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The Book of Zohar, Weekly Torah Portion, “Va’ Etchanan,” Selected Excerpts
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Question: Love means friendship and friendship, love. Why is there love between parents and children, but there is no friendship?
Answer: Basically, today, neither exists. We are in such a state of heightened egoism when children and parents no longer feel love for each other. We are not to blame; it is just what it is.
Today, many things are changing in humanity. People do not want to have children, do not want to create a family. There are those who agree to have a family but do not want children, and to the contrary, they want to have children but do not want to have a family. In general, everything is not right.
In my youth, everything was a bit different, and now I look at young people and do not understand them. They have a completely different nature. It is a sharp change of generation, hastening of time, and even greater changes are ahead of us.
The fact is that there is a rise of desires that are not yet expressed in us clearly, but are detached from the previous degree; that is, we are moving more and more away from the animate world. In other words, human nature, human egoism, is increasingly manifested in us. Therefore, we become detached from the previous animate level, and we lose the natural instincts aimed at creating a family and raising children. They acquire a nominal character.
All this leads us to correction. Meanwhile, people are moving under the influence of the new desires that are awakened in them, and then they will begin to recognize them, moreover, recognize them as harmful. How can we correct this? It is only by correcting our intention, working on mistakes.
From the Convention in St. Petersburg, “Preparatory Lesson”
Answer: There are no common feelings. We need absolutely complete correction. We do not go for less. We are going to become a single image of a unified human, to gather everyone in a unified system. That is all and nothing else!
This is the first convention for which we were preparing in advance with the awareness that we are coming here in order to work seriously. This is not the convention where I go on the stage and everyone listens to me, expecting some interesting stories and then dances and sings. This is the convention where we are working within ourselves all together.
The most important action takes place between us, within us! I only correct you a bit and remember it should be between everyone, and I am there with you.
We are preparing for the first time since the convention, and all our subsequent conventions will be organized in this manner. Maybe in time they will take a different form and become practically virtual, but they all will be aimed at concentration, on compressing our intentions to merge them.
From the Convention in St. Petersburg, “Preparatory Lesson”
Question: The architecture of St Petersburg struck me. Every building is a masterpiece, and all of them are built to delight a woman. If a woman’s desire is so strong and can force people to build palaces, how can we make it work in a spiritual direction?
Answer: Leveling, the equalization of women and men is taking place today. We see this in sexual relationships, at work, in our daily lives—everywhere. I think that naturally the same thing happens in our spiritual movement.
It seems to me that those properties that women have acquired, say in the last 50 years (although it started a long time ago), bring them closer to men, and in turn, men invisibly “drift” toward women. That is, their natures are moving closer to each other, becoming less opposite.
Women work, are involved in politics, participate in everything on the same level with men, and in many cases show themselves as more able, more gifted. We know how women work for us, how much they long for bestowal, for spiritual attainment. A women’s desire for spiritual attainment is much higher than a man’s.
So, I think that we do not need to focus on the women’s issue as such, it does not exist. In most cases I hear some subconscious sensation behind the women’s questions—that allegedly they deserve more.
You do not deserve more. I am serious. You deserve as much as the men. You do not need to complain that “we are so weak, thrown somewhere at the back.”
The woman is a human being; the woman is part of the group, part of our society, the same as in the modern world in general. So, there is no women’s issue. Work as the men do, and you will get the same thing. We cannot manage without each other. We work together!
Your task is to build between yourselves and together with the men one whole: the men’s group or part of the women’s group. We are above our nature in the intention to unite with each other because we all have the same root; it is one force for everyone. I think that everyone is equal in our world group.
From the Convention in St.Petersburg 7/11/13,“Preparatory Lesson”
Question: After I finish a particular stage of work with the group, is there a stage in which I work with a particular partner?
Answer: Yes, we gradually reach this after we discover how much we require a reciprocal connection and want to love someone. To love, this is to fulfill someone on a personal level. My inner space begins to indicate that I want to bestow to him, to do good for someone. This is called the impulse of love.
This is exactly what every youth feels when he is in love for the first time. He first wants to reach a connection with someone, to bestow to her and receive from her. The connection can only be a mutual connection; I convey something to her and receive something from her. I didn’t understand this then, since I was not a good psychologist yet. And now, through the “peeling” of the self and the work in a group, I begin to clarify what my true desire was. Therefore, when we get the natural state of being in love for the first time, it is not realized. But the second time that we reach a deficiency like this, it will be realized already.
As a result of the inner clarification of my true desire, I will need to discover that deep desire within me; I yearned to find someone in order to give to him. This is because I am happy if I succeed in making someone in particular happy. And he knows this, and returns that same relationship to me. Each one of us fulfills the other.
Question: And so I begin to search for someone to whom I will be able to bestow?
Answer: This becomes clear because we begin to sing at the same frequency, and I feel this. We have disengaged from an external look at each other and don’t look for an external attraction, rather we look more at the reactions of each other, and these reactions become more and more internal.
Suddenly I begin to feel that a particular person meets my inner requirements in a diverse way. We check all of this, speak between us within the group, and begin to understand with whom we can connect more and more clearly. This is continuous and most precise work. In such a form we build new Kelim, vessels, within us for mutual bestowal, a means for connection between us.
From a Talk on Integral Upbringing 6/20/13
In the News (from Reuters): “Most adults in developed countries favor gay marriage or some type of legal recognition for same-sex couples and think they should be able to adopt children, according to an international poll released on Tuesday.
“With the U.S. Supreme Court poised to rule on gay marriage this month and France’s recent decision to legalize same-sex unions, an Ipsos poll for Reuters showed that 52 percent of people in 16 nations favor full marriage equality for gays and 21 percent support legal recognition but not marriage. …
“In Sweden, Norway, Spain, Belgium, Canada and France, where gay marriage is legal, a majority of people supported full equality for same-sex couples, along with most Germans, Britons and Australians.”
My Comment: As a result, the recognition of same-sex marriage and the legalization of drugs become the method of reducing the pressure in society, and that is why the trend will continue.
Question: In principle, everyone is able to love. Some love children, some love a husband or a wife. Why, when we come together, is it so difficult to invest the feeling here, although we seem to have the goal, the intention?
Answer: It is because our intentions in everything, except what we are engaged in, are egoistic, and that is why they are aligned with our nature, in the same direction. My intention is to quench my thirst. I take and drink. It means that I quench my desire and the intention helps realize the desire.
Here, to the contrary, the intention is opposite to my desire. That is, I use my intention to change my desires to the opposite, invert them, and that is why we go against our nature. This is huge internal work that requires enormous effort, the support of the environment, and experience.
Moreover, people get angry not understanding how they can orient themselves in this process. Seven billion inhabitants of this planet, all the countries and civilizations, act absolutely egoistically in relation to each other, and suddenly we talk about the need to realize the Biblical commandment, “Love thy neighbor.”
But how? After all, it is hard to do even in the group, not to mention to a greater extent, on a universal scale. However, we will not correct ourselves otherwise; we will not change ourselves. Either we will do this through suffering, if we wait for it, or ourselves, by drawing the Light.
If we focus on the right action, that is, by getting together fully, applying effort, concentrating on the intention and action, then we can succeed. The most important thing is to make this action the first time, and, only then, do you begin to understand how it happens.
Question: Why do we love children? What kind of feeling is this?
Answer: This is an animal instinct. As an animal loves his offspring so the human being loves his children. You do not love someone else’s; you love your children. However, to love someone else’s child, you will only be able to this when you correct yourself. We are heading toward this.
To speed up this process you will need to get together and support each other. To “get together” means to try to unite mutual intentions and efforts, to stop feeling oneself, but to feel others. If you force yourself to do this, you will find out that all the others are already in there and are waiting just for you.
From the Convention in St. Petersburg, “Preparatory Lesson”
We do not realize what harm we bring by our lack of participation in the work. He who does not invest the necessary efforts is already considered a thief who steals from everybody and destroys the common boat. There are more stringent rules in the spiritual world than in the material world.
This is due to the fact that we are in a collective vessel and are connected together as it is now revealed in this world, which manifests as integral and closed. And if I am now already included in the system but do not participate in its work, this means that I close it and do not let others reach the necessary level of mutual participation. It turns out that I steal from everyone.
It’s as if there is a large system in which a small element broke and stopped working. It is understood that it spoils the whole system. It cannot say that it is not to blame because it failed to add its tiny part. But since it is soldered into the system, it must operate according to its place; it has no way to escape. It is necessary to be aware of these conditions and understand that we are in the same network.
So, you cannot say that you do not want to do anything or ask to be left alone. And if you drop out of the system completely, you will find yourself under the power of the correcting hand that is much more ruthless than your group.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 7/5/13, Writings of Rabash
“There is none else besides Him” is the central theme of any convention, and in principle, the most important. That is why this is the first article in the book Shamati (I Heard). And of course, it is the foundation of a person’s search for his Source. Often, we forgot about it for a long time, and then this topic again dumbfounds us. And again we forget, and again return to it. It is always awakened and forces us to wake up.
That fact is that it is difficult for a person to re-adjust from the state in which he was developing to the state of becoming conscious of the upper force, to contact with it up to the point of adhering to it.
Basically, what should a person reach? He has to admit that everything up to the current moment was realized from above, and he himself did not participate in that at all, and everything that will happen next will depend on how much he will cling to the contact with the upper force, the single controlling force of the universe—the contact that was revealed to him again by this force from above.
From that moment on, a person has freewill to use various tools and all kinds of mediations, to arrange such aids, tricks, and reminders around himself that will constantly push him to the connection with the upper force that has been revealed for a moment, so that he does not go away from this connection.
Undoubtedly, there will be various states that this upper force again causes in a person. As a rule, this is a state of rejection, repulsion. So, it is a “game.” Kabbalists compare it with a game of two lovers, with “flirting”: The Creator reveals and then distances Himself to appear in a different form, from a different perspective. It is described very well in the “Songs of Songs,” a special work dedicated to this mutual “courtship.”
By the way, it exists on all levels. True, we do not notice it on the vegetative level and even less on the still level; however, there are clear ritualistic movements on the animate level before mating, coming closer, bonding. It is a whole language with a huge “vocabulary,” and moreover, every kind of animal has its own special language.
But as a highly organized animal, the human being has his language, more advanced, more complex, up to the point that people do not understand each other or vice versa because due to it they are able to reach out to each other and establish certain contact.
This language manifests itself not only between a man and a woman, but just between two people when they communicate, mutually attracting or repelling each other.
It is a very difficult language for communication that appears in us almost subconsciously, and sometimes consciously. Political scientists, sociologists, and psychologists are engaged in this sphere, in essence, a huge culture that we have created and is always evolving. This is not a verbal language, but the language of feelings, the language of movement, music, all kinds of expressions, the language of facial expressions, looks, movements—all together.
However, all of this is a tiny “poor,” pitiful fraction of the feelings and movements of the soul, which we discover in the relationship with the Creator. There, the power of various hints is revealed, all the four stages:
In these four parts, four stages of our relationship with the upper force, with the Creator, we reveal Him, reveal contact between us and begin to become aware who we are, what we are, how He created us, how He controls us, how He develops us, and how he plays with us like with a child, showing His distance and closeness, showing drop by drop joy, sadness, anger, sorrow, etc. We also play in this way with a child, seemingly showing him various faces, playing before him expressions of feelings at the level at which he can understand us. The Creator behaves with us in the same manner.
We need here to tune in to this dialogue, this conversation, this “flirting,” to this exchange of emotions, understanding that any thought and any feeling that arise in our mind and heart initially come from Him, as it is said: “I am the First.” Together with what appears in us, simultaneously with this, we recall, rather the Creator reminds us, that this is related to Him. And then the movement, the “baton” is passed over to us. How should we react?
This is the way “flirtation” is arranged: on the one hand, the forward movement and seemingly backwards, and on the other hand, the pseudo-backwards movement, but in general forward, and so on. The reason is that there cannot be fulfillment without a sense of lack. Satiety is possible only if hunger was felt earlier.
On the whole, all this game is designed to develop in us a true, absolutely clear desire, directed to nothing else but to what is called the “Creator.” And this becomes known from all our other possibilities. A person is given anything in this life, and at the same time only a “narrow clearing” is gradually being revealed to him that he has to find and stay on, not turning from it, not wandering in the surrounding woods, fields, and bushes, but all the time returning to this trail.
How can one define it? It is a problem every time. How can I find the Creator behind everything that happens to me? What can I do so it is manifested in my feelings?
It is possible to describe all this in nice words, but in the end it will be philosophy, perhaps with diagrams, with mathematics, but only as miserable aids. But I need to grab Him and not let this internal contact go, this is realization: He fills everything, He organizes everything, He arranges everything, and only He exists.
A huge universe is drawn in my imagination: still, vegetative, animate, human creatures, objects—all this is Him. The Creator outlines all this in my imagination. He draws our make-believe world in me, desiring that I look beyond this picture, gradually disengage from it and perceive Him—the single force that draws all the details in me so that I switch from my corporeal perception to the spiritual one in which there is nothing but unclothed, naked feeling.
And the most important thing is holding on to the beginning of the connection with the Creator, whatever it may be, let it be vague and indistinct, it does not matter, just to start developing it. That is, try to define now: what are the obstacles in front of me so that due to them, I “cling” to Him more strongly. Do not dismiss these obstacles, do not scatter them in different directions, breaking through forward, no! The Creator gives them to me on purpose, so that together with them, I attain Him without denying them, without eliminating them. Otherwise, I seemingly reject those means by which He wants to establish a stronger connection with me.
This is very important. Indeed, in this case, what I see in life from this moment on also comes from the Creator and only with the purpose that I come closer to Him, reveal Him. And it is possible to reveal Him only when I transform all these obstacles into new “capacities” of our relations in which greater contact emerges between Him and me.
It seems to us that it is difficult, hard, impossible, but it is not. Here, a person has to admit to himself every time that he is facing such problems and “obstacles,” which he can overcome, must overcome, and in which there is a greater connection with the Creator, in which the Creator waits for him.
The most important thing in overcoming these obstacles is that a person has to work against his egoism. That is, they seem big and impenetrable because they are hampered by our egoism.
But as soon as I move it to the side, trying to work on bestowal, not for myself, not towards myself, not to pull something towards myself, when I begin to discover connection with the Creator in the right way, that is, forgetting a little bit about myself and try to discover only Him, not in relation to myself, but the way He is—the eternal property of bestowal and love, existing outside of my “Self,” still egoistic today—then I can relatively easily disclose all the obstacles that are in front of me.
This is called “faith above reason” in our terminology. That is, everything that happens in me and everything that happens around me are the unique obstacles, especially designed for the revelation of the Creator. You can call them not “obstacles,” but the “means” for His revelation.
Thus, I reveal the force of bestowal and love, adjust myself to greater bestowal and love that with each time are less relative to me. Based on this advancement, it is possible to see that every time I seemingly take away my “Self”—get further away from it and constantly connect to the Creator more in awareness that there is none else besides Him – up to the point when all these obstacles end and it is truly revealed to me that there is none else besides Him, and just the first basic Reshimo is left of me. The entire ego that surrounded it (the so-called “heart”), everything except the point in the heart retreated back. I gradually cut it off myself by “layers,” entering all the time only into the property of bestowal, the Creator.
But every time, to the extent of my advancement, I have greater and greater problems. I think that I am farther and farther away from the goal. After all, if love must grow, then accordingly, egoism must also become stronger. That is why, each time it seems to me that I am farther away from the goal, that new students are the most advanced, they have such an aspiration, they have everything for this, and I am somewhere in the backyard. I was pushed aside, as if they retired me. Perhaps, the Creator forgot about me completely, does not believe that I will be able to do something. Everyone experiences this, the same states…
Why does this Creator do this? Up to a certain stage He does this so that we strive to reach Him. Then our forces gradually weaken, we go astray, to do something else unrelated.
Moreover, it is also necessary to deal with unrelated matters, not in words, be it studying, dissemination, etc. In reality, it is not something unrelated. This is movement forward, as if an alternative means of revealing the Creator.
Similarly, a man courting a woman and desiring to attract her attention gives her a gift or maybe to her mother, or, for example, repairs or installs something in her house. Thus, he affects her indirectly, but through some alternative ways, and by this attracts her to him.
Thus, our movement towards the Creator also covers a rather wide “lane.”
But still in the end, we come to a state when it seems to us that this may continue for a thousand years, but will not come to anything. The only thing that can increase our movement towards the Creator is the envy of the group and the friends.
Standing behind you during the gathering of friends, listening to your words during the meals, I become imbued with impressions. After all, students are more inspiring. That is why my advice for the future is to find students. You will be inspired by them more than by the friends and more than by the teacher because here envy acts more. Envy is the most important tool in developing of our desire, our aspiration to advance. The initial desire is given to us from above, and we have to develop it further ourselves, to cultivate it, and it is not that easy.
At first, I find myself in a group and begin to envy friends because they are great and I am just a beginner. That is, the process goes in a natural way: I am growing like a small child who is learning from adults, envying them, and wanting to be like them.
Then, this gradually disappears, as if I grow up and become an adult myself. After a couple of years of studies in the group, I already know everyone and everything, understand everything. Now I have a different impression, as if there is nothing higher than me, but there are people just like me. And here is where the problem arises.
Kabbalists write to us that we should see our friends as higher than ourselves, as the greatest of the generation. Meanwhile, even the teacher is not high, not great in my eyes, and the friends are not great. It is difficult to cultivate this awareness; it is difficult to work on it all the time. This is against my egoism, and it is necessary to do this all the time: to get inspired by friends, looking at them from the side.
Especially at the gathering of friends, in any case do not neglect what they are saying. If you need to internally, “slap your cheeks.” During the gathering of friends, you must keep away disparaging thoughts, literally “cut them out” if you have them. It happens, “Well, what is there to listen to? It has been heard many times…” This is the most harmful. These tests are given from above, and a person must do something with himself.
It’s hard. It happens to everyone; it will happen to everyone, and even worse than now. Disregarding the friends is given specifically, and only serious work on oneself will help, the work when you are shaking as you go to the gathering of friends, shaking with fear that during this meeting you would start thinking about something personal or neglect what you hear. These thoughts are sent from above, and we should make every effort to work on them. If I do not see friends as higher than myself, I will not be able to relate to the Creator. He puts this obstacle in front of me, and if I see that “there is none else besides friends,” as Rabash writes, then you can say that “there is none else besides Him.” Only in the friends, will I reveal the Creator.
And all the more so it is important with students: You begin to envy them, and then they suddenly say wonderful phrases, and you are not in this state, cannot be in line with them. The Creator acts through them as well, and here you have greater envy.
On the one hand, it is said that a man does not envy his son and his student, but in spirituality this still happens; moreover, it is accompanied by real joy. And self-control is expressed immediately, “And what about me?” Or “Look, how I pushed him, where he went! And me?” This occurs in the residual egoism.
As a result a person sees that nothing helps him. But this happens only after he has worked hard with the help of his friends: bowed his head and applied much effort, getting from them new desires, aspiration, jealousy, etc. Then, he slowly begins to become aware of the hopelessness of his efforts. He simple gives up from weakness, and the realization is formed that only the Creator can help him.
That is why it is said, “Through the love of friends, the love of the Creator is attained.” In the group, in the friends, in everything I partook, trying to reach the Creator, a new stage of work is shown, an understanding that I need to ask precisely Him, that I completely depend on Him. Here we approach the state when “there is none else besides Him.”
It is impossible to come to this state automatically; a cry does not arise by itself. Everything will be artificial, halfway. The true plea appears only after a complete disappointment in all the tools, in all the means, with which I tried to work earlier.
Moreover, in spite of this disappointment, I cannot retreat from the desired goal. On the contrary, just because I put efforts, trying to reach the property of bestowal and love, that is, to reveal the Creator, now in the means that I used, like on the sensitive foundation for the Light, the need to appeal to the Creator begins to appear to force, to compel, Him to be revealed. Until the end, this will be a conscious and informed decision, “If I desire to reveal the Creator, then I desire to annul my ego completely, to annul myself.” If I have really discovered that there is none else besides Him, this means that there is no one else, including me, except the Creator. That is why, any reward, any pleasure, any fulfillment is out of the question.
This is the state that we are gradually approaching. And a person is ready for it. “I don’t need anything, not me, not for me, in any way. I don’t want to receive anything, to get fulfillment in any way; I want to know and to see nothing! I need no signs in my egoism from You. The only thing I need is to be absolutely unconsciously included in You, in what that exists, even if I disappear.”
At this stage, a person begins to enter and integrate into the Creator, into this single force or field, and it starts working on it, developing him in an entirely different direction. In the same way, a drop of semen leaves one body and enters the other, but during transition it was a pure Reshimo, only an information record and nothing else.
Of course, during just the first stages of my spiritual development, I begin to understand that there is nothing negative in our life. There are no obstacles that hinder me; there is nothing harmful —everything is organized by that single force, and if something else exists in the world, then it exists only because I am like this and I need it for reaching the goal.
That is why as Baal HaSulam writes even the most harmful phenomenon in our world cannot be simply destroyed. You cannot even just wish that it disappear because we need it for our correction. It is like our copy, the projection of our inner state outside. Various obstacles, problems, haters, environmental disasters, wars, whatever, are all the reflection of my inner problems. That is why I again include all this in the principle “there is none else besides Him.”
You can check yourself, “Do I feel the same way in an ascent and descent?” If not, then I am not included in this principle. As a rule, this check is done in our spiritual states, but it is possible in daily life, although for this, as Rabash writes, one needs special, additional skills.
Thus, you need to be grateful for everything. And gratitude is that I agree with His management that “pulls” me towards Him; I agree in spite of the ups and downs, any obstacles, and conversely, any insights.
This does not mean that I belittle my good states (although they are good for my egoism, for my egoistic desires) nor do I not want to notice my bad states. No, I want to raise them to the level where there is none else besides Him so much that the good and the bad states are felt as coming from the Creator. And if they come from Him, then they can be only good. Thus, this forces me to rise above my egoism, to stop feeling something with the “plus” or “minus” sign, but to feel in absolute value. It is said that a person must thank for the bad as well as for the good.
In order to grasp something and work in the conditions of this “flirting,” I need to feel myself as His part, knowing that if I feel bad, then I upset Him. Nothing can be done, I must adjust myself, my properties, in this way although I cannot imagine yet what this absolute good force is.
Of course, these are not obstacles for it, not changes. We know this by the properties of Bina relatively to Malchut. The Creator created the desire and wants to bring it pleasure. That is, He has an empty desire to bring pleasure, as in Bina relative to Malchut, and moreover, it is much greater than our desire to enjoy.
And so if a person does good deeds, truly aimed at the goal, he has to desire to feel that thus he pleases the Creator. Conversely, if he cannot act correctly—went somewhere, reacted in a wrong way—he has to try to feel that thus he upsets the Creator. It is not important how I feel, what is important is what He feels from this. I transfer the result of my efforts on Him, and this is important to me—what happens in Him. Thus, I exit my egoism and try to connect with Him.
This is one of the elements of “flirting”: the one with who I am in this relationship becomes more important for me than myself. I constantly watch: “What happens in Him? How can I do something good and kind for Him?” These are the elements of love. If we love, we want to “give gifts” to that person all the time; we desire to do something pleasant, good, kind, to please him, etc. I transfer these feelings from myself onto the Creator and want to control myself just by the fact of what I cause in Him.
The same approach is maintained when I do something good or bad, and He produces something good or bad in me, when these or those sensations, associated with distance or closeness are sent to me directly. I transfer this outside as well. Having experienced a sensation, I immediately check, take care, “And what does this produce in Him?”
If He rejects me, I cannot fulfill Him, cannot please Him, and this makes me sad. Or if on the contrary, He attracts me and I feel good because of this, if I begin to understand more, feel more, then I have to try to feel that in this way I bring Him pleasure, fulfill Him.
Constantly I have to work with myself as for the loved one. And this state, when we switch to bringing Him joy, is the direct path to the goal, to complete adhesion.
From the Convention in Krasnoyarsk 6/15/13, Lesson 3