Entries in the 'teacher' Category

Why We Need To Understand The Greatness And Uniqueness Of Baal HaSulam

Baal HaSulamToday is a special day, the Yahrzeit, the day commemorating the death of Kabbalist Yehuda Ashlag, Baal HaSulam.  

Who is Baal HaSulam? He is the soul that connects us to the Creator. He was a person who opened all the gates of the wisdom of Kabbalah to the last generation we’re now in.

Without Baal HaSulam’s teaching, we would be unable to be awarded with what we have already received. Moreover, without Baal HaSulam’s teaching, we would be unable to progress to what is ahead of us, both in terms of the knowledge and the method of Kabbalah, and also its stages of attainment.

No matter what will happen as we head forth, we will reach a need for the Creator. However, such a need will have to pass through this great soul.

“A person has the choice of going to a place where there are righteous. One can accept their authority, and then he will receive all the powers that he lacks by the nature of his own qualities. He will receive it from the righteous. This is the benefit in ‘planted them in each generation,’ so that each generation would have someone to turn to, adhere to, and from whom to receive the strength required to rise to the degree of a righteous.”

Baal Hasulam. Shamati article 99. “He Did Not Say Wicked or Righteous.”

One of the reasons why the wisdom of Kabbalah is called “the wisdom of Kabbalah (reception)” is because it passes through each generation, and every generation needs a teacher, a Kabbalist, one with spiritual attainment, in the world. That is a necessity in the wisdom of Kabbalah. Only extremely rare and unique individuals can reach attainment of the Creator by receiving special treatment from above. As such, we need to always be connected to great sages who are in spiritual attainment, so that in each generation, we can make spiritual progress.

Since the wisdom of Kabbalah discusses phenomena that a person can only attain through the teacher, then he learns sources, through the teacher, which pass through all generations. The key to the student’s attainment of what passes through his teacher is subjugation, through which the small can receive from the great. Accordingly, there are degrees of the student’s subjugation to the teacher.

Therefore, we need to understand how great and unique Baal HaSulam was, and how much we need to subjugate to what he left us, his writings, with the hope that to the extent of such subjugation, we will be able to connect to his spirit, through which we can receive the upper force from the Creator.
Kabbalah Lesson on the Topic “Baal HaSulam Memorial Day” on October 10, 2019.

Passing The Light Of Attainment Down The Chain Of Souls

Dr. Michael LaitmanEvery person has the right to examine whether the place he chooses to study is good for him. However, after a short test, he should make up his mind and enter the study process at the selected place without any further doubts. Otherwise, he won’t be able to reveal the Creator and His world.

There are groups who claim that they study according to their own method. But how can there be a method that was not passed down through the chain of Kabbalists from master to disciple?

It is impossible to receive such a method on one’s own. Only Adam HaRishon received this method “from Heaven,” as it were, and discovered it on “his own.” However, all the others, including Abraham, obtained it through the chain of Kabbalists. At first, Abraham was “an idol worshiper,” meaning that he was engaged in a special spiritual work, only in its reverse form, after which he realized its inadequacy. Twenty generations past Adam HaRishon, Kabbalah was passed on to Abraham.

The method of attainment can be acquired solely through clinging to a teacher. This is the way it expands from Above downward through the chain of souls, from soul to soul. Can you really connect to the root if you are not Adam HaRishon himself? Only Adam HaRishon is tied to the Creator directly. All the other souls must receive from him through the chain of Kabbalists, depending on the soul’s place in it. Everybody receives from the one who stands before him, and is connected by a linked chain with one root.

It is a hierarchic system similar to a tree. I am positioned in it at a specific place and can receive only from the person nearest to me and above me. For this, I need to annul myself before him in the same way a lower Partzuf annuls itself before the Upper One in the spiritual world.

Therefore, when people claim that they receive “Light or enlightenment” from Above or while in sleep, they are not being serious. A spiritual contact can be attained solely by staying close to a Kabbalist while he is alive. If you manage to reach at least one such point of contact, from that point on, you can develop everything else.

However, without this initial point, you won’t have anything from which to advance further: You are cut away from the whole tree, from the entire system of souls. This is why people always ask, “Who was your teacher? Where did you come from?”

For this reason, out of all diplomas, the most precious piece of paper that I possess is a tiny newspaper article where I am named as a loyal student and the right hand of Rabash. It testifies, to the very least, how connected I was with my teacher.

From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 9/12/10, “Letter 38”

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Learning "From Mouth To Mouth"

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: What is learning “from mouth to mouth” by which Baal HaSulam passed the teaching to Rabash?

Answer: Learning “from mouth to mouth” means sharing the screen because “mouth” (Peh) is the location of the screen. Such connection is regarded as “Rucha Be-Rucha” (at the level of Ruach), and this is the type of communication a student should attain with his teacher.

This is the degree of annulment of the lower one’s self, thanks to which he attains connection with the upper one. This spiritual state is not easy to achieve, but at least a student must do what he can in this world, by following his teacher’s advice as if it were a law for him. It is a simple practical recommendation that anyone can use, and it is regarded as the minimal degree of self-annulment before the upper one, which we are willing to perform due to our egoistic interests.

If I desire to gain spirituality from the teacher, I have to annul myself before him like in the army: If an order is given, it’s carried out. The teacher talks about building a correct intention, annulling oneself, exerting effort, participating in dissemination, and everything else that is required of a student. The student, in his turn, must listen. As a result, through the point of connection that emerges, he will receive the Light that Reforms and comprehend what he is told.

In the degree that a student annuls his egoism, he automatically transforms into a form where this understanding occurs through receiving an imprint of spirituality. And through this imprint, we begin to comprehend the teaching. If the lower one annuls himself, the upper one imprints his structure, his 10 Sefirot in the lower one.

Let’s hope that we will earn the reward of Rabash becoming our Teacher.

From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 9/12/10, “Letter 38”

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How To Grow Up To Reach The Zohar

Dr. Michael Laitman The most important thing while reading The Zohar is to unite with the text. If we remember that the Light influences us, this is sufficient.

A small child lives among adults, but what does he understand from their conversations and behavior? Does he know their world? No; it’s all a secret to him. We are built by nature like a child among adults: Without understanding anything or being ready for it, a child perceives everything by means of the “surrounding glow.”

This is the manner in which development takes place: gradually, indirectly, from outside, a child begins to absorb everything from adults and tunes into them without understanding what is happening ahead of time. By entering them through his desire, he begins to feel and then to understand. This develops new senses and desires (Kelim) in him, and then the mind.

When we are adults, we don’t develop, but merely fill ourselves with knowledge and sensation. Our senses no longer develop. They can only develop on the condition that a person enters an “area” where even without understanding or feeling anything, he desires to become similar to it. By means of his desire and drive, without understanding or knowing anything, he begins to absorb forces from this area and that develops him.

Adults do not undergo the same inner development as children. They merely fill their previous desires. Both in our world and the spiritual world, new desires can only grow when you want to feel and discover where you are.

When I read The Zohar, I don’t know what it is talking about. But because I desire to reveal this picture, I develop the senses through which my soul perceives. This is why it is written, “The study does not happen through reason” (Lo HaHacham Lomed).

Our spiritual development takes place in exactly the same way as a baby develops in our world. It can only happen when the lower level completely annuls itself before the Upper Level. After all, we are learning to feel a whole new world!

Kabbalists write about this in many articles. Baal HaSulam writes in “A Speech in Celebration of the Conclusion of The Zohar” that a student has to cancel himself before the Rav just as children do before adults. That is the only way you can attain a higher state.

From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 4/14/10, The Zohar

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A Group’s Spiritual Guidance

pick A question I received: How much longer will you remain our guide?

My Answer: At any given moment, a student needs to be prepared to be without a teacher, and know that he will have all that he needs. He who advances is one who constantly demands and is independent, in and of, himself. He has the Creator, the method, and the group. All that is necessary has been provided.

However, does one rise to the next level without a leader? The next state is a closer connection among the friends. Therefore, a collective decision is necessary. There could be no recognized leader appointed by the former teacher, or someone declaring himself to be the leader. No one can take the leadership by force, intelligence, or guile.

It’s safer if the group jointly continues on the path and carries out collective decisions by a “spiritual board.” This board doesn’t consist of great minds or recognized experts; it consists of the people who are able to make joint, collective decisions.

Anyone unable to be responsive to the process of the group’s development has no place on this spiritual leadership board. This includes: those that are still blinded by personal interests, those who are unable to subjugate themselves to the group, those who haven’t yet been imbued by the spirit of the path to a sufficient degree, those who make mistakes because they haven’t grasped or tuned into the common direction, those who are subject to outside influence, or those who might be unsuitable for other reasons.

The spiritual governing board needs to consist of people who don’t make mistakes with collective decisions, who aren’t subject to pressure from others in the group, and, more importantly, who aren’t influenced by anyone on the outside. The group has the right and the obligation to immediately expel anyone who interferes with the work or who asserts his own superiority. These are the spiritual laws according to which we need to grow.

Continuing The Infinite Flow Of Interconnections

In all life situations, your behavior should be determined only by the spiritual goal A question I received: If a group loses its teacher, can it advance?

My Answer: Everything that’s necessary for the group’s advancement and your spiritual progress is already contained in the tens of thousands of lessons that are stored in our archives. The stronger you unite, the more degrees you will reveal in those lessons. Everything depends on the Kli (the vessel), rather than one who fills it.

As you attain greater unity, you’ll continually reveal new things in all the lessons.  In ten years from now, you will reveal greater degrees in lessons that are ten years old today. Everything depends on the “user,” his sensitivity and openness. You’ll progressively discover new layers in the same materials. Inner changes will allow you to perform continuously deeper revelations. Greater unity will enable you to reveal all the subsequent states in those previous lessons.

The passing of a teacher is not the end. Life continues, a new form of governance comes from Above, and the group continues to move ahead. This is the way it should be in the process of growth.

For example, according to the same principle, we change our attitude to a child as he gets older. With time, he, himself, begins to feel a need to separate. In the same way, a person is given a teacher for a time, and then the teacher is taken away. The teacher receives another mission and the student does too. We need to relate to these changes as an infinite flow of interconnections between Kelim.

The Light Affects Us No Matter What State We Are In

the-machsom-is-the-same-everywhere-even-in-japanTwo questions I received about beginning Kabbalah study:

Question: Do we need to have the point in the heart before we can begin to correct ourselves and our relationships with others?

My Answer: No. You can begin in any state.

Question: I have a group of five to six people who do not have Internet, and so I am giving them Kabbalah lessons in Spanish with recorded lessons of the ARI Learning Center in my computer. I am giving them the first 15 lessons. Is this OK and can I give them the virtual lessons I took before or the new one starting in January?

My Answer: It does not matter. Let them listen to any lessons, even those intended for very advanced students. The Light always works and its effect does not depend on understanding. It’s more important to pay attention to the teacher.

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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?

How Do You Know If You’ve Found A True Kabbalist?

know A question I received: How can someone without spiritual attainment find a true Kabbalist in order to study with him?

My Answer: How can you find a true Kabbalist? Well, what is a true Kabbalist? Baal HaSulam writes that a true Kabbalist is someone who strives only toward the Creator and toward nothing else, such as anything related to this world or himself.

The only means that makes it possible to reveal the Creator, the Upper World, and the quality of bestowal is a Kabbalistic group. The group is a connection among people’s aspirations to reveal the quality of bestowal among them. This quality is called “the Creator.”

You aren’t trying to learn a Kabbalist’s earthly habits from him. What you learn from him is how to cancel yourself, where “cancelling yourself” means to cancel your egoism in relation to the goal – the attainment of the quality of bestowal. You have to accept this goal without any resistance to it, with full trust and no criticism, as if you were a baby.

Criticism and verification have to take place before you accept the teacher as your instructor. However, if you have a point in the heart, then you have nowhere to run from an instructor who is showing you the truth.

But what is “the truth”? It is the force of bestowal, deemed the Creator, and it becomes revealed inside your love for friends and then for the whole world. If you see that the other students and the teacher are trying to accomplish this, without considering anything besides the Creator important, this means you have found the right place to study.

Yet, this still doesn’t give you any guarantee that you will attain the goal. From here on, everything depends on you; this is where your freedom of will starts. But at the very least you have found a teacher and a group, which is the place where the Creator can be revealed.

A teacher is not the flesh and blood person you see in front of you, but attainment of the Creator and experience along this path. What you should be absorbing from him is not the earthly things, but his connection with the Creator.

A Desire Develops After We Receive A Taste Of It

It All Comes Back to YouA question I received: In the posting, “Use Each Instant Of Your Life To Move Aheadת” you wrote that a person must demand an award from the Creator for each of his deeds in order to accelerate revelation of the Upper World. But how can I develop this demand if I don’t have it?

My Answer: No one initially has the desire for the Upper World because the Upper World is opposite to us and therefore we cannot feel it. A desire develops only after we “taste” something and then lose that sensation. We then feel the need to run after it. Intensity of this aspiration for the desirable is called a desire (passion).

In Kabbalah this law of development of desire is formulated as “The expansion and disappearance of Light.” This is what creates a desire for it.

So the most important question is: How do we draw the influence of the Light upon us? The answer is: Through the environment – the teacher, the books, and the group.

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