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March 18, 2018

Tzav (Command) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion


Leviticus, 6:1-8:36

This Week’s Torah Portion | 18 Mar – 24 Mar, 2018 – 2 Nissan – 8 Nissan, 5778

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.”[1] 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.”[2] 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”[3] because “the light in it reforms them.”[4] Then we come to a state of complete righteous. This is how we must see it.

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VaYikra (The Lord Called) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion


Leviticus, 1:1-5:26

This Week’s Torah Portion | 11 Mar – 17 Mar, 2018 – 24 Adar – 30 Adar, 5778

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.”[1] 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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VaYakhel (And Moses Assembled)-Pekudei (Accounts) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion


Exodus, 35:1-38:20, 38:21-40:38

This Week’s Torah Portion | 4 Mar – 10 Mar, 2018 – 17 Adar – 23 Adar, 5778

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 elaborates on the building of the tabernacle by the wisehearted: the garments, boards, bolts, and Bezalel’s work preparing the Ark (of the Covenant), the table, and the menorah.

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.”[1] 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.”[2] 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.”[3] 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.”[4] 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.”[5]

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An Examination into the Age-Old Question about the Meaning of Life

What Is the Meaning of Life - Infographic

What is the meaning of life? Is it to be happy, to love, to be free, powerful, to have goals and dreams we’re working toward, to survive, evolve and reproduce, to be good people, to worship God and enter heaven in the afterlife? Or does life have no meaning? Should the question about the meaning of life better be ignored, i.e. if there’s no clearly attainable and provable answer to the question among all people, then maybe it causes division and pain when raising it, so maybe we should just learn to survive as best as possible and not deal with the meaning of life? Or maybe life is just plain bad, and we’re destined to make our way here, each one on the ruin of others, as best as we can while we’re here for a numbered amount of years?

The wisdom of Kabbalah has existed for thousands of years as a method for answering the question about the meaning of life. We interviewed Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman to answer questions in relation to the age-old existential question. Read the interview here: What Is the Meaning of Life? – An Examination


Ki Tissa (When You Take) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

Ki Tissa

Exodus, 30:11-34:35

This Week’s Torah Portion | 25 Feb – 3 Mar, 2018 – 10 Adar – 16 Adar, 5778

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”[1] because “the light in it would reform them.”[2]

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.”[3]

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.

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