Articles on current events, culture, popular science, relationships and more, presented from the unique perspective of the wisdom of Kabbalah
The content is based on talks given by Dr. Michael Laitman and is written and edited by his students.

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Who Is A Good Mayor?

568.01Question: Mayors of several Mexican cities, New York, Europe, and Africa gathered on Zoom to discuss how to restore their cities after the virus, i.e., build bike paths, green lawns, parks, work for people, to integrate nature into cities.

The fact that mayors of many cities, quite egoistic individuals, are connecting together to seek mutual assistance, is this progress?

Answer: On the one hand, they are egoistic individuals, but on the other hand, they are the closest to the people because they are engaged in providing their citizens with normal living conditions. They are the closest and also are responsible for everything. So mayors of cities are not a government that sits and invents some new laws.

Question: Do you think a good mayor is more concerned about being reelected or about delivering what he promised to those who elected him?

Answer: I believe that for a good mayor it’s all the same: to be reelected, to love your constituents and do everything to benefit them, and try to make sure that everyone who goes to vote would vote for him.

Question: Do you think that all municipal governments will start working for the benefit of people or will this stop after the tension subsides?

Answer: This is a problem because humanity has not yet realized that through people such as city mayors can nature be corrected. Perhaps they should be given more authority.

The mayor of a city makes sure that there is water, clean air, kindergartens, and schools. This is the house manager, in short. And this is most vital for us.

Question: Should mayors of cities be given maximum power, money?

Answer: Yes. Not to be confused with anything else. He has to make sure that we are comfortable in our home. This job requires the right person. The mayor must be a local overseer.

Question: What should the mayor of the future be like in your understanding?

Answer: I’m not talking about any mental, psychological, or spiritual criteria. I am saying that all this should be seen in our example, in our life.

So that everything is clean, ready, open, provided for different levels of citizens, and so on, that’s all. This is what the mayor should do and have this sense. There are people who have this sense. We need just such a person and the appropriate team.

Question: And then, if he has such an inclination toward people, he will be given both strength, ability, and power?

Answer: Sure. He will gain support from below, he will receive support from above. From above means from nature.

Question: What would you add to this? Let’s say there is such a desire now. What could be added to keep this whole thing going?

Answer: A crystal clear understanding of the fact that we exist in an integral world, in complete dependence of humanity on each other and the dependence of all mankind on inanimate, vegetative, and animate nature.

Therefore, we must be concerned about all levels and do everything possible to ensure that nature is harmonious and integral at all its levels. Then we would not be terrified that Antarctica suddenly is beginning to melt or something else is happening, some excesses in the earth’s crust, and so on. We would not worry. We would think that all these phenomena may be happening because nature is dynamically balancing itself in this way.
From KabTV’s “News with Dr. Michael Laitman” 5/4/20

Where To Look For The Right Solution?

608.01Question: Our whole life consists of making decisions about ourselves, family, work, and some global tasks.

Many famous people have expressed their thoughts on this matter. For example, the Roman writer Publilius Syrus (around 100 BC) wrote: “We must give lengthy deliberation to what has to be decided once and for all,” which has been popularized to “Discuss often, decide once.”

Mikhail Saltykov-Shchedrin wrote: “With open discussion, not only mistakes, but the very absurdities are easily eliminated.”

And Albert Einstein is attributed with saying: “We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.”

What does it mean to make a decision? What kind of process is it from your point of view?

Answer: It is one thing if there is a solution or even several and I have to accept one of them. And if there is no solution, then a problem arises. I have to find it. Let’s say I have several personal options and I am looking for the one that is the most correct, cost effective, etc. This raises many questions. I need to investigate by which parameters it is better to choose: cost effectiveness, speed of execution, reliability, and so on.

Question: Is the right solution always obvious or should it be hidden?

Answer: The correct solution always resides on the next degree. A person must rise above himself to the next degree in order to find the correct solution.
From KabTV’s “Management Skills” 6/11/20

Who Can Become A Leader Today?

laitman_271Question: In the past, a leader was chosen based on how truthful his promises came across, his charisma, courage, determination in decision-making, and only then on how he leads state affairs, how he deals with unemployment, people’s incomes, and so on.

Business psychologists raised the question: what will happen in the post-coronavirus period? Will our vision of leadership talent mature to be based on concern for people’s well-being? What do you think future leaders will be like?

Answer: The leader of the future is a person who understands how to bring people together. That is all. Nothing else. But we need a small note here: this is not like Mao, Lenin, or Trotsky who would get up on an armored truck and inspire people. There were such great inspirational personalities.

The fact is that you need a person who sets a goal not to defeat someone at another’s expense, but to unite absolutely everyone. This is a problem because we are always competing against someone.

This cannot happen here. We are all together against our nature, our essence, our beloved egoism. A leader must know the genuine nature of the world, and how we can deal with this nature. Or rather, how not to deal with it. Otherwise, how can he be a leader if he does not understand what he is dealing with?

He must fully grasp and feel nature, its altruism, its self-enclosed finite nature, and its value. He should understand that man must come to achieve a complete similarity with nature through unity with each other, what is called adhesion with it, how to achieve this, what kind of forces, his connection with nature should help him in this.

Our nature is egoistic, but the environment is altruistic. So, I have to change myself from an egoist to an altruist in connection with other people. So, when we all remake ourselves in this way, we will become like the general nature of the world—altruistic. This is what we must achieve.

This is not a high hurdle; this is nature setting this bar for us. It will definitely happen! You will see within a few months how the world will begin to move toward this.

The leader will have to offer the world a method of uniting all of humanity. He must strive for this. There can be no other way.
From KabTV’s “News with Dr. Michael Laitman” 7/13/20

Repeatability Of Results—The Law Of Recording Spiritual Sensations

525Question: What are the main laws of recording of spiritual sensations according to the science of Kabbalah?

Answer: Repeatable results, just as in any science, the reproduction of a result by a person who is able to check it on himself.

Kabbalah, like any science, needs verification. Moreover, it welcomes such checks tests that are repeated by renowned and respected Kabbalists. They review the research and approve the publication of a relevant book. Later others can also use this book.
From KabTV’s “Fundamentals of Kabbalah” 11/11/18

My Teacher And I

Dr. Michael LaitmanFrom My Facebook Page Michael Laitman 9/22/20

One cold, rainy evening in February 1979, as I was doing my usual delving into Kabbalah books with my friend Chaim Malka, I realized that it was hopeless. “Chaim,” I said, “we are going to find a teacher right now.” We got into the car and drove off to Bnei Brak, an Orthodox city where I had heard that people study Kabbalah. As the rain poured down the windshield; I drove almost blindly, in zero visibility. But I was driven from within; I had to keep going.

Once inside the city, we had no idea where to go. Suddenly, I saw a man standing on the sidewalk waiting to cross the street. In the pouring rain, he was the only one around. I rolled down the window and hollered through the torrent: “Where do they study Kabbalah around here?!”

The man looked at me nonchalantly and said, “Turn left and drive toward the orchard. At the end of the street you’ll see a house across from it; that’s where they study Kabbalah.”

In that house by the orchard, I met my teacher, Rav Baruch Shalom HaLevi Ashlag (RABASH), the firstborn son and successor of Rav Yehuda Leib HaLevi Ashlag, the greatest kabbalist of the 20th century, who was known as Baal HaSulam (author of the Sulam) after his Sulam (Ladder) commentary on The Book of Zohar.

During the next twelve years, I served as RABASH’s personal assistant and became his prime disciple. I studied with him three hours in the morning and two hours in the evening with everyone else. I also studied with him while we were alone as I took him on his daily outings to the beach or to the park. I studied with him every other weekend when the two of us spent weekends in each other’s company, and I studied with him when he was hospitalized for a month on two occasions. I asked him all the questions that I could about spirituality, whether during lessons or while driving, or at any other opportunity. I asked him because I needed to know. I knew he was the last of the Mohicans, the final link in a lineage that goes back millennia, and I knew I would have to keep that teaching going. I recorded every lesson and took notes of his words. I absorbed from him everything I could, the outer and the inner meaning of the words, so I could pass them on when the time came.

After some years, when RABASH told me that I needed friends with whom to practice spiritual work, I brought him forty students. To them he started writing his priceless essays about one’s progress from a regular person to a kabbalist—who knows the innermost subtleties of human nature and one’s relationship with the Creator.

The essays of RABASH paved the way not only for his students, but for all of us, every single person. Now these essays are a lighthouse that shows the way to anyone who wants to achieve spirituality. They teach us how to relate to one another and how to relate to the feelings and states we discover within us along the way. RABASH, much like his father in his own way, was a pioneer, a trailblazer of endless courage, compassion, and love for humanity.

After his demise in 1991, people asked me to start teaching. RABASH had encouraged me to teach while I was still with him, so when people approached me I consented and formed a study group we called Bnei Baruch (sons of Baruch). Indeed, we aspired then and aspire now to merit the name and be my teacher’s spiritual children.

Today, as we commemorate the 29th anniversary of his passing, it is my hope that we will continue to merit the name Bnei Baruch, to walk in his path of love and unity, and to spread the authentic wisdom of Kabbalah throughout the world to every thirsty soul.

“And once I have acquired a clothing of love, sparks of love 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, and the feet dance in a circle, in love and joy together with them. And I transcend my corporeal boundaries and forget the vast distance between my friends and I … and it seems to me that there is no reality in the world except my friends and I. After that, even the ‘I’ is cancelled and immersed, mingled in my friends, until I stand and declare that there is no reality in the world but the friends” (RABASH, Letter No. 8).

“The Lesson That Ignorance About The Holocaust Should Teach Us” (Times Of Israel)

The Times of Israel published my new article “The lesson that ignorance about the Holocaust should teach Us

A survey that was recently quoted in USA Today found that almost “two-thirds of millennials, Gen Z, don’t know that 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust.” Worse yet, the survey found that “in New York … nearly 20% of millennials and Gen Zers incorrectly believe that Jews caused the Holocaust.”

It doesn’t matter what story we tell the world. Even if the facts are right, and in this case they are, the world evidently doesn’t listen. If organizations that profess to exist in order to commemorate the Holocaust are doing so poorly, then why do they exist at all?

The most telling data that I find in this survey is that in New York, nearly 20% believe that Jews themselves caused the Holocaust. It is an indication that education about Jews in the most “Jewish” city in America is totally off the mark.

We must tell the truth. If we hide the truth about Judaism, it will only intensify antisemitism, Jews will be blamed for the wrong things, and the end will be the same as in Germany.

And the truth is simple: Jews are different from all other nations. They have a huge moral debt to the world. They owe the world to be an example of uniting above hatred. Jews hate each other more than they hate their enemies. In fact, the majority of Jews don’t hate their enemies, but they sure hate one another.

But there is a good reason for it: Jews hate each other because their task is to be role models, an example of unity above hatred. This is the meaning of being “a light unto nations.” At the foot of Mt. Sinai, we inaugurated our nationhood when we vowed to unite “as one man with one heart.” Immediately after, we were told to shine the light of that unity to the nations. And in the final moments of our unity, when the Temple was already ruined, Rabbi Akiva bequeathed us with the ultimate motto of altruism, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” This should have been our legacy. But look where we are now.

Once we became a nation, we immediately started facing disputes. The more we united, the more the hatred grew. But that was the whole idea, or as The Book of Zohar (BeShalach) describes it, “All the wars in the Torah are peace and love.”

Finally, King Solomon formulated the way that Israel must work with hatred: “Hate will stir strife, and love will cover all crimes” (Prov. 10:12). But it wasn’t for our own benefit, but for the benefit of the world. The Book of Zohar articulated the impact of Israel’s efforts to connect on the world. In the portion Aharei Mot, The Zohar writes, “‘Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to also sit together.’ These are the friends as they sit together, and are not separated from one another. At first, they seem like people at war, wishing to kill one another … then they return to being in brotherly love. …And … as you were in fondness and love before, henceforth you will also not part from one another … and by your merit, there will be peace in the world.”

If we focus our efforts only on remembering the past, the future will bring us many more catastrophes to commemorate. People don’t care what happened to us. They are already saying “Hitler was right,” and “We will finish Hitler’s work.” And these are people who do know what happened there.

We should remember the past only in order to know what we must do in the present: to unite and be a role model of unity to the world. Our overt hatred for each other is the reason why antisemites blame us for causing wars. They have a gut feeling that it’s our fault, and even though they cannot rationalize it, they are basically correct because if we aren’t showing the way to unity, the world has no one else to pave the way to peace, so it blames the wars on us.

Here, for example, is a quote from a book written by one of the most notorious antisemites in Russia, certainly in his time. Vasily Shulgin was a senior member of the Duma, the Russian Parliament, before the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. In his book What We Don’t Like about Them, Shulgin analyzes his perception of the Jews and what he thinks they are doing wrong. He complains that “Jews in the 20th century have become very smart, effective, and vigorous at exploiting other people’s ideas.” But all of a sudden, he takes a sharp turn from the trite canard and declares, “[But] this is not an occupation for teachers and prophets, not the role of guides of the blind, not the role of carriers of the lame.”

The only way we can be teachers is by example, and the only example we can give is unity. As long as we hate one another, the world will hate us. If we rise above it, it will lift us on its shoulders. If we don’t, it will extinguish us.

“Covid19, Jewish Divisions: Somber Prospects For 5781” (San Diego Jewish World)

My new article on San Diego Jewish World “Covid19, Jewish divisions: somber prospects for 5781

PETACH TIKVAH, Israel — We are about to celebrate the Jewish New Year, a Rosh Hashanah like no other. Synagogues across America and the world are adjusting their services to the Covid-19 restrictions limiting physical gatherings. Besides the loss of lives, individual members and entire congregations have been deeply affected by the pandemic’s economic blows, wreaking havoc in rippling waves, which have fueled anti-Semites to blame Jews for the creation and spread of the virus. A somber future looks like the most realistic scenario, but this can definitely be changed if only we will see our fate as a single, seamlessly-shared project.

The opposite is happening now. Within American Jewry, division, self-hatred, and bickering signal an internal fragmentation which puts in jeopardy the continuity of a vibrant Jewish life now and for generations to come. In Israel, politics, who is considered Jewish, these topics and more are igniting burning clashes within our community.

Interestingly, Covid-19 arrived without paying attention to who is religious and who is secular, left-wing or right-wing. Meanwhile, we fail to look at the big picture which is the threatening crisis caused by a virus that disregards no one. Covid-19 appeared and halted regular life with the clear purpose of making us reflect on ourselves and our egoistic perspectives toward others and our surroundings.

How can we grasp a global view when we are so busy with quarrels and fights? Sadly, we enter the holiday season with blinders on, preoccupied with getting back to the routine and to our usual power struggles, caring only about our personal interests.

It’s high time for us to stop in our tracks and take a firm hold on the new year as a unique opportunity for introspection and change. Rosh Hashanah, from the Hebrew “Rosh Hashinui,” marks not only the beginning of the Hebrew calendar, but also symbolizes renewal—a time for inner evaluation of our thoughts toward others and the intention behind our actions.

We are currently ruled by our intellect that immediately makes calculations about how to best pursue egoistic relationships for self-benefit, stirring up separation and conflict. The time has come to be inspired by a higher, more comprehensive and steady mindset, one that will help us to open our eyes and recognize our exhausting and fruitless struggles in life and choose change instead.

How is such a meaningful transformation possible? Through the power of nature—a force that works consistently to unite all the details of reality, that embraces and connects us all as one, that transcends our limited and selfish views—profound change is assured.

Our problem is that we are currently in a state opposite to nature where everything works in balance. Due to our lack of integration with the larger system in which we live through our broken relations with each other, nature will continue amplifying the impact of the pandemic until we react and unite.
Our lives are already ruled by closures, restrictions, uncertainty, and every successive blow will be even more painful than the last until we make efforts to improve the connection in our human relations.

However, there is no need to wait for the situation to get worse. Things can get better if we will begin to ask what the root cause of the coronavirus is, learn from life what is essential for us to exist, and approach one another in a healthy and considerate way. Like the round and connected natural world around us, nature is trying to teach us to live in harmony and peace out of a desire to do good to others, implementing the ultimate Jewish tenet, “love thy neighbor as yourself” and transforming our hearts.

We awaken the force that propels a positive change when we take a step toward connection, when we get closer and reduce the huge gaps between us. We may do it either against our own will or proactively with open hearts. We do not even need to erase the negative feelings and disagreements between us, but only to rise above them in the spirit of, “love will cover all crimes.” (Proverbs 10:12)

In a nutshell, the power of love we activate through the connection of our hearts, above everything tearing us apart, is precisely what will sweeten our fate as Jewish people and as individuals, keeping us strong and healthy. Happy Rosh Hashanah!

Jews Of America, Part 1

448.3The Most Active Part of Society

Question: America was originally established for emigrants. The first Jewish settlers were the Sephardi. Already in the 20s of the 20th century about six thousand Jews lived in America. In a short time, they achieved full equality in rights. And the process of their assimilation and Americanization began.

Interestingly, the following phenomenon has been observed throughout history: Jews always become more American than Americans, more Russian than Russians, more Spanish than Spaniards. Why does this happen?

Answer: First, despite the fact that the Jews have their own religion, they practically did not have their own language. They came to America from all over the world. Some spoke Yiddish, some Arabic, etc. That is, there was no common base for everyone. Therefore, they could not have much contact with other groups of immigrants.

On the other hand, Jews were the most active part of society, which immediately began to settle in places, open their schools and other institutions necessary for the existence of their community. They very energetically set about to establish themselves as a people living in America and at the same time to develop various types of business.

Therefore, as the most active part of the population in any country, and even more so in America, they have shown themselves as pioneers in all spheres of activity of the new American society.
From KabTV’s “Systematic Analysis of the Development of the People of Israel” 11/18/19

A Hundred Years Of Jewish Wisdom

557Remark: There are several Jewish wisdoms that are said to change the future of our children.
The first one: “’Experience’ is the word a person uses to call their own mistakes.”

My Comment: Yes. Experience has to come, be born, from one’s own mistakes. If there are no mistakes, there is no experience. It cannot be that a person reaches any correct conclusions if he did not make mistakes.

Question: Is it possible that a person does not make mistakes?

Answer: No. A person cannot do the correct thing if he has not made a mistake in it before.

Question: Does he have regrets that he made mistake?

Answer: It is this regret that produces a correct action.

Question: Do we pass this experience to our children?

Answer: You want to pass it to your children, but they must make mistakes.

Question: Will they have their own experience?

Answer: Of course.

Question: Does it mean that our experience will not help them?

Answer: There is no need. Each generation must make mistakes and come to the correct conclusion and thus move forward.

Remark: That is, everyone has absolutely their own experience. It is the experience of mistakes.

My Comment: Without this, you do not receive clear information, data, sensations, anything, if you did not experience it in all these situations.

Remark: Quote: “If you accidentally got angry, give the anger a chance to stay overnight—just keep quiet until morning.”

My Comment: From our life, we see that this is good. This is called “the one who shuts his mouth during the conflict with the other.”

Question: How can a person do that?

Answer: Through exercises.

Question: What happens in the morning? Will I not be as angry as I was before with this person?

Answer: No, on the contrary, maybe you will be grateful to him.

Remark: Quote: “There are two methods to rise above your neighbor: the first is to rise above yourself, and the second is to put down your neighbor. It is not advisable to use the second method. Rather than digging a pit for someone else, throw these forces at creating a hill for yourself.”

My Comment: It is always worthwhile to rise above yourself. You are growing in this way. Thus, there is no need to pay attention to the other, even from the egotistic point of view. Instead, rise above yourself to some new, more perfect state.

Question: Is it possible to rise above myself at all?

Answer: Of course, every minute.

Remark: Usually, we do something very different, we put down the other.

My Comment: You use the other in order to rise above yourself by accepting his point of view.

Question: Is this called that I annul myself?

Answer: I annul my previous self in order to make an upper one out of myself.

Question: This quote has an interesting ending. It says that if you use the second method, that is, put down the other, you are building a hill for yourself. Does it mean a grave mound?

Answer: Of course.

Question: In other words, if you put down the other, is this in fact your death?

Answer: Yes. On the contrary, rise above others, use this opportunity. Use the other, his criticism, his attitude toward you, let go of yourself, bend down, and then you will rise above yourself.

Remark: Quote: “Do not be too sweet or they will eat you up. Do not be too bitter or they will spit you out.”

My Comment: I say what I think is right. This is what I have “on a platter,” as they say, this is what I give you. You choose: is this sweet or bitter for you, or you can throw it away altogether. Let people see that this is who I am.

Question: What about the fact that people want to see you sweet and you are bitter? A person needs to follow somebody. They are looking for someone to follow.

Answer: Well, it is not necessary to follow me. In any case, I am like this, I will not change! I believe that what I say anyone can understand.

Whether he agrees or not is up to him but at least he will understand. I speak my opinion, I do not alter myself to his opinion so that he will listen to me or respect me and make sure that he is right. I do not do that.
From KabTV’s “News with Dr. Michael Laitman” 6/22/20

Guide For Round Tables, Part 7

528.01Round Table: The Obligation to Listen to Others

Question: An important point in the round table methodology is the obligation to listen to others. Why is this so important?

Answer: How can we come to a common opinion if we do not compare ourselves to others and others to ourselves?

It is very difficult to listen carefully to another person. But this does not mean to always take it critically and try to check what it is suitable for you and what it is not.

Listening means disconnecting from yourself, making a copy of yourself the way you are today, and starting to perceive the other within yourself, as if entering him, and then comparing. This is a very long process. One minute is not enough here.

Listening to the other, I enter into him, get used to him. I need to feel what he feels, why he thinks this way, why he solves this problem in his own way and not the way I do.

Question: It’s a lot of stress to listen to someone. There must be some motivation for this. Let’s say that if a person brings me useful information, I am ready to listen to him. But this is not always the case. What can motivate me to listen to someone else, especially if I don’t agree with him?

Answer: You want to come to the right solution to the problem. This is the most important thing for you, more important than whether you agree with him or not or who is right or wrong. You must find the right solution to the problem, regardless of its source.
From KabTV’s “Management Skills” 7/9/20