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The Book of Zohar, Weekly Torah Portion, “HaShavuah” Selected Excerpts
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Baal HaSulam, Shamati #53 “The Matter of Limitation”: And this is the meaning of, “any sorrow will be surplus,” meaning that sadness comes to a person because he wants luxuries. This is what it means that when Israel came to receive the Torah, Moses brought forth the people to the bottom of the mountain, as it is written, “and they stood at the nether part of the mount.”
(A mount [Hebrew: Har] means thoughts [Hebrew: Hirhurim]). Moses led them to the end of the thought and the understanding and the reason, the lowest degree there is. Only then, when they agreed to such a state, to walk in it without any wavering and motion, but to remain in that state as if they had the greatest Gadlut, and to be happy for it, this is the meaning of, “Serve the Lord with gladness.” This is so because during the Gadlut it is irrelevant to say that He gives them work to be in gladness, since during the Gadlut gladness comes by itself. Instead, the work of gladness is given to them for the time of Katnut, so that they will have joy although they feel Katnut. And this is a great work.
This is called the main part of the degree, which is a discernment of Katnut. This discernment must be permanent, and the Gadlut is only an addition. Also, one should yearn for the main part, not for the additions.
From this point he starts entering the spiritual world. An indication of this state is joy. First of all, one needs to reach the first restriction (Tzimtzum Aleph), the screen and the Reflected Light, the intention to bestow, and advance as far as possible forward. And then, everything that a person needs is not considered consumption. That is why the sign of this state is a constant joy because he does not need to worry about anything; he is bathed in the Light of the Creator, in the sea of bestowal.
From the Preparation to the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 2/5/13
Question: The exercises and games that we use in the course of integral education, in general, are nothing new. Many training companies use games in similar combinations, organize roundtables, and do so in a much more sophisticated way.
Answer: We do not need to learn from others. This can only confuse us because we are not interested in the level where the other companies are.
That is why it is desirable, as in everything else, to use only our own Kabbalistic sources, to follow only them. And then, as they say, we will see.
When you follow the primary sources, you develop naturally, and based on what is revealed to you on the spiritual path, you transfer this to the students. I never take anything from the external sources: philosophy, psychology, new age, etc. I always felt some rejection towards them and think that we do not have anything to learn from that.
From a Talk on Integral Education 1/20/13
Question: We only need to reach an equivalence of form with the Creator. So why do we need all the books and all the talk about self-annulment and about unity? We must simply demand the equivalence of form and that’s it.
Answer: Go ahead, demand it. But how? Kabbalists wrote books only so that we can advance. On the whole we study two types of books:
– There are books that bring us the Light that Reforms—which are mainly the writings of Baal HaSulam.
Without this guidance you would not attain anything. You need someone to guide you.
Question: Still, why didn’t Baal HaSulam write a book about how to reach equivalence of form with the Creator?
Answer: It is forbidden. I have to look for equivalence of form by myself; I have to feel my way around and find it. Then I will understand what it is and that it’s exactly what I need and exactly what I aspire to.
And I would also understand how to ask for the power to do it. The desires can’t come from the outside; I have to arrange them internally. In our world everything is the opposite: I open a physics, mathematics, or mechanics textbook and study it. I have the necessary basis for that. In the spiritual preparation there is no such basis, no such tools or desires. Even if Kabbalists wrote a book like that, I wouldn’t understand what they want from me. What does it mean to raise the NHY to HGT?
This means that first I need to extract new levels of perception from the books, new powers, and new inner responses, to develop my mind, and to expand my feelings. First I have to develop internally, and in order to do that, the book has to perform certain actions on me, to “sculpt” something of me, to knead my matter and to stretch it by direct and by opposite bestowal. It’s only then that I acquire enough gentleness and sensitivity so that in a second reading I will already understand what it’s about.
After several years a person doesn’t read “Shamati“ as he did in the beginning. But how can this be explained to a beginner? This means that it’s impossible to manage without guidance and training…
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 2/3/13, “A Speech for the Completion of The Zohar”
Baal HaSulam, “A Speech for the Completion of The Zohar“:If one’s intention in the Torah and Mitzvot is not to benefit the Creator but oneself, not only will the nature of the will to receive in him not be inverted, but rather, the will to receive in him will be much more than what he was given by the nature of his creation.
Question: Is Baal HaSulam speaking about us here?
Answer: Yes and no. First the desire to receive must be revealed to its fullest. This is because a person can only correct the flaws that are in him. But until one acquires a Masach (screen), the desire grows in different manners: either by pleasure or by pain. In the second case, it grows wanting to avoid pain, and this pressure directs its growth in a certain direction, in the direction that is “anti-sufferings.” As for the pleasure, it grows by “swallowing” them and always remains in a double deficiency.
Then, during the time of preparation, when we yearn for connection and love, the desire grows in an opposite direction in order to constantly supply material for correction. On the whole, the growing of the desire doesn’t stop or retreat, it always moves forward.
Question: What is the difference between desire that grows opposite to the goal and desire that grows in a goal oriented manner?
Answer: Suppose that there is a nice place where everyone is given presents. There is a railroad that reaches this place and I can get there by train.
I may be moving backward while I believe that it is good (!) until I hit something and discover that I have chosen the wrong way. By discovering a minus (-), I am left with a question (?): So what should I do now? Then I gradually begin to move forward. This is the long path of suffering. After all, I make a detour before discovering that I have been going in the wrong direction. Yet in the process, my desire to receive grows.
I may be drawn forward meter by meter through the 125 degrees; again my desire to receive grows making the road increasingly harder. Let’s say that it isn’t a flat rail track anymore but an ascent up a mountain that becomes increasingly steeper. There, at the top of the mountain, is the King’s palace, and the road to it may be difficult, but it moves straight to it without any detours.
Answer: The parameters are the group, and, within it, self-annulment and connection. Practically speaking, there are no other means by which you can surely check and measure your steps.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 2/3/13, “A Speech for the Completion of The Zohar”
Answer: A “body in this world” means the desire to receive for one’s self. It fills all the space here (see drawing), and there is also a point in the heart (•), the posterior of Nefesh of Kedusha. It is shattered, which means that it also wants to receive for itself, but it can be turned into the opposite state.
Question: Where is the desire with the point in the heart?
Answer: First you feel that the desire exists and begin to notice the fact that the desire has no corporeal place. This desire is the essence of the spiritual creation.
Today you see before you the still, vegetative, and animate levels of nature, as well as people. All this is the imaginary world. Don’t look at it, put it aside, it isn’t the main thing.
Besides that, there is a desire to receive in which there is a spark. We have to take care of these sparks. Give the imaginary world the basic necessities and you are not obligated to do anything more than that since it’s all an illusion. You should provide everything for your main part.
This means that you have to isolate the point in the heart from everything that is in the desire to receive. We should differentiate it from within the desire and bring it out as much as we can, separate it from the desire to receive, and develop it. The desire itself should be restricted and annulled. Then there will be a connection that will help it and then several other steps…
In the News (from Inside Science): “When ants are confronted with information overload and face too many decisions – about where to live, for instance – they revert to the wisdom of the crowd.
“The colonies themselves are not very big, usually a few hundred workers, associate professor of biology Stephen C. Pratt said, and if an animal knocks a colony over, the roof falls in, or if they need more space, the ants have to move.
“But the ants live in areas in which the potential number of possible nest sites is overwhelming. One ant can’t cope with making the decision. No one is in charge in an ant nest.
“They distribute the task among colony members. That’s where the crowdsourcing comes in.
“According to Pratt and Sasaki, the ants send scouts to check out some potential home sites. The scouts look at such things as the size of the entrance and how big the cavity is. If the ant likes what she sees, she returns to the colony.
“She sends out a pheromone message, ‘Follow me,’ and another ant will join her in what is called tandem running. She takes her colleague out to view the potential site.
“If the second ant likes what she sees, she goes back and repeats the process, bringing back another ant. If she doesn’t like it, she merely returns to the colony. If enough ants like a site, the colony reaches a quorum, essentially choosing the new home.
“The scouts pick up their nest mates and carry them to their new homes, usually taking the nest queen along with them.
“Sasaki built an experiment in which one ant had to make the decision from two potential sites and then from eight. Half the potential sites were unsuitable in both experiments. He was forcing the ants in the laboratory to do what ants in the wild would not, send one ant to make the decision for the colony, Pratt said.
Individual ants, confronted with two choices, had no problems picking the most suitable site. When faced with choosing among eight, however, an ant often selected the wrong place.
“The two researchers tested a whole colony with the same choices, letting them send out more than one scout. The colonies, acting as a crowd, did equally well in both experiments, picking suitable sites 90 percent of the time. …
“Part of the advantage of the colony system, Sasaki and Pratt hypothesized, is that each scout visited only a few potential sites, minimizing the information it must process, while an individual ant, assigned to do it alone, had to visit them all and was the victim of cognitive overload. …
“‘Cognitive overload is a growing issue for human decision making, as unprecedented access to data poses new challenges to individual processing abilities,’ Pratt and Sasaki wrote in their journal article. ‘Human groups also solve difficult problems better when each group member has only limited access to information.’”
My Comment: The individual mind of “flocking” birds and “herding” animals exists in a minimum capacity and strength, and collective intelligence is used for all occasions, the power of the collective. Thus, nature holds together “in itself” the still, vegetative, and animate.
The human being must consciously, by the perceived need and against his individualistic nature, make a collective and unified whole out of himself and other egoists, and then he will rise to the degree of “Adam” (human), will feel and understand oneness and integrality of the system of nature, and will be able to intelligently and actively exist at the level of Adam. He will not need the animal body because it is only necessary to rise from the level of the animate (completely controlled nature) to the level of Adam (who controls nature himself, instead of the Creator).
We receive the force of bestowal from Above not knowing what it is since it belongs to the existence in another dimension. By ascents and descents we reach a state in which we begin to understand that we should ask to exist in another force, in the force of bestowal. I don’t want to depend on my mood, on whether I feel that something is pleasant or not, but rather I want to be above all that.
First the egoistic desire motivates me, but gradually, by the Light that Reforms, as a result of an increasingly greater influence of the upper force that changes me, I begin to want to rise because of what I feel. Each time when I feel the sweetness of my getting closer to the Creator, as a result of my work in order to bestow, of connection, in all manifestations of spiritual states, I “catch” myself and ask to be allowed to be in this state not because it’s sweet, pleasant, and comfortable, or warms me with the Creator’s greatness, the importance of the goal, the importance of my unique upper mission.
I would rather feel my lowliness, although the feeling of lowliness can also be felt in different ways and sometimes stems from great pride. But I feel such lowliness that enables me not to be bribed by pleasure, by fillings in the mind and heart; I would rather be driven by another force, which I don’t understand and only know that it’s the force of faith. It enables me to be independent of my own reason, which is called being above reason.
If I really demand to be above the fulfillment in my heart and mind, the result is something that transcends the limits of this world, some empty space. Then I pray and ask for faith, which means the force of bestowal that the Light should bring me in order to free me from the connection to myself, from the dependency on any most entrancing taste, from all of Malchut of Ein Sof (Infinity) that is full of pleasures.
I want to be above all that, in the force of bestowal, in order not to see and not to ask to see the Creator’s greatness, in order to not be dependent on any pleasures, fillings, and knowledge. I am above that and do not rely on anything. And the sign for this state is joy.
From the Preparation to the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 2/4/13
Opinion (Ian Bremmer, President of the Eurasia Group): “You know, we’re in my view, what we call a G0 world, not a G7 or G20, but a G0 – a place that has an absence of global leadership and puts nobody as number one I think really does reflect the fact that there is a vacuum of power.
“Before the financial crisis, the US was really leading all of the world institutions, you certainly saw that in trade, you think about the IMF, you think about the World Bank, the UN. I mean these are all institutions created by the US with their allies, their priorities, their capital. The US is no longer leading global institutions, but this doesn’t mean there’s no leading going on. It’s just that leading hasn’t been done globally. And you will see in 2013 the US working hard to push through, for example a very big trade deal the TransPacific Partnership. If it happens, it will involve forty percent of the world’s GDP, that’s not 100 or 80 percent – that’s 40. But it’s effectively the coalition of the willing on the economic side.”
My Comment: The development of society has led us to leveling everything and everyone. True, this is a long process, but it is already underway. It could not be otherwise because the world is moving toward full integration, unification, and unity, against its will through suffering, or consciously and willingly. Moreover, these two paths, although they lead to the same goal, are different for us: the long path through war, destruction, and starvation, or the fast path, easy, happy, peaceful. Choosing the path means accepting or not accepting integral education for everyone as a means to achieve the same goal through the good path.