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September 20, 2018

Haazinu (Give Ear) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

Haazinu

Deuteronomy, 32:1-32:52
This Week’s Torah Portion | 16 Sep – 22 Sep, 2018 – 7 Tishrei – 13 Tishrei, 5779

In A Nutshell

The portion, Haazinu (Give Ear), deals with the entrance to the land of Israel. Moses begins with a song that serves as a reminder to the people when they abandon the work of the Creator in the future. The song praises the guidance of the Creator and His choice of the people of Israel, and presents the people of Israel as stiff-necked and one that has turned to idol worship.

Afterward there is an explanation of the punishment in the case of committing idolatry, and a statement that the Creator will not help Israel against their enemies in such a case. However, to the extent that Israel repents, the Creator will save them from all their enemies.

When Moses concludes reading his song, the Creator commands him to climb up Mount Nevo and look from there at the land of Israel. He tells Moses that he will die and will not be awarded entrance to the land of Israel.

 Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

The Torah contains all the secrets of the world. The Torah means instruction; it guides us on how we should conduct ourselves in order to advance. The Torah speaks of the whole of creation; it helps us cope with difficulties and shows us what to do.

The big question is why the Torah ends before the entrance to the land of Israel. In truth, the struggles, problems, the great dilemmas, and the difficulties of coping with all that awaits the people henceforth— especially in this portion,—are already in us.

The people has reached a state where it is ready to advance and enter the land of Israel, to cope with all the problems, and to rise above them. It is precisely through this war that the people acquires the land of Israel. The story speaks of our desires, our forces, which have become corrected through the light, through everything that we have done and went through in the desert in order to be ready to enter the land of Israel.

The song, Haazinu, praises the Creator, the force of bestowal. It stresses that we must always remember to interpret what is happening accurately, and extol the force of bestowal, the value of love of others, which is the great rule of the Torah, and for which we do all that we do. “Love your neighbor as yourself” is more just than a maxim; it is the purpose of each and every action, a rule that includes all our efforts. Read the rest of this entry »

  

Nitzavim-VaYelech (Standing-Moses Went) – Weekly Torah Portion

Nitzavim-VaYelech2

Deuteronomy, 29:9-30:20; 31:1-31:30
This Week’s Torah Portion | 2 Sep – 8 Sep, 2018 – 22 Elul – 28 Elul, 5778 | 9 Sep – 15 Sep, 2018 – 29 Elul 5778 – 6 Tishrei, 5779

In A Nutshell

The portion, Nitzavim (Standing), deals with Moses’ speech regarding the covenant between Israel and the Creator. Moses makes it clear that the Torah applies to the whole of the people of Israel, to every single one, and was given to posterity. Moses stresses the principle of choice: should a person worship other gods, he will be exiled from the land. But if he wishes to be reformed, the path is through repentance. The Creator allows the people to choose between life and death, but commands them, “Therefore choose life” (Deuteronomy, 30:19).

In the portion, VaYelech (Moses Went), Moses gives his final speech before the people’s entrance to the land of Israel. He reinforces the people so they will not fear fighting for the land because the Creator is with them, and he officially hands over the leadership to Joshua, son of Nun. Moses writes the Torah and instructs the people of Israel to assemble once every seven years to read the Torah. The Creator reveals to Moses that in the future, the people of Israel will sin, and commands him to write a song through which the people will remember the Creator.

Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

It may seem as though portions repeat themselves, but any repetition is at a new degree. The whole Torah deals only with the correction of the soul. It is as if the soul is cut into slices according to the degrees of the great will to receive, which is why it appears to be the same.

Similarly, each day in our lives seems to resemble the next, yet each day feels different, and life consists of many days joined together. The special thing about this process is that it is not about the people of Israel or the desert, but about an individual going through the stages of one’s spiritual development.

The spiritual development is done in two stages. The first is the preparation in Babylon, in the Bilbul (confusion). The second stage is in Egypt. In this world, a person tries to do as one sees fit, but gives up because this world is leading us into a state where we are not achieving good results in life. The result is a crisis, similar to the one the world is in today.

And yet, we do not seek the meaning of life, but money, power, respect, pleasures, freedom, vacations, and we are beginning to understand that it is impossible to have them. Whether due to personal crises or because of the global crisis, we finally come to the fundamental question, “What is the meaning of my life?” We seek satisfaction in life but we cannot find it anywhere, and without satisfaction we feel like Prophet Jonah, who said, “It is better for me to die than to live” (Jonah, 4:3).

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Ki Tavo (When You Come) – Weekly Torah Portion

Ki Tavo2

Deuteronomy, 26:1-29:8
This Week’s Torah Portion | 26 Aug – 1 Sep, 2018 – 15 Elul – 21 Elul, 5778

In A Nutshell

The portion, Ki Tavo (When You Come), begins with the last part of Moses’ speech before the people prior to his death. Upon the entrance to the land of Israel, Moses orders the people to write the words on big, whitewashed stones, and to build from them an altar for the Creator.

Moses describes the blessing that will come to Israel if they keep the Mitzvot (commandments), and the cursing that will come to them if they do not. He describes the state of the blessing and the curse on Mount Eival, and on Mount Gerizim—who will stand on each side, what are curses and what are blessings, and how they should be said.

The portion also deals with the Mitzvot of the first fruit, and the tithing laws. At the end of the portion Moses summarizes the events through which the people went, the Creator’s help on every step, and the people’s commitment to keep the Mitzvot.

Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

Our soul consists of 613 Mitzvot (commandments). Initially, they are all as the evil inclination, meaning aiming to benefit ourselves. In each of our desires appears—in the best case scenario—concern for ourselves. In the worst case scenario appears how we lie, steal, and use others for our own benefit.

Even if we do not use others, we still feel that the worse off they are, the better off we are. By nature, we are built to compare ourselves to others.

And yet, there is no one to complain to about it because the Creator admits, “I have created the evil inclination.” It is a process that began in Egypt, where we received the big evil inclination, the will to receive.

We discovered it at Mount Sinai, where we agreed to be “as one man with one heart,” to bond. Although we were by a mountain of hate, we united around the mountain and expressed willingness to unite. Although we were unable to actualize it, we were prepared to go for it. That was enough to receive the force of correction called “Torah,” whose light reforms.

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Ki Tetze (When You Go) – Weekly Torah Portion

Ki Tetze2

Deuteronomy, 21:10-25:19
This Week’s Torah Portion | 19 Aug – 25 Aug, 2018 – 8 Elul – 14 Elul, 5778

In A Nutshell

The portion, Ki Tetze (When You Go), details special and infrequent Mitzvot (commandments), such as the attitude toward a rebellious son, a firstborn son of the loved one or the hated one, and the commandment to send a bird from the nest and not harm it, when taking the bird’s eggs or nestlings.

The portion also details many Mitzvot that deal with everyday life, ethics, and social order, such as returning a loss, divorce, and the obligation to be considerate of others in vulnerable situations, such as poor, proselytes, orphans, and widows. Additionally, the portion mentions the importance of a just sentence. The last Mitzva (singular of Mitzvot) is to always remember what Amalek did to Israel when they came out of Egypt, when it jumped them when they were unprepared, and to blot out the memory of Amalek.

Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

The portion marks a stage in the spiritual development after the reception of the ego, the reception of the evil inclination from Egypt. First, the evil inclination in us should appear, as it is written, “I have created the evil inclination.” That appearance happens when we try to achieve love of others, to come out of ourselves. When we attempt to do it, we discover how much we are actually immersed in self-love and hatred of others. At that time we determine that our hatred of others and our love for ourselves are what is called the “evil inclination.”

That revelation is profound inner work. It is no small task. There is a very good reason why it is written, “I have created the evil inclination.” “I have created” means that the Creator created. The recognition of the evil inclination in a person—that it is hatred of others and love of oneself—is precisely what brings us into contact with the Creator. From that recognition, a person marches on a path of hard work, trying to be good to others, as it is written, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Then a person discovers great internal obstacles, which actually come from above, from the Creator. This is man’s first contact with the Creator.

Following the initial contact with the Creator, a person begins to move along with Him, in partnership. This is when there is, “I have created the Torah as a spice,” and a person has someone to turn to, someone to help one correct oneself.

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Shoftim (Judges) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

Shoftim2

Deuteronomy, 16:18-21:9
This Week’s Torah Portion | 5 Aug – 11 Aug, 2018 – 24 Av – 30 Av, 5778

In A Nutshell

The portion, Shoftim (Judges), continues to explain the Mitzvot (commandments) connected to the entrance to the land of Israel. The portion begins with appointing Judges to make the laws and officers to enforce them, so there will be true justice in Israel.

The portion describes the laws of the king, who must be chosen from among the people. The portion also deals with the prohibition to engage in witchcraft and turns the people to the true prophets. Finally, the portion teaches the people how they should conduct themselves in a time of war.

Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

The Torah was given to every person, for one to correct oneself, as it is written, “I have created the evil inclination, I have created for it the Torah as a spice.” Every person, whether or not one demands social justice, should first discover that one is filled with the evil inclination. We must discover that we are completely egotistical in order to perform our correction. Put differently, we need to discover that we are living as criminals.

During the High Holidays we say [1], “We are at fault; we have betrayed.” It is written about these words, “Keep far from a false word” (Exodus 23:7). We need to discover that it is we who have committed those transgressions. If we think what is written is overstated and is not a true depiction of who we are, it is a sign that we have not yet come to know who we truly are, and that we still need to discover the entirety of our evil inclination. This is when the Torah comes to us, because “the light in it reforms them.” That is, the Torah instructs us on how to elicit from it the light that will reform us, so we may achieve the love and bonding with others.

There is much work for us to do: We walk in the darkness, in the desert, in cries, in scrutinies, in raising MAN, in various transgressions, such as with the spies, and the waters of quarreling, until we reach the boundaries of the land of Israel. We correct ourselves until we can use our desires in order to bestow.

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