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My new article on Linkedin “Tough Times Ahead”
Transition periods are always prone to trouble. We are living through one of the most volatile transition periods in human history as we are rising from a self-centered mindset to a more holistic one where we are interdependent, interconnected, and consider the well-being of others in our actions. Regrettably, while in transition, our rebellious egos are driving us to increasingly dangerous extremes that put us and all of society at risk. The sooner we become aware that we are in transition, the better our chances of going through the change peacefully and quickly.
In order to recognize that we are in transition, that we are too interconnected to ignore the needs of others, we must establish educational systems that will bring it to our awareness. Therefore, humanity’s greatest challenge right now is education.
Ideally, world leaders should have been the leaders of the transition. They are in a natural position to initiate and head the process. Regrettably, today’s leaders have such hearts of stone that they will simply not be able to hear about these ideas. It is not as though I have given up, because I haven’t, but we have to acknowledge where we stand. At the same time, I know we must continue.
We are all pleasure seeking beings; this is our nature. Therefore, we will not change our way of life unless we suffer in the present one, or some great reward beckons us and we are sure we will receive it.
We understand only two things: pleasure or pain. This is why humanity will change either because it is suffering in the state of absolute selfishness, or because it sees a guaranteed reward in the state of mutual responsibility and caring for others. Right now, people prefer to wait for more pain to convince them to move to a more collaborative disposition.
This is why education is so important. If people are convinced that all the beatings we suffer are the result of our selfishness, they will want to get rid of it. If we believe that the ego can still give us benefits that nothing else can, we will remain with our egos until pain convinces us to leave it.
My new article on Linkedin “Hellenism vs. Judaism – a Clash of Civilizations”
Right before the holiday of Hanukkah comes to an end and we forget about the war between the Hellenists and the Jews, I would like to say one more word about it, since we are still fighting that war, the soldiers are us, and the result so far has been an outright defeat.
The Greek philosophy, which the Hellenists tried to impose in the land of Israel in the 2nd century BC, argues (by and large) that there is nothing wrong with humankind, and all we need is to develop. This is why the Greeks placed so much emphasis on sports and learning.
The Jewish approach said the opposite. “The inclination of man’s heart is evil from his youth” (Gen. 8:21) and “Every intent of the thoughts of his heart is only evil all day long” (Gen. 6:5) are two examples of many that show how Judaism views human nature. Why is man’s heart evil? We think only of ourselves and treat others as objects to use and abuse.
The Greek approach is the natural one; the Jewish approach is counterintuitive. However, by applying it, the Jews were able to conceive, and live by (if only briefly) social ideals that lift us above human nature, above cruelty, exploitation, and ridicule, and usher us into a realm of unity and oneness.
To understand how revolutionary the Jewish approach was at the time, think of a mother’s love for her child. She sees the world through the eyes of her child and her needs through the needs of her child. Whatever the child needs is first on her list.
Now imagine that all the people love each other as a mother loves her child, and even more, since the Israelites united “as one man with one heart” (RASHI, Commentary on the Torah). At times when the Jews maintained that oneness, they were “a light unto nations” (Isaiah 42:6). That was the wisdom that Ptolemy II, king of Egypt, sought to acquire from the Jews when he summoned seventy Hebrew sages to his palace in Alexandria to translate Jewish Law into Greek.
Prior to translating, the king sat with the sages for two whole weeks and asked them every question he could think of concerning governance and society. When he was satisfied with their answers, he sent them to translate, not before he said that now “he had learned how he ought to rule his subjects” (Josephus, The Antiquities of the Jews, Book XII).
When Jews began to abandon their noble ideas of society and embrace Greek values, the clash of civilizations intensified and eventually erupted into civil war. At that time the Hasmoneans, champions of the Hebraic approach, won the war and drove out the Hellenists. Today, the Greeks are the winners and the losers are all of humanity and the entire planet.
Wittingly or unwittingly, we will have to fight the Hellenists within us. The self-centered approach that the world has so readily embraced has depleted our resources and destroyed human society. If we persist with it, it will plunge us into a third world war. It is better to fight against our egos than to face nuclear weapons.
So before the holiday ends, we must remember, for our own sake, that Hanukkah is not about dreidels and sufganiyot (Hanukkah doughnuts). It is an inner war that we must wage against ourselves. Within each of us there are Greeks and Hasmoneans. In each of us, the ego wants to rule, and today we see that if the ego wins, we all lose. We have no choice but to side with the Hasmoneans and choose unity and mutual responsibility over division and alienation.
My new article on Linkedin “Jews as Omicron’s Scapegoats”
A few days ago I was in Italy. I saw people on the street that looked like they were turned off, without a spark in their eyes, unhappy. Not only in Italy, a country seriously affected by Covid-19, but all over the world, people are tired of the appearances of new variants over and over again, just when we thought (and hoped) the pandemic was finally under control. Since the virus will not be vanquished, people will not be able to contain the cumulative stress, they will vent their frustration and helplessness, they first revolt against the restrictive government and in the end it will also blame the usual scapegoats, the Jews.
Already this week, antisemitic leaflets circulated in California’s Beverly Hills. The fliers included the names of Jewish senior executives who lead the world’s largest drug companies and accusations of a “Jewish agenda” behind the pandemic. Similar antisemitic propaganda is widely spread through social media platforms.
These leaflets and tweets are just the beginning of growing hatred towards Jews. A day will come when even scientists themselves will attribute the virus to that tiny group of people that has a history of being blamed by humanity. They will say that the Jews are the source of all the variants, just as in the Middle Ages people began to whisper and ask why Jews were not sick with the Black Death, and from there the plots developed and unfolded. Again, history repeats itself.
We are not responsible for the outbreak of the plague as the antisemites claim, but we are responsible for the wrong attitude towards it as a result of a lack of awareness on our part. The virus is a disruption in nature’s altruistic genetics system as a result of human egoism. It is a bit complex, but I will explain: the degrees of nature—inanimate, vegetative and animate—are intertwined on different levels, while we, the human species, are detached from the harmonious operation of nature. Humans have an increased egoistic desire that pushes us apart and weighs us down on each other.
The ego not only causes us to exploit each other for our own benefit, but also to exploit all the rest of nature. As a result nature, which is programmed for balance and perfection, provokes epidemics and crises to help us see the place of breach and breakdown and to invite us to mend it, that is, for us to connect emotionally and merge with the rest of the integral parts of nature. Then everything will fall into place.
We do not yet understand that we are part of one integral system and that its balance depends on the positive relations between us. This must become clear and evident. Even a quick glance at ourselves from the side reveals how far we are today from this desired state and our role as Jews in modeling it. We let the ego control us and separate us. The Jewish nation is aimed at being a light unto the nations and paving the way of unity to others. It is our mission. Israel and the nations of the world are intertwined in one global system, and the world feels strongly from within that we are indifferent to our role. It is little wonder then that the world points an accusatory finger towards us.
If we understood our role and implemented it, we could stand in front of the world and direct it to use the pandemic for correction; we could be a guide to become more united and compassionate to each other, as one man with one heart. When this happens, no affliction will surround humanity and antisemitism will cease.
My new article on Linkedin “Living Robots – Bad News for Humanity”
A few days ago, Wyss Institute at Harvard University, in collaboration with scientists at the University of Vermont and Tufts University, published a paper showing that they have developed biological robots that can move on their own, “feed” themselves, and even self-replicate and reproduce. With this feat, these robots have met the three basic requirements for science to define them as living beings. However, they are living robots and not organisms that have evolved naturally. As robots, they do what their operator instructs them to do. As living organisms, they can be placed anywhere and reproduce independently and indefinitely.
This is bad news for humanity. I cannot imagine anything good coming out of this. These games of ours, when we “play” with new inventions, never lead to anything good. Now, in addition to nuclear weapons and the countless other curses that science has wrought on our heads, we will have another headache.
It has been known since biblical times that “The inclination of man’s heart is evil from his youth” (Gen. 8:21). Regrettably, knowing how evil we are has never stopped us from behaving according to our nature. Despite the horrors of the twentieth century, with its two world wars, the Holocaust, and several genocides on a massive scale, humanity does not seem to have improved one bit, or that it even tries.
Man must not be given more than a rock and a stick. In fact, you can trust him to misuse even these, not to mention anything more sophisticated and potentially harmful.
Even in ancient times it was clear that unworthy people should not have access to knowledge. In his book Phaedrus, Plato wrote, “When [speeches (teachings)] have been once written down, they are tumbled about anywhere among those who may or may not understand them, and know not to whom they should reply, or to whom not. And if they are maltreated or abused, they have no parent to protect them, and they cannot protect or defend themselves.”
But who listens to the wise? No one. We listen only to our own selfish whims, which is why our world is in such a poor state.
I am not being pessimistic. I know that in the end we will wise up and learn to use knowledge for the common good. In the end, we will realize that we are all connected and we cannot hurt others without hurting ourselves. The only question is how much agony we will have to endure before we learn.
Michael Laitman, On Quora: “Why is the United Nations so ineffective?“
Indeed, if we look into the stated objectives of the United Nations and the results in the world, then we can summarize that the many meetings and events of the UN lead to no effective results, and it is quite simply a waste of time.
This is because it is not meant to succeed in bringing about friendlier relations between nations, but it rather serves as a platform for international political manipulations and power struggles under the guise of concern for human rights, food and water problems, and climate change.
It might have had good intentions at its establishment, but over time it became a snake pit of political interests, which made it deviate from its stated objectives. Instead of acting meaningfully, positively and effectively, it became a podium for making empty speeches and sanctimonious declarations.
In addition, another reason for its ineffectiveness is non-accountability within the organization: no one is held accountable if its agenda is not realized.
The question then becomes, what could the UN do in order to become effective?
Simply put, it needs to rise above the political interests that have become intertwined into its workings, and operate for the sake of humanity’s common unity and benefit. If it truly functions in such a way, then it should be given the needed authority to enact its decisions.
I think that the UN, the way it currently operates, should be discarded, and in its place should arise a worldwide educational institute that primarily deals with raising awareness of humanity’s interdependence.
Why would I focus on raising such awareness?
It is because, until we each realize the mutual responsibility that we have for our planet, our peace, our happiness and our well-being, then we will continue making ineffective actions that will lead to zero positive results.
People need to realize how to establish and sustain mutual support above the growing divisive atmosphere. Our failure to implement unity above our divisions will lead us into a chasm of increasing problems and crises.
One way or another, we will eventually reach a new understanding and sensation of our interdependence. The question is whether we will get there negatively, the way we currently head, or positively, by implementing education that raises awareness of our interdependence and how to realize such relations positively.
Therefore, to become effective in benefiting humanity, the UN would do wisely to change its course and emphasize the educational aspect of raising interdependence awareness throughout humanity.
Based on the “Writers Meeting” with Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman on October 24, 2021. Written/edited by students of Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman.
Photo: UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe, 18 December 2015, Photo # 658012.
Question: How do I make a spiritual restriction? It is not easy. A desire arises inside me, I want to fill it, and suddenly I have to not use this desire. What is the technique?
Answer: The technique is very simple: I try to limit myself in some way. Then I find out that I cannot do it, that in fact it is just all kinds of self-excuses.
And then, while studying Kabbalah, I begin to understand how I need to use the hidden forces of nature that can help me rise above myself and move from the property of receiving to the property of bestowal.
The revelation of the forces of bestowal in oneself, the connection with others, this is the revelation of the upper force.
Question: How is this different from simple egoistic calculation? Suppose I imagine that revealing the upper force is great and then I find in myself the strength to restrict my desire.
Answer: It depends on what you pay for it.
Comment: I restrict my desires, I do not use them. I suffer, but I understand that for this I will receive the revelation of the upper force. In the primary sources it is written that this is great pleasure, security, and eternal life. I believe in this and I restrict myself.
My Response: And if I tell you that the revelation of the upper force gives you the opportunity to bestow, to love, not to think about yourself, and to act only for the sake of others, then is it worth sacrificing yourself for this?
Comment: If the upper force is revealed to me, then yes.
My Response: What does the upper force mean?! The property of bestowal will appear in you, the property of love for others as for your children. And you will think about them all the time, and work for them. This is the revelation of the upper force.
Comment: But if it makes me feel good, why not? To love is a wonderful feeling. If I love and bestow to someone, I enjoy myself, there is no problem with that.
My Response: This is right.
From KabTV’s “Spiritual States” 11/16/21
Question: Our sources write that there are two types of restriction: the first and the second restriction. What are they?
Answer: In general, our desire is built on reception. If it is a corrected desire, it can be so that we bestow. Or there may also be a desire to receive yet not for your own sake, but for the benefit of others.
The first restriction is the prohibition to use my egoistic desire, when I simply do not receive anything. This is called the level of Bina. The second restriction is the opportunity to use your desire to receive but only for the sake of fulfilling others.
Question: Are there any other kinds of restriction?
Answer: There are different variations. But, basically, these are the main ones: either not to receive anything at all or to receive for the sake of others.
Question: Is not receiving anything also some kind of connection with the upper force?
Answer: Of course. Otherwise what are you doing it for? The most important thing is the intention.
From KabTV’s “Spiritual States” 11/16/21
Answer: Spiritual love includes a person’s love to all of humanity so that all of humanity are like one whole, like one person whom he loves because he discovers that in this loving attitude he reveals the Creator, he sees the Creator, and he builds a relationship with Him; he communicates with Him in a way that he begins to feel all of nature, all of humanity, all of the present and the future.
From KabTV’s “News in Russian” 11/18/21
Comment: Baal HaSulam writes that any state is given to us in order to realize its evil, its finiteness, and pass to a new state. He says that it is Kabbalah that is designed to help a person quickly pass from one state to another by realizing the previous one as evil.
My Response: Right. Imagine: Now we must take up the realization of the evil of the current stage, which we have, as it were, worked out, and ascend to the next stage. And this means completely abandoning the paradigm in which we are now.
How can we do this? We have to go through tremendous suffering in order to break away from this step. In other words, I must make sure that neither family, nor art, nor science, nor professions, nor relationships between people, and most importantly, the relationship of a person to nature and to himself, work in this form any longer. All of this is in crisis.
But this crisis is still insufficient, we can see it in its sluggish course. We try to obscure it, to delay it, saying: “None of this really exists,” and to play inside of it. Imagine how many decades we can still drag out in this case.
This condition will worsen, and we will always feed ourselves with some kind of painkillers and say that everything is not so scary. Just think, people get divorced, children leave the family, and we want to devour each other alive. Just think, there is no longer science or culture, a person lives in fear.
That is, in order to get out of this state and see the next, we need to realize it as evil.
From KabTV’s “Close-Up. Fire Island” 1/1/10