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My new article on Linkedin “Sally Rooney’s Hate Is the New Normal”
It is not easy to convince the Snapchat generation to read books. To do so, you must be a gifted writer and know which buttons to press in young people’s hearts. Sally Rooney, a young Irish author, is that kind of writer. Her first two books have won multiple awards and she is widely regarded as one of the most prominent voices of millennials.
Rooney is also very opinionated. She is a self-proclaimed Marxist and an avid supporter of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement (BDS). In line with her views, she has refused to sell translation rights to Israeli publishers. Because of her notoriety, her decision caused quite a stir. The New York Times stated, “Sally Rooney Declines to Sell Translation Rights to Israeli Publisher.” CNN echoed, “Sally Rooney refuses to sell Hebrew rights for latest book to Israeli publisher, citing political objections,” and other prominent news outlets also reported her decision.
In response, Israel’s two largest bookstore chains announced that they would pull all of Rooney’s titles from their shelves. This also caused a stir, though not as much. The BBC reported it, as did The Guardian and other British news outlets. Naturally, the Jewish press was all over the case, as well.
I sympathize with the response of the bookstore chains, just as I was in favor of banning other individuals and brands that boycott Israel. At the same time, I understand why they are doing this, and I am glad that it is causing a stir in Israel.
We can look the other way for only so long. At some point, we will have to ask ourselves why the world hates us, and it is better if we do it now than later.
We need to use such incidents constructively. By “constructively,” I mean that we should use them as an impetus to return to the roots of our nation, to our fundamental principles of mutual responsibility and brotherly love. These are the building blocks of our nation, and these are the qualities that we lost long ago and for which we were exiled from Israel.
When we were cast as a nation that was to be “a light unto nations,” we were made to reflect the splendor of love of others to the entire world. Long before we gave the world Albert Einstein and Arthur Rubenstein, we gave it “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Granted, we did not quite manage to make it a reality, but the idea itself was, and still is, so novel, so unlike human nature, that to this day it seems undoable.
Still, the world will not leave us in peace until we begin to implement this very legacy we had left to humanity. Indeed, it makes perfect sense to demand that the progenitors of this sublime idea be the first to implement it.
The more the world becomes divided and hostile, the more it needs its opposite – love of others. The more people hate each other, the more they will demand that we love each other, and they will hate us for not doing so and setting an example for the world to follow.
In the near future, numerous celebrities, pundits, and politicians will declare their disapproval of Israel. They will not justify our existence as a sovereign state unless we justify it by setting an example of unity. Nothing else will satisfy them; nothing else will appease their hatred.
For more on this, see my publication The Jewish Choice: Unity or Anti-Semitism.
Answer: A Kabbalist reads small portions because swallowing does not mean anything. Then it would be like reading fiction.
In order to read a Kabbalistic text, one must enter it, ponder it, and be in a certain state. Some kind of Kabbalistic meditation is needed here.
A Kabbalist is one who studies books with a pen and a notebook. In general, this is not reading, but studying. Moreover, the Prophets is not a simple book.
Therefore it is difficult to convey how a Kabbalist reads it. This is the study of oneself through other characters, i.e., those people who existed in our world and comprehended the Creator. They acted only with the goal of getting closer to Him, positively influencing Him, so that the Creator, in accordance with this, would bring them closer and give them the opportunity to positively influence the world through them.
From KabTV’s “Secrets of the Eternal Book” 9/13/21
Michael Laitman, On Quora: “What is depression?“
Depression is an outcome of unsatisfied desires.
We are composed of several desires. If these desires are fulfilled, we feel happy. If they are partially fulfilled, we feel partial dissatisfaction, a state that we live in, and which we have become accustomed to.
We try to neutralize such dissatisfaction in a variety of ways, whether by means of medicines and drugs through to all kinds of entertainments and goals in our lives, and we thus manage to stay somewhat afloat.
There are certain states of depression where we feel a deep, dark and gaping emptiness within, feeling no fulfillment in the present moment, and also see no light at the end of the tunnel in the future either, which is indeed very difficult.
We usually live with hope for the future. We plan various goals for ourselves in order to fulfill our spectrum of desires. We are usually occupied with thoughts about food, sex, family, recreation, making money, gaining respect in society, accumulating knowledge, and some people even wish to acquire particular positions of fame or power. We have developed a smorgasbord of ways in which we fulfill such desires, and they act as distractions from deeper existential questions, letting us live our lives on a certain surface level. However, when they become swallowed by darkness, we become swamped in depression, and we are then even ready to die. There is a kabbalistic saying about such a state: “My death is better than my life.”
The moment we start feeling such depressed states, we then ask ourselves the existential questions that we had previously been able to successfully cover up. At the end of the day, depression is a feeling that leads us to search outside of our usual frameworks to find an answer to questions about life’s meaning and purpose, and we need to experience a certain level of depression in order to soul search.
If we find meaning and purpose in serving our desires for food, sex, family, recreation, money, honor, control and knowledge, i.e. if we are able to enjoy ourselves by either fulfilling these desires directly or by imagining their future fulfillment, then life’s deeper existential questions remain buried beneath this pleasure pursuit. In other words, we find meaning in life’s animate level of existence. If, however, we find no satisfaction through serving such desires, we then experience depression, which is ultimately a sensation that should lead us to actively search for the meaning and purpose of life.
We should understand that our world is a mere springboard from which we need to leap to a higher dimension. We can discover the higher dimension of existence while we are alive in this same world, in our same body.
The process of development through which nature guides us is in order for us to ultimately seek and attain the meaning of life. States of depression appear more frequently and with more intensity the closer we come to transitioning between the discovery of meaninglessness in pursuing the fulfillment of corporeal desires, and the search for higher meaning. In other words, the growing dissatisfaction we feel in pursuing our corporeal desires’ fulfillment is already an expression of our deeper existential questions.
In the wisdom of Kabbalah—a method that was created specifically in order to answer the questions about our life’s meaning and purpose by providing a method for attaining a higher dimension, perception and fulfillment—calls our corporeal desires beyond the fulfillment of mere necessities a “help against.” It is because the emptiness that we either currently or eventually discover in these desires pushes us to seek life’s true meaning and purpose beyond our animate existence.
Based on a Kabbalah lesson with Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman on October 2, 2016. Written/edited by students of Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman.
Photo by Warren Wong on Unsplash.
Question: In one of your conversations, you said that a person does not need the upper world for solving problems in this world, including problems in the family, that on the contrary, problems in the family are needed in order to ascend to the upper world.
Does this mean that all the problems of our world are not meant to be solved?
Answer: Sure. They are needed in order to feel the need for the Creator who will solve them. This is how we reveal Him.
When we attain the upper force that manages us and become its owners, then we begin to manage our world, our life, our destiny, everything by ourselves. We become equal to Him, we see the entire universe from the beginning to the end and rise above this existence, above our body. This is called the revelation of the Creator.
All the problems of our world are intended to feel the need to attain Him. This is why our life becomes more and more unbearable: in order to force us to rise to His level, not for drawing Him into our world and making material existence more comfortable.
It’s the same with the family. The rejection between us should reveal the need for the Creator to us in order to rise to Him together, not to draw Him to us.
Question: What happens when one partner already has this need and realizes that a family can only be built on the spiritual component, but the other one does not have it yet?
Answer: Then nothing will work. We must come to a state where both partners are aware of this and realize it.
From KabTV’s “Close-Up. Emancipation” 9/16/09
Answer: First, this is not intelligence. Let’s agree among us what we will call intelligence and what we will not.
Is a machine that can correctly calculate different moves intelligent? We have no possibility of creating a machine that will be as intellectual as a human. I am telling you this as an expert in biocybernetics, which was the first profession I acquired. I graduated from a university in the profession of Biological, Medical Cybernetics.
Biocybernetics is about devices, cybernetic apparatuses in a living body.
We can make machines that are smarter than us, that think much faster than us, but if we are defining the concept of “intelligence,” it seems that this is impossible because intelligence is a characteristic that is given to us from above and we cannot precisely create the same characteristic in a mechanical or biological material.
Therefore machines will never be wiser than humans. Yes, they may be smarter, but they will not be wiser. They will perform calculations faster, will operate without errors and the like, but they will not be able to be more intellectually wiser than a person.
Comment: Accordingly they have no soul.
My Response: Certainly. A soul is a part of the Creator from above.
From KabTV’s “Fundamentals of Kabbalah” 9/15/19
Answer: Joshua bin Nun are those desires and properties that you can bring to be similar to this image. The extent that he was connected to the Creator in some way—of course, this is approximation—you can reach the same state and feel as he felt.
Everyone can achieve this!
Comment: As it is said, he heard what the Creator was saying all the time.
My Response: “Heard” is the degree of Bina, “saw” is the degree of Hochma. All this is already the degree of prophecy. Each of us can come to it.
From KabTV’s “Secrets of the Eternal Book” 9/13/21
According to the wisdom of Kabbalah, initially, only the Creator existed—the will to bestow and to fulfill. In order for Him to be able to realize this desire, He created the will to receive, to be fulfilled. This is the matter of creation.
As a result, the entire universe consists of two opposite qualities: the will to bestow, to fill, to love, the qualities of the Creator, and the will to receive, to fill only oneself even at the expense of others, the qualities of creation.
The will to receive does not have to bestow in order to change and become similar to the Creator. It cannot emanate anything from itself. But it can receive in order to bestow like a child would eat to please his mother, and although he receives physically in action, he is actually bestowing as he acts in order to please her. We do the same with respect to the Creator.
We receive everything from Him, but if we restrict ourselves and agree that we will receive only in order to bring Him contentment, then we become the bestowing ones, equal to the Creator. He bestows upon us because He is the very quality of bestowal, we receive with intention to bring Him contentment, and then we are equal to Him.
The equivalence of qualities with Him reveals the Creator to us, and we begin to feel Him, understand, explore, and be in absolute contact with Him.
So, the Creator has only the will to bestow. The creation has both a will and an intention: the will to receive and the intention “for my own sake” or “for the sake of others,” including “for the sake of the Creator.”
By altering one’s desires from bigger to smaller and one’s intentions “for one’s own sake” or “for the sake of others,” a person can raise or lower oneself relative to the Creator, come closer or move away from Him. In this case, the intention changes the essence of the action itself. That is the point of our correction.
We cannot change the action, but by changing the intention from “for our own sake” to “for the sake of others,” the meaning of our action can change to the opposite and become bestowal instead of reception. If I receive from the Creator in order to bring Him contentment, then I am considered to be the one who gives Him pleasure, that is, the bestower.
This is how we begin to understand our work: by correctly combining the will to receive with the intention to bestow, a person correctly forms himself, adjusts relative to the Creator. This is called working in three lines.
From KabTV’s “Conversation about The Book of Zohar”
My Response: To do this, they must become Kabbalists. And there’s nothing to be afraid of. There is no mysticism here.
We are talking about our five sense organs in which we attain the world around us and build earthly sciences on them, and also how we change ourselves. We broaden our sense organs in order to build another science on them called “Kabbalah.”
This science depends on changing our sense organs, not on the devices that we create to complement the five material sense organs.
From KabTV’s “Conversation about Science”
Answer: Yes. Loneliness is actually a blessing, but we just need to make sure that loneliness doesn’t lead us to all sorts of unnecessary and undesirable consequences. Because if lonely people suffer from their loneliness, they are ready to do anything. They can become radical extremists and so on, and they can also engage in drug abuse and commit suicide.
We need to look at different kinds of loneliness. If it is intellectual loneliness, it is a blessing for a person and for humanity. If it is not intellectual but scientific, it can also be a blessing, although today’s science is conducted increasingly more in groups. But if it is psychiatric, psychological loneliness, it should be looked into and we need to help a person balance it somehow.
Everything depends on whether a person feels comfortable being lonely. When my loneliness is invaded, it is very hard for me. I can stand a person for a while and then I can’t do it anymore. I need to leave, to retire, to be by myself, to be alone.
Question: What is correct loneliness?
Answer: Correct loneliness is that which leads to one’s internal development.
I understand a person as an entity, each one spends part of his time totally on his own, inside himself, contemplating and reflecting on different matters. He spends a small part of his time with others. On the whole he “lies” when he is with others, and tries to make a certain impression and thus acts and presents a different person, not himself.
How can a person not be lonely? It is possible to make him not feel lonely if you educate him correctly. It is possible to educate a person at any age. It means that you need to show him that he can gain from the right form of loneliness.
If he understands that only by the right connection with another person can he reveal the upper world, transcend the boundaries of life and death, of his own existence, it already sounds enticing.
Question: What does the right connection with another come down to and how can it be attained?
Answer: The right connection is when one person seemingly dwells in another. This is what is referred to by “make your desire the desire of another.” By doing so, when I exit myself and dwell in another, which means that I begin to work on the desires of another and to fill them instead of filling my own desires, by using my whole physical and creative potential in order to fill another, I seemingly move to dwell in him. I seemingly begin to feel that life flows through him.
This is a totally different life; this is spiritual life. Why is it spiritual if it is a person like me? It is because I become another by trying to feel him instead of myself, which means that I exit myself. It is as if my body dies, and I with all my intellect move to dwell inside him. This is where a person can exit his own body.
Question: Can it be any other person, like a donor, in order to feel that I am alive, happy and fulfilled?
Answer: Yes. By moving to dwell in another you roam in a totally different space.
Question: And this is the remedy for loneliness?
Answer: It is not only the remedy for loneliness, but the remedy for death. It is a remedy that makes you immortal, in order to attain perfection and to ascend above yourself, above your ego.
From KabTV’s “News with Dr. Michael Laitman” 1/27/19