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November 21, 2019

Archive for May 20, 2007

Where Did the Love of the 1960s Go?

Love, Love, Love - Click here for the original article

In the 1960s, the Beatles declared that all we need is love, and they were right… Kabbalah says that the only force and the only law that exists in reality is the force (or law) of love.

In the 1960s, love was the name of the game. Woodstock, Hair, and “make love, not war” sentiments were the models by which we lived. But if even the law of reality agrees that love is the name of the game, why didn’t the ideals that attracted us to Woodstock last? Where is the love we were promised?

Love Is Life
Before we find where love went, we need to understand why Kabbalah states that in the whole of reality, there is nothing but love. Just imagine a woman holding her newborn baby in her arms. She gazes down at it, smiles, feeds it when the baby is hungry, and wraps it in blankets to keep it warm. Beneath all her actions is only one energizing force: her love for her baby. This is the law of love.

This seemingly obvious example demonstrates why love is the only force that can create life. What other force could guarantee that parents would care for their offspring, thus securing the continuation of their species? What other force would make certain that existing species have the means to persist and thrive? Evidently, without love, there is no life. This is why Kabbalah says that Creator, nature, and love are synonymous.

There is yet another statement that Kabbalists make, derived from the statement that the Creator is love: Because He is good, He created creations that want to receive His benefits.

According to The Book of Zohar, the seminal book of Kabbalah, reality originates from the Creator’s thought to do good, to benefit. The Zohar explains that the Creator’s nature is good; hence, so is His will, and hence, so are His thoughts.

And because He wants to do good, He created a world that runs on a desire to receive the benefits He wishes to give. This is why the law, and the force by which the whole of reality operates, is the Creator’s love.

A Mother’s Love
This brings us back to our question: Where is the love we were promised? Where are His benefits? Since the Creator formed our reality, we are the creations that wish to receive the benefits He wishes to give.

The mother-and-child example shows us that the love doesn’t exist in the baby (creation), but in the mother (the Creator). She is really the one who is enjoying her love for the baby, and the baby simply exists to enjoy her love for it.

And as cute as babies are, being a baby isn’t life’s purpose. Babies don’t remain babies, but grow up, become adults, and develop their own abilities to love. Thus, they become like their creators.

Likewise, the Creator’s purpose in creating us is for us to become like Him. The Kabbalistic term for being like the Creator is Dvekut (adhesion). Dvekut doesn’t mean that two things are “glued” to one another, but that they are at the same time identical, yet separate beings.

Therefore, to enjoy the love that exists in our Creator, we need to “grow up” and become “spiritual adults,” like Him.

Many Pieces, One Soul
In the whole of reality, as we’ve described above, there is only the Creator’s love. This love created us, the intended recipients of that love. The name Kabbalists gave this creation is “the soul of Adam ha Rishon (The First Man).” For short, we call it “Adam.”

Adam is not many souls (creations) put together; Adam is one collective soul, divided into billions of pieces. Just as our bodies are made of trillions of cells, all functioning as one unit, Adam’s soul is made of billions of pieces, all functioning as one spiritual entity.

If the cells in our body work harmoniously, we are healthy; if they work against one another, we become ill. Similarly, when our souls, the pieces of Adam’s soul, work together, our souls—the whole of humanity—are spiritually healthy.

Adam’s division into so many souls was no coincidence, but a predetermined act by the Creator. The division is imperative for our success in becoming like Him. Just as children need other children around them to develop social skills and grow up, our souls need other souls in order to develop into being like the Creator.

These souls are not really separated from ours; they are different parts of the same soul (body). But our perception of these souls as distinct and separate allows us to relate to them as separate, and thus create a “society of souls,” just like our human society. And just as children play and thus learn how to become grownups, we learn how to communicate with “other” souls, and work harmoniously with all of Adam’s parts. This is how our souls mature.

Straight to God
Yet, there is a fundamental difference between the way our souls develop, and the way we develop our social skills. Children have visible grownup role models to emulate and learn from. But our “spiritual parent” is hidden. We cannot emulate Him because we cannot see or hear Him.

To become spiritual adults, we need to employ a slightly different method than our regular school classes, where everyone learns together. Just as each cell in our bodies has a different function, each piece of Adam’s soul represents a slightly different facet of the collective desire to receive pleasure. Some pieces are created to want to be wealthy, some want to be powerful, some want to be knowledgeable, and some want to be Creators, or at least like Him.

The first person who wanted to become like the Creator was Abraham. He discovered that being like Him meant having His nature—that of giving. When Abraham became like the Creator, he started to spread the knowledge of the Creator wherever he could. In fact, we call him “the Patriarch” because of his affinity with our spiritual Father, and his desire to bring all of us to Him.

In Kabbalah, souls that want to be like the Creator are called Ysrael (Israel). Ysrael is a combination of two words: Yashar (straight) and El (God). Therefore, Israel are those whose desire is to go straight to the Creator, to achieve His nature.

Abraham’s Legacy
The early patriarchs taught whomever they could, since they knew from their own experience that this was the best thing they could give their fellow people. This was also their spiritual legacy. In his book, The Mighty Hand, The Rambam (Maimonides), the great 12th century Kabbalist, beautifully describes how Abraham roamed from city to city and from country to country, spreading wisdom and knowledge to anyone who’d listen. This is how he created the first group of Kabbalists.

Abraham’s group grew into a nation, named after its desire—Israel. This nation’s role in the world has not changed since it first appeared as a group of Kabbalists. The spiritual legacy to spread the method of achieving the Creator remains the same. The Holy Ari, the great sixteenth-century Kabbalist, puts it beautifully in his book, Shaar HaPsukim (Gate to the Verses), Parashat Shemot: “Adam ha Rishon contained all the souls and contained all the worlds. When he sinned, all the souls … divided into seventy nations. And Israel should be in exile in each and every nation, to gather the roses of the sacred souls that were scattered among those thorns.”

Longing for Love
They say that money makes the world go around. Curiously, the Hebrew word for money is Kesef, which stems from the word Kisufim (longing). The great 20th century Kabbalist, Baal HaSulam, addresses this similarity and explains that money is indeed longing, but the longing isn’t for the money itself. Beneath the desire is really a longing for the Creator’s love. Then, Baal HaSulam continues to explain that we can only attain the Creator’s love when we are “in Dvekut” with Him, when we are like Him.

All we need to perceive His love for us is the right method. Then, the love that He feels for us will be felt within us, toward each other, and back toward the Creator. The Rav Kook (the first Chief Rabbi of Israel) eloquently expressed this love in a talk with the author, AZAR (1911): “I wish the whole of humanity could be placed into a single body, so I could embrace them all.”


Love Links
8 Key Love Resources

Articles on Love

The Law of LoveThe Law of Love – is called “the law of equivalence of form.”

Videos on Love

The Law of Equivalence of FormThe Law of Equivalence of Form – everything reaches balance.

Toward Integral ConsciousnessToward Integral Consciousness – scientists on the need for common love.

Table of Free VoicesThe Table of Free Voices – 100 questions to 112 speakers.

Why Can't We Just Get Along?Why Can’t We Just Get Along? – why we can’t love each other yet.

Rav Michael Laitman, PhD on Love

Unconditional LoveUnconditional Love – classic lesson by Rav Michael Laitman, PhD.

One LawOne Law – Rav Laitman discusses the law of love.


Love Quotes

One body of humanity
The purpose of creation
Bonding as one
Equivalence of form
A never-ending coupling
Strengthening the bond
Buying love
One thing common to all
Love thy neighbor as thyself
A great rule
You cannot force love
Self-love
Cleansing self-love
One law
Worldwide unanimous agreement
Friends
Critical mass
From one nation to the world
I love God
I love everything
Revealing love
Dependence on the love of friends

One body of humanity
“I wish the whole of humanity could be placed into a single body, so I could embrace them all.”
–The Rav Kook

The purpose of creation
“The whole desirable end for the Creator from the creation He had created is to delight His creatures, so they would know His greatness and His Trueness, and would receive all the abundance and pleasantness He had prepared for them.”
–Baal HaSulam, “Introduction to the Study of The Book of Zohar

Bonding as one
“Hence, turn away from all the false engagements and set your hearts to think thoughts and innovate proper innovations to bond your hearts literally as one. And the verse, ‘love thy friend as thyself,’ shall actually be realized in you.”
–Baal HaSulam, Pri Hacham (Fruit of the Wise), letters

Equivalence of form
“When one reaches love of man, one is then straight in the form of Dvekut (adhesion), which is equivalence of form with one’s Maker. Along with it, one transcends one’s narrow and painful world, which is filled with obstacles, toward a vast, eternal world of bestowal upon the Creator and upon the creations.”
–Baal HaSulam, “The Essence of Religion and Its Purpose

A never-ending coupling
“But he must acknowledge in his soul that the Creator chases him just as much as he is chasing the Creator. And he must never forget that, even during the strongest longing. And when he remembers that the Creator chases and yearns to cleave unto to him as much as he does, too, he will always progress from strength to strength with yearning and craving, in a never ending Zivug (spiritual unity), which is the complete perfection of the soul’s power, until he is rewarded with love.”
–Baal HaSulam, Pri Hacham (Fruit of the Wise), p. 19

Strengthening the bond
“Let our hearts see the merits of our friends and not their faults. And let us each speak to our friends in the upright way, which is desirable to you. And let no hate rise from one over one’s friend. And strengthen our bond with love for You, as it is known and revealed to you…”
–Rabbi Elimelech of Lizhensk, “A Prayer before a Prayer”

Buying love
“We must know that love is bought through actions. By giving presents to one’s friend, each gift is like an arrow and a bullet, making holes in one’s friend’s heart. And even though one’s friend’s heart is like a stone, still, each bullet makes a hole. And from the accumulation of holes, a hollow is made, and the love of the giver enters that hollow. And the warmth of the love draws to it one’s friend’s sparks of love, and then from the two loves, a clothing of love is made, and this clothing covers them both.”
–Rabbi Baruch Ashlag, Dargot HaSulam (Steps of the Ladder), Part 1, article no. 776

One thing common to all
“We see that there is one thing that is common to all—the spirit. It is said, ‘A concern in one’s heart, let him speak of it with others.’ This is because with regard to feeling high-spirited, neither wealth nor erudition can be of assistance. Rather, it is one person who can help another… It turns out that each and every one must pay attention and think, how he can help his friend, uplift his spirit, because regarding one’s spirit, anyone can find a needy place in one’s friend, which he can fulfill.”
–Rabbi Baruch Ashlag, “They Helped Every One His Friend

Love thy neighbor as thyself
“Here before us is a clear law (Halacha), that in all 612 precepts and all the writings in the Torah there is none that is preferred to ‘love thy neighbor as thyself,’ because they only aim to interpret and allow us to observe the precept of loving our neighbor unreservedly.”
–Baal HaSulam, “The Revelation of Godliness

A great rule
“Love thy neighbor as thyself (Leviticus 19:18), Rabbi Akiva says, ‘This is a great rule in the Torah.’”
–Midrash Raba, Chapter 24

You cannot force love
“One can bend oneself and enslave oneself and follow anything. But with love, no enslavement and subjugation in the world will help.”
–Baal HaSulam, “Introduction to Talmud Eser Sefirot

Self-love
“The whole of evil is only self-love, called ‘egoism,’ since it is opposite in form from the Creator, who has no desire to receive anything for Himself, but only to bestow.”
–Baal HaSulam, “The Essence of Religion and Its Purpose

Cleansing self-love
“It is only possible to love in the same measure that you make within yourself a place cleansed of self-love.”
Rav Michael Laitman, A Thousand Questions about Kabbalah

One law
“The essential axis in the Torah is love thy friend as thyself. The rest of the 612 Mitzvot are its interpretations and qualifications for it.”
–Baal HaSulam, “The Revelation of Godliness

Worldwide unanimous agreement
“When all the people in the world unanimously agree to annul and eradicate the desire to receive for themselves within them, and will have no other desire but to bestow upon their friends, all worries and harmful ones will be banished from the earth, and each will be secured a complete and healthy life. In the end, each of us will have a whole world to care for our needs.”
–Baal HaSulam, “Introduction to the Study of The Book of Zohar

Friends
“Let our hearts see the merits of our friends, and not their faults.”
–Noam Elimelech, “A Prayer before a Prayer”

Critical mass
“Each item in the 613 Mitzvot in the Torah revolves on the axis of the one Mitzva, ‘love thy friend as thyself.’ This axis can only be sustainable within the framework of a whole nation, whose members are all willing and ready for it.”
–Baal HaSulam, “The Revelation of Godliness

From one nation to the world
“It is upon the Israeli nation to qualify themselves and the people of the whole world to develop until they assume this sublime work of love of man, which is the ladder to the purpose of creation, which is adhesion with the Creator.”
–Baal HaSulam, “The Bond

I love God
“I am filled with love for God. I know that what I ask, what I love, is not called by any name. How can there be a name to what is more than everything, more than the best, more than the essence, more than being?! And I love, and I say, ‘I love God.’”
–The Rav Kook, Orot Kodesh (Sacred Lights)

I love everything
“I love everything. I cannot not love people, all the peoples. I wish, from the bottom of my heart, for the glory of everything, and erection of everything. My love for Israel is fervent, deeper. But the inner desire spreads through with its power over everything. I have no need to bend that emotion of love; it stems straight from the depth of the sanctity of the wisdom of the Godly soul.”
–The Rav Kook, Mar’eh Cohen

Revealing love
“Our whole work is to reveal the love within us, every single day.”
–Baal HaSulam, Pri Hacham (Fruit of the Wise), letters, p. 35

Dependence on the love of friends
“I shall remind you still the validity of the love of friends at this time, for upon this depends our right to exist, and in that is our measure of soon-to-come success measured.”
–Baal HaSulam, Pri Hacham (Fruit of the Wise), letters

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