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February 22, 2018

Tetzaveh (Command) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

Tetzaveh

Exodus, 27:20-30:10

This Week’s Torah Portion | 18 Feb – 24 Feb, 2018 – 3 Adar – 9 Adar, 5778

In A Nutshell

In the portion, Tetzaveh (Command), the Creator provides Moses with additional details regarding the tabernacle, and commands the children of Israel to take olive oil to light the everlasting candle in the tent of meeting outside the veil, so it may burn from dusk to dawn.

The Creator instructs Moses to appoint Aaron and his sons, Nadav, Avihu, Elazar, and Itamar to be his priests. He elaborates on the commandment of preparing the holy garments “for honor and glory” (Exodus, 28: 2): the vest, fringe, coat, and the rest of the garments of the priest.

Afterward comes an explanation on the sanctification of Aaron and his sons for their role in the tabernacle, including the offering of an ox and two rams on the altar of the incense that will be positioned inside the tabernacle before the veil, and how the incense is to be made. Finally, the Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) is mentioned, which is to take place once a year.

 Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

The portion, Tetzaveh (Command), is very matter-of-fact, short, and pragmatic. The whole of the substance of creation is the desire to receive. This is the solid basis from which we should begin. We feel the will to receive within us divided into four levels: still, vegetative, animate, and speaking. All our desires are divided in this manner, and we give them the shape of bestowal, namely to aim them toward giving. All desires must be aimed toward our connection “as one man with one heart,”[1] with love of others, as in “love your neighbor as yourself.”[2]

To the extent that we correct each one of our desires, we shape the image of man—becoming similar to the Creator. This is Adam HaRishon (the first man), who shattered and divided into myriad souls. Our purpose is to reassemble those souls into that single soul. We achieve this by annulling our egos and connecting all our desires. The connection is on the levels of still, vegetative, animate, and speaking. In these degrees we gradually reconnect everything into the new reality that the Torah narrates.

First, the oil for the lamp is a special oil, which must be lit in a special way. Subsequently, from the emitted light we can prepare the priesthood garments that clothe the will to receive.

The will to receive remains the same whether it strives to benefit others or itself. The difference lies in how we use it—for our own sake or for the sake of others. That is, do we want to use it to benefit ourselves although it is detrimental to others, or do we want to benefit others? There are two options with myriad variations.

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Teruma (Donation) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

Teruma

Exodus, 25:1-27:19

This Week’s Torah Portion | 11 Feb – 17 Feb, 2018 – 26 Shevat – 2 Adar, 5778

In A Nutshell

The portion, Teruma (Donation), deals primarily with the building of the tabernacle. The Creator instructs Moses to tell the children of Israel, “And they shall take for Me a donation from every man whose heart moves him you shall take My donation” (Exodus, 25:2). The donations were intended for the building of the tabernacle and its tools—the ark of the covenant, the ark-cover, the showbread table, the Menorah (lamp), the boards of the tabernacle, the sockets, the veil, the copper altar, and the hangings of the court. The Creator also tells Moses how to build the tabernacle. The portion is called Teruma (donation) because of the commandment to donate.

 Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

All we have is the building of the tabernacle. This is where the Creator is revealed, and this is where He resides. We must build it through a donation, and by raising the importance of the quality of bestowal and love of others (in Hebrew, the word Teruma (donation) also pertains to Harama (raising), as in, “raising the Hey”)[1]. The more we extol the quality of bestowal and use it properly, the more we correct our Kelim (vessels), namely our desires, which we currently use for ourselves, as it is written, “I have created the evil inclination…”[2]

The building of the tabernacle explains the process of our correction from the easiest to the hardest as we gradually build the tabernacle from our lightest, to our heaviest, greatest, and most egoistic desires.

The donation to the tabernacle must come from the heart, which contains all the desires. Only one who is driven by impulse in the heart is permitted to offer a donation, and from this “investment” one builds one’s Kelim. The Kelim are the connections between us, which establish the tabernacle. In the tabernacle appears the upper force, the Creator, according to one’s equivalence of form. That is, we discover the Creator to the extent of our similarity to Him.

The Creator is a hidden force. We are not inherently born with tools to discover Him because we do not possess qualities that are similar to His. For example, we hear sounds because our eardrums react to certain frequencies. Likewise, we can tell different smells because we have olfactory neurons that detect them. These are our Kelim (in Hebrew, Kelim means both “vessels” but also “tools”). However, we are devoid of tools to “detect” the upper force, the Creator, the source of energy.

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Mishpatim (Ordinances) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

Mishpatim

Exodus, 21:1-24:18

This Week’s Torah Portion | 4 Feb – 10 Feb, 2018 – 19 Shevat – 25 Shevat, 5778

In A Nutshell

In the portion, Mishpatim (Ordinances), the Creator gives to Moses a collection of laws and judgments pertaining to various topics: between man and man, Hebrew slaves, Hebrew maidservant, murdertheft, lending money, and others. The Creator also dictates laws concerning man and God, meat and dairy foods, the Sabbath, Shmita (year of omission, refraining from growing crops), etc.

Moses conveys to the children of Israel the message that the Creator will help them enter the land of Israel, and warns them about practicing idolatry. Moses reads before them from the book of covenant, and the people reply, “We will do and we will hear” (Exodus, 24:7). Moses builds an altar and offers sacrifices to the Creator, and a covenant is signed between the people and the Creator. Moses carries out the Creator’s command, ascends Mount Sinai to receive the tablets of the covenant, accompanied by his servant, Joshua, and stays there forty days and forty nights.

 Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

In the portion, Mishpatim (Ordinances), Moses ascends Mount Sinai although he had already received all the laws and ordinances and the children of Israel had already kept the Torah and the laws regarding the offerings. This tells us that laws and ordinances are one thing, and the Torah is another.

The portion details all the laws of the spiritual world, everything a person needs to do. In order to be able to do it we must receive the Torah. The Torah was given because “I have created the evil inclination, I have created for it the Torah as a spice.”[1] That is, one is shown who one is compared to what one should be at the degree of “man,” in a state of loving others and connection among everyone, a state of correction of all the egoistic desires.

This is why the laws come first. One who begins to study the wisdom of Kabbalah understands that first one must correct oneself, one’s attitude toward the group, toward the people, and toward the world. There are many internal corrections of the evil inclination that one must perform. When one understands what one must do is when the time of reception of the Torah arrives. A person learns to receive the light that corrects one during the study.

This is how we gradually obtain the upper world, the Creator, the upper force that fills the upper world. This is why it was said, “We will do and we will hear”: first we must do, and then—in the corrected Kelim (vessels) that we build—we discover the Creator filling those Kelim.

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Jethro Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

Jethro

Exodus, 18:1-20:22

This Week’s Torah Portion | 28 Jan – 3 Feb, 2018 – 12 Shevat – 18 Shevat, 5778

In A Nutshell

The portion, Jethro, starts with Jethro, priest of Midian, coming out with Zipporah and Moses’ two sons to meet Moses and the nation, which has come out of Egypt. Jethro gives to Moses some organizational tips regarding how to judge the people, explaining that he should divide them into ministers of thousands, ministers of hundreds, ministers of fifty, and ministers of ten.

The children of Israel arrive at Sinai Desert on the third month of their exodus from Egypt, as it is written, “And Israel camped there, before the mountain” (Exodus, 19:2). Moses climbs Mount Sinai and the Creator tells him, “And now, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be to Me a Segula (chosen/virtue/remedy) out of all the nations, for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the children of Israel” (Exodus, 19:5-6).

Moses informs the elders of the people about the words of the Creator, and they say, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do” (Exodus 19:8). The Creator commands the people through Moses to sanctify themselves for two days, and be ready on the third day, for this is when the Creator will appear before the whole nation.

On the third day, the children of Israel stand at the bottom of the mountain, but they do not want to meet the Creator face to face, so Moses and Aaron climb Mount Sinai and Moses brings down the Ten Commandments.

The children of Israel ask Moses to speak to them instead of the Creator because they are afraid to die. Moses explains to them that they need not fear because the Creator is coming down in order to test them, and to set the fear of Him in them so they will not sin.

The Creator instructs Moses to tell the children of Israel that because they saw Him speaking with them they are forbidden to make gods of silver and gold. Instead, they must build an altar on the ground and sacrifice on it.

 Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

Jethro, priest of Midian, is not from Israel. He is from the will to receive in order to receive, a Klipa (shell/peel) that has been mitigated by Moses. Jethro rises and connects to Moses through his Nukva (female), his daughter Zipporah, with whom Moses has two sons. This is the big and broken will to receive that the Moses in us is gradually correcting.

When Moses comes to Jethro after he has fled, a connection is made between the point in the heart, Moses, and the ego. Thus, a correction is made so that afterward it will be easier for a person to make corrections on the more advanced stages.

The correction helps one begin to divide oneself into tens, fifties, hundreds, and thousands, meaning to build the structure of the soul. The whole Torah deals with the construction of our soul and how we turn our egoistic desire into a desire with the aim to bestow. When the desire acquires the aim to bestow, it is called a “soul.”

The force of reception is called the “self,” “this world.” Everything I see and everything I feel is the force of reception. The force of bestowal is exit from reception. When I work in order to bestow, in “love your neighbor as yourself,”[1] I obtain my soul. My inner Moses is pulling away from the quality of reception toward the quality of bestowal, bringing me out of myself, and allowing me to see the upper world and begin to feel the Creator.

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BeShalach (When Pharaoh Sent) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

BeShalach

Exodus, 10:17-17:16

This Week’s Torah Portion | 21 Jan – 27 Jan, 2018 – 5 Shevat – 11 Shevat, 5778

In A Nutshell

In the portion, BeShalach (When Pharaoh Sent), Pharaoh sends the children of Israel from Egypt following the ten plagues that he and the Egyptians suffered. The Creator does not lead the children of Israel directly to the land of Israel because it means they will have to go through the land of the Philistines and the Creator does not want the children of Israel to fear war and escape back to Egypt. Instead, He sends them through the desert.

Moses takes Joseph’s bones. The Creator walks before the people, lighting the way for them with a pillar of cloud—during the day, and a pillar of fire during the night.

When Pharaoh learns that the children of Israel really did escape from Egypt he changes his mind and decides to chase them. He assembles 600 chosen chariots that chase the children of Israel all the way to the Red Sea.

The children of Israel find themselves with the sea before them and Pharaoh behind them. This is when the first miracle takes place: Moses strikes the sea, it is cut in two, and the children of Israel pass through dry land. When the Egyptians try to pass, the water closes on them and they all drown. In gratitude to the Creator for the miracle, the children of Israel sing the Song of the Sea (Exodus, 15).

Moses leads the children of Israel through the desert on the road to Shur. When the people grow thirsty they arrive at Marah, a place where the water is bitter so they cannot drink. Here another miracle occurs and the water becomes fresh (the Torah writes “sweet”). Moses and the people continue to advance toward Eilam where they discover twelve springs of water and seventy dates. They park there then continue toward the desert of Sin.

The people complain that they have run out of supplies and the Creator performs two miracles: in the first, manna comes down from the sky. In the second, quails came over the camp of Israel so they will have meat in the evening.

The children of Israel receive the first commandment—to observe the Sabbath. They are told that on Sabbath, no manna will come down from the sky and that on the sixth day they must collect supplies for two days. The children of Israel continue from the desert of Sin and arrive at Rephidim. Once again there is no water and the Creator performs another miracle: Moses strikes a rock and water gushes out of it.

Toward the arrival at Mount Sinai, Amalek appears and fights against Israel. When Moses raises his hands, Israel win; when he lowers them, Amalek wins. Finally, Israel defeat Amalek and the Creator tells Moses to write in a book of remembrance that the memory of Amalek must be blotted out from under the heaven.

 Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

Man is born with an inherently egoistic desire to receive. However, when ascending over it, one’s perspective changes and he no longer thinks only of himself. From the moment we are born we want to use the whole world for our own benefit. This is the Amalek in us. AMALEK is an acronym for Al Menat LeKabel (in order to receive). We turn the will to receive into a spiritual quality that aims toward bestowal through a process in which each of us works on his or her self using the light that reforms.[1] The light that reforms is a force that awakens in a person who studies Kabbalah correctly, together with a group. That force awakens and a person feel the changes constantly happening within.

These are the changes that the Torah describes in this portion. Pharaoh really does send the people of Israel. That is, our ego is under stress, suffering, in a conflict between the forces operating on it to the point that it “allows” us, throws us away from itself.

In fact, we are only observing the unfolding—the Creator’s war against Amalek (Exodus, 17:16), the Creator’s war against Pharaoh, and the entire process (Exodus, 10) of hardening Pharaoh’s heart, “go on to Pharaoh,” and “come to Pharaoh.”

When the children of Israel escape from Egypt with all the Kelim, meaning desires, a person rises above the ego, but the egoistic intentions remain. In the process of development, one gradually rids oneself of them through the numerous changes one goes through in the process of exiting Pharaoh’s rule and coming under the rule of the quality of the Creator—the reign of the quality of bestowal and love of others.

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