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Opinion (Marina R. Bityanova, Ph.D., Professor of Moscow Open University, Director of the Center of psychological support in education, author of four books): “When people work together for a long time, they have to make joint decisions – not to come to a compromise, but namely to develop a common view of the problem. Compromise is an averaged solution, and hence no one’s. A group decision is general, and therefore is accepted by everyone.
“In practical terms, this is a very important property of the decisions that are accepted jointly: at the same time, they are everyone’s personal decision, therefore, everyone will perform them. Thus, a group should be encouraged to take vital decisions together, in collective discussion.
“But is a group decision effective? Maybe it is better if a decision is made by one person – the head, the leader, and then he convinces the group in his reason?
“People have long realized that taking a complex and responsible decision is better in discussion (a council of wise men, gathering of the elders, focus group), in general agreement – consensus. A group action is qualitatively and quantitatively superior to the action of the ‘average’ person, but sometimes is not as effective as the actions of an outstanding personality.
“Group decisions are more risky than individual; having united, people decide to take the risk, because a group discussion makes people feel that they share responsibility, personal irresponsibility that facilitates the adoption of extreme decisions, view risk as treasure: readiness to take risks increases status; during the panel discussion, group members aim at showing that they possess such readiness.
“Another important feature of group decisions: during discussion, opinions are not averaged, but polarized.
The thinking style of a group with a high level of internal unity and autonomy has the following features:
– An illusion of invulnerability;
– The desire to give a rational explanation for one’s decision as the only possible and correct;
– Stereotypical view of opponents;
– Open pressure on the minority;
– An illusion of unanimity;
– The emergence of self-appointed guardians of the group spirit, etc.
“Studies show that groups of this type increases internal cohesion and self-satisfaction of the members, but it reduces the quality of group decisions; members’ individual decisions are of a higher quality than those of the group.
“This phenomenon often occurs in groups working in crisis, stressful situations, forcing group members to unite around group goals, to fence off from the outside world.”
My Comment: When a group wants to unite so that its unity benefits the whole world, no negative qualities can occur in it.
Baal HaSulam, “The Arvut” (Mutual Guarantee): “The Patriarchs observed the whole Torah even before it was given.” This means that because of the exaltedness of their souls, they had the ability to attain all the ways of the Creator.
The patriarchs belonged to the pure vessels, GE (Galgalta ve Eynaim), and therefore did not need the Torah, because the Torah is the Light that corrects the Aviut (thickness) of the desire, and they were not thick but pure. The whole Torah is love and bestowal and they could observe it out of the exaltedness and the purity of their souls.
All the lower vessels, however, could not observe it just like that but needed to be equipped with sufficiently thick desires, which correct themselves by the Light that Reforms and could eventually be detached from it and receive the Torah.
Vessels of Hesed (mercy), Gevura (valor ) and Tifferet (splendor) correct themselves without the Light that Reforms, but are simply adhered to the simple Upper Light out of their purity. They knew all the Torah intuitively, since their vessels let them know about actions of bestowal. But their sons Netzach (eternal) , Hod (glory), and Yesod (foundation), all the other souls that come after them, already belong to the vessels of receiving and are therefore unable to understand, to feel, or to correct themselves by their own understanding and purity.
When the vessels are thicker, they need the Light that Reforms. First they have to reveal the full depth of the thickness of the desire to realize how bad it is on the levels of Egypt and during 400 years.
This is what Abraham asked: “I know that I belong to HGT, to vessels that are already corrected, that we are pure and that we are closer to You, but what about my sons? How will I know that they will inherit the land (of Israel)?”
The Creator answers him: “Don’t worry, they will be in exile and will accumulate all the necessary thickness, and then they will realize that they need to be connected to Me.” Abraham heard that and calmed down. The vessels of bestowal have a natural inclination to the Creator, while the vessels of receiving can only establish some attitude towards the Creator by going through exile that reveals the evil in them.
The method of correction is totally different in vessels of bestowal, in GE, and in vessels of receiving. Fathers and sons are two different levels. The sons are already egoistic as we can see.
From the 5th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 6/5/14, Writings of Baal HaSulam
“Introduction to The Book of Zohar,” “BeLaila De Kala” (The Night of the Bride), Item 138: This is the main point of the essay, for thus far the corrections, too, were regarded as the work of our hands because we received rewards or punishments for them. However, at the great Zivug of the end of correction it will be revealed that both corrections and punishments were all the work of His hands, as it is written, “The heavens tell the work of His hands.” This is so because the great Zivug of the firmament will say that everything is the work of His hands and He alone does, is doing, and will do all the deeds.
A person has such a feeling and such thoughts that the end of correction is a fixed state that will come sometime in the future and that we can simply wait for it. He doesn’t understand that this state comes according to the corrections that a person performs. Nothing comes by itself, but only according to our work on the corrections.
We shouldn’t hope to remain the way we are and that corrections will simply arrive on their own. No, I am the one who has to try hard in order to reach correction.
From the 3rd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 6/2/14, The Zohar
Answer: First of all, the ten commandments symbolize the desires in which we are connected to one another. It is only about connection.
The giving of the Torah takes place at the foot of the mountain only after the people accept the condition of mutual guarantee as one man in one heart. This means that we understand that there is a mountain of our ego above us and that we can ascend this mountain only with one point in the heart. This point is called Moses since it pulls us out of our ego.
Mt. Sinai is enormous, like the tower of Babel and even larger. We are at the bottom of the mountain ready to stand around this mountain of our ego. That is, we agree to connect all the parts of our private egoism into one mountain and not to fear it although it is a mountain of hate. We need to yearn for connection even though the only goal of our ego is to resist connection.
When we connect this way, we demand the revelation of the power of bestowal in our connection. It is because the inclination for connection is the spiritual vessel, the deficiency for mutual bestowal, as it is written, “From the love of the creatures to the love of the Creator.” Thus, we accept the condition of “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 6/3/14, Shamati #66 “The Giving of the Torah”
The first decision to accept the mutual guarantee is on Shavuot. Shavuot is the name of the holiday from the perspective of the vessels as we gradually correct ourselves in the 50 days between Pesach and Shavuot, which are called the counting of the Omer (bundle).
Omer means connections. During these 50 days we collect ourselves as much as we can and clarify what we can correct and what we cannot. After we collect all the deficiencies, on the 50th day, we decide what we can do with it.
Every day we ask for correction in one of the Sefirot and bless it. On the whole there are 7 x 7 = 49 Sefirot that make up the connection between us: between Malchut and Bina. On the 50th day we already have our corrected vessel, our connected desire, and we are able to receive the Light that Reforms.
Thus we become one man, one vessel, and instead of the Light that corrects and reforms, the Light enters us as a filling. This is the beginning of receiving of the Torah.
The holiday of the giving of the Torah, Shavuot, symbolizes all that. It is a very important, great, and special holiday. There isn’t a more joyful holiday for Israel than the day of receiving of the Torah.
But people don’t regard this holiday as importantly as they should; they only know that it’s customary to eat dairy products. This holiday is also called the holiday of harvest, the first harvest. The Creator gives us the Torah just like cows give us milk.
But the nation of Israel living in the land of Israel, as a corporeal branch of the spiritual root, must understand the true meaning of the giving of the Torah. There is no greater holiday. Of course the exodus from Egypt is the starting point, but all this is the preparation for receiving the Torah.
It makes no difference that we received the first two stone tablets with the ten commandments and that we broke them. It is through this that the sparks of Torah penetrate our vessels because these vessels are still mixed with the vessels of the Egyptians, and so we make the golden calf. Later we receive the second tablets on Yom Kippur, and after the holidays, we reach Purim. This is how the year ends. Let’s hope that we can at least start this process that will be completed only at the end of correction.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 6/3/14, Shamati #66 “The Giving of the Torah”
We need to try hold ourselves within one Kli (vessel), a general boat, and constantly think about the existence of this Kli, of our mutual baby. It is as if you have a daughter who got married and now lives far away from you, and you constantly worry about the baby she gave birth to.
You think about him being in the hands of silly and frivolous children, who are lazy and don’t care for him as they should. You suffer from this and can’t see how they treat him. Your heart is torn when you hear his crying on the phone when they call you. You are full of concern.
There are those kinds of worries in life, i.e., worrying about the welfare of someone outside yourself. And in this way we need to worry about the group.
Question: It turns out that I have to work not with the friends, who are fine with the group, but with those who want to leave the group and thus harm our unity, harm our collective boat?
Answer: Yes, but only if previously they were aimed toward unity. However, if they heard that one has to unite and immediately ran away, then it was before any commitments to Arvut (mutual guarantee). In the meantime, they are not called friends.
Friends are only those who work for the attainment of Arvut (mutual guarantee). And the others don’t.
Comment: But we know that this is hard work, and many run away in the middle of the path.
Answer: It isn’t in the middle, since they, after all, haven’t even begun. They saw the beginning of the path, understood that it wasn’t for them and left.
Question: So why did they come if it they didn’t have a “point in the heart?”
Answer: Everyone has a point in the heart, but in the meantime it doesn’t burn in such a way that a person needs to invest all of himself in it. But if they were already part of this connection, and left, then one needs to fix the gap that was left through our even greater and stronger connection.
Question: Should such people return?
Answer: You are not able to force them to return because there is no coercion in spirituality.
From the 5th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 6/2/14, Writings of Baal HaSulam
Baal HaSulam, Shamati #53, “The Matter of Limitation”: This is called the main part of the degree, which is a discernment of Katnut. This discernment must be permanent, and the Gadlut is only an addition. Also, one should yearn for the main part, not for the additions.
The goal is to reach wholeness, and a sign of wholeness is the joy that fills all of our senses, all desires, and all thoughts, which means our heart and mind. It is because wholeness and joy come from the Creator; when in the smallest state, I am adhered to Him and thus delight Him, and then it is the greatest state.
At the bottom of the ladder it seems that a person has to be as great as the Creator: to know, to understand, and to feel everything, to control everything, to swallow the whole world. The Creator seems as a powerful ruler that dominates all of creation and a person thinks that he also should be the same. The ego inside me constantly grows and expands so that I will advance.
But then I begin to understand that no matter how much new desire will be added and no matter how great it is, I have to make myself a zero and another zero, as many zeros as possible. I cannot do that with regard to the Creator, but I can make an effort and do it with regard to the friends.
Annulling myself and not wanting anything for myself but from the point of annulment to delight the Creator is actually the starting point of every level, of every state. This is the attribute of Bina, to bestow in order to bestow with nothing of its own.
This is called Tzimtzum (restriction), Masach (screen), and the Returning Light. To the extent that greatest discernments are revealed to me, I annul them when it comes to my own benefit and I don’t want to exist on my own if I cannot delight the Creator above this state and not demand anything else.
My perception of reality is always divided into two. I want to delete all the desires and the thoughts that are for myself and to restrict them; I cannot get rid of them completely, but want to feel as if they don’t exist. It is because I begin to feel that every thought and desire for myself in any way doesn’t let me focus on delighting the Creator.
Thus I establish my bestowal by restricting all my desires by which I am blown up with from Above, to zero. I return to nothing, and then above that establish my bestowal. These are already the next phases of my ladder. The sign for these states is the ability to ascend above all the ascents and descents and to turn them into means of bestowal, as if I don’t have a volume of my own but convey everything above myself.
From the 2nd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 6/2/14, Shamati #53 “The Matter of Limitation”
Aaron was completely free of error, except for the incident with the Golden Calf. This error was a heavy burden on his soul. He was concerned that the Creator would reject his sacred work and his priesthood. Moses said to him, “You don’t have to be afraid! The Omnipotent forgives you!” It was only then that Aaron went up to the altar. (M. Weisman, “Midrash Mispar,” Parshat “Shemini”).
Aaron considered himself unworthy of the sacred work and the priesthood because he felt within him the previous breach, the previous crisis, the previous shattering, from the sin of the golden calf.
So, he had to pass through a turning point in order to rise up again. Only then was he ready for the correction of the sins committed at the time of the worship of the golden calf.
He began to feel that the sin of the golden calf was arranged intentionally for his present correction. This means that this problem had to be revealed precisely in this way otherwise it would not have been revealed. Now it was possible to reveal it and correct it.
This happened when Aaron connected with Moses, and in their work together, they reached a state during which the Upper Light descended on them clothed in the characteristic of bestowal. In this way, by approaching each other, they acquired the characteristic of bestowal.
From KabTV’s “Secrets of the Eternal Book” 1/15/13