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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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The Creator And Consciousness

610.2Question: When we call the upper force the Creator, we are as if personifying it. If the spiritual space is a field of consciousness, can we talk about the subject to whom this consciousness belongs?

Answer: No. There is no subject.

Question: How can consciousness be without a subject, without an “I”?

Answer: Spiritual space spreads everywhere, fills and includes everything. There is nothing else besides it. And we are inside of it. The concept of “subject,” however, implies that you must limit it by some qualities.

The quality of bestowal, on the contrary, means that everything is outside and nothing is limited. Only bestowal. Everything that exists besides Him, is created by Him in order for His creation to attain Him.

Question: How does the process of cognition take place in the spiritual? Or is there no such thing?

Answer: For the Creator?! No. There is nothing there but the quality of bestowal. Therefore, consciousness at this level does not exist. Consciousness always comes from the fact that something is missing.

Comment: If we are talking about the field of information, then this seems clearer to us.

My Response: But this is in regard to us! We feel this field relative to us, and we cannot say anything about it in itself—who, what, and how—only how we perceive Him in our sensations, how He is revealed in relation to us.

Comment: In religion, of course, everything is mixed up. However, Kabbalistic sources also kind of personify the Creator.

My Response: We need to define this concept in some kind of words: He feels, He thinks, He is angry, He rejoices. Everything we say is only in relation to a person in order to tie him to the Creator. Just as you can talk about some machine, device, or equipment, and project your feelings on this object.

Question: Does this personification disappear when we rise spiritually?

Answer: Absolutely. There is nothing left but the field of bestowal. It is infinite, has no gradation! And only we perform spiritual actions in it.
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From KabTV’s “Meetings with Kabbalah” 3/29/19

The Paradoxes Of Kabbalah

629.1There is nothing more whole than a broken heart; there is no greater scream than silence; there is nothing more upright than a crooked ladder. (Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk)

Comment: In this quotation, everything seems to contradict each another.

My Response: This all happens when a person is looking for the truth and he understands that it is impossible to get to it by a direct path. And it is only possible when you go against logic, against the opinions of those around you and your own, as well.

Question: Is this called a “broken heart”?

Answer: Yes, not in your pride to overcome all this and put yourself above others. You are looking and you are looking and you are looking. And you have the willpower to agree with what is against you. You try to find a truth that would be against you. That is, you investigate everything, and you see that everything in you resists.

And then, when it resists, it is necessary to check well, to dig deeper into yourself, because here, perhaps, there will be a way out like that of Pinocchio, a passage to this magical world.

Question: What does “there is nothing more whole than a broken heart” mean to you?

Answer: These are shattered desires, shattered hopes, shattered attitudes toward the world you are accustomed to.

Question: Why is there nothing more whole than a broken heart?

Answer: Because after you are disappointed, you give up your old dogmas and you can find the real path.

Question: And what does “there is no greater scream than silence” mean?

Answer: Because if it is quiet, then it is not good. This means that your ego agrees with something here. So you should check well.

Question: Is there an inner cry? If so, is everything correct?

Answer: Yes.

Comment: And what does it mean “there is nothing more upright than a crooked ladder”?

My Response: A ladder cannot be straight at all, it always stands at an angle. Otherwise, a person cannot climb. So a crooked ladder is a straight ladder that stands at an angle and leads upward. Only on it can you climb.
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From KabTV’s “News with Dr. Michael Laitman” 3/8/21

“Criticism – A Progeny Of The Ego” (Linkedin)

My new article on Linkedin “Criticism – a Progeny of the Ego

To an extent, we’re all critical of others. In fact, criticizing others is a treat few can pass up. Regrettably, criticism is actually our own ego adoring itself. Self-righteousness and righteous indignation give us such a sense of superiority that most of us cannot resist.

We always compare ourselves to others. Whether we’re aware of it or not, this is how we develop self-esteem. Therefore, the lower I view others, the higher I view myself. And if I can’t elevate myself, I will engage solely in lowering others. This is the reason for our tendency to patronize and belittle other people. Just as people once believed that the Earth is at the center of the universe, we, too, feel that we are the center of Creation this way, even if we don’t admit it to ourselves.

Currently, our egos have grown to a point where they wish to destroy others. It is evident primarily in international relations, but if you consider the rising social tensions between ethnic groups, cultures, religions, and political views, it is clear that we are heading for a clash. The only way to prevent it is to realize that we are dependent on each other. Without the existence of the opposite view, my own view will become null and void.

However, like all other inherently negative traits, we can turn criticism into a constructive force that brings a lot of good. Envy is a potent and tormenting emotion. When we see others succeed, it arouses in us both envy and fear for our position. Naturally, we will criticize them passionately. However, had it not been for envy, we would not have created civilization. Envy creates competition, and competition creates progress. If we understand this, we will realize that our own development depends on the development of others. The trick is to keep the envy and the competition balanced, and not go overboard, as is happening today.

Currently, our egos have grown to a point where they wish to destroy others. It is evident primarily in international relations, but if you consider the rising social tensions between ethnic groups, cultures, religions, and political views, it is clear that we are heading for a clash. The only way to prevent it is to realize that we are dependent on each other. Without the existence of the opposite view, my own view will become null and void. Moreover, we wouldn’t even think in the direction we are thinking now, since our view is a reaction to the opposite view.

Take Socialism, for example. Without Capitalism, the whole idea of Socialism would not have emerged, and the noble ideas about society it has contributed would never have appeared.

We therefore see that criticism, the progeny of the ego, is ruinous unless we realize that precisely thanks to the matter or the person being criticized, there is merit to our criticism and our own ideas. If we keep this in mind, criticism will lead to growth and prosperity. Otherwise, we’d better keep it to ourselves, for our own good.

“How Do I Find My True Self?” (Quora)

Dr. Michael LaitmanMichael Laitman, On Quora: How do I find my true self?

Our substance or matter is a desire to receive pleasure, and our physical body is nothing more than an animal. We sometimes feel our desires through the physical body, i.e., those for food, sex and family, and sometimes through a more inner body—desires for money, honor, control and knowledge.

The first group of desires (food, sex, family), are individual desires belonging to our physical body. Our social desires for money, honor, control and knowledge follow them. They involve interaction with others, yet still differ from an even higher level of desire that we have yet to come to terms with.

The latter desire is spiritual. When it surfaces, we feel attracted to a new unknown “something,” on one hand, and that all the previous levels of desire fail to ultimately fulfill us, on the other hand.

In the wisdom of Kabbalah, the spiritual desire is called a “point in the heart.” It is characterized by questioning the meaning and purpose of our lives, why things are the way they are, what is our “true self,” and whether we can influence our fate.

The point in the heart creates new poles of positive and negative, plus and minus within us. Where we once lived, survived and thrived solely according to our individual and social desires—picturing fulfillments at levels of food, sex, family, money, honor, control and knowledge as the “positive” pole of our lives that we aspired to—when the point in the heart emerges, we naturally feel that as much as those desires can fulfill us, they cannot fulfill a deeper and more internal part of us that demands meaning and purpose. We thus feel their transient fulfillments as a “negative” or “minus” pole in relation to our newfound spiritual aspiration that demands something more meaningful.

The wisdom of Kabbalah was made for fulfilling the deeper and more inner spiritual desire. It defines the spiritual goal, the true self that we emerged from, and that we are headed toward, and it provides a method for how to attain it. By spiritually advancing using the method of Kabbalah, we learn how to simultaneously take the reins of a new positive/plus pole in reality—the spiritual quality that we can gradually attain likeness to, which is where we learn how to access our true self, the soul—as well as the negative/minus pole in reality, our constantly growing desires to receive pleasure.

By taking these reins, we learn how to create a positive/plus level, and develop our connection with our true self—the soul that is in likeness to the source of our lives—more and more above an increasing negative/minus. This adds a whole new level of depth to our perception and sensation of reality, all the way up to a point where we feel no end to our fulfillment and exist in a consciously-attained eternity and harmony.

Based on the Virtual Kabbalah Lesson with Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman on March 13, 2016.
Written/edited by students of Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman.

“Advancing From Conflict To Conflict” (Linkedin)

My new article on Linkedin “Advancing from Conflict to Conflict

Last week, a water dispute between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan led to armed clashes that resulted in the death of more than 30 people, scores were injured, and more than 10,000 people had to flee from their homes. Those clashes were the worst in many years between the two countries, and while the fire has subsided for now, the situation is still very tense. Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are only the latest in a string of clashes that are becoming increasingly frequent and more intense, not only between countries, but also between factions within countries, as well as domestic violence. The world is clearly becoming a more violent place.

As intolerance grows, these conflicts are bound to grow even more frequent, and spread to countries that have so far been very calm and peaceful. Western Europe, Canada, and many other places that currently enjoy relative calm, will gradually lose that status and will become hotbeds of aggression, too.

As intolerance grows, these conflicts are bound to grow even more frequent, and spread to countries that have so far been very calm and peaceful. Western Europe, Canada, and many other places that currently enjoy relative calm, will gradually lose that status and will become hotbeds of aggression, too.

The culprit behind the escalation is, of course, the human ego. The more interconnected our world is becoming, the more the ego-driven conflicts in one place fuel conflicts in other places and the overall level of violence increases. Already, the violence has pervaded every level of society the world over. Unless we reverse the trajectory, it will come to the state that our sages described as “Man’s enemies are the dwellers of his own home” (Mishnah, Sotah, 9:15), and life will be unbearable.

Nevertheless, there is a purpose for our conflicts. If we understand it, we will be able to reverse the trajectory before we sink into the horrors of another world war, which many already regard as a plausible option. The purpose of the ego-driven conflicts is to impel us to rise above our ego, reject it, shun it, and choose unity despite our inherent dislike.

This may seem counterintuitive: Why must we hate each other first if the whole idea is to eventually love each other? The reason is that unless we experience hatred, we will not want to love one another and will therefore never come to it. We experience everything only through contrasts. Without the opposite of love, we wouldn’t be able to know what it is, much less want it. Just as we wouldn’t know the meaning of words such as “day,” “warmth,” “gentleness,” and “life” without knowing their opposites, we wouldn’t know the meaning of “love” without knowing its opposite.

Therefore, conflicts make sense only if they yield the opposite. If they only fuel more conflicts, they will end up destroying all of us. This is where humanity is going at the moment. We have no time to waste; we must start using the hatred that has already erupted as a lever for building its opposite.

If we think it is impossible, it is only because our egos tell us so. After all, living under a constant threat of violence is not possible either; we’d better get going.

“What Are Some Ways To End Child Abuse?” (Quora)

Dr. Michael LaitmanMichael Laitman, On Quora: What are some ways to end child abuse?

The ultimate solution to end child abuse is the same solution to end all of our problems in our time: to work on our connections so that they become positive, and that we will prioritize concern for others over self-concern.

If mothers, for instance, came together and connected in order to change society, so that a mutual concern would blossom around children and babies, then this concern would bridge all distances and boundaries. Such a concern would become expressed through these mothers connecting several times a day, and the creation and consumption of programming that they would make on the Internet, the TV, and the radio on the topic, which would raise awareness of what children go through both at schools and in their homes.

If such a concern would spread throughout society, even if only among mothers, then it would change the picture regarding child abuse, as well as several other problems children experience. However, it is currently far from the case. They feel no need to connect in such a way. Each mother cares only about her own children, which is insufficient.

Ending child abuse thus involves generating a supportive environment through sharing the same concern, that all of us together will take care of this common problem, where we will care for other children in addition to our own, and others will do the same. Until we reach such a mutual concern for each other’s children in society, then we will continue seeing more and more unfortunate cases of child abuse.

We need a special force here, a unifying force that will influence society, and unless mothers come together and unite, then this force will elude us.

Based on New Life episode 1147 with Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman, Oren Levi and Tal Mandelbaum-Moshe. Written/edited by students of Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman.
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash.

“No Calamity Comes To The World But For Israel” (Linkedin)

My new article on Linkedin “No Calamity Comes to the World but for Israel

“No calamity comes to the world but for Israel.” These poignant words of our sages (Yevamot, 63a) capture the reason for all the tragedies that afflict us. Not only the Talmud warns about the reason for Israel’s blows. The Book of Zohar also states that when the people of Israel veer off from the right way, “with these actions they bring about the existence of poverty, ruin, and robbery, looting, killing, and destructions in the world” (Tikkuney Zohar, No. 30).

Our nation was formed through a vow to unite “as one man with one heart,” and unity has always been our strength. “The prime defense against calamity is love and unity. When there are love, unity, and friendship between each other in Israel, no calamity can come over them” writes the book Maor VaShemesh.

In the days following the Meron disaster, where 45 people, many of whom children, died in a stampede, the people of Israel proved once more that in crisis, the nation unites. For a short while, we’ve put aside the vociferous, spite-filled arguments, and united in mourning over the pointless loss of life. But tomorrow, when the headlines change and the heart-wrenching pictures give way to new fiascos, the malice will return more intense and venomous than ever. While the circumstances that allowed for this disaster to happen must be examined, we must also not miss out on the opportunity that this tragedy has given us to reconstruct our social relations in this country because this, in the end, is our real source of strength.

In his essay “The Nation,” Baal HaSulam laments our lack of internal unity and ephemeral coalitions. “We are like a pile of nuts,” he writes, “united into a single body from the outside by a sack that envelops and unites them. Their measure of unity does not make them a united body, and each movement applied to the sack produces in them tumult and separation. Thus, they consistently arrive at new unions and partial aggregations. The fault is that they lack the inner unity, and their whole force of unity comes through outside incidents. To us,” concludes Baal HaSulam, “this is very painful to the heart.”

Our nation was formed through a vow to unite “as one man with one heart,” and unity has always been our strength. “The prime defense against calamity is love and unity. When there are love, unity, and friendship between each other in Israel, no calamity can come over them” writes the book Maor VaShemesh.

Moreover, when Israel unite, they are “a light unto nations,” setting an example of love and unity to the world. The Book of Zohar writes that when the people of Israel unite above their hatred, they bring peace to 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 each other. At first, they seem like people at war, wishing to kill one another … then they return to being in brotherly love. …And you, the friends who are here, 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.”

The onus of unity does not lie on one faction, but on all parts of the Israeli society. It is time we began a national reflection on our conduct as a nation. We can blame each other all we want for the disasters that land on us, but they will not stop until we realize that they reflect not our incompetence, but our division. Naturally, incompetence and recklessness are accomplices in every disaster, but these vices, too, are the results of our callousness and indifference toward each other. If we are content with finger pointing, we’d better get ready for the next blow.

Some of us openly admit their feeling that “we are not one nation.” However, if we use it to justify our alienation from each other, we will suffer more blows until we realize that we are meant to rise above our hatred, not embrace it and brag about our candor. Only when we rise above divisions are we regarded as a nation, and only then does the world welcome us. The book Sifrey Devarim details how in antiquity, people from other nations would come to Jerusalem during the pilgrimages to witness the brotherhood among Jews. They would “go up to Jerusalem and see Israel … and say, ‘It is becoming to cling only to this nation.’”

Indeed, as we embrace the grieving families, we should also embrace the message of unity. As our sages wrote, this is “our prime defense against calamity,” and the only way we can realize the vocation of our nation in this world.

Two Levels Of Interpretation Of The Torah

209Question: Is there any reason that the word “Evel” means sometimes bestowal and sometimes vanity?

Answer: Of course! This is how our egoism breaks it. This concept has been translated incorrectly—egoistically. Any word has two meanings: one on the spiritual and one on the corporeal level.

Being at our level, we treat everything for our own sake, and therefore, all words have only corporeal meaning because we look at everything with our earthly eyes. If you look from the level of the upper light, from the level of the Creator, then all this takes on a completely different meaning.

Therefore, any word can be rotated as desired. And the Torah, the Prophets, and the Holy Scriptures, all three books are written in such a way that their understanding depends on the level of the person who reads them. For one person these are just stories describing all kinds of corporeal actions of ancient people. And for another individual, these are spiritual actions that take place in souls and not among people on earth, in the property of bestowal and love and not in struggle and wars.

When you read the Torah, it seems to you that there is a continuous struggle between the chosen people and the Creator, endless wars and disappointments, because you perceive this story in your earthly egoistic properties.

And if you change these properties, you will understand everything completely differently. And it will happen automatically! You will suddenly begin to understand what is being said about how we should unite with each other and, having been united, be filled with the knowledge of the Creator, the feeling of eternal, perfect life.
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From KabTV’s “The Power of The Book of Zohar” #12

Understanding The Essence Of The Names Of The Creator

261Question: When we talk about the upper force, we only use one word: the Creator, which is to say the one who creates. Is it possible to understand the essence of all of His names?

Answer: I would not recommend dealing with this now because the names of the Creator are directly related to the degrees of a person’s attainment. It is because the soul, by ascending through the levels of the spiritual world, receives different names, definitions, and codes in each one of them.

It is similar to someone serving in the army and receives ranks: sergeant, lieutenant, colonel, major, general, etc., and each one of the levels indicate the advancement of the person. Here too, the person calls the Creator by different names according to the levels of his attainment. It is no more than that.

Revealing the Creator and giving Him different names—the good who does good, cruel, stubborn, helpful—you indicate His properties that you reveal.

And in Him, all of His properties are in one simple form: only in order to raise and delight the creatures. But you reveal them one by one and you call Him by different names. Thus, these are not names of the Creator but how a person feels the Creator. It is just like when a child calls his mother a bad mother because she scolded him today for some offense he committed. But is she really bad?

So, we cannot attribute these words, names, and appellations to the Creator Himself but only to what a person feels as a result of his still yet uncorrected state. When we attain the Creator completely, then He will be only the good that does good.
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From KabTV’s “Fundamentals of Kabbalah” 2/24/19

How Can We Support The Teacher Mentally?

281.02Question: In the meeting with the virtual ten you asked us to support you mentally. How should we correctly support our teacher mentally?

Answer: If you just remember a little during the day what we spoke about in the lesson or if you read my Twitter, you will support me through that. It is actually this way and not any other way.

On Twitter I write about relevant issues. I recommend that everyone to read my posts.
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From KabTV’s “Fundamentals of Kabbalah” 4/18/19