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My new article on Linkedin “A Changing Reality or a Changing Perception of Reality?”
A recent study by Gallup and West Health has found that “rising healthcare costs have compelled nearly four in 10 Americans in the past six months to delay or skip healthcare treatments, trim regular household expenses or borrow money. That translates into an estimated 98 million adults having to take extraordinary steps to afford healthcare.” Considering that in all likelihood, many of these adults have children, this is a huge portion of the American society that is struggling to provide for a basic need like healthcare.
There is no denying that life in America is far from the American Dream, and that despite some good times, life there is tough for most people. However, it seems like the perception of scarcity has also changed and causes more people to grasp themselves as disadvantaged than before.
There are many serious problems in America. There is a deluge of substance abuse, frequent violence, widespread poverty, and pervasive depression and hopelessness. Worse yet, because of the American support for separation between the government and citizens, apart from occasional stimulus and rescue programs, people have been brought up not to rely on the government for financial aid. When people have jobs, they are fine with this way of life. But when there are no jobs, or no jobs that pay enough, they are left deficient, and without any hope of making sufficient income since they cannot find a better paying job or get the money elsewhere. As a result, they find themselves having to choose which necessity to forgo.
From the perspective of the government, the situation is quite straightforward. It wants people to be healthy. However, if they cannot be healthy, it is best if they die, so as not to waste money on treating sick people.
As terrible as the situation may seem, I do not think that it is worse today than it was a century or so ago. More likely, it is people who require more in order to feel satisfied. Since their demands are growing more than their ability to satisfy them, they feel deficient and deprived.
This feeling is especially poignant if people around them seem to have abundance. Since today, when everyone is connected to everyone else and social media presents everyone in their best form, people feel more disadvantaged and deficient than ever.
Materially speaking, I do not foresee any improvement. However, there is a way we can all have more than enough on every level.
If we begin to learn that happiness lies not in material possessions, in having more stuff, but in cultivating our connections with each other, we will discover two beautiful things: 1) We will find that we really do have enough, and then some. We will learn that the problem of adequacy is not a matter of price or quantity, but of an abusive attitude, and we will want to change that attitude. We will find that if we care about people having what they need rather than us having what we want, then they will have what they need and we have what we want. 2) The second thing we will discover is that confidence, trust, and happiness do not depend on what we have, but on guaranteeing that everyone has what they need. Warm and caring relations in the community make for happier, safer, and healthier members of the community, including ourselves.
Therefore, to overcome scarcity in society, we must overcome the antipathy in our hearts.
Michael Laitman, On The Times of Israel: “How Israel Should Respond to Iran’s Nuclear Politics”
If there is one consensus among all the political parties in Israel, it is that a new nuclear deal between the US and its partners and Iran is bad for Israel. I do not dispute this view, but I think it misses a crucial point. First, we need to understand that Iran’s nuclear ambitions stem not only from a fanatical zeal to annihilate the Jewish state. More than religious fanaticism, it is politics. The Iranians are very clever and very well-grounded people. Their threats and their nuclear weaponization are political means to an end, which is to become a powerful player in the global arena. Therefore, even if they do have nuclear weapons, I doubt they will use it because it will hurt their interest; they will lose more than they will gain. They will pester us and hurt us in various ways, but they will not put themselves at risk.
Therefore, in terms of political strategy, Israel should do what it can to stall Iran’s progress as much as it can. At the same time, we must remember that Iran, too, will only go so far in its extremism.
But there is something more important than trying to prevent Iran from getting the A bomb. We need to understand our own role in the global scheme of things, and play our part. If we play it correctly, we will solve our problems without any wars or external conflicts.
The world is built in such a way that if you want the good to overpower the bad, you need to play by the rules that govern reality. You cannot make your own rules and expect to win. When it comes to playing by the rules that govern reality, we Jews have a crucial role, and this is the part that we must play.
The situation on the ground before us changes according to the way that we Jews relate to one another. The better we relate to one another, the better our situation will be. Better yet, the better we relate to one another, the better will be the situation of all of reality, not just our own, but in the entire world.
The first step toward doing this is to understand that we cannot destroy anything because all parts of reality are required in order for humanity to reach its goal. What is required, however, is for all the parts to connect to one another correctly.
A correct connection means that we relate to everything in reality that we regard as bad as an opportunity, as a call to increase the good so that it covers it. By bad and good I am referring to one thing only: bad means hatred and division between people, and good means unity and concern for one another. Therefore, for every bit of hate that we find among us, we make a joint effort to cover it with care, or as King Solomon said (Prov. 10:12), “Hate stirs up strife, and love will cover all crimes.”
We, Israel, must begin this special kind of work, which is currently nowhere to be found, and demonstrate how we transcend our negative feelings toward each other. We will be able to do this only if we elevate the value of unity and concern for one another above all other values. This is why Rabbi Akiva said that the all-inclusive rule of the Torah—our code of law—is “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Once we begin to work in this way, even before we actually establish a society that operates this way, by simply trying to raise mutual concern above mutual hatred, we will project a positive influence on the entire world.
The world’s eyes are always on Israel. Its opinion about us reflects our opinion of each other. Currently, we slander, despise, and detest each other, and the world feels likewise about us. We can proclaim that we are like everyone else, but it is undeniable that the world is always focused on us, and nothing we can do will change it. Since we are always at the center of attention, what we display is what the world thinks of us.
Therefore, if we resolve to rise above our hatred and nurture solidarity and unity instead of division and derision, the world will notice right away and recognize and appreciate our effort. If we make that effort, the bad example we are setting now will change into an example of unity, solidarity, and mutual concern.
In that case, the fact that the world is watching us will work in its favor and in ours. Just as currently the world is following our bad example and is therefore full of strife, if we unite, it will learn from our example and cover the crimes with love, to use the words of King Solomon, the wisest of all men.
In conclusion, Iran is not our problem. Neither are Hezbollah, Hamas, or the Palestinian Authority. If we make peace with one another and cultivate inner unity and solidarity above all our different views and perspectives, everyone will appreciate and welcome our existence as a model country for the world.
Question: What should keep a Jew in Israel? Suppose I am repatriating to Israel from South America or Europe. And here I come across absolutely absurd things: a very expensive life, threats to security, an absurd political system, in general, a lot of things that are not really difficult, but simply incomprehensible. What should keep a person in this land?
Answer: An inner feeling when he senses that there is no other place for him on Earth.
Actually, this is how I found the answer for myself: “There is nothing good here, there is no reason to remain here, but I have no other place.”
Question: How is this thought, this feeling supposed to come? Is it like a person comes out of the plane, inhales the air and understands?
Answer: No. It is given gradually. But generally a person very quickly begins to feel “This place is for me.”
Question: Does he need to make any effort to understand this?
Answer: I don’t think so. I think that for a person who is looking for some kind of mutuality with other people this is a pretty good environment, because in other countries it is cold, polite, and nothing more.
Question: Should there be any internal prerequisites for this?
Answer: Naturally. A person feels that he needs support; he is looking for it.
From KabTV’s “Kabbalah Express” 8/5/22
In the News (ABC News): “Nine European countries said Tuesday that they have seen ‘no substantial evidence’ to support Israel’s allegations that six Palestinian civil society groups are terrorist organizations and would not change their policies on supporting the groups.
“The rare joint statement was a major rebuke of Israel, which backlisted the groups as terrorist organizations last October but has provided little evidence to support its allegations. The rights groups denied the allegations and accused Israel of escalating a long-standing crackdown on Palestinian opposition to its decades-long military rule. …
“’Accusations of terrorism or links to terrorist groups must always be treated with the utmost seriousness,’ read the statement, issued by Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden.
“’No substantial information was received from Israel that would justify reviewing our policy towards the six Palestinian NGOs on the basis of the Israeli decision to designate these NGOs as “terrorist organizations”’ it said.”
Question: Support for creating two states for two peoples was also expressed. How do you feel about the two states for two peoples?
Answer: Very negatively! The nation we are going to be neighbors with has not shown itself to be a friendly country we can exist side by side with in any way.
Question: So they should first act as a neighbor and only then can we be neighbors?
Answer: Absolutely. Let’s do this: Given the current situation, within the framework that we have today, let’s establish normal normative relations between us. Then we can gradually reach the state where we can be neighbors.
In the meantime, nothing can be done.
Comment: As long as everyone claims our land, as long as there is terrorism…
My Response: Yes. This is a well-known tactic of theirs; piece by piece they keep slicing away until they end up swallowing you.
Question: Why is Europe so idealistic?
Answer: They are not idealistic! Nor democratic! They have only one thing, acting in order to pass things off as good deeds. None of it really matters to them at all!
Question: What is important to them? For us not to exist?
Answer: Of course. For them, the existence of Israel is unpleasant to say the least, it is even unbearable! It is choking them.
Question: Are you talking about those civilized countries?
Answer: About all those civilized countries.
Comment: By the way, France, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands are there.
My Response: Those are the most anti-Semitic countries.
Question: Why do they have it in for us so much?
Answer: No reason. The fact that we are Jews. That we are Israel. That we are smart. That we can build our own country and win wars.
Question: What should our actions be in this case?
Answer: Not to give an inch. No way!
Question: What policy should we stick to?
Answer: A closed door policy. That is all! You want to kiss the closed door? Please, come and kiss it. We do not negotiate about this.
We have no one to negotiate with! Because we see no partners! You are not partners. You come from the outside and want to force us to sign a contract with those whom you impose on us. We have been in this state for quite a long time—decades! This can be characterized as a positional war.
We seem to be in constant war. The fact is: these are not partners and those are not neighbors. Such is the state we are in. Therefore, we will not listen to these, and we will separate ourselves from those.
Unfortunately, this is our fate until we change. Until we change ourselves in accordance with the upper laws, until we become one good nation for ourselves! Until we come to Kol Yisrael Haverim and we become friends close to each other—absolutely all Jews.
Question: Will this be imparted to our neighbors?
Answer: No, we are not forcing anyone. This is how we want to live ourselves. Let us first build ourselves as a nation where everything exists according to the principle of goodness and mutual kindness.
And until we build this, we will be separate. Then, we will see. If you want to join us by following the same principle, no problem.
Comment: So, what you are saying is that the seed of everything is the kind, warm relations of brothers and sisters. It will be the people of Israel. That is what it should be. And only then, if they want to, neighbors will become neighbors and eventually come join us. The world will become…
My Response: “All around Jerusalem,” as they say. Jerusalem becomes the capital of the world. It is said about this: if the nation follows this, Jerusalem shines on the whole world. All these beautiful countries have to understand and agree to this.
Comment: And we ourselves should agree.
My Response: Yes. But they do it in order to extract billions for themselves, create dozens more commissions, hide behind them, and keep criticizing.
Question: Are they doing this in order to make money and earn dividends on it?
Answer: Exclusively! They are normal basic egoists.
From KabTV’s “News with Dr. Michael Laitman” 7/18/22
It is because our mind develops in order to protect us from the harm that we can do to ourselves. Since we are always chasing egoistic fulfillment, we are forced to hide this desire, and therefore, we deceive all the time. It turns out that we are all liars because we do not want to do anything good to others, but we are outwardly hypocritical, pretending that we are doing good deeds toward one another.
We try to hide our intentions from each other, which are aimed only at using others for our own benefit.
Only the environment determines how close or far from the truth a person will be. The environment affects a person and is able to radically change him from one polarity to the other. It can make him good and kind to others, and the opposite to the point where he becomes complete unrecognizable.
If we create a society in which everyone agrees to build good relations as the most important value, then it will be possible to teach both children and adults correct relationships so that everyone feels that they depend on others and are obliged to behave with them carefully. If we feel our dependence on everyone, it will not be at all difficult for us to treat them with warmth.
From KabTV’s “World” 8/11/22
Question: What is the difference between what the science of Kabbalah offers humanity and what ordinary education teaches about loving each other and being good children? What is our know-how?
Answer: Our know-how is that we need to create groups in which people would communicate with each other and begin to feel that by getting closer they really enter into a completely different sense of the world, and that it is in the closeness, and not children, but adults, they should rise above their egoism, above the force that separates them from each other.
People should understand that by coming closer despite opposing egoistic forces, they will be able to feel a completely different state of themselves, others, and the connection between themselves and others.
They should begin to feel the new state of society, which is based on friendship, love, and mutual support. This is what we need to teach them.
In principle, this is the basis of the holiday Tu B’Av (Day of Love) that follows the 9th of Av, which represents shattering, separation. The 15th of Av (Tu B’Av) means, on the contrary, unification, closeness.
From KabTV’s “Kabbalah Express” 8/5/22
Question: In our life, as a rule, if a person did something wrong, it is customary to apologize. How are things in Kabbalah? After all, a Kabbalist, in principle, understands that everything that happens is beneficial.
Answer: If you cause obvious harm to a person, then you are obliged to apologize to him.
We have a code called “Set Table” (Shulchan Aruch), which is similar to how you set the table before a meal. If you follow this code, it opens up a normal, beautiful life for you. It describes all the laws: between people, between people and animals, between people and nature, with oneself, with parents, with children, with generally everything.
These are like the instructions for use that are attached for machines, but these instructions are for a person.
Question: Should a person publicly apologize?
Answer: No, not necessarily. Only if you publicly insulted someone; then you have to apologize publicly. And if the person has died? You must bring ten witnesses to his grave in the cemetery, take off your shoes, sit on his grave and ask in front of the witnesses that he forgive you. There are such interesting conditions.
Question: But at the same time, who knows who does good and who does bad? For example, we may perform some supposedly negative action and we do not know what we are doing.
Answer: When a person grows spiritually, he knows. He receives other opportunities to balance what he did in the past.
From KabTV’s “I Got a Call. Sorry…” 2/27/13
My Response: Yes, but all the same, in interaction with the Creator there are such images that are pleasant, decent, and noble and there are ones that are opposite them. Therefore, I do not have to love everything. If I love everything, I will not correct anything.
Question: Then what is the essence of this correction? Was Rabash processing what was revealed to him within himself and then giving out this information?
Answer: He was not saying anything to anyone. He was only teaching his profession: how, by controlling yourself, one can begin to control the immediate environment and build the next degree through it. This is the profession of the Kabbalist.
But he was not giving out any useful information. Today I do it because the world has become common, round, and interdependent. The world depends on how we develop relative to it and how it appears to us relative to ourselves.
This interdependence forces the Kabbalist today to come out of his corner and take some interest in politics, economics, and so on. This is why I write relevant blog posts. Kabbalists of the past did not even dream that they would have to answer such questions and be engaged in this.
Comment: Rabash, however, was very secretive. Apart from the information he passed to you, he did not really get in touch with anyone.
My Response: He did not have to. Who could he talk to? There is nothing to talk about with believers, they simply believe. There is nothing to talk about with non–believers, they do not believe. He only spoke with those who came to him and wanted to study, to sit down and study.
Even when a person comes and sits down, what is there to talk about with him? There is nothing to talk about. You open the initial material or give him to one of your students so that he can study with him. Rabash never studied with the new ones. He always passed them on to others. That was all.
From KabTV’s “I Got a Call. Love the Enemy” 2/18/13
Michael Laitman, On Quora: “When should parents support their child, and when shouldn’t they?“
The support we receive from a young age builds us for life, so it is imperative that children receive support. However, together with the support, children need to understand that we give them support in order to progress them, i.e. that they have to realize themselves.
If we end up doing everything instead of the children, then if we later do not do something, they will feel insecure. Moreover, if we do everything instead of the children, then they will have no need for a sense of confidence, which ends up becoming detrimental to their development.
We thus need to support children in a way where they receive everything they need in order to realize themselves.
Based on the video “What Is the Best Way to Support Someone?” with Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman, Oren Levi and Yael Leshed-Harel. Written/edited by students of Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman.
Photo by Filip Urban on Unsplash.