The Gate Of Prayer

Dr. Michael LaitmanIn order to reach a new degree I need to acquire an additional desire, heaviness of the heart. I can then scrutinized it and make an appeal with a completed prayer by realizing that I cannot remain in this egoism, that what I’m missing is the quality of bestowal. I don’t tell the Creator that I’m feeling bad and ask Him to make things better for me. My prayer can only be this: “It is good that You have given me this evil so that I can understand how to desire bestowal and rise to love of others.”

I don’t ask for the evil to be taken away because it is the only foundation that I can use to build upon, or else I would remain a beast. Instead, I must examine this evil, this sensation of emptiness, so as to recognize it as help against my egoism, compelling me to connect to others.

I give thanks for the “evil” and hope that it stays because otherwise I would fall back into my egoism. But above the evil, I want to build an attitude of bestowal toward everybody else. And therefore, I view the evil as a helper which frees me from my egoistic desires since the feeling of unpleasantness allows me to disconnect from them.

If a person burned himself, then he would no longer want to touch the object that burned him. Similarly, I begin to no longer want these desires and, above them, I build an attitude of bestowal. This requires a new beginning, Rosh Hashanah (A New Year), a state when I no longer desire past fulfillments because I feel them as evil. On the contrary, above it, I now want to build an attitude of bestowal to others. This transformation, the transition from one to the other, is called the Beginning of a New Year.

And then, after verifying that I am unable to do it on my own, I arrive at Yom Kippur, having only the desire but feeling that I lack the strength. That is how I arrive at the prayer, and this is called the Day of Atonement. In this state I don’t judge the Creator, but rather myself because I lack the strength to bestow, and herein lies my sin.

This is what I scream about on Yom Kippur when I atone for all my “sins.” The true meaning of the Day of Atonement is the revelation of the Kli that is ready for correction. It is a turning point on Rosh Hashanah when I decide to reject the old desire, and approach and resolve to strive for bestowal. But in the 10 days from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur I have verified that I am incapable of bestowal. And now for the first time, I turn to the Creator with a genuine appeal and achieve contact with Him.

This appeal reaches Him at last because I do not request fulfillment, only the force of correction. And so I arrive at the gate of prayer.

From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 9/15/10, Excerpts on Yom Kippur

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A Marvelous Bridge Into The Zohar

Dr. Michael LaitmanWe have a problem with perceiving The Book of Zohar because even though Rashbi wrote it for our times, he did so from the height of his soul and used an ancient style from 2000 years ago. Obviously, this book does not suit us in this form because we are at the end of the final exile, absolutely detached from the spiritual world. Therefore, we don’t know how to open up this book and how to use it to work on ourselves.

That is why Baal HaSulam created a "ladder" (Sulam) for us, so we can rise along it to the height of The Book of Zohar. This ladder is built so that there is commentary for every excerpt of The Book of Zohar. And it doesn’t matter how much of this book we understand! The truth is that we don’t understand the commentary or the book itself. Nevertheless, the commentary creates a connection between me and the original text of The Zohar.

The same happens on every degree. As we ascend along the degrees, we enter The Book of Zohar through the Sulam Commentary. Without this commentary it would be impossible to connect to The Book of Zohar.

The Sulam is not necessary in order to understand, but for us to attain inner unity. Even if I don’t understand the Sulam Commentary or The Book of Zohar, but I use them and connect to the source, The Zohar starts to influence me.

At first the Sulam is necessary in order to connect us to the Light that Reforms. Without this we would have no possibility of using this marvelous means.

As I read, I am influenced by the Light through the reading, the study, and the group, and the Light awakens new qualities in me. These new qualities enable me to really establish contact with The Book of Zohar and to start to feel what happens there, what is written there. Only then can we speak about understanding The Zohar.

From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 9/16/10, Yahrtzeit Baal HaSulam

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Always A New Beginning

Dr. Michael LaitmanSpiritual work constantly begins anew. We have to understand this, accept it, and be grateful for this new beginning. A person always starts as if he has had nothing before. Everything becomes deleted.

Nukva always returns to its virgin state.” This means that I don’t retain any life experience on my path to Him; the entire contact with the “Groom” or the Creator disappears. One should not take anything with him from the past. It’s just the opposite: He should pray to receive the ability to forget everything. It’s better if I don’t know anything.

Being in the egoistic desire, we are incapable of imagining how one can reject his experience. However, we don’t need any knowledge. We need a mind only for the purpose of starting from zero each time like from a blank piece of paper. If we are capable of doing this, then we are indeed approaching faith or bestowal.

I don’t need any mind for bestowal. All I need is a pure attitude that doesn’t tie anything to a past state which was corrupt for sure because I have not achieved Infinity and the End of Correction. Therefore, Nukva and Zeir Anpin return each time to their minimal state, a point and six Sefirot.

One needs to learn this as a necessary condition for advancement and try to accept it with understanding, love, and joy when every time he starts from ground zero.

From the 3rd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 9/15/10, Talmud Eser Sefirot

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Daily Kabbalah Lesson – 09.17.10

Shamati #52A Transgression Does Not Put Out A Mitzva
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The Book of Zohar – Selections, Chapter “VaYechi (And Jacob Lived in the Land of Egypt),” Item 333
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Preface to the Wisdom of Kabbalah, Item 86
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The Book of Zohar and Writings of Baal HaSulam, Selected Excerpts for Yom Kippur
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Turning Grief Into Joy

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: Why do people consider Yom Kippur a sad and mournful day?

Answer: It’s because people do not understand that what is perceived as “bad” could be a springboard to good because it is regarded as good or evil depending on one’s attitude. For example, if during a routine visit to a doctor one discovers that he has a disease, then the evil was revealed so that it could be treated. So revealing the evil was good.

However, it is written, “The opinion of common people is opposite to the opinion of the Torah,” and a person pushes himself away from the correction. He does not understand why he needs this. He cries about feeling bad and asks the Creator to make him feel good. That is, he cries about his egoism and whines that the Creator does not fill him. It is as if he asks the Creator “Why are You so bad and cruel? Would it hurt You to let me enjoy?” He does not understand that the revelation of evil is for his benefit, so that he can grow.

Based on a thousand years of our history, we should finally understand that the Creator responds only to a desire that is directed to correction and the goal of creation. Any other appeal is not answered. It is now time to explain to everyone what it actually means to come to the Day of Atonement: to reveal “I created the evil inclination,” then “I created the Torah for its correction,” and finally “because the Light in the Torah reforms.”

From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 9/16/10, Selected excerpts on Yom Kippur

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The Day Of Atonement Is A Day Of Joy

Dr. Michael LaitmanYom Kippur, the Day Of Atonement, is a state when the Kli (desire) that we need to correct is revealed. Rabash writes in many articles that a person comes to the Day Of Atonement according to his inner state, which can be revealed without any connection to the onset of the holiday according to the calendar.

Each of us goes through these states in our development, including ascents called Rosh HaShana (the New Year), Yom Kippur (the Day Of Atonement) and others. Yom Kippur is a very elevated state. A great Light has to influence us in order to reveal this degree in us and a whole sequence of actions is required. A person must exert great effort within the group, in our unification, where the breaking once occurred. The place of the breaking is given to us so that we can correct it. Then we will understand what is called correction, what the structure of this place is, and how the Upper Force created and continues to support it. As a result, we discover the Creator.

In order to achieve this, we exert effort according to the main rule of the Torah: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” As Kabbalists advise us, we first actualize it in one or several small groups rather than in all of humanity, since that would be impossible. By trying to realize this rule in the unification between us according to the method of Kabbalists, we go from love for the created beings to love for the Creator and discover to what extent we are not in the quality of love and bestowal.

We are not talking about life in this world and how good or bad we feel. We do not check good and evil according to this, nor do we arrive at The Day Of Atonement in this manner. Only by being in a group, aspiring toward the connection between us, and awakening the Light that Reforms, do I come to see how consumed I am by hatred and rejection with regard to my friends, who are trying to unite in order to reveal the Creator within the group.

I reveal the force of the separation, the force of the breaking in me, and only in regard to this force can I say that I have revealed evil. Then, with this evil, I can come to the Creator and demand correction from Him. The Day Of Atonement then becomes a day of joy because I reveal the ailment of egoism, my own nature that needs to be corrected. I reveal the condition, “I created egoism,” and now I can ask the Creator for the Torah, which is the force to correct it. It is written, “I created egoism and I created the Torah for its correction because the Light in it returns one to the Source” (to the Creator).

First we have to work very hard on the unification between us, and then the Upper Light shines upon us from the level of ELUL (which stands for “I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine”). Then we reach Rosh Hashanah, a state where we desire a new beginning, new changes on the path, unity between us, the birth of a new system or a new human being (Adam) in us. And only after going through all of this do we reach a state where we check all ten of our qualities. On the 10th day after the New Year, which marked the beginning of the new path, we come to the Day Of Atonement.

At that point, on one hand we are truly in a state of complete despair and lack of strength, and on the other hand we experience great joy because we can now finally cry out to the Creator asking Him to help us with the complete confidence that He will help us. We have this confidence because we have already checked ourselves and reached the realization that we all dwell only in evil, unable to do anything about it. But now, by virtue of the connection between us, we have the confidence that the Creator is helping us and is just waiting for this very moment.

Baal HaSulam writes that “There is no happier moment in a person’s life than when he discovers how absolutely powerless he is and loses faith in his own strength since he exerted all the possible efforts that he was able to, but reached nothing. This is because precisely at this moment, during this state, he is ready for a complete and clear prayer to the Creator!” This moment is called the Day Of Atonement. From this moment on, a person can be sure that he will receive the Light of Correction.

From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 9/15/2010, “Yom Kippur”

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