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“Money Should Not Be an Incentive for Better Teaching” (Times of Israel)

Michael Laitman, On The Times of Israel: “Money Should Not Be an Incentive for Better Teaching

I recently wrote about the teachers’ crisis in Israel and how I think it should be resolved. I am pleased that the teachers’ union has reached an agreement with the Ministry of Finance and that the teachers will receive a significant raise, which was one of my proposals. However, there is another point in the agreement that I believe does not contribute to good teaching, but rather creates a distortion in the system: the teachers will receive financial bonuses for excellence in teaching. That is, the teachers’ performance will be graded and they will receive extra money if their grades are good.

I wholly agree that quality teaching must be encouraged, that teachers must strive to be the best they can be, and that good teachers should be appreciated. I also agree that teachers’ performance should be graded. Where I see the problem is in the type of reward that they receive in return for good performance.

Financial rewards would make them think about the money while teaching, instead of focusing on the education they are giving to their students; it would turn them into “sales persons” who think about the bonuses they get in return for more sales, rather than about the customers, namely the students. If teachers adjust their teaching so that it earns them bonuses rather than thinking about the needs of their students, it will not produce good teachers and certainly not good teaching.

Another point we should consider is who should participate in grading the teachers. Under the new agreement, the school principals will decide who is a good teacher. In my opinion, the students, too, should have their voices heard on that. First of all, they are, after all, the ones who spend the most time with the teacher. They are the ones who feel firsthand if the teacher’s teaching is clear, if the homework is appropriate and reasonable, if the grades they give are fair, and if the teacher is patient or not, etc. Therefore, they know better than anyone how well this teacher performs.

Another reason why I believe that students should be involved in evaluating their teachers is that it will be an effective educational tool. It will make students think about teaching, about the role of the teacher, about the teacher’s work, and about themselves as students. They will be able to discuss these issues with each other, develop interpersonal communication, and enrich each other with different perspectives. Being able to view the other side’s perspective is one of the key elements in emotional maturation, and putting themselves in the teacher’s shoes is a great way to help students achieve that.

The Modern Method Is to Rot a Person

294.2In the News (Barking Up the Wrong Tree): A survey of 75,000 college students showed that, on average, if you want to know how often a student drinks, just ask them how often they think their peers are drinking. (Oh, and be careful about correcting their beliefs with data because this will cause the ones who drink less than average to start drinking more, as researchers trying to reduce student drinking sadly found out.) What is the single best predictor of whether teens will like a song? Whether or not it’s already popular – even if that perception of popularity was totally rigged by the experimenters.

If you want to increase a student’s grades, just give them a roommate with a higher GPA. And for similar reasons, ‘Scared Straight’ doesn’t work. Programs for at-risk teens fail miserably, averaging a 13% increase in crimes committed. Why? You just took a group of teens who break the law and put them together where they can more effectively influence one another. …

“We’re all influenced by others, that’s obvious. But the degree to which others affect our behavior can be hard to accept – especially in very serious areas where we’d like to think we’re in charge. …

“As Eric Hoffer once said, “When people are free to do as they please, they usually imitate each other.” Sometimes it’s quite deliberate but more often it’s unconscious. We’re just wired for it. This is what it means when we say humans are a social species.”

Question: Why don’t we use this colossal discovery instead of doing things as usual? A child is held back for a second year instead of being advanced to the best class. A criminal is thrown into the most terrible jail instead of being transferred to a model enterprise.

Scientists have come to this. Why aren’t we doing this?

Answer: We don’t care about making them better. We are not thinking about correcting a person but about punishing him.

Question: Do we think that this will re-educate him, that he will become better?

Answer: Not at all! No one has ever been re-educated after being in a prison or a penal colony. Nobody!

Question: And bad students who were held back for a second year did not get better either?

Answer: Nothing like that. Our method is to rot a person to the end. This is the easiest. Look what is being done in every correctional institution, moreover, all over the world. This is a global trend.

Question: Why? What is there in a person that he wants so much to simply let another rot instead of making him better?

Answer: It’s hard.

Question: Hard work to really educate?

Answer: Of course. It is best to put him somewhere with criminals where he will be the same as them. Together they will all serve time, get out, and start committing crimes again, and then we will put them back in prison. And for all this we get money.

Question: So we just limit them? Do we want to keep them from ourselves?

Answer: Only this.

Question: Does it turn out that we only think about ourselves and we don’t think about others at all?

Answer: What’s there to think about? All the ministries of education and upbringing work the other way around, not to correct a person, but to somehow distance him and not put him in the right environment.

This is generally a big problem. After all, it is a great danger if you place a criminal among good children. A smart loner will make these pretty kids into someone who will do anything.

Question: Then is it right that we restrict all these children and criminals?

Answer: It’s not that we restrict them. The fact is that we are not engaged in their education. If you have restricted them, and these institutions are called correctional, where is the correction? What is it?

Question: Then what should be the correction if we don’t put them in a good environment, but just somewhere in a correction colony or hold them for a second year?

Answer: There is no correction. If you want there to be a correction, then they really need to be surrounded by a new society.

And the new society is lessons, books, movies, in general, everything that is only possible, and under great, great pressure. The pressure should be such that they will not have a minute of time, that they will study all the time.

Question: What kind of environment should they have? Can’t I get good people hooked up to them, kind, warm, warm-hearted people?

Answer: This is very difficult because today’s criminals are smart, quirky, and very, very cunning. And I do not know who will win here.

Question: Then who do you lay all your hopes on? The teachers?

Answer: On special teachers whom we have to educate for such institutions.

Question: This is for criminals, what about the bad students, the bad kids who behave badly? What should we do with them? Should we restrict them and also introduce them into some classes with special teachers?

Answer: This requires a huge amount of money and effort. We need to understand what a corrected person is, who an uncorrected person is, and where the bad students, lazy people, all kinds of “clowns” and so on come from. They should be divided into categories and a methodology prescribed specifically for each case. There is no such thing at all!

Question: Who will do such a job?!

Answer: Who will do it? And how many billions are spent to somehow contain crime, in Russia somewhere in medium-sized cities, in America in black communities, and so on? This is a huge problem in all countries!

This is a problem that must be solved together. Where is the UN and UNESCO? Where are all these organizations? They only sit on money and do nothing else. The main thing is that they are silent.

Comment: I do not know what conclusion to draw from this, except that it is almost impossible.

My Response: No, it’s all possible, but only when we really decide with the whole world that we need to raise a healthy generation.

Question: And if we really came to this with the whole world and also felt how hard it is, but we would really like it, would we get help from above?

Answer: We would definitely get help from above. The thing is, we don’t want to. We ourselves don’t want to!

Question: If we feel that it is very difficult, almost impossible, but if we decide that we will attempt it together with the whole world, we will take the best people and say “We will start this very difficult process of re-education with the whole world.” Then if we are stubborn and persistent, would we get help?

Answer: Absolutely!

Question: The whole task is to want it?

Answer: Yes, for the adults to want it, for the corrected ones to want it. Then yes, then it will work.

A corrected adult is one who takes care of the right environment so that everyone around is correctly oriented to the right values of the world. First of all, it is a connection for the sake of elevating a person to spiritual priorities over everything material.

Question: And what are the spiritual priorities?

Answer: For you to feel that there are good people around you who think about making everyone feel good. That’s all.

Question: But will it happen at all?

Answer: In the end, of course it will, but there is still a very long way of revelation of evil.

This is the task of the world; this is the program of the world, and of course, it will be translated into reality. But I personally can’t believe that it will be fast. Or it will be fast, but very hard. Either one or the other.

Question: So there will be people who will burn with passion to make this happen?

Answer: They will be made from above.

There will be people who will not be able to live differently and they will make this revolution.
From KabTV’s “News with Dr. Michael Laitman” 8/11/22

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Feel it All on Yourself

961.2Comment: Many students go through states where they are unable to get up, they oversleep and do not come to the lesson.

My Response: I also went through such states; I stayed in bed and could not move. So what? Everyone has to go through them in order to understand one’s true nature. You must discern it in yourself.

This is good! When you go through these states, you eventually begin to understand the real nature of everything that exists. No matter how it happens, a person must feel for oneself what is given to him and with the maximum effort for and against.

Without it, a person will have no awareness of evil, good—nothing. One has to go through all this because otherwise he will remain a small animal.

I had huge difficulties, but I did not miss lessons. I drove myself into fear all the time so that I would not doze off. This is my life; I must be a Kabbalist, I must learn everything, understand it, and pass it on to others.

I was given such an opportunity: “I live and study with the last greatest Kabbalist from the entire chain of ancient Kabbalists and I am obliged to take everything from him and pass it on to others—to all of humanity. This is such a great mission and I am obliged to fulfill it.”

I took on this mission on purpose, without trying it on like a small child, and drove myself into this position. “I am obliged,” l took it so seriously. All in all, it is a huge responsibility to collect all Rabash’s notes, books, and notebooks; maintain his archive, write down every word, accept it all, and pass it through yourself, that is, to invest as much as you can, invest in getting a cast from all his thoughts and desires.

Question: Is it right that when people in a group see a friend in a difficult state, they try to help him somehow?

Answer: Right! We must help! We must play the importance of the goal in front of him as much as possible and pull him out of this state. It is not an easy method, not an easy way. You are working with your own nature. There is no such thing anywhere.
From KabTV’s “I Got a Call. The Whole Truth About Kabbalah” 3/14/13

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Love as a Gift to Creation

119There is nothing but love within the Creator. However, the Creator creates various conditions within the desire to receive that should help us understand what love is and attain love since it is something totally incomprehensible for us.

Love is something alien and unclear for our egoism, something that goes against our nature. How is it possible that when I taste different treats presented in front of me I would actually sense the host from their flavors? What is the connection between one and another?

This is the essence of the creation, “existence from nothing” and within this “nothing” there is something from the “existing.”

Therefore, from nothing, from the desire to receive pleasure, I can come to the existing one. This means that from the impression within the desire to receive pleasure I can reach love, the property that is completely detached in absolutely everything from the creation.

Suddenly, as a result of some actions and processes within the desire to receive pleasure a miracle happens and it reaches the property that belongs to the upper, divine nature.

It remains completely unclear for us how the actions “give-receive” lead to the birth of a miracle called love. Love does not have anything to do with the desire to receive pleasure whatsoever.

Every time and at any rung, we have to replenish our actions and impressions experienced in the desire to receive pleasure in order to collect them all and raise them for the attainment of the property of love.
From the 3rd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 3/9/12, Talmud Eser Sefirot, Part15

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Concealment pertains to where one wants to see and understand but does not see or understand. At that time, we can say that something is hidden from him. Moreover, the measure of concealment is measured by the need to know. Hence, when a person has no need for knowledge, it cannot be said about that person that he is suffering from the concealment.

For example, if a person has to work somewhere only half an hour every day and receive his salary once a month, he must believe that he will be paid although he still did not see anyone being paid. Hence, he believes in the company although it is hidden from him whether or how the company will pay the salary, since no one knows this company where he wants to work.

If he wants to work more than half an hour, he has a greater need to know that the company pays the salary on time. Thus, if he heard bad rumors about the company, he suffers more from the concealment. And if he wants to work day and night, he certainly feels a greater concealment because he has a greater need to know whether he will receive his salary as promised.

Since the kingdom of heaven is above reason, everyone suffers from the concealment. However, for those who want to work for the sake of the Creator, the concealment is greater because they have a greater need to know, since the body keeps asking “What is this work for you?” It follows that this question is always understood according to how much a person wants to work completely for the sake of the Creator.

The answer to the question is “Blunt its teeth.”
(Rabash, “Revealing the Concealment”)

We must agree that we do not see the reward beforehand. On the contrary, as we move forward, we will see the opposite picture, that there is no reward and there never will be. And all this is in order to raise us above reason.

The less we know and understand and the less confidence and evidence we have, the more opportunities it gives us to build a support system above reason. Then this confidence will be revealed not in our egoistic desires, but only in bestowal, above reason, without proof, because “our heart will rejoice in the Creator.” Meaning, not in us, not in our egoism, but above in the Creator or in the group, in the connection within which we reveal the upper force.

Therefore, no one will see the pay in their hands. Anyone who does not agree can immediately leave and seek a reward in ordinary material life. In spiritual life, the reward consists in giving it up, in the importance of the one for whom I do the work.
From the Preparation to the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 2/24/13

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How To Feel The Study of the Ten Sefirot

137Question: What does your statement mean that a person who has a “point in the heart” will never understand The Study of the Ten Sefirot (TES)?

Answer: A person who has a point in the heart and develops it will understand TES only to the extent of his spiritual development. And while he is not yet spiritually developed, he will perceive it purely mechanically and this will not give him anything. He will strive to be connected with TES in some way, but in general, this is not the approach.

I used to be like that myself. I was striving for spiritual attainment, but when I found myself in front of The Study of the Ten Sefirot, I began to study it like physics. I just didn’t know how to approach it or grab it. This went on for a while.

And when spiritual sensations gradually began to manifest, I also woke up in accordance with them.

Question: So you came to this through a mechanical approach?

Answer: At first, yes, my approach was purely mechanical. I thought that TES was like any science, you need to study and eventually you will begin to understand. But as a result, I came to a feeling and through this to an understanding of what I feel.

And before that, for the first years, I spent a lot of time without trying to enter the material with feelings, but to speculate. I generally neglected feelings. I believed that only a pure mind makes a man out of a monkey and therefore any of our feelings were just the animal in us. I thought, satisfy feelings if you want, but don’t confuse it with something sublime; this is your animal, why develop it further?

And the fact that a man develops over an animal was incomprehensible to me. Moving toward others, entering into others, altruism, socialism, and communism, etc. were all so disgusting, completely unreal, unnecessary, and ugly to me. Therefore, when I was told “love for friends,” “be in friendship,” what kind of kindergarten is this?!

So several good years passed before I began to feel that there were some feelings of the screen. In principle, a person can take 20 to 30 years to do this.

Spiritual birth is the most difficult because in these states you go through all the previous astronomical and geological processes. In a spiritual sense, it is like you are starting to grow yourself from the point of the big bang. You go through the still, vegetative, and animate levels of nature until a person begins to arise in you. And a person is a measure of your connection with others.

Question: At what point did you move to the sensory entrance to The Study of the Ten Sefirot? After all, in the past you were closely connected with science.

Answer: I was a very big egoist, a mechanic who believed only in pure science, experience, and facts, but not in feelings. Psychology for me was something completely disrespected.

Question: And how did you come to the sensory feelings?

Answer: This is the influence of a developing force and it is not directed at all. Nothing else! In this way, this force developed me and suddenly I began to understand that desires come first and only after them come the thoughts, some calculations, and research, which in the end are intended for the study of desires.
From KabTV’s “I Got a Call. How to Feel TES?” 3/25/13

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Clearing Up a Confusing Picture

522.03Question: The entire reality is light and Kli, Creator and creation, the other and me. Why does The Zohar seem so complicated and confusing?

Answer: The Zohar seems complicated and confusing to us because we have not reached a unified picture. We have “me” and “the world,” my desires, my thoughts, and the forces operating in this entire reality, and the fulfillments in it seem distant from each other and shattered. Therefore, this force of shattering gives me an extremely complex, confusing picture. It is because I do not see all this in unity, and separation brings me confusion.

As much as we can see, but not in the mind because it will not help, rather in feelings, that is, in more corrected Kelim (desires), all these details of perception combined together: me, the other, the Creator, the study, the group, the environment, everything that exists, to the extent that I wish to link them together, these efforts will bring me light. The light will lead me to the contemplation of a more unified picture, and all the elements of the picture will gradually begin to connect.

From the connection of all these opposites, which become supportive and connected with each other, the entire wisdom comes.

The more distant and opposite all these details of the picture of reality used to be, which I now see connected together both supporting and complementing each other, the deeper I attain the thought of creation, the program of creation, and the process that we are going through.

From these opposites, I begin to live, to feel this amazing wisdom, to connect together the upper governance, to correlate it with one force.

All this is a result of the influence of light on my shattered desires and thoughts, when I want it to connect them together.
From the 2nd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 2/16/11, The Book of Zohar — Introduction: “The Fourth Commandment”

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Daily Kabbalah Lesson – 9/8/22

Preparation to the Lesson

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Lesson on the Topic, “Speaking with the Creator” 

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Lesson on the Topic, “Connecting the World in the Last Generation”

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Writings of Baal HaSulam, “Study of the Ten Sefirot,” Vol. 1, Part 4, Chapter 2,  Item 16

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Selected Highlights 

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“Would it be better if we could live forever?” (Quora)

Dr. Michael LaitmanMichael Laitman, On Quora: Would it be better if we could live forever?

If we could live forever in our world, which is impossible, then we would detach ourselves from the purpose of life.

The purpose of life is, as it is written, “You shall see your world in your lifetime” (Berachot 17a). In other words, in our lifetime, together with everything we have—families, friends, problems, hardships and the surrounding nature—we will come to know the purpose, essence and source of life.

When we do so, then our many problems and hardships will disappear. We will see how much everything in nature is mutually complementary precisely when we position ourselves at the center of this nature.

Therefore, instead of discussing whether it would be better if we could live forever, we would be wiser to seek how to change our understanding and knowledge of why the world exists, who controls it and how we can connect with the one controlling it.

Based on the video “Would it Be Better if We Could Live Forever?” with Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman and Oren Levi. Written/edited by students of Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman.