Question: What does the work on the principle love thy neighbor as thyself come down to?
Answer: There are many steps and many stages on the way to this state. This is the whole system of the wisdom of Kabbalah.
At first a person simply yearns for a connection with others. There are different special exercises like sitting together, having meals together, discussions, consultations, and talks about getting closer, which for the time being can just be theoretical. For the time being there is little practical work here, since on the first levels, people still barely feel the movements, the attraction, and the need for connection and unity with others.
Comment: This means that they should at least sit next to one another for a start.
Answer: Yes, this is how the connection begins, from external to internal.
Later they study different sources that speak about that, about how the world is in a state of absolute connection and that all the elements of the still, vegetative, and animate levels are mutually connected, mutually complement each other, and to what extent the system that manages our world is totally integral, and that above it, there is the whole system of creation.
We should just live in this system as we do now. Forces and the realization that are opposite this system are intentionally awakened in us so that by this oppositeness, from the dark, we will discover the Light.
Now we are small passive elements managed from Above and we are also part of this immense analog, global integral system, totally connected and simply perfect. But we don’t feel it. We were given such options, such conditions, on purpose, so that we will feel wholeness only if we can reach that by ourselves and to the extent that we agree with it and understand that we need it. This is a person’s gradual internal correction and what Abraham taught his students.
Then they began to see the states they were in compared to the states they should reach. First they simply discussed it verbally without any basis, repeating the words of their teacher like small children who repeat every word the grownups say without even understanding what it is about. Then they began to feel it, out of their yearning for one another and out of cooperation and unity that affected all of them. That is, even their mechanical actions affected their inner states and led to internal changes.
They began to change their attitude towards one another. They went through times of descents and times of ascents, all stemming from one source: each time they felt they were incompatible with any format, they had to yearn to attain it.
In order to attain that, there was a need for constant alternating descents and ascents in order to constantly raise the oppositeness by penetrating more and more deeply into perfection that can only be attained through the opposite state.
This is how they advanced. Moreover, their movement forward to greater and greater closeness symbolized the detachment from Babylon, from the inner state of total dispersion and the movement towards the land of Israel, which meant moving to the state of connection. This is what Abraham led them to.
Here I must say that the wisdom of Kabbalah is perfectly logical because it coincides with our corporeal perspective things, with the principle “matter as a reality is given to us in sensation.”
Abraham’s students advanced in a natural way and in an internal way from the state of Babylon to the state of the land of Israel, and accordingly they also advanced externally from Babylon to the land of Israel. They felt that they needed to advance.
How does a person get such feelings?
I am sitting here and I suddenly feel like going somewhere and doing something, like calling someone and talking. I have certain thoughts and desires, but where do they come from? They also come from inside, but I simply don’t know it and I can’t follow this mechanism. And so it seems that it operates randomly and coincidentally.
Now it is about desires that are not on a physiological level but on a spiritual level. When I change some spiritual attributes inside me it also affects my physical attributes.
Thus, when they began to change internally and get closer, the people who followed Abraham began to feel the need to leave Babylon and they also drew away from Babel externally.
They began to move forward and gradually move their tents, awnings, sheep, goats, camels, and donkeys and thus they advanced towards the land of Israel. It was not such a great transition from Babylon to the land of Israel, which they fulfilled internally and externally.
Question: So the land of Israel, as it were “reassured” them and they changed from nomads into farmers?
Answer: They were not farmers. Wheat was grown in Babylon, but the people who followed Abraham along the historical path for nearly a thousand years after Babylon were shepherds. Only after settling in the land of Israel, after the exodus from Egypt, did they settle down and in addition to being shepherds began to engage in agriculture as well.
Then after the exodus from Egypt, on the same principle, they felt internally that here was the place for the Temple.
From KabTV’s “Babylon Yesterday and Today” 8/27/14