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Michael Laitman, On Quora: “The Memorial Day for the passing of Kabbalist Yehuda Ashlag (Baal HaSulam)“
Today is the Yahrzeit, the Memorial Day for the passing of Kabbalist Yehuda Ashlag (Baal HaSulam). According to the custom, we need to mark the date and day of the passing of our teacher, Baal HaSulam, the great Kabbalist who paved the path for the world’s correction.
Thanks to him, we know how to act in order to not get confused and err in the path of the Creator, i.e., the path of connecting among each other in which to discover the Creator’s eternal and perfect quality of love and bestowal.
Baal HaSulam’s entire path and his teaching is based on Kabbalists who preceded him, and we are thus happy in that there is such a teacher who can guide us on a path that advances us to the purpose of creation during our lives.
Baal HaSulam left us many texts. He was the only Kabbalist in the 20th century who wrote commentaries both on The Book of Zohar and the writings of the ARI (Kabbalist Isaac Luria), and he also wrote several essays that explained Kabbalah’s basic concepts and fundamental principles so that any person could learn Kabbalah’s fundamentals and progress to the purpose of creation.
He taught a few people, and mainly it was his older son, the great Kabbalist Baruch Shalom HaLevi Ashlag (RABASH), who wrote the entire method of spiritual development for us, which is suited to us living in our times, i.e., to the souls that now descend to the world.
I invite everyone to watch today’s Daily Kabbalah Lesson where we studied the article, “The Order of the Work of Baal HaSulam” by Kabbalist Baruch Shalom HaLevi Ashlag (RABASH).
Also, if anyone is new to the wisdom of Kabbalah and to the method of Baal HaSulam, then I recommend getting started with courses that my students put together in our learning environment for beginners, KabU, in order to get a structured grounding in Kabbalah’s fundamentals (see the links in my bio).
Based on the Daily Kabbalah Lesson with Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman on Tuesday, September 26, 2023. Written/edited by students of Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman.
Today is a special memorial day for Baal HaSulam, Rav Yehuda Ashlag, the great Kabbalist who paved the way for us that leads to the correction of the world. Thanks to him, we know how to behave in order not to make mistakes and stray from the path of the Creator.
Baal HaSulam’s methodology is based on the achievements of Kabbalists who lived before him. That is why we are grateful that we have such a teacher and that we can be his disciples, follow him in his way, and be sure that we will achieve the goal of creation in this lifetime.
Baal HaSulam left us many Kabbalistic articles and books and also taught his students, and most importantly, his eldest son, Baruch Ashlag (Rabash), who described the entire method of spiritual work suitable for our days, our time, for the souls descending into the world today.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 9/26/23, Writing of Rabash “The Order of the Work, from Baal HaSulam”
Michael Laitman, On The Times of Israel: “What the Jonah Story Tells Us about Antisemitism”
Nine years ago, I published an article in The New York Times (print edition) titled, “What We Jews Owe the World.” This year, come Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), I’d like to share it with everyone following me, as I think that the message within can have a major impact on the future of our nation.
Buying Our Way to Heaven
The holiest day of the year for the Jews is Yom Kippur, when we fast and pray. A key part of the prayer is reading the book of Jonah the Prophet. Interestingly, many observant Jews believe that buying the privilege to read the book will make them successful for the rest of the year.
Naturally, only the wealthiest in the community can afford to compete for it. The sums vary according to the affluence of the community, and in some cases the privilege is sold for well over half a million dollars.
Cracking the Code
What people are not aware of, however, is the real reason why the book of Jonah is so important. Kabbalists determined that this reading is the most important in the year because it details the code for saving humanity.
Jonah’s story is special because it speaks of a prophet who first tried to dodge his mission, but finally repented. Another special aspect of Jonah’s story is that his mission was not to admonish the people of Israel, but to save the city of Nineveh, whose residents were not Jewish. In light of today’s precarious state of the world, we should take a closer look at this story and its meaning for each of us.
Shape Up or Ship Out
In the story, God orders Jonah to tell the people of Nineveh, who became very mean to one another, to correct their relationships with one another if they want to survive. However, Jonah bailed out of his mission and took to the sea in an effort to escape God’s command.
Like Jonah, we Jews have been inadvertently avoiding our mission for the past 2,000 years. And yet, we cannot afford to keep avoiding it. We have a task that was passed down to us when Moses united us into a nation based on the tenet, Love your neighbor as yourself, and it is our duty to set an example of unity for the rest of the world. Our forefathers, Abraham and Moses, wanted to unite all of humanity, but back then the world was not ready (for more on that, see my article, Why Do People Hate Jews?).
That group, namely the people of Israel, must still become a role model to the world. Rav Kook, the first Chief Rabbi of Israel, put it poetically in his book, Orot Kodesh (Sacred Lights), Since we were ruined by unfounded hatred, and the world was ruined with us, we will be rebuilt by unfounded love, and the world will be rebuilt with us.
Sleeping through the Storm
In the story, Jonah’s escape from his mission by ship caused the sea to roar and nearly sank the vessel. At the height of the storm Jonah went to sleep detaching himself from the turmoil and leaving the sailors to fend for themselves. Gradually, they began to suspect that someone among them was the cause of the storm. They cast a lot and the lot fell on Jonah, the only Jew on board.
In many ways, today’s world is similar to Jonah’s ship. As Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, put it: “We are all in one boat, one global economy. Our fortunes rise together, and they fall together. …We have a collective responsibility—to bring about a more stable and more prosperous world, a world in which every person in every country can reach their full potential.” Yet, the sea around us is raging, and the sailors, who are all of humanity, are blaming the Jew on board for all their troubles.
Like Jonah, we are sound asleep. Though we are beginning to wake up to the existence of hatred toward us, we have yet to realize that not carrying out our mission is the reason for the hatred. If we do not wake up soon, the sailors will throw us overboard, as they did with Jonah. Yehuda Ashlag, author of the Sulam (Ladder) commentary on The Zohar, wrote in his essay, The Arvut (Mutual Guarantee): It is incumbent upon the Israeli nation to qualify itself and the rest of the people in the world to evolve into assuming this sublime work of love of others.
The Wake-Up Call
Jonah tells the sailors to throw him overboard, as only this will calm the sea. Reluctantly, the sailors obey and the storm calms. A whale swallows Jonah, and for three days and three nights he stays in its abdomen, introspecting his actions and decisions. He begs for his life and vows to carry out his mission.
Like Jonah, each of us carries within something that is stirring up the world. We, the people of Israel, carry a method for achieving peace through connection. Unity is the very root of our being. This DNA is what makes us a people because we were declared a nation only after we pledged to be as one man with one heart and strove to love our neighbor as ourselves. Today we must rekindle this bond because wherever we go, this untapped power is destabilizing the world around us in order to compel us to unite and reignite it.
Just as the current separation among us projects separation to the whole of humanity, unity between us will inspire the rest of the nations to unite, as well. When we unite, it will endow humanity with the energy required to achieve worldwide unity, where all people live as one man with one heart. So the only question is whether we assume our responsibility, or prefer to be thrown overboard, only to subsequently agree to carry out our task.
If we want to end our troubles, be rid of antisemitism and have a safe and happy life, we must unite and thus set an example of unity for all the nations. This is how we will bring peace and quiet to the world. Otherwise the nations hatred toward us will keep growing.
Now we see that when people pay so much for the privilege of reading the book of Jonah on Yom Kippur, they inadvertently state their support of the mission of the Jewish people toward the world: to be a light unto nations by showing an example of unity and connection. To conclude, let me quote once more the great Rav Kook: Any turmoil in the world comes only for Israel. Now we are called upon to carry out a great task willingly and mindfully: to build ourselves and the entire ruined world along with us (Igrot [Letters]).
Yom Kippur is the Judgment Day. Who is judging? Who is being judged? What should a person do on this day? What will happen if a person does everything right?
On Judgment Day, a person judges himself, rises above his own egoism, and reveals the world as a single system. It is no coincidence that Jews have always been accused of cosmopolitanism—after all, all distinctions are conditional, and our primordial, internal basis is alien to them.
Today, when the world is in desperate need of unity, the Jewish people are divided. However, we cannot deceive other nations—they instinctively, without realizing it demand from us to take on the mission of unifiers, to merge hearts into one heart.
This is the essence of our Judgment Day.
Answer: This is a consequence of spiritual states in our world. We perceive everything this way because we do not control our corporeal states. But as soon as we begin to control them, time disappears and we become its creators.
Comment: People have always dreamed of time travel.
My Response: So what is the problem? There is no problem because it all exists in a single, common whole. Depending on your state, you are at one level or at the other.
In spirituality, you move along the timeline back and forth, choosing what you want. If you need it to move forward and promote others, that, like everything else, is available.
A Kabbalist always tries to be at the highest possible level and to constantly advance and ascend. But in order to connect with others, to help others, he creates an additional image of himself, just as an adult lowers himself to the level of a small child, in order to play with him.
Then, by creating his own small image, he comes into contact with ordinary people, communicates with them, teaches them, and slowly invites them to rise independently. But at the same time, he himself is still at the highest possible level and is constantly trying to improve it.
Comment: That means there is no other reason for him to descend if not to help others.
My Response: A Kabbalist does not actually descend, as he only wants to ascend. But for the sake of others, he makes for himself, so to speak, an additional Partzuf, i.e., an additional system, like a mother, playing with a child stoops to the level of a little girl to play.
Question: Are such Kabbalists as Baal HaSulam and Rabash present in our current state?
Answer: What for? They did their job and that is it. They are present, but not in such a state that we can contact them.
From KabTV’s “I Got a Call. Time Travel” 9/29/11
Comment: Anya writes: “We live with our parents. My husband insisted on it because we wanted to save money. And now I cannot bear it anymore, I am bursting with hatred for his mother! She criticizes everything: how I cook, how I iron, how I raise children. We cannot move away yet, and my husband says we need to wait at least another year. I do not know what to do! I cannot live like this! Right now, I have closed myself in my room and I am writing to you. I understand that this is my ego, that I need to somehow adapt myself to her, but I cannot control myself. Does she not have an ego? A big one!”
My Response: Of course. But you should think about yourself. If you constantly put yourself down, you will eventually come to a state in which your ego will decrease, and this is good.
Question: So, peace will gradually come?
Answer: There may not even be peace, but as for you, you should see that such a state can be very useful.
Question: And when you say “put yourself down,” does that mean to agree?
Answer: To agree, to somehow distance yourself as far as possible and not to enter into conflicts.
Question: That is, his mother tells her: “You iron, cook, and raise children so badly.” Do you think this woman, Anya, should at least keep silent? And this will be advancement for her?
Question: So, you see that this is a never ending war?
Answer: It cannot end in any way.
Question: Do you think that Anya should be smarter here?
Answer: She should be wiser.
Question: Should she close herself in her room? It is easier to leave and not listen. Just like that she closes herself in her room and stays there.
Answer: But that is not correction. Correction takes place only through contact.
She must tell herself that it is by this decision, when she does not enter into conflict and stays away from it in every possible way without arousing it, that she gradually corrects her egoism. In this way, she saves her family.
Question: Can you please tell her if she can move to such a state that at some point she will be able to say some kind words to her husband’s mother? Can this happen?
Answer: Only when she becomes convinced that she has corrected herself due to her husband’s mother. And then she can hug her and say “thank you.”
Question: Now you have introduced one more detail: that due to her husband’s mother she can correct herself. That is, she already has gratitude even for the mother whom she now hates?
Question: But these first steps are not easy to take?
Answer: This can be corrected only if she sees in her husband’s mother the Creator who raises her this way.
Question: Could you please decipher the Creator for us? She sees that behind the mother there is something that is working with her. Should “and wishes me well” be added here? Should we make such a cluster or should we not?
Answer: The mother is ruled by the Creator. Anya should figure this out.
Question: Will it be good if Anya takes small steps in this?
Answer: If she does, then yes.
From KabTV’s “News with Dr. Michael Laitman” 7/31/23
Previously, when we had not yet reached the level of the monkey, nature was constantly changing physically, and under the pressure of various cataclysms, explosions of stars, etc., it created matter. Then this matter formed the planet Earth. Then life appeared on it, and all this was under the external influence of nature, which formed the inanimate, vegetative, and animate levels of matter.
Today nature influences us! But it is already at the next level, at the level of the mind, at the level of its program, its purpose, and it manifests itself in new conditions.
You do not want to become extinct a dinosaur? Then adjust to it! Otherwise, you will die out.
Kabbalah tells us how to adapt to the natural conditions that are manifested before us today.
We cannot escape anywhere! In any case, we must fulfill this program of creation. We have only two possibilities. Either we will come to this voluntarily or with great suffering when out of eight billion people seven million will maybe remain or even less—it does not matter how many. But still, we will reach a state of complete harmony with nature, i.e., complete adhesion with the Creator.
From KabTV’s “I Got a Call. You didn’t Say Something” 9/3/11
Question: Before crossing the Machsom, a person comes to a state when a cry to the Creator arises in him. This is the last point from which he enters the spiritual world. How can this point be described? Is it similar to an animal being cornered?
Answer: A person corners himself, but not toward death. By building the right and left lines in himself simultaneously, he drives himself between them so that the positive and negative parts are revealed in him: the property of bestowal (the spiritual property) and the property of reception (the egoistic property).
They are so opposite and insoluble that he utters a cry and calls the upper light upon himself, which can unite them together according to the rule “love will cover all transgressions.”
Question: But is this like a state where there are no more options and he screams?
Answer: No. This is a conscious state that does not come from above, but you yourself accumulate it within you. This is called the cry of the soul. If it comes from the depths of the heart, then the answer comes to it—the heavens open.
From KabTV’s “I Got a Call. The Last Cry Before Death” 10/20/11
Question: How can we correctly use all the situations that are given to us and feel the spiritual world, and not just shout at the wrong point?
Answer: Incorrect shouting gradually give birth to the correct cry. No one is hiding anything from you. You just have to reveal everything within yourself.
Do you think that I am going to give you some kind of patent right no and you will start manipulating yourself and the world, move yourself this way and that way? It will not work. You have to discover this system step by step within yourself and learn how to manage it, in other words, grow up as a small child grows.
At the same time, you gain the powers of growth and knowledge. At least they are in front of you. In our world, a child is pushed forward as he is growing up. In the spiritual world, a person himself determines the pace of his own development.
From KabTV’s “I Got a Call. The Last Scream before Death” 10/24/11