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Date: Wednesday, 23 Apr 2014 00:30

The Secret of the Zohar Kabbalists Want You to Discover

Baal HaSulam (Kabbalist Yehuda Ashlag) wrote the article “A Speech in Celebration of the Conclusion of The Zohar (Maamar le Sium ha Zohar) when he completed his 21 volume commentary on The Book of Zohar. On this occasion he organized a big celebratory lunch or meal on Mount Meron, the place where the author of The Book of Zohar, Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai (Rashbi) is buried. Baal HaSulam recited this speech there. Afterwards people wrote it down, formatted it and it resulted in an article called “A Speech in Celebration of the Conclusion of The Zohar.”

Here he describes that the person’s entire task in our world comes down to becoming completely similar to the Upper Force, i.e. the quality of love and bestowal. To become similar to the Upper Force means to ascend to its level, unify with it, to become just as eternal and perfect as it, beyond any perceptions, problems, or that which happens on lower levels. All of humanity collectively must ascend to this level, which is the only level that really exists.

It is because all other sub-levels are below the World of Infinity. They exist only in our subjective perceptions, but not in reality. There exists only one state, the World of Infinity where creation (i.e. the quality of reception) and the Creator (i.e. the quality of love and bestowal) are constantly merged together in eternal and infinite existence.

Therefore, in order to reach this state, we should not move to another place, wait for time to do this to us or for someone else to do this for us. That’s impossible. The only path is when the person changes his attributes in similarity to the attributes existing in the World of Infinity. To the degree he is similar to these attributes, he ascends and comes closer to the World of Infinity. It is because in the spiritual world, just as in the physical world there are fields and all kinds of attributes between objects, they get closer to each other to the degree they are similar and separate from each other to the degree they differ. The same thing is true in the spiritual world, if our attributes will become similar to the attributes of the World of Infinity, or the attributes of the quality of love and bestowal, in any way, then we will begin to perceive it.

Today, right now our attributes are opposite to the quality of love and bestowal. We do not contain even a single attribute that is similar to the quality of love and bestowal and this is why we do not perceive it. If even one of our attributes was even slightly similar to the quality of love and bestowal in any way, then we would perceive love and bestowal in that attribute. Therefore our task is to invert our attributes, change them, as if turning them inside out, and make them opposite to our current attributes so they will be similar to the quality of love and bestowal, and then we will be able to exist on the same level as this quality, in a state of eternity and perfection. This is achieved by working on oneself in the heart and mind. This is what the person has—the mind and the heart (Mocha ve Liba). Baal HaSulam describes for us how to work on this in the heart and how to work on this in the mind.

Here he again talks about the fact that it is precisely we who have to do this in our time. It is because The Zohar became revealed, because he was able to create a commentary on the entire Book of Zohar and this is an absolutely precise sign that our generation can achieve the highest and best state already globally, by everyone, and enter the level of eternal existence.

He describes that this is why this is happening to us. In particular, here he describes the means to do this, saying that the most important means is to find the appropriate environment for yourself.

We know how the environment or the surroundings influences a person. I sign up to some club, attend a group of people, they tell me something, pass something on to me, and in this way I begin to become permeated by their ideas, ideals, and goals, and they become important to me. And so, I have to find an environment that will exalt and elevate the spiritual, and then I will unwillingly aspire to the spiritual faster than being pushed from behind by suffering. Therefore the most important thing for a person is to find the appropriate environment that will constantly influence, thereby constantly pulling the person forward. This is what Baal HaSulam talks about in the article “A Speech in Celebration of the Conclusion of The Zohar.”

The Free Kabbalah Course is based on the articles of Baal HaSulam and provides step-by-step guided learning from experienced Kabbalah instructors of Kabbalah’s basic concepts based in Baal HaSulam’s articles. Baal HaSulam was the first Kabbalist in history who wrote articles not only for Kabbalists, but for the broad public, in order to explain Kabbalah’s fundamentals, because he understood the need that would emerge in humanity to answer deeper questions about life’s meaning and purpose. Therefore, if you’re interested in such topics, 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: Monday, 21 Apr 2014 15:22

How to Enter Noah's Ark

Noah, the well-known character from the Torah, represents a stage in one’s spiritual development, when one realizes one’s egoism is evil, and that the person cannot save himself from it because it is his entire nature.

One then understands that only the higher force, outside the person, can make a change. This is why the person builds the Ark. In other words, in response to the person’s appeals, the Upper Light creates the property of Bina (bestowal) in the person, and then he remains inside it so that his egoistic desires and properties will no longer rule over him. When he enters the Ark, he ascends above egoism and enters the realm of bestowal, isolating himself from his egoism, his nature.

Today every one of us and the entire world as a whole is beginning to feel that we are in a threatening state – the state of Noah before the flood. We are being threatened by the inner (individual) and outer (worldwide) flood (egoism), which we have brought upon ourselves and cannot overcome on our own.

The salvation from the flood is to hide in the Ark, meaning that for every person and for everyone together to acquire the property of bestowal, to ascend above our egoism. Everything will then reach harmony, just like all the species of creatures that were in the Ark, and we will make the transition to renewed life. [Source: Dr. Michael Laitman, "Noah's Ark Is Our Only Salvation Today," in Laitman.com - Michael Laitman's Personal Blog]

 

How to Enter Noah’s Ark

Everything comes from above, from the same source, but if a person tries to set a strong environment on the right side to support him, by this he realizes his freedom of choice. And then on the left side, Nature organizes disturbances.

Caught between these two opposing forces, a person is completely confused; crying, feeling helpless to the extent that he needs to either escape or hope for a miracle.

Then, in this hopeless condition, when a person has almost drowned in the treacherous questions “Who?” and “What?” and cannot get out of them, the idea of the ark suddenly becomes born within. He understands that he will be saved only if he gets the property of Bina, bestowal, that will be higher than all his requests.

These requests will remain, a person cannot completely get rid of them; it does not depend on him. But if in spite of all these problems, he enters the ark, deciding that these turbulent murky floodwaters, all these doubts and problems are not related to him, he can be saved. [Source: Dr. Michael Laitman, "The Ark of Unity on the Stormy Flood of Life," in Laitman.com - Michael Laitman's Personal Blog]

To learn more about how Kabbalah describes Bible stories 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: Thursday, 17 Apr 2014 02:17

Noah's Ark

The movie Noah created a widespread buzz about the Bible story. Here is Kabbalah’s take on the Noah story:

1. The Story of Noah in a Nutshell

In a nutshell, the Bible story of Noah speaks of sinful people and the Creator, who brings a flood on the world. “Noah was a righteous man, perfect in his generations” (Genesis, 6:9). This is why he was the one chosen to survive the flood.

But he did not survive alone. Rather, he was commanded to build an ark and move into it along with his kin, and pairs of all the animals, and to remain in the ark for forty days and forty nights until the flood stopped.

The Creator made a covenant with Noah and his family that the flood would never return. As a token of the covenant, He placed the rainbow in the sky. More » [Source: Dr. Michael Laitman, Noah Parsha - Weekly Torah Portion.]

 

2. What Is the Meaning of the Story of Noah in the Bible?

“Noah was in his generations a man righteous and whole-hearted; Noah walked with God.”

So begins the chapter on Noah, immediately confusing the reader with what appears to be a straightforward story about our world.

However, it confuses only those who aren’t yet ready to read the Bible differently, still finding the simple historical narrative about a person named Noah satisfactory.

Ask yourself, “Where am I in this story of Noah?” Or better yet, “What is the meaning of my inner Noah?” You must seek only one approach to the contents of this book: “Everything I read here is about me.” Noah, the righteous, his wife, kids, and all the animals, the ark and the Tower of Babel all exist within me. They are forces, desires that govern my inner and outer worlds. All I have to do is get to them and sense them, and the gates to all the secrets will open for me. More » [Source: Semion Vinokur. What Is the Meaning of the Story of Noah in the Bible?]

 

3. What Is the Meaning of Noah’s Ark & the Flood in the Bible?

Mayim (“water” in Hebrew) is the flood that will drown your spiritual embryo if you heed the body’s questions, destroying all that you’ve worked so hard to assemble within.

The flood comes as a ruthless force that can destroy everything. Those desires that couldn’t endure the questions, meaning those that didn’t “come into the ark,” truly perish in its waters: “And all flesh perished that moved upon the earth.” And yet, the paradox is that for all its ruthlessness, the flood also purifies.

However, it purifies only those in whom the desires to attain the spiritual world prevail. It is as if man doesn’t even hear the rational questions of his body as he advances toward the goal, no matter what. In this case he acts like Noah, building himself an ark (finding the right books, the right teacher, and the right environment). He will also take shelter there with his numerous individual desires that are yet to be corrected (but will be corrected as the ark “sails” the flood waters). More » [Source: Semion Vinokur, "What Is the Meaning of Noah's Ark & the Flood in the Bible?"]

 

4. What Is the Meaning of the Story of the Entrance to Noah’s Ark Amidst the Flood?

“And I, behold, I do bring the flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; every thing that is in the earth shall perish. But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall come into the ark.”

How is the building of the ark done? We can do it primarily with the help of the books. In addition to this book, you seek out others like it, written by those who have already attained their root, the Upper World, and convey through them their attainment.

These books are like roadmaps designed to guide you to your goal via the shortest possible route. These books are few in number.

They aren’t meant to expand your knowledge, but to cultivate within you the sensation of the Upper One.

They are written by great Kabbalists: Abraham, Moses, Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, the ARI (Rabbi Isaac Luria), and Baal HaSulam (Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag).

So, if you refuse to let up until you’ve found the right books, it means you’re “building an ark.” You delve into the books, and at first, you don’t understand them one bit, but you continue to read. This is how you “erect the walls of the ark.”

Then, you find a teacher, a guide who will not let you stray from the path, and you find friends with whom you will overcome the obstacles that stand between you and the goal. This is how you “lay the roof of the ark.” More » [Source: Semion Vinokur. "What Is the Meaning of the Story of Noah's Ark Amidst the Flood?"]

 

5. What Is the Meaning of the Birth after the Flood in the Bible Story?

“And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made. And he sent forth a raven, and it went forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth. And he sent forth a dove… But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him to the ark.”

What did you do at the moment you were disconnected from the material world, having returned to it afterward with a specific program of correction? You took the light egoistic desires, known as “raven” and “dove,” which were corrected in the ark, and used them to “feel the earth” (the desire). In so doing, you seemingly asked yourself, “Will the ego suck me in again?”

Why does this happen at the end of forty days, and what is the “window” that is made?

Forty is the quality of the Creator, the quality of absolute bestowal, the quality of a mother. What you are doing here is making a “tiny window” in it. You are introducing a certain dissonance into this idyll by adding a dash of egoism to it. This enables you to check whether you can establish contact between your altruistic and egoistic qualities (by sending forth a raven and then a dove—qualities that have undergone correction in the ark).

Can there be contact between the two?

As it turns out, the answer is “no,” since both birds return to the ark. More » [Source: Semion Vinokur, "What Is the Meaning of the Birth After the Flood in the Bible Story?"]

To learn more about how Kabbalah describes Bible stories 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, 16 Apr 2014 01:38

The History of the Dark Ages and the Concealment of Kabbalah

The Middle Ages through the Prism of Kabbalah

The Middle Ages is a very peculiar period in history. views on when it began and when it ended seem to range from 2nd-5th century to 15th-18th century respectively, depending on the researcher’s field of expertise. Some mark the fall of the Western Roman Empire as its beginning and the fall of the Eastern Roman Empire as its end. others see the beginning of the Middle Ages as the time when Emperor Constantine the Great summoned the first Council of Nicaea, in 325 CE, and its end as the time when Martin Luther was excommunicated (1521) and the ProtestantChurch was established.

Kabbalah does not define any age as being in “the middle,” but it does consider the period between the writing of The Book of Zohar and the writing of The Tree of Life as a distinct period in the evolution of humanity. In a sense, the term, “The Dark Ages,” would be more suitable to describe this period in history, since this is roughly the period during which Kabbalists concealed their knowledge and made it a secret teaching, known to only a few.

Within this period, we will relate more to the processes that occurred between the writing of these books than to specific events. This should make it easier to see how desires, which on the human level appear more as ambitions, steer the processes that form the history of humanity.

 

The Cure for Humanities Ills

In Kabbalah, the period between the writing of The Book of Zohar and writing of The Tree of Life has a crucial role. Without it, the purpose of creation would not be achieved. To reiterate in a word, the purpose of creation is for every person to know the Creator and become like it. Abraham’s group was the first to achieve that. Yet, Abraham’s goal was not only for his group to achieve it, but for every person in the world. Moses helped Abraham’s cause by expanding the attainment of the group into the attainment of an entire nation.

But while Moses’ accomplishment is truly momentous, there is still a long way to go before the final purpose is achieved. for the whole of humanity to attain the Creator, the law of bestowal, they must all want this to happen. And for that, all the people must sense that a) the road of egoism is unsustainable, and b) that there is another way—to recognize a previously undiscovered law in Nature, and learn to implement it.

During Stage Two in the evolution of desires, this unfolds in a fascinating manner. Israel, on one hand, declines from its altruistic state and falls into egoism. The rest of the nations, on the other hand, discover the law of bestowal—love thy neighbor as thyself—which becomes the tenet of all Abrahamic faiths. Even though none of the religions actually lives by this law, the very fact that they had made it the center of their faith means that people have become aware of its importance. In that, people de facto acknowledge Abraham’s idea of love of others as a cure for humanity’s ills. from this point onward, the fate of Israel and the fate of all the nations of the world will be forever entwined.

As explained before, processes that unfold in the spiritual roots manifest in their corporeal branches. For this reason, as the desire to bestow became mingled with the desire to receive on the spiritual level, the physical manifestation of that process was the spreading and mingling of the people of Israel among the nations of the world.

 

Now You Can See the Link Between Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Kabbalah

This does not mean that the Jews were spreading Abraham’s message of love and unity to their new neighbors. The Jews did not choose to be exiled so they could spread Abraham’s method. Nor did the nations who accepted them into their midst do so because they wanted to hear, much less adopt that message. Yet, because the parity-of-desires process between Israel and the nations was already underway on the spiritual level, it was happening in the physical world, as well.

Thus, by the end of the Middle Ages, the mingling of desires had reached such a stage that on the physical level it manifested in three religions whose adherents did not claim to be altruists, yet cited a fundamentally altruistic law as one of their tenets: “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” Moreover, these religions—Christianity, Islam, and Judaism—were not only citing that law as their tenet, but also declared Abraham as their spiritual patriarch, hence their epithet, “Abrahamic faiths.”

In a Tokyo presentation of evolutionary biologist Elisabet Sahtouris, concerning self interest and collaboration—that every molecule, every cell, every organ and the whole body, has self-interest. And when every level shows its self-interest, it forces negotiations among the levels, which drive one’s system to harmony. Indeed, even if we are oblivious to the ultimate goal of existence, subconsciously we all feel that harmony and mutual care are the only ways to create a sustainable humanity. We all have the four stages of desire within us because we are all, at the end of the day, offshoots of these four stages.

Hence, as Stage Two—the governing stage of desire during the Middle Ages—dictates, all three Abrahamic faiths adopted the commandment, “Love thy neighbor as thyself” (Lev, 19:18) as a tenet. Thus, although “negotiations” (to use Sahtouris’ term for relations) between people and nations during the Middle Ages were often far removed from what we might deem harmonious, the end result was a rather consolidated Europe with respect to religion, whose basic (declared) tenet is altruistic—abiding by the law of yielding self-interest, even if its realization was far less selfless.

 

The Reason to Yield Self-Interest in Favor of Nature‘s Interest

We already know that Stage Two in the evolution of desires marks the first appearance of the desire to give within the desire to receive. Indeed, the commandment to love others as much as one loves oneself is in perfect congruence with Stage Two. However, our universe was created when Adam’s soul broke, when its “organs” became self-centered. As a result, the law of loving others appears in our world as a commandment that one must make efforts to follow. If our nature were that of true bestowal, we would not even need this law because we would naturally love to bestow as much as we currently love to receive.

Yet, if our nature were one of bestowal, we would never become equal to the Creator. The most we would achieve is similarity of desires with the Creator, but we would be devoid of everything we gain by struggling with our desires. This struggle, as hard as it is, grants us unique observations. By comparing our own nature to the universal Nature, we learn the difference between giving and receiving, the knowledge that there can be giving in receiving, and the joy and fulfillment that come with being able to love. These emotions can only arise when one has experienced the inability to love.

But beyond all of these gifts is the greatest, uniquely human gift: freedom of choice. The difference between a mature adult and a youth in our world is in the permission, ability, and freedom to make one’s own choices. In the spiritual realm, only humans have that ability because only humans possess both natures—that of reception and that of bestowal—assuming they have acquired that nature by following the law of yielding self-interest.

Once we obtain the nature of bestowal, we understand why it is necessary for both natures to exist within us, why we must begin with a nature of reception, acquire the nature of bestowal, and install the latter over the former out of our own free choice. only by doing so can we truly perceive the works of Nature, with all her facets and subtleties. And only when we perceive all that will we be able to consciously live by the law of yielding self-interest in favor of the interest of Nature, because we will have achieved the Thought of Creation. And when we achieve that thought, we will truly become Creator-like.

The establishing of Abrahamic faiths in the hearts of millions created a first-ever bridge between inherently self- centered people and the principle of bestowal. For the first time, people felt that giving could yield them profit. Albeit this is an egocentric type of altruism, at that point in time and at that stage in the evolution of the desire to receive, this was the closest to altruism that people could come.

Thus, even though the epics and prophets differ from one faith to another, the end result is that all three Abrahamic faiths ascribe great importance to Israel, because every person whose soul has been touched by the Abrahamic tenet, “Love they neighbor as thyself,” subconsciously strives for that state as it truly is in spirituality.

Today, the mingling has so expanded that the yearning for spirituality exists in virtually every person in the world. This, as Baal HaSulam explains in his essay, “The Love of the Creator and the Love of Man,” is a result of the purpose of creation, that “All the nations shall flow onto It” (Isaiah 2:2), meaning that all people will attain life’s creating force. And for this to unfold, all the nations, all forms of desires in the world must be incorporated with the desire to bestow.

 

The End of the Dark Ages and the Wisdom of Kabbalah

In his “Preface to the Wisdom of Kabbalah,” Baal HaSulam describes how at its end, each stage prepares for the onset of the next. In much the same way, the developments and changes during the late Middle Ages mark the end of the era, as well as the beginning of the next—the Renaissance. And since, as Kabbalah explains, events in our world are triggered by the evolution of the desire to receive, these events demonstrated that the world was now ready for the next stage in the evolution of desires—Stage Three—whose onset is marked by the next seminal composition in Kabbalah, The Tree of Life.
Self Interest vs. Altruism in the Global Era: How Society Can Turn Self Interests into Mutual Benefit“The History of the Dark Ages and the Concealment of Kabbalah” 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, 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.

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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 …

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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 …

 

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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 …

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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

By signing up to the course, you will get:

  • Instant access to an immediate self-study video course
  • Instant access to a free copy of the eBook The Secrets of the Eternal Book, which describes the inner, spiritual meaning behind well-known Bible stories such as Noah’s Ark and the flood, Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, Cain and Abel, the Tower of Babel, Abraham, Terah and Nimrod, the 7 days of creation (Genesis), and more
  • An e-mail reminder when the course start date comes closer
  • Access to download the lessons if you can’t make them live, or if you want to review the live lessons
  • Access to an online community with a student forum, where you can ask questions and get them answered by instructors and moderators
  • Opportunity to further advance in your studies with more free courses after the initial free Kabbalah Fundamentals course

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.

Go Here to Sign Up for the Free Kabbalah Course »

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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.

The post Glossary – Aharei Mot (After the Death)—Kedoshim (Holy) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion appeared first on Kabbalah Blog.

Author: "Elena Dombrovsky" Tags: "Definitions, Torah Portion Glossary"
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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.

 Purchase Paperback »

 Get eBook Free »

The post What Is Today’s Significance of the Story of Abraham’s Conflict with Nimrod? appeared first on Kabbalah Blog.

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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.

 Purchase Paperback »

 Get eBook Free »

The post How to Understand Still Life in a Way that Prepares You for the Next Stage of Evolution appeared first on Kabbalah Blog.

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