St. Petersburg Convention “The Round World,” Lesson 2 Materials

LESSON 2: INDIVIDUAL WORK VERSUS GROUP WORK IN ACHISHENA
How do I Work in the Group in Achishena
From Personal Work to My Work with the Group Through the Positive Force that Pulls Forward

1. 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.
Writings of Baal HaSulam, “The Freedom”

Our sages said, “Make for yourself a rav and buy 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, 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”

2. One must disclose the love in his heart towards the friends, since by revealing it he evokes his friends’ hearts toward the friends so they, too, would feel that each of them is practicing love of friends. The benefit from that 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 each other’s.
The Writings of Rabash, Vol 1, “Concerning the Love of Friends”

3. Therefore, each one must think how he can bring about a good mood to the other… It therefore follows that 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 everyone tried to instill a spirit of encouragement and the presence of a new atmosphere in the society.
-The Writings of Rabash, Vol 1, “What to Look for in the Assembly of Friends”

4. If he sees that the friends are at a higher degree than his own, he sees within reason how he is in utter lowliness compared to the friends, that all the friends keep the schedule of arriving at the seminary, and take greater interest in all that is happening among the friends, to help anyone in any way they can, and immediately implement every advice for the work from the teachers in actual fact, etc., it certainly affects him and gives him strength to overcome his laziness, both when he needs to wake up before dawn and when he is awakened. Also, during the lesson, his body is more interested in the lessons, since otherwise he will lag behind his friends.
The Writings of Rabash, Vol 1, “Concerning Above Reason”

5. 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 for being 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. And although the first bullet only scratches the stone, when the second bullet hits the same place, it already makes a notch, and the third one makes a dent.

And 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 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 the transgressions one meets along the way.
-Rabash, “Letter No. 40”

6. I shall advise you to evoke within you fear of the coolness of the love between us. And although the intellect denies this depiction, think for yourself—if there is a tactic by which to increase love and one does not increase, that too is considered a flaw.

It is like a person who gives a great gift to his friend. The love that appears in his heart during the act is unlike the love that remains in the heart after the fact. Rather, it gradually wanes each day until the blessing of the love can be entirely forgotten. Thus, the receiver of the gift must find a tactic every day to make it new in his eyes each day.

This is all our work—to display love between us, each and every day, just as upon receiving, meaning to increase and multiply the intellect with many additions to the core, until the additional blessings of now will be touching our senses like the essential gift at first. This requires great tactics, set up for the time of need.
-Baal HaSulam, “Letter 2”

7. Everything that one feels that he is lacking and asks fulfillment for, he should not say that he is an exception or deserves more than what the collective has. Rather, “I dwell among my own people,” meaning I am asking for the entire collective because I wish to come to a state where I will have no care for myself whatsoever, but only for the Creator to have contentment… Therefore, he prays for the collective. This means that if there are a few people in the collective who can reach the goal of Dvekut with the Creator, and this will bring the Creator more contentment than if he himself were rewarded with nearing the Creator, he excludes himself. Instead, he wishes for the Creator to help them because this will bring more contentment above than from his own work. For this reason, he prays for the collective, that the Creator will help the entire collective and will give them that feeling—that they receive satisfaction from being able to bestow upon the Creator, to bring Him contentment.
The Writings of Rabash, Vol 1, “A Prayer of Many”
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Convention In St. Petersburg, Day Two – 07.30.16

Convention in St. Petersburg, “Ascents and Descents on the Path of Achishena,” Lesson 4

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Convention in St. Petersburg, “Three Lines on the Path of Achishena,” Lesson 5

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Convention in St. Petersburg, “‘Arvut‘ as a Convenant that Holds the Work in ‘Hastening’,” Lesson 6

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St. Petersburg Convention “The Round World,” Lesson 1 Materials

LESSON 1: THE ESSENCE OF ACHISHENA (HASTENING)

What is the Optimal Hastening Toward the Goal of Creation?

The Path of Torah and the Path of Suffering

What are the Conditions to Advance in Achishena (hastening) Versus Beito (in due time)
Actualizing Achishna in the Group
Time requires Advancement in Achishna for the General Correction of the World

1. There are two authorities here acting in the conduct of development: The one is the authority of Heaven, which is sure to turn anything harmful and evil to good and useful, but that will be in due time, in its own way, in a floundering manner and after a long time. And then there is the authority of the earth. And when the evolving object is a living being, it suffers horrendous torments while under the “press of development,” a press that carves its way ruthlessly.

The authority of the earth, however, is comprised of people who have taken the laws of development under their own government and can free themselves entirely from the chains of time, and who greatly accelerate time, the completion of the ripeness and correction of the object, which is the end of its development.
-Baal HaSulam, “Peace in the World”

2. There are two forces that contradict each other, an upper force and a lower force. The upper force is, as it is written, “Every one that is called by My Name, and whom I have created for My glory.” This means that the whole world was created only for the glory of the Creator. The lower force is the will to receive that argues that everything was created for it, both corporeal and spiritual things, all is for self-love.

The will to receive argues that it deserves this world and the next world. Of course, the Creator is the winner, but this is called the path of pain. It is called a long way. But there is a short way, called the path of Torah. It should be everyone’s intention—to shorten time.

This is called Achishena – I will hasten it. Otherwise it will be Beito – in its time, as our sages said, “rewarded—I will hasten it; not rewarded—in its time,” “that I place upon you a king such as Haman, and he will force you to reform.”
– Baal HaSulam. Shamati 50, “Two States”

3. 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… to strengthen in the good way by all sorts of means and tactics. Also, one should do whatever his hand finds the strength to do until he completes the work of purification.
-Baal HaSulam, Introduction to Talmud Eser Sefirot, Item 4

4. 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

5. But the most important is the labor, meaning to crave how to labor in His work, since the ordinary work does not count at all, only the bits that are more than the ordinary, which is called “labor.”… Similarly, out of every service, the Creator draws out only the bits beyond the ordinary, and they will be the letters and the Kelim (vessels) in which to receive the light of His face.
-Baal HaSulam, “Letter No. 38″

6. By which substance can one be brought to acquire a new quality that he must bestow, and that reception for self is faulty? This is against nature!

Thus, there is but one counsel: Several individuals must come together with the desire to abandon self-love, but without the sufficient force and appreciation for bestowal[…] Now, if these individuals annul before one another, since each of them has at least potential love of the Creator, though they cannot actually keep it, then by each joining the society and annulling oneself before it, they become one body.

For example, if there are ten people in that body, it has ten times more power than a single person does. However, there is a condition: When they gather, each of them should think that he has now come for the purpose of annulling self-love. It means that he will not consider how to satisfy his will to receive now, but will think as much as possible only of the love of others. This is the only way to acquire the desire and the need to acquire a new quality, called “the will to bestow.” And from love of friends one can reach love of the Creator, meaning wanting to give contentment to the Creator.
-Rabash, The Writings of Rabash Vol 1, “Love of Friends”

7. 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 … and thus they are able to be included in the upper will, which is the purpose of Unity.
-Likutei Halachot, “Laws of Arvut”

8. One who desires to serve the Creator in Truth, must include himself with all creation and unite himself with all the souls, be incorporated in them and they in him. Meaning, that one should not have anything remaining in him except what is necessary for him to connect with the Shechinah. To reach this, we must come closer to each other and be connected with many people… since according to the number of people who serve the Creator, the more light of the Shechinah will be revealed to them. For this one must include himself with all people and all creation, and raise everything to its root, as if for the correction of the Shechinah.
-A Banner over the Camp of Ephraim, “Parashat BeShalach”
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Audio Version Of The Blog – 07.29.16

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Convention In St. Petersburg “Day One” – 07.29.16

Convention in St. Petersburg, “The Essence of Achishena (Hastening),” Lesson 1

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Convention in St. Petersburg, “From ‘Me’ to ‘We’ on the Path of Achishena,” Lesson 2

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Convention in St. Petersburg, “From ‘Me’ to the ‘Group’ to the ‘Creator’ on the Path of Achishena,” Lesson 3

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The Fall On The 17th Of Tammuz

Laitman_632_3Question: On the 17th of Tammuz, after no animals remained for the Kohanim (priests) to sacrifice, the established sacrifices ceased in the Beit HaMikdash (Temple). What were the sacrifices?

Answer: Sacrifice is a very interesting action. If I reflect on the subject of who we are, we are beasts. I exist within my body and constantly think about it. As long as it is alive, I am also alive, and when it dies, I no longer exist either. The sacrifice of my animal indicates that I am truly sacrificing my entire beastly life to the Creator.

Sacrifice (Korban) is from the word “Karov” (close). It symbolizes a person getting closer to the Creator. The person nullifies his egoistic desires one after another and rises above them. In that way he approaches the Creator, the characteristic of bestowal and love, by nullifying his beastly ego. He gradually reaches closeness to Him.

The 17th of Tammuz, the date on which the priests were finished with their sacrificial animals, indicates that they could no longer bring themselves closer to the Creator. They fell from a spiritual level and returned to the level of the beast; they became “beasts” themselves. Today we must raise ourselves from this level since that is also what is said about our world: “They are all like beasts” (see Psalms 49:13).

The 17th of Tammuz symbolizes the downfall of even those great people who were on a spiritual level and those characteristics that were in every person when feeling the Creator fell to the level of the beast. Descent for the purpose of ascent is a mixture of the characteristics of the Creator with the characteristics of the creature.

So the 17th of Tammuz also symbolizes the collective fall of the people, the fall of the highest Kabbalist Kohanim among the people and the fall of every person from his spiritual level so much so that after that nothing remains besides absolute destruction. As a result, we begin to realize the conditions for correction.
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From KabTV’s “News with Michael Laitman” 7/11/16

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Depression Among Youth

Laitman_182_02I spoke today with parents who complained about the depressed state of their children. They are perplexed and don’t know what to do. Depression often pushes youth to do stupid things because they are doing everything to blur and suppress depression as deeply as possible.

Depression among teenagers is an international problem. Around 15 percent of teenagers are depressed and in some nations the number is higher than 15 percent.

It is very painful to see your children or your grandchildren in a situation like this. So it is up to us to try to provide them with a meaningful existence because life is colorful, complex, and very profound.

If we “swim” and glide along the surface of life, we are like sewage floating in the whirlpool of life. But if we sink into it and reach its depths in particular, we find the meaning of existence in it, the developmental plan of creation, and we realize that we are in fact the most unique creatures in the universe.

There is great meaning in our lives. We can “rise above the stars,” meaning, we can transcend time and space and attain an unlimited state.

It is up to us to discover and disseminate the knowledge about this not for ourselves, but for our children and grandchildren so that they can attain their own happiness. Let’s think about this today.
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From KabTV’s “The Wisdom of the Day” 7/17/16

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Terrorism On The Social Networks

laitman_959In the News (Los Angeles Times): “Israeli and American families of victims of Palestinian attacks filed a $1-billion lawsuit against Facebook Inc., claiming the social network is providing a platform for militants to spread incitement and violence, their lawyers said Monday.

“Shurat Hadin, an Israeli legal advocacy group, filed the suit on behalf of the five families in a New York court late Sunday, alleging that Facebook is violating the U.S. Anti-Terrorism Act by providing a service to militant groups that assists them in ‘recruiting, radicalizing, and instructing terrorists, raising funds, creating fear and carrying out attacks.’

“‘Facebook can’t sit in its stone tower in Palo Alto while blood is being spilled here on the streets of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. It has a social responsibility. It can’t serve as a social network for Hamas,’ said Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, the Israeli lawyer who is representing the families.

“She compared Facebook to a bank, saying that just as money may be transferred as a service for terror groups, so can content.

“Facebook had no immediate comment on the lawsuit, saying it had not yet received a copy. But in a statement it said people need to ‘feel safe’ when using Facebook.

“‘There is no place for content encouraging violence, direct threats, terrorism or hate speech on Facebook,’ it said. ‘We have a set of Community Standards to help people understand what is allowed on Facebook, and we urge people to use our reporting tools if they find content that they believe violates our standards so we can investigate and take swift action.’

“The suit comes amid a 10-month outburst of Israeli-Palestinian violence that has seen scores of Palestinian attacks targeting Israeli civilians and troops. …

“The case is among the first to argue that U.S. anti-terrorism laws should take precedence over the ‘safe harbor’ provisions of the Communications Decency Act, which normally shield online companies for liability for what their users post.

“It is not clear whether the lawsuit will succeed. In addition to the ‘safe harbor’ protections, the court may rule that freedom of expression precedes anti-terror laws. Facebook has its own code of conduct and often removes content deemed objectionable. …

“The suit comes as Israel is considering how to contain what it sees as rampant Palestinian incitement on social media. Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan is preparing a bill meant to rein in content seen as incitement on social media, and earlier this month he said Facebook had become ‘a monster,’ adding that the company had ‘some of the victims’ blood’ on its hands.”

My Comment: The network administrators need to demonstrate their independence and it is particularly important for them not to anger the Muslims and terrorists because this is an uncontrollable force and everyone is afraid of it. People who don’t like the situation and try to oppose it will encounter the strongest Facebook lawyers.

The conclusion is simple: raise a wave of protest on Facebook and competing social networks. And, the influence from above, through the unity of all in the network of our methodology of unity —this will invoke the positive force of nature—and terrorist activities on social media will dissipate!
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A Letter To The Pope

laitman_212In the News (Catholic Herald): “Christians in Europe must break down ‘walls of fear and aggression’ and try to understand people of other faiths and backgrounds, Pope Francis has said.

“In a video message on Saturday to participants at the ‘Together for Europe’ gathering in Munich, the Pope insisted that ‘invisible walls’ are being strengthened and dividing people from one another. 

“’These walls are being built in people’s hearts,’ the Pope said. ‘They are walls made of fear and aggression, a failure to understand people of different backgrounds or faith. They are walls of political and economic selfishness, without respect for the life and dignity of every person.'”

“Pope Francis told representatives of some 300 European Christian organisations, movements and communities from different churches that they and their fellow Christians need to find new, more vibrant ways to offer Christian values to European society and to the world.

“’Europe is called to reflect and to ask itself whether its immense heritage, so permeated with Christianity, belongs in a museum or is still able to inspire culture and to offer its treasures to the whole of humankind,’ he said.

Question: Pope Francis is an extraordinary person. Is this warning about the lack of awareness of a person of other religions dangerous?

Answer: No, this is not a dangerous warning. He is simply stating a fact. Within the religions there are thousands of different “walls.” For example, if the “wall” that exists between Christians and Muslims is clear, the impulses that burn within each one of the religions are much stronger passions.

Question: Is Europe, as the Pope appeals: “still able to inspire culture and to offer its treasures to the whole of humankind”?

Answer: Europe is a tired continent. It is not ready to do anything.

Question: The Pope also said:“’Every authentic unity draws on the wealth of diversity which forms it – like a family which grows in unity in so far as its members can fully and fearlessly be themselves.’

“For Europe to be a family, he added, the good of the human person must be the central concern and groups and nations must find ways of working together that “are not only economic but also social and cultural” (Catholic Herald).

Answer: All of these words are right, but many of the inhabitants of Europe can say this; what is important is do they have a method for realizing these words? If not, then these are only beautiful expressions; it is like sitting next to our grave and crying.

The inhabitants of Europe have no faith in their power and essentially have no faith in the method of correction, the change. So Pope Francis is indeed looking at everything correctly and is saying the right things, but what is next? In fact, he is just lamenting over Europe. The Pope is the spiritual leader of not only Europe but also a billion other people. He must offer an educational method.

In the past, in their evolutionary development Christians became savages. Today, Christians and all of humanity must be educated to become human, connecting to become united, resembling nature, creating a single harmonious whole. Through connection like this, everyone can feel happy and balanced, and peace will dwell in Europe.

Comment: He also says, “Unity is like a family.”

Answer: Indeed, it is up to society to live as one big family. The Pope is correct that this situation doesn’t exist in Europe. The ancestors of European society didn’t set this goal for themselves. But he can now show them the way. He can turn to the entire continent of Europe as their spiritual leader.

We must write to him and actually spread before him a series of explanatory applications, documents, and materials. This should be his appeal to Europe. The Jews, and in their hands the wisdom of Kabbalah, exist to help the Pope to turn to the society of his European friends correctly. For after all, the wisdom of Kabbalah is derived from the same source from which Christianity is derived.
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From KabTV’s “News with Michael Laitman” 7/4/16

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Does The World Need A Humane War?

New Life #738 – Decision Making

New Life #738 – Decision Making
Dr. Michael Laitman in conversation with Oren Levi and Yael Leshed-Harel

How can we make the right decisions? What motivates us to reach a certain decision and why is it easier to make rational decisions when we have an important goal in life?

Summary

People find it difficult to make decisions because generally they have no clear guidelines in life. Our mind helps us decide where there is no room for emotions, but a person must balance the two.

A person needs to make major decisions when he tries to find out the meaning of life and then he has to listen to his inner voice. At the peak of his development, a person has to reach a point in which he critiques his decisions from above. In order to do so, the wisdom of Kabbalah teaches a person what his nature is and what the nature of the world that surrounds him is, and where he is headed.
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From KabTV’s “New Life #738 – Decision Making,” 6/28/16

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