Good Environment – 04.14.11

My Good Environment – Dr. Laitman’s Daily Advice for the Week

Kabbalah Moments: Everyone’s Parent

Weekly Torah Portion – 04.14.11

The Book of Zohar, Weekly Torah Portion “Acharei Mot,” Selected Excerpts
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It’s A Brave Profession Catching Snakes

Dr. Michael LaitmanOver the course of the entire spiritual path, our rod constantly turns into a snake and then becomes a rod again that supports us on the spiritual path. That is to say, we either walk below reason, in reason, or by faith above reason.

When you ascend again after you had fallen and started judging what is good for you with your mind, you have to beware for the return to faith above reason to not be an egoistic decision which the mind obligates you to make. Otherwise it will turn out that you are walking by faith below reason instead of above it, and that your faith, which is inside reason, descends even lower.

This is a very fine and acute discernment which jabs our heart. We have to be able to look truth into the eyes so the Creator won’t be able to trick us and force us to fall. After all, we have to catch this “snake” by the tail and pick it up from the ground so it would turn into a rod again, instead of falling under the burden of these states, under the weight of this snake.

It takes time for a person to form these concepts inside and to begin to understand whether he is in this work or not, whether he makes these discernments. Work with the “rod and the snake” is already work with your egoism when a person is between these two forces that influence him—Pharaoh and the Creator.

Everything depends on what he does with his rod—will he drop it on the ground or pick it up? By doing the latter he will build his own spiritual vessel (Kli), his “self.”

This does not simply mean being a good psychologist or knowing how to seemingly come out of yourself or look at yourself from aside in order to check what is going on. These are purely psychological tricks, but not inner spiritual work.

We are talking about discernments that take place in a person who has already established some kind of attitude to the Creator and to himself. From these two points he begins to build Pharaoh and the Creator, and himself in the middle.

Then he can wrestle with love for himself, which aspires so strongly to sweep him away, and by virtue of this hatred for this egoistic quality, he can ascend above his egoism.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 4/13/11, Shamati

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What Is That In Your Hands: A Rod Or A Serpent?

Dr. Michael LaitmanShamati #59, “About the Rod and the Serpent”: “And Moses answered and said: ‘But, behold, they will not believe me,’” etc. “And the Lord said unto him: ‘What is that in thy hand?’ And he said: ‘A rod.’ And He said: ‘Cast it on the ground…’ and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it” (Exodus 4).

We must understand that there are not more than two degrees, either Kedusha (Sanctity) or Sitra Achra (Other Side). There is no intermediary state, but the same rod itself becomes a serpent, if thrown to the ground.

…This is the meaning of the question, “What is that in thy hand?” A hand means attainment, from the words, “and if a hand attains.” A rod (Mateh in Hebrew) means that all one’s attainments are built on the discernment of inferior importance [Mata in Hebrew], which is faith above reason. This is because faith is regarded as having inferior importance, and as lowness….

There is one very fine discernment that is made constantly and that a person has to make in order advance by the path of the soul’s correction. It is called “the rod and the serpent.” You can check yourself this way: If I have a strong desire to do something and it’s clear that it is for my own sake, and I realize that this is how my egoism is expressed, which is blazing inside of me, then the same moment I understand this, I have to try to rise above this.

Even though I have a big inner desire to judge my friend in order to decide whether I should come closer to him or move farther away, yet above all of this I have to make an effort and raise my entire hatred, repulsion, disappointment and expectations of others—the friends, the teacher, and the Creator, and advance by faith above reason.

I must instead understand that precisely the conditions that I have been given are the “rod” that I have to pick up and take into my hands. Then it will become a symbol of my faith and will help me to advance.

However, if I throw the rod on the ground according to my desire (“earth” – Aretz, is “desire” – Ratzon), then it turns into a serpent.

I have to make this discernment in order to feel these two points inside of me, which are constantly present and contradict one another. My ego is blazing and wants to judge everyone—the friends, the teacher, and the Creator. And its complaints and anger are completely justified. It is sincerely indignant inside against all of them. But above this, I work on loving them, justifying them, and giving to them from my entire open heart by faith above reason.

When I feel these two points together, that means I correctly balance myself in my current state. These points are what make up my path toward the goal of creation.

On this path I will see that I am continuously overtaken by new calculations and criticism, new disagreements between myself and the environment, and this happens in order to make me think once again that I am right and they are wrong. This work begins right away, as soon as the group gets organized.

Either people will advance by faith above reason, or they will drown in these disagreements and will walk together with the snake, throwing their rod onto the ground, meaning, instead of faith above knowledge on the path they will go by faith inside knowledge or below it. Then the only thing left to do will be to wait for them to wake up, and that might take a very long amount of time—in fact, no one knows when that might happen.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 4/13/11, Shamati

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Pharaoh’s Troubles

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: When a person tries to come out of Egypt, meaning self-love, he receives blows which he can overcome only by asking the Creator for help. But besides that there is also the material, earthly egoism which receives blows at its level, such as problems with one’s family, health, income, and so on. How should we relate to these problems?

Answer: No matter what kind of problem emerges in my life, first and foremost I must see it as a disturbance that came from the Creator. Even if I am in pain, I must still rise above that disturbance through faith above reason. Despite it all, I know that I have to make calculations above the disturbance and not under its weight. I must stay in touch with its “sender,” the Creator.

As for responsible actions, in the realm of this world I have to resolve all the problems by the commonly accepted methods. When it comes to the bank, work, family, and health, I have to take care of everything just like any person in our world.

Thus, you build up a two-sided attitude to the problems:

– First of all, they come from the Creator and you are dealing only with Him. You want to have these disturbances because they give you the opportunity to rise above knowledge and stay in touch with the Creator. Then you are correctly treating the disturbances and you even begin to love and respect them. After all, no matter how much they bother you, no matter how much salt they put on your wounds, and no matter how nerve-wracking they are, this is exactly what helps you rise above them.

– Secondly, you resolve the incoming problems the way it’s customary in the material world.

Both of these dimensions must be present in your attitude. You attribute the problems to the Creator, and at the same time you want to work with them. We do not throw Pharaoh out of our lives, but we enjoy his troubles. After all, only through them can we reject him and separate from him, and thus ascend higher and higher.

Pharaoh is my most precious flesh, my core, my most sensitive point, my child, the most important and finest string inside of me.

Question: But Pharaoh resists the unity of friends. What do the material troubles have to do with it?

Answer: They also distract you from the inner work. It’s not accidental that so many Kabbalists experienced material problems. The Creator deliberately caused them to be sick and despised by the people around them. It was in order to give them a place where they could overcome.

At the end of the day, all of this is a result of the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart. The desire gradually becomes revealed inside of you and in conformity to it you experience various problems, both in others and in yourself.

Question: Do I have to ask for help in these cases? After all, the Creator helps us in only one respect—unification.

Answer: That’s right, and the problems obstruct you from doing this. When you are sick, it’s difficult for you to focus on love for friends. Most likely, you forget all about it. And that means you have to ask for help. There is none else besides Him. Everything comes from the Creator, but it happens through different channels.

You have to attain the goal, but your body, your “little donkey” is sick and cannot carry you. So what should you do? Leave him to die? But you need him on the path.

Why do you perceive this world separately from the spiritual work? Even small disturbances can be helpful if you work with them correctly. No matter what happens to us, it’s important to remember that this comes from a single Source, until we really come to feel that we are in spiritual exile.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 4/13/11, Shamati

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“Dressing” Into Someone Else

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: Why is the path to love so difficult and confusing?

Answer: It’s us who are confused.

I am ruled by the egoistic desire and everything I feel and think is only inside of it, for the sake of my own benefit. So how can I make a different calculation—not for my own sake?

Imagine that you “dress” into someone else and begin making a calculation from his perspective. It was a mere 100 years ago that people began to grasp such concepts. It’s not an accident that this period was epitomized by Freud and Einstein, who not only made seminal discoveries, but also had friendly connections with each other.

After hundreds of thousands of years of development, it was a mere century ago that the greatest minds of humanity finally invented psychoanalysis—or in other words, began to analyze man internally on the material level. Only then did they begin to research human perception, “Me and the surrounding world, me and the neighbor.”

This is not simple. It took a very long period of time to approach man’s animate soul, and that’s not even close to spirituality. The entire problem is that we cannot and do not want to dress into others. Society has to ensure that every person will do this, that every person will try to do it and start discerning how he appears in the eyes of the neighbor and what the neighbor wants.

This is very difficult even though it only involves psychological exercises in the plane of our world, which don’t even relate to spirituality yet. Do you want more? Go ahead. Organize an environment that will finally begin to influence you.

The path is long precisely because no one influences you. There is no progress without social influence. Where could a person get the spiritual details of perception? Only from the environment.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 4/13/11, Shamati

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Learning To Fly

Dr. Michael LaitmanA crucial principle of the spiritual work is that all of it is done against our will, unlike egoistic work in our world. When I am forced to work in our world, I thoroughly weigh whether it’s worth it in the first place. Or, I like the work itself, and then it cannot be called work, but rather an adventure, a journey, when I enjoy the process itself. Alternatively, it may be some hard labor but I enjoy its result, when I get a reward, a payment for it.

I always have to see benefit from my work, which my mind and heart can grasp. Everything depends only on how much I value the anticipated reward, and according to that I am willing to exert effort.

But on the spiritual path, we work against our nature and nothing supports us. Therefore, we don’t have any motivation, the “fuel,” to take action that seems to be pointless.

And it’s obvious that we advance little by little, from “Lo Lishma” (for oneself) coming to “Lishma” (for bestowal). In the words of Rambam, for “women, children, and slaves,” meaning us, who for now are at these levels, secrets (the true purpose) are revealed gradually. They are regarded as secrets because so far, a person can’t imagine where to get the energy and motivation to work.

It is as impossible as for me to start flying! It is above my nature! And hence, we undergo such a lengthy way of development, going from state to state and gradually acquiring some understanding, a sensation that comes to us by way of the Light that Reforms.

It doesn’t occur naturally, in a rational way; on the contrary, the more effort I put in, the further I go from the purpose—that’s how I evaluate it in my perceptions! And only in certain rare moments do I occasionally discover that it only seemed in my egoistic perception as though I was walking backwards, while from the point of view of the bestowing desires I was actually advancing. This is how we move forth.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 4/12/2011, Shamati No. 86

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The Teacher Connects Me To Life

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: How does the way we treat the words written in TES (The Study of the Ten Sefirot) differ from how we relate to your explanation of the text?

Answer: It is difficult to explain why the Creator made it so that we need someone to connect us with the upper reality in our world. It is similar to a mother and father we have in this world, who connect us with life. Indeed, it weren’t for the mother, I wouldn’t be born in the first place and wouldn’t exist until I grew up.

The same goes for the spiritual birth: I need someone who will give birth to me, tend to me till I mature in spirituality! It manifests in the birth of material bodies in our world and also in the birth of the souls, all of which is the derivative of the laws acting in the spiritual world where there is a certain order of spiritual Partzufim, and Aba Ve-Ima (the upper Father and Mother) give birth to ZON and tend to the souls.

But so far, I haven’t linked my broken soul into ZON of the world of Atzilut and cannot cause Aba ve-Ima to work on me; so I need a guide to spirituality! And he, right now, also looks as some material person to me since I cannot see the spiritual world.

The same pertains to the friends: I cannot perceive their spiritual desires and I think I am surrounded by some physical bodies. But later on, I will see that it isn’t so. The teacher and the friends are a spiritual mechanism, spiritual forces with whom I work.

That is how I should treat the teacher and the friends, with an understanding that they are part of the Creator given to me in order to help me connect with Him. In the degree that I value the teacher and the group and lower myself before them, to the same extent I will reach contact with the Creator. I don’t have any other opportunity to connect with Him and no chance to tap into Him in any other way.
From the 3rd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 4/12/11, Talmud Eser Sefirot

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