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A Convention By The Method Of Abraham

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: Will whoever comes to the congress find his soul and begin spiritual life?

Answer: He will try to do this. Perhaps, it will be accomplished not at one go, but he certainly will move in the right direction.

Therefore, Kabbalists invite many people from everywhere to their congress in order to unite together. We sing, dance, listen to talks, lectures, hold workshops in circles, and have  assemblies of friends (Yeshivat Haverim). Thousands of people gather from all over the world, from the most remote locations, such as Australia, New Zealand, South America, Japan, and China.

Kabbalists gather all these people together and teach them how to connect with each other in accordance with the same method, which was founded by our forefather Abraham.

So, we increase the power of our connection with each convention. Gradually we come to such a connection, which will be enough to reveal our next state, the higher degree, the spiritual world. This is the goal of Kabbalistic conventions.
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From KabTV’s “A New Life” 2/8/15

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A Mosaic Of Desires

Dr. Michael LaitmanI don’t need to change my desires. I don’t need to limit, break, or suppress them but only direct them properly towards the right goal.

It is written: The Torah, “Leviticus,” 21:5: They shall not make bald patches on their heads, nor shall they shave the edge of their beard, nor shall they make cuts in their flesh.

First I choose two desires and find out how I can connect them so that together they will attain the next level by uniting on this level into one whole. Then on the next level, they will find more desires that can also connect and unite in order to attain a whole union on the that level. This continues according to a hierarchy, until the one uppermost desire connects all the other desires to such an extent that the Creator can be revealed.

Although the desires are connected and are focused on unity, they are different. The outcome is a mosaic in which each part complements the others until they reach perfection. On the one hand, the perfection is revealed in it, but, on the other hand, we see different parts, colors, and shapes.

We can read this mosaic and understand its unity since is it made of many parts. If it were the simple revelation and clarity of unity in the form of one white Light, it would be much more difficult for us to grasp it. But when a mosaic of desires plays a whole rainbow of colors, we perceive it as a melody.

Question: Doesn’t this colorfulness change into one color later?

Answer: It is perceived as one whole, but it is actually made of many shades. Otherwise we wouldn’t be able to feel anything.

We hear the harmony in music, and although there are thousands of sounds and different transitions, we perceive it all as general harmony, as unity. But if we simply spread out the system of notes (the score) into its components, it would seem as if there is no unity.

It is actually for this reason that when people from different nationalities, mentalities, and professions get together, they can reach the one single goal, the one desire. The more we ascend towards unity, the greater the difference we will feel among us so that we can achieve it.
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From KabTV’s “Secrets of the Eternal Book” 4/23/14

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As A Single Person In The Private Domain

Laitman_931-03Writings of Rabash, Vol. 2, “Igrot” (Letters), #42: How could they be as one man with one heart? After all, what the sages said is well-known, “Just as their faces are dissimilar, so their opinions are dissimilar” (Talmud Yerushalmi Berachot Chapter 9, Column3, Halachah 1). So how could they be as one man with one heart?

If we are saying that each and every one is concerned about his own needs, we find that it is impossible to be as one man. Certainly they are not like each other. Whereas, if they all nullify their own domains, and all of them are concerned only for the benefit of the Creator, then their opinions are no longer individual, since all individuality has been nullified, and all of them enter into the private domain.

And this is the idea of what was written, “the knowledge of the inhabitants is opposite the knowledge of the Torah.” This is because knowledge of the Torah is the nullification of private domains, as the sages said, “The Torah isn’t sustained except for someone who kills himself over it.” When he kills himself over it, this is for his own good, and everything that he does is only for the sake of heaven. And this is called a preparation for receiving the Torah.

We sense reality within our vessel, which is called the desire for pleasure. Each one serves this vessel that he gets from the start, and he does everything to fill it. I always make a calculation: how much effort to make for the expected benefit, is it worthwhile or not worthwhile for me to do it. How much do I need to invest to see fulfillment within my vessel? That is how we exist from moment to moment.

My dependence upon my vessel can be nullified only if we connect with each other, and if we agree to that, we begin to find new spaces in the connection between us that we didn’t feel before.

After all, we look at everything from the point of view of our egoistic desire that dominates all matter in the still, vegetative, animate, and human levels. In this way, we get impressions from our inner reality, yet it seems to us to be an external reality. In fact, this is my inner world that is stamped into my personal desire for pleasure.

The still, vegetative, animate, and human levels of nature are the levels—0, 1, 2, 3, 4—the levels of my desire to receive where I feel my reality. My ego is found between me and others, separating us and causing me to feel myself only.

If I try to nullify this tendency so that I can reach connection with the Creator through this nullification, I discover that there is another space that is different from the space of the egoistic desire to receive. I begin to feel that I am in a new space, in a sea of forces of bestowal.

All of these forces that are discovered in the nullification of the ego bring a sense of the Creator to me, and, even though I get a slight impression of this, in order to truly discover Him, I need a stronger means. After all, I can only nullify the ego and use it for the sake of bestowal through the higher force. I discover that I have no chance, no possibility, of reaching self-nullification through my own powers and understanding.

So it is written, “The Torah isn’t sustained except for someone who kills himself over it.” However, in order to kill myself for the sake of Torah, in other words, for the sake of correction, I require a higher force. As it is written, “And the rule of landlords is opposite from the rule of Torah.” When a person begins to get observations through the power of the Light, both his emotions and his intellect are made new and completely different.

Then, he understands that all of the contradictions that he had were only like stimuli for finding solutions. However, to resolve them is really only possible through the Upper Light.

According to branch and root, we are at the beginning of the Shavuot holiday, the holiday of the giving of the Torah. The Shavuot holiday begins in the evening and is divided into day and night. Night symbolizes the days of exile that are gathered for the night of Shavuot, so we learn on the night of Shavuot because we want to finish the exile and reach its end.

After that, we decide that we probably have already invested enough in self-nullification, and then we arrive at the day and that night, the same Kelim transform into Kelim of revelation. That is how we reach the festival of Shavuot, the festival of the giving of the Torah, and from then on we gradually can advance and constantly correct all the defects and learn how much we can be like the Creator when we discover how different we are from Him.

This difference between the truth and the image gives us depth in understanding the Creator, and then from this depth we reach adhesion.
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From the Preparation to the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 6/1/14

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On A Small Raft

Laitman_716_01Question: If every person who leaves us is making a hole in our connection, isn’t our boat full of holes?

Answer: No, these people didn’t participate in the connection and didn’t intend to be integrated into it. So, we throw them away from us; simply throw them into the sea, into our collective egoistic sea called Malchut.

Question: Who is in this boat?

Answer: On the boat are those who want to be on the ship. The ship is the Masach (screen) that connects us, that joins us together. This ship is the beginning of the Kli, the first condition for our being on the ship so as not to drown in the great sea of our impure forces (Sitra Achra).

In the boat are the “points in the heart,” and under it is the great sea of our ego. And the ship is used as a protective Masach, like a raft on which we connect with our points in the heart and don’t sink. And around us the surging waves of the stormy sea of the Sitra Achra rage.
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From the 5th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 6/2/14 Writings of Baal HaSulam

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Keep My Soul

laitman_562_02Psalms 86:1 – 86:2: A prayer of David. O Lord, incline Your ear; answer me for I am poor and needy.

Watch my soul for I am a pious man; save Your servant-You, my God – who trusts in You.

A pious (Hassid) is one  who asks for one thing: not to be separated from the Creator. So all the songs of Psalms, all the requests and prayers speak only about this—not losing confidence that the Creator is the only power that manages and sustains a person and everything that is found within him, but which is portrayed for him as an external world and changing reality that passes through incarnations in front of him and within him.

All of this comes from the one higher power, and the person wants to permanently adhere to this fact until he discovers this with all of his strength, thus attaining constant adhesion with the Creator in all desires and thoughts, in heart and mind. He becomes a Hassid who wants only to adhere to the higher guidance above all disturbances and problems. So he awakens the disturbances in himself to bring to light all of his abilities and be in adhesion with the Creator.

The person asks for only one thing: help for him not to be separated from the thought that “There is none else beside Him” and the recognition he must be involved only with the one Higher Power. And this is not because he is concerned about himself and wants to feel better but because through this he wants to give contentment to the Creator.
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From the Preparation to the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 5/15/14

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Like A Bundle Of Reeds—A Nation Is Born, Part 1

Like A Bundle Of ReedsLike A Bundle of Reeds, Why Unity and Mutual Guarantee Are Today’s Call of the Hour, Michael Laitman, Ph.D.

Chapter 1: A Nation Is Born
The Birth of the People of Israel
Before we delve into the significance and position of the people of Israel in the world, we need to look into why the Israeli nation formed, and how that forming unfolded. Let us, for a moment, journey roughly six thousand miles to the east, and roughly four thousand years back in time, to ancient Mesopotamia, the heart of the Fertile Crescent, the cradle of civilization. Situated within a vast, lush stretch of land between the rivers Tigris and Euphrates, in what today is Iraq, a city-state called Babylon played host to a flourishing civilization. Bustling with life and action, it was the trade center of the ancient world.

Babylon, the heart of that dynamic civilization, was a melting pot, an ideal substrate on which myriad belief systems and teachings grew and flourished. The Babylonians practiced many kinds of idol worship. Sefer HaYashar [The Book of the Upright One] describes the life of the Babylonians at the time, and how they worshipped: “All the people of the land made each his own god in those days—gods of wood and stone. They worshipped them, and they became gods to them. In those days, the king and all his servants, and Terah [Abraham’s father] and his entire household, were the first among the worshippers of wood and stone. … [Terah] would worship them and bow to them, and so did the whole of that generation. Yet, they had abandoned the Lord, who had created them, and there was not a single man in all the land who knew the Lord…”[i]

Still, Terah’s son, Abraham, who then still went by the name, Abram, possessed a certain quality that made him unique: he was unusually perceptive, with a scientific zeal for the truth. Abraham was also a caring person, who noticed that his town’s people were becoming increasingly unhappy. When he reflected on it, he found that the cause of their unhappiness was the growing egotism and alienation that were taking hold among them. Within a relatively short period of time, they declined from unity and mutual caring, having been “Of one language and of one speech” (Genesis 11:1), into vanity and alienation, saying “Come, let us build us a city, and a tower, with its top in heaven, and let us make us a name” (Genesis, 11:4).

In fact, they were so preoccupied with building their tower of pride that they completely forgot about the people who were once as kin to them. The composition, Pirkey de Rabbi Eliezer (Chapters of Rabbi Eliezer), one of the Midrashim (commentaries) on the Torah (Pentateuch), offers a vivid description not only of the Babylonians’ vanity, but also of the alienation with which they regarded one another. The book writes, “Nimrod said to his people, ‘Let us build us a great city and dwell in it, lest we are scattered across the earth like the first ones, and let us build a great tower within it, rising toward the heaven … and let us make us a great name in the land…’

“They built it high … those who would bring up the bricks climbed up from its eastern side, and those who climbed down, descended from its western side. If a person fell and died, they would not mind him. But if a brick fell, they would sit and cry and say, ‘When will another come up in its stead.’”[ii]

The attitude of Abraham’s countryfolk toward each other troubled him, and he would come there and observe the builders’ conduct. Pirkey de Rabbi Eliezer continues to describe his observations of their animosity toward each other: “Abraham, son of Terach, went by and saw them building the city and the tower.” He tried to speak to them and tell them about the Creator, the governing force of unity he had discovered, to attest that things would be great if only they went by the law of unity, as well. “But they loathed his words,” the book describes. Instead, “They wished to speak each other’s language,” as before, when they were still of one language, “But they did not know each other’s language. What did they do? They each took his sword and fought one another to death. Indeed, half the world died there by the sword.”[iii]

In light of his people’s dire situation, Abraham resolved to spread the tenet he had found, regardless of the risks. In his composition, HaYad HaChazakah (The Mighty Hand), also known as Mishneh Torah (Repetition of the Torah), the renowned 12th century scholar, Maimonides (the RAMBAM), describes Abraham’s determination and efforts to discover life’s truths: “Ever since this firm one was weaned, he began to wonder. …He began to ponder day and night, and he wondered how it was possible for this wheel to always turn without a driver? Who is turning it, for it cannot turn itself? And he had neither a teacher nor a tutor. Instead, he was wedged in Ur of the Chaldeans among illiterate idol worshippers, with his mother and father, and all the people worshipping stars, and he—worshipping with them.”[iv]

In his quest, Abraham discovered the unity, the oneness of reality, that singular creative force that creates, sustains, and drives all of reality toward its goal. In Maimonides’ words, “[Abraham] attained the path of truth … with his own correct wisdom, and knew that there is one God there who leads… that He has created everything, and that in all that there is, there is no other God but Him.”[v]

To understand just what it is that Abraham attained, keep in mind that when Kabbalists speak of God, they aren’t referring to an almighty being or to a force that you must worship, please, and appease, which in return rewards devout worshippers with health, wealth, long life, and other worldly benefits. Instead, Kabbalists identify God with Nature, the whole of Nature.

Rav Yehuda Ashlag, known as Baal HaSulam (Owner of the Ladder), made several unequivocal statements on the meaning of the term, “God.” Succinctly, he explains that God is synonymous with Nature. In the essay, “The Peace,” Baal HaSulam writes (in a slightly edited excerpt), “To avoid having to use both tongues from now on—‘Nature’ and a ‘Supervisor’—between which, as I have shown, there is no difference…it is best for us to … accept the words of the Kabbalists that HaTeva [The Nature] is the same…as Elokim [God]. Then, I will be able to call the laws of God ‘Nature’s commandments,’ and vice-versa, for they are one and the same, and we need not discuss it further.” [vi]

“At forty years of age,” writes Maimonides, “Abraham came to know his Maker,” the single law of Nature, which creates all things. But Abraham did not keep his discovery to himself: “He began to provide answers to the people of Ur of the Chaldeans, to converse with them and to tell them that the path on which they were walking was not the path of truth.”[vii] Alas, Abraham was confronted by the establishment, which in his case was Nimrod, king of Babel.

Midrash Rabbah, written in the 5th century C.E., presents a vivid description of Abraham’s confrontation with Nimrod, a glimpse into the hardships that Abraham suffered for his discovery and his dedication to the truth. It also provides an amusing peek into Abraham’s fervor. “Terah [Abraham’s father] was an idol worshipper [who made his living building and selling statues at the family shop]. Once, he went to a certain place and told Abraham to sit in for him. A man walked in and wanted to buy a statue. [Abraham] asked him, ‘How old are you?’ And the man replied, ‘Fifty or Sixty.’ Abraham told him: ‘Woe unto he who is sixty and must worship a day-old statue.’ The man was embarrassed and left.

“Another time, a woman came in with a bowl of semolina. She told him, ‘Here, sacrifice before the statues.’ Abraham rose, took a hammer, broke all the statues, then placed the hammer in the hands of the biggest one. When his father returned, he asked him, ‘Who did this to them?’ [Abraham] replied, ‘A woman came. She brought them a bowl of semolina and asked me to sacrifice before them. I sacrificed, and one said, ‘I will eat first,’ and the other said, ‘I will eat first.’ The bigger one rose, took the hammer, and broke them.’ His father said, ‘Are you fooling me? What do they know?’ And Abraham replied, ‘Are your ears hearing what your mouth is saying?’”[viii]

At that point, Terah felt that he could no longer discipline his brazen son. “[Terah] took [Abraham] and handed him over to Nimrod [the king, but also the highest spiritual authority in Babylon]. [Nimrod] told him, ‘Worship the fire.’ Abraham responded, ‘Perhaps I should worship the water, which quenches the fire?’ Nimrod replied, ‘Worship the water!’ [Abraham] told him: ‘Then perhaps I should worship the cloud, which carries the water?’ [Nimrod] told him, ‘Worship the cloud!’

“[Abraham] told him: ‘In that case, should I worship the wind, which disperses the clouds?’ He told him, ‘Worship the wind!’ [Abraham] told him, ‘And should we worship man, who withstands the wind?’ [Nimrod] told him: ‘You speak too much; I worship only the fire. I will throw you in it, and let the God you worship come and save you from it!

“Haran [Abraham’s brother] stood there. He said, ‘If Abraham wins, I will say that I agree with Abraham, and if Nimrod wins, I will say that I agree with Nimrod.’ When Abraham descended to the furnace and was saved, they asked [Haran], ‘Whom are you with?’ He told them: ‘I am with Abraham.’ They took him and threw him in the fire, and he died in the presence of his father. Thus it was said, ‘And Haran died in the presence of his father Terah.’”[ix]

So Abraham withstood Nimrod, but was expelled from Babylon and left for the land of Haran (pronounced Charan, to distinguish it from Haran, Terah’s son). But Abraham did not stop circulating his discovery just because he was exiled from Babylon. Maimonides’ elaborate descriptions tell us, “He began to call out to the whole world, to alert them that there is one God to the whole world… He called out, wandering from town to town and from kingdom to kingdom, until he arrived in the land of Canaan…

“And since they [people in the places where he wandered] gathered around him and asked him about his words, he taught everyone…until he brought them back to the path of truth. Finally, thousands and tens of thousands assembled around him, and they are the people of the house of Abraham. He planted this tenet in their hearts, composed books about it, and taught his son, Isaac. And Isaac sat and taught and warned, and informed Jacob, and appointed him a teacher, to sit and teach… And Jacob the Patriarch taught all his sons. He separated Levi and appointed him the head, and had him sit and learn the way of God…”[x]

To guarantee that the truth would carry through the generations, Jacob “commanded his sons not to stop appointing appointee after appointee from among the sons of Levi, so the knowledge would not be forgotten. This continued and expanded in the children of Jacob and in those accompanying them.”[xi]

[i] Sefer HaYashar [The Book of the Upright One], Portion Noah, Parasha 13 item 3.

[ii] Pirkey de Rabbi Eliezer [Chapters of Rabbi Eliezer], Chapter 24

[iii] ibid.

[iv] Rav Moshe Ben Maimon (Maimonides), Mishneh Torah (Yad HaChazakah (The Mighty Hand)), Part 1, “The Book of Science,” Chapter 1, Item 1.

[v] Maimonides, Yad HaChazakah (The Mighty Hand), Part 1, “The Book of Science,” Chapter 1, Item 10.3.

[vi] Rav Yehuda Leib HaLevi Ashlag (Baal HaSulam), The Writings of Baal HaSulam, “Peace in the World” (Ashlag Research Institute, Israel, 2009), 406-7.

[vii] Maimonides, Yad HaChazakah (The Mighty Hand), Part 1, “The Book of Science,” Chapter 1, Item 12.3.

[viii] Midrash Rabbah, Beresheet, Portion 38, Item 13.

[ix] Midrash Rabbah, Beresheet, Portion 38, Item 13.

[x] Maimonides, Yad HaChazakah (The Mighty Hand), Part 1, “The Book of Science,” Chapter 1, Item 15.3.

[xi] Maimonides, Yad HaChazakah (The Mighty Hand), Part 1, “The Book of Science,” Chapter 1, Item 16.ibid.

Daily Kabbalah Lesson – 02.18.15

Writings of Rabash, “Steps of the Ladder,” “Concerning Above Reason”

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The Book of Zohar, Selected Excerpts — “Middle Line,” Item 777

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Writings of Baal HaSulam, “Peace in the World,” “In Practical Life, the Four Attributes Contradict One Another”

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