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Question: There are two things that guard a person along the spiritual path: A framework that he has determined for himself and the right environment. Does he have to constantly expand this framework?
Answer: Not necessarily. When I was at Rabash’s side, I didn’t see him changing the framework of his life in any way. He used to study at the same time at night, and then there were the walks on the beach, in the park, in the forest, to the sauna, and the afternoon rest in order to study again in the evening. He kept this daily pattern for years without any changes, not even in the food he ate.
Why should we make any changes in corporeality? All the changes have to be internal and not external. We know that a donkey doesn’t yearn for new delicacies, but rather prefers the grains with which he is familiar. An elephant prefers grass. An animal enjoys what it needs according to its nature. Modern fast food is no good since our body hasn’t changed. We are only poisoning ourselves by all this stuff. Our body needs simple, natural food as it should be.
It’s very good if a body is accustomed to a certain daily schedule. It’s even recommended to take medicines at the same hour every day. A machine that performs a repetitive action breaks down less often; even an ordinary engine that operates all the time and is not turned on and off all the time works much longer.
There is nothing worse for an animal than changes in anything that have to do with its nature. But in the part that doesn’t belong to nature but that is above it and which belongs to the spiritual world, the whole life is about changes. The amount of changes is an indication of spiritual health, of spiritual power.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 7/7/13, Writings of Rabash
The first stage when searching for a life partner is to peel from myself all extraneous things, like artificial values and perceptions of life, that I receive from external influences during my life. The second stage is returning to youth, to the ages of 12-15 when we suddenly fell in love for the first time in life and we discovered some kind of space within ourselves that could be filled only by a complementary reaction from someone, through reciprocity.
Question: Where do we begin our “peeling”?
Answer: It’s necessary to start from discussions in groups of single men and women. There we try to clarify what is artificial and didn’t belong to us from the start and that we acquired during our lives from different societies, artificial connections, from the Internet, from models that established all of our behavior of how to look and behave. A girl thinks that she needs to be seen as sure of herself and haughty like a princess. And a boy needs to be seen as macho, a hero, tall, strong, successful, and full of self confidence.
But it’s up to us to peel away from ourselves all of the images associated with a society that forces us to be seen this way and not another, and to clarify my true need in connection to which I can open myself wide without fear of anything. For if I truly cleanse myself of all the excess, then I will discover that I am that child who is not afraid that someone will harm him.
It’s up to me to understand that I am placed before the society as before nature with its laws. If I am included in it in a more open, clean, and simple form, I can feel myself protected. Specifically, thanks to the discovery of my examined heart, I can clarify who is ready to be with me in a reciprocal connection.
That is how I search for male friends for myself and also women, judging how appropriate they are for me, how they understand me and flow in the same wavelength as me. We pay attention less and less to exteriors and later pay less and less attention to gender; rather, we consider more and more the Adam (man) in them.
When we attain a feeling like this through directed discussions and workshops that raise us from the animate level to the “speaking” level, then I see who is close to me in soul and I am not attracted physically, nor do I answer to the distorted artificial standards that I received from society. It’s up to me to discern which friends are closer to me with the help of my soul, my inner voice.
Which is to say, first of all, I peel away all of the superfluous things that don’t belong to me. In the name of this we speak, make conversation within our group, and want to reach connection, to help one another. And after I have peeled all of this away, my true self remains, the pure, natural potential that existed before they clothed me with all the external Klipot. This is no longer that little child, but is my true deficiency, the inner void.
The first deficiency to link with another human I received from the outside as a natural yearning. But the second time the deficiency comes from me, from within me, “from below to above”; I awaken it with my own force, therefore it belongs to me. Therefore I can control it, understand it. This is no longer just a natural instinct that falls upon me from above to below, rather it is derived from me, which is to say, “from below to above.”
The first desire is from that child who fell in love for the first time in his life. And after that they added a “hardening of the heart,” life covered him with various egoistic coverings. Now it’s up to me to try to peel away all of these coverings, all of the superfluous layers, that conceal the true self and return to the natural deficiency. But this will not be that same child any more.
The first love symbolized for us the need, the thirst for an inner spiritual link with some perfected form, which we described as a young woman that we loved, a link from soul to soul. And now it’s as if I return to that state, but this is after I have peeled all of the artificial layers from myself and therefore I am found between two lines. On the one hand, I hold onto the pure natural deficiency, and on the other hand, I have all the Klipot, all of my ego, the evil force.
I have peeled away all of the concepts from myself that are considered to be good and evil in the eyes of society and that are not derived from me, all of the values that I received at school: how to look and how to behave. For all of them play their role.
I once saw a scene from an American film in which they laughed at the artificial behavior of children in a classroom. The children played roles all the time, imitating famous actors from the movies. And it was clear from what film and from what role each one was acting at the moment. And in the next moment, he already had begun to play another role, and that’s how it was for each one.
It’s up to us to peel from ourselves all of the images that they stuck on us, that they compelled us to play all the time. You will suddenly catch yourself thinking about how to sit, how to hold your head nicely. I see how my grandson mimics precisely all the movements of the kindergarten teacher.
An adult is tied hand and foot by models of behavior, images, preferences, and values. This begins with those that he adopted in childhood until the ages of 6-8, through a natural mimicking of adults. And after that he already began to store them himself through his ego, a desire to look good because society shows him that this is proper behavior in its opinion.
From the Talk about Integral Upbringing 4/4/13
Baal HaSulam, Pri Hacham (The Sages Fruit): A person who is an exception and pleads for his soul doesn’t build but rather destroys his soul. It says “he who is proud,” since one cannot be an exception if it isn’t for the attire of pride, and woe to the one who brings destruction upon his soul.
If a person doesn’t aspire to dissolve and to disappear into the general, then from a spiritual point of view, it means that he is immersed in pride. It isn’t the pride we know in our world that compels a person to feel higher and more successful than others. If he doesn’t want to connect with others and to enter them, it is called spiritual pride. He destroys his soul if he doesn’t pray in order to be incorporated in the general and to operate through the general, which means for the good of the general, as he annuls himself and disappears there.
The moment we begin to cry and pray in order to connect, we receive the power to exit Egypt and to hide from our own ego. The exodus from Egypt is an escape from my own ego thanks to the recognition of the necessity of connection.
The Light spreads and dwells in the vessels of receiving of the general when we all unite above each one’s ego and are filled with the Light of Hassadim. At the same time each one annuls himself before the general, giving up his desire to receive, uniting into one desire, into one vessel, that is filled by the upper Light.
The preparation is actually in the connection, which means in bringing ourselves to the form of the Light that is one. Then one vessel receives one Light. The moment we reach even the slightest level of adaptation to the Light, we immediately discover that we are in it, connected in unity with the Creator.
This is revealed only through the connection. Everyone who thinks and hopes to reach something independently and not through the group perceives reality the wrong way and thus draws himself further away from the goal and destroys the group. What’s more, it refers to absolutely every action, even in our personal life, since corporeality has to disappear into spirituality. This is a very serious condition and the more we advance, the tougher become the conditions.
It says that the giving of the Torah occurs every day, which means that the spiritual state already exists and is before us and everything depends only on our preparation for the receiving of the Torah, when we will manifest a great deficiency to reach the first connection be revealed in us. Then we will immediately exit Egypt, receive the Torah, and be incorporated in the process of the spiritual work.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 7/05/13, Writings of Rabash “Igrot,” Letter 33
Baal HaSulam, from the article, “Peace in the World”: Thus you find that the attribute of truth has no practical ability to organize the path of the individual and the path of the collective in an absolute and satisfactory manner. Also, it is completely insufficient for organizing life at the end of the correction of the world.
The attribute of truth is the only attribute that makes it possible for us to organize our lives according to nature.
The basic law of reality is the law of the equivalence of form. In principle, a law cannot include only one thing, there must be two components in it that are linked together according to a particular formula. Therefore, if I equalize my personal characteristics with some model, with this I am found in unity with it, in connection, in fulfillment, and so on.
This is called “truth.” And I need to measure the quality of my equivalence to a standard, or lack of equivalence to it according to the characteristics.
In general, the entire creation is the opposite of the Creator. And therefore the entire process of my development is in the adaptation of my characteristics to His characteristics more and more all the time, until I reach unity, adherence, and full equivalence. And my ability to measure my present level of equivalence is called “truth.”
This truth is accurate, clear, true, and tested. Thus we constantly check ourselves relative to the Creator.
Look, there is a Creator and there is a creature, and the measure between them is called truth, the true measure. This is the true measure, the weight, the distance, the difference, or the adaptation between the characteristics.
That is also how among ourselves we need to measure ourselves and the group. And the truth is that this is how we measure ourselves: to the degree that each has adapted to the group, to this degree he has adapted to the Creator. In other words, according to a group that is corrected on our level, they check how much I am damaged or corrected in comparison. This is how we examine the degree of truth.
But how do we measure ourselves now in a physical world from which we want to approach spirituality, the completion of correction? According to what do we make this measurement? You see, we don’t see a corrected society in front of us, and we don’t even know what a corrected society is.
As long as we have not brought into society integral education, knowledge of the ideal state—a state called harmony, a balance between all forces and factors, contentment, from which nobody can remove us—as long as we have not reached this state, we are in trouble.
How do we do this? We describe a balanced state in society to ourselves: All of us are equal, all of us love, all of us bestow, and so forth. A state similar to this we place as our goal, and we can already measure according to this state.
But in spite of all this, it is difficult to measure the contrast with it. Therefore we continue to wander in fog and confusion, which impedes us even if we describe to ourselves the right picture and are detached from the experiences of the various “builders of communism.” There is a need to find true, precise standards, but in our world we haven’t found them, and the Kabbalists are unable to give us the scale
But a measure of truth is what is most required for our world, since a clear understanding of what differentiates between our society and the ideal state would cause everyone to desire that state. But there is no clear picture, and everyone sees what comes to his mind, and therefore we cannot sustain the world.
At every moment the entire world must be developing exclusively towards the completion of correction. The only ways given for this passage are by the way of beito (in its time) or by the way of achishenah (accelerating time). So what do we do if we cannot manage our development through measuring the truth and advance with achishenah?
In a circumstance like this, if you don’t know where to escape, where to go, it is preferable to be quiet and not move. This is because your wrong movement could cause even greater harm. The chance of making the correct move, according to the experience of our history is zero. And therefore about this it is written: “Sit and do nothing,” until you clarify things in a natural form.
However, humanity has tried to complete the measure of truth with other characteristics, which are like crutches; they can support the feet of human society, in other words, they give support with some degree of connection so that we don’t devour each other. For this would require a measure for truth that is now found among us in which we would simply need to eat each other. Therefore it is up to us to perfect it with other characteristics…
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 6/30/13, Writings of Baal HaSulam “Peace in the World”
Convention in St. Petersburg, “Conveying the Value of Connections and Unity Between All People,” Day 3, Lesson 5
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Convention in St. Petersburg, “Conveying the Value of Connections and Unity Between All People,” Day 3, Workshop 4
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Convention in St. Petersburg, Day 3, Lesson 6
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Exerting yourself like “an ox to the burden and a donkey to the load” means working without feeling any taste in the work. I read The Book of Zohar because the doctor says that it works like a drug that will help me recover. Usually it is unpleasant and quite difficult. It is in contrast to my bodily desires and it isn’t to my taste, but the doctor has prescribed it and so I do it.
I don’t wish to feel pleasure in my mind and heart by reading The Zohar. Although reading The Zohar brings me joy, I am not glad because I seem to understand, to feel, and to follow the plot like in an adventure book, following the journeys of the great sages like following the great explorers of new lands and continents. I am glad only because I accept this reading as a medicine.
It isn’t the reading itself that brings me joy but the process I go through. First, I follow the orders of the sages, which means that I bow before them. Second, I have heard that it brings the Creator joy and pleasure. Finally, I correct myself that way and come closer to the Creator!
If you delve into the text, it means that you operate in your desire to receive by trying to fill it somehow by your egoistic heart and mind. Thus, you rob the intensity of your study, the intensity of the state. However, eventually, things will turn the other way and there will come a time when you suddenly understand that you have nothing. This egoistic sorrow will make you understand that you have been studying the wrong way.
This approach isn’t 100% accurate since how can I try to understand what The Book of Zohar is about with my corporeal mind? If you are a scientist, you study this world with the tools that you have, with your emotions and your mind, trying to understand it in your mind. This is how science operates in this world and it is called “reason.”
However, the spiritual world is on a different level. It is in a dimension where your emotions and your mind have no control of anything. You cannot even imagine what it is like. It is on a totally different frequency. It is as if you receive a frequency of 100 kilo hertz while someone else works on a frequency of 100 mega hertz. These are totally different frequencies; one is long, and the other is short. They cannot communicate and cannot generate any common forms.
How can you speak about a world that you cannot perceive? What can you hold onto? Nothing! However, you were given books that you don’t understand at all and cannot understand. You will not understand anything unless you reach the level of the book. This level of quality is achieved by changing all of your senses and your mind. Everything is changed in you, and you receive new emotions and mind, instead of the old ones. Before that you have no connection with the book called “Torah,” except for its unique quality.
From the 2nd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson – 7/02/13, The Zohar
Answer: If they have a joint household, a common concern, a common “account,” perhaps even children together, what difference does it make if they did a Huppah or went to the Rabbanut or swore to each other under the moon? They are considered to be a couple, for everyone recognizes them as husband and wife, they are a family.
They can even file a lawsuit in court for the distribution of property; it makes no difference if they are officially married or not. The witnesses complete the missing signature.
Question: There are people who have been married for 15 – 20 years, have children, but live separately. In fact, psychologically they are considered to be a couple, but they have a separate household. Can people like these be invited to workshops?
Answer: I think it is possible because they also feel themselves to be a family. Simply our ego today is so great, that it can’t endure anyone near it. Even if they have a single home, many men often sleep in another room and the women understand this, and she doesn’t want to see him near her that much herself. And the children certainly have separate rooms. That is, we have transformed into notorious individualists.
Therefore if they have a common concern and this concern is permanent, and further are connected to children in common, then they are considered to be a family.
Psychologically, the person is a complex creature. And so if he is officially married, this obliges him internally; this puts pressure on him, compared to life in a common law marriage (not officially married).
It is enough for a man to think that he is not officially married; he will be concerned about this woman much more than he would be to a woman to whom he is officially married. For then it would seem to him that the woman puts pressure on him, obligates, “locks” him to herself, and with another woman he feels himself to be free. And she will also feel the same way.
The dual structure of reciprocity says only that an official connection sometimes leads to rigidity, to hatred, that conspires against one; the state obligates one.
Whereas freedom that a woman allows, on the contrary, attracts and obligates a man to flirt all the time, to be concerned about his position, because nothing is obliging them to be together.
All of these familial variations are found today in a process of very rapid change. I don’t think that in the future these forms will be sustained. At the very least, the registration for marriage will be very conventional. All of this will not be necessary; rather mutual agreement will be enough.
In particular when people begin to distribute all that is required for a person in order to live properly and equitably, then the factor of “ensuring” and “anxiety” will disappear; only the factor of inner connection will remain. Then the role of the Rabbanut, the role of the marriage ceremony, will take on integral connections. Specifically they will begin to connect people with each other and a person will want to continue living in this harmony. Therefore married couples will emerge from the integral workshops that are ready.
From a Talk on Integral Upbringing 4/4/13
There is no other way but to stick with the right line to the best of our ability by following “faith above reason.” My extensive personal experience shows that many of my students find it hard to understand what the right line is, since it requires annulling oneself, remaining joyful, and observing “faith above reason.” Our conventional vocabulary does not even contain accurate words to describe it.
Perhaps it will be clearer to you if I explained it in a different way. While we are at a lower level, we receive help from the upper to the degree of our desire to become similar with the upper. This process takes place at each step: inanimate, vegetative, animate, and speaking, both in this world and in the upper worlds. To the extent of exertions applied by the lower in its effort to become similar with the upper, the lower draws energy from the upper and forces the latter to take care of it. This is how material and spiritual laws of physics work.
That’s why if we apply efforts to cling to the right line, that is, to become like the upper, if we try to approach Its form and copy Its actions, it means that we tend to acquire the shape of an embryo. We incline to annul ourselves in front of the upper. Despite the fact that we continue to be all in continuous self-interest, we still want to cancel ourselves in front of the upper, enter into It, so that there we remain unnoticeable and imperceptible to completely surrender ourselves to It.
This is what we call “faith above reason,” since we do it beyond our knowledge, feelings, and desires. Because of this, not only do we receive the surrounding Light from the upper, but also we can focus together with other friends and use their support in a way that our surroundings will deliver the Light to us, thus practically allowing us to grow into spirituality.
We come into direct contact with the upper. Not only do we let the surrounding Light influence us, but we also receive a real internal Light, the spiritual “blood” (“dam” – from the word “domem” – inanimate) that nourishes the fetus, the Light of Nefesh – an inanimate level of sanctity.
Why is it called “sacred”? It’s because it is determined by the things we aspire to. There are numerous teachings, religions, and methodologies. We have to make sure that they lead us to adhesion with the Creator, to acquiring equivalence of form with Him, to love our neighbor as ourselves, from which our love to the Creator begins.
If a methodology pursues the above goal and practically brings people to achieve it by teaching them day after day how to expand the desire to love other creatures and how to later learn to love the Creator, then this teaching is called sacred and spiritual. Otherwise, it might become a deadly poison instead of a potion of life.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 6/21/13, Shamati
Answer: As a rule, it is desirable to maintain a permanent intention when one envisages oneself as being united with others, having one common desire and sharing one joint aspiration. Within this integrated desire, aspiration, one reveals the entirety of internal attributes of one’s relationships with others to the extent of the level of their connectedness and their chance to divulge all possible forms of the connection through the mutual bestowal that The Book of Zohar writes about.
After all, with the help of various metaphors and through the Kabbalistic terminology (such as “Havakuk, Atik, Hamnuna-Saba…”) The Zohar explains to us the details of attainment that are associated with our connection. There is nothing besides it.
At some point, there was one spiritual vessel, kli, a solid ten Sefirot that had no dissimilarities among them. After shattering, we began distinguishing among various alien parts that now are separated and distanced from one another and that try to reconnect. We discover numerous types of connection. The Zohar tells us about the types of connection. There is not a single word in The Book that describes anything but this.
Therefore, by attempting to connect with the group, the Creator, and spirituality, we tend to reveal what particular forms of connection there are, how they manifest themselves, and what they represent. Maybe, we’ll manage to disclose at least some of these connections… This is what is called “the intention.”
In other words, in our effort to unite, we tend to reveal what the right forms of connection among us are. Then, we figure out their names—“Havakuk, Rabbi Hamnuna-Saba…” —it doesn’t matter which ones. Besides, it’s not that important what particular words or letters we look at since behind them we should be distinguishing just the attributes, the ways they connect with each other, why exactly these particular letters, words, or titles are used.
We won’t look at words or letters, but rather at the properties and internal aspects of their connection. Why are these connections so important to us? The answer is: Connections among detached parts allow us to attain spirituality (the Creator.) Through them, we start revealing one force. This is what gives us the ultimate delight: the attainment.
From the 2nd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 7/3/13, The Book of Zohar – “Introduction”