Audio Version Of The Blog – 12/5/18

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Thrive Global: “Hanukkah: Setting Aside One Week For Life Transformation”

Thrive Global published my new article: “Hanukkah: Setting Aside One Week For Life Transformation

The word “Hanukkah,” from Hebrew “Hanu-Koh,” or “stop here,” represents the first stage of spiritual development, a process of correcting the desire to enjoy for oneself and inverting it into a desire to bestowal unto others, a state that liberates us from darkness.

Hanukkah is not just another week in the Jewish calendar. It can be used as a respite dedicated to personal enlightenment, one week set aside for life transformation. The holiday of Hanukkah signifies the victory of light over darkness, unity over division. Indeed, such a victory requires no less than a miracle, but it is one within grasp. We need only know how to light the candle and make it happen.

Through our connection, we strike a match against the darkness and ignite the light in our lives. This is the brilliance of Hanukkah, the holiday of light. As with a match, a little friction transforms into a gleaming flame.

Of all the holidays, Hanukkah and Purim are considered special for many reasons. First, the Torah makes no mention of them. Second, after the full completion of humanity’s corrections, it is said that all the holidays will be canceled except for these two. According to the wisdom of Kabbalah, Hanukkah and Purim are of utmost importance because both are directly connected to the rebuilding of the Temple, which symbolizes the place where Creator and creation bond. The Temple’s ruin represents a breaking of this bond between us. Rebuilding that bond means attaining all the abundance and goodness in our existence. This is the Kabbalists’ quest.

Like a thirsty man trying to draw water with a leaky bucket, who must first fix the vessel before he can fill it and drink, one who feels detached from spirituality must first mend the bond with the Creator before being able to receive the offered illumination.

In order to live a purposeful life, we need to ascend through a cycle of spiritual development called “a year.” In each upward cycle, we face the same desires met previously, but on ever-higher degrees each time. While we do so, we encounter recurrent milestones of inner changes, discernments and situations aimed at rising to the next spiritual degree, the correction of the soul. The Kabbalists call these degrees “holidays” and “Sabbaths.”

The holidays and Sabbath in our world were determined by Kabbalists to provide a framework of behaviors in accordance with our work in the inner spiritual world. That is the reason we celebrate the holidays each year and the Sabbath each week.

Stopover on an Enlightened Path

The word Hanukkah, from Hebrew “Hanu-Koh,” or “stop here,” represents the first stage of spiritual development, a process of correcting the desire to enjoy for oneself and inverting it into a desire to bestowal unto others, a state that liberates us from darkness. Darkness manifests as separation, conflicts, arguments, ruthless competitiveness, and the desire to exploit and dominate others. Our inner struggle to overcome our egoistic nature is what we call “the War of the Maccabees against the Greeks,” i.e. “Greeks” symbolizing characteristics that yearn for control over us.

The victory over the Greeks is the foundation of any person’s path on the spiritual ladder. This triumph lets us perform corrections that will lead to the final correction—Purim—when we attain the endless bounty that the Creator prepared for all.

When we can rejoice in each other’s successes, share our concerns, in mutual connection, we will realize what nature tries to teach us: that we belong to one single body. If we take just the tiniest step in this direction, we will see miracles on the way. We will see how a small lamp, the smallest jar of oil, will kindle a strong and warm fire that illuminates everyone’s life.

What Is the Miracle of Hanukkah?

Overcoming our ego—the desire to enjoy at others’ expense—requires rising above our nature, and this is considered a miracle. Instinctively, our ego governs our existence, even though the outcome causes a boomerang effect that brings us suffering. How then does this miracle happen? Every time we connect with each other, the force that is higher than all other forces, obstacles and conditions, is drawn into action and the miracles manifest before our eyes.

Although a miracle is a supernatural phenomenon, we are able to make it happen whenever we choose closer connection above all kinds of resistance. Today, if we wish to rise above our ego and try to connect positively with others, a completely new upper force will be revealed within us, and with its help, we will be able to bring peace, love and unity to the world.

Let us spin ourselves together around this exalted goal to ignite the spirit of unity, enlighten our lives, and radiate joy and fulfillment to everyone.

Happy Hanukkah!

— Published on December 3, 2018

“A Jewish Thought Network: The Most Powerful Weapon To Combat Anti-Semitism” (The Times Of Israel)

My new article “A Jewish Thought Network: The Most Powerful Weapon to Combat Anti-Semitism” was published recently in The Times of Israel.

When the word “Jew” becomes an insult there is a reason to worry. That is the reality a school teacher experiences in today’s Europe, as she needs to hide her religion out of fear for her safety. A recent poll conducted by CNN confirmed that hatred against Jews in Europe has never disappeared. It has just transformed itself into a more evident menace. It is in our hands, or more precisely, in the power of our thoughts as Jewish people to change this situation, because thoughts have transformational powers.

The CNN survey revealed that one-in-five Europeans justify anti-Semitism. However, these are only the ones who admit to it. The problem is not only on Europe’s soil. It’s global. At a recent summit to combat anti-Semitism, European Jewish Congress president Dr. Moshe Kantor mentioned that “Europe doesn’t have a monopoly on anti-Semitism anymore. No Jewish community anywhere in the world, however strong and well-organized, is now immune from Jew hatred.”

Exceptional situations prompt the proposal of extraordinary measures. At the conference held in Vienna, a “Catalogue of Policies to Combat Anti-Semitism” was drafted with the help of academics from Vienna, Tel Aviv and New York. One new approach suggested a call for new editions of the Bible and Quran to carry warning messages to highlight “anti-Semitic passages” within the holy texts.

Are such texts really a source of incitement against Jews? Would such markings really serve to “combat anti-Semitism”? And more importantly, what power do we have as Jews to eradicate the hostility against us?

Religious Anti-Semitism?

Researchers connect anti-Semitism to sections in the Bible about Jews being responsible for Christ’s crucifixion and to sections in the Quran that fanatic jihadists use to justify their crusade against the Jews and Western values. Back in April 2018, a group of 300 French intellectuals and politicians signed a manifesto to Islamic leaders in France asking that “verses of the Quran calling for the killing and punishment of Jews, Christians and unbelievers be rendered obsolete by theological authorities,” to avoid what they consider as incitement to violence.

Yet, after years of anti-hatred plans and meetings to discuss the frightening times, do we see any change? Indeed, something has changed, but not in a positive direction. Anti-Semitism is relentlessly on the rise worldwide and the future looks increasingly dark.

Since none of the proposed solutions have worked so far, maybe it is time for a new approach? We Jews need to look no further than our own heritage to discover the infallible weapon, a force sufficient to eliminate anti-Semitism once and for all. The wisdom of Kabbalah claims that with a shift in our collective consciousness, we can create a force field powerful enough to erase anti-Semitic manifestations from earth.

Our inner state of division or unity creates our outer reality and not vice versa. By changing our intention to unite as one, we harmonize with the force of creation, and reality is affected by the energy we radiate. How does it work? In order to understand how this defensive shield is built we need to explore the development of humanity’s defense systems.

The Power of Thought

The evolution of defense systems up to the atomic bomb, demonstrates that the stronger a weapon is, the more hidden it is to the human eye, and the heavier are its consequences. Cyberspace, for instance, could be the modern-day battlefield for potential world war if the imaginary “red button” falls into the wrong hands.

Taking this trend one step further, the most powerful and precise weapon being revealed today is the power of thought, although similarly, we are unaware of its magnitude and dimension because of its invisibility. The scientific community claims that we are connected at the human level in a field that is activated through our collective consciousness or thoughts. This field is similar to the force of gravity, electricity, or the electromagnetic field in that its exact operation is hidden from the human senses.

Kabbalah explains that such a unifying force is a law of nature—a network of forces that bind us together—not yet apparent to us, but it influences every aspect of our reality more than any other force. The power of thought is tremendously powerful and its scope of action lies in the network of our connection: we are as strong as we are united, and as weak as we are divided. We are the ones who constantly operate this network, we just need to become aware of it and discover how to consciously make it work for our collective benefit.

The power currently controlling this network is a negative, divisive force of rejection and hatred activated by our egoistic nature. It strikes back at us as waves of bigotry and animosity from the nations of the world. Unconsciously, the nations of the world feel that Jews hold the keys that activate this network for positive change, urging us to recognize our mission.

They are correct.

As stated in The Book of Zohar: “Just as the organs of the body cannot exist for one moment without the heart, so all nations cannot exist in the world without Israel.” So how can we effectively make a meaningful impact on today’s reality? This can be easily accomplished through effective use of the most widespread net encompassing humanity: cyberspace.

First, Jews must be an example of cohesion, understanding and mutual solidarity above differences, which would turn us into an enlightening force for the rest of the world. As expressed by Rav Kook, “The genuine movement of the Israeli soul at its grandest is expressed only by its sacred, eternal force, which flows within its spirit. It is that which has made it, is making it, and will make it still a nation that stands as a light unto nations.” (Letters of the RAAIAH, 3)

Our thoughts drawing us toward unity and softening critical attitudes toward one another have the power to evoke a positive force within the network of communication between us—a force capable of gradually neutralizing hatred and bringing about balance. This is the power capable of protecting us and leading us toward a good future.

As every path starts with a first step, every little thought from each of us toward positive human connection will increase exponentially and cause great changes in our reality because the power of thought is the most powerful weapon.

“Do not be surprised that one person’s actions bring elevation or decline to the whole world, for it is an unbending law that the general and the particular are as identical as two peas in a pod… Evidently, the value of an act of a part elevates or declines the entire whole.

– Kabbalist Rav Yehuda Ashlag, Introduction to the Book of Zohar, item 68.

Where Can You Get The Strength To See The Friends Above Yourself?

laitman_528.02Question: If the goal is clear to me and it is clear that you need to annul yourself before your friends, where will you get the strength to see them higher than yourself?

Answer: I understand that it does not come easily, sometimes it takes years. But constant efforts draw the upper Light, gradually giving a person the awareness that it is this work that is important and necessary.

Question: So I must close my eyes to the behavior of my friends who seem unfocused on the goal and just try to see what drives them?

Answer: In spiritual work, we should treat each other as if the vision of the Creator is manifested to us in this way. That is, I see not a friend, but what the Creator shows me in him.

Of course, his behavior can be interpreted in a number of ways, but I must always treat him with love. If we have a common goal, if we are tied to each other in the Creator, then there can be no other relationship.
From KabTV’s “The Last Generation” 5/9/18

Related Material:
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Just Try, And Everything Will Work Out

“Brexit May Never Happen” (Medium)

Medium published my new article “Brexit may never happen.”

The time has come for a different kind of connection that is not based on egoism, which the current system is built on.

Thanks to the recent Brussels summit, there is now an agreement on the table for the withdrawal of the UK from the European Union, but I doubt that it will actually happen. It took 20 years to connect all these countries into a single entity, and I believe it will take at least another 20 to disassemble it.

Europe is beginning to disintegrate. The days are gone when Europe used to think about unification and was attracted to the idea of unification. All the EU countries wanted to be part of the new entity, and paid dearly for the loss of their independence.

Today, nationalistic trends are once again on the rise. For instance, the EU’s two main centers, Germany and France, are going through very difficult times and it’s only the beginning. They are afraid of losing their identity and stability. Compared to countries such as China, India, and Asia in general, they are no longer the center of the world. If until recently they were the cultural and educational centers of the world, they have recently filled themselves with migrants and are busy dealing with them, and they can no longer show the world that they are truly a cultural center.

It is a complicated situation. If we lose Europe’s culture and education, we then have no idea what direction the world will take. However, we still fail to fully grasp how the world loses its stability due to losing Europe as the foundation of Western culture and human education. It has developed over the last 2,000 years upon the backdrop of Rome, Greece, Judaism and Christianity. Essentially, we’re failing to take heed of the fact that humanity’s central elements are being replaced, and as a result, Western society and culture is on the decline.

Humanity has an inner, transcendental foundation. It is not so apparent, but this inner foundation is part of our DNA. Just as we inherit our parents’ genes, we inherited culture, education, science and access to the European way of life. America, South America, Asia, India, China and all colonialist development emerged from such an approach, and we fail to envision a world that loses the European element. It would be a completely different world to the one we now know, one that would be forever changed.

Europe’s influence on the world has always been extremely important. It went hand-in-hand with America’s economic power and influenced India and China. Now that these relations are fading, it is difficult to say what the future holds.

I cannot even find the words to convey how strongly I feel about this subject. Europe as the world’s cultural and educational infrastructure was in the making for 2,000 years. Even the structure of our governments come from the European approach. All these things are now losing their foundation.

Just as divorce is a difficult process, it will now be extremely difficult for England to extricate itself. The time has come for a different kind of connection that is not based on egoism, which the current system is built on. The end of the European Union actually marks the end of the world that has reigned for thousands of years, clearly demonstrating that we are not heading in a sustainable direction. The egoistic foundation does not let us connect in a positive way, and it is leading us from one disaster to the next.

Europe’s only hope at this point is to embark on a new path, by implementing a new form of education, one that emphasizes how to connect, collaborate and cooperate above the egoistic foundation. If we fail to connect above our egoistic divisions, then we will simply sit back and let the egoistic forces wipe out everything positive about Europe. There will then be no turning back to how things were.

The approaching economic crisis will accelerate this process and truly shake Europe. As soon as economic stability shatters, and people don’t have food to eat, then society’s flaws will become clearly visible. On one hand, we have an abundance of surplus merchandise and food, and on the other hand, no one wants to give anyone anything. What is the lesson to be learned from this unsuccessful union? It is that we are transitioning to a new world.

What was the European Union really based on? Why did all these countries decide to connect despite the wars and deep hatred? It is because they were afraid. France was afraid of Germany. Germany was afraid of all the others that were pressuring them. They wanted to unite for egoistic reasons and this is why it has failed so spectacularly. The Brexit affair might drag on and on, but one thing is for sure, Europe will never be the same again.

Daily Kabbalah Lesson – 12/5/18

Lesson Preparation

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Lesson on the Topic “Hanukkah”

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Talmud Eser Sefirot,  Vol. 6, Part 16,  Table of Answers for the Meaning of the Words, Item 133

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Writings of Baal HaSulam, “The Peace”

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