, the mass media presents inaccurate information due to insufficient understanding of the subject: a theory cannot serve as proof. Proof can come only from a clear sensation, as well as the ability to repeat this sensation and to compare it with what others perceive. In other words, it must abide by the rule, “A judge has no more than what his eyes can see.”

Only the wisdom of Kabbalah enables man to reveal the Upper World or the Creator with such clarity. That’s because Kabbalah creates new qualities in man that are equal to Creator’s qualities, and then one perceives the Creator inside these qualities, according to the law of equivalence of form.

Everything else is like playing hide-and-seek in a dark room – instead of relying on clear sensations, people play around with numbers and philosophize using the earthly logic.

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Men, Women and Spiritual Roots

Men, Women and Spiritual RootsQuestions I received on male and female roots in the spiritual world:

Question: Are there male spiritual roots for the word “sister”?

My Answer: Every spiritual creation (every soul) can act as a receiver – female, or as a bestower – male. Of course, in either case it acts with the intention of bestowal. For example, suppose that I receive from the Creator – then I act as a female Kli, and if I pass that on to others – then I act as a male Kli.

Female actions are described with various female names, and male actions are described with male names. The names are taken from our world, according to the vocabulary of “Root and Branch.” See Part 1 of Talmud Eser Sefirot, “Inner Reflection (Histaklut Pnimit).”

Question: What is the meaning of the women’s Niddah, how does it reflect in spirituality, and is there any reason for it in corporeal life?

My Answer: Everything that exists in our world descends from above. Our world is the world of results, not of beginnings. Everything begins exclusively in the Upper World. In the Upper World, a Nukva’s Niddah is the part of the desires that could not be corrected or turned into an embryo.

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There Are Only 7 Days Left!

Shana TovaThere are only 7 days left until the end of a huge internet dissemination project, Shana Tova! (Happy New Year). Let’s pool our efforts to reach the biggest ever number of video clip views – 1,000,000.

Please watch all the video clips below and let every video finish playing. Don’t miss this chance to disseminate Kabbalah in the world!

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Which Books Did Rabash Write?

The Works of RabashA question I received: Apparently Rav Baruch Ashlag (Rabash) wrote many books, including commentaries to the Talmud Eser Sefirot, to the “Preface to the Wisdom of Kabbalah,” to the “Introduction to Talmud Eser Sefirot” and others. What do you think about these books, and why don’t you disseminate them?

My Answer: Rabash only wrote his notes (Dargot HaSulam – the archive he left to me, which I published), articles (Shlavey HaSulam, which are articles written by his students), and letters (Igrot Rabash). In addition, it’s possible that some people have additional letters that were addressed to them. However, none of Rabash’s compositions were published during his lifetime! I was next to Rabash for twelve years as a secretary, assistant, student, treasurer and archive manager, and I can assure you that he did not write anything else.

When I started studying with him, I persuaded him to let me record his lessons. As a result, we now have over a thousand audio cassettes of his lessons. I made copies of all the cassettes and gave them to all his students. One of them edits and publishes these recordings, presenting them as the works of Rabash. Personally I believe that we have no right to pass off for original material something that was recorded while he spoke, then subsequently copied and edited into written form. Incidentally, this prohibition is a law in the Torah, and it applies to things that were not personally written. Moreover, there are many changes and additions due to the editing, and I think they distort Rabash’s explanations. Many of Rabash’s students agree with me on this. Hence, I recommend that you to listen to his voice – his audio lessons in the original, for example, the ones on this website – (it’s not affiliated with me or Bnei Baruch): http://ashlagbaroch.org/

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The Book of Zohar. Chapter “Rabbi Shimon’s Departure from the Cave”

The Book of ZoharThe Book of Zohar. Chapter “Rabbi Shimon’s Departure from the Cave” (abridged)

185. Rabbi Pinchas stood (in all of his 10 Sefirot, Gadlut) before Rabbi Rachuma (who was equal to him in his small state – Katnut, sitting) on the shore of Lake Kinneret. He was wise, old, and almost blind (corrected with the Light of Hassadim, filled with the Light of Hochma, almost blind – complete correction makes it impossible to receive the Light, to reveal). He said to Rabbi Pinchas: “I have heard that our friend Shimon Bar-Yochai has a jewel, a son (a degree higher than RASHBI). I have looked upon the Light from that jewel (that fills him), and it shines like the light of the sun (Keter) and illuminates the entire world (Malchut).

186. And that Light extends from the Heavens (Bina) down to the earth (Malchut) and illuminates the whole world (his entire soul) until Atik (Keter); appears and sits upon its throne (becomes the uppermost Sefira), which occurs at the end of (the soul’s) correction. And that Light abides entirely in your household (because the daughter of Rabbi Pinchas was wife to Rabbi Shimon, and Rabbi Elazar was therefore his grandson, the third degree). And a tiny ray of Light (called “the son of the household,” Rabbi Elazar) separates from the Light that fills the household, comes forth and shines upon the whole world. Happy are those who merit such a destiny! Come out, my son, come out! Go after that jewel, which illuminates the world, for it is a good time (GAR of Atzilut) to do so!

187. He came out before him and stood waiting to board a ship (the property of Malchut in Bina). Two women (Malchut, desires that are still unfulfilled ) were with him. He saw two birds soaring over the water. He raised his voice (MAN) and said, “Birds, you soar over the sea (the Light of Hochma); have you seen the place (degree) where (over which) one could find Bar-Yochai?” He waited some and said, “Birds, O birds, fly away.” They flew away and disappeared into the sea.

188. Before he boarded the ship (raised Malchut to Bina), the birds approached again, and in the beak of one of them was a letter (revelation). It read that Rabbi Shimon, the son of Yochai, had left the cave together with his son, Rabbi Elazar. Rabbi Pinchas went to them (ascended to their degree) and found them completely changed (with regard to corrections): their bodies (desires) were covered with sores (like holes in the ground – see the Talmud, Bava Batra, 19:2) from staying in the cave (Bina staying in Malchut) for so long. He wept and said, “Woe that I have seen you so!” (This is how he assessed their state. Similarly, we assess the Upper One, the property of bestowal, as darkness.)

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First Become a Scientist, and Then You Can Speak Against Science

First Become a Scientist, and Then You Can Speak Against ScienceA question I received: Four years ago I had a tremendous thirst for science and knowledge. I saw so much meaning in these things that I devoted my life to them and became a Doctorate student majoring in environmental law. But since I found out about Kabbalah in 2006, my values gradually changed from material to spiritual. The 2008 Congress in Israel played a major part in this. I see great spiritual meaning in Kabbalah and it has become my true goal. But what should I do with my corporeal science? I’m no longer interested in it because now I know that I can bring harmony to the surrounding world only by changing myself.

I have a problem now: I am unable to complete my dissertation on the environment the way I’d like to – by integrating Kabbalistic elements, because legal scholars consider that environmental problems can only be solved by developing legal regulations and programs, such as reducing carbon emissions, and so on. But I can already see that these means will be ineffective and pointless. I feel that instead of working on my science I want to work on translating Kabbalah texts and do something real like write for the mass media and disseminate in other ways.

So my question is: Should I continue writing my dissertation “the proper way” just to get a PhD, or should I drop out of the doctorate program?

My Answer: I also wrote my dissertation on the topic “Kabbalah as a Method of Irrational Attainment,” even though I personally find Kabbalah to be the most rational science of all. I had to write something that I personally disagreed with because otherwise I would never have defended my dissertation. But after I received my PhD, I gained an ability to speak on a different level – as a Doctor of Philosophy. When I appear at international forums and interviews, the fact that I have a PhD changes something in people’s consciousness. This is why I think that you have to complete your dissertation.

You cannot write “against science” while you aren’t a scientist yet. First you must become a scientist (get a PhD), and then you will be able to legitimately speak “against science” and offer your view of the problem and its solution. Do this step by step. Good luck to you, and I would be happy to work with you on your topic!

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