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Pesach: A Step Over The Abyss

Dr. Michael LaitmanThe beginning of this post can be found in: Passover Is A Reminder Of The Future.

Pesach symbolizes the birth of the Israeli nation, which was born out of unity and despite repulsion. As long as we are divided and separated, we are not a nation, but are in exile. Only the good connection and unity between us makes us one community, which is rightly called “Israel.”

When we prepare for this ascent, we clean our homes and we break away from disputes and from being divided. The Seder symbolizes the order of the renewal of our corrupt mutual connections.

When we rid ourselves of this egoistic sourdough, we eat Matzo (unleavened bread) for seven days as a symbol of our ascent to the level of mutual bestowal, which in Egypt was perceived as tasteless. We start off along this path as slaves of separation, as slaves of our nature, and we end the journey as free people, freeborn, and as one nation.

It isn’t at all surprising that we have to relinquish our worship of the values that separate us, no matter where we live. Every such urge becomes a phase of the exodus from Egypt, since Pesach symbolizes our “step over” (Passover) the dispute and the separation towards the level of love.
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Our Aggression Could Destroy Us

Laitman_727Opinion (Steven Hawking, English Theoretical Physicist, Cosmologist, Author, Director of Research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology within the University of Cambridge):

“’The human failing I would most like to correct is aggression. It may have had survival advantage in caveman days, to get more food, territory or a partner with whom to reproduce, but now it threatens to destroy us all,’ Hawking answered her, according to the Independent. ‘A major nuclear war would be the end of civilization, and maybe the end of the human race,’ he explained.

“Not only does human aggression no longer serve an obvious purpose, but technological advances, such as nuclear weaponry, have made it so that an incredible amount of damage could be done with very little effort by a small number of people. Hawking isn’t the only prominent scientist to have made this observation; Carl Sagan was outspoken against the development of nuclear arms during his life.

“[He was also asked] which human traits he would like to see more often. Unsurprisingly, he commented that he would like to see more kindness and understanding.

“’The quality I would most like to magnify is empathy. It brings us together in a peaceful, loving state,’ he replied.

My Comment: This opinion is obvious, but how can we reach empathy to others, like to our relatives, our children..? – This is what the wisdom of Kabbalah explains!
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Modern Babylon

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: The Jewish nation has gone through a special transformation, the transition from slavery to freedom, to which the feast of Pesach (Passover) is dedicated. What is the meaning of this transformation?

Answer: The meaning of liberation from slavery is acquiring the power of love due to exiting from one’s egoism. We are under the control of the system that advances us, especially given under the power of our egoism, which is called Pharaoh.

First, we feel good in this bondage, but then realize that we are in exile and are slaves to the egoism that rules over us absolutely. We do not agree with this authority and wish to escape from it, from the bad attitudes towards each other, because we see that in this form, it is impossible to move on and exist.

After many failed attempts, we become convinced that nothing can be done and only a miracle can save us. Indeed, egoism is killing us to the extent that we do not see success in anything in our lives in any way. In this way, Pharaoh’s rule between us is manifested.

That is the situation we see today in Israel. There are 23 political parties in a little country, huge gaps between different layers of the population, crisis in the education system, an increasing divorce rate, and growing use of drugs. Half of the citizens would be willing to move to another country if given the chance.

Our unkind attitude to each other can be seen from the behavior on the roads and elsewhere. We are divided by indifference to others and pride. Egoism reigns within us and makes us act in this way. It is not our fault, but it is our nature that plays with us.

One must realize that our nature is the evil inclination, which enslaves us. If we do not get out of it, then our lives will be over and we will not leave behind anything good for our children. Life will become worse and they will not have even those crumbs of happiness that we once had.

This is slavery, and the Passover Haggadah tells us how to escape it to reach freedom. But above all, we need to understand that we are in slavery. After all, while you see yourself in the darkness of egoism that separates us through mutual hatred, it is impossible to understand the reality of freedom from this angel of death.

We have to desire to become a free people in our own country, independent of our desire. We need to wish to achieve love, connection, mutual guarantee, and unity between everyone above our egoistic nature.

The people of Israel once escaped its egoism and rose to a height of unity and love, which is called the building of the Temple. But then we were not able to remain at that height and fell from it.

Rabbi Akiva taught that you cannot leave the principle of love for others as oneself; otherwise, we will again fall back to unfounded hatred. Egypt is the state of causeless hatred between us. After the destruction of the Second Temple 2,000 year ago, we returned to this state of hatred, which is called Egypt.

After thousands of years of living in unity and connection, the Jewish people again went to Egypt, to unfounded hatred. But today the whole world must realize that we are in Egypt.

Once, a small group led by Abraham left Babylon and became united into the people of Israel. But then it went back to Babylon and mingled with all the Babylonians. Today, we again find ourselves facing the same Tower of Babel and are confronted with hatred towards each other and the unwillingness to know and understand others. This is called a confusion of the tongues.

Once again, we have to make the same action as was once performed in ancient Babylon. It is said that acts of the fathers are an example for their sons. Today, we once more need to exit from Egypt, but this will be the last exile before the final liberation.
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From KabTV’s “A New Life” 3/22/15

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The United States Is Losing Interest In The Middle East

Laitman_633_4In the News (from Maariv Online): “I saw a study on a television program that until recently the United States imported 25% of the global oil exports. It was dependent upon Saudi Arabia and other nations. Today everything has changed.

“It has developed a technology for attaining cheaper gas and oil from shale (a type of mineral), and presently the United States is standing at the top of the market of the principle suppliers of energy.

“Now the United States is facing the opposite problem, finding markets for the sale of its resources. The preferred direction is not the Middle East, but the nations of Europe and the Far East region. This factor explains the loss of interest of the United States regarding Israel. For the allies of the Jewish nation, the main asset is technology, but the United States doesn’t need this and can get along without the Israelis.

“Russia, China and Europe need technology, but the Chinese steal it, and the European Union replaces it with immigrants. Russia has itself defined extremist Islam as a threat to security and on a background of geopolitical changes a situation could be created whose signs are already sprouting up today; its interests will be identical to those of Israel and it will become its ally.

“In order to establish an alliance with Russia, a two-term Republican regime in the White House is required. This will gradually change the character of the mutual relationships and will not bring about a conflict with the United States, that in turn was expressed in the prohibition of supplying ammunition, weapons and spare parts. In a general view it is possible to say that the United States has decided to leave and go away, and what will Israel be for them? It will not have any importance. The time has come to search for new allies.”

My Comment: The strength of Israel will not be in the force of arms and technologies but only through a connection with the upper force that can be increased and expanded endlessly through unity between us according to the method of the wisdom of Kabbalah.
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Pesach: Brothers In Spirit

Laitman_115_04The basis of the Jewish nation is not an ethnic but rather an ideological basis. We have to start from way back, ages ago, when humanity was concentrated in ancient Babylon and people lived a simple life but in brotherhood. However, there came a time when conflicts broke out, and neighbors who used to be close and friendly began to feel suspicious of one another and gradually became strangers.

Imagine this situation in the perspective of our time: the neighbor’s grass is greener; he has a modern washing machine, and yesterday I saw a new refrigerator being delivered to his home. His wife is like a thorn in my wife’s eyes since she wears a new dress every day, his children are disrespectful, and what is more, he now has two new pure bred dogs who openly look down at my mutt with contempt…

In short, the ego grew in ancient Babylon and people ceased to feel themselves as one nation. It is as if they began to speak different languages.

Then Abraham, who was a great sage, discovered the inner essence of what was going on and found a true solution to the conflict. He discovered that they had to overcome the ego that had grown in order to maintain the warm and friendly relations between them.

But the majority didn’t accept that approach and it ended in a general break up. The tribes and peoples scattered all over the globe.

Very few followed Abraham and they were the ones who laid the foundations for the Jewish nation and the Jewish people. They established a society that despite the continuously growing ego, kept the feeling of closeness to one another and the warm family relations between them.
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Pesach From Different Perspectives

laitman_249-03Question: What is the difference between the Kabbalistic explanation of our world and Pesach (Passover), and the usual explanation we have known since we were children?

Answer: There are several levels that explain reality, existence, creation, development and the goal of man in it. When we speak about Pesach, for example, we can speak about:

  1. The historical period of slavery our nation spent in Egypt.
  2. A person’s enslavement to his ego in Egypt, to his Pharaoh.
  3. The development of the created being, of the desire, under the influence of the Light, the Creator, and under the influence of darkness, Egypt, and Pharaoh.

At the same time we can speak about different levels:

  1. The technical fulfillment of the rituals that in our language are called Mitzvot (commandments),
  2. The psychological fulfillment of the commandment of “love thy friend as thyself,” as the general commandment and order of the Creator, which includes all the other commandments and orders as it says in the Torah: Love thy friend as thyself is the great rule of the Torah,
  3. The Kabbalistic influence of the Upper Light on the worlds and through them on the souls that undergo different phases of development and their spiritual correction.
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Like A Bundle Of Reeds—Living In An Integrated World, Part 5

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 10: Living In an Integrated World
An Integrated World Requires Integral Education

The Keys to Unity

To design a more cohesive society, whose members are responsible for one another, people need to cultivate a few ground rules.

1) Food and other necessities: First and foremost, people must have food security. Without the confidence that they can feed their children and themselves, people will not feel they are integral parts of society because they will constantly be fighting for food (if not physically, then mentally).

Additionally, it is imperative that people have sufficient security concerning medical services, housing, clothing, and education. All the above will vary depending on the average standard of living in each locality, but basic sustenance must be provided for all at a level that preserves their dignity as human beings and as integral members of society.

In return for guaranteeing basic sustenance, all members of society will go through some form of training, which will help them understand the interconnected and interdependent nature of our world—which is why they are receiving these services. They will learn that being in a society that ensures their well-being also entails some duties. These will relate to people’s attitudes toward each other, as well as to their contribution of time or services for the common good.

For instance, making certain that all children receive basic education does not have to cost the state a penny. It can be done through unemployed teachers who voluntarily work in return for basic sustenance. This measure will contribute significantly to the social cohesion of the community, and along with the afore-mentioned training will be perceived as partaking in forming a better world, thus giving people another positive incentive to exert for the community.

2) The training: We have already mentioned the training that will help people understand the interconnected and interdependent nature of our world. The Integral Education social paradigm suggests that every citizen, even every resident of the country will partake in this training.

The training has a twofold purpose—a social one and an economic one. The economic purpose, which is more of a supplementary benefit than an actual goal in and of itself, is to furnish people with the knowledge required to support themselves in times of meager income. That part of the training will include consumer education (personal finance), so people can manage their households in an economically viable manner using limited resources.

The other, more extensive part of the course will include topics pertaining to the perception of oneself as part of a greater whole that shares a common goal. This perception is imperative to the society’s cohesion. Without it, it will be each man for himself, a dog-eat-dog society.

The growing dissonance between this type of society and the aggregative direction of today’s reality will no doubt heighten the already excessive pressure on people’s social functioning, and the result will be society’s meltdown. If that happens, as history proves and as described in the previous chapters, the Jews will be held at fault, the consequences of which are anyone’s guess.

Therefore, below are topics that I believe should be included in the IE training in order to usher people into a more cohesive, and therefore sustainable worldview:

  • Interconnectedness in economy, culture, and society, and what it means to each of us. This topic will detail the evolution of desires and how, at the fourth level, we wish to enjoy wealth, power, and fame, meaning self-centered pleasures, and that these desires drive us to connect, albeit negatively, in order to use one another.
  • Interdependence—why we have become interdependent and how it should affect our relations on the personal, societal, and political levels. This topic should continue the explanation of the evolution of desires and show why our desires to exploit one another make us more dependent on each other. As these desires cause us to engage in ever-tightening relations, while harboring inherently ill intentions toward each other, we are growing increasingly interconnected because we want to use one another. Yet, we are equally interdependent because we are dependent on others for the satisfaction of our wants.
  • Improving social, emotional, and mental capacities:
    • Learning how to cope with joblessness and the resulting financial insufficiency, stress, and depression.
    • Communication skills such as learning how to listen, how to express one’s emotions and needs clearly, to respect one another, and how to read body language. The goal here is to defuse aggression and establish better mutual understanding.
    • Resolving domestic conflicts in a non-violent manner.
    • Socializing as a means of learning, self-enrichment, mitigating tensions, and restoring self-esteem.
  • Media consumption: As stated above, mass media is the most powerful tool in shaping our views and values. For this reason, wise consumption of media can reduce aggressive tendencies, encourage prosocial behavior, and provide essential information and understanding of the world and our place within it. To be sure, the term, “media,” relates not only to the TV and radio, but also to the internet, newspapers, and some forms of pop culture, such as movies and popular music.
  • Time-management skills: Learning to use one’s time for personal enrichment, expansion of social circles, acquiring new or improved professional skills, and nurturing stronger and more solid family ties.
  • Qualifying trainees as trainers for future courses and trainings.

Also, where physical attendance is possible, the training will be given through social activities, simulations, group work, games, and multimedia presentations. The learning will not be in the traditional teacher-class frontal format. Rather, the teacher and students will sit in a circle and converse as equals, thus learning through mutual enrichment and sharing. Where physical attendance is not possible, the educational framework will be largely interactive, with examples and activities designed primarily for eLearning.

The results of such a training should be twofold: 1) understanding how to manage one’s personal life in today’s volatile social environment and economic instability; 2) understanding that there is a natural law galvanizing this unfolding, that that law is as stern and inexorable as gravity, and we must therefore master these new means of coping for our own good.

While we all have to know how to manage ourselves under the Law of Interdependence, imposed on us by the Law of Bestowal, the Creator, it does not mean that everyone will have to study Kabbalah. Those who wish to study may do so, but those who have no desire to attain the Creator will contribute just as much to the “super-organism of humanity,” to use the words of Christakis and Fowler, by simply living out the laws of mutual guarantee without attaining the inner workings of Creation.

Just as you do not need to be a qualified electrician to switch on the light successfully and safely, not everyone must be a Kabbalist, or an “expert in the workings of the Law of Bestowal,” to use a more contemporary phrasing, to successfully and safely apply the Law of Bestowal to their lives. After all, this law exists in order to do good to His creations, as we have learned in Chapter 2. Therefore, all we need to learn is how to use it properly, just as we have learned how to use electricity, gravity, magnetism, and any other natural law or force to our benefit.

That said, just as electricians build the systems that everyone uses safely without any professional knowledge, Kabbalists will have to build the social and learning systems that inculcate the quality of bestowal into society, so everyone may use these systems beneficially, even without any knowledge of Kabbalah.

3) The round table: A means that is of primary importance, and hence merits an item all to itself, is the round table discussion format. In this type of discussion, all participants are of equal status and represent different, often opposing views on subjects that are critical to the well-being and soundness of the community, city, state, or country.

The goal of the deliberation is neither to reconcile differences nor to induce compromise. Rather, the goal is to find a common denominator that stands above the conflicts and disputes. The result of finding such an element is that the topics in dispute suddenly seem far less important than before, and pale in comparison to the unity and warmth the participants now sense toward each other. Subsequently, solutions are easily found for previously persistent conflicts in a spirit of good faith, owing to the newly discovered common interest.

In Israel, several organizations and movements have implemented the round table discussion format. The Arvut (mutual guarantee) movement, for instance, has implemented this means of deliberation hundreds of times, and every time this format was used, it was reported as a major success by the participants themselves. In this manner, issues that had not been resolved for years were resolved in a matter of hours.

So far in Israel, this has been tried in big cities, villages and kibbutzim, in Arab and Druz villages, bringing together the most extreme right wing Judea and Samaria settlers with Arabs from the West Bank, in the Knesset (Israeli parliament), and within struggling populations such as immigrants from Ethiopia and the former Soviet Union. These events ended with a profound sense of unity and warmth 100 percent of the time. For video-recorded testimonials and more details on the round table discussions visit http://www.arvut.org/en/round-table.

Round table discussions have been conducted around the world, as well. New York and San Francisco (USA), Toronto (Canada), Frankfurt and Nuremberg (Germany), Rome (Italy), Barcelona (Spain), St. Petersburg and Perm (Russia), are just some of many places where this form of discussion has been implemented, all enjoying the same resounding success as in Israel.

In the spirit of equality, the actual deliberations also involve the audience, and follow this procedure: A panel of individuals of diverse, often conflicting backgrounds and agendas sit around the main table. The panelists express their views on a topic declared by the host of the event.

Next, the audience asks the panelists questions, to which one or more of them replies. It is an unbreakable rule that panelists must not reproof other panelists or interfere with their words. Personal criticism is also strictly prohibited. This way, the audience hears a variety of views that do not oppose one another, but rather complement one another.

Subsequently, the audience divides into multiple round tables and discusses questions posed by the host in the same manner and spirit demonstrated by the panel. Finally, the tables reconvene into a general assembly and each table presents its conclusions, as well as shares its impressions from the event as a whole.

Recently, even some online round table discussions have been tried, and they, too, were very successful. Naturally, each place has its unique mentality, and each vehicle—a live event, an online meeting, or a TV broadcast—has its advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, no two events are the same. Yet, the spirit of camaraderie and the commitment to mutual guarantee that stand at the basis of every such discussion ensure the success of these unique deliberations. Although the vast majority of societies is still a long way from living out the concepts of mutual guarantee, these discussions, as the video recordings demonstrate, manage to induce a genuine sense of what living in mutual guarantee will feel like.

Daily Kabbalah Lesson – 04.09.15

Writings of Rabash, “Rungs of the Ladder,” Article 23

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The Book of Zohar — Selected Excerpts “Parashat,” “Excerpts Items for Passover”

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Talmud Eser Sefirot, Vol. 6, Part 15, “Histaklut Pnimit,” Item 42

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Writings of Rabash “Dargot HaSulam,” Article 926

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