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Answer: There is nothing higher than this in the egoism of a person.
Comment: But you once said that honor is the greatest pleasure.
My Response: You receive honor from others and a sense of power comes from you. Power over others is the highest egoistic state.
From KabTV’s “Spiritual States” 3/22/22
Question: Igor asks: “It seems that Armageddon, the war of Gog and Magog, has been going on for a long time, but for some reason we have not seen or felt it. Is that true? Or will everything settle down, pass and be forgotten?”
Answer: Everything will pass, except for one thing, which is the last state we will come to. And it will contain all the previous states that are concentrated, collected, and taken all together. And it will be the basis for the last state.
That is, the last state will consist of two, one called “Kli” and the second called “Ohr“—vessel and light. So the vessel will consist of all the states that each of us and all of us together have gone through in history. This is a terrible amount of suffering, doubts, and misunderstandings, everything altogether.
Question: So everything that we have gone through, all wars and all sufferings come down to this vessel?
Answer: To one state that includes everything. And then this state is corrected by the upper light or the Creator, which is one and the same. And this state becomes equal to the upper light. That is, everything that is realized and comprehended in all the millions, many millions of sufferings that all of humanity has gone through at every moment, all this turns into light. And thus the Creator is attained.
Question: So there was nothing we should regret?
Answer: It never happened!
Question: And all the most terrible suffering?
Answer: It never happened. It’s not something that has been forgotten and now we don’t feel it.
Question: And these are not mistakes that we once made?
Answer: None of this happened at all! It existed only as a preparation for us to feel today’s absolute state.
Question: What do you mean never happened? There were: the Second World War, the Holocaust, the First World War, the Civil War, the blood spilled, it all had happened! Or did it? Or do we then go into a difficult explanation?
Answer: In the impossibility of explanation, perhaps. But I still have to say that this did not happen. We rise to another level of perception of reality, a sense of reality where nothing like that ever happened.
Question: Then what happened?
Answer: There was only preparation for us to feel the only existing state, the state of being filled with absolute universal love. And it in turn is simultaneously felt as absent, negative, and an aspiration to the positive. And the absence of love and hate, everything else, all this is included in love because it is impossible to feel one without the opposite.
Question: So this exalted love is shining on me and I feel it as hatred? I haven’t attained it yet and that’s why I feel it as hatred?
Answer: No. You attain it, but in what you attain, you also comprehend the opposite quality. Otherwise you won’t be able to feel it. We don’t feel one without the other.
Question: So it exists together all the time?
Answer: We are creations, created! The Creator, He feels one state, if I may say so, only love. And we can feel one thing only from its opposite.
From KabTV’s “News with Dr. Michael Laitman” 2/28/22
Comment: Many viewers, quite a number, are asking this question: “How do you talk to children about the war? How do we explain to them what’s going on?” How does one explain why they are bombing and why childhood has ended to those children who are hiding with their parents in bomb shelters and in the subway?” And other children whose childhood continues, those who do not hear sirens and explosions but see what is happening to their peers, ask why this is so.
And the main question is: How do you raise children at a time like this when wars, suffering, and tears are non-stop?
My Response: Children can understand because they also fight with each other. After all, egoism works from a very young age.
So there is nothing here that needs to be hidden from them. Indeed, if we don’t bring up children correctly, then, just like they play in childhood and want to take away from each other and become such bullies, so they continue in adulthood, and that is why we end up with war as a result. Grown men no longer have just shovels or sticks in their hands, now it is something serious. And that is when war begins.
So what should we do? While children are little like yourselves, remember, we tell children, we need to teach you, to bring you up to be able to talk to each other, to come to agree with each other, and to learn to compromise. Then you will not get to such terrible, big problems like these men who start these wars. That is what comes from the fact that in childhood they did not obey their mother.
Question: Do you think that a child will listen to that?
Answer: When he sees this very thing? He is extremely impressed.
Question: When he is under fire? Can he be told just like this?
Answer: Tell him exactly like this. Of course. This is true education. This is the basis of wartime education.
Question: So it’s not to dwell on “enemy,” “hatred,” or “against us”?
Answer: No, they will not understand it; they have no concept of it, no foundation. But when you explain in terms of childhood play and give and take, “when you wanted to take something, but he didn’t give it to you,” you can talk about everything.
Isn’t it how it really works? These games of oil and gas and all sorts of international relations, are they not the same children’s games?
Comment: It has turned into something dangerous.
My Response: Yes, because they didn’t stop it in time or couldn’t explain it in time. So this is how it turned out. Because in childhood they could not explain to understand that it is never necessary to resolve disputes by force. Can you convince the others? If yes, great. If not, compromise.
Question: Should the child understand that disputes are not resolved by force?
Answer: They can’t be resolved by force; otherwise, we will destroy each other. Can you imagine it in the modern world?
Question: How are disputes resolved? What should the child we are raising understand? How do you explain to a child how to resolve disputes?
Answer: Only by persuasion, when you do not force another person to peace, but when you explain to each other how you can come to peace together, with mutual concessions, and not with the approach of “I am right and you are wrong, and now you will understand it.”
Comment: Now you have said a very serious thing, that a child should be able to compromise.
My Response: Of course! This is the most important thing in education. Otherwise what is all the education for? To teach how to hit first? To hit stronger? Or better? It is for the sake of being able to stop and compromise.
Comment: This is the most difficult thing, for children especially.
My Response: Of course. Because they have exposed egoism, small, but revealed.
Question: So you propose to teach concessions, to teach a child so he can yield to others?
Answer: Everything needs to be explained. And then sit in a circle and conduct practical exercises.
Comment: If there is an argument, let’s sort it out? How can we not fight but make peace. This is such a long system…
My Response: Otherwise it will take even longer.
Question: Can this be explained to children who are under fire?
Answer: To everyone! It all depends on the words, vocabulary, and expressions you use. You are explaining this to the ego, which is the same in a small child as it is in a grown-up man, it is the same egoism.
Comment: The main problem here is to train teachers, prepare those who can teach what it means to come to peace, and what annulment means.
My Response: Yes, this is the most important.
From KabTV’s “News with Dr. Michael Laitman” 3/3/22
Question: Why is it poor that our shadows fall on it?
Answer: Well said! This is exactly why it is poor. Our entire egoism and everything we obscure with ourselves, with our disgusting “I,” all of this falls on Earth.
Question: How should it be? After all, we are egoists.
Answer: We have to make an absolutely transparent body out of ourselves so that the light fully passes through us to the Earth.
We should not leave any traces of our own on the Earth at all! We must live on Earth as animals live on it. They do not pervert or vandalize the Earth, they do not distort it. We should be the same.
Question: Then our shadows will not fall? Will there be no shadow then?
Answer: Yes, this is our problem. Do you understand what we are doing to Earth?!
Question: So we should cast no shadow on Earth?
From KabTV’s “News with Dr. Michael Laitman” 1/10/22
Question: The Midrash Tanhuma says that: the country of Israel is at the center of the world, Jerusalem is at the center of the country of Israel, the Temple is at the center of Jerusalem, the Sanctuary is at the center of the Temple, the Ark is at the center of the Sanctuary, and the Cornerstone is in front of the Sanctuary upon which rests the whole world rests rests upon.
What are these qualities?
Answer: The cornerstone (Even Hashtiya, from the word “mushtat – founded”) is the quality of the world, primordial egoism, which is horrifying and totally uncorrectable into love, bestowal, or connection with anyone.
Gradually, it becomes explicit and life-forming. That means it is the basis of the whole world, it is the egoism from which all matter was formed. And everything rests on it.
In fact, all these qualities that we are talking about: the Land of Israel, Jerusalem, the Temple, the Sanctuary, the Ark, and the Cornerstone are the most egoistic qualities at their root. The most egoistic!
But when you correct them, you begin to raise them from the ashes, restore them, and make them holy. All egoism and everything that was bad in them turns into its opposite, into good.
Thus, an inverse form is created, as if turned inside out from a state of absolute egoism into a state of pure altruism.
From KabTV’s “Spiritual States” 2/22/22
Michael Laitman, On Quora: “Why do large sectors of humanity sometimes get hit by major blows of suffering, like natural disasters and wars?“
The more humanity evolves, the closer it comes to discovering nature’s interconnectedness and interdependence on a global scale. At a certain point in our development, we receive an invitation to rise to a whole new level of existence, where through our tightening global connection, we find that there is nothing left but to activate mutual concern.
Why, then, do we increasingly receive major blows of suffering, such as natural disasters, wars and pandemics? It is due to nature trying to return itself to balance, and in order for nature as a whole to enter into balance, humanity needs to undergo a certain kind of moral and spiritual correction.
And nature’s simplest and most direct way of prodding humanity to realize its need for correction is by sending us suffering.
The moment we suffer, our needs instantly decrease. We become ready to be satisfied with less in order to just not suffer. Take, for instance, what happens during wars and after natural disasters. People make do with little, making no moves for luxurious surpluses to their lives, and become ready to unite and help each other.
Suffering purifies us, lowers our egoistic drives, and makes us ready to be satisfied with less. We then become ready to connect with others in order to receive confidence and support.
Based on KabTV’s “Close-Up. Partnership Agreement” with Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman on July 4, 2010. Written/edited by students of Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman.
My new article on Linkedin “Taking the Fear Where It Should Go”
At such times, when people are afraid to walk out of the house, to go to work, or to take the kids to school, we should remember that there is a purpose for the fear: to bind us all together. If we direct our fear toward unity, it will vanish along with its cause.
It may not feel this way, certainly not in times of strife and terror, but humanity is one entity. Our ancestors, led by Abraham, felt it and formed a nation that accepted into its midst anyone who subscribed to the principle of unity and love above all differences and hatred. King Solomon canonized this principle in the verse (Proverbs, 10:12), “Hate stirs strife, and love will cover all crimes.”
Indeed, unity had been our primary tenet from the very beginning. We were pronounced a nation only after we agreed to unite “as one man with one heart.” Immediately thereafter, we were tasked with setting an example of unity to the rest of the world, namely with being “a light unto nations.”
Because of our unique calling, our success or failure has always depended on our unity or lack thereof. Our sages throughout the ages have repeatedly stressed this point. The book Maor VaShemesh asserts, “The prime defense against calamity is love and unity. When there are love, unity, and friendship between each other in Israel, no calamity can come over them. … [If] there is bonding among them, and no separation of hearts, they have peace and quiet … and all the curses and suffering are removed by that [unity].” The book Maor Eynaim echoes these words: “When one includes oneself with all of Israel and unity is made … at that time, no harm shall come to you,” as does the book Shem MiShmuel: “When [Israel] are as one man with one heart, they are as a fortified wall against the forces of evil.”
The book Maor VaShemesh asserts, “The prime defense against calamity is love and unity. When there are love, unity, and friendship between each other in Israel, no calamity can come over them.
Unity is not only for our defense, it is our mission to set an example of unity to the world, and the only time when the nations of the world accept us in their midst. During World War I, Rav Kook felt compelled to outline the connection between the world’s troubles and Israel’s unity. In his book, Orot (Lights), he wrote, “The construction of the world, which is currently crumbled by the dreadful storms of a blood-filled sword, requires the construction of the Israeli nation. The construction of the nation and the revealing of its spirit are one and the same, and it is one with the construction of the world, which is crumbling in anticipation for a force full of unity and sublimity, and all that is in the soul of Israel.”
Therefore, while we must do all that we can to protect ourselves and our families on the military level, we must work equally hard on our unity, as the lack of it is the root cause of our problems. When we achieve this, we will bring lasting peace to ourselves, and to the entire world, which is, as Rav Kook said, “crumbled by the dreadful storms of blood-filled swords.”
You will find more on the connection between Jewish unity and peace in my book The Jewish Choice: Unity or Anti-Semitism.
My new article on Linkedin “The Challenge of Immigrating, the Challenge of Immigration”
Tens of thousands of Ukrainian immigrants are coming these days to Israel, posing a serious challenge to the country. On the one hand, they are refugees seeking asylum from a brutal war. On the other hand, Israel is not like any other country, and people who come here must be ready and willing to take on the task of being Israelis, or their absorption will be unsuccessful and they will resent the country that gave them a haven. Being Israeli in the full sense of the word is a great challenge, and teaching people to be a part of the people of Israel is a challenge for the state. But only if both are achieved will the refugees become Israelis and will be happy in their new home.
In the terrorist attack on Tuesday evening in the orthodox city of Bnei Brak, two of the five victims were Ukrainians who came to Israel before the war to work. Another victim was an Arab Israeli police officer who confronted one of the terrorists and was shot in the chest before firing back and killing the assailant.
Terror does not distinguish between nationalities or faiths, and in many ways, this is the essence of living in Israel. It is a land that demands certain traits from its residents. For those who possess them, it is “a good and spacious land … flowing with milk and honey” (Ex. 3:8). For those who do not possess the required traits, Israel becomes “a land that devours its inhabitants” (Num. 13:32).
At the moment, the people who are living in Israel do not constitute a nation. They are defined as Israelis, at least the Jewish residents feel as Israelis, but their definition of what it means to be an Israeli varies greatly. Division is everywhere, mutual contempt is the norm, and the country is on its way to internal breakdown. In such a setting, adding Ukrainians to the clutter will only exacerbate the problems.
But any challenge is also an opportunity. If we rise to the challenge and launch a national program for enhancing unity and solidarity in the nation, the lemon will become a sweet lemonade. If we do not, it will become a very sour lime.
Solidarity pertains not only to newcomers from Ukraine. It has been a problem since the establishment of Israel. Like the original Israeli people, today’s Israelis come from all the cultures in the world. They immigrated to Israel from different lifestyles, standards of living, customs, traditions, and levels of education. But unlike our ancestors, who chose to become Jewish, from the Hebrew word Yehudi, meaning united, the immigrants who formed present-day Israel, especially after its official establishment in 1948, fled here from persecution or financial hardships, to improve their personal security and financial situation, and not in order to reunite the nation.
There have been exceptions, of course, and Zionist movements had a clear ideology of rebuilding a Jewish home specifically in the Biblical land of Israel, but especially after the establishment of the State of Israel, and to an extent, even before, ideology was not the key factor in deciding to immigrate to Israel, if at all.
Yet, even back then, when Zionism was the motivation, unity of the entire nation, above all differences, was not the goal. The lack of this aspiration has been the Achilles’ heel of Israel since the beginning of the Zionist movement.
The State of Israel will flourish and be safe only when its people unite. Just as terror does not distinguish between nations and cultures, Israelis should not make distinctions, but anyone who lives here should have one single ideology: unity above differences.
Unity does not mean sameness. On the contrary, when different people unite and form a tight bond, their unity becomes much stronger than that of similar people. The effort they had had to exert in order to build their union makes it that much stronger than those who feel natural affinity toward each other.
While the founders of the state did not succeed in forging unity within the nation, they were keenly aware of its vitality to our success. A notable example of this was David Ben Gurion, leader of the Jewish community in Israel before the establishment of Israel, and the country’s first Prime Minister. Ben Gurion wrote, “‘Love your neighbor as yourself’ is the supreme commandment of Judaism. With these three words [the length of the sentence in Hebrew], the eternal, human law of Judaism has been formed… The state of Israel will be worthy of its name only if its social, economic, political, and judicial structures are based upon these three eternal words.”
Until today, we have not been able to live by these three eternal words. Perhaps the challenge that the Ukrainian refugees pose to the State of Israel will trigger a sincere attempt to forge that badly needed union.
Michael Laitman, On The Times of Israel: “Times That Call for a Tough Hand”
There is a tense atmosphere in Israel these days. Within a week, a total of 11 people have been killed in terrorist attacks perpetrated either by Israeli Arabs or by Palestinians who entered Israel illegally. There is no question that we should not let fear overwhelm and disrupt our lives, but at the same time it is obvious that there is panic in Israeli society. The recent attacks inspired by the tactics of ISIS have proven that such acts can happen anywhere and at any time.
Any city in the world that has been affected by terrorism can relate to the sense of panic and anxiety that permeates every street, every inch of entire neighborhoods. Fear, mistrust, anger and sorrow are all feelings that describe the current state of mind of Israelis who feel that their right to live a normal life has been taken away from them.
Our sages wrote, “He who comes to kill you, kill him first” (Midrash Rabbah, 21:4) and “If one comes to kill you, kill him first” (Midrash Tanchuma, Pinhas, Chapter 3). This ancient law also applies to those who protect themselves or others from an existential threat. It aims at saving lives from those who deliberately want to kill us or others.
The terrorists today are not afraid of anything; even their own death is no deterrent. They know that if they succeed in inflicting harm, they will be hailed as heroes in their hometowns, their pictures will adorn squares, and candies will be distributed in the streets where they lived to celebrate the murders they have committed. We have seen this many times in previous attacks. On top of that, the murderer’s family will receive generous financial compensation from those who support terrorism. And in the event that the terrorist survives and goes to prison, he or she will find better conditions there than some of them had at home.
Even if we covered every street and every neighborhood with security personnel, we would not be able to eliminate the threat and the fear that plagues us. However, if we begin to respond with an iron fist to those who seek to kill us, as we are commanded to do, we could effectively combat terror. If, on the other hand, we continue to cringe, the circle of terror will widen, and we will keep witnessing violent and extreme events that befall us, and will again and again face the heartbreaking images of orphans and widows.
We are in a constant struggle for our safety here in Israel. From attack to attack, we feel shock waves that force us to question ourselves: Why should I live this way, for what purpose? If not here, where could I live?
If we assess our situation correctly, we will eventually arrive at the simplest truth: Our external foes can only be neutralized by our internal unity. Our existence depends on how much we support and help each other. We must build a society that lives in mutual guarantee over our differences, because “love your neighbor as yourself” (Lev. 19:18) is the great rule of the Torah. If we lived according to it, all people would feel a positive enlightenment emanating from the Jewish people, and thanks to it, the rest of humanity would also come closer to the realization of this rule.
If we implement this principle and unite with each other like members of a close-knit family, no one will be able to harm us. Thus, internal solidarity and cohesion are the true and lasting defenses against our enemies.