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The Jerusalem Post published my new article “Rosh HaShana Is An Opportunity For Change”
Considering the disasters America has been through this past month, it seems like Rosh HaShana couldn’t come at a better time. Actually, the words “Rosh HaShana,” come from the Hebrew words “Rosh Hashinui”—the beginning of change. We can only hope that the change will be for the better.
Jewish holidays are known for their culinary treats. But besides food and family gatherings, Jewish festivals have profound spiritual meanings. Rosh HaShana is not just the beginning of the Hebrew calendar; it is also a symbol of renewal. This is when we begin to scrutinize ourselves and determine how we want to improve ourselves.
Tasting from a fish’s head means that we want to be the head and not the tail. This implies that we want to determine our path for ourselves and not follow the herd blindly. We eat pomegranate seeds, and each seed represents a desire we have discovered within us, and which we want to learn how to use for the sake of others rather than selfishly. And the apple we eat symbolizes the sin (of self-centeredness), which we mitigate (sweeten) with honey, again symbolizing our desire to learn how to use even that primordial temptation altruistically.
The people of Israel coined the saying, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” and to various degrees implemented it until the ruin of the Second Temple. All of our festivals symbolize milestones along the path of transformation from the evil inclination—namely egoism—to altruism, where we love our neighbors as ourselves.
Our sages tell us that the only reason why the Second Temple was ruined is unfounded hatred. That is, when egoism takes over, we fail and fall. We were established as a nation only when we vowed to unite “as one man with one heart.” When we broke that vow, we were dispersed and exiled.
No less important than our vow to be as one was the commandment we were given to be a light unto nations. But in the absence of the bond between us, what light do we emit? When we are united and we show it, we become a light unto nations and realize our vocation as Jews.
Today, mistrust and alienation prevail on all levels of humanity—from the interpersonal through the social, national, and to the international. Clearly, we are growing increasingly alienated from each other—the opposite of the unity and brotherly love that are so vital for survival in a world where everyone depends on everyone else.
The more we pursue the current trend, the greater the pressure that will be applied on the Jews. Deep down, the world remembers that the Jews once knew the secret to proper human connection. When that memory surfaces, it is vented out as accusations that we are warmongers, manipulators, and similar tirades that have become part and parcel of the anti-Jewish lingo.
Although we, too, are disconnected, we are the ones who can and must rekindle our unity. We may still be very far from it, but at least we can recognize the indispensability of this unjustly derogated value: unity.
Therefore, this Rosh HaShana is an opportunity to really make it Rosh Hashinui, the beginning of change. Here and now we should begin to change how we relate to one another. As we gather with family and friends, we must make it a point to rise above our differences and find the common goal of unity. And when we do so, the previously mentioned woes will be no more, since they all derive from one and only origin—our separation.
This year, let us spread some honey on our alienation and sweeten it with caring and concern for one another. After the recent tragedies America has suffered, it could sure use some mutual concern and mutual responsibility. And really, unity is all we need. Unity is all that the world needs, and is the key to our lasting happiness.
In the News (NPR): “Systematically paying women less than men. Promoting them more slowly. And denying them opportunities.
“These are the allegations in a lawsuit against Google filed Thursday in San Francisco on behalf of three female former employees.
“They’re seeking class-action status to sue on behalf of all women employed by Google in California over the past four years. ‘The lawsuit appears to be the first to make class action sex bias claims against Google,’ according to Reuters.”
My Comment: We are all different. When we speak about equality, we erase A person’s individuality.
I don’t know what the problem is over there. I don’t want to get involved; it is their business. But if men and women are in any way equalized, I think it would be an insult to both genders.
Try to give a woman a compliment in the same manner you would give a compliment to a man: “Hey, you look normal today…” Can you imagine saying that to a woman?
A woman feels good when you emphasize her unique virtues and not those that are also inherent in men, and in this she is just like a man. You need admire her feminine qualities .
Question: In other words, she is a mother, home, tenderness?
Answer: Yes. She is general everything. She demands attention and respect because that is a woman’s nature. Everything comes from masculine and feminine egoism. A woman, as a desire to receive, as Malchut, has this need. This needs to be respected and understood; this comes to us from nature. We are grown adults, men and women, and we need to understand nature correctly and relate to each other accordingly.
Question: In other words, we can make the following conclusion: there is no equality and it cannot exist?
Answer: Initially from nature, equality cannot exist. If we want it to exist, we need to raise people to a degree where, according to those criteria, they can be equal.
This is what Kabbalah deals with; it equalizes everyone. If I connect with love to all of humanity, then I am the same as everyone else.
From KabTV’s “News with Michael Laitman,” 8/10/17
Answer: Evil is what is not related to the Creator. Everything you can imagine that does not pertain to the nature of the Creator is pure evil.
It turns out that our whole world, all the forces, all the manifestations at various levels of nature, are absolute evil. In order to manifest Himself toward us, the Creator made a creation opposite to His qualities. It is called the desire to receive for self alone or egoism.
This desire can only feel itself, nothing outside of it. It has no ability to understand, conceive, or perceive anything else. Therefore it is the foundation of future evil. It is not evil itself yet, because the desire is not at fault for acting this way since it was created this way from the very beginning.
That is why the desires of this world, which pertain to inanimate nature, that is, to what exists in all the vast galaxies, to the vegetative nature that grows on our planet, and to the animal world that exists on Earth, including ourselves for we are animals in our bodies, all are the embryo of egoism. It is not egoism itself, rather a desire to exist, to fulfill itself.
Egoism is a term for what is above the animal level. As a rule, a person consists of part animal, and in this he is not an egoist because he wants to exist as any animal does. However, he also has something that exceeds his animal level, when he yearns for more than his material body does. That is already called “egoism,” although it is not a final state, but rather, “I want more.”
If I want more at the expense of others, with it I’m stealing from them, this is true egoism. If, however, I purposely behave in such a way to derive pleasure from being ahead of others at their misfortune, that is an advanced level of egoism. There are many different degrees of the growth of egoism.
In other words, everything that is inside us as people is egoism; everything that is in us as animals on an inanimate, vegetative, and animal levels are regular nature.
Therefore, egoism is a desire to get pleasure at the expense of others, when I rejoice at being ahead of everyone else.
Animals eat each other because of hunger. For example, a crocodile swallows a cow and then does not have to eat for six months; he had enough. The snake, after swallowing its prey, lays without moving with no concern for anything else. But not a person. As I “swallow” one cow, I already think of how to eat the second one, or at least catch it and hold it for later. Animals don’t really have that.
That is why everything that we do above our natural desire to fill ourselves is human egoism that is reaching ever-new heights.
In this we are different from the Creator. The constantly evolving egoism inside us that acts to the detriment of others is the root of the evil of our nature, and thanks to it, on one side we conquer the world, but on the other, we corner ourselves into a dead end.
From the Kabbalah Lesson in Russian, 2/26/17
Baal HaSulam, The Last Generation: We see the concept of freedom as extremely high. No one will taste it, except for the chosen by the miraculous power. And they too can do this only through appropriate training. However, most people are not at all able to taste it.
Most people can also taste freedom, but not directly as the chosen ones, because the masses cannot be the avant-garde. In nature everything is created as a pyramid; that is, a small group makes a breakthrough and the rest follow them. Therefore, the masses can get what this small group will pass to them.
Question: Baal HaSulam writes that from this point the last generation will begin. Does it mean that it is at this point where there will be a sense of the middle line and everyone else will get a sense of freedom automatically?
Answer: Yes. But everyone will help, participate, and support the avant-garde as much as they can.
Question: Will the masses, who do not yet feel their enslavement to egoism and who are content with material life, still have a desire to feel free?
Answer: In different times and at different levels of human development, freedom and enslavement have always been felt in different ways.
The ultimate search for freedom means that a person is ready to disregard all egoistic and material fulfillments in order to achieve a higher goal, even one that will only give independence from the material world. This can already be considered as freedom.
Question: Can this be achieved only in the right society, which operates on the principle of the last generation?
Answer: It should be a group that supports the society and a society that supports the group. There is a mutual guarantee in this group, and all the rules of spiritual communication are realized between its members.
Remark: Baal HaSulam writes that, on the one hand, most people are not able to feel freedom. On the other hand, they do not want to be enslaved. It turns out to be an uncertain state: neither here nor there.
Answer: The masses can deny their state, but they do not feel an aspiration toward something higher. It is not a stimulus, an incentive for them. That is why people need a leader—a more spiritually developed group that would push them forward.
We see how this manifests itself in humanity. There are entire continents that are lagging behind in their development, and they must be led.
For example, Africa; although it was freed from the so-called slavery 70 – 80 years ago, have the inhabitants of this continent done something themselves? They are very good workers and some people break into science and culture, but the whole continent needs a group of forward-thinking leaders. Otherwise, there is always a leader among them who eats them for a snack in the literal sense of the word.
The same thing happens in other countries. We see that there are such nations that need a leading group.
From KabTV’s “The Last Generation” 6/19/17
New Life #888 – The Era Of “Stress”
Dr. Michael Laitman in conversation with Oren Levi and Nitzah Mazoz
Why is the human ego never satisfied? How does this situation cause the phenomenon of stress in our lives and specifically how will despair about fulfilling the ego bring a solution?
From KabTV’s “New Life #888 – The Era Of “Stress”,” 7/27/17
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Torah, Deuteronomy 29:04 – 29:05: I led you through the desert for forty years [during which time] your garments did not wear out from upon you, nor did your shoes wear out from upon your feet. You neither ate bread, nor drank new wine or old wine, in order that you would know that I am the Lord, your God.
In the desert I eat only MAN (manna) because it is the quality of Bina, bestowal—there is nothing else. I feed only on the quality of bestowal.
It is my bread, my food, and my clothes—absolutely everything. Clothes mean all the screens (Masachim) that are on me. Food is the Light of Hassadim that I consume and live by. It means that all this is just adhesion to the Creator. I cling to Him with all the egoistic desires that arise in me, and thus I am cleansed of their egoistic fulfilment.
I live and am fulfilled only by the fact that every time I get closer and closer to Him. I receive a life-giving force from Him.
In other words, MAN are the degrees that a person goes through during the so-called 40 years of wandering in the desert, that is, the ascent from Malchut to Bina.
They are called rungs of purification, not rungs of realization of egoism to altruism but of purification, because I do not use the egoistic desires, I only rise above them leaving all my egoism below.
And when I start shovelling egoism that I left below, it means that I am already in the land of Israel.
From KabTV’s “Secrets of the Eternal Book” 12/28/16