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My new article on Linkedin “The Key to Success in Life”
John Lennon once wrote, “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” His life’s story proves he was right. But today, the lives of most of us prove he was right. In fact, it seems as though nature has made it a point to disrupt the life of all of humanity.
Covid-19 has shut down our economy, culture, education, entertainment, nearly collapsed the healthcare system, intensified political and racial tensions, increased aggression and violence, disrupted food production and supply chains, and shattered families to pieces. Even when it eased and we could resume activity, it eased only slightly and returned with a vengeance every time we tried to return to the familiar normalcy of the pre-Covid era. What began as a kind of super infectious bad flu that affects mainly the elderly and those with poor immune systems has morphed into a menace that threatens everyone, at every age, and is simply too contagious to restrain and too dangerous to ignore.
The environment can benefit us more than we can benefit ourselves. All we need to do is think of the benefit of the system, and the system will work in our favor.
Now, even if we want to return to normalcy, it will be a very pale, anemic, and quite pathetic normal compared to the fast-track life we’d had until the beginning of the current decade. It seems as though nature is punishing us and insists on denying us life’s pleasures.
But it only seems that way. When a parent scolds a child for not doing homework, the parent doesn’t want to punish the child, but to help! Every parent knows, and many of us remember from our own childhood, that unless we are pushed, we don’t want to work hard. And since homework is hard and undesirable work, children hate it and will not do it without parental pressure. To the parents, this is education; to the children, this feels like a punishment. But if children could see the benefits they will reap by their efforts, they would do their homework much more willingly.
This is what nature has been doing to us since the turn of the decade. It has been urging us to study, and we are whining about its punishments. It is not punishing us; it is steering us in the right direction.
Through its pressure nature is telling us the basic facts of life: Everything thrives only when it is synchronized with its environment. This applies to every level of reality, from waves through the entire material world, to the non-material levels of thoughts, feelings, and spirit. Synchrony means that everything operates as part of a system. The system provides absolutely everything that each unit within it needs. On the animate level this pertains to food, shelter, and reproduction. On the human level, this means much more. The system we are in provides us with our physical, animal-level needs, but also with our human needs, such as education, entertainment, and culture.
If we look closely, we will see that these human-level needs are exactly what Covid has been disrupting for the past year. These needs are exactly where we had been conducting ourselves erroneously, and nature has stopped it and allowed us to see what we did wrong so we can reroute to where we can find lasting, sustainable, and more profound satisfaction.
Indeed, we have been steering in the wrong direction: inwards. It’s as though we’ve been looking into our own bodies and wondered why everything seemed so dark. Every plan we’d made was intended to please only ourselves and (at best) those closest to us. We ignored the system, planned our lives as though it didn’t exist, or (worse) existed only in order to serve us, when in fact the system is our parent; we are in it, it nourishes us, and we are dependent on it for everything. If we spoil it, we invariably damage ourselves. It is therefore no wonder that life, namely the system, happens while we make other plans, for ourselves. How can it be otherwise, if we are making plans for our own selfish happiness while life is planning to make everyone happy?
If we want to plan a good future for ourselves, we must first recognize “life,” meaning the integral and interconnected system we are in. If we learn how to connect positively with our environment, particularly our social environment, rather than negatively—in order to exploit it for personal benefit—the environment will benefit us. The environment can benefit us more than we can benefit ourselves. All we need to do is think of the benefit of the system, and the system will work in our favor.
This is what nature is trying to teach us. Life has a plan for us, a clear direction. If we plan along with life, then life will not be what happens while we make other plans, which, in the end, only hurt us.
My new article on Linkedin “French Jews Defending Their Loyalty to France”
In recent months, there have been voices of French Jews in France and in Israel urging the Jews in France to immigrate to Israel. Their reasons vary, from France’s Covid-19 crisis through the declining economic situation and the dim predictions about the future, to the growing difficulties maintaining a Jewish way of life in France. Still, the main reason why prominent Jews such as the headmaster of the Yavne Jewish School in Marseille, or Ariel Kandel, CEO of Qualita, urge French Jews to leave for Israel, is antisemitism. Their words have aroused considerable ire and objection from Jewish leaders such as Haim Korsia, Chief Rabbi of France, but they nevertheless started a real debate in the French Jewish community.
If they want to neutralize the antagonism against them, French Jews will have to unite among themselves, and then spread the spirit of unity throughout the country! This is their only chance.
I’m all for debates; they help scrutinize which ideas are right and which are wrong, but before we debate, we must be honest with ourselves. So first, I know that most French Jews describe their identity as French and genuinely see themselves as such. However, these days, the whole notion of homeland and patriotism is waning. Second, I think that if French Jews search their hearts truthfully, most of them will find that their stay there is more out of convenience than out of patriotism. That’s not to say that they’re not loyal to France, but that their motivation in choosing where to live has more to do with cultural affinity and affluence than with loyalty to one particular country. In this, they are no different from many other non-Jews today. It’s just the spirit of the time: People live where it’s comfortable.
However, there is a problem. The Dreyfus affair is very vivid in the minds of French Jews, and the growing antisemitism in France is a constant reminder that the affair is not a part of history but a warning for the present. Jews are once again being targeted in France, and despite politicians’ resolute rhetoric against it, the daily reality is growing tougher on French Jews to wear their Star of David necklaces proudly and openly for fear of physical aggression.
It will be a long and painful process, but I think that in the end, the current residents of France will force France’s Jews out of there. It might be a civilized country, but not when it comes to Jews. Even Christians, and many French are very Christian, don’t feel that Jews are a genuine part of France. And if you add to it the millions of Muslim immigrants who are taking over the country, it is clear that Jews have no future there.
There is, of course, a way that Jews can turn the tables and invert the antisemitism into philo-Semitism, but for this to happen, Jews would really have to extend themselves. If they want to neutralize the antagonism against them, French Jews will have to unite among themselves, and then spread the spirit of unity throughout the country! This is their only chance. This would invert the feelings of the rest of the French people toward Jews from antagonism to friendliness, and from alienation to closeness. It may be a tall order, but it is nonetheless in their hands.
For 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
Since we are inside egoism, we are not able to jump into the desire to bestow, and we do not even understand what it is or how to approach it. Therefore, we need a guide who can take us from the sensation of this world to sensing the upper world.
We are in this world, that is, in the desire to receive, and we feel the world only through it. Egoism determines all our qualities, controls our heart and mind. At the same time, we want to feel reality in the desire to bestow.
However, we do not know what the desire to bestow is and how to develop it in order to feel another reality, as it is said: “I shall see an opposite world.” We need to undergo a special transition, which can take a long time and include many intermediate states between this world and the next one, the dominion of the desire to receive and the desire to bestow.
Such a transition cannot happen at once but according to what has been said: “Only goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.”
Therefore, we need a sage who lives in both worlds at once and can teach us how to make such a transition. Not everyone who is in attainment of the spiritual world is able to be such a guide. This requires consistency in feelings and understanding, in understanding both worlds, and knowledge of how to make the transition from one world to the other step by step.
The property of this conductor is called Moses. On one hand, he is in the qualities of the Creator, and on the other hand, as a “loyal shepherd,” he can take on this mission to guide people, disciples, from this world to the spiritual world and fulfill the Creator’s instructions.
Faith in the sages, meaning the teacher on the spiritual path, is the same as believing in the path itself, believing in the Creator and in all the actions we perform. Success depends on how much I adhere to the teacher and follow him. As if on a serious hike when you go through an unknown area fraught with danger, on untrodden paths, you need to have suitable clothes and shoes, a proper staff in your hand, follow the one who is going in front of you, and follow the trail of the one in front of you. Then you can move forward with confidence.
This is the first rule that a beginner must learn when entering the spiritual path, an untrodden road, unknown and perplexing to him. Therefore, the first to walk is a person who has a lot of experience and has already walked this path himself. But those who follow him do not know the way.
It is customary to do so in a corporeal hike and even more so in a spiritual one because there we do not know at all what we should do in order to make a single right step forward. Moreover, egoism always confuses us and leads us astray. Therefore, we need to have as many clear indicators as possible to help us move forward without stumbling and falling.
From the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 2/14/21, “Faith In The Sages as The Means for Faith Above Reason”
New Life 1294 – Decision Making Process
Dr. Michael Laitman in conversation with Oren Levi and Nitzah Mazoz
We are living in special times in which the world develops toward connection to one mechanism. This realization should impact our decision making. The main factor in making sound decisions is whether or not the decision will be in sync with the development of society toward mutual interdependence and integrality.
We can make a list of pros and cons, consult experts as well as family and friends, or use intuition; however, we need to ask ourselves what our family and society needs from the decision. Incorporating contradictory opinions from others helps in the process of choosing the right direction.
The final decision should be made after we weigh it carefully and make sure that it is compatible with the integral development.
From KabTV’s “New Life 1294 – Decision Making Process,” 1/17/21
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What is the characteristic of a Kabbalistic prayer that distinguishes it from the prayers of ordinary people? A prayer of an ordinary person emanates from his egoism without any intention to unite with others and ascend to the Creator.
Therefore, this prayer has a purely psychological effect, calming the person but not changing anything in reality. It has no effect on spiritual forces.
It is possible to influence the forces governing creation only by uniting. If the ten unites, then the whole ten acts as one in relation to the upper force.
And if we do not unite in the ten above our egoism, then we do not have any impact on the upper force. It can be influenced only to the extent of the equivalence of properties, and for a minimum equivalence we need to unite our attitudes in the ten.
Therefore, all the prayers of mankind to the Creator have no effect on Him. They are a natural reaction of the desire to receive pleasure, which the Creator Himself provided to each person. Therefore, it makes no sense for Him to listen to the requests of this desire to receive pleasure, which He Himself created.
But if we combine our desires in the ten and, despite our egoism, want to achieve something higher, that is, the power of bestowal instead of the power of reception awakened in us by the Creator, then we really turn to the Creator as the very source of bestowal. And then He gives us the power of bestowal with which we become like Him.
Our prayer is aimed at becoming like the Creator and gaining the power of bestowal, like Him. And this is possible only if we unite in corporeality.
All other prayers, no matter what religion they belong to, are requests for egoistic fulfillment. Therefore, they are of no use except to gradually lead a person to the need to ask for connection between all and adhesion with the Creator on the basis of the power of bestowal and not the power of reception.
Here lies the huge, cardinal difference from the prayer of a Kabbalist in which we ask to gain the power of bestowal, which is above us, outside of everyone’s personal interests, for the sake of other people, for the sake of humanity, and for the sake of the Creator. Everyone asks to have the power to give to everyone except himself because in this he resembles the Creator, who bestows to everyone except Himself. Therefore, such a prayer is significantly different from all other prayers.
From the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 2/12/21, “My Sons Defeated Me” (Preparation for the Convention 2021)
The Book of Zohar, VaYechi [Jacob Lived], Item 593: Initially, there was prophecy among men. They knew and beheld to know the glory of the upper one. When prophecy had ceased in them, they used an echo. Now prophecy, as well as the echo, has stopped and people use only dreams.
For many years after leaving Babylon and before the destruction of the Second Temple, there was a group of people who were in a state of personal and group spiritual communication with the upper force or nature, meaning with the Creator.
Beside the fact that they were all at this level, there were also prophets among them. Imagine the level of those prophets who are written about in the holy books!
Then they fell from the spiritual level of “love your neighbor as yourself” into unfounded hatred and lost the feeling of the Creator in their egoistic qualities, that is, they ceased to be prophets. The prophecy disappeared. This is precisely what The Book of Zohar is talking about because it was written at the time when the destruction of the Temple took place.
The destruction of the Temple is the destruction of communication with the Creator.
The Book of Zohar was written to be revealed in two thousand years. And now, after receiving this book from them, we can return to the same degrees of prophecy.
During these 2,000 years, we have completely disconnected from spiritual perception, and now we can return to a state where the prophets will walk the Earth.
From KabTV’s “The Power of The Book of Zohar” #3
Michael Laitman, On Quora: “What is the main ideology of Kabbalah?“
The wisdom of Kabbalah is a method that enables us to reach the perception and sensation of the highest dimension of reality, above corporeal life and death, while we are alive in this world.
By doing so, we can sense our future states, and we gain the ability to directly influence reality from its “control room.” We need only attain the connection to our life’s source, and by doing so, we assume control of our destiny.
Kabbalah was revealed for the first time 5,781 years ago by Adam, who wrote the book, Raziel HaMalach (Heb. “The Secret Angel”). It describes the concealed force (i.e., “angel” is a certain kind of spiritual force) that operates our reality, and which can be revealed by applying a certain method. After 20 generations of Kabbalists, Abraham made the next major development in the wisdom of Kabbalah by founding the first Kabbalistic group, which became known as “the people of Israel.” This was a group who gathered based on the principle of “love your neighbor as yourself.” Love of one’s fellow man became the Kabbalists’ principle ideology and constitution. They united as a single nation, which later became known as “the Jews,” from the word for unity (“Yichud”).
At a certain stage of its development, the group ended up having to show the Babylonians of the time, who did not want to follow Abraham, the need for self-transformation and correction: rising above the egoistic intention for personal benefit at other’s expense. By doing so, they formed bridges of unification and love upon the rampant hatred and division of the time.
Kabbalah’s main ideology is thus “love your neighbor as yourself,” and the method of Kabbalah is one of attaining such unification above the divisive human ego. At the peak of developing increasing ties of love and bonding above our innate divisive drives, the universe’s two ends—egoism and altruism, division and unification, receiving and giving—become combined into a single creation, namely “receiving in order to give.” By attaining such a principle in practice, we implement the formula for us all to live harmoniously, happily and in balance with nature. Moreover, we also discover the eternal and perfect reality of our soul that exists above corporeal life and death.
We currently have a single quality: reception. Even if we give, we do so with the calculation that we want to receive something in return. By adding the quality of giving over our inborn quality of receiving—i.e., pure giving with no shred of egoistic intention laced within—then we achieve a perfect connection with each other, balancing our egoism with nature’s altruistic quality, or in other words, balancing the negative pole of reality with the positive one.
Kabbalah explains how nature divides into four levels: still, vegetative, animate and human. On the still, vegetative and animate levels, nature itself balances between giving and receiving, positive and negative. At the human level, however, i.e., at the level of our relationships and attitudes to each other, we have no connection to the altruistic side of reality. As such, the more our egoistic desires evolve over time, the more we encounter problems and crises on all scales of life.
In other words, the ultimate cause of our life’s problems is the disharmony between altruism and egoism. The wisdom of Kabbalah is a method for establishing the correct balance between these two qualities, and by doing so, bringing about balance personally, socially and globally.
It is also important to note that Kabbalah is not a religion, but a science. Where religion is based on believing in one or several higher powers, Kabbalah is instead a method by which we reach a revelation of the higher powers through research, experimentation, gathering feedback, and by doing so, “rinsing and repeating” until we can scientifically confirm our attainment of the altruistic quality above our inborn egoistic one. It does not involve performing rituals, wearing any specific clothing or ascribing any special importance to any physical objects. It rather involves study and participation in an environment that supports progress to the attainment of the higher reality. By doing so, anybody can advance to such a lofty attainment.
Written/edited by students of Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman.
Michael Laitman, On Quora: “What is the secret to a balanced life?“
We reach a balanced life when we discover the balance between forces of reception and forces of bestowal, which takes place when we disclose the general force of balance that exists in the system we are parts of. At that point, we start feeling the entire system and not only ourselves, the individual parts of the system. We then come closer together in mutual connection, bestowal and support such that we all lose our sense of our individual selves and instead sense the life in the whole system.
We then feel the whole system, which includes humanity as well as nature on all of its levels, as our own. On our current level, the closest example to this sensation, even though it is still far from the actual feeling, is a mother toward her family: She feels that she loses her sense of self in her commitment to her family, feeling her family as her own. In other words, her devotion to her family expands her sense of self to include all of her family members, and she somewhat exits her own individual self in such a sensation.
Therefore, when we realize ourselves in the direction of bestowal upon others, i.e., when we think about benefiting others over self-benefit, we exit the limited and narrow boundaries of our individual selves and open up to those whom we wish to benefit similarly to a mother toward her family. The wider the circle of society we do this for, the more of the system of nature and reality we feel.
Ultimate balance in life emerges when we care about the whole of humanity and nature. Our sensation of existence then expands to include the life of the whole of humanity and nature and not only the transient and short life of our individual selves. Moreover, by doing so, we discover our ultimate destiny in reality, that of living for the sake of the whole system we are parts of and feeling the life of that system, and we also find how nobody stands in anybody’s way, as it currently seems to us.
If we start directing ourselves in such a holistic manner, then we will also see how this system, call it “nature” or the “universe,” starts giving us positive feedback in that direction, helping us on our way.
Practically, in giving and bestowal upon others, by wanting to benefit and positively connect with everyone, we will then feel a special kind of support and vitality, that nature and life works in our favor by doing so.
In order to discover these signs, we need to surround ourselves with a supportive environment of like-minded individuals who wish to support each other toward this ultimate state of balance. By learning and seeking how to benefit others over self-benefit with these people, and finding our place in such an environment, we then progress correctly toward that final state of ultimate balance in life.
The state of balance through positive connections among each other and with nature is the discovery of the human degree in the world (the Hebrew word for “human” [“Adam”] stems from the phrase “similar to the most high” [“Adameh le Elyon”]). We need a supportive environment of like-minded individuals specifically because care for one another needs to be mutual, where we each exercise positive connections and giving to others mutually above our innate self-interests. Over time, by integrating in such a society, we eventually reach the realization of the ultimate balance in life. Moreover, the efforts of a critical mass of people who direct themselves in such a way positively influences others in the world who do not awaken to such a direction, thus also making it easier for others and future generations to reach such balance.
Ultimately, we will all develop to the realization of humanity as an interconnected and interdependent system, similar to nature in and of itself. When we reach that level of consciousness, we will all “click” into nature, integrating into and identifying with it, and adhering to it such that we all realize the destiny of every person individually and of all people in the world together.
Written/edited by students of Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman.
Question: You say that all people have a point in the heart, but it awakens in some and not in others. What is light and darkness for a person in whom the point in the heart has not awakened? What is the meaning of his life?
Answer: We live the same way as other people until the point in the heart awakens in us. Don’t think that everyone else’s life is wasted. They must also go through these states because certain Reshimot (informational records) without which they will not be able to attain any spiritual states and enter the spiritual world do accumulate in them.
From KabTV’s “Fundamentals of Kabbalah” 12/15/19