Arava Congress – 12.30.10

Arava Congress, Lesson 1
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Learning To Be An Adult

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: If the Light is the most absolute, total pleasure, then I want to get to know it better. How do I do that? It seems to have come to take me along, but I didn’t notice it….

Answer: You must decide whom you do choose: the Light or the pleasure it brings? If you choose the pleasure, it won’t work.

It’s only at the beginning that the Light raises you by way of pleasure, so you may grow up and be an adult. Likewise, we raise children in our life. Our children receive, taking everything for granted and keep growing until they reach a certain age, and then we tell them: “Hold it, from now on you are an adult.” He can scream that he wants to remain a child and keep getting candy; it won’t work. If you grew up, you have to do your duty in the army and work; you must act as an adult.

What does it mean to be mature? An adult can’t run after pleasure; he must go for bestowal! You live in the society and have to bestow to all others: go to work, contribute to society, and then you will have the right to exist.

It is exactly the same in the spiritual world. An adult doesn’t wish to simply enjoy; he strives to reach an exalted and great purpose in his life. To be mature means to be in bestowal, to work not for the sake of the pleasure but for its source.

This is the kind of loyalty that is expected of us. This is when we establish a connection with the Light itself, not just with what we receive from it.

Hence, we are presently entering a new era, when the Light is no longer giving us pleasure. It no longer promises us that there are nice things ahead, and we don’t run forth in anticipation of receiving some new pleasures any more. Nothing attractive lies ahead.

At this point, we don’t have a choice but to transition to a new paradigm: rather than chasing after pleasure, to go after its source. And if we don’t wish to do so, it will get worse. The Light will still force us to do it by cutting us off from the opportunity to enjoy anything. Then, we will start asking: “What is happening? What is my life for? Why is the pleasure gone? What do I do?”

You begin asking not about pleasure, but rather about its source: “Where did the pleasure go? What happened with its source? Where did it used to come from?” And so we advance.

For as long as we keep receiving pleasure, we don’t ask about it. But as soon as we don’t get it in the present and don’t expect it in the future, it becomes a problem. I start seeking where it was supposed to come from: “Why hasn’t it come? What happened there?”

And at this point, I begin to see that if I wish to reach pleasure, I have to get closer to its source. And to get to it means to replace my desires to receive with the desire to bestow.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 12/30/10, “The Wisdom of Kabbalah and Philosophy”

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The Light Of A Distant Home

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: What does it mean to experience the Light?

Answer: To experience the Light means to feel pleasure. In this world, I can enjoy different things that delight me or don’t, depending on my state of mind. One time I enjoy staying in bed and don’t want to get up to attend a lesson; another time, I am dying to jump out of it, but they don’t let me get up and tell me to stay in bed for another week until I get well.

In other words, this isn’t an absolute pleasure, just like sweet, soft, or warm, all have a limited, conditional meanings. Sometimes, they give me pleasure, and another time quite the opposite feeling.

Common pleasure that we experience in our collective desire to feel pleasure (the will to receive) is called the “Light.” It’s because the Light that existed initially created our desire, a vessel, and now the desire receives pleasure when the Light fills or unfolds in it. That’s how we are designed! Therefore, when the Light leaves the desire, it cries and wants to bring it back. This is how the entire creation is made.

But the Creator wanted for you to desire the Light by your own will and not just to receive it and enjoy. Beside the pleasure you feel, He wishes you to have an understanding and awareness of the Light: Where does it come from? Where is its source? Why did it create you and what does it want from you? It is as though the Light wants to show you: “Look from what a distant star I came here; there, everything is so wonderful and good, and I want to take you with me!”

Therefore, it hides from you and starts trying to get your attention with various indirect actions, from every side. It plays with you until you finally start wishing to know the source it came from, rather than chase the pleasure it can bring, and despite the pleasures it brings.

In truth, if you desire to come to it, to its “home,” it means you love Him and not just the pleasures He sends to fill you. You have to love Him so much as to be ready to “fly away” to that place, that “star” where He came from, just to never part with Him again. And you do it despite the fact that you completely renounce the pleasure, thereby showing Him how much you love Him.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 12/30/10, “The Wisdom of Kabbalah and Philosophy”

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To Never Part Again

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: I am invited to a celebration tonight, but I already know that as soon as it is over, all the pleasure will be gone. Is there any license to keep the pleasure?

Answer: It is impossible to keep pleasure in egoistic desires (Kelim). It isn’t even a pleasure but a mere spark that slightly brushes against us and dies.

Pleasure is nothing but the Light! And if you wish to keep it, you need to prepare your vessels (Kelim) that would be fit for it. If desire is in bestowal, you will experience an enormous and everlasting pleasure in it, which continuously and endlessly expands. Otherwise, there is no chance to hold on to the pleasure longer than a few minutes or seconds.

It also depends on the pleasure itself: The more exalted it is, the sharper and faster it ends. A simple pleasure may last for a while. You may stay in bed for a few hours and enjoy rest, or put a candy in your mouth and savor it for a few minutes. But if the pleasure is exalted and powerful, it comes in a form of a peak and very quickly disappears.

Indeed, it isn’t a pleasure, but rather an encounter with a spark of Light that is regarded as a “thin candle” (Ner Dakik). If you wish for pleasure to never die, you need to offer it a desire that matches it, which is the desire of bestowal.

The pleasure comes from the Giver, and your desire must also come from a giver. Then, they will meet, cling to each other, and adhere, never to part again!
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 12/30/10, “The Wisdom of Kabbalah and Philosophy”

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The Spiritual Decoder

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: Can I use my imagination to picture the future corrected state?

Answer: That depends on what we imagine to ourselves at the future degree. To portray it mechanically, we make drawings.

It is possible to put all the conditions of the future degree into some table, to list all the technical particulars of these states: desires, screens, levels of Aviut, entrance and exit of Lights, the Surrounding and Inner Lights, the degree’s division into a multitude of internal and external systems in the Second Restriction.

But, ultimately, we come to the same spiritual discernments recorded by Kabbalists so as to describe to one another the technical details that need to be carried out in order to feel what they wish to convey. Suppose I give you a sheet of musical notes; that is, I convey to you some sort of data. Can you do anything with it? No. You must first perceive it as external information and then carry out the internal counterpart. If you read music, you’ll be able to sing it, and then you will know what I intended to convey by it.

Kabbalists do exactly the same by passing to you technical data. Carry them out in your soul and you will receive all they had intended. That is how you will know what they’re talking about.

The transfer of information through the Internet works the same way. I draw a picture on the computer screen or import photos from a camera, save the images in a particular format, and send you this information via a communication channel. You receive these technical data and use a decoder to once more transfer them into an image on your screen.

That is also how Kabbalists keep in contact with one another. They have attained a spiritual picture, recorded it, and passed it to us, except we’re missing the “decoder” to turn this information into that same picture. We read about it but don’t have any way to imagine what they’re talking about. To us it all seems like fantasy.

We are unable to decipher and extract the meaning of any of the four languages used by Kabbalists to describe to us the spiritual world (the languages of Tanach, Halacha, Hagaddah, and Kabbalah). But what is it that Kabbalists tell us? Use these texts as a “miraculous remedy” (Segula). What is Segula? If you want to attain revelation and somehow understand that the revelation is only possible in the quality of bestowal, you will see yourself and the whole world in love and bestowal to one another, in mutual guarantee, like one man with one heart.

If you aspire to this picture, you’ll begin to draw closer to the correct decoding of these texts. It will influence you, and, ultimately, the same spiritual “decoder” will be revealed in you. That is why we read The Book of Zohar.
From the 2nd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 12/28/10, “Introduction of The Book of Zohar, Article “You Are Partners with Me”

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A Dual Reality

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: If we have to view the group only as its inner, corrected state, how then does it differ from the rest of the world that also seems only to be uncorrected?

Answer: There is no difference in the inner meaning. But when you look at the group, you can’t help but notice that their aspiration to spirituality manifests externally, that they come to the lesson every day. This means they strive to reach spirituality but haven’t yet.

You have an external screen where you see how they yearn for bestowal while currently remaining in the egoistic system that intends to consume everything for self gratification. However, they already know, somewhat understand, and even feel that there is a chance to come to a different attitude to the world: to replace consumption with bestowal.

They know that there are two forms of experiencing life in the universe:

  1. A life where I instinctively try to gobble up everything because I was born this way, which is regarded as “the evil inclination” we are born with.
  2. And there is another attitude to life: bestowal, stepping outside oneself, when my “self” per se doesn’t exist unless it is included into all others. And this second approach is the one we wish to achieve.

It turns out that we already have two approaches. Everybody is living according to the 1st principle so far by consuming everything into oneself. This is what we are presently perceiving, “this world.” But we dream to reach another outlook on life and see the spiritual reality which exists in bestowal.

What will happen with the corporeal reality then? Will it disappear? No, it won’t. It will remain for as long as you need it, to the extent it needs to be employed as a necessary component.

So, now you should be able to understand what your material body is: It is a necessary measure that you have to preserve in order to keep consuming for your own benefit and not to bestow. But in reality, there is no body. Yet, to the extent that you need to be present in the egoistic consumption, you continue to exist in this material reality. And to the extent that you step outside of yourself, you enter the spiritual world.
From the 2nd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 12/28/10, “Introduction of The Book of Zohar, Article “You Are Partners with Me”

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The World Of Our Intentions

Dr. Michael LaitmanAll of the wisdom of Kabbalah speaks solely about the acts of bestowal that are realized in our mutual connection. The entire reality except this world exists in bestowal. This world appears before us in the opposite property, where everyone receives for himself as much as possible. In this tendency to “consume into oneself” we experience our corporeal reality.

Imagine tiny little desires scattered on a flat surface. If each of them intends to make maximal profit by taking advantage of all the others, they create a mutual connection that is regarded as “this world,” in all forms of its matter. In this case, people get tied by hierarchy, marry, bare children, unite, and all of it happens according to their intention to derive pleasure from the others. And this is the way they settle among themselves.

This is what we call “our world,” “this reality,” at all of its levels: the still, vegetative, animate, and speaking (human). We see the others as close or distant, depend on them to a greater or lesser degree, but all of it is according to our intention to feel pleasure.

The World of Our Intentions
We build this reality ourselves, with our intentions to enjoy whatever there is. But if someone says: “No! I wish to relate to the others with the intention to bestow, not to receive,” he will experience his new attitude to the same reality as spiritual world. It is described as: “I saw a reverse world.”

Everything is determined by intention. To switch from the intention “for myself” to the intention to bestow means to cross the Machsom (the barrier separating us from spirituality). In this intention of bestowal, there are 125 degrees, until we reach a perfect intention, absolute bestowal.

The reality we perceive right now in the intention for self gratification is imaginary. It is given to us solely so that we may use it as a stepping stone to the true perception of reality.

We received this egoistic attitude to others on purpose so that we could work on ourselves starting with it and further on, transition to the property of bestowal, and by ascending the 125 spiritual degrees, explore the connection between us ever more, that is, climb the rungs of the spiritual worlds. Only our intention determines what we experience, this or the upper world.
From the 2nd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 12/28/10, “Introduction of The Book of Zohar, Article “You Are Partners with Me”

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The Zohar: A Tale Of Hate And Love

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: I sit in the lesson reading The Zohar and exert effort along with the others. Can it be regarded as “sacrificing desire”?

Answer: No, it can’t. How do I know what you are reading? Perhaps you are simply enjoying what The Zohar explains in such easy, attractive, and exciting language.

Why does it excite us, and what does it wish to explain? The Zohar explains that if I wish to be connected with you, I will undergo the states it describes. It’s that simple! What do the author’s of The Zohar say? “We gather while feeling hate for each other; we are separated by a total abyss. And then we start trying to unite.”

At that time, there was no Book of Zohar in front of them; they were just about to write it themselves. What do they write then? They begin mutual work and start searching: “How do we get closer to one another? What can we do to experience any closeness at all?

How can we find connection between us, the network tying us together, which already exists? What relations define this connection and what are its stages? Which internal forces within us are at work: envy, lust, hate, strife for recognition, the right, left, and middle lines? If we correct it, make a restriction, then a screen, and if we rise above our will to receive pleasure (desire), how do we achieve anything? I reject this and that, act this way or the other….”

And so, they started writing The Book of Zohar based on what they underwent in their mutual connection, until they reached such exalted spiritual degrees that each degree was ten times higher than the previous one: from ones to tens, followed by hundreds, then by thousands, and tens of thousands (Ribo). Do you see what levels they reach?! This is the power of their unification. And that is what they wrote about.

Therefore, if you wish to imagine yourself in the same state, then everything they have described will affect you so that you, too, get closer with the others and in your connection with them undergo the same states, until you reach the state where the perfect Kli (desire) is filled with the infinite Light.
From the 2nd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 12/27/10, “Introduction of The Book of Zohar,” Article “You Are Partners with Me”

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Why Should I Value The Upper One?

Dr. Michael LaitmanRabash, “What Is A Big or Small Sin in the Work”: The value of bestowal is determined by whom we bestow to. If a person bestows to a small king, it is a small work. But if a person bestows to a great king, his bestowal acquires value and brings him great pleasure.

Question: While trying to imagine that I bestow to a great King, I feel that I am deceiving myself. What should I do?

Answer: It is correct. First of all, value depends solely on you. The Creator exists, and either you do or do not reveal Him. It is up to you. Do you have a “sensor” to detect Him? That’s the problem.

Generally speaking, what does it mean, “to value the Creator”? Rabash cites Rambam when explaining how at the start of his path a person undergoes a process regarded as Lo Lishma (not for Her Name). In other words, I value the King if by being closer to Him, I will gain more. As in our world, I measure His value against the pleasure that I can receive from Him.

What then makes me change my values? It’s the Light that Reforms. If, by way of the group, I keep thinking about the change that must occur in me, looking forward to the Light’s arrival like a rooster anticipating dawn rather than fearing it like a bat does, then changes do come, and I start appreciating the Upper One because He is a Giver, not because I can gain what He will give.

Now I value Him because He gives; I value bestowal, yet not bestowal to me, but the very property of bestowal. I wish to be similar to it. This new range of values changes a person greatly. The Upper One becomes truly Higher for him: exalted by nature, the King, whose value lies in the fact that He is a Giver.

In that case, I look up to the Upper One not because I receive from him but because I can become like him. I want Him to give me His attribute, allow me to become similar, closer to Him since closeness is determined namely by similarities of qualities, not by how much I can gain from Him.

The entire difference between corporeality and spirituality lies is our attitude toward the Upper One. Do we ask Him to reform us?

The Creator is at absolute rest, and everything is up to us now: If we wish to change in His Light, we will. If we wish to become like Him in our properties, we will, to the point of complete adhesion, absolute love.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 12/27/10, “What is A Big or Small Sin in the Work”

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The Hidden Law Of The Light

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: How can the Upper Light reform me if it is at absolute rest?

Answer: Speaking about the Light coming in and out, I refer to changes within myself. The Light is the phenomena within the vessel (desire). There is no Light without the vessel. Some of these phenomena I call “the Light” and I attribute various changes to them.

Everything is within. Some inner experiences I ascribe to an outside, external cause, while others I attribute to my inner causes, myself. After experiencing changes within, I relate them to either personal actions or the Light that seems to have brought them about without my awareness. These are our definitions.

A child says: “It broke by itself,” as if it weren’t he who broke it. So do we, due to the lack of spiritual awareness and revelation, take responsibility for some events upon ourselves and attribute the other part to some hidden factor.

Question: Is this hidden factor what we call “a miraculous force” (Segula)?

Answer: Segula means that I perform actions but cannot see direct connection between them and their outcomes. For instance, I am told: “If you hit the wall ten times, water will start running from the faucet in the backyard.” I don’t see any logic here; but meanwhile, there is a hidden mechanism in the wall, which responds to my hitting the wall and it turns the water on.

It is really very simple, but I am not aware of this mechanism. So I was told: “This is Segula. If you do this, you will get that.” Hence, I connect one with the other albeit I do understand the cause and effect logic underlying the events. Therefore, Segula is a law, but it’s concealed from me for now. There is nothing supernatural here: I just don’t know how this works.

I enter the group and hear: “Jump so many times, hug the friends so many times, sing this many songs, take part in this many conventions, and you will see the effect.” I have no idea how this is all connected, but Kabbalists gave us recommendations which do work. How they work, we will see later on; and for now, at our level, it is called “Segula,” a hidden law.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 12/27/10, “What is A Big or Small Sin in the Work”

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