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Opinion (Robert W. Merry, political editor of The National Interest and author of books on American history and foreign policy): “In the spring of 2012, The National Interest produced a special issue under the rubric of ‘The Crisis of the Old Order: The Crumbling Status Quo at Home and Abroad.’ The thesis was that the old era of relative global stability, forged through the crucibles of the Great Depression and World War II, was coming unglued. In introducing the broad topic to readers, TNI editors wrote, ‘Only through a historical perspective can we fully understand the profound developments of our time and glean, perhaps only dimly, where they are taking us. One thing is clear: they are taking us into a new era. The only question is how much disruption, chaos and bloodshed will attend the transition from the Old Order to whatever emerges to replace it.’
“What’s most troubling about all this is that today’s national leaders seem utterly lacking in any serious consciousness of just how dangerous the global situation is. … Pfaff [William Pfaff, the longtime geopolitical analyst for the International Herald Tribune] notes with a small measure of relief that the world isn’t beset these days by ideological dictatorships on the march or any new waves of totalitarianism. Today’s problems, he says, are merely ‘confusion, incompetence, and intellectual and moral disorder.’ He adds: ‘But these are bad enough, in an over-armed world.’
“For historical perspective, it’s worth noting that we look back now with a certain disdain upon the heads of state grappling with events leading to World War I. Those events ended a century of relative stability and peace in Europe, and the men who let that grand epoch pass are seen in history as hapless, out of touch, even stupid. In fact, they weren’t stupid, but they were out of touch and that rendered them hapless in the face of events they didn’t understand.
“President Obama and those around him aren’t stupid either, but they don’t seem to understand the nature of our time and the challenges posed by a fading era. They seem incapable of grappling with the kinds of broad historical questions posed by William Pfaff.
“But the problem doesn’t reside only with the current administration. There seems to be a zeitgeist in play that retards the ability of our leaders and intellectuals to grasp the transformative nature of our time and hence the havoc besetting the globe. …
“Seriousness is what the times call for. We are living through a crisis of the old order, and it demands new thinking, new cautions, new understandings of the profound challenges of this pregnant historical interregnum.”
My Comment: The problem is that everyone writes correctly about the modern state of confusion because they feel and understand it, but no one talks about the opportunities to exit it because no one has the knowledge, method, or vision of how to do that.
Only after the leaders become aware of their complete lack of understanding and inability to orient themselves in a given situation will they be able to enter integral re-education. It will expand their perception of reality and they will see the causes of what is happening and will then be able to participate in decision making.
Question: They spoke about altruism on the news and about social organizations that organize mutual help among people: exchanging things that people don’t need, holiday apartments, etc. Are they already implementing what we speak about?
Answer: That is too bad because Pharaoh is playing with them saying: “I have everything that you need! Why should you escape from me to the desert? Worship the Lord here in Egypt!”
We shouldn’t incorporate into such societies, but rather follow our own way. Surely nothing good will ever come of this. We can make our lives a bit more comfortable this way and paint them in brighter colors, but this isn’t the goal of our world. Therefore, such initiatives will not last long, but will collapse like all the other nice ideas humanity has tried to implement.
Why do organizations like Greenpeace fail? Because it is impossible to correct the ego this way. A person doesn’t change, but only does everything from the perspective of his ego. Even worse, it is like Bina that enters Malchut, the seven years of satiety, when they want to enjoy all the attributes of bestowal, Bina.
These are the children of Israel who enter Egypt and bring about its development, guard it, and make sure that all its granaries are full. All this is thanks to the attribute of Bina, which means Israel enters the shattered attribute of Malchut, Egypt.
First it brings the seven years of satiety, when we give. I give to you and you give to me and life is beautiful and good! Then this euphoria ends with a terrible blow, the seven years of want. These are not the years that lead to the exodus from Egypt, but the years that lead to the real shattering.
Question: But when we go out to the public, we offer them the same thing.
Answer: But we are the ones who offer that, by serving as a mediator between the Light that Reforms and the people. We bring them the remedy; we bring them the tubing through which the intravenous fluid will flow and heal them.
We are not the actual intravenous fluid, but the tubing delivering this remedy. The altruistic organizations that you hear about on the news simply operate within the boundaries of this world, “Let’s behave nicely! See how much our Pharaoh enjoys! How good he is for your ego and my ego!” This doesn’t go along with the goal of creation, and so there is no way it can be fulfilled or carried out.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 4/27/14, Writings of Baal HaSulam
Spiritual work is designed to reveal that to us and this will be my completion of correction. So there is nothing more important than dissemination. The group becomes only an intermediary, a source for the power to disseminate.
It seems to us that the main thing is the group. No, the main thing is those who are found outside. For their sake we exist as a group, as a people yearning for the Creator, Israel. Everything that we do is only to go out to them and to begin the work of connection, unification, and education among them.
The world is the most important of all, and not the group. In the group I find the Creator, connect with Him, and by way of the group, I receive power from Him. The connection is like the Creator in its characteristics, and according to the law of equivalence of form, I feel this power. But I receive it only in order to go forward and combine a wider circle to myself.
If I combine it with me, then the Upper Light begins to be extended in it as a very small illumination (Nefesh de Nefesh). But this is enough for an enormous Light to be revealed in the higher spheres of the world of Infinity. With this I give contentment to the Creator, shortening the distance between the two extremes: external circles which are not at all adapted to it, and Himself.
Giving contentment to the Creator is possible only by means of the combination of the external circles with Him through me. He enjoys connection with them, so they are very important in His eyes! Whereas, I am only a conduit.
Furthermore, I work on the connection between the Creator and the external desires. But everything that I do is not done for my sake. I carry out the work like a machine, like a precise mechanism, because the Creator gave me the possibility of organizing this relationship with Him.
From the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 4/17/14, Questions and Answers with Dr. Laitman
Question: What does it mean to be in the center of the group?
Answer: To be in the center of the group means to relate to everyone in an identical way. You shouldn’t divide them into respectable or not, old or new, smart or dumb.
Like a family in which you relate to everyone with the same love, even though it is expressed differently to each one , but everyone is important and necessary. It is especially this sensation that gives the feeling of the center when there is no difference between people.
In my daily work, I can, of course, prefer a specific person from among the people I lean on according to the hierarchy of the factory. But when I think of the group, that is already a completely different picture. Before me there appears a mass, forces that are equal towards everyone and forces that are equal for all.
The group is the equality of everyone for everyone in all categories. There are no differences between others according to any standards. After all, in a family I relate towards everyone according to their needs and don’t ignore anyone: the baby needs this and the grandmother needs that, the wife needs this and that, etc. Each one has his needs and to each one I give the attention that is needed.
Question: Both during the lesson and the meal, we need to constantly look for the center of the group. What do I need to search for within myself?
Answer: One needs to be very careful, so that the center of the group doesn’t bring you to the state of apathy and indifference towards everything that happens, and that you would think that this is the center of the group.
The center of the group is equal relations, goodness, and warmth towards everyone without any differences. It is my family. Bring the group closer to you and you will feel that you are with them and will feel their warmth.
From the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 4/17/14, Questions and Answers with Dr. Laitman
Question: New people who strive to actively participate in the life of the group should receive a set of rules that state how they should behave during the meals: staying silent, listening, singing together with others, etc. Although, if a person doesn’t have the right desire, he won’t understand that these rules are not invented by us; rather, they have a spiritual root.
Is it worth holding a series of meetings at which major moments in the life of the group are analyzed in the form of seminars? Shall we choose “rules at joint meals” as the first topic?
Answer: Today, in the state we are currently in, when all of us are members of a big community and we have no time left to communicate with each other, we hold the meals together with women and children. Therefore, it’s quite different from how Kabbalists did it.
I still hope that we will be able to rise above this situation and will behave correctly even though it is a very hard task to achieve. Our meals are accompanied by music, songs, speeches, questions and answers. They include everything except one thing: silence!
I am afraid that if we start holding real Kabbalistic meals, after one or two events people will stop attending them since it is very hard to keep complete silence throughout the meal. We cannot push people so hard although my teacher Rabash, was very strict about this requirement and imposed this kind of behavior on us.
I understand that we have to raise the importance of Kabbalistic meals and eventually we will do them. Through the ritual of sharing food—a purely animalistic activity—people will aspire to elevate this action to its spiritual roots. We know what receiving for the sake of bestowal inside the Kli (vessel) means: It is a Tzimtzum (restriction), reflected Light, etc. When we really necessitate actions that bring us closer to spirituality, we eventually begin acting so.
At Rabash’s meals we sat silently for 45 minutes to an hour. Nobody slept. The tension was very tangible. However, I don’t think it’s feasible to behave like this in our groups.
For that, we have to go through serious internal clarifications. Possibly, a person in his or her everyday routine doesn’t have time for self-exploration, choosing, analyzing, systematizing questions, finding answers, having arguments, setting up intentions, etc. One just cannot scan or scrutinize oneself, nor can one put things on the right shelves and clean up one’s internal house.
I don’t know if people can agree to act this way or if they are capable of doing these things at all. It was much easier for Rabash, since he had 20-30 students; whereas, there are more than 300 people who come here and thousands of others who are present at our events throughout the world. In essence, during Kabbalistic meals we start internal self-clarifications that are similar to the ones we go through during our lessons. It is good work.
From the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 4/17/14, Questions and Answers with Dr. Laitman
Baal HaSulam, “Shamati #59,” “About the Rod and the Serpent”: “And the Lord said unto him: ‘What is that in thy hand?’ And he said: ‘A rod.’ And He said: ‘Cast it on the ground…’ and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it” (Exodus 4).
We must understand that there are not more than two degrees, either Kedusha (Sanctity) or Sitra Achra (Other Side). There is no intermediary state, but the same rod itself becomes a serpent, if thrown to the ground…
A hand means attainment, from the words, “and if a hand attains.” A rod means that all one’s attainments are built on the discernment of inferior importance, which is faith above reason.
(This is because faith is regarded as having inferior importance, and as lowness. One appreciates the things that clothe within reason.)
Reason is attainment in the mind and the heart, which means that it is my current state in which I feel and see myself and the world and I want to advance towards the goal of love, bestowal, and connection. I do what the Kabbalists say in their books and follow the advice of the teacher and the friends, but everything turns out just the other way around.
This is what I discover within reason. It is important how I relate to it, it is an important point. No matter what I feel, what’s important is how I relate to what I feel!
What I feel is called reason and I have to relate to my feelings above reason. This means that I follow the faith of the sages, the greatness of the teacher, and the greatness of the friends by holding on to the upper force. When I have no more powers, I ask the Creator and the friends for powers. I keep on advancing although according to my heart and mind I see that I am at a dead end with regards to the work in the group, the dissemination, and the study.
According to my heart and mind there is no way I can attain anything but despair before a blocked Machsom (barrier). I see that I am standing in front of a wall and cannot do anything. But I relate to this obstacle in faith above reason, and carry on in bestowal as if I have powers, a mind, and heart, as if I am full of enthusiasm. I must operate this way, although me ego certainly doesn’t allow me to do so. Here I turn the serpent into a rod by taking it in my hand.
Whatever happens, the state itself doesn’t matter, because it is arranged by the Creator. What’s important is how I relate to this state. If I relate to it simply, directly, it is called within reason. Then I fall powerless and think that the goal is unattainable and leave this path. However I can advance by faith above reason, and here I need the help of the friends, mutual guarantee, and a daily support schedule.
From the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 4/20/14, Shamati #59
Everything depends upon the calculation, the decision that was accepted from the start. A human differs from an animal in that he has a Rosh with which he decides how much Light he can receive in order to bestow. The desires with which I receive are called the Toch of the spiritual Partzuf (the body). And where I cannot receive is called the Sof (the end).
What follows from this is that through this decision I divide my reality and all of me into three parts. The part in which I receive a decision is the Rosh (head), and it is the most important part of me, thanks to which I am called man and am different from an animal.
An animal has only a desire without a division into a head, torso, and ending. This means that it is dominated by the direct Light that influences it and it responds accordingly. Between these influences, in the middle, there is no head; there is no restriction.
This is why an animal is absolutely linked to the Creator instinctively. An animal doesn’t make mistakes, but always carries out the commands of the Creator. Therefore angels belong to the animal level.
But man takes account of how to resemble the Creator, and so he makes mistakes. He has a head by which he becomes independent! And so he doesn’t use all of his desire, but divides it into parts and constructs a spiritual Partzuf.
In the beginning we have only a desire and we carry out a restriction on it. In this manner we receive the possibility of considering what else to do with our desire; we are working with the head.
Work in the head against the desire, not according to its wishes but according to my calculation, is called a Masach (screen). This means that the screen is desire + restriction + decision to resemble the Creator, and my goal is built from the head and intention.
We must bring all of these concepts as close to ourselves as possible because we are already in them. We only need to clarify where the head is, where the screen is, where the restriction is, where the intention is, how do I receive, and how do I divide the desire from here to there.
It is as if I am on a diet and choose the dish that will bring me what and how much I am allowed to eat and what I am not. We make a calculation like this with the head of the Partzuf, and after that we realize this decision in the body. It’s all very clear, the only question is for whom am I doing this?
This is the only question, the entire difference between the physical and the spiritual is in that. In the physical world we maintain a diet in order to look beautiful and to be healthy. Whereas, in the spiritual world we do this with a different intention: with a hope that we are giving contentment to the Creator.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 4/23/14, Writings of Baal HaSulam
From Rabash, Article, “On My Bed at Night”: “On my bed at night I sought him whom my soul loves,” to lead me out of her, since the Nefesh de Kedusha belongs to the assembly of Israel, and she is in the other, impure land, and asks of Him whom my soul loves to deliver me from it, from the impure land.
This means that since the Nefesh de Kedusha is in lowliness, the Nefesh de Noga does what the three impure Klipot want. It therefore follows that the Nefesh de Kedusha must tolerate the governance of the impure Klipot, which govern them. This is why the Nefesh de Kedusha asks to be delivered from this exile….
We often come across a state like this called “on my bed at night.” The question is, how to clarify it, how to contend with it and to use it to advance.
In each one of us three forces are at work: Nefesh de Kedusha, Nefesh of the three impure Klipot and the Nefesh de Klipat Noga, which doesn’t belong to Kedusha or to the impure Klipot and gives us free choice. So we are sometimes inclined in the direction of Kedusha and sometimes towards Tuma’a (impurity), depending upon who is dominating us.
Sometimes illumination reaches us from Above and the Nefesh de Kedusha is awakened in us. In the meantime, it is not the true Neshama, we don’t have a Neshama yet, but the Light is revealed on the right side, on the side of bestowal. And so we begin to have more appreciation for bestowal, giving, and connection. We feel the illumination in it and so egoistically we prefer it.
The next time it’s the opposite, nothing illuminates us with the power of bestowal, from the right side, with the Nefesh de Kedusha, and so we are drawn towards the Nefesh de Tuma’a, to the left side. This means that we begin to be concerned about everything that will interest our ego.
We are rarely able to influence these two sides, yet their action on us ultimately comes to be expressed in the middle line, in Klipat Noga. That is how we determine our situation and our future, what we will decide next time.
It is always about the future, because in the present state, there is nothing he can do. He must accept it as good and as given for his own good. The main thing is not to forget that all states intentionally come from Above.
All the states are specifically arranged for us so that we will relate to them correctly. They don’t require anything from us except for our correct attitude, meaning the intention. We ourselves don’t change anything in reality.
This reality is determined; this is Malchut of the world of Infinity. Yet thanks to our correct relationship to it, which is an awareness that there is none else besides Him, the good and benevolent, and with the help of adherence with this singular power that manages all of creation, we set points on the way for ourselves. The entire work consists of the understanding, attainment, and justification of this active force.
Specifically due to these states, the “nights,” we must always rise and justify the higher behavior, in spite of the darkness of the night. This justification is through thanks and praise for the Creator, His exaltation, “I am the first and I am the last,” in His relationship of immense love for all of creation. All of the states through which the Creator brings us are given for one goal, to bring the creatures to the point of adherence with Him.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 4/23/14, Writings of Rabash