Entries in the 'Holidays' Category

Shavuot—The Holiday Of Unity

935The holiday of Shavuot comes on the 50th day after Passover. For 49 days we perform the Omer count, which is like counting tied bundles, because the main work of man is to bind himself with the Creator. If we bind all of us together with our desires and intentions, we create one common vessel, we create a place for the revelation of the Creator’s light.

There are seven Sefirot in the soul, seven qualities that are developing in the head of the spiritual Partzuf (Rosh): Hessed, Gevura, Tifferet, Netzach, Hod, Yesod, and Malchut. In each Sefira, there are another seven Sefirot, that is: 7 x 7 = 49, and combining all together, we get 50.

Therefore, on the 50th day after exiting Egypt, from the moment we began to correct our spiritual vessel, the connection between us, we come to this special day when the connection between everybody emerges. This day is called the holiday of Shavuot.

In Egypt, we were still under the control of the desire to receive and could not connect with each other. Pharaoh kept us in slavery and did not allow us to connect with each other. When we escape from the slavery of Pharaoh, we can begin to connect, and that is why we run away from him. After all, it was very good in Egypt in the corporeal sense. It was bad only in the spiritual sense because of the inability to connect.

Those who wanted to connect, considered it a spiritual gain and were not afraid to sacrifice material things for this purpose, they came out of Egypt. After that, when we start to connect with each other, we come to the state of Omer, a bundle. So, we join part by part, counting these bundles until we reach the last, 49th day in the Omer count when we are already able to receive from the Creator the light that will fill us.

And for 49 days, we were receiving only the light of correction, so it was called the Omer. Each time, we found egoistic qualities between us that did not allow us to connect, but we tried to correct them and connect them, until on the 50th day, everything finally connected and we reached the common quality of mutual bestowal between us and from us to the Creator. Now the Creator can also give us the light and this is why it is called the day of the giving the Torah.

The symbols of this holiday are milk, the sign of bestowal, and a connected group bound together in one bundle (Omer) and in adhesion with the Creator.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 5/28/20, “Feast of Weeks”

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Shavuot—Receiving The Method Of Correction

laitman_937Question: After the exodus from Egypt, the Torah was received, which represents the special holiday of Shavuot. Receiving the Torah means receiving the upper light with the help of which a person can correct himself and reach the level of the Creator.

Why did this happen on Mount Sinai?

Answer: Mount Sinai personifies hatred toward our egoism, due to which we can receive the highest light.

We received the method for correcting the ego because we hated it as we were standing under Mount Sinai, we saw how much this selfishness is odious to us, how much it is against us. We were literally ready to bury ourselves under this mountain if we did not receive the force of correction.

Only after that were we able to enter the Land of Israel, in Eretz Yisrael.

“Eretz” is desire, “Israel” (Isra-El)—aimed directly to the Creator (Yashar-Kel).

Being in the Land of Israel, we built the First and the Second Temples there, which personify the unification of the whole soul in its leading form, called Israel. And in our time, we must draw to this not only ourselves, but also the whole humanity and reach the Third Temple.
From KabTV’s “Fundamentals of Kabbalah,” 1/29/19

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It Is Important To Understand What The Torah Says

laitman_209The Torah describes so many different events. Can it all be just in order to achieve love for the created beings, to get closer to other people, and replace your hatred with love? Why is this written in the Torah, in the instruction given to us by the upper force? We do not understand this.

In fact, it is unclear how this is possible because experience shows everyone is ready to speak beautiful words, every religion calls for kindness and love, and as a result, the entire history of humanity is accompanied by mutual hatred and wars. This is why it is so important to understand what the Torah says. It describes the only thing that has not happened in history.

Baal HaSulam writes that the Torah speaks exclusively about one thing: about love of one’s neighbor as oneself, that is, the love of people. You have to love them as if there is nothing else besides this: to love all of humanity and every person (some people love humanity, but they do not love people). A person should do everything for the sake of love and live in this world only for the sake of it.

The only purpose of a person’s existence in this world is to bring good to all people. The Torah describes 613 actions of bestowal that a person must perform, and all of them are in regard to other people, relative to one’s neighbor. Only then does a person observe the Torah, that is, corrects his soul.

Rabbi Akiva, the greatest sage in times of the Second Temple, said that “Love your neighbor as yourself is a great rule in the Torah,” its entire essence. The Torah is intended for reaching love for people.

What should we do in order to receive the Torah? You must want to receive it! After all, why do you need it? To study the Torah means to study how to love your neighbor. Are you ready for this, do you really want this?

Little by little, we begin to understand that the attainment of the greatness of the Creator, His revelation, and reaching love for one’s neighbor are one and the same thing. The love of friends and love of people cannot be less than the love of the Creator since one is clothed into the other.

This one commandment about loving your neighbor as yourself includes all the commandments, that is, all the corrections that a person must make in his egoistic desire in order to bring him to bestowal, becoming a complete righteous. And within this love for people, he will attain the love for the Creator.

Each commandment is a correction of an egoistic desire. There are 613 desires in a person, and all of them are egoistic, and we need to turn them into the bestowing ones.
From the 3rd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 5/27/20,Writings of Baal HaSulam, “Matan Torah [The Giving of the Torah]“

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Shavuot—The Holiday Of Finding A Connection With The Creator

laitman_744A special holiday is coming – Shavuot, the holiday of the giving of the Torah. It symbolizes the revelation in the world of the Torah to us, that is, the connection between the Creator and people.

This happened about three and a half thousand years ago, in the Sinai Desert, near Mount Sinai. Such symbols exist in our world because each spiritual root is obliged to touch its material branch.

This holiday is significant in that a person receives a connection with the upper force. Otherwise, we would remain animals that exist aimlessly on Planet Earth, which is rushing somewhere in a lifeless space.

And now we can connect with the very force that created the universe, the globe, and the people on it, and that launched the entire process of evolution. We can find out what is behind this process, what are the forms of relations between us and the higher power.

Shavuot is a great holiday because we celebrate gaining connection with the Creator, which allows us to rise from this life, from its aimlessness and meaninglessness, above this animate existence. There is no holiday bigger than the giving of the Torah; everything starts with it! If it weren’t for it, our lives would be in vain.

We would remain ordinary animals born in order to live and die. The Torah gives us the opportunity to rise above our lives, comprehend a higher power, and enter eternity, perfection, another dimension that is based on bestowal, not reception.

Our world exists only within egoism, reception, and the spiritual world exists for the sake of bestowal; therefore, it is eternal and perfect. Thanks to this means, which is called the Torah, we have the opportunity to rise from the lower world to the higher one.

Therefore, we celebrate Shavuot, in which there are not many symbols: white clothes and dairy food are symbols of bestowal. Those are all the characteristics of this holiday.

According to history, the giving of the Torah occurred after the people of Israel left Egypt, that is, after fleeing from the selfish intention and crossing the Red Sea (Yam Suf), which meant breaking off from egoism and entering the Sinai Desert, the place where hatred (Sinaa) between altruistic and egoistic desires is revealed.

And then a person faces a mountain of doubts. Har (mountain) comes from Hirhurim (doubts). How many objections we have against the desire for bestowal is revealed to us and we need to work on them. Therefore, we shout: “Where is the tool that will allow us to achieve bestowal? We do not have such strength!”

Then we get a power from above called “the upper light,” “Torah,” that is, “light” (Ohr), “program,” “technique” (Ora’a). Thus, we begin to develop purposefully.

Until now we are making correction after correction in our egoism, generation after generation, until we come to the end of correction. All this is possible thanks to the hidden power of the Torah, which is called “the light that returns to the source,” the highest light of correction.

In the days of this holiday there is a special power in the world. And if we study it together, it will move us forward.
From the 3rd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 5/27/20, Writings of Baal HaSulam, “Matan Torah [The Giving of the Torah]“

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“What Is Shavuot?” (Quora)

Dr. Michael LaitmanMichael Laitman, On Quora: What is Shavuot?

Shavuot is the celebration of the giving of the Torah.

The Jewish holidays, according to the wisdom of Kabbalah, mark significant stages in our spiritual path, i.e., in our transformation from our inborn egoistic selves to our spiritual, altruistic selves, above the human ego.

Specifically on Shavuot, we receive the name “Israel.”

The word “Israel” stems from two words, “Yashar Kel” (“straight to God”). It refers to a state when we are granted the method to attain the Creator, the quality of love and bestowal, through our free will.

If we do not use this method, then we will instead develop involuntarily to that goal through many indirect paths, much suffering and pressuring forces.

Becoming the people of Israel means that we ourselves decide that we truly want to attain the Creator, i.e., to attain relations of love and bestowal among each other, and act as if we ourselves implement such connections, without waiting for the Creator to give us such an ability.

Our efforts to achieve positive relations draw a positive response, which eventually grants us the ability to understand, feel and attain the Creator.

The Creator operates on us whether we attain Him or not. However, when we attain Him, we understand how He works, want Him to act through us, and precede His actions on us with our longing for Him.

In addition, when we discuss “the giving of the Torah” and our “reception of the Torah,” we need to understand that our engagement in the Torah has nothing to do with delving into the words of a written text.

Engaging in the Torah means increasing our unity, prioritizing unity above every divisive drive we feel, as King Solomon put it (Proverbs, 10:12): “Hate stirs strife, and love covers all crimes.”

It is written about engaging in the Torah meaning increasing unity in more places…

“Obtainment of the Torah is primarily through unity, as in the verse, ‘And Israel encamped there before the mount,’ ‘as one man with one heart,’ and there their filth (evil inclination) ceased.” In Parashat Emor, the book continues, “During the days of the [omer] count, a person should correct the quality of unity, and by this one is rewarded with obtainment of the Torah on the festival of Shavuot, as it is written, ‘And they journeyed from Refidim and came to the Sinai desert, and Israel encamped there before the mount.’ RASHI interpreted that they were all in one heart as one man and this is why they were rewarded with the Torah.” – Maor Vashemesh (Parashat Yitro).

“The root of mutual responsibility extends primarily from the reception of the Torah, when all of Israel were responsible for one another. This is so because at the root, the souls of Israel are regarded as one, for they derive from the origin of the unity. For this reason, all of Israel were responsible for one another upon the reception of the Torah.” –Likutey Halachot (Assorted Rules), chapter “Hilchot Arev” (“Rules of Guarantee”).

“It is impossible to observe Torah and Mitzvot (commandments),” meaning receive the light that transforms egoism into love of others, “unless through mutual responsibility, when each one is responsible for his friend. For this reason, each one should include himself with the whole of Israel in great unity. Hence, at the time of the reception of the Torah, they immediately became responsible for one another, for as soon as they want to receive the Torah they must merge as one in order to be included in the desire. …Thus, specifically by each being responsible for his friend, they can observe the Torah. Without this, it would have been impossible to receive the Torah whatsoever.” – Likutey Halachot (Assorted Rules), chapter “Hoshen Mishpat,” (“The Book Writes [Rule No. 3]”).

“Why Do Many Jews Eat Dairy Products During The Shavuot Holiday?” (Quora)

Dr. Michael LaitmanMichael Laitman, On Quora: Why do many Jews eat dairy products during the Shavuot holiday?

Consuming dairy products during Shavuot is a symbol of love.

White symbolizes light, which is the pure force of love and giving.

Put simply, if we relate to each other out of love, we attract a positive response into our lives and progress to the discovery of a perfect world.

“What Is Part Of The Time Between Passover And Shavuot Thought To Be?” (Quora)

Dr. Michael LaitmanMichael Laitman, On Quora: What is part of the time between Passover and Shavuot thought to be?

“And by the exodus from Egypt they received the level of faith…and after Passover, the purifying work begins in preparation for the receiving of the Torah. And when the Torah is dressed in a person’s soul, this is the time of Shavuot, the time of the giving of our Torah.” (Kabbalist Baruch Shalom HaLevi Ashlag [Rabash], “Letter 52”)

Passover marks the end of the time of slavery in Egypt.

Our slavery in Egypt means that we feel problems stemming from the ego to make us want to disconnect from it and elevate ourselves upon it, and identify with the quality of love and giving.

In the process, we renew our efforts to rise above the ego time after time with the help of a supportive environment, i.e., others who share a similar desire to be above the ego and who support each other to do so.

The effort to rise above the ego is the work in Egypt. After we realize the full extent of that work, we receive a positive response to the effort: a force that emerges and corrects us.

That state is called Passover.

It is a significant correction on our spiritual path.

Passover, however, is only one stage toward our full correction. It marks the elevation above our ego.

Afterward, the time between Passover and Shavuot, designated by a count of 49 days, marks a time of disconnecting ourselves from our ego and rising to a level called “Bina,” a state of absolute giving, where there is no egoistic involvement whatsoever.

Shavuot marks the next correction, the full extent of the force we receive from Bina that lets us connect our ego with the force of correction, the force of the Torah. That is, at Shavuot, we don’t merely rise above the ego, as we do in Passover. At Shavuot, we gain the ability to connect our ego with the force of the Torah, which lets us use our ego in a corrected way.

Of course, such an explanation of the time between Passover and Shavuot relates only to the spiritual meaning of the holidays, as described by the wisdom of Kabbalah, which explains that the holidays are states on our spiritual path that we can feel at any moment we apply the necessary efforts to enter such states. See the links in my Quora bio for more info about how to get started with Kabbalah study.

Debunking The Myth Around Matan Torah (The Giving Of The Torah)

Dr. Michael LaitmanFrom My Facebook Page Michael Laitman 5/28/20

Today we’re celebrating the giving of the Torah. According to tradition, on this day, some 3,400 years ago, the people of Israel stood at the foot of Mt. Sinai and received the Torah. Incidentally, it is written that when Moses came down from the mountain with the Torah in his hands, it was written on two tablets. Afterwards, the Torah was written on parchment, then on paper, and finally on tablets again, so in that sense, we went full circle.

However, what’s really important is what the Torah is and why it was given. It is written that the Creator said, “I have created the evil inclination; I have created the Torah as a spice.” In other words, the Torah is something that corrects, improves. The word “Torah” comes from the word Ohr, which is Hebrew for “light,” meaning a force, energy that changes our inclination from evil, self-centered, to good, namely giving. According to the wisdom of Kabbalah, every other explanation of the meaning of the Torah is a myth.

Another myth concerns the intended recipients of the Torah. The people of Israel who came out of Egypt and received the Torah had descended from Abraham’s initial group. Abraham was not a Jew. In his days, there was no Jewish people. Abraham was Babylonian, and he found a way to mend the evil inclination that was spreading across his country, and offered his ideas to anyone who’d listen. The people who liked his ideas and united around him later became known as the people of Israel. When the people of Israel received the light, the correcting force called “Torah,” they were merely following Abraham’s legacy of correcting the ego, the evil inclination.

Therefore, the Torah is not for the Jews; it’s for everyone, since everyone is egoistic, and everyone needs a force that will correct us, since we clearly can’t correct ourselves. And the final myth for this post concerns the way to receive the Torah—the correcting force. According to Kabbalah, receiving the force has nothing to do with Judaism, and everything to do with unity. To receive the Torah, Israel had to unite “as one man with one heart.” Only after they did this, they received the force of correction for their egos, and once they united, they became the Israeli nation. So anyone who truly wishes to unite with all the people, to bring them all into the heart, will receive that correcting force, and that will be his or her reception of the Torah.

Happy Matan Torah to everyone.

“Tikkun Olam And The Falsehood of Social Justice” (Times Of Israel)

The Times of Israel published my new article “Tikkun Olam and the Falsehood of Social Justice

Always around the holiday of Shavuot (aka Feast of Weeks), we Jews discuss the concept of Tikkun Olam (lit. “correction of the world”). The prevailing understanding of Tikkun Olam is that the term speaks of the obligation of Jews to pursue social justice, lead an ethical life, and support equal rights to the underprivileged and minorities. These are all worthy goals, and the right for equality is a given for every human being. Nevertheless, placing the correction of the world on these values guarantees that the world will never be corrected, and below I will explain why.

At the foot of Mt. Sinai, when the Jews received the Torah—the code of law by which they lived—they received it only because they had met the precondition to be, even if only for that movement, “as one man with one heart.” That is, for one moment, they were in such absolute love for one another that they became as one person. Subsequently, they received their code of law which was meant to help them maintain that state of mutual love. This is why Rabbi Akiva, whose disciples gave us the texts that form the basis of our nation, taught that the overall rule of the Torah is that one sentence, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Immediately after Israel received the Torah, they were tasked with passing on what they had achieved. In other words, they became a nation in order to be “a light unto nations,” spreading unity and mutual love to the rest of the nations.

But two thousand years ago, we fell into such depths of mutual hatred that we did not even need a reason to hate one another. This unfounded hatred brought upon us not only the destruction of the Temple and the loss of sovereignty, but also the permanent loathing and contempt of the nations. That loathing, whose root is our unfounded loathing for our brothers, brought upon us countless cataclysms since then, the most catastrophic of which is, of course, the Holocaust.

Nevertheless, we do not learn. We do everything to avoid loving one another, and turn instead to surrogates such as social justice and morals. Yet, as we can see, there is no social justice and there is no moral anywhere. Values can’t replace mutual love, which is what the nations truly want from us: to shine for them the light of unity.

If we loved each other, we would not need to promote social justice, since lovers do not behave unjustly to each other. We would not need to speak of morals since lovers do not behave immorally toward their loved ones. Ethics would not be an issue since there are no such things as exploitation or mistreatment among people who genuinely care for one another.

A mother does not need moral codes when she tends to her baby. Her love directs her and she always works with her child’s best interest in mind. Where you find laws, you won’t find love.

And as if we haven’t suffered enough, we still don’t want to love each other. We gladly bond with other faiths and practices, but when it comes to loving people of our own nation, we do not even speak of social justice, let alone love.

In relating so disparagingly toward our coreligionists, we shun the concept of being a light unto nations. We were, are, and always will be at the center of the world’s attention. Subconsciously, people are and always will expect us to project the light of brotherly love to the nations. But what we project is mutual derision and hate. When that is the case, no nation will love us, however hard we try to win its favor. Until we do our duty and cultivate love among ourselves, we will not fulfill the task for which we were given nationhood on the first Shavuot, at the foot of Mt. Sinai. And therefore, the nations will not love us.

So this year, I propose that we focus less on being morally just and ethical, and more, much more, on loving one another. Let’s dare, for once, to rise above our differences, avoid judging and patronizing, condemning and ridiculing. Instead, let’s stay who we are and unite above it. Let’s at least think about it. After all, Rabbi Akiva did not leave us a legacy of ethics, but a legacy of love, so let’s try to do what this teacher of our nation taught, and see what happens.

New Life 1221 – The Exodus From Egypt In The Coronavirus Era

New Life 1221 – The Exodus From Egypt In The Coronavirus Era
Dr. Michael Laitman in conversation with Oren Levi

The entire developmental process that humanity is going through is intended to bring us closer to an attitude of mutual love, connection, and integrality. Like the plagues of Egypt, the coronavirus is helping humanity to stop harming each other and nature. It is causing us to sit at home with time to think about the essence of life. We must rise above our differences and become like God: the general, integral power of nature that is working behind the scenes and moves everyone. The miracle of the Exodus from Egypt occurs when we arouse God to connect among us. At the peak of our development we will be free people, liberated from slavery to the ego, and connected to love within a single system.
From KabTV’s “New Life 1221 – The Exodus From Egypt In The Coronavirus Era,” 4/7/20

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