“The Negev Summit: Israel As ‘A Light Unto Nations’” (Times Of Israel)

Michael Laitman, On The Times of Israel: “The Negev Summit: Israel as ‘A Light unto Nations’

The role of Israel as a connecting force in the Middle East is not a coincidence; fostering unity has been the essence of the people of Israel since time immemorial. As part of an historical summit in the Israeli Negev town of Sde Boker, top diplomats from Israel, the US, Egypt, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Morocco have agreed to meet regularly to establish a permanent forum for the creation of “regional security architecture,” in light of the possible renewal of the Iranian nuclear deal.

The unprecedented forum is one of the results of the “Abraham Accords” which brought normalization of diplomatic ties between Israel and the UAE, Bahrain, and Morocco. While the new Middle Eastern regional front will also focus on joint efforts in the areas of counterterrorism and defense, education, health, tourism, food, water, and energy, the main concern for Israel and its Arab allies is Tehran’s threat.

The State of Israel must do everything in its power to protect its security, both by forming alliances and by striving for additional political meetings, and there is no doubt that a unified security front in the Middle East can deter Iran. On a more internal level, if the people of Israel demonstrate a unified spiritual front against any threat, this will sooner or later neutralize it. Cohesion is the ultimate power for the redemption of people from troubles and torments. As the sages said, “When Israel are as one man with one heart, they are as a fortified wall against the forces of evil.”

And why exactly do we, the people of Israel, have the power to change complex and sticky situations? Because from our beginning about 3,800 years ago, we acquired from our ancestor Abraham in ancient Babylon a method of connection which taught us how to transcend the egoism that ruled us, how to rise above differences, and how to direct ourselves toward the supreme force of nature. Thus, “Israel” (from the Hebrew Yashar-El) means “straight” to “God,” and from its foundations, Israel has always been an ideological group aimed at being a unifying force in the world.

If we as the people of Israel were stronger on the inside in terms of cohesion, we would see significant results in all areas of life without the need for political agreements. However, as long as we are not united on the inner front–strongly connected in one heart–then there will be a vital need for our leaders to sign agreements on the political and security fronts.

Meanwhile, buds of the future role of Israel can also be seen forming on the physical level. Israel is revealing an extraordinary political feature of being at the center of every fateful conflict and threat–from the “Negev Summit” bringing the Middle East countries together over Iran, through the role of mediator between Russia and Ukraine, to the recent visits of the President of Israel to Turkey and the Israeli Army delegation to Morocco.

Israel is gradually gaining ground in taking up its rightful role as a connecting force between peoples. In the future it is also expected that Israel will formalize its physical and spiritual role to become a sort of international parliament and forum through which countries can communicate –a contemporary Sanhedrin reminiscent of the ancient assembly of sages in the Land of Israel. As the Jewish thinker Rav Kook said, “The purpose of Israel is to unite the whole world into one family.”

Countries all over the world will subconsciously continue to feel that Israel should function as the connecting factor between all nations and peoples, regardless of who leads the nation in turn. The world will continue to ask us to act as mediators. World demand will spur us to continue to perform the task entrusted to us since the days of our original agreement with Abraham, to truly become “A Light Unto Nations.”

“ISIS As A Meter For Jewish Unity” (Times Of Israel)

Michael Laitman, On The Times of Israel: “ISIS as a Meter for Jewish Unity

Two things characterize the horrific terrorist attacks that occurred in Israeli cities recently: 1. The assailants were Israeli citizens, born and raised in Israel to Bedouin and Israeli Arab families. 2. The terrorists were inspired by ISIS. This wave may subside, but the trend going forward is clear: There will be more and more terrorist attacks within Israel, perpetrated by supporters of ISIS, who come from Israeli citizens of Arab or Muslim descent.

Not all Arabs and Muslims are terrorists. Many of them simply want to lead their lives in peace and enjoy the affluence that living in Israel enables them to achieve. Nevertheless, the education they receive, the media outlets that broadcast to the Arab speaking population in Israel, and the ambience they grow up in leave them no choice but to become a society that inherently rejects the presence of Jews in Israel (to which they refer as Palestine), and the existence of the State of Israel altogether.

Over the past several years, the State of Israel has invested many billions of dollars to promote education, housing, job opportunities, and community services in Arab and Bedouin communities in Israel. Regrettably, because of the inherently anti-Israeli disposition, it is not generating any closeness between Arabs and Jews, and it is failing to generate gratitude among Arabs toward the state or foster any sense of commitment toward it.

It is not only the recent terrorist attacks that prove it. After the attacks, spontaneous celebrations broke out in several Arab towns within Israel. As I said, it is the ambience that fosters the next killers.

But the heart of the problem is not the hatred of Israeli Arabs toward Israel. The heart of it lies among us, Jews. Our own division is fueling their hatred and audacity. The more divided we are, the more our haters feel emboldened and their hatred intensifies.

Just as with any form of antisemitism, the fuel behind the entrenchment of ISIS among Israeli Arabs and Bedouins is our own division—first and foremost within the State of Israel, and subsequently, among Jews the world over.

If there is no peace among us, we will have no peace with anyone. ISIS is only a meter that shows us how hateful we are toward each other. Its life’s marrow, its oxygen, its fuel is our hatred for each other.

Inadvertently, the Jewish people determine how the world will treat them. Our foes may be Muslim, or Christian, or proponents of social ideologies such as Nazism or communism, but in the end, the fuel behind them is our own division, our odium for one another.

Hitler derided our division and feared our union. So did Henry Ford, and many other antisemites throughout the ages. Fittingly, our sages have repeatedly lamented our division as the progenitor of our downfalls, and praised our union as our source of success.

No other nation is expected to display internal unity. When other nations are united, they are feared. When we unite, we are loved.

Nothing about us is the same as it is for other nations. Our roots are different: We are descendants of eclectic natives of countless tribes and nations who had joined together under the tenet of loving others as themselves. Accordingly, the world expects us to show that we care for one another regardless of our circumstances. When we succeed, they praise us, and when we fail, they scorn us and say that we are redundant. The more brazen ones among them try to do away with us, and the rest of the world tacitly supports them.

Accordingly, when we try to appease the world by dispensing billions on what we regard as their needs, they consider it bribery and do not hate us one bit less for it. On the contrary, it only increases their contempt toward us. In doing so, they are telling us what they really need from us: to focus on each other.

This is why the heightened level of ISIS activity that we are witnessing in Israel these days means that we have grown more separated than before. Accordingly, the only action that will turn down the hatred is to strengthen our internal unity.

You will find more on this topic in my book The Jewish Choice: Unity or Anti-Semitism.

Audio Version Of The Blog – 3/31/22

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A City Is A Person’s Internal State

293Jerusalem (“Ir shlema“) is translated from Hebrew as the perfect city. The word “Ir – city” in Kabbalah is the inner state of a person when everything he does is assembled in him into one single perfect structure. It is like his home and he wants to relate his inner state to the Creator.

This happens either within one person or the whole of humanity when one supreme value is formed over all existing disagreements between people. This is why Jerusalem is called the heart of the world, the capital of the world.

In addition, it is also called the City of David in honor of King David who lived 3,000 years ago and revealed the perfect state in himself.

But Jerusalem existed long before that time. According to the sources and what is passed down from generation to generation, we did not build anything new here. On the contrary, we accepted everything that was already on this earth and only raised it to the next degree.

Basically, Israel prides itself on taking the inanimate level and elevating it to the spiritual.

Question: What is the difference between Hebron and Jerusalem from a spiritual point of view?

Answer: Before coming to Jerusalem, King David ruled seven years in Hebron (from the word “hibur – unity”). And when he attained perfect awe, he realized from his inner attainment that he needed to move to Jerusalem and build the Temple there.

In spiritual terms, Jerusalem strives upward and Hebron yearns downward. Hebron is connected with the desire of Malchut, and therefore, the graves of the forefathers are there in the cave of Machpelah: Adam and his wife, Abraham and his wife, and Jacob.
From KabTV’s “Spiritual States” 2/22/22

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External Manifestation Of Internal Correction

547.02Baal HaSulam writes that the nation of Israel was based on just one principle, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” the law of mutual guarantee. But they could not observe it because egoism grew, evolution continued, and they had to build the Temple with an altar in the material world.

If earlier a person sacrificed his egoism, later in the external world it began to manifest itself in the form of animal and plant sacrifices, where supposedly all kinds of egoistic qualities of a person were taken and sacrificed for the soul’s ascension.

But this is an external manifestation of a person’s inner correction when he is ready to give everything that is in him in order to turn the qualities of reception into the quality of bestowal, to change his egoistic movements to altruistic impulses.

Question: If we talk about nature as the Creator, as an upper force that controls everything, how can this reconcile with the fact that there are some stones where some unfortunate animal is taken, killed, and some words said? And how does this relate to the correction of the soul?

Answer: It is very hard to understand. If we were in an ancient Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, we would see that it is like a slaughterhouse where cows, calves, and sheep were slaughtered, bread was baked, and wine and water were poured on stone tables upon which animals were butchered. This is some kind of incomprehensible work like in a slaughterhouse.

But in fact, it is all internal work. Unfortunately it should be held at this level too because this is the lowest level of egoism of a person who is corrected in this way.

We consist of two levels: animal and human. The human level is corrected by the fact that we change ourselves from receiving to giving, from all bad and negative egoistic qualities to positive, altruistic qualities. While doing this, we should not forget, at the same time, that we are in this world.

How can we perform such actions in our world? We take the animal that is in us— this is personified by any kosher animal—and kill it within ourselves, that is, kill the animal nature in yourself and then burn it in a certain way and eat it, which means, use it correctly.

In other words, we must raise it to the level of service of a person within himself who is already in connection with the Creator. This is an allegorical personification of correcting our qualities and raising them to a spiritual level.
From KabTV’s “Spiritual States” 2/22/22

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How Was The Book of Zohar Written?

563Question: Is there any difference if a book was written by a single person like Baal HaSulam or by ten people like Rabbi Shimon and his students?

Answer: In Kabbalah either one person writes a book about what one attains, as Baal HaSulam did, or a group of people who are connected together write a book. Between them, there are various states in which they begin to perceive the Creator differently. This is what they describe.

Moreover, the states that Rabbi Shimon and his students went through among themselves, they described in the form of journeys to some earthly places. But in fact, they did not move from the cave they were in. Everything happened only in one place and in connection between them.

The more they increased their connection with each other, the more they attained the Creator. And vice versa, the more they became estranged from each other, the less they felt the Creator. Those scrutinies of nearing and distancing between each other in the ten and accordingly with the Creator is what they recorded. And they are included in The Book of Zohar.

Baal HaSulam wrote that the students of Rashbi attained all 125 steps. This means that they revealed all their original egoism, rose above it in connection with each other, and felt the single upper force in this connection.

Accordingly, they became similar to it as one man with one heart and attained the Creator in their common desire.
From KabTV’s “Spiritual States” 2/15/22

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“We Live Dreaming Of Peace”

630.2Comment: Michael writes: “Now more than ever, there is a huge hatred that rules everything. I am sure it will divide us, those who were once brothers and sisters, for thousands of years. We will never be the same again, we will not sing naive songs about friendship and love: ‘Children of different nations, we live dreaming of peace… . Youth sing the song of friendship… . You cannot stifle this song, you cannot kill it… .’ Did we really sing that? Today we all burn with hatred. What can we do about it?”

Answer: We were just like children in kindergarten who were taught to sing. They did not know; they opened their mouths and sang without understanding the meaning of these words.

Today, we gradually begin to understand the meaning of these words, and we do not want to sing these songs. Tomorrow, we will begin to realize how really great these words were, but no one has ever been able to implement them.

And then we will strive to think and dream about how we can get closer to this realization because it is impossible to exist without it. We will find a way to achieve a world in which children of different nations, all of humanity will feel like one unified whole.

Question: “We live dreaming of peace” was the anthem of the democratic youth, as far as I remember. So you are saying that we sang these songs kind of mindlessly?

Answer: We perceived it like children. Both adults and children perceived it this way. And now we are given suffering and reason in order for us to understand what we lack in these words, in our awareness of them. And we will come to the point that we will begin to implement the lyrics of this song at their true level. I see it coming. You’ll see!

Comment: I take this external song, put it in my heart, and sing it.

My Response: Yes, and all this is happening. It depends on us to shorten the time. Acceleration depends on us. We must try.

Question: And this transition, which you say should happen through the mind, through the heart, how does it happen?

Answer: Through gradual awareness. It is not just some kind of leap or hocus-pocus. This is what people want to happen, really want to attract themselves to this state or this state to themselves, performing all kinds of actions between them in our world—rapprochement and so on.

That is, it is a lot of work both physical, moral, and pedagogical. In general, we still have a lot of work ahead of us here.

Question: So the events that are happening should have happened?

Answer: We are yet to see that everything negative that happened at all times among all nations was all only suffering from the fact that we were moving away from each other and did not understand how much we should, on the contrary, get closer.

And now all these sufferings will manifest themselves in us and push us toward closeness. And then we will be grateful for them and realize how much there is only happiness in the world and movement toward the light.

Everything that happens is a movement toward happiness and light.
From KabTV’s “News with Dr. Michael Laitman” 3/3/22

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Standing Before The High Court

559Question: It is written that when a person dies, he is brought before the high court: heaven or hell. What is this high court?

Answer: These are terrible states when a person reveals his attitude toward the world, how he lived, and how bad he was. At the same time, he is full of regret and sorrow, and understands where it all came from. But this is no excuse for him. In other words, everything that a person begins to realize about himself is called hell.

What we imagine about standing before the high court and being judged for some actions in this world, none of that is true and there is no point talking about it. Everything that happens in the upper world is nothing we can imagine in our egoistic thoughts.

Comment: But if one did not have such notions about the high court, he would do whatever he pleases in our world. This way at least there are some limits.

My Response: I don’t think it keeps people from misbehaving. Who really knows or believes these fables? People are not afraid of anything.

A while back they used to be more primitive. It is quite possible that such notions restrained them. But all the same, a person’s egoism prevails over everything. So if one does not strive for his correction and to really build a different person out of himself, someone above egoism, then nothing will help him.
From KabTV’s “Spiritual States” 1/11/22

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Ahead Of The Stick

276.04When one corrects himself consciously and automatically puts his spiritual life above the level of the body, he does not require blows or physical suffering. He runs toward the goal, ahead of the rod that drives him to happiness. But if he does not work on correction, then he moves under the blows of this stick. This is the only way.

If necessary, this life is taken away from him. Next time the soul will dress in a body and will exist again. We are given chance after chance because nature is obliged to bring all its parts into harmony. This is its general law, the law of universal balance.

Question: Is a person asked whether he wants it or not?

Answer: A person is not asked anything! What does one understand in this life?

Comment: Then it is not so clear. On one hand, a person has the freedom to choose how to develop in relation to nature, toward the goal or against it. On the other hand, he is not asked anything.

My Response: We exist in a system of still, vegetative, and animate nature. We are shown the imbalance between us so that upon reaching the balance we come to a higher level—being similar to the Creator.

How incongruent we are with the general global nature and the harmony we lack between us is gradually revealed. If we overcome this with the help of Kabbalah, we rise to the next degree. If we do not overcome, nature still pushes us forward with suffering and forces us to reveal the method of correction.

We cannot correct ourselves except by the method of Kabbalah because this is the only way to attract the upper light to ourselves, the only way to reach contact with the Creator, with the upper force that corrects our egoism.
From KabTV’s “Close-Up. Partnership Agreement” 4/7/10

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“How Do I Become More Compassionate And Empathetic?” (Quora)

Dr. Michael LaitmanMichael Laitman, On Quora: How do I become more compassionate and empathetic?

During the 2021-22 winter in Israel, there were several cases of elderly people found on the verge of hypothermia due to their inability to pay the costs involved in heating their homes. As such, a petition emerged that called to cover the heating costs for all elderly people who could not afford their electricity bills.

I would take such a proposal a step further: that a national plan should be prepared whereby the elderly would not need to pay for heating in the winter at all.

In general, such a situation brings up the question of empathy, namely: what do we need to do in order to feel the pain of others? That is, when we are freezing cold, we feel such pain distinctly and act on it immediately. However, if we know about others who are cold, we are inclined not to act with the same level of urgency.

To empathize with the pain of others, we need to open our hearts to them. “Opening our hearts” means participating in their sorrow. In this particular instance, it means that we should act toward them as we would act for ourselves if we were freezing cold.

The problem is that our nature makes us take care of ourselves while keeping others at a distance. Yet, we should know that the upper force, the Creator, which is a force of love, bestowal and connection, holds our nature, our hearts. Therefore, if we would ask the Creator to open our hearts to the sorrows of others, then we would receive an open gate to the world’s correction, i.e. to a state where we become sorrow-free and achieve balance, peace and harmony. Moreover, by doing so, we would receive a feeling of the upper force, which would fulfill us completely.

As for this particular case with heating for the elderly in winter, there is a key argument—“Where would we get the money to pay for all of that electricity?”—to which I think that if the people in this country were all concerned about fixing this problem, then we would find that it is no large sum of money. All we need is to increase care for each other.

Based on the video “The Need to Increase Care for Others” with Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman and Oren Levi. Written/edited by students of Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman.