Entries in the 'Commandments' Category

The Basis Of “Love Thy Friend As Thyself”

laitman_962.2It therefore follows that the rule, “Love thy friend as thyself,” is built on 612 Mitzvot. In other words, if we keep the 612 Mitzvot, we will be able to achieve the rule, “Love thy friend as thyself.” It turns out that the particular elements allow us to achieve the collective, and when we have the collective, we will be able to achieve the love of the Creator, as it is written, “My soul yearns for the Lord.” (Rabash, The Social Writings, “What Does the Rule ‘Love Thy Friend as Thyself’ Give Us?”)

If we take the commandment “Love thy neighbor as thyself” and interpret it in relation to the inanimate, vegetative, and animate nature, and most importantly, to a person in all life circumstances, we will reach all 612 commandments, which are summarized in the 613th. That is why there is no 613th commandment as such; it is a result of implementing the other 612 recommendations.

Remark: The world believes that one needs to fulfill all 613 commandments. Kabbalists, however, say that there is practically only one commandment: “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” All the others are attached to it, they are a part of it.

My Comment: It is written in many Kabbalistic sources, including The Book of Zohar.

In fact, we need to organize ourselves into a human society that would lead us to some kind of system, regulating each other’s relations based on the same commandment: “Love your neighbor.”

To do this, we have to study Kabbalah and learn to fulfill this commandment at every moment, in all circumstances, wherever we are. So gradually we will implement the 612 recommendations.

The Book of Zohar says that all the commandments of the Torah consist of 612 councils and 612 fulfillments. If I follow the advice correctly, then I get a certain portion of the upper Light, which corrects me.
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From KabTV’s “The Last Generation” 3/15/18

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To Come To The Commandment Of Love

laitman_249.01Question: Can we depict our three-hour morning lesson as one big prayer that includes 612 commandments? We are constantly turning between them in order to come to the commandment of love for our neighbor.

Answer: Yes, consistent fulfillment of the commandments means that we climb the degrees of Jacob’s ladder.

The constant expansion and deepening of egoism in us happens to ensure that we implement connection with each other at greater and greater levels. Every time egoism increases, we perform the commandment of connection on it, up to the love for each other.

Question: Are there 613 commandments at each degree?

Answer: Of course. But we don’t need to consider this because we are originally created this way; our soul’s vessel consists of 613 parts.

In performing 612 advices (Eytin), I receive the influence of the upper Light, which corrects me. It is called Pkudin (from the word “Pikadon – deposit”). In this manner, I constantly fulfill and correct, and again fulfill and correct.

Question: Does the division between 612 commandments and the 613th commandment also exist at each degree?

Answer: Yes, because the 613th commandment does not exist on its own, I am incapable of fulfilling the commandment of love. I cannot be forced to love the other. If I, by fulfilling 612 commandments, receive the upper Light upon my desires, then I become loving and bestowing.
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From KabTV’s “The Last Generation,” 3/15/18

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Actions And Commandments

laitman_571.01Baal HaSulam, “The Teaching of The Kabbalah and Its Essence”: Indeed, there is a common opinion that the prime goal of religion and the Torah is only the cleansing of actions, that all that is desired concerns observing the physical Mitzvot (commandments), without any additions or anything that should result from it. Had that been so, those who say that studying the revealed and practical actions alone is sufficient would be right.

Yet, this is not the case. Our sages have already said, “Why should the Creator mind if one slaughters at the throat or at the back of the neck? After all, the Mitzvot were only given to cleanse people.” Thus, there is a purpose beyond the observance of the actions, and the actions are merely preparations for this purpose. Hence, clearly, if the actions are not arranged for the desired goal, it is as if nothing exists. And it is also written in The Zohar: “A Mitzva (commandment) without an aim is like a body without a soul.” Hence, the aim, too, should accompany the act.

The physical actions convey nothing on their own. Clearly a person can do them, but he may not be aware of with what motives. Then what? What is achieved by these actions?—That is what’s most important. It is called an intention.

Question: It is written in The Book of Zohar: “A commandment without an intention is like a body without a soul.” What does this mean?

Answer: If any physical action is performed without the correct intention of uniting for the purpose of revealing the Creator, then this action is dead, like a body without a soul.

Question: Baal HaSulam writes that there are only two laws or two commandments: reception and bestowal. It follows that there is an interaction in human society that consists of two actions: either I receive or bestow. They have to be properly balanced. How should we understand this? What does properly balanced mean?

Answer: It is quite easy to balance: bestowal for the sake of bestowal is the quality of Bina and reception for the sake of bestowal is the quality of Keter.

Question: How can we know how much to receive from society and how much to give to it?

Answer: Do it so that it would be solely for the benefit of the society, for the sake of bringing it to the similarity with the Creator.

Question: And who decides that?

Answer: You decide. You have to integrate yourself into society in order to absorb all of its desires and raise them to the Creator. You have to become an intermediary link, a channel of connection between the society and the Creator.

Question: Is it only possible when the Creator reveals Himself to a person?

Answer: How else can you interact with the society? Only in order to help it.
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From the Kabbalah Lesson in Russian 3/18/18

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Spiritual Meaning Of Mitzvot

281.01Question: There is a Mitzva of washing one’s hands. What is this action from the spiritual point of view?

Answer: This action symbolizes the cleansing of a person’s egoistic hands with which he tries to grab everything for himself. By washing them, he as if corrects his egoistic intentions and does not use them anymore. This is called “washing one’s hands.”

Question: That is, if I perform this action in spirituality, it corrects me. What about corporeality?

Answer: In the corporeal world, it is a reminder to a person that he must abandon the egoistic use of his desires.

Question: If a person washes hands with this intention, does this give anything to him?

Answer: Nothing! People should not get confused. As it is written: “You shall not make for yourself a graven image” in absolutely everything.

You can do whatever you want: eat, drink, behave as you please, as long as this is good for people, and then you will come closer to the upper world. The only condition is the rule “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
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From the Kabbalah Lesson in Russian 7/9/17

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New Life #848 – Jewish Burial

New Life #848 – Jewish Burial
Dr. Michael Laitman in conversation with Oren Levi and Nitzah Mazoz

Summary

According to the wisdom of Kabbalah, the attitude to life and death does not relate to the physiological body but to the spiritual body.

A Jewish burial is quick and simple in order to emphasize that the soul is important and the body is not.
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From KabTV’s “New Life #848 – Jewish Burial,” 4/13/17

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Are We Guarded From Above? Part 9

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: How does a Mezuzah (doorpost) symbolize the spiritual force that protects the soul?

Answer: A Mezuzah has four components, which together represent the entire HaVaYaH: Yod-Key-Vav-Key, in other words, the upper system. A person, wishing to resemble the Creator, enters this system of complete HaVaYaH. It is then his home, the mother’s womb, in which he develops.

The system HaVaYaH symbolizes the loving attitude toward us from this upper force, the Creator. Attaining love of others, we resemble the Creator who loves His creation and unite with Him in a mutual embrace.

Question: If He loves me, why does the Creator not embrace me now?

Answer: Because you do not correspond to Him, you disregard Him, you are opposite to the upper force of the system, and therefore undesirable.

The Creator relates to everyone with love, but His goal is to bring everyone to attainment of the upper force, in order for all to know the Creator, to reveal Him and become equal to Him. In this way we stop being puppets without free will, not understanding anything in our own lives, and raise ourselves to a higher level, eternal and absolute.

Question: But what is the purpose of the commandment to put a Mezuzah in the doorway?

Answer: It has to remind us that there is the upper force on which we are dependent and we need to resemble it, behave as it does. As it is merciful, so we should to be merciful, as it is compassionate, so we should be compassionate. In the end, all is very simple.

Question: So the Mezuzah symbolizes the force of love and positive connection between us?

Answer: Just as any other commandment in the physical world, it directs us to the need to follow it spiritually, internally.
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From KabTV’s “A New Life,” #819, 01/26/2017

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Dr. Michael LaitmanJudaism obligates Jews to follow many commandments: blessings, Kashrut (keeping kosher), Mikveh (ritual bath), prayer, in addition to multiple other actions. Judaism is considered the most complicated and an extraordinarily difficult religion.

All of it is in order for us, day by day, moment by moment, to remind ourselves by these action about the connection with the upper force and the need to constantly maintain it.

Question: Are you saying that this connection, love between people, guarantees us protection from above?

Answer: “Love your neighbor as yourself” is a great law of the Torah and represents the height of human development. There is nothing higher than that because this is how I include myself into the other person and do whatever he or she needs. Love is the law of an integral system, by which all its elements have to be connected.

Question: How does that protect me?

Answer: This is how I, or rather the single element of the system that I represent, follow the laws of the integral system. Naturally, this provides protection for me. I can never protect myself. I safeguard myself only through my ability to correctly unite with others because in reality I am connected with everyone and receive sustenance from them. In essence, they determine all my states because we are interdependent.

I am joined by connecting bonds with a multitude of others. If these connections are negative, then I suffer until I finally die. However, if from my side, these connections become positive, then in return, I receive a positive reaction from the system. Even if other people toward whom I act with kindness do not intend to respond to me in like manner, the upper force, functioning within the system, will influence them in such a way as to make them relate to me correctly.

In this way my actions begin to be in harmony with the force filling the entire system. My attempts to love my neighbor make me similar to the upper force. I tune into this force and by doing so, obligate the system to protect me. Resembling the upper what can be safer? I enter the upper almost as if I am entering a mother’s womb; is there a safer place than that?

The upper will protect me because I annul myself, my egoism, and become similar to it. I don’t think about myself, but act only according to the wishes of others. As a result, I become similar to the upper and enter it in the most minimal form. But even in this minimal form, nonetheless, I am within it as an embryo inside the mother. Where else can you feel more protected?
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From KabTV’s “A New Life,” #819, 01/26/17

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Dr. Michael LaitmanThere are two levels of connection with the upper governance system. On the ordinary level, a person cannot independently affect the upper system in any way; he functions in it instinctively. The system exerts an influence on him from above and he instinctively reacts to this influence, being connected to the system in countless ways.

However, a higher level of connection with the upper governance system is possible, and Kabbalists have it. And no external objects or actions are necessary for this because this is an internal process, experienced by the individual.

Question: But still, traditions of Judaism are not just external actions; do they not have deeper roots?

Answer: The commandments have roots, but the actual physical actions do not possess spiritual power. We should not believe that the upper force is contained in the mezuzah. The mezuzah only symbolizes this force and helps us to learn about it. It demonstrates to us that a certain force called “mezuzah,” which guards the “home,” exists in nature. And what we call “home” is the soul. And this is how we come to understand that there is a “soul” and within it, there is a “mezuzah.” In this way we are introduced to spiritual concepts.

There is no divinity in the actual physical mezuzah nailed in the doorway. It merely points to a force in the spiritual world, to a particular role of the Creator with respect to the souls. All its divinity is contained within this understanding. In our world there is no divinity. Mezuzah is a symbol pointing to the fact that if I build my soul, then within it there will be a particular protective power called “mezuzah.”

Question: What does it mean to build the soul?

Answer: To build the soul means to carry out correction: the restriction of one’s desire, the screen, and the Reflected Light. For this I need the connection with others, for us to be at least ten, “Minyan” (the quorum of ten), and in the right kind of connection between us, we build the soul, “home.”

All the commandments of this world are only symbolic. The proof of this is Abraham, who destroyed all the symbols because people started to attribute spiritual powers to them and worship them as idols.

But in reality, these objects only symbolize spiritual actions that the person is obligated to perform: to build a connection with others above the personal egoism of each in order to create within this connection a place for the revelation of the upper force of bestowal and love that dwells between them. This is the point of spiritual action: to connect with the others above personal egoism. This is called love.

Question: If I perform such action, connecting with others, will I attract to myself some force that will protect me?

Answer: Of course! But you will no longer be thinking about that because you will acquire the power of love and all your goals will be directed toward helping others, in order to “live” within them and provide them with all they need. This is what is called “love your neighbor as yourself,” when you are ready to give him your only pillow. Only this force protects us in life, there is no other protection.
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From KabTV’s “A New Life,” #819, 01/26/17

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Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: Everyone wants to make their lives as safe as possible. In Judaism there are all kinds of traditions and symbols that are regarded as means of guaranteeing protection from above: a mezuzah for the protection of the individual and their home, or prayers, such as the traveler’s prayer, the blessings of the home or the business. Shabbat also is considered to be a means of protecting the person who observes it.

Do all these methods actually guarantee our protection from misfortunes?

Answer: All these provide nothing more than a psychological effect. It gives an individual an inner experience of calm and confidence, but they do not impact the occurring events. First thing that Abraham did was to destroy all the “idols,” that is, all external symbols, that can affect our fate. This symbolized the beginning of his spiritual path.

So if today a person believes that external objects and actions can guarantee them protection from above, it is considered idol worship. Traditional commandments of Judaism are not meant to guarantee us protection in this life. Kabbalists created them in order to give people a feeling of belonging to the nation of Israel, in order for them not to forget about their connection with others, about the Torah. But by following them, they are not changing their fate.

A person donates a few cents before getting onto a bus so that the bus does not explode; he as if wants to buy for himself a kind reaction from the Creator for a dollar. But even in this way, he is connecting himself with the system, with the society. This is why I do not laugh at this tradition and view it as beneficial for the wider masses. However, that which is good on one level, is called idol worship on a higher level of development.

Question: It is said that the home with a mezuzah on its doorway is protected by the Creator. How does the mezuzah protect those who are in the house?

Answer: It does not, in no way. It provides purely psychologically comfort, a positive feeling. It is a way for a person to calm themselves. It acts like a tranquilizing pill, nothing more.

If an individual really wants to be under the protection of the upper force, he must study it and enter into contact with it. He needs to know in what way to fulfill the desire of the upper force, not to get what he wants, but to act according to the purpose of creation for the benefit of the entire system.

If he does this, then of course he becomes desirable in the eyes of the general force of the system, called Creator, and he guarantees for himself correct, positive, and fast advancement.
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From KabTV’s “A New Life,” #818, 01/26/17

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Why Is A Mezuzah Necessary?

laitman_425Question from Facebook: A religious person explained to me that the lack of a Mezuzah is a source of trouble at home: the illness of relatives, the breakdown of electronic appliances, and so forth. How does the wisdom of Kabbalah look at this? Are there root causes of these troubles?

Answer: It is said that a Mezuzah protects Jewish homes and must be on all the doors. Therefore, its presence shouldn’t bother you even if you don’t believe in it.

If you begin to dig deeper into what is written on the piece of parchment and why it protects the house, then you will see that it talks about the uniqueness of the Creator and connection with Him.

If a person is connected with the Creator and considers Him to be the only force that manages him and emulates His characteristics of bestowal and love, then he certainly enters under its protection. This is the inner meaning of the Mezuzah.

It is not the piece of parchment that protects you, but that you become a force that yearns for the Creator.

Therefore, it is said: “inscribe them upon the tablet of thy heart” and “adhere them to all entrances and exits in your life.”
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From KabTV’s “News with Michael Laitman” 3/8/17

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