March 9, 2014
This Week’s Torah Portion | March 9 – March 15, 2014 – Adar II 7 – Adar II 13, 5774
In A Nutshell
The portion, Tzav (Command), deals with rules of sacrificing, especially those related to priests. The portion mentions the commandment to donate the fertilizer, the gift offering, sin offering, guilt offering, peace offering, and the prohibition to eat animal fat.
Tzav also mentions punishments for those who eat non-kosher meat, as it is written, “The soul that eats from it shall bear iniquity (Leviticus, 7:18). One who eats fat from the offerings, “The soul that eats shall be cut off from its people” (Leviticus, 7:25), and one who eats the offerings’ blood, “That soul shall be cut off from its people” (Leviticus, 7:20).
Subsequently, the portion deals with the seven days of filling, and the inauguration of the tabernacle. The Creator commands Moses to assemble Aaron and his sons the priests, and the whole congregation at the door of the tent of meeting. Moses washes Aaron and his sons and dresses them with the clothes of priesthood. Moses puts the anointing oil over the tabernacle and all that is in it, and sanctifies Aaron and his sons, showing the priests—following the Creator’s command—what to do with the various organs of the offerings.
Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman
The Korban (offering/sacrifice, from the word, Karov [near]) is the way to draw near the Creator. There is nothing but the offerings. Today we are in the worst state. There is nothing worse than this world and our current state. We must come out of that state and advance toward the Boreh (Creator), from the words Bo Re’eh (come and see). We will discover the Creator according to the changes and corrections in us because the upper force, namely the upper light, is in complete rest, and all the changes occur in us, as it is written, “I the Lord do not change” (Malachi, 3:6).
Nearing the Creator depends on our qualities. Therefore, we must all change ourselves and correct all the negative and egoistic desires in us, according to the order the Torah narrates. The word Torah comes from the word Horaa (instruction) how to correct our egoistic desires, turn them into aiming toward bestowal and love, and shift from unfounded hatred to absolute love.
The bad global crisis is happening due to unfounded hatred among everyone. There is abundance in the world, but we cannot share it among us. We cannot establish social justice, connection, unity, and arrange ourselves and our lives better because of our characters, as it is written, “The inclination of a man’s heart is evil from his youth” (Genesis, 8:21). To correct the heart, which symbolizes our 613 egoistic, corrupted desires, we need the Torah.
The Torah is the “light that reforms.” One who treats the Torah properly discovers one’s wickedness, as it is written, “The world was created only for the complete wicked or the complete righteous.” That is, we must discover that we are completely wicked, created with an evil inclination. Then, “I have created for it the Torah as a spice” because “the light in it reforms them.” Then we come to a state of complete righteous. This is how we must see it.
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“Tarum (“raise” but also “donate”) the Creator.” To advance toward the goal, we must engage in the uniqueness, importance, and greatness of the upper force, that there is none else besides Him, He is the only operator in reality, we are in it, and we are totally operated upon. To the extent that we acquire His qualities, we become independent. That is, we take on ourselves the actions we can carry out correctly, and we begin to do them by ourselves until we become like Him, until we can do everything He does.
This is how we begin to recognize and understand that degree, the whole of reality, the purpose, the beginning and the end, the cause and the consequence, the whole process we are going through. Thus, we become as great, wise, strong, and united as the Creator. This is true for each of us, and for all of us together.
Once we have all corrected ourselves and achieved the complete end of correction, and all of us together have become completely like Him, another development awaits us. We need to correct ourselves, acquire power and wisdom to perform another, very special work after the end of correction, after the Third Temple, but for now our perception is inadequate to comprehending the reality we will discover at that time.
The Inauguration of the Tabernacle
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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”]
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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.
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