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My new article on Linkedin “The Engine of History”
Over billions of years, the universe evolved from a tiny speck into a mammoth structure whose vastness no human can perceive. On a miniscule planet in the midst of the vast universe, life began to evolve some four billion years ago. Over the eons, life evolved smoothly in its course, generating minerals, plants, and animals. There was no apparent reason for the process, but it went on to develop increasingly complicated creations. Only very recently, in the last 5,000 years or so, did the reason manifest: The universe evolved toward creating man, who is to evolve and become like the maker of the universe, and thereby complete the circle of creation—from maker, to man, to maker.
The purpose of creation was initially known to few, but they developed manners of explaining it to many. The wisdom those few had learned became known as the wisdom of Kabbalah, which means reception, since it teaches how to receive the ultimate knowledge, that of the maker of the universe.
As the wisdom evolved, so did humanity. When Abraham came along and developed his wisdom, writes Maimonides in Mishneh Torah, he wrote it in books such as The Book of Creation and other books that did not make it to our time. Nevertheless, his teachings reached countless people in his homeland Babylon, Canaan, Egypt, and elsewhere in the Near East. His teaching was simple: Be kind and caring to others, and you will discover the secrets of the maker of the universe, or as Maimonides depicted it, “the leader of the capital.”
While Abraham was teaching, Babylon went through a profound social crisis and its people became arrogant and alienated from each other. The book Pirkey de Rabbi Eliezer describes Abraham’s impressions from watching the builders of the Tower of Babylon: “Abraham, son of Terah, went by and saw them building the city and the tower.” He tried to speak to them and tell them about the benefits of caring over alienation “but they loathed his words,” says the book. Yet, when “They wished to speak each other’s language” as before, when they were still united, “they did not know each other’s language. What did they do?” asks the book, “They each took his sword and fought one another to death. Indeed,” concludes the text, “half the world died there by the sword.”
Later, the chronicles of the people of Israel in Egypt tell the story of Moses’ struggle to unite the people of Israel, redeem them from Egypt, and teach them Abraham’s wisdom. Like Abraham, Moses did not intend to keep the wisdom exclusively for Israel. He wanted the entire world to benefit from it. In his commentary on the Torah, the great Ramchal writes, “Moses wished to complete the correction of the world at that time. This is why he took the mixed multitude, as he thought that thus would be the correction of the world … However, he did not succeed because of the corruptions that occurred along the way.”
Other historic events followed key points in the development of the wisdom of Kabbalah. The writing of The Book of Zohar took place soon after the ruin of the Second Temple, when the Jewish people began their two-millennia long exile, and Christianity was but a nestling faith. A long history of persecution and oppression was to begin, and the fall of Rome was nearing, along with the Hellenistic culture that ended the Jewish sovereignty in the land of Israel.
For more than a thousand years, The Book of Zohar had been hidden. Toward the end of the 13th century, it reappeared and a new era had begun. The Middle-Ages were coming to a close. When a young kabbalist by the name of Isaac Luria came to Safed, in Northern Israel, in the middle of the 16th century, he began to teach Kabbalah like none other had done before him. At around the same time, novel ideas were spreading throughout Europe: The Renaissance was gaining ground, and Martin Luther’s Reformation was challenging the authority of the Catholic Church.
The teachings of Isaac Luria, who became known as the ARI, remained in the twilight for centuries and very few were privy to them. It was only in the 20th century that the wisdom of Kabbalah became more accessible. In the 1940s and 50s, a kabbalist by the name of Yehuda Ashlag explained in detail the teachings of the ARI in his comprehensive six-volume The Study of the Ten Sefirot, as well as the The Book of Zohar in his Sulam [Ladder] commentary. As before, the years when Ashlag, who became known as Baal HaSulam, worked on his commentaries were fateful years for humanity. In Ashlag’s time, three major ideologies struggled for world dominance: Capitalism, Communism, and Nazism. The result of their struggle was the Second World War with all its horrendous consequences.
The teachings of Baal HaSulam, for all their relative clarity, compared to his predecessors, still did not become known far and wide as he had wished. As he said, the generation was not ready for it.
Now it is. We are the first generation that is beginning to implement the principles that Abraham had taught and that Moses wished to spread around the world. In our generation, the wisdom of Kabbalah—the wisdom that teaches how the world was made, how it operates, and how we can become like its maker—is taught throughout the world, and everyone is welcome. Anyone can read the books, watch the lessons, practice the method with others, and achieve what the wisdom enables.
The engine of history, which has driven every process since the dawn of time, is now open to everyone, like an open-code program that anyone can come and learn. The texts have been translated into dozens of languages, the lessons are accessible online and for free, and curious people from around the world are bonding around Abraham’s tenets: Be kind and caring to others, and you will discover the secrets of the maker of the universe, or as Maimonides depicted it, “the leader of the capital.”
Question: You talk a lot about egoism, which is the destructive force of our world. What is this and how can a person, who thinks that he is far from being an egoist and is a righteous man, understand that the roots of egoism are deeply embedded in him and must be worked with?
Answer: Egoism is the single central force of the world we exist in. Only egoism, that is, the desire to do everything in the best possible way for oneself, reigns at all levels: inanimate, vegetative, animal, and human.
This force governs all created beings, inanimate, vegetative, animal, and human essence, and is called “egoism.” At the same time, we practically do not reckon with anything, it is inherent in us. I am not interested in what will happen to another person unless it harms me. This is our nature.
On the other hand, it is in contradiction to all the details of the universe. If everyone is guided in this way in relation to others, then we will simply strangle, kill, and harm each other.
If we had some kind of balance, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” then we would come to a state in which we would not be afraid of each other and would wish each other what we wish for ourselves.
Therefore, the most important thing we need to achieve is balance with the surrounding nature and people. Otherwise, we, as today, will exist at the expense of each other, and therefore, our whole life will be devoted only to compensating for egoism.
From KabTV’s “Meetings with Kabbalah” 7/29/21
Michael Laitman, On Quora: “What can we do to prepare humanity for impending crises?“
We need to upgrade our education so that we all learn that our problems and crises are a result of our imbalance with nature, since nature is altruistic and we are egoistic.
Until we change ourselves from egoistic to altruistic, and bring ourselves to balance with nature by doing so, then we will fail to resemble nature on its “human” or “speaking” level. After all, in all other levels—the still, vegetative and animate levels—we instinctively resemble nature. However, on the human level, we have freedom of choice.
It is by our own free choice, our personal efforts, that we achieve balance and adaptation with nature. We will then feel the eternity, perfection and harmony present in the altruistic sphere of nature outside of our narrow egoistic nature.
Otherwise we have no feeling of nature, but only its opposite. We feel the opposite side of nature in the negative phenomena we experience, on the ecological, physical and physiological level (disease), on the speaking level (depression, anxiety, suicide, drug abuse and divorce), and in the social sphere (terrorism, wars and violence).
The first step we must immediately take in order to avoid our collision with a global problem, an upshot of catastrophes—is to explain the reason for our misfortunes to humanity, which is solely in our attitude to each other.
Based on a Q&A with Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman on September 9, 2006. Written/edited by students of Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman.
It is written, “For you did not see any image.” This requires interpretation, for what fool would think and gather that there is any corporeal similitude in the Creator? But in truth, this is why there is attainment in the Creator in the world, for no desire awakens for that which does not exist in reality. (Baal HaSulam, A Sage’s Fruit Volume 2, “From My Flesh I Shall See God”)
In other words, “How can we perceive the Creator, if he has no material form? This is possible only in a new awakening desire. Thus, we can speak about the spiritual and its laws.” (Michael Laitman, “I Will Know the Creator from Within Myself,” a modification of Baal HaSulam’s “From My Flesh I Shall See God”)
We have no spiritual desires. Spiritual desire is the desire to bestow, to love truly, not like in our world, when we love ourselves or our reflection in others.
Spiritual love, which is true, selfless, and sincere, has nothing to do with the person himself and consists only in the fact that he gives himself for the sake of others or for the sake of the Creator, which is one and the same.
Comprehension of the Creator is possible only to the extent of similarity to Him. Therefore, if we discover in ourselves the property of bestowal, then we begin to feel the Creator in it. And whoever has not achieved this property has no opportunity to feel the Creator or any forces of the upper world.
From KabTV’s “Fundamentals of Kabbalah” 6/23/19
I want to support everyone in the ten in everything: in the greatness of the goal, in the greatness of our mission, in making the connection between us more precious than anything else in the world.
When I position myself in this way in regard to the ten, I give them my strength, my inspiration, my goal. What they receive from me as a result and act further is already my continuation in them. If each one in the ten works like this, we will very quickly have the correct connection, and in it, we will reveal the upper world.
From KabTV’s “Videoconference”
Answer: The middle line in a person is one’s soul. If a person closed the right and left lines in himself, then in this way he would burn the rudiments of his soul that are intended for his development.
Question: What is the middle line in society?
Answer: In society there should be laws that would help a person, would educate him in such a way that he will think only about others and not about himself. In this case, all his actions would be virtuous and encouraged by society and he would receive an appropriate reward for this.
If he did not act for the good of everyone but only for his own sake, he would be punished. Then the reward and punishment by the correct society would educate him.
The middle line inside a person is his screen, the anti-egoistic force, which enables him to absorb both his natural egoistic property, to receive for his own sake, and the altruistic property that manifests itself in us, which is a part of the Creator.
The middle line in a corrected society is the laws that could balance these two forces.
From KabTV’s “Spiritual States” 7/23/21
Because any observation of the work of Creation is enough to teach us about the greatness and perfection of its Operator and Creator. Therefore, we must understand and be very careful when casting a flaw in any item of Creation, saying it is redundant and superfluous, as that would be slander about its Operator. (Baal HaSulam, “Peace in the World”)
When we look at something in the world, at human characteristics, at still, vegetative, animate, and speaking phenomena and ask why it exists because it would be preferable if it didn’t exist, what we are saying is that we don’t understand the perfection of the image of nature.
The only thing that we must do is correct ourselves and then we will see how nature is corrected.
Why are natural forms found at odds with each other, in struggle, and eating each other? If people who want to eat each other would achieve a state of mutual accommodation and wholeness on the human level, we would see how all of nature also becomes like this.
From KabTV’s “Fundamentals of Kabbalah” 7/7/19
Comment: A letter was sent to you: “We have been living together for almost 30 years—quite a long time. We have two children, our daily life is settled, we have jobs, enough money, everything is fine. But love is gone, everything is very ordinary, without scandals, without love that used to burn.
“We have even been to a psychologist, we did all sorts of exercises that he advised, but we are still cold and quiet; we are dead. What should we do? Please tell us. We are writing to you together. Can we bring back the old relationship or at least get close to it?”—Alexander and Nadezhda
My Response: It is very difficult, but it is possible if we are serious about each other and make some kind of contract that we will constantly take care of one another, show how much we love each other, and treasure our mutual cooperation.
It is impossible, of course, to have the same feelings, the same states that we once had when we were young, when it was all new, and so on. However, they should not fade.
They should just grow precisely because of the fact that we constantly try to show each other our care. Love gives way to mutual concern.
Question: Is this what happens over the years?
Answer: Of course. Then you do not need to be on fire, you should somehow try to please the other.
Question: Is this a game? This is not even real.
Answer: It is a game. So what? All our life is a game.
Question: Will it lead to feelings?
Answer: It does not need to lead anywhere. The correct relationship is when we consciously, above our egoism, treat each other with care and consideration.
Question: Do I know that I am playing?
Answer: I specifically know, and this is why I can do it beautifully and well, and I love this state. It is because, first of all, I do it against my egoism. Second, I constantly show my partner that I am doing this for him, that I am even doing it against my egoistic desire, and that I am pleased that I am doing it against my egoism.
This point is very precise. Therefore, I do not have to lie. After all, it is clear that when I come home we no longer look at each other. He looks at the refrigerator, at the TV, at the bed, and that’s it! And here…
Comment: You are already preparing yourself in front of the door that you will now enter with a smile and say: “Hello, my love.”
My Response: Yes. This is how it should be. Also, during the day, you should sound and talk in this way. Fill your life with this game. But do not overplay it. It should simply be an even attitude by which you show the other that you care about him.
Question: What happens then? You say that love is like this!
Answer: This is not love. It is mutual care for each other when you want the other to feel good next to you.
Question: Will both of them feel good then?
Answer: Of course. You buy his good attitude with this.
Question: So, is your advice to turn it into mutual care?
Answer: There is no other way at all! Or you can artificially pretend that you are still in love and like in a ballet fly toward each other! By this, you create a warm cloud or a relationship field.
This is called “A man and a woman, if they are rewarded, the Shechina [Divinity] is between them.”
Question: What is the Shechina here?
Answer: The state that they give birth to and cultivate between them, and it then manifests itself as something independent, outside of them, and begins to bind them together and raise them both to another degree.
Question: Does it mean that by this they reveal the Creator?
Answer: Of course. After all, they work above their egoism. This is a very difficult, real work.
From KabTV’s “News with Dr. Michael Laitman” 6/28/21
Answer: He feels and understands that negative qualities are revealed in him: this is Balaam, and this is Pharaoh, this is Balak, and this is Haman, and so on. He knows exactly what quality is being manifested in him at the time.
These are high degrees to which a person advances as if on two legs, left and right, and moves forward. He corrects the unfolding egoism and rises above it. Then egoism is revealed in him again, and he rises above it again.
Comment: It turns out that a Kabbalist, by ascending higher and higher, reveals something more, even that which we may not know in our egoism: where the serpent is, where Balaam is.
My Response: Of course if we are only at the level of our world, then this serpent has nothing to do with us. Talk to people. They do not feel like they are egoists! And if so, then these are everyday, generally accepted toys: robbing, killing, and deceiving.
This is not the egoism with which we work in the spiritual world. A completely different form of egoism is there. We have no idea what it could be. It seems to us that egoism exists only between us in our earthly relationships.
But the real egoism is directed against the Creator. The real egoism is when I want to enslave the Creator, use Him, like in the fairy tale “The Fisherman and the Golden Fish,” “She wants you to be her own servant, to follow her commands and her errands.”
The Creator, on one hand, plays with us through the serpent, and on the other hand, directly through himself. As a result, He allows us to play with him as an adult plays with a child and the child as if uses him.
But He does this so that the child receives properties and forces from Him, then again falls into egoism, and by absorbing it, he grows.
This is a good theatrical action that you have to go through. This is what we live for. It makes a person out of you because you begin to include within you, not our world, but two huge spiritual forces: the light and the force opposite to it. By correctly combining them in you, you acquire the form of the Creator. Therefore, man, Adam, is translated as “similar to the Creator.” This is the state we must achieve.
And the serpent Balaam and all these negative qualities, everything that we go through in this world, help us in this. We just need to know how to work with them correctly.
And if, while studying Kabbalah, we have additional opportunities, then to this extent even greater negative properties will be revealed in us. We will know who the serpent is: Balaam, Pharaoh. All the properties will be revealed in us and we will rise above them and become spiritual.
From KabTV’s “The Power of The Book of Zohar” #16