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In my regular column in Haaretz, my new article: “Obama’s Legacy of Incompetence, and a New Hope Arising“
Following Obama’s eight years from hell, his would be successor, Hillary Clinton, didn’t stand a chance.
On December 26, Bret Stephens of The Wall Street Journal published an opinion piece titled “Obama’s Fitting Finish” lambasting not only Obama’s final weeks in office, but his entire presidency. According to Stephens, in just eight years, Obama has entangled the US military in Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Pakistan, dissolved the US alliances with Egypt and Turkey, empowered Iran, reignited the Cold War with Russia, sent millions of Muslim migrants into the heart of Europe, and shredded the US alliance with Israel. During his term, the US national debt has doubled, the middle class has diminished significantly, mostly due to downward mobilization, and healthcare has become ineffective and expensive. On the home front, racial tensions have risen to levels not seen since the 1960s, gun violence has skyrocketed, anti-Semitism has become mainstream, and Muslim terrorism has become an oft-seen incident on American soil. When you look at all the damage that this one president has done, you understand that his ideological successor, Hillary Clinton, didn’t stand a chance. People have had enough.
The pretense of the liberal Left has been exposed: a dictatorship of the financial elite. People will not be fooled anymore; their checking accounts are telling them the truth about the economy and the policy that has engendered their hardships. Political correctness (a key weapon in the liberalism mass-manipulation campaign) may have stifled people’s free speech, but it did not deter them from expressing their views at the ballot box. Their message is, “The time of unhinged exploitation of the masses by the ruling elite is over.”
The End of the Ego Era
As long as capitalism was based on a reasonable level of egoism, where people worked to sustain themselves and their families, the economy was moving forward. But the ego is like cancer; it doesn’t stop growing and spreading until it kills its host. Today’s level of egoism has become noxious narcissism. Women are marrying themselves, children are changing their sexes before they reach their teens, yet if someone dares to suggest that there is something unusual about these phenomena, the guardians of political correctness will label them as backward/chauvinist/bigot, or all the above and then some. On the altar of our self-absorption, we are sacrificing our happiness.
Why have so many studies concluded that the single most important thing we can do for our happiness is to connect with other people? Why did the Talmud state, “That which you hate, do not do unto your neighbor; this is the whole of the Torah” (Masechet Shabbat, 31a), and why did Rabbi Akiva add, “Love your neighbor as yourself” is the great rule of the Torah? Also, why did both offshoots of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, adopt Rabbi Akiva’s tenet as their own, and why have so many belief systems adopted the Golden Rule, which requires that we treat others the way we would like to be treated? The single answer to all of these questions is that human connection, loving other people and being loved by them are the things that make us happy. This is human nature. When you focus solely on yourself, you end up marrying yourself. Then, by default, you are unhappy because you have gone against your own nature, but political correctness won’t let you admit it even to yourself. When this is the state of society, can we be surprised that immediately after being forced to sit with their families during Christmas, youths across the US turned malls into war zones?
If we stay on this route, governments, which are currently settling for sedating people by doping them through legalized marijuana, will feel compelled to cull people like farmers cull sick poultry and cattle. Humanity’s only sustainable alternative to this morass is to end the Ego Era and relearn how to connect.
One of the most trending topics in Silicon Valley and other places where people are concerned with the future of humanity is Universal Basic Income (UBI). UBI means that if you are alive, you deserve to receive enough money to sustain yourself with dignity. In the US, academics and opinion leaders such as hi-tech mogul Elon Musk, co-founder of Facebook Chris Hughes, former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, acclaimed astrophysicist Stephen Hawking have not only expressed their support of the idea that people will not have to work to secure their daily bread, but even engage in finding practical solutions to implement this.
Around the world, governments are taking interest in UBI, possibly as a means to avoid social unrest. Canada is about to launch a pilot in Prince Edward Island Province, and Fife Council in Scotland is currently considering a trial UBI scheme. Next year, the Netherlands will launch what The Atlantic dubbed, the “money-for-nothing experiment,” which guarantees residents in Utrecht and surrounding cities “a flat sum of €960 per month.”
I wholeheartedly agree with the idea of UBI. However, if we settle for giving people money to live, without helping them find meaning in connection, which we determined was the basis for happiness, then what happened in the US malls after Christmas will look like ripples in a bathtub compared to a tsunami.
Back to the Golden Rule
In order to secure our personal future and the future of society, we need to shake off alienation and reteach ourselves the joy of caring for each other. We can do this easily by providing people with a Universal Basic Income, on condition that they partake in connection trainings where they will learn how to communicate positively with one another, how to reestablish trust with family and friends, how to channel aggression away from violence and toward creativity, and other such topics.
I have seen many examples of people who were previously suspicious and antagonistic warm up to one another on a very deep level. An organization whose work I cherish has done wonders to help communities come together through nurturing their social cohesion. Liberated from economic concerns for themselves and for their families, people will happily partake in such trainings because of the immediate benefit from improving social ties.
People who will still work, in order to keep the chain of provision running, will also benefit from the social transformation because the atmosphere in their neighborhoods and homes will improve. In addition, employed people will not be left out of the trainings altogether. They will partake in trainings on a limited basis and will understand the basic concepts of the social shift that society is undergoing. In this way, they will voluntarily partake in it, and should they become jobless, they will easily find their way in the new social ambience.
Over time, senior students at the connection trainings will themselves become teachers, expanding the reach of the transformation to more and more communities. As the positive effect of the transformation ripples out, the social benefits of the spirit of connection will reduce hostility, allowing municipalities and states to reduce expenditures on policing and social services. Since depression is caused largely by social disconnection, people’s higher spirits and renewed sense of purpose will improve their health and depression related illnesses will drastically decline. This, in turn, will save billions of dollars to the country’s struggling healthcare system. Along with depression, substance abuse will drop, as people will have no need to escape from an undesirable reality. As people learn new and meaningful ways to connect and communicate, hopelessness will transform into hopefulness.
A Paradigm Shift
The transformation we are seeing is not a “blooper” of history; it is part of a paradigm shift that will see us all rejoicing in affinity and closeness. Human nature will eventually force us to adjust ourselves and our societies to its requirement that we will thrive through positive connections. Since we already know this, we can avoid the unforgiving consequences of compulsory transformation. We can and should initiate the transformation by ourselves, and usher humanity into a new era of Universal Basic Income for all, coupled with thriving social life and a peaceful international arena.
Assuming Obama does not inflict irreparable damage on the US before he leaves office, it is my sincere hope that in the coming months America will take its first, bold steps toward a brighter future of togetherness, connectedness, and friendship. The American people will benefit from this, as will the entire world.
Yet in Israel we have a record number of tourist trips abroad, purchases of new cars, economic growth above 3%, the lowest unemployment rate in the last thirty years, and at the same time, increasing disparity of income and poverty.
That is, it’s a mixed picture, but in general, the year wasn’t bad, many countries would envy it. How can we explain that the world is shaking and the economic situation in Israel isn’t so bad?
Answer: The normal calculation doesn’t apply to Israel. So far we are given a possibility to exist safely. However, this postponement will soon be over if we don’t come to our senses and understand what should be done and how the whole world depends on us. But we depend on the connection between us, not of the world.
We have an interesting situation: the world feels dependent on Israel, which poisons its life, hates Israel for this, and pressures Israel. But Israel doesn’t feel dependent on the world, and it indeed doesn’t depend on anyone because it is above. Israel aims to attract the Light, the upper force, to the entire world to provide the world with the method of correction and to bring “Light to the nations.”
We feel that we don’t depend on the world, but the world depends on us, and we are proud of it. However, the world can react very badly and it is worthwhile considering this fact. Israel should unite and show to the whole world the method of connection that only we have. The world is getting closer to the critical point, and if we don’t unite before it is reached, there will be a big explosion. Then the world will fall on Israel with great hatred and accusations.
We shouldn’t wait for this moment; we should be prepared; we should reach out to the world and explain that we have something to give it. The main industry of Israel shouldn’t be high-tech but the method of connection. Everyone is talking about the need to find some method, but they can’t, and Israel has such a method.
Comment: Donald Trump said that he wants to unite America. Everyone understands the necessity of social harmony. So far, the only uniting thing is a hatred of Israel. Fourteen countries voted against Israel in the last vote in the United Nations, and only the United States abstained. Everybody around the world welcomed this decision, everybody has united against us.
Answer: The world begins to understand that Israel is the problem. But the Jews are not aware of our obligation to the world, we don’t understand what it means to be a Jew and that people hate us because we neglect our mission specified in the Torah.
Question: How does one overcome the split between the political right and left when each of them thinks they are correct and blames another?
Answer: We need to give the method of connection to everyone and explain that nobody is right; only through connection can we rise above all the differences. There we will receive an eternal reward.
Question: What is your forecast for 2017?
Answer: I hope very much that our organization Kabbalah la’Am and the Bnei Baruch Kabbalah Education Center will be able to connect with the people even more, and explain to them that our future depends on our connection where we reveal the upper world. And in the upper world we discover a higher dimension.
From a “Talk About 2016 Results,” 12/25/16
Six or seven years symbolize the correction of six or seven Sefirot of the lower part of the Partzuf (spiritual system). The desires called Jews (Yehudi, from the word “Yihud – unity”) during these six or seven years enter into you so much that now they are fully part of you. They can’t be below you.
Question: What does “your brother is sold to you“ mean?
Answer: Sold means that it fully belongs to you, there is no difference between you, and you have to start working with the desire of the other as your personal part. Caring about him and caring about yourself become one. “You shall send him forth free from you” means that in certain cases he separates from you and becomes an independent soul.
Torah, Deuteronomy 15:13: And when you send him forth free from you, you shall not send him forth empty-handed.
Since there is the birth of a new soul, you have to give it all that is necessary to reach maturity. It should receive fulfillment for the future, for the entire length of the path when it will be correcting itself and will need forces for the correction.
From KabTV Program “Secrets of the Eternal Book” 8/10/2016
Answer: Certainly. The four-letter name of the Creator, “Yod-Hey-Vav-Hey” or HaVaYaH, absolutely includes within it all the elements of the world, both the spiritual world and our world.
So the four letters of the name of the Creator characterize the four levels of the evolution of matter under the influence of the Upper Light and correspond to the four main languages.
From the Kabbalah Lesson in Russian 7/24/16
Answer: We still have to clarify the saying “There are many paths to the Creator.” You cannot hide behind various sublime sayings that the ego can interpret any way it likes.
A teacher is the one who, in a spiritual sense, is implicitly perceived without any doubts on the way to the revelation of the upper. Otherwise one will not follow his way will be doomed to fail.
Question: How can a person determine if the teacher is the right teacher or not if he is dominated by his egoistic desires?
Answer: There is no way he can do that! Just as a person doesn’t know his way in life, he doesn’t know the path to the teacher.
How can I explain why I chose Rabash, for example? After all, I didn’t choose him when I drove 30 km on a rainy winter evening to another city and entered a dark, damp small room and found six old men, one of whom was Rabash. How can you describe this?! This is upper fate, luck.
Before that I had searched for many years, but there is not any logical way I can explain this.
Therefore, many come and go in the search for the teacher. They may be lucky and find someone else, and I am all for people’s search. It is written that a person can learn only where his heart desires.
From the Kabbalah Lesson in Russian 8/7/16
Question: People don’t like it when you educate them. What does the idea of education mean according to the wisdom of Kabbalah?
Answer: If we look at animals, for example, we will see that they develop instinctively and thus learn certain skills from their parents. The mother takes the cubs hunting and helps them in every way. Nature teaches them how to adapt to the environment correctly. We can see how developed this instinct is, especially among mammals.
However, this instinct does not exist in man. If we remained on the animal level, we would be the same, of course, but since we quickly develop and in totally different directions, we often lack the understanding of how we should interact with each other.
In animals, the interaction is very simple: friend or foe, your pack or stranger. There are many possible relationships between humans. Between animals the connections are also either positive or negative. They are instinctive, whereas a man has to develop them according to a system that is unfamiliar, especially in our days when the world is becoming increasingly more mutually and integrally connected.
The human essence is absolutely the opposite of the correct relations between us, in which people refer to each other kindly, think of each other as a good family – just like their relatives who are closely connected and invoke the same response from others. Unfortunately, such a corrected attitude is not part of our nature and we are in fact the most corrupt animals. You will not find such an attitude among animals. Animals don’t harm each other; they feel no envy or jealousy. Their relations are only on the instinctive level and nothing more.
Animals examine who is strong and who is weak, and accordingly the power is distributed.Totally different impulses emerge in the human pack: cruel, conscious impulses that stem from our unrestrained egoism, which feels good when another feels bad. These impulses do not exist among animals. They act according to very simple instincts. An animal that wants to eat kills another animal but not because it wants to harm its prey. An animal doesn’t hunt more than what it needs to eat to survive, whereas man acts in an unrestrained manner ready to kill the whole world although he has no need for it.
Therefore, what we need is to educate people. We have to insert the positive force from the world around us into our cruel, negative egoistic nature.
This force is found in nature, but we have to pull it out of nature. We have to know how to extract the positive force, how to place it against the negative force, and how to raise ourselves in the connection between the two forces.
From the Kabbalah Lesson in Russian 7/3/16
Answer: Fantasies are given to embellish a lie with a lie.
Question: Does this mean that fantasies are false?
Answer: Yes, as is our whole world, even though it seems real to us.
Question: Must a person understand that he cannot find happiness in this world?
Answer: It is for each individual. Yet I would not say that a person must prove to himself that there is no happiness in the world. We simply need to aspire to true happiness.
Question: What kind of benefit do I get as a result of others or the Creator being fulfilled, but not myself?
Answer: If I am fulfilled through them, this is a higher egoistic system of fulfillment; if I fulfill the whole world through me, then I am fulfilled with everything that I have transmitted to the world.
Question: What does it mean to fulfill the desire of others?
Answer: Fulfilling the desire of others is a means for fulfilling yourself, a means of fulfilling the Creator.
Question: What will happen in the physical world when people attain the highest level of pleasure? Will the population decrease or increase as a result of this?
Answer: Our world will disappear from our senses; after all, it only exists within our senses.
Question: There is a philosophy called Aikido by which the negative changes to positive. You claim that the wisdom of Kabbalah transforms the ego to have the characteristic of the Creator, altruism. Is this a kind of Kabbalistic Aikido?
Answer: The ego remains, we just use it correctly.
Question: Is it possible to call the relationship between parents and children “bestowal”?
Answer: No, because this connection is personal, so what am I bestowing to whom? Is it to myself?
Question: How are “ego” and “light” components of my soul?
Answer: The ego that is corrected to the level of bestowal is the soul; besides the ego, we have nothing.
Question: Will I be able to bequeath to my children the same pleasure that I derive from the wisdom of Kabbalah?
Answer: No, it is not inherited. You can be a great Kabbalist, as were many women before you, but as a rule, their children weren’t receptive to the wisdom of Kabbalah. But in our time, this might be different.
Question: What is the connection between the “end of creation” and “pleasure”?
Answer: Creation is what we feel. When we correct all of our senses, the creation in its present form disappears and in its place an absolutely new creation appears that is called the upper world.
Question: If I am already experiencing the pleasure that you are talking about, must I still learn the wisdom of Kabbalah?
Answer: If you have a desire for it, then study; if not, then don’t. Everything is completely voluntary; nothing is imposed on anyone. The method of the wisdom of Kabbalah is revealed only to someone who wants it, there is no coercion. If you leave the wisdom of Kabbalah, you will not be punished. If you study it, you will be convinced by the reward. It is not found on the same plane on which you are accustomed to seeing. You must choose for yourself. This is wisdom that is only given to those who need it.
From the Kabbalah Lesson in Russian 8/28/16
New Life 472 – The Contrast Between The Greek Approach And The Jewish Approach
Dr. Michael Laitman in conversation with Oren Levi and Nitzah Mazoz
What can we learn about man by the contrast between the Greek approach and the Jewish approach? Where is the system of nature leading us, and according to which approach should we act in order to bestow goodness unto the world?
Hellenization is a perception of reality according to which man is whole and does not need to correct his nature. There is an opposite approach that says from the outset our nature is evil and we need to correct it. The difference stems from the question of who is more important: me or others?
The Jews were different from everyone else since the days of Abraham, as they considered the other more important than oneself. Thanks to this approach, they perceived reality in a totally different manner. They saw the upper world and discovered the upper force. Their unique approach to life is not abstract but is very practical and can be applied in our daily life.
Today we have to return to the perception of the world that stems from connection and love and lead everyone to this. Humanity needs to develop the ability to feel the upper force. The word “Creator – Bore” stems from the Hebrew words “Bo reh – come and see” the upper reality.
The process of exiting our self interest takes place according to a special method, in a group of people. Every person is born with the Greek perception and has to develop the human spirit in him, the Jewish approach. Developing the attribute of bestowal and love of others develops the sense with which he can feel the upper world, the world of giving.
From KabTV’s “New Life 472 – The Contrast Between The Greek Approach And The Jewish Approach,” 12/14/14
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Preparation for the Lesson
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Lesson on the Topic: “Seudot Mekabalim,” (How to Give a Correct Prayer)
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Writings of Baal HaSulam, “Matan Torah,” (Giving of the Torah)
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