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My new article on Linkedin “Israel – Defenseless against Smiles”
It has been nearly six months since the conclusion of Operation Guardian of the Walls, the latest round in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. On the surface, things have been quite calm since then. But nothing is ever truly quiet in the Middle East. Israel’s enemies have gotten smarter and understood that they can destroy Israel much faster and without firing a single shot by simply smiling and pretending to want peace. Because we feel we always feel guilty of some sin, we fall for anyone who gives us a friendly smile, even if we know there is a knife behind their backs. That’s just the way we are; the smartest people on the planet are absolute fools when it comes to matters that really matter.
Our enemies across the Gaza border have learned their lesson. Through diplomacy and pressure on various political entities, they raise funds and promote government decisions in Israel that enable them to take over the country from within.
Their ultimate goal has not changed. They strive to rid the country of Jews. The only thing that has changed is how they intend to achieve that goal. They have realized that they cannot defeat us on the battlefield, so they will fight us with words and smiles instead of guns and rockets.
Israelis, who always feel they have to justify their existence, cannot resist a non-Jew smiling at them. It is an affirmation that “we are OK.” Even if the knife is hidden in plain sight, we do not want to see it and believe in the sincerity of our “partner.” Because we always feel guilty, indebted to the world, we are utterly gullible and all our business skills and acumen fly out the window as soon as someone eases our perpetual guilt trip.
There is no cure for this malignant folly except to understand why we feel guilty and what we should do about it. Every Jew feels deep inside that we Jews owe something to the world, and that sensation causes us to make mistakes. Therefore, we must understand the nature of our debt, which is really quite simple: We must stop setting an example of division and mutual derision, and instead become a model of mutual responsibility and love of others.
Over the generations, we have given numerous “gifts” to the world. Jews have been responsible, in whole or in part, for the development of almost every ideology, religion, and technology over the past two millennia. Yet the world has not been grateful. The only legacy that the world truly sees as meritorious is our social legacy, which advocated mutual responsibility and love of others to the point that one loves one’s neighbor as oneself.
Everyone agrees that these ideas are commendable. However, everyone equally agrees that they are unachievable because human nature is evil to the core.
This is where the justification for our existence comes in. The Jews are the ones who must prove that “Love your neighbor as yourself” is not a lost cause, but an achievable goal. If we demonstrate the merits of love of others in our own society, the world will not doubt our right to exist as a sovereign nation. On the contrary, it will preserve and cherish our sovereignty since it will see in us an example to follow, and it will want to learn from our example.
The future of our country does not depend on sophisticated defense systems. These are necessary for the time being. For a permanent solution, the guardian of our wall can only be our unity, our love for one another. It will protect us not because it deters others, but because it brings them closer to us and shows how they, too, can acquire today’s most required commodities: mutual responsibility and love of others.
If we do not feel pleasure from being purified of past baggage, then we do not really want to be purified. After all, we are still yearning for pleasures that do not belong to the Creator, to bestowal, rather we want to be filled egotistically.
Getting rid of egoistic intention, from receiving for our own sake, is called the work of purification. To do this, I must jump into the upper light, as if into the water, and completely immerse myself in it, so that the light will act on me and purify me.
This is how it happens at every new degree. When we ascend the degrees of attainment of the Creator, coming closer to Him, every degree begins with the work of purifying ourselves. This is the first stage. The second stage already is holiness when we are already in connection with the upper light.
But first, we need to get rid of our egoism, purify ourselves with the help of the upper light as if we are plunging into the water, into the sea. Once we are purified, we can put on clean clothes, that is, restriction, screen, and reflected light.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 11/9/21, Writings of Baal HaSulam, Shamati #54 “The Purpose of the Work-1”
Indeed, we often find ourselves asking why bad things keep happening to us, especially when it does not stand to reason that we deserve all kinds of negative outcomes from our seemingly positive or even just neutral behavior.
What is the connection between our behavior and the outcomes we experience in life?
To add salt to the wounds, we can find people such as criminals living seemingly good lives, while people who worked hard to enter professions that serve society could be suffering their entire lives. And we are then left to ponder why life could be so unfair.
Our inability to make sense of this dilemma stems from our inability to understand the complexity of our interconnectedness and interdependence. We cannot grasp the rippling domino effect of our behavior in the world, and have no clear or direct perception of the responses to our actions.
Yet, every single one of our thoughts and actions influences the system we exist in, and enables a response. We simply cannot piece together why things take place the way that they do.
We commonly try to find solutions to this dilemma by looking at our past behavior, i.e. that it led to bad things happening later in our lives. However, trying to piece together this dilemma in such a way is over-simplistic, and it fails to take several variables into account.
We thus need to understand the function of negative experiences in our lives. Negative experiences serve to surface questions about their reason and cause, so that we would wish to break out of our small individualistic cells of perception, and expand our perception to encompass a much greater and fuller perception of reality. The more negative experiences we encounter, the more prepared we become to balance ourselves with the interdependent and interconnected system of nature we live in. When we start exiting our individualistic worldviews and entering more complete and integral perceptions of the system we live in, then we start understanding the extent of influence we have on our lives and our world, and what behavior can be considered positive or negative.
We currently evaluate our lives according to extremely limited parameters, and we will keep accumulating suffering until it will prod us to seek beyond our current limitations. We can be compared to unsupervised children who eat only sweets, without understanding the harm that we cause our body, which will catch up to us later on in life.
We should thus refrain from pointing our finger at someone, some group or something else that we think causes bad things in our lives. We should also refrain from digging into our past for actions that might have brought about our current negative experiences.
What, then, should we do with bad things that happen to us?
We should accept their inevitability, and use them to spark questions about their cause and purpose: that they come in order for us to exit our individualistic worldviews and enter a much greater and complete integral one. We do so by better and more actively connecting with our surrounding society. We should thus seek a society that encourages and supports us to rise above the current level of our lives, where we have no access to perceiving the complexity of the system we exist in, and enter a much greater perception and sensation of reality. We do so by positively connecting to others, where we each develop attitudes of mutual giving and concern toward one another, and by doing so, we gradually acquire a new sense through which we feel life.
Through enhancing and enriching our connections to each other, we will find our lives become more and more balanced and harmonious. Such is the way to become truly happy, confident, safe and comfortable. In other words, the cause of our life’s troubles is our incomplete perception that fails to account for our interdependence, and the solution is in realizing our interdependence with positive and altruistic connections.
By attaining newfound balance and harmony with the interdependent system we are all parts of, we then reach the perception of every single event happening in life as perfect, since we acquire a new spin on everything that happens in life: that it is a means to rise above our current narrow perception and enter into a much fuller and greater one. And a much greater and fuller perception is one where qualities of love and giving dwell in our attitudes to each other.
Written/edited by students of Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman.
Question: Money in Hebrew is called “Kesef.” What does this mean from the point of view of Kabbalah?
Answer: Money (Kesef) is from the word “covering” (Kisufa). We can say that with its help a person can cover all his expenses, everything he wants. In other words, it is a cover for one’s egoistic desires.
However, if he actually acquires what the concept of Kesef means, i.e., the screen (covering, Masach), then he will begin to rise above himself and instead of material fulfillments, he will feel the upper fulfillment of the next degree.
Our egoism needs covering. Either you cover it by giving it everything it wants or you cover it by stopping it at a certain normal level and begin to work above it.
Question: In our world, money is a measure of value: how much your time is worth, how much this or that thing is worth. In spirituality it is a measure of the strength of my screen, an anti-egoistic quality. Is the extent to which I can cover pleasure, i.e., enjoy not for my own sake, but for the sake of the other or the Creator, called “money”?
Answer: However, you do it in order to reach the goal. You do not just bestow to someone else by making some kind of charitable donations, but you have a certain goal, and you are bestowing for the sake of it, in order to rise to the next degree. And although this action is anti-egoistic, it pursues this goal.
One may ask: “Why is it anti-egoistic? After all, I replace one with the other.” Let’s say I give $100 million and want some spiritual fulfillment for it. Here we also need to understand how we bestow in order to receive spiritual fulfillment and how I replace one with the other.
From KabTV’s “Fundamentals of Kabbalah” 1/3/19
And if it displeases you to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the river, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell, but as for me and my household, we shall serve the Lord.” (Prophets, Book of Joshua, 24:15)
As it was said, there are many paths to the Creator, and every desire in a person says that it knows how to pass them. But, in principle, there is only one way and only in the desire to bestow.
Love for one’s neighbor, love for people, here is set like a front sight on a gun. If you look through it and aim directly at the Creator, you attain Him. And without a front sight you won’t get anywhere.
Comment: For millennia mankind has been trying to come to the connection “I and the Creator.”
My Response: Therefore, almost three thousands of all kinds of religions, beliefs, and other teachings appeared.
Comment: Still, fantasy is very strong. A person has a feeling that he is communicating with the Creator
My Response: Because he is tied to it personally, it does not oblige him to sacrifice himself, to do something for the sake of others. And the Creator? “I will deal with the Creator, He is mine.” It’s easier for a person to live this way.
From KabTV’s “Secrets of the Eternal Book” 9/6/21
Kabbalah says that if something has arisen, it is from some preliminary state when nothing has happened yet. This state is the initial one for everything that exists.
We can only say that there was an upper force from which everything then happened. This we can consider now.
In Kabbalah, the upper force is considered a quality of absolute bestowal. When we consider the actions of the Creator in relation to the creations, we come to the conclusion that He is absolutely kind and does only good. All His care, all His actions, are aimed at creating creations like Himself.
The Creator created the creation “out of nothing” because it was His desire.
The material of creation is the desire to receive. There is no such desire in the Creator Himself. By His desire to bestow, by His intention to create, He created the desire to receive, because that was what He lacked. But since He Himself does not have such a desire, it is therefore called “existence out of absence.” So the desire to receive arose from the Creator’s desire to bestow.
From KabTV’s “Spiritual States” 10/19/21
Question: The psychologist in me tries to understand himself and others, to analyze and solve problems, to manage his feelings, and to change his attitude to reality. What does a Kabbalist try to do within himself?
Answer: A Kabbalist finds the sources of perception of the surrounding reality, its boundaries and, by working on himself, pushes these boundaries so far that he begins to see the upper force behind reality, the quality of bestowal and love, opposite to the quality of reception and rejection of everyone and everything, which is inherent in egoism.
In the fight between these two qualities, by preferring bestowal, love, and connection over the quality of separation, reception, and hatred at each stage of spiritual development, a person becomes a Kabbalist. He begins to act not for his own sake, not in order to fulfill his egoism, but for the sake of others, for the sake of spreading altruism.
From KabTV’s “Spiritual States” 10/15/21
And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God, and took a great stone, and set it under the doorpost which is in the sanctuary of the Lord.
And Joshua said to all the people, “Behold, this stone shall be a witness against us, for it has heard all the words of the Lord which He spoke to us; it shall be a witness against you, lest you deny your God.” (Prophets, Joshua, 24:25-27)
“Stone” (In Hebrew “Even“) from the word “Havana,” understanding. This is about a person’s heart, which he feels either as a stone or as something alive that has the ability to hear. No wonder the heart is called either an alive one or a stony one.
We need to make the stones feel, cry, and live and we would build a Temple to the Creator from such stones, that is, from our hearts. This is the basis for the people, for the country, and for all of humanity, and in principle, for the Creator.
Question: Until when is it necessary to warn the people and threaten them not to deny their God?
Answer: Until the end. Until complete correction (Gmar Tikkun). And each time a person will still receive punishments, rewards, and advance in such a way between this and that.
Question: Why do we not learn?
Answer: We learn. We cannot say that we do not learn from the past, but there are always new desires, new obstacles. We cannot take the old things and move on. Practically, when we reach the goal, we will see that, in principle, everything was good.
From KabTV’s “Secrets of the Eternal Book” 9/6/21
Question: Every morning we get up and say: “We have to get up early for work. We have to make another business call. We have to exercise. We have to write an article. We have to go to our son’s game.” And by replacing only two words in these sentences, we can change the general approach to life. You do not “have to”—”you can.”
You can get up early for work. You can make another call. You can prepare dinner for the whole family. And the perception of life, the perception of everything that happens in it, changes.
What is the advantage and what is the distinction between the two attitudes: “has to” or “can”?
Answer: It depends on one’s perception of the world. I either want absolute peace and agree, like Oblomov, to lie in bed all the time, I have everything, I do not want anything, I will wait for the day I die. So what?
Or I feel that this life is worthy of being able to fix something in it, achieve something else, become different. And then I rejoice at the opportunity before me. It depends on what kind of attitude you have to life: creative or consumeristic.
Question: Does the consumer attitude lead a person to the point of “I have to” or “I can”?
Answer: I want and that is it. I want to use everyone and everything—this is the consumer attitude to life. And the opposite is to use this life to rise to its next level.
Question: Life means that there is always an opportunity to use every state?
Answer: There is always an opportunity in life. Always look for an opportunity and seize it.
Question: Then I have a few questions and please comment on them.
The biggest obstacle is fear. Is it true?
Answer: Uncertainty and fear immobilize a person, closes and “cans” him, that is, deprive him of the opportunity to act.
Comment: The biggest mistake is to lose heart.
My Response: This is also true. “The biggest,” I don’t know. But it is a big mistake. The biggest one is to disconnect from the Creator.
Question: So you still need to be connected to Him?
Answer: And without connection to the Creator where will the forces come from? Where will the direction come from? Where will the appeal to the one who corrects and does everything come from? I am not doing all this. I simply must turn right to Him for Him to do everything.
Comment: The most dangerous person is a liar.
My Response: Yes. But I do not listen to them so I do not think they are dangerous people. If only someone really asks for help, spiritual help—to find a goal in life, strength to realize this goal—then I hear, but otherwise, no. Therefore, no one can seduce me.
Question: Who, then, is the most dangerous person?
Answer: For man, the most dangerous person is himself. Who can harm him except himself? No one.
Question: And how can he harm?
Answer: By the fact that he listens to himself, to his egoism. Trusting his beloved self.
Question: Who needs to be trusted?
Answer: The teacher or the Creator. This is, in principle, the same thing.
Comment: The most insidious feeling is envy.
My Response: This is the most wonderful feeling if a person can correctly implement it. There is nothing better than envy! There is nothing more, generally, there is nothing better than envy to move forward.
Question: Can you give an exercise on how to use envy correctly?
Answer: You must first find a goal, and then envy everything that leads to this goal.
Comment: The most beautiful act is to forgive.
My Response: The most beautiful act—it is not to forgive. The most beautiful act is to direct a person to the truth.
You do not have to forgive anything. The Creator forgives nothing! There is judgment, continuous judgment. And thanks to the fact that nothing is forgiven, we understand where we are wrong, and we can correct ourselves.
Question: And in relations between people, should a person judge himself or others?
Answer: Why should I judge someone, or myself, or others? I judge the Creator, I always go to Him, and so I check everything with Him. This is called “I judge Him.” Then there is no offense, no reason for forgiveness. Everything is checked only in relation to the goal.
Comment: The best protection is a smile.
My Response: I do not think so. It seems to me that a smile, to the contrary, can be perceived as mockery, disdain, and condescension.
It is best to show a person that you do not consider him at all, that you are directed only at your goal, and he has nothing to do with it. And therefore, you don’t treat him well or badly, but you relate to him to the extent that you can show him what is worth paying attention to in life.
Comment: The most powerful force is faith.
My Response: By faith I understand something completely different from what ordinary people understand, and therefore I believe that there is no greater error in life than faith. There is nothing more harmful in life than a person who believes.
Faith in Kabbalah is the ability to be above your egoistic principles and just give everything. The power of bestowal is the power of faith in a person. That is, it is an active force that helps a person to rise above his egoistic nature: the property of Bina over the property of Malchut. Only in this way.
Otherwise, faith is I closed my eyes and left.
Comment: The best support is hope.
My Response: No. We cannot hope. There should be hope only to the extent that I grant myself correct advancement.
In Kabbalah, the surrounding light is called hope. It has not yet entered you, but it already shines on you because you are correctly directed toward the goal. That is, hope is a very serious advancement. Measured! Everything is deterministic
Comment: The best gift is love
My Response: The best gift is love. Yes! But by love we mean absolute merging with other desires in the general fulfillment by the Creator.
Comment: A person strives all his life for love, for hope, for support.
My Response: This is from weakness, from ignorance, inability, and the fact that he is just a lazy person. The whole culture of being positive refers to weakness, laziness, and slovenliness.
Comment: Therefore, some researchers advise against the urge to strive to be happy.
My Response: No, you really need to be happy. You just need to find out what kind of state it is to be happy. What is absolute happiness? Merging with the higher force because it is absolute.
Question: And then what does the person receive?
Answer: He receives the same state the higher force is in. His benefit is that he becomes equal to the Creator. There is no state more perfect.
Question: How does this distinguish him from an ordinary person?
Answer: An ordinary person is a small egoistic animal looking all the time for a warm corner. And a person who achieves merging with the Creator does not need to look for this warm corner, he is already in it, truly in the most comfortable state.
Question: And at the same time, people are striving for the positive, striving for absolute happiness that they cannot grasp. When faced with troubles, with strong grief, illness, or tragic situations, they keep silent about them. Is this a correct attitude?
Answer: No, by no means. A person must react very vividly to any manifestations in his life of bad and good traits, qualities, forces, and phenomena in order to format himself according to the highest state. Otherwise, he will miss his whole life.
Question: And if something tragic happens in a person’s life, how can he use this state?
Answer: Measure this tragic component in his life with respect to the absolute: is it de facto tragic, or maybe they want to bring him closer to the truth with a very strong influence.
Question: And what does a person need to do?
Answer: He goes to clearly find out the purpose, the truth, the central state of the world.
Question: Accepting the negative in order to direct everything toward the goal, is this a skill that can be learned?
Answer: To do this, you need to be in school, in the study of Kabbalah. To do this, you need to be in a certain state, in a certain atmosphere, encircled, and then it will work out.
Comment: Researchers say older people learn to accept negative things more easily to push them toward goals than younger people.
My Response: Naturally, this comes from life experience. But, in principle, this has nothing to do with Kabbalah.
From KabTV’s “News with Dr. Michael Laitman” 12/17/19