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Question: Why is an offense against a person worse than an offense against the Creator? Does it mean that a person cannot manage with the Creator unless he manages with those around him?
Answer: You cannot turn to the Creator if there are people in the world whom you have harmed. We can influence the Creator only through people according to the law of “from the love of the created beings to the love of the Creator.”
After all, the Creator is concealed and we can only reveal Him by giving to people. This is the reason that the wisdom of Kabbalah is called the concealed wisdom. It teaches us how to truly give to people in order to discover the Creator behind them. If we don’t know that, we will never be able to do people good by our giving, then we will not be able to bestow upon the Creator either. It turns out that we will end our life without any positive outcome.
Question: Suppose I have hurt a friend and want to make up with him. Is it enough to ask for his forgiveness as is customary before Yom Kippur?
Answer: Of course it isn’t enough if you only ask for the friend’s forgiveness just to cleanse yourself before the Creator on Yom Kippur. In order to do that you are ready to give the friend anything as a gift as long as you can be sure that he will forgive you and you will be able to justify yourself before the Creator.
But this is better than nothing since we come to Lishma (for Her sake) from Lo Lishma (not for Her sake). Truly making peace with a friend means to start loving him, which means to restrict your personal desires and be truly ready to do everything for him. This is the correction of the intention in the heart when there is no self-calculation left, which means that whatever happens to me doesn’t matter. Such a correction called true bestowal is required of us and only the wisdom of Kabbalah can teach us it.
We may say that the essence of Yom Kippur is the summing up, the clarification, of how many restrictions I can perform on myself so that I can act in love of and bestowal to others after that day. Through the love of people I will attain the love of the Creator. The “day of judgment” is the day of my self-judgment.
From KabTV’s “A New Life” 9/30/14
Question: I have tried various ways to work with the ego, and up until now it is very strong within me. How is one to work with flattery, opportunism, hypocrisy?
Answer: We don’t work with the ego. We only work in the positive direction. In this way the negative side gradually changes into the positive. Under no circumstances do we spend time on anything negative and don’t cry that we have many attributes that aren’t good. That should bother us the least!
That is the work of the Light. The Light will come and correct everything. My problem is to attract it to me. But if I sit and cry and beat myself up, then nothing will come from it. We can attract the Light only by starting to raise its attributes in importance, through my friends, through the attribute of unity, by showing everyone that I want it.
Thus, our work is not in learning about my bad attributes, relishing them, wallowing in them, and crying bitterly: “See how bad I am!” That is the worst thing that can be done. By doing that we are blaming the Creator for making us like that. Since everything that happens comes from Him.
On the contrary, when we long for good and begin to understand and become conscious that all the bad is simply embedded and it seems worthwhile to us to rise above it and to long even more for good, then all of that becomes very necessary and important. But this is only when longing for the positive direction!
From the Convention In St. Petersburg 9/18/14, Preparatory Lesson 2
Answer: But this is the whole idea of the correction. This is actually what the Torah demands of us: the correction of the heart. All the commandments were given only so we could purify our intentions by them.
Our actions are worthless without the right intentions. The whole general system of nature called the Creator, the whole huge mechanism of the creation, takes only our intentions into account and not our desires.
Question: How is the fasting on Yom Kippur related to this?
Answer: The fasting on Yom Kippur reminds us that we should stop receiving egoistically and start bestowing unto others above our self-benefit. A person’s desire is made of five layers: Keter, Hochma, Bina, Zeir Anpin, and Malchut and so there are five prohibitions on Yom Kippur as a sign of the restriction of these egoistic desires: the prohibition of eating and drinking, the prohibition of washing, the prohibition of anointing, the prohibition of wearing leather shoes, and the prohibition of sexual intercourse.
Thus, we cease to receive and then we have to change to bestowal. But in order to start bestowing unto others, we first have to totally restrict our egoistic desires and intentions of self-love and stop worrying about ourselves completely. This means that I should stop using all the black areas that appear on the X-rays of my heart during the ten days of repentance that precede Yom Kippur.
This is the essence of Yom Kippur. I cannot perform actions in order to bestow yet. On that day I only restrict my ego so as not to receive anything for myself. Even if I am allowed to receive, it is only in order to pass it through me and give it to others.
But this will happen later, while on Yom Kippur there is a total restriction, five prohibitions. This symbolizes the fact that a person doesn’t even use his most essential desires. Eventually we reach the same revelations as the prophet Jonah, by clarifying what is the most important thing in person’s life.
Although Jonah wasn’t an ordinary person but a prophet, we have to see the difficult missions that the Creator gives us. First Jonah wanted to escape his mission to bestow unto others, but eventually he was forced to carry it out, by passing on the wisdom of connection and unity, love, and bestowal to the whole world, which the people of Nineveh embody.
On Yom Kippur I must forget myself and totally focus on the benefit of others: first our people and then the rest of the world. This is the mission of the Israeli nation, as Kabbalists tell us. By accepting this work, we begin to correct our actions of bestowal when Yom Kippur is over, and the holidays that follow Yom Kippur symbolize that.
From KabTV’s “A New Life” 9/30/14
Question: From what state is prayer born? Is it within absolute darkness when I have no enthusiasm and I understand that I cannot connect with the friends, or must there be some enthusiasm about this unity and connection, or must I reach the extremity of the limits of my ability, when I cannot connect with anyone, and from here the intention appears?
Answer: Neither the first, the second, or the third. Prayer is called a desire that is inserted into the system, summoning movement within it. As a result of it, the system is changed and rebuilt, and you rise one level higher. It could be that you don’t feel this, but you get advancement. An operation like this on the system can only exist when you ask for the others.
Question: But I am an egoist. How can I ask for the others?
Answer: You try mechanically, pretending as if you are asking for the friends. Be imbued with this, that they are around you. Even your experiences will be mechanical and false; this is not important. Above a lie like this, which is called “receiving for myself,” Lo Lishma (not for Her name), the Light will come in every case and begin to correct you. Actually, it is no lie; rather it is your true state. But if you, like a little child, try to play at being in the right state, then you will grow properly.
From the Convention in St. Petersburg 9/18/14, Preparatory Lesson 2
Question: I was in Sochi for ten days and I saw how the friends worked hard, like bees gathering nectar from the flowers. I want to convey all of this not only to the group of ten but to everyone! However, it seems to me that I cannot do this, it is difficult for me. How do I overcome this fear, what do I do with it?
Answer: This is a good fear; concern for others is very helpful. But. at the same time, it must be together with the right attitude towards the Creator.
We must work together with Him like partners; this is what is missing. This is when we give half and He gives half. We give our desire, our deficiency, and He gives His power of correction to this deficiency. So we must feel that we are together with Him in a single dance, in a single movement, linked with Him all the time.
The wisdom of Kabbalah places you in front of the Creator and it begins to show you in what manner you can bestow to Him, in what manner He bestows to you, because there is nobody else besides the two of us. This is what is missing in our concern, in our anxiety and apprehension, to feel that we are in this together with the Creator. Try to feel that we are working together with Him as a couple.
From the Convention In St. Petersburg 9/18/14, Preparatory Lesson 2
Question: The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) is the most significant day of the year for the people of Israel. What is the spiritual meaning of this special day? How should we relate to it in order to correspond to its spiritual roots and to transfer our life to a new degree?
Answer: The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) is not simply a tradition. It reflects a special spiritual state in a person’s development. We shouldn’t look at this day separately, but as a part of the entire year’s cycle.
Upon the completion of a year, that being a cycle of internal changes, we evaluate everything that we went through, which is called “repentance.” Thus we decide that it is necessary to rise to a new degree, to begin the new year (Rosh Hashanah), cross to a new state, a higher, purer, more exalted one. So we crown the Creator, the force of bestowal and love, setting Him up to reign over us as the most sublime property.
This is when we begin to judge ourselves: are we truly in the property of bestowal? All our properties are divided into ten parts, ten Sefirot. And we are clarifying which desires in those ten parts can be corrected, and which cannot.
In essence, a person’s soul needs to be corrected. And a soul is all our desires, which are still corrupted and need correction.
Question: What exactly needs to be corrected: one’s actions or the soul?
Answer: In our world, actions are performed with hands and feet, or through words. But the wisdom of Kabbalah explains that most important is a corrected intention, which is the true desire of a person.
Actions alone aren’t enough, because I can perform them simply out of habit. Then, it is actually more difficult for me not to do them than to do them. And these can be the actions that I otherwise would never have made in my life had I not been accustomed to them from childhood.
In this case, it is no longer fulfillment of a commandment but traditions instilled in childhood that are performed automatically. For someone it might be difficult to carry them out, but for someone else, it is difficult to not do them.
This is why we are not speaking about an action, but rather an intention. An action, after all, does not change: As we have been doing it, so we will continue. But in intention, in a person’s attitude towards the performed action, there is always change.
The key is a person’s attitude to those around him. After all, love for one’s neighbor as for oneself is the great law of the Torah. This is the point of view from which I need to check myself in order to see how much I am capable of loving my neighbor.
The upper force is a force of bestowal and love, and our goal is to become like it. This is why we need to reach the degree of man, Adam, which means similar to (Domeh) the Creator. But how can we check this? Where is that doctor who will irradiate me with an X-Ray and tell me exactly how similar I am to the Creator?
Such a doctor does not exist, so a person needs to check himself on his own. This kind of X-Ray machine requires a special Light, which checks us. This Light is called the Light that Reforms.
If I am studying the true Torah, namely the wisdom of Kabbalah, then thanks to it, I start to see the truth. I see how egoistic I am, what exactly is it in me that is bad, and what needs to be corrected, as if I shine an X-Ray on myself.
This is only visible to me and others may not notice it. And after I have seen myself on the X-Ray image, it becomes clear to me what needs to be corrected. The Torah arranges this image where I only see intentions, and only to the level of the depth which I am capable of correcting. Everything else I do not see, and it can remain until the next year.
Immediately after the onset of the new year, I find myself in these X-ray sessions, which are called ten days of repentance. I irradiate my heart, clarifying my intentions with respect to those around me in each action, and get back these images.
Kabbalah explains that Malchut ascends to Bina and compares herself to it. Malchut is our egoistic desire, which rises to Bina, the desire for bestowal, clarifying the extent to which it differs from it, how far we are from caring for our neighbors, from good relations, and how we are only thinking about our own benefit.
Question: What is shown on these X-ray images?
Answer: This image is black-and-white. It shows how much white there is in you, that is, the intentions for the benefit of your neighbor. And the black color points to the intentions for your own benefit, which you can correct.
Thus, the scope of our work is revealed to us. This is personal work that is in store for each of us, but it is aimed at the commonality, at bestowal to all, and through them, to the Creator, which is from the love of the created beings, to love of the Creator. The Creator is a force, integrating everyone together, and not something that exists outside. It is written: “The Creator dwells among his people.”
Thus, if I strive to unite with everyone and want to turn into one whole with them, then I reveal the overall integral system that generalizes our unity, which is called the Creator. This is how it is revealed in our perception.
Therefore, during Yom Kippur we need to strive to love our neighbor as much as possible and wider, and even beyond the people of Israel, extending it to all mankind. This is the reason why during Yom Kippur it is customary to read the story about the prophet Jonah, whom the Creator instructed to lead the city of Nineveh, which symbolizes the world, to correction.
From the TV Show “The New Life” #438. 9/30/2014
From the book The Essential Secret of the Jews, M. Brushtein
The Animal Is Not The Human Being
The animal, unlike the human, lives according to the laws of nature, but in nature it is not accepted to kill anyone for profit and for the sake of profit. Animals in general are much more peaceful than most people think. By the way, animals prefer not to deal with the “king of nature.”
Scary stories that are told about the wolf (just as the tiger) are embellished by the fantasy of idle people and nearly all of them contain little truth.
A pack of wolves, maddened by hunger, on occasion can attack people, even adults that are armed; it may happen that wolves kill and eat a human, but in any case, the threats of wolves in the countries where the wolf populations are large is not as great as it is often imagined.
A lone wolf rarely attacks an adult, even one armed only with a club; this behavior can be caused only by special circumstances, such as a rabid wolf or female wolf fearing for her cubs. (Alfred E. Brehm, Brehm’s Life of Animals)
An animal is certainly not a human. Animals are not capable of the following:
“With adequate profit, capital is very bold. A certain 10 per cent. will ensure its employment anywhere; 20 per cent. certain will produce eagerness; 50 per cent., positive audacity; 100 per cent. will make it ready to trample on all human laws; 300 per cent., and there is not a crime at which it will scruple, nor a risk it will not run, even to the chance of its owner being hanged.” (Thomas Joseph Dunning)
A surreal picture is in front of us. The human being, the highest degree of nature, behaves much worse than animals. Why does intellect, which a man is so proud of, bring much more harm than good? Why is the human able to do such unspeakable things to his own kind?
Now Dadon has reached the tent…
Staggers backward: sight appalling,
Hard before his eyes lie fallen,
Stripped of helm and armour chain,
Both his noble princes, slain,
Pierced each by the other’s charge;
And their wandering mounts at large
On the mead all stamped and scored,
On the bloodied meadow-sward . . .
‘Boys . . .my boys . . ‘ the father groaned,
‘Strangled both my hawks,’ he moaned,
‘Life is forfeit – woe is me . . .
Here were killed not two but three.’
Wail of men and master merges
Soon resound with heavy dirges
Gorge and cliff, the mountain’s heart
Shakes. Behold, the curtains part
On the tent. . .The prize of maidens,
Queen of Shamakhan, in radiance
Lambent like the morning star,
Quietly salutes the Tsar.
Silenced by her brilliant gaze
Like a nightbird by the days,
Numb he stands – her sight outstuns
Aye! the death of both his sons.
(Aleksander S. Pushkin, “The Tale of the Golden Cockerel”)
Source: The Tale of the Golden Cockerel http://www.artrusse.ca/pushkin/tale_cockerel.htm
And does this creature stand on the top of the development of nature? It looks at least illogical. How could he, who is capable of destroying millions of his own kind, be above everyone else? How did it happen that the “king of nature” is able for some illusory ideas to destroy not only others, but even himself?
And at the same time.
How can all this be combined with high ideals, culture, art, moral principles and powerful intellect?