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Medium published my new article “Valentine’s Day Is Great Business but Love Takes More than Gifts”
Valentine’s Day is a very lucrative day for gift sellers, florists, and… pet shops. Americans spend nearly $21 billion on Valentine’s Day shopping. They spend nearly $900 million dollars on gifts for their pets, $1.8 billion on candy, and $5 billion on jewelry. They buy no less than 250 million flowers and plants, with roses (especially red) far out in front. It’s very pleasant to receive a gift, and it feels very good to give a gift, so I am all for it, but gifting is not the same as loving. Other than a mother’s love for her child, love between people requires time, effort, and mutual concessions. Love is built over time and by enduring trials.
When people meet and “fall in love,” it isn’t love. Call it infatuation, crush, or attraction, but it is not love. We should not connect between hormones and love because there is no connection.
Love means wanting to do good, to help, to make the beloved person happy. That special someone may or may not know about it, but what matters to me is not what I get in return, but that I have made the loved one happy, that I have done something good for my beloved.
In true love, there is no “because.” I do not condition my love on a reward or something in return. If I do, it is not love; it is business. Even if I don’t disclose my provision to the other person, but deep down I stipulate my love on meeting certain requirements, it is already a fake; it is not true love.
It may seem as though such selfless love means denying myself necessities, but we have no idea what a treasure we deny ourselves by not loving in this way, without attaching any conditions to it. If we can love another person the way a mother loves her child, this will be true love.
It may seem impossible, but it is not. We can achieve it if we really want to, but as I said, it takes a lot of work.
Our main work should concentrate around building a supportive social environment. If we surround ourselves with people who aspire to develop among them relationships of true love, we will have all the energy we need to perform such a transformation in ourselves.
Therefore, the more people understand the difference between love and attraction, and feel that such a goal is worth the effort, the easier it will be for them to achieve it. And the more people achieve it, the better it will be for the rest of society and the rest of the world.
Happy Valentine’s Day, and may we all come to experience true love.
My new article on Linkedin “Social Engineering – Truth Is a Matter of Perspective”
In recent years, the subject of social engineering, which can be defined as the involuntary manipulation of people into actions and views that conform to the will of the manipulator, has become a hot topic of discussion. It has been this way for ages, but now we have become aware of it. It is a terrible thing that people do to one another, but once we know it exists, we at least know how easily we can be fooled, that truth is a matter of perspective, and that our perspective depends on who is better at manipulating us.
Social engineering is everywhere—in news stories that show only one perspective, in newspapers that twist stories to show the opposite of what actually happened, in pictures taken in one setting and whose caption says something entirely different, in bogus studies funded by corporations or shareholders who dictate their “scientific” findings, in “quotes” from anonymous sources that cannot be verified, yet give us the “information” that the social engineer wants to convey, and in countless other ways.
Previously, rulers and governments used soldiers, secret services, and police to strengthen their grip on the public. Today, they rule by manipulating the public into believing what they want them to believe.
But we cannot blame governments or rulers for being so manipulative. We ourselves want to be manipulated. No one wants to know the truth, and as in any market, no one will sell a product if there is no demand for it. Moreover, if you tell people a lie that they like to hear and label it “truth,” it will find many buyers.
At present, what our egos like, they regard as truth. It is as if all of reality is in front of me, but my whole attention is on a box that is in front of me. I do not see the reality around me, but only the box.
The box is my ego, and it projects to me only what pleases my ego. As a result, I think that this is reality, since I am only focused on the box and cannot see the actual reality.
Meanwhile, those who manipulate the boxes that depict our reality do whatever they want. They feel no need to hide their vices because corruption gives them fame, and thanks to social engineering they can get away with anything. There is no escape unless we free ourselves from the grip of the box, our ego, which determines our perception.
There is only one way to break free from the box: adopt an opposite mode of work. Instead of focusing on what we can receive from everything we come in contact with, we should focus on what we can give.
Only when we focus on giving rather than receiving can we experience true freedom—freedom from the ego. When we are free from the ego, we will judge everything by its true nature. If enough people adopt this mindset, our entire reality will change and we will not have to constantly fight to impose our point of view on everyone.
When there is war, everyone loses. But when people try to support and help one another, everyone wins. Our task today is to make as many people as possible aware of this simple truth. When enough people understand it, they will work together to create a new reality where everyone is cared for and no one is manipulated.
Medium published my new article “Education — We Need to Build Back Better”
The past two years have been nerve-wracking for children, parents, and the entire education system. The recurring isolations and lockdowns have not only affected the children’s social relationships, they also left everyone uncertain about the future. It is clear that things will not be as they were until the beginning of the decade, but it is unclear what they will be like. Either way, since we are destined to shuttle back and forth between physical and virtual connections, we might as well learn to make meaningful connections in both settings.
The current situation has already shifted us from our previous mindset about connections, but it has not yet established new ones within us. It is still hard to see what our new manner of connection will be like since we are not machines; it takes time to grow into a new mode of operation.
However, since nature never goes back, but always forward, one thing is clear: that which was will never return.
Whatever form we eventually take, it will be one where we are not only connected in new ways, but also more positively than before. Nature’s evolution is always moving toward increasing complexity and integration. Everything is becoming more interdependent, not less so, and this is true for humanity, as well.
Yet, while all other species accept nature’s dictates without questions, humans are disconnected from nature and have their own will. Nature still forces us to go its way, but it has also given us our own will, which grows in the opposite direction: While nature drives us to incorporation, we strive for separation. This is why animals accept what nature gives them and adapt, while we suffer and resist, but to no avail.
The suffering we feel is a clear disadvantage compared to the rest of the animal world, but human beings have an advantage that no other living being has: Instead of being forced into connection, we can think about it, compare it to separation, and finally choose it. Although we have no choice but to ultimately choose connection, since this is the course of all of creation, choosing it of our own volition means that we understand the logic behind it, the “thought of creation,” if you will.
There is no comparison between the pleasure and depth we experience when we choose to do something as opposed to doing it instinctively. This is our unique advantage, the merit of human beings over all other beings.
All the blows we have suffered since the beginning of time have led us to evolve from hunter-gatherers into clans, towns, countries, empires, and finally to a global village. The increased incorporation always happens against our will and at the cost of countless lives and indescribable suffering, but it need not be this way. If we understand where we are going and what we are destined to acquire at the end of the road, we can go there willingly and help each other transcend our individuality to form a conscious and unified humanity.
Our education systems should focus on instilling this awareness in us. This education should apply to all ages, countries, and cultures. If we make unity our top priority, we will begin to see the differences between us as welcome diversity, and our different perspectives as enriching our knowledge. If we want to stop suffering and enjoy the road we’re on, we need to rebuild our education system in synchrony with all of nature: toward connection, cohesion, and integration.
Michael Laitman, On The Times of Israel: “A New Book Spells Out Old Truth”
Recently, Daniel Gordis’ latest publication, We Stand Divided: The Rift Between American Jews and Israel, has been translated into Hebrew and published in Israel. Much has happened since it was published, two and a half years ago, but the nadir, as Gordis refers to the rift between American Jews and Israel, has only deepened since. I think that if we are to be honest with ourselves, we must acknowledge that other than organizations whose funding relies on sustaining the ties between Israel and American Jewry, both communities are uninterested in one another. In fact, the most prevalent feelings between the two communities are resentment, condescension, and dislike.
In an interview for the Israeli paper Makor Rishon, Gordis recalled a letter that approximately 100 Reform rabbinical students signed during the “Guardian of the Walls” military campaign (May 10-21, 2021). The letter accused Israel of implementing apartheid against the Palestinians and called on American Jewish communities to hold Israel accountable for the “violent suppression of human rights,” but said nothing of the more than 4,000 rockets fired at Israeli civilian cities or the fact that Hamas’ charter explicitly calls for the annihilation of the State of Israel. To conclude, says Gordis, “In the May war, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt supported Israel more than the rabbinical students who signed the letter.”
Indeed, I see no connection between the two communities. I understand that for observing Jews, the Jewish holidays and Israel bear significance. Also, if Jews in one country have family in the other country, they will feel connected, especially if they often visit one another. There are also Jews in America who believe that Israel can be a safe haven in case they need to make a run for it, as Jews have always done throughout history when they were persecuted. But as communities, I see no connection between the two.
If American Jews are looking for safe havens from antisemitism, they’d be better off buying some land in Central America, Mexico, or Canada, and lead their lives there. There are already such settlements, such as the Orthodox Jewish town Kiryas Tosh in Quebec, Canada, and there are others.
The majority of American Jews have never been to Israel. They don’t want to come here and they feel no connection to the Jewish state. They did not choose to be Jewish, they were born into it, but they have no interest in Israel. If anything, the fact that there are organizations that try to tighten the connections between the two communities only annoys them. This is why many American Jews say about Israel, “It’s a pity you exist at all. If you didn’t exist, people would forget about us. Now they know that there is the people of Israel and hate us.”
Because there is no connection between the two communities, no effort by any organization will succeed. If there were a connection, we wouldn’t need anything else. If we could awaken love among us, Jews, all the Jews from around the world would want to come here. But because we are disunited, no one wants to come here and no one wants connection with us or with Jews at all.
From the perspective of the Israelis, I think that what we need to do is worry about our own unity, and forget about trying to connect with those who do not want connection. The people who live here, in Israel, should connect among themselves and form such a tight bond that the entire world will look at us and strive to follow our example.
The connection between us does not need organizations, who come with their own interests. It also does not need government offices, who impose their own agendas. All we need is people who want to connect above all their differences. In the end, the ancient motto that we have never implemented but have always preached, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” is our only rescue. This is what we need, and the best service we can do to the world is to implement it and set a good example to the world.
To conclude, I’d like to bring the words of Nathan Sternhartz, the prime disciple and scribe of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, who concisely packaged the whole idea: “‘Love your neighbor as yourself’ is the great rule of the Torah, to include in unity and peace, which are the heart of the vitality, persistence, and correction of the whole of creation, when people of differing views are included together in love, unity, and peace.”
Answer: We have reached such a state where we really begin to connect in one common powerful Kli (vessel) that can accumulate such energy in our hearts that the Creator will be revealed in them. We are already approaching this state. In this regard, this convention is special. It is not formal, it is more internal, and it is already collective.
Question: It seems that at this convention we were dissolving in one desire. We felt differently than at other conventions. We wanted to advance and reach the goal. What does this show us?
Answer: This shows that we are already in the correct state and we only need to increase it. I feel the same way and I am very happy about this convention.
Question: The desire to unite brought us together. And women had a desire for a prayer of such strength that both the heart would respond and the mind would agree. What can we do to achieve this result?
Answer: You must mentally embrace the entire Bnei Baruch so that all of us can feel warm and joyful, light in the heart, and soft inside. And continue in this state. You can do it.
From the International Convention “Rising Above Ourselves” 1/7/22, “Adhering to the Friends” Lesson 3
Answer: Let us say you had a good relationship with someone and then you broke up, i.e., you somehow separated from each other, can no longer be together, and do not have the connection you used to have. This is an example of before and after.
Now try to see how you can restore the former ties above hatred, all the way to love. This is how it works. The Creator deliberately broke us up, separated us, and distanced us, so that we would try to overcome this distance, oppositeness, and contradictions, and thus return to the previous state of unification, but 625 times stronger.
Then the small light we once had will multiply by five, by another five, and by another five to become 125 times greater than the small illumination supporting us now. It will turn into the light of Yechida that gathers and unites us.
We must go through all these stages. There is nothing to fear; the main thing is the principle of our work. The hardest part is the first degree. Then everything will start to move; the principle is the same.
Question: Where exactly do we feel the existence of the Creator, the reality of the Creator, the hand of the Creator? At what point?
Answer: This is felt in the heart of a person who really wants to have a heartfelt connection with his friend, with his group.
From the International Convention “Rising Above Ourselves” 1/9/22, “Asking the Creator to Fill the Place Between Us Lesson 7
Answer: Faith above reason is the Kli (vessel) that we create, and bestowal is the force, the work of the Kli directed at each other and at the Creator. We will gradually begin to feel all this.
Question: If I see all the friends in the ten as the Creator, does this mean that I am building the Kli of faith above reason?
Answer: Yes. The only question is, is it really so or are you deceiving yourself. But we are yet to learn to check ourselves, to measure, and to weigh faith above reason. And so we will move forward. Each stage will be different both in content and power.
Question: Is it called faith above reason when I already feel love toward the ten and that it is not a game?
Answer: In this case, it is considered that you must ascend to the next step.
In regards to the next step, you are still in an egoistic state. You will again have to apply the same methods as the rest, that is, to ascend by faith above reason because everyone who is higher, his egoism is greater. We cannot escape this work; it is the same for everyone.
From the International Convention “Rising Above Ourselves” 1/8/22, “Going with Faith above Reason” Lesson 5
Question: How does one understand correctly what the group wants from me?
Answer: The group wants you to annul yourself, stick to it and become one with it. From the side of the group, this should be a requirement, an expectation from each of its members.
Question: What does it mean that my desires are needed only to fill the desires of another?
Answer: This is how we must act. This is called “for the sake of bestowal,” when everything I do is aimed only at filling others. And through them, the Creator. At the same time, I achieve similarity to the Creator.
Question: Are annulment and agreement with the group similar properties that will lead to annulment and agreement with the Creator?
Answer: Yes, of course. Nothing else is needed. Only to annul ourselves in relation to the group, and then we will act correctly in relation to the Creator. Because there is always a Creator inside the group.
Question: How does the state of the ten change when we all manage to annul?
Answer: Then, in connection with each other, within the ten, you begin to feel the revelation of the Creator.
From the International Convention “Rising Above Ourselves” 1/7/22, “Annulling before the Friends” Lesson 2
Answer: Now we can accept a purely mechanical guarantee and somehow it exists between us in the group.
In principle, mutual guarantee is the basis of any society, even the most barbaric one. All the same, there are some elements of mutual obligations.
Throughout the history of mankind, it can be traced that only the degree of even selfish guarantee determines the level of development of social ties that encourage us to build huts, cities, and states.
This comes from an inner awareness of mutual guarantee. Then there are peoples, nations, and so on.
We must take it to another level.
From the International Convention “Rising Above Ourselves” 1/9/22, “Working in Mutual Responsibility” Lesson 6