Listen to an Audio Version of the Blog
Listen to an Audio Version of the Blog
My new article on Linkedin “Toward a Year of Reckoning”
2021 will not be an easy year for America. It will not be an easy year anywhere or for anyone, but Americans are likely to feel the heat more than others. The conditions for a perfect storm have ripened; the combination of a plague that claims thousands of lives daily, a failing economy and uncertainty about the future of personal finance, searing hatred between Left and Right and Blacks and Whites, and loss of confidence in both the media and the authorities will force Americans to either stop everything and contemplate their future as a nation, or let the country accelerate its downward spiral to destruction.
Everyone already recognizes the severity of the situation; everyone is already talking about it, and I am really happy that they are. I hope that these scrutinies, however tough they may be, will help the country get a grip on itself and put some order in the chaos.
The two forces struggling in America, between Left and Right, are two approaches to life that exist all over the world. America possesses all the contradictions; it is a kind of modern Babylon. For this reason, if Americans can overcome their divisions and form some form of solidarity above their differences, which will certainly remain, then America will set an example that everyone will gladly follow.
Precisely because America, more than any other country, has enshrined self-centeredness, their reversal of this ideology will indicate to the rest of the world that it is indeed possible to restrain the ego. If they discover that they have no choice but to “dethrone” the ego since the egoistic system no longer works, and the economic and social systems they have built around it are falling apart, they will have the required motivation to unite above the spite and rancor that have surfaced mainly over the past year. It will not be pleasant, but a reckoning, a recognition of the illnesses within society is mandatory if they are to set off a healing process.
Empires, too, rise and fall. But when an empire such as the United States of America falls, it will pull down with it many other countries and people. Everyone will suffer from the death of such a massive system as the US, not just Americans, though they will suffer most of all.
So far, I have yet to see the forces or people who are bold enough, impartial enough, and publicly accepted enough to lead the process of America’s healing. However, as long as it is possible to reverse the trend, we must not lose hope. The times ahead will tell if we have merited the title “humans,” and rose above our egos to form a new union of society, or have succumbed to our egos and gave up the helm to the beast within us.
My new article on Linkedin “Can We Bridge a Chasm that No One Wants to Bridge?”
It is written, “Where there are no people, try to be a person” (Mishnah, Avot, 2:5). It seems very fitting that we should invoke this adage at a time when people have lost all trust in one another, in the authorities, and feel hopeless about the future. We are going through a hard awakening, a reckoning of the fragility of our society.
Democracy has proven its vulnerability once more. Italy was a democracy before it fell prey to fascism. Germany was a democracy before it succumbed to Nazism. Even the founder of China’s communism originally intended to form a democracy. The celebrated historian Maurice Meisner wrote about Mao Zedong, “Neither the terms ‘socialism’ nor ‘Bolshevism’ appeared in Mao’s ‘Manifesto.’ Rather, it was ‘democracy’ that Mao called ‘the basic ideology’ of resistance to oppression.” Now, it seems as though the United States of America is going through the same ordeal when a dream becomes a nightmare.
Does democracy always have to fail? Why does totalitarianism always seem to overcome it? Perhaps if we understand this, we will understand how to save our agonizing society.
Like it or not, different people have different views. There will never be sameness of ideas in any society at any time because, as our sages said (Midrash Rabbah, 21:2), “As their faces are not similar, so their views are not the same. Rather, each and every one has his own opinion.” So how do we determine who is right when we are destined to be different? Why must my opinion be right and the other’s opinion wrong if neither of us can convince the other? Is there a bug in the system?
No, there is no bug. The bug is in our understanding of the system. There is no similarity of views because there isn’t meant to be. There is meant to be diversity! Again, different opinions are not disagreements; they are diversity!
Why must there be diversity? Without diversity, there is no evolution, no growth, no life. Everything exists only through diverse, and usually opposite elements working together to maintain the system they inhabit. From particles of atoms to clusters of galaxies, the universe consists of opposites cooperating to maintain the system they occupy.
Animals, too, kill each other for food, but thereby maintain the health and guarantee the survival of the species that they hunt. We are living in a world of contradictions because only contradictions guarantee development and progress.
But we, people, are an exception. We establish democracies precisely because we value diversity and the necessity for disagreements as a basis for advancement, yet we yield before our egos and determine that only our view is correct. As our egos take control, we lose sight of the fact that stymying diversity is a death sentence to ourselves and to society? How can we not realize that it is precisely the opposite opinion that makes our own opinion matter? How can we not realize that it is my ideological adversary who gives my ideology merit?
If we silence one another, we will not only silence ourselves, as well, we will silence our minds, our hearts, and will eventually destroy our society and our lives. Nothing can be more dangerous than the belief that only I am right, and anyone who disagrees with me is wrong.
Being a person, to return to the opening proverb, means championing diversity when everyone scolds it. It means not thinking that only my view is right, but rather maintaining my view because this is my side of the bridge, while cherishing the fact that other people, who maintain other views, are maintaining the other side of it. The name of the bridge is diversity, and we build it by championing multiplicity of views. This is the only way we can begin to advance.
Just as we cannot walk on only one leg, but need both legs in order to move forward, so our opinions need each other so that we, as a society can advance. Where there are no people, it is because there are no bridges between them. Build them, and be a person.
We are always under the authority of the Creator although we do not understand it and do not feel it; in other words, we do not accept it either in our mind or in our heart. We come into this world and start to grow completely immersed in our egoism, enslaved by a special force that depicts to us a deceptive picture, as if there is no control over us but that we ourselves are managing the world.
A baby grows into a child, then into an adult, but he does not stop thinking that the world is controlled by people like himself. It is only necessary to defeat others in this struggle for power.
However, if we want to reveal the Creator, we must relinquish our control, decide that we do not want to rule or manage the world, we want to suppress this egoistic inclination within us. Then we discover that the egoism also does not belong to us, but belongs to the upper force. I used to think that the egoism is me: I want to control and make decisions, everything is me-me-me!
It turns out that this is not so. If I try to come out from the feeling of my “I” a little bit, I feel that it is not me but the Creator. This is not quite what I used to imagine. Therefore, my attitude toward my egoism and the Creator changes. I need to start positioning myself between the two of them, cancel my egoism, the first upper force, and wish that the second force, the Creator, will govern in its place. Between the two of them, in their confrontation, I establish myself.
If I want to annul myself with the help of a group and the study, then I become more and more included in the ten and in the Creator. These two forces are intended to help me replace the control of the egoistic force with the control of the force of bestowal and love.
We live in the last generation; therefore, we must reveal all these forces in the world and change the governance in it from the governance of egoism to a governance that is still unknown to us. The whole world around us is changing according to our internal changes that we have already made or are about to make.
The last generation is special because these changes are taking place in a large mass of people, in the Bnei Baruch world group. The world is also undergoing similar changes albeit at a lower level. It is like when parents are concerned about all sorts of adult problems at work and in society, they also affect the children, change their world, and the situation at home.
Therefore, in the last generation, everyone is experiencing qualitative changes, each one according to their degree. The world is undergoing huge changes, even the media is becoming a means of disconnection. The general recognition of evil is happening, which brings us closer to spiritual birth.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 1/13/21, “Ibur (Conception) and Preparation to Birth”
Answer: The freedom is only to move toward the goal correctly and much faster than it is determined by nature.
Question: If I pray for myself, it is a sin according to Kabbalah. On the other hand, what choice do I have?
Answer: Your choice is to pray that you relate kindly to others and for the Creator to help you with this. In this way, you accelerate your movement and your development.
Question: Do I have the freedom of choice to ask the Creator for help?
Answer: Yes. It depends on how much you enter the group that inspires you, helps you, and pushes you forward. You use their mutual support and thus turn to the Creator through taking a certain number of impressions from the group.
Question: What is sin, from the point of view of Kabbalah?
Answer: Sin is the wrong use of those conditions that are given to you in order to move correctly toward the goal and achieve it quickly and painlessly, during this lifetime.
From KabTV’s “Spiritual States” 1/14/20
My new article on Linkedin “Impeachment of the System”
President Trump’s second impeachment is not just his own. It marks the collapse of the entire system, a collapse of the constitution. There needs to be a whole revision here, a rebuilding of the system. Very soon, it will become unmistakably clear that everything is falling apart—the business world, the whole economy, the entire monetary system, the society, the judicial system, policy making, everything will fall apart. America will have to close down everything, clean it all up, and rebuild itself from scratch.
I have no doubt that the current domination of the Left will only strengthen the Right. Although currently, the Left seems much more intimidating, and people are afraid to speak their minds, the result will be a general system collapse, and it will begin precisely with the Left.
What we are seeing now in America is what we saw in Soviet Russia. In the end, everything becomes corrupt, rotten to the core, and everything falls apart. When institutions become dysfunctional, when ties among the various parts of society disintegrate beyond repair, everything crumbles.
And what is happening in America will happen elsewhere. These historic events will catalyze dramatic changes the world over. Humanity is quickly approaching a point of reckoning, when people understand that they cannot keep going the way they have been going for so long, thinking only about themselves. Capitalism will not work, and neither will socialism or communism.
The solution will not come through choosing a different ideological path, but through an overall collapse that will impel people to realize that they are hopelessly dependent on each other. This will force people to construct systems that, for the first time in history, will truly cater to everyone’s needs, rather than only to those in positions of power.
We are going into a new era, a new generation when people understand that if they let their egos rule, they will destroy the world, so they fight not against each other but against their own egos. It will be a generation when we don’t have to work so much for our living, but we have to work a whole lot on our connections. In the coming years, people will spend more time fixing and improving their social relations than on their regular jobs; this will be the new necessity.
Only when we focus on our relations, we will be able to “inaugurate” the new system—the social system of government, which will be neither socialistic nor capitalistic, but a social-economic system whose indices measure social connections, whose GDP measures expressions of solidarity, and whose currency is contribution to the community, city, state, and country.
Answer: Fear before the Creator means having a sense of caution in dealing with Him. You understand that this is the absolute and if you come to Him, it is only with some suggestions and desires that are worthy of addressing Him; it would be impossible to address Him with disregard or with something unimportant. It must be something very special.
Question: Then, is it correct to say awe before the Creator rather than fear before the Creator?
Answer: No, awe comes first. As Kabbalah advises, you should understand that the Creator, in principle, responds only to one request from a person: the request to develop the quality of bestowal within oneself, love for the other, which the Creator has. That is, I would ask to be similar to the Creator.
Question: In general, should we fear God?
Answer: No, there is no need to be afraid. It is necessary to feel trepidation. Fear arises from the fact that you would like to avoid Him. This is not a good quality.
Trepidation, however, is necessary. After all, you are constantly searching for the means to come closer to the Creator and address Him as well as to receive some qualities from Him And implement them in order to be closer to Him.
From KabTV’s “Spiritual States” 4/3/19
Comment: During a good performance in the theater, the script itself and the scenes become secondary, while something internal begins to be transmitted that is difficult to explain in words—the soul of the performance. It evokes some kind of inspiration, excitement of something greater beyond what you see. Art, in my opinion, exists only for the purpose of having a breakthrough moment, of drinking from some fountain.
My Response: Art shows us that it is possible to rise above the purely psychological, every-day considerations and enter a field that is connected not with what is happening on stage, but with a certain force that controls the movement of some phenomena that exist above us, beyond time and space.
We must begin to feel it within us. This is the theater that is inside of us. And instead of the big green crocodile that is mentioned in The Book of Zohar, I feel a quality called “crocodile.”
This is not a theatrical image that certain people evoke in me. Through allegorical images I begin to feel the spiritual forces that define them and are called a particular word.
For me, this crocodile no longer has an image of a green monster. It can be positive, pleasant, kind, intelligent, controlling, albeit necessary and targeted, etc…
It turns out that when you read The Book of Zohar, you absolutely do not connect words with their images in this world! Once you snap out of it, you start wondering about how others perceive this text or listen to it. And it seriously brings you to some other reality, I would say, to unreality.
From KabTV’s “The Power of The Book of Zohar” #1
My new article on Linkedin “Back to the Days of One and Only Truth”
I grew up in Soviet Russia under the communist Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) regime. In those days, everything was simple: There was only one truth, which came out of the one party, and you could read about it in the only newspaper to be found, which was aptly named Pravda [Truth]. There were no other views to be heard or seen, and the whole nation was brought up and educated according to the one pravda in existence.
On the other side of the world was the great adversary of the truth: America! America had all kinds of ideas, such as more than one party, and the belief that everyone has the right to his or her own opinion, even if it contradicts the pravda. They were the enemy!
The problem with the USSR was that people insisted on having different ideas. Some were devout communists, and some were not. Some even advocated capitalism, the kind that was implemented on the other side of the world. Of course, we couldn’t talk about it, but people still believed it. In the end, it all blew, and blew, and blew, until it blew up.
I can understand the leaders of Soviet Russia; they were only acting naturally. Everyone wants to rule, and when one gets a chance to rule, and eliminate the competition along the way, it stands to reason that he or she will attempt it.
Yet, the world doesn’t consist of only one side but of two (with many in between). We, the people in the middle, must reconcile between the two extremes and use them to our benefit, to everyone’s benefit!
We think of ourselves as separate beings, that only our view matters and an opposite opinion is wrong by default. We forget that were it not for that other opinion, ours would not exist, as well. Instead of realizing that only the joint operation of all views in society creates a complete society, and instead of joining more and more contradictions under the umbrella of our union, we squander our lives trying to destroy those sinful souls whose sin is that they see things differently from us. As a result, there is no union, and there is no society at all, and even our view no longer counts. If you don’t believe me, go look in Russia, see if you can find there communism or capitalism. In the absence of one, you lose the other, too.
Today’s America is rushing toward Russia’s past. Big tech media have decided whose voice should be heard and they will see that only this voice is heard, this voice is the only one that is pravda. The rest is, well, fake news. In order to protect the pravda, everything that contradicts it must be taken off and cancelled: posts, channels, people.
Imagine your heart deciding that your brain is spreading false information to the rest of the body and should therefore be silenced, so your heart stops the blood flow to your brain. Do you realize what that would mean? This is what media giants are doing to society, and it will end exactly the same as if your heart has stopped the blood flow to your brain.
The only solution to the unfolding havoc in America is to realize that union is more important than any particular view. And how do you know with whom to unite? Unite precisely with the one who disagrees with you. And how do you unite? Verify that the person you are facing agrees with you on nothing, verify that he or she understands that no one view has merit on its own, and then go out for a beer together to celebrate your disagreement, as simple as that.
Again, you needn’t agree; you need to appreciate yourselves for being able to transcend your disagreements. This is what makes you human, humane, and not that fact that you advocate some fabricated notion about human society that someone planted in your mind.
In the end, if there is only one truth, it is the truth of our inexorable diversity. Let’s celebrate it, as this is what gives us life.
[A delegate at the Bolshevik 17th Congress of the All-Union Communist Party holding a Pravda newspaper in 1934.]
Question: The views of Kabbalah are close to Buddhism and in many respects to yoga, Catholicism, and European alchemy, apparently, according to the methods of achieving a brighter future. But, as far as I understand, the brightest future can be achieved only through unity in Kabbalah. Why is that? If other schools offer this, why don’t they count?
Answer: Kabbalists do not reject anyone. But, apparently, there are several ways to unite mankind. Today we understand that without unity we will simply perish, we will destroy each other. From everything that happens to us, we see that this is the only way to salvation. Neither the development of technology nor anything else will help us. We need to develop a person for communication, for a greater good connection with others.
Kabbalah explains how to do this. It relies on a good force hidden in nature that can unite us. Man does not have this power. No matter how many meditations we do or how we employ various methods with all kinds of exercises, this will not help us, because egoism permeates us literally from top to bottom.
The Kabbalistic methodology is built on uniting humanity with the help of a good force that exists in nature but is hidden from us. Therefore, Kabbalah is called a secret science because it reveals this power, and then by using it, we can unite. This is what makes Kabbalah different from other teachings.
But this is not meditation, not a physical exercise. This is truly delving into nature. But it is different. You just need to understand what it is.
In principle, Kabbalah does not deny anything, in fact, neither do all the other methods. Nor do they deny each other, but each has a different approach.
In humanity there are different groups of people with different inclinations and psychological preparations from nature. And so a different approach is needed. By the way, in Kabbalah it is said that there are many ways to achieve unity.
But the fact that unification between all is the goal and the truly correct way of existence cannot be denied today. A person should check for himself whether the method of Kabbalah suits him. And if not, then he can choose something else.
But all the same, you need to strive to unite people. I believe that this is everyone’s task and responsibility.
From KabTV’s “Ask a Kabbalist” 3/20/19