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“The Reset Button”

Dr. Michael LaitmanFrom My Facebook Page Michael Laitman 10/9/20

In contrast to the egoistic human perspective, nature aims to connect all its elements into a single harmonious whole. Within this harmonious whole, each part receives what it needs for its sustenance and gives according to its ability for the benefit of the whole—similar to the healthy functioning of the cells and organs in the human body.

While the egoistic quality of mankind increasingly clashes with nature’s altruistic quality, we will experience more and more blows. Blows from nature can appear as global pandemics, as we are now experiencing with the coronavirus, as well as in myriad other forms such as ecological disasters, for example.
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“Simchat Torah”

Dr. Michael LaitmanFrom My Facebook Page Michael Laitman 10/9/20

When we gather with people who also wish to overcome their egoistic inclination and exert a positive influence in the world, we get ready to receive the Torah. 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 and balanced one.

We can rejoice then in our recognition of the real cause of all our problems—our egoistic nature—and in our having the means at our disposal to redirect this nature to a good direction of connection, love, and giving. That is already a major step toward the reformation the Torah speaks about.

Happy holiday to all!
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“What Is The Joy In Simchat Torah?”

Dr. Michael LaitmanFrom My Facebook Page Michael Laitman 10/9/20

Friday is the day of Simchat Torah [lit. The Joy of Torah]. On this day, we celebrate the completion of the cycle of reading Torah portions and the beginning of a new one. But why is completing a cycle of reading only to start over a reason for celebration? It isn’t. If we look only at the superficial level of things, there is nothing to celebrate.

If we want to make sense of this festive day, we have to go beyond the exterior, to the inner, true meaning of the Torah. It is written, “I have created the evil inclination; I have created the Torah as a spice” (Masechet Kidushin). This means that the Torah is not some piece of text that we must recite without applying its content to ourselves, but a means for correcting our evil inclination. If we use it for any other purpose, we are missing the whole point.

If we achieve correction of our evil inclination, then we have a reason for celebration. If we do not, then we should keep working until we reach the state of Simchat Torah, namely the correction of our evil inclination through the “spice” of Torah.

In Hebrew, the word Torah means both “light” and “instruction.” The “light” in it is regarded as “the light that reforms,” a force that “corrects” our evil inclination into a good inclination. The “instruction” part of the Torah refers to what we have to do in order to “reform” ourselves, and that is to love our neighbors as ourselves. Old Hillel said about this, “That which you hate, do not do unto your neighbor; this is the whole of the Torah” (Masechet Shabbat, 31a), and Rabbi Akiva added, “Love your neighbor as yourself; this is the great rule of the Torah” (Jerusalem Talmud, Nedarim, 30b).

At the moment, the festival of Simchat Torah is simply a reminder of what we should be doing, and in that sense I’m happy about it. But in truth, we have no cause for celebration since there is anything but love of others among us. Even if we weren’t corrected but at least wanted to use the “light” in order to reform ourselves, it would be reason enough for celebration. But currently, I do not see that we are acknowledging our desperate need to change or that we are willing to and feel accountable for the state of our nation.

The situation is even more serious when it comes to our relations with the nations of the world. As Jews, we are constantly under the world’s watchful eye. They judge us by a different yardstick than they judge any other nation, and with good reason: They feel that it’s our duty to bring them light, to be “a light unto nations.” That is, we are not only required to use the reforming light on ourselves, but we are also required to pass it on so the rest of the world can be rid of the evil inclination. Even if the nations don’t articulate this request explicitly, their accusation that we are causing all that is evil in the world is in fact the flip side of saying “You are not bringing the light you are supposed to, the light that will reform us and stop the evil among us.”

Even our own sages tell us that our task is to bring the light of unity to the world, and when we do not, we inflict trouble on the nations. The Talmud writes, “No calamity comes to the world but because of Israel” (Masechet Yevamot, 63a). The Midrash is even more specific: “This nation, world peace dwells within it” (Beresheet Rabbah, 66).

We see that when antisemites accuse us of causing wars, they are in fact saying the same thing that our sages have been saying for generations but we refuse to listen. Because we wouldn’t listen, we have been given antisemites to intimidate us and force us to listen. Perhaps if we tried to do what our sages, who certainly want our best, have been advising us for millennia, we wouldn’t be suffering from antisemitism to this day, eighty years after the horrors of the Holocaust.

The Book of Consciousness writes, “We are commanded at each generation to strengthen the unity among us so our enemies do not rule over us.” With these words, I would like to wish us all that this coming year, we will unite “as one man with one heart,” learn the true meaning of the Torah, rejoice in it, and merit the words of King David in Psalms 29, “The Lord will give strength to His people; the Lord will bless His people with peace.”

“Simchat Torah, Reasons To Be Joyful” (Times Of Israel)

The Times of Israel published my new article “Simchat Torah, Reasons to Be Joyful

Simchat Torah marks the conclusion of the Tishrei holiday cycle with a celebration of joy in the Torah. But is it possible to feel a happy atmosphere when the world is facing such a conspicuous pandemic? Indeed, the current situation gives us an opportunity to recognize the cause of our predicaments—our egoistic inclination of self-concern—and to transform them into the right direction of love and connection. What is the real meaning of rejoicing with the Torah? Where is this joy rooted? To understand the deeper meaning behind this celebration we should first understand what the deeper meaning behind the Torah itself is.

The Torah is the “light that reforms” [Midrash Rabah, Eicha, “Introduction,” Paragraph 2]. It refers to the force that develops and sustains all living organisms. The light is a desire to give, and its creation, particularly us, 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 onto our innate desire to receive. Such attainment is feeling a much more expansive reality than the one we feel when we only receive.

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 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 out why they are happening and how they can be resolved.

Moreover, today’s globally interdependent condition, particularly evident due to the pandemic, shows us that the more we develop without working together to resolve the many personal, social, ecological, and financial issues pressing on us and looking at them as a common state that demands mutual responsibility, then we’re bound to tumble into deeper chasms.

The global crisis today is occurring 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. 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 correcting them, thereby adding fulfillment and pleasure to our lives, a spice. 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 lies in our connection.

When we gather with people who also wish to overcome their egoistic inclination and exert a positive influence in the world, we get ready to receive the Torah. 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 and balanced one.

We can rejoice then in our recognition of the real cause of all our problems—our egoistic nature—and in our having the means at our disposal to redirect this nature to a good direction of connection, love, and giving. That is already a major step toward the reformation the Torah speaks about.

Happy holiday to all!

“US Jews Should Be Wise When Voting For Next President” (Israel Hayom)

My new article on Israel Hayom “US Jews should be wise when voting for next president

Israelis always want the president of the United States to be pro-Israel, and with good reason. For decades, the US has supported Israel in many ways – financially, in the international arena, and in military aid. This support did not come without its price tag, and the US has always had at least a certain amount of control over Israel’s foreign policy, but there is no question that America’s support of Israel has done us a lot of good.

In less than a month, America will vote on who will be its president for the next four years. I think this is a good time for us to reflect on what makes us worthy of support. What are we giving to the world? Why did we establish the State of Israel to begin with? Is it only in order to serve as a safe haven after the Holocaust? If this were so, then I’m sure the nations already regret their vote from November 29, 1947 when they supported the establishment of a Jewish state.

I think that to merit support from the American president, and from every other country for that matter, the people of Israel must live up to their name. We may want to be like all other nations, but we are not. We didn’t come from a single clan or tribe; we have no biological or familial affiliation.

On the contrary, our forefathers came from clans and tribes from all over the Fertile Crescent, which were often hostile toward each other. These refugees from their own nations became a separate nation since they had the same ideology, the same spiritual idea that unity and love of others must transcend all other values. This is why we began our official nationhood only after we agreed to unite “as one man with one heart.”

We struggled with our commitment to unite all through our years in the desert and we achieved sovereignty only after we achieved unity. When our unity disintegrated, we were exiled to Babylon. When we reunited under Haman’s threat of destruction, we were given Israel once more. But then we started hating each other to the point that we slaughtered and starved one another while the Roman legion sieged the walls of Jerusalem, and that made us unworthy of having a land of our own and we were exiled until now.

After World War II, we were given another chance at sovereignty. But if we don’t rise to the challenge, the nations won’t support us. Unless we find a way to be once more “as one man with one heart,” and set an example of unity to the world, the nations will see no purpose in our being here.

If another vote on the establishment of the State of Israel were done today, does anyone believe that we would receive the required two-thirds favorable votes? Regardless of our foreign policy, the nations will condemn us as long as we are an example of belligerence and internal division. The world looks at Israel with dismay and often with disgust not because of our military conduct, but because of our conduct with each other. If we behave the way Israel should behave, making unity our top value, then whoever is elected on November 3 will be a favorable president toward Israel, as will all other nations.

It is said that Jews are smart. I hope that we are smart enough to learn from our past errors so we don’t have to experience another cataclysm in the grief-stricken chronicles of our nation.

“What Scares You Most In Life?” (Quora)

Dr. Michael LaitmanMichael Laitman, On Quora: What scares you most in life?

Think about what it would be like to be completely connected to other people, like cogwheels, spinning with everyone in total coordination.

Imagine that your thoughts, desires, actions and decisions depend entirely on your surrounding society and circumstances.

It would be intolerable feeling, worse than prison—total enslavement.

You would feel like a caged animal, frantically seeking every possible way to break free.

You would prefer to die than feel that kind of inescapable pressure.

Yet, whether we like it or not, humanity is heading in that direction.

Today, the coronavirus has already illuminated how we have entered a whole new era of global interdependence and interconnectedness, and we can only expect our connections to become tighter.

What, then, is the key to feel our increasing connection not as a prison cell that closes in on us more and more, but as an amazing new phenomenon that opens up all kinds of new opportunities?

That key is a new kind of education.

Until today, our education has mostly raised us to enter the job market, which has already started shaking under the pressure of today’s increasingly interdependent and interconnected reality. Moreover, as we mainly learn how to fill jobs and make careers for ourselves, and fail to learn about how we can manage our relationships successfully in a reality where we become more closely intertwined, then we experience myriad negative outcomes—from increasing depression, stress, anxiety and loneliness on personal scales, through to more social division and polarization in society at large.

At the base of it, the more we develop, the more we connect. However, our connections are superficial: we connect more technologically, economically and through all kinds of phenomena like the coronavirus that place us all into common circumstances around the world. The paradox is that the more we connect in such a way, the more detached we become in our attitudes to each other.

Therefore, today we need a new kind of education that guides our inner psychological adaptation to our increasing external connections, i.e., that we learn how to adapt our attitudes to each other in order to realize our increasing connections positively.

The problem is that our egoistic nature—the desire to enjoy at the expense of others—conflicts with our increasing connection, which demands us to be considerate, conceding, giving and responsible for one another.

What scares me, then, is the thought about how humanity will further connect: Will humanity become flattened under the evolutionary steamroller than connects people more and more with no conscious participation, and thus experience further development as pains and suffering; or will humanity start becoming organized to learn about its nature and the nature of the surrounding integral reality, and start making moves to match its currently divisive and egoistic attitudes with the perfect altruistic connectedness of the surrounding reality?

However, the fear I have is coupled with hope and an unending drive to pass on the method of connection that Kabbalists devised thousands of years ago precisely to be used in our era. I teach the method to my students in daily lessons, just as my teacher did for his students, and also participate in many different TV and Internet programs during the day, viewed by millions around the world in multiple languages—people who have no direct interest in Kabbalah itself, but who can use the principles of the method in order to better understand how nature works, and how it leads us to a need for connection. Even just this basic understanding of the method of connection trickling through serves to point the way to positive connection. However, as we can see, it is insufficient to spare humanity from crisis and suffering.

If we truly wanted to spare ourselves from unnecessary suffering as we further develop, we would need to integrate the method of connection into our educational systems and media influences, so that to the same extent in which we learn about how to fill job positions and encounter all kinds of media that influences us with mostly divisive messaging, we would learn about how to positively connect and become happy, confident and safe human beings, as well as engaging with media that influences us with positive examples, such as people overcoming their base egoistic drives by showing love and care for each other.

For anyone interested in further pursuing this topic, the above video is a documentary that one of my students created on this transitional moment in history, and today’s fateful need to positively connect.

Image by World Vectors by Vecteezy.

Advice For Making Decisions

115Comment: Give advice for an ordinary person about how to make the right decision at every moment of his life so he will feel good.

My Response: Make sure people approve of it.

Question: And how should a manager make decisions, for them to be good for him and his subordinates?

Answer: Discuss it with subordinates.

Question: What advice would you give the president to make the right decisions?

Answer: He should look for smart people.

Question: What advice would you give parents about how to make the right decision in the family?

Answer: Understand the child and give him activities that captivate him and make him a great person.

Question: And now, give advice for people who are looking for the meaning of life. What is the meaning? Where can someone find it?

Answer: Come to our organization. I can’t see where else the meaning of life is.
From KabTV’s “Management Skills” 6/11/20

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Choose The Path

760.4Question: Is it necessary to teach a person to make decisions or is it a natural skill, a consequence of a person’s upbringing, education? I ask because there are so many courses on how to make right decisions.

Answer: Yes, but they are all limited by the framework of corporeal life. Therefore, I cannot speak with them at the same level. They are trained to make decisions within the corporeal framework.

Remark: But we also live within the corporeal framework.

Answer: The fact is that now this is no longer the case. Today we live in a generation that must choose a path that coincides with the general task of the universe even in solving the most elementary production problems. Otherwise, nothing will come of this enterprise.

Let people come to our course and gradually begin to understand how the whole system called one soul, Adam, works, and how we can behave correctly in this system.
From KabTV’s “Management Skills” 6/11/20

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Not To Manage But To Achieve

592.03Question: They say that three things are required in order to manage: time, talent, and desire. And in your opinion, someone who doesn’t like to manage can be a manager. Why?

Answer: Because in this case, he will not confuse people and intentionally manipulate them. Management is good when you clearly know the goal, constantly develop more specific concise ways to achieve it, and know which people to engage in order to realize this goal.

Question: Are you saying that a good manager is someone who doesn’t like to manage but just does it out of necessity?

Answer: Yes. Otherwise he will get bogged down in this work and will find pleasure in digging in it.

Question: Does it mean that for him some goal must be higher than the desire of a person to control and rule?

Answer: Of course. If I can jump to the end of this process, that is the most important thing for me. I do not like to manage, I like to achieve.
From KabTV’s “Management Skills” 6/11/20

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