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Question: How do we build a student’s readiness to perceive the wisdom of Kabbalah in the group?
Answer: Through the connection. A person cannot be ready to perceive if he is not connected to the friends. They have to unite by raising the teacher’s greatness in their eyes, thus building the right connection. Someone small can only receive from someone great, from the group, from the teacher, from the Creator, if he lowers his head before them. This is the path up the spiritual ladder.
When the students connect, they create the necessary condition, and become one whole. It is a sign that each one has annulled himself before the others, and considers himself the smallest in the group, ready to bestow upon others. Being connected means to keep all the society’s conditions.
We begin to connect, and after many years go through the hardening of the heart, which is also called “the ten plagues of Egypt.” First we may think, why don’t the plagues begin immediately when they arrive in Egypt? But it isn’t so; first it is nice and pleasant to connect, just like it was nice and pleasant for the children of Israel when they settled in Egypt and received all their nourishment through Joseph who connected everyone to Yesod.
Joseph is Yesod that connects the five phases or the five senses: Hesed, Gevurah, Tifferet, Netzach, and Hod. Rabash used to give the example of a salad that is made of five ingredients: tomatoes, cucumbers, pepper, onion, and parsley. If you cut them all up and mix them, they will create something new, which is the result of the connection between them. It is the same with Yesod; it has nothing of its own, but it is the outcome of the connection, of their attributes. Through it, the children of Israel acquire thickness in Egypt and an increasingly greater desire, but in the meantime, during the “seven years of satiety,” this thickness operates in favor of the connection between them.
It was at the beginning of the exile in Egypt that the sons of Jacob together with Joseph sang “How good and pleasant it is when brothers sit together.” They felt that it is worthwhile to connect since together they succeed; together they are strong. Thus Egypt enslaves us by an egoistic connection.
This is the process until such a great thickness is revealed that it is impossible to do anything with it. Then Moses escapes from Egypt to the desert. He simply couldn’t be together with his ego. During the “seven years of hunger,” we discover that this enslavement, the adhesion to the corporeal values, is not in our favor, but the opposite, it detaches us from the goal. Suddenly I begin to understand where I am and what is happening to me. I look at my “animal” desire that has grown into a giant heavy body, and I see that this “animal” is no longer mine, that I am under its control, under it.
This is called “a new king rose in Egypt who didn’t know Joseph.” It is a good thing, since he shows us the truth, our true state compared to the Creator, and thus he brings us closer to our Father in Heaven.
Then, at the end, there are the ten plagues: We hold on to our unity and these plagues hit us in order to break us apart; they are all aimed against the connection.
If I am ready to rise above the ego, to beat the king of Egypt, I rise above these plagues in order to remain connected and united. It is more important for me than Pharaoh’s afflictions. On the background of the plagues, I ask the Creator to keep us connected since without this connection, we will not be able to leave Egypt; this is all our work.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 12/26/12, “The Wisdom of Kabbalah and Philosophy”
Baal HaSulam, “Introduction to the Study of the Ten Sefirot“, Item 107: Hence, after one attains the illumination of the face in such a measure that each sin he had committed, even the deliberate ones, is turned and becomes a Mitzva for him, one rejoices with all the torment and affliction he had ever suffered since the time he was placed in the two discernments of concealment of the face.
…has now become a cause and preparation for keeping a Mitzva and the reception of eternal and wondrous reward for it.
From this we learn that the more I have suffered, the more I am rewarded now. So does that mean that it is worthwhile to suffer in order to receive a greater reward later? That’s what it sounds like in our language, in our egoistic perception. The past is not erased; the correction is in turning it from sorrow to delight. Instead of a vessel that has suffered from darkness, from lack and emptiness, from wars, from diseases, from pains, which mean from lack of filling, we now feel a filling and in it we feel a reward and love.
Baal HaSulam, “Introduction to the Study of the Ten Sefirot,” Item 108: This is similar to a well-known tale about a Jew who was a house trustee for a certain landlord. The landlord loved him dearly. Once, the landlord went away, and left his business in the hands of his substitute, who was an anti-Semite.
What did he do? He took the Jew and struck him five times in front of everyone, to thoroughly humiliate him.
This is about the ego and about the point in the heart in a person, about how the ego dominates a person now and beats the “point in the heart” called “Jew” (Yehudi), which stems from the Hebrew root “unity” (Yehud). This point wants to unite with the Creator and suffers because it cannot do so. This means that it receives blows from its ego.
Upon the landlord’s return, the Jew went to him and told him all that had happened to him. His anger was kindled, and he called the substitute and commanded him to promptly give the Jew a thousand coins for every time he had struck him.
The Jew took them and went home. His wife found him crying. She asked him anxiously, “What happened to you with the landlord?” He told her. She asked, “Then why are you crying?” He answered, “I am crying because he only beat me five times. I wish he had beaten me at least ten times, since now I would have had ten thousand coins.”
In the earthy representation of this story, this seems coarse and egoistic, but we understand that the Torah tells us about a person’s internal world. Whoever understands this interprets it correctly.
“A person is a small world,” in which there are two opposite sides: a point in the heart and the heart itself. The heart hates the point in the heart that yearns for unity with the Creator.
The greater the desire to receive that is revealed in us, called the cruel egoistic heart, the more strongly it seizes the point in the heart and doesn’t let it advance. The point in the heart makes different attempts to escape it and to advance, and so it suffers from its domination and from its own slavery, from the tormenting exile. The tension and the struggle between them constantly grow and the point in the heart feels more and more pain since it cannot unite with the Creator.
This creates a vessel and so the filling arrives, which is called “upon the Landlord’s return.” The reward is felt in the same sufferings, in the same empty places that were created during the exile. This means that it isn’t the desire to receive itself that becomes in order to bestow, but the struggle against it
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 12/25/12, “The Introduction to the Study of the Ten Sefirot”
Question: It says that the Light of The Zohar is the strongest Light. But we keep saying that we have to draw the Light that Reforms. So what do we do during The Zohar lesson, add the Light that Reforms to the Light of The Zohar?
Answer: They are one and the same. The Light is one. There is no multiplicity of Lights; there is a simple Light, which means that it includes everything in it. It is simple because it has one attribute, one inclination, one goal, only to do good.
Because the created being exists in many different forms, it seems that there are many different actions on the part of the Light and that the Light has many sources, thousands of Lights.
I go through many states, and so it seems to me that there are many Lights that influence me and that every Light comes from its own source: This one is good and that one isn’t so good; one is more merciful, and the other is more severe, and so in thousands of shades. Therefore, the world seems so varied to me, as if I am influenced by endless external factors. I simply don’t discover that there is one source behind them, as if there is a multiplicity of Gods, or at least two, a good one and a bad one. Only when we reach the highest level do we see that it is all one unique force.
This is the difference between the wisdom of Kabbalah and all other beliefs, religions, and different doctrines that bow to different false sources. They too see one source that is split into several sources, as Baal HaSulam explains in the article “The Wisdom of Kabbalah and Philosophy” and “The Peace.” But all this stems from the fact that people don’t discover the real, ultimate, uppermost cause, but rather discover different intermediate forms on the way that are intentionally aimed at stabilizing us. This is why different Lights come to us in different states and we are confused, as if there are many reasons, but behind them we can identify one source. If you advance correctly by the wisdom of Kabbalah, then the moment you start, you begin to identify that there is none else besides Him, and you just discover Him more and more.
This is why Kabbalists say from the start that “the Lord is our God, the Lord is one,” and this should be our way.
From the 2nd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 12/26/12, The Zohar
The desire to receive, which we are in now, is bad. It is very good if we want to enjoy life, and it helps us as much as it can. But it becomes bad and cruel if a desire to bestow is evoked in us, and it doesn’t let us adhere to the Creator, to the upper level. The desire to receive places a Machsom (barrier) between the upper and us, which does not allow us to pass.
The tension, pressure, and yearning grow, and thus the vessels are formed. The vessels for attaining this upper level are not formed by the desire to receive that has turned into a desire to bestow, but are derivative of it. It is a result of the efforts and the sufferings, of the struggle between the spark of bestowal in a person and his desire to receive.
The spark struggles in order to adhere to the Creator, but it cannot do so since the desire to receive holds it by its feet and doesn’t let it break free. Then its exertion (for which the desire to receive is responsible since it held the “point in the heart” in its hands) becomes the vessel in which the unity of the next level is revealed.
This means that the desire to receive itself doesn’t become this vessel, it always remains restricted, but we work above it, by building our vessel above it, from the bricks of our exertion.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 12/25/12, “The Introduction to the Study of the Ten Sefirot”
Let’s draw a spiritual scheme of the present world order. In the center of the circle is the global organization of Bnei Baruch (BB). The first circle around Bnei Baruch are the Jews who are in Israel (Common Israel), the next circle is all the Jews around the world. The outer circle is the nations of the world, the rest of the world. Baal HaSulam wrote about this in this article, “Introduction to The Book of the Zohar,” where he clarified the question of the internality and externality.
The correction, without a doubt, depends only on the inner group. It begins to influence and to transfer this correction to the outside, and only in this consistent way, this correction spreads through all the circles, from the inner circle outwards. Thus, the faster we can reach the Israelis, the faster, easier, and more correctly can we work with the rest of the world.
It is clear that in the meantime, it is in the intermediate stages. Through the Jews in Israel and outside of Israel, we will be able to reach the most outer circles. And this is a big problem, a most serious obstacle on the way, especially the Jews that are outside of Israel. In Israel, at least, it is somehow possible to shake and stir them, but the next circle is very problematic.
But in any case, this is the way the spiritual ladder is built. The Jews who live in other countries of the world, they anyway comprise the inner part in comparison to humanity in general.
Until we correct this inner part, the Jews of Israel (ISR) and outside of Israel, especially the Jews of the USA, the process won’t include the nations of the world (World). There is no other way, only in this way will the upper light spread, bringing the general correction.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 12/24/12, “The Wisdom of Kabbalah and Philosophy”
Studies (from the California Institute of Technology): “Humans have a tendency to spontaneously synchronize their movements. For example, the footsteps of two friends walking together may synchronize, although neither individual is consciously aware that it is happening. Similarly, the clapping hands of an audience will naturally fall into synch. …
“In a new study, led by cognitive neuroscientists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), researchers found that body-movement synchronization between two participants increases following a short session of cooperative training, suggesting that our ability to synchronize body movements is a measurable indicator of social interaction. …
“For their study, the team evaluated the hypothesis that synchronous body movement is the basis for more explicit social interaction by measuring the amount of fingertip movement between two participants who were instructed to extend their arms and point their index fingers toward one another. ….
“The participants repeated the task eight times; the first two rounds were called pretraining sessions and the last two were post-training sessions. The four sessions in between were the cooperative training sessions, in which one person—a randomly chosen leader—made a sequence of large finger movements, and the other participant was instructed to follow the movements. In the post-training sessions, finger-movement correlation between the two participants was significantly higher compared to that in the pre-training sessions. In addition, socially and sensorimotor-related brain areas were more synchronized between the brains, but not within the brain, in the post-training sessions. According to the researchers, this experiment, while simple, is novel in that it allows two participants to interact subconsciously while the amount of movement that could potentially disrupt measurement of the neural signal is minimized. …
“‘The most striking outcome of our study is that not only the body-body synchrony but also the brain-brain synchrony between the two participants increased after a short period of social interaction, … This may open new vistas to study the brain-brain interface. It appears that when a cooperative relationship exists, two brains form a loose dynamic system.’ …
“As part of the study, the team also surveyed the subjects to rank certain social personality traits, which they then compared to individual rates of increased body synchrony. For example, they found that the participants who expressed the most social anxiety showed the smallest increase in synchrony after cooperative training, while those who reported low levels of anxiety had the highest increases in synchrony. The researchers plan to further evaluate the nature of the direct causal relationship between synchronous body movement and social bonding. Further studies may explore whether a more complex social interaction, such as singing together or being teamed up in a group game, increases synchronous body movements among the participants.”
My Comment: We are initially set up to full mutual synchronization and we get the greatest pleasure from this if we reach it. In it, we begin to feel the upper controlling power, our cause and the final goal.
Opinion (DeAnne Julius, former CIA analyst, founding member of the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England): “Look around the world and big risks abound. One or more countries may drop out of the eurozone. Violence may spread across the Middle East. The US Congress may yet drive the country off its fiscal cliff and into recession. An island dispute between China and its neighbours may flare up, provoking the US to intervene in the Pacific. But in my view, the single greatest risk is that one of these events or some other throws the world into another global financial crisis, a ‘GFC II.’
“This is a possibility for three reasons. First, the world economy is still in fragile shape and only slowly recovering from the GFC of 2007-08. … Second, economic policy is maxed out. Both fiscal and monetary policy have hit their effective boundaries. … The third vulnerability is political weakness. Prolonged austerity is undermining political support for mainstream parties and encouraging the fringes, both left and right. The peripheral eurozone countries are at particular risk.”
My Comment: To reduce these risks, wide international cooperation is necessary, but we see how governments are quietly watching the growth of protectionism and fascism in their countries. Only the adoption of a unified educational and training policy in all the G20 countries will bring peace and balance; only this will create the conditions for an understanding of the process of integration and making the right decisions in the new environment.
Question: During the process of spiritual work, I reach a state where I am not able to rise above my ego, and that causes tension in me, anger. Is it within a person’s power to rise above the ego, or can he only request it?
Answer: A person can never rise above his ego by himself. He can only request this from the Creator.
You can fight against all kinds of corporeal habits, for example, to stop smoking, to go on a diet, etc., thereby replacing one ego with another which is more beneficial for you.
But it is not in your power to rise above it, since the ego itself has no such means. For this, one needs to bring forth the upper Light, which is the ego’s opposite attribute, the attribute of bestowal, which will implement this action.
After rising to the new level, you will level off, establish yourself, see, learn what is done on this level by the new force, and then fall again, but this time even lower, to a darker space, to terrible confusion, in both feelings and in consciousness.
Sometimes you feel yourself as drunk, and sometimes as lost, without will power, completely helpless, and sometimes all of these together. It will seem to you that the problems pile up on you from all sides, that life is dark, and that there is no brightness in front of you.
All of this happens so that you will organize the correct connection with the group, the correct surroundings that will support you, and with each moment it says to you that you must turn to the Creator
You need to see it according to your friends who must show this to you. If any of the friends don’t show that he is turning to the Creator, yearning for Him, and that the most important thing for him is the importance of the goal, you must show him, since we are influenced by the group, from the group’s yearnings. You need to play, act for the friends, showing that you have a real yearning for going forward. Within you, you may be “dead”; that doesn’t matter, but on the outside, you need to play for the sake of saving the friends. If you do this, then you won’t have descents.
From the Novosibirsk Convention 12/9/12, Lesson 6
Question: What must the world groups do in order to constantly strengthen?
Answer: Personally, I feel that we must work together so that not only I, as a teacher, will nurture you with “drops of wisdom,” but also you, as students, will participate actively in our general learning process. Since without your exact and correct desire, forcing me to speak, I cannot say anything, I cannot do anything. We have now arrived at such a mutual, integral act.
For me, it is really a surprise. I didn’t think it would be revealed so suddenly and in such a sharp manner. I am very happy about this. But this mutual cooperation puts additional responsibilities on us, confirming once again the need for the relevant condition that I actually be at a level equal with you. There is the concept of a teacher-friend. Rabash also spoke about this. Thus, we need to participate together more frequently in all the events.
The friends must be equal. That is our mutual work, and here I constitute your senior friend and not your Rav. This is where the general integrality leads us.
Question: Does that mean that we need to be more self-reliant?
Answer: Of course! I constantly talk about that. After all, I am not eternal. And you will be left alone. But so that you won’t be left alone, you need to learn to act and advance forward independently. For this you have a method, a working system, tens of thousands of recorded hours in the archive, and books. There is everything! And I need now to slowly descend from the level of Rav to the level of friend, and then all of us together will discover the upper world.
From the Novosibirsk Convention 12/9/12, Lesson 6