Entries in the 'Spiritual Teacher' Category

Baal HaSulam

Dr. Michael LaitmanFrom My Facebook Page Michael Laitman 10/10/19

Yehuda Leib HaLevi Ashlag is known as Baal HaSulam (Owner of the Ladder) for his Sulam (ladder) commentary on The Book of Zohar. Baal HaSulam dedicated his life to interpretations and innovations in the wisdom of Kabbalah, disseminating it in Israel and throughout the world. He developed a unique method to the study of Kabbalah, by which any person can delve into the depth of reality and reveal its roots and purpose of existence.

Baal HaSulam was born in Warsaw, Poland on Sep 24, 1884. At the age of nineteen he was ordained as a rabbi by the greatest rabbis of Warsaw, and for sixteen years he served as a Dayan (Jewish orthodox judge) and a teacher in Warsaw.

Baal HaSulam’s teacher was Rabbi Yehoshua of Porsov. In 1921, Baal HaSulam immigrated to Israel and settled in the Old City of Jerusalem. The word of his coming quickly spread among Jews who emigrated from Poland, and he soon became known as an authority in Kabbalah. Gradually, a group of students formed around him, attending Kabbalah lessons in the wee hours. Later on Baal HaSulam moved from the Old City and settled in Givat Shaul, which was then a new neighborhood in Jerusalem, where for several years he served as the neighborhood rabbi.

Baal HaSulam spent the years 1926-1928 in London. During his time in London he wrote the commentary to the Aris Tree Of Life Panim Meirot uMasbirot, which he printed in 1927. Throughout his stay in London, Baal HaSulam conducted extensive correspondence with his students in Israel, which were assembled in 1985 in a book titled Igrot Kodesh (Letters of Sanctity).

In 1933, Baal HaSulam published the tractates Matan Torah (The Giving of the Torah), HaArvut (The Bond), and HaShalom (The Peace).

Baal HaSulams two major works, the result of many years of labor, are Talmud Eser Sefirot (The Study of the Ten Sefirot), a commentary on the writings of the Ari, and Perush HaSulam (The Sulam Commentary)on The Book of Zohar. The publications of the 16 parts (in six volumes) of Talmud Eser Sefirot began in 1937. In 1940 he published Beit Shaar HaKavanot (The Gatehouse of Intentions),with commentaries to selected writings of the Ari. Persuh HaSulam on the Zohar was printed in 18 volumes in the years 1945-1953. Later on Baal HaSulam wrote three additional volumes containing commentaries on The New Zohar, whose printing was completed in 1955, after his demise.

In his Introduction to the Book of Zohar, Baal HaSulam writes as follows (item 58): And I have named that commentary The Sulam (ladder), to show that the purpose of it is, as with every ladder, that if you have an attic full of goods, then all you need is a ladder to reach it, and then all the bounty of the world is in your hands.

Baal HaSulam wrote a series of introductions that prepare the student for proper study of Kabbalistic texts. Some of these introductions are Preface to the Book of Zohar, Introduction to the Book of Zohar, Preface to the Wisdom of Kabbalah, Preface to the Sulam Commentary, General Preface to the Tree of Life, and Introduction to Talmud Eser Sefirot.

In 1940, Baal HaSulam published the first and, as it turned out, the last issue of the journal HaUma (The Nation). The journal was shut down by the British Mandate authorities after having received malicious information that the journal propagated communism.

Baal HaSulam encountered enormous difficulties printing his books. We can learn of the importance he ascribed to printing and disseminating Kabbalah from the 2003 Israel Award laureate Prof. Shlomo Giora Shohams description of his meeting with Baal HaSulam in the early 1950s.

“I found him standing in a dilapidated building, almost a shack, which housed an old printing press. He couldn’t afford to pay a typesetter and was doing the typesetting himself, letter by letter, standing over the printing press for hours at a time, despite the fact that he was in his late sixties. Ashlag was clearly a tzaddik (righteous man) – a humble man, with a radiant face. But he was an absolutely marginal figure and terribly impoverished. I later heard that he spent so many hours setting type that the lead used in the printing process damaged his health.”

This excerpt was published on Dec 17, 2004 in Haaretz newspaper, in a story by Micha Odenheimer.

Baal HaSulam did not merely put his ideas on paper; he acted vigorously to promote them. He met with many leaders of the Jewish settlement in Israel of the time, leaders of the Labor movement and many public figures. Among these figures are David Ben-Gurion, Zalman Shazar, Moshe Sadeh, Chaim Arlozorov, Moshe Aram, Meir Yaari, Yaakov Hazan, Dov Sadan and the great poet Haim Nahman Bialik.

According to Ben-Gurion, he met with Yehuda Ashlag several times, and was apparently surprised:

“I wanted to talk to him about Kabbalah, and he wanted to talk about Socialism.”

(Ben-Gurion Archive, Diaries, Aug 11, 1958).
In his essay Three Meetings and In Between (Amot, Tel-Aviv, 1963, p.49), Dov Sadan writes:

“Rabbi Yehuda Leib Ashlag, among the greatest Kabbalists of the time, aimed at turning the fundamentals of Kabbalah into a historic engine of our generation. Through his socialistic perception, which is based on the above, he sought contact with the Kibbutz Movement.”

It might be surprising to think that Baal HaSulam sought connection with the Hebrew Labor Movement and its leaders, considering the mental and educational chasm between them. However, deep study of his writings reveals a fascinating and intriguing figure of an erudite who was very much involved in the events of his time, both in Israel and the world over, a figure whose ideas are considered revolutionary and daring even to this day.

Dvekut Unites Two Into One

Dr. Michael LaitmanFrom My Facebook Page Michael Laitman 10/5/19

In loving memory of my teacher, Baruch Shalom HaLevi Ashlag (The Rabash)

The Rabash

Dr. Michael LaitmanFrom My Facebook Page Michael Laitman 10/5/19

In loving memory of my teacher, Baruch Shalom HaLevi Ashlag (The Rabash)

Rabash

Dr. Michael LaitmanFrom My Facebook Page Michael Laitman 10/3/19

On a cold, rainy night in 1979, I could not sleep, my thoughts troubled me. Suddenly I found myself at the wheel, driving without direction. A large sign cut through my thoughts: “Bnei Brak.” I went in. The streets were deserted. At the corner of “Chazon Ish” Street I ran into a passerby. “Where do you study here?” I asked. He looked at me and answered, “Drive to the end of the street, where you will see an orchard. It’s on the other side of it.”

This is how I came to meet my teacher for the first time, Rabbi Baruch Shalom Ashlag (the Rabash), the eldest son and successor of Baal HaSulam – the greatest Kabbalist of the twentieth century. From that moment on my life was never the same.

For the next twelve years I served as his personal assistant and disciple, and I absorbed from him everything that I know in the wisdom of Kabbalah. Every day he would lock himself up on the second floor and write. This is how his profound articles were born, which paved the way for anyone nowadays to carve the spiritual path most suited to them. No one before him had written in such a simple and practical manner. Like a father who guides his children along the path, he takes his readers by the hand and guides them until they discover the true meaning of life.

“And once I have acquired the clothing of love,” he wrote to his students at the end of the well-known letter “Love of Friends,” “Sparks of love promptly begin to shine within me. The heart begins to long to unite with my friends, and it seems to me that my eyes see my friends, my ears hear their voices, my mouth speaks to them, the hands embrace, the feet dance in a circle, in love and joy together with them…” (the Rabash).

After his departure in 1991, people who felt a burning desire in their hearts to reveal their purpose started coming together. Gradually, the “Bnei Baruch” Kabbalah Education & Research Institute was formed, named after Kabbalist Baruch Ashlag. Every morning we study the writings of the Kabbalists, such as The Study of the Ten Sefirot, The Zohar with the Sulam commentary and the writings of Baal HaSulam and the Rabash. We work to share the method with anyone interested, just as my teacher gave me the wisdom of his father.

Today we mark the 28th anniversary of the passing of my teacher, the Rabash, the greatest of the generation. I hope that we will succeed in following his path faithfully.

Kabbalah And Psychology: The Teacher-Student Relationship

Laitman_524.01Remark: In Kabbalah, the relationship between teacher and student is very important. As I understand it, it is not so in psychology.

My Comment: I think that even there a person gets attached to his psychologist. But in Kabbalah, a student’s connection with his teacher is simply essential. It is necessary for a student to listen to the teacher and try to implement his advice, even if it does not seem quite real.

A teacher in Kabbalah is sort of a problem for a student: he or she has to accept the teacher and follow him contrary to common sense.

In psychology, it is clearer. Both, the psychologist and the patient are on the same egoistic level, while in Kabbalah, they are on two levels: the teacher is on the spiritual level and the student is on the material. Therefore, a problem arises.

Question: Is it true that all the advice given by a teacher-instructor in Kabbalah is incomprehensible to a student?

Answer: Its inner meaning, of course, is not clear because a student is not yet at the same level as a teacher. Psychology, in principle, is possible to study by yourself and understand what comes from where, what great psychologists say about it, etc.

That is, psychology is within the framework of rational thoughts and desires, and Kabbalah, which is outside these boundaries, is in what is called faith above reason.
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From KabTV’s “Fundamentals of Kabbalah,” 12/13/18

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Blitz Of Kabbalah Tips – 3/31/19

laitman_961.2Question: Is it possible to accelerate the attainment of the upper world, not waiting 20 years, but instead getting out earlier in the Light?

Answer: Certainly; it can even happen today! It is only up to you, your ability to relate to the world, to the Creator correctly.

Question: How can I understand that I am on the path that is leading to the Creator?

Answer: It is only according to the degree of unity with your friends.

Question: Why do particular people who are involved with the wisdom of Kabbalah nonetheless suffer in the physical world like ordinary people? Could it be that they feel otherwise?

Answer: No. Why shouldn’t they suffer? If a person who began to study the wisdom of Kabbalah were to stop suffering immediately and some money was transferred into his bank account, he would happily be involved in spiritual work, but it would no longer be spiritual work.

Question: Is it possible to ask for additional materialistic egoism if one doesn’t have a desire to raise a family or work?

Answer: No. Why should you ask for additional materialistic egoism? It is possible to ask for additional spiritual characteristics. You must only strive to go forward.

Question: If all the possibilities in the world are found within me, does it follow that everything only depends on me?

Answer: Certainly; everything depends only on you. The Creator does everything, but only according to the instructions of a person so there cannot be any claims against the Creator. You will get what you ask for.

Question: What is the mechanism that helps you determine the amount of information that you give?

Answer: I generally feel what information is necessary for my students. Moreover, this is also a shared level, the general background. What I mean is, that if today you suddenly came to class and found yourself in this group, I would not refer to you, but to those people who are found here no less than two years. For me, they are the consumers.
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From the Kabbalah Lesson in Russian, 3/31/19

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Infallible Kabbalists?

laitman_961.2Question: Is there a personality cult in Kabbalah? Do you believe in the infallibility of some authors or should everything be treated with a certain degree of skepticism?

Answer: Frankly speaking, I, with my little spiritual attainment, cannot afford to rate Kabbalists. Indeed, despite the fact that I feel, comprehend, attain, and dwell in some spiritual space, I am in it at the level of a fifteen-year-old boy in our world.

What can I say about it? In the spiritual world when you comprehend even at such a level, it gives you the feeling that you are just a young person, you still don’t know much, and therefore, you cannot open your mouth, criticize, or give any assessment.

Can I criticize such great Kabbalists like my teacher Rabash and his father Baal HaSulam or those who preceded them: Baal Shem Tov and the Ari? They are all in absolute attainment of the Creator. Therefore, I have nothing to say in this matter.

I accept their books as absolute knowledge. Those are people who made no mistakes in rising to their level, and their level is practically in the Final Correction (Gmar Tikkun).

The only difference between them is that each attained it from the root of his soul, so there is a difference in the presentation. But for me, it is actually good. I read from one angle about the attainment of the upper world, then from another, from a third, and it develops me.
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From the Kabbalah Lesson in Russian 3/10/19

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laitman_528.04Question: The role of the teacher is very important in studying the wisdom of Kabbalah.
What is a Kabbalah teacher?

Answer: First of all, it is the one who has received knowledge from a recognized Kabbalist. Second, he teaches from original sources. Third, he does not attract attention to his personality. And fourth, he directs everyone to the revelation of the Creator.

Question: What is the interaction between the student and the teacher?

Answer: The interaction depends on the student, not on the teacher. The teacher can help the student in everything that can benefit him. However, he completely detaches himself from interfering with the inner world of the student, thus teaching him to become self-attaining.

On one hand, there is a constant concern for the development and care of the student. But the teacher always keeps a certain distance from the student in order to give him a feeling of freewill, freedom of action, freedom of decisions, and so on, because no one can be a substitute for student’s independent progress.

Question: What is the difference between a Kabbalah teacher and a teacher of other disciplines?

Answer: A Kabbalah teacher does not teach as much as he gives the student advice how, by changing himself, he can reveal what he needs to attain. What student comprehends is his, not the teacher’s attainment.

He goes along a certain path, constantly developing his inner properties, his soul, and achieves even greater revelation of the Creator. This is purely his personal achievement. Therefore, the teacher here is just an external, helping source.
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From KabTV’s “Basics of Kabbalah”, 11/20/18

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How Can I Get Closer To Rabash?

721.03Question: I believe Baal HaSulam and you, but I cannot get close to Rabash. How can I do this?

Answer: Baal HaSulam is a great Kabbalist who attained, generalized, and systematized the science of Kabbalah. We are engaged in Kabbalah in order to master it not in the form of science, but in the form of a method of spiritual attainment. These are two different things, although interrelated.

When a person wants to enter the spiritual world himself, then Baal HaSulam is a theoretician for him. He cannot lead a person forward. Rabash leads us forward, explaining at every step where we are, what to do, how to act, what interaction to have in a group, with ourselves, and with the Creator.

I remember well how he wrote his first article, sitting next to me on a park bench. I gave him an aluminum cigarette wrapper, and on the back of it, he wrote a small article—the first of the future three-volume book.

At first, I asked him questions and he gave written answers to them. His first articles appeared this way. Later he wrote by himself.

Without these articles, we could not advance. At each morning lesson we devote an hour and a half to two hours to the articles of Rabash, only half an hour to The Study of the Ten Sefirot (Talmud Eser Sefirot,) and half an hour to the articles of Baal HaSulam.

It is even incomprehensible how people could master the spiritual space before Rabash, how they could feel it in themselves and advance to different levels. That is what he teaches us, because in our time, souls that descend into this world need it.

Rabash is a practicum of Kabbalah and Baal HaSulam is more a theoretical Kabbalist.

In order to get closer to Rabash, one must read his articles and listen to our lessons on them. All of them are in the archive, you can use them free of charge, access is free. Go ahead, dare!
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From the Kabbalah Lesson in Russian 12/23/18

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I Will Come And I Will Teach

laitman_961.2Question: How can “blind” students work without a sighted teacher if they do not have time to attain spiritual vision during their lifetime?

Answer: It does not matter. The Ari writes about it in a very interesting way. As he was dying, one of his students asked him: “What will happen to us?” The Ari replied: “You must continue to learn, and then I will come and teach you.”

“How will you teach us if you die now?”

“It is none of your business, you don’t understand anything about it.” And he died.

So, I can say that it is none of your business. Do not worry. I will come and teach.
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From the Kabbalah Lesson in Russian 12/2/18

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