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From My Facebook Page Michael Laitman 7/31/22
This week, we will be commemorating the anniversary of the passing of one of the world’s greatest spiritual giants: Isaac Luria, known as “the holy ARI.” Although unknown to many, his writings form the basis of today’s wisdom of Kabbalah. It is thanks to him that Baal HaSulam was able to make the wisdom of Kabbalah accessible to the entire world in the 20th century.
The ARI was truly unique. Not only did he pass away at the early age of 38, but everything we have from him, volumes upon volumes of wisdom, he dictated to his disciple Rav Chaim Vital, who wrote down his every word, and he did it all within the final 18 months of his life.
The ARI took a wisdom that contains all the secrets of life, and stripped it from the countless stories and legends that enveloped it precisely in order to make it abstruse. He felt that in his generation, it was time to begin to reveal the true meaning of the hidden wisdom: the wisdom of Kabbalah.
When he first came to Safed, the city where he spent the final months of life, and where he taught his disciples, no one recognized his greatness. At that time, the greatest Kabbalist was RAMAK, and the ARI also went to learn from him.
But when RAMAK, a great Kabbalist in his own right, realized the greatness of the ARI, he praised him publicly in the highest terms so everyone would recognize his greatness: “Know that there is one man who is sitting here,” he said about the ARI, “who will rise after me and enlighten the eyes of the generation in the wisdom of Kabbalah. For in my days, the channels were blocked, and in his days, the channels will be revealed. Know that he is a great man, a spark of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai.”
By saying that the ARI was connected to Rabbi Shimon, author of The Book of Zohar, the seminal book in the wisdom of Kabbalah, RAMAK was actually saying that all the words of the ARI are true and holy, and that anyone who wishes to learn the authentic wisdom should study with him.
It took many years, even centuries, for the great wisdom of the ARI to become known, but today we know that were it not for Lurianic Kabbalah, which is named after him, the secrets of the wisdom of connection, namely the wisdom of Kabbalah, would still be concealed from us.
Thanks to the teaching that the ARI had founded, and which Baal HaSulam interpreted for us, we know how humanity should live, how to build a sustainable society where people care for one another and practice mutual responsibility.
In today’s tumultuous times, it is the great wisdom of the ARI, wrapped in the commentaries of Baal HaSulam, that enables us to make sense of things and find our way in the growing confusion of humanity. Through their wisdom, if we want to, we will sail safe through the troubled water.
[Image: Old city of Zfar by Leonid Levitas @Wikimedia Commons]
My new article on Linkedin “The One Thing AI Cannot Give”
A new pilot at a school in Tel-Aviv aims to overcome one of Israel’s biggest challenges in the education system: the shortage of teachers. Instead of human teachers, the pilot uses a virtual reality and artificial intelligence (AI) system that replaces some of the teachers. I have no doubt that AI systems, computers, and the internet can teach children anything humans can teach them, if not more. Providing information is not a problem today, and schools in general are not needed for this. The problem is not teaching, but educating, meaning raising children to be social human beings who can interact with their environment in a healthy, positive manner, and form a solid and safe society. AI cannot teach that.
Today, people’s main problem is not that they need to know more. It is easy to learn anything you want through online platforms or traditional ones. Yet people feel unhappy or insecure not for lack of knowledge, but for lack of positive, warm relationships with other people. If people have no one to trust, no one to love, and who would love them back, they will not be happy, they will not be positive elements in society, and they will not succeed in life.
AI cannot teach human relationships. It cannot be a role model that children want to follow. This task—raising children to be confident and happy adults—is the sole domain of human educators.
Although English often overlooks this nuance, the difference between education and teaching is that teaching means imparting people with information, while educating means turning individuals into confident people who realize their potential and contribute to society.
Education, therefore, is the single most important trade. Good education, in the sense I just described, is the basis of any stable and sustainable society. If we want a future where our children are happy and lead a good life, they need educators who guide them into being caring and connected human beings. No AI system can teach that, only educators who teach by personal example that children want to emulate can shape today’s children into tomorrow’s thriving society.
Michael Laitman, On The Times of Israel: “Blinded by Hate”
There is a new “weapon” that Palestinians use against Israelis: blinding lasers. Every night, residents of a certain Palestinian village direct strong lasers into the eyes of Israeli drivers in order to blind them and hopefully cause them to make an accident. So far, there has been no response on the part of the Israeli army, other than stating that the army “is working in a number of ways to uproot the phenomenon.” When people are blinded by hate, there is no end to what they will do to hurt their hated ones. Israel’s response should therefore incorporate two elements: retaliating against the terror and mitigating the hatred.
The first element is relatively straightforward. The response should be one that will deter the perpetrators from repeating their actions. Therefore, the rule of thumb here is simple: When someone comes to kill you, kill him first. In practical terms, it means that the army should fire at the sources of the lasers.
Nevertheless, we should not hope that curbing one mode of terrorism will prevent terrorists from finding other ways to terrorize and hurt Israelis. As long as there is unbounded hatred, Palestinians will find countless ways to hurt us.
Here is where we can make the real difference. The Palestinians’ hatred toward us is not because of a territorial struggle or any other reason they proclaim, even if they believe what they are saying. The Palestinians hate us because we hate each other. Their aversion to us reflects our aversion to each other.
This is true not only for the Palestinians, but for every non-Jew who hates Jews. To the extent that we hate each other, the nations of the world hate us. The higher the mountain of hate between us, the stronger the hatred toward us that we bring down on the nations. In fact, the name Mt. Sinai comes from the Hebrew words Mount of Sinaa [hatred]. Our sages explain that it is called so because of the hatred that came down from it to the nations of the world (Babylonian Talmud, Masechet Shabbat, 89a).
In short, we are generating hatred towards us through our own hatred of each other. We must understand that if we want to “defeat” terrorism, and all the hatred toward Jews and Israelis, we must defeat the hatred within us for each other.
Interestingly, when I say this to non-Jews, they often agree. But when I say this to Jews, they often become aggressive and venomous. They argue that I am making this up, and all the quotes I bring from centuries of our sages writing these exact words do not help. Once, after a lecture in New York, a Jew who refused to accept my words tried to physically assault me.
I can understand the resistance. If we accept this statement, it puts the responsibility for antisemitism, terrorism, and millennia of abuse that our nation suffered in our lap, the lap of the Jewish people, rather than to pin it on the aggressors. Declaring that Jewish inner hatred incites Jew-hatred among the nations pulls the rug from under the arguments that attribute antisemitism to religious, racial, economic, and social causes. It creates one common cause for all the cataclysms that have ever struck the Jewish people, and that cause is our own responsibility. I understand why this would be impossible to accept.
However, it is not my idea, but the idea of all our sages throughout the ages. The people who engendered the Jewish nation, who solidified its peoplehood, and who gave it its unique values and manners, all advocated this exact message: Sinaat Hinam [baseless hatred] has been our curse since our inception as a nation, and the only thing we need to cure.ADVERTISEMENT
Since we are full of hatred, it is hard for us to agree that hatred is the cause of our misfortunes. We tend to blame our troubles on the side we hate. But it is not this or that side that causes our troubles, but the hatred itself. As the two books I have written about it show (see links below), our spiritual leaders throughout the ages tried to teach this to us, yet we refused. We coined the tenet “Love your neighbor as yourself”; it is time we tried it out.
Read these books for more information on the responsibility of the Jewish people for the hatred toward them: The Jewish Choice: Unity or Anti-Semitism, Historical facts on anti-Semitism as a reflection of Jewish social discord, and Like a Bundle of Reeds: Why unity and mutual guarantee are today’s call of the hour.
Question: Should we feel all the Hisaronim (desires) of our friends and raise them to the Creator or is there one that everyone has?
Answer: We must understand that all our aspirations, although expressed in different words and seemingly not similar to each other, are still internally translated into the same language and have the same meaning.
So, it does not matter. No matter what we say, we still have one goal, one system of moving toward the goal, one reason to come to it. In general, we understand each other, we experience the same thing.
And the fact that sometimes we cannot express what we want or that we have different languages does not matter. In spirituality, it all matches and again comes to one single desire, intention, and goal. And if we merge into it, we have to make a little effort and achieve it.
From the “Arava” Convention in Europe – Lithuania 2022, Lesson 1, 7/22/22
Question: Once at the convention in Arava, we held a spontaneous gathering of friends that lasted five or six hours. Usually such events last an hour or two hours maximum. And then it turned out that even those who in principle can hardly overcome themselves, easily joined the common action. It was felt that everyone was supporting the others and that this state could continue for another five hours. What happened at that moment?
Answer: You felt that you could always exist in this state.
People could remain at this level permanently because they began to live in the next state, which is common, we all are together in each other. Such a state is the next level of humanity, which we are slowly entering where sometimes we feel it more and sometimes less.
We are trying to organize such events that would help us feel it, stay in this state, and be in it for as long as possible. I hope that we will come to this state in the near future so that we can exist permanently in it.
First, our world group is actively engaged in integral connection and is moving toward this. Within this state, we must feel the main force of nature—the sole, fundamental, developing force that holds the entire world. You can call it the Creator.
And then we will be able to speak with the world with greater force and show it more or less realistically the possibility of existence at the next level: what nature is pushing us to, the goal of her and our development, and what we must inevitably come to.
From KabTV’s “I Got a Call. The State of Perfection” 1/26/13
Question: A gene is a unit of heredity in a living organism and a genome is the total collection of DNA that carries all the information about a living organism. What is the genome of the soul?
Answer: Our world consists of all kinds of physical forces working in such a way that each wants to dominate the other. The network of these forces, intertwined at the level of inanimate, vegetative, animate, and even human nature, these thoughts and feelings, are egoistic in that each wants to subjugate the others.
And there are forces that act in the opposite order, only we do not notice them and do not see nor feel them. They act in the opposite direction and do not want to compete with each other, but instead want to observe certain interactions to help each other. We usually call these forces spiritual because we do not observe such forces in the material world.
We see plus and minus, but these are material forces. The relationship between people can also be positive and negative.
Our world is a collection of negative forces because we perceive it that way. If we wanted to feel its second, positive half, meaning, the positive relationship of forces and thoughts in relation to each other, then we would have to change ourselves.
The wisdom of Kabbalah explains how we can change in order to begin to feel positive forces, the forces of goodness, the right attitude toward each other, and connection with each other; how we do it, study it, arrive at it, and develop in it is the purpose of the study of Kabbalah.
From KabTV’s “Spiritual States” 7/12/22
Question: What is the bar we can reach in our connection, in this incorporation with friends, for these few days that are now before us?
Answer: I think we just need to really feel that we can be in one heart. That seems to me the most important thing—in one heart!
It is even purely speculative to imagine that we are in the same heart, in the same desire, and there are no other desires, but it is always only one, and we all dissolve in it. This desire will be the one in which we will feel the Creator.
Question: What should every friend who came to the congress or is sitting at the computer behind the screen think about all this time?
Answer: He should think about how he can lose himself and be with us. Just give yourself up and dissolve into us.
From lesson 1 “Arava” Convention in Europe – Lithuania 2022, 7/22/22
And why do people deify it?
Is it a vessel in which there is emptiness,
Or fire flickering in a vessel? (Nikolai Zabolotsky)
My Response: Yes! This is precise, “fire flickering in a vessel.” The vessel is the light of Hassadim. And in this vessel, the light of Hochma begins to manifest. It is felt from the inside without any explanations.
Comment: Nevertheless, there was a feeling that there is external beauty and there is internal beauty. Love is simpler: I love the other, I just love him.
My Response: Who loves? Whom does he love? This is animalistic love. Of course, I am sorry that I am throwing your love off the pedestal. But in fact, love, if we penetrate deeper into its essence, is a manifestation of the Creator in the created being.
This is what attracts us; this is the source of attraction, the light called Hochma, which manifests for us only if it is clothed in the light of Hassadim.
The light of Hochma is the light of life, which is revealed in the light of good. Otherwise, it cannot be revealed.
Question: And what is good?
Answer: Good is when I wish another to exist even at my expense. When I am ready to give everything in order for everyone to exist. This is good. Then the glow of the Creator manifests in it, and in a way is reflected off it.
This glow of the Creator manifested in the good of a person, in the correct attitude of a person to people, to the world, to nature, is called “beauty.” This is practically what attracts us. But it is, of course, far away.
Question: External beauty is imposed on us, we know that. Fashion is imposed on us. But is this the inner beauty?
Answer: This beauty is built only on good, on bestowing, on self-sacrifice, on love. It has nothing to do with our feelings today. There is no way we can enjoy or suffer in them, that is, with our current understanding. In no way.
Question: Can I physically see the inner beauty? When I look at a person or communicate with him, can I feel or see the inner beauty?
Answer: Maybe you can, when you communicate with him. Gradually. When you reveal how good a person is and how much he can move and give room to the other. Not in a tram somewhere, but just everywhere, in life.
Question: If I feel this, do I still see that outwardly he is, for example, ugly?
Answer: You do not see that. If you have already lived to such a state, you do not see his appearance. For you, he is beautiful precisely with these manifestations of kindness.
Question: Does it mean that I see this fire in a vessel, and I am no longer interested in the vessel, in this shell, in all this externality?
Answer: There must be a vessel, otherwise you will not see the fire. But in principle, you see fire.
Question: Is the most important thing to burst through the outer shell to this fire inside?
Answer: No. If you associate yourself with this vessel, with good, with bestowal, with love, and so on, then you attain its inner fire.
If you can associate yourself with the good of the other person, then you discover to this extent his inner fire.
Question: What if I say that I cannot do that? I will never be able to act like this.
Answer: It does not matter, then from afar in some way, at some distance; there are many dimensions to this.
Question: But do I have the greatness of a person who can live like this?
Answer: Whether you have it or not depends on how you will develop it or not.
Comment: We usually say, “Well, he can. Well, he has money.”
My Response: We do everything to make it pleasant and easy for us. If I set myself up to see the pleasant, easy, and beautiful in others, then I will see it. That is, I am sort of annulling myself before that.
From KabTV’s “News with Dr. Michael Laitman” 6/20/22
Question: What are the types of Reshimot?
Answer: There are a huge number of Reshimot, just as there is a lot of biological data within us.
Comment: Indeed, we have more than 30,000 genes, but today we know the functionality of only 5% of them.
My Response: Yes, those who study human blood say that it contains probably 500 different parameters.
Question: What is the connection between Reshimot and desire?
Answer: Reshimot are desires that have not yet been realized. They exist in potential and manifest in you when you know for sure that you are now realizing them in a certain way. For example, I want to take a sip of coffee, this is still a Reshimo. When I drink it, I realize this Reshimo.
In other words, when the light enters the desire, meaning, when there is a feeling of pleasure, then this is already considered a realized desire.
From KabTV’s “Spiritual States” 7/12/22