Lost In Translation

Dr. Michael LaitmanBaal HaSulam, “The Peace”: To avoid having to use both tongues from now on—nature and a supervisor—between which, as I have shown, there is no difference regarding the following of the laws, it is best for us to meet halfway and accept the words of the Kabbalists that HaTeva (Nature) has the same numerical value (in Hebrew) as Elokim (God)—eighty-six. Then, I will be able to call the laws of God “nature’s Mitzvot (commandments)” or vice-versa, for they are one and the same.”

This is very important and leads to numerous consequences. In the past Baal HaSulam was accused of being close to Spinoza in his views and that he didn’t consider the upper force as “God” in the conventional religious sense, but rather compared the Creator to nature, which is mindless and lacks any feeling and develops according to “mechanical” laws.

Actually it is very interesting to see how Baal HaSulam describes his attitude to the Creator and to nature. This should also be our attitude. If we combine these two concepts, we will achieve the greatest thing in life, revealing the Creator as “nature” and in all things. Indeed, we are part of nature, which is the Creator.

“In general examination, we find that there are only two Mitzvot to follow in society. These can be called

  1. reception
  2. and bestowal.

This means that each member must, by nature, receive his needs from society and must benefit society.”

Science confirms the fact that on every level in nature there are two opposing active forces: In the inanimate it is in mutual physical chemicals and mechanical actions, in the vegetative world it is photosynthesis, and in the animate level it is in the cells and the organs… these forces are revealed especially on the level of man, that belongs to the spiritual world. The higher we rise, the more they diverge from each other as a result of the differences in creating the wealth of attributes that separate the human race from the inanimate, vegetative, and animate.

The data of the wisdom of Kabbalah aren’t different in any way from scientific data. Thus the “Creator” and “nature” is actually the same thing.

But there is another question here: Is there a preliminary goal in nature which determines the process of evolution and the final state? According to the wisdom of Kabbalah, “the end of the act is in the initial thought.” Let’s call it not a plan, but by the scientific term: “law.” So is there a general universal law? In this case Einstein also spoke the same language as Baal HaSulam and Spinoza. He also spoke about the unity of nature. Thus the views of people separated by three centuries come together.

Let’s come back to our times. Today we speak about mutual guarantee, adhesion, love, unity, common fate, mutual incorporation of desires, and the influence of the environment on the individual and the influence of the individual on the environment…. If we could explain all these concepts on the level of nature’s laws, it would be easier for us to disseminate. We will also feel more strongly to what extent it obliges us. After all, we are talking about a law and there is nothing one can do against a law. Everyone understands that there is no point resisting nature.

We have to adapt our language. Terms that seem religious, spiritual, and mystical should be changed to scientific terms and definitions. Thanks to this, our message will flow in the right channel and we will be regarded as researchers of nature. Humanity’s general situation today requires us to do that.

We must shift from the terms Kabbalists used to parallel scientific terms. We won’t be able to tell people about Reshimot (informational genes), the direct Light, the returning Light, or HaVaYaH…. We have to try and express all that in modern scientific terms, and then we will be able to approach humanity.

The second system for this approach is to translate the language of Kabbalah to psychological terms.

Thus, through the mind and feeling, we will convey our message to people. The technical terms, the “mechanism” of the forces, and the laws will pass through the brain and the emotional part will be expressed in psychological terms. Thus we will free the wisdom of Kabbalah from this complexity that stems from being “lost in translation.”
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 1/6/12, “The Peace”

Related Material:
Many Problems, One Answer
The Universal Law Of Harmony
Lost In Translation


  1. Although Rav says so above, nonetheless, I believe that some due become confused upon the vast difference between the view of the Kabbalists and Spinoza. I feel the need that this be re-emphasized because of the resurrection of the perceptions of Spinoza in Israel in this generation.

    Rav goes into a bit more on this in his blog entry: “There Is A Vast Difference Between Kabbalah And The Philosophy Of Spinoza.” However, if I might take the liberty, just to add what I think is a key problem with Spinoza comes down to the fact that Spinoza was a philosopher in the pejorative sense that the Baal HaSulam meant it.

    This type of philosophy became the “dark side” of science in the form of “scientism” — the belief, and a religion it is indeed, that what Man does not presently perceive/grasp, does not exist. [The “light side” of science being that what we can measure/perceive is all that we can grasp — the difference being the concept of “working model” vs. “worship model,” i.e., idol.]

    It comes down, it seems, to Infinity, where causality and purpose become one in Kabbalah. The philosopher, on the other hand, believes that he already has reasoned out infinity, and so forces the human bifurcation between causality and purpose. In standard religion, causality is lost, while in philosophy, it is purpose that is lost, or equivalenty replaced by “random chance”.

    In modern understanding already, a fundamental problem for the philosophers would be proving the “probability distribution” of Infinity to be “flat”. Indeed, “flat” in general was the downfall of Spinoza.

    As a university professor after his Cherem (“excommunication”), Spinoza was asked how he was so certain that he had found the best philosophy, being willing to sacrifice friends, family, and community for the matter. Spinoza answered that he had not found the best philosophy, but knew that it was the “true” philosophy, and as to how he “knew,” it was in the same way that you knew that the angles of a triangle sum to 180 degrees.

    Indeed they do — but only in the “flat” geometry based upon the assumption of the parallel postulate of Euclid, and the local-sensory interpretation of his definition of a “line,” which in the abstract is equally-well interpretted as a circle.

    As Einstein would later demonstrate, it is the nonEuclidean geometry, the “non-flat” that makes for the true-r reality of even just the corporeal universe.

    Interestingly, Einstein seems to have never tasted of the depth of “Similarity of Form,” the flip side of the perceived reality through difference of form which was the essence of Relativity. Ironically in this, he may have been too much the good scientist, and was unnable to perceive quantum mechanics as more that a working model that was based upon essential false premises.

    In an article in Physics Today in the early 1980s written after the then recent break-through experiments of Aspect et al at the University of Paris, the following rhetorical question was posed without a hanging answer. The experiments in question, which took place apporoximately 30 year after Einstein’s death, demonstrated the quantum theory to be much more than merely a “working model,” ironically by actualizing Einstein’s own thought experiment that he had believe to prove the opposite.

    To the question, “If EInstein lived to see this, what would he have done?” The author suggests that Einstein would have gone home to think hard about it for a few weeks. Whatever he then said would have very interesting indeed.

    I suspect that it might have sent him down the road to becoming a Kabbalist. Perhaps so, maybe in this lifetime…

  2. Dear Rav,
    The idea is wonderful but I would like to respectfully defer on the idea of borrowing from the vocabulary of psychology to explain Kabbalah terms.
    As an insider of the psychology field, I do not see how it can be done.
    Psychology, in its short existence, has moved from the “psyche” to the brain, to chemical imbalances, and now to the lucrative domain of “medicating.” The notion of psyche is nonexistent, chemicals are used to alter and control temporarily brain functions, emotions and impulses. We are already suffering from the nostalgia of psychology which is undergoing a metamorphosis.
    Kabbalah is enduring, ageless like the soul.
    I would try a lexicon that is less volatile.
    Thank you.

Discussion | Share Feedback | Ask a question

Laitman.com Comments RSS Feed