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From My Facebook Page Michael Laitman 4/24/18
While the media spins into a frenzy over Natalie Portman’s turning down of the Genesis Prize (the “Jewish Nobel”) as a critical statement of Israel’s leadership, I was asked to comment on her actions. Frankly, I have nothing to say about her or what she did. Instead, the discharge of anger, accusations and opinionated ping pong surrounding the event presents a clear example that we as a Jewish people are not focused on what really matters. If we were, then we would rise above all the outrage and examine the core issue: our very identity and function in the world.
It’s no secret that the media thrives on generating hysteria by amplifying celebrities’ insignificant comments into wildfires of public opinion. What we should ask ourselves is why do we enjoy it so much? Why do we let ourselves get swept into this socially divisive snowball effect? Why don’t we enjoy in more socially beneficial ways, by engaging in the creation of a more positively connected society?
Historically, actors were never at the center of public discourse as they now are. For example, in ancient Rome, actors had even less civil and political rights than their fellow citizens. Their ability to switch between different characters and behaviors made them seem “soulless,” as if they lacked personality and identity. As such, they were considered as being of lower social status. However, the 1920s saw Hollywood’s penetration into mass consciousness. Actors drew public attention. They suddenly rose in popularity and wealth to a high social status, and their opinions were also placed on an international pedestal.
Backed by the immense material strength of an audacious industry, actors ride controversial media trends, mostly political ones, showing support or opposition to one of the sides, in order to create buzz and empower their public image. It stems from sheer self-interest, and it’s why I’m not interested in dealing with it.
If we’re speaking about Jewish people in the entertainment industry, then I would expect them to portray an authentic representation of the Jewish essence. More succinctly, I would expect them to show examples of the tendency to unite above differences, that a kind, loving and caring attitude to others above all the primal divisive urges is what defines Jews at their nucleus.
In practical terms, I would recommend that the entertainment industry’s Jews work on creating a new social vision, one of a positively connected future where we and humanity as a whole will succeed to connect above all of our differences. Instead of romanticizing the past or creating fantasies completely removed from reality, we should emphasize what can bring us together: the creation of a vision of how our society can overcome our current problems, divisions and conflicts and reach harmony rich with everyone’s individual characteristics and expressions continually strengthening a massive enveloping unification.
For example, the ceremonies in last week’s 70 years of independence celebrations in Israel sentimentalized the nation’s struggles and achievements over the last 2,000 years. From stories of the nation receiving the Torah at Mount Sinai, through 2,000 years of exile, encounters with anti-Semitism, tragedy in the pogroms and the Holocaust, the return to Israel, and the extensive efforts and ingenuity of Israel’s progress in security, agriculture, the economy and high tech in order to reach the solid national infrastructure Israel holds today—it is true that the people of Israel have been through a lot and have a great story to tell.
However, I would completely shift the focus of this story. Instead of reminiscing in our past and present achievements, we should see these as a background to our real challenge: How can we realize a new and enhanced vision of nothing less than a perfect future, one where instead of division, conflict, friction and struggle, we will bring to the world connection, positivity, love and happiness? We should accept the fact that we have been given a portion of land as an opportunity to realize our true identity and function in the world: to unite (“love your friend as yourself” [Leviticus 19:18]) and be an example of that unity for humanity (“a light unto nations” [Isaiah 49:6]).
The biggest story about our fate as a Jewish people is not in the past. It is happening right now. If we work toward envisioning and materializing this vision of social unity, then we will find ourselves living out our monumentally epic tale of biblical proportions on a day-by-day, moment-by-moment basis: we would start carrying out the role we were put here on this planet to fulfill.
Therefore, in echoing the words of Kabbalist Yehuda Ashlag, that “I am glad that I have been born in such a generation when it is permitted to disclose the wisdom of truth,” (in his article “The Teaching of the Kabbalah and Its Essence”) we all have access to feel this joy by focusing ourselves on a vision of a positively connected future for ourselves and humanity, and starting to work together to materialize this vision.
I therefore wish for us all to start thinking about this vision and our role in it, that we discuss it, act it out and promote it to each other, and that large aggregates such as the entertainment industry and its actors whose opinions constantly ripple throughout our media networks, will start also playing their part in this new direction. Today, we have the opportunity and the potential to set off a major transformation to a positively connected world the likes of what we’ve never seen before, and it is my dear hope that we will realize it.
We must first attain mutual guarantee between us—then we’ll be able to observe the “commandments,” i.e., connect the broken desires.
We’ll do it with the help of the “Light that reforms,”
called “Torah,” and inside the unity, we’ll reveal the Creator—the goal of creation.
Creation is one who’s able to give pleasure to the Creator.
It happens when we figure out that we’re unable to correct nature and we need the Creator’s help.
We give Him pleasure by asking Him to work.
After all, in spirituality, the work is the reward.
There’s no state worse than not thinking about the Creator.
Because then it’s as if the Creator doesn’t exist.
By clinging to Him, we give Him joy.
Most important is the plea for correction and adhesion.
The Creator’s delight lies in us realizing that He’s the source of life!
The Creator gave us work to reveal a need for Him.
Therefore, our efforts are called “the Creator’s work”:
We reveal that He is the source of destructions and corrections,
He gives us work, accepts our prayer, and draws us to adhesion with Him.
Realizing that correction is impossible leads us to plead with the Creator, changes our attitude to the world: “The Torah’s opinion is opposite to the layman’s opinion,” those who don’t need help from above
One who studies Kabbalah feels weak: “The Torah reduces man’s strength.”
Repair of the #Soul seems impossible, endless. It’s because the proper work leads to failure and a plea for help. In our world, a plea for help indicates failure in one’s work, whereas in spiritual work it’s opposite: #success lies in attaining the #prayer of the broken heart.
– How much should you take from the Creator’s treasure trove?
– As much as you can give away to the friends. This is the soul’s fulfillment.
Only the Creator can correct it all!
“You can’t finish the work, but you have no right to be absolved from it.”
I reveal my total dependence on the Upper Force.
I rejoice at my weakness.
Only the “Ner Dakik” spark in me pulls me forward.
Progress lies in revealing one’s helplessness!
I must give the full measure of attempts, efforts (half a shekel, Seah), attain unity with the Creator in the group. I must exert and try, like a child assembling a puzzle; be convinced that I can’t—then the right request will emerge, and “the Creator will finish it for me.”
Another challenge in spiritual work is that the puzzle of the broken Soul can be assembled by seeing its corrected state
But how can we assemble it without seeing an example?
Actually the Creator Himself assembles the soul from the parts; we must only annul ourselves in His work!
A beautiful sign of spiritual progress:
When day by day, I start
Anew, assembling my broken desires.
The law of the soul—unity of its parts
That it can only be attained from breakage.
There’s only this moment—and in it
None else besides Him
And emptiness, nothing.
Reading something you’ve read many times, it’s like the first time. All you’ve done disappears…
This brings you to despair since in our world we collect knowledge, but in the spiritual—a new degree begins from zero every time.
But that’s a sign of renewal of the 10 Sefirot!
Correction is recreating the soul system that was intentionally broken by Adam’s #sin. We need to connect the broken shards.
The challenge is that having connected one part, when moving on to the next part, the past disappears. It’s because new qualities and sensations emerge.
One must always be in the middle line. You won’t jump from a state of elation to despair if you hold on to the goal. My mood determines how goal-oriented the states I go through are. I do not have sudden mood swings, like a child.
#SpiritualWork_ML #Kabbalah #Reality_ML
The nation of #Israel‘s return to its land—we celebrate the fact that we and all humanity have received the chance to start a new development. We have to show this to ourselves and the world—it’s a real holiday, a #future, rather than suffering that we managed to get through.
#Kabbalah teaches us to rise above ego by the force of upper light and to aim at the goal of creation: unity with everyone and the Creator. All the disturbances are like ascending steps leading to the goal—a shift to a calculation for the benefit of the group, #world, Creator.
If we’re aimed at the goal, similarity to the Creator, then in good times and bad we feel roughly on the same level, and aren’t vulnerable to mood swings, because the goal is paramount, and changes are useful for achieving it. Thus we walk the middle line!
From Twitter, 4/24/18
“Mr.Zuckerberg,” asked senator Dick Durbin, regarding the way the Facebook CEO perceives his privacy, “Would you be comfortable sharing with us the name of the hotel you stayed in last night?”
“Um…” Zuckerberg took his time to answer as dozens of TV and newspaper cameras watched on. “No.” said the young man in the suit and tie. The crowd chuckled awkwardly as he answered the surprising question.
“If you’ve messaged anybody this week, would you share with us the names of the people you’ve messaged?” Durbin continued to inquire.
“Senator, no, I would probably not choose to do that publicly here,” Zuckerberg said, more avidly than before. But senator Durbin, like many of his colleagues, did not seem satisfied; even as Zuckerberg’s baby face looked back at them with a humbled look.
For over six hours, Facebook founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, testified before the Senate in Washington. Zuckerberg had to explain how the private information of 87 million users had reached the hands of Cambridge Analytica, a data mining company.
In fact, what was being interrogated on that stand was not Facebook, nor its CEO, but the very right to privacy. In an advanced technological world, with an open and increasingly interconnected virtual space, is there any room left for privacy in our lives?
My answer is: almost none. Internet users might fight for it, but the future trend shows that there really isn’t that much to hide.
Laws should indeed be legislated to limit the ability of big monopolies to trade our information and trample our rights. But that is not the main point. Human society is marching into a new age where we’ll all know everything about everyone—from the most basic information that any minor computer geek can easily track, to the most supposedly embarrassing deeds we try to hide from the eyes of our neighbors and colleagues.
We are about to experience a major transformation of what we feel ashamed about, a new era where everything becomes disclosed. It will soon become clear that we are all made of the same material.
Overcoming the Façade of Righteousness and Seeing Ourselves as We Are
A short glance at the leaders of our world today and their public image, reveals the naked truth: President Clinton had extramarital sexual affairs, President Trump is now faced with accusations of cheating on his wife with porn stars, the former prime minister of Italy, Silvio Berlusconi boasted about his orgiastic “bunga bunga” parties, stories of Libya’s former dictator, Kaddafi’s passion parties abound, as do a myriad of other rumors of different public personas.
Public personas and officials are no different to anyone else. Their official role does not make them immune to the natural drives and impulses inherent to every man and woman in the world. Every man—from small to great, from worker to leader, from elderly to youth—is driven by desires to enjoy food, sex and family. Regarding these desires, we are no different than any other animal. Therefore, there is no reason to become perplexed about the information revealed about us in social media, it reveals nothing new about our true nature.
If anyone does have a problem with your nature, with your preferences and inclinations, your passions and behaviors, your character and your thoughts, then you can answer them with a line from the Jewish sages: “Go to the craftsman who made me and say to him, ‘How ugly is the vessel which you have made’” (Talmud, Taanit 20a–b).
When we’ll realize we are all made of the same material, each with a different shade and color of desire, privacy will then become a thing of the past. When that happens, we can then delve deeper into what makes us human.
So what does make us human?
We are made up of two levels, the physical-bodily level and the human-spiritual level. On the first level, every person needs to satisfy their corporeal desires. This is all well and good, on condition that no harm is done to anyone in the process. On the second level, there is our internal essence, which is what we need for true, heartfelt connection to others.
This second level is hidden from us. It is the deep level of relationships with others, a spiritual level that is not experienced in our first-level corporeal ties. It is called “the human” in us, as Kabbalists refer to it, and to grasp it further, one needs to consciously evolve.
Since the second level is hidden from us, it is intangible and we cannot feel it. We mistakenly equate our “human” spiritual self to our physical human body. As a result, we create social norms and moral values that limit the use of the human body, i.e. the fulfillment of desires on the first level.
Precisely at this point is where the media enters to take advantage of the way we limit ourselves. The media thrives on celebrating our lack of connection to our inner essence. To continue making money, the media deludes us day and night, producing extravagant shows out of our natural impulses. The media dramatizes behaviors and actions that derive from our instinctive basic drives, instead of reminding us that it is our real nature, and theirs. And so we are gradually brainwashed by a fake value system, praising or reprimanding others for the natural drives they were born with.
A correct version of the media would engage itself in creating positive human connections, “to connect people, to build community and to bring the world closer together’, as Zuckerberg testified before US Congress and the world. The media needs to help elevate us to the second, hidden level; to create a new set of values based not on our bodies and natural impulses, but a set of values aimed at attaining our essence, to strengthen our contribution to society and to encourage good relationships.
Humans are Wired for Connection
The public’s victory in the struggle for privacy will be possible when we begin to develop our “inner human,” and connect meaningfully and positively to others. It is through mutual relations that we will discover nature’s hidden force—a force binding us on all levels, and which is increasingly pressuring us to wake up and face our connection to each other. By attaining such a mutual sensation of nature’s higher force, we will lift the veil of smoke covering what we deem as private and shameful, and this “mystery” surrounding the virtual world will be gone.
The media, with Facebook as one of its current leading players, has the ability to create positive trends that will inspire and elevate humanity to greater connection. They have the power to set the social tone and create a new culture, to sharpen the social perception of reality into a healthy perception of human nature, and to aid every person in adopting new understandings about his or her physical and spiritual drives.
When meaningful content flows in the veins of social networks, no one will be ashamed or afraid of exposure any longer. The more we identify with our spiritual level that is disconnected from any physical need, the more we will be able to be calm about such incidences as this privacy leak of tens of millions of users. We will know how to put our self in the right perspective, the physical and the spiritual. In such a social climate the only shame that will afflict man will be when one takes a hard look at oneself and considers: “Have I invested enough in creating positive relations? Have I contributed to positive connection in society? Have I been considerate of others, the way a ‘human’ should?”
What is this like? It is like a wealthy man who had an old father whom he did not wish to support. He was tried and the verdict was that he would support him at least as respectfully as he supports his own kin, or he would face a harsh punishment.
Naturally, he took him into his home and had to support him generously, but his heart was grieving. The old man said to him, “Since you are already giving me every delight that you have on your table, what would you lose if you also had a good intention, which is reasonable in the eyes of every sensible person, to be happy with having the opportunity to honor your father, who had spent all his energy for you and made you a respectable man? Why are you so obstinate that you afflict yourself? Can you rid yourself even slightly because of it?”
So it is. At the end of the day, we bestow upon society, and only society gains from our lives, since every person, great or small, adds and enriches the treasury of society. But the individual, when weighing the sorrow and pain that one receives, one is in great deficit. Hence, you are giving to your fellow person, but painfully and with great and bitter suffering. So why do you mind the good intention? (Baal HaSulam. The Writings of the Last Generation).
The parable talks about the fact that we must change our attitude toward all people in the world from contempt, hatred, distance, and rejection, to love. By caring for the father, the parable means that the same care for the whole world is as for the people closest to you.
Everyone knows that the Torah commands “to love your neighbor as yourself,” but no one is eager to fulfill this single commandment in any religion or culture till today. Everyone fervently utters words of love and then sticks a knife into their neighbor’s back. Thus, a person does not have neighbors. The only person close to one is oneself.
Question: In the parable, the father says: “You can rejoice that you have the opportunity to show respect to your father.” How is it possible to switch to sudden joy?
Answer: We must understand the depth of this story. A person makes a calculation: If I can show respect to my father to the extent that I will deserve to enter the Garden of Eden (paradise), then I should do it because how long will my father live… I will formally show him respect, I can’t change my heart.
Or maybe I can? If I begin to imagine the paradise that is being prepared for me in the other world every day, then, of course, I will have certain feelings for the Creator because I earn this paradise with His help.
But in any case, this is a very difficult deal, even in the egoistic sense, because paradise is waiting for me in the future world, but to make an effort, I have to sacrifice myself in this world. Only a few are capable of this. Where are they, these people who would do good for others for the sake of entering paradise? I would like to see them, be among them, and let them earn paradise with my help.
A person is made in such a way that no tricks or any persuasion can affect his egoism. It is very difficult for one to change one’s attitude even toward one’s own parents, relatives, and friends, and even more so to society, which consists of the most diverse people, those opposed to oneself, including one’s enemies. Change in attitude is realized only with the help of the science of Kabbalah.
Baal HaSulam wrote: “So, what difference does it make if you have a good intention?” When a person asks this question and begins to understand what it means to change one’s attitude, one sees how it is not easy, because actions have no value, but intention defines everything.
The right intention is the transition from our world to the spiritual world; this is the revelation of the upper world.
From KabTV’s “The Last Generation” 10/9/17
Answer: Many people restrain themselves somewhat in order to work with others to achieve a beneficial goal. If I enter into a partnership with someone, I understand that I limit myself, my opinion, possibly the result, my profit, etc. I have no other choice. There is a very clear, direct egoistic benefit.
In the beginning, it should be that way in both ordinary and Kabbalistic relationships. There is no difference between them because both always start with simple egoism.
But then, by working together according to the Kabbalistic method, I gradually start to feel two opposite forces in this work.
On one hand, my ego greatly resists moving forward. On the other hand, in business, it may not be so. To the contrary, in business, my ego agrees that we should unite and go forward because the ego always weighs the possible future outcomes, such as wealth or completion of a project.
In our case, it doesn’t work that way. We feel increasing resistance from the ego. Why? It is in order to elevate the goal in our eyes—that the goal will always be a level higher than the ego’s resistance. Meanwhile, we reach a state where we try our best to elevate the goal and struggle to make it more important than our ego.
Here, mutual guarantee and the influence of the surrounding upper force are very important. By acting correctly, we receive the strength to remain connected with each other until we are transformed into one common desire, one common intention, in which the sensation of the upper force appears according to the extent of our unity.
This sensation is the action of this force. We connect with each other and with this force. This state is called the next, spiritual level of our existence.
Question: Who can tolerate this, except a person with a point in the heart?
Answer: Everyone has a point in the heart that will gradually develop. In addition, a person sees what is happening in the world around him: constant stress, failure, drugs, and so on. Kabbalah provides us with a profound science about humanity’s ascent.
Question: Is the seriousness of this science understood through a person’s efforts to unite? In business, everything is clear: millions, billions of dollars attract people to it.
Answer: Here, too, we can measure the greatness of the goal in millions and billions, but in relative units, not money.
Question: What does the measurement of the goal mean for a Kabbalist?
Answer: There are 125 steps to achieve this goal. At each step, it is achieved at a certain degree. The ultimate goal becomes increasingly clearer with each step. It is felt qualitatively higher and the aspiration to it grows accordingly.
From Kab TV’s The Last Generation” 8/16/17
New Life 981 – The Role Of Women In The 21st Century
Dr. Michael Laitman in conversation with Oren Levi and Nitzah Mazoz
Women are responsible for repairing the world. The future is in their hands. They have the power to influence everyone to unite and connect as one body. They must feel that they are protecting their children and lead in the family, in society, and in the world at large. If they use their collective purchasing power, for example, out of concern for the general connection, they will awaken powerful forces and the world will change immediately. Women must believe in their power and understand that there is no choice but to act now.
From KabTV’s “New Life 981 – The Role Of Women In The 21st Century,” 3/18/18
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Lesson on the Topic: “Signing The Arvut In The Ten” (Preparation for the Convention “All As One” in New Jersey 2018)
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Talmud Eser Sefirot, Part 3, Chapter 15, Item 3
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Writings of Baal HaSulam, “The Giving of the Torah,” Item 7
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