home email us! feed
December 15, 2018

Archive for February, 2016

VaYakhel (And Moses Assembled)-Pekudei (Accounts) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

VaYakhel

Exodus, 35:1-38:20, 38:21-40:38

This Week’s Torah Portion | February 28 – March 5, 2016 – 19 Adar I – 25 Adar I, 5776 |

 March 6 – March 12, 2016 – 26 Adar I – 2 Adar II, 5776

In A Nutshell

The portion, VaYakhel (And Moses Assembled), begins with the commandment, “Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you a holy day” (Exodus, 35:2). The portion also deals with the donation of the people. The donation is in gold, silver, copper, precious fabrics, and so forth. Moses determines that Bezalel and Ahaliav will be the ones performing the holy work because they were wisehearted and would collect the donation that came from the entire nation, including the women.

Bezalel and Ahaliav tell Moses that the donations are so voluminous that there is surplus and no need for more. Moses declares this to the people.

The portion elaborates on the building of the tabernacle by the wisehearted: the garments, boards, bolts, and Bezalel’s work preparing the Ark (of the Covenant), the table, and the menorah.

The portion, Pekudei (Accounts), mentions the names of the people who took part in building the tabernacle, Itamar, son of Aaron the priest, Bezalel, son of Uri, and Ahaliav, son of Ahisemech.

As the building of the tabernacle concluded, the children of Israel brought it to Moses, who made sure it was done according to the Creator’s commandment. The Creator tells Moses on which day to establish the tabernacle, and by which order to sanctify each of its elements. He also commands Moses to anoint Aaron and his sons as priests.

The end of the portion tells of the cloud that covers the tent of meeting. Each time the cloud rose above the tabernacle the children of Israel traveled, and each time it descended on the tabernacle they parked.

 Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

Both portions present a sequence of one topic. The Torah begins with “I have created the evil inclination; I have created for it the Torah as a spice.”[1] The evil inclination is our entire nature manifesting in our hatred for one another. First we must discover it, hence the first revelation of the evil inclination takes place with Abraham in the Tower of Babylon. Subsequently, we discover it in the hard labor in Egypt, then at the foot of Mount Sinai, where hatred prevailed between everyone, as it is written, “Hatred descended to the nations of the world.”[2] This is the recognition of evil.

It is no simple task to know the evil. It does not concern discovering that one is lazy or deceitful, thieving, or exploitive. Rather, the evil appears only when a person wants to unite with others. It happens only among those who are drawn to connection, to “love your neighbor as yourself.”[3] When they try, nature does not let them bond.

According to the Torah, which is the upper force, if one truly wishes to achieve love of others, and through it the love of the Creator—which is the comprehensive love—and wants to discover the common, benevolent force that prevails in the world, all that one needs is the Torah.

Today it may seem to us that the world is terrible because we are examining it through our evil inclination, through our corrupted qualities. But “All who cast fault, cast fault in his own defect.”[4] As we correct ourselves we become righteous and justify the Creator and His creation. Then we begin to see the world as good. Baal HaSulam describes it in his essay, “Concealment and Revelation of the Creator’s Face.”[5]

One who begins to connect with others and love them, who draws closer to the global and integral world—as we discover it to be each day, hence the current surfacing of the wisdom of Kabbalah—begins to feel the evil. Then, and only then does one need the Torah, for it is the “light that reforms.”[6]

The Torah has nothing to do with a person studying the text in the book. Rather, it is about one who studies in order to receive the light that corrects, to acquire more and more love for the world. In this manner we become more and more similar to the Creator, thus returning to the image of man, called Adam. The part we attain and correct over our evil inclination, the part that turns the evil inclination into a good inclination is called a “soul.”

This is why we take from Egypt the primary Kelim (vessels), which are valuable in the eyes of the great evil inclination, and through which we emerge from the period known as “Egypt” and enter the recognition of the evil inclination, building from them the golden calf. When everything appears clearly and intensely, we truly need the Torah.

This is the reason why the first tablets where inappropriate for correction, but only the second tablets, with which Moses descended on the Day of Atonement and brought them to the people of Israel, once the people recognized the evil in them. We know the evil in us and need the Torah only after we see the golden calf within us and how we resist love of others and want to exploit the entire world.

The Torah explains the stages of building of the tabernacle—which desires out of the sum of evil desires we have toward others do we correct from receiving into giving, from hate to love. This is the whole Torah, the instruction how to do this. Instead of being immersed in our evil inclination, seeing only the narrow reality of this world, if we correct our desires even slightly we can open ourselves to see the upper world, here and now.

As we develop in this manner, the world around us opens and appears as the world of AssiyaYetziraBeriaAtzilut, and Adam Kadmon—the world of Ein Sof (infinity)—at the end of correction. First, we build a small Neshama (soul) that is common for all. This is the “tent of meeting, which includes the still, vegetative, animate, and speaking, which is our quality, the YodHeyVavHey, the complete HaVaYaH within us. We must take from each desire and connect everything into a single, integral desire that is common to all, and which will connect to all the people who are ready for it, building together a united, common Kli (vessel). This is how everyone advances.

A person must have the qualities of Bezalel, of a priest, Aaron the priest, and certainly those of Moses—the first of the priests, Levites, and Israel. The Torah explains how we can use the light that we draw in order to understand which desire we can correct now, and which we can correct later.

As Moses said in the previous portion, only half of the desires were corrected using the half shekel, the shekel of the holiness. The other half comes from above. The half is our deficiency, and the other half is the light that corrects and complements. With our efforts we build everything that depends on us, all the qualities of the soul: priests, Levites, and Israel, using silver, gold, and various precious stones.

Through the mind and heart that only the qualities of Bezalel have, as it is a replication from the Creator, we feel that we have an example by which to build our soul in accord with the Creator who appears before us. This is how we build the soul in which we experience the new world, which is the Kli, our corrected desire. Within that desire is the force of bestowal and love called Boreh (the Creator), Bo Re’eh (come see). This is how we come to see, discover the Creator.

The first steps alternate in appearance between cloud and fire, as the Creator ascending and descending. “Rise up, O Lord, let Your enemies be scattered, and let those who hate You flee before You” (Numbers, 10:35). In our current situation, in our world, we cannot talk about these things or about the parts we need to correct because we still have no sensation of our soul; we do not find these desires in us or know quite how to scrutinize them or connect them in this extremely complex system. The Torah tells us this as a story that is a replication from this world: rocks, trees, people, clothes, the world in general, time, motion, and place. These forms are described so we may discern which parts of the soul we must correct.

Within the soul are forces that work in order to receive, and must be turned into working in order to bestow. We still cannot express these forces and name them because we do not know them, so the Torah tells us the story in its own way, and Kabbalists convey it in the “language of roots and branches.”

Kabbalists tell us about the forces that operate, about the parts of the soul. The Book of Zohar with the Sulam (Ladder) commentary that Baal HaSulam wrote narrates it in the language of Kabbalah, so we can understand what is meant by the words of the Torah. We can understand that the Torah speaks only of the parts of our soul, the correction of the heart, which is our desires. In this manner we can unravel the entire Torah, discover it in our hearts as a corrected system, and discover the upper force, the Creator, within all that.

Questions and Answers

What does it mean to gather?

Gathering refers to the children of Israel that Moses assembles in order to declare the Sabbath day, which is the conclusion of the work. The goal must be clear from the start because “the end of an act is in the preliminary thought.”[7] If we know why we must achieve Dvekut (adhesion) with the Creator, why we must make ourselves similar, discover Him, and be like Him, literally “face to face,” namely be in Moses’ degree, we must know it in advance. Even in the smallest action, there must be the same goal, the same clear line drawn out and compelling us to advance only in this direction. Whatever problems arise along the way, ascents, descents, and twists, they will all be for progressing.

This is why in the desert that Israel traverse there is constant recognition of the evil, and it is actually for the best. Additional desires keep surfacing and we must correct them in order to advance toward the land of Israel—the corrected desire where the Creator resides.

Why do we have to know all the details by which we advance, these ascents and descents?

This is how we attain the plan of creation, its purpose, the understanding, sensation, and knowledge of it. There is a difference between the will to receive that the Creator created existence from absence in the beginning of creation, and the will to receive at the end of creation. At the end of creation that desire has a mind. It remains the same will to receive, but with a mind, comprehension, recognition, and sensation. Everything comes from the connection of mind and heart.

Will a person necessarily experience all the elements described in this portion?

A person will not experience it without planning to, without desiring to participate, without raising MAN and requesting to correct. Only one who wants, feels, and is aware of how much he or she hates but wants to love will experience everything. Therefore, we must correct some of the still in us, some of the vegetative, and thus discover the reality we are in, and from it reveal the other reality.

Gradually, we become a structure that contains all the mind and heart, all the wisdom in the world. The whole of nature is within us and we include all the worlds. There is nothing outside of us. The vast world we depict outside of us does not exist; it is only depicted in this manner in our external Kelim, which must all be made internal. Hence, there is nothing but man and the Creator who are as a single system.

From The Zohar: Whoever Is of a Generous Heart, Let Him Bring It

“Take from among you a donation.” When a person places his will for the work of his Master, that will first rises to the heart—the persistence and the basis of the entire body. Afterwards that good will rises over all the organs of the body, the will of all the organs of the body and the will of the heart join together, pulling over them the brightness of Divinity to dwell with them. And that person is the Creator’s portion, as it is written, “Take from among you a donation.” “From among you” is the extension, to take upon yourselves that donation, the Divinity, so that the person will be a portion of the Creator.

Zohar for AllVaYakhel (And Moses Assembled), item 71

Initially, there is an egoistic desire that a person corrects by donation. The donation is the part of the will to receive with which one can enhance the quality of bestowal. The donation raises the part of bestowal with which one wants to dominate and advance.

By donations that we put aside from the ego, namely parts we can sanctify and invert how we use them into bestowal and love, we advance up to the end of correction. At that time it is not building a tabernacle or advancing in the tabernacle in time, place, and motion. Rather, it is reaching Mount Moriah and building the Temple.

Kabbalists attain the complete structure, the complete soul, called Beit HaMikdash (House of Holiness, Temple). In it are all the parts: priest, Levite, Israel, and the nations of the world. The great Kabbalist, Ramchal, Rabbi Moshe Chaim Lozzato, wrote a special essay known as “The Dwelling Place of the Most High,” in which he drew in great detail what the third Temple should look like. He did not refer to the rocks in Jerusalem, but to the structure of the corrected soul, which must eventually be on the Sabbath, as was said at the beginning of the portion. We arrive at the Sabbath upon the conclusion of the six days, or six thousand years, when all the Kelim are corrected and there is nothing more to do or to work with but to enjoy in happiness and peace.

When the children of Israel bring donations, Moses says, “That’s enough, you’ve gone too far.” It sounds odd because we say that there are no limits on bestowal.

True, but each degree has its own scrutiny. The soul consists of three parts: NHYHGTHBD, or Ibur (conception), Yenika (nursing), and Mochin (mindfulness/adulthood), or NefeshRuachNeshamaNeshama is named after the great light that can be in it.

Hence, on the degree of Israel they give a lot; on the degree of Levites they give less; and on the degree of priests they give even less. It depends on a person’s degree and on who is performing the scrutiny.

It also depends on the degree to which a person raises the desires. If the person stays in desires of the Israel degree, whatever one brings is fine. But when the desires are at the level of Levites or priests, we haven’t enough forces to be in such a high degree with all of our desires, so they are restricted. This is the meaning of the degrees in the soul.

If the Creator gives to us and then says, “Give it back,” why did He give it in the first place?

The Creator created an entire world, the world of Ein Sof, then broke it and gave us a broken world and a broken Adam (soul) so we may fix it. It is similar to a puzzle or LEGO bricks that we put together and learn as we advance. If we give this game to a child without putting it together, the child will break it because children are driven by the urge to understand and know. By nature, we cannot approach a complete thing. To understand it, study it, we must have it broken.

How does all that connect to donations?

We take our broken desires and raise them as high as we can toward correction, and the correction comes from above. The Creator has given us everything broken; we need only raise that corruption, meaning recognize it, and ask Him to partake in the correction. The correction itself always comes from above through the light that reforms, as it is written, “I have created the evil inclination; I have created for it the Torah as a spice … because the light in it reforms.”[8]

We are in the middle. We do not belong to the evil inclination; it is not our own because in truth, the Creator has made it and given it. We also do not belong to the light that reforms. Our job is only to connect the two: the corrupt desire below with the light from above. That is, all we need is to ask, demand, and pray for correction.

How do we do it properly? How should we prepare this work so that we bring it to the Creator in the right way?

Our work is to sort each desire whose time has come. First we scrutinize it through the light, then set it up for correction through the light and ask for correction. These things can happen only by the light that shines, so without studying the wisdom of Kabbalah it is impossible to do anything, as this is what brings the light.

Do we receive the light when we study Kabbalah?

Yes. During the study a person begins to feel how everything falls into place. If the study is done properly, it takes some time for one to actually achieve it, but then one can study the Bible, the Pentateuch, Gemarah, and Mishnah and they will all be a source of light to that person.

From The Zohar: These Are the Accounts of the Tabernacle

And as the desire of all of Israel was in what they volunteered, so was their desire in that calculation. By their desire, they extended the Mochin of calculation, and then the whole work was done by desire. Hence, calculation is needed here in the tabernacle, since by calculation is the work done. This is why it is written, “These are the accounts of the tabernacle.”

It is a calculation that faults all the calculations in the world—extension of GAR de Hochma—which are not of Kedusha [holiness], for they do not persist, but destroy the place to which they are drawn. Yet, this calculation in the tabernacle, which is VAK de Hochma, persists more than all the others, and by that the tabernacle persists, and not by another.

Zohar for AllPekudei (Accounts), item 49

There is a big difference between VAK and GARGAR means we are drawing by ourselves; VAK means that we are rejecting, that everything is done in bestowal. The lights are all passing through us; we are receiving the full Ein Sof in order to convey it to everyone. But we are not harmed when we work entirely in order to bestow, thus making ourselves similar to the source, the Creator. He passes through Him to everyone, and likewise, when we all connect, passing from everyone to everyone, the great sphere called “the common soul of Ein Sof” is made.


[1] Babylonian Talmud, Masechet Kidushin, 30b.
[2] Midrash Rabah, Shemot (Exodus), Portion 2, Paragraph 4.
[3] Jerusalem Talmud, Seder Nashim, Masechet Nedarim, Chapter 9, p 30b.
[4] Babylonian Talmud, Masechet Kidushin, p 70a.
[5] The Writings of Baal HaSulam, p 766.
[6] Midrash Rabah, Eicha, “Introduction,” Paragraph 2
[7] Lecha Doddi, Elkabetz, sung on Sabbath Evening
[8] Babylonian Talmud, Masechet Kidushin, 30b; Midrash Rabah, Eicha, “Introduction,” Paragraph 2.

  

VaYakhel (And Moses Assembled)-Pekudei (Accounts) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

VaYakhel

Exodus, 35:1-38:20, 38:21-40:38

This Week’s Torah Portion | March 8 – March 14, 2015 – 17 Adar – 23 Adar, 5775

In A Nutshell

The portion, VaYakhel (And Moses Assembled), begins with the commandment, “Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you a holy day” (Exodus, 35:2). The portion also deals with the donation of the people. The donation is in gold, silver, copper, precious fabrics, and so forth. Moses determines that Bezalel and Ahaliav will be the ones performing the holy work because they were wisehearted and would collect the donation that came from the entire nation, including the women.

Bezalel and Ahaliav tell Moses that the donations are so voluminous that there is surplus and no need for more. Moses declares this to the people.

The portion elaborates on the building of the tabernacle by the wisehearted: the garments, boards, bolts, and Bezalel’s work preparing the Ark (of the Covenant), the table, and the menorah.

The portion, Pekudei (Accounts), mentions the names of the people who took part in building the tabernacle, Itamar, son of Aaron the priest, Bezalel, son of Uri, and Ahaliav, son of Ahisemech.

As the building of the tabernacle concluded, the children of Israel brought it to Moses, who made sure it was done according to the Creator’s commandment. The Creator tells Moses on which day to establish the tabernacle, and by which order to sanctify each of its elements. He also commands Moses to anoint Aaron and his sons as priests.

The end of the portion tells of the cloud that covers the tent of meeting. Each time the cloud rose above the tabernacle the children of Israel traveled, and each time it descended on the tabernacle they parked.

 Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

Both portions present a sequence of one topic. The Torah begins with “I have created the evil inclination; I have created for it the Torah as a spice.”[1] The evil inclination is our entire nature manifesting in our hatred for one another. First we must discover it, hence the first revelation of the evil inclination takes place with Abraham in the Tower of Babylon. Subsequently, we discover it in the hard labor in Egypt, then at the foot of Mount Sinai, where hatred prevailed between everyone, as it is written, “Hatred descended to the nations of the world.”[2] This is the recognition of evil.

It is no simple task to know the evil. It does not concern discovering that one is lazy or deceitful, thieving, or exploitive. Rather, the evil appears only when a person wants to unite with others. It happens only among those who are drawn to connection, to “love your neighbor as yourself.”[3] When they try, nature does not let them bond.

According to the Torah, which is the upper force, if one truly wishes to achieve love of others, and through it the love of the Creator—which is the comprehensive love—and wants to discover the common, benevolent force that prevails in the world, all that one needs is the Torah.

Today it may seem to us that the world is terrible because we are examining it through our evil inclination, through our corrupted qualities. But “All who cast fault, cast fault in his own defect.”[4] As we correct ourselves we become righteous and justify the Creator and His creation. Then we begin to see the world as good. Baal HaSulam describes it in his essay, “Concealment and Revelation of the Creator’s Face.”[5]

One who begins to connect with others and love them, who draws closer to the global and integral world—as we discover it to be each day, hence the current surfacing of the wisdom of Kabbalah—begins to feel the evil. Then, and only then does one need the Torah, for it is the “light that reforms.”[6]

The Torah has nothing to do with a person studying the text in the book. Rather, it is about one who studies in order to receive the light that corrects, to acquire more and more love for the world. In this manner we become more and more similar to the Creator, thus returning to the image of man, called Adam. The part we attain and correct over our evil inclination, the part that turns the evil inclination into a good inclination is called a “soul.”

This is why we take from Egypt the primary Kelim (vessels), which are valuable in the eyes of the great evil inclination, and through which we emerge from the period known as “Egypt” and enter the recognition of the evil inclination, building from them the golden calf. When everything appears clearly and intensely, we truly need the Torah.

This is the reason why the first tablets where inappropriate for correction, but only the second tablets, with which Moses descended on the Day of Atonement and brought them to the people of Israel, once the people recognized the evil in them. We know the evil in us and need the Torah only after we see the golden calf within us and how we resist love of others and want to exploit the entire world.

The Torah explains the stages of building of the tabernacle—which desires out of the sum of evil desires we have toward others do we correct from receiving into giving, from hate to love. This is the whole Torah, the instruction how to do this. Instead of being immersed in our evil inclination, seeing only the narrow reality of this world, if we correct our desires even slightly we can open ourselves to see the upper world, here and now.

As we develop in this manner, the world around us opens and appears as the world of AssiyaYetziraBeriaAtzilut, and Adam Kadmon—the world of Ein Sof (infinity)—at the end of correction. First, we build a small Neshama (soul) that is common for all. This is the “tent of meeting, which includes the still, vegetative, animate, and speaking, which is our quality, the YodHeyVavHey, the complete HaVaYaH within us. We must take from each desire and connect everything into a single, integral desire that is common to all, and which will connect to all the people who are ready for it, building together a united, common Kli (vessel). This is how everyone advances.

A person must have the qualities of Bezalel, of a priest, Aaron the priest, and certainly those of Moses—the first of the priests, Levites, and Israel. The Torah explains how we can use the light that we draw in order to understand which desire we can correct now, and which we can correct later.

As Moses said in the previous portion, only half of the desires were corrected using the half shekel, the shekel of the holiness. The other half comes from above. The half is our deficiency, and the other half is the light that corrects and complements. With our efforts we build everything that depends on us, all the qualities of the soul: priests, Levites, and Israel, using silver, gold, and various precious stones.

Through the mind and heart that only the qualities of Bezalel have, as it is a replication from the Creator, we feel that we have an example by which to build our soul in accord with the Creator who appears before us. This is how we build the soul in which we experience the new world, which is the Kli, our corrected desire. Within that desire is the force of bestowal and love called Boreh (the Creator), Bo Re’eh (come see). This is how we come to see, discover the Creator.

The first steps alternate in appearance between cloud and fire, as the Creator ascending and descending. “Rise up, O Lord, let Your enemies be scattered, and let those who hate You flee before You” (Numbers, 10:35). In our current situation, in our world, we cannot talk about these things or about the parts we need to correct because we still have no sensation of our soul; we do not find these desires in us or know quite how to scrutinize them or connect them in this extremely complex system. The Torah tells us this as a story that is a replication from this world: rocks, trees, people, clothes, the world in general, time, motion, and place. These forms are described so we may discern which parts of the soul we must correct.

Within the soul are forces that work in order to receive, and must be turned into working in order to bestow. We still cannot express these forces and name them because we do not know them, so the Torah tells us the story in its own way, and Kabbalists convey it in the “language of roots and branches.”

Kabbalists tell us about the forces that operate, about the parts of the soul. The Book of Zohar with the Sulam (Ladder) commentary that Baal HaSulam wrote narrates it in the language of Kabbalah, so we can understand what is meant by the words of the Torah. We can understand that the Torah speaks only of the parts of our soul, the correction of the heart, which is our desires. In this manner we can unravel the entire Torah, discover it in our hearts as a corrected system, and discover the upper force, the Creator, within all that.

Questions and Answers

What does it mean to gather?

Gathering refers to the children of Israel that Moses assembles in order to declare the Sabbath day, which is the conclusion of the work. The goal must be clear from the start because “the end of an act is in the preliminary thought.”[7] If we know why we must achieve Dvekut (adhesion) with the Creator, why we must make ourselves similar, discover Him, and be like Him, literally “face to face,” namely be in Moses’ degree, we must know it in advance. Even in the smallest action, there must be the same goal, the same clear line drawn out and compelling us to advance only in this direction. Whatever problems arise along the way, ascents, descents, and twists, they will all be for progressing.

This is why in the desert that Israel traverse there is constant recognition of the evil, and it is actually for the best. Additional desires keep surfacing and we must correct them in order to advance toward the land of Israel—the corrected desire where the Creator resides.

Why do we have to know all the details by which we advance, these ascents and descents?

This is how we attain the plan of creation, its purpose, the understanding, sensation, and knowledge of it. There is a difference between the will to receive that the Creator created existence from absence in the beginning of creation, and the will to receive at the end of creation. At the end of creation that desire has a mind. It remains the same will to receive, but with a mind, comprehension, recognition, and sensation. Everything comes from the connection of mind and heart.

Will a person necessarily experience all the elements described in this portion?

A person will not experience it without planning to, without desiring to participate, without raising MAN and requesting to correct. Only one who wants, feels, and is aware of how much he or she hates but wants to love will experience everything. Therefore, we must correct some of the still in us, some of the vegetative, and thus discover the reality we are in, and from it reveal the other reality.

Gradually, we become a structure that contains all the mind and heart, all the wisdom in the world. The whole of nature is within us and we include all the worlds. There is nothing outside of us. The vast world we depict outside of us does not exist; it is only depicted in this manner in our external Kelim, which must all be made internal. Hence, there is nothing but man and the Creator who are as a single system.

From The Zohar: Whoever Is of a Generous Heart, Let Him Bring It

“Take from among you a donation.” When a person places his will for the work of his Master, that will first rises to the heart—the persistence and the basis of the entire body. Afterwards that good will rises over all the organs of the body, the will of all the organs of the body and the will of the heart join together, pulling over them the brightness of Divinity to dwell with them. And that person is the Creator’s portion, as it is written, “Take from among you a donation.” “From among you” is the extension, to take upon yourselves that donation, the Divinity, so that the person will be a portion of the Creator.

Zohar for AllVaYakhel (And Moses Assembled), item 71

Initially, there is an egoistic desire that a person corrects by donation. The donation is the part of the will to receive with which one can enhance the quality of bestowal. The donation raises the part of bestowal with which one wants to dominate and advance.

By donations that we put aside from the ego, namely parts we can sanctify and invert how we use them into bestowal and love, we advance up to the end of correction. At that time it is not building a tabernacle or advancing in the tabernacle in time, place, and motion. Rather, it is reaching Mount Moriah and building the Temple.

Kabbalists attain the complete structure, the complete soul, called Beit HaMikdash (House of Holiness, Temple). In it are all the parts: priest, Levite, Israel, and the nations of the world. The great Kabbalist, Ramchal, Rabbi Moshe Chaim Lozzato, wrote a special essay known as “The Dwelling Place of the Most High,” in which he drew in great detail what the third Temple should look like. He did not refer to the rocks in Jerusalem, but to the structure of the corrected soul, which must eventually be on the Sabbath, as was said at the beginning of the portion. We arrive at the Sabbath upon the conclusion of the six days, or six thousand years, when all the Kelim are corrected and there is nothing more to do or to work with but to enjoy in happiness and peace.

When the children of Israel bring donations, Moses says, “That’s enough, you’ve gone too far.” It sounds odd because we say that there are no limits on bestowal.

True, but each degree has its own scrutiny. The soul consists of three parts: NHYHGTHBD, or Ibur (conception), Yenika (nursing), and Mochin (mindfulness/adulthood), or NefeshRuachNeshamaNeshama is named after the great light that can be in it.

Hence, on the degree of Israel they give a lot; on the degree of Levites they give less; and on the degree of priests they give even less. It depends on a person’s degree and on who is performing the scrutiny.

It also depends on the degree to which a person raises the desires. If the person stays in desires of the Israel degree, whatever one brings is fine. But when the desires are at the level of Levites or priests, we haven’t enough forces to be in such a high degree with all of our desires, so they are restricted. This is the meaning of the degrees in the soul.

If the Creator gives to us and then says, “Give it back,” why did He give it in the first place?

The Creator created an entire world, the world of Ein Sof, then broke it and gave us a broken world and a broken Adam (soul) so we may fix it. It is similar to a puzzle or LEGO bricks that we put together and learn as we advance. If we give this game to a child without putting it together, the child will break it because children are driven by the urge to understand and know. By nature, we cannot approach a complete thing. To understand it, study it, we must have it broken.

How does all that connect to donations?

We take our broken desires and raise them as high as we can toward correction, and the correction comes from above. The Creator has given us everything broken; we need only raise that corruption, meaning recognize it, and ask Him to partake in the correction. The correction itself always comes from above through the light that reforms, as it is written, “I have created the evil inclination; I have created for it the Torah as a spice … because the light in it reforms.”[8]

We are in the middle. We do not belong to the evil inclination; it is not our own because in truth, the Creator has made it and given it. We also do not belong to the light that reforms. Our job is only to connect the two: the corrupt desire below with the light from above. That is, all we need is to ask, demand, and pray for correction.

How do we do it properly? How should we prepare this work so that we bring it to the Creator in the right way?

Our work is to sort each desire whose time has come. First we scrutinize it through the light, then set it up for correction through the light and ask for correction. These things can happen only by the light that shines, so without studying the wisdom of Kabbalah it is impossible to do anything, as this is what brings the light.

Do we receive the light when we study Kabbalah?

Yes. During the study a person begins to feel how everything falls into place. If the study is done properly, it takes some time for one to actually achieve it, but then one can study the Bible, the Pentateuch, Gemarah, and Mishnah and they will all be a source of light to that person.

From The Zohar: These Are the Accounts of the Tabernacle

And as the desire of all of Israel was in what they volunteered, so was their desire in that calculation. By their desire, they extended the Mochin of calculation, and then the whole work was done by desire. Hence, calculation is needed here in the tabernacle, since by calculation is the work done. This is why it is written, “These are the accounts of the tabernacle.”

It is a calculation that faults all the calculations in the world—extension of GAR de Hochma—which are not of Kedusha [holiness], for they do not persist, but destroy the place to which they are drawn. Yet, this calculation in the tabernacle, which is VAK de Hochma, persists more than all the others, and by that the tabernacle persists, and not by another.

Zohar for AllPekudei (Accounts), item 49

There is a big difference between VAK and GARGAR means we are drawing by ourselves; VAK means that we are rejecting, that everything is done in bestowal. The lights are all passing through us; we are receiving the full Ein Sof in order to convey it to everyone. But we are not harmed when we work entirely in order to bestow, thus making ourselves similar to the source, the Creator. He passes through Him to everyone, and likewise, when we all connect, passing from everyone to everyone, the great sphere called “the common soul of Ein Sof” is made.


[1] Babylonian Talmud, Masechet Kidushin, 30b.
[2] Midrash Rabah, Shemot (Exodus), Portion 2, Paragraph 4.
[3] Jerusalem Talmud, Seder Nashim, Masechet Nedarim, Chapter 9, p 30b.
[4] Babylonian Talmud, Masechet Kidushin, p 70a.
[5] The Writings of Baal HaSulam, p 766.
[6] Midrash Rabah, Eicha, “Introduction,” Paragraph 2
[7] Lecha Doddi, Elkabetz, sung on Sabbath Evening
[8] Babylonian Talmud, Masechet Kidushin, 30b; Midrash Rabah, Eicha, “Introduction,” Paragraph 2.

  

Thousands Express Support for Israel at Kabbalah Conference in Tel Aviv

Thousands express support for Israel at Kabbala conference in Tel Aviv

Jerusalem Post, February 25, 2016: Some 6,000 participants from 62 countries expressed support on Wednesday night for Israel at a Kabbalah conference at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds.

Guests of honor at the conference included, Transportation Minister Israel Katz, conference speaker Rabbi Michael Laitman, Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev, and Public Security and Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan.

Conference participants arrived from all over the world, including the US, England, France, Russia, Japan, Norway, Turkey and more.

Rabbi Laitman addressed the conference, saying, “I am happy that we have here such a large gathering of people. The conference is being held for the seventh year and, as is true every year, I am happy and excited for the opportunity that has been given to me personally and to us as an organization to work for unity among the Jewish people, through the absolute support of thousands of people from all over the world, who share our values and beliefs about unity and togetherness, every hour of every day.”

Katz praised Laitman for the organization’s operations, saying that the “great cooperative project” was a strong body that could “fight boycotts and phenomena such as BDS, together, through love and support.”

Erdan saluted the organization for strengthening the most important value – “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.”

Jerusalem Post, Tel Aviv

  

Ki Tissa (When You Take) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

Ki Tissa

Exodus, 30:11-34:35

This Week’s Torah Portion | February 21 – February 27, 2016 – 12 Adar I – 18 Adar I, 5776

In A Nutshell

The portion, Ki Tissa (When You Take), begins with a request of each one of the children of Israel to donate half a shekel for the building of the tabernacle. The portion mentions some other details about the tabernacle such as the anointing oil, the table, and the menorah and its vessels, appointing Bezalel, son of Uri Ben Hur, as chief craftsman, Ahaliav Ben Ahisemech as his assistant, and commanding the children of Israel to observe the Sabbath.

Later, Moses ascends to Mount Sinai to receive the tablets of the covenant but delays in his return, so the children of Israel seek proof that the Creator exists and demand of Aaron to build a golden calf. Aaron agrees, takes their gold vessels, melts them, and builds the golden calf.

When Moses returns from the mountain and sees it, the tablets of the covenant break. The Creator wishes to destroy and ruin the entire people of Israel, and Moses pleads for their souls.

Moses speaks to the Creator “face to face,” and wishes to conceal himself.

At the end of the process, the Creator agrees and makes a covenant with the people of Israel. The Creator also promises Israel that they will enter the land of Israel, and repeats the commandment of the three Pilgrimage festivals (Shalosh Regalim) and the prohibition of idolatry.

Moses stays with the Creator on Mount Sinai forty days and forty nights, writes on the tablets, and comes down from the mountain. It is written, “And it came to pass when Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tables of the testimony in Moses’ hand … that Moses did not know that the skin of his face beamed while He talked with him” (Exodus, 34:29). It was so much so that he had to hide himself from the people once more because they feared speaking with him.

 Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

Those who do not know the language of Kabbalah will find it hard to understand that the text actually discusses a person’s inner development. It concerns our nature, which is the will to receive, an egoistic desire that requires correction. The Torah speaks only of the correction of the desire, as it is written, “I have created the evil inclination; I have created for it the Torah as a spice”[1] because “the light in it would reform them.”[2]

The purpose of the correction is to transform our evil (egoistic) inclination, which aims only toward self-gratification and exploitation of the entire world for itself, and turn it into love of others, as in “love your neighbor as yourself.”[3]

The Torah speaks of a process that is not simple, but which all of us experience. The general crisis we are in will cause us to come out to the light, to correction, similar to the exodus from Egypt. Today we are all standing before Mount Sinai with a huge ego, with all the Kelim (vessels) we have taken from Egypt. During the millennia of development, humanity has accumulated a massive ego; now we have no clue what to do with it, other than escape it.

When we are drawn toward Mount Sinai we discover a mountain of hate between us. Only the point within us, called Moses, pulls us forward toward connection with something higher, a higher degree—human degree of similarity with the Creator.

We are all still as beasts,[4] operated entirely by egos, our nature. Instead, we must be as a free nation in our country, free in its will. “Such is the way of Torah.”[5]

To do that, one who wishes to ascend to the human degree, and discover the Creator and the worlds around us must follow the unique line known as “half a shekel,” meaning neither to the right nor to the left, but the joining of the two. The will to receive, too, takes part because it is “help made against us” (Genesis, 2:18), and against it you need the reforming light.

We have two lines: on the left is the will to receive; on the right is the light. The more we combine them, the more we correct the will to receive to similarity with the light—working in order to bestow. It is written, “And the night will shine as the day; darkness as light” (Psalms, 139:12). This is how we advance. This is the first correction—no more and no less, but precisely half. We advance when we achieve that correction, that method of advancement.

Subsequently, the tabernacle and its vessels must be prepared, including the oil and all that comes with it. The role was given only to Bezalel. Bezalel within us is that which is Betzel El (in the shadow of God), under the shadow of the Creator. Bezalel replicates the qualities from the Creator, who appears to him, and this is why he is called “wisehearted.” He knows the right combination between the heart, the desire, and the wisdom, namely the intellect. Bezalel properly combines the right with the left, and has wisdom of the heart. This is why he is the one who can establish the tabernacle.

The tabernacle is the arrangement of the soul that we build within us from our 613 desires. It is built according to the right qualities, in which all the parts are connected in synchrony with the Creator. This is how we become similar to Him.

Our evil inclination has 613 qualities we must aim in order to bestow, toward love of others. Only those who have the quality of Bezalel—copying the qualities of the Creator onto oneself and becoming as His shadow—can do it.

Achieving this is done by connecting to the Shechina (Divinity), Malchut of Atzilut, who begins to replicate these qualities from Zeir Anpin of AtzilutZeir Anpin has six SephirotHesedGevuraTifferetNetzahHod, and Yesod, where Malchut comes last and replicates. This is why our work is to replicate these six qualities from Zeir Anpin—called HaKadosh Baruch Hu (The Holy One, Blessed Be He), or Zeir Anpin of Atzilut—in the appearance of the Creator on all the workdays.

The wisdom of Kabbalah presents our goal—the revelation of the Creator to the creatures in this world. Through our senses, when the Creator is revealed to us, we join and increasingly attach ourselves to the Creator.

When we conclude replicating the six qualities comes the concluding seventh quality, the Sabbath. The Sabbath concludes itself by itself from above. This is why it is considered “awakening from above.” A special light comes and sets the six qualities in the right order, and there is nothing more we need to do.

This is why the prohibition on working during Sabbath is tantamount to intervening with something that belongs to the upper light. We work for six days setting up the right and left lines, directing the will to receive and the light, the mind and the heart. Finally, we present our work, and then “The Lord will conclude for me” (Psalms, 138:8). This is when we receive the completion of the degree. This is the process we must undergo through the correction of the entire soul, week by week until we conclude the six thousand years.

We must also consider that our soul consists of desires from the evil inclination that cannot be spotted by ordinary scrutiny. They require special examination that only the golden calf can make.

Although the Torah presents it in this way, the golden calf does not represent a fall or a decline, nor does it blame anyone. Any person who experiences this process must go through all the descents and falls, just as it happened with Pharaoh in Egypt, and with the children of Israel in the desert after the events of Mount Sinai.

Even when we move from Mount Sinai to the forty years in the desert we will continue to experience states that seem negative. Each time uncorrected desires surface, we “fall” into them, so we have no choice but to discover them and correct them. It is written, “There is not a righteous man on earth who does good and will not sin” (Ecclesiastes, 7:20), or “A person does not comprehend words of Torah unless he has failed in them.”[6] Thus, first we must fail, scrutinize the failure and correct it, and then we are guaranteed to not repeat it. We are guaranteed to be kept because that desire has already been corrected into having the aim to bestow through which we progress toward love of others.

When we discover that despite the work we have done, we have not revealed the Creator, it is considered that Moses did not return from Mount Sinai. That is, we are drawn back to the intention to receive, the egoistic desire, called “the golden calf.”

Our corrupted desires are called “mixed multitude.” They ask, “Where did Moses go?” They claim we must keep going as we understand it, within us, following our reason and intellect, instead of above reason.

When we return to working within reason we are delighted. It seems to us that this way we understand and feel everything. We may not be ascending to higher degrees, but at least we are in a world that suits our egos. It is a very appealing state. We can see for ourselves how difficult it is to explain to people what nature is compelling us to do now, what is the method of correction and how we can rise to the next level. The Creator, nature, Elokim (which is nature in Gematria) is pressing us and wishes to raise us, and we are seemingly resisting it with a golden calf, celebrating and rejoicing.

When the point in the heart appears, it collides very powerfully with the egoistic desire that has broken out once more. That collision is the shattering of the tablets.

The collision is between the point in the heart—through which we desire to rise and cling to the upper one, to a higher degree, to discover worlds, infinity, and be in a realm of bestowal—and the revelation that we are actually at the point of being a golden calf. We cannot tolerate that contrast, and as a result, all the elements in which we were previously in Kedusha (holiness) shatter.

Those who sinned in the calf were sentenced to death. Subsequently, Moses called, “Whoever is for the Lord, come to me!” (Exodus, 32:26). This is the correction of the desires that have appeared now, that are connected to the golden calf, and with which it is impossible to continue.

Following the correction of all the other desires—the three thousand discernments that Moses killed—he ascends to Mount Sinai yet again. Internally, it means that that point within us rises once again and we receive the tablets of the covenant once more. We rediscover Godliness, the Creator, and begin to come down with the second tablets.

Yet, there is a big difference between the first tablets and the second tablets—Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). The first tablets and the golden calf took place on the ninth of Av (11th month in the Hebrew calendar). The occurrence of the first tablets happens from Shavuot to the ninth of Av. Those of the second tablets take place from the ninth of Av to Yom Kippur. Forty days plus forty days are the time frame of correction from which it is possible to continue.

From The ZoharHalf a Shekel

Half a shekel, half a hin, means half a measure. The Vav is the middle between the two Heys because the Vav is the middle line, called “scales,” which weigh the two lights, right and left, being the two Heys, so the left will not be greater than the right. This is why he diminishes the left, so it will not shine from above downward but only from below upward.

Zohar for AllKi Tissa (When You Take), item 4

Our big will to receive, the ego, is on the left side. The light, which we can draw if we work correctly, according to the instructions of the wisdom of Kabbalah, is on the right. These are the two Yods, as in the letter Aleph, with the diagonal in the middle as the Parsa (partition) [alef]. We must join the light from above, the upper Yod, with the will to receive from below, namely the lower Yod (sometimes written as Dalet, which is Behina Dalet, the Malchut in us, instead of the Yod). The diagonal line keeps the balance between them, thus creating the line.

This is why Aleph is the first letter in the alphabet. The portion, Ki Tissa (When You Take), is the beginning of the actual Torah because it engages in the building of the tabernacle and its filling. This is why we must constantly maintain that half, so the right is not more than the left or the other way around. If there is a surplus of desires to receive that we did not correct to the fullest possible extent, then we are not in the desire to bestow. If we take from the will to receive more than we can correct, we are in a state of recognition of evil. It has to be a very precise operation.

Once we restrict all our desires and avoid using the desire in order to receive, but only in order to bestow, we can continue sorting out those small parts of our desire from light to heavy, and join all the corrections to the light.

This is the letter Vav with the punctuation marks, HolamShurukHirik, or Kamatz, which is as the Parsa. The light has to be above it because all the corrections are in ascent. In our world—our situation—we will never achieve the revelation of Godliness. There might be various psychological phenomena, but the revelation of Godliness can happen only if we rise above the Parsa.

Following the restriction, once we have the middle line, when we join a group and act in it—as Kabbalists suggest we should—when we try to come out of ourselves and be above reason, above the diagonal Vav, from below upward—we receive the revelation of the spiritual world.

Questions and Answers

Beresheet (Genesis) speaks of the creation of the world. In the desert, things take a long time to unfold, with numerous details along the way, as the portions describe. What do those details symbolize?

The Torah cannot tell us about all that we are going through. It only explains the milestones. It is similar to driving on a road where each mile or several miles are marked by signs.

Why are various garments and a description of the altar mentioned in the desert?

It is the correction of our soul. We have received a system of 613 desires, and each of them consists of all the others, and all are connected. That system is completely broken. It is as though we were given an electronic or mechanical device that is completely broken and we have no clue how to fix it. We would look at it dumbfounded without knowing how to approach it.

This is why we are taught how to do it: “Look at this, fix that, than this, but first that.” There are so many details in our soul, and all of it must become similar to the Creator in its inner structure, in how it works. And although it is the opposite substance from the Creator, “existence from absence,” it must come to resemble the “existence from existence.”

We cannot understand how important our world is, with all its complexities and myriad connections, every atom and every cell in the universe. This is why there are so many details in the correction of the soul. One who walks this path takes part in it and discovers it, and it arouses immense excitement and a sense of harmony and fulfillment.

How do you explain that everything exists and happens simultaneously—the point in the heart is on Mount Sinai, the highest connection, while other desires in me are building a golden calf?

This is the detachment within, where the Moses in us disappears. When Moses disappears we lose contact with the Creator, as this is the only point that connects us with Him. As soon as we disconnect, we find ourselves immersed in our desires, falling into the golden calf. These are the Kelim (vessels) we have taken out of Egypt, Kelim that want the light of Hochma (wisdom), namely pleasure for ourselves alone.

How come the desire obtains contact with the upper force and promptly afterward falls into connection with the golden calf?

There are no delays. There is either Kedusha (holiness) or Klipa (shell/peel). There are no in betweens. We must get used to constantly being in one of the two states; there are no others in our world.

Are Moses’ ascents and descents on Mount Sinai the ups and downs we are talking about?

It is about alternating revelations and concealments. It is similar to the festival of Purim and the story of Esther, who is also revelation in concealment. There cannot be revelation if it is not preceded by concealment. Had Moses not ascended Mount Sinai there would have been no golden calf. But without the golden calf we would not know what to correct. This is how we always progress, on two “legs.”


[1] Babylonian Talmud, Masechet Kidushin, 30b.
[2] Midrash Rabah, Eicha, “Introduction,” Paragraph 2.
[3] Jerusalem Talmud, Seder Nashim, Masechet Nedarim, Chapter 9, p 30b.
[4] Psalms 49:13
[5] Zohar for All, Pinehas, item 247.
[6] Babylonian Talmud, Masechet Gitin, p 43a.

  

Tetzaveh (Command) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

Tetzaveh

Exodus, 27:20-30:10

This Week’s Torah Portion | February 14 – February 20, 2016 – 5 Adar I – 11 Adar I, 5776

In A Nutshell

In the portion, Tetzaveh (Command), the Creator provides Moses with additional details regarding the tabernacle, and commands the children of Israel to take olive oil to light the everlasting candle in the tent of meeting outside the veil, so it may burn from dusk to dawn.

The Creator instructs Moses to appoint Aaron and his sons, Nadav, Avihu, Elazar, and Itamar to be his priests. He elaborates on the commandment of preparing the holy garments “for honor and glory” (Exodus, 28: 2): the vest, fringe, coat, and the rest of the garments of the priest.

Afterward comes an explanation on the sanctification of Aaron and his sons for their role in the tabernacle, including the offering of an ox and two rams on the altar of the incense that will be positioned inside the tabernacle before the veil, and how the incense is to be made. Finally, the Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) is mentioned, which is to take place once a year.

 Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

The portion, Tetzaveh (Command), is very matter-of-fact, short, and pragmatic. The whole of the substance of creation is the desire to receive. This is the solid basis from which we should begin. We feel the will to receive within us divided into four levels: still, vegetative, animate, and speaking. All our desires are divided in this manner, and we give them the shape of bestowal, namely to aim them toward giving. All desires must be aimed toward our connection “as one man with one heart,”[1] with love of others, as in “love your neighbor as yourself.”[2]

To the extent that we correct each one of our desires, we shape the image of man—becoming similar to the Creator. This is Adam HaRishon (the first man), who shattered and divided into myriad souls. Our purpose is to reassemble those souls into that single soul. We achieve this by annulling our egos and connecting all our desires. The connection is on the levels of still, vegetative, animate, and speaking. In these degrees we gradually reconnect everything into the new reality that the Torah narrates.

First, the oil for the lamp is a special oil, which must be lit in a special way. Subsequently, from the emitted light we can prepare the priesthood garments that clothe the will to receive.

The will to receive remains the same whether it strives to benefit others or itself. The difference lies in how we use it—for our own sake or for the sake of others. That is, do we want to use it to benefit ourselves although it is detrimental to others, or do we want to benefit others? There are two options with myriad variations.

Read the rest of this entry »

  
Next entries »




Copyright © 2018