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My new article on Linkedin “Is Privacy Overrated?”
A new law proposal in Israel wants to place face detecting cameras in public spaces. The goal of the initiative is to help police reduce crime and violence levels. On the other hand, human rights organizations say that such cameras severely breach people’s right to privacy since they’ll effectively allow police to track us anywhere.
When I was first told about the idea, my gut reaction was “So what?” And indeed, what can the state find about me, that I’m human? I admit that I don’t find it scary since I think this is how we have to relate to people to begin with: as complete egoists. “The inclination of a man’s heart is evil from his youth” (Gen. 8:21) is not a Biblical adage; it is the truth; this is really who we are, so what can the police find, that we are who we are?
In fact, it is not that we are afraid of our secrets being known; it is that we don’t trust the people who will know them. Several times in my life, I found myself lying stark naked while ten or more doctors stood around me, looked at me, and discussed what to do with me. I didn’t feel any shame from them; I knew that they wanted my best. The problem is that since we don’t believe that the government wants our best, we don’t want it privy to information about us. And since we are evil from our youth, we have good reasons to want to keep our actions hidden from the public eye.
So, how do we solve a situation where the police want to prevent crime, and therefore need better means of surveillance, but in order to track criminals, they also install instruments that allow them to track regular civilians? To solve it, we need to change both the government and the citizens. In other words, the government needs to work for the citizens, and the citizens need to develop a nature that is not inherently negative and detrimental to others.
Since the citizens elect the government that represents them, it means that it reflects them. In other words, the fact that the government does not want our benefit is because we don’t want each other’s benefit. Not surprisingly, we elect representatives who are made in our own image: evil from their youth.
For the most part, we still deny that we are like that. The world around us is crumbling, societies are falling apart in the free world and in dictatorships alike, a global plague is running amok but we are reluctant to cooperate in order to defeat it, nature is raging throughout the world and threatens to drown us, burn us, melt us, and devastate our economies until we starve, yet we don’t feel that any of it is our fault.
Perhaps if we do place cameras in plain view, and place them everywhere so we can see our behavior for what it is, we will see who we really are. Perhaps then we will realize that we have no choice but to change, that we must become better people, kinder to each other, more considerate, and less imposing. Perhaps then we will choose leaders who have our best interest in mind, instead of their own power and wealth. Then, for sure, we will have nothing to hide.
My new article on Linkedin “Tu B’Av, More Than a Jewish Valentine’s Day”
How is it possible that love is the motive of almost every activity people engage in, and yet, what we see around us is endless hatred, separation, and quarrels? Let’s rethink what true love is.
The best explanation of this concept can be found in the meaning of Tu B’Av (the 15th of Av), the day of love. It happens right after Tisha B’Av (the 9th of Av), the day of destruction. Only after this unparalleled crisis where evil is revealed, the hatred between us, are we able to correct ourselves and reach true love. Then a new period of balance begins. In order to attain it, however, we needed first to recognize that our present state is completely opposite to it.
In other words, the recognition of an unfounded hatred that dwells in our heart is the precondition for the attainment of unconditional love between us. As it is written, “Tu B’Av is the correction and mitigation of Tisha B’Av.” (Likutey Halachot).
It is also written in the Mishnah, “No day was as good for Israel as the 15th of Av—a day when the tribes were permitted to mingle and impart each one’s goodness to one’s friend.” (Tifferet Shlomo)
Tu B’Av was the greatest of days when, according to tradition, the young women of Jerusalem would go out dressed in white to the orchards and vineyards to sing. The young men would join them to choose their bride. These are the images that characterize this holiday.
In spite of the romantic imagery, it is not the earthy love of young men and women in the vineyards that Tu B’Av speaks of, but a totally different kind of love: one built atop the egoism (self-interest instead of concern for the wellbeing of others) that destroyed the First and Second Temples on the 9th of Av, which we have just finished commemorating. The dark days between the 17th of Tammuz and Tisha B’Av remind the Jewish people of the destruction of the two Temples, as well as other problems and afflictions that we have undergone. Later on, when the unfounded hatred is gone, a new period begins during which we search for correction.
We search for a spiritual partner to help us accomplish this transition we desire, and the spiritual partner for both men and women is the higher force of love and bestowal, the Creator. We connect with Him and together receive absolute fulfillment, the pleasure and enlightenment—the revelation of the real world—existing in that sublime and whole reality and not only in the tiny fragment of it that we know as our world. The entire process of the Tu B’Av unification symbolizes our ultimate correction, the rebuilding of the Temple, and our transformation from hatred to love.
Therefore, the festivity of Tu B’Av alludes to the time in which we will build the Third Temple. However, the allusion does not refer to a physical edification but one we build in our hearts, between us. It speaks of a state in which humanity is connected positively, and in which the unifying force that maintains the world and all reality becomes revealed between us.
What is true love? True love, not the love on the corporeal level that we usually think of, is a special feeling of connection between us which elevates us to the heights of eternity, wholeness, and an infinite expansion of our feelings and thoughts. We begin to sense that we exist in total fulfillment when we relate to one another with this ultimate love.
In our current state, even when we feel we love someone, it is because we love how that person makes us feel. As a result, we stop loving when we derive no joy from the relationship, so in truth, there was actually no true love there to begin with. To truly love another means to only want that person’s happiness, to want to give to that other person.
However, there is one special condition required before we can achieve true love. Love unfolds only after first revealing a state of fragmentation— the present state—and then collecting all the shattered pieces together in a spirit of mutual concern and reciprocity.
The new state of consciousness, this new understanding and feeling, elevates us to the higher level of the perfect reality above the limitations of our earthly life. Tu B’Av propels us to the unique state of “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Michael Laitman, On Quora: “What should I do to stop feeling despair?“
If we feel despair, then we should seek the cause of this feeling. We ultimately feel despair because, even if we live to be 200 years old, we will still be unable to fulfill our desire to enjoy.
Our desire to enjoy is our nature. It pushes us to enjoy via our desires for food, sex, family, money, honor, control, knowledge and spirituality. The problem with this desire is that it is aimed at our personal benefit alone, so any enjoyment we receive is short lived, and we end up feeling emptier the more that we develop.
When we reach a state of despair from living, a state that all people will eventually reach, then in order to best deal with this feeling, we should seek a solution.
How can we exit the feeling of despair? We receive this question ultimately from nature. Nature is whole, perfect and eternal, and we too ultimately demand to be whole, perfect and eternal. We each face this eternal dilemma, and find no answer. Some of us might be able to pacify this question with psychological means or by making do with certain enjoyments for the time being.
However, the more we develop, the more we will be unable to pacify our existential questions, and they will pressure us more and more to somehow find their answers. What, then, can be the solution for our entire existence?
The wisdom of Kabbalah is a method that provides the following solution: we need to change the world by changing ourselves. The world is a copy of us. We project our qualities onto whatever is outside of us. Therefore, if we change our qualities into spiritual ones, i.e. to qualities of love, bestowal and positive connection, we will then feel a different world.
In other words, changing the intention upon which we wish to enjoy—from self-benefit to benefiting others and nature—is the key to stopping despair. By doing so, we enter into balance with nature and start feeling its flow of eternity, harmony and perfection.
Based on a talk with Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman. Written/edited by students of Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman.
While the European part of #Russia struggles with sweltering #heat, #Germany, #Belgium and the #Netherlands are afflicted by powerful #rains. In #India the regular #monsoons are too strong this time. #China is #flooded. Nature has shifted to a constant and decisive offensive to teach us to be people, to be responsible for nature!
From Twitter, 7/22/21
Question: The holiday “Day of Love,” the 15th of Av, has been around for about 3,000 years. People began to celebrate it even before the establishment of the kingdom in Israel, before Jerusalem was conquered. At that time, each tribe of Israel lived in its own territory and they were forbidden to mix.
Therefore, girls who owned land did not marry members of another tribe. Why does the Torah speak about unity and there is such a restriction here?
Answer: The fact is that the connection cannot be without order, without rules. Therefore, it requires a certain framework, boundaries.
The connection exists in order to ensure that all parts of the nation are correctly connected and all parts of the world are also connected correctly around it.
Even if we have a heartfelt desire to connect with each other and become one single whole, this single whole contains all the egoistic shades: rejection, opposition, and hatred. It is necessary to rise above hatred in love: “Love will cover all crimes.”
Nevertheless, hatred remains, otherwise love will have no foundation.
Therefore, the connection consists of two parts: hatred and love. When these qualities are connected correctly, a middle line is formed between them. Only in the correct understanding and in the correct implementation of the opposite parts can we reach the state of a true connection.
Question: Did this help preserve the ethnic particularity of each tribe, their traditions, and customs?
Answer: This helped create the correct connection of the entire people of Israel, that is, a structure that would be in a correct internal dynamic balance, like the organs of the body, each of which works in its own internal mode and is connected to the other organs through certain external connections. Moreover, each organ exists as if by itself, and together they function in such a way that they support the life of the body, which can thus perform its general functions.
From KabTV’s “Spiritual States”
Question: The 9th of Av is considered a national day of mourning for the Jewish people. On the 9th of Av, the First and Second Temples were destroyed, the Inquisition began, and they were expelled from Spain, which the Jews considered their home. On the 9th of Av, the slaughter of Jews by Bohdan Khmelnytsky began. On this day in 1914, the First World War began, and with this it touched the whole world.
Today how relevant is this date the 9th of Av?
Question: So it should be standing in front of us, looming?
Answer: This will protect us from stupidity.
Question: The future generations will go through the 9th of Av as well?
Answer: Until the world is completely corrected, this is the source of evil.
Question: Should we be afraid of this day?
Answer: It is good when it passes calmly. I’m being completely serious.
Comment: They say that one should not be signing contracts on this day.
My Response: In general, it is better not to do anything on this day.
Question: Do you mean that this is for all the people of the world or is it still for Jews?
Answer: First of all, for the Jews, because it depends on them how this 9th of Av will pass through them and around the world. So, if it passes calmly, you can continue to move further toward correction, hoping that it will be done in such calm steps.
Question: Can this blackest day turn into the brightest?
Answer: Naturally! Of course! But when it will be depends on us. When our nation will understand what they have to do, agree with it, and turn the day of hatred into a day of love. That’s all.
Question: I see that when the 9th of Av comes, it is only a day of mourning. No one thinks that this day should be turned into a bright day. People don’t think that. Should there be a thought like this?
Answer: Of course, there should be! Yes, indeed! After all, our problem is that we generally deny any obligation on the Jews in this world. This is a problem! This problem has been going on since the exodus from Egypt and receiving the Torah.
It is necessary to fulfill it! To fulfill it so that the rest of the nations of the world will come to its fulfillment too.
And the fulfillment does not consist in performing some mechanical movements, but in loving your neighbor as yourself. That’s what’s missing.
Everyone once heard that “love your neighbor as yourself” is the main testament of the Torah, but no one thinks that it is mandatory for everyone in the whole world to fulfill it. For whom is it an obligation?
For the whole world, this is a kind of voluntary, non-coercive offer. And for the Jewish people, this is compulsory. We have pledged ourselves, we received a property, a connection with the upper force that will correct us for this in accordance with our wishes, our requests. And we don’t demand it. That’s it; it all went astray from there.
Question: Please tell me. After the First and Second Temples were built we were moving toward love for our neighbor. Why was it necessary for the 9th of Av to appear and for these Temples to be destroyed?
Answer: In order for us to start correcting them. Because the construction was going on from above. We were given a power that somehow united us.
Question: So two Temples were built from above?
Answer: Of course. The force comes from above, not from us, from ourselves.
And the Third Temple, we must still realize how necessary it is and demand it ourselves from below.
Question: Will the Third Temple be built by the whole world?
Answer: It will be built in the hearts of those who strive for the Creator. They are called the people of Israel. And then it will be taken up by the whole world.
Comment: You mean, Israel is not today’s Jews, Israelis who live in Israel, Jews with a mom and a dad according to the passport, but those who strive for the Creator.
My Response: Yes. In principle, those who aspire to the Creator are called “Israel,” and they are obliged to fulfill the connection and spread it throughout the world.
Let’s hope that this is the last time we celebrate, if we can say “celebrate,” this gloomy date, and from this time onward, it will be the opposite date of unity and connection, turning into love.
From KabTV’s “News with Dr. Michael Laitman” 7/15/21
My new article on Linkedin “England’s Freedom Day Reflects the Sorry State of the World”
Despite nearly 50,000 new confirmed cases daily and a rising pace of infection, despite 1,200 physicians backing a letter to The Lancet medical journal warning that “this decision is dangerous and premature,” and “provides fertile ground for the emergence of vaccine-resistant variants,” and a call “to pause plans to abandon mitigations on July 19, 2021,” the UK government went ahead with what was dubbed the “Freedom Day,” where nearly all Covid restrictions have been lifted. People in the UK are now permitted to cram bars, restaurants, entertainment halls, sports events, and gather however and wherever they want without any limits. Even masks are no longer mandatory in Covid-ridden England (albeit with few severe cases).
I have been to bars on the British Isles; I know what it’s like there. These places are jam-packed, and people literally stand shoulder to shoulder because there is no room. Without masks, these places will undoubtedly become Covid hotbeds.
I understand that it is tough to avoid things you like for so long, and people need to unwind. But what if Covid does not go away? What if, as the physicians’ letter warns, a vaccine-resistant variant appears, with a high mortality rate, and there is no vaccine to protect from it? What would the government do? Would it not impose restrictions, and probably far worse than Britons had to bear until a few days ago? The government would have no choice but to cut out people’s joys and freedoms slice after slice, until none of it is left. Eventually, it would have to give money to people just so they can get the bare minimum to sustain themselves. Bar and restaurant owners will end up with nothing, and they will also have no future since there will be no vaccine to give them hope that at some point, they will be able to reopen their businesses. For this reason, I see no benefit in this decision.
But there is another, more important issue here: Such a move reflects the poor state of solidarity in the world. The virus may have started in China, but since then, it has mutated several times and now we’re being infected with a strain that first appeared in India. Covid knows no borders; once it appears, it is omnipresent. We may not like it, but we are responsible for one another. Currently, we think of other countries only in terms of how we can exploit them, harm them, and govern them. This has to change because if it doesn’t, that ill-will that’s emerging from within us will put us all to death.
Covid-19 is a sign that we must begin to make decisions with other people’s benefit in mind, and not just the benefit of some people, but of all the people, since, as we already know, an infection anywhere is an infection everywhere. There needs to be a governing body of world experts that will keep in mind the benefit of the entire world, and this body will decide what is right for the planet, and what is not.
The current time is special; we need to work with it correctly. We need to seize the moment and begin to be more considerate, to decide together what to do against our common foe. And once we decide, we must act on it together.
We can wait; we can be doubtful, but the result will be our own demise, if not in this wave, then in the next. Nature is leaving us no options but to band together and fight for our lives. We can achieve this, but only if we give this government of experts the required authority to do what it takes to save humanity from Covid, and basically from our own ill-will toward each other.
In the current situation, we are worse than any animal. When there is a forest fire, animals stop hunting one another and everyone focuses on escaping. You might even see natural enemies running side by side away from the flames. Not so are people: We try to demolish other people and nations even while we’re running from a common threat, such as a virus, and even when doing so may put us in danger, such as the case with the “Freedom Day.” We are devoid of the instinct that keeps animals alive, so unless we develop it ourselves, we will not survive. It’s as simple as that, and the sooner we understand it, the fewer unneeded casualties we will have to mourn.
A person reincarnates in our world and his spiritual gene is clothed in different bodies time after time. A person who lives this life but whose body dies before he fulfills his spiritual gene will return to a new corporeal body in which he will go through tens of years that were predetermined for him and then die again.
This will continue until he attains the development of the soul in one of his reincarnations.
But it is not that the knowledge one has acquired raises the level of the soul. Rather, it is the soul’s inherent nature that it will not grow by its own effort before it has acquired the knowledge of the spiritual nature. Its growth depends on the measure of its knowledge.
Generally speaking, knowledge doesn’t enable the soul to do anything. It enables a person to cooperate with the soul correctly in order to help it develop by the right actions.
The soul develops by the good and right actions to such a state that he will no longer have to return to a corporeal body in our world.
From KabTV’s “Fundamentals of Kabbalah” 6/16/19
Question: In the first chapters of the book “The Prophets” (Joshua), it states which laws should be followed. It is necessary not to deviate from the instructions of the Torah and not use your own mind, but the mind of the upper. Then everything will be fine. What does it mean to use the instructions that the Creator gave to Moses, to the people?
Entering the desert is an intermediate state between the power of the Pharaoh and the power of the Creator. Therefore, the desert has its own laws that must be observed in order to pass this state.
And it is such that you cannot use your desires because they are selfish and have not yet been corrected. But you can be in a state of elevation above them and not apply them.
By fulfilling this condition, the people gradually approach the border of the land of Israel. Their movement continues for 40 degrees, from Malchut to Bina.
This means that egoism is constantly increasing , but in stages. And we must rise above it. The more egoism, the more a person rises above it, does not use it, and tries to bring all his thoughts and feelings closer to the property of bestowal, Bina.
When he passes through these states and breaks away from Malchut (egoistic desire), it is called that he crosses the desert and reaches the border of the entrance to the land of Israel.
Land, Eretz, is from the word “Ratzon” (desire). Yisrael (Yashar Kel) means “straight to the Creator.”
The crossing of the River Jordan means that the people completely break away from their egoistic past and enter a desire that is directed only toward the Creator. The transition is very symbolic.
When the people of Israel enter the land of Jordan, Moses (the property that guided them) breaks away from them, ascends Mount Nebo, and, looking from afar to the land of Israel, dies. Although it is written in the Torah that this place is unknown to this day, according to legend we know approximately where this happened.
And then all the nations that make up Israel, the so-called 12 tribes, that is, all the desires, cross the Jordan led by Joshua Ben Nun.
But they cannot just enter the land of Israel because this is a way out of an egoistic state into an altruistic one, and they still have some egoism left in them. In order to completely break away from the previous state, a person must finally cut off the last egoistic desires, the so-called foreskin, from himself. And the people perform this action.
From KabTV’s “Secrets of the Eternal Book” 7/5/21