Entries in the 'Facebook' Category

“He Is Always With Me”

 

Dr. Michael LaitmanFrom My Facebook Page Michael Laitman 10/2/21

For many years, students and friends have been asking me to tell them the story of my time with my teacher, RABASH. For many years, I felt that there was no need for it, that times were different and things work differently today.

But through my conversations with Semion Vinokur, many of the stories percolated to the surface nonetheless. Semion, who really feels me, managed to put them down on paper in his unique and captivating style, and all of a sudden, there was a book.

The book, which was titled Always with Me, begins with my childhood questions and my years as a young man. But these are but the prelude. The bulk of the text tells the story of my years with RABASH: how I found him, how I became his disciple, his assistant, and why I am committed to passing on his message of love for all of humanity.

Today’s Kabbalah students learn very differently from the way I learned with him. However, every student goes through a very similar internal process and can sympathize with the experiences described here.

Since times are different now, I cannot teach my students the way RABASH taught me. Although the way is slightly different, attaining spirituality still requires and will always require dedication and devotion to the goal.

RABASH passed away in 1991, but he will never pass away from my heart or from my mind. When I teach, he is always with me. When I rise in the wee hours to prepare for the next morning lesson, he is the one who guides my heart. When I speak with world leaders or with scientists, it is his legacy that guides my thoughts and words.

I hope that when you read the stories, you will get a taste of the greatness of the man who has made Kabbalah approachable to every person on this planet. RABASH’s teachings are a gift to humanity, and I do my utmost to see that everyone enjoys it.

What I have become, I have become thanks to him, because indeed, he is always with me.

And finally, a word of gratitude to Irina Rudnev and Mark Berelekhis for their meticulous translation into English.

Get a copy on Amazon:

“A Weekend Of Profound Unity”

 

Dr. Michael LaitmanFrom My Facebook Page Michael Laitman 27/9/21

Over the past weekend, my students from around the world gathered for an event of profound unity. Using a unique virtual platform, built by the students themselves, nearly 6,000 friends got together online for what was probably the largest interactive convention ever held.

For forty-eight hours of joy, we had lessons, workshops, watched movies and clips. We ate and drank, sang in multiple languages, at every hour of the day, and at every time-zone in the globe.

Every event was simultaneously interpreted over the internet into dozens of languages by the friends themselves, which fastened and strengthened their bonds. They divided into groups, then mingled the groups, divided into languages, then mingled the languages, and all with one aim in mind: to generate worldwide unity.

This weekend, Chinese bonded with North and South Americans, who bonded with Iranians, who bonded with Israelis, who bonded with Russians, who bonded with Europeans, who bonded with Africans, who bonded with Australians, who bonded with Chinese, until the circle was complete. Indeed, we all became one sphere, held together by invisible threads that stretched from heart to heart to heart. Veteran students, complete beginners, and everyone in between felt very much at home in this gathering, and everyone wishes to continue fostering our unity.

In this troubled time of deepening chasms among and within nations, when hatred and violence seem to have the upper hand, my students proved that if we truly want to unite and nurture love among all people, no rift will divide us. On the contrary: The deeper the rift, the tighter the bond.

I am confident that such events have an enormous positive impact on the world. Hopefully, with persistent work on unity, we will be able to spread the love that we nurtured this weekend to the entire world, so that all of humanity may taste the taste of oneness and choose to beat swords into plowshares.

“The Difference Between Wisdom And Knowledge”

Dr. Michael LaitmanFrom My Facebook Page Michael Laitman 22/9/21

Tomorrow, Google will celebrate 23. In just 23 years, Google has managed to change the way we do so many things that the list is too long to remember. But perhaps Google’s first revolution was the way we gather information. It is with good reason that we tell people “Google it!” in order to find out something. You would think that making knowledge so accessible to everyone would make the world a better place, but reality has proven otherwise. Knowledge, we have learned the hard way, is not the same as wisdom.

Knowledge is the accumulation of information; wisdom is the ability to use it correctly, which is what really counts.

It is great that we can find all the information we need so quickly. However, although information is so easily accessible, we are not happier now than we were 23 years ago. By all accounts, we are more depressed, anxious, violent, and generally more miserable.

Why are we so miserable? We misuse the information that we gather with such ease. Without knowing how to use what we know correctly, the more we know, the more miserable we feel.

The benefit from Google’s success in making knowledge readily available is that it shows us what our world really looks like. It shows us what humans do to one another and to nature, and that humanity is only growing meaner and more vicious.

If we want to be happy, we must use this information wisely. What we know about ourselves must prompt us to seek to change ourselves, to change our very nature, which makes us harm each other so readily. We clearly cannot help ourselves.

Now it is time to shift to the next level of learning, to use what we know with wisdom and make our world a better place. To do that, we should not seek external changes, which will only distract us from the crux of the problem. No, we should look within, at our own motivations for the things we do and say.

Alone, we will not be able to change our nature from the nastiness within us and become caring and compassionate. Together, there is no end to what we can achieve. Indeed, if we support each other, we can even turn ourselves into completely different human beings: kind, caring, and connected.

Everything we learn from Google or from any other source should go toward improving ourselves. There is no other problem in the world but human nature. It is our own vile disposition that tells us to look elsewhere, but it’s a decoy; we should not be tempted. The sooner we learn it, the sooner we will know how to distinguish between knowledge and wisdom, and how to use knowledge wisely—for the common good, and for our own.

“Good Times Of Trouble”

Dr. Michael LaitmanFrom My Facebook Page Michael Laitman 25/7/21

Today’s troubles may not seem as bad as the ones that humanity had suffered in the past. Rarely are scores of people killed, there is no pestilence that is threatening to decimate half the population of Europe, no tyrant has conquered half the world, at least not yet, and starvation isn’t threatening the to claim billions of lives. There are certainly many of the problems I just pointed out, and many more, but nothing as colossal as we’ve seen throughout the chronicles of humanity.

Nevertheless, the problems are very serious. They are serious because we may not be perishing in droves as before, but our tolerance is also not nearly that of our ancestors. We are sensitive, and therefore suffer and hurt much more from much less pain. This may sound like a flaw, but in truth, the pain is not pointless; it stirs us into action. If we need fewer afflictions in order to move, it is better for all of us. If such levels of pain weren’t enough for us, we’d be seeing levels of anguish similar to the atrocities that our medieval ancestors had endured.

These relatively mild crises are transforming us. Bit by bit, they are engendering a new humanity, where people feel connected and mutually dependent. In this humanity, it will be a given that an infection anywhere is an infection everywhere. People will know that this motto pertains not only to viruses, but to anything that pains humanity. Look at the floods that have inundated towns and villages all over the world, the raging forest fires around the world, the social tensions that seem very similar in multiple countries, and of course, the virus. We truly have become a global village, and nothing proves it more unequivocally than our troubles.

Yet, we can turn this bane into a boon. Closeness is troubling and crippling only when there is hatred among people. When brotherhood and friendship rules among them, closeness is welcome and advantageous. Our closeness is a fact. We cannot disconnect from the rest of the world. Therefore, the only option we have is to turn our foul connections into positive ones. Unity is the cure for all our ills and agonies, and we will decide whether to cure ourselves or keep on suffering.

Photo Caption:
Residents are silhouetted as they watch the Blue Ridge Fire burning in Yorba Linda, California, U.S. October 26, 2020. REUTERS/Ringo Chiu/File Photo

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“What Those Who Tell You The Truth Really Want”

Dr. Michael LaitmanFrom My Facebook Page Michael Laitman 3/16/21

An anonymous student wrote me a letter saying that he can’t help but tell people the truth. He says that if he keeps it to himself, he feels bad about it, doesn’t know how to deal with it, and he asked what he should do about it.

Well, first of all, he doesn’t know the truth. What he knows is only what his ego tells him. Moreover, his “outcry” isn’t really coming from the depth of the heart, but from the ego; he wants to force his opinion about what is true and what is untrue on others. He thinks he understands people’s situation, what they’re doing wrong and what they can do right, so he wants to force his understanding on them.

There is nothing here but ego, which I would say must be destroyed altogether. Who gives him the right to force his opinions, feelings, and preferences on others? Did anyone ask him to do this or expects this of him? Even if he thinks that he will do them a favor by this, it still doesn’t give him the right to soak them up with his understandings, conclusions, preferences, and goals.

If you want to know the truth, then the truth is that people have to be given free choice; they need to choose their own truth, and that’s the end of it. This is the most important principle in education—for children, as well as for grownups.

What he should do is keep silent, and understand how self-absorbed he is, to the point that he must stuff others with his views. This should be this student’s lesson and a lesson for all of us when we feel superior or more knowledgeable than others. It should also teach us how to relate to people who “tell us the truth.”

“Iran’s Agenda with the Arab World Could Lead to Clash with Israel”

Dr. Michael LaitmanFrom My Facebook Page Michael Laitman 1/24/21

Joe Biden hasn’t even been inaugurated but we already hear that he wants to resume the nuclear agreement with Iran. The New York Times wrote as early as November 17 that Biden “has promised to move quickly to rejoin the nuclear deal with Iran,” and The Times of Israel wrote on January 16 that according to a report, “Officials in the incoming Biden administration have already begun holding quiet talks with Iran on a return to the 2015 nuclear deal.”

For four years, Donald Trump did his very best to stymie Iran’s nuclear plans to build an atom bomb. His success was very limited, but it did slightly hinder their progress. Now Biden wants to return to the 2015 agreement that Obama signed. This means that the Iranians will return to full speed development, if they haven’t already got a bomb, and the monitoring of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will be as “efficient” as it was before Trump scolded them for their inaction and withdrew from the agreement. Now, the new administration will let the fox guard the henhouse once again.

I’m not optimistic about this because I don’t see that Iran has any interest in making peace or even lowering the flames with Israel. In fact, their struggle is not with Israel as such, but with the rest of the Arab world. Israel, in this case, is just a means to an end, and the aggressive extremism serves the Ayatollahs very well. They have no other country against which to show off their devotion to Islam so they use the Arab-Israeli conflict as a pretext to show off their orthodoxy.

They also don’t care about their own people—whether they suffer from the sanctions or even from bombs, as long as they can maintain their prominence and clout in the Arab world. So, because their hatred for Israel is not the issue, but the internal struggle in the Arab world, there is really nothing that Israel can do to mitigate the conflict. All it can do is protect itself militarily.

We’ll see what happens in the future, but for the time being, this is yet another issue that doesn’t look promising as we begin the new year with a new administration.

“The (Larry) King and I”

Dr. Michael LaitmanFrom My Facebook Page Michael Laitman 24/1/21

In November 2014, I spent a few days in LA to shoot several interesting TV shows. Some of the shoots took place in the studio of Jewish Life TV, where I was interviewed for a new series. A more unusual shoot was a meeting with students from UCLA, whose inquisitiveness I found refreshing, especially the young Muslim student who kept asking about the essence of the wisdom of Kabbalah. However, the most memorable event on that tour was the meeting with Larry King (RIP).

Considering his professional record of interviewing the most high profile personalities in America and the world over for decades, I expected to find at least some measure of conceit and impatience. But when we met, I was delighted to find a warm-hearted, attentive host who asked poignant questions and listened carefully to my answers. It was a joy to speak with him.

The longer the shoot continued, the warmer Larry became. Even though we talked about painful topics such as the growing antisemitism in the US, and even though I told him it would grow worse because of our internal division, he did not scoff or jeer at my prediction. He was inquisitive and genuinely sought answers to the problems that already plagued the US.

The thing that struck me most was that when I told him that the only solution to antisemitism was unity of the Jews among themselves, he did not seem surprised. Perhaps it was his life’s experience, perhaps his sensitivity to people’s hearts, being such a veteran interviewer, or perhaps it was his search for remedies to his own pains, but the idea of unity of the Jews as the solution to our problems seemed to resonate with him.

In the break between the two parts of the show, he said, half to himself, half to his crew: “Wonderful guest!” When the show was over, we talked some more and the embrace he gave me as we parted felt warm and genuine.

May you rest in peace, Larry King, may Jews find unity and peace among themselves, and may the whole world find unity and peace in our troubled times.

Mass Discommunication Media

Dr. Michael LaitmanFrom My Facebook Page Michael Laitman 12/8/20

Mass communication has always played an important role in shaping public opinion and the perception of reality of society, but in recent years it has transformed into a critical controversial force.

With only a few exceptions, the US mainstream media has crowned Biden as the winner of the presidential election, while President Trump’s legal team is contesting the results with allegations of fraud. A total of 220 GOP members of the House and Senate—an overwhelming majority of Republicans in Congress—will simply not acknowledge Biden’s win before everything is cleared up, according to a Washington Post poll.

The US example, and quite frankly the prevailing tendency all over the world, shows how the biased media is not carrying out its role to objectively report on current events as it is supposed to do. The free world should be characterized by a robust independent media that acts as a watchdog of the people’s interests, instead of being a mouthpiece for a specific sector with a particular financial or political agenda. Otherwise, we lose any semblance of democracy, which by definition is the rule of the people, where all voices are equal and have the right to be heard and taken into account.

When the media distorts its role and becomes a ruler, censoring ideas or speeches of public officials that do not correspond to their own views, democracy cannot exist either. Limiting pluralism diverts people from deep thought, discussion, and understanding. Instead, the populace is pumped full of low-level communication packed with gossip, lies, and one-sided information. In such a scenario, there is no search for in-depth analysis, only an attempt to advertise and profit, mislead, and confuse the audience.

Beyond the political dispute about the results of the US election, what does the state of the media say about American society? It says that all the voting laws and procedures set by the states throughout the years—which leave room for people’s doubts and dissatisfaction about election results and generate dubious interpretations by special interest groups including the media—need to be carefully examined and updated to the new world’s reality, as some analysts propose. This is not only true in America but also in the rest of humanity which is starting to understand that there is a need for a serious change of direction from old structures and frameworks.

It may not be clearly apparent and obvious in daily life, but this development in needs is a consequence of humanity’s evolution. The forces inherent in nature are obliging the whole world to fix the distortions revealed before our eyes. If we see society in a state of separation and confusion, it should make efforts to recover balance through connection.

It is the media that sets the general public tone and atmosphere. As public discourse stands now, one point of view is raised and another lowered. Therefore, a renewed media that will serve the people’s interest must strive to establish a common, middle ground that will connect and balance the pluses and minuses, pros and cons and guarantee everyone a voice for pluralistic opinion. A healthy media can illuminate society by becoming a connecting force for everyone’s benefit and progress.

“What Do Jews Have To Do With Inciting Anti-Semitism?”

Dr. Michael LaitmanFrom My Facebook Page Michael Laitman 11/18/20

The editor of one of the papers where I write regular op-eds requested more information on my message that if Jews are not united, they bring anti-Semitism on themselves. Specifically, he wanted to know my sources for making this argument so insistently.

He is correct; people need to know where ideas come from, especially ones that are hard to swallow. Therefore, I have decided to write a series of articles that explain where Jews come from and why they have always been hated, with a few brief exceptions that also didn’t end well.

But before I begin, I’d like to recommend my latest publication on this subject, The Jewish Choice: Unity or Anti-Semitism: Historical facts on anti-Semitism as a reflection of Jewish social discord. It will give you ample information about the origins of the Jewish people, the root of Jew-hatred, what they ought to do about it, and how their fate relates directly to their unity or lack thereof. In this series, I will provide sources, but not nearly as much as you will find in the book.

In the first articles, I’ll focus on the origin of our nation. I will show that antisemitism, albeit without that name, began as soon as our nation started forming.

Abraham, the father of the nation, was an inquisitive man. The son of a venerated priest by the name of Terah, he, too, joined the family business and worked at his father’s shop selling amulets and idols. In Mishneh Torah, Maimonides’ renowned composition, the 12th century sage explains that Abraham “had neither a teacher nor a tutor. Instead, he was wedged in Ur of the Chaldeans [Babylonian city] among the illiterate idol worshippers, with his mother and father and all the people worshipping stars, and he—worshipping with them.”

But as just said, Abraham was inquisitive; idols didn’t satisfy him. “His heart roamed and understood until he attained the path of truth and understood the line of justice with his own correct wisdom,” writes Maimonides.

Abraham understood that there was only one force in the world, and called that force “God.” To his idol worshipping contemporaries, this was revolutionary thinking, “blasphemy,” if you will. Despite the objection of his father and even the dismay of King Nimrod, Abraham insisted on spreading the message to his countryfolk. “He planted this tenet in their hearts and composed books about it,” writes Maimonides. He “taught his son, Isaac, and Isaac sat and taught and warned, and informed Jacob and appointed him a teacher, to sit and teach and keep all those who accompanied him. And Jacob the Patriarch taught all his sons, and separated Levi and appointed him as the head, and had him sit and learn the way of God and to keep Abraham’s commandments.”

The books that Abraham wrote relayed that two forces emanate from the singular force called God: giving and receiving. They explained that all of reality consists of interactions between the two forces. When they are balanced, things run smoothly; when they are not, bad things happen.

Abraham noticed that in his days, the receiving force was becoming significantly more intense than the giving force. He noticed that people had become more self-absorbed, impatient toward each other, and tried to encourage them to be kinder to each other in order to balance giving with receiving. This is why to this day, Abraham represents mercy and kindness.

The Babylonians, proud and selfish, decided to build a tower that would demonstrate their greatness. However, the tower, which we now call The Tower of Babylon, was a testimony to their hatred for each other. The book Pirkey de Rabbi Eliezer, one of the most prominent Midrashim (commentaries) on the Torah offers a vivid description of the Babylonians’ vanity: “Nimrod said to his people, ‘Let us build us a great city and dwell in it, lest we are scattered across the earth … and let us build a great tower within it, rising toward the heaven … and let us make us a great name in the land.’”

But more important than their vanity, the commentary offers a glimpse into the Babylonians’ alienation from each other: “They built it high … [and] if a person fell and died, they would not mind him. But if a brick fell, they would sit and weep and say, ‘When will another come up in its stead.’”

Despite Abraham’s warnings that their way would lead them nowhere good, they mocked him. The book Kol Mevaser writes that Abraham “would go outside and call out loud that there is one Creator to the world.” Alas, “to the people, he seemed as though he were insane, and children and grownups would hurl stones at him. Yet, Abraham did not mind any of it and kept on calling.”

Despite the derision, Abraham’s efforts did not go unrewarded. After he was expelled from Babylon and left for the land of Canaan, he kept on circulating his discovery. Maimonides’s elaborate descriptions tell us that “He began to call out to the whole world … wandering from town to town and from kingdom to kingdom until he arrived in the land of Canaan … When [people in the places where he wandered] gathered around him and asked him about his words, he taught everyone … until he brought them to the path of truth. Finally, thousands and tens of thousands assembled around him, and they are the people of the house of Abraham.”

That was the beginning of the Jewish people—an assembly of people who had nothing in common but their conviction that receiving must be balanced with giving, and who were willing to toil in order to develop the quality of mercy within them.

In the next article, I will focus on Abraham’s descendants’ entry into Egypt and the beginning of Jew-hatred.

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“How To Correct Democracy?”

Dr. Michael LaitmanFrom My Facebook Page Michael Laitman 11/10/20

One of the key concepts in Kabbalah is called “recognition of evil.” It means you realize something is so corrupt that you just have to change it. It usually refers to qualities you find within you when you’re honest with yourself. But sometimes, the recognition of evil pertains to the whole system, when you realize it’s long overdue for a transformation. This, today, is the state of democracy, not just in the US, but around the world. The question is what will replace it?

Democracy was a decent idea while it worked. It is preferable to various forms of autarchy because people can express themselves relatively freely, the justice system is more or less reliable, people feel they have a say in the country’s life, they do not feel oppressed, and their standard of living is usually better than in undemocratic countries.

Democracy did not spring out of nowhere. Humanity evolved into it after going through phases where slavery was the norm, monarchy was a given, and people couldn’t imagine anything else.

But human nature isn’t static; it is constantly developing and demands more and more. In the past, slaves were content as long as they had a decent master. Today, we can’t accept being somebody else’s property. As we began to evolve and demand more, we started looking for other ways to live. We went to the extreme Right and the extreme Left, but both were despotic and oppressive, and (thankfully) neither lasted.

In the end, we decided that the majority of people in the country should decide what happens in the country, while taking into consideration the needs of the minority. This idea manifested in different ways in different countries, but by and large, these countries were regarded as democratic countries and their people were regarded as free people, who have a real say in the government’s policies.

However, in recent years, we have witnessed a process where the difference between the majority and the minority has thinned to a point where very few people can tilt the balance one way or the other. We could already see this in the 2016 US presidential election, and it is even more conspicuous in this election. Whether Biden becomes president or Trump remains in office, neither will have the support of a substantial majority of the country. This gridlock is unsolvable and will result in an explosion, or rather implosion of the country and an outbreak of a civil war. There is only one peaceful solution: introduce an idea that everyone can sympathize with and translate the idea into practical steps in local and national policies.

In my view, that idea is “unity above all.” In other words, if you are an American (for example, but it could pertain to any country), then you are entitled to everything that a country should give to its residents. At the same time, you are obligated to do your civil duties. Beyond that, everyone, all of society, works on building warm connections among them, increasing solidarity and mutual responsibility regardless of race, color, faith, or gender. No one is privileged, and no one is deprived; no one is entitled, and no one is disenfranchised. Everyone gets their share of benefits and commitments, but focuses mainly on bringing their hearts together and forming warm communities that accept all factions of society.

We might think this is a far-fetched idea, that it’s unrealistic, but have we ever tried it? We are told day in and day out that the other side is evil, wrong, ill-meaning, and seeks to harm us. In the vast majority of cases, this is not at all the case. The vast majority of people simply want a peaceful and secure life. They don’t enjoy hurting other people and would rather spend their days in peace with family and friends.

It is time we tell ourselves the real story, the story of life, not the drama that media moguls insist on selling us because they profit from our agony and anger. Wouldn’t it be good if we could all unite? Of course it would, so why don’t we? At the end of the day, our neighbors impact our everyday lives far more than this or that president, so where is the logic in hating them for their political views?

In the coming years, we will see that the democratic system makes no sense unless the idea of unity above politics becomes the guiding principle and dictates every policy. It will become some sort of a pro-society regime, but it cannot be oppressive, or it will not produce unity. It will probably grow from a grassroots movement of people who have had enough of hatred and suspicion, and want to form real bonding in society. It will come from people who realize that it’s either unity or war. And if these people don’t succeed, then bloodshed is the only other option.

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