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Two of the greatest spirits of the twentieth century, who were removed from the world during the Days of Atonement—predicted what would happen to us today, and they were not wrong… Rav Michael Laitman’s special column about Rav Yehuda Ashlag (Baal HaSulam) and his succesor Rabbi Baruch Shalom Ashlag, marking their death days.
“Two Intellectual Giants Who Predicted The Future”
On a cold, rainy night in 1979 I couldn’t sleep, thoughts plagued me. Suddenly I found myself behind the wheel, driving without direction. A large sign interrupted my thoughts: “Bnei Brak.” I entered. The streets were deserted. At the corner of Chazon Ish street I encountered a passerby. “Where do they study here?” I asked. He looked at me and answered, “Go to the end of the street, there you will see an orchard, across the street.”
So for the first time I met my teacher, Rav Baruch Shalom Ashlag, the oldest son and heir of Baal HaSulam—the greatest Kabbalist of the twentieth century. From this moment my life changed beyond recognition.
For twelve years I served as his personal assistant and student, and absorbed from him everything that I know about the wisdom of Kabbalah. Every day he would retreat to the second floor and write. That is how his profound articles were born that paved the spiritual path that is most appropriate for every person today. Nobody before him wrote in such a simple and practical language. Like a father who guides his children down the path, he takes the readers by the hand and leads them until they discover the true meaning of life.
Rabash followed in the footsteps of his father Baal HaSulam, the Kabbalist famous for writing the “Sulam Commentary to The Book of Zohar.” Both of them absorbed the ancient wisdom of the chain of Kabbalists that preceded them, and they were the link that accommodated it to our generation. “I am glad that I have been born in such a generation when it is permitted to disclose the wisdom of truth,” writes Baal HaSulam (“The Teaching of the Kabbalah and Its Essence”).
A Time to Act
In the year 1922, eleven years before Hitler rose to power, Baal HaSulam foresaw the threat of annihilation facing the Jewish people in Europe.
He took pains to warn the heads of the Jewish community in Warsaw that the sharp Nazi sword had already been placed upon their necks. He urged them to unite and return to the land of Israel, but they refused to heed his calls and ostracized him, and he emigrated to Israel alone. The Second World War came and didn’t pass over the members of that Jewish community, all of whom perished in the death camps.
In the thirties Baal HaSulam made supreme efforts to meet with the heads of the Yishuv (settlement): David Ben-Gurion, Zalman Shazar, Moshe Sharett, Chaim Nachman Bialik, Chaim Arlozorov and other public figures. He tried to speak with them about the importance of unity and about the need to connect the parts of the Jewish Yishuv that was emerging in the land of Israel.
In 1940, over the objections of the ultra-Orthodox circles of engaging in the wisdom of Kabbalah, Baal HaSulam published a newspaper called, The Nation—the first newspaper of its kind devoted to the socio-spiritual unity of the Jewish people. His opponents turned to the British government and took care of the closure of the newspaper.
Baal HaSulam expected that precisely in our day religion would lose its hold on people, the political basis would crumble, and social factionalism would destroy all its good parts—until humanity would remain without an answer. He tried to talk about this with all who would agree to meet with him. The subject burned in him and he felt the need of the hour. He knew that the only remedy for the suffering expected for Israel and the world was to restore the unity that was always the foundation of the nation, otherwise they would rise up against us to annihilate us.
The Last Generation
The message of unity that Baal HaSulam bore, is more relevant than ever. Waves of surging hatred and anti-Semitism are threatening our continued existence. “We have gathered here to establish a society for all who wish to follow the path and method of Baal HaSulam,” began my teacher Rabash in his first article (“Dargot HaSulam, “Purpose of Society 1”).
After his departure in 1991, people began to gather around me whose hearts were burning with a desire to discover the purpose of their existence. Gradually the Bnei Baruch group was founded, named after Rabbi Baruch Ashlag, which became the “Kabbalah for the People” organization.
Every morning we study from the books of the Kabbalists: The Study of the Ten Sefirot, The Book of Zohar with the Sulam Commentary and other writings of Baal HaSulam and Rabash. We try to continue and disseminate the method to all who want it, exactly according to how my teacher transmitted the wisdom of his father to me.
As of today we number around two million students throughout Israel and the world, and we see our role as carrying on the way of the two great luminaries, and just as Baal HaSulam emphasized, “…only through the expansion of the wisdom of Kabbalah in the masses will we obtain complete redemption” (Introduction to the Book, Panim Meirot uMasbirot).
On these days we commemorate the departure of the two greatest of the generation. I hope that we will have the sense to walk faithfully in their way.
Question: Why is the study identical for both the children of Jacob and for foreigners?
Answer: It is because we have a multitude of characteristics and desires that we catch and absorb from the outside, from the entire world. The characteristics, thoughts, feelings, and even our habits are called foreigners.
That is, there is one law for all. You cannot say, “I arrived from afar. I was brought up differently, and so I cannot be otherwise.” That has no meaning. If you want to attain a connection with the Creator, you must correct yourself just like everyone else.
There are no exceptions! It could be that, for you, a greater Light of correction is required. Your way may be a little longer, and you may require more support, but, in any case, you must attain the correction equally with everyone and finish it on the same level as everyone else.
From KabTV’s “Secrets of the Eternal Book” 5/13/15
In the News (nplus1.ru/news): “A group of psychologists tried to replicate 100 studies from all kinds of different branches of psychology published in the leading scientific journals. They succeeded in replicating only 39% of these works to some degree of approximation to the original study. And meaningful statistical significance was obtained in only 36% of the works.
“The project was begun on the background of reports about forgeries, unclear explanations and errors in the area of the statistical analysis in the psychological articles. Because articles chosen for the study were only from the most respected journals and those that had gone through review, the scientists expressed an estimation that up to 80% of all studies in the field of psychology cannot be replicated.”
My Comment: This is natural because psychology is not a science. We cannot study our inner world because we cannot be above ourselves. Only when we rise to the next level of development, helped by studying the wisdom of Kabbalah can we understand who we are, studying and attaining everything about ourselves because through studying the wisdom of Kabbalah we discover the Creator, the force that creates and manages us.
Comment: In the meantime not all people understand that we are in a systemic crisis. Even if someone feels this, he thinks that the crisis will soon come to an end: “A year or two we will suffer, tightening our belts a bit, and everything will be as usual.”
Answer: I don’t think that the crisis will end soon because there is no power in the world to monitor order that would take a firm hand, putting everything in its place.
The world leaders were once Germany and England, later a few nations together. Even the opposition between America and Russia made the world situation smoother since the two powers reined in and restrained all kinds of jumps. Today this doesn’t exist.
America has abandoned its role of global policeman and we see that the world is entering an unpredictatable situation. There is no power to hold onto the world order, applying pressure somewhere to limit something, making something else possible through which nature could move and maintain at least some kind of order. This doesn’t exist now and cannot exist because American dominance and its presence in the world arena is decreasing, which previously made it possible to hold, maintain and align the world order.
So the world is deteriorating into a state that is unpredictable. This program was determined by nature a few thousand years ago and was tested in the Kabbalistic sources. They said that ultimately the entire Islamic world would begin to dominate the Christian one. Moreover we see that this is not a military intervention, but a quiet and peaceful occupation.
It is already impossible to stop this process; it is impossible to equalize the growth of the Arab population in Europe and that of the European population. So according to the calculations of the experts, in another 20-30 years Europe will be entirely subordinated to Islam.
The world is entering a completely wretched situation; if in the some South America nations, like Brazil and others, clearly went in a kind of socialist direction, now they are driving themselves into such big problems, which translates into a crisis. In the end, the world will become quite homogeneous, and evil will be found everywhere.
From KabTV’s “The Last Generation” 8/19/15
Baal HaSulam, “Introduction to The Book of Zohar,” Section 61, 63: The answer is that the world, during the six thousand years of its existence, is like one Partzuf divided into three thirds: Rosh (head), Toch (interior), Sof (end), meaning, HBD (Hochma, Bina, Daat), HGT (Hesed, Gevura, Tifferet), NHY (Netzach, Hod, Yesod). This is what our sages wrote, ‘Two millennia of Tohu (chaos), two millennia of Torah, and two millennia of the days of the Messiah” (Sanhedrin 97a)….Hence, only after the completion of these lowly souls can the Highest Lights manifest, and not before.
There is a general rule that is called the “inverse relation between Lights and vessels” (Preface to the Wisdom of Kabbalah, Section 24), so that the vessels that fell to a greater depth were higher before the Shevira (breaking).
Which means that even though we are in a state of breaking, in the lowest state, through our correction we can add very great power to the general Kli, and as a result of this, a great Light will be revealed.
The first generations excelled in realization and their desire to receive was relatively refined, so the Light of Hochma was not revealed that much. This was not the same method and not the same Light that we discover within our Kelim. And on the other hand, according to the inverse arrangement of Lights and Kelim, the Light of Hochma will be revealed within the Kelim of HBD, while we belong to the Kelim of NHY.
And at the end of correction all of the Light and every Kli will be a single circle.
Question: Why are the 6,000 spiritual levels described as 6,000 years? It seems that the Creator created the creature and gave it an ultimatum, to finish the correction in the specified period and not beyond it.
Answer: A system of worlds exists, ABYA (Atzilut, Beria, Yetzira, and Assiya). In this system, the world of Atzilut is the world of correction and doesn’t belong to the broken Kelim, but was created to correct them. The worlds of BYA are the place, the environment, the state, in which the broken Kelim, the broken souls exist.
In reality only one soul exists, the soul of Adam HaRishon (the First Man). This soul was divided or broken into a multitude of parts that fell according to their spiritual level into the worlds of Beria, Yetzira, and Assiya and must be rediscovered. According to the intensity of the breaking, these parts are divided into three groups: HBD, HGT, and NHY.
They are revealed according to a particular order: Beria, Yetzira, and Assiya, from light to heavy. The parts that belong to the worlds of Beria and Yetzira and the upper two thirds of the world of Assiya are revealed according to the program of creation. After all, in the present stage, the Kelim are still not divided according to the right line and the left line in such a form that they can activate their freedom of choice.
And only in the Kelim of the bottom part of NHY, meaning beginning from our generation, which is called the last generation, is there a possibility of developing more rapidly and efficiently than the program of creation. Previously the program of creation determined the connection and the relative rates between the Lights and Kelim according to an awakening from above, which is truly considered to be 6,000 years. And now the new method is discovered.
This is because creation is not just a product with characteristics that are given to it initially, devoid of any potential for development of new things so it is not clear why it exists. And specifically we who want to realize the program of creation by ourselves with our own powers, justify the Creator, confirming that it was not just created without any benefit; it is not just automatic. The benefit is that creation makes it possible for a person to search and find possibilities of joining the process according to his freedom of choice to hasten the correction and advance creation through elevating MAN. And then all of creation belongs to a person, the whole world belongs to him.
And so, the time of development is shortened, not because there is a need for this, but rather, this is a sign of how much the person himself yearns to finish and correct creation. Why? Because in the corrected Kli it is possible to give great contentment to the Creator.
What this means is that from now on we are ready to dedicate our time so that all of our actions will be in order to bestow, and through this we attract the whole world towards correction.
Question: Why is this process still connected to physical time?
Answer: In your perception you make a division between spirituality and physicality. But in fact, physicality is what is called an intention for the sake of reception and spirituality is an intention for the sake of bestowal. How can one be without the other?
Everything comes from above, and the spiritual root determines the physical branch. The physical branch includes the nature of the still, vegetative, and animate, everything that we see, all the desires that are not ready to determine any change regarding the Creator independently. This includes the nature of Adam, which is not a person in our world, rather an Adam (Man) who is ready to resemble the Creator. Only people like these belong to the level of Adam, bestowing and not receiving.
It is the same thing regarding time. There are times that belong to the nature of the still, vegetative, and animate, and there is a special time for those who belong to the level of Adam, those who ascend above their nature. They feel their time, their state, their level, to the same degree that they correct themselves. For them time is not determined by the clock and not by dates on the calendar. The dial on the clock simply vanishes from your feeling if you reach your individual end of correction.
And so we are living at the end of the 6,000 years, and our period is unique in that we have the possibility of freedom of choice. We are working not only for ourselves but for all six millennia. After all, those who formed the ladder of spiritual levels depend on us. And if we attract the smallest Lights, they are revealed above as the greatest Lights.
This is correct even though it is difficult for us to appreciate our work because we don’t see its results.
From the 3d part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 2/25/14, Writings of Baal HaSulam
Question: Have I understood correctly that when disseminating to the 99% of the population, we are going from something positive to something positive, meaning from great happiness to even greater happiness?
Answer: It depends on how you accept everything.
In the Introduction to The Book of Zohar, it is said that only one state exists, and it is absolutely corrected. We are in it, but don’t perceive it with our senses. To truly feel wholeness, we must develop ourselves.
All of our work is to direct ourselves toward this wholeness. We cannot understand it because we are so broken, so damaged inside that we cannot perceive it. It seems terrible to us because this life for us is eating, sleeping, and spending some time, like in a movie, and we don’t think of anything else as living.
We just need to correct ourselves, our feelings, our senses, our understanding, and perception—only ourselves, nothing else. The intention is made in the center of the group. The more that the group grows and becomes stronger, the more rapid the intention becomes.
Question: When we sit in a circle, sometimes we go through very painful states.
Answer: In both the bad states and the good states, it is necessary to find out whether you are above them or within them. If you cannot answer this question, it is a sign that your feelings and intellect are at the same point. This is impossible. You need to be lifted above your feelings. This is reason above desire.
You have these two points that are far from each other, and you examine your feelings through the intellect. It could be that you don’t agree with the feelings, but you agree that they have a place, and you must go through them.
Suppose that I feel bad because my foot hurts. However, the doctor says, “Cut it off.” So, it must be cut off. I understand that he is doing something good for me. It will be beneficial for me. Therefore, all the bad states that you go through are only for your benefit.
Question: Do the people who belong to the 99% go through painful states in circles like these?
Answer: No, they don’t have duality and contradictions. They are within their emotions and don’t rise above this. Depending on their psychology, they are elevated slightly, but only to make the negative feeling disappear. But we don’t annihilate this negative feeling, Instead, we transform it into something positive.
From the World Zohar Week “Integral Education Convention” Day Three 2/4/14, Workshop 5
Preparation for the Lesson
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Writings of Rabash, “Rungs of the Ladder,” Article 4
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Writings of Rabash, “Rungs of the Ladder,” “They Helped Every One His Friend”
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Writings of Rabash, “Rungs of the Ladder,” Article 33
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Talmud Eser Sefirot, Vol. 6, Part 16, Item 167
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Writings of Baal HaSulam, “The Teaching of the Kabbalah and Its Essence,” “Attaining the Wisdom”
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