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When And Where Does One Take Time For Happiness?

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: In the last few decades, the subject of the pursuit of happiness in human society, in Israel, and in the world has become a trend. A large number of books, courses, and workshops have appeared on this subject. In the book Ecclesiastes by King Solomon, the pursuit of happiness goes hand in hand with the pursuit of truth. What kind of truth is he talking about?

Answer: The truth is different all the time. Every generation determines general rules for itself according to which it determines what is called truth and what is called falsehood, good and evil, pleasure and suffering. A hundred or two hundred years ago, what was considered happiness was having a job, a place to live, a family and children.

If a person could provide his family with food and a roof over their heads, then he was happy. He didn’t want anything besides this. Besides everyday clothing, if he had an additional suit, then this was wonderful! After that they came up with the wardrobe, which was small in the beginning. And now everyone has his own room in an apartment and his own closet. But even that is not enough; we need a walk-in closet for clothes!

We have reached saturation, but a person is still involved with consumption. Our lives have become a race. Where do we feel pleasure? I live in an area where the population belongs to the strong middle class. At seven in the morning, my neighbor runs to his car holding a baby in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other. He puts the coffee down, sits the baby down, and drives the child to the daycare center, after which he travels to work.

He doesn’t come home before eight or nine in the evening. When does he feel happiness? Is it the one day of the week where in the evening he goes somewhere with his friends? Or is it once a year when he travels for a week’s vacation abroad? Where is the pleasure really? He looks at others and says, “Everyone is doing this, and so am I.”

Question: It follows that there is no happiness in the world?

Answer: Happiness, in “Vanity of Vanities” (Ecclesiastes 1:2) is bestowal to others! If we bestow to each other and build a life where everyone is connected in a positive manner in society, then we will fulfill each other, not with things, but with happiness. At present, I want to have the feeling of happiness through the acquisition of something that I bought and then enjoy. How much can I look at it and enjoy it?

Happiness must constantly be renewed. Happiness from a new car lasts for a month, from a house it lasts for a year. How can I arrange life such that my desire to be happy all the time will be renewed and its replenishment will be new? It is this way when I get up every day like a child with wide-open eyes!

In childhood I lived in a house with a big yard. In the yard grew trees and flowers; we had a dog. In the evening I already imagined how I would jump out of bed in the morning and run to the yard to meet friends. I want to live in a mood like this!

Question: In the book Ecclesiastes by King Solomon, the same sentence repeats all the time: “That which hath been is that which shall be, and that which hath been done is that which shall be done; and there is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9). This is a very sad discovery.

Answer: If you just want to enjoy the world then you always get emptiness.

Question: Is it really necessary to reach a state of absolute lack of pleasure in order to understand the necessity of renewal? Is it impossible to get pleasure from both things and connections with people?

Answer: One doesn’t interfere with the other, but I don’t think that a person can be in two worlds. If you are split in two, then neither of the two desires will be called fulfilled. Ultimately we need to show ourselves and others where the true source of happiness is found. The renewal of relationships between us will bring us a feeling of happiness, and this will always be the same vitality that fills the sails of our boat with advancement towards better states.
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From KabTV’s “A New Life” 5/23/13

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A Well For A Thirsty Humanity

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: The Torah tells us that Isaac found two wells in the land of Grar that had been dug in Abraham’s time and had been covered afterwards. These wells caused many quarrels with the local shepherds and after a while a new well was dug that caused no disputes.

Then Avimelech, the king of Grar, offered Isaac a treaty. Why did the nations of the world become so nice all of the sudden and want to make a treaty with the Jews?

Answer: It is because Isaac had begun his corrections.

A well is a hole in the ground, in a land that is full of water. A hole that is full of the water of life is called a well of life. Water is the essence of the attribute of bestowal that is hidden in the land, which means in the desire. In other words, your desire begins to flow so that you receive the water of life through it, which is the attribute of bestowal that brings life to everyone.

Basically, the story of the wells shows us that if we begin to fulfill our mission to organize the Israeli nation in order to correct the world, it is enough. We actually don’t have to correct the world, but only correct ourselves.

In chapters 66-67 in the “Introduction to The Book of Zohar,” Baal HaSulam says that the moment the Israeli nation begins to correct itself, which means it adapts itself according to the Creator, the Light will immediately begin to flow from it like water from a well, and this Light will correct all the other nations. This way the whole world will become a better place. After all, the world cannot correct itself nor can it do anything.

Just imagine there is a nation that totally controls and manages the world and the other nations cannot do anything and simply wait for this nation to do something.

The problem is in the way it is revealed, and the interruptions can be great. At the moment, we can still somehow escape those who oppose Israel. But what if this picture is revealed and suddenly everyone would see that there are seven billion people in the world and there are about ten million on whom everything depends?

I would say that the seven billion are like a body that runs on life software, and this software is the Jewish people. Its mass doesn’t belong to the actual body of the world, but rather to the software, and it operates on a different level.

On the whole, the actual software is merely a virtual component with regard to the matter. It is a schema, a system. We can say that the software of the protein material is Israel and the actual protein material is the nations of the world. If this software is incorrect, just imagine what diseases and problems are caused in the material!

The whole history of mankind is basically the continuous cooperation between the world and the Israeli nation, just like two coils in the DNA chain. The nations of the world and the Israeli nation are in continuous communication, contact, and effort between them. Israel wouldn’t be able to reach the state of the third well without the pressure of the nations of the world upon it. There are those who dig the desire and others who cover it up. This development is necessary in order to reach the water of life, the attribute of Bina.

The first well basically refers to Abraham, the second to Isaac, and the third to Jacob. When Jacob connects, he becomes the middle line and then we reach the water of life.

Question: What does that have to do with life today? Do we have to discover this well now, this water of life?

Answer: Yes. We begin to spill out the bestowal, and this depends only on the connection between us. The unity of the Israeli nation is the key to everything. It is the only thing that can dig a well for the world.

To dig a well means to delve into our desires. They are negative, bad, and they reveal all the negativity that is concealed within a person, his nature, and his distance from the Creator. But we have to do it. We have to create strong feelings of the deficiency of the Light within us, the attributes of love and bestowal. This is called an empty well or a hole. By the way, there is a difference between these two concepts. What a person looks for depends only on the person himself.

When we dig a well, we attain the state, the depth in which we feel the greatest pain with regard to love, bestowal, and connection. Then the water that is the source of life appears.

Just like animals who feel where there is water, so did people in those times feel where they had to dig and how deep in order to find water. By the way, there is plenty of water in the desert because there are huge subterranean lakes. We only need to know where to dig and there is nothing to fear. You can go anywhere since you will always find water.

Question: Is this self-search the closeness and the connection between us?

Answer: Yes. It exists to the extent that we make efforts in order to discover the attribute of bestowal called water.
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From KabTV’s “Weekly Torah Portion” 11/14/14

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Why Does The Torah Start From Adam?

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: Why doesn’t the Torah start from Abraham or from the gathering at Mount Sinai, but rather begins with Adam, with creation?

Answer: In order to help us understand that the main thing is the shattering of the soul into many pieces, and then the Torah is given only in order to gather and put these parts together again, to glue them together, and thus to discover the Creator in the glued vessel. But if it didn’t start that way and there were no shattering, then all the other actions would certainly be meaningless.

Therefore, the Torah starts from Adam and not from Abraham since Abraham is already the outcome of the shattering and is already the beginning of the correction. It doesn’t start from the giving of the Torah either since this is already the receiving of the tool and the plan of correction. The Torah ends with the complete revelation of the Creator that is in the completely corrected and repeatedly strengthened soul of Adam.
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People That Turned Their Back On Their Intended Purpose

Laitman_167Question: The current weekly portion “Toldot” (Generations) talks about the sale of the birthright. Drawing parallels with the present day [in Israel], can we say that some are choosing Milky pudding?

Answer: Nothing like that. After all, Esau is a first-born egoism, a huge void that needs to fill itself. There is no escape from it. If the egoism hadn’t been born, then universe wouldn’t have been in existence. That is why the birth starts from egoism.

After egoism was born and manifested, a methodology or a program for fulfillment of egoism became necessary. In other words, some sort of a symbol is required, an intention with which it is possible to use, a formula by which this Esau can be properly managed and filled. Otherwise it’s impossible to fulfill and satisfy.

Jacob is such a formula. He is a utility function, a support mechanisms that fulfills the egoism. Generally speaking, Esau is the whole basis of nature.

Question: What is the birthright of Esau for our age and for the modern Israel?

Answer: First of all, “Esau” and “Jacob,” “Israel,” and “people of the world” are completely different systems.

Esau is Esau, he can’t do anything by himself. The only thing he can do is to chase Jacob in order to elicit and force him to perform self-fulfillment. Therefore, Esau initially says, “I will sell my birthright to you. Why do I need it? I can’t gather anything from it.”

Why did Jacob purchase the birthright? In order to implement it.

Today we are heirs, the descendants of Jacob, and his sons that don’t do his work. Instead, we prefer Esau’s soup, as if we are at his level wishing to become like him. As if we want to be like the nations of the world among which we live.

What amazes me is when I see what has been happening to the Jewish people, what has become of them. It would seem that it were impossible—how much they have turned their back and removed themselves from their intended purpose.

Question: What are the consequences of this flight?

Answer: Only one, Esau would require problem solving, in other words, his fulfillment. This means, the plan of the creation will be implemented through Esau.

When Esau forces us and requires us to perform, it’s called “the path of suffering” or in Hebrew “Beito,” in its own time. Constantly, every moment, the program of creation will be executed, but all the time through the driving force.

On the other hand, it is desirable, and ultimately necessary to achieve the program of creation through the work of Jacob, knowingly and voluntarily, of their own freewill.

This means that in the end, the people of Israel, or those that are called as such today, should stand, should realize their mission, their goal, that is necessary to be achieved by all, by Esau, by humanity; and they should carry out their task. They are obliged. There is nowhere to run from it.

It turns out that the current week’s Torah portion describes such a fate, a destiny from which we can’t escape.

What kind of infamy, weakness, and insignificance are we demonstrating by wanting to abandon and push away the role of Jacob from ourselves and disguise ourselves in the hide of Esau’s hunt. This is kind of despicable, pitiful state we’ve come to.

Question: Does it mean that today we’ve confused the roles?

Answer: Yes. This is why all Esau’s attempts aren’t strange, i.e., the entire international community, to bring us back to the correct state towards our work, towards what we have to do for him, for his sake. In general, for the sake of the Creator.

In other words, we must take the birthright and implement it. Although according to the words of the Torah, it may seem that we bought it dishonestly; however everything actually happened this way. It’s not that Jacob “bypassed,” and “lied” to Esau; this is how these two programs of creation “intertwined” with each other and continued forward together. They resemble a twisted double DNA helix, which is the basis of our lives.

This is why, of course, we need to wake up and start implementing our intended purpose.

Question: Did the lentil soup Jacob offered to him for his birthright fulfill Esau? Or did he regret the fact that he “bought into” it?

Answer: This soup partially fulfilled Esau. Otherwise, the world in general wouldn’t have existed. However, in reality it’s just a soup.

Nevertheless, we constantly “feed” the world with this “soup.” Human development, progress, and the eternal pursuit of illusory pleasure, all these generate the Jewish people. If the Jewish people weren’t in their broken state, there would not be any advancement in this world.

In fact, advances in science and technical innovations aren’t necessary for the world. We provide it to the world so that people have something to do. But in fact, it’s a consequence of failing our plan, our mission.

It comes from the female line, from our common mother.

Question: As it turns out, we do only the first part, “feed the world with a soup,” but don’t fulfill the second one, the key part: we don’t buy the birthright with it?

Answer: Yes. Such is today’s Israel.

Basically each weekly Torah portion, if analyzed, at the end, provides us with a negative response about how we implement our mission. Ultimately, all 52 chapters of the year affect us negatively. After all, we don’t abide by any of them.

Question: How are those chapters implemented?

Answer: The easiest way, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” this is the main law of the Torah. Nothing else is necessary!

Question: Is this the birthright?

Answer: This is the fulfillment, the implementation of the birthright. And Esau requires this! He wants to love, and we deny him this opportunity. We don’t give and don’t create the conditions for this, and therefore, we provoke his hatred towards us.

On the other hand, the happy ending of the story is known in advance. The story is like a movie that you watch at the cinema; everything is there on the film, but you’re still somewhere in the middle worrying for the characters. It is only thanks to a happy ending that we exist, otherwise we already would have been destroyed a long time ago.

Question: Is this because we didn’t fulfill our role?

Answer: Yes. It’s not surprising that, again and again throughout the history of the Jews, stand, allegedly negative forces that put pressure upon us, and partly destroy us. Sadly, this is only a consequence of our failure to complete our program.

How many such cases are there in history?  In Spain, in England, I saw the ancient synagogues where Jews were rounded up and burned. They didn’t know for what reason at all. Indeed, what was really required of them?

Still everyone is to blame because the Jewish people initially were perceived as a single, connected “bond” of mutual responsibility (Arvut), linked within a single system to be as one man with one heart.

In such conditions each person is responsible for everybody. It turns out that there isn’t a bad or a good person; everyone is equally good and bad.

This is why when someone is killed somewhere because he was Jewish, we have no right to shout that he was in no way to blame. He is to blame because the Jewish people as a whole don’t fulfill their function. Every son of this nation is its representative.

Conversely, if people were to perform their function, they wouldn’t be killed. This would never have taken place.

After all, we are in a system that is quite determinant in which there can be no inconsistencies, spontaneity, and accidents. This is not in nature. This is one enormous, continuous, and ideal system.

Question: It turns out that by not fulfilling the principle of love your neighbor as yourself, we look at the world through the eyes of Esau, and not Jacob’s. And the world pressures us just like Esau. Now what?

Answer: It’s necessary to reach the point where everyone in the nation of Israel will feel guilty.

I listen to the news from around the world and I feel guilty for what is happening. As a result of studying Kabbalah, I started to feel ashamed to look at the people of the world.

The same thing goes for the Jewish people because I have to deliver this to them, but still I can’t. I “give birth” to the system of explanation, dissemination, and training in order for others to hear, to understand. I feel guilty towards the rest of the people.

Question: Why?

Answer: Because millions of children in Africa are dying, because people are suffering from something, from heat or cold, from their problems, conflicts, and strife, from some natural phenomena, whether human, inanimate, plant, or animal. Wars, viruses, hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, it’s necessary to understand that all of these are because we don’t fulfill our function, our mission.

We must educate our people so they feel guilty. We must bring people to the truth where it won’t strangle them, won’t lock them in, won’t lead to madness, to suicide, but will cheer them up and will give them a push forward so they will see that they must and at the same time is able to make the correction in the world.
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From KabTV’s Weekly Torah Portion, 11/14/14

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Israel In The Eyes Of Jacob

laitman_740_02The Torah isn’t just a historic document. It describes our life and how we should be part of the plan of nature in order to experience a new weekly chapter (Parashat HaShavua) every week. Otherwise its lack of excitement calls us.

Question: Let’s talk about this week’s chapter called Toldot (the history), which is very important for the Jewish people, for Israel. First, because it tells us about the birth of Jacob and on the whole about what Jacob means to Israel.

Answer: It is the foundation, the middle line, by which we manage the two lateral lines, the right and the left lines, the plus and the minus. We understand that everything is made of two opposite aspects, phenomena, forces, factors, etc. according to the positive and the negative. Otherwise nothing can exist.

We feel that we are actually between these two forces and our job is to make sure that we are constantly balanced on all levels: the still, vegetative, animate, and speaking nature. Thus, we attain the feeling of wholeness.

This basically applies to all the weekly chapters, which once we fulfill them internally, we can feel through their prism that we are in complete adhesion with the Creator, in a state of complete revelation of the Creator, fully understanding the process of creation, the correction, and the attainment of absolute wholeness. We could experience every state as the attainment of partial wholeness, which means as the revelation of a deficiency and its filling, and we could feel that we advance, attain, and reveal the world.

This is how we are made. There is no greater joy for a person than the feeling of being full and attaining the Creator, or in other words, the whole system. It is because the Creator is the whole system that works for us. On the whole, nature only includes the upper nature and not our nature. It isn’t just a clearing in the forest or forests, but what is revealed and fills our emptiness.

This appears in us and we feel that we want it. When great upper emptiness is filled, it is the greatest uppermost level of our development. Then we attain adhesion with the Creator, or in other words, His perfect whole revelation in us.

Every weekly chapter of the Torah is ten separate Sefirot, ten levels that are revealed in their great emptiness and are connected to other weekly chapters. Together they make up a hollow Sefira, but it is revealed in gradual moves, in advancing according to each weekly chapter and thus is filled.

It is revealed week by week in portions of ten Sefirot on higher and higher levels that are more refined and subtle. This attainment is in a geometric series and an increasingly greater feeling of wholeness.
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From KabTV’s “Weekly Torah Portion” 11/14/14

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As An Eyesore

laitman_749_02We live in a special, exciting time that is full of unpredictable events. The last 60 to 70 years after World War II, we thought we had created a good, viable environment.

In America, Europe, Israel, and many other countries, the Jewish people began to feel more confident, not as exiles at mercy of the hosts who could do whatever they wanted with them. Rather, they started behaving as equals.

It is quite surprising how fast things change. After we gave the world numerous outstanding scientists, flourishing cultures and economics, made enormous contributions in all spheres of human life, all of a sudden there appeared a new astonishing waive of anti-Semitism.

The intensity of it is so bad that in some cities of America the Jews are afraid of wearing kippahs (yarmulkes) in the streets. Our children are beaten in the universities and accused of all sorts of sins.

Ancient, primeval, dense prejudices that repeat the old slander about the Jews who supposedly “drink blood for Passover,” head a secret world government that wants to take over the world, and in general are guilty of all disasters that humanity is going through have been revived again now.

We see that this feeling is inherent in humans by nature and doesn’t depend on developmental or cultural levels. The nations of the world live next to us; we exist among them, and yet, all of a sudden a wild, medieval, depressing animosity wakes up in them.

Where do these problems come from? Why do we end up being in the center of all predicaments? Why do we provoke hatred in them? Millions of people around the world take part in demonstrations against the Jews. Students and university professors sign petitions against the State of Israel.

Even the Jews who are not willing to associate with Israel still fall into a category of hated and persecuted people only because of their Jewish ethnicity.

The thing is that anti-Semitism is a part of nature. All great thinkers pointed out this phenomenon. Einstein wrote that anti-Semitism is a shadow of our nation from which we cannot hide.

In fact, animosity to the Jews even emerges in the countries where the Jews have never settled. Really, we never had any connection with these nations, but somehow we still are the objects of their detestation. Irrespective of the fact that we help many nations of the world and express our desire to maintain good relationships with them, they still consider us to be outcasts: the strangest, most incomprehensible creatures that do not belong to this world.

Where does this sensation come from? What is it: a curse or a blessing? What is the root of the problem?

In order to understand this phenomenon, let’s turn to the history, to the moment when our people were born. Approximately 4,000 years ago, in the ancient civilization of Babylon, its inhabitants lived in peace and friendship. All of a sudden, there appeared a growing discontent among them, an escalation of mutual reproaches, and an increase in the sensation of detachment among their people.

Good friends who spoke the same language and who understood each other very well turned into a hostile entity based on jealousy, hatred, and rivalry. The striking changes that they went through triggered a question in them: “What is going on with us?”

At that time, an ancient Babylonian priest, Abraham, one of many who explored this phenomenon, found a solution to it. By studying nature as a philosopher, astronomer, and a great scientist of his time, he arrived at the conclusion that this state stems from the very nature of human society that purposely develops the way it does so that it submerges into its own egoism and eventually would have to rise above the ego.

According to Abraham, a peaceful period that Babylonians once enjoyed was given to them as an example. Later, there appeared the era of the manifestation of the ego, a negative quality that endangered their good state.

It was not accidental. Rather, it happened because the people had to grow consciously, thus rising above the egoism that tore them apart, detached them from each other, and threatened to completely destroy the entire civilization. Abraham explained that the inhabitants of Babylon had to regain positive cooperation among them in spite of the egoism raging in them at that time.

Since he was a great scientist, a spiritual leader of the nation, he made his theory clear for public consideration. He also started disseminating this idea everywhere he could. Thus, within a short period of time, that ancient Babylonian society learned about his point of view.

A part of the people who understood his approach and accepted his solution to the problem responded to his appeal and supported him. However, the vast majority of people were not ready to accept his ideas. According to their internal developmental stage, they were confident that they should calmly continue their existence, which seemed very good to them.

“Why is it bad?” they asked. “Yes, we compete with each other… So what? By that, we develop sciences and promote culture. Competition gives us additional stimuli for a rapid development.” It was true since the egoism enhanced in humans to push them to the next developmental stage.

This state of affairs opened two paths that Babylonians could choose from. The first path was about the development of morality in the society where a benevolent interconnection among all of its members prevailed over scientific and technological achievements. This method was based not on destroying the egoism, but rather on rising above it and building an even stronger connection amongst everyone.

The second path was about the internal, egoistic advancement. It was based on competition and suppression of others. However, it stimulated technological progress.

This explains why only a small part of the Babylonians joined Abraham’s group. He took them to the land of Israel. From this moment on, his followers were called “Israel,” which means “directly to the Creator,” i.e., to the upper force of nature that governs and motivates us to unite. This is how the Jewish nation was born.

Humanity split into two ideologically opposite parts: the Jews who pursued the goal of unity in accordance with the rule “love thy neighbor as thyself,” and the nations of the world who went contrary to this rule due to their intense antagonism and inclination for technical and material development.

Both parts totally contradict each other in their philosophy toward life. This is the main difference between the Jewish people and the rest of humanity. This is the origin of a constant, centuries-long animosity to the Jews.
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From KabTV’s “Short Stories” 10/24/14

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Daily Kabbalah Lesson – 12.01.14

Writings of Rabash Shlavei HaSulam,” “Come Unto Pharaoh-2”

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The Book of Zohar “Introduction,” “General Explanation for All Fourteen Commandments and How They Divide Into Seven Days of Creation,” Item 3

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Talmud Eser Sefirot Vol. 6, Part 16, Item 53

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Writings of Baal HaSulam “Mutual Guarantee,” Item 22

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