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Rosh HaShanah is the beginning of the new year according to the Jewish calendar. Like any other nation celebrating the new year, we hope that it will bring us a good renewal.
The Rosh HaShanah holiday is preceded by a period called Selichot (Repentance), when we make a critical analysis of everything we have done over the past year, checking how well or how badly we treated people.
Judaism is built on the principle of loving one’s neighbor as oneself, so a person is obliged to calculate whether he really behaved kindly toward all people in the world. And then he sees that he did not always comply with this principle, and therefore repents and asks for forgiveness for offending people, committing a crime, or an unintentional oversight. After such repentance, we come to a special day from which the new year begins: Rosh HaShanah. After all, according to the Torah, the world was created five days before Rosh HaShanah. And on the sixth day, a man was created, Adam, who, as is known, sinned and was banished from paradise. Therefore, we are obliged to correct Adam’s transgressions because we are all parts of his soul.
In fact, there are four beginnings of the year. The year really begins with the exit from Egypt, about which it is said: “Now you have become My people.” Therefore, the new year, the new period should be counted from the moment of leaving Egypt, that is, in Pesach.
The second beginning of the year is Rosh HaShanah, which we are celebrating now. And then there will be a celebration of the beginning of the year for trees, Tu BiShvat. And there is another beginning of the year to commemorate the giving of the Torah.
It turns out that we celebrate all four beginnings of the year, but the most traditional holiday of the beginning of the Jewish year is Rosh HaShanah.
The traditional symbols of Rosh HaShanah celebrations are apples with honey and round challah. They express our hope for a good new year. It is also customary to eat pomegranate on the holiday, symbolizing with its seeds a large number of good deeds that we commit to doing in the new year.
It is customary to eat round challah on the holiday since the circle is a symbol of perfection. The apples and challah are dipped in honey to commemorate a good, sweet year.
It is also customary to eat the head of a fish and wish each other to be the head and not to stay in the tail. Fish represent a creature living in water, and water symbolizes mercy, Hesed. The child at birth comes out of the maternal waters in which he grew.
All these symbols indicate that we are entering a new period, a new life.
From KabTV’s “The World” 9/5/21
Medium published my new article “Change Is the Only Certainty”
The world is changing very quickly, and the pace seems to be growing exponentially. On the one hand, each new technology, and there are countless of those, promises to make the world a better place. On the other hand, new technologies are used almost invariably to exploit other people, deplete the earth of precious metals and other valuable materials, or pollute the air, water, and ground that sustain all of life on Earth, including ours.
Nevertheless, change is happening and we cannot stop it. The climate is becoming increasingly erratic and indignant, wars are breaking out around the world, some of which with potentially catastrophic consequences, and economies are crashing as prices skyrocket and shortages loom. To understand what is going on and how to deal with it, we need to understand the purpose of the changes.
Before we understand their purpose, we must recognize their direction. The changes are leading to what looks like entropy, which is a scientific term for “total disorder.” In fact, however, things are moving toward equilibrium, toward a state of balance, with equal pressures and equal density. Particles, all particles, and humans are particles, as well, are spreading out more evenly. Just as the wind calms when the air pressure decreases because the air density has become more even, so particles are evening out across the global system. Therefore, what scientists define as entropy is actually increased order.
The universe began at the moment of least evenness. At some point, the pressure was too great to contain, so the dot that was the condensed universe exploded. Since then, things have been moving toward increasing balance, or evenness.
If we understand the direction of evolution — toward balance, or evenness — we will also realize that this is the purpose of everything that happens: to lead us toward balance. Because there is a clear direction to evolution, and reality is not yet there, nature keeps pushing toward increasing balance. As a result, the only thing that is guaranteed in reality is that yesterday is not as today, and today will not be as tomorrow. Change is the only certainty.
The reason we feel the world as chaotic is that we are resisting the process. Our ego wants the familiar to remain, and the changes to be safe and under control. Since the world does not behave the way we want, we try to change it. When we fail, we feel that the world as hostile. We fight against nature, but nature will not yield. When we try to detain nature’s progress, it accumulates pressure, which ultimately explodes in our faces. If we let the changes flow at their own pace, we would not feel them as hostile.
Additionally, balance and evenness are the last things our ego wants. It wants sovereignty and uniqueness. It wants everything to concentrate around the self. This, again, contradicts the flow of nature toward evenness and balance, and puts us at odds with reality.
However, nature will force human society to play by its rules, as well, and become balanced. The concentration of power in the hands of exploitative few contradicts the flow of evolution and is therefore bound to vanish. It is not a question of who will rule, but of the very purpose of ruling. Exploitation does not exist in nature, and therefore cannot exist in human society. All that exists is balance, harmony.
If we adapt human society to the fabric of nature, we will feel that it supports us, and life will be an effortless ride. If we continue to rebel against nature and try to exploit each other, our struggles against nature and our wars against each other will grow increasingly intense until whoever is left in the aftermath of the mayhem relinquishes the ego’s dominance and agrees that balance is the only sustainable way.
Michael Laitman, On Quora: “What are the qualities of a righteous person?“
At the outset, it is worthwhile clarifying that what people commonly think of as righteous—as people who give of themselves for the betterment of others, e.g. people who give money, clothes, and food to the needy—such people are not actually righteous.
Why? It is because such people have a natural desire to do good deeds, and instinctively following one’s desires is not a quality of a righteous person.
A righteous person is one who hosts two counter-forces, positive and negative, and who exercises their free choice to raise the positive force and action against their own natural desire.
The negative force is our egoistic desire, which makes us want to benefit ourselves without any concern for anyone else.
The positive force lets us receive what we need for our sustenance, and give the surplus we receive to benefit others, despite the negative force that tells us to take everything for ourselves. A righteous person is one who hosts these two forces, and who elevates the positive force over the negative one.
When we give of ourselves to others against our innate desire to receive for ourselves, we bring correction to our desire: from receiving for ourselves to giving unto others. Our soul, our collective desires, then become filled with a divine light.
If we receive what we need for our sustenance, and give the rest for the benefit of others, then we become great righteous people. Even more so, we become balanced with nature. Holding the right balance in life and with nature means that we leave for ourselves what we need in order to live normal lives, and contribute our surplus to society. It does not mean living merely on bare bodily necessities. We can be healthy and wealthy, and give a lot to others.
We are talking about an inclination in our hearts, and the more this inclination sorts itself out—from evil to good—in our hearts, the more we will see its positive materialization throughout the world.
Based on the video “What Are the Qualities of a Righteous Person?” with Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman and Oren Levi. Written/edited by students of Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman.
The holidays that come with the beginning of the Jewish New Year symbolize the entrance of a person into spiritual work. In fact, this entrance begins much earlier, during the preparation period. This is why the month of Elul means “I am for my Beloved and my Beloved is for me.” That is, a person begins to reveal that he has a connection with the Creator.
A few years after beginning to study Kabbalah, a person discovers that he experiences ascents and descents in mood, in understanding, and in perception of texts. Then, after some time, he realizes that spirituality can really be reached only through connection, that is, he begins to believe in what he has read and he connects with the material.
He understands that there is no choice, it is necessary to join the group for practical work. After all, beautiful conversations are not enough, one needs to feel with the heart and awaken one’s feelings. This is necessary for spiritual attainment and sensation, and the realization of one’s life. He does not want life to pass between the dates of birth and death and end without a trace. He wants to rise above it and continue further.
Then he understands that he needs to correct himself, to gain the force of bestowal above the force of reception. The recognition of the need for internal change is the beginning of the month of Elul.
Elul is a month of introspection: What can I do with my soul to start coming closer to the first contact with the Creator? I am waiting for the revelation of the upper force, not to enjoy it, but to bow before it.
Let my egoism bend down and allow me to become a slave of the Creator. I will be happy to put myself under the power of the upper light and feel its perfection, eternity, and greatness. My will to receive is ready to bow down before such revelation, to reduce itself, and to give itself to the control of the upper force.
This is how we come to the New Year, Rosh HaShanah, the essence of which is to proclaim the Creator as the king of the whole world. The upper force stands at the beginning, at the end, and in the middle of everything, controlling everything without exception. All we need is to feel ourselves under the influence of upper force, as slaves of the Creator, His faithful subjects, to receive faith above reason, the force of bestowal above reception, and to begin using it to work on our desire.
All this work relates to the holiday of Rosh HaShanah, the first stage on the way to the correction of creation.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 8/21/18 “Rosh HaShanah“
The difficult situation in the world, the pandemic, and the war led to a sharp increase in inflation, which has not occurred for many years. Today this subject worries many people who are forced to reduce their spending and change their places of work. The most disturbing thing is that we do not really understand the cause of inflation.
The real reason is not the war between Russia and Ukraine, not the Coronavirus pandemic, which we somehow learned to cope with, and not the vagaries of the weather with extreme heat, extreme cold, and drought, not locust infestations, and not the shortage of oil, gas, or coal. There simply is a cycle according to which the world economy suddenly enters a recession.
Although there are many seemingly objective reasons for this, in fact no one can name one true reason that explains what is happening.
I think that the deep, true reason is that the relationships between people across the globe are absolutely wrong. They completely do not correspond to the state of the world, which has become closed, interconnected, and integral.
We must feel and understand that everyone depends on everyone and build the world economy in a more integrated, interconnected form as a global economy of the world. But we do not do that.
It turns out that we are lagging behind the world, which has become much more integral and connected. Yet we, people, in not only economic, but most importantly, human relations, do not build such a society. This is why such troubles happen to us.
Judging by the problems we are experiencing in human society throughout the world as a whole, as well as in individual countries, and especially because of conflicts between countries, it is clear that we are all egoists. Everyone is not thinking about the common world system, but on the contrary, everyone is thinking about himself without realizing that we are nevertheless dependent on each other.
From KabTV’s “World” 9/22/22
I am very glad that we have such groups that are able to come closer to each other. I am sure that you will be able to reach any spiritual heights and complete adhesion with the Creator. This is all happening before our eyes, literally in our time. This is why we are called the “last generation.”
All the corrupted generations from the shattering of Adam to today have undergone special preliminary corrections. Now it is our turn; we have to start connecting, all of us together.
The group called Bnei Baruch, named after my teacher Baruch Ashlag, the eldest son of Baal HaSulam, is a group that was the first in the history of humanity that committed itself to direct all people on Earth toward connection.
This is a sign of the last generation when the duty to connect begins to descend on absolutely all people on Earth, to connect above their egoistic nature, in spite of it, only for the sake of unity in which they will reveal the Creator.
I am sure we are capable of doing it. I am sure that we will be able to reach this.
From Dr. Laitman’s Conversation with the Georgian Group 9/15/22
Comment: In The Study of the Ten Sefirot Baal HaSulam explains how creation, our desire, was created according to the four phases of direct light. We study it as the anatomy of the creation of desire.
The first phase is called the first expansion or Hochma. The second phase is the first intensification or Bina. The third phase is the second expansion or Zeir Anpin. The fourth phase is the second intensification or Malchut.
Malchut is the creation itself. Baal HaSulam points out that expansion is male and intensification is female.
My Response: The four phases of direct light is a very serious topic. The Creator created the will to receive. The light, that is, the Creator, influences it, and under the influence of the light, an emanation occurs, the development of the will to receive in four phases. Two phases are the influence of the light (the Creator) on the desire, and two phases are the reaction of the desire to the light of the Creator.
As a result, it turns out that under the influence of the bestowing and loving Creator who wants to fill creation, the creation expands its desires, reveals Him, is filled with His influence on itself, and then, in accordance with this filling, feels changes in itself.
Therefore, there is a phase of being filled with the Creator and a change in desire, again filling with the Creator, and again changing the desire. That is, two phases of filling, two phases of reaction.
From KabTV’s “The Study of the Ten Sefirot (TES)” 9/4/22
Answer: No, it is not the closest one, but people who are in spirituality love humor because it contains a comparison of two opposite qualities, which is the very thing on which spiritual development and the spiritual world is based.
Question: How do you use humor as a Kabbalist?
Answer: Since I know that everything is one continuous goodness and love and what seems scary to us, or gloomy, and even tragic compared to the spiritual process is just some kind of external game, like frightening faces that an adult makes in front of a child. It causes a humorous attitude in us toward ourselves, our life, our actions, motives, and forces.
First, humor is a call to look at yourself from the side, to be independent of what you feel, to make fun of yourself, and to see all your shortcomings from the outside. All this is nature. It is not me, instead it is the Creator or it doesn’t matter who.
That is, humor allows you to be frank, more balanced, kind, and humane. Humor cannot be evil because it is a correct understanding of human nature, agreement with its manifestations, and a kind, patient attitude toward it. Therefore, humor is especially appreciated by Kabbalists.
From KabTV’s “I Got a Call. Humor Will Save the World” 5/20/13
Answer: The Earth is the receiving part. It receives the light of the Sun; it rotates around its axis and each time exposes its other side to the Sun. The Earth is between the Sun and the Moon and therefore obscures the Moon from the Sun. This determines the phase of the Moon.
Since everything is arranged in such a way that the Moon revolves around the Earth with a certain periodicity, we have a lunar calendar. The Earth, as it rotates around its axis, creates an earthly, circadian calendar, and as it rotates together with the Moon around the Sun, it creates an annual calendar.
In addition, the rotation of the entire solar system creates special periods that are marked in the Jewish calendar (29 years and so on).
From the point of view of Kabbalah, the Sun represents Zeir Anpin, the Earth represents Malchut, and the Moon shows the degree of connection between them. The measure in which the Earth has a screen can be seen in the phases of the Moon. The extent to which the Earth can protect the Moon from sunlight shows us the size of the screen.
We see this in the phases of the Moon in reverse because I do not see myself except for my reflection. The waxing moon means that my screen starts to grow and it grows until the full moon and then begins to decrease. Therefore, of the four stages of development, two are growing and two are decreasing and then there is a new period. This is exactly what happens in the development of the spiritual instrument, the Kli (vessel).
From KabTV’s “I Got a Call. Sun, Moon, Earth” 5/26/13