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Question: We exist within an immense system of nature that constantly develops and grows the desire to receive pleasure within us, while also having a hidden goal of bringing us to complete despair. What specifically is the cause of this despair?
Answer: We come to despair as a result of our own nature—egoism, the desire to receive pleasure—because if our actions stem directly from this desire, then we drive ourselves to stress, complete hopelessness, global crises, and wars.
Human nature itself is bad because it constantly pushes us to achieve the unattainable. As a result, we all have to continuously compete with everyone else and this causes stress.
Question: Why are these goals unattainable?
Answer: Because egoism wants everything that the eyes see. And if everyone wants to get what they want, then each person has to build their success on the failure of others. It is impossible to do it otherwise.
Everyone wants to rise higher than others, to be the king of the world, for others to be his subordinates. But he is not the only one in the world; there are eight billion other egoists just like him, and each one wants the same thing. The result is that I constantly need to protect my place under the sun. This is what our lives have become.
Question: Does that mean stress was pre-programmed into the system of nature?
Answer: Our egoistic nature is the sole reason for all our misery and suffering. But if we were able to pacify our desire for pleasure… . But it is impossible to pacify it, other than perhaps through the use of narcotics. But then the person is completely disconnected from his life.
And so a question arises: Why is everything built in this way? And here the science of Kabbalah explains that stress has a cause: to bring a person to the awareness of the evil of his own nature, which only pushes him to seek pleasure. A person’s drive to receive pleasure has no limits; this desire would swallow the entire world. And if there were several worlds, then all those as well.
That is why we live in stress. Our abilities are limited, life is short, and there is nothing that will help.
In practice, we see that our egoism harms only ourselves; it is because of it that we are sick, that we die. We suffer terribly and it’s all for nothing. That’s why it is written that “a man’s foes shall be they of his own household,” in other words, in your own body. Egoism is within my body—and it is my greatest adversary.
From KabTV’s “A New Life” 7/27/17
The Times of Israel published my new article “Who Else Wants a New Reason to Celebrate Simchat Torah?”
Simchat Torah marks the conclusion of the Tishrei holiday cycle with a celebration of joy in the Torah.
What is the deeper meaning behind this celebration and joy that this holiday signifies? Why is there such an atmosphere of happiness? Where is this joy rooted?
To understand the deeper meaning behind Simchat Torah, we should first understand what is the deeper meaning behind the Torah itself.
What Is the Torah?
The Torah is the “light that reforms” [Midrash Rabah, Eicha, “Introduction,” Paragraph 2]. The term “light” doesn’t stand for any physical notion of light, like sunlight or candlelight, nor does it mean the emotional light we refer to when we resolve some situation, e.g. when we say that we see “the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Instead, the “light of the Torah” refers to the life-giving creative energy that transpires through nature’s every detail. As the light is a life-giving energy, opposite the light is that which it creates, sustains and develops: The light sustains the form of all objects, and vitalizes the growth, movement and development of all living organisms.
The light is a desire to give, and its creation—including us, everything in the planet we live in, and the whole universe—is a desire to receive.
The joy we feel during Simchat Torah symbolizes our discovery of this light, i.e. the attainment of its characteristic quality of giving upon our innate desire to receive. Such attainment about the feeling of a much more expansive reality than the one we feel when we only receive.
What Does the Torah “Reform”?
While we’ve established that the Torah is the light, what does it mean that this light “reforms”? What does it reform, and what kind of reformation is made?
Although we are a desire to receive, completely opposite to the light’s giving quality, we don’t feel the full intensity of this oppositeness, its “evil” (“the inclination of a man’s heart is evil from his youth” [Genesis, 8:21]).
What we do feel is that we develop slowly over a long period of time, and the more we develop, the more problems and pains emerge. The purpose of the unfolding crises in every field of life we’re experiencing today is to make us seek why they’re happening, and how they can be resolved. Moreover, today’s globally interdependent situation shows us that the more we develop without resolving the many personal, social, ecological and financial issues pressing on us, then we’re bound to tumble into deeper and deeper chasms.
These escalating crises today are in order to bring us to the discovery of our nature—the desire to receive pleasure for self-benefit alone—as the cause of our problems, and that we need to learn how to redirect our desires in order to fix these problems at their core. As it is written, “I have created the evil inclination,” and “I have created for it the Torah as a spice” [Babylonian Talmud, Masechet Kidushin, 30b] because “the light in it reforms them” [Midrash Rabah, Eicha, “Introduction,” Paragraph 2.]. In other words, our egoistic desires were created with a means of redirecting them into a form of giving (“the Torah”), and by doing so, correct (“reform”) them, thereby adding an additional fulfillment and pleasure to our lives (“a spice”).
How to Redirect Our Desires and Feel a Whole New Reality
By accessing the light of the Torah, we gain the ability to relate to each other and to nature in its entirety through its quality of giving. We then feel a more advanced, harmonious reality, balanced with nature’s life-giving energy. The question then is: How? How can we work with this light? How can we invite it into our lives, let it work on us, and allow it to bring about positive changes?
The answer is in society. When we gather with people who also wish to change their lives for the better and exert a positive influence in the world, we can literally “train” ourselves with the Torah to give as the light does. By doing so, we set the foundation for a society that is capable of switching the current chaotic direction the world is treading to a positive, harmonious one.
The creation of such a society of “givers” is emphasized in the tenets of the Torah, where it writes to “love your friend as yourself,” “that which you hate, do not do to others,” and become a society connected “as one man with one heart.” These sayings are not morals, but practical tools for their adherents to achieve the quality of giving and set the foundation for a harmonious society, balanced with nature.
While We’re Far from the Real Simchat Torah, Here’s a Good Reason to Celebrate the Joy and Happiness of Simchat Torah Right Now
At its core, the Tishrei holiday cycle expresses our shift as a divided, egoistic society to one of connection, altruism and balance with nature’s quality of giving. Its final day, Simchat Torah, celebrates the favorable outcome of this shift.
Although the basis of Simchat Torah is far from where we see our society heading today, it’s an opportunity for us all to think about where we are as individuals and as a society in relation to this harmonious state. We can rejoice in our recognition of the real cause of all our problems—our egoistic nature—and that we have the means at our disposal to redirect this nature to a positive direction. That’s already a major step towards the reformation the Torah speaks about.
Therefore, we have a very good reason to be happy this Simchat Torah. Let’s use the opportunity to consider how we can train the light’s quality of giving, love and connection among each other, and show that there is indeed a positive alternative to the escalating divisions, struggles and conflicts around the world.
May it be a happy holiday to all!
Moses worried about the people as for his children. After all, he himself could not enter the land of Israel because he reached his highest stage and must wait for the next generation.
He seems to leap in our time and wait for today’s humanity to see the Light, to begin to pull itself up, educate itself, complete the same forty-year-journey through the desert (in the spiritual sense of the word), and be ready to enter the land of Israel, that is, the quality of absolute adhesion with the Creator.
And then all the great souls led by Moses will be able to unite with those who gather together from all over the earth, and together they will gain spiritual elevation.
Answer: Humanity must necessarily pass through the same states.
Question: That is, every person within himself should, as they say, write the Torah? Is this what it means to pass through all these states? And Moses is waiting until we reach him, that is, he is waiting until all the other desires get to him?
Answer: Not only does Moses await them, but also all the forefathers: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob with his wives, Adam HaRishon and Eve. All of them are there.
From KabTV’s “Secrets of the Eternal Book” 1/23/17
Answer: This space does not exist. You can move from one end of the universe to the other within a moment. Even this moment does not exist because you do not take on the function of time, but rise above it to the next level.
Let’s say that from Sefira Yesod you ascend to Hod or Netzach. Then the previous level becomes a point for you.
Therefore, if there is infinite time and space in our world, then an ascent of one degree in the spiritual world compresses our entire world to a point. There is no time, no space, no movement, no life, no death—nothing, no category.
The first, lowest spiritual degree completely nullifies our world, turns it into a seed. All the millennia of history disappear because they exist only in our shattered imagination.
From the Kabbalah Lesson in Russian 3/19/17
New Life #904 – Conscience And Morality
Dr. Michael Laitman in conversation with Oren Levi and Nitzah Mazoz
What is our conscience based on? How do we determine whether we are receiving pleasure or suffering? How will we define values for the future?
From KabTV’s “New Life #904 – Conscience And Morality,” 9/7/17
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