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Opinion (Vadim S. Rotenberg, Ph.D., professor at Tel Aviv University): “It is generally accepted that free will is one of the most important human values. But do we truly have free will? Does a person have free will? Can he act according to his own desires, or is his behavior completely determined by the conditions of his existence and the various environmental factors that affect him?
“On one hand, considering simple arbitrary actions (I want to raise a hand and I raise it), free will seems obvious. But this does not make people different from animals. The main manifestation of freedom is the personal choice of a variety of real possibilities.
“The factors that affect us often contradict each other or complement each other, and it is impossible to calculate the single algorithm of these relationships. Such factors include our beliefs, formed in the process of personal development, relationships with others, momentary impulses, and more.
“Freedom is not to ignore all of these factors, but to be able to form holistic behavior in interaction with them, which is aimed at the target. Ignoring them is not a manifestation of freedom from them, but arbitrariness. Arbitrariness is different from freedom of will is not merely by the absence of prediction of results of one’s behavior (this prediction may be wrong), but by at the lack of the very intention to make this prediction.
“Free will is the freedom of choice of many potential opportunities, and it is limited only to a holistic sense of oneself, one’s personality, one’s image of ‘Self,’ which does not make it infinite, but fills with meaning. It may seem paradoxical, but this restriction defines a person’s freedom of will as opposed to arbitrariness and to animals that have physiological feelings, but there is no image of ‘Self.’
“The human being may not be free from himself, but should be in the world with self-image. If a person has no feeling of himself and the image of ‘Self’ has not been formed, he has nothing to do with the freedom that is afforded to him; it will result in destroying arbitrariness, and fearing that he may choose dependence on others. It is a profound problem of personality.”
My Comment: There is no freedom of will in our world. It is possible only if a person has an opportunity to rise above the nature of our world (egoism), which completely determines our decisions and behavior. See other posts in the freewill category.
Baal HaSulam, Shamati, article 33, “The Lots on Yom Kippurim and with Haman”: “Hence, one sees that all the greatness of the Creator that he had obtained was because of the Se’arot and the contradictions he had had. This is the meaning of, “the Lord on high is mighty.” It means that the greatness of the Creator is awarded through the Aderet.”
Of course it is impossible to manage without the support of the group, without the work that others perform. They may not even speak about it, but because we are all connected to one another, I grow stronger thanks to others. Therefore I can continue to go through all the Dinim (judgments) and accumulate the necessary clarifications until I reach the sufficient measure for the revelation of the Creator’s greatness.
The Creator is not revealed at first but rather the Creator’s greatness is. But then we see that we don’t even need that. A person reveals the Creator when he demands the Creator’s greatness and not when he demands to know Him.
I advance when I clearly discern and feel more and more sharply that this is the Creator’s greatness. I don’t demand to know the Creator in any way other than the force of His greatness that will allow me to advance to adhesion and to perform actions of bestowal that are independent of any discernment other than His greatness.
I want to think only about this and that I will see it as the greatest thing. I have no need for all the discernments and clarifications that follow this greatness anymore, so that they will not be excuses for my actions. Only one thing is enough for me: that the Creator is great.
This is called pure faith, without any self benefit. I don’t ask the Creator to feed me, to bring me health, peace, a good life, good relations with people, success, etc. It is actually above all these deficiencies, above the lack of success, above the fact that the Creator gives me nothing and that Pharaoh is revealed more and more, above all the great disappointment, above the darkness, that I ask for one thing only: the Creator’s greatness, which means the power to work for Him.
Accordingly, the rejecting of my ego is increasingly revealed. Here I discover the gap between the two ends: the feeling in the desire to receive and the recognition of the Creator’s greatness, which are two opposites.
I establish the Creator’s greatness, “the Lord on high is mighty,” above all the Se’arot (hair), the contradictions, that are rejected by the desire to receive, above all the Dinim I feel. This highness is established in the Se’arot. Thus I establish the two opposite discernments inside me, and the distance between them is the volume of my soul. That is actually revealed by this oppositeness.
“It follows that through the Se’arot one gradually discovers the greatness of the Creator, until one finds the Names of the Creator, called “the thirteen attributes of Mercy.” This is the meaning of “and the elder shall serve the younger,” and “the wicked shall prepare it, but the just shall wear it.”
Wicked refers to all my descents and disappointments, all the times that I caught myself with the desire to do something for my own benefit, to go back to the previous calculations, not by being detached from myself and adhered to the Creator. Thus I gradually establish my new form.
From the 2nd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 5/30/14, Shamati #33
Baal HaSulam, Shamati #33, “The Lots On Yom Kippurim and with Haman”: We must know that what appears to one as things that contradict the guidance of “Good that Doeth Good,” is only to compel one to draw the Upper Light on the contradictions, when wanting to prevail over the contradictions…
It means that the contradictions can be annulled if one wants to overcome them, only if one extends the greatness of the Creator.
A person works and exerts himself, which means that he studies, teaches, and participates in different activities in the group, and simply falls off his feet because he is so tired. As a result, different questions come up: “Well, when? How? Why?” And there is no answer for these questions until he fills his measure.
Then he understands that he probably lacks quantity and quality in his exertion. The main thing in one’s exertion is the quality. But how can that be attained? In most cases a person feels helpless and doesn’t know what to do and remains idle.
Here he begins to feel that he cannot advance without the importance of the goal because he advances by the friends pressuring and pushing him, by feeling uncomfortable and ashamed and that he has no choice, not because the Creator’s greatness illuminates for him, and certainly not because a thought about delighting the Creator invokes him.
He begins to clarify things in order to understand what motivates him. Of course it is the ego that motivates him, but does he have to be connected to the goal of creation? Although I am an egoist, I am at least locked on and focused on the upper force, on the Creator, and not on the environment. So that it isn’t people who should compel him to advance but the Creator, since after all, there has to be some connection to the truth.
A person sees that he greatly exerts himself, he participates in everything that the society does, and he feels that he is utterly exhausted, but the reason for all his hard work is completely the wrong reason. His reason isn’t spiritual. So by that he reaches the right calculation no matter how unpleasant it is and he understands that he has to correct himself and continue. Thus he instantly corrects his route.
He sees that he advances by obstacles, problems, disappointments, and afflictions that are revealed. It is actually thanks to his overcoming the Aviut (thickness), the hardening of the heart, the complaints, the inner struggle, and the dissatisfaction that he can reveal the Creator’s greatness, as it is said about the exile in Egypt that the Creator seemed greater to Moses and the nation of Israel by causing Pharaoh’s hardening of the heart.
There is no other choice. We have to discover the rough, hard, and despaired egoistic desire, so that in contrast to it, the Creator’s greatness will be revealed. The main thing is not to allow yourself to escape and hide from the afflictions or to look for an easy way out since by that a person stalls and doesn’t reach the hard Dinim and the clarifications by which he can discover the Creator’s glory. This happens to everyone, but we have to learn from this experience and to do everything possible in order to avoid this natural inclination of slowing down and all the excuses to justify ourselves.
From the 2nd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 5/30/14, Shamati #33 The Lots on Yom Kippurim and Haman”
Answer: To judge the world to the scale of merit means to make every effort to bring my inner world, everything that I see and feel, closer to me by my exertion and thus awaken every part in the big world to do the same, and to succeed in his individual correction of the world.
Thus, Malchut of Ein Sof (Infinity) is made of all the individual worlds of every individual in it, which are mutually incorporated in one another, until we reach the complete mutual incorporation.
From the 2nd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 5/29/14, Writings of Rabash
Question: Why does time fly so fast in the modern world? In general, the older one gets the faster time flies and before you know it a whole week has gone by.
Answer: The feeling of time is merely a psychological phenomenon. Since we live in a world that moves at such high speed with constant changes, it seems that time flies and is over soon. The problem isn’t time itself or what happens but our desire to receive that goes through very fast changes internally.
The desire constantly changes according to its inner program and so a person feels as if everything around him changes and feels that time flies. In fact, however, nothing moves on the outside except for the desire itself, which builds up an acceleration.
After all, we go through an emotional development in our desire to enjoy in order to reach its ultimate fulfillment, the right perception of who we are and what this desire is. In this desire we will discover the upper reality that is above it.
This means that time is a collection of impressions that change inside our desire to enjoy and which create the feeling of time that we have, that-time flies or time that doesn’t move: past, present, and future, but time itself doesn’t exist. The concept of time is a result of the changes that take place inside our desire.
As we develop more and more, desires to enjoy something new are invoked in us and these desires are increasingly stronger and change in a growing pace and so we feel that time flies faster and faster.
If we compare our life with life in the Middle Ages, 500-1000 years ago, it will seem that time hardly passed then. Nothing changed from morning till night and so one day followed another and one week followed another and a month followed another. If we compare the life of a modern man that is 70-80 years to the Middle Ages when they lived about 30-35 years, the 30 years in the Middle Ages would seem longer than the 80 years today.
After all, everything moved very slowly in the Middle Ages with hardly any changes. A person’s whole life passed at the pace of a horse or a donkey, while today it is at the pace of a missile or a jet plane. This is the reason that our life is full of a variety of phenomena and time flies relatively fast.
Moreover, our perception has changed. Three hundred years ago I had to plan a journey of 100 miles for a long time, and to think where I would stop for the night, what I should feed my donkey, what I would eat, how I would get there, and how I would return. The feeling of life and the time axis were totally different. Human psychology, the perception of time and movement, places and life were very different.
A person then didn’t feel time the way we do. He measured time in relation to his donkey, which determined the speed. Today, however, we measure time according to an atomic clock that counts a millionth part of a second.
From Kab TV’s “A New Life” 4/17/14
Answer: Specifically because you place yourself in the service and use of others you become responsible for everyone. You don’t exist for yourself, only for the others. That is how the law of Arvut (mutual guarantee) works; others have no free choice. I am the one who determines their situation and fate since I take responsibility myself and am ready to stand in their place.
Everything that happens depends only on me. Whatever may be, for better or for worse, everything depends only on me. I connect them to myself as my lower Partzuf and provide for them.
Isn’t this insolence for me to think like this? No, this is not insolence. If we are all equal, then each one of us has a personal connection with the Creator and that is not through others. All the others follow me.
This is because there is a “point in the heart” within me, my place in the source which nobody else has. And there is a special place like this for everyone. So everyone can say that from his point of view he is the only responsible, independent one in the root of his soul, and nobody else.
Everyone has his unique personal characteristic and everything else comes from mutual integration with others. But through this unique personal characteristic, I am directly connected by a thread with the Creator and in this I am ahead of everyone. If it were not for me, they would not be complete. Only I can correct this characteristic by connecting it with the rest of humanity, meaning with all the rest of the characteristics of Malchut of the world of Infinity.
Suppose that there are seven billion parts in Malchut of the world of Infinity and each part is connected with the Creator through its specific characteristic. And all the rest of the characteristics in me are derived from mutual integration with the other seven billion.
From the 5th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 5/27/14, Writings of Baal HaSulam
Question: How can we bridge the enormous gap between the need to reach mutual guarantee and the real state of the world in which corruption and violence increase day by day, and which is an antithesis to mutual guarantee? How can we convince people that mutual guarantee is real and that it can be implemented and that it isn’t just some utopia as it seems today?
Answer: I remember that two years ago the whole world wore scarves that were tied in a certain way because it was fashionable for a while. Today yellow is in fashion and so everyone wears yellow clothes. Tomorrow it will be red and everyone will rush to buy new clothes. Thus we see that the world can be turned in any direction and can be programmed like a computer using different actions.
According to the most conservative estimates, humanity wastes 500 billion dollars a year on advertising. If we took only ten percent of this sum, 50 billion dollars a year, it would be enough to provide a good life for all the people in the world, to put an end to hunger and to other problems.
But now this money goes to advertising to sell products for ten dollars that are only worth a dollar. They have to charge ten dollars for the product since otherwise they will not cover the advertising expenses.
Our world is the outcome of advertising. Everything in this world, all the forms of our life, are the outcome of advertising. The way we think and speak, what we love and what we hate, what we enjoy, all the tastes and the manners of our behavior, all our inclinations, even education and knowledge, are a result of advertising. It is about determining priorities of what is more important in life.
So we shouldn’t think that mutual guarantee is not real and that it cannot be fulfilled and implemented. If we took the money that is spent on advertising and began to advertise our method of connection, we would succeed just like ordinary advertisers and even more so!
After all, we would show the world that there are facts and a good future behind our words because we operate against the evil that is already revealed to them.
So don’t say that it isn’t real. It may seem unreal to you since you still need to work in order to grow stronger and to obtain the money and additional resources needed to organize an advertising campaign, but it requires no more than that! You can program people any way you want by advertising.
From the 3rd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 5/28/14, Writings of Baal HaSulam
Preparation for the Lesson
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Shamati #66 “The Giving of the Torah”
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“The Book of Zohar” — Selected Excerpts, “On the Night of the Bride,” Item 140
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Writings of Rabash, “Shlavei HaSulam,“ Article 21
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Writings of Baal HaSulam “Preface to the Wisdom of Kabbalah,” Item 59
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