Entries in the 'Inner Work' Category

Learn The Actions We Must Perform

Dr. Michael Laitman“The Preface to the Wisdom of Kabbalah” (Pticha) begins with these words: “The Creator wished to cleanse Israel; hence, He has given them plentiful Torah and Mitzvot (commandments)…” The Creator has a goal and He works toward it. The goal must be achieved through the process that the created beings undergo. The Creator placed this goal before us and He wishes for us to achieve it not by some miracle, but through our own effort and gradual internal changes.

This goal is primary, it precedes our creation; in order to achieve it, we must go by means of Torah and Mitzvot, meaning, to change our desire with the help of the light that reforms. This goal existed prior to the creation of a person in this world, as was the ladder of spiritual degrees that the person must ascend in order to achieve it. The Creator thought about everything in advance and organized it for us; everything is ready.

We must cleanse ourselves of our egoism and by doing so achieve the goal. But we do not negate it because nothing was created in this world needlessly. Thus, if we have the correct attitude toward our nature, made by the Creator, and strive toward the state He has in store for us, we find ourselves on a given path that we must go through.

It is impossible to skip over this path because we acquire the qualities we need while on it, we purify ourselves. We must cleanse our egoistic desire and, through this work, arrive at the intended goal. Such is the desire of the Creator.

This is how Baal HaSulam starts his article “Preface to the Wisdom of Kabbalah,” trying to explain to us, in the briefest way possible, the beginning, the middle, and the end of the path of the person’s spiritual work and the study of the system of the upper worlds. In this article, one must understand that the higher spiritual laws, expanding from the thought of creation, consist of only two parts: the nature of the Creator and the nature of the creation, which must be opposite to the Creator. The final goal is to bring the creation to the full adhesion with the Creator without changing its nature but giving it a different form, which resembles the qualities of the Creator.

Through studying the article “Preface to the Wisdom of Kabbalah,” the system of the upper worlds and its unfolding from top to bottom as a result of which our whole reality was built, we realize that all of it sprung from the thought of creation, for the purpose of bringing us to the final goal. This top-down development of the worlds, the spiritual degrees, states, obligates us to conduct certain actions here below in order to use all the means at our disposal and achieve the purpose of our lives. Our inner work must reflect the spiritual qualities described in this article.

We learn about the light working on the desire, building and disseminating from top to bottom, Partzufim, Sefirot, upper worlds. But in fact, we are learning about the actions we must perform in order to have a clear understanding of what our spiritual work has to be like. Thus, we eliminate all prior misconceptions and clearly see what must be done to achieve the goal.1
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 8/14/19, Writings of Baal HaSulam, “Preface to the Wisdom of Kabbalah,” item 11.
1 Minute 5:05

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Working With Obstacles

Dr. Michael LaitmanIf my goal is to give to the Creator, then it should not be important for me whether I do it from the state of ascent or descent. I make a restriction on myself as if I do not exist, and I am only looking for any opportunity to please the Creator. I constantly live in such a “sandwich”: I only pay attention to my goal to bring joy to the Creator, whether I rise or fall.

Then my attitude to the ups and downs becomes constructive: I evaluate them in terms of what will help me more. Perhaps it is more useful for me to reveal more darkness and all kinds of defects. Already by the fact that I thank the Creator for the evil revealed, I give Him pleasure because I understand that this is preparation for merging with Him. I want to be faithful to Him in bad states just as in good ones and not wait for Him to correct everything.

If I solve the problems and stay in joy, this is a sign that I am on the right track and keep the right direction. There is no good without evil. Evil is a solid foundation with which I can confidently advance to perfect work. I always check where and how, in what form and with what power can I please the Creator as much as possible, attach to Him. I do not strive for Him so that I feel good, but because my whole intention is to merge with Him for the sake of bestowing to Him. Therefore, we can feel perfection in any state so that darkness will shine as the Light, and there will be no difference between darkness and light, day and night, and everything will be united in one great day.

If I do not see myself in such a sandwich, then life will constantly throw me up and down, I will not feel that these jumps are targeted, and I will not be happy about the ups and downs equally.

The Creator is the healer of all diseases. Therefore, when I reveal some kind of breakage, I already have the right medicine. When I reveal the disease, it already means I have a cure: these two processes are inextricably linked. The main joy comes from revealing the flaws. The more we reveal them, the more pleasure we can deliver to the Creator.

If I am ready, I will always be glad for any fall: “Look, there is still a flaw! And here is another one, and more!” I will enjoy and rejoice in revealing defects and regret those that have not yet been revealed. After all, a hidden problem has no chance of resolution, and discovering it is a great blessing from above. If it is manifested, it means it existed before but in disguise.

If the Creator reveals bad qualities, conditions, and broken relationships to us, it is a sign of our progress. We must accept them all with joy because they are sent to us by the Creator with love. We must immediately answer Him with love, gratitude, and blessings for the bad as much as for the good.1

It is not good if everything goes quietly and smoothly in the group. This is similar to a family: if a husband and wife never argue, then it is not life. According to nature, there must be conflicts so that we understand each other’s weaknesses and love each other no matter what. There must be gaps and connections, and only their alternation gives a sense of life.

We do not need to wait for the relationship to be smooth like a horizontal line. After all, it is known that a flatlined electrocardiogram means death. Life means beatings, blows and overcomings: there must be ups and downs.2
From the 2nd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 8/13/19, “To Learn From the Descent During the Time of Ascent”
1 Minute 2:40 – 11:24
2 Minute 16:00

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“When You Walk Into Your Neighbor’s Vineyard”

Dr. Michael LaitmanThe Torah, Deuteronomy, 23:25: When you enter your neighbor’s vineyard, you may eat as many grapes as you desire, until you are sated, but you shall not put [any] into your vessel. 

Grapes symbolize desire. That’s why “you may eat as many grapes as you desire, …but you shall not put [any] into your vessel” for the desire is foreign. When you get included into that desire, meaning rise to the next level, there you can receive into yourself without descending back to your level.

This refers to two Partzufim, two souls: big and small. If a small soul rises to the big one and gets included into it, like an embryo into its mother’s womb, then it can feed on everything there is on the upper level. However, it cannot descend to its level since it would be like death, like bodily infection.

When you are able to ascend and descend freely, understanding that you may not use this desire on your own level, the inclusion in the upper level will gradually raise you, and you will begin to ascend yourself and build your own “vineyard.”

Interestingly enough, on the farming fields in Israel, one can pick and eat all the fruits and vegetables he wants, but if wants to take them away, he has to pay for it. Everything has its roots and branches. This is the law of the Torah.

You can enter any field, say the sunflower field, choose whatever you like, and the owner will not say a word about it. He probably would not even look at you, though he knows he will be stripped of. But it doesn’t matter, this is a commandment. It means that the Creator will allow to replenish the harvest.

When you enter your neighbor’s standing grain, you may pick the ears with your hand, but you shall not lift a sickle upon your neighbor’s standing grain (The Torah, Deuteronomy, 23:26).

You may take as many ears of wheat as you need at the given moment because you’re not producing anything from it. But you cannot cut the harvest of a friend with a blade since that is an entire production (egoistic reception).
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From KabTV’s “Secrets of the Eternal Book” 10/26/16

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Cling To Eternity

Laitman_025_01The Torah, Deuteronomy 23:14: When you sit down outside [to relieve yourself], you shall dig with it (with a stake), and you shall return and cover your excrement.

Question: Why one must cover his excrement?  

Answer: All human waste, including the deceased body must be buried in order to undergo a complete circuit.

As a result of the person’s life everything should rise, and the body waste and the body itself, from which all spiritual energy disappears after death, remain only on inanimate level and therefore should be liken to earth.

In contrast to the traditions of other nations that embalm mummies, the Jews immediately buried the dead body so that it would rot. It was considered correct since animalistic body symbolizes egoism that remains from the former person. It has to dissolve and turn to ashes by completely disintegrating into constituent parts.

The living matter gradually descends to the level that is truly inanimate. Some Jewish communities even had a custom to put lime into graves so that body would decompose quickly.

Question: Does it mean that attitude to the body should be purely biological?

Answer: The body is worth nothing, it must die. In our world, we should use it only to the extent that it is required for the spiritual ascent. It has no other value.

If you have an opportunity to correct some level of your body, you should correct it. If it works for the general correction, then do it, go to the doctor, take medicine, and so on. The attitude to the body must be purely mercantilist so that it would give us an opportunity to cling to eternity while we still alive.
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From KabTV’s “Secrets of the Eternal Book” 10/19/16

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The Nuances Of The Term “Friend”

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: Why do Hebrew speaking Kabbalah students call each other “companion, comrade” (“Haver in Hebrew) and not “friend” (“Yedid” in Hebrew)?

Answer: In Hebrew, there are two terms: a “comrade, companion” (Haver) and a “friend” (Yedid). But a “friend” is a buddy, a pal, while the word “companion” is derived from the Hebrew word “Hibur” or connection, link.

Question: Why is it said, “And you shall love your neighbor” (Leviticus 19:18), meaning that one shall love the other and not the “companion, comrade”?

Answer: This is because a comrade or companion is someone who is close to you ideologically. In Hebrew there are many synonyms for the word “friend,” which are used according to one’s relationship with another person.

Hibur” (connection) is above them all, it expresses a mutual aspiration towards the goal for the sake of which two people connect with each other. “Neighbor” is a person who is not particularly close to you, but you have a particular connection with him. The “other” is someone outside of your ego whom you want to draw closer to yourself. A “friend” is a pal, a buddy, and there is also an acquaintance (“Mekir” in Hebrew).

All of these words as if illuminate the level of closeness between you and another person. The wisdom of Kabbalah is a unique language, everything that relates to the spiritual ascent of a person is divided into thousands of levels, and everything else is not.

Comment: But Rabbi Akiva in his famous saying, “And you shall love your neighbor as yourself” used the word “neighbor” and not the word “companion, comrade.”

Answer: Once you love a person he can already be called a “companion, comrade” for this is a higher level.

Question: What is the meaning of the saying, “And you shall love your neighbor as yourself”?

Answer: To the same degree that my ego loves itself, I must rise above it to love the other.
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From KabTV’s lesson in Russian 12/11/16

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Are We Guarded From Above? Part 10

Dr. Michael LaitmanThroughout his entire life, a person cannot make a single action aimlessly, without any connection with the upper force. However, it is preferable that he or she acts only in order to resemble the upper force and to connect with it since thereby he approaches revelation.

Question: Why do I need the upper force? Why do I need to resemble it? In what way is it connected to my everyday life? I get up in the morning; I go to work; my concern is for my children to get to school safely and return home safely. I would like for everything to go well at work, for my boss to be in a good mood, and for my projects to go smoothly.

In the evening I return home and want to be greeted by a satisfied wife and happy children so that there is no stress or aggravation.

This daily routine repeats year after year, only with new problems, discernments, inventions, and losses. How does trying to resemble the upper force, which theoretically protects my life, fit into all this? What kind of connection, if any, does it have to a person’s life?

Answer: All your life you were following commands of the upper force without even being aware of who was controlling you. You just ran along the tracks of life like a toy train that is set in motion by a remote control. And it seemed to you that you did everything yourself.

The problem lies in the fact that the upper force is hidden from us. But if you begin to sense who is controlling you and for what purpose, and how you can participate in all the things that He is doing with you, then you will understand that you are not being aimlessly led around in circles like a toy train. Precisely by participating in these actions you will be able to attain the One who is controlling you and to see your entire life from His perspective.

And then in all that you do, you will attempt to establish contact with the Controller. A person must conduct this type of inner work each moment. That is, all that you do in life is only in order to reveal the upper force that directs you. You begin to sense how it behaves at each moment.

Question: A person senses his complete vulnerability in life, in not knowing what tomorrow will bring. Does a connection with the upper force give us a greater sense of security in tomorrow?

Answer: If a person is connected with the upper force, then he is not concerned at all about tomorrow, the main thing is to remain in contact, in adhesion with the Controller. What difference does it make where He is leading me? I am not concerned about the next moment, my only concern is to not lose contact with Him.

This provides such a protective shield in life that nothing else is required because you are connected to the upper mind. Connection with the upper force is like an insurance coverage for all situations in life from the biggest and most successful insurance company that includes all of existence. This is what the wisdom of Kabbalah offers a person.

Question: But what if the person is not religious?

Answer: This has nothing to do with religion, only with a desire to attain the force that governs us.

Question: Where do we look for this upper force?

Answer: We need to look for it inside our own hearts with the help of the wisdom of Kabbalah. It’s not an easy task and it requires time. But ultimately, each will be able to “know your G-d and serve Him.”
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From KabTV’s “A New Life,” #818, 01/26/17

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A Worldwide Ideology

A Worldwide IdeologyThe Torah, Deuteronomy, 23:08-23:09: You shall not despise an Edomite, for he is your brother. You shall not despite an Egyptian, for you were a sojourner in his hands. Children who are born to them in the third generation may enter the assembly of the Lord.

This refers to the nations where the Jews lived during exile. Despite the fact that the peoples of the world oppressed them and organized pogroms, the Jews should treat them well.

It is interesting that when Jews leave the place of exile, they do not feel hatred, gloating, or any negative feelings towards the native population living there. This has never happened throughout history. And regarding the peoples who were in the Land of Israel and had to be conquered, the attitude was simple: destroy them.

Question: Why do the Jews who returned to the Land of Israel from different places experience a nostalgic attitude toward the peoples of the countries from which they came?

Answer: It’s because the Light is passed through the Jew who “fell” onto someone’s land and connected to another nation. By this he becomes responsible for their correction and has to attend to them. Therefore, he feels certain attraction, a special relationship toward this nation. This doesn’t exist in anyone but the Jews.

Question: It is written, “In the third generation they may enter the assembly of the Lord.” Meaning, the places where Jews lived during exile are sacred?

Answer: The Jews came out of Babylon and created a separate nation based upon a certain ideological principle. The nations of the world can do the same. Nothing needs to be changed other than the ideology. And the entire world will be this way.

Connection above egoism – this is the whole ideology.
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From KabTV’s “Secrets of the Eternal Book” 10/19/16

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The Work Of A Person And That Of The Creator

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: What is the inner work of a person, the work of the soul?”

Answer: Kabbalists call the efforts against one’s desire work.

Let’s say I want to lie down, but despite that I get up and go to work. In our world, this is what we call making an effort. But we forget that if I get up and go to work, this is already my will. It means that I overcame my desire to lie down on the couch and watch football and decided that it would be better to go to work and earn money. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have been able to get up and set off for work to waste my energy there. Even if by overcoming, I’ve nonetheless,used my desire.

That is, I exchange one desire for another because I see this as a clear benefit. This is the physical work in our world, work that everybody performs: athletes, artists, workers, it does not matter who and how. If a person can overcome himself and accomplish something, it is his material, physical work. What if he cannot? Approach with a whip and he will want it.

In other words, if by shaming, condemning, inflicting suffering, or affecting a person in any other way it is possible to change his desire and force him to perform a particular activity, this is called the work of our world. In the end, he’ll want to do the work to avoid suffering.

By definition, spiritual work is impossible to perform. A person inherently cannot do it by himself because the upper Light or the Creator does it for him. That is why this work is called the Creator’s work.

The truth of the matter is that I have to ask the Creator to perform this work for me. Meaning that my requests and pleas are the preparation for Him to correct me—this is my work.

He has to perform the work because the property of absolute bestowal and love are completely nonexistent in the framework of my nature. And in accordance with the way I am created, I am not capable of performing the spiritual work.

That is why I have to persuade the upper Light that I really want for it to do it on my behalf. So, why would this work be written on my behalf? Because I’ve succeeded in persuading the Creator. I did everything for this to happen and that is why it’s considered my work, although it is called “the work of the Creator.” This means that He performs, but I beg and plead for it to happen.

This is the only possibility for a person’s free will in our world, in our condition.
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From KabTV’s lesson in Russian 12/18/16

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The Cycle Of Calculations And Benefits

laitman_610_1Question: Is spiritual work a suppression of one egoistic desire by another?

Answer: What kind of spiritual work is this? You change one desire for another as if in the market, that’s all.

For example, I wanted to lie on the couch and watch football. And the wife says: “Go to the market and buy potatoes.” I think what’s better for me: watch the football game or go and buy potatoes.

If I do not go to the market, the children will remain hungry, the wife will make a scene, and it will cost me more. I make a calculation: I better skip a football match and go buy potatoes.

There cannot be altruistic calculations in our world. Man’s highest impulses are entirely selfish.

Question: What does it mean to engage in spiritual work without a selfish calculation? Can you give an example?

Answer: In our world there is no such example.

Let’s say I transfered a portion of my salary to the starving in Africa. Nobody knows about this. And the people of Africa do not know they get it from me, and I will never get to know them, I just transferred it. So why did I do this? Where did I get energy and desire to do so?

The point is that if we only are the selfish desire to enjoy, then we get some sort of pleasure from our actions; otherwise I would not have the strength to make a single movement. The atom could not spin, molecules and electrons could not circulate in our body if we did not see the benefits before us.

And the more intangible this benefit is, for example, a psychological or romantic benefit, the more energy it can give us. For instance, in order to earn my food and have a good dinner, I can spend a day, but in order to earn love or to take revenge on someone, I’m ready to spend my whole life. That is, there is already a calculation concerning desires. “Love and hunger rule the world.”

Question: What motivates a person in spirituality?

Answer: Also love and hunger, only the calculation is different: I shift the importance from the love for myself to others—to the entire humanity. This gives me the opportunity to experience the Creator, to be like Him.
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From KabTV’s Lesson in Russian 12/18/17

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A Man’s Attire Shall Not Be On A Woman

laitman_533_02The Torah, Dueteronomy 22:05: A man’s attire shall not be on a woman, nor may a man wear a woman’s garment because whoever does these [things] is an abomination to the Lord, your God.

The so-called female and male desires have separate intrinsic states. Female desires are mostly selfish. They can be corrected only if a man is by the side. And male desires are desires for bestowal, they are basically intentions.

Therefore, a woman cannot be without a man. A female desire must be either under the guidance of her father or her husband. A free woman, that is a free desire, shouldn’t exist because without the right intention it will be selfish. This is a law and it shouldn’t happen in the nation.

That’s why the current state of humanity and society is completely opposite to the correct state.

If a woman “wears man’s clothes,” this means that she behaves freely as a man, which is the source of all problems in society. But it stems from the fact that it is necessary to correct internal desires, which are always female desires, while the intentions are male. Therefore, a man must always “cover” a woman (desire) with his intention.

If a man “puts on women’s clothes,” this means that he descends to a level at which he starts working for reception instead of bestowal. And this is a terrible degradation.

A man in Hebrew is called Gever from the word Gabrut, an effort, which means putting effort in overcoming his own egoism and always trying to set himself on the Creator. And if he is not doing this, then he is at a very low, animal level. It is said: “All are like animals.”

A woman is a state when you feel your egoism, you try to do something about it, but you cannot. To do this, you have to “get married,” that is, find a man’s intention.
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From KabTV’s “Secrets of the Eternal Book” 9/28/16

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