Entries in the 'Maaser' Category

Dispute Below, Love Above

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: Is the plant for the dissemination of the wisdom of Kabbalah a good environment for a person’s spiritual development?

Answer: We are working with the whole world and must bring it to correction. Our plant is a spiritual system, which we build among us, between us and the world, between us and the Creator. So there can be some fundamental differences.

Even if I work in a factory that produces cars, for example, I can still attribute it to my spiritual development according to how I relate to people, to the work, to the owner, to everything. But if we, together, develop a factory for the dissemination of the wisdom of Kabbalah, for the dissemination of the method of correction, then how can we not take our group into account? The only thing the factory needs is for each member to carefully account for his actions, since first of all, we work using the Maaser (tithe) that is collected all over the world.

Secondly, here we encounter the connection between the friends and the connection between experts and one mustn’t be more important than the other. This means “you are my friend but the truth is more important.” So, although you are my friend, I can totally object to what you say when it comes to some serious professional decision. This, however, doesn’t mean that we are not friends any more. The decisions have to be professional and accurately based on our commitment to work in the most fruitful way for the correction of the world.

Personally, I have no questions about this. I can yell at the workers, reprimand them for not working as they should, but I love them no matter what; they are my dear students, my children. One thing has nothing to do with the other. It’s just like you treat your son: On the one hand, you can sometimes spank him, but on the other hand, you love him, and because he is your son, you care about him. One thing doesn’t negate the other.

It’s the same among friends: We do things together, study, become closer, and together we are one whole, but in this you are wrong. “You are wrong,” “No, you are wrong.” Practically we can fight as we try to find out who is right, but at the same time you can still love one another. We have to get used to the fact that there will always be two levels: Below there can be disputes, but above this, “Love covers all the sins.”
From the Virtual Lesson 1/27/13

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Two For Creating A Family?

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: All seven billion people and all the levels of nature (still, vegetative, and animate) need to enter the common integral system. But the family provides for a form of relationship where there is a man and a woman, and then they have children. What is the special nature of this relationship?  Why is it that precisely two people participate in creation of a family?

Answer: This stems from our inner roots because there are two opposing forces in the world: the force of bestowal and the force of reception. Moreover, both reception and bestowal have within them the opposite properties: The property of reception contains the property of bestowal, and the property of bestowal has the property of reception, and this is why they are able to mutually influence each other and combine together into various shades of interactions.

For this reason, in our world there is division into male and female, the average is not an option. Of course, in nature we can observe all kinds of transitions in various primitive animals: frogs, say, can change their gender depending on the developmental needs of their community.

But in principle, the more advanced the nature, the greater the divide between those who must connect as a couple for procreation, since the collection of properties in male and female individuals needs to be sufficiently opposite. After all, in combination with each other they should provide the opportunity for combinatorics to develop adequate diversity, species richness, properties, qualities, and individuals who would be able, through their continuing mutual interactions in all kinds of cross-transactions, to develop in such a way as to reveal all the properties of nature. This is a cardinal tenet of nature. The connections between the sexes, and even between the species, are directed precisely towards that.

The fact that we need to feed ourselves inanimate, vegetative, and animal food pertains to this as well. Moreover, we consume “human food” too, only not in form of a meal as such, but in form of energy, thoughts, and mutual inclusions, that is, in the form of us serving each other.

In this manner, the interaction doesn’t happen simply between the sexes, but is realized constantly and continuously between all parts of nature, on all of its levels.

Therefore it’s not enough to reduce everything to the fact that the male and female unite and produce offspring. In reality, nature includes in itself the integral interconnection of all levels: the still, vegetative, animate, and the human levels of desires and properties.
From a “Talk on Integral Education” 7/8/2012

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Kabbalah In The USA

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: If I live in the USA and 100 miles away from a Bnei Baruch group study center and cannot be there every day or even two to three times a week, am I your student, a member of the group, a member of the leading group, and can I come to the unity convention in the North of Israel?

Answer: You must be virtually in the group of those like you, study with them virtually, send Maaser to Bnei Baruch America Treasurer Beth Shillington via the Education Center website, take part in dissemination physically or virtually; in this case, you are my student and a member of your group. If in addition to this, you regularly attend the lessons and meeting of friends, you will be considered a member of the leading group.

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In Light Of The Convention

Dr. Michael LaitmanThis congress was not only uniting, but also dividing those who meet the requirements of the group (systematic studies, dissemination, and Maaser) and those who don’t meet them.

We must come to the state when the center of our group, the steadiest friends, will meet the requirements of the Creator to become similar to Him on the first, 1/125th degree of the ladder of His revelation. In this case, they will be able to become the part of the world group of Bnei Baruch through which the Light passes to the rest (See “The Introduction to The Book of Zohar”).

Then, around this part, other parts will be formed, like spreading waves, according to compliance with the rules of similarity with the Creator, the property of bestowal.

The rules are not invented by me, but set by the Kabbalists; we know them well, but don’t find it compulsory to perform them accurately, thinking that they are not necessary for the revelation of the Creator. Now, we were given this understanding for the first time.

I refer those who are not satisfied with these requirements to the Creator; perhaps, He might change the conditions of the contract for them: “The Law of the equivalence of form” (communicating spiritual vessels/properties).

Those who recognize the need for these conditions can choose where to be, in which circle: the central or external. In the future, we will specify the conditions of each circle.

I love all of you, and everyone is dear to me, and all this is done in order to pull everyone to the goal and eliminate the earthly confusion on the spiritual path.


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The Necessary And The Sufficient

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: I am in a virtual group. If a guarantee of two friends is required to attend the convention, who can sign it for me?

Answer: For now, be concerned about that.

Besides men who left Egypt, there were also women, children, and the elderly. Do you understand that you go to the convention as a “woman,” “child,” or an “elderly person”? Do you understand that your mission is to cancel yourself as much as possible? You do not know how to connect with the friends because a woman cannot connect. But you really want this to happen because a woman has to support this unity in every way.

And perhaps you are a “slave,” that is, you obey your egoism but are willing to serve and help in whatever way needed. You are looking for personal gain, want spirituality for yourself, and cannot disconnect from the egoistic concern about your own good future. However, you are aware of this and understand that you are a slave to self-love, and yet you want to join the spiritual attack.

A “slave” is under the external power; Pharaoh or the Creator rule over him, which is the same because Pharaoh is the Creator’s means. And if you still want to participate, then you come to the convention aware of your degree and put all your efforts to be with the friends.

Either way, you are making every effort, and your possibilities do not depend on you—they are categorized by degrees. If you have exerted a little bit, you are a “child,” if more, you are a “slave,” even more, an “an elderly,” more, a “woman,” and even more, a “man.” You are given strength from Above, but you have to apply it completely in order to try to keep up, to become involved. It is not about your level that is important. A person who is trying his best to be with us, similar to a child clinging to adults, does not interfere at all, but only helps. So, wherever you are, come.

Question: Under what conditions does a person go to the convention as a “man?”

Answer: If a person attends all the morning lessons, pays Maaser (tithe), participates in the gatherings of friends, in all the group activities, and is fully involved in mass dissemination, then he follows the advice of Kabbalists. These are the minimum, physical conditions, not related to the spiritual work yet. This is necessary.

And beyond that, does he really in his soul cancel himself before the group in order to feel the need for unity? This need should give rise to his cry for help, to which the upper Light will respond.

Thus, the external conditions say nothing about a spiritual level; they are necessary, but not sufficient. They can be observed regardless of the spiritual states. And besides that, there are sufficient conditions that you must perform internally.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 2/20/2012, Constitution of the Arava Convention

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Four Conditions

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: Can the group forbid a friend to participate in the convention because of improper behavior?

Answer: We must check every case separately. On the whole, these are the criteria:

  • participating in the lessons every morning;
  • paying Maaser (tithing);
  • participating in the gatherings of friends,
  • participating in dissemination as much as one can.

These four conditions are mandatory. If a person fulfills them, he has a place in the convention.

But we made some mitigations and we don’t check the participants according to these criteria. Many of them don’t pay tithe, do not participate in the morning lessons, and so on. Surely, these people don’t quite understand what we have in mind and what we do. However, it doesn’t mean that we won’t be able to succeed in the convention and that it will only be a “practice.”

Besides, different people come from different parts of the collective soul of Adam HaRishon, and for some of them it takes twice or three times longer to master the system. They can advance in some particular aspect, but it is more difficult for them to change internally. There are those who even become worse: coarse, careless, and so on. Don’t judge your friend until you step in his shoes.

On the whole, we don’t judge the friends according to their external behavior unless it is related to dissemination work. The main thing is that a person doesn’t show disregard.

Question: Does this mean that in the meantime these criteria are a recommendation and not a demand?

Answer: This time we don’t impose them, but a person should know that not fulfilling them keeps him behind. He can participate in our activities, but he won’t advance. He won’t disturb us in the convention, and he will feel an ascent, but not as a “man” who comes out of Egypt.

We give these people a chance to be with us, at a lower level that limits the feeling and the advancement. There is nothing we can do about it.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 2/20/12, “Advice for the Arava Convention”

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The Spiritual Meaning Of Tithing

Laitman_409A question I received: What is the spiritual meaning of tithing (Maaser)?

My Answer: The tithe is the separation of the tenth part of Malchut. The Torah instructs us to set aside the parts which instead of being used for the sake of bestowal directly can only be used through society. This calculation is performed only with regard to the Creator, for the sake of bestowal to Him.

The Torah describes many types of taxes, but all of them are based on one principle: Because I am unable to bestow with certain desires that I have within me and the Light that comes to me, I pass these desires to the general desire (Kli). In a common desire, through a society, I’m able to carry this out.

My Kli is partial, meaning that for the time being, the screen covers only a part of my desires, in which I’m ready to receive for the sake of bestowal. How can I correct the part in which I’m incapable of bestowing?

I receive the Light for that part and transfer the desire to receive pleasure along with the received Light to an outside Kli. Thereby I prepare it for correction. By not using Maaser today (the tenth part of Malchut, which cannot be corrected), I prepare this part for correction through society.

In the science of Kabbalah, we study our desires called “garments” and “house.” They become corrected by my first seeing them as external to me, and then transferring them to my internality.

The same applies to Maaser. I seemingly transfer it for external usage, but then it becomes my internality and returns to me with the desires I did not previously consider my own. For the time being, in my sensations, I cannot correct that part in order to use it, by receiving for the sake of bestowal.

From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 4/28/10, The Zohar

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Maaser Is Needed For The Spiritual Correction Of Humanity

All the People in the World Are Sick With the Same SicknessA question I received: To give a tithe or Masser, one needs to be employed or have an income. This is where the problems arise. I observe many 10 hour working days, I sleep 7 or 8 hours, and the rest of the time, 6 hours or so, I spend eating, doing chores around home, and spending time with my family. It does not seem to leave much time for any spiritual pursuits.

In a way society has us trapped. Big homes and fancy cars all play a role in taking up the time that we have. Also, some choose to tithe to religious organizations so they can build bigger edifices than the other churches down the street, and pay big salaries and perks to the leaders.

How does one trust, or know in his heart that this Masser is indeed a Law of Nature, and is just and not contrived?

My Answer: Living according to the laws of one’s society and paying the Maaser for the spiritual correction of humanity is a law, while donating is not.

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We Pay Maaser When We Start To Desire Spiritual Development

How Does One Pay Maaser?Questions I received on the Maaser:

Question: Is it possible to cross the Machsom without paying Maaser?

My Answer: No.

Question: Do we correct ourselves during the initial period of study, when we do not contribute the Maaser?

My Answer: Yes, but only at your first preparatory stage. Kabbalists never accepted students who refused to follow this condition. After all, no matter how much a person tries, Malchut, the tenth Sefira, becomes corrected only when a person gives away to others one tenth of what belongs to him.

Question: Do new students who are in their first year of studies also need to give the Maaser? When should a person begin to pay the Maaser?

My Answer: One should begin to pay the Maaser when he begins to understand that he desires spiritual development. A person will not advance without making efforts. Maaser is the tenth part of the desire, which can only be corrected this way, by being given away.

Question: I have a question about the Maaser. I am a 13 year-old boy who is studying Kabbalah at your center. I do not yet earn any money and I cannot ask my mother to pay the Maaser because she does not study Kabbalah. Besides, my mother has no job. What is the solution for someone who cannot pay the Maaser? I support the center by disseminating, but the problem is, I cannot pay the Maaser because I cannot afford to.

My Answer: Only a person with his own personal income is obligated to pay Maaser. Whoever does not have a personal income has no right to pay it.

Question: If I give away 10% of my income for the dissemination of Kabbalah, will I go hungry?

My Answer: Well, have you ever really tried it?

Question: Can a person who lacks financial resources study Kabbalah?

My Answer: The study of Kabbalah is not contingent on any financial investments. All of our study materials are available on our website for everyone free of charge!

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About Maaser

Maaser Is A Law Of Nature

aboveQuestions I received on Maaser:

Question: Can we advance spiritually if we don’t pay a tithe (Maaser)?

My Answer: No.

Question cont’d: I bought the book Kabbalah for the Student and printed “The Introduction to The Book Of Zohar” from it myself. Is this considered as a tithe?

My Answer: No.

Question cont’d: With the obligation of paying the tithe, many people will be turned off to Kabbalah and this will not be a solution for them. At first they engage in Kabbalah with all of their desire, and after a while they understand that they have to pay Maaser in order to advance spiritually. I wonder, if a person is already above the Machsom, will he also be obliged to pay Maaser in order to attain the whole goal?

My Answer: Yes.

Question cont’d: Even on the last 125th degree of the ladder?

My Answer: Yes.

Question cont’d: But the poor won’t be able to advance even a millimeter.

My Answer: If they’re poor, their Maaser is also small, accordingly.

Question cont’d: I am very disappointed that one has to pay to attain spirituality. The Maaser has to be removed because it is a limitation to attaining the so called “new civilization.”

My Answer: Maaser is a law of nature, and no one can remove it. You are not paying anyone; you are merely deducting the part of you that is impossible to correct and giving it to the world’s correction through a different method. You are realizing your own Maaser for disseminating Kabbalah around you. You should read about it (you can also look it up on Google.com).

The Maaser is 10% of your desires, which pertain to Malchut and which you are incapable of correcting on your own. You can only separate a tenth of your income, which corresponds to them. Otherwise your soul will not be corrected; however, it’s not corrected by the money, but by your rejection of it. This is why you are able spend this money on all kinds of empty objects, but find it practically impossible to spend it on Maaser!

Question: I understand that we are to pay 10% of our net/gross income as our Maaser. Where do we make the contribution? Are we to do it once a month according to our monthly income or can we do it bi-weekly with our pay cycle? Are you saying that, if we do not participate in the Maaser, we will still advance spiritually, but we will hinder the whole from advancing quicker?

My Answer: You should look for the answer in previous posts on this topic.

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