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Medium published my new article “What to Expect for the New Year 2021”
We are about to finish an atypical year and humanity wonders what lies in store for the next. 2021 will be a year in which we will all feel, understand, and accept the fact that the purpose of our experience so far has been to rearrange humanity in a more positive way. The challenges we have faced worked in our favor to help us scrutinize how they advanced us to a new stage of development, a new degree of human existence.
2020 was characterized by polarization, economic crisis, natural disasters, and a global pandemic that induced a worldwide shut down. The virus came to organize us, shake us up, and fix the imbalances in society, in our human relations, and with our planet.
This is the way nature deals with us. Covid-19 is not a random virus. Behind it stands a natural system that kicked into action after we destroyed a large part of the planet. It’s as if nature said, “Enough is enough. You are destroying the world. — You have pumped the earth dry and littered the oceans, polluted the air, and made garbage heaps of the land. You have depleted Earth’s resources. Now start rebuilding the world.”
How long will we fail to realize that nature will not calm down until we do our part? We seem to be starting to recognize our guilt here and there, beginning to grasp what is really going on. If it weren’t for the media, which is constantly misleading, humanity might have long ago grasped its responsibility.
And as harsh as it may seem, the natural system has spoken to us quite gently, not nearly as harshly as with other plagues in history. It has given us time to understand what nature requires. But if we do not heed the warning and change our course toward balance, we can naturally expect a stronger reaction in the coming year.
Is the pandemic over with the advent of new vaccines? We are moving on to the next stage in human development so there will obviously be some change. Will the change be in the direction of relief for us? That is hard to determine because usually the blows of nature move from lightest to heaviest until the necessary adjustments are made. For instance, if you ask a child to perform a task and he does not do it, you probably would speak to him in a firmer tone the next time. If that did not help, you would have to toughen up your positions and present him with even stricter terms and conditions.
It is not written in the stars how the coming year will look, not even regarding vaccines. In truth, the future is up to us. It depends on how much we will try to understand what nature is telling us. The message is clear. It’s plain to see that our industry is not suitable for the new world because it is centered on the production of unnecessary things that destroy the environment. It’s clear that the current education system does not harmonize with the laws of nature because we educate ourselves to compete with one another and create division.
Therefore, the main task for the new year should be to establish an integral world, to enter into a life of human partnership, one for the other and with the whole of nature.
Humanity will have to make changes, recalculate what is really important and what is not. We must get rid of everything that is not indispensable, understand that we will have to close about 80% of our stores and businesses. Of course, there is no way that people will agree with such drastic changes without understanding where they lead and for what purpose — namely, to a more balanced world.
Meanwhile, people are finishing the current year worrying about how to make ends meet, concerned about rampant unemployment, questioning how to build a human society when so much uncertainty and social unrest exist. We should ask ourselves how to adopt a new way of thinking that takes everyone into account so all can look forward to the future with hope.
I think that 2021 will be a year of transition. Although the full transition we need will take a few years, at least we will start to understand the future conditions we need to reach. We must not create things that are not essential. We must put great emphasis on human education, on educating ourselves to aim at moving closer to each other in mutual solidarity.
If we unite, we will understand that all good is before us. We have it within our power to reach this consciousness. Everything depends on how willing we are to open our eyes, to open our minds and understand what nature (the Hebrew words for “God” and “nature” in Gematria have the same numerical value) is doing with us. Through improved connections between us we will reveal the supreme force that governs everything in reality to attain wholeness and complete fulfillment. This is the positive future that awaits us if we only think and act toward unification.
Michael Laitman, On Quora: “What are some Hanukkah symbols and meanings?“
The Candle, the Oil and the Wick
It is known that the candles cannot burn until three conditions are met 1) the candle, which is the vessel in which the oil is placed; 2) the oil; 3) the wick (a woven cord (in a candle or oil lamp) that draws fuel up into the flame). When those three are brought together we can enjoy their light. – Rav Baruch Shalom HaLevi Ashlag (Rabash), Assorted Notes. Article No. 5, “The Meaning of Sins Becoming as Merits”
What is the spiritual significance of the candle, which was traditionally a cup or vessel that would contain the oil and the wick, and which forms a complete construction with the oil and the wick in order to create light?
The spiritual significance can be understood when we perceive this construction through the language of branches, where corporeal objects point to their spiritual phenomena and processes.
As such, this construction—candle, oil and wick—represents three discernments of a corrected spiritual vessel, i.e., a desire to receive pleasure that has been corrected with an intention to bestow. The light that emerges from this construction is the outcome of the spiritual vessel: the intention to bestow above the desire to receive.
The candle, the oil and the wick are all equally required in creating the spiritual vessel. That is, the oil in and of itself cannot light up, and the wick in and of itself also cannot light up. But the wick that absorbs the oil, which rises up the wick, can light up.
The spiritual significance of this candle-oil-wick construction is that these are three qualities positioned in opposition to each other: reception, bestowal, and the connection between them. We cannot light any of the qualities in and of themselves, but when one quality absorbs the other, i.e., the wick that absorbs the oil, then it can be lit.
Spiritually, the wick represents our egoistic reasoning that rejects the spiritual work of connecting positively with others.
Oil is the spiritual quality of bestowal (called “Ohr Hochma” [“Light of Wisdom”] in the wisdom of Kabbalah), which we cannot use or light in and of itself.
However, when we absorb the oil (quality of bestowal) in our wick (desire to receive), then we can light it, i.e., establish a connection between this world of reception and the spiritual world of bestowal.
In Hebrew, the word for “’Petillah’ (wick) [comes] from the word ‘Petaltol’ (winding) and from the word ‘Pesulah’ (flawed), since it is flawed to think such thoughts” (Rabash, “The Meaning of Sins Becoming as Merits“). In other words, our egoistic thoughts for self-benefit alone—considered “flawed” since they detach us from the sensation of eternal spiritual fulfillment—assume the form of a wick when we insert them into an environment that primarily values spiritual qualities of bestowal and positive connection, represented by the oil.
Then, by opposing the flaws in our egoistic nature by participating in an environment that primarily values bestowal and positive connection, we create a construction—a spiritual vessel—capable of becoming lit with the spiritual light.
Our positive connection to each other above our incomplete and flawed egoistic nature generates a miraculous flame—it sets the conditions by which the spiritual light of bestowal can become revealed, even if only slightly, upon our egoistic nature.
In the wisdom of Kabbalah, this action is called “the revelation of the Creator.” Our efforts to positively connect, with an intention to bestow above our flawed egoistic reasoning—which rejects making any movement without seeing personal benefit in return—becomes the candle (the spiritual vessel) that ultimately becomes lit by the Creator, i.e., in which we discover the Creator—the quality of pure bestowal.
The more we participate in an environment that prioritizes love, giving and positive connection above egoistic pursuits, the more we absorb the oil in the wick, even though the form of the wick is a flawed one, i.e., even though by nature we can only calculate egoistically, each for our personal benefit.
So we engage in a spiritual environment because we want to discover the secrets of the universe, to reach the ultimate level of knowledge and awareness of reality, and to feel nothing less than the eternal harmony of our soul. In other words, our ego drives us to a spiritual search with its own visions of what spiritual goodness is, which can only be an egoistic picture in the beginning of our journey.
But if we truly find ourselves in a spiritual environment—among people, books and teachers that value positive connection, love, bestowal, care, support and encouragement for one another—then our ego finds itself in a dilemma: it wants to receive spirituality for itself while the environment presents a constant example that spirituality is only in bestowal upon others.
The more we advance in our connection despite the ego’s complaints, then the more our wick absorbs the oil, and this process continues until we have absorbed enough oil within us, meeting all the conditions necessary for the flame to appear: the revelation of the Creator in the created beings, a new spiritual state that is called “Hanukkah,” the first pit stop on our spiritual journey to more and more harmonious states of love, bestowal and positive connection.
Based on the Daily Kabbalah Lesson of December 15, 2020. Watch the lesson here »
My new article on Linkedin “Job Sharing Is a Great Idea (in Theory)”
Job sharing, when (usually) two people share the same position and split the job between them, has been around at least since the 1970s. However, in recent months, with the “encouragement” of the coronavirus and the rapid evaporation of jobs and demand for employees, it’s become a more common, and often a convenient way to secure income yet maintain functionality in other aspects of life such as family and leisure. Among the more prominent employers that incorporate job sharing are some very large ones such as Qualcomm and even the U.S. Federal Government.
To some of the people, in some companies, and for some of the time, this may be a convenient arrangement. However, recently, job sharing has been touted as a solution for the dwindling job opportunities due to the Covid-19 pandemic. As a solution for mass-employment, I think this is a hopeless idea. I don’t think either employees or employers will be happy with the results of such an experiment, if employed in large numbers, and for a good reason.
The barrier that stands between companies and successful job sharing is human nature. Without developing a whole new attitude to life’s purposes and to other people, our basic instincts of competition and (mainly) envy will destroy any attempt at mass-implementation of job sharing. This kind of arrangement requires people to be able to complement one another, mutually benefit from each other’s strengths and mutually compensate for each other’s weaknesses. I don’t see how people, who are naturally hostile to each other, behind the urbane smiles, can do that without an extensive and profound educational process.
Just as children cannot share, so are adults incapable of it. The only difference is that adults hide it behind phony smiles and fake gestures of friendliness. But put them in a situation where they need to sacrifice something of themselves, even if only their opinion, and you will see right away the value of their “friendliness.”
The coronavirus is forcing us to rethink everything, including our occupation and employment paradigms, and this is great since they have been poisonous to society for over a century. However, in order to build successful paradigms, we first need to comprehend the nature of the change that the pandemic has instigated. Covid-19 isn’t merely a virus that is here today and gone when there is a vaccine. It is the beginning of a new era, a more collaborative one, where people are dependent on each other and must therefore communicate and connect.
Yet, employing connection on such a profound level as job sharing is a bit like the attempt to make all people equal in Communist Russia without educating them about the value of equality and why these values are noble (if you believe them). It made the whole Communist experiment doomed before it even started.
What we need to focus on these days is education, not occupation: education about the world we live in, our interdependency, and mutual responsibility, which exist whether we like them or not. We need to develop solidarity and mutual concern in our communities, and grow from there. Shifts such as job sharing must come naturally, as a result of people’s desire to help one another, and not as something forced by employers, the state, or even circumstances. These reasons will not sustain people’s motivation for long.
Unemployment is a big problem, but governments must resolve it through benefits that it will give to people so they can secure a decent standard of living, benefits that will be contingent on participating in courses or trainings that inform about the interdependency we just mentioned. In this way, people will understand why we need to connect and improve our social relations, and how we can achieve it. When people understand, they cooperate much more keenly and society can remain calm and stable. For this reason, I think that countries and employers that want to help their countries should focus on two things only: provision of necessities and education about interdependency and promotion of social solidarity.
Question: The Greeks, led by Antiochus IV, captured the Temple in the 2nd century BC. There was a division of the Jews into Hellenized Jews, who supported the Seleucid Greeks, and Orthodox Jews led by the Maccabees. The Maccabees led the uprising and expelled the Seleucids from the Temple that had been captured and desecrated. When the Maccabees entered the Temple, they saw that the pure oil for the Menorah candles could only last for one day. But a miracle happened, the oil burned for eight days.
These are historical events that occurred more than 2,000 years ago. What do they mean from the point of view of Kabbalah?
Answer: After leaving Egypt, the people of Israel received the method of connection (mutual guarantee, Arvut), which developed during 40 years of traveling in the desert. Gradually, they became more and more united according to the method received from Jethro, the father of Moses’s wife. Jethro was not a Jew, nor was his daughter, but as the Torah says, he fully joined them.
The term Torah comes from the word “light”(Ohr). The light of the Torah, which a person receives from above, is necessary in order to bring people together and turn them into one single whole.
Despite the fact that they are egoistically distant, opposite to each other, and each wants to rule over the others, with the help of the right environment and the upper light, everyone can subjugate himself to society and make sure that all the people in it are directed to the center of society to unite with each other.
This is what the Jews were doing for 40 years in the desert. After they reached the state of unity, the desert turned into a fragrant land for them, called the Land of Israel. “Land – Eretz” comes from the word “desire – Ratzon.” That is, their desire began to blossom and bear fruit.
They built the Temple that represented the result of their efforts that came from the connection between them. The Temple does not mean something materialized, not stones and wood, but the connection of their desires.
So they lived, fought, reconciled, and constantly chose new conditions of connection. They were changing because new egoistic desires constantly arose in them. Therefore, they had to attract the upper light called the Torah more and more, to unite and thus advance.
But they could not hold on to this and for some time they fell into the slavery of egoism called the Babylonian exile of the time of Nebuchadnezzar. And then, with the help of Queen Esther, they came out of exile and began to inhabit the Land of Israel again, i.e., the desire to unite and connect with the Creator.
So they moved on until they reached the state of building the Second Temple, uniting in one common vessel in which they attained the Creator. But it did not last long because once again there was a huge, tearing egoism between them. This is how the Second Temple was destroyed, the common vessel was broken, the mutual desires and intentions for loving each other that allow us to reveal the Creator.
It was at this time that Rabbi Akiva called on the Jews to unite and shouted that one should love one’s neighbor as oneself,” but they could no longer hear him. This is the state the people of Israel are in now, people who, on one hand, understand that it is necessary to unite, and on the other hand, are not able to force themselves to unite.
From KabTV’s “Spiritual States” 12/16/19
Comment: In the current atmosphere, considering that the future is unclear, with mass layoffs and no work, an international group of scientists wrote a letter that has already been supported by hundreds of thousands of people.
The scientists write, “People who are in low-risk groups should be allowed to return to normal life immediately. Maintaining lockdowns and restrictions can cause irreparable harm. What is happening now is bullying.”
“Those who are not vulnerable should immediately be allowed to resume life as normal…
…Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health.”
WHO resists, saying that this is a provocative, immoral letter from scientists. But, in principle, the direction to end all quarantine measures and develop national, population-based immunity is very strong in the world now.
My Response: Is it proven that immunity can be developed?
Comment: Of course there is no proof. They say that the harm is much greater from being imprisoned, meaning from our sitting in an enclosed area.
My Response: Then let’s close some city and see what happens to it.
Question: Will this work or not? Is it possible to develop such immunity?
Answer: How? By just sitting there?
Comment: Those who should get sick will get sick.
My Response: No. The solution is not at the level of the disease, not at the level of the virus. The solution is at the next, higher level. Not at the level of the animalistic body, but at the level of relationships. If the relationships are correct, the virus disappears and does not spread. It just dies, evaporates, if there is a good relationship between people.
Question: You said, “Let’s try and make an experiment with some city.” Will immunity be developed during it or not?
Question: Is it possible to conduct the experiment you are talking about, that is about such good relations between people that the virus will disappear?
Answer: It depends on the people who live in this city. Whether they want to, whether they understand, whether they are ready, whether they are in some particular, clear connection with each other. Therefore, the most convenient way is to take a more or less homogeneous city.
Comment: And conduct the experiment?
My Response: In my eyes, this is not an experiment. This is the exact proof that this works.
Question: How will you convince them?
Answer: I will explain to them that only a good connection between people can organize us, improve us, help us, and raise us to a new level of existence.
Question: Will this be a kind of preparation? First, we need to surround this city with a network of television and radio, brainwash people that only a good connection will help us. How do you see this?
Answer: Of course, this must be done seriously, so that this is properly promoted and presented to the entire world.
Comment: What if we really dedicate such a space and say, “For these who are ready for this experiment— here are residential buildings, good premises.”
My Response: This is a different thing. There is a certain, different reason here.
Question: What is better? To create a settlement and invite these people who are ready for this difficult experiment where we try to treat each other well.
Answer: However, this experiment should be conducted in Israel. Because this nation is obliged to demonstrate the elimination of such a virus that comes from egoism, from separation, from contradictions with each other. This is especially prominent among the Jewish people.
Question: What if we launch such an idea, that is, let’s create such a city; nowadays it can be done very quickly, and bring the part of Israel that wants to try through good relations to change not only something in themselves but also in the entire world?
Answer: We can try.
Comment: Will they give money for this?
My Response: Certainly. Practically all of humanity would be interested in this.
Question: They only need to prove the axiom you are talking about, that good relationships between people will save the world. Will this small group, which will be able to come to good relationships between them, save the country and the world?
Answer: Yes. We will see with them, to the extent that they treat each other well, that they are healthy.
Only we cannot demonstrate this in a small group because it is not a clear definition and proof. This should be a serious group of thousands of people.
From KabTV’s “News with Dr. Michael Laitman” 10/15/20
Question: Multiculturalism is not about the parallel existence of different identities, but about their interconnection, which implies both mutual penetration and mutual transformation. How is the interaction of cultures expressed if everyone remains in their own culture and does not mix with others?
Answer: No. You can only mix in a mutual, kind complement.
Question: What then can remain unique: language, traditions, some kind of moral norms?
Answer: I do not think that as a result of mutual penetration, something special will remain in each culture and in general the cultures themselves will remain. As a result, they will outgrow themselves and turn into one single culture—human. There will be no division and names according to nations, nationalities, times, parts of the Earth, etc.
Integration means that we will learn how to come to a common denominator. Why should we be so different? Why hold on to something of your own, yours, and mine? Why can’t we just be human?
My Response: This is how our egoistic nature created us. Therefore, we are very different and hold on to the differences between ourselves. And if we rise above it, we will become just people. We will be good and pleasant with each other, we will not notice differences between us in any areas. Why is that bad?
From KabTV’s “Communication Skills”16/10/20
Answer: We need to increase the moral level of a human, otherwise we will be forced to abandon our future because we will destroy ourselves in the end.
There is a convention that bans the production of toxic substances, yet who observes it? We cannot be guided by all kinds of restrictions that we introduce ourselves.
We must raise a person so that he can see that such things in the world work against him. A society that produces poisonous substances ruins itself. A society like this has no future.
Comment: Humility is inherent in people who have advanced in terms of moral self-improvement more than others. They don’t want to lecture other people.
My Response: That’s wrong. This is a reflection of their egoism. They must overcome themselves and publicize their ideas, their foundations, and their philosophy because these are all for the good of society. It does not matter whether a person feels good or bad because of this, whether he feels shy or not. He must do it!
From KabTV’s “Communication Skills” 10/9/20
Question: The downside of the desire for self-preservation is intolerance and even discrimination, which can grow to enormous proportions leading entire communities to violence against other nations. What do you think is the root or cause for this xenophobia?
Answer: The egoism of man, his defense, his self-preservation, when he, within the framework of his narrow aspirations, sees that the most important thing for him is to be united with his own kind and then he will be stronger. He does not understand that the power of nature lies precisely in diversity and not in one-sidedness.
Comment: In addition to xenophobia, racism can also be a problem in communication.
There is a widespread belief that there are races among people that can be distinguished based on their physical differences. However, scientific research shows that humanity is not composed of separate, well-defined biological groups and that race is an imaginary category or social construct. All people belong to the same human entity, so there is no point in talking about races.
My Response: I believe that with regard to spiritual development, which the science of Kabbalah is concerned with, neither skin color, nor origin, nor nationality have any meaning. We must understand that we are people and we all must unite into one common whole.
Comment: Scientists say that racism is embedded in the human brain. There are parts of the brain that we use to perceive which ethnic group a person belongs to. Within a split second, our brain determines who is a stranger and who one of us is. Therefore, people who are not even racists may unknowingly display racist tendencies.
My Response: Yes, this is embedded in us very deeply, and we involuntarily evaluate a person precisely by his belonging to a race or even to a nation. We understand that the most important thing for us is the mentality of a person: how he looks at the world, how he thinks, and so on.
I do not think that Europeans by origin who were brought up in China or India and absorbed the local culture will be able to communicate with Europeans properly. They are closer to the people whom they grew up with, whom they understand.
Therefore, it cannot be said that the most important thing is nationality, race, etc. I think that the main thing is a deep inner, psychological understanding of each other.
From KabTV’s “Communication Skills” 10/14/20
Question: Some researchers say that the two opposites, love and hatred, are united by the importance of feelings for an object. When I love or hate someone, that person is equally important to me. Importance gives rise to dependency and fear. A person constantly thinks about the object of their love or hatred. Do you agree with this statement?
Answer: In principle, yes. But it is difficult for me to talk about this because Kabbalah does not use such definitions. Everything is very dry and scientific in it and explicitly defined in relation to egoism.
Remark: Scientists seem to want to say that love and hatred are very similar and one easily turns into the other.
My Comment: Yes, they are very close. A person falls from one state to another and rises again.
Question: There are such concepts as unfounded love and unfounded hatred. If you have done something bad to me, it is clear that I hate you. What is unfounded hatred?
Answer: Unfounded hatred is a state when a person cannot determine the reason for their hatred. In fact, there is a reason. Either it is inherent in nature itself instinctively, like a cat with a mouse, or it is somehow acquired. But it does exist.
The reason comes from nature itself. A person cannot explain why they hate another person, but they do. It is the same with love.
There is always a reason why you love someone. For example, you like the color of a person’s eyes or something else. You may not know why you like him or her, it is just that these tastes are embedded in you.
This does not depend on any physical actions: yours in relation to him or her and his or hers in relation to you. You simply see a person and you are attracted to them.
From KabTV’s “Communication Skills” 10/23/20