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August 23, 2017

Shoftim (Judges) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

Shoftim2

Deuteronomy, 16:18-21:9
This Week’s Torah Portion | August 20 – August 26, 2017 – 28 Av – 4 Elul, 5777

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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Re’eh (Behold) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

Re’eh (Behold) Parsha

Deuteronomy, 11:26-16:17
 This Week’s Torah Portion | August 28 – September 3, 2016 – 24 Av – 30 Av, 5776

In A Nutshell

The portion, Re’eh (Behold), begins with Moses’ words to the people to come and see the blessing and the curse, which the Creator commands them. If the people adhere to the Creator’s commandments they will be blessed. Otherwise, they will be cursed.

Afterward, Moses surveys before the people the preparations to enter the land of Israel, the duties and the prohibitions that accompany the entrance, the work of the Creator specifically in the Temple, and the prohibition to listen to false prophets that deflect the people from the serving the Creator. The portion also cites the laws of Kashrut,[1] tithing, Shmita (remission), and the three festivals on which it is customary to make an Aliya la Regel (pilgrimage) to Jerusalem.

Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

The Torah speaks only about the inner meaning of all the matters just mentioned. It is written, “Behold,” referring to the reception of light of Hochma, which is seeing. Seeing is the highest of the five senses, and marks the highest level of attainment. When a person truly sees whether what is happening is a blessing or a curse, he is standing right before the entrance to the land of Israel.

Eretz YsraelEretz means Ratzon (desire), and Ysrael (Israel) means Yashar El (straight to God). In other words, Eretz Ysrael is a desire aimed entirely toward bestowal, toward mutual guarantee, connection between everyone “as one man with one heart.” At the foot of Mount Sinai we accepted the condition, “love your neighbor as yourself,’ to be “as one man with one heart.” Forty years later we complete the correction and are ready to enter the land of Israel, where all the desires are connected in true mutual bestowal. This is why it is called Yashar El (straight to God). The Creator—the quality of bestowal and love that exists in the world—governs the whole of reality.

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Ekev (Because) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

Ekev (Because) Parsha

Deuteronomy, 7:12-11:25
This Week’s Torah Portion | August 06 – August 12, 2017 – 14 Av – 20 Av, 5777

In A Nutshell

In the portion, Ekev (Because), Moses continues his speech to the people of Israel. He reiterates that if Israel keep the laws and the ordinances that the Creator commanded them, they will be awarded happiness, health, and triumphs over their enemies. But if they do not, the Creator will not keep them and they will be lost among the nations.

The portion also describes the virtues of the land of Israel, the seven species. Finally, the people are commanded to teach these things to their children and to carve the Mezuzah[1] on their doorsteps.

Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

Moses warns the people to keep the laws of Nature because the Creator is Elokim (God), and in Gematria (numeric values ascribed to Hebrew letters) it is “The Nature.”

The Creator gave us the Torah (Pentateuch), the laws of the world. The Torah is like a physics book, except that the laws in it are absolute, and totally precise. Only Israel received them. If we act according to these laws we will be above everything. We received a promise in advance, and this is truly what is happening. If we keep the laws before us we will receive anything we want—happiness, respect, security, health, eternity, wholeness, this world and the next world.

These laws come down to one: “love your neighbor as yourself; it is a great rule in the Torah.” All we need is to keep that law—love of others. The whole Torah speaks of nothing but that.

The problems begin with keeping that law. We cannot do it alone. It is only possible in an environment that sustains us, along with all the members of that environment. Only through mutual support can we truly keep that law. Baal HaSulam (Rav Yehuda Ashlag) mentioned in that regard a story about two friends sailing in a boat. When one of them began to drill under him, his friend asked, “What are you doing?” the other replied, “It is none of your concern, I am drilling only under me.”

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VaEtchanan (And I Besought) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

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Deuteronomy, 3:23-7:11
This Week’s Torah Portion | July 30 – August 05, 2017 – 7 Av – 13 Av, 5777

In A Nutshell

The portion, VaEtchanan (And I Besought), repeats the prohibition that Moses was prohibited—to enter the land of Israel—and that Joshua is to succeed him and lead the people to the land of Israel. The portion deals with the commandment to keep the Torah and remember the standing at the foot of Mount Sinai, as well as with the concept of repentance, which appears here for the first time. Here appears the known text of Shema Ysrael (Here, O Israel).

Moses makes another speech, where he repeats the Ten Commandments. He also distinguishes three cities of refuge on the Eastern side of the Jordan River, warns of idol worship in the land of Israel, and instructs the destruction of the statues. He also reminds the people that the Creator is the one who led them into the land of Israel, the good land that they are destined to inherit.

Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

The portion, VaEtchanan (And I Besought), contains all the conditions for the dwelling of the people of Israel in the land of Israel. The people of Israel began its history with Abraham, who established in Babylon a group. That group distinguished itself from the rest of the Babylonians, who did not wish to unite “as one man with one heart,” meaning to be in the quality of Hesed (mercy), which is Abraham’s quality.

That group of people agreed to live in Arvut (mutual guarantee), and actually began the formation process of the people of Israel. Following the exodus from Egypt, the group took upon itself the commitment to be as one nation despite the problems and the egos of its people.

The formation of a single nation was conditioned upon a successful “passage” of the ordeal at the foot of Mount Sinai, which is a mountain of Sinaa (hate). On Mount Sinai, the people assumed the preparatory stipulation for climbing over that mountain—being “as one man with one heart.” Only by adhering to this condition is it possible to receive the Torah, the upper force that can unite everyone. That condition is met through the point in the heart of each person, a point named Moses, which draws the people onward into the desert and subsequently to the land of Israel. This is the point where everyone must unite.

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Devarim (These Are the Words) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

Devarim Parsha
Deuteronomy, 1:1-3:22
This Week’s Torah Portion | July 23 – July 29, 2017 – 29 Tammuz – 6 Av, 5777

The portion, Devarim (These Are the Words) begins with a long speech that Moses makes before the people of Israel just before his death. The portion contains a historic review of the forty years in the desert, which Moses describes to the people of Israel.

The portion also deals with appointing the presidents of the tribes and the judges, the sin of the spies and the punishment, the relationships between Israel and Edom, Israel and Moab, and Israel and Amon, as well as the wars with Sihon and Og. Moses reinforces Joshua, son of Nun, as the next leader of the people of Israel, who is to lead them into the land of Israel.

Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

From the cascading of the spiritual degrees and what we learn about the perception of reality, we know there is no world outside of us. All that exists are the spiritual states we go through, states that are depicted within us. Everything is within us, as it is said, “man is a small world.”

We move from state to state. Each state emerges out of its predecessor and is included in it. This is called a Partzuf (face). Each state contains what exists in the previous one, the Reshimot (recollections), impressions, and memories out of which it is born, and which it must now implement. Nothing comes out of thin air; everything relies on what precedes it.

These are the stages by which one ascends from the degree of the desert to the degree of the land of Israel. The degree of the land of Israel contains all the previous degrees, from Adam HaRishon (the first man, Adam), with whom the Torah begins. This is why we find that the Torah always repeats states described in previous books and extends them to the next, higher degree.

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