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December 15, 2018

Archive for October, 2013

What are the Research Materials of Kabbalah?

What are the Research Materials of Kabbalah?

Kabbalah has always been studied from books.

When Kabbalists write books, they have already reached a certain spiritual level. When we read the books, wanting to somehow make contact with that world from which the Kabbalist wrote, we are enfolded in an illumination from that place. We do not feel it, but it slowly prepares us for the phase when we begin to feel more and more of what the books describe.

This is how one begins the process of entering the spiritual world.

Throughout history, Kabbalists have written materials that were meant for a specific generation. The materials from different generations actually provide the same material, but are presented in a manner that is easiest for that generation to understand.

The text in genuine books of Kabbalah precisely describes how the mechanism that operates reality works. Using charts and formulas, it depicts the “control room of reality” in a form much like a user’s manual. These visuals teach us how the laws work in spirituality, and how we can influence them with mind and will, consequently affecting the results that will return to affect us.

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How Does the Spiritual Screen Work?

How Does the Spiritual Screen Work?

When a person becomes capable changing his intention from wanting to receive for itself to wanting to receive in order to bring pleasure to the Creator, this new and revolutionary intent is called a “screen.” Only if there is a screen over the desire to enjoy (a willingness to take pleasure only to the extent that it delights the Creator), does the soul become worthy of reception. This point in the heart can then be called a “Vessel.”

So all we really have to do is acquire a screen! It actually boils down to a change in our intent, from that of wanting to receive to that of wanting to give. But how does this screen work and how does it allow us to sense the Creator? The answer is simple; it works just like the rest of our senses.

For instance, let’s take a look at the process of hearing. How do we hear? Air waves strike a kind of screen within our ear called an “eardrum.” The eardrum is connected to specialized hearing organs that transfer the vibrations of the eardrum into electrical impulses that our brains interpret as sound.

The sense of sight is no different. Light strikes a kind of screen, the retina, where nerves are stimulated and transfer electric signals into the brain that it interprets as sight, what we see. If you remove either of the “screens” from these sensory organs, no matter how much air is moved in the form of sound waves, or how much light enters the eye, we still will not hear or see. Our other senses have the same types of screen mechanisms. The spiritual screen is no different. Light is reflected off the screen and signals are sent within us allowing us to sense the Creator.

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How to Achieve Never Ending Fulfillment

How to Achieve Never Ending Fulfillment

Wholeness is a pleasure that is sensed only after there is a hunger for something and a shortage of it. I ate a cookie yesterday and remember how it tasted. I want one today and that desire is experienced as incompleteness. In other words, I remember the pleasure of eating that cookie and I now feel a lack. I can only fulfill that lack to the extent of the incompleteness I feel before I devour another cookie today.

Of course, tomorrow I will probably want another cookie. This is because nature has arranged lack and fulfillment, hunger and satisfaction, where they do not occur at the same time. This is the exact situation the Creator has placed our souls in to feel the lack, feel incomplete and thereby crave pleasure. As a result, we learn we most certainly can satisfy a lack or hunger, but we can never get our fill. No matter how many bags of cookies I buy, when the bag of cookies runs out, I will definitely be running to the store to pick up another bag.

 

The Uniqueness of Spiritual Fulfillment

Luckily, the Creator has a solution for this situation. He wants to delight us, which is why He sends us a very special fulfillment. Our souls try not to spoil that satisfaction by crossing the line and devouring the whole bag. It is only in this way that the soul arrives at completeness. The hunger and desire do not go away—on the contrary. As a result of this special fulfillment, the soul extends more fulfillment from a wholeness that does not fade, an eternal wholeness.

How does this special fulfillment work? I enjoy eating that cookie because prior to ripping open the bag, I feel a hunger, a lack, a sensation of shortage. In other words, I want a cookie. After I eat a few cookies, I no longer want any more because the lack has been fulfilled. But in the spiritual, the Creator gave our souls a great “trick” that prevents it from being satiated, despite the reception of pleasure. The more full our souls feel, the hungrier they grow. That is the perfection of the action of the Creator.

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What are Sefirot?

What are the Sefirot?

The process of the development and birth of the soul can be favorably compared to the same process that occurs in human beings. The soul is born out of a spiritual seed, which is developed by the Light that descends on a person when studying Kabbalah. The point in the heart then begins to inflate and expand under the influence of that Light, and finally evolves into ten complete attributes Kabbalah calls Sefirot; the complete structure of the soul is called a Partzuf, or a Guf (body) of a soul. The Upper Light (the sensation of the Creator by the creature) is drawn into those ten attributes, or Sefirot. This is how a person begins to feel the spiritual world, the Upper One, the Creator.

 

Sefirot as Vessels of Perception

Everyone is born into this world with the same five senses: seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting and smelling. Since we all have the same senses, we all see this corporeal world in the same way. But what are we really feeling through these senses? We are feeling our desire to enjoy, the desire for pleasure. This desire manifests in all five senses at once and is experienced on five different levels:

1. Animate pleasures from sex, family and food.
2. Pleasure from wealth and social status.
3. Pleasure from power (control) and fame.
4. Pleasure from knowledge.
5. Pleasure from the Creator.

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Toldot (These Are the Generations) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

Toldot2

Genesis, 25:19-28:9
This Week’s Torah Portion | October 27 – November 2, 2013 – Cheshvan 23 – Cheshvan 29, 5774

In A Nutshell

The portion, Toldot (These Are the Generations), begins with the wedding of Isaac and Rebecca. After twenty years of infertility, Rebecca conceives and the Creator tells her she will have two sons. The first was Esau, and the second, which was holding unto his brother’s heel, was Jacob. Esau became a hunter, and Jacob studied Torah.

The first confrontation between the twins was over the selling of the birthright. Esau returned empty handed from a hunt, and Jacob offered him lentil stew in return for the birthright. Esau agreed. After some time Esau discovered that Jacob deceived him.

Later in the portion, Isaac digs two wells, both of which are taken by the Philistines. A third well remains in Jacob’s hands, and he calls it Rehovot. Finally, Avimelech and Isaac make a covenant between them.

The second confrontation between the twins happens when their father wished to bless them. Isaac wanted to bless Esau, his firstborn, and Rebecca asked Jacob to dress as Esau in order to receive the blessing of the firstborn. When Esau discovered that Jacob received his blessing, he wanted to kill him, so Rebecca sent Jacob to Haran, to her brother, Lavan.

 Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

 

The drama before us is in fact the process of man’s spiritual development. The story deals with man’s most fundamental forces, although it can be, and has been, turned into a novel.

The Creator created the will to receive. That desire is the entirety of the substance of creation. It is possible to use the will to receive for one’s own favor, or in favor of others. In fact, the whole of creation is prone to using the desire in favor of others, as it is written, “love your neighbor as yourself; it is a great rule in the Torah.” [1] This is the law of the whole of reality, the whole of Nature.

On the one hand we must use the will to receive and satisfy it however we can. On the other hand, the act of satisfying, in which we draw everything to ourselves, must be for the benefit of others. This seems contradictory. Using the ego, the will to receive, must be solely in a direction that is good for everyone. We cannot understand that contradiction, which is why we cannot understand the Torah, making its meaning hidden from us.

The portion seemingly explains it by saying that although Abraham loved Ishmael, he sent him away. Isaac, who loved Esau—the will to receive, all the substance of creation—acted similarly, though Esau is our entire nature, which we need and use in everything we do in life.

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