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Question: On the seventeenth of Tamuz, Moses came down from Mount Sinai, and when he saw his people dancing around the golden calf, he broke the first Tablets of the Covenant. What does this mean from the Kabbalistic point of view?
Answer: From the point of view of Kabbalah, the Torah is not talking about the objects and phenomena of the material world. It is unlikely that Moses, who was 80 years old, could come down from the mountain with the heavy stone Tablets of the Covenant.
Also, Mount Sinai is not a mountain, the tablets are not tablets carved in stone, and Moses didn’t have glowing horns on his head as Michelangelo scuplted him. The people of Israel—who, from the times of Abraham, were educated in spiritual attainment—could not engage in the casting of a golden calf.
Moses’ descent from Mount Sinai is a descent from the spiritual level where he revealed the Creator and then came down from it to connect with the people, meaning that the Torah speaks about spiritual degrees. The upper degree is Moses, who is on the level of the Creator, where he reveals Him and is in contact with this force of bestowal and love.
The lower degree is that level to which Moses descends to be with the people. In Kabbalah, the AHP of the upper descends to Galgalta ve Eynaim of the lower. Moses comes into contact with the general egoism in order to begin correcting it. Here, he sees that his detachment from the general egoism upward to the Creator happened at the time when this lowest egoism of the people fell to the next lower degree.
We are talking about three degrees. The upper degree is where Moses is in contact with the Creator. The middle degree is the one to which he descends in order to be with the people of Israel. The lowest degree is like the nations of the world, the same Egypt that the people of Israel already had left, but now are there again.
After all, as soon as Moses broke away from his people by climbing up, these people immediately fell to the lower degree because no one was holding them. This is a connection of the nation of Israel that wasn’t yet a nation, but simply a desire that rose from egoism and fell into it again.
When Moses saw this, he felt that the Upper Light he received from the Creator disappeared in this egoistic desire because the Light and egoism are incompatible with each other. So, the shattering of the Light occurred, the Light seemed to disappear, and accordance with it, the golden calf is diffused, dissolved, and destroyed as well.
However, the correction is impossible without it because the entire process leads us to the recognition of human nature, its connection with the lower level, called the nations of the world, and the impossibility of combining the Upper Light with material egoism.
Question: Is this the first contact between the Creator and the creature?
Answer: No, there can be no contact because Moses must be in the middle. He is the quality of Bina, the Creator is the quality of Keter, and all of humanity is on the level of Malchut. However, the shattering creates a connection through Moses between level of the Creator and level of the creature. These opposite qualities enter each other, and then it is possible to begin the next stage of correction.
Now, when Moses rises to the Creator, his interaction with both the Creator and the people that sinned is completely different. After all, the people that fell to the level of the golden calf have much more egoistic desires that are passionate, Egyptian, and real! Therefore, Moses now raises to the Creator much more internal, real, and deep desires to be corrected.
He spends forty days on Mount Sinai again. However, these are a completely different forty days. They are forty degrees of rising from Malchut to Bina. However, it is not from that Malchut where they were during the exodus from Egypt, but from the one on which they created for themselves the same Egypt at Mount Sinai.
The second forty days is completely different in its quality of ascent from the golden calf to the Creator. Naturally, the tablets Moses receives the second time are completely different. They are suitable in their quality to the state of people who fell to the level of the golden calf. With such tablets—meaning with such connections between the golden calf and the level of the Creator—they can begin to work on themselves.
Mount Sinai symbolizes the enormous hatred (“Sina” means hatred) that is revealed as an incongruity of qualities of the Creator and the creature, that is, qualities of complete bestowal and love, and qualities that wish to live just for themselves. When Moses comes down from Mount Sinai the second time, from the height of the level of attainment with the Creator and connection with Him, he comes down from it on Yom Kippur.
On the one hand, this is a day of the recognition of our nature. On the other hand, it is a day of forgiveness. From this day onward, the correction of the people begins, and the next stage is Chanukah and other dates that symbolize spiritual actions.
Hopefully, we recognize the correct work with the Tablets of the Covenant that are within us. We only can identify them and implement them on ourselves.
From KabTV’s “News with Michael Laitman” 7/11/16
My article, “Breaking Out From the Straights” was published in The Jerusalem Post on July 28, 2016.
The Three Weeks, or Bein ha-Metzarim (“Between the Straits”), that begins on the 17th of Tammuz (commemorated last Sunday) and ends on the 9th of Av (commemorated this year on Sunday, August 14) mark a very dark time in our past. In the days of Candy Crush and Pokémon Go, no one really wants to know about it, but we really should because the ailment that devastated our nation 2,000 years ago has never been cured. Today, just as it did then, it is causing all our problems.
The Sad Story about Kamtza and Bar Kamtza
The Talmud (Masechet Gitin) tells us that once, when the Temple still stood, a wealthy Jew in Jerusalem had a friend named Kamtza, and an enemy named Bar Kamtza. One day the wealthy Jew decided to make a feast. He sent his servant to invite his friend, Kamtza, to the feast, but the servant mistakenly invited his enemy, Bar Kamtza. The surprised Bar Kamtza took this as a gesture of reconciliation and accepted the invitation. He put on his best clothes and went to the home of the man who he thought was no longer his enemy.
When the host noticed that Bar Kamtza was there, he was infuriated and demanded that he leave at once. The mortified Bar Kamtza pleaded with the host to let him stay. He even offered to pay for his own food and drink, and for everyone else’s, too. The host not only refused him mercilessly, but even had Bar Kamtza dragged out of his house and thrown into the street.
Humiliated and disgraced, Bar Kamtza pledged vengeance not only against his host, but also against the guests, who supported the host. “I’ll slander them before the Emperor,” he decided.
Bar Kamtza went to Emperor Nero and told him that the Jews were planning to rebel against him. After some cunning persuasion, the emperor was convinced that Bar Kamtza was telling the truth, and sent his army to destroy Jerusalem and the Temple.
Over the generations, this famous story has symbolized the unfounded hatred that led to our social and moral decline and to our subsequent exile. In today’s social climate, it could not be more pertinent. As we can see, read and hear each day, conflicts, manipulations, and dishonesty have never been more prevalent among us. The sarcasm and derision we use against each other point not to our wit, but to our dislike of one another.
Time to Reconnect Our Threads of Love
The Three Weeks marks the time between the shattering of the walls of Jerusalem and the ruin of the Temple. The Holy Shlah wrote that “unfounded hatred caused the ruin of the Temple.” Indeed, as Baal HaSulam noted, “It is a shame to admit that one of the most precious merits we have lost is the natural feeling that connects and sustains each and every nation. The threads of love that connect the nation, which are so natural and primitive in all the nations, have become degenerated and detached from our hearts, and they are gone.” As a result, the only thing that keeps us together as a nation is the world’s hatred toward us.
Today’s Western world still offers Jews freedom of speech and freedom of movement. We must use this freedom to reestablish brotherly love above our alienation and rebuild our peoplehood. Now, before the door of freedom closes once again, our nation must work tirelessly to rebuild itself from the ruins of unfounded hatred and realize our people’s vocation—to become a role model of a truly united nation, one that all the nations will want to emulate so that they, too, can benefit from that unique power of unity.
Building the Temple Within
As we reflect on the ruin of the Temple, we should also consider the future. When The Book of Zohar describes the building of the Third Temple, it does not speak of bricks and arches; it speaks of our connections. It describes the mending of our shattered hearts, which suffer from the sickness of unfounded hatred. The Zohar explains how the whole world will come to embrace the connectedness beaming from the united people of Israel. Building the Third Temple is therefore done within us and between us, mending our broken ties and covering our hate with love, or as King Solomon wrote, “Love covers all crimes.”
Just as we invoke a negative force when we separate from one another, we invoke a positive force when we connect with one another. This force inverts our mutual suspicion into mutual concern, and our isolation into mutual responsibility. The beauty of this power is that we maintain our individuality and fulfill our personal traits while contributing to society and collecting benefits from others’ contributions. In this way, we weave a “blanket” of connection that covers our separation.
The Gene of Unity
Today’s Judaism is fractured and fragmented into more pieces than probably anyone can count. But the “gene” of unity lies latent within each of us, and we can bring it back to life if we so choose. If, despite our bursting egos, we will strive to join forces toward our common goal as a Jewish nation—to provide humanity with an example of unity at a time when it so badly needs it—we will accomplish our vocation.
Now is the time to be proactive. The world is spiraling downward, and it is plainly visible that ego has at least a large stake in this descent. But no one knows how to stop our collective suicidal conduct. We, the Jews, the bearers of the tenet, “love your neighbor as yourself,” must rise to the challenge, put down our egos, and unite above them. This is the true and positive message we should take from The Three Weeks, and it is the one thing that will guarantee our safety and happiness in Israel and the world over.
From The Jerusalem Post 7/31/16
However, since we have 125 degrees of ascent and on each of them we need to correct all 613 desires (248 desires of the upper part of a soul and 365 desires of the lower part of a soul), on each degree they are repeated in increasing egoism. And we correct them to bestowal and love in stronger connection between them, and therefore it seems that they leave their imprint.
In fact, every time this is a completely new understanding of the world, it’s a deeper and more interconnected arrangement that reveals vast new niches, meaning spiritual spaces! After all, egoism, while becoming bigger, is attracted to the global connection that is revealed to us. And the main pleasure, the filling of the person’s soul with perfection and harmony, comes exactly from getting the general picture of interconnection.
Comment: When I was studying at school and then in university, it seemed to me that teachers constantly repeat the same thing. It is interesting that in Kabbalah allegedly the same laws are perceived differently every time. It seems that everything is already painted and written in the book and suddenly one line makes everything different.
Answer: Yes, it is incredible! And in material nature on all its levels are the same laws. Only what isn’t yet revealed on the still level, begins to unfold a little on the vegetative level, and more so on the animal level, and even more so on the human level. But we see in front of us completely different opportunities and different ways of life.
This indicates a depth of connection between the positive and negative particles inside of atoms—electrons, neutrons, and positrons. The only thing that occurs is the increasing revelation of their connection program, combinations, and mutual dependence, and on Earth appears a developed life. And it is the same in the spiritual world.
From KabTV’s “Secrets of the Eternal Book” 4/6/16
Torah, Deuteronomy 6:4: Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God; the Lord is one. For example, my name is Michael. So I have to say, “Hear Michael, the Lord, your God, meaning the upper force that controls you, is one and only. Therefore, what you are saying now is said to you, Him speaking within you. What you are wishing at the moment is Him wishing within you. What you are thinking about yourself and Him, and about anyone else is also only Him.
And where are you? You are this point of examination that says that everything in you, apart from the point itself, is the Creator.
And then what is your work? It is to make sure that this point of examination as well is fully connected to the Creator and you will become equal to Him.”
Torah, Deuteronomy 6:5: And you shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your means.
All my desires, no matter what level they are, how I graduated them, and what qualities and directions they have, I must realize are only in order to demonstrate love for one’s neighbor. And from the love for the neighbor I will come to the love for the Creator. The Creator here is a collection of all my relationships to others.
Therefore it is said, “You shall love the Lord, your God.”
Torah, Deuteronomy 6:6: And these words, which I command you this day, shall be upon your heart.
In all my desires, that are called “heart,” will clearly be felt the quality of bestowal and love. It is they who will command the heart.
Torah, Deuteronomy 6:7: And you shall teach them to your sons and speak of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk on the way, and when you lie down and when you rise up.
In all my states I must constantly revive the Creator in me, not forgetting that there is no one else besides Him, and He is the quality of love. I must remember it when I “lie down” and when I “rise up,” in bad states and good states, and also in future states that are called “sons.” To “lie down” means to be in a weakened state. To “rise up” and to “walk” means to go forward by the spiritual degrees.
Question: What does it mean “…and speak of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk on the way…?
Answer: “And speak of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk on the way,” i.e., in the state when I am inside my heart and in the state when I feel that I am exiting it. The heart of a person is called “house.”
“When you walk on the way” is a state when I change my desires all the time, correct them, and rise above them. They appear in me, but I am not a master of this. I must constantly have only one idea, one goal, and one basis of existence: everything that happens to me comes from the Creator.
I am in absolute connection with Him, no matter what happens to me, even if I am in a catastrophic condition! After all, it comes to me so I will find absolute connection with the Creator in it.
Torah, Deuteronomy 6:8: And you shall bind them for a sign upon your hand, and they shall be for ornaments between your eyes.
It means to tie a “knot in the memory” (Tefillin – phylacteries) on the left hand that is connected to the heart. And Tefillin on the head should be “between your eyes” so that words will remain in the heart and in the mind.
Everything that relates to the heart is the level of Bina. Eyes are the level of Hochma. It means that the Creator will always control your desires and thoughts so they will be directed through two Lights, Hassadim and Hochma.
Question: If I tie a knot on the hand and a knot between the eyes, does it mean that I connect Bina and Hochma?
Answer: It is not just a knot. In the upper form there is a connection between the desire and the Light, creature and the Creator, in it. I want such a connection so it will spread now in my heart and in my mind.
Torah, Deuteronomy 6:9: And you shall inscribe them upon the doorposts of your house and upon your gates.
Gates and doorposts are an entry to yourself and an exit from yourself, when you exit into new desires that are not yet developed and corrected by you, and then you enter back, i.e., place them inside yourself. In both cases you must constantly control and check yourself that you are filled only by the Light of bestowal and love.
You must always be with the Creator, with the Light of correction that acts on all four levels of desire, Yod-Hey-Vav-Hey. Therefore, in both the Mezuzah and Tefillin are four so-called texts, i.e., four qualities.
The prayer “Shema Israel” – (“Hear, O Israel”) became the main prayer of Israel. There is nothing except it. All other prayers are as though additions, expansions for various special cases.
From KabTV’s “Secrets of the Eternal Book” 3/30/16
New Life #740 – Morning Blessings
Dr. Michael Laitman in conversation with Oren Levi and Tal Mandelbaum ben Moshe
What is the origin of all the blessings? After all, no book fell from the sky? Kabbalists discovered that there is an inner more concealed part of nature that manages us, the Creator of the operating system. Feeling this system is called day. Drawing away from this feeling is called evening, and being disconnected from it is called night. Returning to it is called morning and so on.
Kabbalists also discovered that unpleasant events are also in our favor and this is from where the blessings stem. The heart of Kabbalists blesses everything by itself. They wrote the blessings for other people in order to guide them to the Creator, to be in contact with Him, connected to Him. Washing hands, for example, is an action that stems from the same Hebrew root as taking. When I wash my hands, I want to keep them away from egoistic actions.
To be in contact with the upper force means, that we feel the Creator’s presence every moment in our life. Kabbalists tell us what we should do in order to raise ourselves to the recognition of the Creator. We are actually inside the upper force although we are not aware of it, but we should be aware of it and not detach ourselves from Him. We have to reach a state in which we feel how the Creator manages every thought, every desire, me managing myself.
In the past people performed the rituals that Kabbalists determined in order to reach the revelation of the Creator. The revelation of the Creator raises a person above time, motion and place. When a person discovers the Creator he connects to eternity and to wholeness, and the internal meaning of the blessings recited upon arising in the morning are meant to help us hasten the revelation of the Creator in practice.
From KabTV’s “New Life #740 – Morning Blessings,” 7/5/16
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New Life #739 – Does Choice Exist Or Is Everything In The Hands Of Heaven?
Dr. Michael Laitman in conversation with Oren Levi and Yael Leshed-Harel
Where does freedom of choice exist in our lives, from what do we try to be freed, and what will bring us to attain true freedom?
The first profession in which I specialized was bio-cybernetics. According to bio-cybernetics, a human is a biological system that lacks choice with data it is born with and data absorbed from the environment in the course of life. A human thinks that he chooses and decides, just like a small child feels that he chooses when his mother leaves the room. But this is due to a lack of knowledge of the natural system, divinity. So according to the Torah, there are no punishments but correction in the direction of life.
We are like components of a system, completely operated. But there is a particular action in our lives that is considered to be a free choice. Whoever carries it out becomes a free person. When we investigate nature, we see that everything in it is linked, except for humans who are individualists with the tendency to separate. Nature requires us to be linked with each other, in good connection, but basically everyone runs away to his own corner. It is specifically the contrast between human nature and the nature of the overall system that makes it possible for us to choose to emulate nature at the peak of our development and climb to a new level of existence, the speaking level.
A person who reaches this level is a free person; he includes two opposing forces, egoism and altruism, and the link between these two forces is within him. The ability to choose is developed in a person when he hears about this possibility. From that moment on, it is up to him to choose an appropriate environment for development. Through choosing an environment for spiritual development, the person begins to learn about his nature and the nature of the world. A person who realizes the choice of an environment is a free person because in the right environment he becomes free of his egoistic nature. When we realize freedom of choice, we attain a good and secure life, and endless possibilities will be open to us.
From KabTV’s “New Life #739 – Does Choice Exist Or Is Everything In The Hands Of Heaven?” 6/28/16
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LESSON 3: FROM “ME” TO “WE” IN THE PATH OF ACHISHENA
The Work between the friends in the Ten
One of Israel who truly wishes to be awarded with the light of life, has to agree to plant himself in Knesset Israel (The assembly of Israel) with all his heart, all his senses and all of his physical and spiritual strength.
-Rav Kook, “Whisper to Me the Secret of the HaVaYaH”
And a certain man found him, and behold, he was wandering in the field. 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, that is, 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 love of friends, by which everyone can
–Writings of Rabash, Shlavey HaSulam, (Rungs of the Ladder), 1984, “Love of Friends,” Article No 3
A good way to serve the Creator and the right way to repent is to unite our hearts with the Love of Friends, to see the friend’s advantage in the service and the knowledge of the Creator, and not to notice his deficiencies. The principle of repentance is to connect each with the other in love and One Heart, and to serve the Creator together… Meaning that we must connect with each other and lock our hearts together… and be as One Bundle, to serve the Creator with a whole heart.
–Maor VaShemesh (Light and the Sun), “The Secrets of Rosh Hashanah”
We must remember that the society was established on the basis of love of others, so each member would receive from the group the love of others and hatred of himself. And seeing that his friend is straining to annul his self and to love others would cause everyone to be integrated in their friends’ intentions. Thus, if the society is made of ten members, for example, each will have ten forces practicing self-annulment, hatred of self, and love of others.
-The Writings of Rabash, Vol 1, “Concerning Love of Friends”
Those who agreed among them to unite into a group understood that there isn’t such a great distance between them in the sense that they recognize 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.
–Rabash The Social Writings, “Make for Yourself a Rav and Buy Yourself a Friend – 2”
And it is known that the Shechinah dwells in each Ten, which is a complete degree. And a complete degree is made up of a head, arms, legs and heels… and when each one sees himself as “nothing” in the holy society, he is considered to be the heel in the society, and they are in the state of Rosh (head) and Guf (body) and the upper parts. And when each one thinks of himself this way, their actions open the gates of abundance and all goodness in the world. But most importantly is that righteous who is able to grip the state that is more “nothing” than the others, and through him the abundance flows.
–Maor VaShemesh (Light and the Sun), “Parashat Ekev”
The main reason why a person needs to buy a friend and work in love of others is that by that he can be rewarded with the love of the Creator. But the friends should primarily speak together about the greatness of the Creator because according to the greatness of the Creator that one assumes, to that extent he naturally annuls himself before the Creator… Thus, the friends’ discussions of the greatness of the Creator awaken a desire and craving to annul before the Creator because he begins to feel longing and desire to bond with the Creator… And this is what a person needs to receive from the friends.
-The Writings of Rabash, Vol 1, “What to Look for in the Assembly of Friends”
According to what is written, “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. Thus, he can walk all day in the world of gladness and joy.
-The Writings of Rabash, Vol 1, “The Agenda of the Assembly – 2”