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My new article on Linkedin “Life After the Pandemic”
Since the wave of vaccinations has begun in the US, UK, and many other countries, people have received the news with a sense of relief accompanied by safety concerns and questions, according to recent polls conducted by public health institutions. One thing humanity can be sure of: The world will not return to the way it was before the virus. Even though the time is still too early to determine the nature and configuration of the world after the pandemic—the systems that will be rebuilt and how they will impact our lives—there is no doubt that a new line of thinking and behavior will dominate from now on.
A year has passed since the coronavirus appeared on the scene. Like teenagers who suddenly mature and look at their childish toys with disdain, or like young people who seek to stabilize and settle down after waking up with a hangover after a late night of overindulgence, so, too, is humanity destined to go through a similar process of maturation and sobering up.
Reality has changed, and people have undergone a psychological change. What was, will no longer be. What has happened is so much bigger than us, it is hard to digest before the fact. But I predict that when the population is healthy again and feels everything is ready to open up again, to travel from place to place, to hug and to get closer without masks and distance separating us, we will discover that we have grown up.
We have moved to a new stage in our human development. Therefore, our inner world will not be as it was yesterday. We will understand that we are not who we were before the outbreak of the coronavirus, that we lost our taste for meaningless stuff, for acquiring things only for the sake of having them, for working as slaves, earning and spending compulsively. We will feel that we are no longer attracted to the same pastimes and they will appear frivolous and unfulfilling.
Our frenzied consumerism is one of the areas in which we have changed the most. We have realized that we do not need countless shopping malls, restaurants, or stadiums filled with players and fans. Our desires have changed drastically. There are those who will return to the routine and find that it no longer suits them, and there are those who will not want to leave their house at all and feel that it is better for them to work from home—not only for women, for whom this is usually a comfortable life setting, but for men alike.
Why is it so? Because living in the home, in the arms of the family, is a comfortable and good life, efficient and peaceful, free of traffic jams, waiting in lines and unnecessary pressures. So why dress up, spend hours in the car, and spend half a day in superficial posturing? It is better and cheaper to sit in your pajamas at home and make calls from the garden, or to work calmly on your laptop while sitting on the balcony. Working from home pays off in many unexpected ways.
It is a win-win situation for both employees and their employers. Business can be very efficiently run remotely, in addition to affording huge savings in office expenses. People also become more efficient when working from home, since with fewer distractions than in their traditional workplace it’s easier to focus on finishing their tasks instead of wasting time.
Once this benefit permeates all stratas of society, the relationship that the pandemic has established between us, the same social distance that has kept us from getting infected, will be better for us in the end. The habit of moving away from each other will become second nature, and it will also form the basis for the new future relationships that we have yet to forge between us.
It is currently too early to talk about advanced stages in the social relationships between us. The slowdown and cooling that come from nature are still growing on us and becoming comfortable for us. They dictate the spirit of the new period. If we peek further ahead, this situation will not satisfy us in the long run. A kind of lethargy and helplessness, darkness before light, must set in to open up a new space for spiritual connection with others to be revealed, a push for a new kind of human relationship. Only then will we be able to feel cured of the pandemic of divisiveness and will we attain a fulfilling life and healthy society.
Michael Laitman, On Quora: “What is evil?“
Evil is a thought that is completely aimed at benefiting oneself alone.
Such a thought also acts to the detriment of others because thinking how to benefit ourselves alone while living in an interdependent and interconnected society means that we aim to benefit ourselves at the expense of others.
Out of the thought to benefit ourselves alone, we can end up trying to bring others down and make them suffer, because while living in our corporeal egoistic nature, we feel an instinctive urge to be better than others. We thus feel that we benefit from harming others because it gives us the sensation of being better, higher, stronger and more successful than them.
While we live and breathe according to our egoistic desire to enjoy at the expense of others, rising above others gives us a sensation of livelihood, while feeling lesser than others gives us a sensation of death. Also, the more that we evolve, the bigger this ego-evil becomes, and thus the amount of negative phenomena and suffering in our world increases from one day to the next. Suffering is a necessary part of this process, because it pushes us to realize that by living according to egoistic desires alone, we cannot achieve true happiness, peace, love and harmony, and ultimately, we will need to rise above this evil nature in order to experience life positively.
In our evolution, we are coming closer a stage called “the recognition of evil.” It is a stage where we become aware of the true cause of evil in our lives—our egoistic human nature that wants to benefit itself at the expense of others—and that our desires to benefit ourselves alone bring none of us to any good place. Together with this revelation, there will emerge a sincere desire to improve our lives by prioritizing the benefit of others over self-benefit—to positively connect to each other above our egoistic impulses—and then we will willingly rearrange our world according to this new goal.
The question is whether we unconsciously let ourselves be run by our egoistic impulses to more and more suffering in order to ultimately feel helpless and wish for a positive transformation—a form of evolution called “the steamroller of development”—or whether we will run ahead of the steamroller and engage in connection-enriching education so that we learn about our true nature and how to rise above it without the need for suffering?
My new article on Linkedin “Brothers? Friends? Or Co-Sufferers? Who Are Israelis to Each Other?”
A student told me that even though Israel is headed toward its fourth general election in just two years, the government has determined that the topic of Israel’s next Independence Day, which takes place April 14, 2021, will be Israeli Brotherhood. How ironic. The student asked me about the significance of choosing specifically this topic at a time when we are so divided.
Well, regrettably, choosing this topic in itself is meaningless. We are not brothers, and there is no brotherhood among Israelis. At best, we are co-sufferers when some crisis, such as war, comes over us. But today, even in crisis, our unity is shrinking.
Regrettably, unity as a means of protection against blows does not last, nor is it real unity. We are forced to stand together by circumstances, so as soon as circumstances allow, we become belligerent and divided once again, and more so than before.
Real unity must come from within, out of our own volition. When our forefathers joined Abraham’s group, which eventually became the Israeli nation, they chose unity because they believed that this was the right way to live. They weren’t brothers; they weren’t even friends. In fact, they often came from enemy tribes and clans, yet they decided that unity is more valuable than hatred, and so they chose the higher value and established a nation whose foundation was brotherly love, or as King Solomon wrote, “Hate stirs strife, and love will cover all crimes” (Prov. 10:12).
Centuries later, their descendants had abandoned the forefathers’ unity and became so divided that they lost their sovereignty over the land of Israel. Since then, the only unity that Israel had known was the ephemeral and opportunist cooperation of fellow-sufferers.
The people of Israel are like no other nation. Therefore, our country cannot be like any other country. The only way that we can reestablish our nationhood and merit being sovereign in this land is if we live up to our task, to be role model nation, a light of unity to the nations. In other words, if we unite above all our enmities and differences just as our ancient forefathers did, and for which they merited being regarded as a nation, we, too, will earn our sovereignty here.
Currently, the outside pressure of our enemies keeps us together. Were it not for their pressure, we would have dispersed long ago and went wherever we felt more comfortable. Nothing holds us here but the fear of those who hate us. Regrettably, soon, our hatred for each other will grow stronger than even the hatred of our enemies for us, and then we will disperse regardless of the outside dangers. If we come to this, it will truly be a threat to the existence of the State of Israel.
In order to succeed in reestablishing our nationhood and forming brotherly love, we need to understand the unique unity that our forefathers achieved. Although they came from tribes and clans from all over the Fertile Crescent, they all subscribed to Abraham’s message, who championed mercy, compassion, and love as the top-most values. Since Abraham’s followers had no such feelings for each other, they had to cultivate them despite their initial antipathy toward each other.
However, hatred kept raising its ugly head once in a while, forcing Abraham’s group to reinforce its unity despite emerging hatred. The surprising result was such solid union that Abraham’s followers managed to triumph even the most deep-seated loathing within them, to the point that they became a nation despite their initial disconnect and ill feelings for each other. Such union, which is built on the idea of unity itself and not on some material, biological, or some other opportunistic impetus, is unheard of to this day. Indeed, no other group of people has achieved this; no other group of people has even attempted it.
Today, when the loathing among Israelis is skyrocketing, when numerous countries are in possession of both weapons of mass destruction, and the means to deploy them, it is imperative that we find a way to overcome the growing hatred. And no one has any experience but the ancient forefathers of the people of Israel. And the nations, subconsciously aware that Israel has the key to resolving the world’s conflicts, blame Israel for causing all the wars.
If Israel does not revive the method for uniting, despite, and above enmity in the near future, it will find itself at odds with the entire world, which will blame it for its woes. It will revoke UN resolution 181, to establish a Jewish state, and we will find ourselves alone in the world, without any support from any country.
However, this scenario is not set in stone; it is up to us, Israelis. If we revive the kind of unity our forefathers established, above differences and hatred, we will become the world’s role model and everyone will praise us for trailblazing the world out of a third, nuclear world war. If we eschew our mission, the world will plunge into another war and will take its anger out on us.
My new article on Linkedin “In the Days of Post-Covid”
Now that mass vaccination is around the corner, it seems as though everyone will return to the 2019 way of life, before the coronavirus took over human civilization. But I think we’re in for a surprise. Once everyone is healthy and we can all travel and do what we were used to doing, I think we will discover we have moved on from our previous lives. We have begun a new stage in our development. I don’t think people will run back to working in offices, though some will do. I don’t think people will fall back into the “travelmania” that engulfed the world like a pandemic prior to Covid-19, and I don’t think we will go out as much as we did, even though it will be safe.
I think we have grown a little, become more settled. It is said that humans are social beings and need people around them, but are we really so? We need jobs because we need an income, so we socialize with colleagues, but are we social beings? We also need confirmation, which we can only get from other people, so we have to communicate with others, try to dominate them, get their approval or make them subordinate to us. But these are not social needs; they are selfish needs that require satisfaction.
It seems to me that the coronavirus has given us new joys in being with ourselves or with our families and enjoying this more than competing with the world for power and prestige the way we did before, often for lack of choice. Clearly, not everyone has changed in this way, but I’m sure that enough people have changed to make the shift felt, lasting, and growing.
When we’re young, we look at others and imitate what they do. As we grow up, we develop a more individual personality and our instinctive tendency to follow the herd diminishes. I think that humanity is going through a similar phase. We will begin to ask ourselves more often, “What for? Is it worth it? Will I get any real benefit out of doing what everyone is doing?”
I still don’t know what will replace our old pleasures, what will come instead of traveling, for example. To a great extent, this depends on opinion leaders and people at the top, who want to entice us into spending money on things that don’t give us any lasting satisfaction since it’s lucrative for them. But either way, it seems to me that we have come down from our pre-Covid frenzy and will now be more settled, composed, or in other words, mature.
Question: It is interesting that Hanukkah and Purim are two great holidays not described in the Torah. Why are they considered the most childish holidays? On Purim, children dress up in carnival costumes, on Hanukkah they sing songs and eat sweet doughnuts.
Answer: The fact is that we have not yet reached these states in our world, and therefore, it is all personified in children. A child who is looking to the future as if shows us that we must reach those states that have not yet occurred.
Historically, these states have taken place but not within a person. Internally, we have not yet set ourselves up for the holiday of Hanukkah and then for the holiday of Purim.
Question: So it is like a game. Children are always associated with games. So here we have to play this state?
Answer: Yes. The correction of small vessels is called Hanukkah (Hanu-Ko, stopover). This is an intermediate state, half of the correction. And the second half of correction is Purim. We are yet to go through both states—both the people of Israel and the whole of humanity.
Question: Why is it customary to eat doughnuts on Hanukkah?
Answer: Oil symbolizes the desire to receive and dough, the power of life. Oil must saturate the dough because the power of life comes to us from flour. Since then, it has been the custom to fry the dough in oil.
From KabTV’s “Spiritual States” 12/16/19
How can we light the light, meaning reveal the Creator? To do this, we need three contradictory components: a jar of oil, a wick, and a fire. Yet, how can we put them together if the oil itself does not burn, the wick itself also does not burn, and neither oil nor a dry wick can support the fire?
The fire burns only if the wick is contradictory to the oil, and therefore absorbs it. We do not want to receive spiritual work, and yet we are forced to approach it, and then we absorb spiritual qualities from it against our will, and become imbued with the importance of bestowal, self-nullification, and love of friends, as a wick absorbs oil.
This is what happens, whether we want it or not—another convention, another lesson, reading of articles, meeting with friends—time and time again we absorb the oil into the wick, despite the fact that we consider this work worthless. I do not want this work, and I only dream of rewards, of discoveries, so that I can learn everything, control everything, and feel everything, as my egoism imagines.
However, I do not have a choice, and I perform actions that allow me to absorb oil like a wick. I am still getting permeated with the material that the wisdom of Kabbalah provides, and in the end I will receive enough material inside, connect with my friends, and our light will light up.
Then, I will see the true results of this entire process, I will reveal the Creator within the created beings that is bringing us a new state, faith above reason, which is called Hanukkah, a parking in the middle of the way.
Our whole life is made up of contradictions because otherwise we would not distinguish the difference between darkness and light. We would be like animals that do not feel their “I,” do not feel themselves. In order to understand who the man is, it is necessary to rise to a higher level than the man and study him from there.
The wick is all that I neglect in spiritual work, all that I resist. I have resistance to the oil, but I am trying to connect the oil and the wick together, and then I reach the light. Then I begin to understand what is happening to me.
If the oil and wick burn out, then there is nothing left to burn and darkness comes. It is the same with a person when he has exhausted all his efforts and all his burning, he loses the light and returns to darkness again. If he wants to keep the light, he must make an extra effort, which is called a wick, and add his burning, which is called oil because the light has nothing else to light up on and rise on.
After such overcoming, a person is rewarded with receiving the light of the Creator that illuminates his soul and is called the light of Hanukkah, that is, the light of absolutely good open upper providence.
To the extent that a person can sacrifice his egoism for the sake of connection in a group that wants to advance toward the purpose of creation, he makes a wick that absorbs oil out of himself and of the group. Initially, no one wants this and considers this despicable, but since we are all connected, we make a wick from ourselves, twist all the threads into one thick bundle.
One thread cannot absorb oil, but when ten threads are twisted together, there is an empty space between them that sucks in the oil. The oil goes up the wick, and we can light it up at the very edge of the wick.
We do not want this work, but we agree to connect together and let the oil go up in us, over our threads twisted together. The oil rises, not through the threads themselves, but through the gaps between them, through the connections of the friends with each other. If the friends try to connect despite their differences and are together, then the oil begins to go up between them and the Creator lights the candle, that is, begins to become revealed.
From the 2nd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 12/15/20, “Hanukkah”
Question: It is said that a miracle happened on Hanukkah: the oil, being enough for one day, burned for eight days. Do you think this could have happened?
Answer: It is up to us. If we strive to ensure our properties to be equal with the properties of the Creator, that we participate in kindling the light in the world in order to illuminate it with the qualities of love, kindness, and connection, then such an effort is sufficient on our part. This comes from our side, Malchut, and the rest is given from above.
Question: Do you think the miracle of Hanukkah really could have happened on a corporeal level?
Answer: Why not? Our world conforms to general laws. If we fulfill them, we can do everything. There are more and more miracles in our world every day, but we simply do not notice them because we are included in them. And if we could see them from the outside, they would be miracles to us.
Question: So, this is not an allegorical description?
Answer: Of course. Absolutely everything that is written in the Torah must and will happen in our world. I do not see any miracles in it.
If a Papuan comes to me, for example, and I press the switch and the light comes on, he will fall on his knees before this phenomenon. Is it a miracle or not? It is a miracle for him but not for me.
If we were now at the first spiritual level, then everything that happened there would be a miracle for us.
Comment: But if you say that these are laws, then any person could repeat them. And I don’t think anyone can repeat that today.
My Response: Because we are not at that level!
From KabTV’s “Spiritual States” 12/16/19
Michael Laitman, On Quora: “How do you experience time?“
Time does not exist.
It is like we live in a black hole where there is no time, and we each live out our own bubble. In that bubble, we feel our own time, and we imagine that there is a universe, people, and the planet, but it just appears that way to us. However, time and the world are nonexistent. All that exists is our sensation that depicts everything to us.
What is the purpose of this illusion? Why did nature create it this way?
It is so that we use the concept of time in order to rise above and control it. In our inborn nature, the desire to receive, where we constantly calculate how to fulfill ourselves, we exist underneath the concept of time. If we rise above our inborn nature and enter the opposite nature—a desire to give—then we rise above the concept of time.
Until then, we exist in a constant race against time. We try to manage ourselves in relation to a pressuring framework. Time that has passed does not come back. We cannot buy it back. If it were possible, I would give everyone a watch that would show how long a person has left to live, and then people would relate differently to life.
Answer: From the highest quality (Keter) to the lowest quality (Malchut), from the quality of the Creator to the quality of creation, there are eight stages, eight Sefirot, excluding the highest and the lowest.
Therefore the Menorah is lit for eight days, on the eighth day the newborn is circumcised (Brit Milah), etc.
Question: How did the Kabbalists know that the Menorah should be in this form?
Answer: Kabbalists act according to their inner vision. They feel it from the correlation of their inner attributes. The connection of these attributes appears to them in this form. Moreover, this is how our world appears, according to our desires. In fact, it does not exist; it is simply that our materialized desires manifest themselves in front of us.
Question: According to Kabbalah, oil is the egoistic desire, the wick symbolizes the screen, and when there is a screen, an anti-egoistic quality, a force covering the egoistic desire, then fire appears. What is fire?
Answer: Fire represents the light of life, knowledge.
From KabTV’s “Spiritual States” 12.16.2019