YNET [edited]: The World Kabbalah Convention held recently at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds aroused curiosity and a need among many to understand what is hidden behind the wisdom. Dr. Michael Laitman sheds a little light on the authentic wisdom of Kabbalah, challenging the myths and answering all the questions you didn’t have to ask.
To read the text on the Ynet website, click here
Last week in the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds, the HaTovim convention from the home of Kabbalah L’Am (Bnei Baruch Kabbalah Education & Research Institute) was held. The convention was attended by nearly 8,000 people from 64 countries, including Chile, New Zealand, Turkey, Japan, and even Ghana.
Under the slogan: “Kabbalah Worldwide Strengthens Israel,” thousands of students from Israel and abroad gathered with the goal of strengthening the unity and connection of the people of Israel. Indeed, such a show of connection, uniting a vast range of people above differences of opinion and social rifts, above ethnicities and sects, above religion and nationality, could be made possible thanks to the power of connection inherent in the study of the wisdom of Kabbalah.
The successful convention aroused among many a variety of questions about the nature of the study of the wisdom of Kabbalah. In light of the many requests, we have prepared especially for you, a “Guide for the Perplexed About the Wisdom of Kabbalah,” which includes answers to questions and addresses common myths.
What is Kabbalah?
If you encapsulate the thousands of words and books into one sentence, Kabbalah is the method for discovering the supreme force that runs our lives (1). The Kabbalists discovered that the reality we live in is managed by a system called “HaTeva (nature)” or “Elohim (the Divine)”—two terms whose value in Gematria (numerology) is 86 (2).
Kabbalah makes it possible for us to recognize the system that manages reality and to learn how we can change our destiny for the better. It provides tools for coping successfully with the problems of everyday life in a variety of areas such as economics, health, education, relationships, security, ecology, etc. (3)
What is the purpose of Kabbalah?
The goal of Kabbalah is to establish good and proper relationships among all people, relations of “love thy neighbor,” pertaining to the entirety of human society. As a result, we communicate with the system that manages us, so we can influence our destiny.
What is the origin of Kabbalah?
Kabbalah was first discovered in ancient Babylon around 3,800 years ago, on the background of a social crisis that erupted in Babylonian society and came to an abysmal hatred among its members. Abraham, a great Babylonian priest, gathered the inhabitants of Babylon and taught them about connection and love of others. Kabbalah is the science that connected them and led them to live “as one person with one heart,” similar to the oneness and wholeness of nature.
Since then love of others has been the highest value, and only though it can balance be brought to the human ego —a force that is liable to lead to separation when it shifts out of balance. The group eventually became the people of Israel, Yashar-El (Straight to the Creator), for their desire to discover the “Divine,” the power of unity that exists in nature (4).
Who is Kabbalah for?
Kabbalah is intended for anyone who feels a question about the meaning of life burning within. It is appropriate for anyone who senses a need for spiritual development, regardless of age, gender, religion or race (5).
There are no prerequisites for studying Kabbalah. Anyone who has a desire in his or her heart is welcome (6).
What isn’t included in Kabbalah?
Authentic Kabbalah is not mysticism, numerology, amulets, miracles, magic, spells, red strings, holy water, Tarot cards, astrology, or anything else like that… Kabbalah is a scientific investigation based on experience, in which a person studies his egoistic nature. By studying this science and one’s involvement with it, one gradually acquires the characteristic of giving and changes his egoistic nature to love of others (7).
Who is a Kabbalist?
A Kabbalist is a person who, through the study of Kabbalah, reaches love of others and love of the “Creator,” the general force in reality. From connection with the upper force, one discovers the hidden laws of nature, and now is able to help others change their attitude to life in the same way (8).
What is the connection between religion and Kabbalah?
Throughout history love of others was the key to the success and prosperity of the people of Israel. As long as we were connected to each other and love dwelled among us, the people stood in their complete spiritual and material glory. However, when we lost the power of connection, the people split, separated, and even lost its rightful place on the map of nations.
Since the discovery of Kabbalah by Abraham until the destruction of the Temple, the people of Israel kept the commandment of love of others that includes within it 613 Mitzvot (commandments) against the 613 egoistic desires inherent in us (9). At the same time, in complete replication and accommodation to these internal corrections, there are also actions among the people derived from these 613 Mitzvot (commandments). As a result of the destruction of the Temple, the people “fell” from brotherly love to unfounded hatred, neglecting the correction of the heart and all that remained was a focus on the practical fulfillment of the 613 practices (10).
From the time of the Holy Ari in the 16th century onward, Kabbalists determined that the generation was ready to return to the study of the science and the rebuilding of relationships between man and his fellow man (11). In other words, it was time to engage in correcting the “evil inclination”—those 613 “broken” desires, with the help of the “Torah,” the upper force. The Torah was given to us only to build relationships of absolute love; otherwise, we will not belong to the supreme power (12). Since then, the restrictions have been removed from studying Kabbalah and the wisdom is now available to everyone everywhere: secular, religious, Jews and non-Jews.
What is the cause of the opposition to the wisdom of Kabbalah?
The Holy Ari, the Baal Shem Tov, and all great Kabbalists of the last five hundred years believed that the correction of the world will happen through study of Kabbalah and its dissemination in Israel and around the world. Those who oppose the wisdom of Kabbalah hold an opposing opinion. They claim that it is forbidden to study the wisdom of Kabbalah until the discovery will come from the mouth of the Messiah.
For many years there has been disagreement between the Hasidim and the Mitnagdim (their opponents) regarding the treatment of Kabbalah; a dispute that began in the days of the Baal Shem Tov in the 18th century and continues to this day. Despite the struggle that has arisen from time to time, we hope that those circles that oppose the study of the Kabbalah will understand the bitter mistake that has split the people of Israel specifically at the point of their foundation (13).
The people of Israel were founded around the wisdom of Kabbalah and around “love your neighbor.” They live and exist thanks to this, and their entire role and essence is to spread to the world the power of connection inherent in the heart of the science (14).
So what happens next? Where does the need and urge to study the wisdom today come from?
Man’s egoistic nature has led humanity to set up ways of life founded on exploiting others, a process that has culminated today. After thousands of years of progress and development, most systems of life that we have constructed are found in the midst of a difficult crisis: the economic system is in a prolonged death, culture and the arts are dying, the educational systems are collapsing, the family unit is disintegrating, and above all stands out the state of the ecosystem, which seems to have completely shifted out of balance.
We have reached a decisive point from which we can no longer continue to manage the ways of life egoistically as we have been accustomed to. Nature is gradually bringing us to a level of despair and disappointment with life, urging us to change our attitude toward reality, forcing us to stop using egoism as the only incentive for development. To change our way, it is up to us to recognize and learn the laws that manage reality and begin to operate in harmony with nature, “as one person with one heart”—that is how we will achieve the happiness that we long for (15).
1. “The whole of the wisdom of Kabbalah is only to know the guidance of the Higher Will, why It has created all these creatures, what It wants with them, and what the end of all the cycles of the world will be.” (“Kelach Pitchei Hochmah” – “138 Doors of Wisdom”, Door 30”).
“What does the wisdom revolve around? This question comes to the mind of every right-minded person. To properly address it, I will provide a reliable and lasting definition: this wisdom is no more and no less than a sequence of roots, which hang down by way of cause and consequence, by fixed, determined rules, interweaving to a single, exalted goal described as “the revelation of His Godliness to His creatures in this world.” (Rav Yehudah Ashlag – Baal HaSulam, the article, “The Essence of the Wisdom of Kabbalah”).
2. “…it is best for us to meet halfway and accept the words of the Kabbalists that HaTeva (nature) has the same numerical value (in Hebrew) as Elokim (God)—eighty-six. Then, I will be able to call the laws of God “nature’s Mitzvot (commandments),” or vice-versa, for they are one and the same….” (Rav Yehudah Ashlag – Baal HaSulam, the article, “The Peace”).
“The wisdom of the truth teaches us the global unity, the side of equality to be found in the whole of existence through the very top, at the parity of the form with this Maker, and how to walk without obstacles by the path of this light.” (Rav Raiah Kook, “Orot HaKodesh 2”, page 393).
4. “Kindness like that of Abraham has never been found…and he brought peace between people, for he was the father of many nations because he was the one who united and made peace among all creatures.” (“Gevurot HaShem”, Chapter 6).
“’And you shall love your friend as yourself. All the things that you want you should do them for others, making them your brothers…The law that our father Abraham enacted and through the kindness by which he led: ‘Feeding passersby and giving them something to drink and accompanying them’” (Rambam, Mishnah Torah, Sefer Shofetim, Hilchot Aivel, Chapter 14).
“When he was forty years old Abraham knew his Creator…and he began to stand up and call in a great voice to all the people, to let them know that there is one God for the whole world, and it is fitting to work for Him. And he went and called and gathered the people from city to city and from kingdom to kingdom….until thousands and myriads gathered to him, and they were the people of the House of Abraham. And he planted in their hearts this great principle, and wrote books…and the matter went and grew in the children of Jacob and accompanied them, and a nation was made in the world that knows the Creator’” (Rambam, “Mishneh Torah,” Sefer HaMeda, Hilchot Avodah Zarah, Chapter 1).
5. “Indeed, if we set our hearts to answer but one very famous question, I am certain that all these questions and doubts will vanish from the horizon, and you will look unto their place to find them gone. This indignant question is a question that the whole world asks, namely, ‘What is the meaning of my life?’ In other words, these numbered years of our life that cost us so heavily, and the numerous pains and torments that we suffer for them, to complete them to the fullest, who is it who enjoys them? Or even more precisely, whom do I delight? It is indeed true that historians have grown weary contemplating it, and particularly in our generation. No one even wishes to consider it. Yet the question stands as bitterly and as vehemently as ever. Sometimes it meets us uninvited, pecks at our minds and humiliates us to the ground before we find the famous ploy of flowing mindlessly in the currents of life as always. Indeed, it is to resolve this great riddle that the verse writes, ‘Taste and see that the Lord is good.’” (Rav Yehudah Ashlag – Baal HaSulam, “Introduction to the Study of the Ten Sefirot”, 2-3)
“The Creator feels no contentment in His world except when people engage in this wisdom. Moreover, man was created only to study the wisdom of Kabbalah.” (R. Hayim Vital, “Mavo LeSha’ar HaHakdamot” – “Preface to the Gate to Introductions”).
“The Creator commands us to know His Providence, and indeed we want to study what this Providence will teach us. What this Providence teaches us is none other than the wisdom of truth, which is the study of His Divinity. Accordingly, we see the obligation to study the wisdom of the truth beyond any doubt.” (Rabbi Moshe Hayim Luzzatto, “Sha’arei Ramchal”, “The Dispute”).
“All the more so, with all of our heart, spirit and might, we should pursue the wisdom of faith, which is the wisdom of the path of
Kabbalah, the path of truth.” (The Baal Shem Tov, “Me’irot Eynayim” Parshat Re’eh).
“The direction of revealing the secrets of the Torah is the ideal goal in life and reality.” (Rav Raiah Kook, “Orot HaKodesh 1” 142).
6. “The language of the holy Zohar is suitable for the soul and it is the same for every soul in Israel, great or small…Each one according to his understanding and the root of his soul.” (“Hanhagot Yasharot”, Section 5).
“The Torah was given to learn and to teach, so that everyone would know, from the small to the great, knowledge of the Creator, and we have also found in many of the books of the Kabbalists who warn about learning this wisdom that every person must learn it” (“Taharat HaKodesh”, 147).
“If one is made ungifted, how can he be a wise disciple? His brain is too small to understand the words of Torah. Midrash Rabba says about that (portion, ‘And This Is the Blessing’), “The Creator said unto Israel, ‘The whole of the wisdom and the whole of the Torah are easy. Anyone who fears Me and practices the words of Torah, the whole of the wisdom and the whole of Torah are in his heart.’… Thus, no prior aptitude is required here. Rather, by the fear of the Creator alone is one rewarded with the whole of the wisdom of the Torah.” (Rav Baruch Shalom HaLevi Ashlag – Rabash, “Dargot HaSulam”, the article, “The Ungifted”).
“There is a wonderful, invaluable remedy to those who engage in the wisdom of Kabbalah. Although they do not understand what they are learning, through the yearning and the great desire to understand what they are learning, they awaken upon themselves the Lights that surround their souls.” (Rav Yehudah Ashlag – Baal HaSulam, Introduction to the Study of the Ten Sefirot, 155).
7. “This means that the secrets of the Torah are revealed only to those who fear His Name, who keep His Glory with their hearts and souls, and who never commit any blasphemy. This is the third part of the concealment of the wisdom. This part (‘the secrets of the Torah are revealed only to those who fear His Name’), is the strictest, as this kind of disclosure has failed many. From the midst of those stem all the charmers, whisperers, and ‘practical’ Kabbalists, who hunt souls with their cunningness, and the mystics, who use withered wisdom that came from under the hands of unworthy students, to draw bodily benefit for themselves or for others. The world has suffered much from it, and is suffering still.” (Rav Yehudah Ashlag – Baal HaSulam, the article, “Disclosing a Portion, Covering Two”).
“And don’t take to heart all the writers of amulets and what you will hear from them or find in their books, names that they permutate and teachers of the idea in general, and read those names by which they do wonders, all of these things, all the more so believing them”. (“Guide for the Perplexed,” Part 1, Chapter 61).
“These are the things which are from the ways of the Amorites with which we are not allowed to be involved, as it is said, (Vayikra 20:23), ‘And ye shall not walk in the customs of the nation…’ Rabbi Tzadok says, ‘Tying a red string on one’s arm is from the ways of the Amorites’ (“Reshit Hochmah,” the Chapter “Derekh Eretz”).
“What is the wisdom of Kabbalah? As a whole, the wisdom of Kabbalah concerns the revelation of Godliness, arranged on its path in all its aspects—those that have emerged in the worlds and those that are destined to be revealed, and in all the manners that can ever appear in the worlds, to the end of time.” (Rav Yehudah Ashlag – Baal HaSulam, the article, “The Teaching of the Kabbalah and its Essence”).
“Kabbalah uses only names and appellations that are concrete and real. It is an unbending rule for all Kabbalists that, ‘Anything we do not attain, we do not define by a name and a word’. Here you must know that the word ‘attainment’ (Heb: Hasaga) implies the ultimate degree of understanding.” (Rav Yehudah Ashlag – Baal HaSulam, the article, “The Essence of the Wisdom of Kabbalah”).
“However, understanding the meaning of the word, ‘spirituality,’ has nothing to do with philosophy. This is because how can they discuss something that they have never seen or felt? What do their rudiments stand on? If there is any definition that can tell spiritual from corporeal, it belongs only to those who have attained a spiritual thing and felt it. These are the genuine Kabbalists; thus, it is the wisdom of Kabbalah that we need.” (Rav Yehudah Ashlag – Baal HaSulam, the article, “The Wisdom of Kabbalah and Philosophy”).
8. “The depths of the Divine secrets simply cannot be comprehended by scrutinizing them with the human intellect, but rather by the Kabbalah, through wondrous people, whose soul has been imbued with the Divine Light.” (Rav Raiah Kook, “Orot HaKodesh 1”, 85).
“But Kabbalists have attainment…they are rewarded with attaining all those degrees in reality that one can attain. This is considered that they have attained a matter in full, and that complete matter is called a ‘soul.’” (Rav Yehudah Ashlag – Baal HaSulam, the article, “The Meaning of Conception and Birth”).
“…the wisdom of truth is conditioned by all the teachings, and all the teachings are conditioned by it. This is why we do not find a single genuine Kabbalist without comprehensive knowledge in all the teachings of the world, since they acquire them from the wisdom of truth itself, as they are included in it.” (Rav Yehudah Ashlag – Baal HaSulam, the article, “The Teaching of Kabbalah and its Essence”).
“If the Rav teaches his students the work that must be in order to bestow, this refers to why a person comes into this world, to be an emissary for the Creator, working for the benefit of the Creator. It is found that the person is an emissary of the Creator and not that he is the master of the house in this world, rather he is a servant of the Creator, meaning an emissary of the Creator, meaning an angel of the Creator. And this is the explanation of, ‘If the Rav is like an angel of the Creator, he will seek Torah from His mouth’” (Rav Baruch Shalom HaLevi Ashlag – Rabash, Letters, the article, “What the Ladder is Diagonal is in the Work”).
“The Tzadik (Righteous) in all of his righteousness, his good desires and thoughts penetrate into others, so that they will also have a good desire to adhere to the Creator wholeheartedly. And by penetrating this desire into others, this is even called an activity because it is done from a desire that he has of others acting this way…and this is the meaning of the verse, ‘Thou openest Thy hand, and satisfiest every living thing with favour’ (Psalms 145:16) for the Tzadik draws abundance into the worlds and to every person. And how does he do this? It is through the penetration of his desire into others. And it is found that they all become Tzadikim through him, and in this way he can draw much abundance into them since the Tzadik is the one who opens his hands to the Creator, so to speak, to bestow to the world, and what he opens, the verse explains, ‘and satisfiest every living thing with favour’, what he bestows to everyone is a desire to love the Creator” (“Noam Elimelech”, Likkutei Shoshanah).
9. “Search was made from Dan unto Beer Sheba, and no ignoramus was found; from Gabbath unto Antipris, and no boy or girl, man or woman was found who was not thoroughly versed in the laws of cleanliness and uncleanliness.” (Sanhedrin 94b).
10. “…the Mitzvot in the Torah are no more than laws and conducts set in Higher Worlds, which are the roots of all of nature’s conducts in this world of ours. The laws of the Torah always match the laws of nature in this world….” (Rav Yehudah Ashlag – Baal HaSulam, the article, “The Freedom”).
“And now pay attention and know that all of the Mitzvot that are written in the Torah or the traditions that our ancestors instituted, even though most of them are actions or speech, all of them are for correction of the heart, ‘for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts’ (Chronicles I 28:9)” (“Yesod Mora”, page 8b).
“I see that the primary reason for the lack of success in everything being done to strengthen Judaism and Israel’s status everywhere, is that the Divine Light has been neglected, completely abandoned by heart and mind. Everyone is now turning to correct simple ultra-orthodoxy alone, as if the world could be revived in a body with no soul.” (Rav Raiah Kook, “Letter 1, 160-161).
11. “The prohibition from Above to refrain from open study of the wisdom of truth was for a limited period, until the end of 1490. Thereafter is considered the last generation, in which the prohibition was lifted and permission has been granted to engage in The Book of Zohar. And since the year 1540, it has been a great Mitzvah (precept) for the masses to study, old and young. And since the Messiah is bound to come as a result, and for no other reason, it is inappropriate to be negligent.” (Introduction to the book, Ohr HaChama, Chapter 1).
“Indeed, that Godly man, our Rav Isaac Luria, troubled and provided us the fullest measure. He did wondrously more than his predecessors, and if I had a tongue that praises, I would praise that day when his wisdom appeared almost as the day when the Torah was given to Israel. There are not enough words to measure his holy work in our favor. The doors of attainment were locked and bolted, and he came and opened them for us.” (Rav Yehudah Ashlag – Baal HaSulam, “Introduction to the Book, Panim Meirot uMasbirot”, 8).
12. “These people who are involved with Torah, not specifically so that they will know the laws and Halachot, so that they would know how to fulfill the Mitzvot, rather they have yet a higher role. Because they learn Torah to correct the heart, they are called, ‘sages of the heart’ and not ‘sages of the mind’ because they need the Torah to correct the heart” (Rav Baruch Shalom HaLevi Ashlag – Rabash, Shlavey HaSulam, the article, “What Torah and Service is in the Way of the Creator”).
“…our sages said, ‘The Torah and Mitzvot were given only so as to cleanse Israel’. This is the cleansing of the body until one attains a second nature defined as ‘love for others,’ meaning the one Mitzvah: ‘Love thy friend as thyself,’ which is the final aim of the Torah, after which one immediately attains Dvekut with Him.” (Rav Yehudah Ashlag – Baal HaSulam, the article “Matan Torah (The Giving of the Torah)”, 15).
13. “I find a great need to break an iron wall that has been separating us from the wisdom of Kabbalah, since the ruin of the Temple to this generation. It lies heavily on us and arouses fear of being forgotten from Israel.” (Rav Yehudah Ashlag – Baal HaSulam, Introduction to the Study of the Ten Sefirot, 1).
“It is well-known how that it is an immense obligation for one to study the wisdom of truth, which is the wisdom of Kabbalah and the secrets of the Torah, as explained in ancient books….And I wonder about the people of our generation, for the humble ones among them veer off from studying the wisdom of truth.” (“Amud HaAvoda” – “Pillar of the Work”, page 1).
“Turning the hearts and occupying the minds with noble thoughts, whose origin is the secrets of the Torah, has become a complete necessity for maintaining Judaism in the last generation” (Rav Raiah Kook, “Orphilei HaTahor” – “Mist of Purity”).
“Many fools escape from studying the secrets of the Ari and The Book of Zohar, which are our lives. If my people heeded me in the time of the Messiah, when evil and heresy increase, they would delve in the study of The Book of Zohar and the Tikkunim [corrections] and the writings of the Ari, and they would revoke all the harsh sentences and would extend abundance and Light.” (“Notzer Hesed,” Chapter 4, Mishnah 20).
“…the redemption of Israel and the whole of Israel’s merit depend on the study of The Zohar and the internality of the Torah. And vice versa, all the destruction and the decline of the Children of Israel are because they have abandoned the internality of the Torah. They have degraded its merit and made it seemingly redundant.” (Rav Yehudah Ashlag – Baal HaSulam, “Introduction to the Book of Zohar,” 69).
“Many thought that too much engagement in the secret is not good, since the practical Torah would be forgotten from Israel, the forbidden, the permitted, the non-kosher, and the kosher. And what shall become of this Torah had we all delved in the secrets of the Torah? …Yet, those who despise it are not servants of the Creator whatsoever.” (“Da et Elokei Avicha” – “Know the God of your Father,” 132).
“Now you can understand the aridity and the darkness that have befallen us in this generation, such as we have never seen before. It is because even the worshipers of the Creator have abandoned the engagement in the secrets of the Torah…. If the worshipers of the Creator had, at least, engaged in the internality of the Torah and extended a complete Light from Ein Sof, the whole generation would have followed them. And everyone would be certain of their way that they would not fall. But if even the servants of the Creator have distanced themselves from this wisdom, it is no wonder the whole generation is failing because of them.” (Rav Yehudah Ashlag – Baal HaSulam, “Introduction to The Book of Zohar”, 57).
“As long as orthodoxy insists on saying, ‘No! Only Gemara and Mishna, no legends, no ethics, no Kabbalah, and no research,” it dwindles itself. All the means it uses to protect itself, without taking the true potion of life, the Light of the Torah in its internals, beyond the tangible and obvious—the revealed in the Torah and Mitzvot—are utterly incapable of leading to its goal in all the generations, and especially in our generation, unless accompanied by expanding the many spiritual roots.” (Rav Raiah Kook, “Letter 2,” 232-233).
“The crown of the Torah is the wisdom of Kabbalah, from which the majority of the world retires, saying that you should observe what is permitted and that you have no dealings in the hidden. You, if you are fit for this teaching, reach out your hand, hold it, and do not move from it. This is because one who did not taste the flavor of this wisdom, has never seen Lights in his life, and he is walking in the dark. And woe unto the people from the affront of this Torah.” (Sefer HaBrit – The Book of the Covenant, Part 2, Article 12, Chapter 5).
14. “’Israel is someone who has a desire straight to God (Yashar-El), meaning that he has no narcissistic desires, but only a desire for altruism” (Rav Baruch Shalom HaLevi Ashlag – Rabash, Shlavei HaSulam, the article, “And when you will come to the land that the LORD your God gave to you”).
“Israel – The essence of the world and its existence” (Ma’arechet Elokut, Chapter 10, “Shaar HaAdam”).
“The secret of the oneness of the world dwells in Israel” (Rav Raiah Kook, “Orot HaKodesh B”).
“From Israel holiness spreads to the entire world” (The book, Zohar for the People, Parshat Emor, section 92).
“The children of Israel become guarantors for correction of the entire world with the power of Torah. For everything depends on the children of Israel. When they correct themselves, they will draw all of creation after them” (“Sfat Emet,” Sefer Shemot, Parshat Yitro).
“…it is upon the Israeli nation to qualify itself and all the people of the world…to develop until they take upon themselves that sublime work of the love of others, which is the ladder to the purpose of Creation, which is Dvekut with Him.” (Rav Yehudah Ashlag – Baal HaSulam, the article, “The Arvut (Mutual Guarantee)” 20).
“The purpose of Israel is to unify the entire world into one family” (Rav Raiah Kook, “Tilchash Li Sod HaHavayah”).
15. “Indeed, when all human beings agree to abolish and eradicate their will to receive for themselves, and have no other desire but to bestow upon their friends, all worries and jeopardy in the world would cease to exist. And we would all be assured of a whole and wholesome life, since each of us would have a whole world caring for us, ready to fulfill our needs.” (Rav Yehudah Ashlag – Baal HaSulam, “Introduction to The Book of Zohar,” 19).
“The great evils that happen between each and every person, between a person to his friend, are derived from a lack of knowledge. If a person had knowledge about the human form, he would halt all the harm that he causes to himself and others. For knowledge of the truth removes animosity and hatred and nullifies the harm that people cause each other”. (Rambam, “Guide to the Perplexed”).
“The Wisdom of Kabbalah is the Wisdom of Truth” (“HaShalah HaKodesh”, Toldot Adam).
From the article on Ynet, 3/2/16
Unfortunately we don’t feel the pain of not being incorporated in others yet. I don’t feel any pain of not living in the heart of others; I have no feeling that I want to break away from myself and be in others, but cannot do so and so I feel pain. I don’t feel that it pressures me so much and worries me so that it is the reason that I ask for and cry out, but we are nearing that.
Still, it was a very serious effort in moving toward the goal. I don’t know how to measure it since we are moving along a path that has never been taken, and there are no examples we can learn from, but I believe that in another two or three such conventions, if people will hold on, if they feel a greater need to delve more deeply into each other, everything will be solved. This is what the coming conventions are for, and there is no going back. I have to live in the heart of the friend, inside it; I am not here. I exist there with all my soul.
Question: Will questions and workshops be only in this direction from now on?
Answer: Only in order to be as one man in one heart. This is a precondition without which we cannot reach spirituality. The point is not the Creator, but the friend’s heart. We have felt it now; we had access to it, and although there was not a clear demand for that yet, no attack and the accumulation of pain, it will happen.
Now we will work on it systematically and will hold a series of conventions in America and Russia and then in Israel again. A person should feel pain from not being in his friend’s heart. He yearns for that, but cannot. Something is holding him back, but he really wants to be inside his heart. He wants to work with his own desires like Malchut while the nine desires before him are the desires of his friends, their yearning for the Creator and not his own. The powers are his while the yearning is of the friends.
From KabTV’s “News with Michael Laitman” 2/26/16
World Kabbalah Convention, “There’s Nothing Else But the Friends,” Lesson 4
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World Kabbalah Convention, “Love,” Lesson 5
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World Kabbalah Convention, “One Soul,” Lesson 6
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World Kabbalah Convention, “Only One World Exists — the Spiritual World,” Lesson 1
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World Kabbalah Convention, “Arvut (Mutual Guarantee),” Lesson 2
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World Kabbalah Convention, “There’s None Else Besides Him,” Lesson 3
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Question: How can we be sure that we are putting the Creator first since our group has grown in number? Where is the guarantee that we won’t become idol worshippers and will advance exactly towards the Creator? How is it possible to check this?
Answer: Putting the Creator first means that there is nobody and nothing other than the power of bestowal and love in the world. It is a power! It is property! It is the only thing that determines and manages everything. And now you raise it above everyone and put it first.
This indicates that you now understand that the entire world is subject to this power alone and exists within it. It is only He who manages it and and leads it wherever He wants. If you want to be harmoniously linked to Him, you must try to attain this characteristic.
Question: What is this “selfless bestowal”? After all, aren’t we aware of love only through our desire to receive?
Answer: “Selfless bestowal” is when I give something without knowing what and to whom, in relation to my ego. Can you imagine how much this is detached from that?
Suppose that I am a millionaire and I donated a million dollars to help in Africa. But nobody in the world knows about this. But I know it and am pleased. This is not selfless bestowal because I know that I gave, and somewhere subconsciously the thought is going around: “And the Creator knows that I did it for the sake of the world.”
This is not selfless bestowal. It means that I know to whom, how much and what I gave. So here there is a connection with me. But if you cut off all three connections so that you don’t know what, to whom, and how much you gave, and in addition, the Creator doesn’t know anything about it, then this will be selfless bestowal.
As you gradually approach it, the spiritual world is revealed to you. Your state is called Hafetz Hesed (absolute mercy, or not desiring anything for oneself).
From the Kabbalah Lesson in Russian 2/10/14
Baal HaSulam, Shamati #121, “She Is Like Merchant-Ships”: In the verse, “She is like the merchant-ships; she bringeth her bread from afar.” When one demands and insists that “she is all mine,” that all the desires will be dedicated to the Creator, the Sitra Achra awakens against him and claims, “She is all mine,” too. And then there is a tradeoff.
When a person receives an awakening regarding the Creator from above, the power of the Sitra Achra also is awakened in him to make freedom of choice possible for him, and so two forces are active simultaneously.
A tradeoff means that one wants to buy a certain object and the buyer and seller debate its worth, meaning each of them claims that he is right.
The person is torn between these two forces, for both of them are pulling him: “…meaning each of them claims that he is right.”
And here the body examines to whom it is worthwhile to listen: to the receiver or to the giving force. Both clearly argue, “She is all mine.”
One force insists that it is preferable to advance along with this world and take everything that is possible from life, and another force pulls him toward spirituality, claiming that this world is not worth anything and is built this way only in order to rise above it, and the person ruins his life, torn between the two forces that trade between them.
And since one sees one’s lowness, that in him, too, there are sparks that do not agree to observe the Torah and Mitzvot even as a dot on the iota, but that the whole body argues, “She is all mine…”
The “dot on the iota” is the point, the beginning of all the letters. However, the person is not prepared to realize even this small point for the sake of bestowal.
…then, “she bringeth her bread from afar.” This means that from the removals, when one sees how far one is from the Creator, and regrets, and asks of the Creator to bring him closer, “she bringeth her bread.”
Bread means faith. In that state one is awarded permanent faith, since “God hath so made it that men should fear before Him.” This means that all the removals that one feels were brought to him by the Creator, so he would have the need to assume the fear of heaven.
He would have the need to serve the Creator because otherwise he will not be able to escape from the quagmire of life.
This is the meaning of “that man doth not live by bread only, but by everything that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord.” This means that the life of Kedusha (Sanctity) within one does not come specifically from drawing closer, from entrances, that is, admissions into Kedusha, but also from the exits, from the removals. This is so because through the dressing of the Sitra Achra in one’s body, and its claims, “She is all mine,” with a just argument, one is awarded permanent faith by overcoming these states.
This is our way. We are constantly given various physical temptations to confuse us, and it is up to us to reduce their value without foregoing them. It is impossible for us to abstain or be ascetics since we must use everything that there is in our world but in the framework of a reasonable, regular existence. Regarding everything that goes beyond the necessities, we must turn to spirituality. Both of these aspects must balance.
Our method is not mysticism and not religion. It is impossible to abstain from anything. A person must reasonably use all of the means that are at his disposal in this world, and turn all of his desires upward to resemble the Creator, to connect to Him.
“Reasonably” refers to something that we could forego, but don’t because we decide that this is necessary for our normal existence. In a case like this, it is “neither praised nor condemned.” Essentially, as of today, the entire world is advancing toward this state.
Today there are an increasing number of inhabitants on the face of the earth; there is less and less work, more and more unemployed, social benefits are being cut, and so forth. According to statistics, 50% of all of the property on the face of the Earth is owned by 1% of the entire population.
Ultimately, this will force the world through wars and revolutions, or through awareness, to reach the decision to produce and consume only what is necessary to survive reasonably and with dignity.
In the past, there was a condition, “Eat bread with salt, drink little water, sleep on the ground, lead a sorrowful life, and labor in the Torah” so that everything would be okay. But a few hundred years before our era, Kabbalists made special corrections for us in the system of management, and now there is no need for a person in our world to impose any physical and corporeal limitations for the purpose of correction. He can consume reasonably and calmly everything that is necessary for his health, for his existence, without limitation. So if my mind is always busy, with spiritual advancement, in a group, in study, and in dissemination, then it is not important how much I drink and eat with friends. There are no limitations.
Now the world is advancing toward achieving sustainable consumption. In any case, we have nowhere to flee. The external atmosphere and environment, and even the state of the economy and industry economic obligate us. Therefore, a person will be involved only with rational servicing of the body and all of the rest he will aim toward the spiritual level.
However, this article states that even if a person places himself in the middle line, nevertheless he will be drawn constantly toward the right or the left, the left or the right. In order to advance, we must be between the two lines of development. On the one hand, we seem to be drawn toward spiritual development, and on the other hand, we are drawn toward various disturbances, away from the side of the right line.
This means that one should unite everything with the Creator—that is, that even the exits stem from Him—and when he is rewarded, he sees that both the exits and the entrances were all from Him.
Being humble means being in the middle line all the time, being fixated on “There is none else beside Him” with the help of the balance of the two lines when the person understands that the two lines equally come from the Creator, and only so he would realize freedom of choice and advance.
Moses tolerated the humility, which is why he was called humble since the lowness made him glad. Thus, in each degree, one should hold onto the lowness, and the moment he loses the lowness, he immediately loses all the degrees of Moses that he had already achieved.
“Nullity” means that the person does not have its own forces, and all the forces to move forward, he receives from the Creator. In other words, I am not a power generator, I do not have them. Everything that I have: power, intelligence, desire, domestic status, external circumstances and the fact that I get to awareness at every moment of his life – all my Creator substitutes. There were no accidents or something that depends on me.
Lowness means that a person doesn’t have his own forces, and all the force to advance, he receives from the Creator. In other words, I cannot create power by myself because I have no power. All that I have is energy, intelligence, desire, an inner state, external circumstances and what I become aware of every moment in my life. All of this comes from the Creator. There are no accidents here or something that depends on me. The only thing that depends on us is understanding what is happening, making the right choice, and bringing all that we feel within us and around us to the one and only source.
This is the meaning of patience. Lowliness exists in everyone, but not every person feels that lowliness is a good thing. One does not want to suffer.
The person begins to understand that he is not the main source of intelligence, thought, action, decisions, or anything. All of this comes only from the Creator. This helps him adhere to the Creator, and if he understands this more and more deeply, he simply melts into it.
So our work is to attribute everything that we have, in the heart, in the mind, our decisions, our vision, everything that we feel within our senses, everything that happens around us and within us, to the one and only source. This is the principle of “There is none else beside Him.” If we attribute everything that we do to the same origin, we achieve adhesion with the Creator.
From the Kabbalah Lesson in Russian 2/10/14