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The Times of Israel published my new article “Jewish Unity & Antisemitism: Moses & the Establishment of the People of Israel”
(Article No. 3 in a series) In the previous article, we described Israel’s time in Egypt, how they prospered while they were united under Joseph’s leadership, and how they assimilated after his passing, which then turned the Egyptians against them. In this article, we will explore Moses’ efforts to reunite the tormented and enslaved people and thereby redeem them from their oppressors and bring them out of Egypt. We will also show that once they united and were redeemed, they were tasked with being “a light unto nations,” namely to pass on their unity to the rest of the world.
Despite their worsening situation in Egypt, Israel did not unite until the arrival of Moses. When he arrived, he began to reunite Israel until, eventually, they were able to escape from Pharaoh’s rule.
Once out of Egypt, at the foot of Mt. Sinai, the people of Israel solidified their unity to the point that they became as one. This is why the great 11th century commentator RASHI described them as being “as one man with one heart.” That level of unity was the requirement for the aggregate of strangers who subscribed to Abraham’s message to be “officially” declared a nation. There, at the foot of the mountain, was the birth of the nation of Israel. The example of disunity and enslavement vs. unity and redemption that the Hebrews had experienced in Egypt was to be a lesson for them to maintain their unity no matter how intense their egoism grows. As we will see throughout this series, the linkage between disunity and adversity has not been broken since. Regrettably, neither has the lesson been learned.
When Moses united the people of Israel, he did not intend to unite Israel only for their own sake. Just as Abraham wanted to unite all the Babylonians but had to do with those who followed him, Moses wanted to help the whole world find unity, not just the Israelites.
Accommodating Moses’ wish to spread the ideology of unity to all of humanity, immediately after the people of Israel were declared a nation, they were tasked with being “a light unto nations” (Isaiah 42:5, Isaiah 49:6), namely to spread this unity. In The Commentary of Ramchal on the Torah, the great 18th century kabbalist wrote, “Moses wished to complete the correction of the world at that time. This is why he took the mixed multitude, as he thought that thus would be the correction of the world … However, he did not succeed because of the corruptions that occurred along the way.”
Similar to Ramchal, in the 19th century, Isaac Hever Wildman wrote in his book Beit Olamim, “That was Moses’ prayer and blessing to the generation of the desert, that they would be the beginning of the correction of the world.”
Even more astounding words regarding the purpose of establishing the people of Israel were written in the book Maor VaShemesh: “‘That He may establish you today as His people’ means that by that you will have revival, you will be saved from all calamities. Afterward He said to them, ‘Now not with you alone am I making this covenant,’ meaning that being saved from any harm by bonding was not promised only to Moses’ generation. Rather, ‘But with those who stand here with us today … and with those who are not with us here today,’ meaning that all future generations have been promised it—to pass through all the bludgeons of the covenant and that they will not be harmed, through the unity and bonding that will be among them.”
We, therefore, see that the level of unity in Israel, the fate of the people, and the fate of the world have been linked from the very inception of the nation. That unbroken link is at the root of all our troubles, as we will see through the rest of this series.
The next article will look into the events that led to the split within the people of Israel between the Kingdom of Israel, the Kingdom of Judah, and the corruption that led to the ruin of the First Temple.
For much more on this topic, please see my latest publication, The Jewish Choice: Unity or Anti-Semitism: Historical facts on anti-Semitism as a reflection of Jewish social discord.
Michael Laitman, On Quora: “What is a prayer?“
We are born and raised in a self-centered perception and sensation of the world, which leads to an accumulation of problems in our lives. Our encounter with all kinds of problems is in order to give us a desire to rise above our current perception and sensation, and discover a new world, one of love, care, and positive connection among everyone.
The transformation from our inborn egoistic perception and sensation to a new altruistic one is performed via an act called “prayer.”
What is prayer?
Prayer does not mean reciting words from a book, no matter how holy the book is, nor does it mean asking a higher power to change something in the world, or to benefit oneself individually. Rather, since our entire perception of reality is self-centered, where we aim to derive fulfillment within ourselves on a moment-to-moment basis, then prayer is a sincere request to transform our self-centered approach to reality, and become beneficial to everyone and everything surrounding us.
In other words, prayer is a request for self-transformation, where instead of wishing to egoistically absorb, receive, and exploit others for personal gain, as we do by default, we instead develop a genuine will to think and desire in an opposite direction: to give, bestow, and use our own selves for the benefit of others.
The outcome of an honest prayer for self-transformation from the depth of our hearts is written by the sages in the commandment, “And you shall love your friend as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18). That is, our prayer should lead us to a state where we feel others as we feel ourselves, thus inverting and correcting the intention upon our ego to one of giving.
Therefore, prayer means reaching a true desire to love others as we love ourselves, as well as a revelation of the full extent to which we actually love ourselves. If our desire is true, from the bottom of our hearts, then we become awarded with help from a higher power that corrects our ego, granting us the ability to love others to the extent of our own self-love.
Question: It is not a secret that people are tired. There is a new discovery almost every day: the virus lives up to 28 days on smartphones, credit cards, visas, and money; people can be re-infected by the coronavirus and that the re-infection is much stronger than the original one.
The virus has been discovered in water. Animals also can be infected. You can get infected even without having contact with the sick. Another virus is emerging, which is more “evil.”
I have listed only 1% of what is spread by the media, by anyone at all. In this situation, where can man go? What is he being driven to? Is this how one should live—within one square meter and not move?
Answer: There is nothing one can do.
Remark: In this case, the reaction of an ordinary person is the opposite. He says: “Since that is the case, I am leaving the house. Well, can’t I continue living?” And he goes out. We ourselves drive him to this decision.
My Comment: No. I think this is still wrong. We must understand that a person should not act in accordance with his nerves or beliefs. He must act in the way he has to act.
Question: What do you mean “must”? What is it?
Remark: But man does not think about education. He thinks: “I have to clean my credit card all the time, I have to wipe the space around me all the time, and not let anyone near me. He does not think that the virus has come to educate us.
My Comment: And we have to explain this to him. This is our problem. It is our problem—the problem of those of us who understand where the virus came from and why.
Oddly enough, it came to bring us closer. But to bring us closer internally, not externally. So that we do not wipe off the space after each other but “wipe off” ourselves so that we do not infect each other, so that we worry: “Will I infect the other”—and not that I will get infected from the other. When we think of others instead of ourselves, everything will go away and the virus will disappear, melt away like smoke.
Question: Is the entire problem that I am as if locked in on myself, on the fact of what I should do, where I should go?
Answer: No, I must do both. But I have to do it not to protect myself from others, but as if I am the only sick person in the world, and I want to protect others from myself.
Question: So, not “what will happen to me” but “what will happen to others?”
Answer: “What will happen to all of us.” The virus brings us, at last, the recognition of our mutual connection, which is bad, egoistic, and harmful. This virus and the other viruses that are coming after it will bring us to a state where we will think about others and not about ourselves because that is the only way we can keep everyone safe.
We have entered a state where we have no other choice. In the end, we must understand that the world must come to its corrected state, and we must follow not the path of our egoism, but in spite of it, the path toward our connection.
Question: Based on your words, medical science will not be able to create a vaccine, or it will, but another virus will come?
Answer: Yes, of course.
Question: Is it better not to work in this direction?
Answer: No. We have entered the twenty-first century. This is a new age, this is a new state of humanity. These are new viruses, spiritual, or one might say psychological, viruses that indicate to us that our connection is a crucial factor. If it is good, it is good for all of us. If it is bad, it will be bad for all of us.
Question: What should the healing thoughts of a person be?
Answer: It is when I think about others: how not to infect them, how to make sure that they are alive and well. It is simple. That’s it. I think not about myself, but about others. And this is how I save myself and decontaminate myself. I do not push others away from me in order not to get infected, I push them away from me so that I do not infect them.
Remark: But I am not sick…
My Comment: We are all sick. We all have viruses in us. Egoistic, wild viruses, when we think only about ourselves and not about others. Nature now, in the twenty-first century, will be changing us. And this is very, very unpleasant, incomprehensible, and somewhat unexpected.
Question: Is there such an awareness of my being an evil virus?
Answer: Yes. It is the only one in the entire world looking for someone to hurt—and it is me.
Question: I am the virus that can infect others, and I do not want to do that. I need to be isolated from people. Should I be stopped from approaching them and so on?
Answer: Yes. All my thoughts, my plans, my various ideas, they are all egoistic. I have to do something about them. How do I lock them inside myself? How to hide them within me? This is called restriction.
Question: In practice, do I ask: “Restrict me, separate me from people because I kill them, I infect them”?
Answer: Yes. If I do not do this, then an external virus comes along and it restricts me with these side effects. But in fact, the virus is not Covid-19 or other viruses that we are fighting today. No, the virus is precisely our egoistic thoughts about others.
Question: Will a person accept this?
Answer: He will have no choice. Nature will gradually force us. It has created us this way, and it is leading us to change so that we would ask nature itself to change what it has created in us. It will be beautiful. In general, I expect an interesting transformation of humanity in the coming years.
Question: So, are you expecting this request: “Change us”?
Answer: Yes. And we need to write books, make movies, everything we can on this topic about how this can happen, how nature will be changing us.
Question: Nature will force us and we will change anyway, so is it better not to resist?
Answer: Of course. Who are you going to resist? How can you? You yourself are nature. Nature does within you all that needs to be done.
Question: Why did nature then inscribe in us: “the king of nature” with “power over nature”?
Answer: In order for you, at the degree of human, which exists within you, to realize that you can change your animalistic nature. That’s it.
Question: Is this what we call “the king of nature”? The fact that I can ask to change my nature?
Answer: Yes, to rise above your animalistic egoistic nature and climb to the peak of an altruistic nature. We must help each other in this, do everything we can. If not, we will still come to this but, of course, with great suffering, loss, over a long period of time and painfully. I hope that people will hear. And we must talk about this all the time.
From KabTV’s “News with Dr. Michael Laitman” 10/15/20
My Response: Naturally, otherwise people have no reason to connect with anyone. This is a false unity that plans in advance to destroy someone in order to raise themselves.
Question: I know from experience that it is very difficult to explain the purpose of connection to people if it is not against someone. But for whom?
Question: In principle, we constantly work in tens. What are we lacking now, some kind of an impulsive effort, an attack through our internal work in external unity? What do we need to add in our work in the tens in order to succeed?
Answer: We are gradually changing. I can see this from the material I present to you and how it flows. This is not random material. We prepare it before each and every lesson as we move from one phase to another. Then I format my thoughts on Twitter.
I see that we are advancing, the tens are nicely structured, and friends are not indifferent to participating in them. At the beginning, they were forced to work in tens, then they realized that they had no choice because it really must be this way.
Now, they are not in the ten only because they have to be, but even in an egoistic sense they feel that they begin to perceive something through the ten. They understand that through the ten they will reveal the force of redemption, the force of revelation, inspiration, all desires, all the light, and all of spirituality. I see that they relate to spirituality as something precious, at least as something essential.
At least no one can be indifferent to the ten, and this is the reason that we feel this movement, and it is very good.
From KabTV’s “Fundamentals of Kabbalah” 2/5/19
Preparation to the Lesson
Lesson on the Topic of “Work with Faith Above Reason”
Writings of Baal HaSulam, “Study of the Ten Sefirot, ‘Histaklut Pnimit,’ Vol. 1, Part 2, Chapter 2, Item 14″
Writings of Baal HaSulam, “Connecting the World in the Last Generation”