Celebrate The First Victory Over Yourself

Dr. Michael LaitmanOur egoistic desire is regarded as “the Greeks” or “knowledge,” which means that we wish to advance following the mind and heart we possess at the moment. And indeed, what can we lean and rely on? Only on what we have. This, however, is the root of the problem since with these Kelim (vessels) we cannot enter the spiritual world.

But the spiritual world is here and now; there is neither distance that we need to cover, nor a dimension where we have to attain it. We attain the spiritual world in additional organs of perception that we must grow within above our own intellect and rationality, that is, above the ego that we have to correctly prepare in order to begin experiencing the spiritual world with it for the first time.

This is regarded as the Maccabean Revolt, and their victory in this war is Hanukkah which means “stopped here” (“Hanu Ko”) because we make a stop on the journey. This state is called “Hafetz Hesed” (wishing nothing for himself) or Bina; it is the revelation of the Creator or the first correction of the ego.

At this stage, a person rises above his ego and starts acquiring an additional sensation called “bestowal.” With its help, he begins to feel the spiritual world. But even though a person does sense the spiritual world, he remains in its reality passively, like an embryo in its mother’s waters.

This is what is regarded as a “stop” specifically because a person isn’t prepared yet to possess clear knowledge and perception called “attainment” when everything is transparent and open for him,  and when he becomes exactly like the Creator and manages the entire spiritual world.

To compare this state to the arrangement with the guest and the Host: Despite the growing desire to feel pleasure, at the stage of Hanukkah a person refuses to receive from the Host. At this point, it is the spiritual work of a person, meaning that he doesn’t wish to receive anything or participate in the spiritual world; he wishes just to be present in it.

This is why during this holiday, it is prohibited to use the light from the Hanukkah candles, but only observe it. Besides, Hanukkah is considered to be the time when a miracle takes place because we exit from our ego to the outside. In other words, this is a miracle of victory over the ego after the ascent or exodus from it (from Egypt). It is liberation from desires and thoughts that hold us in this world and don’t allow us to experience the spiritual world.
Kabbalah for the Nation Introductory Lesson Series, “Hanukkah” 11/30/10

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The Most Ravishing Moment

Dr. Michael LaitmanChanukah is the celebration of Light. A person celebrates it upon exiting the material world.

His life is very short and filled with worries, chores, and fear of the unknown. Man doesn’t know what he is living for and what will happen to him in the next instant. In truth, the whole world is being overtaken by terror, drug abuse, divorce, and depression.

But here, as the wisdom of Kabbalah explains, we receive an opportunity to come out to the Light, the sensation of eternity and completeness, the most exalted harmony. Having risen above the corporeal world, we begin to experience the spiritual world and suddenly discover a new reality.

It is as if you were driving a car on a highway when you suddenly ran out of gas and found yourself on the edge of an abyss. One more second and it will pull you in. But…nothing happens. Suddenly, this abyss dissolves and you continue your journey on a straight, smooth, wide road: From this grey, dull life you transition directly into the world of joy and illumination.

When this beautiful additional world is revealed to a person and he immediately starts living in it, he experiences the most exalted moment! He sees that he has received an enormous gift, and this is what Chanukah symbolizes. The name comes from the Hebrew word “Chanaya,” a stop on the path to complete correction, as well as from Hebrew “Chanukat Bait.”

Chanukah is celebrated as a historical event on three accounts:

1. The Maccabean Revolt, when few troops revolted against the regular army and won;
2. Illumination of the Temple, which in Hebrew means “Chanukat HaBait,” hence, the name “Chanukah” for the celebration;
3. The miracle of the Menorah burning for eight days on a single day’s oil.

In spirituality, “Illumination of the Temple” means that a person rises above his egoism to the property of Bina, the Temple, which is the place where the Creator is revealed.
From Kabbalah for Beginners, “Hanukkah” 12/1/10

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All The Worlds Lie On The Path To The Group

Dr. Michael LaitmanWhen a person desires to enter the group and to unite with it, then precisely there, inside the interconnection with the friends, he reveals the four phases of the expansion of Direct Light, the ten Sefirot, the forms and degrees of unity that the Kabbalists describe. The stronger he merges with the desires of the friends by the principle of loving his neighbor as himself, the more the Light is revealed inside him, filling these desires. This is the revelation of the Creator to creation.

As Baal HaSulam writes in item 155 of "Introduction to Talmud Eser Sefirot," we have to desire for the material we study to become revealed and come alive inside us. We study the correction of creation so that inside these texts we will reveal the Light, the Creator, the goal of creation.

To correct creation means to correct a person’s connection with his environment. All the worlds lie on the path between myself and the group, on the line of connection between us. The higher I ascend, the more connected I am with the friends. The power of our interconnection corresponds to the degree of my inclusion in the group. To this degree I reveal the spiritual reality and acquire the vessel of the soul.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 12/5/10, The Zohar
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Are You Anticipating The Light’s Arrival?

Dr. Michael LaitmanThe studying of the wisdom of Kabbalah is founded on Segula, meaning the drawing of the Light that Reforms. The entire Torah, the method of correction, is designated for this. This is why it says: “I created the evil inclination, and I created the Torah as a spice.”

The Torah is regarded as a “spice” for a reason. It never replaces desire but “spices” it up with intention thereby readying it for consumption. In the same fashion, a dish is spiced; otherwise, it wouldn’t be edible. A dab of spices finishes it off.

Therefore, regardless of what text we are studying, our intentions must not change. Kabbalists wrote their books while being in spiritual attainment. However, we haven’t entered the spiritual world yet and cannot directly use their instructions as a guide in the Upper reality. At this stage, while reading, we are expected to hope, to anticipate a “miracle.” Let my eyes open so I may see what I am reading about for myself.

It will occur only if my aspiration is correct. Everything depends on what I demand from the studies and how closely my expectations match the force lain in the Kabbalistic texts. It will respond only if I keep aiming at it and wish for it to arrive and endow me with the property of bestowal. Then, I will rise above my egoism and experience true closeness with the other souls, together with whom we will reveal the Creator.

Such an intention is, indeed, aimed at the realization of the method. Thereby, I do utilize it as prescribed, which is regarded as “studying the Torah.” After all, I anticipate the arrival of the Light that Reforms like a rooster that is preparing to greet the dawn. If, however, I am contemplating egoistic rewards, I resemble a bat that doesn’t need light at all.

This work needn’t be despised either. It isn’t desirable, of course, but it still leads to the goal, only through the dark, by making a loop, through jungles of problems, until after numerous incarnations a person arrives at the question of purpose.

Therefore, darkness radiated by the Torah also helps somewhat. Baal HaSulam writes that we don’t always move ahead in the correct intentions and sometimes act like bats.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 12/2/10, The Zohar, Introduction, Article “The Buds”

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Striking Self-Gratification

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: How do we experience “Zivug” (spiritual coupling, merger of the Light and the Kli) in our spiritual work?

Answer: Zivug” is unification by way of a screen. If you are resisting your ego, the will to receive pleasure (desire), in order to merge with the Creator for the sake of bestowal, and if you have the force of resistance, a screen, you enter a “Zivug.” It is regarded as “Zivug de Hakaa” (mating while striking).

You push the Upper Light away from your desire to receive pleasure by way of a strike, meaning that you are unwilling to receive it directly, for self-gratification. You are willing to receive this “treat” only to equalize yourself with the Upper Light, and not because you are “hungry,” even though you are really starving.

You are prepared to refuse all of these pleasures and not receive them in order to satisfy your hunger, but to perform a calculation and accept them only inasmuch as you can delight the Host. This is regarded as a strike.

By doing so, you don’t reject the Host but the pleasures that are trying to enter your will to receive directly. You are willing to receive them but indirectly, only if and after you have analyzed whether this will truly be in order to be similar to the Host and connect with Him in mutual bestowal.
From the 2nd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 12/2/10, Talmud Eser Sefirot

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Knowing The System Of The Upper Governance

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: Why did we start studying Part 8 of Talmud Eser Sefirot (The Study of the Ten Sefirot) instead of The Book of Zohar?

Answer: First of all, we are continuing to study The Zohar daily during the morning lesson, but only for forty five minutes instead of ninety minutes as before.

When we read The Book of Zohar, we constantly deal with Partzufim of the World of Atzilut, from which the Upper Governance originates: Arich Anpin (AA), Aba Ve Ima (AVI), Yeshsut, and ZON. Therefore, we must gain an understanding of how they are arranged, what constitutes the hierarchy and relation between them, and what program they are carrying out.

Hence, we need to study Part 8 of TES (Talmud Eser Sefirot), which is the major part of The Study of Ten Sefirot, essentially describing the World of Atzilut. Without it, we cannot even come close to The Zohar.

Indeed, the more a person knows, the more he understands and acknowledges that in reality he knows nothing, which better enables him to determine his prayer, not a baby’s cry, but a clearly analyzed request. Besides, if we study TES with the same intention that we apply to The Book of Zohar, it affects us and performs the same work in terms of our correction.
From the 2nd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 12/2/10, Talmud Eser Sefirot

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Post-Convention Questions From The Blog, Part 1

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: I see joy and frustration in my friends. They don’t realize what has happened yet: a huge blow to Pharaoh. How and what can I do to help the friends and myself to draw the right conclusions from the convention and continue advancing together? Who is to blame that we merely approached the goal, only the ego?

Answer: No one is to blame. We should appreciate that the aim has been clarified. We thought we are able to defeat our ego and unite by our own effort, but we were wrong: Only the Creator can defeat Pharaoh, whereas our job is the ask Him to do so. It is our common cry to the Creator that we must be working on together right now. That is what the major conclusion from the convention should be.

Question: Lots of people cried during the opening ceremony. Was this crying a lament over everyone’s personal egoism, or was there a moment when they were not thinking about themselves and could have done it?

Answer: They were tears of collective enthusiasm, egoistic for now, and the Creator was absent from it. Therefore, although we felt unity between us, we couldn’t keep this sensation. Let’s not despair though; on the contrary, let’s rejoice because it became much clearer what we need to be working on.

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Kabbalists About Kabbalah Today, Part 7

Dr. Michael LaitmanDear Friends, please ask questions about these passages from the great Kabbalists. The commentaries in brackets are mine.

An Opportunity for Redemption

Judaism [a science about connection with the Creator, from the word Yichud – “union”] must present something new [new relationships, revelation of the new purpose in life and the Upper World] to the nations. That is what they expect [subconsciously] from the return of Israel to the land! [Hence, after seeing that it is not happening, they hate us even more than before and claim that our state is unnecessary.]

It is not in other teachings, for in that we never innovated; we were always their disciples [we were first, but developed that which they had to develop]. Rather, it is the wisdom of religion, justice and peace [that they are expecting of us]. In this, most nations are our disciples, and this wisdom is attributed to us alone [since the program of correction of man’s nature has been passed to us].
– Baal HaSulam, “The Solution”

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A Baby That Was Ashamed To Eat

Dr. Michael LaitmanThere is nothing good or bad in the quality of reception itself. However, the Creator purposely created the condition that makes us feel shame from reception.

There is no reason for the shame: It is an independent creature. There is the desire to receive pleasure and the desire to bestow; He bestows, I receive, so what is so horrible about this? On the contrary, does a baby feel ashamed that the mother feeds him? He brings her pleasure by eating! And in the same manner, the Creator receives pleasure by giving us pleasure.

Then why can’t I just enjoy from receiving from Him? What else do I need? Let Him just give me more desire and more fulfillment, and I will be an obedient baby that accepts everything that the mother wishes to give it, thereby bringing Him delight!

After all, in order to bring contentment to the Creator, I don’t need to bestow to Him. He created my desire Himself, and He can do anything I desire. And I will desire everything He gives me since this is how I was created. Then let Him fill this nature that He created, my desires, and we will both feel well. We will delight in each other!

Everyone knows how much pleasure a mother experiences when her baby eats well and falls asleep peacefully in her arms. I agree to be this baby! What else does He want from me?!

We don’t want anything else; we wish to remain babies in the arms of Mother Nature. However, the Creator does not agree with this; He wishes to raise us to His level. And, therefore, the “shame” does not come from the fact that I receive from the Creator. The shame is not from receiving; it is from the disparity of our qualities.

It is not shameful to receive from Him since He created me to be a receiver, and this is not what we correct. We correct the separation between us, meaning the opposition of our aspirations, only to become equal.

Therefore, Baal HaSulam writes (TES, Part One, Histaklut Pnimit [Inner Reflection]) that “shame” is meant only for the most elevated souls. When they reveal that the Creator is bestowing and they are receiving, they discover the abyss between them and feel that they need to correct precisely this disparity.

Like in our world, where there are things that some are ashamed to do while others are not, here too, we need to achieve a particular level of spiritual correction in order to begin to feel shame. And it is not felt prior to that.

To the extent that a person ascends higher and begins to experience shame, the Creator treats him differently, in a more demanding manner. Hence, it is written that “the Creator finds fault as thin as a hair in regard to the righteous,” and all calculations are carried only in regard to shame. When we feel an intention to bestow against our desire to receive, this difference, delta, gives birth to a feeling of shame.

Meanwhile, in our world a baby eats and feels no shame, and this doesn’t change as he gets older since this desire is instilled in him by nature. Yet in order to become “adults,” we need to work on ourselves instead of waiting for nature to do it.
From the 2nd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 11/30/10, The Study of the Ten Sefirot

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Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: If the Creator created only two forces, reception and bestowal, then what does “shame” pertain to, and where is its root? Why does it have such strength that it is even stronger than desire?

Answer: “Shame” is an independent “creature.” Had the Creator not created shame, we would not feel that we are receivers and opposite to Him. Shame is a purposely created quality which is meant only for humans.

We are not even talking about shame in this world, which, being an imprint of upper shame, resembles it somewhat. Upper spiritual shame is a sensation that you are situated across the Creator and are opposite to Him. You feel how this opposition belittles you next to His bestowal, and to what extent your egoistic thoughts are opposite to thoughts about bestowal. This shame is so strong that a person cannot tolerate it!
From the 2nd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 11/30/10, The Study of the Ten Sefirot

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