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October 17, 2017

Noah Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

Noah

Genesis, 6:9-11:32
This Week’s Torah Portion | October 15 – October 21, 2017 – 25 Tishrei – 1 Cheshvan, 5778

In A Nutshell

The portion, Noah, speaks of sinful people and the Creator, who brings a flood on the world. “Noah was a righteous man, perfect in his generations” (Genesis, 6:9). This is why he was the one chosen to survive the flood.

But he did not survive alone. Rather, he was commanded to build an ark and move into it along with his kin, and pairs of all the animals, and to remain in the ark for forty days and forty nights until the flood stopped.

The Creator made a covenant with Noah and his family that the flood would never return. As a token of the covenant, He placed the rainbow in the sky.

The end of the portion speaks of the tower of Babel, about the people who decided to build a tower whose head reaches the heaven. The Creator decided to confuse their language so they would not understand one another, and then He dispersed them throughout the country.

 Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

The portion, Noah, is long, intense, and contains many details and many events compared to other portions. As this portion takes place in the beginning of the Torah, it also marks the beginning of the spiritual path, the most important time in a person’s development.

These initial stages unfold quite quickly, unlike subsequent events, when one begins the actual corrections and corrects one’s qualities meticulously. Later on, the events are far more detailed, as we will see in the future events unfolding in the Torah.

Our development takes place entirely over our egotistical will to receive, which we must turn into bestowal. Today we are still in the midst of a process where the whole of humanity is to begin to work with its ego in the right connection between people. The work against the ego is always a big problem, and appears as waves of a great sea, called Malchut of Ein Sof (Malchut of infinity).

Each time, the ego surfaces more and more, and at first, a person does not know what to do, so the only option is to hide in a box, an ark. It is not merely an escape; it is a correction. A person builds a kind of bubble, the quality of bestowal, and hides in it from all of one’s terrible egotistical qualities, and this is how one advances.

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Beresheet (In the Beginning) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

Bereshit2

Genesis, 1:1 – 6:85 This Week’s Torah Portion | October 08 – October 14, 2017 – 18 Tishrei – 24 Tishrei, 5778

In A Nutshell

Beresheet (In the Beginning) is the first portion in the Torah (Pentateuch). It tells the story of the creation of the world in six days, and the rest on the seventh day. It talks about the creation of the man, his arrival at the Garden of Eden, and the creation of the woman. The portion also narrates the story of the sin of the tree of knowledge, Cain and Abel, the generations from Cain to Lamech, the ten generations from Adam to Noah, the corruption that engulfed their generations, and the renewed hope that emerged with the birth of Noah.

 Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

Beresheet contains more stories than any other portion in the Torah. In many ways it is also the deepest of the portions, as it discusses the basis of our being—the creation of the soul.

The common soul was created out of the will to receive delight and pleasure, or simply, “the will to receive.” That will is the soul’s core, and it’s affected by six qualities: HesedGevuraTifferetNetzahHod, and Yesod. These qualities penetrated the substance—the will to receive—and designed it in synchrony with the upper force, the Creator. The reason why man is called Adam is that the word Adam comes from the word Adamah, from the verse, Adameh la Elyon (“I will be like the most high,” Isaiah, 14:14), since he is similar to the Creator, the sublime bestowal, sublime love, to that upper force that gave birth to it.

Adam is the structure of the soul that is equal in form to the Creator and is in Dvekut [adhesion] with Him in the Garden of Eden. A garden means “desire.” The garden is the part of the creature, Adam’s substance—the will to receive. Eden marks the degree of bestowal, degree of Bina. Adam, who is on the degree of Bina, is in the Garden of Eden.

This does not pertain to our world or to the universe we know, but rather to the common soul that the Creator created. From the very beginning, the common soul undergoes a special preparation, the sin, because at its inception it was adhered to the upper force, which means that it had no authority of its own, nothing to its name, or any sense of independent existence. In a sense it is like an embryo in its mother’s womb—on the one hand it exists, on the other hand it is part of its mother, and each of its actions is ruled by its superior.

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Haazinu (Give Ear) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

Haazinu

Deuteronomy, 32:1-32:52
This Week’s Torah Portion | September 17 – September 23, 2017 – 26 Elul 5777 – 3 Tishrei, 5778

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 | September 10 – September 16, 2017 – 19 Elul – 25 Elul, 5777

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 Tetze (When You Go) – Weekly Torah Portion

Ki Tetze2

Deuteronomy, 21:10-25:19
This Week’s Torah Portion | August 27 – September 02, 2017 – 5 Elul – 11 Elul, 5777

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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