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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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There Are No Wars in the Creator’s Plans

293Can we mitigate the terrible blow in the form of war that evil egoism is now inflicting on the world, on the entirety of nature? First of all, we must remember the simple truth that we are talking about the will to receive, which consists of four levels.

What is felt in the will to receive in its four degrees, inanimate, vegetative, animate, and human, is what appears to us as existing in the world. After all, our entire world is our will to receive.

Therefore, we need to do everything possible to locate and correct the egoistic desire. There is nothing in the world except our egoism, which must be calmed, balanced, brought to an awareness of where it comes from and why, and what its purpose is.

We should see that the state of the world is a derivative of the measure of connection between us. If we connect more, it is good for the world, and if we do not connect, then it is bad for the world. On this basis, we are considered wicked or righteous. We give contentment to the Creator or, God forbid, we give Him sorrow.

The Creator does not want war, He is good and does good, therefore, there are no wars in His plans. Rather His plans are to bring us to the recognition of evil and to the actions of good, so we will become like Him.

This is why there is nothing negative that comes from the Creator, no bad attitude at all. If we do not agree with the corrections and by this bring trouble upon ourselves, then this is already our fault. We should not blame the Creator for this; it is our own fault that we do not correct what we receive from Him.

We receive everything from the Creator through the system in such a way that we are able to accept it, understand it, react to it, and correct it. We can, but we do not want to! Therefore, we receive a descent, which seems to us as a punishment.

In fact, this is a correction that brings us one degree down. After all, if I am in the fourth grade and I am not able to do what a fourth grader should do, then I am returned to the third grade. When I do the work in the third grade, I will go up again to the fourth grade, and then to the fifth, sixth, and so on. That is, everything happens according to the system.
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From the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 5/16/22,  Baal HaSulam, “Foreword to The Book of Zohar

“Don’t Laugh about Humor” (Linkedin)

My new article on Linkedin “Don’t Laugh about Humor

How does humor affect our mood? Why do people laugh at other people? How can humor improve relationships?

When someone talks about something with humor, we can empathize with the situation. They can talk about very serious situations, but when told with humor, we can look at them from a lighter or surprising perspective. This takes a lot of the gravity out of the situations, and not only makes us feel better, but helps us cope with them, which might have been very difficult, if not impossible without humor.

Good humor is based on wit, on making surprising links between elements and looking at them from a new and curious point of view.

It is well known that laughter has many physical benefits. Here are some of them, courtesy of Mayo Clinic: Laughter stimulates the heart, lungs, and muscles, and increases the release of endorphins (natural painkillers). It creates a good, relaxed feeling and reduces some of the physical symptoms of stress. Laughter even strengthens the immune system.

Laughter also has many emotional benefits: It increases our overall satisfaction with life, makes it easier to cope with difficult situations, and, most importantly, improves our connections with other people. When you have a good, hearty laugh with a person, you cannot fight with him (or her).

There is another benefit of humor: If used correctly, it can prepare us to learn new things easily. This is especially true for things that are emotionally difficult to accept or deal with.

There are other kinds of humor, too. Some people laugh at the faults they find in others. In this case, it has no benefits. It demeans others and makes the mockers feel superior to their victims. Such humor does nothing but bloat the bully’s ego.

It is very painful when other people make fun of our faults. It is not the joke that hurts, nor the flaw itself, but the ridicule of others. Conversely, when someone shows us that they like us just as we are, then laughing at ourselves together with them can bring us closer and deepen our connection.

At the top of the list is self-humor. Confident people can joke about themselves, talk about their weaknesses, urges they cannot control, and so on. This makes them more approachable and brings them closer to other people. It also allows other people to share their own feelings with them.

At a time when the world is becoming increasingly connected and we are more dependent on each other than ever, good humor is a must. We need to be confident enough to laugh not only at our weaknesses, but also at our very nature – our selfishness.

If we can make fun of everything that prevents us from working with others, building trust, and understanding others, it will help us recognize our true nature. If we can laugh about it with other people, it will bring us closer and foster a shared desire for change so that we can connect.

Indeed, we should take humor very seriously; it can be a vital tool in moving us out of narcissism and isolation into connection and friendship.

“What do you think of Israel announcing that the Iron Beam laser defense system was tested successfully shooting down drones and rockets?” (Quora)

Dr. Michael LaitmanMichael Laitman, On Quora: What do you think of Israel announcing that the Iron Beam laser defense system was tested successfully shooting down drones and rockets?

Against any good thing, there is always a bad thing. So you will not find me jumping with joy that we have rid ourselves of our problems and threats.

I do not think that this laser defense system can give us a real sense of security in Israel. Things will get worse. Our problems will rise to an even higher level.

In order for us to truly have a sense of quiet, there is a simple idea that we must adhere to—that of connection, or to reach “Love your neighbor as yourself” among the Israeli nation.

This is no innovation of the defense industry. It is up to us people to implement. If we fail to upgrade our attitudes to each other, then no sophisticated technological, scientific or military equipment would help us.

Developing ties of love between us would protect us from all harm. If we had a very strong sense of connection, then this force of connection would reject all evil forces.

This is because thought and desire are forces much more powerful than laser beams. They are similar to laser waves, only sharper, operating beyond time, space and motion.

We need to establish a network of love between us, love that comes from the heart, and then we would see those same inclinations starting to surface in our enemies’ thoughts and desires. We can make this much-needed innovation in human connection, and sooner or later, we will have to.

Based on the video “Kabbalist Responds to Israel’s Iron Beam Laser Defense System” with Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman and Oren Levi. Written/edited by students of Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman.
Photo by Umberto on Unsplash.

Bestowal—a Special Perception of the World

565.02Moses (the point in the heart of a person) was brought up by Pharaoh for forty years, then he ran away to Yitro, and only then, for forty years he was pulling the entire nation out of the slavery of egoism. It is the same in our state, when we begin to study Kabbalah, many years pass until we begin to understand what is happening to us.

Question: Did Moses live most of his life in egoism?

Answer: Yes, yet this is not just egoism but a preparation to get out of it. Moses symbolizes the force of faith, which pulls a person out of the ego.

Question: You always say that faith is bestowal. What does bestowal mean?

Answer: Bestowal is when a person feels that everything that is outside of his egoistic qualities are the correct qualities, and he must reach them.

That is, bestowal does not mean our usual understanding that a person should give something, but a special perception of the world.
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From KabTV’s “Spiritual States” 4/19/22

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Subconscious Equality

933Question: Why do the Jews not have such servility and deep reverence for each other like other peoples?

Answer: Yes, we really see it today. And if you looked into the depths of the centuries, you would see that even 100 years ago there was no such thing and could not have been. Absolutely in no way!

In the army, in enterprises, anywhere, fraternity is characteristic of Jews—everyone is the same. This is so deeply embedded within the people that even when we began to take an example from the West in the organization of the country and everything else, even then the relationship remained the same.

From time immemorial, everyone has been absolutely equal. A person has never been respected for wealth, only for knowledge. There has never been any subservience to anyone. This inner brotherhood still does not go away, since then it has been in everyone.

And although there is no strong connection anymore, equality that I am no worse than another, reigns everywhere.

There is no slave in a Jew—something that practically exists in every nation. As all other nations have passed the slave-owning period, when some were masters, others were slaves. There was no such period for the Jewish people. There was a so-called slave to his master. But it has always been said: whoever buys a slave, buys himself a master.

These are the spiritual laws. There are whole volumes in the Talmud telling how to treat a slave. The slave lived as if under communism. You were obliged to take care of him, you could not force him morally or spiritually.

He worked as if for hire, and was only considered a slave, since the owner made a contract with him that he would buy him for a certain time. For six years he worked and in the seventh year he could leave the owner. This law is called “Shemitah” when everyone returns to freedom.

According to this law, in the 50th year of the use of land, it is returned to free use and does not remain assigned to anyone forever.

We do not understand how these laws provide a completely different basis for people to connect with each other. What does it mean that you are given land for only 50 years?! This is practically a small human century.

There is the same thing in slavery: a contract for 6 years. You were obliged to give a slave the opportunity to marry, a bondwomen, to get married. And if you used her as a concubine, you had to take her as a wife, buy her clothes and jewelry, which means, give her a completely different status.

This is completely different from the system that other nations had. Therefore, today it still exists in the blood.

And now we are already at a stage where we have to understand that there is nothing valuable, nothing to save, nothing to store, nothing to buy, nothing to stock up on. The world will turn over anyway, and the earth will swallow everything up.
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From KabTV’s “I Got a Call. Who Has Longer” 11/3/09

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The Task of Each Person

630.2Question: Why does Kabbalah say that every person should change himself? If we are all one common system, let Kabbalists change everything.

Answer: How can I change you? You have your own egoism, your own qualities; I have my own, and I have no power over you. Every person must reach this state, and everyone can and must ultimately control their own fate. That’s when he will reach an understanding of a common idea, a common thought.

Question: So Kabbalah gives a person the opportunity to become the master of his own destiny and not just predict some events?

Answer: Kabbalah does not make predictions at all. This is exactly what is forbidden in Kabbalah, because you go deeper into predicting the future, instead of changing yourself so that this future will be good.

Question: So, in principle, predictions change nothing?

Answer: Of course. This is just a game, and therefore Kabbalah forbids it.

But there is immortality! And it is very easy to reach this degree. I invite everyone.
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From KabTV’s “Close-Up. Secrets of Immortality” 1/7/11

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Can a Kabbalist Change the Future?

222Question: Can a Kabbalist reveal any state?

Answer: A Kabbalist can not only reveal states, but also change them, unlike such people as Wolf Messing.

A Kabbalist can change the future because he has the ability to change his properties, and he thereby gains the ability to transfer the perception of future states from undesirable to desirable ones.

He is able to change future events because they depend on his properties as a receiver of a common thought, and in this thought, everything exists in an amorphous, free form, not dressed in anything. What shape it will take—will it dress in good or bad actions—depends on the matter itself.

Therefore, if we can change this matter, our desires, then the thought that should be modularly clothed in it, in what form we will feel it, depends on our properties. Thus, the Kabbalist does not change the very thought that comes to him.

In other words, the future must definitely be fulfilled, but how it will be expressed in relation to me, good or evil, depends on my properties, and I can change them. That is, I can change myself as a receiver.
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From KabTV’s “Close-Up. Secrets of Immortality” 1/7/11

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The Torah—All the States

209Question: Why does Pharaoh order all the firstborn boys to be killed by throwing them into the Nile and to leave the girls alive?

Answer: Because boys represent intention and girls represent desire. A desire without intention can be turned every which way; the main thing is to kill the intention.

Question: Why is everything coded like that? Why couldn’t it be plainly said “intention” without “girls” and “boys”?

Answer: The fact is that the Torah was written for all times for all people without exception and not just for Kabbalists. It should be more or less understandable always and to everyone, to each at his level.

A small child, starting to read, studies what is written in the Torah. The Torah is read by men and women, old and young, who comprehend our world at least in some way and reveal the spiritual world up to its highest state. And for all this—only one text. And it describes in detail, clearly, briefly, all those states that all of humanity must go through over the next 5,000 years.
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From KabTV’s “Spiritual States” 4/14/22

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Delicate Balance of Nature

721.03Nature must maintain a balance. It is very fragile, very thin, and it is above us.

We do not understand its formula, and therefore do not know how it should be reached. We do not know the interaction between all parts of this formula: the number of people on earth with the amount of air, oxygen, nitrogen, ozone, with the amount of flora and fauna, and so on. All this is inherent in nature, somewhere inside it. Academician Vernadsky spoke about this 100 years ago.

Question: Does it mean that we cannot change the usual course of natural events?

Answer: According to scientific data, this is the problem we, in principle, cannot do anything.

Obviously, we can somehow slow down the fatal development of this process for us, but nothing more. This is what science says today. That is, there is no clear solution. Therefore, someone is in favor of limiting emissions, and someone else says: “It will not change anything.”

Someone is in favor of switching from petroleum sources to other types of energy resources. But, on the other hand, they cost us many times more because at the same time we have to fertilize the soil and introduce such bad chemical potential into it that it is unknown what consequences it will have in the end.

That is, from the point of view of science, we do not have a clear justification at hand that this is our mistake, our problem; we are the reason that nature is changing so much in relation to us.

Moreover, it is impossible just to do it. If the industrial revolution has begun in China, and it has turned into a huge industrial power in 20-30 years, then, of course, this affects the environment and possibly causes the very snowfalls in Europe. Who knows? We do not understand the whole picture.

Everyone can speak very beautifully, but there is no clear scientific data. Only if we add the opinion of Kabbalah to this.

The wisdom of Kabbalah speaks about this in a completely different way. It is closer to scientists like Vernadsky who believe that we bring a great discrepancy to the world with our thoughts or rather with our incorrect interaction with each other.
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From KabTV’s “Close-Up. Europe Today” 1/26/11

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“Is there free will in this world?” (Quora)

Dr. Michael LaitmanMichael Laitman, On Quora: Is there free will in this world?

There is no free will in our world. Free will is possible only if we have an opportunity to rise above the egoistic nature of our world, i.e. the nature where we wish to benefit ourselves at the expense of others and nature, which determines our decisions and behavior.

We consider ourselves free for as long as we do not think about it and identify ourselves with our animate body. But if we rose above our body a little, we would see that it strictly obeys the laws and processes it is subject to.

We think that we determine all kinds of choices in our lives. However, we are placed in certain conditions and given certain inner qualities, while our desire to enjoy runs like an engine according to a simple principle: maximum pleasure and gain for minimum effort and investment.

We calculate according to this principle at every moment, direction, place and in relation to everything. That is how nature works. It takes into consideration various conditions, such as how tired and healthy we are, and how much risk is involved versus the quality and quantity of enjoyment—and accordingly passes out decisions. We can thus see how we remain in the ego, and how there is no free will in its range of functioning.

We have to realize that we can realize our free will by controlling and being above our desire. The more we stay in our egoistic desire, the more we remain as obedient puppets, fully controlled by egoism.

If, however, we wish to take control of the situation, then we have to manage our desire, which is done by rising above it. In other words, we can experience free will, but only above desire.

Then the question becomes: How can we rise above our egoistic nature in order to realize our free will?

That is what the wisdom of Kabbalah engages in.

Based on the Daily Kabbalah Lesson with Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman on November 26, 2010. Written/edited by students of Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman.

The Spiritual Root of the Number Ten

548.03Question: What is the spiritual root of the number “10”?

Answer: The spiritual root of the number 10 is that after 10 degrees the root of this calculus is revealed. Therefore, the essence of the attitude of the Creator to the creation, and vice versa, is manifested in the ten. In other words, it is necessary to go through 10 degrees from the creation to the Creator and from the Creator to the creation in order for one to feel the other.

Question: How is the number 10 related to the four-letter name of the Creator “Yod-Hey-Vav-Hey”?

Answer: Ten or four are the same. If we briefly reveal the quality of the Creator and the quality of creation, then the relationship between them can be combined into the four-letter name of the Creator, that is, into four stages, or they can be expanded and explained in 10 stages. But practically it is the same thing.
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From KabTV’s “Spiritual States” 5/10/22

“Buffalo Massacre — A Reflection of Our World” (Medium)

Medium published my new article “Buffalo Massacre — a Reflection of Our World

This Saturday, a man went into a Tops Friendly supermarket in Buffalo, NY, and shot ten people dead in what appears to be a racially motivated crime. This massacre, the latest in an endless stream of violence, is a reflection of our world. Brutality is engulfing not only the United States, but the entire world. There is senseless killing in Europe, senseless killing all over the Middle East, and in Africa. Even where there isn’t senseless killing, there is abundant, systemic abuse of people, from modern slavery through human trafficking to abuse of power. At the end of the day, it is only people who make other people miserable. If we could only change our ill-will toward each other, we would change the world.

How many times have our parents told us to be nice to others, to play nice, to be kind? And how many times were we actually good because they told us to? Just as children often hold on to their toys and do not share them with anyone, we are becoming increasingly child-like egoists in our behavior.

We were not always that selfish. Previously, people from the same family, and even from the same village, truly felt that they belonged to one another. There may have been struggles over social statuses, but there was no desire to humiliate for the sake of degrading others. Today, even siblings often take pleasure in humiliating one another.

The human race is constantly evolving. The more it develops, the more people are learning that they are governed by egoism, and that it is driving us all into a chasm. On the one hand, everyone wants to live in a nice neighborhood with nice and quiet people around. On the other hand, our own nature is creating an environment where we cannot trust our co-workers, our friends, or even our families.

The good news in all this negativity is that now that it is out in the open, we are realizing who we really are, and this is the first step toward correction. We have come to a state that people cannot stand the existence of people they dislike, for whatever reason, so they pick up arms and shoot them.

And what is true of people, is also true of nations — between nations and within nations. They want to control each other, oppress each other, and dominate each other.

But we are in a different time now. What worked before will not work now on any level — individual, social, national, or international. Today, only those who want to help and support others will succeed. Nations and people who oppress, bully, and violate others will fail and fall.

These days, those who want to succeed must learn that our mutual dependence requires that we become considerate of others. Even if we do not like others, the simple realization that if I am inconsiderate, it will hurt me, should be enough to change our behavior toward others. Following our actions, our hearts will change, as well, but we should not expect this from the very beginning. If not today, then tomorrow we will all learn that we need not be considerate or caring because we actually feel this way, but because we want to survive.

Once we adopt a considerate behavior, we will realize that its benefits far outweigh its flaws. When people are considerate, they create an atmosphere of consideration which reflects back on those who embed it in the society. Just as inconsideration hurts the inconsiderate, consideration rewards the considerate.

Interdependence means that whatever you inject in the system, this is what the system gives you in return, but many times over. If you inject negativity, it will destroy you because the society will “throw” your own negativity back at you, but many times stronger. If you inject positivity in the form of consideration, care, support, and mutual responsibility, these positive impacts will reflect back on you, but again, many times stronger than you injected into the society. This is how every closed system works: the feedback amplifies the input many times over.

Therefore, if we want an end to such hate-filled violence as the Buffalo massacre, if we want to end senseless wars raging around the world, we must learn to act as one, interdependent society. It may not be easy to convince ourselves, but reality has its painful ways of persuasion. I think we would all prefer a more peaceful, mindful way of changing.

“Not a Food Crisis – Hunger!” (Linkedin)

My new article on Linkedin “Not a Food Crisis – Hunger!

Pundits around the world are warning that a food crisis is either imminent or is already happening. In its 2022 report, the United Nation’s World Food Programme (WFP) stresses the “remarkably high severity and numbers of people in crisis or worse … in 53 countries/territories.” Moreover, continues the WFP report, “The number identified in the 2022 edition is the highest in the report’s six-year existence.” The humanitarian information service ReliefWeb also reported that “Globally, levels of hunger remain alarmingly high. In 2021, they surpassed all previous records … with close to 193 million people acutely food insecure and in need of urgent assistance.” For all the severity of their reports, I think they are underestimating the gravity of the developing crisis, whose only solution is to understand our mutual responsibility and the consequent actions we must take.

The food crisis will not be solved by stocking up on staple foods. We are not talking about hurricane preparedness kits or anything of the kind. We are looking at years, not weeks or months, when many people around the world will have no food. This is not another crisis; it is the beginning of a famine. People will be so hungry that they will behave like animals, in the worst sense of the word.

Eventually, the anguish will force us to recognize that the only reason for the famine is our own behavior, and not any external factor. The question is how long it will take us to understand.

The food crisis, like virtually all crises, does not need to happen. It is happening, and worsening, only because there are people who benefit from it, or simply because no one cares enough to stop it.

There is complete imbalance in human society between the haves and the have-nots, between the powerful and the powerless, between the privileged and the deprived. This inequality manifests in every aspect of our lives. Until now, the food aspect was relatively minor in the developed world, and affected mostly Africa and Asia. But since our alienation toward each other has intensified, so have the crises we are inflicting on each other. Now that the food crisis has spread to the West, as well, everyone is alarmed.

The hunger is only beginning. For the time being, it is more about empty shelves and temporary shortages, but as I said above, this is only the beginning. We do not want to hear that the cause of all our problems is our own narcissism. But if we are hungry enough, and long enough, we just might be willing to listen and change how we behave toward each other.

It may come from a leader who is sincere about uniting all of humanity, or it may come through some other medium, but in the end, we will all have to accept that we can no longer remain inconsiderate. Hunger will change us. I cannot say how long we will need to “fast” against our will, but the empty stomachs will make the minds receptive to the idea of unity.

Once we realize that we are all dependent on each other and begin to act accordingly, everything will change. We will discover that the problem was not shortage of food all along, but unwillingness to share it and distribute it.

We will find that clean drinking water is abundant if we only want it to be accessible to everyone.

What applies for food and water certainly applies for education, housing, and basic health care. We do not need much more than that to be happy. We can dedicate the rest of our time to cultivating positive relationships. If we nurture mutual responsibility in the community, in the country, and in the world, we will have no crises to worry about.

These words may sound naive, but mutual responsibility is the only solution that will work, since the lack of it is the only cause of the crisis. The WFP has tried everything and failed precisely because it has not tried the only solution that actually addresses the problem: our hatred for each other.

“What Brought Us to This Unstable State of the World?” (Medium)

Medium published my new article “What Brought Us to This Unstable State of the World?

The development of the human desire to enjoy is revealed to us today in all its nuances, from power struggles between relatives to wars between countries and blocs. This desire leads us to reveal our evil human nature so that we understand that we are unable to continue living this way and to realize that there is no choice but to make changes that will allow us to survive.

As an example, let’s journey into the depths of the Amazon rainforest. Imagine meeting the indigenous people who do not feel that they and you are different souls. Any person who happens to cross their path feels like a family member to them, and they harbor no malicious thoughts toward others.

In contrast, take a flight to one of the world’s metropolises and tour their magnificent cultural monuments. If you suddenly hear quick footsteps behind you, your heart would start racing and you would glance behind you to check if you are about to be attacked by a stranger.

The more developed a culture is, the more alienation, loneliness, danger, and fear are felt within it. Now even at home, what should be a person’s safe haven, there are power struggles and fierce competition between siblings (who is stronger, who is more successful, who is in control) and between spouses.

In advanced societies, the feeling of natural closeness is fading because that is human nature. The inner engine of the world is the desire to have pleasure. This desire develops in us and, on one hand drives us to invent advanced technologies and complex and sensitive capabilities, and on the other hand, it gradually decouples us from each other. Once, human society lived exclusively in relationships like those between tribes in the Amazon. Today, people live largely in a cruel, competitive, and militant global metropolis.

Even in kindergarten, you can see how this desire works, how children who have several toys in their hands and could give some away to others, instead they hold on to them and do not share. For us adults, the desire for pleasure is disguised in layers of politeness and sophistication, but it has clearly multiplied and intensified. These are indicators of growing egoism, the growing natural desire to satisfy oneself without regard for others.

Even if we understand that it is impossible to continue like this and that we are destroying ourselves and the world with us, how will we deal with the same natural desire to receive for our own benefit at the expense of others that has grown within us? Where will we get the strength to change? How can we shape the desire to have pleasure only for ourselves so that we still feel close to others, at least to the point of not eating each other up?

Animals also have a desire for pleasure, but it is limited. It does not allow them to destroy each other. There is a balance between all animal and plant life forms, they support and help each other. But in humans, the ego grows to think that there is only room for one person in the world — and that is me!

In an evolved human being, the balance no longer works instinctively, but we must learn to activate it. We must learn the method to bring humanity to a state where no egoist pressure takes over, exploits and conquers others, but on the contrary, activates the desire to benefit others; we will develop a real sense of we.

When we begin to take even small steps toward connectedness, a new attitude reveals itself in the will of man, a trait of giving that comes from the universal power of nature, — the power that created us. It expects us to change our selfish attitudes and change our actions for the benefit of all, including ourselves.

“The World Waits for Israel” (Linkedin)

My new article on Linkedin “The World Waits for Israel

A student of mine told me that thirty years ago, a sheikh from the extremist Palestinian Hamas movement predicted that in 2022, between the month of Ramadan and the month of June, Israel will be destroyed. He asked if I thought there was a chance that this could happen. I told him he can sleep quietly because it won’t, not now. However, if we continue to conduct ourselves as we have been so far, we will not exist for long. The nations voted to establish a Jewish state because deep down, they await and long for our spiritual awakening—to set an example of brotherly love and mutual responsibility. If we live up to their dream, they will rally behind us, including Hamas. If we disappoint them, they will revoke Israel.

Our internal cohesion or lack thereof determines everything that happens, not only among Jews, but in general. Everyone senses this but us. You can often hear antisemites blaming Jews for all the problems in the world. This is a testimony to the fact that they see us as responsible for the well-being of the world. And they are right, since through our own unity or disunity we make the world choose unity or division.

Since the inception of our nation, we have been obligated to serve as “a light to the nations, to open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the dungeon, and those who dwell in darkness from the prison” (Isaiah 42:6-7). We have never been relieved from duty, and the fact that the nations hold us to a higher standard proves that they still expect us to lead by example.

It is no coincidence that the two dominant religions—Christianity and Islam—emerged from Judaism. However, because the example we currently give is one of division and hatred, this is the treatment we get from the world. If we injected a different spirit into the world, the world would be different, and so would the way the world treats the Jews in general, and Israel in particular.

This is why it is written in The Book of Zohar (Aharei Mot) that after Israel make peace among themselves, “By your merit, there will be peace in the world.” This is also why Rav Kook wrote around the time of World War I, “If we were ruined and the world was ruined with us through unfounded hatred, we will be rebuilt and the world will be rebuilt with us through unfounded love.”

It follows that the world will not like us, or even accept us as long as we do not like one another. However, if we do accept and like one another, the world will embrace us and support us because we will be setting the example it expects to see from us.

Our internal cohesion or lack thereof determines everything that happens, not only among Jews, but in general. Everyone senses this but us. You can often hear antisemites blaming Jews for all the problems in the world. This is a testimony to the fact that they see us as responsible for the well-being of the world. And they are right, since through our own unity or disunity we make the world choose unity or division. If humanity chose unity, there would be no problems anywhere. Since it chooses division, there is no solution to any of our problems, and more of them keep piling up.

Whatever we are, shines on the world. If we are “a light to the nations,” the world shines with us. If we are “a darkness to the nations,” the world darkens with us and hates us for it.

It is all a question of our internal unity. We need not please or appease anyone; we should only try to—after two millennia of hatred and division—love one another, as one man with one heart, just as we were at the moment of the birth of our nation.

This is the solution to the problems of the world, and to the grievances that the world has against us. This is why when seeking solutions to America’s social problems, the most notorious antisemite in American history, Henry Ford, founder of the auto company, recommended looking into the ancient Jewish society, before it fell into unfounded hatred: “Modern reformers, who are constructing model social systems, … would do well to look into the social system under which the early Jews were organized.”

Indeed, the world waits for Israel.

“How We Misunderstand Leadership” (Medium)

Medium published my new article “How We Misunderstand Leadership

An interview with primatologist Frans de Waal was recently brought to my attention. De Waal, a prolific author who wrote extensively about his research on chimpanzees, is famous for having promulgated the concept of “alpha male.” In his book Chimpanzee Politics, he talked about this concept, and then Speaker of the House of Representatives, Newt Gingrich, recommended the book to new congressmen and women. But according to De Waal, the concept was miscomprehended and came to mean, as he explained in a TED lecture, that an alpha male “is basically a bully.”

Actually, says De Waal, alpha males are not necessarily the most aggressive or the strongest. For the most part, they rise to the top by forming coalitions with other males, and continue to cultivate their relationships with them once they reach the top position. The coalition helps them maintain their status and deter potential challengers.

However, a coalition of males is not enough to maintain the top post. Despite their physical inferiority, the females have a decisive role in the troop. To win their support, the alpha male pampers the females with food and other treats, and tickles their infants.

Interestingly, both the alpha male and alpha female play the role of peacekeepers — the male among the males, and the female among the females. When the alpha male comes to make peace between belligerent monkeys, he transcends consideration of coalition and acts as an objective peacemaker. The troop members recognize this and respect him for that.

Even more interesting, an alpha male will often assist an ailing or a sick member of the troop for no apparent reason. Even if he is not a member of his coalition and there seems to be no personal benefit in helping a weaker or a sick monkey, male or female, the alpha male will often share food, offer comfort, and assist in many other ways.

As a rule, the kinder the alpha male, the longer his reign. And when it is time to be replaced, he will not be mistreated. On the contrary, the troop will continue to respect him and assist him in his old age, a tribute to his kindness in his days at the throne.

If a bully becomes the alpha male, as it sometimes happens, he will rule just as long as his physical strength endures. When challenged, not only will the troop not support him, it will support his challenger. The end of a bullying alpha male will invariably be bitter and painful.

I am describing all this to show how similar we are. That is, if our society were as just and ethical as that of the chimpanzees, it would probably look something like this.

In the end, the desires of humans and the desires of primates are the same desires, the same thoughts and calculations. The difference lies in the intensity and sophistication, but the desires are all and all the same. Envy, passion, and power hunger all exist in humans as they exist in primates, though in the latter, they are less developed and not as sophisticated.

If we examine ourselves honestly, we will see that on the social level, we have not evolved more than they have. While we developed technology, they developed positive social characteristics that we have not. As a result, we have a technologically advanced society that uses technology against its own members.

There is a reason why this happens, a fundamental difference that makes it impossible for our society to become like that of the primates. The difference is that what they do instinctively, we must do consciously, or we will not be able to do it at all, as we can evidently see.

If we were meant to remain on the level of primates, there would be no point in becoming humans. We have been denied the instinct to build a positive and supportive society so that we would develop it of our own accord. In doing so, we would grasp the merits of such a society compared to its opposite, which is our current state. This, in turn, would make our understanding of human nature, and of nature as a whole, far deeper than any other created being can grasp.

Some may think that trying to care for one another is naive or unrealistic, but they do not understand that by doing so, we are building within us the structure that exists outside of us. We study nature by simulating its modus operandi, and since nature works in a manner of reciprocity and care, as the chimpanzee society demonstrates, the only way that we will understand nature is by building a similar society of our own accord and through our own efforts.

Nature, in a sense, has made us blind so we would develop our vision by ourselves. We, for our blindness and selfishness, think that the whole world is as blind and selfish as we are. But if we strive to act the way animals act naturally, we will discover nature’s true, caring disposition.

Matzah Is a Symbol of Passover

631.4Question: The symbol of the exodus from Egypt is matzah. Why is it necessary to use matzah during Passover?

Answer: Matzah is unleavened bread, that is, bread that is prepared in a special way with the minimum amount of water necessary to make a starter. Then it is baked in a simple way on coals or in a hot frying pan, it does not matter what.

Matzah is baked in memory of exiting Egypt and symbolizes our quick transition from the desire to receive to the desire to bestow. It happens unexpectedly, with a leap, in the most allegedly unsuitable place and time for a person.

An accumulating process takes place, and a person exits the control of egoism. This is called the exodus from Egypt.

Question: So, is a person not expecting this exit?

Answer: He expects it all the time, but does not know that it is so close. When it really happens to him, he does not understand how it suddenly happened. However, someday it will happen to everyone.
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From KabTV’s “Spiritual States” 4/19/22

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National Identity

961.2Question: In our world, it is believed that the freedom of a country is political independence, elections, the absence of subordination and dependence of the people on some other country. And by what criteria can a Kabbalist say this country [Israel] is independent?

Answer: If we talk about Israel, then by spiritual definition we are not a country and not a nation. So it’s too early for us to talk about it. We can only give approximate definitions to this and analyze why we still do not satisfy true spiritual concepts of what a country, a nation, a state, a family, and so on are.

There are very clear definitions here that relate specifically to us and not to the rest of the nations of the world. Baal HaSulam examines this in articles about the last generation.

In particular, in the newspaper The Nation, published in 1940, he writes: It is a shame to admit that one of the most precious merits we have lost during the exile, and the most important of them, is the loss of the awareness of the nationality, meaning that natural feeling that connects and sustains each and every nation. The threads of love that connect the nation, which are so natural and primitive in all the nations, have become degenerated and detached from our hearts, and they are gone.

The fact is that other nations have a sense of dependence, a sense of community, while the Jews practically do not. They are characterized by increased egoism, remoteness from each other, and a willingness to get closer to each other only in times of special catastrophes. And so on.

Question: And what is the national identity? What is he talking about?

Answer: If we take, for example, any nation and start looking for the spiritual roots in it, we will see that almost all nations have a craving for self-consciousness, and the Jews may have the opposite picture.

This comes from the fact that the Jews are the nation of the idea, which was gathered by Abraham from different clans on the basis of unity.
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From KabTV’s “Spiritual States” 4/26/22

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Have a Longing for Truth

239Comment: When I read the story about the Exodus from Egypt, I could not understand why the Creator was constantly hardening the Pharaoh’s heart. And then I found an explanation in the sources that the hardening of the heart is necessary for a person to have a real desire for truth.

My Response: The necessity for the Creator’s help!

A person still thinks: if I do not have enough time now, then some other time when I am smarter, stronger, and so on. Thus, he comes to realize that there is nothing in him and there cannot be anything for him to defeat the Pharaoh. And then he needs the help of the Creator and comes to prayer.

Question: Your teacher Rabash wrote that the hardening of the heart was necessary so that there would be an opportunity for prayer. Is the prayer needed not by the Creator but by the person?

Answer: Of course. What does the Creator even need? A person, on the other hand, needs the prayer so that he has a desire to receive help from the Creator.

Prayer is the final action on the part of a person when he already has everything necessary to turn to the Creator correctly.

Question: But where is the point that can be pressed to make prayer appear?

Answer: You look for it and press. No one will find it but you.
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From KabTV’s “Spiritual States” 4/14/22

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Attaining the Field of Common Thought

761.2Question: Is it correct that according to Kabbalah, in the present moment of a person’s existence, one has no independence, not a single thought of his own?

Answer: Of course not. From where?

What does “his own” mean? Where can one’s own thought come from at all? From the vacuum of space, from some kind of an empty place? It arises from  something!

A child growing up has some thoughts, suddenly he begins to understand something. From where? After all, nothing can come from nothing. It appears and manifests itself.

It is just like when I turn on the radio. So what, that I turned it on? I have to tune it to some wave and then it will give me some information, it will somehow manifest itself. In fact, we are the receivers of a common information field, a common thought.

We automatically follow the instructions of this thought up to a certain point of development until suddenly something opposite appears in us. We do not want to act automatically as we did before. I have a revolutionary desire to rebel against this thought: I want to find out what for, why, for what reason I live, and not to be some kind of machine. I have to feel that I exist on my own.

Here a rebellion arises within a person. From that moment on, he has the opportunity to become a Kabbalist, that is, one who attains this thought from the outside and then agrees or disagrees with it. This is how his movement toward this thought begins: in disagreement, in rejection, in distance, in opposition.

It is from the fact that he attains his oppositeness and does not want to agree with this thought that he begins to explore it. He, a Kabbalist, begins to explore it and sees how perfect and pure it is, and he wants to receive it.

He makes of himself the receiver of this thought, not automatically the way he was created, but independently, explicitly. This is called attaining the Creator.
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From KabTV’s “Close-Up. Secrets of Immortality” 1/7/11

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