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The life of the group is first of all the study. But why do we have to study so much? Why do we study for so many years? The point is that it isn’t an ordinary study in order to acquire knowledge. People don’t come to the lesson in order to know more but in order to receive a portion of Light, the influence of the Upper Light that comes through the teacher.
A ladder made of 125 levels descends into our world from the world of Infinity. We are in this world and the teacher is above since otherwise he wouldn’t be a teacher. A teacher is a spiritual leader who leads us upward to the Creator. He doesn’t have to be in the world of Infinity, but he must have spiritual understanding and comprehension, having attained at least the first stages of the path and is on some spiritual height.
Moreover, in the spiritual world I not only don’t know how to make a step forward, but I also don’t have the power to do so. After all, this advancement is in bestowal, in giving, and how can I advance in bestowal if I don’t have this attribute at all and only have the force of receiving?
I have to receive the force of bestowal from above first, in order to bestow and to advance. I can receive this force from above only through the teacher who is the channel through which the Light from above, from the world of Infinity, flows into this world to me if I am connected to the teacher. In that case I receive the power, the knowledge, the right direction, and the support from him and can advance.
I have to advance with the friends by engaging in the study and in dissemination, but this cannot work without a teacher. Therefore, the daily lesson in which we all sit together and study is not in order to study another part of TES, or the “Introduction to the Wisdom of Kabbalah,” The Book of Zohar, or articles and letters by Baal HaSulam, but in order to connect and to receive a force through the teacher, which gradually becomes the force of advancement for the students.
If you don’t participate in the daily lesson for at least an hour every day, you won’t advance. You can do it in a different time according to the time zone of the country you live in, but it must be during the specific day the lesson took place. If you don’t have enough time to see the whole lesson, then do it for at least an hour. Without that you can forget about advancing in spirituality.
If you cannot dedicate an hour a day for the wisdom of Kabbalah, then there is no point engaging in it at all since you will only have false hopes that you are gradually advancing, but in fact you don’t advance. You should listen to the daily lesson at least an hour a day no matter how much you understand.
It cannot be that a day goes by and that you have missed a lesson. It is as if you don’t eat for a whole day. It is clearly very difficult and a person will not hold on for long that way.
From the Convention In France “One For All And All For One,” Day One 5/9/14, Lesson 1
Each time society, the human species, wants to ascend to a new level and improve their situation meaningful changes are really made through revolutions—in worldview, in social structure, in political structure.
Every revolution advances us to the next state; when this state is also discovered to be insufficient, a new revolution helps in taking a further step forward.
That is how our development happens—through revolutions, through levels of renewal.
Today we are facing the next necessary and inevitable revolution that will happen in the most internal area of our lives—in the relationships between us.
In the new era they will be changed drastically, and instead of being strangers to each other and far from each other, we will feel closeness and mutual connection, and we will begin to live according to the principle of reciprocity and support, like siblings in a cohesive family. This revolution in relationships will greatly influence the present situation.
Come, let’s focus on the unique characteristic that typifies all revolutions, both those that have been and those that will come in the future: Always at the beginning of the process there are unique people who motivate it and attract others after them.
Revolutionary Leaders, Then and Now
There is no revolution without a revolutionary who dares to say things out loud that others only thought about, but weren’t bold enough to say. A person like this makes a real difference.
If we consider the revolutionaries of the 20th century like Lenin, Che Guevara, Martin Luther King, or Nelson Mandela, we can discern the characteristics that typified all of them. They began their activity in their youth; they were educated people who felt the processes that were taking place in society under the surface; they felt the people and their pain. They suffered injustices together with them; they were “cooked” on this fire; they matured, and they gradually shaped the new agenda, the revolutionary ideology.
As a result of this, as we learn from history, they truly succeeded in carrying out great changes in society and in the world.
Question: Let’s compare the revolutionary leaders of the 20th century and the leaders of the approaching revolution. Is there a difference between them? Or are we waiting for the same kind of leader to arise, raise the flag, and draw humanity after him?
Answer: First of all, the word “revolution” can be understood in different ways and not always accurately.
We generally know that the person is a desire for pleasure, living to fulfill his desire. With this goal he changes the form of social relationships and passes from one model to another: from family to village, from village to city, from city to nation, to international relations. All of this fulfills the human need, the desire to enjoy and feel good.
That is how the healthy ego manages the world, that is how we develop from generation to generation—and so from time to time we must change something. And the changes that are caused by the development of our ego cannot occur continuously, at every moment, especially in light of the fact that we are not even aware of the speed of these processes. Only in the present generation has the pace of essential changes clearly accelerated, whereas previously they took place once in a few centuries. Accordingly, even the revolutions derived from the necessity of adapting social relationships to our inner development sometimes happen only rarely.
In addition, it is necessary to understand that the revolutions of the past were not so powerful and extreme. In the end, the next state was born from the previous state, even though this happened with struggles, conflicts, stormy discussions that necessarily typify the transition from slavery to relative freedom, from feudalism to capitalism.
This caused great changes, not only in relationships between people, but also in the relationship to the higher power (religion), and also in industry and the economy. In fact, the Industrial Revolution changed the relationships between us, and this will inevitably require further social innovations.
Understandably, there were always people who expressed the common aspiration. In addition, various sectors of society always related differently to the changes. Many circumstances and factors contributed to this process. However, in general, development is conditional upon society reaching an accommodation with the global conditions, with nature.
In the past we advanced due to the fact that nature caused certain progress in us. They shaped and caused reactions and internal changes. Following this reaction we ourselves had to change something.
In general, it is interesting that the closer to our time on the scale of generations, the changes that have occurred have become more sharp and have demanded more understanding, agreement, and participation by people.
For example, in the past, in the transition from the prehistoric era to the era of slavery did not erupt in war or revolutions because the innovations were relatively favorable both for the masters and for their slaves. And then this transformation became a social process and led to the creation of the new ruling regime with particular laws and systems of enforcement.
But this was not the result of a conscious analysis and subsequent conclusions; it was simply life itself demanded an ascent to the next level. Under the influence of nature we understood that slavery no longer pays off and cannot continue. Conditions that were created in trade and industry demanded that slaves be interested in their work and they were freed from the state of absolute lack of rights because this made it possible to gain greater profit from them.
So in the course of time the slave became a worker subordinate to his boss, and after that became completely free. One way or another, in this process everything depended upon the desire for pleasure, the degree of benefit that I can get from someone and he from me.
And so nature awakens changes in us during our inner development, and constantly requires us to digest, understand, and feel these changes, to agree with the general process, with the changes in it, with their adaptation and absorption into human society.
Our contribution, our participation, is specifically found in this. We must stick to the middle: Even though nature compels us to change, in spite of it, all we must make the changes ourselves.
That is how evolution and revolution are integrated. Humanity undergoes an inner process of development and along with this the social process is the initiation of innovations in social relationships. And even though all of this is caused by nature, understanding, consciousness, and realization is required from our side.
Question: Where is the place here for a leader, a revolutionary, who will go forward and draw the others after him?
Answer: This is always the case: The leader gathers a group of friends and other people from more external circles around him until it reaches the masses, quite passive, but involved in the process of changes.
Question: In what way does the revolutionary stand out in the general passive environment?
Answer: It is in his ability to ignite others. After all, the need, the desire, for a change for the better also exists among them, and he must accordingly “buy” them through promises. Together with this, the revolutionary is generally more developed, understands and feels more, so he sees the world in a slightly different light. And in addition, he knows how to turn to people and in what form to provide them the necessity of revolution, meaning, the imperative for the changes in social structure. If the person is successful, if he acts at the right time and in the right circumstances, he realizes his goal.
Revolutionaries were always educated people; they understood what was happening, they knew how to read the big picture, and also possessed special charisma. In addition, they had helpers by their sides that were ready to arouse the masses. In this way they led development.
On the other hand, the word “revolution” is not always appropriate. Clearly we are talking about change; however, changes like these are already found cooking within society; it is only necessary to bring them out, develop them, and translate them from potential into action.
History gives us examples from various generations: The leaders were always intelligent and educated, middle or upper class people, not “common folk,” and at the same time, they were able to connect to the masses and lead them toward the transformation. This phenomenon was never confined to the elite level– but from there it spread to the wider public.
The revolution before which we are standing today is exceptional. It will be unique.
In principle, the process is the same process: Nature works on us and pushes us towards change. But this time the changes are caused not because the desire has already changed and only the environment has not yet been organized in the appropriate way, as was the case in transitions from one formation to another in previous eras. No, today we must only change ourselves. Before the revolution changes the face of our society, it is necessary to change the person. So this requires advanced work from us, the basis without which nothing will succeed.
So we must go out to the people and teach them to build new relationships, new laws, according to which we will live. Nature is pushing us specifically towards this; this is what it inserts into us. So first an “educational” revolution is required—we must do everything to go out to the people and educate them.
According to the outward signs this is somewhat like what the Bolsheviks, with Lenin at their head, wanted to do in Russia. They also disseminated printed material, communicating with the masses working in factories, and on every corner explained their message. And while this was not a change in a person and society; nevertheless, they were shaking the public and explaining what needed to be done.
Along the way they adapted themselves to the people and really appealed to the poor, to the commoners, who were very far from the industrial revolution that the nation needed to develop and not be an agrian appendage of Europe.
Question: And so the coming revolution will be a revolution in education and will require advanced publicity in all the strata of society. Only after that will the ground be prepared for the decisive stage—the change of the person. In that case, which characteristics must typify the leaders of the coming revolution?
Answer: First of all, they will be guides, an “army” of guides. They must turn to the people, especially through virtual networks, through the Internet, because it covers the whole world and makes it possible to reach everyone, without being involved with printed material.
In general, the true revolution happening today is not in the capital cities. There is a different situation: The revolution penetrates inside, and in the first stage, it takes place primarily within the person.
Question: What is this internal revolution?
Answer: As in every revolution, a person must be in despair about the present situation. But, at the same time, he must understand the reasons for the situation: It doesn’t depend upon the predatory elites who are only concerned about themselves, not on the government that doesn’t do anything practical. Here the whole thing is in human nature.
No one is to blame, and we didn’t intend to burn, destroy, or overthrow anyone; after all, the next functionary will be the same, if not worse. No, we see that our hater, our enemy, is our nature. It is the predator that sits within us—the ego that is concerned only for itself. Within me and in each one of us sits a wild animal that thinks only about itself. It looks at the world from within a person and makes a calculation: “How can I have pleasure? How can I use everyone only for my own good? How can I humiliate the others? After all, this is also pleasure….”
So first of all the person requires a revolution in the understanding of his fate: “It is logical that I am totally dependent on the wild animal that is hiding itself within me; I am subordinate to it.”
And so we reach the conclusion that it is necessary to build a system for our internal correction. It will show us what this “beast” is—our nature, the evil inclination, the ego, that destroys every initiative and doesn’t make it possible to rein it in and relax it. On the contrary, it always dominates us and even goes out of its way; in spite of it all it is still in charge. As much as I want to get out from under its authority, to dominate it, in the end, I will discover the same beastly face that rules me, albeit in another dress. I simply have no other nature besides this ego.
This process is called the “recognition of evil”: I learn to recognize the beast in me and see how crazy it is, its sophisticated total control, and nothing is left for me.
Only one thing can save me—if I connect to others. Then we find the point of connection among us and act from that. Then we can tighten the connection between us more and more, dominate the beast within us, the evil inclination, throw it out, and distance ourselves from it. This is the only way.
The work in this direction—is integral education, or the wisdom of connection. The name is not that important. What is important is how we realize the first stage of the revolution.
So it follows that the next revolutionary is a leader, a teacher, a guide. He doesn’t stand up against anyone; he doesn’t incite one part of the people against another part, or one nation against another nation. The Bolsheviks specifically needed a war with whose help they could dominate the elites who were weakened. There is nothing like this here because we stand before man. And it makes no difference if he works the land or is a king; this is not important. After all, everyone from the smallest to the greatest is sick with a single disease, all of us are dominated by the evil inclination and all of us are its servants.
So everyone must undergo the changes through the study to be aware of what is happening, to understand the way of development of the human species, the present level and the next level towards which we must rise. Whoever is wise, he sees, he already has acquired intelligence and sensation. And then according to the inner changes we will begin to carry out changes in society.
This is not a revolt, it is not terror; this must come from within according to the level of development, according to the understanding and awareness, according to the depth of the human desire. And so only the method of publicity, explanation, and education, when the power of a society on a person changes him, will work. Only this way is it possible to advance. And the image of the next revolutionary is created from this.
Question: That is, he is a guide, a teacher, and his role is to bring a person and the entire society, everyone, all sectors, to recognition of the human nature that brings us trouble and destroys our lives. It doesn’t make it possible for us to build good relationships with others. It is the internal hater that hides within us. So it follows that a person or groups of people who rise up at the head of the next revolution are educators whose method is completely the opposite of the aggressive approach, of conflicts and confrontations?
Answer: Right. Violence has no place here at all because this entire revolution is based specifically on equality. We draw strength to change from unity, and true unity is possible only among equals.
The guide is great, high, understanding, and strong—this is correct. But in relation to others he is specifically lower than all: he supports them, teaches them, and serves them. There is no room here for a new elite.
Next, his emissaries begin to appear, people who are ready to work in the field. And after that, while people are undergoing changes, the turn of the organizers comes, arranging for the new society that is adapted to the inner changes that people are undergoing.
So it follows that the revolution takes place within the person – and in accordance with this defines the new image of society.
From KabTV’s “A New Life” 4/3/14
Question: How do I need to prepare myself for the workshops and how should I behave during them?
Answer: How do we organize ourselves to speak with the Creator when this is possible only through the center of the group? If I want to make a connection with someone by telephone, I need a telephone line, a device, and the right frequency.
I need to speak with the person on the second line in one language, communicate with him exactly at a pre-determined time, and he must specifically be the person that I need. This means that everything must be adjusted.
So how do we arrange the line of communication that extends from the center of the group to the Creator to be sure that this line is working, more or less?
That is how we construct the telephone apparatus for connection with the Creator. Everyone knows that this device is complex even in our world, and even more so in the spiritual world in which the connection is realized at a completely different frequency.
This wave is not allowed to go out from me, for after all, I am the opposite of the Creator. I am entirely a big minus, an egoist. And the Creator is entirely a big plus. We are not ready to understand each other! So how will I be able to construct a device that works on His frequency and connects me to Him?
Each one of us must make a Tzimtzum (restriction) on the ego, meaning he must freeze himself inside and not think about himself. This is called “Tzimtzum Aleph.” In this way I stop being concerned about my “self.” After all, in the spiritual world, in that place with which I want to make a connection, I don’t exist.
So I am compelled to carry out a Tzimtzum on my desire, a Masach (screen). Besides this, I need to bring something out of myself, so from within me I think about the group. Through this I create a single component that is ready to connect with others.
It is desirable that ten people will create components like these from themselves. And then all of us together connect in the center of the group, and our common component (we) is called the sense of bestowal, that resembles the Creator. Between them a connection can be created.
As in telephone communication where the bandwidth can be different, it is the same here. It depends on the greatness of the desire that the person overcomes, great or small, how much he is included with the others, how much they understand each other, to what degree the goal is clear to each and everyone together, and so on. These conditions determine the strength of the connection.
But without constructing a device like this we cannot create a connection with the Creator. So it is up to us to create a force like this, our common connection with the Creator, which is our voice, our mouths. And there can be many voices and mouths like these: it is possible to divide the seven billion people into groups of ten. Less than ten is not enough power. It is possible to try five or three people, but by no means less. Ten is the optimal number.
And more than ten we are not ready to grasp, for we are constructed with a perception of reality like this suchthat we are not ready to see more than our ten fingers.
From the Convention In France “One For All And All For One,” Day Two 5/10/14, Lesson 2
Our good fortune depends upon establishing good relationships between us. I try to do this in every way, but suddenly there is an explosion and somebody takes me out of balance and away from the right direction. In order to maintain this intention, we must have general agreement, a system of education that is designed especially for this purpose..
This is what must be taught to children at school, so that they will not behave the way they do today. This is a nationwide problem that must be solved on a national scale, and doesn’t just depend on someone’s desire or lack of desire.
No one wants this since it is contrary to our ego and not easy to realize. So we must create a system of education that will bring us closer to one another.
Our entire salvation is only in this. Two thousand years ago the people of Israel lost their land precisely because of unfounded hatred. Today we have again found ourselves in a dangerous situation, so let’s get closer to each other.
Baal HaSulam writes: All of our hope is in recreating a national education that is designed to discover the natural love that is latent in our people so that by all means we will go back and revive the same national muscles which have not operated in us for two millennia.
From the days of our father Abraham, who left Babylon, until the destruction of the second Beit HaMikdash (Temple), that is, for about 1,500 hundred years, the people of Israel lived in complete unity.
Question: What does it mean to live in unity? Does it mean that there won’t be any quarrels with one’s wife at home?
Answer: For this, it is necessary to have education that will lead to good attitudes, including women and children.
Question: This sounds like some kind of utopia. What exactly will happen with people? Will they stop being egoists?
Answer: People will be able to control their ego. You won’t do this to become good and to not quarrel with your wife, but because through quarreling, you are destroying the lives of all people in the world. This is specifically you, and even because you quarreled with your wife.
Imagine that your relationship with your wife influences the relationships of an immense number of men with their wives, because you are a Jew.
Question: So if a Frenchman quarrels with his wife, this doesn’t influence others as strongly?
Answer: No, this doesn’t have an influence in the way that a Jewish man quarreling with his wife does. This is because Jews are the first in the general system who must realize the law of Arvut (mutual guarantee), the connection between everyone. And after that, the whole world must also be included in this law of Arvut, in the general unity. It is specifically towards general unity that nature is pushing us, towards general unity.
From Israeli Radio Program 103FM, 3/08/15
Chapter 9: Plurally Speaking
Affecting Social Cohesion Through the Social Environment
The Drive for Superiority
In Chapter 2 we introduced the words of our sages concerning the fundamental desires at the foundation of Creation, and the four levels that make up the desire to receive. Briefly, we said that reality consists of a desire to bestow pleasure and a desire to receive it. We learned from those sages that the desire to receive pleasure is divided into four levels, known as “still,” “vegetative,” “animate,” and “speaking.” However, it is still essentially one desire that wears different attire at different levels of development.
For example, the most basic desire in existence is to sustain oneself. At the human level, that desire would appear as being content with a shelter, be it even a tin hut, and the means to keep warm, clothed, and fed. This is the still level of desire. Just like inanimate materials that keep their atoms and molecules together but do very little else, such a person will wish only to sustain oneself, seemingly “keeping one’s atoms and molecules together” and very little else.
At the vegetative level of desire, a person will want to sustain oneself on the same level as everyone else. As all plants of a certain kind blossom and wither at the same time, such a person will want to be the same as everyone in one’s town or village, or follow the latest trend seen on TV.
If everyone is poor, that person will not feel poor as long as his or her standard of living is on a par with that of the social environment. And if the new trend in clothing is to wear the left shoe on the right foot, and vice-versa, the vegetative-level person will be more comfortable wearing the wrong shoe on the wrong foot, so long as he or she is in line with the prevailing trend in fashion.
The animate-level person differs from the vegetative-level one in that he or she begins to seek self-expression. Such a person no longer settles for being like everyone else, but needs to establish one’s individuality. For the most part, this level leads to enhanced creativity and distinction in that person’s subject of choice.
The speaking (human) level is the most complex and tricky. Here it is not enough to express oneself. On this level, the desire is to be superior. This is the desire that makes people want to be recognized as special, even unique. In other words, on that level we constantly compare ourselves to others.
Moreover, these days we cannot settle for being the best at something; we strive to be the best ever. Think of the sports statistics we constantly hear about: Michael Phelps’ ambition to break Mark Spitz’s record of seven gold medals in swimming in the 1972 Olympic Games, or basketball players comparing themselves to Michael Jordan, or Roger Federer’s drive to keep winning tennis titles, even though he has already won more Grand Slam tournaments than anyone before him. And yet, he is still troubled by the fact that he has not won an Olympic gold medal.[i]
Sports may be a conspicuous example, but it is certainly not the exception; it is rather the norm. The film that earned the most money in its first week, the album that sold the most copies, the company that sells the most phones/computers/cars—competition and comparisons are everywhere. Ask a high school student, “Are you doing well in school?” and you will probably get an answer along the lines of, “I’m on the top five percent of my class” (assuming you have asked a good student). Thus, being good is no longer good enough; superiority has become the motto of our lives. We call it “being somebody.” Being me is not good enough; if I am not somebody, I am nobody.
There is a Hassidic tale about Rabbi Meshulam Zusha of Hanipol (Anipoli), brother of the renowned Rabbi Elimelech of Lizhensk, one of the founders of the Hassidut. Rabbi Zusha used to say, “When I go to heaven, if I am asked, ‘Why weren’t you Elimelech (Zusha’s esteemed brother), I will know what to say. But if I am asked ‘Why weren’t you Zusha,’ I will not know what to say.”[ii] The moral is clear—be yourself and actualize your potential; this is what you need to do in life.
But Rabbi Zusha lived in the 18th century. Today, such a moral would be unacceptable because what matters is not who you are, but who you are compared to others, your position in the class percentile. When the primary motto in society is so alienating and antisocial, it is no wonder that our society is falling apart.
[i] “Roger Federer: 2016 Games possible,” Associated Press, July 26, 2012, url: http://espn.go.com/olympics/summer/2012/tennis/story/_/id/8202865/roger-federer-leaning-competing-rio-2016-body-holds-up.
[ii] School for Culture Education, Be’eri Program, Shalom Hartman Institute, June 26, 2011. url: http://www.school.kotar.co.il/KotarApp/Viewer.aspx?nBookID=98518913#24.9572.4.fitwidth. url: http://medaon.org/files/zehutariel.pdf.