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Every camp of the twelve tribes of Israel had its own flag. Degel (Flag, Standard) is from the word “Geulah “(Redemption) and “Ledaleg” (Leap), for the people of Israel went out to the wilderness to move from one level to another.
When they began to move, they raised a flag above them, a symbol of the goal that was placed before them. It is impossible to advance without this; there must be a most serious motivation!
In spiritual work, a flag symbolizes the idea of elevation above our ego, absolute dissociation and complete detachment from the ego, using it intentionally for the sake of bestowal. So it is also in the physical world.
For a nation, the flag is a symbol of an idea, like a root and branch. Everything that exists in the spiritual world is reflected in our world, and the person acts this way in spite of himself, even without knowing where this is coming from.
From KabTV’s “Secrets of the Eternal Book” 2/11/15
Lesson No. 4: Love of Friends
Love of Friends as the Condition for Ascending the Spiritual Ladder
1. “And the man asked him, saying: ‘What seekest thou?’” meaning, how can I help you? “And he said, ‘I seek my brethren.’” By being together with my brothers—in other words, by being in a group where there is love of friends—I will be able to mount the trail that leads to the house of God.
This trail is called a path of bestowal, and this way is against our nature. To be able to achieve it, there is no other way but by love of friends, by which everyone can help his friend.
—Writings of Rabash. “Love of Friends”
2. I have established for you conducts by which you still can hang on and not turn back, and the single, most special one about them is the adhesion of friends.
I sincerely promise that this love is able. Therefore, let me remind you that the validity of love of friends is in spite of everything at this time, for it is upon this that our right to exist depends, and upon this our imminent success is measured.
Hence, turn away from all the imaginary engagements, and set your hearts on thinking thoughts and devising proper tactics to truly connect your hearts as one so that the words, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” literally will come true in you, and you will be cleansed by the thought of love that will be covering all transgressions.
Test me in that, and begin to truly connect in love, and then you will “taste and see.”
—Writings of Baal HaSulam, “Letter No. 47”
3. When several friends gather together, each one has but a small amount of this power that is better to come out of self-love, but they do not have enough power and importance of bestowal to become independent and without outside help. Thus, all these individuals annul themselves one to another.
At least in theory, together, they will have the strength for love of the Creator, yet they are unable to carry it out. However, by each one joining the society and annulling themselves to the society, they create one body. If, let’s say, this body is made up of ten people, this body has ten times the strength of a single person.
This is on the condition that, when they come together, each one would think that he now is joining for the purpose of annulling his self-love—in other words, that he should not think about how to fulfill his own will, but rather, he should think as much as possible about the love of the friend. Only in this way is he able to receive the will and the need that is necessary to attain the new attribute called the will to bestow.
Thus, from the love of friends, he is able to get to the love of the Creator, in that his desire is to bestow contentment to the Creator. It follows that this is the only way by which he can gain the understanding that the matter of bestowal is so very important and necessary, and he is able to attain it only through the love of friends.
—Writings of Rabash, Vol 1, “Concerning the Love of Friends”
4. It is about time that we started moving forward toward our sacred goal like mighty, strong men. It is known that the paved road that leads to the goal is love of friends by which one shifts to love of the Creator, and in the matter of love, it is through “Buy yourself a friend.” In other words, through actions, one buys one’s friend’s heart, and even if he sees that his friend’s heart is like a stone, it is no excuse. If he feels that he is suitable to be his friend in the work, then he must buy him through deeds.
Each gift that he gives to his friend… is like a bullet that makes a hollow in the stone. Although the first bullet only scratches the stone, when the second bullet hits the same place, it makes a notch, and the third one makes a dent.
Through the bullets that he shoots repeatedly, the dent becomes a hollow in his friend’s heart of stone where all the presents gather, and each gift becomes a spark of love until all of the sparks of love accumulate in the hollow of the stony heart and become a flame.
The difference between a spark and a flame is that, where there is love, there is open disclosure—meaning a disclosure to all the peoples that the fire of love is burning in him—and the fire of love burns all of the transgressions one meets along the way.
—Writings of Rabash, Vol 2, “Letter No. 40”
5. And should you ask, “What can one do if he feels that he has a heart of stone toward his friend?”…
The advice is very simple: The nature of fire is that, when rubbing stones against each other, a fire starts…
Then, through the wearing out of the hearts, even of the strongest ones, each will bring out warmth from the walls of his heart, and the warmth will ignite the sparks of love until a clothing of love forms. Then, both of them will be covered under one blanket, meaning that a single love will surround and envelop the two of them, as it is known that
Dvekut [Adhesion] unites two into one.
When one begins to feel the love of his friend, joy and pleasure immediately begin to awaken in him, for the rule is that a novelty entertains. His friend’s love for him is a new thing because he always knew that he was the only one who cared for his own well-being.
However, the minute that he discovers that his friend cares for him, it evokes within him immeasurable joy, and he no longer can care for himself since man can toil only where he feels pleasure, and since he is beginning to feel pleasure in caring for his friend, he naturally cannot think of himself.
—Writings of Rabash, Vol 2, “Letter No. 40”
6. Wisdom and insight into how to serve the Creator comes through the unification between us, in the love of friends … to be connected one with the other in love and in a single heart, and to serve the Creator in unity … and we must unite one with the other and be locked into each other’s heart and become “one bundle” to serve the Creator with a whole heart.
—Maor VaShemesh (Light and Sun), “The Secrets of Rosh Hashanah”
7. “The Creator is One, and Israel are one”, and therefore they are adhered to the Creator because it is pleasing to be adhered one with the other, and when will that be? When Israel is assembled and adhered in perfect unity, they are considered as one, and the Creator dwells among them, who is One. This is the meaning of the verse, “And you are adhered,” that you are adhered to each one and grip to each other.
Then, through the help of the Creator, you will be adhered one with the other, and the Creator will dwell among you, which is, “You are all alive” when you are united as one. Thus, it is good and pleasant to be adhered one with the other, and the Creator dwells in their midst as One.
—Moshe Chaim Ephraim, “Banner over the Camp of Ephraim,” Parashat VaEtchanan
Mexico Convention – “One Heart For All” 7.17-19.2015 Lesson No. 3
Mexico Convention – “One Heart For All” 7.17-19.2015 Lesson No. 2
Mexico Convention – “One Heart For All” 7.17-19.2015 Lesson No. 1
Lesson No. 3: Society as the Means for Actualizing the Spiritual Ladder
1. The whole man means that one has reached the degree of “The Torah, Israel and the Creator are one.” For this reason, attaining the face of Shechina is certainly very important since the goal is to reach this degree.
However, in order to attain the face of Shechina there first must be a preparation so that one will be ready for it … and only as one works toward the love of others is one able to reach adhesion with the creator.
—Writings of Rabash, Vol 1, “What is the Advantage of Work over Reward”
2. Even if we see that there are two parts to the Torah: The first – Mitzvot between man and God, and the second – Mitzvot between man and man, they are both one and the same thing… Thus, when one completes one’s work in love and bestowal for one’s fellow person and comes to the highest point, one also completes one’s love and bestowal for the Creator.
In that state there is no difference between the two, for anything that is outside one’s body, meaning one’s self-interest is judged equally – either to bestow upon one’s friend or bestow contentment upon one’s Maker.
This is what Hillel Hanasi assumed, that “Love thy friend as thyself” is the ultimate goal in the practice. That is because it is the clearest form to mankind. We should not be mistaken with deeds, for they are set before one’s eyes. We know that if we precede the needs of our own, it is bestowal.
For that reason Hillel does not define the goal as “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul and with all thy might,” because they are indeed one and the same thing. It is so because one should also love one’s friend with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might, because that is the meaning of the words “as thyself.”
After all, one certainly loves oneself with all one’s heart and soul and might, but with regard to the Creator, one may deceive oneself; and with one’s friend it is always spread out before his eyes.
—Writings of Baal Hasulam, “The Love for the Creator and the Love for the Created Beings”
3. Love is something that is given to the heart, and the heart disagrees with it by nature. What then can one do to make love of others touch the heart?
This is why we were given the 612 Mitzvot. They have the power to induce a sensation in the heart. However, since it is against nature, that sensation is too small to have the ability to keep love of friends de facto, even though he has a need for it…
The advice for one to be able to increase his strength in the rule, “You shall love your neighbor,” is love of friends. If everyone is nullified before his friend and mingles with him, they become one mass where all of the little parts that want the love of others unite in a collective force that consists of many parts, and when he has great strength, he can execute the love of others.
Then he can achieve the love of God, but the condition is that each will annul before the other. However, when he is separated from his friend, he cannot receive the share he should receive from his friend. Thus, everyone should say that he is nothing as compared to his friend.
—Writings of Rabash, “According to What Is Explained About Love Thy Friend as Thyself”
4. Those who have agreed among them to unite into a group understood that there isn’t such a great distance between them in the sense that they understand the necessity to work in love of others. Therefore, each of them will be able to make concessions in favor of the others, and they can unite around that.
—Shlavey HaSulam,” Make for Yourself a Rav and Buy Yourself a Friend – 2″
5. The love of friends that is built on the basis of love of others through which they can achieve the love of the Creator is the opposite of what normally is considered love of friends. In other words, love of others does not mean that the friends will love me. Rather, it is I who must love the friends…
Since one wishes to achieve Dvekut [Adhesion] with the Creator, called “equivalence of form,” meaning to not think of his own benefit… One must revoke his own worth, and the whole of the life that he wishes to live will be only with the consideration of his ability to work for the benefit of others, beginning with love of others, between man and man, through the love of the Creator.
Thus, moreover, here is a place where he can say that anything that he does is without any self-interest since, by reason, the friends are the ones who should love him, but he overcomes his reason, goes above reason, and says, “It is not worth living for myself.”
Although one is not always at a degree where he is able to say so, this is nonetheless the purpose of the work. Thus, he already has something to reply to the body.
—Writings of Rabash, Vol 1, “What to Look For in the Assembly of Friends”
6. There is a special power in the adhesion of friends. Since views and thoughts pass from one to the other through the adhesion between them, each is mingled with the power of the other, and through that, each person in the group has the power of the entire group. For this reason, although each person is an individual, he contains the power of the entire group.
—Shlavey HaSulam, “The Need for the Love of Friends”
7. To be integrated in one another, each person should annul himself before the others. This is done by each seeing the friends’ merits and not their faults. However, one who thinks that he is a little higher than the friends can no longer unite with them.
—Shlavey HaSulam, “Purpose of Society – 2”
8. Each student must extol the virtues of each friend and cherish him as though he were the greatest in the generation. Then, the environment will affect him as a sufficiently great environment since quality is more important than quantity.
—Writings of Rabash, “What to Look for in the Assembly of Friends”
9. Each student must feel that he is the smallest among all the friends, and then he will be able to receive the appreciation of greatness from everyone. This is so because the greater one cannot receive from the smaller one, much less be impressed by his words. Only the lower one is impressed by the appreciation of the greater one.
—Writings of Rabash, “Concerning the Importance of the Friends”
10. One must disclose the love in his heart toward the friends since, by revealing it, he evokes his friends’ hearts toward the friends so that they, too, would feel that each of them is practicing love of friends. The benefit from this is that, in this manner, one gains strength to practice love of friends more forcefully since every person’s force of love is integrated in that of each other.
—Writings of Rabash, Vol 1,” Concerning the Love of Friends”
11. Do what you can, and the salvation of the Lord is as the blink of an eye. The most important thing before you today is the unity of friends. Exert in that more and more, for it can recompense for all the faults.
—Writings of Baal Hasulam, “Letter No. 10”
Lesson No. 2 : The Foundation for Establishing the Society
The Need For A Good Environment In Order To Advance Me On The Spiritual Ladder
1. It is written about this, “O Lord, the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup; You maintain my lot. You placed my hand on the good fate, to say, ‘This take for you.’”…
Now you can see the true meaning of their words. It is indeed true that the Creator Himself puts one’s hand on the good fate by giving him a life of pleasure and contentment within the corporeal life that is filled with torment and pain, and devoid of any content. …
And one’s choice refers only to the strengthening. This is because there is certainly a great effort and exertion here before one purifies one’s body to be able to keep the Torah and Mitzvot correctly, not for his own pleasure, but to bring contentment to his Maker, which is called Lishma (for Her Name). Only in this manner is one endowed with a life of happiness and pleasantness that come with keeping the Torah.
However, before one comes to that purification there is certainly a choice to strengthen in the good way by all sorts of means and tactics. …
—Baal HaSulam, “Introduction to The Study of the Ten Sefirot”
2. One cannot raise oneself above one’s circle. Hence, one must suck from one’s environment. And one has no other counsel, except through much work and Torah. Therefore, if one chooses for oneself a good environment, one saves time and efforts since one is drawn according to one’s environment.
—Baal HaSulam, Shamati, 225 “Raising Oneself”
3. Although everyone has “his own source,” the forces are revealed openly only through the environment one is in. …
Thus, Rabbi Yosi Ben Kisma correctly assumed that, if he were to leave the good environment he had chosen and fall into a harmful environment in a city where there is no Torah, not only would his former concepts be compromised, but all the other forces hidden in his source, which he had not yet revealed in action, would remain concealed. This is because they would not be subject to the right environment that would be able to activate them. Only in the matter of the choice of environment is man’s reign over himself measured.
—Baal HaSulam, “The Freedom”
4. However, there is freedom for the will to initially choose such an environment, such books, and such guides that impart to him good concepts. If one does not do that, but is willing to enter any environment that appears to him and read any book that falls into his hands …
In consequence, he will be forced into foul concepts that make him sin and condemn. He will certainly be punished, not because of his evil thoughts or deeds in which he has no choice, but because he did not choose to be in a good environment, for in that there is definitely a choice.
Therefore, he who strives continually to choose a better environment is worthy of praise and reward. However, here, too, it is not because of his good thoughts and deeds, which come to him without his choice, but because of his effort to acquire a good environment which brings him these good thoughts and deeds. It is as Rabbi Yehoshua Ben Perachya said, “Make for yourself a Rav, and buy for yourself a friend.”
—Baal HaSulam, “The Freedom”
5. Our sages said, “Make for yourself a Rav and buy for yourself a friend.” This means that one can make a new environment for oneself. This environment will help him obtain the greatness of his Rav through love of friends who appreciate the Rav. Through the friends’ discussing the greatness of the Rav, each of them receives the sensation of his greatness. Thus, bestowal upon one’s Rav will become reception and sufficient motivation to an extent that will bring one to engage in Torah and Mitzvot Lishma.
They said about that, “The Torah is acquired by forty-eight virtues, by serving friends and by meticulousness of sages.” This is so because, besides serving the Rav, one needs the meticulousness with friends, as well as the friends’ influence, so they will affect him the obtainment of his Rav’s greatness. This is so because obtaining the greatness depends entirely on the environment, and a single person cannot do a thing about it whatsoever.
—Baal HaSulam, “A Speech for the Completion of The Zohar“
6. If one does not have any desire and craving for spirituality, if he is among people who have a desire for spirituality, if he likes these people, he, too, will take their strength to prevail, and their desires and aspirations, although by his own quality, he does not have these desires and cravings and the power to overcome. But according to the grace and the importance he ascribes to these people, he will receive new powers.
—Baal HaSulam, Shamati 99, “He Did Not Say Wicked or Righteous”
7. Each one should try to bring into the society a spirit of life and hopefulness, and infuse energy into the society. Thus, each of the friends will be able to tell himself, “Now I am starting a clean slate in the work.” In other words, before he came to the society, he was disappointed with the progress in the work of God, but now the society has filled him with life and hopefulness.
Thus, through society, he obtained confidence and the strength to overcome because now he feels that he can achieve wholeness. And all his thoughts—that he was facing a high mountain that couldn’t be conquered, and that these are truly formidable obstructions—now he feels that they are nothing. And he received it all from the power of the society because each and every one tried to instill a spirit of encouragement and the presence of a new atmosphere in the society.
—Rabash, “What to Look For in the Assembly of Friends”
8. “In the multitude of people is the king’s glory,” it follows that the greater the number of the collective, the more effective is the power of the collective. In other words, they produce a stronger atmosphere of greatness and importance of the Creator. At that time, each person’s body feels that he regards anything that he wishes to do for holiness—meaning to bestow upon the Creator—as a great fortune, that he has been privileged with being among people who have been rewarded with serving the king. At that time, every little thing he does fills him with joy and pleasure that now he has something with which to serve the king.
To the extent that the society regards the greatness of the Creator with their thoughts during the assembly, each according to his degree originates the importance of the Creator in him. Thus, he can walk all day in the world of gladness and joy.
—Rabash, “The Agenda of the Assembly 2”
Mexico Convention – “One Heart For All” 7.17-19.2015 Lesson No. 1
Convention in Guadalajara “Preparatory Lesson”
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Convention in Guadalajara “Day One” Workshop 1
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Convention in Guadalajara “Day One,” “The Spiritual Ladder,” Lesson 1
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