Audio Version Of The Blog – 01.29.14

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Absolute Zero

Dr. Michael LaitmanBaal HaSulam, Shamati, #19, “Why the Creator Hates the Bodies, in the Work”: The highest degree, the farther a thing is from the clothing, the higher it is. One has to feel in the most abstract thing called “absolute zero,” since man’s hand does not reach there.  

It is a place that is totally disconnected from our desire. It is an abstract attribute which one cannot benefit from: absolute zero. Our senses, desires, and thoughts do not perceive this place and don’t operate there. One can exist in this place only in faith above reason since the desire to receive does not operate there but only the desire to bestow.

This means that the will to receive can only cling in a place where there is a presence of Light. Before one purifies his vessels, so as to not blemish the Light, it is impossible for the Light to expand in his Kelim (Vessels). Only when one is on the path of bestowal, meaning in a place where the will to receive is not present, whether in mind or in heart, there the Light can come in utter completeness. Then the Light comes to him in a sensation that he can feel the sublimity of the Upper Light…

It follows that the importance of the work is precisely when one comes to a state of absolute zero, meaning when one sees that he annuls his whole existence and being, for then the will to receive has no power; only then does one enter the Kedusha.

A person has to divide himself into two parts: One part is his desire to receive and the other part which he wants to attain is the desire to bestow. He has to lower himself to the level of absolute zero, which means to correct the desire to receive so that he doesn’t use it at all.

It is impossible to hide from it because it won’t leave me alone, but everything depends on my priorities regarding receiving and bestowing, and whether the society, the teacher, the Creator, the study, and the importance of the spiritual goal are above everything else.

We should see this as the most important so that everything else becomes an absolute zero, which means that my ordinary desire to receive will cease to function. Only concerns about the basic necessities will remain, and I would also love to be free from this as well, but it has nothing to do with the desire to receive. Then I raise the importance of bestowal above this absolute zero, and the upper Light can dress in me. I cannot perform these corrections by myself of course, but I can want to. I don’t even have the power to want that and have to be incorporated in the group for this. The group does not provide me with the power to do it but the Light that Reforms does, and this Light operates only if the group tries to connect. This effort is actually our freewill, and we have to ask the Light for it so that it will complete the work for us.

Although we yearn to become absolute zeros, our desire doesn’t disappear. On the contrary, it constantly grows, trying to overcome a person. We have to overcome it with the help of the environment. Thus we advance by tilting to the left and to the right, until we reach the first revelation. Then this work continues, but it becomes clearer and more irrevocable.
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From the Preparation to the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 1/22/14

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The Brain Sets A Taboo Against Temptations

Dr. Michael LaitmanIn the News (from ScienceDaily): “Neuroscientists at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) and the University of California, San Diego, have successfully demonstrated a technique to enhance a form of self-control through a novel form of brain stimulation. …

“Study participants were asked to perform a simple behavioral task that required the braking/slowing of action — inhibition — in the brain. In each participant, the researchers first identified the specific location for this brake in the prefrontal region of the brain. Next, they increased activity in this brain region using stimulation with brief and imperceptible electrical charges. This led to increased braking — a form of enhanced self-control. …

“’There is a circuit in the brain for inhibiting or braking responses,’ said Nitin Tandon, M.D., the study’s senior author and associate professor in The Vivian L. Smith Department of Neurosurgery at the UTHealth Medical School. ‘We believe we are the first to show that we can enhance this braking system with brain stimulation.’

“A computer stimulated the prefrontal cortex exactly when braking was needed. This was done using electrodes implanted directly on the brain surface.

“When the test was repeated with stimulation of a brain region outside the prefrontal cortex, there was no effect on behavior, showing the effect to be specific to the prefrontal braking system.

“The method of electrical stimulation was novel in that it apparently enhanced prefrontal function, whereas other human brain stimulation studies mostly disrupt normal brain activity. This is the first published human study to enhance prefrontal lobe function using direct electrical stimulation, the researchers report.”

My Comment: Undoubtedly, we will find a number of negative consequences of such interference in freedom of choice. Although this may work at the level of selfish preferences, choices, but with respect to love and bestowal on others, instead of selfish gain, the brain will not work because it calculates the profit of desires. If they are egoistic (the heart), then the mind calculates what it is better for egoism.Thus, until a person transforms his desires from “to receive” into “to give” with the help of Surrounding Light, the brain will not be able to calculate anti-egoistic actions. That is, without Kabbalah, to turn egoism into altruism, we will not be able to obtain freedom of will, but will remain slaves of egoism, only within it, programming ourselves in preference to enjoying a meal or being slim.
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Doors Close, Doors Open

Dr. Michael LaitmanThe Book of Zohar, VaYikahel [And Moses Assembled], Item 131: Then the twelve-letter name acted, lowering Malchut once more from the place of Bina de Malchut de Assiya to her place at the Sium of her ten Sefirot, and Bina and TM rising to their degree as in the beginning, above the firmament of Malchut.

And since Elijah was clinging to that AvirBina and TM that rose—it follows that he raised Elijah with him, above the firmament of Malchut, because of the equivalence.”

When we swallow, circular muscles push food further into the stomach. Straight line vessels act similarly: They create a consistent chain in accordance with the principle of cause and effect: pressure – relaxation, pressure – relaxation. The same mechanism is used in technology, for example, there are pumps that work this way.

Let’s say, I enter some place and the door behind me closes (A). How can I proceed further ahead? When the door behind me closes, there appears a new door right in front of me (B). Until then I hadn’t noticed it, but all of a sudden I see a new doorway. Again the door opens and I enter the next place where I see the third door, and so on.

Doors Close, Doors Open

This is a rigid order that works both in materiality and spirituality. The doors that open and close are “the firmaments.” While going through spiritual steps, Malchut continuously rises to Bina and then lowers from there. AHP also falls and rises over and over again. When it falls, it “picks us up” and raises us to a higher level where we associate it with Galgalta ve Eynaim (GE).

In AHP, we only nullify ourselves, whereas in GE, we turn into Hafetz Hesed of the current step that we occupy. It’s not just a self-nullification, but a small “childlike” state. Then, we feel the AHP of the Upper and self-nullify in front of him. Then he takes us up and the cycle repeats. This is how we gradually grow.

It goes without saying that our ascent during this process is accompanied by qualitative changes. We go through conception (Ibur), breastfeeding (Yenika), and adulthood (Mochin) each of which also is divided into three corresponding phases.

On this path, we go through awakening both from Above and below and through some other steps. Similarly, in this world we live in accordance with the calendar that does not depend on us. We adjust our lives according to days, weeks, months, years as if we are urged from “Above” to act so.

In the same way, in spirituality we sometimes should “fall into slumber” or act in a more reserved and passive way. Then we go back to a “day-time” regimen again. To make it short, there are more changes there than in this life including possibilities for personal initiative because the “awakening from below” depends upon us.

In general, all our work is becoming similar to the Upper. How can we test ourselves? We can only do this through our ability to attach lower vessels to us. That’s why it’s said “I dwell among my people.” Revelation of the Creator is possible only among “the people,” through others, through their broken desires, when we accept them as our own.

As a result, they become dearer to us than our own desires since they belong to deeper layers, and when as a result of our efforts they cling to us, we see that their structure and spiritual Partzuf are far more important than the ones that we had previously. Their vessels seem to be external to us since they were tossed far aside from us at the time of shattering. The ones that were the closest to us previously now seem to be the farthest from us.
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From the 2nd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 1/3/14, The Zohar

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Multilingual Unity Of The Zohar

Dr. Michael LaitmanThe Book of Zohar says that its purpose is to lead the entire world out of the exile and bring us to deliverance. Interestingly, when we studied Kabbalistic texts in the past, we didn’t tune ourselves to The Book of Zohar. We studied The Study of the Ten Sefirot, “The Book of Life,” “The Gate-House of Intentions,” articles and letters written by Kabbalists, in short a lot of texts. On the other hand, The Book of Zohar looked great, but we did not feel it or feel particularly concerned about it.

It is not an accident! It’s said that The Book of Zohar will reveal itself to our generation when the process of final correction begins. Humanity went through a lot of suffering before discovering that there is The Book of Zohar and that its mission is to help us; now, we cannot abide without it.

We need a lot of time to develop internally and to be able to access The Book. One comes to the wisdom of Kabbalah, explores numerous sources, and only afterwards discovers that The Book of Zohar possesses a huge power and unusual possibilities that come with different clarifications and are accompanied by a new sensual and rational background. The Zohar is a book that encompasses everything there is. It’s not an easy discovery!

Many of our friends sleep during The Zohar lessons since they don’t feel any connection with it. In the course of time, they will be able to sense in the lines that they read various forms of bestowal and receiving, the correlation of the Lights and vessels, and will learn to connect them together: the Kabbalistic language of branches, the language of Tanakh and Agadah. Everything of which The Book of Zohar is comprised has to be regarded as one whole. It talks about the details of perception using different languages.

We can express various notions in different languages of this world; however, they all are about one sensation, one phenomenon. In The Zohar many languages are closely intertwined. There are numerous ways of presenting the material. The reader has to be educated and prepared; one has to sense the reality that is described in The Book, no matter what language is used there to depict it.

Similar to when we use words of foreign origin in our speech, there are Greek and Latin words in The Book of Zohar. At that time, these languages were very widespread and common. The authors of The Book of Zohar were not at all reluctant to use them. They could have used Gematria values, Hebrew or Aramaic equivalents, but they chose not to do so.

It means that if we learn at least a little bit of the languages that are used in The Book of Zohar, meaning that if we become more knowledgeable of the styles and forms of presenting the materials that are described in The Book, we’ll be exposed to many additional sensations to those previously experienced. We’ll see what its “multilingualism” is caused by: Every word or phrase in The Book of Zohar whether Gematria, the language of Sefirot, concepts of Tanakh, or terms of Halacha (the collective body of Jewish religious laws) reflects the spiritual essence.

When I turn on a Halacha radio station, I listen to things that are very clear to me from my prior experience: Halacha speaks about a preparation of our vessels,desires, about the ways of working with egoistic desires at the inanimate, vegetative, animate, and speaking levels. This work is regulated by a set of laws named “Halacha.” It outlines a correct treatment of vessels, the order of their correction, and ways to ascend to a speaking level.

After all, this level gives expression to everything. We work internally with inanimate, vegetative, and animate desires, with the desires that correspond to our level and also with the desires of our neighbors. This is how preparation of all four steps happens. This is where an expansive and rich language of Halacha derives from; no other language is more precise than the one of Halacha.

However, let’s return to The Book of Zohar: Its authors and readers find the iridescent, multilingual sound of the book habitual and clear. It’s similar to using well-known foreign words in our speech. Habit is all there is.

Baal HaSulam writes that the language of Kabbalah includes everything. I hope that soon we will be able to understand that The Book of Zohar embraces the entire complex of notions and languages, includes all imaginable components, and delivers the “cure” to us in the best possible way.
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From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lessons 1/8/14, Lesson on the Topic: “Preparation for the Convention”

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Paternal Love

Dr. Michael LaitmanBaal HaSulam, “Introduction to The Book of Zohar,” Item 33: And you must know that any contentment of our Maker from bestowing upon His creatures depends on the extent that the creatures feel Himthat He is the giver, and that He is the one who delights them. For then He takes great pleasure in them, as a father playing with his beloved son…

…to the degree that the son feels and recognizes the greatness and exaltedness of his father, and his father shows him all the treasures he had prepared for him….that for this contentment and delight with those whole ones, it was worth His while to create all the worlds, Higher and lower alike.

By means of these worlds we reach awareness of the Creator, the awareness of His actions, and to the degree that we discover them, we enjoy them. We enjoy the awareness of the greatness, awareness of the wholeness of the Creator and of His activities, for in our perception this is the same thing, and with this we give Him contentment.

So it is also pleasant for a father whose son recognizes his greatness more and more, that he is good and beneficent and loving. For this the son also improves and becomes better, becomes like the father, and in precisely this way he becomes aware of him and gets pleasure from this. In our world this is not so: Here, no matter how much you give to children, this doesn’t guarantee their right reaction in return.

On the other hand, in spirituality the Creator created a correct system of mutual relationships. The son must be like the father according to equivalence of form, and it is precisely this that makes it possible for him to be aware of the love and the wisdom of the father who does everything for the son but on condition that the son can receive all the good of the father without this harming him, rather the opposite, he advances towards a better state.

This is to say, you must be concerned about education. And only within the framework of education, through this, the son will reach pleasure in his life. And his pleasure will be for the sake of bestowal. So through this process he will become aware of the father and his love for him.

And the father himself withdraws his actions and suffers from it. He wants to give the son everything good, but is ready to withdraw solely and only so that the son will have the opportunity to correct himself gradually through the right education and this way he gets pleasure from the work, from the actions in the state that is completely opposite to his original egoistic desire.
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From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 1/20/14, Writings of Baal HaSulam

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The Glass Doesn’t Wait For The Bullet

Dr. Michael LaitmanBaal HaSulam, “Introduction to The Book of Zohar,” Item 33: And you must know that any contentment of our Maker from bestowing upon His creatures depends on the extent that the creatures feel Him – that He is the giver, and that He is the one who delights them. For then He takes great pleasure in them, as a father playing with his beloved son, to the degree that the son feels and recognizes the greatness and exaltedness of his father and his father shows him all the treasures he had prepared for him….

Question: How does this “playing” mesh with the suffering on the way?

Answer: When a person begins to work with spirituality, he divides himself into two parts. On the one hand, he wants to acquire the desire to bestow and on the other hand, he wants to correct his desire to receive upon which he builds bestowal. Therefore he suffers within the desire to receive and has pleasure within the desire to bestow.

Question: Is it possible to feel the “playing” before crossing the “Machsom”?

Answer: No. For the “playing” is a relationship with the Creator where I am connected with Him, where we are together in an embrace, in love, where He fulfills me. How is it possible to feel this within the damaged vessels? If the Creator were to be revealed before the “Machsom,” I would remain forever within the vessels for the sake of reception and would no longer succeed in escaping from the “Klipa.” Even at the time of the “Shevirat ha Kelim,” the pleasure doesn’t enter into the desire to receive for the purpose of reception, for its “Masach” was shattered previously. So the glass also begins to be shattered before the bullet strikes it.

The spiritual pleasure that is received for the sake of reception would suck me in forever. Drugs and various additional addictions in our world are only a small taste of it. After the restriction (Tzimtzum) the light can no longer enter into the vessel without the “Masach.” The moment that it approaches, even before its entry, the vessels is immediately shattered, for it’s not ready to receive, to feel it. And so it remains only a “Ner Dakik” (thin candle) whose goal is to correct the shattering.

The Light never enters the desire to receive. This is because the law of equivalence of form that preceded creation is latent in the thought of creation, and it’s the desire of the Creator that the creature will be like Him, which is to say, perfect.

Precisely from the shattering, from the distance, we reach the “playing.” The way begins from great yearning, from thirst. For the “playing” is not merely pleasure. This is to say, I am constantly in contact with Him, I “taste” Him, experience a wide variety of feelings on all sides and in all manners. The “playing” is not “light and cheap” pleasure, rather it’s something that we never cease to enjoy, we discover more and more new possibilities. But in the meantime we don’t know what the true pleasure from bestowal is.
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From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 1/20/14, Writings of Baal HaSulam

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A Life Giving Sprout From A Rotted Grain

Dr. Michael LaitmanThe first Rabash article about the group starts with the words: “We have gathered here to establish a society…” since without it a man cannot reach the goal. Only through it can one implement oneself and only due to it one grows.

One’s spiritual growth has nothing in common with material development when one is nurtured by a group and thus develops. Spiritual development takes place within the group to the extent of the connection and unity among the friends, to the degree of my disappearance in the group, my dissolving in it.

Once a person understands that this is one’s spiritual growth and focuses solely on this, one can consider he is on the right track.

Before that, one represents “an unplanted seed”: it is stored somewhere, but nothing can grow out of it, and nobody knows if anything at all will ever grow out of it. This is why it is a way by which we can evaluate a person who belongs to our organization, who comes to us, studies in the Kabbalah Education Center, the Kabbalah Academy or takes any other Kabbalah course.

One can stay with us for a long time, but only when one starts regarding oneself not only as a part of the group, but as a seed that has to be planted into the group as it would be planted in the ground or it won’t ever grow—when one starts sensing and evaluating oneself this way, one’s spiritual preparation begins.

Seriousness and effectiveness of our preparation depend on the ability of the group to absorb new people and on the degree of the group’s ability to attract people and have them literally dissolve in it and feel that it is the place where each one can fit physically, morally, materially and spiritually.

We have to position ourselves in the group as a seed that practically disappears when growing and turns into “nothing and nobody.” We should consider ourselves to be a material that originates a qualitatively new entity: the group. This is what our spiritual growth is about.

We have to measure and evaluate ourselves relative to our spiritual growth with regard to our absorption into the group. Therefore, our rises and downfalls, all sorts of changes in our moods, sensations, understandings, and so on and so forth have to be sensed not individually but collectively.

It doesn’t matter how much one knows, whether one is able to sense spirituality, what one understands or realizes, or how deeply one knows the study material. Those are not the units of measurement, but false ideas of what spiritual growth is, because spiritual growth is measured solely by a quality and to the extent of one’s ability to unite with others.

That’s why the first thing that we have to reach is a zero level, when we become as a drop of semen or a seed that is planted in the ground and that becomes nothing.

In other words, all our egoism, our whole lives, everything that happened before, should not be taken into consideration at all. Naturally, we have to take care of our material life. At the material plane we have to continue being who we used to be previously, but the main thing for us is to turn into a drop of semen that initiates the spiritual life, the development of the fetus. That’s how we should visualize ourselves.

Only when one senses that one has almost achieved this state, continues aspiring to it, and evaluates oneself only through this prism, when this state becomes one’s goal, one’s dream, when anything one does and exerts at is aimed at achieving this result, only then one gets on the right track. The rest of one’s alleged achievements and attainments are not important to one anymore. This basic re-loading and re-evaluation of oneself is the change that is far more important than anything else. This kind of re-evaluation places a person in the very beginning of the spiritual ladder.

Then, when one turns into a zero, i.e., when the first restriction (Tzimtzum Aleph) takes place, one draws a line, and from this moment on, one’s appreciation of the group and one’s environment continues increasing. One clarifies whether one is just positioned inside the group or one represents the group’s active part that fully contributes oneself to it and is able to enter one’s friends and the entire group as an active element not out of one’s past, but out of one’s present moment, when one absorbs the desires, hopes, and goals of the entire group as one’s own, when one works for others as a mother for her children, serves them and makes everything one can for their further advancement.
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From the St Petersburg Convention 7/12/13 Lesson 4

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Daily Kabbalah Lesson – 01.29.14

Preparation to the Lesson

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Workshop

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The Book of Zohar — Selected Excerpts, “The Commandments of the Torah, the First Commandment,” Item 189

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