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January 19, 2022

Archive for October, 2013

Kabbalah – the Method for Entering Spirituality

Kabbalah - the Method for Entering Spirituality

Nearly everyone has an opinion about what spirituality is, but almost no one has any connection with the spiritual world or any idea how it works. People have argued that the spiritual can be understood through arts such as music, or through science, religion, even psychology.

But spirituality can really only be understood when experienced.

This means that a person must somehow be able to enter the “place of the spiritual,” research it, and determine what its properties are. In other words, they must undertake a process of discovery. The tool for this process is called “Kabbalah.”

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What Is Spirituality?

What Is Spirituality?

Spirituality. The very word causes a cavalcade of descriptions, ranging from what we find at the bottom of a bottle of tequila, to religion, to cults, to ghosts and goblins. Yet what is this thing we call “spirituality”? Is it a place such as heaven? Is it a religion such as Christianity, Judaism or Islam? Is it a condition? Is it a state of mind? Or is it a combination of all of the above?

If we consider the lack from which we suffer, we can narrow it down a bit. Whatever spirituality is, it is definitely not here, not in this world where we live, eat, sleep, breathe, and fulfill a generous amount of our desires.

Having been examined from a variety of directions, almost everyone agrees on one point: spirituality is where the “soul” resides. In other words, it is the soul’s environment. That is all well and good, but it also defines nothing until we know what a soul is.

In general, there are four common attitudes regarding the soul, as well as our existence here in the physical and the spiritual. Those four attitudes are religious, secular, scientific, and philosophical.

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VaYera (The Lord Appeared) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

VaYera

Genesis, 18:1-22:24
This Week’s Torah Portion | October 13 – October 19, 2013 – Cheshvan 9 – Cheshvan 15, 5774

In A Nutshell

The portion, VaYera (The Lord Appeared), begins with the story of the three angels that came to Abraham and told Sarah she would have a son. Sarah laughed because she could not believe that she would have a son at her age. Yet, she did have a son, whose name was Ytzhak (Isaac) named after her Tzhok (laughter).

The angels continued on their way to destroy the cities, Sodom and Gomorrah, due to the many sins being committed there. Lot and his family were allowed to escape, but Lot’s wife did not obey the angels’ orders, turned around to look, and became a pillar of salt. Lot and his two daughters made it to a cave. Lot’s daughters were certain that they were the only survivors in the world, so they tricked their father into having children with them.

Later in the portion, following Sarah’s request, Abraham expels Hagar and Ishmael to the desert; the Creator commands Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac, and in the last moment, an angel stops the execution. Abraham takes a ram that he found caught in the thicket and offers it instead of his son.

 Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

In “A Preface to the Book of Zohar,” one of Baal HaSulam’s introductions to The Book of Zohar, he offers a special explanation of our perception of reality. The explanation details how we perceive the reality we live in, and how the place where we are is depicted in us as an image of emotions, which are portrayed as solid, as gas, as liquid, etc.

The Zohar and the wisdom of Kabbalah explain that due to the way in which we perceive reality—with our qualities and senses—we react to something outside of us, which we do not know, and which we turn into various colors and materials. However, we need to acquire additional senses and rise to a higher perception of reality, above our senses. This is how we will discover the upper world.

The Book of Zohar speaks to us in the “language of the branches,” using the terms of our world. It tells us how we can obtain and be impressed with the new form, which is higher than our world. Sometimes our concepts seem real to us, such as a pillar of salt, the upheaval of Sodom and Gomorrah, or the story of the three angels, etc., since “a verse does not extend the literal” (Masechet Yevamot, 24a). Yet, we should strive to see these concepts as relationships between us in the common soul.

The events of the portion are not merely historic tales; they are sources that deal with the connections between us. The role of these sources is to teach one who wishes to advance and rise to the new perception of reality how to scrutinize one’s desires, qualities, forces, and the connections between them, in order to design from them the perception of reality that is called, for instance, “the portion, VaYera.”

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Glossary – VaYera (The Lord Appeared) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

Angel

An angel is a force of Nature, such as gravity or electromagnetism. An angel is one of our soul’s forces. The forces of our soul contain right, left, and middle, Gabriel, Michael, Uriel, Raphael, and so on.

Laughter

Laughter is connection to a higher degree where we still cannot connect to it through our cognizance and understanding. We laugh at opposites, when we have no time to scrutinize the matter at that moment.

Sodom and Gomorrah

Sodom and Gomorrah are desires expressing an attitude toward others called “let mine be mine; let yours be yours.” It is an attitude that is not connecting, hence, when the next degree arrives—the beginning of my connection with others—I cannot work with them and must leave them, while committing to take the desires that belong to me out of there, meaning Lot. In the next degree, the upper light comes and begins to tend to me, to my soul, inverting these desires, which I will later use for further degrees.

Not Looking Back

It seems quite simple to not look back. Let bygones be bygones; what happened was meant to happen because “there is none else besides Him” (Deuteronomy, 4:35), “I am the first, and I am the last” (Isaiah, 44:6). The previous moment was not up to me, and should have happened as it did. What happened, happened; we must not regret it; we must look only forward.

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What Is the Meaning of Life?

What Is the Meaning of Life?

Thorough the history of humankind, we as creatures have sought to find a way to live out this incredibly short existence all of us experience as “our lives” in a peaceful and tranquil manner. Yet for some reason the process seems to work backwards. Peace and tranquility seem to be present only in the first few years of our lives, followed by a long string of increasingly intense situations that lead us through a maze of chaos we call “adulthood.”

We live as children, young adults, middle aged people then as elderly, living through the usual life experiences.

But this incredible process called “life as we know it” can sometimes include an additional irritation. This particular annoyance can arise at any time in our lives, and with no apparent solution to its yearning. It is usually so subtle that at first we do not even recognize what the problem is. What is this troubling question with no apparent answer? It is a singular question, a wonderment that is both cruel, yet fair at the same time. That question is, “What is the meaning of life?

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