The war of Gog and Magog is a spiritual concept that relates to Kabbalah. It is not spoken of anywhere but in Kabbalah. Gog and Magog happens at a spiritual degree and not as it does in our world, where the wars and torments happen before our eyes.
What Is the War of Gog and Magog?
The struggle between internality and externality is called “The War of Gog and Magog.” It unfolds within the people of Israel (i.e. people with a desire for spirituality, the meaning of life; “Israel” being a combination of the words “Yashar Kel” ["straight to God"]), and its consequences determine the fate of the entire world. If we are triumphant, we will spare ourselves the horrifying depictions of the war of Gog and Magog as an apocalyptic global war.
The war of Gog and Magog is actually an internal war, occurring within individuals from Israel (i.e. people in whom the desire for spirituality has awoken; who have an inclination to question the meaning of life and discover the altruistic desire above the inborn egoistic desire). It is not a physical war with planes and missiles, as is often thought. The planes and the missiles are not the real war; they are merely a physical manifestation of accumulated imbalance.
The war of Gog and Magog is a war between the internality and the externality of our desires. It is fought in our hearts and in our minds. As it unfolds, it gives us a choice. To which do we want to belong? Do we prefer the internality of the world or its externality? Where are our desires, minds, and hearts drawn? This is the war. [Source: Dr. Michael Laitman, From Chaos to Harmony: The Solution to the Global Crisis According to the Wisdom of Kabbalah. Part II: Israel's Role. "The War of Gog and Magog"]
The Internal War of Gog and Magog
Question: I know that there is a prophecy about a war called Gog and Magog. From life, I can feel that this war is happening within me, all the time. Can you explain more about these two forces Gog and Magog? What happens to them in this internal war and where is it leading?
Answer by Dr. Laitman: First of all, I’m very happy that she is talking about internal things. Gog and Magog is an internal war; it is like the strife between Moses and Pharaoh. We, specifically Jews, are opposed by alien forces that are threatening us. Within us, too, we are in the same war. In the people of Israel too, with its ego that had vanquished us, after the ruin of the Temple and within each and every one of us, is that perpetual war.
But now, especially, we have completed the period of the exile and we have to rise from that level of exile to redemption; we are pretty much behind already. We should have started this spiritual ascension in accordance with our return to our land, Israel, about one hundred years ago. That is what the Kabbalists say.
Then begins this war of Gog and Magog, which is the last war between the good forces in us that want to achieve bestowal, love of others, brotherly love, “love thy friend as thyself,” and those forces that still keep us in exile and don’t let us out; the internal forces, in each of us and the forces in the nation. There are bodies that still think that we should remain in exile and also the whole world thinks so.
This war is, indeed, as you say; a perpetual war that now exists in each of us. And in the end, the whole world, with the globalization and today’s crisis in ecology, education and security, it’s all in this Gog and Magog war campaign. Let’s hope that we will succeed in it, without an eruption of physical war, but we will complete it and finish it and succeed at the spiritual level.
This is why the wisdom of Kabbalah is emerging today out of seclusion. It is presenting itself to everyone and through it, we can succeed with the forces of bestowal and love, with the Upper Light that will correct all of us, so we will succeed in this campaign. [Source: Dr. Michael Laitman, "Ask the Kabbalist (April 10, 2008)"]
To learn more about Kabbalah’s attitude to war, and the inner definitions of words such as Israel, Jews, and many others, it is recommended to take the Free Kabbalah Course. The reason is that many of the concepts and terms we have a 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 courses and start learning about the world around you and inside you anew…
What Is the Essence of Kabbalah?
The science of Kabbalah is the order of descent of the Upper Forces directed to the revelation of the Upper Governing Force (the Creator) to a person.
Kabbalah studies the world we can’t feel. A Kabbalist first senses this world, and then takes on the cognition of it. Those who don’t feel the Upper World think that Kabbalah studies something abstract and detached from reality. But it’s the opposite: Kabbalah describes only a real, attainable reality.
Attainment of the Governing Force is gradual and sensed in our feelings, depending on correction of egoism. The Upper Force has to be gradually attained according to the laws established by its descent from above downward.
At the end of its development, the whole of humanity needs to discover and wholly attain the Upper Governing Force. Studying a path of attaining the Creator, Kabbalah explores “the order of descent of the worlds” from above downwards, that is, from the World of Infinity to this world, as well as ”attainment of the Upper Force” from below upwards, by climbing the steps that were formed by the descent of the worlds. [Source: Dr. Michael Laitman, "The Essence of the Science of Kabbalah – A Synopsis"]
Why Is Kabbalah Important?
Question: Why is Kabbalah important?
Answer by Dr. Laitman: Everybody asks this question. There are many things in our lives, some more important, others less important. At every second, importance shifts to different things, like sleeping, playing, eating or running around. How do we find what is most important in life?
What’s most important in life is to feel something unconditional, infinite and almighty, seeing through all the worlds without boundaries between life and death, and fulfilling all of our desires, even those with which we are not yet familiar, such as becoming like the Creator.
There is nothing more exalted. It is the very peak where everything is headed. How, then, do we reach it? How do we achieve a success that is absolute in our present place and time? We can do it through a method called “the wisdom of Kabbalah.”
That is why Kabbalah is important. It is because we place value according to how we benefit. If Kabbalah can help us attain everything, this makes it more important than anything else. [Source: Dr. Michael Laitman, “Everyone Wants to Know Why Kabbalah Is Important”]
This Week’s Torah Portion | January 19 – January 25, 2014 – Shevat 18 – Shevat 24, 5774
In A Nutshell
The portion, VaYikra (The Lord Called), deals with rules of sacrificing and the priests serving in the tabernacle. Some offerings are optional; some are mandatory. Some of the offerings are burnt to ashes on the altar, and some remain for the priests and the giver of the offering.
The rules of offerings speak of a “burnt offering” that a person brings voluntarily from the cattle, flock, and poultry. There is also a “gift offering,” which a person brings voluntarily from the flora. Also, there is the “peace offering,” which is an offering that a person brings from the cattle, sheep, and goats. The “sin offering” is an offering brought by one who sinned by mistake. That person makes an offering to atone for the sin.
Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman
The portion, VaYikra (The Lord Called), teaches us about the work of the offerings, which are also the main topic in the Talmud. We learn all the works from the works of the Temple.
People are nearing the purpose of creation and Dvekut (adhesion) with the Creator, to the human level, a life in a totally blissful world, and experiencing all the worlds and the sensation of nature as complete and eternal, as it was prepared for us. That nearing is called Korban (offering/sacrifice) from the word Karov (near).
We are approaching it step by step by correcting our nature. There are 613 desires in us, which we must correct one at a time, each desire with all of its parts. Our desires divide into four levels: still, vegetative, animate, and speaking. The work of the offerings teaches us how to sacrifice and correct them so they are in bestowal and love. The rule in our work is to correct our nature and achieve the state, “love your neighbor as yourself; it is a great rule in the Torah.” By that, we become similar to the Creator and achieve Dvekut with Him.
The correction of the egoistic desire from receiving for myself into bestowal upon others is called an “offering” that a person offers. The offering may come from several sources. It may be from the still, as it is written, “On all your offerings you shall offer salt” (Leviticus, 2:13), or water or oil. It can also be from the vegetative or processed plants, such as the showbread. From the animate, only a certain kind is offered. The priests’ and the Levites’ daily work in the Temple is to sacrifice the flock and the cattle.
There are offerings that one must make on a daily basis, similar to our progress from day to day according to the plan of creation, on a predetermined pace. When we do not follow suit, we suffer a thrust from behind, from the negative forces.
The offerings we cannot make—namely the desires we cannot correct into aiming to bestow upon others—become negative forces that manifest as problems that push us from behind through suffering. These desires accumulate until they break out as crises, similar to the comprehensive crisis we are currently experiencing.
The crisis is not a negative state, but a result of neglect. It is happening because we are so engrossed in materialism instead of rising above it, because we are so obstinate and refuse to listen to the guidance of Kabbalists.
In fact, the crisis is a point of new birth. It points to our inability to live according to the old paradigm. Our perspective on life and the attitude toward values in our lives break and fall apart, as it manifests in education, family relations, and so forth.
The order of the work of the offerings is very important because it explains how we advance in life. If we follow this order, our lives will flow in order too.
The general nature is built so that if each moment we correct more and more pieces of the egoism into altruism and love of others, into connection with humanity, with nature, we draw nearer to the Creator—the only force that exists in reality. In this way we are in balance with it, and there is no better state for us than that. After all, in that state we do not need anything and reside in a world of utter bliss.
VaYikra details the order of correction of all 613 broken, egoistic desires into connection with others, and through it, connection with the Creator. It is written about it, “From the Love of man to the love of God.” However, before we connect with others, we must be properly built within. We must prepare ourselves for it internally, as well as externally.
Assume that a person must be “married,” meaning have a deficiency. A woman is a deficiency next to the man, a deficiency adapted to the ability to correct it. The feminine part of a person is as a deficiency, the left side, while the masculine part is the right side, which complements. In a state of collaborative work, a person is considered “married.” The man—which is higher than the woman and wants to advance and correct the deficiency—makes an offering. The offering is also for the feminine part in the person. The same applies to the rest of the people.
The work of the offerings is the work in the Temple, the common Kli of the world where a person expresses one’s attitude toward the Creator. There are many details to this work: how to slaughter, burn, and how to discern all the parts in the offerings.
There is a part in us that enjoys, and a part that is as “smoke.” The word “smoke” is an acronym for Olam, Shana, Nefesh (ASHAN [smoke]) by which a person transcends the limitations of our world, thus advancing toward the purpose of creation.
When one begins to connect and approach the Creator through the offerings, one becomes more suitable for the Creator. Each time, one of the 613 desires becomes more suitable for the Creator. This way a person begins to feel that the system within is becoming more similar to that of the Creator. Then the person begins to understand Him since one contains a partial sample of Him, which gradually expands. The more one’s desires close in on a similar structure to Godliness, the more the Creator “clothes” in the person. Thus one becomes more similar to the Creator.
Through one’s internal system, where there is already a part of the Creator, a person begins to understand and know Him. Such a person can picture and imagine that system, thoughts, desires, and approach of the Creator toward him or her. Thus one can increasingly understand one’s attitude toward the Creator. The model that one builds within allows one to be in mutual connection with the Creator, and this is how a person becomes man (Adam).
From the beginning of creation through its end we undergo a process by which we must correct ourselves and rise from our world to the world of Ein Sof (infinity). We must do it internally, in our inner structure, so that each time we become increasingly similar to the upper force. This is the work that this portion deals with.
The Creator is inviting us to this work hoping that humanity will respond. The whole work is of the part of us called “Israel,” and of which it was written, “And you will be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exodus, 19:6). The priests are the ones who manage the work at the Temple, bringing the rest of the nation to this work so the whole nation may able to correct itself.
All of Israel are regarded as priests in relation to the rest of the world. VaYikra (The Lord Called) is first and foremost a call to Israel because Israel are obliged to teach the rest of humanity how to approach the Creator. It was written about it, “they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them” (Jeremiah, 31:33), and “for My house shall be called ‘a house of prayer’ to all the nations” (Isaiah, 56:7), once it is built.
This is why VaYikra is a call to the entire nation of Israel to correct itself as quickly as possible, thus also correcting the global crisis, the world’s problems, and abolishing anti-Semitism. Then everyone will truly be as one group, a single nation.
Questions and Answers
There is an act here, and there is the intention. To perform correction we must draw closer to others. We cannot draw closer to others unless we have the intention to draw closer, and unless the common force of bestowal that exists in the world, namely the Creator, appears between us. Through mutual nearing, we build an opportunity, a place, a space of mutual desire where the mutual force of bestowal appears, meaning the force of love, which does not exist in our world. That force does not exist in our qualities unless we exert to make it, to make room for it. The place where the force of bestowal appears is called “dweller” or “the revelation of Divinity.” It requires three conditions in order to exist: you, me, and the Creator.
What is the order between them? It seems reasonable to say, “Give me this type of Temple and I will sacrifice my cow there.
It is all within us, the cow too.
It follows that we must approach the Creator so He may give us the strength to love others. So one does not reach the Creator through others, but from the Creator to others because the problems are between us and not with the Creator?
True, there is no other way. We begin from hating each other; we have no desire whatsoever to draw near. Only through troubles and problems, when we ask how and why, what is the meaning of life, what is happening in the world, do we understand that we must correct our nature and start looking for a solution. Our correction is from reception to bestowal, from hate to love, from understanding that the hatred is destroying the world and our lives.
Today the whole world is dealing with correcting human nature because it ruins everything, including this planet. Many scientists are warning about these problems, which are already causing our collapse.
The problem is that we cannot restrain human nature. We are marching as sheep to the slaughter, unable to stop ourselves. Baal HaSulam wrote that the angel of death comes with a drop of poison on the tip of his sword, and you open your mouth to it because there is a last bit of pleasure on it, and you die. You cannot see past yourself, and even if you do, you simply must have this drop.Go to the craftsman who made me, Just so, we are advancing blindly, following our nature into wars and troubles, ruining everything along the way because it is all done without higher guidance.
We need the upper force. This need arises from the sensation of troubles and problems that are already appearing in the world, but it should come with an explanation. There must be a system that provides information that we, the children of Israel, must pass on to the rest of the world. This is the meaning of being a kingdom of priests. The priests are those who teach the people, as it is written, “And you will be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exodus, 19:6).
We must make the reason for the crisis known, as well as the means for correcting human nature, in order to bring the whole of humanity to balance with nature, or we will not survive.
Although the conditions for it have all been prepared, we have to do our share in this work. This is why we are witnessing an increase in global anti-Semitism, which will only increase unless we make the method of correction and its use known in due time, and promote its implementation the world over.
It is therefore clear that we ourselves must be connected to the Creator, study, and demand the revelation of the Creator in order to allow ourselves to advance. All we need is the sense of lack and our drive toward it, since the moment we need His strength, we will ask and receive it.
What does it mean that we sacrifice a cow, a sheep, or a goat?
The Book of Zohar explains that these are not cows, sheep, or any other kosher animal. Rather, it is a person who needs to correct, to discern the animal part within, the speaking part, which is the priest, Levite, and Israel. A person offers and sacrifices part of the animate, which is all the animate within us. Actually, it concerns the desires within us, which divide into still, vegetative, animate, and human.
Why is it so difficult to offer the sacrifice?
A person cannot perform correction without first knowing what to do, without internally distinguishing good from bad. Currently, we do not know what to correct. You might say, “Yes, sometimes I lie,” but how can you tell that this is what you must correct? Anyone can say that, at least to oneself. However, even then it is not a sincere confession. So how will you know what is stopping you from approaching the goal? For this, we need the revelation of the Creator, the light that reforms to illuminate for us the desires we can sacrifice.
From The Zohar: One Who Did Not Marry a Woman Is Flawed
“When any man of you brings an offering” means excluding one who did not marry a wife, since his offering is not an offering and there are no blessings in him, neither above nor below. This means that when it writes, “When any man of you brings an offering,” and he is different, not a human and not included in man. Divinity is not over him because he is flawed and called “maimed,” and one who is maimed is removed from everything, all the more so from the altar, from offering sacrifices.
Zohar for All, VaYikrah (The Lord Called), item 63
If one knows and feels that one is flawed, namely still has an egoistic intention, how can one sacrifice it? How can one move closer to the Creator?
Such a person must first be whole.
Ask most people and they will tell you, “I’m fine with the Creator; I get along with Him. How do they know? Do they feel this way? Is this how the Creator is depicted for them?
They feel so because the Creator is hidden from them, so they are sure they are OK with Him.
If the person is OK with the Creator, why is He hidden?
We do not ask ourselves this question. We say, “I pay my taxes, I’m friendly to my neighbors, I even put the garbage in the right bins. I’m just fine.”
How do you explain to people that there is a connection, that we must discover the quality of bestowal within us, that this is the Creator? How do you explain that VaYikra means that the Creator is calling us to approach something very different?
We determine our own situation, the scale, according to the upper force, which is benevolent, whole, in which there is no hate but only love. We measure in comparison with it how similar or different we are from it, from the Unique one from whom everything was created and to whom everything returns. First we must see and feel how different or similar we are to Him. We must also engage in the wisdom of Kabbalah, or we will have no chance of nearing Him.
This is how everyone thinks, which is why it is impossible to turn to anyone in this manner. We need to measure people compared to the Creator, and then it will be possible to see how obligated we are, and how the Creator has made us so. We could say, “Go to the craftsman who made me,” since He has made me this way, and only through bringing the upper light will anything be resolved.
Our qualities have been designed since childhood by our parents, education, the environment, the Creator, genes, grandparents, and previous generations. Then there are our own additions. Over that part which we add to ourselves, which we could avoid adding, too, or add negative traits to ourselves, over that part we have choice and can say, “This I need to correct.” This is the initial scrutiny. It is a very special work, which is why we do not immediately arrive at the offerings.
During all the previous portions we advance toward this work, discovering the Creator—the upper force—at the level we are in through the quality of Moses in us. We measure ourselves compared to them, and only then can we correct our qualities and know how many of them we should fix, and how. After all, we have many qualities that need no correction because they are corrected by themselves, as they are not ours.
Jerusalem Talmud, Seder Nashim, Masechet Nedarim, Chapter 9, p 30b.
 Rav Yehuda Ashlag (Baal HaSulam), The Writings of Baal HaSulam, “The Love of God and the Love of Man,” p 482.
 Rav Yehuda Ashlag (Baal HaSulam), The Writings of Baal HaSulam, “Introduction to the Book, Panim Meirot uMasbirot (Shining and Welcoming Face),” p 149.
 Babylonian Talmud, Masechet Taanit, p. 20b.
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The word Korban (offering/sacrifice) comes from the word Karov (near), as it is written, “As Pharaoh drew near, the children of Israel looked, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them, and they became very frightened; so the sons of Israel cried out to the Lord” (Exodus, 14:10). Pharaoh is our biggest force of advancement. In fact, everything we slaughter at the altar, all that we correct, are parts of Pharaoh, that great will to receive from which we cut slices and sacrifice. By that, we become corrected and draw closer until the image of the Creator emerges in us from the image of Pharaoh.
Sin is the complete disclosure of our nature, how absorbed we are in self-love instead of love of others.
The corruption of the force of Bina in us is called “mistake.” The corruption of the force of Malchut in us is called “sin” (deliberate faulty act). In our world, the sins are far greater than the mistakes. Take for example a person who wants to steal; the mistake is that he is jealous of another and seemingly does him no harm by that.
The correction of the mistake is when a person transcends one’s will to receive and does not want to use it whatsoever. At that time a person becomes detached from the mistake, and later inverts the entire ego, the entire will to receive into having the aim to bestow upon others. This is how we correct the sins.
From The Zohar: If His Offering Is a Burnt Offering
The burnt offering rises [“rises” is spelt the same as offering in Hebrew] over the heart, meaning on the thought, which is above the heart. It is known that the one who stands over the heart is the thought, since the thought, which is Hochma [wisdom], is regarded as male and the heart as female, Bina [understanding]—the heart understands—for she receives from Hochma. This is why a burnt offering rises up and they are all males, and this is why the writing begins with a burnt offering more than all other offerings, since the thought is the beginning of everything.
Zohar for All, VaYikrah (The Lord Called), item 73
It turns out that everything happens in our minds. We need not work physically. The entire world is a spiritual world, a world of forces. We see by technology how we are advancing to a state where big factories and machines that produce metals are becoming redundant. When we act by thought, the world becomes much more “ethereal,” spiritual. Through our thoughts, we will rise toward the correct scrutiny, sacrifice offerings, and by them approach the good life.
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Below is a collection of material discussing how Kabbalah relates to the protests and riots taking place increasingly in our world today…
Education on the Laws of Nature Is the Means for Reform, Not Resistance
If governments do not understand the law of evolution of human society, people will suffer, but the change will still happen. It is better not to resist, but to study nature, as Kabbalah suggests, to study the laws of mutual guarantee (Arvut), of new relationships of humanity as one body, and follow them. [Source: Dr. Michael Laitman, "The War for Peace"]
There Will be No Tomorrow if We Continue the Way We Are. Building Tomorrow Requires Integration & Connection
The problem is that the people who are protesting do not yet understand that the reason for all of the dissatisfaction is the loss of hope for the future. This bothers people even more than the fact that there is nothing to live on. A person does not feel that there is something good waiting for him tomorrow. And it is necessary to give people an explanation that there will be no tomorrow if we will continue the way we are! After all, this way we are only speeding up the destruction of the world.
What benefit would it give to overturn everything and to change one thing for something similar? There used to be one head of government and now there will be another one. So what will change, really? Things will only get worse.
Until we become integral and connected with everyone and with the environment into one system, we will not have any feeling or thought that will enable us to build tomorrow. Now, the only question is: How much longer will we have to suffer in order to understand this? How many more blows will we have to endure in order to want to hear it? [Source: Dr. Laitman, "Are Mass Protests an Effective Means of Reform?"]
What Needs to Change so there Will be Peace?
The Guardian: ”The least one can say is that this crisis offers proof that it is not the people but experts themselves who do not know what they are doing. In Western Europe we are effectively witnessing a growing inability of the ruling elite – they know less and less how to rule. Look at how Europe is dealing with the Greek crisis: putting pressure on Greece to repay debts, but at the same time ruining its economy through imposed austerity measures and thereby making sure that the Greek debt will never be repaid. …
“And therein resides the true message of the ‘irrational’ popular protests all around Europe: The protesters know very well what they don’t know; they don’t pretend to have fast and easy answers; but what their instinct is telling them is nonetheless true – that those in power also don’t know it. In Europe today, the blind are leading the blind.”
Comment by Dr. Laitman: The process of growing should break out in the leading countries to force management to recognize its inability to understand and control what is happening. At the same time, more people will recognize the need to change their attitude towards themselves and the world, feeling the necessity to change not the world, its management, system, but to change the human being first, by way of the widespread implementation of a short course (2-3 months) in integral education, to raise awareness of the general population to the level where nature forces us to rise. After that, it is possible to introduce gradual reforms at all levels and systems of society. [Source: Dr. Laitman, "The Blind Leading the Blind"]
To learn more about Kabbalah’s attitude to protests, riots, social reform, the global crisis and the way to world peace, it is recommended to take the free courses. The reason is that many of the concepts and terms we have a 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, and related topics like:
- Humanity’s globalization and today’s global crisis explained by Kabbalah.
- How to use nature’s examples to model a perfect existence for humanity.
- Why have all attempts toward a peaceful existence among humanity failed? What was the missing element in all those attempts?
- How does Kabbalah provide what was missing in all past attempts to make a peaceful existence for humanity?
…then it’s recommended to take the free courses…
Images in this post: Top: Bandura, Ivan. “Maidan Reboot on the St. Michael’s Square.” Flickr. Yahoo!, 30 Nov. 2013. Web. 24 Feb. 2014. Middle: Bandura, Ivan. “Riot Police Blocking the Way to the Parliament Building on Sunday Night.” Flickr. Yahoo!, 8 Dec. 2013. Web. 24 Feb. 2014. Bottom: Bandura, Ivan. “Youth of the Nation for Euro Integration.” Flickr. Yahoo!, 28 Nov. 2013. Web. 24 Feb. 2014.
The purpose of our lives is to reach adhesion with God, the Creator, according to the law of equivalence of form, which means that we need to become “human” (“Adam” in Hebrew, from the word “Domeh,” meaning “similar” to the Creator).
Kabbalists have used many terms in their texts to explain God: the Creator, Nature, Lord, Upper Force, Upper Light, King, and more. These all define a quality of giving and love, which is the source of our lives and of everything on the still, vegetative, animate and human levels of existence.
In order to find where God is, or in other words, to reach adhesion with the Creator, we first need to prepare our desire so that it becomes similar to the Creator’s desire.
The nature of our desire – reception, a desire to receive pleasure for our own personal benefit – is opposite to the Creator’s desire – bestowal, a desire to give and love.
Therefore, there is work and a method (Kabbalah) where a person can change their desire to resemble the Creator’s desire. When that transformation takes place, a person finds God, i.e. attains the Creator.
The work involves rising above every characteristic in our desire to receive pleasure; all our hatred, envy, ambition, pride and thirst for power become included within that very desire to receive pleasure, and we need to rise above it all in order to become similar to the Creator, and thereby attain adhesion with Him.
It seems to us as though the Creator is somewhere outside of us, but in fact, He is revealed inside that common desire to give and love that we build. Therefore, to perceive God, the Creator, we need to perceive everything as if existing in one place. We build this space for the revelation of the Creator.
To learn more about God and how to attain God, it is recommended to take the free courses. The reason is that many of the concepts and terms we have a 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, and related topics like:
- What are the benefits of having a revelation of the Creator? (Topic tackled in lesson 1)
- Why is adhesion with the Creator the purpose of our lives? And if everyone is destined to reach this purpose, then what’s the point of studying Kabbalah, what does it give? (Topic tackled in lesson 2)
- What does it mean to rise above our desire to receive pleasure? How is it different to what many other methods say about suppressing our desire? (Topic in lesson 4)
God is what you discover in your actions. You discover the force of God, which is a force of giving and love, as much as you make actions of giving and love yourself. Then, in your actions, you discover the internal force that is called “God,” or “the Creator” (“Boreh” in Hebrew), which means “Bo” (“Come”) and “Reh” (“See”) – “come and see.”
Spiritual attainment takes place entirely through the principle of “By Your actions, I will know You.” By my actions, where I am in this world, toward God, I attain God’s force of giving and love that fulfills me. In other words, I attain the Creator.
When does a baby start recognizing its mother? It gets an impression from her actions. However, the baby does not discover anything from this impression, but simply feels a caring, loving attitude emanating from her. When the baby begins reacting to its mother, repeating actions she wants rather than doing what the baby wants, the baby then starts attaining her. In essence, the baby’s entire upbringing comes down to this.
In this same way, we attain God, the Creator. I perform actions in accordance with the Reshimot (spiritual genes) that arise within me. This is called “By Your actions,” and thus, “I shall know You.”
Why is it “Your actions?” After all, they are my actions, aren’t they? No, the Creator has given me the Reshimot. He has given me the desire and the environment as well as the strength to perform these actions. That is why, after every action, I say, “These are Your actions.” However, through these actions that have passed through me, albeit with my participation and desire, I come to know You (God, the Creator).
Who is it that comes to know You? There is a certain point of my free will called my own “I.” I have triggered these actions from You, and thus, I come to know You. From Your actions, I come to know You. Inside me, there is an “I” that comes to know You. The actions are His, but the attainment is mine.
To learn more about God and how to attain God, it is recommended to take the free courses. The reason is that many of the concepts and terms we have a 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, and related topics like:
- The ultimate contradiction about having a God: if there is a God that’s all good and loving, then why is there so much suffering? (The topic tackled in lesson 2)
- Why is God hidden from you? How can you attain the perception & sensation of God? (Topic in lesson 9)
- What does it mean that God is a quality of giving and love? What are the actions of giving and love that we can do in order to reveal God? (Topic tackled in lesson 1).
Exodus, 35:1-38:20, 38:21-40:38
This Week’s Torah Portion | February 16 – February 22, 2014 - Adar I 23 – Adar I 29, 5774
In A Nutshell
The portion, VaYakhel (And Moses Assembled), begins with the commandment, “Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you a holy day” (Exodus, 35:2). The portion also deals with the donation of the people. The donation is in gold, silver, copper, precious fabrics, and so forth. Moses determines that Bezalel and Ahaliav will be the ones performing the holy work because they were wisehearted and would collect the donation that came from the entire nation, including the women.
Bezalel and Ahaliav tell Moses that the donations are so voluminous that there is surplus and no need for more. Moses declares this to the people.
The portion, Pekudei (Accounts), mentions the names of the people who took part in building the tabernacle, Itamar, son of Aaron the priest, Bezalel, son of Uri, and Ahaliav, son of Ahisemech.
As the building of the tabernacle concluded, the children of Israel brought it to Moses, who made sure it was done according to the Creator’s commandment. The Creator tells Moses on which day to establish the tabernacle, and by which order to sanctify each of its elements. He also commands Moses to anoint Aaron and his sons as priests.
The end of the portion tells of the cloud that covers the tent of meeting. Each time the cloud rose above the tabernacle the children of Israel traveled, and each time it descended on the tabernacle they parked.
Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman
Both portions present a sequence of one topic. The Torah begins with “I have created the evil inclination; I have created for it the Torah as a spice.” The evil inclination is our entire nature manifesting in our hatred for one another. First we must discover it, hence the first revelation of the evil inclination takes place with Abraham in the Tower of Babylon. Subsequently, we discover it in the hard labor in Egypt, then at the foot of Mount Sinai, where hatred prevailed between everyone, as it is written, “Hatred descended to the nations of the world.” This is the recognition of evil.
It is no simple task to know the evil. It does not concern discovering that one is lazy or deceitful, thieving, or exploitive. Rather, the evil appears only when a person wants to unite with others. It happens only among those who are drawn to connection, to “love your neighbor as yourself.” When they try, nature does not let them bond.
According to the Torah, which is the upper force, if one truly wishes to achieve love of others, and through it the love of the Creator—which is the comprehensive love—and wants to discover the common, benevolent force that prevails in the world, all that one needs is the Torah.
Today it may seem to us that the world is terrible because we are examining it through our evil inclination, through our corrupted qualities. But “All who cast fault, cast fault in his own defect.” As we correct ourselves we become righteous and justify the Creator and His creation. Then we begin to see the world as good. Baal HaSulam describes it in his essay, “Concealment and Revelation of the Creator’s Face.”
One who begins to connect with others and love them, who draws closer to the global and integral world—as we discover it to be each day, hence the current surfacing of the wisdom of Kabbalah—begins to feel the evil. Then, and only then does one need the Torah, for it is the “light that reforms.”
The Torah has nothing to do with a person studying the text in the book. Rather, it is about one who studies in order to receive the light that corrects, to acquire more and more love for the world. In this manner we become more and more similar to the Creator, thus returning to the image of man, called Adam. The part we attain and correct over our evil inclination, the part that turns the evil inclination into a good inclination is called a “soul.”
This is why we take from Egypt the primary Kelim (vessels), which are valuable in the eyes of the great evil inclination, and through which we emerge from the period known as “Egypt” and enter the recognition of the evil inclination, building from them the golden calf. When everything appears clearly and intensely, we truly need the Torah.
This is the reason why the first tablets where inappropriate for correction, but only the second tablets, with which Moses descended on the Day of Atonement and brought them to the people of Israel, once the people recognized the evil in them. We know the evil in us and need the Torah only after we see the golden calf within us and how we resist love of others and want to exploit the entire world.
The Torah explains the stages of building of the tabernacle—which desires out of the sum of evil desires we have toward others do we correct from receiving into giving, from hate to love. This is the whole Torah, the instruction how to do this. Instead of being immersed in our evil inclination, seeing only the narrow reality of this world, if we correct our desires even slightly we can open ourselves to see the upper world, here and now.
As we develop in this manner, the world around us opens and appears as the world of Assiya, Yetzira, Beria, Atzilut, and Adam Kadmon—the world of Ein Sof (infinity)—at the end of correction. First, we build a small Neshama (soul) that is common for all. This is the “tent of meeting, which includes the still, vegetative, animate, and speaking, which is our quality, the Yod-Hey-Vav-Hey, the complete HaVaYaH within us. We must take from each desire and connect everything into a single, integral desire that is common to all, and which will connect to all the people who are ready for it, building together a united, common Kli (vessel). This is how everyone advances.
A person must have the qualities of Bezalel, of a priest, Aaron the priest, and certainly those of Moses—the first of the priests, Levites, and Israel. The Torah explains how we can use the light that we draw in order to understand which desire we can correct now, and which we can correct later.
As Moses said in the previous portion, only half of the desires were corrected using the half shekel, the shekel of the holiness. The other half comes from above. The half is our deficiency, and the other half is the light that corrects and complements. With our efforts we build everything that depends on us, all the qualities of the soul: priests, Levites, and Israel, using silver, gold, and various precious stones.
Through the mind and heart that only the qualities of Bezalel have, as it is a replication from the Creator, we feel that we have an example by which to build our soul in accord with the Creator who appears before us. This is how we build the soul in which we experience the new world, which is the Kli, our corrected desire. Within that desire is the force of bestowal and love called Boreh (the Creator), Bo Re’eh (come see). This is how we come to see, discover the Creator.
The first steps alternate in appearance between cloud and fire, as the Creator ascending and descending. “Rise up, O Lord, let Your enemies be scattered, and let those who hate You flee before You” (Numbers, 10:35). In our current situation, in our world, we cannot talk about these things or about the parts we need to correct because we still have no sensation of our soul; we do not find these desires in us or know quite how to scrutinize them or connect them in this extremely complex system. The Torah tells us this as a story that is a replication from this world: rocks, trees, people, clothes, the world in general, time, motion, and place. These forms are described so we may discern which parts of the soul we must correct.
Within the soul are forces that work in order to receive, and must be turned into working in order to bestow. We still cannot express these forces and name them because we do not know them, so the Torah tells us the story in its own way, and Kabbalists convey it in the “language of roots and branches.”
Kabbalists tell us about the forces that operate, about the parts of the soul. The Book of Zohar with the Sulam (Ladder) commentary that Baal HaSulam wrote narrates it in the language of Kabbalah, so we can understand what is meant by the words of the Torah. We can understand that the Torah speaks only of the parts of our soul, the correction of the heart, which is our desires. In this manner we can unravel the entire Torah, discover it in our hearts as a corrected system, and discover the upper force, the Creator, within all that.
Questions and Answers
What does it mean to gather?
Gathering refers to the children of Israel that Moses assembles in order to declare the Sabbath day, which is the conclusion of the work. The goal must be clear from the start because “the end of an act is in the preliminary thought.” If we know why we must achieve Dvekut (adhesion) with the Creator, why we must make ourselves similar, discover Him, and be like Him, literally “face to face,” namely be in Moses’ degree, we must know it in advance. Even in the smallest action, there must be the same goal, the same clear line drawn out and compelling us to advance only in this direction. Whatever problems arise along the way, ascents, descents, and twists, they will all be for progressing.
This is why in the desert that Israel traverse there is constant recognition of the evil, and it is actually for the best. Additional desires keep surfacing and we must correct them in order to advance toward the land of Israel—the corrected desire where the Creator resides.
Why do we have to know all the details by which we advance, these ascents and descents?
This is how we attain the plan of creation, its purpose, the understanding, sensation, and knowledge of it. There is a difference between the will to receive that the Creator created existence from absence in the beginning of creation, and the will to receive at the end of creation. At the end of creation that desire has a mind. It remains the same will to receive, but with a mind, comprehension, recognition, and sensation. Everything comes from the connection of mind and heart.
Will a person necessarily experience all the elements described in this portion?
A person will not experience it without planning to, without desiring to participate, without raising MAN and requesting to correct. Only one who wants, feels, and is aware of how much he or she hates but wants to love will experience everything. Therefore, we must correct some of the still in us, some of the vegetative, and thus discover the reality we are in, and from it reveal the other reality.
Gradually, we become a structure that contains all the mind and heart, all the wisdom in the world. The whole of nature is within us and we include all the worlds. There is nothing outside of us. The vast world we depict outside of us does not exist; it is only depicted in this manner in our external Kelim, which must all be made internal. Hence, there is nothing but man and the Creator who are as a single system.
From The Zohar: Whoever Is of a Generous Heart, Let Him Bring It
“Take from among you a donation.” When a person places his will for the work of his Master, that will first rises to the heart—the persistence and the basis of the entire body. Afterwards that good will rises over all the organs of the body, the will of all the organs of the body and the will of the heart join together, pulling over them the brightness of Divinity to dwell with them. And that person is the Creator’s portion, as it is written, “Take from among you a donation.” “From among you” is the extension, to take upon yourselves that donation, the Divinity, so that the person will be a portion of the Creator.
Zohar for All, VaYakhel (And Moses Assembled), item 71
Initially, there is an egoistic desire that a person corrects by donation. The donation is the part of the will to receive with which one can enhance the quality of bestowal. The donation raises the part of bestowal with which one wants to dominate and advance.
By donations that we put aside from the ego, namely parts we can sanctify and invert how we use them into bestowal and love, we advance up to the end of correction. At that time it is not building a tabernacle or advancing in the tabernacle in time, place, and motion. Rather, it is reaching Mount Moriah and building the Temple.
Kabbalists attain the complete structure, the complete soul, called Beit HaMikdash (House of Holiness, Temple). In it are all the parts: priest, Levite, Israel, and the nations of the world. The great Kabbalist, Ramchal, Rabbi Moshe Chaim Lozzato, wrote a special essay known as “The Dwelling Place of the Most High,” in which he drew in great detail what the third Temple should look like. He did not refer to the rocks in Jerusalem, but to the structure of the corrected soul, which must eventually be on the Sabbath, as was said at the beginning of the portion. We arrive at the Sabbath upon the conclusion of the six days, or six thousand years, when all the Kelim are corrected and there is nothing more to do or to work with but to enjoy in happiness and peace.
When the children of Israel bring donations, Moses says, “That’s enough, you’ve gone too far.” It sounds odd because we say that there are no limits on bestowal.
True, but each degree has its own scrutiny. The soul consists of three parts: NHY, HGT, HBD, or Ibur (conception), Yenika (nursing), and Mochin (mindfulness/adulthood), or Nefesh, Ruach, Neshama. Neshama is named after the great light that can be in it.
Hence, on the degree of Israel they give a lot; on the degree of Levites they give less; and on the degree of priests they give even less. It depends on a person’s degree and on who is performing the scrutiny.
It also depends on the degree to which a person raises the desires. If the person stays in desires of the Israel degree, whatever one brings is fine. But when the desires are at the level of Levites or priests, we haven’t enough forces to be in such a high degree with all of our desires, so they are restricted. This is the meaning of the degrees in the soul.
If the Creator gives to us and then says, “Give it back,” why did He give it in the first place?
The Creator created an entire world, the world of Ein Sof, then broke it and gave us a broken world and a broken Adam (soul) so we may fix it. It is similar to a puzzle or LEGO bricks that we put together and learn as we advance. If we give this game to a child without putting it together, the child will break it because children are driven by the urge to understand and know. By nature, we cannot approach a complete thing. To understand it, study it, we must have it broken.
How does all that connect to donations?
We take our broken desires and raise them as high as we can toward correction, and the correction comes from above. The Creator has given us everything broken; we need only raise that corruption, meaning recognize it, and ask Him to partake in the correction. The correction itself always comes from above through the light that reforms, 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.”
We are in the middle. We do not belong to the evil inclination; it is not our own because in truth, the Creator has made it and given it. We also do not belong to the light that reforms. Our job is only to connect the two: the corrupt desire below with the light from above. That is, all we need is to ask, demand, and pray for correction.
How do we do it properly? How should we prepare this work so that we bring it to the Creator in the right way?
Our work is to sort each desire whose time has come. First we scrutinize it through the light, then set it up for correction through the light and ask for correction. These things can happen only by the light that shines, so without studying the wisdom of Kabbalah it is impossible to do anything, as this is what brings the light.
Do we receive the light when we study Kabbalah?
Yes. During the study a person begins to feel how everything falls into place. If the study is done properly, it takes some time for one to actually achieve it, but then one can study the Bible, the Pentateuch, Gemarah, and Mishnah and they will all be a source of light to that person.
From The Zohar: These Are the Accounts of the Tabernacle
And as the desire of all of Israel was in what they volunteered, so was their desire in that calculation. By their desire, they extended the Mochin of calculation, and then the whole work was done by desire. Hence, calculation is needed here in the tabernacle, since by calculation is the work done. This is why it is written, “These are the accounts of the tabernacle.”
It is a calculation that faults all the calculations in the world—extension of GAR de Hochma—which are not of Kedusha [holiness], for they do not persist, but destroy the place to which they are drawn. Yet, this calculation in the tabernacle, which is VAK de Hochma, persists more than all the others, and by that the tabernacle persists, and not by another.
Zohar for All, Pekudei (Accounts), item 49
There is a big difference between VAK and GAR. GAR means we are drawing by ourselves; VAK means that we are rejecting, that everything is done in bestowal. The lights are all passing through us; we are receiving the full Ein Sof in order to convey it to everyone. But we are not harmed when we work entirely in order to bestow, thus making ourselves similar to the source, the Creator. He passes through Him to everyone, and likewise, when we all connect, passing from everyone to everyone, the great sphere called “the common soul of Ein Sof” is made.
 Babylonian Talmud, Masechet Kidushin, 30b.
 Midrash Rabah, Shemot (Exodus), Portion 2, Paragraph 4.
 Jerusalem Talmud, Seder Nashim, Masechet Nedarim, Chapter 9, p 30b.
 Babylonian Talmud, Masechet Kidushin, p 70a.
 The Writings of Baal HaSulam, p 766.
 Midrash Rabah, Eicha, “Introduction,” Paragraph 2
 Lecha Doddi, Elkabetz, sung on Sabbath Evening
 Babylonian Talmud, Masechet Kidushin, 30b; Midrash Rabah, Eicha, “Introduction,” Paragraph 2.
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Work is correction of the system of the tabernacle. This is nothing more than that. There are nine works in the work of the tabernacle; the rest are neither work nor craft.
A cloud indicates concealment. The Creator hides Himself, but the disclosure is in concealment, when one sees that He is hidden. There are opposites here, which is why it corrects us. The cloud leads us, and even Moses went into the cloud.
A donation to the Creator means that the more we increase the importance of the Creator in our eyes—the importance of the quality of love and bestowal—the more we can advance.
The soul contains a surrounding, external Kli (vessels). Although it contains great lights, they are surrounding. Also, there are the inner Kelim (plural of Kli), which are the tabernacle. Similar to our world, we have a Shoresh, Neshama, and Guf (root, soul, and body respectively) within us, and Levush and Heichal (clothing, hall respectively) that are the rest of the world. This is how we are built, how we perceive the Kli we are in. But everything is within us even when it seems to us that everything is external.
The same is true for the tabernacle. It is an inner tabernacle, surrounded by the tent of meeting, a court, and many other details. When we begin to notice it and study it, we see that each element is truly a unique form of work.
From The Zohar: Beautiful Boughs, the Joy of the Whole Earth
The beauty of the world and the vision of the world were not seen in the world until the tabernacle was built and established, and the ark entered the holy place. From that time, the vision of everything, of Divinity, was seen in the world and the world was established. The worthy come into the tabernacle and the ark until they arrive at the middle point that is there, which is “Beautiful boughs, the joy of the whole …” Once they arrive there, the ark started and said, “This is My resting place forever; here I will dwell, for I have desired it.”
Zohar for All, Pekudei (Accounts), item 42
When we arrive at this exciting moment, there is nothing more sublime. We are in contact and Dvekut (adhesion) with the Creator, and discover the goal for which we have labored so long. Henceforth we only enhance the point of Dvekut through the end of correction.
Today the world is in a crisis. It is the beginning of the way, of the inclination toward connection. Especially, it is the beginning of the revelation of the wisdom of Kabbalah. It is written, “And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know Me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them” (Jeremiah, 31:33). In other words, everyone will know about the Creator. This is the wisdom of which it was written, “they shall all know Me,” and “My house shall be called ‘a house of prayer for all the nations” (Isaiah, 56:7).
In other words, the tabernacle, the tent, the Third Temple, all the desires, everything that exists in the universe will achieve connection and correction, as it is written, “I will bring them to the mountain of My holiness, and I will rejoice them in My house of prayer, their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be acceptable on My altar, for My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nation” (Isaiah, 56:7).
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In the below excerpt, the Ari (Kabbalist Isaac Luria) describes the intermediary stages of the four stages of creation, and mentions how between the animal level and human level of evolution, there is the intermediary stage of monkeys.
This raises the question, how could the Ari, the great Kabbalist who passed away in 1572 (three centuries before Charles Darwin, who is famous for discussing this phenomenon), state that monkeys were an intermediary phase of development between animals and humans, i.e. since Kabbalists only write about what they clearly attain & perceive?
The answer is in what is known as “Reshimot“(informational genes) in Kabbalah. Reshimot can be thought of similarly to frames and scenes in a long film reel (of our life) that unravel like a chain, from small to large, and which give rise to everything that exists.
Since Reshimot precede and give rise to our perception, we cannot see the Reshimot themselves. What we see is a resultant picture where species’ originate “one from another,” whereas in reality they originate “one after another.” This is what the Ari explains in the below except, i.e. the order of development of Reshimot.
The world was created by the desire to bestow (in other words, Nature or the Creator), and every creature was also created by this same desire to bestow. The only matter of creation is the desire to receive, which develops and expresses itself by creating an outward appearance (a bodily shell) according to its qualities. However, we do not perceive the forces of the desire (i.e. where the Reshimot reside) and only perceive the external wrapping. This is why we think that they come from one another.
Here is the excerpt by the Ari:
Indeed, in all these four inner Behinot there is one Behina that contains them all. It is a median between each two Behinot and consists of both. For example, biologists write that between the still and the vegetative there is the coral; between the vegetative and the animate there is Adnei ha Sadeh (Ledges of the field), mentioned in Masechet Kilaim. It is like a dog that grows on the ground with its navel rooted in the soil, from which it sucks its sustenance. When you cut off its navel, it dies. Between the animate and the speaking there is the monkey.
The above is an excerpt from Talmud Eser Sefirot (The Study of the Ten Sefirot) Part 3. This text is part of the study material for lesson 10 in the Free Kabbalah Course – “Creation & Evolution Explained: From Before the Big Bang to the Future, Final State of Existence.” Sign Up for the Course Here »
The post Who Else Wants to See the Roots of Creation & Evolution? appeared first on Kabbalah Blog.
There is a positive force, meaning constructive, and a negative force, meaning negative and destructive. They create and complement the entire reality in general and particular through their harsh and perpetual war with one another. As we have said above, the negative force appears at the end of every political phase, elevating it to a better state, and thus the phases follow one another until they reach their ultimate perfection.
Let us take planet Earth as an example: first, it was but a ball of fog-like gas. Through the gravity inside it, it concentrated the atoms in it, over a period of time, into a closer circle. As a result, the ball of gas was turned into a liquid ball of fire.
Over eons of terrible wars between the two forces in Earth, the positive and the negative, the chilling force in it was finally triumphant over the force of liquid fire, and cooled a thin crust around the Earth and hardened there.
However, the planet had not yet grown still from the war between the forces, and after some time the liquid force of fire overpowered and erupted in a great noise from the bowels of the Earth, rising and shattering the cold hard crust to pieces, turning the planet into a liquid ball of fire once again. Then an era of new wars began until the cool force overpowered the force of fire once more, and a second crust was chilled around the ball, harder, thicker and more durable against the outbreak of the fluids from amidst the ball.
This time it lasted longer, but at last, the liquid forces overpowered once again and erupted from the bowels of the Earth, breaking the crust in pieces. Once more, everything was ruined and became a liquid ball.
Thus, the eons interchanged, and every time the cooling force was victorious, the crust it made was thicker. Finally, the positive forces overpowered the negative forces and they came into complete harmony: the liquids took their place in the abdomen of the Earth, and the cold crust became thick enough around them to enable the creation of organic life as it is today.
All organic bodies develop by the same order. From the moment they are planted to the end of the ripening, they undergo several hundred situations due to the two forces, the positive and the negative, and their war against each other, as described regarding the Earth. These wars yield the ripening of the fruit.
Every living thing begins also with a tiny drop of fluid, and through gradual development over several hundred phases by the power of the tug-of-war, finally reaches…
…a great ox fitting for every labor, or a grown person fit for his tasks. However, there should be yet another difference between the ox and the human: today, the ox has already reached its ultimate phase of development. For us, however, the material force is yet insufficient to bring us to completion because of the contemplative power in us, which is thousands of time more valuable than the material force in us. Thus, for humans there is a new order of gradual development, unlike any other animal; it is the gradual development of human thought.
In addition, being a social creature, the individual development is not enough. Rather, one’s ultimate perfection depends on the development of all the members of society.
The above is an excerpt from Baal HaSulam’s (Kabbalist Yehuda Ashlag) article, “The Solution.” This text is part of the study material for lesson 10 in the Free Kabbalah Course – “Creation & Evolution Explained: From Before the Big Bang to the Future, Final State of Existence.” Sign Up for the Course Here »
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This Week’s Torah Portion | February 9 – February 15, 2014 – Adar I 9 – Adar I 15, 5774
In A Nutshell
The portion, Ki Tissa (When You Take), begins with a request of each one of the children of Israel to donate half a shekel for the building of the tabernacle. The portion mentions some other details about the tabernacle such as the anointing oil, the table, and the menorah and its vessels, appointing Bezalel, son of Uri Ben Hur, as chief craftsman, Ahaliav Ben Ahisemech as his assistant, and commanding the children of Israel to observe the Sabbath.
Later, Moses ascends to Mount Sinai to receive the tablets of the covenant but delays in his return, so the children of Israel seek proof that the Creator exists and demand of Aaron to build a golden calf. Aaron agrees, takes their gold vessels, melts them, and builds the golden calf.
When Moses returns from the mountain and sees it, the tablets of the covenant break. The Creator wishes to destroy and ruin the entire people of Israel, and Moses pleads for their souls.
Moses speaks to the Creator “face to face,” and wishes to conceal himself.
At the end of the process, the Creator agrees and makes a covenant with the people of Israel. The Creator also promises Israel that they will enter the land of Israel, and repeats the commandment of the three Pilgrimage festivals (Shalosh Regalim) and the prohibition of idolatry.
Moses stays with the Creator on Mount Sinai forty days and forty nights, writes on the tablets, and comes down from the mountain. It is written, “And it came to pass when Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tables of the testimony in Moses’ hand … that Moses did not know that the skin of his face beamed while He talked with him” (Exodus, 34:29). It was so much so that he had to hide himself from the people once more because they feared speaking with him.
Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman
Those who do not know the language of Kabbalah will find it hard to understand that the text actually discusses a person’s inner development. It concerns our nature, which is the will to receive, an egoistic desire that requires correction. The Torah speaks only of the correction of the desire, 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 would reform them.”
The purpose of the correction is to transform our evil (egoistic) inclination, which aims only toward self-gratification and exploitation of the entire world for itself, and turn it into love of others, as in “love your neighbor as yourself.”
The Torah speaks of a process that is not simple, but which all of us experience. The general crisis we are in will cause us to come out to the light, to correction, similar to the exodus from Egypt. Today we are all standing before Mount Sinai with a huge ego, with all the Kelim (vessels) we have taken from Egypt. During the millennia of development, humanity has accumulated a massive ego; now we have no clue what to do with it, other than escape it.
When we are drawn toward Mount Sinai we discover a mountain of hate between us. Only the point within us, called Moses, pulls us forward toward connection with something higher, a higher degree—human degree of similarity with the Creator.
To do that, one who wishes to ascend to the human degree, and discover the Creator and the worlds around us must follow the unique line known as “half a shekel,” meaning neither to the right nor to the left, but the joining of the two. The will to receive, too, takes part because it is “help made against us” (Genesis, 2:18), and against it you need the reforming light.
We have two lines: on the left is the will to receive; on the right is the light. The more we combine them, the more we correct the will to receive to similarity with the light—working in order to bestow. It is written, “And the night will shine as the day; darkness as light” (Psalms, 139:12). This is how we advance. This is the first correction—no more and no less, but precisely half. We advance when we achieve that correction, that method of advancement.
Subsequently, the tabernacle and its vessels must be prepared, including the oil and all that comes with it. The role was given only to Bezalel. Bezalel within us is that which is Betzel El (in the shadow of God), under the shadow of the Creator. Bezalel replicates the qualities from the Creator, who appears to him, and this is why he is called “wisehearted.” He knows the right combination between the heart, the desire, and the wisdom, namely the intellect. Bezalel properly combines the right with the left, and has wisdom of the heart. This is why he is the one who can establish the tabernacle.
The tabernacle is the arrangement of the soul that we build within us from our 613 desires. It is built according to the right qualities, in which all the parts are connected in synchrony with the Creator. This is how we become similar to Him.
Our evil inclination has 613 qualities we must aim in order to bestow, toward love of others. Only those who have the quality of Bezalel—copying the qualities of the Creator onto oneself and becoming as His shadow—can do it.
Achieving this is done by connecting to the Shechina (Divinity), Malchut of Atzilut, who begins to replicate these qualities from Zeir Anpin of Atzilut. Zeir Anpin has six Sephirot: Hesed, Gevura, Tifferet, Netzah, Hod, and Yesod, where Malchut comes last and replicates. This is why our work is to replicate these six qualities from Zeir Anpin—called HaKadosh Baruch Hu (The Holy One, Blessed Be He), or Zeir Anpin of Atzilut—in the appearance of the Creator on all the workdays.
The wisdom of Kabbalah presents our goal—the revelation of the Creator to the creatures in this world. Through our senses, when the Creator is revealed to us, we join and increasingly attach ourselves to the Creator.
When we conclude replicating the six qualities comes the concluding seventh quality, the Sabbath. The Sabbath concludes itself by itself from above. This is why it is considered “awakening from above.” A special light comes and sets the six qualities in the right order, and there is nothing more we need to do.
This is why the prohibition on working during Sabbath is tantamount to intervening with something that belongs to the upper light. We work for six days setting up the right and left lines, directing the will to receive and the light, the mind and the heart. Finally, we present our work, and then “The Lord will conclude for me” (Psalms, 138:8). This is when we receive the completion of the degree. This is the process we must undergo through the correction of the entire soul, week by week until we conclude the six thousand years.
We must also consider that our soul consists of desires from the evil inclination that cannot be spotted by ordinary scrutiny. They require special examination that only the golden calf can make.
Although the Torah presents it in this way, the golden calf does not represent a fall or a decline, nor does it blame anyone. Any person who experiences this process must go through all the descents and falls, just as it happened with Pharaoh in Egypt, and with the children of Israel in the desert after the events of Mount Sinai.
Even when we move from Mount Sinai to the forty years in the desert we will continue to experience states that seem negative. Each time uncorrected desires surface, we “fall” into them, so we have no choice but to discover them and correct them. It is written, “There is not a righteous man on earth who does good and will not sin” (Ecclesiastes, 7:20), or “A person does not comprehend words of Torah unless he has failed in them.” Thus, first we must fail, scrutinize the failure and correct it, and then we are guaranteed to not repeat it. We are guaranteed to be kept because that desire has already been corrected into having the aim to bestow through which we progress toward love of others.
When we discover that despite the work we have done, we have not revealed the Creator, it is considered that Moses did not return from Mount Sinai. That is, we are drawn back to the intention to receive, the egoistic desire, called “the golden calf.”
Our corrupted desires are called “mixed multitude.” They ask, “Where did Moses go?” They claim we must keep going as we understand it, within us, following our reason and intellect, instead of above reason.
When we return to working within reason we are delighted. It seems to us that this way we understand and feel everything. We may not be ascending to higher degrees, but at least we are in a world that suits our egos. It is a very appealing state. We can see for ourselves how difficult it is to explain to people what nature is compelling us to do now, what is the method of correction and how we can rise to the next level. The Creator, nature, Elokim (which is nature in Gematria) is pressing us and wishes to raise us, and we are seemingly resisting it with a golden calf, celebrating and rejoicing.
When the point in the heart appears, it collides very powerfully with the egoistic desire that has broken out once more. That collision is the shattering of the tablets.
The collision is between the point in the heart—through which we desire to rise and cling to the upper one, to a higher degree, to discover worlds, infinity, and be in a realm of bestowal—and the revelation that we are actually at the point of being a golden calf. We cannot tolerate that contrast, and as a result, all the elements in which we were previously in Kedusha (holiness) shatter.
Those who sinned in the calf were sentenced to death. Subsequently, Moses called, “Whoever is for the Lord, come to me!” (Exodus, 32:26). This is the correction of the desires that have appeared now, that are connected to the golden calf, and with which it is impossible to continue.
Following the correction of all the other desires—the three thousand discernments that Moses killed—he ascends to Mount Sinai yet again. Internally, it means that that point within us rises once again and we receive the tablets of the covenant once more. We rediscover Godliness, the Creator, and begin to come down with the second tablets.
Yet, there is a big difference between the first tablets and the second tablets—Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). The first tablets and the golden calf took place on the ninth of Av (11th month in the Hebrew calendar). The occurrence of the first tablets happens from Shavuot to the ninth of Av. Those of the second tablets take place from the ninth of Av to Yom Kippur. Forty days plus forty days are the time frame of correction from which it is possible to continue.
From The Zohar: Half a Shekel
Half a shekel, half a hin, means half a measure. The Vav is the middle between the two Heys because the Vav is the middle line, called “scales,” which weigh the two lights, right and left, being the two Heys, so the left will not be greater than the right. This is why he diminishes the left, so it will not shine from above downward but only from below upward.
Zohar for All, Ki Tissa (When You Take), item 4
Our big will to receive, the ego, is on the left side. The light, which we can draw if we work correctly, according to the instructions of the wisdom of Kabbalah, is on the right. These are the two Yods, as in the letter Aleph, with the diagonal in the middle as the Parsa (partition) . We must join the light from above, the upper Yod, with the will to receive from below, namely the lower Yod (sometimes written as Dalet, which is Behina Dalet, the Malchut in us, instead of the Yod). The diagonal line keeps the balance between them, thus creating the line.
This is why Aleph is the first letter in the alphabet. The portion, Ki Tissa (When You Take), is the beginning of the actual Torah because it engages in the building of the tabernacle and its filling. This is why we must constantly maintain that half, so the right is not more than the left or the other way around. If there is a surplus of desires to receive that we did not correct to the fullest possible extent, then we are not in the desire to bestow. If we take from the will to receive more than we can correct, we are in a state of recognition of evil. It has to be a very precise operation.
Once we restrict all our desires and avoid using the desire in order to receive, but only in order to bestow, we can continue sorting out those small parts of our desire from light to heavy, and join all the corrections to the light.
This is the letter Vav with the punctuation marks, Holam, Shuruk, Hirik, or Kamatz, which is as the Parsa. The light has to be above it because all the corrections are in ascent. In our world—our situation—we will never achieve the revelation of Godliness. There might be various psychological phenomena, but the revelation of Godliness can happen only if we rise above the Parsa.
Following the restriction, once we have the middle line, when we join a group and act in it—as Kabbalists suggest we should—when we try to come out of ourselves and be above reason, above the diagonal Vav, from below upward—we receive the revelation of the spiritual world.
Questions and Answers
Beresheet (Genesis) speaks of the creation of the world. In the desert, things take a long time to unfold, with numerous details along the way, as the portions describe. What do those details symbolize?
The Torah cannot tell us about all that we are going through. It only explains the milestones. It is similar to driving on a road where each mile or several miles are marked by signs.
Why are various garments and a description of the altar mentioned in the desert?
It is the correction of our soul. We have received a system of 613 desires, and each of them consists of all the others, and all are connected. That system is completely broken. It is as though we were given an electronic or mechanical device that is completely broken and we have no clue how to fix it. We would look at it dumbfounded without knowing how to approach it.
This is why we are taught how to do it: “Look at this, fix that, than this, but first that.” There are so many details in our soul, and all of it must become similar to the Creator in its inner structure, in how it works. And although it is the opposite substance from the Creator, “existence from absence,” it must come to resemble the “existence from existence.”
We cannot understand how important our world is, with all its complexities and myriad connections, every atom and every cell in the universe. This is why there are so many details in the correction of the soul. One who walks this path takes part in it and discovers it, and it arouses immense excitement and a sense of harmony and fulfillment.
How do you explain that everything exists and happens simultaneously—the point in the heart is on Mount Sinai, the highest connection, while other desires in me are building a golden calf?
This is the detachment within, where the Moses in us disappears. When Moses disappears we lose contact with the Creator, as this is the only point that connects us with Him. As soon as we disconnect, we find ourselves immersed in our desires, falling into the golden calf. These are the Kelim (vessels) we have taken out of Egypt, Kelim that want the light of Hochma (wisdom), namely pleasure for ourselves alone.
How come the desire obtains contact with the upper force and promptly afterward falls into connection with the golden calf?
There are no delays. There is either Kedusha (holiness) or Klipa (shell/peel). There are no in betweens. We must get used to constantly being in one of the two states; there are no others in our world.
Are Moses’ ascents and descents on Mount Sinai the ups and downs we are talking about?
It is about alternating revelations and concealments. It is similar to the festival of Purim and the story of Esther, who is also revelation in concealment. There cannot be revelation if it is not preceded by concealment. Had Moses not ascended Mount Sinai there would have been no golden calf. But without the golden calf we would not know what to correct. This is how we always progress, on two “legs.”
 Babylonian Talmud, Masechet Kidushin, 30b.
 Midrash Rabah, Eicha, “Introduction,” Paragraph 2.
 Jerusalem Talmud, Seder Nashim, Masechet Nedarim, Chapter 9, p 30b.
 Psalms 49:13
 Zohar for All, Pinehas, item 247.
 Babylonian Talmud, Masechet Gitin, p 43a.
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Half a shekel is the condition that one sets for oneself from within, in one’s own scrutiny and correction, so as to never come to a state of drawing lights for oneself, from above downward, but always receive lights from below upward, in rejection. This is how we discover Ein Sof (infinity).
The problem is that when we constantly draw for ourselves we can only see the layer closest to us, known as “this world.” All that stands behind this layer is worlds, Ein Sof, eternity, wholeness, which are hidden from us and are cut off from us. If we perceive reality not by drawing to ourselves but by exiting ourselves we will suddenly discover Ein Sof.
Is it we who determine the half shekel?
Without the half shekel we cannot begin to work with the Torah. Each of us must give the half shekel. We must set ourselves up in such a way that from this moment on our instrument for the revelation of Godliness will be the half shekel—balance, only giving, and in as much equivalence of form as possible.
The golden calf is all the Zahav (gold), meaning Ze Hav (give this). It is the whole of the immense will to receive that exists within us for all the pleasures. All our desires exist simultaneously.
We work with the revelation of our egoistic desire, and therefore constantly return to it. The back of the neck is like Pharaoh, the posterior side of creation. When the big will to receive appears, it actually helps us.
A stiff-necked people is not necessarily bad; it is a good thing, too. We have huge Kelim, with which we can attain godliness. A person with small desires does not belong to Israel; Israel must be very egoistic. The nations of the world, however, have small Kelim, and therefore cannot obtain Godliness. The people of Israel is called a “stiff-necked people,” meaning that we have something with which to progress, something to correct and go with.
The most important thing for us is to keep advancing, stick to the goal and advance toward it. Regardless of what will happen, even the golden calf or three thousand slain or other conditions, everything passes. And in spite of everything we will reach the goal.
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Ganey ha Ta’arucha main hall
Groups around the world connecting virtually
The focus group, the audio broadcast live during the workshop
Each question is shown on the big screen during the workshop
Friend speaking in the focus group
Friends connecting virtually, their webcam shots from around the world
New York group
The focus group
Dr. Michael Laitman leading the workshop
The diagram Dr. Laitman drew during the workshop (English translation)
The workshop’s questions posted live on the Kabbalah.info Twitter page
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For the second time running, the World Zohar Convention 2014 hosted by Kabbalah.info continued to establish itself as one of the world’s most unifying and culturally diverse gatherings. Moreover, this year’s World Zohar Convention symbolized the launch of the first Hebrew publication of the Zohar L’Am (Zohar for All) book series, i.e. The Book of Zohar adapted for our generation.
Tagged “Unity Transforms Reality,” the World Zohar Convention, held on February 5-7 at the Tel Aviv Trade Fairs Center, hosted over 10,000 attendees from 64 countries, and celebrated what The Zohar was intended for: the uniting of people through deeply transforming experiences, where by learning the hidden layers of nature and themselves, people uncovered the uniting and harmonious reality that exists at higher levels of perception.
Record numbers made the journey to the 2014 convention. Many of the participants were attracted to the power of The Zohar and the study of Kabbalah by the Bnei Baruch Kabbalah Education & Research Institute’s free courses available through FreeKabbalahCourse.com, the Arutz 66 TV channel in Israel, and daily Kabbalah and Zohar lessons by the world’s foremost Kabbalist, Dr. Michael Laitman.
With lessons and workshops led by Dr. Laitman based on The Zohar, attendees at the convention were guided to uncover the essence of The Book of Zohar, which is the inner, united and whole reality, above the boundaries of time and space, and which can be discovered by everyone who longs for it.
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This Week’s Torah Portion | February 2 – February 8, 2014 – Adar I 2 – Adar I 8, 5774
In A Nutshell
In the portion, Tetzaveh (Command), the Creator provides Moses with additional details regarding the tabernacle, and commands the children of Israel to take olive oil to light the everlasting candle in the tent of meeting outside the veil, so it may burn from dusk to dawn.
The Creator instructs Moses to appoint Aaron and his sons, Nadav, Avihu, Elazar, and Itamar to be his priests. He elaborates on the commandment of preparing the holy garments “for honor and glory” (Exodus, 28: 2): the vest, fringe, coat, and the rest of the garments of the priest.
Afterward comes an explanation on the sanctification of Aaron and his sons for their role in the tabernacle, including the offering of an ox and two rams on the altar of the incense that will be positioned inside the tabernacle before the veil, and how the incense is to be made. Finally, the Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) is mentioned, which is to take place once a year.
Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman
The portion, Tetzaveh (Command), is very matter-of-fact, short, and pragmatic. The whole of the substance of creation is the desire to receive. This is the solid basis from which we should begin. We feel the will to receive within us divided into four levels: still, vegetative, animate, and speaking. All our desires are divided in this manner, and we give them the shape of bestowal, namely to aim them toward giving. All desires must be aimed toward our connection “as one man with one heart,” with love of others, as in “love your neighbor as yourself.”
To the extent that we correct each one of our desires, we shape the image of man—becoming similar to the Creator. This is Adam HaRishon (the first man), who shattered and divided into myriad souls. Our purpose is to reassemble those souls into that single soul. We achieve this by annulling our egos and connecting all our desires. The connection is on the levels of still, vegetative, animate, and speaking. In these degrees we gradually reconnect everything into the new reality that the Torah narrates.
The will to receive remains the same whether it strives to benefit others or itself. The difference lies in how we use it—for our own sake or for the sake of others. That is, do we want to use it to benefit ourselves although it is detrimental to others, or do we want to benefit others? There are two options with myriad variations.
All this relates to “clothes” over the desire. The Torah details how to build these clothes—how to build the right intentions over our desires, meaning the degrees Yod-Hey-Vav-Hey, or degrees of Aviut (thickness, will to receive) 1, 2, 3, and 4. The corrected desires may be from the still (inanimate) such as building the tent of meeting and the ark of the covenant, from the vegetative, such as wool or linen, or from the animate, which are the offerings themselves.
The speaking are people who are united in their degree, who wear the clothes that befit the high priest, such as a breastplate, a girdle, a miter, or a tunic. The high priest is a person who is aimed entirely toward bestowal, love of others, through which we reach the Creator. There is a priest, and there is the high priest. That is, there are Katnut (infancy) and Gadlut (adulthood) in this degree. These are the stages by which we must progress in order to correct our desires.
The sum of the desire that the Creator created in each of us contains 613 desires, which are 613 desires we must invert from inclining to receive to desiring to bestow upon others. This is how we connect with one another, gathering all these desires into a single mechanism.
Questions and Answers
Can we change desires through intentions?
Yes, we can change desires through intentions. By wanting to give to each other we tie our desires as a single body in a Kli (vessel) known as Beit HaMikdash (lit. The House of Holiness; trans. Temple). Bait (house) is a Kli of Kedusha (holiness), bestowal, love of others, the aim to give. This is the Adam that we build, our common soul, Shechina (Divinity), the Assembly of Israel, Malchut of Atzilut—where the Creator appears.
The portion explains that our desires are divided, too. The writings of the ARI teach us that our soul consists of Shoresh, Neshama, Guf, Levush, Heichal (root, soul, body, clothing, hall, respectively). Shoresh is inside us, Neshama is our innermost part, Guf is the desires themselves, and Levush and Heichal are additions.
The Torah tells us that the Levush (clothing) consists of the five types of garments of the high priest. Heichal (hall) is the surroundings—the tent of meeting with all its details. Of course, none of this relates to any physical tent, person, vessels, or a lamp. Rather, the text relates to the way we develop the will to receive into working in order to bestow, as the Creator bestows upon us. Through these corrections of many degrees and parts in our desires we achieve similarity with the Creator and Dvekut (adhesion) with Him.
The end of the portion also mentions Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement). All the corrections we perform during the year, the preparations, corrections over the nations of the world, over the people of Israel, and over the Levites and the priests, bring us to the degree of the high priest. When we rise above those desires and bring them together to a place of general bestowal, called Beit HaMikdash, a place of special unity where we achieve oneness with the Creator—the point of Dvekut—it is called “the work of the priest in the holy of holies on the day of atonement.”
Aaron and his sons are all in spirituality, yet we know that spirituality is not transferred by inheritance. Many Kabbalists had no children, or had children who did not become Kabbalists. And yet, here we see a very clear order of Aaron and his sons. What is the meaning of this order?
The priesthood that is passed on from father to sons is discussed not only in this portion.
Some researchers claim that it is possible to find genes of priests even today.
This is true; it can be found in both the material world and the spiritual world. There are many reasons for it, but what we understand is that a Kli (vessel) that is in bestowal—meaning a spiritual Partzuf, or a soul (Neshama) that is working in bestowal in order to bestow—operates in active bestowal and begets a more advanced Partzuf called a “son.”
Is a son the next degree of the priest?
Yes. This is why it is impossible for a holy Partzuf to emerge from a Partzuf that is not bestowing in order to bestow or receiving in order to bestow. In our world we may or may not pay attention to it because in projecting to corporeality it becomes mere customs. But in spirituality we understand where it comes from; a Partzuf that has a Masach (screen), Aviut (thickness), and Ohr Hozer (Reflected Light), and works in holiness cannot yield an impure act. This is why priesthood is inherited from father to son.
How come we do not know what happened to Moses’ sons, but do know it about priests?
Moses is contact with the Creator, in which all are included, above all the priesthood. The priests provide direction in the work of the Creator, in corrections, and Moses is the point of contact itself. It is not a direction, merely a point of attachment, of Dvekut.
In other words, it is all in us; it is not a physical Moses or anything of the sort.
No, there is no such thing; it is all in us. When we connect among us, we produce a Kli that yields a sensation of connection, a bonding between us. First comes love of people, as it is written, “love your neighbor as yourself.” Then comes the love of the Creator. These are the circles we need to build in the bonding between us. The whole of humanity must achieve it, the people of Israel, as well as non-Jews who are drawn to it and can achieve real connection with the Creator.
This is why Moses did not belong to the priests, Levites, or Israel; he is a point above any definition. Although he includes them, he is still above them. The correction of the world is that all of us will unite. The more we unite and make ourselves similar to the upper light, the Creator, the more He is with us and within us.
The portion details garments. It was said that only the wisehearted can prepare these garments. Who are the wisehearted?
The wisehearted are those whose heart, meaning desire, is arranged according to Hochma (wisdom). These are not ordinary desires, but ones that have been arranged by the light of Hochma. Therefore, the beginning of the portion talks about the general light that reforms, which illuminates all the Kelim (vessels). Only with this light is it possible to carry out the Mitzvot (commandments) described in the portion, which is why it is called Tetzaveh (Command). The Creator’s command comes only in order to give us the light that reforms. The Creator tells us how to use it in order to achieve corrections, such as the garments of the high priest, the building of the tabernacle and everything else.
Is it only when a person reaches a certain stage of wisdom of the heart that one can wear these garments?
The heart is the tabernacle of all our desires, but only if one arranges all of one’s desires in the right order using the upper light, the menorah that illuminates to that person, the light that reforms. The right order means in order to bestow, from easiest to hardest. It is not something we need to build; it is rather built by itself. The commandment relates only to our willingness; we must come under the light with our Kli, then the Kli will acquire the shape of the light. The wisehearted do not know how to do everything, only how to prepare themselves for the light to work on them.
Why is the engagement with garments possible only from this point onward?
Clothing is the intentions to bestow.
So are the wisehearted intentions?
The wisehearted are those who prepare themselves for correction. When it comes, it brings them garments.
From The Zohar: And You Shall Command
When it writes, “And you,” it means to include Divinity in the command and in the speech. The upper light, ZA, and the bottom light, Nukva, are included together in the word, “And you,” since “you” is the name of the Nukva, and the added Vav [“and”] is ZA, as it is written, “And You preserve them all,” relating to ZA and Nukva.
Zohar for All, Tetzaveh (Command), items1-2
Zeir Anpin is the Creator, the upper force, the light that reaches us. We who want to connect build the Nukva. Although she herself does not exist, this part was left after the breaking. The soul has broken and its pieces are scattered. As much as we may want to connect, we cannot. However, we have the tendency toward it, and accordingly, the light affects us and connects us. If there is additional inclination, additional light influences us and connects us.
This is why our work is called “day-to-day,” as in “Day to day pours forth speech” (Psalms, 19:3). This is how we arrive at the end of the year, the Day of Atonement that connects us and leads us to all the corrections. This is when we atone for our iniquities.
Yet, these are not our own iniquities. Rather, it is the breaking; from the time of the breaking of Adam HaRishon, before we were created, since “the inclination in a man’s heart is evil from his youth” (Genesis, 8:21). When we scrutinize these matters and want to overcome them and connect above all gaps and hatred, and achieve love, we reach the foot of Mount Sinai.
Why is Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) considered the holiest day?
It is the point of contact of all the desires that one has prepared to connect with everyone into a single Kli to be in Dvekut with the Creator. That is, it is the implementation of our work in this world, in which we must achieve the revelation of the Creator, unity, and love of others. Yom Kippur symbolizes it.
Is it a specific day in the year?
No, a day is a degree. If a person performs all the corrections, the degree that one reaches is called Yom Kippur. It could happen on any of the days in the year because it is not a day but a spiritual state.
What is so special about this day that only the quality known as the “high priest” makes the required correction in the Holy of Holies?
A person adds all the corrections on the still, vegetative, animate, and speaking levels in their final form and achieves Dvekut. It has to be “world,” “year,” “soul,” and “place.” That is, a person arranges all the desires—still, vegetative, and animate—the clothes, which are also the cover of the tent, all of one’s garments from the vegetative. The animate are the offerings of Yom Kippur. The high priest is a result of the whole of humanity, from all the corrections on the human, speaking level.
If a person joins them all together on the special day called Yom Kippur, it brings one to the point of Dvekut with the Creator. This is the highest place that can be achieved, from which one achieves the end of correction and rises to a higher dimension.
From The Zohar: Blow the Horn [Shofar] on the New Moon
Thus, “Serve the Lord with gladness,” since man’s joy draws another joy, the higher one. Similarly, the lower world, Malchut, as it is crowned, so it extends from above. This is why Israel hurry to awaken a sound in the Shofar, which includes fire, wind, and water, the middle line, which consists of three lines that became one and rises upwards.
Zohar for All, Tetzaveh (Command), item 94
The three lines talk about the work of the priests—Priest, Levite, and Israel—meaning about our work. There are two Klipot (shell/peels): the Klipa (singular for Klipot) of the right, which is Ishmael, and the Klipa of the left, being Esau. Right and left are our work, our will to receive opposite which is the desire to bestow, and the extent to which we can add these desires by removing the Klipot Ishmael and Esau.
This is how we build the middle line, the line of Dvekut, called Adam. On this line, the more we connect among us all the desires, all our intentions in order to achieve similarity with the Creator, bestowal and love of others—and from there to the love of the Creator—the more we ascend in our connection. If we achieve unity in that line, we have reached the purpose of creation.
We must understand that the current changes the world is going through, the myriad problems, the global crisis, are all signs we must begin to connect, since only by that will we be able to resolve the crisis.
This is the reason for the current surfacing of the wisdom of Kabbalah—the light that reforms, the illuminating menorah that can shine to those who want to sanctify themselves and get to the Temple, to realize their task in the world. Today we are in the midst of the actual realization of the portion, “Command.”
The Creator sounds like a forceful, domineering force, while the creature is in a state of constant sin and request for forgiveness. It is a rather complicated system.
For what should one ask forgiveness? If it is written, “I have created the evil inclination,” then the Creator has created it. What then is there to ask forgiveness for? On the contrary, we should demand, “I want You to correct what You have created in me.” It is called, “My sons defeated Me.” The Creator will welcome it. We misconstrue the Torah by thinking that we are sinners, while the sin is not in us. Our only sin is not requesting correction. What is in us did not come from us; we cannot blame ourselves for how we were born.
We should say in regard to all our qualities, characters, and all that we are, “Go to the craftsman who made me.” We are not to blame. The fault, the blemish, is that we do not examine ourselves and ask for correction so as to be similar to the Creator—bestowing, loving others, benevolent.
When a person does not reveal and does not ask for correction, this is when one is at fault. However, we did not commit the transgression for which we have a demand. It is simply something with which to come and demand contact with the Creator, a constant dialog with Him. The evil inclination is “help made against us.” On the one hand, it removes us from the Creator. On the other hand, it gives us an “official approval” to come and connect with Him.
 RASHI, Exodus, 19b
 Talmud, Seder Nashim, Masechet Nedarim, Chapter 9, p 30b
 Jerusalem Talmud, Seder Nashim, Masechet Nedarim, Chapter 9, p 30b
 Jerusalem Talmud, Masechet Berachot, 27b
 Babylonian Talmud, Masechet Nezikin, Baba Metzia, 59b
 Babylonian Talmud, Masechet Taanit, p. 20b..
A person who wants to reach the point of contact with the Creator, called “the priest’s work in the Temple,” must first see to always having the light that reforms, for only with it is one sanctified—adding the aim to bestow to one’s desires, thus rising closer to the Creator.
In spirituality, olive oil is the light that reaches Zeir Anpin, Malchut.
A priest is man’s highest degree. It comes from the left line and from the right line and reaches pure and complete bestowal. This degree includes the degree of Bina, ZAT of Bina, and the upper degree, GAR of Bina. It is impossible to be a priest without also having Levites and Israel in you. That is, a person tends to the entire world, as well as to Israel, and unites with everyone.
It is hard work to achieve the degree of a priest. A person must actualize the greatest and most powerful desires.
On the degree of clothing there are things that belong to the inner part of the soul. The breastplate is one of them.
The portion, Tetzaveh, is man’s approach to the Creator. If we want, we have every possibility, every condition to correct ourselves while giving to our material body everything it needs. The important thing in life is to reach the eternal and complete world, as it is written, “You will see your world in your life,” here and now. It is all expressed in the connection between us: from love of man to love of the Creator. This is how we achieve the end of correction. We can do it here and now; it is entirely up to us.
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This Week’s Torah Portion | January 26 – February 1, 2014 – Shevat 25 – Adar 1, 5774
In A Nutshell
The portion, Teruma (Donation), deals primarily with the building of the tabernacle. The Creator instructs Moses to tell the children of Israel, “And they shall take for Me a donation from every man whose heart moves him you shall take My donation” (Exodus, 25:2). The donations were intended for the building of the tabernacle and its tools—the ark of the covenant, the ark-cover, the showbread table, the Menorah (lamp), the boards of the tabernacle, the sockets, the veil, the copper altar, and the hangings of the court. The Creator also tells Moses how to build the tabernacle. The portion is called Teruma (donation) because of the commandment to donate.
Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman
All we have is the building of the tabernacle. This is where the Creator is revealed, and this is where He resides. We must build it through a donation, and by raising the importance of the quality of bestowal and love of others (in Hebrew, the word Teruma (donation) also pertains to Harama (raising), as in, “raising the Hey”). The more we extol the quality of bestowal and use it properly, the more we correct our Kelim (vessels), namely our desires, which we currently use for ourselves, as it is written, “I have created the evil inclination…”
The building of the tabernacle explains the process of our correction from the easiest to the hardest as we gradually build the tabernacle from our lightest, to our heaviest, greatest, and most egoistic desires.
The donation to the tabernacle must come from the heart, which contains all the desires. Only one who is driven by impulse in the heart is permitted to offer a donation, and from this “investment” one builds one’s Kelim. The Kelim are the connections between us, which establish the tabernacle. In the tabernacle appears the upper force, the Creator, according to one’s equivalence of form. That is, we discover the Creator to the extent of our similarity to Him.
The Creator is a hidden force. We are not inherently born with tools to discover Him because we do not possess qualities that are similar to His. For example, we hear sounds because our eardrums react to certain frequencies. Likewise, we can tell different smells because we have olfactory neurons that detect them. These are our Kelim (in Hebrew, Kelim means both “vessels” but also “tools”). However, we are devoid of tools to “detect” the upper force, the Creator, the source of energy.
Yet, everything moves and exists by this force. Its source, however, is hidden from us, as is the direction of its movement, its “vector,” goal, and why it moves and operates everything.
This knowledge is revealed in the tabernacle as we correct and construct ourselves according to the influence of the upper force, in equivalence of form with it. Equivalence of form means that if He is good and does it, if He loves the bad, as well as the good , we must also achieve the state of “love your neighbor as yourself.” We build the tabernacle according to the gradual correction of our desires from egoism to bestowal and love.
The Torah and the Talmud teach us that the tabernacle with all its details symbolize the correction of the soul. It is not about the construction of a beautiful building in Jerusalem, nor is it about physical tools. Rather, it is about man’s heart, man’s internal correction.
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.” This is why it is written that only a person with a good heart should donate, for by that, one truly wishes to correct one’s heart.
The donation is a gradual removal of egoistic desires that can be corrected from a state of separation and hatred of others to bestowal and love of others.
The portion seemingly relates primarily to people who wish to sanctify themselves, build themselves in such a way that that source of energy, that superior quality, appears in them so they may know where life and all our energy come from and why, and where they are headed.
Because of the comprehensive crisis we are in, we need information about this process. Without it, we will not know what to do. Those who study the wisdom of Kabbalah discover how they should proceed in life.
In the past, if we encountered problems we knew how to overcome them because the world had not yet become round, global. But today, as the world has become that, the general law is appearing, making it possible to understand it and to work with it unless we ourselves become round. Now we are required to come out of ourselves, of the personal and individualistic mindset, and begin to connect with others. According to the common force appearing between us, namely the Creator—who is appearing between us as the dweller of the tabernacle—we will discover how to resolve the comprehensive crisis.
This is what makes this portion so pertinent. As soon as we begin to follow the requirement of the Torah to build a tabernacle from out hearts, even to the slightest bit, we will begin to understand what is required of us in order to restore balance. When we understand the law of balance, namely the general law of reality, we will know how to resolve the crisis. Today we are perplexed and bewildered over what we must do with ourselves in the future. This is why we are being shown escalating destruction that cannot be resolved, not even through war or other tragic events.
Therefore, we need to promote circulation of the wisdom of Kabbalah to show the solution to everything. This is the reason why Kabbalah is appearing here and now, so we may use the tools given to us properly. All we need is to fix them a little, and to gradually understand the Creator, reveal Him, and advance toward correction of the crisis, toward a happy life.
Questions and Answers
It seems that the more we try to put order in the world, the more disorder we create.
This is true only if we act on our reason.
This is the situation today; everyone is trying to put things in order; no one wants disorder.
True. Nature is drawn toward balance. We can see that if one place is hotter than another, after sometime the temperatures balance themselves out. Likewise, if there is high air pressure in one place and low air pressure in another, the wind equalizes the pressure. This is how the whole of nature operates. Nature’s movement always aims toward balance—from atoms through molecules, and to every part of nature.
There are elements in nature where it seems as though there is no need to add energy. Electrons, for example, endlessly rotate in high speed. And yet, there must be energy propelling this constant movement. We have no idea where they receive the energy for it, but it is only because that energy lies beneath the threshold of our senses.
Conversely, we know how many calories we must consume in order to function, or how much energy we have to spend in order to operate a machine. We test our energy sources, such as oil and gas, and build power plants and water drills using this energy. In truth, everything is in imbalance between those two levels, between the minus and the plus, and using the tension between them we build various things, such as batteries.
Today we are witnessing a depletion of energy sources; we are running out of gas.
We will receive the energy from the Creator. He is wearing us out on purpose so we may switch to energy on a higher level and learn how to use it properly.
What, therefore, is the contemporary tabernacle? Is it the relationships between us that we must establish in this manner?
Yes, we have no choice. If we establish proper connections between us—of love or at least of Arvut (mutual guarantee), namely become responsible for one another—and understand that we are parts of a single system, we will discover the power source and its program (software). Then we will learn what is right and how to use it properly.
We are talking about an energy that induces equilibrium in movements between negative and positive. How is this energy, which we called the “tabernacle,” to make this equilibrium happen?
We do not discover the energy in the tabernacle, but rather its source, the Creator. The energy, the force we receive from Him, is the power of bestowal. This the power that is missing in the world. There is plenty of matter in the world; all that is missing is the power to activate it, the power of bestowal. These days we are learning how incapable we are of working with the powers we do have. The problem is that we have no shortage of negative energy, but of positive one.
When we connect “as one man with one heart” (RASHI, Exodus, 19b), according to Moses’ explanation concerning the building of the tabernacle, through that bonding we come to the place where the quality of the Creator appears, namely the upper force. This is the source of energy we call “light.” Indeed, even physics regards light as the “highest” form of energy.
When we are in balance, we are certain to succeed. Moreover, success is not only in this transient life, but also in connection to the upper force, as we flow in the flow of eternal life in accord with it.
Following the tabernacle, will we receive the right kind of energy?
We will receive it in the tabernacle. The Creator is revealed in the tabernacle, which consists of only our corrected desires and the bonding with alien and different desires that were previously hateful and resentful toward each other. By leaping over them and uniting appears that upper force.
From The Zohar: You Shall Make the Tabernacle with Ten Curtains
The establishing of the tabernacle is from several degrees, for it is written about it, “And the tabernacle was one,” showing that all the organs of the body of the tabernacle are of a single body. It is like a person who has several high and low organs. The internal ones are inside, and the revealed ones are outside. However, all are considered one body, and it is considered one person in one bonding. So is the tabernacle: all the organs are such as above, and when they all unite as one, it is written, “And the tabernacle was one.”
Zohar for All, Teruma (donation), items 664-665
This is how we discover the single force called “the upper force,” which we must discover. Without discovering it we gradually lose vitality, as is evident in the tendency that we are witnessing today.
How will the new order of feeling as one be revealed?
Through the deficiency. First we must understand that we are incompetent, we cannot succeed. By searching for the element by which we can succeed, we will discover the futility of these efforts. This—coupled with the development and circulation of the wisdom of Kabbalah through mutual guarantee—is when people will understand that we have no alternatives but to gradually connect to that eternal, complete, omnipotent and omniscient power supply, which is not only a source of energy, but much more than that.
It is not. Teruma relates to the connection of the hearts. If a person attempts to use the donation in order to gain respect, notoriety, or appreciation as a great person, even if no one else knows of this ambition, it is still an egoistic fulfillment since that person does not connect to others, but rather patronizes them.
How can this change so that it truly becomes a donation for the Creator?
Helplessness will make people feel differently. Disseminating the wisdom of Kabbalah adds great powers to this transformation. It may seem like we are not doing much, but these actions are inducing many revelations of the Creator in the world. For now that revelation is on a level where people are headed toward that direction—searching, feeling that the connection between them can save them. We are seeing the riots in the world from the positive side, as well as from the (ostensibly) negative one. Through them we will discover that our only hope is to connect, that only connection will provide us with the force of life.
When that happens, what will the donation be?
The donation is the connection. If we appreciate the power of bestowal it is called “donating.” On the one hand, we extol it; on the other hand, we feel how lowly and base we are. The world is round, integral. It can be saved only through unity, and we are aware that we are the opposite of unity. We know we need the upper force to influence and connect us so we are in accord with nature, with the global world.
From The Zohar: And They Shall Take a Donation for Me
How do we know that the Creator desires him and places His abode within him? When we see that man’s will is to chase and to exert after the Creator with his heart, soul, and will, we know for certain that Divinity is present there. Then we need to buy that man for the full cost, bond with him and learn from him. We learn about that, “And buy yourself a friend.” He should be bought for the full price to be rewarded with the Divinity that is in him. This is how far we must chase a righteous man and buy him.
Zohar for All, Teruma (donation), items 39
It is written, “Buy yourself a friend.” That is, one annuls one’s own ego and connects to another, wanting to break down the partition between them. Our hearts inherently want to be individualistic, egoistic, removed from others. And yet, we must be the exact opposite. If we want to connect to someone, we must be lower than that someone. This is the meaning of connecting, namely the donation. It is not as we are used to think about it; it is one who is willing to donate oneself—the heart and all of one’s desires and capabilities. When we donate we become included in others and thus connect.
 Rabash, The Writings of Rabash, vol. 3, p 1806
 “I have created the evil inclination; I have created for it the Torah as a spice” (Babylonian Talmud, Masechet Kidushin, 30b).
 Baal HaSulam, The Writings of Baal HaSulam, “Introduction to the Study of the Ten Sefirot,” item 90, p 789.
 Jerusalem Talmud, Seder Nashim, Masechet Nedarim, Chapter 9, p 30b.
 Babylonian Talmud, Masechet Kidushin, 30b.
 Midrash Rabah, Eicha, “Introduction,” Paragraph 2.
 Mishnah, Masechet Avot, Chapter 1, item 6.