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My new article on Linkedin “May We Never Stop Asking”
Ilan Ramon was the first Israeli astronaut. He was aboard STS-107, the 28th mission of the space shuttle Columbia. Upon re-entry into the atmosphere, Columbia disintegrated and exploded killing all seven crew members on board. Ramon was a great achiever. He was an elite fighter pilot and the youngest pilot who participated in Israel’s strike that destroyed Iraq’s nuclear reactor. Despite his success, Ramon asked poignant questions about life and its meaning that I think we should all ponder, for they are what give value to our actions.
Mr. Ramon sent his questions to Yeshayahu Leibowitz, a renowned professor of biochemistry and neurophysiology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who was also a prolific writer on Jewish thought and western philosophy. “For a long time, I have been pondering many questions that might be incorporated under the title, ‘What is man’s purpose in the world we live in?'” wrote Ramon. “The more questions we ask, the greater the contradictions and ambiguities. How do you explain the essence of life?” he asked Prof. Leibowitz. “How do you see man’s purpose and goal in life, and what is the way to achieve this goal?”
Today, when many people are asking similarly poignant questions, we should look into them more closely. There is a reason for these questions; they are the compass that leads us to our calling in life, to our ultimate goal.
However, to find our purpose, we should start with the basics. We may not be aware of it, but humanity, indeed all of reality, does not consist of distinct entities and separate individuals. In truth, we are all parts of a single entity that functions like an organism, with us as its cells and organs.
The problem is that we are unaware of our oneness and perceive ourselves as separate beings. Just as we can understand the purpose of the existence of a cell only in the context of the organism where it lives, we can understand our own existence only in the context of all of reality. Because we feel like separate beings and do not recognize our connection to all creations, we cannot find the meaning and purpose of our existence.
Therefore, instead of living a fulfilling life as part of something higher than ourselves, we live only for ourselves, not knowing why we go through life’s hardships or the benefit we derive from our existence. This is the root cause of today’s increasing prevalence of anxiety and depression.
Our task, therefore, is to become aware of our interconnectedness. If we can come to feel as one entity, we will know our place in the world, how we can contribute to it, and how we should live our lives. We will be happy and confident knowing our worth and our place in the world.
However, we will never know about our connectedness or about the meaning of our lives unless we ask about it. These fundamental questions, which can be quite daunting at times, are the engine that drives us to seek answers. They are the force that drives humanity to learn and evolve. If we want to keep growing, we should never stop asking.
Michael Laitman, On Quora: “What elements of our lives do we need to consider to live a balanced lifestyle?“
We should take care of healthy nutrition, a balanced diet, physical activity, stress management, leisure time, and having balance in our free time, e.g. from sitting and listening to music through to playing with kids, playing sports, and so on. These are all elements of a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
In addition to taking care of balancing our nervous system, it is written in Kabbalah that “all shall be clarified in thought.” That is, we should inspect our inner thoughts, desires and intentions, and a correct review of them should bring us to what is known as “the middle line,” i.e. balance between life’s many forces. We then reach an optimal state of spiritual and corporeal life as one.
In the middle line, we can correctly use nature’s forces, which includes our innate powers inherited from birth as well as the achievements of the previous generations.
Based on “New Life episode 1,115: A Formula for the Right Connection” with Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman, Nitzah Mazoz and Oren Levi. Written/edited by students of Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman.
My new article on Linkedin “The Happiest Sad Birthday”
Let me tell you a true story that sends an important message to all of us. Halleli, a 4-year-old girl from Jerusalem with special needs, wanted to celebrate her birthday with her friends from kindergarten. Her loving parents arranged for everything: the place, the food and sweets, a clown to entertain the kids, and various fun activities that all the children enjoy doing. All her friends from kindergarten had promised they would come, and Halleli couldn’t wait to celebrate with them. But in the end, only one girl showed up. The candy, the clown, and the games just stood there, untouched and unwanted.
The next day, heartbroken, the girl refused to go to kindergarten. Her parents were beside themselves with sorrow and worry for their child and didn’t know how to comfort her. In his distress, Halleli’s father posted on social media what had happened, and matters took a sharp turn for the better.
A man from the neighborhood read the post and was overcome with emotion. “I have kids too,” he thought. “What if she were my daughter?” He felt he had to do something to give that girl an experience that would wash away her sadness. He decided to throw her the birthday party of her life.
He combed the neighborhood and told everyone about Halleli and that he was organizing a birthday party for her and asked everyone to come. A few days later, Halleli had her party. This time, hundreds of children and their parents showed up to make the little girl happy on her special day. Her parents were overjoyed and grateful beyond words to the kind stranger, and as for Halleli, her face beamed brighter than the sun.
This story doesn’t only tell us about human kindness. It is a warning sign. It demonstrates how heartless, perhaps even cruel, we can be if we are not organized and galvanized into positive action. It also proves the immense potential that lies in establishing mutual responsibility in society. When people who don’t know each other help each other because this is the value they live by, there is no end to what such a society can achieve.
The Jewish people became a nation when complete strangers found the words of their teacher, Abraham, compelling enough to implement. His teachings about kindness and mercy as the key to solving society’s problems struck a chord in the hearts of his listeners and they joined his group. This is why mutual responsibility and “love your neighbor as yourself” are the tenets of Judaism – social laws that relate not to God but to our fellow person.
Today, when alienation permeates every corner of human society, we desperately need mutual responsibility and care for others. These are the only qualities, the only values that can keep human society from collapsing altogether. Just as Abraham had found that the remedy to his homeland’s social ills were care for others, all of us must now realize that the cure for heartlessness has not changed since ancient times. The only difference is that alienation has now spread throughout the world.
Humanity must do today what the ancient Hebrews did – unite across divisions and establish love of others where today there is nothing but hatred. Perhaps such moving stories as the one about Halleli’s birthday will help us realize that mutual responsibility is not a noble but unrealistic notion, but an imperative step we must take to ensure our survival as a functioning society.
My new article on Linkedin “The Darkness of the Crystal Night Continues”
The words “crystal night” may evoke the image of stars twinkling in the clear night sky, but it is nothing of the kind. This week, 83 years ago, the Nazi Party’s paramilitary forces (SA) smashed the windows of synagogues, schools, and other Jewish institutions, broke into them and set them on fire. The coordinated pogrom took place throughout the Third Reich, in Germany and Austria. The smashed windows scattered on the ground gave the night its name, Kristallnacht (Crystal Night), or the Night of Broken Glass. More than 400 Jews were slain that night, 400 more died in concentration camps shortly after, and many more committed suicide as a result of the pogroms.
Jewish unity must never be for its own sake. The whole purpose of the existence of the Jewish people is to build an exemplary society. In the short periods when we had such a society, we thrived and the nations admired our achievements. When we grew apart, they began to hate us since our division sent the opposite message from the one we are intended to send, that unity above differences creates the ideal society and the happiest people.
This week, Austria unveiled a memorial in Vienna to commemorate the memory of the victims of Kristallnacht, and the memory of the 65,000 Austrian Jews who perished in the Holocaust. This event is also an opportunity to acknowledge that antisemitism is rapidly intensifying the world over, and another Holocaust is already on the horizon.
I wish I could be a bearer of good news, but the reality is that we have not coped with the reasons that generated that violent hatred and its subsequent horrors. We are still deep in the darkness that originated that pogrom, and all the pogroms before and after it.
Nevertheless, I see no cause for despair. On the contrary, the key to changing our position in the world is in our hands; if we muster the determination, we will prevent such atrocities from afflicting our nation going forward.
Memorial days should not focus on remembering the dead. I, too, lost the majority of my family in the Holocaust, but remembering them will not prevent it from happening to my children or grandchildren. If we want to secure our future, we must focus on what we can do today to achieve it, rather than mourn the dead, although that has its place, as well.
In the spirit of this proactive approach, I think we should look at what we can do about antisemitism. For all our efforts, we see that reasonable explanations do not uproot the hatred. We can, and should, forbid expressions of online antisemitism, and we should do all that we can to curb overt Jew-hatred and Israel bashing, which has become trendy among politicians and opinion leaders. However, these measures will only buy us a little time; they will not prevent the eventual intensification of the hatred to levels that will erupt in large-scale violence against Jews.
To use the little time we have, we should focus on ourselves rather than on our haters. There is a lot we can do that will change the world’s view about us. Below is a list of don’ts and dos regarding coping with antisemitism.
1. We should not attempt to appease our haters, neither abroad nor in Israel. They hate Jews, and anything we do to appease them will only embolden them and add derision to the hatred.
2. We should root out the thought that antisemitism is the result of this or that policy of the Israeli government. The expulsion from Spain, the pogroms in Russia, Kristallnacht, and of course, the Holocaust, happened long before there was a Jewish state. Therefore, bashing Israel is just an insinuated way to express hatred of Jews.
3. Don’t argue with Jew-haters. Hatred needs no justification; the hater always feels entitled to the hatred, so arguments are a waste of time and energy.
1. Develop solidarity among Jews. Our ancestors were strangers who united around an ideology of creating a society where people love each other as themselves. Only when they committed to be “as one man with one heart” did they become a nation. Moreover, we were exiled because we hated one another, so the basis of our restored nationhood must be unity.
Incidentally, unity does not imply uniformity. On the contrary, the differences among us will create a society whose strength is in its diversity. The shades and nuances of a united Jewish society will generate a lively, dynamic, and powerful society.
2. Once we establish unity among Jews in Israel, it should spread and encompass every Jew around the world who wishes to join in. Following the same idea that diversity generates power and vitality, any Jew who wants to contribute one’s special flavor to the rejuvenated united nation will be welcome to join.
3. Finally, and most important: Jewish unity must never be for its own sake. The whole purpose of the existence of the Jewish people is to build an exemplary society. In the short periods when we had such a society, we thrived and the nations admired our achievements. When we grew apart, they began to hate us since our division sent the opposite message from the one we are intended to send, that unity above differences creates the ideal society and the happiest people.
As I have shown in two extensive publications on the subject, The Jewish Choice: Unity or Anti-Semitism and Like a Bundle of Reeds: Why unity and mutual guarantee are today’s call of the hour, history proves that these dos and don’ts work. Now we must have the courage to implement them.
Answer: Because it is unprofitable for those in power. The people who are in power today and profit from what they do in the world are unhappy themselves. They are like a squirrel in a wheel, spinning and spinning, more and more. Who has $100, wants $200, who has $200, wants $400, and so on.
This is a vicious cycle humanity finds itself in. It will be able to get out of this circle only when it reaches some critical point at which, on one hand people will receive a correct explanation of where they are, and on the other hand their suffering will force them to open their eyes and see where they exist.
The correct explanation and the feeling of being at a dead end makes a person stop and look for a way out. Then it will be possible to talk to them about what this way out is.
From KabTV’s “Kabbalah Express” 10/19/21
In the News (Fox News): “Inside Wikipedia’s leftist bias: socialism pages whitewashed, communist atrocities buried
“‘The days of Wikipedia’s robust commitment to neutrality are long gone,’ co-founder Larry Sanger said.
“Big tech has faced repeated accusations of bias and censorship, but one platform has escaped much scrutiny: Wikipedia.
“The online encyclopedia, which claims ‘anyone can edit’, is the 13th most popular website in the world, according to Alexa’s web rankings. Google gives it special placement in search results.
“But critics – including Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger – tell Fox News that many Wikipedia pages have become merely left-wing advocacy essays.
“‘The days of Wikipedia’s robust commitment to neutrality are long gone,’ co-founder Larry Sanger said.
“‘Wikipedia’s ideological and religious bias is real and troubling, particularly in a resource that continues to be treated by many as an unbiased reference work,’ he added. …
“Wikipedia bills itself as the ‘the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit.’ But experienced Wikipedians say new users will find they cannot simply fix things.
“One prolific Wikipedia editor, Jonathan Weiss, told Fox News that ‘bias on Wikipedia somewhat reflects the bias in academia and journalism. It’s easier to find an open Marxist rather than a center-right conservative,'” he said.
“Weiss mentioned one Wikipedia ‘administrator’ as an example. Administrators are a select group of people who make final calls about what goes on pages. One has a photo of Soviet dictator Vladimir Lenin on their profile paired with a Lenin quote about how even ‘The most democratic bourgeois republics’ are ‘organs of class oppression.’
“Weiss is in the top 100 Wikipedia editors by contributions, having made more than 415,142 edits on the site since 2006, mostly on sports-related pages.
“But he said that the political pages have largely been taken over by editors with a political axe to grind. …
“Encyclopedia Britannica provides one alternative. A study by Harvard researchers published in a peer-reviewed journal concluded that, ‘we find that Wikipedia articles are more slanted towards Democratic views than are Britannica articles, as well as more biased.'”
Question: If only one version of the facts is allowed, then that gives a huge incentive to wealthy and powerful people to seize control of things like Wikipedia in order to shore up their power. And they do that. What can be a source of objective information in this world? What do you think?
Answer: You cannot trust any information until we correct egoism. How can you know its source? There is nothing inherently objective. Neither this world, nor us; there is nothing objective neither in it or in us.
Question: Then what do you personally call objective information?
Answer: There is no such thing. How can a person objectively inform you about anything, to begin with, when he himself is 100% egoistic?
Comment: But we have to consume, live, and eat something. We also absorb a lot of information! We gobble up a lot of information! One does not live without this, you cannot be a member of society.
My Response: I think humanity is already approaching a state where it realizes that it is feeding on garbage. It just doesn’t know how to block it off, isolate itself from all this.
However, it must reach a state when it will have to, as Baal HaSulam writes, that the angel of death brings a drop of poison to the dying person at the tip of his sword, and one cannot help but swallow it because for him it tastes so sweet. He knows it’s poison, and there’s nothing he can do.
We must achieve the recognition of the evil of our nature, and we are moving toward this. You are on the right path, friends!
Question: Will this bias of information lead us toward understanding this, feeling this?
Answer: We will feel that we are feeding on carrion altogether! And that there is no truth in this world! Nor do we even want it, we turn away from it in every way! Such is our essence.
Question: Then where is the truth?
Answer: In this world, you cannot find it anywhere! This is a pure egoism that is programmed in us, incapable of providing us with anything else.
Question: But a person must reach the truth, by and large?
Answer: A person cannot reach the truth by himself. He can only reach a state where he will reject, simply push away everything he has in this world because he will realize that it brings him only harm. And this too, actually, will be an egoistic decision and action, but it will still lead him to understand what the truth is.
The truth is simply to imagine everyone else above yourself. Only this! And in this case, to ask, to demand, the opportunity to give something instead of receiving. Somehow it will work out.
From KabTV’s “News with Dr. Michael Laitman” 8/5/21
Question: Is everything we see in our world forms of manifestation of “existence from absence,” or are these forms of the desire to receive, or forms of the Creator?
Answer: These are forms of manifestation of the desire to receive on the background of His desire to bestow, to fill, to love.
In fact, we, as if, see two pictures that are superimposed on each other. On one hand there is the perfect desire of the Creator toward us to fill, nurture, and bring us closer to Him so that we become like Him. On the other hand, we see between us and Him such a terrible quality as an egoistic force that we can only attribute to ourselves.
The Creator created egoism on purpose so that we would discover it and try to get rid of the ego, and once we are convinced that we ourselves cannot defeat it, we would ask the Creator to do it for us.
This is our entire work in the corporeal world, to recognize the evil of our nature and ask the Creator to change it to the opposite.
From KabTV’s “Spiritual States” 10/19/21
Question: There are several causes that will drive this consumer society that we have created over the past 100 years to a crisis.
The first is the lack of trust caused by constant stress at work, competition, lack of free time, and so on. This is what causes depression.
The second reason is limited resources. If the entire world starts consuming as much as America consumes, these resources would very quickly run out.
The third reason is the growing inequality between rich and poor. We see that the gap is constantly increasing, and due to our increased egoism, we can no longer tolerate it.
The fourth reason, from the point of view of Kabbalah, is that the egoistic development of a person grows and the understanding that no amount of money can buy happiness grows with it. It is clear that a person needs some minimum amount of money, but as we can see even from all kinds of studies, more money no longer gives a person pleasure and one must seek it elsewhere.
What does Kabbalah offer? What will a person get pleasure from if not from the amount of money he gets?
Answer: Ask the super-rich and they will tell you that it is not money itself that gives them pleasure but the fact that they play with it.
Question: The very process of earning money?
Answer: It is not about earning money. A person experiences excitement, an inner drive that stimulates him, and he engages in it. He enters into competition, into a game with other people like him. He is in the grip of excitement like people playing cards. No more than that.
We see that a person earns and earns and then gives half of it away.
From KabTV’s “Fundamentals of Kabbalah” 1/3/19
Question: What do you think about that?
Answer: If there is no return, how can you not make a decision? Such solutions are the most rational, although they seem terrible.
Question: Does it mean that if you have made some decision and there is no return, then you have to keep going and that’s it?
Answer: Of course! The main thing is not to leave yourself hanging in the air.
Question: Not to think for a long time?
Answer: No. Otherwise it leads to depression, suicide, or something like that. These pauses should be shortened and the decision should be made sharply and clearly.
Question: When does a person have a feeling that there is no return? Maybe he is just making it all up? Or is it given to a person on purpose?
Answer: He should check himself.
Question: Are you saying that he should still do an analysis?
Answer: Of course. He should check himself often. Kabbalah says that we should not measure once and then start cutting. We need to keep trying again and again, constantly checking the system we are in: Can I trust it? Do I conform to this system? How can I change myself to adapt to it?
Eventually, I begin to see more and more that I am inside a harmonious and perfect system of the universe, which is governed by some single law, and I exist inside this sphere.
From KabTV’s “News with Dr. Michael Laitman” 10/4/21