Entries in the 'Baal HaSulam' Category

Baal HaSulam—The Channel For Our Connection With The Creator

laitman_272Today is a special day—the anniversary of the passing of Baal HaSulam, our teacher, from this world. This is the soul that connects us with the Creator, the man who opened the gates of the wisdom of Kabbalah for the last generation in which we live. Without his teachings, we could not be rewarded with what we have already received and can still receive in the future. The knowledge, the whole approach and methodology, the stages of attainment—all this was prepared for us by Baal HaSulam. Of course, everything comes to us from the Creator, but through this great soul.

One of the reasons that the science of Kabbalah (receiving) has such a name is that it is transmitted from generation to generation. Each student must have a teacher. Only exceptional individuals can, with special help from above, directly reach attainment of the Creator by themselves. Therefore, we must always be connected with the sages who attained spirituality, the great Kabbalists, and thus advance generation after generation.

Here, everything depends on how much a person is able to follow the teacher. Everyone has their own difficulties in this and this is natural because this is how the steps from top to bottom are arranged. It is difficult for the lower ones to overcome their egoism and contact the upper ones. In our world at the animal level, there is no such problem because nature obliges a child to be dependent on adults. But at the human level on which it is necessary to study the science of Kabbalah, this is no longer easy to do. There, we need to bow down and maximize the greatness of the teacher in order to learn from him.

Of course, this is not in order to honor the teacher but only for the benefit of the student. If a student feels himself less than his teacher, then he will be able to lower himself more and receive from the teacher. In the sciences of this world, this requirement is not so categorical because the student must be critical of the teacher and test him. But in the science of Kabbalah, a person cannot attain anything if he has not bowed down before the Creator. And therefore, to the extent to which he bows down to what he receives from the teacher who teaches him from the primary sources that came from teachers of all generations, he gains attainment. Only in this form can a small one receive from a great one.

Therefore, we need to understand what an exceptional and great man Baal HaSulam was. We are obliged to accept all his works, all his legacy, without any criticism and then we can hope that we will begin to connect with his soul and receive through him the upper force from the Creator.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 10/10/19, Baal HaSulam Memorial Day

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Baal HaSulam

Dr. Michael LaitmanFrom My Facebook Page Michael Laitman 10/10/19

Yehuda Leib HaLevi Ashlag is known as Baal HaSulam (Owner of the Ladder) for his Sulam (ladder) commentary on The Book of Zohar. Baal HaSulam dedicated his life to interpretations and innovations in the wisdom of Kabbalah, disseminating it in Israel and throughout the world. He developed a unique method to the study of Kabbalah, by which any person can delve into the depth of reality and reveal its roots and purpose of existence.

Baal HaSulam was born in Warsaw, Poland on Sep 24, 1884. At the age of nineteen he was ordained as a rabbi by the greatest rabbis of Warsaw, and for sixteen years he served as a Dayan (Jewish orthodox judge) and a teacher in Warsaw.

Baal HaSulam’s teacher was Rabbi Yehoshua of Porsov. In 1921, Baal HaSulam immigrated to Israel and settled in the Old City of Jerusalem. The word of his coming quickly spread among Jews who emigrated from Poland, and he soon became known as an authority in Kabbalah. Gradually, a group of students formed around him, attending Kabbalah lessons in the wee hours. Later on Baal HaSulam moved from the Old City and settled in Givat Shaul, which was then a new neighborhood in Jerusalem, where for several years he served as the neighborhood rabbi.

Baal HaSulam spent the years 1926-1928 in London. During his time in London he wrote the commentary to the Aris Tree Of Life Panim Meirot uMasbirot, which he printed in 1927. Throughout his stay in London, Baal HaSulam conducted extensive correspondence with his students in Israel, which were assembled in 1985 in a book titled Igrot Kodesh (Letters of Sanctity).

In 1933, Baal HaSulam published the tractates Matan Torah (The Giving of the Torah), HaArvut (The Bond), and HaShalom (The Peace).

Baal HaSulams two major works, the result of many years of labor, are Talmud Eser Sefirot (The Study of the Ten Sefirot), a commentary on the writings of the Ari, and Perush HaSulam (The Sulam Commentary)on The Book of Zohar. The publications of the 16 parts (in six volumes) of Talmud Eser Sefirot began in 1937. In 1940 he published Beit Shaar HaKavanot (The Gatehouse of Intentions),with commentaries to selected writings of the Ari. Persuh HaSulam on the Zohar was printed in 18 volumes in the years 1945-1953. Later on Baal HaSulam wrote three additional volumes containing commentaries on The New Zohar, whose printing was completed in 1955, after his demise.

In his Introduction to the Book of Zohar, Baal HaSulam writes as follows (item 58): And I have named that commentary The Sulam (ladder), to show that the purpose of it is, as with every ladder, that if you have an attic full of goods, then all you need is a ladder to reach it, and then all the bounty of the world is in your hands.

Baal HaSulam wrote a series of introductions that prepare the student for proper study of Kabbalistic texts. Some of these introductions are Preface to the Book of Zohar, Introduction to the Book of Zohar, Preface to the Wisdom of Kabbalah, Preface to the Sulam Commentary, General Preface to the Tree of Life, and Introduction to Talmud Eser Sefirot.

In 1940, Baal HaSulam published the first and, as it turned out, the last issue of the journal HaUma (The Nation). The journal was shut down by the British Mandate authorities after having received malicious information that the journal propagated communism.

Baal HaSulam encountered enormous difficulties printing his books. We can learn of the importance he ascribed to printing and disseminating Kabbalah from the 2003 Israel Award laureate Prof. Shlomo Giora Shohams description of his meeting with Baal HaSulam in the early 1950s.

“I found him standing in a dilapidated building, almost a shack, which housed an old printing press. He couldn’t afford to pay a typesetter and was doing the typesetting himself, letter by letter, standing over the printing press for hours at a time, despite the fact that he was in his late sixties. Ashlag was clearly a tzaddik (righteous man) – a humble man, with a radiant face. But he was an absolutely marginal figure and terribly impoverished. I later heard that he spent so many hours setting type that the lead used in the printing process damaged his health.”

This excerpt was published on Dec 17, 2004 in Haaretz newspaper, in a story by Micha Odenheimer.

Baal HaSulam did not merely put his ideas on paper; he acted vigorously to promote them. He met with many leaders of the Jewish settlement in Israel of the time, leaders of the Labor movement and many public figures. Among these figures are David Ben-Gurion, Zalman Shazar, Moshe Sadeh, Chaim Arlozorov, Moshe Aram, Meir Yaari, Yaakov Hazan, Dov Sadan and the great poet Haim Nahman Bialik.

According to Ben-Gurion, he met with Yehuda Ashlag several times, and was apparently surprised:

“I wanted to talk to him about Kabbalah, and he wanted to talk about Socialism.”

(Ben-Gurion Archive, Diaries, Aug 11, 1958).
In his essay Three Meetings and In Between (Amot, Tel-Aviv, 1963, p.49), Dov Sadan writes:

“Rabbi Yehuda Leib Ashlag, among the greatest Kabbalists of the time, aimed at turning the fundamentals of Kabbalah into a historic engine of our generation. Through his socialistic perception, which is based on the above, he sought contact with the Kibbutz Movement.”

It might be surprising to think that Baal HaSulam sought connection with the Hebrew Labor Movement and its leaders, considering the mental and educational chasm between them. However, deep study of his writings reveals a fascinating and intriguing figure of an erudite who was very much involved in the events of his time, both in Israel and the world over, a figure whose ideas are considered revolutionary and daring even to this day.

Why We Need To Understand The Greatness And Uniqueness Of Baal HaSulam

Baal HaSulamToday is a special day, the Yahrzeit, the day commemorating the death of Kabbalist Yehuda Ashlag, Baal HaSulam.  

Who is Baal HaSulam? He is the soul that connects us to the Creator. He was a person who opened all the gates of the wisdom of Kabbalah to the last generation we’re now in.

Without Baal HaSulam’s teaching, we would be unable to be awarded with what we have already received. Moreover, without Baal HaSulam’s teaching, we would be unable to progress to what is ahead of us, both in terms of the knowledge and the method of Kabbalah, and also its stages of attainment.

No matter what will happen as we head forth, we will reach a need for the Creator. However, such a need will have to pass through this great soul.

“A person has the choice of going to a place where there are righteous. One can accept their authority, and then he will receive all the powers that he lacks by the nature of his own qualities. He will receive it from the righteous. This is the benefit in ‘planted them in each generation,’ so that each generation would have someone to turn to, adhere to, and from whom to receive the strength required to rise to the degree of a righteous.”

Baal Hasulam. Shamati article 99. “He Did Not Say Wicked or Righteous.”

One of the reasons why the wisdom of Kabbalah is called “the wisdom of Kabbalah (reception)” is because it passes through each generation, and every generation needs a teacher, a Kabbalist, one with spiritual attainment, in the world. That is a necessity in the wisdom of Kabbalah. Only extremely rare and unique individuals can reach attainment of the Creator by receiving special treatment from above. As such, we need to always be connected to great sages who are in spiritual attainment, so that in each generation, we can make spiritual progress.

Since the wisdom of Kabbalah discusses phenomena that a person can only attain through the teacher, then he learns sources, through the teacher, which pass through all generations. The key to the student’s attainment of what passes through his teacher is subjugation, through which the small can receive from the great. Accordingly, there are degrees of the student’s subjugation to the teacher.

Therefore, we need to understand how great and unique Baal HaSulam was, and how much we need to subjugate to what he left us, his writings, with the hope that to the extent of such subjugation, we will be able to connect to his spirit, through which we can receive the upper force from the Creator.
Kabbalah Lesson on the Topic “Baal HaSulam Memorial Day” on October 10, 2019.

Manuscripts Do Not Burn

Laitman_120Question: Why did Baal HaSulam burn about 50 of his articles like “The Last Generation,” and “Peace in the World”? What have we lost?

Answer: I cannot say what we have lost. He simply did not finish most of these articles because he was banned from publishing them.

There are many opponents of Kabbalah. Nowadays we also see on the Internet how many ill-wishers we have. But this does not prevent us from disseminating.

At that time, dissemination was impossible. An application was submitted to the British mandate, which was then in charge of the country, and Baal HaSulam was banned from publishing his articles. Therefore, he said: “This is a sure sign that I should not be writing.”

It is a shame, of course, because we lost a massive amount of unique material. However, probably, it should be so. Otherwise, there would be too much material for us and we would not know what to do.

Question: Why do you often say that the burning of manuscripts is also a revelation?

Answer: The fact is that when a Kabbalist writes and then burns the writing, it means this has already been written down in our world, already sounded, read, and passed through the sensation of man. That is, the upper force has realized itself in this person. If it has already been realized in someone, felt by him, then it will be achievable by others. After that, he can burn everything, it doesn’t matter anymore.
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From the Daily Kabbalah Lesson in Russian, 3/10/19

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Gratitude To Baal HaSulam

226Baal HaSulam’s Yahrzeit [ed. the anniversary of Baal HaSulam’s passing] is a special day of remembrance and gratitude to a very special and exalted soul who descended to this world as a messenger of the Creator to open a path for us, an entrance to the upper world, so that we can reach it here, during our lifetime.

Baal HaSulam did so much in order to bridge our corporeal Kli (vessel) and the spiritual one, which lets us connect with it, and through it reach connection with the Creator. He paved a very long and special path, just like the Baal Shem Tov and the Ari did in their times. We are incapable of fully appreciating what this soul did.

Ultimately, we should be thankful to the Creator for sending us such a soul, such tremendous help. When we learn from the books of Baal HaSulam and approach the goal with his help, we must appreciate, thank, honor, and love this extraordinary person, this special tool that creates a connection between us, those who are below and those who are above.

We should be so proud of this honor and take on even more commitments to be worthy of connection with such a soul. We are unable to realize his contribution to us and its power, but still, we must love him, as children love their parents. So we must draw near and cling to this soul, which opened the passage to the Creator in our time. We would stand no chance without him.

There were many Kabbalists before, but in our time, there is no other method that allows, in practice, for the revelation of the Creator and becoming His partners, supporters in His work with creation. Thanks to Baal HaSulam, we are able with our small souls to facilitate his ascent, and along with him, our own. We were honored to receive an invitation, a pass to the upper world, and the choice is in our hands.

A mere two hundred years ago it was impossible to conceive that completely secular people like us, without any preparation or connection with the Torah, could have any chance of approaching spirituality. Then came the soul of Baal HaSulam and opened a passage for us, and now we can pass through this tunnel just because of our pure desire.

The most important thing is the desire. It doesn’t matter that a person has sunken low in the corporeal sense, it has no relevance in spirituality. If you look over the Machsom into the spiritual world, you will see the person as though through an x-ray: no meat or fat, just the bones, which is the essence. And according to that essence, according to our desire, we are accepted into spirituality.

I am so happy that there are so many people with us around the world that yearn according to their inner essence toward the truth, and in line with their desire are ready, through the method of Baal HaSulam, to cross that path and reach perfection.

The key to this is very simple: our unity. We advance to the extent that we unite; with each move toward unity we take another step in our advancement. This tunnel puts constant pressure on us, it squeezes us and forces us to connect even more tightly to the point of passing through the eye of a needle. The secret of our success lies exclusively in our unity.
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From the Daily Kabbalah lesson, “Yahrzeit Baal Sulam”, 9/19/18

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Baal HaSulam About The Commandment Of Love

laitman_219.01Question: Why do you say that your focus is on correcting the relationship between people and unifying them, while Baal HaSulam mainly wrote about the worlds, the Sefirot, etc.

Answer: Baal HaSulam had to reveal the system that governs our world. His Talmud Eser Sefirot, commentaries on The Tree of Life by Ari, The Book of Zohar, and other works formed the basis of his work.

But if we take the letters and articles of Baal HaSulam, they all talk solely about the process of attaining the Creator, which is the goal of studying the science of Kabbalah.

Spiritual attainment occurs only among the people who are engaged in creating a specific connection among each other. This connection must be similar to the ten Sefirot and that is why Baal HaSulam described it as The Study of the Ten Sefirot (Talmud Eser Sefirot).

As soon as people even minimally become similar to what is described as ten Sefirot, they immediately begin to feel the Creator in them. Meaning, these feelings are a sensor, a detector that reveals the Creator.

Remark: Once Baal HaSulam received a letter from one of his fellow citizens with a claim that Baal HaSulam defined a new structure, a new methodology.

Baal HaSulam replied with a long letter in which he stressed: “It seems that you have not sufficiently studied my words.” He noted that “when the people entered the land of Israel and there was no peace, it was impossible to expect that someone would fulfill the main commandment.”

In order for the Torah not to be forgotten, people began to engage in the rest of commandments, ignoring the most important one because they had no other choice. But the most important is: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

My Comment: It is written in black and white. There is no way around it. And this is exactly what is missing. There is a void in all modern religions in fulfilling the commandment of love for one’s neighbor. That is why everyone, including religious figures and systems, hate Kabbalah because it puts emphasis on achieving love for one’s neighbor.
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From The Lesson in Russian Language 9/10/17

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The Language Of The Kabbalist

laitman_526Question: What were the relations between Baal HaSulam and his students? What was his connection to them and the letters that he wrote to them?

Answer: The connection between a Kabbalist and his students is described very well in Baal HaSulam and Rabash’s letters.

They wrote more than they spoke. Practically, I never heard Rabash say, “It seems to me that my eyes see the friends, my arms embrace them, and my legs dance with love and joy along with them in a circle, and then my ‘I’ is annulled and dissolved in my friends.”

As for Baal HaSulam, he expressed everything academically.

Remark: Nevertheless, he had a breakthrough when he wrote: “The only thing that stands before you is the love of friends.”

Answer: He points to this as the most important thing; otherwise, what is the use of all the other actions if there is no clear intention to unite the group in which all this is revealed?

The fact is that there are four languages for explaining the actions: the language of the Tanakh, i.e., the Torah and everything that exists behind it, the language of the Talmud, the language of legends, and the language of Kabbalah. We need to connect all these in order to fully explain it. This is HaVaYaH—the full name of the Creator—that is, a complete revelation of the upper force, the property of bestowal in the property of reception.

Only in this is the love of friends is revealed. Therefore, Baal HaSulam writes that the most important commandment is the commandment of unification and now it stands before the whole world.

I hope very much that with the help of such great figures as Baal HaSulam and Rabash we can do it. At least we see how it all materializes.
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From the Kabbalah Lesson in Russian 10/16/16

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Melodies Of Baal HaSulam

627.2Question: Why did Baal HaSulam start writing music?

Answer: Baal HaSulam’s group consisted of less than ten people, and everyone came from different places. Each had their own melodies that they played at mealtimes or during prayers, especially on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur).

So Baal HaSulam composed his own melodies, and taught the students not to sing foreign prayers to the words from the prayer book. That is how the melodies to the texts of Ari and “Bnei Eihal” came out, “Kel Mistater,” etc.

Question: Can these melodies and their text somehow affect a person listening to them?

Answer: They do possess certain spiritual forces. A melody has a great power, but it can only be attained to the degree that a person is dwelling in it.
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From the Kabbalah Lesson in Russian 10/16/16

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In Order For The Higher Energy To Penetrate The World

laitman_212After the war, Baal HaSulam was able to accomplish a lot: publish his works, although they were not numerous. He wrote a lot, but usually ended up burning his writings. Once, he gave his little grandson, the son of Rabash, a bag of papers to burn. His grandson was a smart boy. He understood that there was something precious about it and saved the bag.

When I came to Rabash, his son showed me that bag, and we started sorting it out together. The first thing I did was to photograph those writings. It was not easy to make copies of manuscripts at that time.

So I made the copies for Rabash and one for myself. Later four books were produced from them including A Sage’s Fruit. The first two books came out when Rabash was still alive. We used to go to the park together, read the text, and he would edit it. And the last two books were produced after his death.

Previously, Kabbalists always burned their writings. Sometimes their works were even buried with their bodies, as it was with Ari, who was buried with his manuscripts. And sometime later, the works were dug up and rewritten. The same happened with The Book of Zohar that was concealed for many years until somebody found its separate pages used them as wrapping paper.

Question: What kind of action is it when a Kabbalist writes something and then burns it?

Answer: When I studied with Rabash, during the lessons it often happened that he would say a phrase, I would stare at him and understand nothing. He would continue speaking on the topic, adding another phrase and again, nothing was understood, although, it seemed there was nothing mystical about the subject.

The Kabbalist does it on purpose so that this knowledge, this power, can come out from him into the general world. By letting it into the upper world, he gives it the right to exist on the same level as his own, and lower.

Why can’t he say this when he is alone? Because, in front of him, there are “babies,” meaning students, who are currently on the level of our world. When he imparts something to them, his words, energy, and then Light transcends through them and begins affecting the entire world.

Nothing more is needed. That is why great Kabbalists burned their writings.

Question: And no one has even read them?

Answer: No. That was sufficient.

Question: Do you, also, want to burn something, or have you already?

Answer: No, my work is different. I explain everything to you, verbalizing it.

The thing is, you can’t do it any other way! There are no mysteries here! Mystery is only what you do not understand. That is the single framework for restrictions.

Revelation is a paramount task, it is the most worthwhile task. We have to reveal the quality of bestowal; there is nothing else in the world. Inside us, we have the quality of reception, opposite to it is the quality of bestowal; you reveal one inside the other; here, you have all the mysteries of nature and all the worlds.
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From the Kabbalah Lesson in Russian 10/16/16

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Twenty Years Before The War

laitman_250Twenty years before the Second World War began, no one conceived it. However, Baal HaSulam knew about it well in advance. He warned the Jews in Poland of the danger and implored them to leave, but they did not listen. When the war began, no other country wanted them and they perished.

By that time, Baal HaSulam was already living in Palestine. When the troops led by General Rommel approached it, the people began to panic. Yet, Baal HaSulam was absolutely confident that the troops would stop and told this to his students and acquaintances.

And indeed, Rommel stopped right at the Palestinian border even though he had the support of Egypt. The predictions of Kabbalist’s have come true.

Baal HaSulam understood everything that was happening in Europe at the time and was very concerned about it.

This raises the question: can a Kabbalist affect the upper forces? Under certain conditions, yes. Perhaps it is not because he wishes to do it, but because he is guided that way from above. He has no calculations of his own in this regard, not in any way or with any one.

I guess that this might have been his spiritual action: a guide was required in order for it to happen in our world. The same happens every moment with every one of us. We affect one another at every moment and determine one another’s state. It is also possible to determine one another’s state at critical moments.

Question: Don’t you say that a Kabbalist cannot affect the corporeal future?

Answer: This is not the corporeal future, since, in fact, there is no matter at all. This is a state of forces, their correlation with each other.

What does “corporeality” mean? If we research any object, we will find that it consists of a vacuum. What is in it? Atoms? These are particles separated from one another by enormous distances. That is to say, matter is force. There is nothing corporeal.

Therefore, we and everything we feel around us is an accumulation of forces. And it all moves within a single field called the soul. This field is what we need to care for, molding it so it becomes similar to the force that is inside of that field. And that is up to us, the people. This is the correction.
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From the Kabbalah Lesson in Russian 10/16/16

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