Entries in the 'ARI' Category

"Nourished" By The Teaching Of Baal HaSulam And Rabash

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: What did Baal HaSulam add to the soul’s correction that the ARI began?

Answer: The ARI did not write anything himself. His student Marchu (Chaim Vital) wrote everything and the records were published over the course of three generations after the ARI’s death.

Baal HaSulam explained and systematized all of the Ari’s teaching. Before him, the teaching of the ARI was not arranged in an orderly fashion, and therefore it was impossible to study. That is why many people who began to study the ARI’s teaching gave it up and instead studied the works of the Ramak.

I also studied the Ramak until I discovered Baal HaSulam, and I encountered many Kabbalists who studied the Ramak instead of the ARI because everything is clear and orderly in the Ramak’s books. On the other hand, the ARI’s works were not orderly. Baal HaSulam systematized, detailed, and explained them, and gave them shape: three lines, the First and Second Restriction, the Creator and the creation, the definition of the worlds, Sefirot, Partzufim, NRNHY, KHB, ZON, he created a compilation of graphs of the Upper Worlds – The Book of HaElan.

Even though certain parts are missing which he could have put in order as well (such as Adam HaRishon and the impure worlds of BYA), apparently he did not want to work on this. Without Baal HaSulam, we would not have the teaching of the ARI and it would be impossible to understand the ARI.

When you read other Kabbalists now, you understand them because you are familiar with the works of Baal HaSulam. Without him, you would get confused. No matter what texts you look at, whether books on Hassidut, the Ramak, Agra, or others, you will only be able to understand them because you studied Baal HaSulam.

In addition, without the Rabash’s articles we would not be able to understand what is required of us and what the work of the Creator is. Without these two Kabbalists, Baal HaSulam and Rabash, who supplement one another, we would not have the right approach to the method of correction.

From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 8/8/10, “Introduction to the Book, Panim Meirot uMasbirot

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Learning To Learn From A Kabbalah Teacher

learningtolearn It is impossible to receive spirituality (meaning, to acquire the quality of bestowal that’s similar to the Creator) just by studying the books by yourself. You need a live teacher because only he can connect your present level with the spiritual level. The teacher has to serve as the intermediate level between you and the Creator. On your own, however, you will never be able to “jump” up to the Creator’s level. Your teacher is the intermediate degree between you and the spiritual world. He is able to do this because he exists in both worlds simultaneously.

The Ari and Baal HaSulam both write that intermediate states are the means to shift upwards. For example, see Part 3 of Talmud Eser Sefirot, “Inner Reflection.”

Even if a student could ascend to the first spiritual level on his own, it would still take him a very long time to learn about the Upper World without a teacher’s help, and then he would not have enough time to correct himself. Just like in this world, first you have to grow up for about 20 years, and only then can you begin to live on your own. But if you did not spend the first “20 years” of your “life” next to a teacher, then you are like a child who never received an upbringing or education, and who grew up without any support from adults.

That is why a person must listen to what the teacher tells him and make every possible effort to carry out the teacher’s advice. The student should accept this advice above his own egoistic surmises. Don’t be like a child who refuses to open his mouth and accept food, since what will the teacher be able to give you otherwise?

You Need A Kabbalah Teacher To Learn The Program Of Connecting With The Creator

Dr. Michael LaitmanThe word Kabbalah can be interpreted in different ways. One of its meanings is “passing something on,” because the language of Kabbalah can only be passed on through a connection between a student and teacher. All other languages (Tanach, Halacha and Haggadah) can be learned on your own, provided that you receive books from previous generations explaining the key concepts, and that you have someone to advise you. However, when learning these other languages, you don’t have to have a close connection with a teacher; you don’t have to learn how he thinks, feels and relates to everything. You don’t have to absorb anything from him or copy his attitude and worldview.

However, in order to attain the language of Kabbalah, you have to cling to a teacher. That’s because he is higher and you are lower. He gives you his AHP and you have to view it as something positive and wanted, in spite of the external appearance that deliberately repels you. Of course, you won’t agree with the teacher and you won’t want him. You will push him away and even hate him. However, in reality this is in order to show you how much you don’t want spirituality.

You have to receive the language or program that already operates in the teacher but still not in you. You have to try to copy the examples you are given. When there is a teacher who is next to you, in the same world and with the same senses, you can use this to help you enter spirituality. You are able to cling to the teacher’s attitude to spirituality, in spite of the external obstacles that try to block your opportunity to attain an inner connection. If it were not for these examples given to you by the Creator, you would be totally cut off from spirituality and would have no hope of ever reaching it.

It is impossible to extract spirituality from the books, because it cannot be attained with the earthly mind. A person has to nullify his egoism and destroy the barrier between him and the teacher in order to see the teacher’s inner content. Only when observing this condition does the student absorb the teacher’s inner worldview as much as he is able to.

If you are able to perceive the program of the teacher’s connection with the Creator, then you can continue onwards; otherwise, you cannot. This is exactly what the Ari meant when he said before his death that only one of his students, Chaim Vital, can continue studying Kabbalah, because he has learned the basics of the language, the program of connecting the Creator, from the Ari, while others did not.

Some Organs In The Body Of Humanity Are More Important Than Others

stuck There were many Kabbalists after the Ari, but not a single one of them was able to understand the Ari’s method at the root. Only Baal HaSulam was able to do this because he received the same soul as the Ari. It’s not because other Kabbalists were lower than him, but because the Ari’s method can only be understood by a soul from the same part of the common soul, from the same “spiritual organ” of the body as the soul of the Ari. Other souls understand the same thing from the perspective of their organ, whether it is the spiritual heart, brain, liver or lungs.

Your soul may come from a very important spiritual organ; it may even be higher than the soul of the Ari. However, since he is different from you and has different qualities, you are unable to truly feel his method, to feel “at home” with it as if you are dissolving in water. You cannot feel it as your life unless you are built the same way he is.

Therefore, we do not judge Kabbalists according to the height of their attainment, but according to how much they can help us correct and ascend. This depends on the type and character of their souls and their ability to help us.

Therefore, there is no one we should study besides Baal HaSulam, and no one else we can follow in order to reveal the Upper World. After all, he was the only one who merited the same soul as the Ari.

Any person who feels an aspiration for the spiritual world and desires to develop, is part of one of the most important spiritual organs. The rest of the souls are there to fill up the spaces in the body between the important organs, and thus they carry out a passive role.

The Topic Of The Herzliya Conference Should Be: How Can Israel Restore “Love for One’s Neighbor”?

wordsIn the News: The Institute of Policy and Strategy at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya will be hosting the 9th annual Herzliya Conference, on “The Balance of Israel’s National Strength and Security” on February 2-4, 2009. The program includes:

    – Coping with Hamas
    – Dealing with Asymmetric Islamic Terrorism
    – Iran on the Nuclear Threshold
    – Israel’s Legitimacy under Attack
    – Weathering the Storm: Israel and the World Economic Crisis
    – Why Do Israeli Students Fail? Can the Digital Revolution Change the Educational Reality?
    – National Sustainability and Israel’s Green Safety Net
    – From R&D to Commercial and Economic Application as Part of National Policy
    – Reconnecting Israel with its Expatriates

My Comment: For the time being, not one of the problems is nearing a solution, and the problems are only becoming worse. The Israeli people’s lack of understanding of their role in the world is bringing about further deterioration of the state and its people.

The nation of Israel can only exist by the principle of, “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” It was created under this condition by Abraham, 4,500 years ago, and was comprised of his students. But as soon as they fell from that level into “unfounded hatred,” they ceased being a nation and were exiled from their territory.

They returned here in the 20th century, but – as explained in Kabbalah – they can stay here only under the condition that they will restore themselves through the rule, “Love your neighbor.” This is how we will become a nation once again. However, if we won’t carry out this condition, then we will once again be expelled from the land of Israel, since we will not be suitable for it.

This should be the topic of the Herzliya Conference. By the way, at the same time, on February 2-4, we will also be hosting our Congress, where we will actually unite into a single mini-humanity. This will create enormous changes in the world, because qualitatively speaking, this will be the most powerful and influential unity in the world.

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Egoism Can Force Us To Become Extinct

g20In the News (from The Associated Press):Group of 6 arrested in western Ariz. fires includes 4 firemen” Four firefighters and two others have been arrested on suspicion of igniting between 15 and 20 fires in western Arizona to make money by fighting the very blazes they lit, officials said Tuesday.

My Comment: Egoism forces people to harm others in any way possible for the sake of their own benefit. The same can be said of doctors and others who manufacture food fillers, useless and harmful drugs, and so on. Our society is built so as to use people in every way possible. Instead of, “Everything for the people, everything for their benefit,” what we have is, “Everything for the sake of one’s profit, everything to harm people” (and this harms both those who do it and to whom they do it).

In the News (from Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany):Does persistent low fertility threaten the future of European populations?” Three stylized demographic facts are nowadays taken for granted by many Europeans: First, European birth rates are very low and further declining. Second, the currently low fertility will inevitably lead to rapid population aging and population decline in the future. Third, these trends are unsustainable in the long run… Perhaps no one summarized the fears of shrinking Europe more succinctly than Pope Benedict XVI: “…the problem of Europe, which it seems no longer wants to have children, penetrated my soul. To foreigners this Europe seems to be tired, indeed it seems to be wishing to take its leave of history” (Vatican 2006).

My Comment: Egoism doesn’t need anybody; it wants to feel special and unique. The same thing will happen in all the countries as their population’s egoism develops. But the emergence of the quality of bestowal and love in people will naturally make them desire to have children in order to continue their kind.

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Charity, Nobility And Other Superficial Measures Won’t Help Us Cope With the Crisis

charityA question I received: The Vice–President of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs said the following about the outcome of the financial crisis, “You can’t run away from the crisis. The world today is globalized, so it’s stupid to suppose that in the great ocean of instability, there are islands of prosperity that remain. First of all, people have to reduce ‘show-off spending.’ Over the last one hundred years, Americans have developed the notion of ‘noble behavior during a crisis,’ which includes charity.”

My Comment: This is not enough. What we need is a complete overhaul of human consciousness and attitude toward self, the world, and the Creator. Nobility and charity cannot correct anything.

Gradually the world is gaining a recognition of the “non-earthly” tasks it must now resolve, and people will then discover the method of solving them, Kabbalah. But for the time being the world is still comforted by thinking that it’s possible to go back to the past by making superficial changes.

Here is what Martin Wolf wrote in The Financial Times: Choices made in 2009 will shape the globe’s destiny” Welcome to 2009. This is a year in which the fate of the world economy will be determined, maybe for generations. Some entertain hopes that we can restore the globally unbalanced economic growth of the middle years of this decade. They are wrong. Our choice is only over what will replace it.

It is between a better balanced world economy and disintegration. That choice cannot be postponed. It must be made this year. We are in the grip of the most significant global financial crisis for seven decades. As a result, the world has run out of creditworthy, large-scale, willing private borrowers. The alternative of relying on vast US fiscal deficits and expansion of central bank credit is a temporary – albeit necessary – expedient. But it will not deliver a durable return to growth.

Fundamental changes are needed.

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The Great Sages Of The Past

Dr. Michael LaitmanThree questions I received on the great sages of the past:

Question: You quote writings from sages other than just Baal HaSulam, Rabash, and Ari, although Bnei Baruch’s teachings are founded upon these. Is it permitted to study other sages’ works beside those three? Are there any sages whose writings should not be studied?

My Answer: Before Shelah (Isaiah ben Avraham Ha-Levi Horowitz, also known as Shelah HaKadosh – the Holy Shelah, 1565 – 1630), all Teachers and authors of books were great Kabbalists, but not so after him. However, you won’t be able to understand any of the books by any author from any period, except the books of Baal Hasulam, Rabash and myself. Go ahead and try it! But be careful of wasting your time.

Question: Was Rabbi Moses ben Maimon (Rambam) a Kabbalist?

My Answer: Yes, he was a great Kabbalaist.

Question: Tradition says that Moses is the author of the Torah, the book where his own death was described in advance, and that the Jews were given the book containing a description of their future as well. Do you have any rational explanation of how it was possible that Moses and the Jews could get the book with a detailed description of far reaching future events, so they were able to know their destiny, but were not able to change anything about it!?

My Answer: It is written that Moses was writing the Torah while the events unfolded in the desert during their 40 year long journey. The Torah describes only those events, allegorically telling us about what happens inside a person during his correction. And because “the particular and the general are equal,” as both consist of ten Sefirot, we can also read what is written as a description of all humanity’s development.

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The Crowd Psychology

What's the Right Attitude to Have To This World?News Report (from WebWire):A Crowded World: Researchers use computer scenarios to study crowd behavior in time and space” The scientists at the School of Geographical Sciences at Arizona State University have created a model of crowd behavior. Their results were as follows:

1. There is rapid exchange of nonverbal information in crowds

2. The actions of a single individual can shape the dynamics of an entire crowd

3. Individuals who would never ordinarily engage in anti-social behavior such as looting might do so anyway when associated with a riotous crowd; and, conversely, anti-social individuals may see their bad behavior checked by other members of a well-behaved crowd.

My Comment: The science of Kabbalah has been explaining the same laws of individual and social behavior for thousands of years. It explains these and many other laws, how to use them to benefit the individual without infringing on his freedom and while enabling him to develop harmoniously, and how to use these laws for the benefit of society in a way that avoids conflicts between the individual and the society. It explains how the two can come to an ideal coexistence, where individual gain is equal to social gain. This is possible if the importance of the individual is equal to the importance of society as a whole, by observing the law, “The general and the particular are equal.” This observance is possible when everyone is equal and interdependent, and every person strives only to fulfill the desire of the single whole, seeing this as his mission and receiving absolute fulfillment from it.

This is the state we exist in from the very beginning. It is called the “World of Infinity.” We must desire to ascend (morally) from our present state, called “this world,” to the level of the “World of Infinity.” This desire will draw onto us the Light (feeling) of bestowal and love, which fills us in the “World of Infinity” – and this Light will then correct us, giving us the quality of “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” This isn’t inconceivable. Even scientists now prove that an individual’s qualities can change instantly under the society’s influence. Therefore, everything depends on our decision to create the right influence over each and every one of us. Therein lies our freedom of will.

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Family Gives Us Consolation From The Worries Of The Big World

The Kabbalistic Meaning of the Star of David, and Why We Should Respect Sports StadiumsNews Report (from International Herald Tribune):New worry in Europe over credit crisis” At the conference in Frankfurt, the chief executive of Deutsche Bank, Josef Ackermann, lamented the market’s lack of confidence, which he said generated daily rumors about the next bank or fund in trouble. “I think it is important to spend time with family,” Ackermann said.

My Comment: People agree that spending time with family is the best source of optimism in time of crisis, because you feel their support, love and warmth. But imagine that everyone felt familial support, love and warmth from the whole world – if every one of us felt that the entire world is our family! Then no crisis could ever scare us; they would all simply disappear!

News Report (from Science):Does marriage sink a scientific career or send it soaring?” Satoshi Kanazawa, a psychologist at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand, analyzed a biographical database of 280 great scientists. Kanazawa noted an interesting trend, “The productivity of male scientists tends to drop right after marriage.” … Marriage has also been shown to have an adverse impact on the careers of female scientists.

My Comment: This cannot be considered damage caused by marriage, since it is certainly not obvious that scientific development is more useful than marriage.

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