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Lesson 2: Arvut
1. The main root of the Arvut comes from behinat kabalat HaTorah (Receiving the Torah), when all Israel were Arevim (responsible) one for the other, and this is because in the root of the souls of Israel, all are considered as one, since they are drawn from the source of unity. Hence, all Israel were resposible one for the other at the time they received the Torah.
—Rabbi Natan of Breslev, Collections of Laws, “The Laws of Arvut,” #5
2. All Israel Arevim zeh LaZeh (are responsible one for another), meaning that their lights and livelihood intermingle in each other. Hence, we, the people of Israel, are commanded and obligated to literally keep the commandment ”Love your friend as yourself.”
—Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Witebsk, Pri Haaretz, “Letter 33”
3. When does creation find flavor with the Creator? When all Israel are bundled together, and there is no jealousy, hatred, and competition between them whatsoever, and each one of them thinks only about the correction and well-being of his friend. Then the Creator rejoices in His creation, as it is written, “The Creator rejoices in His works. And this explanation is in reference to “Love thy friend as thyself, I am the Creator,” to tell us that if one loves his friend as himself, then “I, the Creator, am in your midst and love both of you.”
—In Remembrance of Miriam, “Chapter 11”
4. And when one begins to feel the love of his friend, joy and pleasure immediately begin to awaken in him… His friend’s love for him is a new thing for him because he always knew that he was the only one who cared for his own well-being. But the minute he discovers that his friend cares for him, it evokes within him immeasurable joy, and he can no longer care for himself… 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”
5. One must always pray for his friend, because (praying) for himself it is not very effective, since ”one cannot free oneself from prison,” but his friend comes to his aid quickly. And so, each one should pray for his friend, this way one helps the other and both are helped. This is why it was said, “Israel Arevim (are responsible) one for the other.
—Rabbi Elimelech, Noam Elimelech, “Likutei Shoshana”
6. It is impossible to keep the Torah and Mitzvot without the Arvut, namely, when everyone becomes responsible for his friend, since the essence of keeping the Torah is in behinat haratzon (the will) in unity. Hence, all who desire to accept upon themselves the Torah and Mitzvot… must be included in the Assembly of Israel as one big collective. Hence, when (Israel) received the Torah they immediately became Arevim one for the other in order to be incorporated into one desire, so that they were all mutually accountable one for the other, since they were all equally important, and as one. And precisely when each were responsible for the other, which is behinat achdut (unity), they were able to keep the Torah. And without this (condition) it is impossible to keep the Torah in any way, since the essence of Torah and love is in the will, when each is content with his friend, and there is no variance between them—since all are incorporated into one desire, and thus they are able to be included in the upper will, which is the purpose of Unity.
—Rabbi Nathan of Breslev, Likutei Halachot, “Laws of Arvut, #5”
7. If six hundred thousand men abandon their work for the satisfaction of their own needs and worry about nothing but standing guard so their friends will never lack a thing, and moreover, that they will keep it with a mighty love, with their very heart and soul, in the full meaning of the Mitzva, “Love thy friend as thyself,” then it is beyond doubt that no man of the nation will need to worry about his own well-being.Because of that, he becomes completely free of securing his own survival and can easily keep the Mitzva, “Love thy friend as thyself.” After all, why would he worry about his own survival when six hundred thousand loyal lovers stand by, ready with great care to make sure he lacks nothing of his needs? Therefore, once all the members of the nation agreed, they were immediately given the Torah, because now they were capable of keeping it.
—Baal HaSulam, Matan Torah, #15
New Jersey Convention – “Completing The Circle” Preparation For Lesson 1
Lesson 1: The Ten as a Spiritual Vessel
1. Rabbi Yochanan said, it is written, “I will be sanctified among Israel.” Everything concerning Kedusha (sanctity) cannot be in less than Ten.
—Talmud Bavli, Masechet Megilah, Page 23/2
2. Rabbi Chalafta Ben Dosa says, Ten sitting and engaging in the Torah, Shechinah dwells among them , as it is written (Psalm 82), “The Creator stands in the congregation of the mighty.”
—Mishna, Masechet Avot, Chapter 3, Verse 6
3. Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai was expounding on the secrets of Torah, with the friends listening to his voice and uniting with him, and being in this connection, each replying with his portion.
—Ramchal, “Mighty in Heaven,” 24
4. They were sitting in half a circle, affectionately and with love, as one bundle, like the Sanhedrin, not suspecting each other, since they could see one another and hear one another discussing with each other, resulting in proper instruction.
—Rashi Commentary on the Talmud Bavli, Masechet Cholin
5. Israel will not be redeemed out by sorrow, nor by bondage, nor out of their wonderings or madness and not by pressures or lack of food but by Ten people sitting together, each one reading and sharing with their friend, thus their voices will be heard, as it is written (Obadiah chapter 1), “Upon Mount Zion shall be deliverance and there shall be holiness.”
—Tana Dovi Eliyahu Zota, Chapter 14
6. 105) It is written, how loved are Israel before the Creator, that wherever they are, the Creator is with them, because He has not removed His love from them, as it is written, “And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them,” since the Shechina comes to the synagogue early.
106) Happy is the man who is among the first Ten in the synagogue, because by them is the congregation completed, which it is not less than ten. They are the ones who are sanctified by the Shechina first. But there must be ten in the synagogue at the same time, and not come bit by bit, so that the completion of the organs is not detained, for all ten are as organs of a single body in which Divinity dwells.
—Zohar Laam, Nasso, 105-106
7. 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 to Love of the Creator, yet they are unable to carry it out. However, by each one joining the society and annulling oneself 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 will think that he is now joining for the purpose of annulling his self love, namely that he should not think about how to fulfill his own will but rather, one should think as much as possible about the love of the friend. Only this way one is 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 one is able to get to the love of the Creator, namely that his desire is to bestow contentment to the Creator. It follows that this is the only way by which one can gain the understanding that the matter of bestowal is so very important and necessary, and that he was able to attain it only through the love of friends.
—Writings of Rabash, Vol 1, “Concerning the Love of Friends”
8. The main purpose for the assembly is for all to be united as one, and that all their requests will be directed towards one goal – to reveal the Creator, “In each Ten dwells the Shechina.” And certainly, when there are more than ten there surely is a greater revelation of the Shechina (Divinity), and each and every one joins himself to his friend… and annul to him and his friend to him, until all are the annulled. Hence, when this is the assembly’s intention, then naturally… the Creator draws himself closer to them… and the good Chasadim (mercies) are revealed and drawn to the assembly of Israel.
—Rabbi Klonimus Kalman Halevi Epstein, Maor VaShemesh, Parashat Vayechi
9. 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, to serve the Creator and lend a shoulder… meaning, that 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”
10. The most important aspect of love and unity is found in the will, that each one should be content with his friend, so that there will be no variance between their desire, but that they would be incorporated into one desire, and through this they are able to be included in the upper will, which is the purpose of unity.
—Likutei Halachot (Collection of Laws), “Law of Arvut,” 3:30
The Torah, “Numbers” 10:11 – 10:12: On the twentieth of the second month in the second year, the cloud rose up from over the Tabernacle of the Testimony. The children of Israel traveled on their journeys from the Sinai desert, and the cloud settled in the desert of Paran.
If we speak about the geographic distance between Mt. Sinai and the land of Israel, it is about one or two weeks’ walk, not forty years.
But the point is that the nation of Israel had few transitions and many stops. They would come to a certain place and settle there with the entire camp for a long time and not move from it.
This indicates that the adaptation to a certain place you arrive takes a long time and great forces, although there is basically nothing new about it, only a desert. So what happened there?
Even when different changes take place in us, we don’t understand that huge levels of preparation are being created in us. It is absolutely impossible to skip, neutralize, restrict, remove, assemble, or compress them, and therefore, the main thing in the spiritual work is patience and endurance.
“On the twentieth of the second month in the second year, the cloud rose up from over the Tabernacle of the Testimony.” Whether in darkness or in a cloud, in daytime or at night, we must conceal ourselves from the Creator.
If we discover Him, we immediately will begin to enjoy it, and our motion forward toward the goal, toward our correction, will be out of self-love, self-enjoyment. This is the reason we must constantly be careful of it.
However, when the cloud is taken up, it means that the Creator seemingly reveals Himself, thus showing where He is in some sense.
From KabTV’s “Secrets of the Eternal Book” 2/11/15
Ancient Babylon is a special state of humanity that was sandwiched in a very compact territory between two rivers. It was a well-developed civilization that existed about 3,500 years ago.
The Babylonians were so interconnected that they began to feel the rejection of each other, as if the people were good friends while they kept a decent distance, but when in closer proximity immediately began to quarrel. After all, we all are selfish; we can’t stay too close to each other and are compelled to disperse.
Ancient Babylonians discovered the phenomenon called the Tower of Babel. Human egoism grew like a tower to the heavens, thus separating them to the degree of hatred that arose among them and that prevented them from mutual understanding to the extent that they felt as if they spoke different languages.
They didn’t know what to do in such a critical situation. Then one wise man named Abraham offered a solution. Abraham was a priest. He manufactured and sold Babylonian idols. Babylonians were pagans and worshiped trees, stones, and so forth. They deified all of the forces of nature.
There were a lot of priests in Babylon, but Abraham was very famous among them because he was a son of Terah, the High Priest, who was a very influential cleric.
Abraham investigated the situation in Babylon and realized that humanity was obliged to attain such a connection in which their state of crisis would be revealed, as shown by their tremendous egoism.
After this phase, there were only two possible paths: either disperse even further or rise above their selfishness. Indeed, the purpose of nature is not to separate people but to raise them above their egoism.
The ascent above egoism leads the human race to a new developmental stage. For that we should combine our powers, desires, thoughts, and abilities. Connection between us opens a network of liaisons that eventually discloses the governing force of nature to us.
Our selfishness is only one negative force of nature. If, despite it, we continue our efforts to unite, we will reveal two opposite systems that must merge with each other: a will to receive and the power of bestowal, hatred and love, rejection and attraction.
If we continue our yet unsuccessful efforts to reconcile these two systems, we suddenly understand that there is some sort of connection between them. The force that integrates these two completely opposite systems and makes them one whole is called the upper force. The discovery was made by Abraham when he revealed the general force of nature.
To be continued…
From KabTV’s “A New Life” 7/05/15