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Date: Tuesday, 15 Apr 2014 00:30

How the Exile of the Jews Corresponds to the Evolution of Human Desire

Let us examine the sub-surface processes that unfolded between the writing of The Book of Zohar (also called The Zohar for short) in the 2nd century C.E. and the writing of the Tree of Life in the 16th century. These dates (very) roughly parallel the period between the Roman conquest of Judea and the onset of the Renaissance, or what we now call “the Middle Ages.” The goal is not to focus on particular events, but to provide a “bird’s-eye” view of history, showing how processes correspond to the evolution of desires. In the case of the time frame just mentioned, it is probably best to begin with the Roman conquest and the ruin of the SecondTemple.

 

How Unfounded Hatred Destroyed the Unity of Israel

The defeat of the Jewish revolt against the Romans (66-73 CE) caused the ruin of the SecondTemple and the dispersion of Judea. (The first Temple was built by King Solomon in the 10th century BCE, and was ruined by the Babylonians in 586 BCE.) This dispersion signified something far more important than the conquest of one nation by another. It reflected the extent of the Israeli nation’s spiritual decline. The Hebrew word Yehudi (Jew) derives from the word Yechudi (“united,” or “unique”), referring to the state of the Israeli nation of the time: perceiving (and adhering to) the unique force of bestowal that governs life.

Yet, the desire to receive is an ever-evolving force and requires constant adaptation. Constant effort is required to harness the newly emerging desires to work in unison—with the intention to bestow, and adhering to the law of yielding self-interest in favor of the interest of the host system. And because the desires evolve, the means to harness them must evolve accordingly.

Unlike animals, humans must constantly realize their place in Nature and choose to be constructive parts of it. However, if we act to the contrary, the negative outcome will not be immediately evident. This leaves us room to maneuver and to calculate.

At the same time, if we choose to act in accord with Nature’s law, we will not immediately notice the positive result. Thus, because the reward and punishment are not immediately discernible, if we choose to do so nonetheless, it will be only because we want to discover Nature’s law of unity and giving, and not because we expect an immediate reward. In this way, we act out of an intention to become givers instead of out of our inherent desire to receive.

But during the first century CE, the evolution of the desire to receive prompted the emergence of a new level of desire. Until the arrival of that level, the Jews that returned from the exile in Babylon—after the ruin of the first Temple—kept their unity and their perception of the cohesive law of life.

In truth, only two of the twelve tribes returned from their Babylonian exile because the level of egoism was also growing among Israel, and the majority of the tribes could not resist the egoistic drives within them. These drives separated them from the nation of Israel, which consists, as explained, of people who live by the law of unity, and not of genetically related individuals. But when Stage Two in the evolution of desires began to manifest in Israel, even those who returned from Babylon could not maintain their altruism. Instead, they fell prey to their self- centered desires.

The Babylonian Talmud explains that the sole reason for the defeat of Israel and the ruin of the SecondTemple was unfounded hatred: “The SecondTemple, why was it ruined, since they engaged Torah and Mitzvot [spiritual learning] and in good deeds? It was because there was unfounded hatred in it.” In the absence of unity, and because many Jews wished to emulate or even join the Roman culture, the Jewish revolt was hopeless from the start.

 

So How Easily You Can Understand Why Kabbalah Was Hidden for So Long

Still, even after the revolt, many among Israel maintained their cohesive perception of reality. Rabbi Akiva, for example, whose Talmudic epithet was “Head of all the Sages,” lived and taught in the years following the ruin. According to the Babylonian Talmud, Rabbi Akiva had 24,000 students, but they, too, died (according to the Talmud) because they were not united.

Of the 24,000 students, only four survived. And of those four, two became the greatest sages of their generation, and possibly of all time. The first was Rabbi Yehuda, known as Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi (the president), who became president of the Sanhedrin and chief redactor and editor of the Mishnah, the corpus that is the foundation on which both parts of the Talmud are built. The other student was Rabbi Shimon Bar-Yochai (Rashbi), who became known as the author of The Book of Zohar [The Book of Radiance]—the seminal book of Kabbalah, which all Kabbalists study to this day and from which they all derive their wisdom.

Through the centuries, there have always been sages who kept the wisdom vibrant and evolving. They understood the nature of the desire to receive and produced texts that interpreted The Zohar, as well as other books of Kabbalah. Yet, for the most part, their books—written from the Kabbalistic-altruistic perception of reality—were misunderstood by all except for fellow Kabbalists because they were read from an egoistic perception. This prevented readers from grasping the true meaning of the texts. In much the same way, a person who is blind from birth cannot understand the meaning of vision, much less the joy that comes from observing a beautiful landscape or the captivating power of the view of an ocean’s stormy shore.

Thus, because of the decline of the spiritual perception (altruism) among Israel, Abraham’s dream of teaching the entire world the single law of existence had to be postponed until people were once again ready to learn about this law. The Zohar was concealed soon after its completion and remained hidden for more than a millennium. Kabbalists, too, cloaked the wisdom in mystery and misconception, and declared that only those who met rigorous conditions were permitted to study it. Since they knew that the majority of people were too far removed from spiritual perception to properly grasp the concepts of Kabbalah, Kabbalists distracted people’s minds with stories of miracles and charms, and set up boundaries such as age, sex, and marital status to deter would-be students from probing Kabbalah.

 

The Link between Pythagoras, Philosophy & Kabbalah

Indeed, the misperceptions of Kabbalah were so deeply rooted that even after the reappearance of The Zohar in 13th century Spain in the possession of Rabbi Moshe de León, the book was often misunderstood and considered abstruse text until such Kabbalists as the vilna Gaon (GRA), Rabbi Isaac Safrin, and others offered clearer interpretations. Even so, it was not until the 1940s, when Yehuda Ashlag (Baal HaSulam) offered his complete Sulam (Ladder) commentary on The Book of Zohar—with four explanatory introductions—that this profound composition could be properly studied and comprehended.

But in the early post-ruin-of-Second-Temple years, the world was treading a very different route. The Romans were the empire in the Mediterranean, Near East, and Europe, and their (essentially Greek) culture and philosophy reigned. The Hellenistic perception of the world did not agree with that of the rebels from the land of Israel. Moreover, the majority of Jews did not agree with the principles of their forefathers, and abandoned them in favor of the ego-centered Hellenistic Greek- Roman culture.

That said, several renowned scholars of the renaissance believed that the Greeks did adopt at least some of their concepts from Kabbalah. Johannes Reuchlin (1455-1522), for example, the great humanist and political counselor to the Chancellor, wrote the following in his De Arte Cabbalistica (On the Art of Kabbalah): “Nevertheless his [Pythagoras’] preeminence was derived not from the Greeks, but again from the Jews. As ‘one who received,’ he can quite justly be termed a Kabbalist. …He himself was the first to convert the name Kabbalah, unknown to the Greeks, into the Greek name philosophy.”

A predecessor of Reuchlin, Giovanni Pico della Mirandola (1463-1494), an Italian scholar and Platonist philosopher, wrote in his De Hominis Dignitate Oratio (Oration on the Dignity of Man), “This true interpretation of the law, which was revealed to Moses in Godly tradition, is called ‘Kabbalah.’”

But the principle that the Greeks did not adopt was the most important one of all: the intention to revoke self-centeredness in favor of system-centeredness in order to become like the Creator. The latter part of that phrase, the reason for shifting one’s focus, is the reason why the wisdom Kabbalah was devised to begin with. Had the Greeks adopted it, history would have unfolded very differently.

 

The History of How the Jews Lost their Spiritual Perception

Yet, it was through no fault of the Greeks that they did not adopt it. They did not know about it, as there were no Kabbalist teachers among them, and hence none who could educate them properly. Moreover, having heightened egos themselves, the Jews, too, were adopting the Greek-Roman ways, and those who were not were the Romans’ fiercest enemies in Judea. In consequence, there was no one to show the Romans that they were missing anything that could be of value to them. And so the Romans pursued the Hellenistic culture until Emperor Constantine the Great adopted Christianity in the 4th century CE.

The Jews’ adoption of the Hellenistic culture was no coincidence. The establishment of the first Temple had marked the highest spiritual point (perception of the law of giving) in the history of the Israeli nation. from then on, a gradual process of decline was underway. The evolution of desires was affecting the Jews just as it was affecting all other nations. As a result, many of the Jews could not maintain their spiritual, altruistic perception of a unified force, and turned to more self-centered cultures that suited their egoistic perception.

Thus, the Babylonian conquest and subsequent exile of the Hebrews at the time of the first Temple were only a manifestation of their spiritual state at the time. And because of the waning spiritual state of the Hebrews in Babylonian captivity, only two of the twelve tribes that went into exile, Judah and Benjamin, returned. The ten tribes that remained in exile became so thoroughly mingled with the locals that they had completely forgotten their tenets, and their traces have been lost to this day.

Yet, the evolution of desires did not stop there. Judah and Benjamin gradually declined, as well, and the complete dispersion of the Jews was only a matter of time. Indeed, the Jews’ loss of spiritual perception was a long process that spanned centuries, but its course was set. When the Romans finally conquered Israel and destroyed the Second Temple, Israel was already a nation whose majority did not want to maintain its spiritual (Kabbalistic) mindset and preferred the Hellenistic concepts in its stead. In consequence, they, too, were exiled and dispersed. And while many Jews remained in the land of Israel even after the Roman conquest, and compiled some of the most significant texts in Judaism, the Jews as a people were already spreading throughout Rome and subsequently Europe.

Self Interest vs. Altruism in the Global Era: How Society Can Turn Self Interests into Mutual Benefit“How the Exile of the Jews Corresponds to the Evolution of Human Desire” is based on the book, Self Interest vs. Altruism in the Global Era: How Society Can Turn Self Interests into Mutual Benefit by Dr. Michael Laitman.

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Date: Monday, 14 Apr 2014 00:30

Why Kabbalah Can Help You  Reveal the Creator Today

Know the Law of Giving Like Abraham

When desires evolve in Nature, they create increasingly complex structures. Each new level rises to a higher degree of desire to receive when creatures of the current level join to form an aggregate of collaborators. By so doing, the creatures of the current (and presently highest) level create a system to which they can yield their self-interests, which provides them with sustainability and adherence to Nature’s law of giving. When this happens in humans, we, too, start from the smallest structure—a single person—and work our way toward increasingly complex societies. The only difference is that we must create these social structures that adhere to the law of giving by ourselves.

Abraham’s family was actually the first group to create that system, and then harness its members into a system whose parts were united by dedication to their host system. As Maimonides narrates, this initial system grew into a group. Yet, only in Egypt—when their number sufficed—did the system grow into a nation. When Moses brought Israel out of Egypt, the family of 70 that had gone into Egypt now consisted of several millions (there are many views on precisely how many came out of Egypt, but the common figures are between 2 and 6 million men, women, and children, excluding the mixed multitude).

 

Who Else Wants to Conquer Hatred?

Clearly, Moses’ job was far more challenging than Abraham’s. He could not gather the entire nation in his tent, as did Abraham with his family and few disciples, and teach them the laws of life. Instead, he gave them what we refer to as the Five Books of Moses, known in Hebrew as the Torah, which means both “Law” (of bestowal) and “Light.” In his books, Moses provided depictions of all the states that one experiences on the way to becoming like the Creator.

The first part of the way to emulating the Creator was to exit Egypt, venture into the Sinai Wilderness, and stand at the foot of Mount Sinai. According to ancient sources, the name, “Sinai,” comes from the Hebrew word, Sinaa (hatred). In other words, Moses gathered the people at the foot of Mount Sinai—the mountain of hatred.

To interpret the mountain-of-hatred allegory, Moses’ teachings showed the people how hateful they were towards each other, how remote they were from the law of bestowal. To reconnect with the law of bestowal, or the Creator, they united, as described by 11th century commentator and Kabbalist, Rashi, “As one man in one heart.”

Baal HaSulam elaborates on this process in his essay, “The Arvut (Mutual Guarantee),” where he explains that in return for their pledge to care for each other, Moses’ people were given the Torah. They attained the law of bestowal and obtained the light, the altruistic nature of the Creator. In Baal HaSulam’s words, “once the whole nation unanimously agreed and said, ‘We shall do and we shall hear,’ …only then did they become worthy of receiving the Torah, and not before.”

 

The First Mass Discovery of the Creator

Now we can see how important Moses’ mission was, and why free choice is a prerequisite to accomplishing it. The leaders of Abraham’s group were all family and were naturally united. But Moses had to unite a nation. To achieve that, the entire nation had to agree on a path. By making a free choice to unite, despite the evident egoism (allegorically described as “standing at the foot of Mount Sinai”), a nation was admitted into the law of giving. This was the first time in humanity’s history that people en masse attained the quality of the Creator, and from this point forward, choosing unity in the face of growing egoism will be the only way to achieve the Creator.

 

What Everybody Ought to Know about the Difference between the Path of Pain and the Path of Nature

The sages of the Talmud wrote, “one who has one hundred, wishes for two hundred.” Since the dawn of Kabbalah, its practitioners stated that our desires evolve. They grow in both intensity and quality, meaning not just how much we want, but also what we want. Eventually, these desires evolve to become the ultimate desire—to be like the Creator.

But Kabbalists have also stated that we have free choice in how we arrive at the greatest desire, which also yields the greatest pleasure. They said that there are two ways to reach this goal.

1. We follow Moses’ example and unite. We do that by studying how Nature works at its most fundamental levels, how we, being offshoots of the law of Nature operate, and then try to work like Nature, in unity, just as a child imitates its parents.

2. We ignore the available information and try to discover the secret to a good and sustainable life by ourselves. This can be compared to a child sitting behind the wheel of a car but is too small to see out the window. Naturally, this will result in recurring accidents with horrific consequences.

Kabbalists called the first, enlightened way, “The Path of Light,” and the second, torturous way, “The Path of Suffering.”

The evolution of desires occurs irrespective of our choices. When it is not accompanied by a calculated effort to unite and to choose the path of light in order to discover the law of giving, there is nothing to regulate the growing desire and funnel it in constructive directions. The result is increased and unchecked egoism. This is usually accompanied by “an accident”—disintegration and defeat as it happened in Babylon and in Egypt.

 

Do You Know Why Kabbalah Was Hidden for So Long?

Indeed, the history of the Israeli nation is the best example of this statement. As long as they followed Abraham’s teaching, they succeeded. When they did not, they were defeated and exiled.

Approximately 1,900 years ago, a new level of desire to receive emerged. This required a renewed effort and a renewed choice to unite. Yet, the people of Israel were not ready to make the effort. Instead, they fell into hatred and egoism. The Babylonian Talmud, written around the 5th century C.E., explains that the sole reason for the defeat of Israel and the ruin of the Temple was unfounded hatred.

Since that ruin, the world has had only one path to tread—the path of suffering. The path of light was known to very few individuals in the generations that followed, and every few decades they would warily try to expose it. But seeing that people were not yet ready to contemplate the truths that that path held about reality, they kept it to themselves and to those rare devoted students who sought the truth at all cost.

Yet, the years of obliviousness to Kabbalah were not in vain. They have given us much knowledge and myriad observations of Nature as a whole, and of human nature in particular. Without those years, the resumption of acceptance of the knowledge that Kabbalah provides would not be possible.

Self Interest vs. Altruism in the Global Era: How Society Can Turn Self Interests into Mutual Benefit“Why Kabbalah Can Help You Reveal the Creator Today” is based on the book, Self Interest vs. Altruism in the Global Era: How Society Can Turn Self Interests into Mutual Benefit by Dr. Michael Laitman.

 Purchase Paperback »

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The post Why Kabbalah Can Help You Reveal the Creator Today appeared first on Kabbalah Blog.

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Date: Saturday, 12 Apr 2014 00:45

12 Definitions You Should Know this Passover

Bread – Pleasure we feel in Egypt (i.e. in the ego).

Bread of affliction – Before we exit Egypt (the ego), we don’t understand how we can reach bestowal and love, nor what the big deal is with such an attainment. Such attainment becomes flavorless, dry and insipid.

Egypt – The ego.

Egypt, a land flowing with milk and honey – our egoistic desires envision all kinds of pleasures.

Egyptian bondage – Being ruled by the ego.

Exiting Egypt in haste – Spirituality looks so unattractive and repulsive that exiting into it must be rushed due to the aggressive, external force pulling from egoism. I, myself, am unable to step out of this marvelous world as it seems to me in my egoistic desire.

Land – Desire.

Matzot (unleavened bread) – An inner readiness to exit Egypt (the ego). One prepares oneself to live for the sake of love and bestowal, and to receive only what is necessary to revive oneself (i.e. this poor bread, i.e. necessary pleasures for one’s sustenance) in order to be able to love and bestow.

Moses – the point in the heart, desire for spirituality, in the person.

Moses’ demand to Pharaoh: “Let my people go! I want to leave!” – A prayer where after much effort to attain the quality of love and bestowal, one cries out to the egoistic inclination within oneself: “Stop controlling all the inclinations in me with this constant intention to get personal gain all the time! I want to be able to love and give with a pure desire!”

Pharaoh – Our stubborn “evil inclination” that holds us hostage and doesn’t let us rise above our jealousy, hatred, lust and ambition.

Pharaoh’s response to Moses’ demand “Let my people go!”: “What do you lack, Moses? You grew up in my arms. Stay the Egyptian prince. Be a prince! Why are you making a revolution here? For the sake of love for the neighbor? You’ve gone crazy!” – The ego’s response to the spiritual demand of being freed from the ego in order to love and give purely: “The point in the heart emerged as an egoistic desire among all the self-aimed desires you’ve had since you were born. You’ve always managed to get along, find pleasures and make your way in life through all these egoistic desires, and there’s nothing for you if you love another as yourself. What would you get from that?”

To learn more about how Kabbalah describes holidays and many other concepts at their root level, before they dress into the material world, it is recommended to take the Free Kabbalah Course. The reason is that many of the concepts and terms we have heard a lot about in our upbringing have completely different definitions in Kabbalah, and it takes a while to process them properly. Therefore, if you’re interested in this topic, then we recommend taking the free course and start learning about the world around you and inside you anew. Click the banner below to sign up for the free course …

Free Kabbalah Course

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Date: Friday, 11 Apr 2014 00:00

What Does it Mean that Egypt Was Flowing With Milk and Honey?

Egypt (i.e. the ego) becomes a dungeon only when you start to think about spiritual exile, i.e. when you lack the Creator, the quality of bestowal and love. If not for the need for spiritual redemption, Egypt (the ego) by itself is a land (i.e. a desire) flowing with milk and honey (i.e. our egoistic desires envision all kinds of pleasures). Here you have everything besides the Creator, besides the answer to the question about the meaning of life. You have everything else in abundance. You are living the life of a king and you lack only to want bestowal and “love for the neighbor.”

When you desire precisely this, then Egypt (the ego) will seem like exile to you. This is the only thing missing here – love for the neighbor. Thus, it turns out that we celebrate Passover to commemorate the good life in Egypt and not the redemption, which no one really needs. After all, coming out of Egypt means throwing away everything we have besides love.

Do we feel that we are in exile? On the contrary, people do not understand what this means. However, love for the neighbor has to become your only desire. Moses (i.e. the point in the heart, desire for spirituality, in the person) demands from Pharaoh (i.e. the intention to receive personal gain in the person), “Let my people go! I want to leave!” (i.e. “Stop controlling all the inclinations in me with this constant intention to get personal gain all the time! I want to be able to love and give with a pure desire!”) To which Pharaoh replies, “What do you lack, Moses? You grew up in my arms. Stay the Egyptian prince. Be a prince! Why are you making a revolution here? For the sake of love for the neighbor? You’ve gone crazy!” (i.e. “The point in the heart emerged as an egoistic desire among all the self-aimed desires you’ve had since you were born. You’ve always managed to get along, find pleasures and make your way in life through all these egoistic desires, and there’s nothing for you if you love another as yourself. What would you get from that?”)

Only at the end of the path does Egypt (the ego) become a land of exile for us. But until that happens, we are satiated with everything besides bestowal. [Based on Dr. Michael Laitman, "Egypt Flowing with Milk and Honey"]

To learn more about how Kabbalah describes holidays and many other concepts at their root level, before they dress into the material world, it is recommended to take the Free Kabbalah Course. The reason is that many of the concepts and terms we have heard a lot about in our upbringing have completely different definitions in Kabbalah, and it takes a while to process them properly. Therefore, if you’re interested in this topic, then we recommend taking the free course and start learning about the world around you and inside you anew. Click the banner below to sign up for the free course …

 

Free Kabbalah Course

The post What Does it Mean that Egypt Was Flowing With Milk and Honey in the Passover Haggadah? appeared first on Kabbalah Blog.

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Date: Thursday, 10 Apr 2014 02:34

What Is the Meaning of the Bread of Affliction in the Passover Haggadah?

“Here is the bread of affliction eaten by our forefathers in the land of Egypt” (Passover Haggadah). When we reside in our ego, we eat the “bread of affliction of the pauper” because we are beggars in relation to spirituality and receive only a tiny bit of Light, a minimal spark of life (Kista de Hayuta) or so-called “faint illumination” (Ner Dakik) that brings to life all of our world.

It is not the “bread” eaten in Egypt. In Egypt, there is lots of food. Our ego gives us everything: Please, do enjoy! However, as soon as we start desiring the spiritual world, long before exiting egoistic “Egypt,” we start tasting the “bread of affliction” since we don’t understand how one can reach bestowal and what good is in it.

I don’t taste any flavor in it. Everything is dry and insipid as this simple cracker made of only flour and water. That is how the spiritual world that I am walking to looks to me. Do I have to flee the prosperous Egypt, all the pleasure-pots filled with fish and meat, rich and delicious, in order to live on the bread of affliction in the desert? Is that what I yearn for?

However, it is indeed so. This is why it is written that “the commandment to eat unleavened bread (Matzot, the bread of affliction) was given to the sons of Israel long before their exodus from Egypt as a symbol of liberation that will come to pass in haste.”

“In haste” means that otherwise it is impossible to exit egoism. Spirituality looks so unattractive and repulsive that exiting into it must be rushed due to the aggressive, external force pulling from egoism. I, myself, am unable to step out of this marvelous world as it seems to me in my egoistic desire.

As for the spiritual world, it seems pitch black darkness to my ego. There is nothing attractive for my egoism there, and I don’t want to see it. Hence, the escape can be made only “in haste”; I am thrown out of there abruptly. Let’s hope the same will be done with us. [Source: Dr. Michael Laitman, "Your Own Passover Haggadah"]

 

The Spiritual Meaning of the Exodus from Egypt

“Here is the bread of affliction eaten by our forefathers in the land of Egypt” (Passover Haggadah). It follows that the Mitzva (commandment) of eating a Matza (unleavened bread) was given to them while they were still enslaved, and the aim of the Mitzva was for the time of redemption since then they departed in haste. –Baal HaSulam, article “This Is for Judah

This always occurs when we transition from state to state, leaving the degree we are presently in, i.e. the Egyptian bondage, ruled by our ego, Pharaoh, our stubborn “evil inclination” that holds us hostage and doesn’t let us rise above our jealousy, hatred, lust and ambition.

Try as we might, we still can’t rise above these egoistic properties and bond ourselves with each other with ties that correspond to the degree following the exodus from Egypt. We are still unable to become “as one man with one heart,” achieve mutual guarantee so that the integral force of love and bestowal regarded as the Creator would become revealed.

Therefore, while we are still enslaved by Pharaoh, we need to visualize the next state, to play a “make believe adult life,” i.e. a spiritual life, like children play being adults when they grow up. [Source: Dr. Michael Laitman, "A Meal in Honor of the Spiritual Life"]

 

Why Was the Mitzva of Eating Matza Given in Advance of the Exit from Egypt?

The Mitzva about eating Matza was given in advance because the Exodus from Egypt happened suddenly, in haste. Suddenly the order came: “In another moment go!,” “And what about the bread, how is it possible to leave without bread?”

So the Mitzva was given in advance to prepare everything so that at the moment of the Exodus, the escape, we would have everything necessary. Even now we are doing this because we are very happy about this, that all of the redemptions happen suddenly. Therefore, we are in hope all the time that at every moment the redemption could come.

Just as they said to them in Egypt: “You are leaving now!” that is what they will say to us today; indeed in a little while there will be a proclamation and we will all go out; we will begin to rise to the level of the redemption. Therefore we are so happy to celebrate this holiday, remembering this miracle every year. [Source: Dr. Michael Laitman, "You Are Leaving Now"]

 

What Does it Mean to Exit Egypt in Haste?

Haste is when I don’t know from the start that I am approaching redemption. Even though at each and every moment I direct myself towards wanting to go out, in spite of it this, it happens to me suddenly. This is because this happens according to a calculation from above, according to relationships between Kelim (vessels) and Lights.

Therefore I cannot predict this from the start. This is not under my control. They don’t tell me all of the conditions that must be realized in me in order to create the right state for the next level called redemption.

This is not known to me from the start. I search and search, but I am still in the dark. I don’t know what exactly it is to bestow to this higher level. Therefore this is called escaping in haste.

It is so pleasant for us to celebrate this sudden salvation precisely because we hope that this will come at any moment. [Source: Dr. Michael Laitman, "Be Ready to Escape at Any Moment"]

To learn more about how Kabbalah describes holidays and many other concepts at their root level, before they dress into the material world, it is recommended to take the Free Kabbalah Course. The reason is that many of the concepts and terms we have heard a lot about in our upbringing have completely different definitions in Kabbalah, and it takes a while to process them properly. Therefore, if you’re interested in this topic, then we recommend taking the free course and start learning about the world around you and inside you anew. Click the banner below to sign up for the free course …

Free Kabbalah Course

 

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Date: Wednesday, 09 Apr 2014 02:28

What Is Passover?

 

The Pesach (Passover) holiday stands for Pe-sach (“skipping” or “selection”) – selecting only those qualities from one’s entire egoism that can be corrected and used for bestowal, for the benefit of others. [Source: Dr. Michael Laitman, "The Meaning of the Pesach Holiday," Laitman.com - Michael Laitman's Personal Blog]

 

What Is Passover?

The holiday of Pesach (Passover) is an exodus from our ego, called “Egypt.” Our ego locks us in a capsule called “this world” and prevents us from seeing the reality outside. In order to break free from this shell we must perform a “circumcision,” by drawing the Ohr Hochma (Light of Wisdom) from above. It acts like a sharp knife and removes our great egoistic desires that cannot currently be corrected. We are given the opportunity to rid ourselves of them and not use them, in essence, to become free.

To be a “free people in our own country” (the word “country” [Aretz] comes from the Hebrew word for “desire” [Ratzon]) means to escape the rule of our desire. When we become free from our desire and can rise above it, we are ready for the exodus from Egypt.

We then exit our ego, which is also called the “evil inclination” (“Yetzer Ra“) out of Egypt (MitzraimMitz Ra, i.e. concentration of evil) and toward freedom. Having been slaves to our desires, we now come out of slavery and become free of them, meaning we refuse to use them egoistically. [Source: Dr. Michael Laitman, "Escaping the Rule of Our Desire." Laitman.com - Michael Laitman's Personal Blog]

 

Now You Can Understand the Essence of Passover

Throughout the seven special days of the holiday of Passover, we must maintain a correct, uninterrupted intention, because this is a special time. We don’t celebrate religious rituals or customs. We are very distant from actions people carry out simply because they were taught to do so as children, or because they are driven by egoistic goals to receive a reward, either in this world or the next.

First and foremost, those who study Kabbalah want to reveal the Upper World and the spiritual actions, and only after they see their consequences (branches), are they prepared to also respect and observe them with the same intention as the spiritual actions above.

Abraham and his students were the first to attain the connection between the roots and the branches. But having revealed the spiritual world and its consequence in the corporeal, having discovered the forces that descend from the spiritual world into our corporeal world and having set it in motion, he created the language of branches. This language is a description of the Upper World, the roots, using words of this world, the branches.

That was when he revealed the whole reality, both the corporeal and the spiritual, as one whole, which is why both the spiritual and the corporeal actions merged within him into a whole, and that is how he taught his students. [Source: Dr. Michael Laitman, "The Source of Passover." Laitman.com - Michael Laitman's Personal Blog]

To learn more about how Kabbalah describes holidays and many other concepts at their root level, before they dress into the material world, it is recommended to take the Free Kabbalah Course. The reason is that many of the concepts and terms we have heard a lot about in our upbringing have completely different definitions in Kabbalah, and it takes a while to process them properly. Therefore, if you’re interested in this topic, then we recommend taking the free course and start learning about the world around you and inside you anew. Click the banner below to sign up for the free course …

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Date: Tuesday, 08 Apr 2014 02:55

Free Kabbalah Course

The Bnei Baruch Kabbalah Education Center has announced the start date of the next Kabbalah Live Fundamentals course: Wednesday, June 11, 2014.

Enrollments for the upcoming course opened today at FreeKabbalahCourse.com

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Moreover, a new Kabbalah Fundamentals course curriculum is currently being piloted and will be e-mailed to all who sign up closer to the start of the Summer 2014 course. The new curriculum aims to provide a more comprehensive introductory experience into the wisdom and method of Kabbalah.

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Date: Monday, 07 Apr 2014 11:00

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Date: Sunday, 06 Apr 2014 03:00

AhareiMot

Leviticus, 16:1-18:30—19:1-20:27

This Week’s Torah Portion | April 6 – April 12, 2014 – Nisan 6 - Nisan 20 – Nisan 26, 5774

In A Nutshell

The portions, Aharei Mot (After the Death) and Kedoshim (Holy), are connected. In the portion, Aharei Mot, following the death of Aaron’s two sons—Nadav and Avihu—the Creator details before Moses various rules concerning the way Aaron may approach the Holy in the tabernacle: it requires offering several sacrifices. Aaron must choose between two male goats, one to be sacrificed as a sin offering, and the other to be sent to the desert as a “goat to Azazel.”

The portion also details the prohibition to slaughter for food without bringing an offering to the tent of meeting. The Creator instructs Moses to command the people not to follow the ways of the Egyptians and the Canaanites, and not to obey their rules. At the end of the portion the Creator tells the people of Israel not to be defiled by all the impurities that the nations that dwelled in the land of Canaan before them did because if they did, the land would repel them.

In the portion, Kedoshim (holy), the Creator says to the children of Israel through Moses: “You shall be holy for I the Lord your God am holy” (Leviticus, 19:2).

The portion details many different commandments between man and God, between man and man, and some that concern offering sacrifices. The portion also deals with fearing Mother and Father, observing the Sabbath, and the prohibition on idol worship. Some of the Mitzvot (commandments) relate to the land of Israel, the land of Canaan, the tithing, fruits of the tree, idol worship, and other laws.

The portion ends with a complete prohibition on incest and adultery, which are punishable by death. The Creator commands the children of Israel to keep the laws when they arrive at the land of Israel, and refrain from what they did while in Egypt. They must separate between pure and impure beasts, and, likewise, the Creator will separate between Israel and the rest of the nations. This is how they will be Holy to Him.

 Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

Most people believe that the Torah speaks of this world, that it is full of physical actions and descriptions of animals, people, and objects, rules of social conduct, what is permitted, and what is forbidden. We either forget, or have never known that this world is but a replication of the spiritual world.

In truth, the stories in the Torah narrate only the spiritual world. We perceive the spiritual forces as a replication from spirituality. They are depicted in us according to our degree and our perception of the world. This is why it seems to us that we are seeing an entire world with all its details, that the Torah speaks of how we should behave with every detail—favorably or unfavorably—according to the Creator’s will.

The Creator wants to do good to His creations, to raise them to His level. “Return O Israel to the Lord your God” (Hosea, 14:2) means causing them to be like Him—loving and giving. The rule, “love your neighbor as yourself,”[1] is the inclusive rule of the Torah. It is the rule by which we shift from loving others to loving the Creator at the end of our correction.

We need to scrutinize the connection between slaughtering beasts or avoiding certain actions, committing others actions, and Dvekut (adhesion) with the Creator, love of God, love of Israel, or love of the whole world. The Torah does not speak of any other corrections but the correction of the heart, as it was written that it was given to men of heart.[2] Hence, all the Mitzvot that are written in the Torah—as Iben Ezra writes in his commentary on the Torah—were made only to correct the heart, meaning man’s desire, inclination. The Torah was intended to bring us into love because initially, our nature is the opposite of love: it includes the evil inclination, envy, lust, and pursuit of honor, as we clearly see in our world.

This is why the Torah is telling us how to correct ourselves, our desires, according to our perception of this world. We cannot correct our ego instantaneously from aiming to receive for myself to aiming to bestow upon others. The numerous corrections we perform on our desires are gradual.

The two portions, Aharei Mot (After the Death) and Kedoshim (Holy), are adjacent and connected because they contain two major corrections. The first is bestowing in order to bestow, as it is written, “That which you hate, do not do to your friend”[3] (Masechet Shabbat, 31a). The second is “love your neighbor as yourself,”[1] which is a more advanced correction.

The first correction is merely avoiding harming others. When we constantly seek our own benefit, the result is always at the expense of others. The first correction was given to a proselyte, to an egoist who wants to be corrected, to rise from the ego, from the “nations of the world within, to the degree of Israel, to a state of “That which you hate, do not do to your friend.”[4] By that we restrict our ego and avoid hurting others. The next stage is the more advanced degree, “love your neighbor as yourself,”[1] which we must achieve.

Following those Mitzvot and corrections, we perceive the world that is depicted in each of the 613 desires that comprise us. When we correct those desires from egoism to wanting to give and to love, we see an opposite world, as it is written, I have seen an upside down world.”[5] We come to see a higher world running by new, completely different rules—of giving, love, and connection. Today not only does the world appear to us as integrally connected, we ourselves are becoming integral, and we relate to the world this way: we include everyone and see everything as one whole.

This is the reason why the two portions are conjoined. The correction in the portion, Aharei Mot, is the correction of emerging from the evil inclination. In the next correction, the one in the portion, Kedoshim, we transcend the evil inclination and raise the desires we have corrected to the next degree. First we seemingly “brush them off,” and now we raise them toward giving, love, to the place of the holy ones.

First we rise above our egoistic will to receive and shift sins into mistakes, and mistakes to Mitzvot (commandments/good deeds/corrections). Next, we correct the sins (that we previously turned into mistakes) into Mitzvot. Now everything works for love.

By treating everyone with absolute love, we reach the love of God. This is the final result where we obtain equivalence with Him, as it is written, “Return O Israel to the Lord your God” (Hosea, 14:2). In other words, we obtain Dvekut (adhesion) with Him. This is the purpose of the corrections, the purpose of creation, of the path we must go through.

Everything begins with the shattering, with feeling the bad, the recognition of evil. This is what Nadav and Avihu did in the previous portion, and this is why the portion is called Aharei Mot (After the Death). All our actions in corrections are built consecutively.

We must not forget that the real corrections are only in our desires. We correct our hearts, and our world is the inanimate world, an imaginary world in which we play like kids in the sand.

Today the world is in a new era, facing a global crisis that must be resolved. This is our “exercise.” If we approach it correctly, as the Torah tells us, we will receive the Torah—its internality—as the Torah of truth, and we will know how to achieve redemption from exile out of the sins we are in. Then we will reach the stage of Aharei Mot, of Kedoshim (holy).

The portion tells of the people of Israel entering the land of Israel. If they follow the laws of the Canaanites, the land will vomit them out. This portion always comes near the Day of Independence, which is odd because we have returned to our land after 2,000 years but it still does not seem as though we are keeping the spiritual laws.

It also does not seem like we have a grip on the land of Israel. We are still “under a question mark” in this land. Perhaps we do not like to admit it, but we are. We are aware that we are still dependent on our neighbors and on the rest of the world. If the whole world should press us now we will have no choice but to do as they say.

The words, “the whole world,” refer to the Creator, the upper force that sets up the conditions by which we will truly repent and begin to actually be the people of Israel in the land of Israel. Ysrael (Israel) comes from Yashar El (straight to God), meaning to resemble the force of bestowal and love, the upper force, which demands of us to be in a state of “love your neighbor as yourself.”

If we achieve brotherly love according to the laws of Arvut (mutual guarantee), the laws of Kabbalah, of integral education—as we circulate them—we will truly gain a grip on the land. Eretz (land) comes from the word Ratzon (desire); it is our innermost desire, the one that determines precisely how attached we are to the ground, to the land of Israel.

It all depends on us. We were given a small portion, and if we cannot live according to this part, a part of us will be cut off, then another part, and then another. It is not because the neighboring countries or the UN have decided anything; it is because we ourselves do not fit in the land of Israel.

Actually, the threat is already there because “the heart of ministers and kings is in the hand of the Lord” (Proverbs, 25:1). If we are in accord with the land of Israel, we will receive it and no one will rule over us. It all depends on our accord with the land of Israel. If we aim our desires toward holiness, as in “You will be holy for I am holy” (Leviticus, 19:2)—holiness means bestowal and love—then there is no doubt we will receive it in this world, too, the whole of the land of Israel. No one will be able to say anything; everyone will agree that we are the ones who truly have to be here in the land. The nation that will live here will be a different one, “The people of Israel,” living according to “love your neighbor as yourself,” as it was prior to the ruin.

Questions and Answers

There is a feeling that although we are officially in our land, we are still in exile.

Yes, this is why it is written that we are a gathering of exiles.

What does it mean that the land vomits the desires out?

If we do not match ourselves with the will of God, with the land of Israel, the land ejects us, rejects us. It is lack of equivalence of form. Equivalence of form is the general law of nature, which determines how suitable and connected we are to the land, to the ground. Equivalence of form exists to the extent that we connect to each other, to the extent that we achieve Arvut between us, unity, brotherly love. If we do not, we do not belong in the land of Israel.

Does this refer to today’s land of Israel? After all, it says “desires,” not people. So is this about desires or about the land?

We are still not in the real land of Israel because we and our desires are still corrupted and negative, even the energy between us. Hence, we do not allow the land of Israel to be fair (beautiful). We still do not feel that our land is blooming.

From The Zohar: Hybrid and Mixing

When the Creator created the world He set up each thing, each one in its side, either to the right or to the left, and appointed higher forces over them. And there is not even a tiny blade of grass in the land on which there is no higher force above in the upper worlds. All that they do in each one, and everything that each one does is all by prevailing of the upper force that is appointed over it above.

Zohar for All, Kedoshim (Holy), item 108

We are far behind, but we are now required to be in the degree of the “land of Israel.” What can be changed here? How can we reach the degree of the land of Israel?

If we begin to examine our qualities in relation to others we will see how immersed we are in Egypt, how our ego, our inner Pharaoh, dominates us. We disparage everyone out of envy, lust, and pursuit of honor, and we relate to others only in order to use them. This is exile. It is not a geographical point, but an inner state. We will finally want to emerge from it by connecting to people and beginning to think, “When will I reach my correction, the state of ‘love your neighbor as yourself?’”

When we achieve it, we will begin to advance toward that correction. Then we will see how incapable of it we are. This is the meaning of the land of Israel not belonging to us. We cannot be together in brotherly love, so we must demand of the Creator to correct it. We must shout, pray, show Him our need. Actually, everything we have been through happened so we would perceive our dependence on Him, so we would feel that all corrections depend only on Him.

We are going through all of it on purpose; the Creator made it this way. Otherwise we would forget about Him. When a person turns to the Creator for correction, He comes and “settles in” with the quality of bestowal and love between us. We progress and discover Him between us, meaning discover the upper world.

This is the upper system in the spiritual world between us, to which we arrive upon our correction. And because our desire was corrected due to the presence of the Creator, it is now in the land of Israel, a state of redemption called the “land of Israel.” Previously, it was in Babylon, the land of Canaan, Egypt, and a desert. The land of Israel is a state of connection between us, which the Creator fills.

We often speak of a spiritual connection. Are the things we talked about spiritual things, including the land of Israel?

Everything is within us and between us.

Why do we hear that the Creator does not judge the children of Israel on anything regarding this world, yet they are punished in this world?

They are judged because we must return to the spiritual degree we held prior to the ruin of the Temple.

Even though we always thought that the Creator does not “keep score” with us in this world?

The ARI begins his book, Tree of Life, explaining that “The upper, simple light fills the whole reality.” Likewise, it is written, “I the Lord do not change” (Malachi, 3:6), and “He has given a law, and it shall not be breached” (Psalms, 148:6). There is a constant state by which we should measure ourselves. It is an absolute state love and tight connection among everyone, not just among the children of Israel, as it was before, but throughout the world. We are the “chosen people,” the ones who must be “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exodus, 19:6). First we must achieve that state, then we must set an example to the rest of the world.

From The Zohar: Ah, land of the buzzing of wings

“Ah, land of the buzzing of wings.” When the Creator created the world and wished to reveal the depths out of the hidden and light out of darkness, they mingled in one another. Because of it, Light came out of darkness, and the deep came out and appeared out of the hidden; one came out of the other. And from the good, out came bad; from mercy, out came judgment, and all was included in one another.

Zohar for All, Kedoshim (Holy), item 7

Following the shattering everything became mixed. Now after the ruin we must distinguish between good and bad, light and darkness, and thus build ourselves. Our view of the world and the relations between us all result from the scrutiny. The ruin is in our favor because by correcting it we build ourselves, just as a children build with LEGO bricks and thus learn.

What is the degree of Kadosh or Kedoshim (holy)?

Holy” is the highest degree, as it is written (Leviticus, 19:2), “You shall be holy for I the Lord your God am holy.” This means that a person transcends the ego and avoids using it, unless it is for others’ benefit. Bestowing in order to bestow is the first stage. The second stage is receiving in order to bestow. The first stage is as Hillel says, “That which you hate, do not do to your friend” (Masechet Shabbat, 31a). That is, do not harm others. This is the beginning of corrections. But once you have achieved it you can accept the others’ desires and begin to serve them, fulfill them. This is called “love.”

That is, Aharei Mot is a precondition for Kedoshim?

Certainly, these are two stages of the correction of Galgalta and Eynaim of the soul, and the correction of the AHP of the soul. There are two kinds of Kelim in which there are positive or negative Mitzvot (commandments to do something or avoid doing something) from the Torah. Each Mitzva is an act of rising above the ego, of benefiting others, or at least not harming others. These are all the 613 Mitzvot—248, and 365.

Is there a special connection between the Creator and the people of Israel? Why are they holy? Is it just because He is holy?

Man needs the upper light in order to rise above the ego and bestow upon others. We have no force of bestowal of our own because we consist purely of “reception-only” substance. We can give only if the upper light shines on us, as it is written, “I have created the evil inclination; I have created for it the Torah as a spice” because “the light in it reforms.”[6] Thus, the Creator illuminates that quality for us, raises us above the ego, and all we need is to want it. The actions come from above, which is why they are called “the work of God,” since the Creator is the one who does the work. However, He works only on our invitation.


[1] Jerusalem Talmud, Seder Nashim, Masechet Nedarim, Chapter 9, p 30b.
[2] Rav Yehuda Ashlag (Baal HaSulam), The Writings of Baal HaSulam, p 141.
[3] Jerusalem Talmud, Seder Nashim, Masechet Nedarim, Chapter 9, p 30b.
[4] Masechet Shabbat, 31a.
[5] Babylonian Talmud, Masechet Nezikin, Baba Batra, 10b; Babylonian Talmud, Masechet Pesachim, 50a.
[6] Babylonian Talmud, Masechet Kidushin, 30b; Midrash Rabah, Eicha, “Introduction,” Paragraph 2.

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Date: Sunday, 06 Apr 2014 02:00

Kadosh (Holy)

Holy means using the will to receive that was previously in order to receive. It is the reverse form of the ego—benefiting only others or the Creator. When it is in favor of others it is still at the degree of bestowing in order to bestow, the degree of Levites. But when we receive in order to bestow, it is at the degree of priests, the opposite the initial nature.

Holding a Grudge

We cannot correct ourselves if we are still “keeping score.” It is an internal energy. These are very deep corrections that astonish us when they appear because we suddenly understand how deep are our calculations for ourselves.

Prohibition on Divination

Divination is forbidden because it contradicts bestowal. If a person wants to bestow it makes no difference what will happen in the future. All we need is to connect with others and to give them. In that, we will find our new life. If we make any calculation, it is the will to receive.

One truly advancing toward bestowal is indifferent toward the future. All that that person wants is to bestow, to “be” in the other. In that state one has no connection to divination, as there cannot be any considerations. Hence, we should make the corrections within us because in each of us is the desire to know the future or to guess it.

A Male Goat to Azazel

A male goat to Azazel is all the desires we still cannot correct. There are 613 desires in us, and some are still not corrected. There is a lack of light that shines on us, hence we cannot fix them. We separate these desires from ourselves, which is why there are animals we slaughter and raise to Kedusha (holiness). These are the desires within us on the animate level. However there are desires where we cannot do this, hence for now we are releasing them so do not stay with us, as though we do not have them.

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Date: Friday, 04 Apr 2014 11:30

Phoebe couldn’t find an example of a selfless good deed.

Can you?

Write what you think in the comment section below…

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Date: Thursday, 03 Apr 2014 12:54

Is it Possible to Give Without any Selfish Motivation?

In ancient Mesopotamia, in the face of growing egoism Abraham developed a practical method of balancing this unique human trait. In truth, Abraham’s method was very simple: in the face of heightened egoism, unite and thus discover the quality of bestowal—the Creator. Every element in nature behaves in this way.

  • Atoms: The initial levels of desire to receive require very limited organization and form small systems where each element dedicates itself to its host system. We call these elementary systems, “atoms.”
  • Molecules: The more evolved levels of desires place atoms within systems we call “molecules.”
  • Cells: As the desire evolves further, these systems organize within even bigger systems called “cells.”
  • Multicellular Creatures: These group into multicellular creatures, finally leading to the creation of plants, animals, and humans.

In all of this, there is only one principle: the desire to receive in all the elements wishes to receive, and the only way to create balance and sustainability in the system is to unite under a higher-level system. This is what Abraham’s method sought to consciously emulate.

The desire to receive in humans becomes egoism because of our sense of uniqueness. Hence, the antidote to egoism is the exact same cure applied by Nature—the construction of a system to which all parts will contribute and yield their self-interests. In return, the system will guarantee the well-being and sustainability of its elements. Scientists today wish to discover the conditions that existed in the early universe by recreating those conditions on a miniature scale in facilities such as the CERN Hadron Collider in Switzerland. Similarly, by imitating Nature’s “natural” conduct, we will discover its law of bestowal.

 

Gain the Greatest Delight & Ultimate Goal Out of Life by Not Making the Same Mistake that Was Made in Babel

In truth, the modus operandi is really quite simple: If you think like a giver and act like a giver, we have to at least consider the possibility that you have a small amount of giving in your nature, to paraphrase Douglas Adam’s celebrated quote from Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency.

However, Nature does not provide us with the instincts to emulate it, as it does with the rest of its elements. Because we are meant to be its rulers, our task is to study these rules by ourselves and subsequently implement them. This is why, when Nimrod expelled Abraham (see the article, “What Is Today’s Significance of the Story of Abraham’s Conflict with Nimrod”), the only man who could teach this rule to the Babylonians, he also denied his people the method of achieving unity—the one antidote to the growing egoism and alienation among his people.

Following Abraham’s departure, Babel continued extolling self-centered abandon. But although pleasure and enjoyment do not contradict the purpose of creation—as we know from Stages Three and One, which received the Creator’s pleasure—receiving pleasure is neither the ultimate goal nor the greatest delight (see the article, “What are the Four Developmental Stages of the Primordial Desire in Creation?”). Man’s greatest delight and ultimate goal are to become like the Creator, and the Babylonians’ negation of that goal is what ultimately ruined them. While Israel was forming into a nation, Babel experienced violent vacillations as the unbridled egoism of its people intensified. Its final disintegration in the 4th century B.C. proved a long, yet unavoidable process.

Yet, Babel was only the first stage in building the highest level in the pyramid of desires—the speaking level. As with all other elements in creation, the final level in the pyramid consists of a root and four stages of evolving desires. Abraham is considered the Root Stage, hence his epithet, Avraham Avinu (Abraham our Patriarch), referring to him being the progenitor of the nation that strived to reach the Creator. Later, he became known as the father of all three Abrahamic faiths, the monotheistic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

 

Discover! The Best Kept Secret Law as Rigid as the Law of Gravity

As desires kept evolving in humanity, a new level of desire in the pyramid emerged atop the Root level, approximately when Egypt was in its prime. This level corresponded to Stage One, and as the Root Stage had its harbinger, Abraham, Stage One had a harbinger of its own, Moses. And just as Abraham was forced by Nimrod to exit Babel, Moses had to flee Pharaoh and exit Egypt, as described in the Pentateuch, “But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian” (Exodus 2:15). To understand the importance of Moses’ mission, we need to understand a concept that initially appears to be unrelated—the concept of free choice, as explained by Kabbalah.

As already discussed, the evolution of humanity corresponds to Stage Four in the evolution of desires. In this stage, the desire to receive realizes that behind all that occurs is a thought, a purpose that dictates this series of changes. In our lives, this translates into a child’s drive to not only emulate its parents’ actions, but to wish to know what they know.

To obtain the Creator’s thought, Stage Four needs freedom of thought and freedom of will so it can develop its perceptions independently. Similarly, if you teach a child to think and view the world through a narrow perspective, he will make a very loyal soldier, but probably not a great strategist or general. This, also, is the reason why children—especially in early childhood, before we accustom them to indolence—wish to do things by themselves instead of letting their parents do it for them.

Thus, the need for free choice requires our ignorance of the law by which all creatures achieve balance and sustainability through yielding self-interest to the interest of the host system, so that we can discover it for ourselves. If we knew that this was the law in effect, and that it is as rigid as the law of gravity, we would not dare defy it. And if we had no choice but to follow it, we would, at best, become obedient children, but we would remain children, forever inferior to the desire to give that created that law.

 

How to Build Creation by Yourself & Become Creator-Like

To equal the Creator, we must learn how to “build” creation by ourselves, every element within it, the reason for its existence, how and when it emerged, and if and when it will expire. To learn that, evolution has created the perfect infrastructure for our learning: it has built a universe in which every element abides by the law of yielding self-interest in favor of the system’s interest. Additionally, evolution denied us the knowledge of this law, and gave us the power to act contrary to it, or not, depending on our choice. And most of all, evolution did not reveal to us the reward for observing this law.

Cells in the body sympathize with the life of their host organism, not their own. If this were not so, they wouldn’t be able to operate in its favor and would become malignant or even prevent the initiation of life altogether. This sympathy is so complete that cells are even willing to terminate their own lives to promote the growth of the entire body in a process known as “apoptosis” or “Programmed Cell Death” (PCD). In embryos, for example, the embryo’s shape of feet is determined by apoptosis, which finalizes the differentiation of fingers and toes when cells between the fingers are deliberately put to death by their host organism.

In return for the cells’ sympathy, they are “rewarded” with the perception of the world of their host organism, instead of their own. That is, cells behave as though they are equipped with an innate perception of the entire organism of which they are parts. If they did not function in this way, they would instinctively try to fight their neighboring cells for supply of nutrients and oxygen, as do unicellular creatures. When such a malfunction occurs in a cell within an organism, this can develop into cancer.

If we, like cells in an organism, could sympathize with our host system—Planet Earth—but even more than that, with the forces that built and sustain the Earth, we would obtain the broadest possible perception and transcend such concepts as time, space, and life and death as we know them. Our perception would reveal that we are part of a much broader system than our immediate surroundings, just as cells are part of the entire organism. In that state, we would be able to think and act as the Creator—the desire to give. And in achieving this, we would achieve the purpose of creation—becoming Creator-like.

Yet, if we could see that by yielding our self-interest we are rewarded with being Creator-like, we would do it in order to receive pleasure, without the aim to give, and without the aim to give we would remain self-centered, disparate from the Creator. To achieve a Creator-like state, we must choose it freely, without being lured in any way toward altruism. Because, as we explained about the four stages, the aim to give is what makes us Creator-like, the desire to receive must not feel that we will receive pleasure or benefit in giving, so it would not create selfish motivation.

When we understand that, we will understand how important the restriction of pleasure by Stage Four is to us. If Stage Four did not repel it, we would succumb to the pleasure just as a baby enjoys its parents’ strength and benevolence toward it, and we would not be able to become like the Creator. Instead, we would be taken by the pleasure, just as moths are lured by the light of a lamp on a dark night.

Self Interest vs. Altruism in the Global Era: How Society Can Turn Self Interests into Mutual Benefit“Is it Possible to Give Without any Selfish Motivation?” is based on the book, Self Interest vs. Altruism in the Global Era: How Society Can Turn Self Interests into Mutual Benefit by Dr. Michael Laitman.

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Date: Wednesday, 02 Apr 2014 11:22

Pyramid of Desires

The Pyramid of Desires
The top of the pyramid is also the part that governs it,
and hence the part that has free choice in how to do it,
and the responsibility to do it right.

Mesopotamia, the Cradle of Civilization, was also the birthplace of Abraham, the harbinger of Kabbalah. The conflict between Abraham and Nimrod, ruler of Babylon, stands for much more than a conflict between a ruler and a defiant subject. It is a conflict of perceptions. To Nimrod, reality is a “federation” of forces that he must please, serve, and appease by sacrifice. To Abraham, there is only one force, and worshiping it means living by its law—the law of giving, as simple and as straightforward as that. Considering this contrast of views, it is no wonder that Nimrod had to either destroy Abraham or expel him.

But Abraham’s departure from Babylon did not quiet the polis. The trends that had prompted Abraham’s search for life’s secret continued to intensify and to spread through the bustling city, fueled by the same forces that power the process of evolution. Yet, in Babylon, these trends began to manifest a conduct that is uniquely human—egoism.

Baal HaSulam explains that egoism is a natural trait for humans. He declares that it is human nature, and that Kabbalah offers a way to turn its evident detrimental consequences into positive ones. In “Peace in the World,” he writes, “In simple words we shall say, that the nature of each and every person is to exploit the lives of all other people in the world for his own benefit. And all that he gives to another is only out of necessity; and even then there is exploitation of others in it, but it is done cunningly, so that his neighbor will not notice it and concede willingly.”

 

The Need to Learn How to Govern & Nurture the Pyramid of Desires

But before we delve into the solution that Kabbalah offers to human egoism, we need to understand how the desire to receive, initially created by the desire to give—the Creator—has become egoism. “The reason for it,” continues Ashlag, “is that … man’s soul [desire] extends from the Creator, who is one and unique. … Hence, man, too … feels that all the people in the world should be under his governance,” just as the whole of nature is governed by the law of bestowal, the Creator.

Moreover, unlike all other elements in Nature, which are forced to behave in congruence with their environment, human beings have the power to change the environment. This gives us something that no other creature has: free choice. Put differently, human beings can choose to be like the Creator—giving—and acquire the power and cognizance that come with it, or remain as we were born—self-centered and limited.

When the stages of desires cascaded from the desire to give, the desire to receive evolved with each new stage. In the physical world, too, the evolving desires manifest in the different stages of evolution (see “Pyramid of Desires” image at the top of the article): At the bottom of the pyramid are the minerals and the inanimate materials. This is the Still Level, corresponding to Stage One. Above that is the flora—corresponding to Stage Two, topped by fauna—Stage Three, and above all is man (speaking)—Stage Four.

Considering that all that exists are the desire to give and its offshoot, the desire to receive, it is evident that the speaking level (us), possessing the most intense, sophisticated and complex desire to receive, is not just an inseparable part of creation, but is its apex and governor. And just as the brain governs the entire body, yet is also completely dependent on it for its survival, we must learn how to govern and nurture the whole of the pyramid of creation if we are to survive.

 

Here Is a Model that Can Help You Overcome Any Problem & Reach Harmony

The reason why Abraham was the only one of his generation to discover life’s creative force is that he was a piece of Adam’s Partzuf that was ready to reveal it. But the goal of creation is not for only one person to achieve the Creator-like state, but for all of humanity to achieve it. Therefore, Abraham’s discovery was not a one-time-thing, but an antecedent to a new stage in the spiritual evolution of humanity.

Abraham realized that life is a pyramid whose peak is the Creator’s trait of bestowal. He also realized that human desires would only intensify, as they have done since the dawn of creation. And finally, Abraham knew that this awareness, along with having the correction method provided by Kabbalah, were the only ways to avert the collapse of the system due to the heightening egoism. But in the absence of tangible proof, only a handful followed Abraham and united around the goal of attaining the Creator. When those who went with him grew and became a nation, they were named after their goal: Ysrael (Israel), from the Hebrew words Yashar El (Straight to God).

Historically, Babel did not collapse immediately or even soon after Abraham’s departure. It continued to fluctuate in dominance and prominence for more than a millennium following his leave, including the resettlement of Hebrews in Babel after their exile following the ruin of the first Temple. However, from the spiritual, Kabbalistic perspective, Nimrod’s triumph in Babel sealed its doom because it perpetuated the rule of egoism rather than altruism.

Self Interest vs. Altruism in the Global Era: How Society Can Turn Self Interests into Mutual Benefit“What Is Today’s Significance of the Story of Abraham’s Conflict with Nimrod?” is based on the book, Self Interest vs. Altruism in the Global Era: How Society Can Turn Self Interests into Mutual Benefit by Dr. Michael Laitman.

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Date: Tuesday, 01 Apr 2014 02:59

Do You Recognize the 4 Early Warning Signs on Human Extinction?

What Is the Difference between Humans and Animals?

The corporeal parallel to Stage Four in the Four Developmental Stages of the Primordial Desire in Creation (i.e. the natural evolution of the desire to receive) are human beings. Humans appeared through a natural process of evolution. The genus Homo (humanoid ape) first appeared approximately 2.5 million years ago, and evolved as all other species do, by natural selection. As with animals, hominids that were healthier and stronger survived, and those that were less so perished.

Yet, hominids, and primarily the latest evolution of the species, Homo sapiens, invested far more energy and time on social relations than any other species. Albeit many species, such as dolphins, chimpanzees, and wolves, cultivate intricate social relations, social structures in human societies are dynamic and evolutionary by nature.

In that regard, Baal HaSulam wrote in the “Introduction to the Book of Zohar” that unlike animals, humans have the ability to sympathize with another’s pains and joys, and animals do not. In declaring this, Baal HaSulam was not referring to empathy as is often exhibited by animals between mother and offspring, and even among unrelated specimens of a species. Instead, here he speaks of an entirely new mechanism of the desire to receive: evolution through envy.

In item 38 of the “Introduction to the Book of Zohar,” Ashlag explains the difference between desires in humans and in animals, and how envy increases our desires: “The will to receive in the animate, which lacks the sensation of others, can only generate needs and desires to the extent that they are imprinted in that creature alone.”

In other words, if an animal knows that eating is good, it may want to help another animal obtain food, as well. “But man,” continues Ashlag, “who can feel others, becomes needy of everything that others have, as well, and is thus filled with envy to acquire everything that others have.”

Indeed, the appearance of Homo sapiens marked what appears to be a shift in the direction of evolution. Homo sapiens, it seems, were focusing not on developing a stronger, more adapt and agile physique, but on developing their intellect, and even more surprising, self-expression. Thus, we see how Homo sapiens are the earthly representation of Stage Four in the desire to receive—the desire to become omnipotent and omniscient.

 

Do You Adhere to the Rule of Survival – Yielding Self-Interest to the Interest of the System?

Ashlag’s words quoted above mark a turning point not just in the history of human evolution, but in the evolution of the universe, as well. The (uniquely human) evolution-by-envy has shifted the very direction of evolution. Until the emergence of human ego, creatures evolved successfully if their internal organs cooperated, following the principle of relinquishing self-interest in favor of the system’s interest, and leaving the system to care for their well-being.

Yet, it is important to note that the rule of relinquishment of self-interest in favor of the interest of the system applies not only to organs and tissues within a creature. Organisms do not exist in vacuum; they are branches of roots that appeared in the spiritual realm. For this reason, they operate in the same way that spiritual systems operate—yielding self-interest before the interest of the host system—or succinctly: altruistically. Their host system—the ecosystems in which organisms live—abide by the same rule, since no other rule enables life to perpetuate.

Thus, if a creature’s physique works fine under certain environmental conditions, but conditions change, this creature’s physique might become inadequate and even inferior to that of creatures with a less sustainable internal structure, yet higher adaptability to their environments.

Apparently, such was the case with the extinction of dinosaurs. For 165 million years, dinosaurs ruled the earth, but approximately 65 million years ago, they disappeared within a relatively short time. Theories as to the reason for their disappearance abound, but no conclusive answer has been found.

One possibility is the meteorite theory. According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), “There is now widespread evidence that a meteorite impact was at least the partial cause for this extinction.” But while there is no scientific consensus around a meteorite impact being the cause, there is indeed consensus that, as published by the University of California Museum of Paleontology, “There was global climatic change; the environment changed from a warm, mild one in the Mesozoic era [era of dinosaurs] to a cooler, more varied one in the Cenozoic era [era of mammals].”

Thus, whether it was a meteorite or something else that changed the climate, there was an abrupt change of environment to which dinosaurs (and approximately fifty percent of the species living on earth at the time) could not adapt. And so, they became extinct.

To survive, dinosaurs and almost all other animals must abide by the same law regarding their environment as their internal organs do: yielding self-interest in favor of the system’s interest, in return for the system’s care for them. When the rule is breached in the entire ecosystem, even if not willfully on the part of the animals, extinction occurs on a colossal scale simply because they did not adapt quickly enough.

 

How Every Desire for Fame, Power, Wealth, Erudition and Immortality Is a Desire to be Godlike

The rule of yielding self-interest in favor of the system’s interest in return for the system’s care, applies not only to all organisms, but also to the organism’s functionality within its habitat (ecosystem). Yet, there is one exception to the rule: man. To understand why man is different from all other animals, we need to reflect on the four stages. Stages One through Three reflect desires to receive pleasure from a giver, either by receiving pleasure directly from it or by returning its pleasure. But Stage Four is essentially different: it reflects a desire to be the giver.

Put differently, Stage Four wishes to attain a goal that is, by definition, unattainable. Just as a son cannot be his father, Stage Four cannot be Stage Zero. But just as a son can be like his father, Stage Four can be like Stage Zero.

Being a desire to receive, and knowing that being like Stage Zero, the Root, is the highest possible reward, this is what Stage Four wishes to achieve. As a result, we—its corporeal personification—strive to achieve the same. Subconsciously, our desires for fame, power, wealth, erudition, and immortality are really desires to become godlike. No person escapes these desires, since we are all parts of Stage Four, which was broken along with Adam’s soul. The only variations among humans are in the intensity and proportion of these desires, but not in their components.

Evidently, there are people whose desires for fame, fortune, and brilliance are very small—these are simple folk content with shelter, family, and very basic sustenance. In such people, the desires of Stage Four are less dominant; hence, they will have less ambitious goals. But even in the most sedate individual there is a “devil” that wishes for a little more than one’s neighbor possesses. These are the desires of Stage Four—the sense of entitlement that Twenge and Campbell write about in their book, The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement—and they are almost uniquely human.

These desires are also what make us the exception to the rule that governed evolution until the emergence of Homo sapiens. Because humans possess an innate aspiration to become like the Creator, we tend to be active in our approach to challenges, rather than passively adapting to conditions, as do other animals. Hence, instead of adapting our bodies as best we can to changing climates or to threats, we try to change the climate or to eliminate the threats.

One such effort was changing our “personal microclimate,” our immediate surroundings, by covering our skins with those of animals, whose fur provided better protection against the elements than our own. And instead of relying on our (clearly insufficient) physical strength to catch our food, we developed increasingly sophisticated tools to assist us in hunting, as well as for protecting ourselves against prey animals. Today there is unequivocal evidence that primates, some mammals, and even birds use tools such as rocks, twigs, and branches to assist them in acquiring food and in fighting. But systematic tool and weapon production, such as carving stones and bones into spears, is a uniquely human ability.

Another very important discovery that early humans (Homo erectus) made was the control of fire. Fire allowed humans to keep their habitat warm, deter prey animals, and even cook. The discovery of ways to make and to control fire marks a dramatic shift in evolution. Man was now an animal that could change its environment to fit its needs, instead of having to change itself to fit the environment.

 

Understanding How Humans Develop their Intellect and Change their Environment

A deeper and far more important aspect of the shift in evolution that the appearance of man represents is that unlike other animals that develop their bodies, humans develop their minds. To cope with danger or to obtain food, animals try to outrun or outfight their attackers or prey.

Humans, instead, build weapons. To cope against the cold, animals grow thick fur and layers of hypodermal fat. Humans light fires.

The use of the intellect instead of the body to obtain desirables also allows humans to plan ahead. While some animals store food for the winter, only humans grow food and clear unwanted vegetation from the land to make room for plants that serve them as food. According to most researchers, agriculture began between 10,000 and 15,000 years ago in the fertile Crescent (although new data collected by a team led by Dr. Robin Allaby from the University of Warwick has found evidence that plant agriculture began in Syria as early as 23,000 years ago).

Although man’s ability to grow food may seem much ado about nothing today, when humans first began to cultivate land, they, in a sense, became creators—they began to change their environment. This is a feat that only a desire of Stage Four can conceive.

Yet, with progress comes problems. All creatures, except man, must adhere to the rules of their ecosystem or they will perish. Man is the only organism that can plan and execute change in its environment at will. When this happens, man must learn the rules by which ecosystems work, or the changes might prove to be disastrous to the ecosystem, and by consequence, to its inhabitants, man included.

In the human body, as in any organism, each cell has a particular role. For an organism to persist, each cell must perform its function and yield the goal of maintaining its own life before the goal of maintaining the life of its host organism. If a cell begins to act contrary to that principle, its interests will soon clash with those of the body and the body’s defense mechanisms will destroy it.

Similarly, when man became potent enough to alter his ecosystem, he had to learn how to behave like a cell in an organism—refraining from jeopardizing the system’s sustainability, and risk having the system need to rid itself of the danger by either eradicating the human race altogether or by dying itself, killing the human race in the process, as described in regard to cancer. Today, I believe it is quite evident that Nature is already “taking compensatory measures” to balance humans’ detrimental actions.

But ten or so millennia ago, things were very different than they are now. Homo sapiens were just beginning to enjoy the benefits of knowledge and technology and the concept of humans risking their habitat was not on anyone’s mind. The development of agriculture shifted people’s lifestyles from hunting and gathering to a more sedentary comport, one consequence of which was the acceleration of technological development.

Another important issue that was on people’s minds at that time (and still is for many) was religion. Prof. Jared Diamond, acclaimed author of Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, said in a lecture titled, “The Evolution of Religions” at University of Southern California, that approximately 10,500 years ago, religion changed its functions. He explained that religion had adopted a role of explaining things. Religion began to explain all that was unknown and unfamiliar, and thus provided solace and confidence to people.

But the important thing to note about religion at that point is not so much the direction in which it developed, but the very fact that it developed. The existence of an institutionalized, organized entity that provided answers meant that people were beginning to ask questions—profound questions about the purpose of life and the laws that govern it. This later prompted the emergence of Kabbalah, precisely in that same area—the fertile Crescent.

In addition to the evolution of religion, because the agricultural advances we just mentioned encouraged people to abandon their nomadic lifestyles for a more sedentary one, the population in the fertile Crescent began to grow. And when technological developments, such as the invention of the wheel, encouraged further development and urbanization, more organized forms of government and religion ensued. Thus, Mesopotamia gradually became what we now call “The Cradle of Civilization.”

Self Interest vs. Altruism in the Global Era: How Society Can Turn Self Interests into Mutual Benefit“Do You Recognize the Early Warning Sign of Human Extinction?” is based on the book, Self Interest vs. Altruism in the Global Era: How Society Can Turn Self Interests into Mutual Benefit by Dr. Michael Laitman.

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Date: Saturday, 29 Mar 2014 11:00

How to Understand Vegetative and Animate Life in a Way that Prepares You for the Next Stage of Evolution

The first living organisms were primitive cells, known as “prokaryotes.” As with minerals in the inanimate phase, prokaryotes grew more complex.

The vegetative phase in the evolution of life corresponds to Stage Two of the four developmental stages of the primordial desire in creation. The difference between Stage One and Stage Two is that Stage One is passive—receiving what Nature gives it—while Stage Two reacts to it, wishing to give back. Similarly, plants respond to their environment and interact with it. Their product, oxygen, is the gift of the flora to our world and is such a vital element of life that without it, evolution as we know it would not be possible.

In his “Introduction to the Book of Zohar,” Ashlag explains that the vegetative level of the desire to receive, as manifested in plants, exhibits a more intense desire to receive. This is why the structures it creates are more complex and have a more noticeable impact on their environment.

Also, unlike minerals, plants are individual specimens with their own reproduction, feeding, and even migration mechanisms. Yet, like minerals, all plants behave similarly—accurately adhering to the program installed within them by the Creator. They open their petals (if they have them) at the same time in the morning, close them at the same time in the evening, and follow almost exactly the same procedure as do the other specimens in their species.

Thus, compliant with the law of yielding self-interest described in the previous section, cells continued to evolve, producing increasingly intricate and complex structures. At first, they congregated in large colonies of single cells. Then, gradually, they began to realize that they could benefit from ascribing different roles to different groups of cells. Some cells became “hunters,” providing food for the entire colony, other cells became guards, others still became cleaners, and each group contributed its best to the community.

In The Study of the Ten Sefirot, Baal HaSulam provides a detailed examination of the internal structure of the Partzuf we discussed earlier, and explains about such systems as the digestive system, the reproduction system, hands, legs, etc.

However, Baal HaSulam describes all these elements as interactions between desires to bestow and desires to receive. These are not physical objects of any kind, although how they behave serves as a “prototype” for the behavior of similar systems in our world. In Kabbalah, a prototype is called “root” and all its offshoots are called “branches.”

Beyond the obvious advantage of size that colonies have over single cells, returning to the topic of evolution, cells in colonies have another edge over single cells: they can focus on a single task and thus perfect their performance, increasing their contribution to the colony and relying on their fellow cells in the colony to provide for their other needs.

Single cells, on the other hand, had to perform all the necessities of sustenance by themselves. This heightened efficiency meant that colonies spent less energy to produce the same amount of food, warmth, protection and any other necessity. Thus, yielding their self-interests, cells began to differentiate.

As cellular differentiation evolved, bigger, stronger, and more diverse plants appeared. By allowing some cells to focus solely on the suction of water from the ground, and others to focus on photosynthesis, plants began to ascribe certain sections in the colony, not just certain cells, to dedicated tasks. This resulted in the emergence of organs such as root, stem, stalk, and leaves, and allowed for higher level plants to evolve. As before, the determining factor in the success or failure of a new evolutionary stage was the “consent” of cells or organs within the host system to yield their self-interest in favor of the interest of the entire system, in this case, a plant.

 

Animate

For some two billion years, plants were the rulers on planet Earth. But the desire to receive that broke Adam’s Partzuf had more facets that needed correction, that is, to be taught how to work as a system, yielding selfish interest before the interest of the host system. As desires continued to emerge, those that correlated to Stage Three of the four stages began to manifest, creating more complex life forms.

Because of their higher level of desire, explains Ashlag in his “Introduction to the Book of Zohar,” each specimen that belonged to Stage Three had a heightened sense of self- determination and a greater desire for autonomy. Thus, while specimens continued to recognize themselves as part of a species, they began to develop individual identities.

Corals, for example, which evolved nearly 500 million years ago, were among the first species of animals to appear. Some of these developed (a primitive form of) muscles by which to stir their movement, and were thus able to move about relatively freely. Moreover, unlike plants, which provide for their nutritional needs using photosynthesis, corals must prey on other organisms to sustain themselves, and often contain algal cells to photosynthesize light for their supply of carbohydrates (sugars).

But corals possess another form of tissue characteristic of animals: nerves. The appearance of a nervous system, particularly a Central Nervous System (CNS), allowed for enhanced control over the organism’s function and facilitated the evolution of the diverse fauna that exists today.

As we can see, evolution of the species and evolution of desires correspond rather nicely. A whole separate article will be dedicated to the appearance and evolution of Stage Four in the desire to receive on earth—“the speaking”—which is the human being.

Self Interest vs. Altruism in the Global Era: How Society Can Turn Self Interests into Mutual Benefit“How to Understand Vegetative and Animate Life in a Way that Prepares You for the Next Stage of Evolution” is based on the book, Self Interest vs. Altruism in the Global Era: How Society Can Turn Self Interests into Mutual Benefit by Dr. Michael Laitman.

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Date: Friday, 28 Mar 2014 11:10

How to Understand Still Life in a Way that Prepares You for the Next Stage of Evolution

Following Adam’s shattering, each piece in the desire to receive begins to feel like an independent self, separated from its environment and wishing to absorb from it. This desire to absorb, the pulling force, or gravity—the physical parallel to the desire to receive—caused the first clusters to form in the universe, which later became the substance of the first galaxies in the universe.

As space and gravity fields created more structured forms of the desire to absorb (meaning the desire to receive), particles appeared. The absorption process continued and stars were born with planets surrounding some of them. Thus, gravity, the weakest force in Nature, created the infrastructure of the entire universe, just as Stage One of the four developmental stages of the primordial desire in creation, the weakest desire to receive, created the infrastructure for the four Stages and all the spiritual worlds that followed.

As in Stage One, the desire to receive in the corporeal inanimate consists primarily of a wish to secure its own persistence, to sustain itself. Its only relation to others is that it resists any attempt to break, dissolve, or otherwise change it. Yet, as a result of the inanimate level’s aspiration to maintain its own persistence, some particles “discovered” that they could best secure their future by collaborating with other elements.

Unlike Darwin, Kabbalah Asserts ‘No Coincidence’

Unlike Darwin’s theory of evolution, Kabbalah asserts that there is no coincidence. Particles do not really “discover” or happen to collaborate and subsequently benefit from doing so. This would imply that Nature is purposeless, random, that there is no predetermined goal at the end of the process. Instead, Baal HaSulam explains (in “Preface to the Wisdom of Kabbalah,” The Study of the Ten Sefirot, and in other places) that since our world is the last in a series of cause- and-effect events, the desires that appear in our world already contain (albeit not consciously) recollections of previous states within them, since they are their offshoots. Hence, the desire to receive in this world already has a recollection of the Four Stages, the Partzuf, and all the spiritual worlds. As a result, the preparation, the set-up for discovering the benefits in collaboration, pre-exist in all the levels of desires in this world. This is what allows them to “miraculously” discover the benefits of “negotiating into harmony,” as Sahtouris put it.

Most physicists agree that particles did not need much time to “discover” the benefits of collaboration. A publication by the Haystack observatory, a research center at MIT, explains, “When the universe was 3 minutes old, it had cooled enough for these protons and neutrons to combine into nuclei.” However, to develop further, they had to forge additional collaborations, which manifested in the form of electrons. These balanced the positive charge of the nuclei. This is how the first atoms appeared.

To those particles, being part of an atom—and thus yielding their own interest in favor of the interest of the atom—was all the correction they needed. In acting for the good of the system they lived in instead of for their own good, they stopped being self-centered and became system-centered. They were now “aware” of their environment and how they could contribute to it. In doing so, they became “altruists,” albeit for the selfish reason of perpetuating their own existence.

The “reward” for particles that excel in giving to their environment is the creation of a strong environment, meaning stable atoms. This guarantees their future existence.

Moreover, because atoms need all their particles to maintain themselves, the atoms themselves protect the particles within them. Thus, by yielding their self-interest in favor of the interest of their atoms, particles gain the entire system’s interest in the well being of these atoms. This “deal” proved so successful that “Moments after the Big Bang, protons and neutrons began to combine to form helium-3 and other basic elements,” said Robert Rood of the University of Virginia, as quoted in a release by the National Radio Astronomy observatory. Thus, the first minerals emerged.

Why Cells in the Human Body Is an Example for People in Humanity

The human body is possibly the most vivid example of the modus operandi of yielding self-interest before the interest of the host system in return for the system’s protection. In the human body, as in any organism, each cell has a particular role. For the organism to persist, each cell must perform its function to the best of its ability and replace the goal of maintaining its own life with the goal of maintaining the life of its host organism. If a cell begins to act contrary to that principle, its interests will soon clash with those of the body and the body’s defense mechanisms will destroy it. Otherwise, it is likely to create a tumor of insubordinate cells that strive to consume the body’s resources for their own benefit. When such a process occurs, we diagnose it as “cancer.”

If the cancer wins, the body dies and the tumor dies along with it. If the body wins and the cancer dies, the body persists, along with the cells of the organ that did not become malignant, and the self-centered cells are extinguished. This is Nature’s failsafe mechanism for ensuring that self-centered systems will not exist. Here, too, there is nothing miraculous; it is simply that self-centered mechanisms invariably consume themselves to extinction because they end up consuming their food supply.

Thus, it is in the interest of all cells in the body to dispose of the tumor. Put differently, to guarantee the survival of elements in a system, the elements in that system must cater to the well-being of the system before they cater to their own well-being. In return, the system will cater to their well-being and provide for their survival.

The principle explained just now is valid not only for particles, atoms, and organisms, but for all of life. By applying it, all elements in Nature learn to yield their self-centered natures to an altruistic nature, which considers the good of the collective before its own good.

Thus, returning to our topic of observing the early universe, once particles joined to create atoms, atoms began to bond, thus creating the first molecules. These adhered to the same rule, and the molecules that survived were those in which the atoms were tightly connected, just as with atoms, yielding their self-interest before the interest of their host systems—the molecules.

In this entire process, there is no freedom of choice. An atom or a molecule cannot choose to not be created, since the elements that constitute it find it in their best interest to form it in order to best protect their interests. Yet, by creating molecules, atoms accomplished something far more significant than protecting themselves and the particles that created them. Like particles, they built a system before which they could yield their self-interest, and by so doing, atoms transformed from being self-oriented to being system-oriented, meaning altruistic.

In this way, another layer of the inanimate level of desire to receive was corrected. And although there was no free choice in this correction, the altruistic modus operandi is all that is required of minerals to be considered corrected. As Stage One did not have any free choice in its evolution, the inanimate has no free choice in its evolution; it simply works to ensure its persistence as best it can.

Interestingly, Darwin’s theory reflects almost the same pattern in its principle of natural selection. One difference between Kabbalah and Darwinism is that what Darwinism defines as stable molecules vs. unstable ones, Kabbalah defines as balanced molecules vs. unbalanced ones. Balanced molecules support the atoms that comprise them, and the atoms equally support their molecules.

In The Selfish Gene, Richard Dawkins—one of Darwin’s most renowned contemporary proponents—describes the process of molecular evolution: “The earliest form of natural selection was simply a selection of stable forms and a rejection of unstable ones. There is no mystery about this. It had to happen by definition.”

Dawkins’ observations are congruent with those of Kabbalah. In Kabbalistic terminology, a stable molecule is one whose atoms have yielded their self-interests in favor of the interests of the molecule. Thus, Dawkins’ “stable forms” are synonymous with Kabbalah’s “corrected molecules,” in which atoms have become “altruistic.” Conversely, in unstable (uncorrected) molecules, one or more of the atoms remained focused on its own interest.

Following the same procedure as particles and atoms, molecules began to congregate and create what biologists refer to as “molecular interactions,” or “bonds.” As with molecules, interactions in which molecules dedicated themselves to the strength and well-being of the bond prospered, and those whose molecules were only partially supportive of their bond disintegrated.

Many forms of molecular interactions exist in nature, but less than four billion years ago, one particular interaction marked the shift between the inanimate stage on Earth (and perhaps in the universe) and the vegetative one. This special aggregate of molecules was given the name, “Deoxyribonucleic acid,” otherwise known as DNA.

In atoms, particles assume different roles: some form the nucleus and some form the shell, for example. Similarly, in molecules, atoms assume different roles and must adhere to rigid forms of connections. And finally, in molecular interaction, each molecule plays a different role.

But with the appearance of DNA, things began to change. DNA is not yet another structure made of different molecules that form a structure. It is a structure that can interact with other structures, where each structure is assigned a different function. These, combined, serve the good of the structure. In biology, these structures are called “cells” or “unicellular organisms” and they constitute the most primitive form of life.

You could argue that essentially, these organisms function much the same as atoms, molecules, or molecular structures introduced before. But the unique structure created around the DNA allows for two hitherto nonexistent functions to occur:

1) DNA is the first known structure in nature that can replicate itself, as well as the molecular structures that support it.

2) Cells are the first structures that systematically interact with their environment. They absorb nutrients from their environment, process them to extract the energy they need for survival, and then secrete the waste. Moreover, cells can repeat this process accurately so many times that they can actually change their environment.

There are many definitions of life. To be on the safe side, I will choose the one that Encyclopedia Britannica offers: “Matter that shows certain attributes that include responsiveness, growth, metabolism, energy transformation, and reproduction.” The first cells, named “prokaryotes,” had all those attributes and were a direct evolution of molecular interaction. Thus, the beginning of life as we know it was prompted by the same law by which all systems achieve balance and sustainability—their constituents yielding their self-interests before the interest of their host systems, in return for the system’s care for them.

Self Interest vs. Altruism in the Global Era: How Society Can Turn Self Interests into Mutual Benefit“How to Understand Still Life in a Way that Prepares You for the Next Stage of Evolution” is based on the book, Self Interest vs. Altruism in the Global Era: How Society Can Turn Self Interests into Mutual Benefit by Dr. Michael Laitman.

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Date: Thursday, 27 Mar 2014 11:00

Why Is There Suffering?

It is possible to teach a person the spiritual mechanics, to explain how the transition from one state to another occurs and how to perform different actions, but it is impossible to convey what he will feel then. In order to do so, he must be ready for a spiritual sensation. [Source: Dr. Michael Laitman, "Several Details about the Picture of the Spiritual World."]

What’s Missing in the Way We Evaluate Suffering?

On one hand, we see that nature is wise and assiduous toward every creature. It develops every element successively and carefully. Look at the structure of organisms, their ability to grow, to give birth to offspring, and to interact. Everything is built in an integral form, every person has his own place and is in balance with others. If we could see the balanced world, undisturbed by human despotism, we would reveal a wonderful system, one that is not static, but perfectly balanced for development.

However, we do not see the causes of this development and do not understand why everything has to be precisely this way. Therefore, we do not understand the phases of the path. Besides, we look at it through the prism of our egoism and evaluate it according to our criteria. Therefore, we see the world upside down, as if flipping it over in our perception. [Source: Dr. Michael Laitman, "Balance that Causes Development."]

Destroying the Planet’s Population

Is it Possible to Eliminate Suffering?

It is very hard to explain what the “human in me”. It is above my animal level, above my corporeal life. If I feel that I am human, when I don’t think about the body but rather am filled by some idea, I actually don’t feel my body—it is as if I am floating above myself.

If I descend to the animal level, like an ordinary person in this world, I feel the body. But in any case, while being in my animal body, I don’t feel pain when I cut my hair or my nails because it is at the vegetative level.If I descend to the vegetative level, I don’t feel the inanimate level, where there are no nerves and so on.

Thus, we can speak about the development from the bottom up and about a person’s descent from the top down by explaining how he gradually leaves this life.

We can explain and show a person that if he is in this social, integral body that constantly supports him, he will not feel even a minute of suffering, not in this life and not when this life is over.

A person who is connected with others constantly becomes healthier by being connected to the system that is full of mutual connection with others, and so even if something happens to him, there is an energetic compensation on the account of others. Thus, society operates as a healthy body. If a thorn enters a person’s body, for example, the whole body begins to work against it, by pushing it out, by treating the infected area, etc. The same thing happens with a person in society—the society immediately feels all the person’s internal problems and provides him with the necessary energy, and he is healed. [Source: Dr. Michael Laitman, "Not a Minute of Suffering."]

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Date: Wednesday, 26 Mar 2014 11:00

The 10 Most Asked Questions about Kabbalah ... And Their Answers

We scoured the Bnei Baruch Kabbalah Education Center‘s Fundamentals semester student forum for the 10 most asked questions about Kabbalah by beginners, and here they are … with answers!

As for finding answers to these questions, how did we do it? We simply ran the following searches in Google’s search engine:

  • site:kabbalah.info write your question here
  • site:laitman.com write your question here

…and then sent the Q&A doc to a Bnei Baruch senior instructor for some basic editing and review, and here you have it.

Why are we mentioning how we ran the searches for the answers to the questions? The reason is that the websites kabbalah.info and laitman.com have so much content, including many full books, 1,000s of articles, videos and more, and many people do not know what a wonderful resource is at their fingertips waiting to answer any question they might have.

Give it a try! Don’t see a question you have here below? Write your question in Google’s search engine preceded by the “site:kabbalah.info” and “site:laitman.com” prefixes, and see what you can find!

10 of the Most Asked Questions about Kabbalah by Beginners

Click on a question here in order to go directly to its answer:

1. Is Kabbalah a religion? Do I have to be Jewish in order to study Kabbalah?
2. Does Kabbalah recognize the existence of Karma and how it manifests in this world?
3. What is spirituality and where does Kabbalah originate?
4. Is the revelation of the Creator achieved just through the study of various concepts of Kabbalah, or are there other techniques such as prayer, meditation, yoga, etc.?
5. How does Kabbalah practically assist and support us in everyday life?
6. How does Kabbalah define prayer?
7. Kabbalah is a science to enable us to know God, then what is the difference between Kabbalah and theology?
8. What is the cause of coincidences/synchronicities?
9. What does Kabbalah say about physical suffering? If God is all loving, why do people suffer?
10. According to the wisdom of Kabbalah, please explain near death experiences?

1. Is Kabbalah a religion? Do I have to be Jewish in order to study Kabbalah?

Kabbalah is not religion. Revelation of the spiritual world (in Kabbalah) and belief in a spiritual world (i.e. religion) are two separate issues. Kabbalah is attainment of the spiritual world—attainment of the reality that exists, but that we don’t feel for the time being. [Source: “Revelation vs. Belief.” Video.]

Kabbalah is open to all. It is for those who truly wish to correct themselves in order to attain spirituality. The need comes from the soul’s urge to correct itself. That is actually the only test to determine whether a person is ready to study Kabbalah: the desire to correct oneself. This desire must be genuine and free of outside pressure, since only the person can discover one’s true desire. [Source: Dr. Michael Laitman, "Chapter 5. Who Can Study Kabbalah?," in A Guide to the Hidden Wisdom of Kabbalah. Book. Laitman Kabbalah Publishers]

2. Does Kabbalah recognize the existence of Karma and how it manifests in this world?

Any system that you might learn about, other than the wisdom of Kabbalah, whether superstition or religion, will forever remain at the level of our world, confined by its limitations. These systems have nothing to do with spirituality, but merely with psychological processes that occur around our bodies.

In order to reach spirituality, we must acquire a screen and break the barrier between the two worlds. That impediment can be crossed only by the system of Kabbalah.

Everything people may feel as karma, auras, etc. are psychological processes, though very subtle, which happen around the physical body. There is nothing unusual about them, nothing above our nature. In the future, our science will learn how to work with these systems very well. [Source: Dr. Michael Laitman, "Chapter 7. Beliefs, Mysticism and the Supernatural," in The Kabbalah Experience: The Definitive Q&A Guide to Authentic Kabbalah. Book. Laitman Kabbalah Publishers]

3. What is spirituality and where does Kabbalah originate?

The Kabbalistic sages tell us that spirituality is what creates and cares for all aspects of life, which is why spirituality is called “the quality of bestowal.” In order to know what spirituality is, we have to become like that quality of bestowal, and then we can enter and perceive what spirituality is.

Moreover, don’t take the Kabbalists’ word for it: everything needs to be tested and confirmed. In order to do that, we need to set aside our beliefs and assumptions and apply the Kabbalists’ method, just like in any science, and see whether or not it works. [Source: “Belief.” Video.]

5772 years ago, there lived a man who was the first human being ever to ask himself: “What is going on in the world? Where does it come from and why was it created? Who is the ‘boss’ that governs this world? Why is it rotating around Him and together with Him?”

This person’s name was Adam. By asking these questions, he tried to solve the mystery and not only did he unravel the “secret,” but he also wrote a book, The Angel Raziel (The Secret Angel), which means a “secret force,” since the word “angel” means “force.” From this book, we see exactly what he attained, felt, saw and described in his allegorical stories.

Adam started a whole galaxy of Kabbalists who described spirituality in an unprecedented and thrilling way. We feel the same things while reading their books, since the higher nature is unchangeable. It means that today, contemporary Kabbalists who discover nature’s system and the ones who lived 500, 1,000, 1,500 or even 5,500 years ago (like Adam) describe the same phenomena: that one, and only one, force descends into many sub-forces that influence us and define everything happening to us. This science is called “the wisdom of Kabbalah.” [Source: Dr. Michael Laitman, “If We Had Met Adam,” Laitman.com – Michael Laitman’s Personal Blog. Article.]

4. Is the revelation of the Creator achieved just through the study of various concepts of Kabbalah, or are there other techniques such as prayer, meditation, yoga, etc.?

As for how the revelation of the Creator, which is the quality of bestowal and love, is achieved, we need to be in a situation where we can choose between the Creator’s revelation (i.e. the quality of bestowal) and our own nature (i.e. the quality of reception). True freedom of choice is possible only if the Creator is concealed. This is because if one option seems preferable, our egoism leaves us no choice but to go for it. In that case, even if we choose to give, it will be giving in order to receive, or egoistic giving. For an act to be truly altruistic and spiritual, its benefits must be hidden from us.

If we keep in mind that the whole purpose of creation is to eventually be liberated from egoism, our actions will always be heading in the right direction—towards the Creator. Therefore, if we have two choices and we don’t know which of them would bring more pleasure (or less pain), then we have a real opportunity to make a free choice.

If the ego does not see a preferable choice, we can choose according to a different set of values. For example, we could ask ourselves not what would be more fun, but what would be more giving. If giving is something we value, this will be easy to do.

We can either be egoists or altruists, either think of ourselves or think of others. There are no other options. Freedom of choice is possible when both options are clearly visible and equally appealing (or unappealing). If I can only see one option, I will have to follow it. Therefore, to choose freely, I have to see my own nature and the Creator’s nature. Only if I don’t know which is more pleasurable can I make a truly free choice and neutralize my ego. [Source: Dr. Michael Laitman, “Chapter 6. The (Narrow) Road to Freedom,” in Kabbalah Revealed: The Ordinary Person’s Guide to a More Peaceful Life. Book. Laitman Kabbalah Publishers]

This work does not require special techniques outside of the study of the wisdom and laws of nature that comprise Kabbalah. To summarize, Kabbalah is not and has nothing to do with religion, magic, mysticism, divination, cults, holistic medicine, meditation, philosophy, theosophy, psychology or parapsychology, ESP, telepathy, dream interpretation, tarot cards, yoga, red strings, holy water, blessings, past-life regressions, numerology, reiki, channeling, astrology, astral travels or projection, communicating with the dead, out-of-body experiences, voodoo, freemasonry, reflexology, UFO’s, creationism, Sufism or any “ism.”

Kabbalah has been around for a long, long time and is only now taking its place in general public awareness. Those who embrace it as the latest fad will perhaps move onto something else. But those who dig deeply into its principles are likely to find enough to keep them going for a lifetime. [Source: Dr. Michael Laitman, “Kabbalah Facts and Fallacies,” in A Guide to the Hidden Wisdom of Kabbalah, 3rd Edition. Book. Laitman Kabbalah Publishers]

5. How does Kabbalah practically assist and support us in everyday life?

Kabbalah provides the deepest, emptiest space in a person—the question, “What is the meaning of life?”—with fulfillment, which the person can apply at every moment of the day, in every desire, thought, interaction and relationship. By having an additional dimension open up in this initially empty space within, a person feels a whole new kind of happiness, pleasure and direction everywhere the person goes.

When childhood ends, our eyes gradually begin to open and we find ourselves in a particular world. It is possible to live in it without giving it much thought; to simply live “like everyone else,” watching others. But possibly, a person wants to understand a bit more in life. Everything depends on a person’s inner need that pushes from within.

One wants to discover the reality around oneself: one’s room during childhood, then one’s yard, city, country, the world, the whole planet, and then outer space. But in the end, the person reaches the understanding that all these attempts do not provide satisfaction.

Today humanity has even lost interest in space exploration. The only thing left of it is mercantile use for operating mobile phones via satellites or for espionage. We are no longer inspired by space travel to far-away galaxies. Man’s internal desire has changed and does not aspire to far-away, cosmic distances, but on the contrary, it aspires within.

So the question is: Where did this come from and what for? For the first time in human history, we are not simply trying to do “more,” but we first want to understand: Why should we do it? This is a question about our root: Where does everything come from? And where is it taking me?

Year after year, it becomes harder for people to sell new products, and that is because they are already satiated with everything. This does not mean that they do not have desires, but that you simply cannot give them what they want. That is why they are left unsatisfied, disillusioned, and begin taking drugs and/or partaking in all kinds of activities in order to forget about it all. They need an answer about the meaning of life, and not simply how to arrange a well-fed, comfortable existence for themselves that’s pleasant for the animate body.

This can even be seen in fashion by how much simpler and free it has become. This indicates that we are becoming free of material values as we no longer see meaning or fulfillment in them. We simply want to feel comfortable and not feel the lack of something material, without excessively focusing on it or taking care of it.

This makes all the difference. I need a car, a house, and a thousand different things in order to live comfortably. But they are not interesting to me by themselves. I simply want to provide comfort for myself, but I actually do not need anything. They make my life easier, and that’s great, but all of this is not a goal in itself. I want to discover something else, something higher.

That’s where an inner question arises about the essence or meaning of life. A person can no longer find help in technology development, science, philosophy or psychology; nothing will be able to answer this question. And that is because it is a question about the person’s root: “Where do I come from?” “Do I have a higher purpose besides this animate life?”

I have already exhausted this life, but what else can I receive? One more super-fashionable toy or a TV? You can dream up any entertainment possible, but all of it comes from a level that I am no longer interested in. And I am not to blame. Inside of me are questions awakening which belong to another level. [Source: Dr. Michael Laitman, “What Does Kabbalah Give a Person?Laitman.com – Michael Laitman’s Personal Blog.

6. How does Kabbalah define prayer?

Are our prayers heard? Well that all depends on what you mean by prayer. Everybody prays in one way or another, but what are we really doing, when we start talking to what we think of as God and why is it that prayers are so rarely answered?

Kabbalah does not consider prayer something that’s done with the tongue; you know the saying of beautiful, inspiring words, that we read, praising the Creator, or even our own spontaneous words - that’s the religious model of prayer.

The Kabbalists tell us that the higher force doesn’t listen to words, but only responds to what is actually in our heart—and that it only answers one kind of prayer: a true prayer which is a bottom line, gut level need. That is the most powerful desire that we have at any given moment, and even then, it has to be the right kind of desire.

In religion, a person believes in a God, who is in control, and that there are events that happen or may happen to him or her that are felt as either good or bad. If they think that something bad is happening they start praying, and ask that God change His attitude and instead be kind and take away or prevent the bad event and make it good.

In this kind of prayer a person thinks that the Creator’s attitude is completely variable and the prayer is that “God should change” and “my life should remain comfortable.” The gut level desire here is that God should serve me. This kind of prayer is never answered because it has nothing to do with why the events are happen the way they do, or with the Creator’s attitude and nothing actually changes here, not the outcome, not God and not the person. In fact this isn’t prayer at all; it’s a kind of bribery, but to no affect.

In Kabbalah, we have a Creator and a person in this world, and events that are felt as either good or bad. But, because the Kabbalist starts from the principle that all actions of the Creator do not change, that the Creator’s attitude is always and only good, therefore all of the events in the person’s life are also always good, it’s just that he can’t feel it that way.

Thus, the problem is with the person, and not with the Creator. In that case what appeal can the person possibly make? The Kabbalist thus asks the higher force to change him, the person requesting, so that he can feel the event as good by altering his inner nature so that he can sense the loving attitude that the Creator has in sending him that event.

In fact that is the very reason he received that event, so that he would continue to develop and truly feel the need to rise to the attitude of the Creator, to want what the Creator wants to give him. That need is his prayer. And that prayer is answered immediately and the man’s reality truly changes because he begins to live in and perceive a very different world. [Source: “Prayer.” Video.]

7. Kabbalah is a science to enable us to know God, then what is the difference between Kabbalah and theology?

The science of Kabbalah is called the “science of reception,” from the word “Le Kabbel” (“to receive”): how to receive correctly in all of one’s desires an absolute and eternal pleasure. A person can achieve that, arriving at it only if the person begins to work correctly with the egoistic and altruistic parts of desires. When one is able to receive and give simultaneously, then the person receives such a desire where the pleasure never ceases. As a result of attaining the goal of the method through study, self research and analysis, one attains a clear perception and sensation of eternity and perfection.

Thus, “knowing God” in Kabbalah is not an intellectual pursuit of God, nor a feeling within what one can currently feel in one’s current perception of reality, but “knowing God” comes from “attainment of God,” which means that one’s entire nature of reception inverts to have a direction of bestowal and giving, as is God’s or the Creator’s quality.

8. What is the cause of coincidences/synchronicities?

We only think about these kinds of events as coincidence because we suddenly perceive the nature of something that’s hidden: “What is it that’s hidden from us, that it’s appearance is so startling and fascinating?”

In contrast to our normal perception, we’re astounded by the impression of an intelligent connection that seems to poke through our reality from some higher place. We’re absolutely certain that we’re sensing a purpose, yet at the same time it’s unclear what that purpose really is.

It’s a kind of awakening, an assurance that we’re not alone, that perhaps nature really is a caring force.

This wonderful feeling is a little taste of the enormous pleasure of sensing this force. It’s so impressive that even a bad coincidence inspires wonder, because you feel its nature regardless of the fact that it eludes your reason. Imagine the delight in actually uncovering the meaning of your life.

However, there is no such thing as coincidence.

The study of the structure of the upper worlds in the science of Kabbalah is nothing other than the layout of what you actually are. You had a glimpse at it, but only through two points and under the reversed assumption of your reason that somehow two entirely separate things magically became interrelated, which is not so because the force behind life is a complete holistic reality consisting of wisdom feeling and purpose, and every part of it is linked to every other part because it is one.

So naturally everything that happens has an impact on every other thing that occurs or anything that is perceived, because it is already there, outside of time and space, just waiting for us to be able to sense it and attain it.

It’s like a looking at a chain of islands. If you could suddenly pull the plug and drain the ocean you’d clearly see the submerged mountain that was always there.

Kabbalah is a practical science that allows us to perceive what is hidden, so the adventure of connection, purpose and meaning becomes a constant in our lives, not just an anomaly.

The stronger your desire to know its nature the more it reveals its unchanging purpose and intention. [Source: “Coincidence.” Video.]

9. What does Kabbalah say about physical suffering? If God is all loving, why do people suffer?

Why do we need bodily suffering? Does it disappear as we begin to perceive spiritual suffering, such as the perception of lack of love for the Creator? At the end of his life, Baal HaSulam endured severe suffering and people asked him why he did not rid himself of it. He replied that if a person knew how much he benefits from it, then, even if he could do so, he would not run away from suffering. Our soul needs everything that we experience and then this passes into the Kelim (vessels) for receiving the light

Does this mean that we have to ask for more diseases and blows on our heads, in order to then receive more light? No. A person has to perceive everything as a means to correct the Kelim (vessels) of his soul that are not yet corrected.

Every suffering corresponds to the correction of a specific part of the soul. Sometimes the correction takes place due to the study of Kabbalah. Other times, various illnesses and suffering serve as correction. Along with suffering we receive various means that accelerate the correction, such as progress, medicine and mutual help. [Source: Dr. Michael Laitman, “Talk with the Beginners.” Transcript.]

10. According to the wisdom of Kabbalah, please explain near death experiences?

One Kabbalistic text states, “You will see your world while you are still alive!” And if you don’t reveal the Upper World, then you will die just like an animal. Afterward you’ll receive a new (protein-based) life – another opportunity to reveal the Upper World during your lifetime. Therefore, “If a person did not engage in studying Kabbalah, he will have to return to this world again” (Baal HaSulam, “Introduction to the Book Pi Hacham”).

A person is like an animal in every respect, and just like with animals, one’s death is final. There is one other alternative: to acquire the quality of the Creator, which is love for one’s neighbor. Through this quality, one is able to feel the upper life because one comes out of the self and enters others.

None of the religious promises about “life after death” (interpreted differently by every religion) will come true. There is no reward waiting for you “there” for anything you do here. We can attain all of creation and the Creator only “here,” in this lifetime.

Therefore, “Every person has to study Kabbalah. And even if a person has learned all the intricacies of the Torah and exceeds all the righteous people in the world, still, if he did not study Kabbalah, he will have to return to this world again in order to study Kabbalah” (Baal HaSulam, “Introduction to the Book Pi Hacham”). [Source: “How to Go on a Journey to the World on the Other Side,” Laitman.com – Michael Laitman’s Personal Blog. Article.]

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Date: Tuesday, 25 Mar 2014 11:30

If You’re a Human Being, then You Can  Change the World You Live In

From the Beginning of Creation to the Big Bang

The wisdom of Kabbalah explains, that after the initially created desire to receive goes through stages of development, forming the system of the spiritual worlds, a special Partzuf, called Adam, the primordial common soul, was created.

Although this common soul was created without free choice and without the ability to become similar to its Maker, the subsequent “breakage” of this Partzuf created the opportunity for free, independent development, to achieve the purpose creation—to become similar to its Maker.

Therefore, Adam’s shattered soul is our common origin. Being a Partzuf, Adam’s structure was a perfect replica of its parent (corrected) Partzuf. In breaking, Adam extended the structure of the spiritual worlds (worlds of bestowal) to its lowest point—ultimate reception.

In consequence, all that exists in the spiritual worlds exists in our world, as well. For this reason, the same four-stage pattern by which the stages of desire evolved, followed by the four-stage evolution of the spiritual worlds, exists in our physical world. As we explore how our world has evolved, we should keep in mind the desires that evoke and guide it.

Time, as we know it, began approximately 14 billion years ago. From the Kabbalistic, spiritual perspective, the “big bang” was the shattering of Adam’s soul. The reason we see it as a material event is that we see the world through corporeal (self-centered) eyes. If we could see it from the perspective of the force that induced this massive explosion we call “the big bang,” we would see it as an outcome of Adam’s attempt to receive using the last, and greatest desire.

 

What Is the Difference between Survival of the Fittest in Darwinism and in Kabbalah?

As the original desires evolved in stages, their mundane parallels appeared and corrected one at a time, from the easiest to the hardest. Now, as each desire manifests itself in our universe, Nature, which is synonymous with the Creator, must “teach” it to work so that it contributes to the well-being and sustainability of the universe.

To accomplish this, Nature applies a very similar approach to Darwin’s natural selection principle. In fact, many leading scholars now acknowledge the existence of the natural selection process in the period before the advent of life on earth. Professor Ada Yonath, Nobel Prize laureate in Chemistry, made the following statement in an international convention celebrating the 150th anniversary of the publication of Darwin’s On the Origin of the Species: “The survival of the fittest and natural selection played an important role in the pre-biotic world, even though these qualities are related primarily to the evolution of the species.”

As in Darwin’s natural selection principle, the merit of any new development in Nature is judged by its contribution to the sustainability of its beneficiary. The difference between the Darwinian principle and the Kabbalistic one is the beneficiary: in Darwin’s classic theory, the beneficiary is the species; in Kabbalah, the beneficiary is Nature—the whole of Nature, meaning the Creator.

 

The World of Egoism and the World of Altruism

If this concept sounds a bit far-fetched, think of a species as part of its ecosystem. In contemporary biology, it is common to view a species in relation to its surroundings, rather than irrespective of it. And since we now know that all ecosystems are connected, it is easy to understand that a disturbance in one system can and will adversely affect the rest of the systems on the planet.

Explaining how Nature shifts its elements from receiving from their environment to giving to their environment, evolutionary biologist Elisabet Sahtouris, PhD, stated in a presentation she gave in November 2005, at a conference in Tokyo, “In your body, every molecule, every cell, every organ and the whole body, has self-interest. When every level… shows its self-interest, it forces negotiations among the levels. This is the secret of Nature. Every moment in your body, these negotiations drive your system to harmony.”

Clearly, the balance and well-being of all systems is imperative for the survival of the human body. As a result, balance is just as imperative for the survival of each of the body’s systems. Today, the view of Nature as a system rather than a collection of separate elements has gained ground among leading researchers. It has led to the emergence of such fields of science as ecology, cybernetics, systems theory, and complexity.

As we have already seen, Kabbalah has always regarded the whole of Nature as a single unit. This wholeness applies not only to earth and to life upon it, but to the entire universe—the corporeal part of it, as well as the spiritual one.

Hence, the same rules that apply to the spiritual world—the world of altruism—apply to our corporeal world—the world of egoism. The difference between our world and the spiritual one is that spiritual desires are all about bestowal, while we are descendants of Adam’s shattering. As such, we are inherently self-centered, at times to the point of obliviousness even to this fact that we are so.

And because we are so self-absorbed, we are unaware of the fact that at its deepest levels, Nature is governed by altruistic rules. The role of Kabbalah is to uncover these rules and introduce them as a way to understand our world and manage it on a new level of awareness.

Self Interest vs. Altruism in the Global Era: How Society Can Turn Self Interests into Mutual Benefit“If You’re a Human Being, then You Can Change the World You Live In” is based on the book, Self Interest vs. Altruism in the Global Era: How Society Can Turn Self Interests into Mutual Benefit by Dr. Michael Laitman.

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Date: Monday, 24 Mar 2014 11:30

Do You Make this Mistake While Enjoying Something?

The wisdom of Kabbalah tells us how the Creator’s quality of bestowal creates a desire, out of nothing, a desire to receive pleasure, and how this creature has similarity with the end of its development.

After an initial four phase development the creature realizes its total opposition to its source, end enters a new phase, using a bestowing intention to progress towards the desired similarity.

We learn how the creation receives what pleasure it can in order to bestow, and builds itself to be as similar as possible to its Creator. However, even after all the worlds have been established in the Partzuf, and all the lights that could be received in order to bestow are received in the Partzuf, there still remains one desire that cannot be made to work in the Partzuf—the desire to be like the Creator. This is the desire that the host in Ashlag’s allegory was referring to when he said, “In this case, there has never been born a person who could fulfill your wishes.” This is the most intense desire, the core desire of Stage Four, and at the same time it is utterly unachievable.

So once all the desires were exploited to the maximum, the creation’s (the company) marketing department (surrounding light), reminded the company management—the Rosh (head) of creation—that there was still more light to be received. Now it was the Rosh’s duty to examine this new desire and determine if it could receive this desire with the intention to bestow.

 

Do You Fall for this Hidden Temptation that Is Impossible To Resist?

For this reason, the Rosh assembled a special board meeting to discuss the fate of this last desire. In this meeting, the argument for not using it was that it was too strong to handle. Indeed, how can one handle a desire to be like one’s parent? If the Partzuf actually received what it wished for in that desire, it would be similar to a child instantly becoming an adult, without the knowledge and experience acquired over the years of growing up. Clearly, this was too complicated and too dangerous a desire to handle.

“On the other hand,” argued other directors, “If we consider the nature of this desire, we will realize that there cannot be any danger in it. In fact,” they claimed, “it is fail-safe.”

“How so?” wondered the opposers. “It is fail-safe because of the nature of the desire itself—to be like the Creator, a giver. How dangerous can it be to want to give?”

The advocates convinced the opposers, and the decision was made for the creation to hire the biggest desire—the wish to be like the Creator. To do this, Creation built a distinct Partzuf, called Adam ha Rishon (The first Man), and assigned it the task of operating and managing the last and greatest desire of all.

However, the decision to try to receive the last and greatest of all pleasures turned out to be a fatal error. What the creation did not know was that the biggest light, which comes with the biggest desire, has a gift attached to it. When you become Creator-like, you become Creator-like in the full sense of the word, not just in your desire to give, but also in your ability to give—to create— you become omnipotent and omniscient. This was a pleasure that the creation could not receive with the intention to bestow.

As soon as Adam, the specially designed Partzuf, began to receive the light, he (Adam) discovered the gifts attached to the light, and they were so blindingly enticing that he completely forgot about the intention to give.

And the minute Adam began to think in this way, he tried to act on it, to be a creator. However, to create you need a desire to give, and Adam did not have it. This reawakened the inferiority and shame that were covered by the initial Masach in Stage Four, and with it, the light vanished, just as it did during the restriction.

 

Are You Also in this Concealment?

But Adam’s desire could no longer be reversed; he saw what pleasures await those who become like the Creator and could not forget it. And for this reason, Adam could not be made to work in order to bestow, since he knew that if only he could find a way to be like the Creator, he would be the sole ruler of the universe, of the whole of reality. Thus, Adam became selfish to the core, each part of him wishing to be like the Creator. And in consequence, the selfish parts disintegrated into myriad fractions, each with its own selfish little desire to become like the Creator.

The disassembling of Adam’s Partzuf is known as “the breaking of Adam’s soul” or “the breaking of the soul” for short. With Adam’s shattering, a new entity appeared in reality—an egoistic entity—whose desire is to bestow upon itself, rather than upon the Creator, and whose ultimate wish is for omnipotence and omniscience, rather than for total bestowal.

In Kabbalah, explains Baal HaSulam in the “Preface to the Wisdom of Kabbalah,” the difference between spirituality and corporeality is that in the spiritual realm, there is no desire to receive without a Masach, while in the corporeal realm there is only a desire to receive without a Masach. Hence, our universe is the only corporeal realm in existence, and all that exist in our universe are the offspring of the shattering of Adam’s soul.

The reason why we consider our universe a “world,” the same term we ascribe to the spiritual worlds, is that a “world” reflects a certain measure of concealment of light. The only difference between our corporeal universe and the spiritual worlds is that in a spiritual world, even when there is no light at all, there is still awareness of the Creator’s quality of bestowal and there is a desire to have it. In our universe, there is such complete concealment that we are not even aware of the meaning of the word, “Creator,” and think of it as an entity (if not a person) that awaits our pleas in return for a merciful response.

 

Now You Can Realize Your Free Choice

In Hebrew, humans are called Bnei Adam (the children of Adam). Indeed, we are the offspring of Adam’s mistake, and it is therefore only we who can mend his mistake. Being the only species that can choose its course in life, humans are the only ones who can determine the fate of all life on earth—for better or for worse.

As we will see as we delve deeper into the study of Kabbalah, save for humans, the whole of Nature abides by a rule that aligns it with the laws of the spiritual worlds. We, on the other hand, must learn to abide by that rule by ourselves. By wanting to have the intention to give more than the gift that comes with giving (omnipotence and omniscience), we can mend Adam’s mistake. That is, by choosing the intention to give, the gift will still be attached to it and we will still receive omnipotence and omniscience. However, because we will have the intention to give, we will receive the gift of being Creator-like because we will know that by doing so we are pleasing the Creator, who wants to give us this gift. As a result, we will enjoy the gift, but will not be broken—falling into self-centeredness—as it happened the first time. This will be the end of correction for the whole of humanity, and attainment of the purpose of creation, as intended in the Creator’s thought of creation.

Self Interest vs. Altruism in the Global Era: How Society Can Turn Self Interests into Mutual Benefit“Do You Make this Mistake While Enjoying Something?” is based on the book, Self Interest vs. Altruism in the Global Era: How Society Can Turn Self Interests into Mutual Benefit by Dr. Michael Laitman.

 Purchase Paperback »

 Get eBook Free »

The post Do You Make this Mistake While Enjoying Something? appeared first on Kabbalah Blog.

Author: "bbadmin" Tags: "Articles, Books, adam harishon, breaking..."
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