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The Death Of The “Stony Heart”

Dr. Michael LaitmanAs Baal HaSulam writes in “Introduction to The Book of Zohar,” we must “die and rot” so that almost nothing will remain of us, and after that we are “born again” with new characteristics.

Of course, we shouldn’t imagine this process as it is depicted in Hollywood movies. Indeed, in the books of the Kabbalists, there is not a single word written about our world; they books are only about spiritual phenomena and concepts.

This is speaking only about the desire to receive which is the only object that exists at all, and the wisdom of Kabbalah involves this. This desire is permanent. Indeed, it is from nothing, but it exists.

There exist two possibilities to capture, realize, and arrange it: for the purpose of reception or for the purpose of bestowal.

From the start, a desire to receive for the purpose of reception was given to us, as it is written, “I created the evil inclination.” Thus, the egoistic desire to receive locks itself on the level of the beast and doesn’t allow us to rise to the level of Adam. This is locked within us, and we can rise to it only on condition that we rise above the desire to receive that is discovered here. That is how we enter into the upper world, to the higher dimension.

So, after the desire to bestow changes us, we are developed along two lines: the “right line” and the “left line.” The left line is the egoistic desire that is awakened in us more and more, and, in the right line, we correct it, time after time, through the Light that Reforms and transform it into the desire to bestow. That is how the process takes place in parallel, this in contrast to that, until the entire desire to receive “will rot” in the end, to the state called “death.”

However, this is not enough because we still have not transformed that into a real desire to bestow. We only work above it in all kinds of forms. I make something of it, but some parts aren’t suitable and all the while seemingly slip below my ability. Then, the time arrives for a unique activity: the “revival of the dead.”

We see a few stages of development here in that the person uses his desire in different ways. In the first stage, he exits this world to the spiritual world and prefers to rise above everything that he has here and to live in bestowal instead of reception. After that, he passes through the Machsom and develops his altruistic intentions above the constantly growing desire and uses it to bestow for the purpose of bestowal. After that, he passes to an intention to receive for the purpose of bestowal, to “and you shall love your friend.”

As a result of using these means, a person is left with a desire that he still cannot use in bestowal. This is a very great desire called the “stony heart.”

It is necessary to indicate that when we enter into spirituality we can realize only a “thin line” in it. Even through the work that we do, we only slightly expand this line that descends to us from above to below. After all, the stony heart is the essence of the creation and the essential density that is left to us for the final correction. In fact, the stony heart is not the desire that the Creator created. This is a desire to receive that we discover and format ourselves. However, we don’t create it like the Creator did with His activity, but, nevertheless, we create something new.

The source of destruction is revealed in the “Tree of Knowledge.” After we have continued with this “thread,” we discover the gap between us and the Creator, the stony heart that is discovered on every level. It arrives from above as a data point, and with our work for the purpose of bestowal, we discover how much we are truly different, distant, and completely the opposite of Him.

The stony heart is revealed to us from below to above until it reaches gigantic dimensions, but only to the degree that we can erase it, burn it, and annihilate it. And in the end, we finally kill it and after it rots, it reaches its correction. In other words, after this desire passes through all the stages, it really goes back to the dust. It was on the level of the speaking, and after that, the animate, and after that, the vegetative, until it is completely rotted and reaches the level of dust, as it is written, “For dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” That is how we finish the correction.

Then, an action is performed that we are certainly unprepared to do, but we want it very much: the “revival of the dead.” The stony heart, which was the opposite to the Creator, separates us from Him, and it is discovered thanks to the efforts that we made as if they were all designed for this. When I wanted to advance toward the Creator with all my power and might, with all efforts, according to this, I discovered my oppositeness to the Creator. It is as if I discovered it in the depths of the creation that were hidden from me, and therefore, with its correction, the general correction is completed.

Returning to “decomposition” and the “revival of the dead”: certainly all of this happens in the ascent of the spiritual ladder and there is no connection to this with our “beastly” bodies that live and die in this world, like all the other bodies. All of the wisdom of Kabbalah speaks only about the inner idea that is called the Adam in us, and it is not about our biology and zoology that belong to the physical reality only.

In the article, “The Freedom,” Baal HaSulam writes that, “the wisdom of Kabbalah mentions nothing of our corporeal world,” and in The Book of Zohar, Parshat “VaYetze,” 139, it is written, “The Zohar doesn’t speak about physical events at all, but about higher worlds.”

Also, in Talmud Eser Sefirot, Baal HaSulam writes in Volume 1,We must remember that all of the wisdom of Kabbalah is founded upon spiritual concepts that don’t occupy space or time. All the difficulty for beginners is that they comprehend these things with physical expressions with the limitations of time and space, replacement and permutation, which the authors use merely as symbols of their higher roots only.”

Also, Rav Kook writes in “Letters, 1,”: “I was appalled to see that a corporeal form was depicted for the concept of Adam Kadmon of the Kabbalah, which is only a metaphysical concept, a Godly concept. God forbid that we should allow ourselves to materialize these sacred concepts, even as a way of studying.”
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From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 1/15/14, Writings of Baal HaSulam

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When The Gates Open…

Dr. Michael LaitmanThe Book of Zohar, “Two Points”, Item 120: At the end of all the gates, He made a gate with several locks. That gate is called Malchut de Malchut, the final point of all the upper gates. This last gate is the first gate for the upper Hochma [wisdom]. That is, it is possible to be rewarded with the upper Hochma only after the attainment of this last gate specifically, as for attainment of the upper Hochma, it is the first gate. This is why it is written, “Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,” since “Fear of the Lord” is called the last gate, which is the first for the wisdom of the Lord.

Question: It is as if the gates are arranged one after the other so that we can enter them, but they seem to block the entrance, so it turns out that there is a blocking when one wants to enter.

Answer: Of course. To enter means that one finds himself in a certain state. How do you advance from one state to another? By opening another part of the desire to receive and by correcting it with the intention of in order to bestow, and thus going through all the gates.

So every gate is the increase of the desire and its correction. Gates, locks, and openings are all meant for a person to ascend from one level to the next, but without gates, there would be no change of states. A gate isn’t just a closed entrance that has been blocked. You will not feel anything if you don’t go through the gate, if you don’t acquire Aviut (thickness) and its correction, and adapt to that state which is called a gate.

There is nothing after the gate in spirituality. There is only the next gate. Every step is the next gate. There is no gate that opens widely and behind which there is a big city, and then the next gate behind which there is a field, and then another gate and another. There are only gates that come one after the other.

Question: So where do they lead to if there is nothing behind them?

Answer: There is everything in the gate, both the feeling and the attainment. Everything begins and ends in the gate. What do you need something other than the gates for if you are advancing towards identifying with the Creator? What else is missing but the gates? After all, each gate leads you to what you have to be. In fact, the whole HaVaYaH is one gate after another, ten Sefirot. Then there are ten more Sefirot, and another ten, etc.

Sometimes we say that only an entrance is called a gate and then one develops from it, but this development also belongs to the gates.

Question: What do you feel when you reach a gate?

Answer: You feel a blocked road.

Question: And how do you open the gate?

Answer: You open the gate by first accepting this blocking, by accepting the fact that the road is blocked. You accept this self annulment and the fear of the Creator, and thus on every next level until this gate becomes an entrance. Otherwise, it will not become an entrance. The gate itself should open, and when you go through the gate, it means that you accept all the Aviut correctly, and in this new Aviut, you see a new world.

Question: What does it mean that you accept that the road is concealed?

Answer: Accepting that it is all for our benefit. It is also a process to accept and be thankful for it.
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From the 3rd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 1/13/14, Writings of Baal HaSulam

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Pendulum Of Intention

Dr. Michael LaitmanBaal HaSulam, “Introduction to The Book of Zohar,” Item 24: The essence of the body is but a desire to receive for itself, and all its manifestations and possessions are fulfillments of that corrupted will to receive, which had initially been created only to be eradicated from the world, in order to achieve the complete third state at the end of correction. For this reason, it is mortal, transitory, and contemptible, along with all its possessions, like a fleeting shadow that leaves nothing in its wake.

Nothing ever happens to the desire. It only increasingly divulges itself while going through a 125 steps, whereas egoistic intentions arise together with desires. However, those are two different things: a desire to receive and an intention for the sake of receiving.

We should never cancel the desire. We are not planning to turn into hermits; rather, we strive to change our intention from egoistic to altruistic. It is the intention for the sake of receiving that has to be “eradicated from the world.”

We perceive the picture of the world through our intentions, through ourselves and our surroundings. This picture will disappear if we re-direct our intentions from the will to receive to the will to bestow. Everything we see today, the entire world with all its particularities and phenomena, with life and death, everything unfolds inside our will to receive that has an egoistic intention. If we change intentions, we start seeing an “inverted” world that is called the upper world, the first spiritual level. Then, we start observing something quite different.

While sensing the material, we have a chance to convert it with the help of the upper force, a group, and by using other means. We are the ones who start the “revolution,” because the first  time anything is revealed we see it as corrupt, as if it reflects in a “distorted mirror” of our egoistic intention.

So far, our selfish intentions “saddle” tiny desires of this world; this is what makes this realm look the way it is to us. Then, let’s say at the thirtieth step, there appears a desire that is a billion times bigger, yet it still originates from the will to receive. It would be dreadful as if we were among “dinosaurs,” in a monstrous jungle of immensely, powerful egoistic desires.

People would look as hellish “fiends” to us; they would seem like criminals, crooks, liars, villains, a wickedness that we currently cannot even imagine. In essence, we would see the evil forces that belong to this particular step. We would consider the lessons to be outrageous stupidity, utter nonsense. Even the group would appear in such a terrible shape that we wouldn’t tolerate our friends’ company, nor would we be able to breathe the same air with them.

However, if we find the strength to overcome this situation and change, then we would figure out that everything is just wonderful. In fact, nothing will change, but somehow all of a sudden we will see the world around us permeated with Light, where everybody receives benevolence from the Creator, nobody ever suffers, no one dies of hunger, or kills others. Our friends look as if they are the greatest people on the face of the Earth, and there is nobody higher than them. Baal HaSulam writes about this state in his article “Concealment and Disclosure of the Face of the Creator.”

We all go through these states, the pendulum swings stronger each time, and everything depends on changing our intention, turning it into the opposite, from egoism to altruism. The desires remain intact, only the intentions change.

One way or the other, the Creator never brings us to bestowal; otherwise, He would have stolen the chance for us to know Him. He leads us only through disasters in our will to receive so that we acknowledge the need to bestow.

At first, we try to escape troubles that force us to blame and curse Him. Then, with the help of a group, lessons, and dissemination, by lowering our heads in front of our friends and the teacher, we turn to the Creator, and plead with Him to help us.

Question: Isn’t it a pretty long path of suffering?

Answer: The trick is how we accept the suffering. Without the sufferings, it is impossible to wake up. Any state starts with sorrows: “And there was evening and there was morning, one day.”

Our path is long not because of the troubles we go through but because we don’t react to them in a correct way.

This explains why we need preparation and a correct attitude. There is no doubt that our states will change soon, and we will feel emptiness; moreover, we can start hating our friends as Rabbi Shimon’s disciples did. And yet we continue advancing because everything that happens to us is for a purpose, to lead us forward.
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From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 1/13/14, Writings of Baal HaSulam

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Losing Yourself In Order To Find

Dr. Michael LaitmanA person goes through several phases before he reaches his first spiritual correction, the equivalence of form with the Creator. The word “place” is often used in reference to the Creator. Why is the Creator called “place”?

A place is a desire. A place that has received the attribute of bestowal is actually the Creator’s image. So, all the intentions, all of a person’s work, should be aimed at the same place: in order to correct his desires so that they should be in order to bestow. The image of the Creator that is revealed in the corrected place, which means in the corrected vessels, is already the result of the influence of the two lines.

The first phase of a person’s correction is when he stops thinking about himself and already begins to understand and to feel that the correction is fulfilled only though connection. A person already understands that he must be in a group that is considered one with regard to the Creator. Gradually, he understands the concept of connection and doesn’t see himself as a separate part from the group, as being cut off from the general. As it is written: “…for I the Lord dwell in the midst of the children of Israel.”

Thanks to his work in the group in order to attain mutual guarantee, the friends’ thoughts, and the influence of the Light that is drawn by our collective efforts, a person reaches this state when he begins to look at everything from the center of the group. Then, he feels a new hardening of the heart, and he must reach the right “place” over and over again. After a while, he understands that he has undergone a change that didn’t seem important before. The public opinion, the state of the group, becomes very dear to him.

The people in the group become important and dear to him, and he begins to worry about them more than about his own children. It is because he feels the family on the corporeal, physical level, while he feels the friends on the spiritual level. He understands that he has an obligation to his family, but he begins to fully enter the hearts of the friends, wants to live there, and to guarantee them all the best. Eventually, the state of the friends determines and dictates all his thoughts and actions, and determines what he worries about, like a mother who only worries about her baby, and everything that she does is for him. This is how a person begins to treat his group.

Gradually, the concept of the Creator is cleared in the group according to a person’s efforts to arrange and to picture the general vessel, the corrected place, the one general heart and mind, and the pain that he feels at the moment since he cannot reach such unity, and according to such efforts, the Creator’s image starts to become clear to him in this one unified group.

The Surrounding Light influences him through his yearning for the center of the group, for the desire to see that everyone is corrected and delighting the Creator who is revealed according to a person’s efforts in the group. Thus, a person gets closer to the Creator through the group.

At the moment, we don’t understand how a person can lose himself in the group and at the same time, feel that he exists, that he acts and operates. From the perspective of his ego, his self totally disappears, but, from the perspective of bestowal, it actually grows until a person rises to the level of the Creator that is revealed in the group. Baal HaSulam says, “It is natural that, when the Light of the general illuminates, the individual is nullified with regard to his own self and he doesn’t feel himself,” but he does feel the general and the Creator in it!
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From the Preparation to the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 1/12/14

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Globalization

Dr. Michael LaitmanOpinion (Yuri D Granin, Ph.D., senior research fellow, Institute of Philosophy of Russian Academy of Sciences): Over the past decades, the problem of globalization remains one of the most controversial. It would seem that the formation of international markets, free movement of capital, increasing flows of migrants and tourists, the formation of supranational financial, economic and political institutions would have to unite people into a global integrity – a planetary civilization.

“Globalization can be seen as a trend towards unification of humanity, the organization of social space. But for the time being, globalization does not destroy but preserves the planetary hierarchy of various peoples and nations. Its obvious advantages turn into losses. The unfolding process of globalization stimulates their growth, triggering a defensive response.

My Comment: The reason for the perverse manifestation of globalization is that it is implemented egoistically not by “global” personalities, but by the same egoists who cannot see how humanity can unite correctly and the ways by which this unity can be achieved. Only Kabbalists who know the laws of the higher nature and feel the integral world, specialists in integral education, are able to correctly lead the masses to the true integration of humanity.
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A Beneficial Replacement

Dr. Michael Laitman

Question: Can an entrepreneur within the business community of company executives raise the respect for relinquishing surpluses, reserves, and privileges?

Answer: I think we will gradually reach this. Businesses connect with billions of other small businesses: suppliers, buyers, etc. so in any case,  they will still be egoistic.

They cannot suddenly change to another path and manage in another way. Businesses will remain the same, all the surpluses and reserves initially should go into a general fund to be distributed to social programs for the community.

We are speaking about mitigating the egoistic atmosphere that prevails in the world today. It must be aimed towards bringing the entire society into a certain balance, where we gradually reduce the individual ego of each person and compensate for this by building good and proper feelings within the environment where a person who works for the sake of society will be respected. And the entire community will treat such a person and his family with respect and reverence.

When an environment like this is created around a businessman, inevitably he begins to think that a much lower salary than before is enough for him. An average income will make it possible for him to trim all of the “extra fat” from himself, without losing comfort, and to pass on the benefit to those around him, replacing the excess money with respect and love.
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From Kab TV’s “Through Time” 9/16/13

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Worrisome Demographics

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: Several thousand years ago there was a sharp jump in human evolution that increased the population of the globe five-fold and gross domestic product production by 55 times. Exponential growth began. Obviously, at this point, people thought that this was the achievement of a golden era where there would be everything for everyone.

Answer: How could this happen on a small and limited planet if we exist only through its resources?

Now a trend of a sharp reduction of the Earth’s population has begun: Divorce and life without marriage is encouraged and people don’t want more than one child in the family. Within one generation, the population has been reduced by half. Moreover, this also concerns those nations that traditionally had many children.

Today, there are between 30 to 50 percent of the population on Earth is single. Recently, I visited many nations where we arranged conferences, and each time I was interested in the marital status of the audience. The average age hovered around 30 years.

70% of the men and women were single, and only a few of them wanted to have a family. That is how the ego is acting within humans: not wanting to take greater responsibility upon itself. Why should it take on a burden of a family and children?

The infinite growth of the ego has reached its limit and is starting to wind down and eat itself up. Therefore, we don’t want to take on any extra obligations. People want to be free. They have no need of a family for their personal comfort as in the past. In fact, a man buys ready-made food warmed in a microwave and this is enough for him.

Even if children are desired,  this can be solved through methods of artificial insemination, and there is no problem. Partners can be switched easily. Moreover, non-traditional relationships are encouraged. All this has led to people no longer have families and children. This is a planned, sharp decline in the global population.

Furthermore, the problem of unemployment—like in Spain, for example—doesn’t allow many people to raise families, even though, in principle, they have an inner inclination, a tradition, and everything else. Unemployed professionals, even on the European level, cannot afford to raise a family, for they don’t have the means to provide for it.
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From Kab TV’s “A Global Crisis” 9/15/13

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Daily Kabbalah Lesson – 01.22.14

Preparation to the Lesson

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Workshop 

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“Introduction to The Book of Zohar,” “You Are Partners with Me,” Item 61

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Talmud Eser Sefirot, Vol. 1, Part 3, Chapter 5, Item 4

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Writings of Baal HaSulamIntroduction to The Book of Zohar,” Item 37 

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