Entries in the 'ARI' Category

The Great Kabbalist Rabbi Akiva

Every Person Has to Find His Own TeacherTwo questions I received on Rabbi Akiva and Kabbalists who weren’t Jewish:

Question: Why did the great Kabbalist Rabbi Akiva ben Yosef, who saw the future, support the uprising of Bar Kokhba (Shimon Bar Koziv) and proclaimed him the Messiah? We know from history that this uprising led to the most deplorable results: it was crushed and Rabbi Akiva was sentenced to a horrible execution! How could a Kabbalist of his stature not have known how this uprising was going to end on the corporeal level and that he would be executed? And how could he have been mistaken about who the Messiah is?

My Answer: A Kabbalist only sees what is revealed to him from above. Complete revelation will take place only at the end of correction.

Question: Were there any great Kabbalists who weren’t Jewish?

My Answer: Yes. One example is our Great Teacher Rabbi Akiva, from whom we received all the commentaries on the Torah.

Related Material:
Kabbalah for Beginners: Chapter 2 – “Timeless Teachers of Kabbalah – Rabbi Akiva”

Who Believes In God?

The Moral Norms of a KabbalistA Parable: Once upon a time, in a small American town, a businessman decided to open a bar. The problem was that the bar was on the same street as a church. Obviously, the church officials weren’t happy about this, and at every sermon they called upon the citizens to protest the opening of the bar and to pray for God to punish the immoral businessman.

The day before the bar’s Grand Opening, there was a tremendous thunderstorm. Suddenly, lightning struck the bar and it burned to the ground.

The church officials rejoiced, but their festivities did not last long because the bar owner sued them, demanding a compensation for his loss. Of course, the church officials denied any responsibility for the matter.

After hearing out both sides, the judge noted: “Based on the evidence, it appears that the bar owner believes in the power of a prayer, but the church officials do not!”

The Meaning of Prayer and Blessings

childrenDuring the international children’s lesson that was held on 10.10.2008, we talked about prayer. Prayer is the most secret, concealed desire in one’s heart. It hides so deep down in our hearts that we don’t even feel it. But precisely this desire has a connection with the Creator, or we can say that the Creator dwells inside this desire.

In order to reveal the Creator, we must reveal this desire for Him. But how can we influence this desire? A person cannot reach it himself, but only through the environment (the group). He evokes all sorts of influences from the environment, which make his desire for the Creator, for love and bestowal, grow. In fact, these influences have a direct effect on one’s heart.

In this manner, through the group, one can evoke such a great desire for love and bestowal in his heart that it will become similar to the Creator in the minimum degree, and then he will immediately sense the Creator within it. This is the meaning and purpose of prayer – to gradually reveal the Creator in one’s heart!

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During the following international children’s lesson, held on 10.17.2008, we talked about blessings.
A blessing is a sensation of gratitude that involuntarily appears in one’s heart. It is gratitude for the corrections that take place within a person under the influence of the Creator’s Light:

“Blessed are you, Ruler of the world… Who opens eyes to see the Upper World… Who spreads the earth (the desire to receive) upon the waters (the desire to bestow)… Who gives the heart the understanding to distinguish day (the Upper Light, the quality of bestowal) from night (egoism)… Who clothes the naked (with the Light of Hassadim, in which the Light of Hochma is revealed)… and so on.

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How to Reveal the Secret of All Secrets

secretTwo questions I received about physical and spiritual birth:

Question: I am very curious about whether there are any secrets during birth, marriage, and death according to the wisdom of Kabbalah.

My Answer: The birth of one’s animate body does not involve any secrets, and it never will because the body is simply an animal! However, when the soul (the screen, the quality of bestowal) is born in a person, he reveals the Upper World – the secret of all secrets!

Question: In the future, will people be born with a developed sixth sense within, that will give them absolute control over their lives?

My Answer: Man will always have to make an effort against egoism in order to be corrected and fulfilled by the Upper Light.

Related Material:
Laitman.com Post: Did the Ari Speak With the Dybbuks?
Laitman.com Post: The Secret Things Belong to the Creator
Laitman.com Post: Disclosing Something Beyond What the Disclosure Project Can Disclose

The Internet Is A Reflection Of The Society

reflectionTwo questions I received about the internet:

Question: The President of Russia decreed that there must be freedom of the mass media, and that information on the Internet and the TV shouldn’t be censored. What is your opinion?

My Answer: I’m not a political commentator, nor am I well versed in the political “kitchen.” Still, I can say that any actions aimed at creating a connection between people go in the same direction as the development of human society, in accordance to the law of Nature: “To bring humankind to a single whole.” Therefore, such actions are good for those who make them.

Question: Just as anything else, the Internet has a downside: it contains a whole lot of junk. Does everything depend on what we will choose and how much we will desire to correct ourselves?

My Answer: The Internet is a reflection of the society. I hope that society will soon become more corrected, and then the entire Internet will also change: it will be cleansed of all the “junk.”

That’s because the only things that will remain in our world will be the things necessary for our adhesion with the Creator. Everything else will gradually disappear. Then our world will also change in our perception, transforming to the World of Infinity – a world of unbounded existence that is the only thing in existence.

Related Material:
Laitman.com Post: What Will Happen If Countries Draw National Boundaries on the Internet?
Laitman.com Post: From Our World, to the Virtual World, to the Upper World

Can You Be Born a Kabbalist?

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestions I received on the development of spirituality in a person:

Question: How do I receive the point in the heart?

Answer: When the first spiritual Reshimo surfaces in you.

Questions: Who taught Kabbalah to the first man (Adam), since he didn’t have books?

Answer: He revealed it on his own just like Abraham. He is called “the first man” because a person who attains similarity to the Creator is called “man” – Adam, which comes from the word “similar.” He was the first man at that time; everyone else were animals.

Question: Can a newborn baby be a Kabbalist?

Answer: No. One needs to earn a Masach.

Question: Can a newborn be on any spiritual level?

Answer: Yes, if the society as a whole is.

Question: Can a baby be born above the Machsom, with full understanding of everything?

Answer: No, but he can achieve this very fast during childhood with the help of upbringing, as before the destruction of the Temple.

Question: What is it to annul oneself before others?

Answer: It’s when the desire of another person is more important to you than your own desire.

Question: Do I need to share my attention with the group rather than give all of it to my wife and kids?

Answer: Only inside of you.

Related Material:
Laitman.com Post: To Be Born a Kabbalist
Laitman.com Post: How Does a Kabbalist Organize His Day?
Book: Kabbalah Beginner’s Guide
Baal HaSulam Article: “The Love for the Creator & Love for the Created Beings”

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Opponents of Kabbalah

Using the Sixth Sense, One Perceives Like the CreatorThere are three kinds of opponents of Kabbalah:
1. Those who say that there is no need for the concealed part of the Torah.
2. Those who say that Kabbalah is so great that it’s forbidden to study it.
3. Those who say that it’s a terrible thing to make a mistake in such exalted matters.
Rabbi Moshe Cordevero (the ‘Ramak’) “Da Et Elokey Avicha,” 118-132.

If a person from Israel lowers the importance of Kabbalah, he lowers the righteous of the nations of the world lower than the sinners, and thereby causes Israel to be scorned even to the point of annihilation. The entire fall of Israel happened because people have left Kabbalah.
Baal HaSulam. “Introduction to the Book of Zohar,” item 69.

Woe to the people who make the Light of the Messiah vanish from the world, so as never to return. They make the Torah dry, without the moist of mind and knowledge, for they confine themselves to the practical observance of commandments and do not wish to study the wisdom of Kabbalah. Alas, they cause by their deeds the poverty, the ruin and the robbery, the looting, the killings and destruction in the world.
Baal HaSulam. “Introduction to the Book of Zohar,” item 70.

Those who only study the Babylonian Talmud are like the blind gnawing at the wall.
Rav Chaim Vital. “Introduction to the Book Etz Haim,” part 1, 9-10.

The nations of the world say to Israel: “How is your Torah different from our teachings, since yours is also nothing but tales?” They will be punished for degrading the Torah this way. And their Torah causes exile and suffering in the world. But… our sages are pleased with what they have, and they assert that there is no other Torah but the simple Torah. Clearly there is no place for them in the world to come.
Rav Chaim Vital. “Introduction to the Book Etz Haim ,” part 1, 11-12.

Moses Maimonides (the Rambam): He who has not attained similarity to the Creator is not called a man, but is only an animal in the form of a human. However, he can do harm, which animals cannot, since the mind given to him to attain the Creator is used to harm others, and this makes him lower than an animal.
Rav Shim’on Lavi. “Katem Paz.”

This is an answer to all the “wise” people who oppose the study of Kabbalah: let those that study Kabbalah make mistakes and ask for the true path when they discover their mistakes. This is why their efforts are credited and rewarded by the Creator. And those who humiliate those who study Kabbalah will be condemned by the Creator.
Rav Shim’on Lavi. “Katem Paz.”

The wreath of the Torah is Kabbalah, which everyone rejects. But you, stretch out your hand and take it, since those who have never tried it, have never tasted the Light of the Torah and live in darkness. Great is the sin of those who use different excuses to avoid studying Kabbalah. And it is not the fault of the masses, but of their leaders, who neglect the study of Kabbalah and take pride in studying only the revealed Torah and in not needing anything but the simple understanding of the Torah.
Rabbi Pincus Eliyahu of Vilna Sefer HaBrit, part 2, article 12, chapter 5.

There are many ignorant people who refuse to study Kabbalah, but if they would listen to me, evil and misfortune would stop coming to our world, because man depends only on his efforts in studying Kabbalah.
Safrin, Yitzhak Yehudah Yehiel Notzer Hesed al Pirkei Avot, chapter 4, study 20.

Alas, these people, who make the Torah dry and do not wish to study the wisdom of Kabbalah; they cause by their deeds the poverty, the ruin and the robbery, the looting, the killings and destruction in the world.
Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai (Rashbi) Tikunei Zohar, chapter 30.

Rashbi referred to those who study the simple Torah as “sleeping” because they don’t open their eyes to see the Creator’s love for them, as though they scorn it and do not know the path to perfection and adhesion with the Creator.
Rabbi Moshe ‘Haim Luzzatto (Ram’hal). “Shaarei Ramhal,” “Introduction to the Article Vikuah,” page 97.

The Turning Points of History

The Soul Is the Property of Bestowal, and Until We Develop It, We Remain AnimalsThree questions I received on the modern study method of Kabbalah:

Question: You wrote that the Mashiach Ben Yosef is the great Ari’s revelation of the modern method of correction, Kabbalah, in the 16th century. Can we make an analogy that the Mashiach Ben David is also a revelation – the one that was made by Baal HaSulam? Or will there be other revelations of the method that will be more complete and have a more powerful effect?

My Answer: In Article #102 of Shamati, Baal HaSulam writes the following about the Ari: “That is why the holy Ari, who was the Mashiach son of Yosef, was able to reveal so much wisdom, for he had the permission from ‘the revealed world.’”

As for the Mashiach Ben David, there are many mentions of him, but they all indicate something different and can only be understood through personal revelation, but I prefer to quote the primary source texts.

Question: What do you think about The Book of Bakhir?

My Answer: Baal HaSulam writes the following in the article “Disclosing a Portion, Covering Two”: Ever since the teachings of the Ari were revealed in the world, all Kabbalists abandoned all other books and study only The Book of Zohar and the books of the Ari.”

Question: You said that 1995 was the starting point of the current events. What happened in 1995 that you are referring to?

My Answer: I felt this because suddenly, the students that started coming to study with me were different: They were serious, diligent, and persistent in their pursuit of the goal. Today they still make up the core of the worldwide Bnei Baruch group. Of course, there were also inner changes that are concealed from the average onlooker – a clearer revelation of new spiritual forces in the world.

Related Material:
Laitman.com Post: The Coming of the Messiah
Laitman.com Post: Worldwide Map of Bnei Baruch
Kabbalah Today Article: Isaac Luria – the Holy Ari (1534-1572)
Shamati #183: “The Discernment of the Messiah”

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Kabbalah Is for Everyone

The Jewish Holidays Are Steps of Spiritual AscentA question I received: I converted to Judaism five years ago after a lifetime of study and searching. In these past few years I have been awed by the Torah and its Pardes. Now, due to your lectures, I have fallen into a dangerous question. When Boreh Olam (the Creator) says, “My thoughts are not your thoughts,” and the wise men say that the Torah is the wisdom of Boreh Olam, i.e., his thoughts, does this mean that for the past few thousand years, the practicing Jew has got it all wrong, and in fact my search has brought me to the wrong place?

My Answer: Man was created egoistic from the very beginning. His thoughts are opposite to the Creator’s thoughts. The Kabbalistic group (Abraham’s students) was called “the people of Israel” because of their aspiration: Isra-El – straight to (similarity with) the Creator. This is how they lived until they fell from the spiritual level of “Love your neighbor as yourself” into egoism. This is called the destruction of the Temple.

Since then, this group has existed in exile from the spiritual level, in egoism and “unfounded hatred for each other.” Instead of attaining the Creator, He is concealed to them. Instead of direct communication with Him, there is religion. Instead of mutual deeds with the Creator (correction and adhesion), they perform mechanical “commandments” based on egoism (Mitzvot Anashim Melumeda – mechanical actions that are taught from childhood and are performed automatically).

No one is to blame for this condition of the nation – the downfall had to happen. But today (for nearly 100 years already), we are obliged to begin correcting ourselves and to thereby come out of exile. Those who oppose this are opponents of the nation, the world, and the Creator.

Besides this, you should just study Kabbalah. It doesn’t matter what religion you belong to. Kabbalah is for everyone!

Related Material:
Laitman.com Post: Immerse Into the Waters of Bestowal, and You Will Become Pure
Kabbalah Today Article: Kabbalah Chronicles
Kabbalah Today Article: Inherit the Land
Baal HaSulam Article: “The Revelation of Godliness (Matan Torah)”
Baal HaSulam Article: “Exile and Redemption”

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Preface to the Science of Kabbalah. Items 3-5

ptichaPreface to the Science of Kabbalah (“Pticha”). Items 3-5, summary:

3. The order of distancing, of the weakening of the desire to bestow, resulting from the development and growth of the desire to receive, from above (from bestowal, similarity to the Creator) downwards (moving away from Him) – happens along five degrees or five worlds: Adam Kadmon, Atzilut, Beria, Yetzira, and Assiya. The World of Assiya includes our world (HaOlam Hazeh). “World” – Olam comes from the word Olama – concealment, because to the degree one grows distant from similarity to the Creator, the Creator becomes concealed.

All creatures originate and have their root in the World of Infinity, in the Thought of Creation to “delight the creatures,” in their initial state.

4. The distancing of the creation from the Creator is necessary for the following reasons:

  • To give creation (man) an opportunity to be independent. This is accomplished through the complete concealment of the Creator in our world.
  • The gradual distancing occurs through the Light’s fulfillment and its subsequent expulsion. These contrasting states create sensations, realizations, and experience in the desire, giving it the opportunity to compare, and thus make it suitable to achieve its intended purpose.

The creation’s purpose is the following: after its forced descent into our world, it is to use its free will and awareness to compare and to choose bestowal over reception. Thus, by choosing that similarity to the Creator is the most important thing, creation must gradually ascend to Him, until reaching full equivalence and adhesion with Him.

5. The degrees, the structure of creation, and all the actions are determined by the nature of the Light and the desire.

Phase 0: Light (the Creator’s attitude to the creature) emanates from the Creator’s plan to create the creature in order to delight it by making it similar to Him (the small state is not considered complete). This phase is called zero or the root. It incorporates the future creature in the form of a point of the future desire, similar to a drop of semen or a seed.

Phase 1: The Light influences the point of desire, developing it to Its own size and then filling it. The desire feels the fulfillment, called the Light of Wisdom (Ohr Hochma). Because the desire is fully dependent on the Light, it doesn’t feel anything besides mere existence, like an embryo within a womb. This phase contains everything that the Creator had allocated for the creature.

Gradually the desire becomes aware of its distinction from the Light and wishes to become like the Light – bestowing. This new desire is defined as a new phase:

Phase 2: This is the desire to bestow to the Creator, to be like the Light. As a result of this, the desire feels a different kind of pleasure than in phase 1 – the pleasure of being similar to the Creator, the Light of Bestowal (Ohr Hassadim). However, gradually the desire realizes that it merely desires to bestow, but does not actually bestow. This realization results in the emergence of a new desire – “to receive for the sake of bestowal,” and this is already defined as phase 3.

Phase 3: The desire receives like in phase 1 (the Light of Hochma) with an intention like in phase 2, and feels that it bestows, like the Creator (the Light of Hassadim). Due to the sensation of being on the Creator’s level, a new desire develops – phase 4:

Phase 4: This is the desire to enjoy the Creator’s status or position by receiving the following from Him:

a) The pleasure of being filled with pleasure, and
b) The pleasure of being similar to Him.

Since the desire receives everything that can possibly emanate from the Creator, phase 4 constitutes a fully developed desire.

Related Material:
Download PDF version of Pticha