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“If We Are Not For Us, Who Is for Us”

Dr. Michael LaitmanFrom My Facebook Page Michael Laitman 8/28/20

My teacher used to say that if a person stands next to a heavy bag and asks people to help him pick it up and mount it on his shoulder, no one will help him. But if he picks up the bag, places it on his shoulder, and the bag almost slips because it’s too heavy for him to carry by himself, everyone around will jump to his assistance. The moral of the story is simple: Before you ask for help, make an effort to help yourself. Then, if you need help, it will come for certain.

Today, more than ever, it is clear that only we can help ourselves. If we wait for government officials to do our work for us, we can wait forever. But through mutual responsibility, there is no limit to what we can achieve.

There are many lessons we can learn from the Covid-19 pandemic, but in my opinion, the single most important takeaway is that we are one system, and the well-being of the system depends on the quality of the connections among its parts. The virus, with its unbelievable ease of contagion, has taught us that an infection anywhere is an infection everywhere. Against our will, it made us responsible for each other’s health, but in doing so, it stressed a truth we had already known: We are completely dependent on each other.
The realization that we are responsible for one another didn’t come only to teach us that we must not infect each other with diseases. It came to show that if we want to have a good life on this planet, we have to connect our hearts, since otherwise we will not have the motivation to do what we must in order to help one another physically.

Put differently, the health crisis we are experiencing with the pandemic is first and foremost a social crisis, a symptom of social disintegration. In fact, if we did not suffer from social disintegration, the majority of crises we are currently experiencing would never materialize. The wave of gun violence in New York City and Chicago, are they not a symptom of social disintegration? The crisis of addiction to prescription and even over the counter drugs that has been killing tens of thousands of Americans each year, is this not due to social disintegration? What about domestic violence, police brutality, racism, fanaticism, sexual abuse, verbal and physical abuse, depression, obesity, the cancel culture, are they all not consequences of social disintegration?

Clearly, the true remedy that we need today is to care for one another, or at least to be responsible for one another. But no one will build social responsibility for us if we don’t do this by ourselves—community after community, city after city, state after state, and all over the country.

Covid-19 is a challenge. And rising to the challenge means that the challenge should raise us to a higher level than before. Otherwise, why did the challenge come in the first place? In the case of the coronavirus, it evidently came in order to raise us from the nadir of isolation to the zenith of connection. This, today, is our road to happiness.

A Taste For Basic Needs

282.01Question: The needs of the lowest level of our desires do not disappear; they are preserved at all levels. Therefore, even if I am at the top of the pyramid today, will I always have animalistic needs?

Answer: The whole set of them. Each of us contains the entire pyramid of desires. Moreover, the higher we rise in our values, the stronger our connection with the lowest levels becomes.

Therefore, in Kabbalah it is said that the higher a person rises, the stronger his craving for basic needs become—food, sex, family.

Question: That is, it is not that a person begins to neglect them, but on the contrary, he begins to feel a taste for them, a taste for respect, for money, etc.?

Answer: For everything.

Question: Is such a struggle constantly taking place in him?

Answer: This is what his growth is about.

Question: It means that he does not become indifferent to this whole world, money, and everything else?

Answer: Never and in no way. It is only in books they write that spiritual people are supposedly all “God’s dandelions.” On the contrary! As their spiritual desires grow, so do their bodily, egoistic, earthly desires.
From KabTV’s “Management Skills”, 6/25/20

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When Hearts Sing

943Comment: They say that the most affordable cure for stress when things are bad is singing. Even better to sing in a choir. Italians and Spaniards go out on their balconies and sing.

Scientists say that when we sing, a large part of our brain is activated. The brain has a singing network of neurons that is distributed quite widely. This is a kind of aerobics, in which the body produces endorphins, hormones of joy. This reduces stress levels and improves mood.

My Response: Obviously.

Question: When I sing, is it as if I get emotionally and sensually out of myself and work for someone else?

Answer: For others, for everybody!

Question: Does it mean that the song has a deep, even spiritual meaning?

Answer: They sing together. If the song is choral, then of course, this is a completely different effect.

The choir connects everybody together into one common whole! If at the same time they chant something like Psalms, then there is a very strong impact.

We praise our commonality, our unity, and we want to appeal from within ourselves, from our common whole, to the upper force of nature, to the Creator, in order to contact Him. We are to Him, and He is to us.

In Italy, people tried to do this, and as a result, they have almost nothing.

Comment: First, we need to sort out ourselves in Israel.

My Response: We will not be able to sort out ourselves! Humanity will suffer, but we will suffer more.

Question: What if we would start singing?

Answer: If Israel starts singing together, in chorus, all of humanity will join,  and it will really be an appeal of all of humanity to the upper force. We will rise to the spiritual level, find ourselves in perfection, in health, in eternity.

Question: When you say, “Israel will sing in chorus,” what do you imply by that? What is Israel? Who is this?

Answer: They are just the people of Israel. All those who associate with us, and not necessarily of Jewish origin. If we sing, the whole world will immediately be cured, and absolutely and immediately from all the sicknesses, from all the problems, internal and external ones, and mainly psychological ones.

Question: You say, “We will sing.” What will we sing?

Answer: The heart sings! It sings that I want to unite with everyone and that together with everyone we turn to the Creator. Only with one thing: to help us be together with each other and with Him.

Question: Turning to the Creator, what do I say? What do I sing to Him with my heart?

Answer: To feel only the connection between me, humanity, and the Creator, nothing more.

Question: Do I feel that this is love, that this is bestowal?

Answer: Of course, this is love, this is bestowal, and this is like the feeling of a fetus in the mother’s womb.

Question: In other words, the fetus is singing a blessing for its mother?

Answer: Yes, of course. The best state. There is nothing better!”
From KabTV’s “The News with Michael Laitman” 7/6/20

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Managing Stress, Part 9

281.02Question: Why are women more resistant to stress than men?

Answer: It is physiological: they should give birth, raise children, and take care of their families. Therefore, they have greater resistance to everything.

Question: Can we say that egoists are more susceptible to stress?

Answer: Naturally. The greater the egoistic desire, the more one depends on all kinds of external conditions.

Question: Are there any methods to fully control our feelings and emotions?

Answer: Yes. If a person completely lets go of his egoism, then there is practically nothing that can influence him from the outside.

Question: Is stress contagious?

Answer: Of course. It is transmitted. It literally infects entire regions.

Question: It is said that young people are more susceptible to stress than older people. Do you agree?

Answer: Yes, they have an unstable system. They transmit this state to each other.

Question: To make it easier to overcome life’s difficulties, psychologists advise people to compare themselves with people who are worse off than they are. Do you consider this an effective action?

Answer: No. This is wrong, opposed to human nature, and vulgar. I have to think that someone else is worse off and that’s why I’m better off. It is lowly to be attuned to life as such.

Question: Strong psychological and physical shocks are genetically transmitted to descendants and they become more resistant to stress. Do you agree with this statement?

Answer: Yes. Any disease makes us healthier.

Question: Can climate change increase rates of depression and anxiety?

Answer: Naturally. We are inside a sphere that is generally called nature, and it affects us with all its factors.

Question: One reaction to long-term stress is to escape into an illusory world. Many go somewhere to a remote village. Do you think this is effective?

Answer: A person is ready to do anything to get rid of internal and external pressures. So there’s no getting away from it.

Question: There are statistics on how the most successful people on Earth cope with stress. For example, Bill Gates reads before going to bed. Apple CEO Tim Cook tries to ignore the words of cynics. Businessman Elon Musk looks his fear in the face. Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, laughs a lot. Chief Operating Officer of Facebook Sheryl Sandberg turns off her phone at night.

How do you deal with stress?

Answer: I do not believe a word they say. All of this is so shallow that I do not know for whom it might work.

What do I do? I study the wisdom of Kabbalah and find comfort in it. In it I find the solution to all questions, and therefore, it is the most important for me.
From KabTV’s “Management Skills” 6/25/20

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New Life 1272 – How To Prevent Civil War

New Life 1272 – How To Prevent Civil War
Dr. Michael Laitman in conversation with Oren Levi and Tal Mandelbaum

When two egoistic parties are stuck because both think they’re right, they shouldn’t talk or they will become even more opposed and kill each other. First, they need to be educated so they will understand what state they have to come to and how. Our attitudes toward ourselves and one another need to be upgraded so that we acknowledge the inherent evil in our egoistic development as well as the remedy that will help us derive the force of good from nature. Preventing war will require that we learn how to love others despite our different views through mutual concessions since “love covers all crimes.” We will learn that we all come from one, loving, upper force that places us in conflict with one another so that we will develop to a higher level. We live in a special world in which humans have the opportunity to evolve into more advanced social creatures who know how to rise above their own personal truths and identify with the upper force in nature, the truth that is above everyone.
From KabTV’s “New Life 1272 – How To Prevent Civil War,” 8/3/20

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“America’s Slow Death By Implosion” (Newsmax)

My article in Newsmax: “America’s Slow Death by Implosion

Where is America going?

It seems like there is not a corner in this vast country that isn’t experiencing some sort of a crisis, and often more than one at the same time. On the West Coast, the second and third largest fires in California history are burning at the same time along with more than 500(!) other fires.

The blazes started after California was hit by 11,000 lightning strikes in just three days. Incidentally, the 10 biggest fires in California history have all burned in the last 17 years, which tells you something about the changing climate. But California is not only burning.

The smoke-filled air makes it even more uncomfortable, and often risky, to wear face masks to protect from COVID-19, which is raging all over the U.S. and has so far infected nearly 6 million people and killed more than 180,000.

But a lot more is happening in America right now, or was happening until very recently (depending on when you are reading this column).

In Oregon, anarchists have taken over downtown Portland and have terrorized residents, looted stores, disrupted life and attempted to set ablaze the federal courthouse in the city.

In the Gulf of Mexico, Louisiana and neighboring states are being hit by two tropical storms (one of which is a hurricane) in a span of two days.

In Chicago, the Magnificent Mile high-end shopping street has been looted and its shops destroyed by anarchists, in addition to an extreme wave of gun violence.

Many wealthy Chicagoans are trying to move out of the city but cannot find buyers for their downtown apartments. Just north of Chicago, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, a white officer’s shooting of an unarmed black man behind his back in front of his children reignited the protests against police brutality.

In New York City, gun violence has spiked this year and so far, more than 1,100 people have been slain by gunfire since the beginning of the year in New York City alone.

And while all this is going on, hunger is spreading all over the U.S. According to Forbes, “At minimum, the number of households that lack … stable food supply has doubled, and possibly tripled [since April 2018], making current rates of food insecurity [nearly 30%] higher than at any point since data collection began” By a simple calculation, this means that roughly 100 million people in the U.S. alone often go hungry.

But these numbers aren’t the worst of the blow. According to Brookings Institution, as of April this year, 34% of households with children under 18 suffered from lack of food, and 41% of households with children under 12 suffered from the same.

In simple words, many millions of children are currently hungry in what was supposed to be the land of unlimited possibilities.

What is going on here?

Is it a coincidence that the worst of nature and the worst of human nature seem to be converging in one place? It is not at all a coincidence.

There are forces at play here that impact every level of our lives: physical, emotional, and social. On the physical level, they manifest in heating and cooling, pulling and pushing, spreading and converging.

On the emotional level, they manifest in love and hate, alienation and affection, apathy and sympathy. On the social level, they form cohesion and disintegration, war and peace, tolerance and extremism.

When one force becomes more dominant than the other, it pulls toward it the other force which balances it and restores the system’s equilibrium. As the system shifts from imbalance to balance, the ripples impact all levels of nature. The more abrupt and forceful the restoration of balance, the sharper its impact on all levels of existence.

The United States of America has been for many years the center of humanity’s ego-based civilization. So when the system begins to balance itself, its impact will be felt at the heart of it more than anywhere else.

There is no lack of food in America, but there is hunger everywhere. There is no lack of funds, but there is extreme poverty. There could be great education for everyone, but it is reserved for those who can afford it.

Nowhere does the ego reign so supreme as it does is in the U.S. So when nature begins to enforce balance, it hurts the most in America.

The process of rerouting from the ego-based culture has already begun and will only accelerate. There is no turning back. And America, which was on top while the ego reigned high, will be at the bottom when it falls.

Nevertheless, not all is lost for America since it still depends on itself. If Americans are brave enough to challenge their own beliefs and the system they grew up in, and go along with nature’s push to balance receiving with giving, individuality with mutuality, egoism with altruism, then once again they will come out on top. If they refuse, nature will show them “who’s boss.”

The new era does not refute the American Dream. It is against realizing it at the expense of others. The new era promises abundance, but on condition that everyone enjoys it.

If, in the future, we will advocate tyranny, bullying and superiority, nature will not tolerate it. The era of balance is not one of scarcity; it is one of abundance for everyone, but first and foremost, abundance of caring for one another equally, above all differences.

This is the only route America can take if it wants to save itself from misery.

“When Voters Are The Staircase To The Throne” (Linkedin)

My new article on Linkedin “When Voters Are the Staircase to the Throne

A few hours after the results come in, the winner of the 2020 presidential election will come on stage, thank his supporters, perhaps thank his rival for a tough race, and promise that he will be everyone’s president, not just of those who voted for him. But when a country is divided as deeply as America has become today, I’m not sure any president can patch it up.

To make America one again, you need more than words; you need a common goal. When people of differing views share a common goal their different viewpoints contribute to its attainment since they can cover more angles, look at things from different perspectives, and reflect problems that the other side did not think of before they materialize. But when each party sees the country as its own possession and wants to exploit it to promote its own interests, you’re bound to deepen the chasm and exacerbate the anger.

It seems that everyone has forgotten that unity is not built out of similar opinions, but out of different views that unite around a common goal through mutual concessions.

Currently, America is en route to mayhem. There is utter mistrust between Democrats and Republicans, Conservatives and Progressives, and blacks and whites. Generally, America has become a country where every decision you make puts you in agreement with half the country and at odds with the other half, even if you don’t want to be at odds with anyone. It seems as though there is no middle anymore, only extremes.

Four years ago, there was still a faint veneer of respect between the two parties. Today, no one even bothers to conceal the odium. I am all for frankness, but when you take pride in your derision of another and do not intend to mend it, you are sowing wind, and you will reap the storm.

It seems that everyone has forgotten that unity is not built out of similar opinions, but out of different views that unite around a common goal through mutual concessions. If the benefit of the United States were the goal of both parties when they come to present their cases to the public, it would have been a very different election campaign, and the whole country would be in a very different situation than it is in today. But when power is the goal and the voters are the staircase to the throne, politicians will not miss a step as they trample their way to the top.

“Virtual High Holidays And What They Mean” (Linkedin)

My new article on Linkedin “Virtual High Holidays and What They Mean

Now that Covid-19 has imposed social distancing on us, many establishments that rely on physical attendance have a problem. Among them are shuls. According to a story on Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA), “The pandemic’s first High Holiday season has synagogues wondering: Will people pay dues?” This is a very good question, and it remains to see how Jewish establishments such as synagogues and JCCs will cope with the absence of income from participants who come to attend services and activities.

If only those who can afford the hefty entry fees may pray to God inside the shul, and if only those who pray by “our prayer book” are allowed to join the service, and the rest are told to find their own kind, then we are an example of sinaat hinam (unfounded hatred), the very cause of our exile and dispersion. If we hate our brethren, we do not deserve to congregate.

But to me, the more interesting point is the message behind the prohibition to congregate. I think that any Jew who believes in God should ask, “What is God trying to tell us by not letting us congregate on the holiest day of the year? When have Jews not been able to congregate on Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement)? Probably only during the Holocaust and under totalitarian or antisemitic regimes. Does He not want our prayers? How can we atone for our sins if we can’t congregate for the Yom Kippur services?”

In my view, there is indeed a message here. We are unworthy of servicing God because we are untrue to the fundamental tenet of our Torah: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If only those who can afford the hefty entry fees may pray to God inside the shul, and if only those who pray by “our prayer book” are allowed to join the service, and the rest are told to find their own kind, then we are an example of sinaat hinam (unfounded hatred), the very cause of our exile and dispersion. If we hate our brethren, we do not deserve to congregate.

I think that this year is very special. This year, we truly have an opportunity to contemplate our Jewishness, to reflect on what it means to be a Jew, on why we were told to be “a light unto nations” and what this means. And I think we should start from the basics, from unity and mutual responsibility. Before we learn to recite from the prayer book, let’s learn to pray for one another, let’s be a role model of unity rather than an example of division.

Today is a time of tectonic changes. Judaism, too, will have to change. Unless we return to our core values of love of others and mutual responsibility, Judaism as we know it will vanish.

The Importance Of The Environment In Human Development

938.05Comment: American psychologist Abraham Maslow, author of the well-known hierarchy of human needs, asserted that a teacher or culture does not create a person or instill the ability to love or be loved, to philosophize, create symbols, or create. But they do provide an opportunity, and helps, what exists in the embryo to become real and actual.

Answer: Indeed, the acceleration of personality development depends on the environment.

The importance of the environment is very great because if we choose the right environment and connect with it, this will radically change our destiny. Through communication with the environment, we determine the methods and speed of passage of various states.

Question: Signs of personal growth, as psychologists write, are an increase in the ability to analyze, see the connections of events and phenomena, and understand other people. This is inner freedom and independence, a manifestation of responsibility.

How else can you identify these signs?

Answer: Signs of personal growth are manifested in a person as he or she realizes the importance of the environment. This is most important. In addition to what we have and develop in a natural way, the only parameter that we can change by ourselves is the environment.

Question: Consciousness of responsibility for one’s life is one of the main signs of personal growth. When should a person say that only he or she is responsible for what is happening to him or her and when to transfer his or her responsibility to nature, to higher forces?

Answer: Being completely within a certain environment and giving yourself to it, we begin to feel through this connection what we receive through our efforts with respect to the environment, and what the environment gives us without our efforts. This is how we begin to share the impact on ourselves.
From KabTV’s “Management Skills” 6/25/20

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