Entries in the 'Religion' Category

Jews Of America, Part 3

448.3Religion Is a Factor Dividing Society

Question: A hundred years after the resettlement of German Jews to America, Russian Jews began to arrive.

According to the American writer Stephen Birmingham, German Jews were already respectable, well-dressed, bourgeois-looking and wealthy, and the new immigrants from Eastern Europe were ragged, impoverished, actively bearing the charge of their culture, fierce suffering, and pogroms. They were idealistic socialists.

German Jews were very much afraid of the Russians, especially their idea of ​​organizing trade unions. Therefore, disagreements arose between them, but not on religious, rather on social grounds.

The famous American actor Kirk Douglas who comes from a family of Belarusian Jews noted that anti-Semitism was sometimes most strong among Jews, particularly with German Jews hating Russian and Polish Jews.

Why is the discord between Jews not only on religious but also on social grounds?

Answer: Our religion does not unite Jews. On the contrary, it makes everyone an individualist because it is not built on the true foundation of Judaism, which says “love your neighbor as yourself,” above all differences.

Religion believes that a Jew must fulfill everything that is said in the “Shulchan Aruch” (Code of Laws), and by this he will ensure his future in this and the next world. All the rest does not matter.

Question: Can’t external traditions unite people?

Answer: External traditions divide.

Question: Why is there the strongest anti-Semitism among Jews?

Answer: A Jew is a person who must show the whole world the way to unity, to “love your neighbor as yourself,” to rise above all the differences that love covers. We must be a light for the peoples of the world. And if we do not bear this, then we are in disunity and everyone hates us.

And where do we get the right message if we do not receive the appropriate education? Religion says nothing about it. On the contrary, it pits us against each other: these are Sephardim, these are black, these are white, these are Eastern, and these are Western, and so on. Everything is built on bringing maximum disunity into society.

To this day, we see this among Orthodox Jews. The more Orthodox a Jew is, the more he is attached to his narrow clan, to the extent that marrying others is a big problem. Only in recent years, somewhere, somehow, this has softened, but still not in strictly Orthodox communities.

At the same time, the non-religious part of society in Israel, and even in America, is absolutely indifferent to various parts of society and is ready to unite with them.

This clearly shows how much religion divides society into classes and groups, and how a departure from religion attracts people to be more connected with each other.
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From KabTV’s “Systematic Analysis of the Development of the People of Israel” 11/18/19

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The Departure Of Jews From Religion

559Question: During the Enlightenment, many Jews moved to cities. 70 to 80% of them were engaged in trade, worked in factories, enrolled in universities, served in the army, and created their own parties. There was a departure from religion.

Jews participated everywhere, even in the most anti-Semitic organizations. Among them were Mensheviks, Socialist-Revolutionaries, Bolsheviks, and even Black Hundreds.

A new division appeared, a religious one, which became one block, and the part that left religion. Why, from the point of view of the purpose of creation is such a withdrawal from the spiritual roots of the majority of Jews?

Answer: Neither Hasidim nor the Litvaks [Lithuanian Jews] suited people who needed a clear methodology. What is religion for? Where does it lead? What is its purpose, its meaning? Why is it given to the Jewish people?

This is a natural set of questions that arise among Jews who have gone through such long exiles, who emerged from the Middle Ages surrounded by other peoples, who also began to catch up, develop science, open universities, etc.

In addition, a vision about the Jewish masses was created as being completely intimidated, ignorant, very far from the modern, constantly developing world. Therefore, there was a very serious difference between the progressive Jewish strata who went into science, art, and those who remained in the Jewish villages, in their yeshivas [Jewish educational institutions devoted to Talmudic study].

Question: But from the point of view of spiritual development is it good that people leave their history and forget everything?

Answer: This story has outlived its usefulness since it existed on the ruins of the destroyed Temple. It had no opportunity to continue further. There is a time to scatter stones and a time to collect them.

But to this day, echoes of that period are felt, although in our time not so much because the leaders of the religious part of the people realized that something had to be done, to somehow develop further.

Therefore, in recent years, they no longer alienate people from approaching science, from acquiring normal occupations.

Earlier, if a person wanted to live a religious life, he condemned himself to a beggarly existence without a normal profession. His family lived on a level lower than the rest of the Jews that were engaged in civilian practices.

Therefore, having received the rights, the Jews rushed to the cities, to factories. When the Bolsheviks came to power, Jews became the bulk of the leadership in all parties and organizations. Not only men, but also women. Paradoxically, most of the Soviet leaders had Jewish wives.

For more on this topic, read my book The Jewish Choice: Unity or Anti-Semitism, Historical facts on anti-Semitism as a reflection of Jewish social discord.
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From KabTV’s “Systematic Analysis of the Development of the People of Israel” 12/28/19

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Development Of Hasidism

427.01Question: In the early 30s of the 18th century, a new movement appeared—Hasidism. What was it?

Answer: In the 16th century, since the appearance in Safed of the school of the great Kabbalist of the Middle Ages, Ari, the spiritual ascent of the Jews began in the Land of Israel, as well as in all the countries of the diaspora, since the ties between the Jews were quite close.

No one doubted that the Ari was a special person. He called the people to unification, spiritual ascent, the development of Kabbalah, the revelation of the Creator, and the fulfillment by the Jews of their spiritual destiny. As a result, groups of Jews appeared in many countries of the world who followed his idea.

This is what led to the emergence of Hasidism. The Ari’s direct follower was the Baal Shem Tov, who lived in Eastern Europe in the 18th century. He preached the teachings of the Ari in a practical way: how Jews in connection with each other can reveal the Creator.

This idea was warmly received by Jews who lived in the southern part of Eastern Europe in lands belonging to Lithuania, Poland, Russia, and the present territory of Belarus. The Jews who inhabited the northern lands, including Germany and the countries of the present Baltic states belonged to the opponents of the Baal Shem Tov. They did not agree that it was necessary to raise the spiritual part of the people.

Their opposition reached the point that they even reported on each other to the tsarist authorities. This is how great problems arose that still exist among the believing masses.

In addition, you need to understand that the resettlement of Jews in Europe, Asia, Russia, and in the world, in general, took place under the influence of higher forces, like the entire movement of man in this world. Therefore, those whose souls were more predisposed to spiritual development settled in Poland, southern Belarus, Ukraine and southern Russia. Opponents of spiritual development, who set as their goal only dry fulfillment of the laws of the Torah, settled in the Baltic States and northern Russia.
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From KabTV’s “Systematic Analysis of the Development of the People of Israel” 12/9/19

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Managing Stress, Part 7

559Why do religious people suffer less from stress?

Question: It is a well-known fact that religious people suffer less from stress. What is the reason?

Answer: It is because they believe that there is a higher purpose and upper forgiveness. So they believe that everything will be fine in the end. It does not matter how they act or what happens, everything is predetermined from above the way it should be, and therefore, what will be, will be, and for the best.

Question: Does reading prayers and texts such as Psalms help to manage stress?

Answer: Of course. Take any text, start reading it, and you will see that you have a completely new sense of reality. I am not saying that you actually change yourself or your reality, but it is reassuring. This is the meaning of religion.
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From KabTV’s “Management Skills” 6/25/20

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Laitman_011Rejection of the Religious Perception of the World

Question: In the first half of the 19th century, the struggle within the Jewish people began to subside, and it is perceived as a single whole. However, another problem arises, the era of the Enlightenment begins, the development of sciences, the acquisition of civil rights by Jews, and freedom of movement.

This again led to a split among Jews: on one side, the Orthodox society, and on the other side, people who began to leave religion. That is, there was a rejection of the religious perception of the world.

Why, for the first time in history, Jews, as well as other nations, began to leave religion en masse and engage in science?

Answer: It is because religion did not explain to them that love for one’s neighbor is its main law.
Following religion consisted only in the fulfillment of prescriptions, fasts, and all kinds of holidays.

It obliged people to observe traditions, but at the same time it did not explain at all why this was necessary and to what it should lead. Therefore, a person who did not feel why he was doing things and what positive purpose they had, simply renounced religion.

Question: How did this period affect the correction of all humanity and the role of Jews in this process?

Answer: I believe that this was a necessary period, firstly, because nothing happens in vain. It was necessary to sober up and cut off the figurative fulfillment of the laws of the Torah without any thoughts and feelings when they were realized only because this must be done, scrupulously and mechanically at that. After all, this is not what the Creator requires of us, but that we correct our thoughts and feelings, mind and heart.

Comment: In principle, such a mechanical religious approach is quite egoistic. I follow the traditions, and for this I am entitled to something in this world and in the other world, paradise is promised to me.

My Response: This is an egoistic, medieval approach that did not provide a person any development. Naturally, the great sages knew and understood why and for what purpose everything was happening this way, but there were only a few of them.

Question: It was necessary, because it kept people within limits and gave some kind of confidence in life?

Answer: Yes, this was demanded by the current period of human development. Everything depends on the development of the person’s inner desires.

Question: Why weren’t all these laws revealed 1,000 years ago and their disclosure took place precisely in the short period of Lurianic Kabbalah?

Answer: There are periods of accumulation of some internal tensions in a person and in society, and then they are released, as a rule, in an explosive way.
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From KabTV’s “Systematic Analysis of the Development of the People of Israel” 8/5/19

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laitman_533.02The Confrontation Between Two Movements

Question: Some time after the expulsion of Jews from Spain, spiritual movements began to flourish in Safed, and Kabbalistic knowledge among the masses began to spread.

But then the rapid dissemination of the new movement caused a response and resistance. Spiritual teachers of the traditional Lithuanian school began to oppose the spread of this knowledge with boycotts, slander to authorities, and physical extermination.

How does one explain this? Why did the teaching of the Ari, which should have already been embodied in humanity, suddenly fail and the fall began again?

Answer: This is not a failure, but a natural development of the method of correction, which cannot go by only one line. It goes precisely by two lines and is realized between them, in the third one.

As a result, it turned out that the Kabbalah of the Baal Shem Tov is the same Kabbalah of the Ari, which was understood by the masses. He organized a Cheder, that is, a place for classes. He recruited talented young people into his group, completely regardless of their status. And then large groups of students and leaders of Hasidic movements were formed from his students. They were especially popular among the Jewish population of Ukraine, Belarus, and Eastern Europe where their own schools were organized.

But at the same time, another school, which was founded by the Vilna Gaon appeared. He believed that people should be taught gradually, and only those who had achieved great knowledge in the Talmud, in a simple study of the Torah.

In his opinion, studying Kabbalah should be spread not among ordinary people, but among the elite to whom the spiritual worlds and other predestinations of humanity can be explained only after they had seriously mastered the “dry” Torah.

Question: Kabbalah speaks of love for one’s neighbor in its simplest, earthly form. What could be the danger of studying Kabbalah?

Answer: The fact is that when you simply talk about love for your neighbor, by that you let a person think that if he treats others correctly, then nothing else is needed. Therefore, there is some lightheadedness in the understanding of “love for one’s neighbor.”

This is how a movement was formed in Hasidism that if you love another person and seem to treat him correctly, then this is enough. Nothing more is needed, and you are already fulfilling your predestination.

And the Vilna Gaon claimed: “No, it is necessary to seriously study the Torah, the Babylonian Talmud, and carefully keep all the laws. Only after that one can study Kabbalah.”

Therefore, in the introduction to his great work, The Study of the Ten Sefirot, Baal HaSulam pays much attention to this. At the very beginning, he asks the question: “Is it really necessary to fully know all the great laws of fulfilling the Torah in our world and only after that study Kabbalah?

“Or is it enough to do it in parallel? Or even, perhaps, is it not at all necessary to know and obey all the laws so scrupulously? Because the Creator requires us to correct our hearts more than to fill our heads with all kinds of laws.”

So here we are in a state of great ideological contradiction. And it is very serious because it speaks of the method of the soul’s correction. Should it be taught to children from the age of thirteen or even earlier? Or maybe, it can be explained to women as well? Or only to great experts on the Babylonian Talmud?

This ideological contradiction was a necessary process and was brewing by itself.
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From KabTV’s “Systematic Analysis of the Development of the People of Israel” 8/5/19

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The Wisdom Of Kabbalah And Religion Are Totally Opposite

laitman_204Question: What is the difference between orthodox people for whom there is nothing other than God and people who engage in studying the wisdom of Kabbalah for whom “There is none else besides Him?”

Answer: The difference is very simple; these two types of people are completely dissimilar. First, the wisdom of Kabbalah is not a faith or a religion. It engages in faith, but does not obligate anyone to believe. Instead, it calls for a person to reveal the Creator.

A religious person says, “I believe!”

“Why do you believe?”

“I was told to believe and it was explained to me, and so I believe what I was told.”

“Okay, that is your business.”

According to the wisdom of Kabbalah, on the other hand, faith means knowledge, attainment, feeling, sensation. It is not what we call faith in our world, when I don’t know whether something is true or not, but I accept it and live as if it is so. Who can prove it? No one. Is it true or not? There are as many views as there are people.

There is thus no connection between the wisdom of Kabbalah and religion. On the contrary, the wisdom of Kabbalah is completely unrelated to religion. It is aimed only at revelation, at knowing and feeling, not at things someone tells us about. There is a huge difference.
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From KabTV’s “Fundamentals of Kabbalah” 11/24/20

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laitman_227Hasidism: Touching the Spiritual Truths

Question: The Hasidic movement appeared in the third decade of the 18th century and was founded by the Baal Shem Tov. The approach of the Hasidic teachers allowed ordinary people to touch spiritual truths. If earlier only sages studied them, now ordinary people could do so as well.

What was so special about the teachings of Baal Shem Tov that they captured the hearts of so many people to such an extent?

Answer:  The Baal Shem Tov followed the path of the Ari and explained in a simpler language, close to the people, how to act and connect with each other in order to achieve the revelation of the Creator.

He set a very practical goal: to explain to any person who is in absolute ignorance about what kind of world he exists in, what states he passes through, why the Torah is needed, and why people exist.

It turns out that the Baal Shem Tov gave ordinary people life. He explained to them how to live correctly and that behind every inner movement of a person in mind and feelings is a huge force that is correcting the world. Therefore, every person who treats the world like that is engaged in correcting it.
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From KabTV’s “Systematic Analysis of the Development of the People of Israel” 8/5/19

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Opposition To Unity, Part 11

laitman_293Disagreements Between Two Movements in the Jewish People

Comment: Over the past few centuries, confrontation within the Jewish people has been very strong, in particular between Lithuanian Jews and Hasidim, the Vilna Gaon and The Baal Shem Tov.

The reason for their disagreement was a different point of view on the dissemination of Kabbalah within their own people and all the rest.

My Response: The Vilna Gaon was a great Kabbalist, but he opposed dissemination of Kabbalah among his people.

The Baal Shem Tov, on the contrary, believed that it was necessary to spread Kabbalah, to educate Kabbalist disciples, and to pass information about the spiritual world to everyone. Therefore, Hasidism originated from The Baal Shem Tov, whereby each child was taught about the spiritual worlds, unity, and the purpose of the existence of the people of Israel.

And the disciples of the Vilna Gaon engaged in Kabbalah only as a small group of people. As a result, the emphasis in their activities was placed purely on the formal fulfillment of the commandments.

The confrontation between these two groups continues to this day, although today it is external, informal. But at that time it was a serious war.

Question: Didn’t they understand that their disagreements lead them to disunity and alienate them from the Creator?

Answer: It is difficult for us to say something about these people. These are two different approaches to Kabbalah that manifest within the Kabbalists themselves. But the fact that they could not establish a connection between them led to great persecutions. And all this is felt to this day.

Comment: Our contemporary Baal HaSulam writes that it is only due to the spread of Kabbalah among the masses that we will be liberated, both each one and all of humanity. But if you look into the history of the development of humanity, almost everything repeats itself.

My Response: No. The time is different now. Today humanity is rapidly moving toward revealing itself as falling into egoism, which does allow simply settling down, enjoying life, and correctly using all the achievements of humanity.

Thus, a favorable environment arises for revealing the meaning of life. This question, which urgently requires an answer, appears in every person in our generation. And the answer is generally nowhere to be found except in Kabbalah.
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From KabTV’s “Systematic Analysis of the Development of the People of Israel” 7/29/19

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Do Not Add One Mistake Over Another

Dr Michael LaitmanQuestion: Religion is a framework of relationships between people who share the same faith. Is the wisdom of Kabbalah a religion?

Answer: The wisdom of Kabbalah has nothing to do with religion. The fact that in our ordinary life we begin to establish certain rituals and laws that do not exist in nature, but want them to exist, is what we often call religion. Or it may also be some kind of cultural norm of society.

This isn’t the case with the wisdom of Kabbalah. It is based on the fact that you reveal these laws in nature, comprehend them for yourself in absolute knowledge, and then you have no problem with it.

Of course the wisdom of Kabbalah is not a religion nor is it a science because it does not reveal anything in our senses or in our mind, but instead, it is actually revealed in the attributes that you develop internally when you ascend above your ego, above the matter of our world. Then you begin to feel totally different attributes, different laws, and this is how you advance.

You need to delve into this issue in order to attain the truth and in order to understand what you engage in.

Otherwise, you relate to what you hear today from the perspective of what you heard yesterday. What is the result? Yesterday your head was filled with certain dogmas, which you accepted as true, and today you condemn and criticize what you received yesterday and define everything anew.

This means that you have accepted something as a condition, and now you negate everything else, and thus you will continue to increase your mistakes, and will not reveal anything new in life. In ten years you will still be in the same state you are in today.
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From KabTV’s “Fundamentals of Kabbalah,” 12/15/19

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