Entries in the 'ARI' Category

Live Your Life As Usual, And Study Kabbalah

Spiritual Food Is the Light That Fills One's SoulQuestions I received on physical observance and Kabbalah:

Question: I study over the Internet, and I am a secular person, but I am not clear on what to do about the commandments (such as Kashrut, Tefillin, Tzitzit, Kippah, prayers, and so on). Even after listening to your lessons on religion, I’m still not clear on this: is the path of personal correction enough or do I have to start observing the commandments in addition?

My Answer: Kabbalah encourages every person to remain the way he is. Only the Upper Light can correct a person; therefore one does not have to do anything else other than study (which includes the group, Maaser, books, dissemination, and for a man, it’s preferable to be married). All the corrections inside you will be done by the Upper Light (Ohr Makif).

Question: Should one observe the commandments or only study? And how do people get to the point of completely nullifying their egoism and attaining love?

My Answer: Live just like you did before, and study Kabbalah. The Light will guide you as to how you should change.

Question: Should a married woman who studies Kabbalah observe the corporeal commandments? If yes, then which commandments should she observe? And what is the spiritual root of a family’s ritual purity?

My Answer: The purpose of all the corporeal commandments is to preserve the boundaries of one’s existence, but not to correct one’s soul. We at Bnei Baruch observe them as a cultural heritage or tradition. Kabbalah does not obligate anyone to perform any physical actions.

Question: Aren’t the commandments that were commanded to us advice that we received on how to build the proper vessels suitable for our spiritual root? Then, once we acquire experience in building the proper intention, we will come closer to creating a vessel for the Light that will fill it?

My Answer: Certainly, you are correct. All 613 commandments are the correction of the 613 desires of the soul by means of 613 Lights that shine and correct them during the study of Kabbalah.

Question: If one is living in such a circumstance of being in a community where the outward observance of Mitzvot and Halakah are a norm, then isn’t one required to live in accordance to this social decor? One may remain inwardly “secular,” or constantly questioning the validity of their own intentions and desiring to know (not believe in) Ribono Shel Olam (the Creator), correct? May we be inwardly connected to the World Kli, studying with Ari Online, being part of the group, and yet outwardly walk in clothing of Orthodoxy?

My Answer: Of course, and this is what the Torah demands of you: while following the external rituals, to add their inner, true observance. Or in other words: to add the true Torah to the simple Torah. Kabbalah is referred to as Torat Emet – the true Torah, and also as Pnimiut HaTorah – the inner Torah.

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The Difference Between Spiritual Correction And Ritual Observance

The Jewish Holidays Are Steps of Spiritual AscentTwo questions I received on religious observance:

Question: Weren’t the great Kabbalists such as Rav Ashlag , Moses Cordovero, and others religious? And why do you wear a Kippah (skullcap)!?

My Answer: You must distinguish between religion and a nation’s tradition or culture. When Baal HaSulam uses the word “religion,” he means only Kabbalah, which is for everyone. On the other hand, when he wants to speak about what we usually call “religion” in our world, he says “tradition” or “ethics (Musar).” See the article “The Essence of Religion and Its Purpose.”

Therefore, Baal HaSulam writes that even after the full correction of the world, when everything will be revealed to all and there will be no place for faith (because “Everyone will know Me, from the smallest to the greatest”), the traditions will still remain as people’s culture. This is why I, who already live in this future, still respect the traditions of my nation, such as its holidays and other customs. This is also why I wear a Kippah (skullcap) and observe the rituals.

After the general correction of all souls in their earthly, bodily form, the souls will unite together into a one true soul of Adam on the level of the World of Infinity. At the same time the part of the souls that gives them a feeling of this world will also be corrected, and hence the perception of matter will also disappear. We will then continue to exist only in the form of the single soul of “Adam.”

Question: Why are there spiritual actions that we need to observe on the earthly level (such as Maaser, study, dissemination, and the group), as well as actions that we don’t have to observe physically (such as laying on the Tefillin)?

My Answer: Because actions such as Maaser, study, dissemination, and the group are real, whereas the others are still irrational for now, on your level, because you don’t yet have a screen to observe them. Regarding the actions that have a consequence in our world and the Upper World, each action is realized on its level and higher. The traditions should be observed by those to whom they belong by birth. This is one’s culture. Those from the nations of the world (non-Jews) who want to advance spiritually, don’t have to observe the corporeal traditions designated to Jews.

When you will gradually acquire a screen and start working with it, this is called observance of 613 commandments (correction of your intentions over 613 desires of the soul from “for yourself” to “for the Creator”) through 613 corrections (Tariag Eitin) and 613 fulfillments (Tariag Pkudin). You will start observing them yourself, as it is written, “A person’s soul teaches him.”

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A Friend Is Someone With The Same Qualities, Actions And Goals As You

friendTwo questions I received on people who leave the study of Kabbalah:

Question: How should I regard a friend who has left the group and the study of Kabbalah?

My Answer: In Hebrew a “friend” is Haver, which comes from the word Hibur, connection. A connection is made only through equivalence of form, qualities, actions and goals. This person used to be like the other friends, but as soon as he left us, he stopped being like us and became different. Consequently, he is no longer a friend, because there is no connection. And therefore, he’s gone from my memory!

Even if I had a strong connection with him, it’s still so. There is no time in spirituality. Everything is determined by one’s state, or in other words, by the spiritual distance between two objects – the degree of their similarity.

Question: Lately we’ve had some cases of friends who leave the studies. How should we behave around these people? I want to continue being in touch with them, but can they do the same with me? Are there events they shouldn’t attend?

My Answer: You have to make arrangements so that all who have left will have an opportunity to keep in touch with the group and to return to it. The only exception are those who cause harm.

Sometimes a person grows weak along the path and stops participating in the joint movement of the group, but later he is reawakened and feels a renewed desire to attain the purpose of life. He then reconnects to the group. We are expanding in breadth, and hence we shouldn’t set rigid conditions for anyone. The people who “fluctuate” may participate in everything other than the making of decisions. For further details, please be in touch with the coordinators of the dissemination in English department at english@kabbalah.info.

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“Green Technology” Harms Us Twofold

Dr. Michael LaitmanNews Report (from LiveScience): “Wind Farms Could Change Weather” The scientists, Daniel Barrie and Daniel Kirk-Davidoff of the University of Maryland, calculated what might happen if all the land from Texas to central Canada, and from the Great Lakes to the Rocky Mountains, were covered in one massive wind farm. Such massive wind farming would slow wind speeds by 5 or 6 mph as the turbines literally stole wind from the air. A ripple effect would occur in the form of waves radiating across the Northern Hemisphere that could, days later, run into storms and alter their courses by hundreds of miles.

My Comment: We will soon discover that all of our “good” actions harm us twofold:

  • We spend more resources and energy on them than we do on the ecologically “harmful” ones,
  • We think that their use will allow us to correct the environment, but in the meantime we’re falling behind with our own correction.

We have to stop lying to ourselves: The only thing that can correct the world is the correction of our egoism to altruism.

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The Financial Crisis May Trigger A World War

Neither Side Is Right In This WarNews Report: As the crisis develops, scientists are trying to predict whether a third World War will take place at the end of the “Second Great Depression,” as it happened after the First Great Depression. In the International Security Report 2008, researchers from the Oxford Research Group (ORG) assert that war is inevitable unless immediate economic changes are made. The social unrest will erupt in a violent, armed struggle for survival. Experts say it is necessary to institute social justice and fair commerce, to write off debts and reduce toxic emissions into the atmosphere.

My Comment: Everyone agrees with the scientists that this is better than a nuclear war, but who’s going to establish this new order? For that to happen we would have to have a different nature, and such a nature can only appear in man under the influence of the Upper Light. All heads of governments without exception are afraid of unleashing a war. They understand that it’s possible to “accidentally” trigger a process through a terrorist attack or provocation by a third party, which will sweep all countries involuntarily and uncontrollably toward World War III.

Kabbalah states that there is only one alternative to war: to use all the mass media channels to provide a universal explanation of the new global interdependence and the need to create new global relationships of kindness. Then the social opinion will influence every individual, because man was created such that he is fully controlled by the social opinion. And if any regime will disagree with this global agreement, it will have to be isolated from the entire world.

By undertaking this, mankind will become similar to Nature (the Creator) and will immediately discover Nature’s good influence on all levels of our existence, from ecology to finance. For more on this, see item 155 of the “Introduction to Talmud Esser Sefirot.”

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The Truth Can Only Be Discerned From Within

Dr. Michael LaitmanTwo questions I received on how to be sure that one is following the right path:

Question: I want to find out the Truth with a capital T, but everything I see looks like lies. How can I prove to myself and to others that Kabbalah is true? It’s not enough to say that everything is evil, and only “our Torah” is the truth.

My Answer: Progress and growth always come with the sensation of a mistake and its correction, just like in any tracking system that’s aimed at a particular goal. The feeling of uncertainty, the sensation that things are lies and are false, are all necessary, and you should be glad you feel them.

Only animals don’t make mistakes because they’re governed by nature, whereas man must develop of his own accord. Moreover, we mustn’t suppress these qualities in others; on the contrary, we should encourage them, even if these people end up leaving us. Let them verify and find their own path. Otherwise they won’t become human, but will remain “animals,” as it is written: “All are like animals” – all except those who draw the Light of growth and correction.

Question: There are many groups and schools that study Kabbalah. In your opinion, is every group that studies the authentic sources suitable to study Kabbalah with?

My Answer: Only you can tell which group and manner of study are best for you. Some people still need to go through various mysticisms, religions, and Kabbalah as knowledge (Baal HaSulam describes this when he writes about the “Kabbalists of Jerusalem”). After trying all of these (perhaps even in the next life cycle), they will come to the authentic study of Kabbalah, which is a reception of Light for the correction of one’s egoism. Indeed, this is the only reason for Kabbalah’s existence in this world, the only reason that the Torah (Kabbalah) was given. The Creator said: “I have created egoism and I have created the Torah for its correction,” or in other words: in order for people to attain the quality of “Love for one’s neighbor” – the principal law of the entire Torah and of the entire world.

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The Opposition Between Religion And Kabbalah: Actions Versus Intentions

holdA question I received: According to Rabash, the chosen people are those who can shift from the externality to the internality, and one’s heart will change with the help of one’s actions. At the same time, you always remind us that the external commandments are no more than external signs, which have no connection with the soul’s correction.

My Answer: When Rabash speaks of “external observance,” he does not mean the physical observance, but the intention “for one’s own sake.” And “inner observance” signifies the intention “for the Creator’s sake.”

As for the physical actions, the Creator said: “I don’t care how you slaughter cattle; the commandments were given for man’s correction.” In other words, the entire connection between actions and commandments lies in one’s intentions, and not in the actions themselves. If a person knew that his actions have no results, he would be extremely grateful to Kabbalah for giving him the correct guidance in life!

The entire opposition between religion and Kabbalah comes down to their assessment of the importance of actions and intentions: What is more important, the actions or the intentions? Indeed, Kabbalah does not deny the importance of the actions (traditions) in forming and managing social boundaries. But religion also has to accept what is written, that actions without intentions are dead and don’t correct a person. The intentions can only be changed through the correct study of Kabbalah.

One has to start by admitting that he is not perfect – therein lies the stumbling block! It’s because religion’s primary goal is to grant man a sense of pride and perfection for observing the prescriptions. He thinks that by doing this, he serves the Creator and the whole world, and everyone is indebted to him.

Kabbalah, on the other hand, shows a person just how phony and imperfect he really is. He sees this in the Creator’s Light, which descends upon him during the study. A person then feels unhappy with the results of his study, but if he is able to rise above this sensation and elevate the truth above the anguish, he progresses. And if he is unable to do this, he veers off the path.

Item 66 of the “Preface to the Book of Zohar” discusses the necessity to make the intention more important than the physical observance. The entire contradiction between religion and Kabbalah lies in their claim as to what is more important.

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The Path Of Light Versus The Path Of Suffering

What Do Villains and Prophets Have to Do With Bnei Baruch's Virtual Group?A question I received: Is it correct to say that the Path of Light does not take away the problems in a person’s life, and it’s just that someone following the Path of Light perceives them differently? Since that person is on a higher level, he doesn’t have the same problems as in the past because his attitude to them has changed, or rather, his attitude to the source of the problems. However, when a person following the Path of Suffering receives the same problem, he feels bad.

My Answer: That’s absolutely correct! We exist in a field of Upper Light (the quality of bestowal and love). This field consists of concentric spheres, and the closer a sphere is to the center, the more intense its quality of bestowal and love is. Everything is static; only we move through this field and change our perception by changing our qualities.

A desire, or the single soul, was created in the center of all the spheres. It then moved away from the center, losing its quality of bestowal and love, and then broke into pieces (the particular souls). Thus it acquired the opposite quality – reception (egoism). Because of this, it now exists in the most remote sphere of the field of Light.

The souls have “positions” relative the Light just like a charge has a position in an electric or magnetic field. A soul’s connection with the Light (a charge’s connection with the field) happens through balance (similarity) of their qualities. If the qualities of the Light (field) and the soul (charge) are the same, then the soul (desire) feels that it is at equilibrium. In other words, there’s a balance of the soul’s forces or qualities with the Light’s. They’re in a state of homeostasis.

When the souls move away from the center to the periphery (when they descend through their qualities), they retain a Reshimo (record) about every state they go through. When the souls reach the maximum distance from the the center (from the Creator, because their qualities are opposite to Him), a recording of the whole chain of separation (descent) remains embedded in them. The souls (egoistic desires) perceive the most remote state as a person (soul) in this world (field).

From this moment on, the souls begin their way back. At first they advance toward the goal of creation unconsciously, under pressure that emerges due to the nonconformity of their qualities to the qualities of the spheres of Light that they pass. The souls feel suffering, which is a feeling that comes from the opposition of their egoistic qualities and the qualities of the Light. The greater are the Reshimot that become expressed in a soul, the more the soul is pushed to the inner spheres in the field of Light. Or stated differently, the greater the nonconformity between the uncorrected Reshimo and the corrected Light, the worse a person feels (and the same can be said for the society as a whole).

Starting from a certain sphere in the field of Light, the Light’s influence on the Reshimo elicits a recognition of the cause of the suffering. This is expressed as the question about the meaning of the suffering, about its reason and purpose. It is a question about the meaning of life. A person is then brought to the group (the environment) where he can start correcting himself to become similar to the Light (bestowal).

“It always seems that we are loved because we are good. But what we don’t realize is that we are loved because those who love us are good.”
Leo Tolstoy

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Baal HaSulam Describes The Law Of Singularity

Baal HaSulamBaal HaSulam, article “Peace in the World”:

Man feels that all the creatures in the world should be under his own government and were created for his own private use. And this is a law of Nature that cannot be breached. The only difference between people is their choices of how to use the creatures: One chooses to exploit people by attaining the lowest desires, one chooses to attain power, while the third – to attain respect. Furthermore, if it could be done without much effort, every person would agree to exploit the whole world for attaining all three together: wealth, power and respect. This law is called the “Law of Singularity,” and is felt in the heart of every person. And there is not a person who can escape it, although each and every one takes his own share in that law: the great person according to his greatness, and the small person according to his smallness.

And although the attribute of singularity contains a sublime, beautiful and gracious meaning, since this attribute extends to us directly from the Creator, who is single in the world and the root of all creations, still when the sensation of singularity sits within our narrow egoism, its action becomes ruin and destruction and the source of all the suffering that was and will be in the world. And indeed there is not a single person in the world who is free from this attribute, and all the differences between people are only in the way it is used: whether for satisfying the passions of the heart, or for power, or for honor. This is what makes people different from one another.

Shift The World To A Scale Of Merit

Dr. Michael LaitmanA question I received: One of my friends is a philosopher studying Egyptian culture. He told me a story from the Jewish religion about a soul that has to confess its sins. When it does, it lays the sins on one side of the scale, and the other side of the scale rises.

My Answer: The Kabbalistic text that will be closest to you (in terms of clarity) is item 110 of the “Introduction to Talmud Eser Sefirot” (there you will also find references to earlier source texts). It states: “We must thoroughly understand what is written in Tractate Kidushin, p. 40: ‘One must always regard oneself half guilty and half pure. If he performs one Commandment, happy is he, for he has sentenced the world to a scale of merit. If he commits one sin, woe unto him for he has sentenced the world to a scale of demerit.’

Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Shimon, says, ‘The world is judged by its majority, and the individual is also judged by the majority. Hence if he performs one Commandment, happy is he, for he has sentenced himself and the entire world to a scale of merit. If he commits one sin, woe unto him, for he has sentenced himself and the entire world to a scale of demerit. Because of this one sin that he had committed, the world and he have lost much good.’”

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