Kabbalah Moments: Effort

Celebrating The Giving Of The Light

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: What do we celebrate during holiday Shavuot?

Answer: During Shavuot, we celebrate the giving of the Torah. It’s the day when all who are regarded as “Israel” (“Isra-El,” meaning “straight to the Creator”) were given the Torah, the method of self-realization through free will, rather than coming to the pre-programmed state of fulfillment under the impact of the Light pushing them to it.

On the contrary, they are able to see themselves, the entire reality, and even the Creator. Instead of Him doing it, they can decide that they truly desire to reach this goal, as if He wasn’t the one who supplied it.

We celebrate that we are able to understand, feel, and attain the upper force that works within us and can identify ourselves with its acts. Clearly, this upper force, the Creator, works either way. However, we attain how He works; we desire for Him to work on us, and even before He takes any action, we already strive toward Him. This is how love is measured.

Question: So, only with the giving of the Torah did we obtain free will, the freedom to accept the method and realize it willingly, whereas previously, we didn’t have any such free will, did we?

Answer: Correct. Hence, it is regarded as freedom from the angel of death, “being a free nation in our own country (our desire),” being free. What does such freedom entail? Now I am able to express my own view of the purpose of creation and our path.

Can you switch to another purpose? You can’t. Can you choose a different path? No. What is so unique about it then? I take my part in it; I make a decision; I choose this desire; I am present in this process. Otherwise, I’m not. The Creator gave us a chance to participate. This means I assert myself and my independence, which happens in the degree I identify myself with the Creator by becoming similar to Him. I am either a beast or a human.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 5/29/2011, Shamati #40

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Kabbalah Without A Trace Of Mysticism

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: How did the first teachers of the wisdom of Kabbalah receive this knowledge? Where is its origin? People think that Kabbalah is something close to magic, and many myths surround it.

Answer: Adam was the first Kabbalist who lived 5772 years ago. He was the first of all of humankind who discovered that an integral system of nature exists and it is possible to reveal it.

People had lived before him, but he was the first man in history who had questions: “What do I live for? What is the secret of life? Where is its source?” He wrote a book about this; it reached our days and is called The Secret Angel (Raziel HaMalach). An angel is a force. The “secret angel” means the “hidden force.” It is a small book, a few dozen pages.

The next book was written by Abraham around 3700 years ago and is called The Book of Creation (Sefer Yetzira). This book explains for the first time in a systematic form, the “Sefirot,” the 32 forces that descend to us and are connected among themselves.

At the same time, several Kabbalists together wrote one more Kabbalistic book, The Great Midrash (Midrash HaGadol), which means explanation or commentary. Many more books were created after that, until the greatest Kabbalistic book appeared, The Book of Zohar, which was written around 2000 years ago.

After that, plenty of books were written, up to the time of the Ari who lived in the 16th century. The Ari’s main book was The Tree of Life (Etz Chaim), which talks about Sefirot and worlds and is full of drawings and diagrams.

From the immense number of books that appeared after it, the most important for us are the books of Baal HaSulam, written in the 20th century.

All these books were not known to the general public. They were mentioned only occasionally, as though “leaked.” This formed a mysterious aura around Kabbalah as if it involves mysticism, secret forces, performing miracles, and predicting the future through Tarot cards. In reality, this is not related to Kabbalah at all!

Of course, Kabbalah uses symbols, diagrams, graphs, drawings, and Gematria (the numerical value of words). Kabbalah studies the soul and its stages of growth. But there is nothing mystical in it. I would say that it is simply the physics of the upper dimension.

Kabbalah is not associated with religion and any mystical practices. It is a science for people who want to know. Naturally, they have to work on and correct themselves. I would compare this with tuning a radio which is surrounded with many radio waves of various frequencies. If I tune the radio and create the wave that corresponds to the wave existing outside it, I receive that external wave and can hear the signal.

The science of Kabbalah helps us create these waves inside ourselves, and we begin to sense the force existing outside us, perceive, and study it. We develop the inner sense of hearing and inner sense of sight. The inner sense of hearing is called the degree of Bina (Sefira Bina), and the inner sense of sight is called the degree of Hochma (Sefira Hochma).
From the Lecture in Rome 5/20/2011

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Bringing The World To Harmony

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: The problem is that people think they own the earth and in their desire to extract from it as much as possible, they are destroying the earth. People don’t understand that the land was given to them only to use, not as their personal property. It drives humanity to wars, struggles to conquer more territory and resources.

How can studying the wisdom of Kabbalah harmonize the different views people have and make them understand that by using the earth selfishly, first and foremost they harm themselves?

Answer: It can be done only if one sees the reverse side of the tapestry! If we don’t learn to see this world as transparent and detect the forces working in the surrounding reality, we will not change. Our ego can break only if it clearly sees how its actions are bringing it pain: “It will hurt me.”

We must come to a state where we reveal that nature is integral. Then I simply won’t be able to commit evil since I will see how in doing so, I harm myself. That is the only way! There is no other possibility. People won’t learn in any other way.

But we can reveal this kind of mutual connection between us through working in an environment in attempting to connect and unify, and trying to rise above our egos. Then we get to feel how difficult it is and begin to examine ourselves, our nature, and all our egoistic properties; we discern how we are or are not able to unify with the others against our desire and to elevate them in our eyes.

This is tremendous inner psychological work, and it continues until we start to discover the internal forces. Basically, it occurs when we reveal the general force, the power of unity, which transforms every one of us.

Yet, we don’t have a choice. Today, humanity finds itself in a very perilous state. We can clearly see that in another 10-15 years we will have exhausted all the world’s resources for energy. Production of all main sources of energy, such as oil, gas, coal, and water, is sharply diminishing. We need to reach balance with nature.
From the Lecture in Rome 5/20/2011

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Kabbalists On Love Of Others And Love Of The Creator, Part 5

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

Love of Others Is the Means to Attain the Love of the Creator

With respect to a person who is still within egoism, there is no difference between the love of the Creator and the love of his fellow person. This is because anything that is beyond egoistic interests is unreal to him. … Hence, the aim of love of one’s friend is nearer and is revealed faster since it is mistake-proof and manageable.
Baal HaSulam, Matan Torah (The Giving of the Torah), Item 15

Man feels that he exists independently. But in truth, it is an illusion because everything that exists is but Him. Hence, when lying to or saddening one’s friend, one is lying to or saddening the Creator since beside one, there is only the Creator. For this reason, if one is accustomed to speak the truth, it will help him with respect to the Creator.
Baal HaSulam, Shamati (I Heard), Article #67, “Depart from Evil

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Above The Matter Of Egoism

Dr. Michael LaitmanAs we rise above egoism, besides everything else, we make a wonderful discovery: We begin to discern that essentially, the entire world exists within us, and not outside of us. And this is logical because I really don’t know what exists on the outside.

A person only perceives what enters his senses and through the nervous system reaches his brain, which processes the final “image.” This is the way we perceive the world. It is enough to sever a nerve to make a part of our reality disappear from our senses.

Thus, as a person rises above himself, he sees that his perception is not at all on the outside, but fully depends on his senses, desire, thought, sensations, and mind. And when we know how to change these parameters, we can expand our perception and rise above the limits of the five senses.

This is where the name “the wisdom of Kabbalah” comes from, which literally means the wisdom of  “reception.” A person uses it to gradually come out from the physical senses of his animalistic body and expand the sensations to the point of infinity. While living in our world, he advances to the level where he no longer associates himself with a corporeal body since he sees a much greater reality above it.

Now he no longer conditions his life to perception in the five senses. And even after the body dies, the person remains in the reality he has acquired above it. He does not feel death since a new dimension has entered his perception before the death of the body.

This way a person lives on two levels: the corporeal degree, like all of us, and the “incorporeal” degree that rises above egoism.
From the Lecture in Rome 5/20/2011

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Lecture At Unity Evening – 06.06.11

Lecture at Unity Evening
Download: WMV Video|MP3 Audio

Revealing The Connection Between Everything

Dr. Michael LaitmanEssentially, Kabbalah is the method of correction of man, man’s nature. And so, within the framework of our studies, we are involved in widely distributing this information.

We have around two million students worldwide; we teach in 26 languages in many countries. We see that all different kinds of people and representatives of many nations express their need for this wisdom, and they begin to understand that the world has no future without it.

Besides that, we teach children and see how much more developed they become, how it opens them up. We publish books, broadcast on television, and work actively on the Internet. We promote development.

We study the wisdom of Kabbalah in groups. It is not about growing apart from others; rather, a person develops individually when he is in the group, in the environment, and constantly changes himself through the group dynamics. Essentially, a person adapts himself to the environment that has to show him, time after time, the need to rise above egoism and exit from himself into love of others. A person practices this in the group.

By establishing contact with the environment, a person feels its needs and unites with it. Then, a connecting network is revealed between everyone; it is above personal egoism, and a person feels common bonds, a common force that dwells between them. As a result, it’s as if everyone exits oneself and starts connecting to this collective force.

Thanks to this, we find out that above the reality that we are aware of, there is a higher reality. We perceive our current reality inside, in our vessel, and thus we are limited. We want to receive pleasure, and when the pleasure enters the desire, they cancel each other due to their mutual oppositeness.

It turns out that each time we achieve something, we enjoy it for a moment—and the pleasure disappears immediately. We run after the next pleasure, touch it, and it vanishes as well. As soon as the pleasure enters the desire, it neutralizes the latter at once: A short circuit between the plus and the minus leads to annihilation.

On the other hand, when a person exits himself and above his egoism starts to unite with the group, with other people, he creates a vessel above himself, an external desire. Now he feels outside himself both the desire and the pleasure, and they do not disappear. On the contrary, reality turns into the flow of infinite life above time.

Pleasure that enters and disappears over and over again creates for us a sensation of time. But if the pleasure is not extinguished, if we feel how it flows endlessly, then we rise above a sensation of time and begin to perceive the general force of nature, which surrounds and arranges us together.

We begin to discern connections between all the parts of reality, resembling the interwoven threads on the reverse side of an embroidered picture. Outside, we see a “pattern” of our world, but if we look behind its surface, we will see the threads tying the parts of this picture. This is what we discover with the help of the science of Kabbalah: the connection and mutual influence between us.

This produces a great impact on people, and they change. Having seen this reality, they understand that we cannot manage without connection and mutual understanding because they can see the harm they may cause to others.

Thus, we need not faith, but attainment. In this way, a person becomes free and begins to see the world clearly. Then, according to his degree, he determines the correct course of actions for himself.
From the Lecture in Rome 5/20/2011

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I Can’t Live With Or Without Them

Dr. Michael LaitmanThe science of Kabbalah says that the entire reality consists of desire which is constantly evolving. From the still level, the vegetative one grows, followed by the animate and human levels.
Desire continues its relentless development in humans, and that is why each successive generation differs from the previous one, and even one person during his lifetime keeps on changing his desire, his ego, and is constantly developing.

Thus, we grow above the animate level, build society, industry, technology, science, and so on. However, satiation is inherent to this development. It first manifested itself in ancient Babylon when a special situation was created: On one hand, people came to greater egoism, wishing to “build a tower reaching up to heaven,” and on the other, they plunged into mutual hatred to such an extent that they no longer understood each other.

These two opposite forces brought them to an unbearable state. The same process goes on in a family before divorce: The spouses are bound to each other by strong ties, such as children, a common home, household, and life and at the same time experience insurmountable hatred; they cannot stand each other. Under such circumstances, the science of Kabbalah was revealed in Babylon.

Kabbalah teaches people how to rise above egoism to mutual connection, to harmony in an integral society. Thus, we become similar to nature which is also “round” in its essence, in other words, integral, global, and inseparably interconnected in all its parts.

Had we joined nature in this manner, we would have come to balance and would have revealed all the forces that are present in it and manage it. Then, we would have connected to the general force that governs everything. However, humanity in those days preferred to reject the path of correction and dispersed, as in the example of divorced spouses.

As it is said in the science of Kabbalah, 3,700 years later, we will come again to such a state; however, this time we have nowhere to run from each other. We will be totally interconnected with each other throughout the world, hating each other, and having no ability to manage without each other. Our egoism is growing to the scale of the biggest multi-crisis, and, as Kabbalists write, it should happen at the end of the 20th century.

When I started studying the wisdom of Kabbalah in 1975, I did not believe that everything would happen in this way. It seemed something so distant and unrealizable. Could the world come to crisis in such spheres as education, culture, family, drugs, terrorism, technology, or science? Would people around the world feel interconnected? Nothing like it could be felt then.

Nonetheless, it happened within a few years. Today, we are in the same state as described in the story of Babylon, and for that reason, the science of Kabbalah is opened to the world for the first time since then.

Being revealed to the world, it invites everybody to become acquainted with the general laws of reality so that we can rise above our egoism and live in mutual interconnection, as one big family does. Indeed, the global force of nature surrounds us closer and closer, compressing us so much that it may lead to the destruction of humankind.
From the Lecture in Rome 5/20/2011

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The World Will Not Survive Without Faith Above Reason

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: To annul oneself sounds so unnatural for a secular person; all our nature is against it. What can force humanity to sit on the school bench and study Kabbalah?

Answer: I do not understand why self-annulment appears so unnatural to you. I used to study at a university, and there was a professor whom I considered a great expert in his science. I wanted to absorb all his knowledge, and thus I annulled myself before him. This is also called self-annulment.

If I read a book or an article and want to understand what is written in it, I stick to the author’s thought and emotion. It is a kind of self-annulment. I would not be able to do anything without cancelling myself! To cancel oneself means to open oneself for the reception of knowledge, information, and sensation from outside.

There is an expression: “The sages came and said.” In this way, clever people come—political scientists, psychologists, economists, and teachers—the 10 percent of the cream of society, the most intelligent, clever part of humanity that is concerned about our future, and they tell the rest, the remaining 90 percent: “Ladies and gentlemen, we are facing a huge problem!”

“If we continue in this way for ten more years, and a world war does not occur before that, we will be left without natural resources. We will not be able to grow anything. We need something to eat and energy for heating and cooling. But we have to reduce our consumption to a reasonable level.”

Scientists, smart people, say that, so why would you not believe them? When I see a doctor who looks at my X-ray and prescribes a treatment for me, I trust him and accept therapy. Although I have no way of checking what happens on that picture (is it mine at all? It might be someone else’s X-ray), I have to believe my doctor and in his remedy; I have no choice.

In order to take the medication, from my level , I have to believe the one who gives it to me that it is something good and it will cure me. This is also called self-annulment. This happens everywhere: When I come to a teacher, to a doctor, or in any place where I want to receive something. I have to be prepared to pay for that (Leshalem in Hebrew), that is, to complete (Leashlim in Hebrew) myself.

When all the media, plenty of important people, scientists, professors, politicians, and economists all talk about this, they will be able to convince people. This is far better than the world war that might occur where  you would not know what might happen to you in the next moment.

We have no choice. You cannot dictate your own conditions to nature if it imposes such conditions. Whether you want it or not, you have to agree. Either you stop this crisis by your inner participation or perish. This is not like with your mother when you can be capricious for a while and do things your own way. These are the laws of nature.

These laws are explained to you by serious, respected people who understand them. Do not think that they benefit from this: They are in the same situation as you are. This is our common problem.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 5/29/2011, Shamati #40

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