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October 23, 2019

Archive for June, 2013

Matot (Tribes) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

matot-parsha_450

Numbers, 30:2-32:42
This Week’s Torah Portion | June 30 – July 6, 2013 – Tammuz 22-28, 5773

In A Nutshell

In this portion Moses alerts the heads of the tribes about the commandments connected to the making and untying of vows. The portion also speaks of Pinhas, who leads Israel into a war with Midian and emerges triumphant. Following the war, the text details the division of the spoils (some of which are dedicated to the Creator) as well as the commandments to make the Kelim Kosher, detailing the process of dipping and immersing them in boiling water.

At the end of the portion, the tribes of Gad and Reuben ask to stay on the Eastern bank of the Jordan River because of its good soil for their voluminous cattle herds. They infuriate Moses because he thinks they are seeking to avoid the war for the conquest of the land. In the end they commit to participating in the war and Moses grants their wish for a lot outside the land of Israel.

Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

Kabbalists attain the forces and discernments of the spiritual world. These are the forces that operate and manage our world, including the still, vegetative, animate, and human, each of which has a force that runs it. This is why it is impossible to ask anything of people who are not Kabbalists, as they have no free choice, as it is written, “They are all as beasts (animals).” When we read a story in the Torah that seems to be happening in this world, we need to understand that its roots are in the spiritual world, in the network of forces that governs the world.

Today we already feel and understand that we are approaching the network of the forces of the integral nature, which closes in on us and compels us to behave accordingly. It is the appearance of Godliness, which is gradually nearing us.

We see that we can no longer manage the world. Each day we are feeling more and more clearly that nothing in the world depends on us. We are losing our ability to manage the world because we can no longer act in life using our egos.

Kabbalists discovered the upper network and told us how it manifests on the upper level. They did so using words and stories of this world, our world, because everything that exists in the upper one descends to the lower one.

During the forty years in the desert, and even before, Moses wrote his five books, the Pentateuch. Through his attainment, Moses wrote part of the Pentateuch about the times preceding his own. He wrote it in the language of the branches, in the connections between upper and lower. Moses wrote about everything that takes place in the upper world and how the forces are managed. He spoke of them as results, as “marionettes” that move about our world and change.

This is why it is pointless trying to deal with this world; it is utterly governed; there is nothing in it of its own. To know everything, we need to rise to the upper degree, the place where decisions are made, where forces operate and influence our world.

We cannot change anything in this world, and we are well aware of it. Yet, there is one way by which we can change. If that happens, a person can be in bestowal and love according to one’s nearing to the forces in one’s nature. In this way one can change one’s fate here in this world.

In fact, only by changing ourselves can we achieve, “I have created the evil inclination, I have created for it the Torah as a spice,” because “The light in it reforms them.” Only through the light that we draw from the study of the wisdom of Kabbalah can we change ourselves and rise to the upper degree. From that upper degree we can influence the decisions and the mechanism that operate our world. This is why Moses turned to the heads of the tribes and explained to them about untying the vows, about going against Midian, etc.

We need to imagine man as a small world, and everything that happens in the world as happening within. Indeed, within us are Moses and the entire structure called “the people of Israel,” with its priests, Levites, and Israel, being the three lines that comprise our soul. There are also the nations of the world within us, the Midianites, Pharaoh, and everything else that the Torah narrates.

When we discover ourselves and detect within us all those forces and qualities, we perceive the Torah as an instruction. Accordingly, we act to change and adapt ourselves from a person in this world to a higher, spiritual human, aware of the spiritual world, at the spiritual degree known as Matot (tribes).

This is a very high degree, working out of Hesed, the highest Sefira (singular of Sefirot) of the structure of the soul. Out of the ten Sefirot, Keter, Hochma, and Bina are the top Sefirot. They are above our attainment and are the ones that manage us. We approach them through our inner qualities, through arranging them properly as Hesed, Gevura, Tifferet, Netzah, Hod, Yesod, and Malchut, which are the seven remaining Sefirot.

We correct these seven Sefirot repeatedly on each degree, and they are called “the seven days of the week.” Hesed, Gevura, Tifferet, Netzah, Hod, and Yesod correspond to the weekdays, and Malchut corresponds to the Sabbath. By correcting them we go through the weeks in a circle that eventually brings us to Keter, Hochma and Bina, the top three Sefirot, meaning to the end of correction.

Each week in the year has its Torah portion or portions. These are degrees by which we gradually elevate ourselves to the top degree, by opening up to our interior. As we do that, we find the forces within us and act alongside them.

The quality of Moses in us turns to the heads of the tribes in us, according to the division of the soul into twelve tribes, the tribes he arranged correctly while working with the growing ego from a state called “reception of the Torah” to a state called “entrance to the land of Israel.” The process one undergoes between the states is called “the forty years in the desert.” The desert represents our need to sort out the desires within us and correct them from reception for ourselves into the altruistic form of bestowal, to the right approach toward others, which can be summed up in the maxim, “That which you hate, do not do to your friend.” On the degree of “tribes,” one scrutinizes one’s qualities and how to work with the will to receive.

At first, a person can scrutinize the vows. Vows are states and conditions by which one attains a higher degree. The vows indicate the limitation one can take upon oneself and not fail. However, when one cannot persist with them, it is possible to rid oneself from them much like the untying of vows before Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement).

There are fundamental laws in spirituality that concern man and the scrutiny that takes place within—to what extent one can ask for correction for oneself and work with the force that corrects. Following these preparations, a person becomes aware of one’s ability to work with one’s ego on the level of Midian. Such a person works with the force known as Pinhas, which is the next stage of the force of Moses.

This is when one can truly go to war. A person goes against one’s ego in order to conquer it and works with part of it in order to bestow. We ascend to a spiritual degree by correcting the evil inclination into a good inclination. There is no other substance but our own—the will to receive.

First, it comes with only the intention to receive. At that point it is called “the evil inclination” because it prevents itself from participating with others. When it turns into the good inclination, it connects to everyone. This means that a person has succeeded in the war and has conquered the ego.

Once a person has conquered one’s ego, he gives spoils to the tribes, the priest, the Levite, Israel, the women, and the children. He gives spoils from everything he could take from the still, vegetative, animate, and the speaking degree (human). The Torah details what we must do with the masculine part, which is the right side of the Klipa (shell/peel), and what we need to do with the feminine part, the left side of the Klipa.

On Yom Kippur there is a custom to untie vows. Why then is there a need for vows in the first place?

We cannot grow without a vow. When approaching a higher degree, we have to annul ourselves before the upper one because we have not yet reached that degree and therefore cannot accurately evaluate it. As we study we constantly correct and “update” ourselves.”

There are also complementary actions such as the Second Passover where if we did not prepare ourselves for the correction known as Passover, where we “pass over” the ego, we can come to it a month later.

This sounds like a negotiation. We make vows so we can complete the work later, that if we do something we will receive so and so.

No, there is no such thing. It is not how spirituality works. A person does everything honestly until one discovers that it is impossible to keep moving forward, or that the conditions have changed. We are in a system of interconnected souls that supports us when we fall. We learn about our being in an integral system from Moses, who did nothing wrong except for the striking of the rock, yet the whole nation suffered because of it.

There was only one Moses, but we are just beginners.

There is nothing to say about this world. Here we are nothing more than outcomes of the spiritual world. If we can influence the spiritual world through the study of Kabbalah we will change this world, as well. If we do not, we will change nothing.

In fact, we can impact the spiritual world just by aspiring to ascend to spirituality, and this will impact this world favorably. If we have no ability or desire to change our spiritual situation even if we can, our world will still advance, but on a path of suffering.

How can we change our world if it is only a world of results and we are being operated on, without any free choice?

As soon as we begin to ascend toward the spiritual world, we begin to change this world. Nothing in this world changes it but the forces that influence it from above. Therefore, our only choice in this world is to rise above it.

Is this done by connecting and uniting with others?

Yes, through unity with others.

Will we improve our financial situation, too, by studying Kabbalah?

Everything will change. All the outcomes in this world depend only on the connections between us. There is nothing truly worth doing but securing our sustenance, and dedicating the rest of the time to spiritual ascension. This, in turn, will change everything.

Is the correction personal or does it affect everyone?

The correction is both personal and general, but today it is primarily general.

Why is it so hard to understand it even though it sounds so simple?

We are built according to our individualistic egos. We view the world egotistically. And precisely because of it, today the systems of economy and education are becoming dysfunctional. We cannot succeed anymore because everything is broken and scattered. Throughout history we have become used to advancing using our egos, by trying to profit and benefit ourselves the most. But today these egotistical, linear systems have stopped functioning. We are moving into systems that are round, integral, connected.

Is the reciprocal impact sensed immediately?

Yes, people will feel more important, more successful, and even stronger than the government. Governments act egotistically, like a linear arrow. Conversely, the connections between people are circular. Today we are in a global mechanism in a nature that is integral and global. As a result, we cannot continue to advance egotistically, linearly, as before. Now we have to learn how to ascend, how to increase the aim to connect “as one man with one heart,” because only through unity can we change the way things are.

Matot (Tribes)

“‘And you who cleave unto the Lord your God are alive every one of you this day.’ What is the reason? It is because the soul of Israel comes from the spirit of the living God. ‘For the spirit before Me will enwrap.’ ‘Before Me,’ meaning before Divinity, from ZA, the living God.”

Zohar for All, Matot (Tribes), item 5

What is the spoil?

The spoil is a result of man’s work with the evil inclination. In this war, a person turns the evil inclination into good inclination using the light that reforms. As a result, a person receives light through that inclination. The light that fills a person—the attainment, that sublime sensation—is a great possession. This is the spoil.

The division of the spoil refers to how one divides the light among all of one’s parts, all of one’s desires and qualities. It denotes how one operates that division mechanism, who receives more, and who receives less.

This portion seems to discuss the root of the conduct of making utensils kosher.

The root of the matter is in our Kelim (vessels), the will to receive. This is where we receive the light. The light may appear in our desires on condition that they are not working only in order to receive, but also in order to bestow—to share them with others. When we connect ourselves to others in this way, the light appears in us. It follows that all our corrections are really qualifications of our Kelim, making them kosher.

Put differently, we need to qualify our will to receive so it aims to bestow, so it is connected to others. The water, which represents Hesed, qualifies the Kelim. If we need to correct a metal Kli (singular of Kelim), meaning make it kosher, it requires a deeper correction. It has to be passed through fire, representing Gevura. A metal Kli represents a desire that was used egotistically and that must be corrected and cleaned more powerfully through “whitening” (heating to the point where the metal becomes white), Mikveh Kelim (a tub used for ritual immersion of utensils), and Hagaalah (dipping in boiling water).

Correcting our Kelim is all that we have in the wisdom of Kabbalah. The correction of the Kelim takes place once a person has acquired them and has shifted them from the aim to receive into the aim to bestow, having conquered one’s desires. This is not only about correcting Kelim in the sense of utensils, or dishes, but about correcting the Kelim when one makes offerings.

The offering is a Kli on the animate level. One “kills” one’s will to receive, meaning the manner in which the will to receive was used before, egotistically, and brings it as an offering (Korban), from the word Hitkarvut (nearing), toward bestowal, in favor of others. Only then can one bestow love upon others using that same will to receive, which then becomes holy.

This is not the only Torah portion where there are wars and struggles.

We are always at war, always struggling, until we reach the end of correction.

If a person has already attained a certain degree and enjoys the light in it, why should one relinquish it?

Because that person would want to pass it on to others.

But that person still has no desire to pass the light to others.

Wanting to pass it on is a precondition for receiving the light.

You mean, in order to receive the light, you first need to want to give it away?

Of course. We already want to receive it because we heard it is good. But we will not receive it until we desire to share it with others. Our world mandates that we become connected because we are approaching the end of the correction process.

Once a person has tasted the light, what would stop one from wanting it all the time?

We advance “on two legs.” One receives Kelim, corrects them, fills them with light, shares them with everyone, and thus does a very good deed, a Mitzva (good deed/commandment). Using the will to receive in favor of others is called a Mitzva. Once a Mitzva is done, another part of the person’s ego that was hidden inside rises and appears.

Eventually, the entire “Egypt” of a person appears, and one is now immersed in an ego that is spreading over the good. The bad suddenly becomes dominant over the good. When that happens a person becomes wicked, and the struggle begins anew: the previous degree disappears inside, “drowning” in the bad.

When Israel enter Canaan and conquer it, there is the Eastern side of the Jordan river. Gad and Reuben wanted that lot. Why did Moses suddenly object to their dwelling on the Eastern bank of the Jordan?

Our will to receive is in the three worlds Beria, Yetzira, and Assiya. There is also the Temple, Jerusalem, Mount Moriah, and the rest of the degrees: The land of Israel, around which is the Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Babylon. Additionally, there are the rest of the lands in the world, but they are not considered as having anything meaningful.

The Eastern bank of the Jordan is the first boundary outside the land of Israel, and therefore does not have the same level of sanctity as the land of Israel itself. This is why Moses, the force that manages all the corrections within us, opposes the children of Israel’s presence there. All the children of Israel must first be inside the land of Israel, and only afterward are there the conquests of David, which include Lebanon, Syria, and Babylon, from the Niles to the Euphrates.

  

Glossary – Matot (Tribes) – Weekly Torah Portion

Glossary of Terms Used in the Matot Weekly Torah Portion

Tribe

A tribe is a group. Just as the body has systems such as the lymph system, the cardiovascular system, the nervous systems, etc., a tribe is one of the twelve systems that comprise the soul. The soul divides into twelve systems known as HBD, HGT, NHY. In each YodHeyVavHey there are three lines, which add up to twelve.

Vows

We cannot advance without them; it is a type of consideration toward the next degree. Although we do not know what it is, we still go for it. In spirituality, it is considered that one takes upon oneself a vow to correct oneself, and only afterward checks if this is at all possible.

Spoil

The spoil is the light received in the corrected Kelim in spirituality, the light of Hochma (wisdom) that dresses in light of Hassadim (mercy).

Hagaalah of Kelim (dipping utensils in boiling water)

Hagaalah is one of the forms of correcting our spiritual Kelim. We have Kelim on the still, vegetative, animate, and human levels. The desires divide into four degrees according to their Aviut (thickness). The Kelim that are similar to our Kelim are corrected through what is called Hagaalah.

A Kosher Kli

A Kosher Kli is a desire to receive that has acquired the intention to bestow. Conversely, a desire to receive that has the intention to receive is non-kosher.

Eastern Side of the Jordan

This is the part that still belongs to the land of Israel, but is in Tifferet of the world of Beria. It is written about it in the writings of the ARI and in The Study of the Ten Sefirot.

Anger

Increasing of the Gevurot in Malchut because they cannot receive for lack of Hassadim (mercy). In our world a person becomes angry for lack of light of Hassadim inside the Kli.

Matot (Tribes)

“‘I said, ‘Let a world of mercy be built.’’ Hesed (mercy) is one of the upper Sefirot of the king, a higher Sefira than the seven bottom Sefirot. The Creator named the soul of Israel Hesed on the condition that the Hesed will be built, and the Hesed will not be blotted out from the world.”

Zohar for All, Matot (Tribes), item 6

Hesed is the highest of the seven Sefirot, Hesed, Gevura, Tifferet, Netzah, Hod, Yesod, and Malchut. This is why Hesed is the top Sefira of the structure of the soul. It is in charge, drawing, and managing our entire process of correction. In this way, Hesed truly acts as Hesed (mercy).

  

Pinhas Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

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Numbers, 25:10-30:1
This Week’s Torah Portion | June 23-29, 2013 – Tammuz 15-21, 5773

In A Nutshell

In the beginning of the portion the Creator thanks Pinhas for stopping the plague and gives him a “covenant of peace,” and a “covenant of an everlasting priesthood” to him and to his descendants. All the while, the children of Israel are preparing to fight the Midianties.

Following the instructions of the Creator, Moses divides the land into lots, following censuses held in the people by tribes and by families. At the conclusion of the censuses, the daughters of Zelophehad, from the tribe of Menashe, complain to Moses that their father died and as women, they did not receive their lot. Moses looks into the matter and the Creator rules that to do justice, the daughters of Zelophehad will be given a lot in the land, which will be named after their father.

The Creator commands Moses to climb up the Mountain of Avarim to see the land of Israel, which he will not enter, and to appoint Joshua, son of Nun, as his successor.

At the end of the portion there is a detailed description of the offerings that needed to be sacrificed each day and on different occasions during the year.

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Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

According to The Book of Zohar, the portion, Pinhas, is profound and evokes many questions. The story tells of people such as Pinhas, who are seemingly greater than Moses. The Creator blesses and praises him that he is as great as Joshua, that he is replacing Moses, who is climbing down from center stage. There is also the issue of women’s rights, some of whom can be as the men, receiving a lot.

As we know, the Torah does not speak of corporeal events or physical bodies, but of souls. The souls are what is important, the eternal part in each of us. This is why we need to understand that the text describes the “human within us,” which must experience all the portions of the Torah along the spiritual development.

This portion speaks of a very special point that awakens in us, a special desire called Pinhas. Read the rest of this entry »

  

Glossary – Pinhas – Weekly Torah Portion

Glossary of Terms Used in the Pinhas Weekly Torah Portion

Covenant

A covenant is the connection between the Creator and the creature. When people oppose one another, they are considered distant. The more alike they are, the closer they become. When they are similar in only one way, it is as though two circles begin to overlap. If they are completely equal, they are in a covenant, in unity. A covenant is unity. It is a match between the qualities of the creature and the qualities of the Creator. Achieving such a state makes a person similar to the Creator, and then that person is called Adam (man) from the word Domeh (similar).

Everlasting Covenant

An everlasting covenant is the one that the Creator had with Pinhas. It is a degree in which the quality that a person has acquired never disappears and never becomes corrupted.

Lot

A lot is the will to receive that has been corrected into working in order to bestow on a degree that does not disappear, and which does not need to be reacquired.

Family, the Family of Zelophehad, the Family of the Gershonites

The creature is only a single desire that was created, called “one soul.” That soul is divided into many interconnected parts, like cells in our bodies. Some cells are similar, close, helping and supporting one another, existing in wholeness and working in mutuality, in a special connection. These are called “family.”

These “cells” are parts of one soul that work among themselves in a special mutual work that is at the same time independent, like our children. We come from different areas and no one chooses anything, but it happens, according to the hierarchy by which we hang down through the worlds from above downward.

Changing

This is the next degree. Today a person is one way and tomorrow it is as though he is another way. He changes himself.

Leader

Each degree comprises ten Sefirot. Keter is the leader, the one who illuminates to all the degrees through Malchut, where the execution actually occurs. Keter has heads of tribes, hundreds, thousands, and so on, and in the end, the execution is in the people.

  

Balak Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

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Numbers, 22:2-25:9
This Week’s Torah Portion | June 16-22, 2013 – Tammuz 8-14, 5773

In A Nutshell

The portion, Balak, begins with the people of Israel conquering the land of the Amorites. Balak, king of Moab, understands that the children of Israel are nearing him, and prepares to face the nation that came out of Egypt. He sends messengers to Balaam, son of Beor—who was famous for his great wisdom and power of his curses—and asks him to curse the people of Israel.

Balaam leaves for the land of Moab having accepted the harsh stipulation to say only what the Creator will permit him to. Along the way his mare stops. Balaam beats her but the mare won’t move. Balaam cannot see the angel stopping the mare. The mare opens her mouth and speaks to him, and instead of cursing Israel he blesses them.

Balak is furious with Balaam. As a compensation, Balaam tips him that Israel has a weak spot: the daughters of Moab. Balak sends the daughters of Moab and the people of Israel fornicate with them so much that even Zimri, son of Salu, one of the presidents of the tribe of Shimon, takes a Midianite woman.

This situation leaves Pinhas, son of Elazar, with no choice. He takes a spear and stabs them to death, thus stopping the plague that has spread in the nation claiming twenty-four thousand lives.

Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

This story does not happen on the corporeal level. It is not about a process unfolding between two nations, but rather an internal correction process that one experiences. The story itself comes to show us how to correct the evil inclination. It is not a tale about children or grownups, nor is it a story about nations, countries, wars, prostitutes, or mares. All it describes is the correction of the evil inclination. It is the only thing that the Torah (Pentateuch) describes from the very beginning, from Adam—who began the correction—to the end.

The text speaks of a person who went through this path as Adam HaRishon (Adam), as Abraham, and as Moses, and who went through the whole process in Egypt and in the desert. During the gradual correction of the desire, a person gradually nears the land of Israel until one is faced with the “conquest” of the land.

The “desert” is a desire that a person still cannot use correctly, and therefore cannot see the fruits of the work with it. These corrections precede the ones known as the “land of Israel.”

The spies discovered that the land of Israel is a desire that, if aimed entirely at the Creator, yields beautiful fruits [Israel means Yashar El (straight to God)]. A person who approaches that correction initially acquires the land of the Amorites followed by the land of Moab, which is a higher degree. Man’s egoistic desire known as “the king of Moab,” Balak, begins to seemingly rebel against him because it does not want the corrections.

Read the rest of this entry »

  
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