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June 30, 2022

Archive for October, 2007

More than just Madonna: Kabbalah has millions of online students around the world – an Article in the Canadian Press

The Canadian Press

TORONTO (October 17, 2007): Without the Internet, studying Kabbalah every day would be more of a chore for Susan Morales, who already leads a busy life teaching and checking up on her nursing students.

But by going online, her class with her teacher Rav Michael Laitman, which is webcastlive every day from Israel, is just a click away for the Toronto resident who lectures at Ryerson University.

“The miracle of that is just fantastic,” said Morales, 58, who has been doing Kabbalah every day – a requirement for all students – for the past six years.

Laitman is the founder and president of the Bnei Baruch Kabbalah Education and Research Institute in Israel, which has branches all over the world including Toronto.

Kabbalah, which is Hebrew for reception, is an ancient “method of spiritual growth and development offering an inspiring path of self-discovery and spiritual elevation,” according to the centre.

It aims to answer life’s deepest question: What is life about?

In an interview during a visit to Toronto, Laitman said the Internet plays a major role in getting the Kabbalah message out.

“When I started building the academy in 1991, the Internet was basically non-existent,” he said in Hebrew as he spoke through an interpreter.

Laitman went through some difficult years using “snail mail.”

The web improved communication, and, “as a result now today we have approximately two million students worldwide – about 200,000 in Canada – using the Internet from 47 countries in 26 languages,” he said.

Thousands more practise it through The Kabbalah Centre, another Israel-based organization that uses the web and has branches worldwide.

Through Bnei Baruch, said Morales, classes can be done any time because it has one of the largest archives of downloadable lessons.

“If I wanted to sit in front of my computer and listen and study 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year, I could do it and not view (the same) lesson again.”

Rob Taylor, 56, a project management consultant in the power industry, says he’s up at 3 a.m. to study Kabbalah.

Generally he either studies texts or takes classes online with Laitman. Then throughout the day he’s always working on what he learned.

“You start evaluating yourself,” said Taylor, an eight-year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and a former undercover cop who lives in Toronto.

“Why do I see it this way? Why is it affecting me the way it does?”

In 1984, when he first learned about Kabbalah, there wasn’t a lot of translated material, he said. Until the late 20th century, it was closed to all but a few select and serious students.

“There were commentaries but nothing you could really get your teeth into, to really understand it,” he said.

Then in the late 1990s, things began to change, he said.

“I started coming across material mostly put together by Laitman,” author of “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Kabbalah.”

Now, more than 5,000 books are available on Amazon.com, most written after 2000, according to the Idiot’s Guide. As well, more than 200,000 lessons are available online.

Besides books, such as the Idiot’s Guide, making it more accessible to people, interest really ignited after pop singer and actress Madonna became heavily involved.

“When she went public about it, more people were asking about what this is,” said Jacob Kessler, 25, who helped established the Kabbalah Club at the University of Toronto.

“More people started coming out to study meetings or … taking a class here and there at The Kabbalah Centre,” said Kessler, who was introduced to Kabbalah by his parents when he was a young child.

Kessler, who is working on a bachelor’s degree in Judaic studies with a focus on mystical Judaism and Kabbalah, says lots of students are interested in Kabbalah – sometimes classes are full.

But Madonna is only part of the reason why Kabbalah is being studied by so many people these days, said Laitman.

“Humanity is in a global crisis: Divorce rates are soaring, drug abuse, depression. Globalization causes us all to be interconnected and at the same time we’re all hateful to each other,” he said.

“When you lose hope … you start searching. Instinctively people are discovering that the answer to it probably exists in Kabbalah,” he said.

“That’s why kabbalists for the first time in 5,000 years of Kabbalah’s existence are now exposing it to the whole world,” he said. As a result, “we see that Kabbalah is a method for correcting and for restoring balance.”

People of all walks of life are finding it helpful, said Morales. She has met devout Christians, Orthodox Jews, observant Muslims and agnostics studying it.

At the core of Kabbalah, she said, “is the correction of oneself.”

How does one become more like the bestowing creator, or God, said Morales. That’s how spirituality is defined in Kabbalah.

In Kabbalah, correct intentions will lead you closer to God, or the creator, who is a giving force, a bestowing force, said Laitman. “The whole of nature is a giving nature, a loving nature.”

Each organ in our body functions to benefit the body, he said.

If one, however, begins “to pull towards itself to consume the rest of the body” it becomes cancerous, he said.

“This is why Kabbalah states that if humanity rises above its egoism it will not be cancerous towards the whole of nature.”

Today’s interconnectedness “should compel us to rise above our personal egos and achieve the right harmony and connection among us in giving to each other.”

“When Kabbalah opens up the picture of the world to us it kind of forces us to become good,” he said.

Taylor says he gradually turned to Kabbalah during his stints in the Marines and with the police out of frustration.

“You spend a lot of time in those environments because you want to fix things,” he said. “Then you reach a point of understanding that you can’t.”

Finally, “you come to realize that the whole structure begins with individual correction,” he said.

“We have to fix ourselves internally before we can even think about going out there and correcting something else.”

That, he said, “has probably been the biggest change” in his life since he began … studying Kabbalah.

Click Here for the Original Article

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VIDEO: Rav Michael Laitman PhD in Mexico

Highlights from Rav Michael Laitman’s tour of Mexico in 2006. Rav Laitman will be appearing publicly in Mexico (October 30, 2007) and in Monterrey’s Fórum Universal de las Culturas 2007 (November 4, 2007) after his United States and Canada tour. For more information, stay tuned to Kabbalah Blog or contact spanish@kabbalah.info

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How to Understand Nature’s Program and Know What Path to Take – an Interview with Rav Michael Laitman PhD in Shalom Toronto

Shalom Toronto News

In an interview with Shalom Toronto columnist Jonathan Dahoah-Halevi, Rav Michael Laitman, PhD explained that studying the Kabbalah can help humanity have a positive influence on the forces at work in the world and reach a high spiritual level to become one with nature and God. The following is an excerpt from the interview:

Shalom Toronto: Does the Kabbalah have the power to solve global problems?

Rav Laitman: The Kabbalah is the answer to all the world’s problems because it deals with the world in general. Man is driven by his ego. The development of the ego leads to hatred, despair, drugs, terrorism and air pollution, and for all those things there is the Kabbalah which teaches us how to relate to the world and our fellow men to reach harmony, to have a positive influence and to reduce human suffering.

Shalom Toronto: How can the Kabbalah solve the problem of air pollution?

Rav Laitman: The Kyoto Protocol [an international agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions] and other agreements cannot reduce air pollution. Nature has another program. Nature needs to bring us into a state of balance. It is a mistake to think that all we have to do is burn less. What we have to do is understand nature’s program and then we will know what path to take. Air pollution is not the main issue, but human thoughts and behavior are what influence nature and everything else is completely marginal.

Click Here for This Issue of Shalom Toronto, and Read the Full Interview on Page 49

Rav Laitman will be giving a public lecture tonight in Toronto at the B’nai Brith Building, 15 Hove Street (Bathurst & Sheppard).
Click here for bookings, and for more information on Rav Laitman’s United States and Canada tour

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Beyond the trendy red string bracelets – an Article in the NWI Times

NWI Times

Rav Michael Laitman, PhD continued his United States and Canada tour last night with a lecture in Chicago on the global crisis—its cause and its solution—according to authentic Kabbalah. The media continues to follow Rav Laitman throughout his tour, and yesterday’s NWI Times article “Beyond the Trendy Red String Bracelets” by journalist Molly Woulfe, shows that the basic message of authentic Kabbalah is gradually becoming more clarified with regard to other ways people understand Kabbalah, however the confusion of differing opinions hovering around the word “Kabbalah” still keeps seeping into the discussion.

“Authentic Kabbalah is a science, pure science, that explains how we balance ourselves and nature. The more balanced we are, the better we feel,” Woulfe quoted Rav Laitman from a private interview.

Woulfe focused on Rav Laitman’s message for the cause of the global crisis we currently face: humanity’s growing egoism. “Look at films from 50 years ago. We see that people were simple people. They managed to get along with each other. They didn’t do much damage to nature. The (collective) ego constantly increased and intensified from generation to generation. Today, it’s at such a magnitude, that we hate even ourselves and our kids and everyone, the whole world. That’s why we’re so alienated,” Rav Laitman stated.

After quoting Rav Laitman on the cause of the global crisis, rather than getting into what Rav Laitman had to say about the solution to the global crisis, on how to balance ourselves and nature, Woulfe opened a discussion on the controversy surrounding the understanding of Kabbalah in religious circles: that one needs to have delved into the study of religious texts prior to studying Kabbalah, and that one needs to pay attention to Jewish beliefs and customs while studying Kabbalah…

This shows that prior to someone listening to the message of how authentic Kabbalah can fix all of the world’s problems through guided instruction on balancing with nature, a person who is still trying to find his feet in the wisdom of Kabbalah can easily get stuck on differing opinions surrounding the question “What is Kabbalah?

In order to clarify this question for first-time investigators, Bnei Baruch created the “What is Kabbalah?” environment, containing basic information about what is and is not Kabbalah, who can study Kabbalah, and why Kabbalah is becoming increasingly popular in our times. Once a person skips through this information, they can continue with Your First Course in Kabbalah – a short 5-lesson video cours

Click Here to Sign Up for a Free Kabbalah Introductory Course – Starts Soon!e covering Kabbalah’s fundamental principles.


Kabbalah’s popularity, controversy are no secret – an Article in the Chicago Tribune

The Chicago Tribune Logo

CHICAGO TRIBUNE (October 12, 2007): In advance of Rav Laitman’s upcoming lecture at the Oakton Community College in Skokie, near Chicago, entitled “The Kabbalah Experience: The Relevance of Authentic Kabbalah in Our Lives,” journalist Deborah Horan wrote an article briefly tracing differing views on the disclosure of Kabbalah in our times.
Read the Article in the Chicago Tribune

If there is one thing that becomes obvious from Rav Laitman’s recent contact with U.S. journalists, there is a lot of confusion between the Kabbalah that Rav Laitman teaches and other claims to Kabbalah which first need to be differentiated. Terms which have stuck to the word “Kabbalah” over the years, like “Jewish mysticism,” “religion,” and “Judaism,” are picked up on and explained in a response to the Chicago Tribune article by a Bnei Baruch student.
Read the Article’s Response in Suite101

Click Here for More Information on Rav Laitman’s United States and Canada October Tour

Click Here to Sign Up for a Free Kabbalah Introductory Course – Starts Soon!

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