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There is an extraordinary excitement around November 25, called “Black Friday,” because this is a day when goods are sold for special discounted prices in America and in many other countries in the world. Shopping turned into entertainment and the means of receiving fulfillment. People go crazy, lining in the very long queues, sleeping in tents in front of stores, waiting for them to open. There was a case in 2008, when the crowd that burst through the doors trampled a Wal-Mart employee. Shopping and acquisitions became the main value of the modern society and culture. What caused such a thirst for consumerism in the modern world?
Answer: The fact that we are used to evaluating a person according to his wealth: how much he is worth, how much he owns. We look at the exterior of the person, checking how he is dressed, how he behaves, what car he drives, the house he lives in, who his wife and children are, and what his position in the society is.
Although in our time, the external form has begun to lose its significance. Once it was very important and everyone had to appear exactly according to his status. A person was accepted according to his appearance and it determined who he is and to which social stratum and class he belonged.
This is not quite true in our time. When we see a man in a strict black suit, white shirt and a tie, we are likely to think that he is a lawyer. But even among businessmen such clothes are not considered mandatory anymore. And when I met with scientists, they were dressed very simply, in sweaters. People began to pay less attention to clothes.
But the interest in shopping is still very strong because a person feels more secure if he buys something pleasant to his egoism. If I have a full fridge, full wardrobe, and a car, it means everything is ok with me. A person’s confidence in life is measured by these values.
For example, Americans feel confident if they have multiple guns in the house, “just in case.” Rich people, in order to feel safe, build for themselves bunkers and bomb shelters. Others grow vegetables in their gardens so that they’ll have something to eat in case of need.
In our time, people are under so much stress they begin to worry about the future. On such days as “Black Friday,” this hysteria spreads to the entire world. For the modern person, the culture of consumption is very important. However, as we develop, we pay less attention to external beauty, but appreciate convenient clothes more, comfort at home and in everything else.
It is especially characteristic of the young generation that thinks not about their good looks, but about comfort. After all, they are already concerned with the questions about the meaning and essence of life; they obscure the material life and push it the background.
Question: Yet there is an exaggerated interest in shopping that can be compared with bulimia, where a person buys things and returns them to the store. Where does this disease come from?
Answer: A person feels an inner emptiness that he hopes to fill with shopping. Even when choosing a profession, he doesn’t pay attention to his natural inclination, but thinks of where he can earn more in order to buy more. After all, our natural inner need is the desire to enjoy and receive, and people constantly aspire to what they lack.
Everyone has a standard set of desires that he tries to satisfy: food, sex, family, money, honor, and knowledge. But they are present in each one in different proportions, so all are drawn to different fillings. But all these fillings are acquisitions through which we hope to satisfy ourselves. Ordinary purchases are caused by a natural, normal desire to be filled, as well as by the influence of the environment. If others rush to buy, I also light up since we are in the same field of desires that are connected and influence each other. Therefore, if there is any fashion trend, I am also drawn to it.
If during this day goods are sold with big discounts, why wouldn’t we prepare a list of really necessary things in advance and buy them. The only problem is that usually, once arriving at such a sales event, a person doesn’t buy from the list the things that he needs, but begins to go crazy and grab everything, like everyone else. After all, ordinary people act according to the laws of the crowd that affect their opinion.
Only a special education can raise a person a little higher so he will understand how it works. He requires psychological preparation for this that allows him to understand why it happens this way, what for, where it comes from, and how he can relate to it in a more rational manner. All this excitement is fuelled artificially, and an ordinary person is sold to this advertising.
As a result, a person pays more money than expected, but gets the feeling that he lives like everyone and no worse than others, and is succeeding in life. He sees that he acted the same way as others, and in something gained even more than them. There is a competition here and the fulfillment for our egoism is bigger than usual. As a result, we clutter the world with things we never needed, and therefore, they are destined to be thrown away: food, appliances, and never worn clothes and shoes.
We limit ourselves this way. After all, following the crowd, behind the majority, we won’t achieve anything special. In order to achieve a special goal, we need to separate ourselves from the crowd, rise above it, and cut off from “mass culture,” the empty movies people entertain themselves with, accepting without criticism.
From KabTV’s “A New Life” 11/24/16
From my column in Ynet: “Unity Log: What Makes Us Israelis Happy?”
The wondering of so many people about the meaning of life is what motivated me to go on a cross-national journey from north to south, to meet with local leadership and mayors, and to speak with thousands of people about how to fulfill the method of connection between us. As the holiday season ends, Rav Laitman summarizes his cross-national journey in Israel.
I have spent the last couple of years in my room, deeply engaged in Kabbalistic writings, writing articles for the world press, trying to explain the authentic wisdom of Kabbalah and its relevance to our lives through a variety of media channels. Every morning between three to six a.m., as Kabbalists have studied for ages, I give the daily Kabbalah lesson to thousands of students.
Hundreds of people sit before me in the Kabbalah La’am center in Petach Tikva and thousands more join them through the Internet from all over Israel and the world: from Berlin, New York, Moscow, Tokyo, South America, Africa, and even from Arab countries. I teach only from authentic Kabbalistic sources, and together we study this ancient wisdom of how to connect.
The flow of questions sent to me daily by students and by people who surf the web and social networks, along with the genuine concern for what is happening in Israeli society, have spurred me to get up from my desk and break my daily routine to go out on a lecture tour and meetings throughout the State of Israel to tell people everywhere about the method of connection that can unite Israel.
In this coming year, the State of Israel are facing serious dangers. The UN and UNESCO are acting against our right to exist by denying our connection to our Jewish heritage. The BDS organizations are doing their best to delegitimize the State of Israel. Anti-Semitism is raising its ugly head as Jews all over the world are being persecuted, and the world media keep defaming our name. This trend, which is threatening our very existence, will not stop and will only keep growing. There are quite a few organizations in the world today are acting in order to destroy the State of Israel, and if it were possible, the international community would strive to remove us from the historical map. The only solution we can resort to is to tighten the relationships between us, to unite forces, and fulfill our unique role. As soon as we begin to connect between us, humanity’s hostile attitude toward us will immediately change to a supportive attitude. The journey of “connecting Israel” that I went on made me feel that the nation of Israel is asking for unity and gave me hope that its people will get closer to each other.
We started the journey from the northernmost point, at the foot of Naftali Mount at Kibbutz Kfar Hanasi.
The audience, which included members of kibbutzes in the area and people from the upper Galilee settlements and villages, did not remain indifferent and demanded an explanation as to how I know that Israel is facing critical times. I explained that, according to the global perspective of nature, the nation of Israel has a mission. If we postpone the mission we were given to fulfill the method of connection by ourselves and to convey it to humanity, we might miss the opportunity we were given to improve and better our lives. All we must learn is how to cover all of our transgressions with love as the wisdom of Kabbalah tells us.
My journey continued to an impressive event in the “energy city” of Hadera. I had a very interesting conversation with Mr. Tzvi Gendelman, the mayor of Hadera, and we talked about the contribution of the discussion circles that my students are holding for the people of Hadera. I was happy to meet a very lively and intrigued audience at the local Kabbalah La’am center who inquired about how I believe we can change the face of Israeli society. I explained that, according to the wisdom of Kabbalah, the change can only come from strengthening the force of connection between us.
It was actually my encounter with the people of Tel Aviv during the third stop along my journey that I felt a kind of turning point. The city that doesn’t sleep has changed, and while the image of Tel Aviv has been the capital of egoism, audacity, and thoughtlessness for years, I actually felt a totally different spirit in the young audience who came in mass to the Kabbalah La’am center in Tel Aviv. I was asked provoking and relevant questions, but I was especially impressed by the desire to understand where our life in the 21st century is headed. It seems that it is actually because Tel Aviv is such a global city that the awareness of what is happening in the world has a very strong impact on it and arouses doubts among the people. Therefore, my encounter with the people of Tel Aviv, such a friendly, open, modern city, revealed a great potential for the fulfillment of the feeling of unity.
I or We?
In Haifa, I held a series of meetings with several local leaders—including the mayor of HaifaMr. Yona Yahav, the mayor of Nesher Mr. Avi Binemo, and the mayor of Acre Mr. Shimon Lankri. The three leaders are very different from each other, and each understands in his own way how deep the crisis is in Israeli society. Being the public’s representatives and as a result of their daily work with people, they understand and identify with the need for unity in Israeli society as the solution for all of the problems that we are facing.
“Everyone has been against the Jews for ages, and I don’t see any change in the future,” concluded the mayor of Haifa. “Unfortunately, we are not guarding our precious state, and I am not surprised that the younger generation wants to leave the country. This is the reason that I go out to teach citizenship studies to twelfth graders. I tell the students that seventy years after they burned us in the Holocaust, history is repeating itself. We destroyed the First Temple, we destroyed the Second Temple, and in the same way, we will also destroy the Third Temple, the last chance God has given us after the blow of the Holocaust. I am devastated after every lesson. The division in the nation is growing, and the ‘I’ dominates the ‘we.’It is our duty to fight this phenomenon as soon as possible and with all of our might.”
The troubling encounter with the mayors, the opposing reactions, and the rejection that I encounter with regard to the message of connection in humanity and with regard to the articles I publish in the global press, along with the growing crisis in Europe, sharpen my understanding of how far the world has deteriorated and the extent to which its hatred of Israel has grown. No, I am not speaking only about anti-Semites, but also about the attitude of the Jews who live abroad who display an increasingly negative attitude toward the State of Israel. Unfortunately, it is actually they who are leading the organizations that are trying to delegitimize the State of Israel.
According to the wisdom of Kabbalah, there is one reason for that: the hostility that our Jewish brothers overseas display toward us stems from the fact that we are not fulfilling our role in correcting the world. Our right to exist on our land depends on the close connection between us and on bringing our hearts together. Rav Yehuda Ashlag (Baal HaSulam) said a hundred years ago that we are living here on borrowed time and that the chance we were given is only in order to allow us to fulfill our role as Light unto the nations of the world, which means to connect as one man in one heart, thus setting an example for all of the nations of the world. The choice of whether to implement it or miss the opportunity is in our hands.
The New Israeli
Despite the dangers the nation of Israel faces, I am very hopeful that we will succeed. My dedicated students in the numerous centers of Kabbalah La’am all over Israel and the public who yearn to understand the wisdom of connection, which I have met on my journey throughout Israel, make me believe that the message of connection will eventually permeate among the people and that we will all change for the better.
I continued my journey to Ashkelon, Beer Sheva, Rehovot, and other cities. I was warmly welcomed everywhere, and the atmosphere was good. I enjoyed hearing the many intriguing and advanced questions about how to implement the method of connection. At the end of the final event in Ashkelon, I received a big bouquet of flowers and wished that the people of Ashkelon and all people in Israel would celebrate the new year peacefully.
We have a very special nation and incredible people, and I hope and pray that we will wake up, connect, and understand that the key to our success is in the good relationships between us, thus restoring the prosperous life of the past, of the times when brotherly love flourished among us and the nations of the world were nourished by the force of unity between us. Now that the holidays are over, I wish the people of Israel a good new year, a year of positive changes.
From Ynet article 10/25/16
Answer: A person feels this when he begins to “hear.” While studying the wisdom of Kabbalah, he begins to feel that it is speaking about him. Something inside of him begins to happen, nothing more than this. It is not possible to work with the intellect here.
Question: Does that mean that logic will not help here at all?
Answer: The logic is very simple: You have encountered a method that creates a reaction within you that says this is right, but you don’t have egoistic, emotional, or intellectual evidence for this. After all, this is talking about the soul, about some kind of upper force that corrects you, reveals new possibilities for feeling that exist within you. All of this is too empyreal.
So only those people who truly want to discover the true, eternal, and perfect state for themselves will remain in the wisdom of Kabbalah.
From the Kabbalah Lesson in Russian 8/28/16
Question: How does it happen that two different people look at a third and see the same thing?
Answer: Obviously, we do not see the same thing. We can’t even compare what we see and evaluate what the other person feels. We just have an agreement to call this picture our world. We can even discuss somebody’s qualities; after all, our perceptions differ.
We all see the same illusory reality that we imagine, whereby everyone as if looks through his 3-D glasses.
Question: Why do we see the same reality?
Answer: It’s because the reality we perceive has to be imprinted in the five senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. There is a matrix through which everyone is capable of looking at the world and that is why we perceive only certain qualities. However, everyone interprets and perceives them according to his character.
There can be only one reality—the upper force called the Creator, which we have to reveal. He is the true and only existing reality. Everything else is an illusion, including us and this entire world, which is called an imaginary world in Kabbalah.
It seems to me that there is I and everything that I imagine: all other forms and billions of people, the Earth, our galaxy, and the universe. But all this exists only in my imagination.
Modern technology is capable of producing glasses that paint a holographic picture and give a person the impression that a cup of coffee is standing in front of him, while in fact the cup is nonexistent.
But even if we do not wear such glasses at the moment, we were born with other glasses. They are located inside of our heads and that’s why we always perceive the imaginary reality. We can not take them off because they are implanted in us from birth.
That means that even without putting on the 3D glasses, we nonetheless reside within the 3D illusion. The entire world is an illusion we imagine from the moment we are born.
From a TV Program “A New Life,” No. 787, 11/01/2016
Torah, Deuteronomy 12:29 – 12:30: When the Lord, your God cuts off the nations to which you will come to drive them out from before you, and when you drive them out and dwell in their land, beware, lest you be attracted after them, after they are exterminated from before you; and lest you inquire about their gods, saying, “How did these nations serve their gods? And I will do likewise.”
Nations are the internal qualities of a person. When he enters the land of Israel, he reveals terrible problems —his evil qualities called the nations of the world that pull him apart. Therefore, he should be very careful. On the one hand, a new level of attainment is revealed to him, but on the other hand, at the same time, it is the level of a curse.
As it is written, “I give you elevation and descent, either rise or fall, either blessing or curse.” All this runs in parallel because you can’t climb the spiritual degrees if you don’t discover terrible, unpleasant, vast egoistic layers within you and correct them. The ascent is built exactly on their correction.
A person that advances in the attainment of the spiritual world must rejoice that his egoism is growing and he is feeling he becomes worse. He loses the desire for spiritual elevation. He doesn’t want anything and becomes harder and rougher with others. All sorts of problems appear in his life. He sees the entire world, including himself as ugly and can’t do anything about it.
It reveals an egoistic level internally on himself and externally on everything else, up to the Creator. This is the egoism that has become much bigger than before the entrance into the egoistic level called the land of Israel. Now, on this level, a person will have to work seriously on himself.
The most important thing for him is to realize that all the falls, adversity, problems, and assaults from everywhere are required for his spiritual elevation. Suddenly, he is blamed for something, subjected to all kinds of claims from the surrounding society, pouring out his dislike, hatred, and disrespect. All this seriously hurts him, gives blows to his “I.”
Moreover, the problems also come from his family: wife, children, friends, and relatives.
Therefore, the most important thing is to understand that the Creator does all this, who out of love for us, He sends us adversities, wishing to attract us to Him. And we must learn to “kiss the stick.”
When it goes over our flesh, we can’t do anything. But later a person begins to think, to compare one with the other, to slowly come to understanding, and to make a small step forward. And so he moves in small steps. Every time the revelation of evil indicates that there is a rise ahead.
Question: Can you justify what is happening at this point?
Answer: No way! It is written, “There is no righteous man on earth who has done good and did not sin first.” The Creator prepared all the sins in advance and is only revealing them to us.
From the feelings inside “transgressions,” you realize that it is your whole world and you are in it, so you can’t see them from the side. People can talk beautifully about it, but when they get into such states they become absolutely complete participants and it is impossible to say anything to them.
By sinking into so-called sins, we can’t do anything, we don’t have any freewill in this.
The freewill is only in creating such an environment, such an atmosphere, that, despite the fall, would help us with its illumination from the distance to rise quicker and to start the spiritual ascent.
From KabTV’s “Secrets of the Eternal Book” 7/13/16
New Life #788 – The Five Senses
Dr. Michael Laitman in conversation with Oren Levi and Yael Leshed-Harel
Everything in nature is divided into five, that is the nature of creation.
Main topics of the program:
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Preparation for the Lesson
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Lesson on the Topic: “Emanu-Lemala-MeHaDaat” (Faith Above Reason), Part 1
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Lesson on the Topic: “Emanu-Lemala-MeHaDaat” (Faith Above Reason), Part 2
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