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June 29, 2017

Archive for April, 2017

Where Is the World’s Meanness and Corruption Taking Us?

The more we discover the meanness and corruption in our world, the more we will be ready for an inner change. [Tweet This]

First, we have to feel bad and when the evil is revealed we begin to ask and to clarify why we feel bad. If we are developed enough, we begin to ask about the source of evil, about the cause for evil, about the purpose of evil. Then we feel that we are connected to the upper force by fate. We begin to live more and more by a prayer to adhere to the force of bestowal. Gradually we begin to feel we don’t yearn to fill our vessels of receiving, but totally want to remain in the appeal, in giving. You have nothing and you don’t need or want anything. Gradually we begin to feel it. This is depicted to a person only after a very long time since it requires an inner change of his systems, of the system of his soul.

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American Jews and the Rise of Anti-Semitism

We resist people that want us to change and especially those that demand change. Change under such conditions means that I have to give up something that I very much treasure: my self-importance. If the demand for change persists, if it’s really in-my-face, and especially if it goes against my core values, then what starts out as irritation can quickly become full-blown hatred.

You can find many examples of this in everyday life, but nowhere is it more evident than what is happening in America today, in the political and ideological landscape defined by the liberal left versus the conservative right, where each side stands firm on its views, across an ever-widening political divide that increasingly forebodes violence and riots.

Here it’s important to understand our nature: Conceding to any demand for change brings us such a sensation of lowness that our ego can’t tolerate it. We don’t feel any reward in sacrificing something for the sake of others—especially our righteous indignation—and so we oppose the ones demanding change.

In the America of today, this has taken the form of significant anti-change protests, unrelenting accusations against the other side (including efforts to delegitimize the Trump presidency), along with an explosion of hate crimes and inexplicable murders.

Interestingly, at the same time, we have also seen a significant rise in anti-Semitism, for example, vandalism of Jewish cemeteries and bomb threats against Jewish Community Centers, schools, synagogues, and Anti-Defamation League offices. This may give one pause to consider if there is there a connection.

Indeed, there is a connection. But to understand the connection, we have to step back and take a look at the ancient past of the Jewish people.

The Jewish people, specifically those in Abraham’s time that implemented his teaching of correction, achieved a spiritual state that enabled them to fulfill the main spiritual law of loving another as yourself; meaning, they acquired the ability to relate to others as if they were relating to themselves.

Just as we, in our current nature, operate according to an automatic inner program, egoism, that always chooses what is good for us, they acquired an additional program, altruism, that superseded any thought of self in favor of others. The benefit to this was, and still is, enormous: the attainment of oneness with the resulting sensation of belonging to an eternal, whole, and perfect system, that is, eternal life filled with enormous spiritual pleasures.

In order to share this blissful state with the rest of humanity, it was necessary that the people of Israel lose the sensation of oneness, descend once again to the level of separateness, and then become, as you may have heard, ”a Light unto the nations.” Now, in our days, by uniting once again above all their differences, Jews will become both an example and the means for the rest of humanity to achieve the exalted state of oneness.

This is important to understand because it explains the connection between Jewish opposition that leads to disunity and separation and the rise in anti-Semitism.

This is because once the Jewish people achieved the state of oneness—loving your neighbor as yourself, in complete contrast to our current nature—and with this attainment becoming their unique spiritual heritage, they became directly responsible for the happiness and well-being of the rest of humanity. And because non-Jews subconsciously recognize this dependence on Jews for their personal well-being, they automatically respond in negative ways whenever Jews bring about disunity.

This, then, is the root cause of rising anti-Semitism. In such a manner, even unknowingly, Jews evoke it upon themselves, and it will transform into positive support only when they accept their unique role and demonstrate to everyone the benefits of oneness in love and unity above all differences.

By Brenda Jones

  

Aharei Mot (After the Death)—Kedoshim (Holy) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

AhareiMot

Leviticus, 16:1-18:30—19:1-20:27

This Week’s Torah Portion | April 30 – May 06, 2017 – 4 Lyar – 10 Lyar, 5777

In A Nutshell

The portions, Aharei Mot (After the Death) and Kedoshim (Holy), are connected. In the portion, Aharei Mot, following the death of Aaron’s two sons—Nadav and Avihu—the Creator details before Moses various rules concerning the way Aaron may approach the Holy in the tabernacle: it requires offering several sacrifices. Aaron must choose between two male goats, one to be sacrificed as a sin offering, and the other to be sent to the desert as a “goat to Azazel.”

The portion also details the prohibition to slaughter for food without bringing an offering to the tent of meeting. The Creator instructs Moses to command the people not to follow the ways of the Egyptians and the Canaanites, and not to obey their rules. At the end of the portion the Creator tells the people of Israel not to be defiled by all the impurities that the nations that dwelled in the land of Canaan before them did because if they did, the land would repel them.

In the portion, Kedoshim (holy), the Creator says to the children of Israel through Moses: “You shall be holy for I the Lord your God am holy” (Leviticus, 19:2).

The portion details many different commandments between man and God, between man and man, and some that concern offering sacrifices. The portion also deals with fearing Mother and Father, observing the Sabbath, and the prohibition on idol worship. Some of the Mitzvot (commandments) relate to the land of Israel, the land of Canaan, the tithing, fruits of the tree, idol worship, and other laws.

The portion ends with a complete prohibition on incest and adultery, which are punishable by death. The Creator commands the children of Israel to keep the laws when they arrive at the land of Israel, and refrain from what they did while in Egypt. They must separate between pure and impure beasts, and, likewise, the Creator will separate between Israel and the rest of the nations. This is how they will be Holy to Him.

 Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

Most people believe that the Torah speaks of this world, that it is full of physical actions and descriptions of animals, people, and objects, rules of social conduct, what is permitted, and what is forbidden. We either forget, or have never known that this world is but a replication of the spiritual world.

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Eyes Wide Open

In light of the recent Holocaust Memorial Day and the rise of anti-Semitism in the world, I felt the need to share my story.

I am Jewish. I was born Jewish. I come from a long line of Jews who migrated to America from Russia to escape the pogroms. I was raised to respect the Jewish traditions, and although we did not keep kosher, we did observe the holidays—mostly to please my grandmother, the matriarch of my family.

My uncle was a cantor (one who sings and leads the prayer in a synagogue), I loved to hear him sing but had no idea what he was saying. I never learned Hebrew, I didn’t go to Sunday school because my parents gave me a choice and my sister told me I would hate it. I grew up in a middle class neighborhood that was a melting pot of all, in an area known to be the home of many Jews with a great Deli within walking distance of our house.

We learned about anti-Semitism and Hitler in school, but it didn’t really affect us. That is until the Nazi Party of America planned a march in my home town in 1977. Then I learned that approximately 5,000 of the residents of Skokie, Illinois were Holocaust survivors.

I remember meeting my girlfriend’s aunt who always seemed so withdrawn and sad. One day I was invited to a dinner where, while sitting at the dining room table, I saw the numbers tattooed on her arm. She shared the story of how she was at Auschwitz. She was in line for what she called the ovens, the crematorium.

There was a mother behind her whose daughter was in front of her. The mother wanted to be with her daughter. If you were caught talking or changing places in line you were shot on the spot. But somehow they switched places. The mother moved up a spot to be with her daughter. That day the line stopped at my girlfriend’s aunt. The mother and daughter were killed and she was spared. Her story haunted me for many years.

After my son was born we took a trip to visit my own great aunt who was one of the last surviving relatives of that generation. She shared many stories of my relatives in Russia, and what it was like to be Jewish in the pogroms. She told me how my great grandparents hid in a neighbor’s basement during one of the raids with my then two year old great uncle. The neighbor did not want to hide them at first, because if it was known that she was helping a Jew, she too would be killed with her whole family.

But as she watched my grandparent’s turn away with their two-year-old son, she could not let it be, and invited them to come in and hide. When the pogrom police came to her house, she swore on a picture of Jesus that there were no Jews there. At first the police did not believe her and they started to search the house, but she kept swearing on the picture of Jesus, and finally they said if you swear on Jesus, we must believe you and they left. That day that woman saved not only my great grandparents and uncle, but me too, as I would never have been born if my family had been killed.

Being Jewish for me then became more of a stigma then a proud heritage. I couldn’t find my place in my religion. People would ask what you were, and my friends would say Italian, Spanish etc, but I was always labeled as Jewish, not Russian. I never understood what that meant.

Once when I was renting a house the landlord had to come and fix something. His wife came with him and somehow we got to talking and it came out that I was Jewish. She looked at me like she had seen a ghost, her eyes got really big and she said, “You are one of the chosen people.” I told her, “I thought we were all chosen because we are all alive.” I didn’t get why she treated me differently, but it again reaffirmed to me how my being Jewish was more of a stigma and something not to be shared.

Fast forward to today, where the rise of anti-Semitism seems to be skyrocketing all over the world. To be an American Jew who closes my eyes is to close my heart to all those who fought and struggled in my family, my girlfriend’s family, and in my childhood neighborhood. It means I am closing my eyes to all those living in fear and dying all over the world. Any time we close our eyes to hatred, we close our hearts to life and love and the meaning of our existence.

The first step to healing is to be informed, not to run away but to learn what it means to be a Jew and what our purpose is in this world. We must learn why Jews are so hated and what anti-Semitism is all about so we can speak out against the hatred of any and all human beings. We cannot let history repeat itself, we cannot turn a blind eye.

The following excerpt from the website Why Do People Hate Jews? spoke volumes to me. I am sharing it with the hope it will do the same for you, and we can all move forward together with our eyes wide open.

As the world deteriorates into chaos crisis by crisis, the pressure on the Jews will continue to grow. A few years ago, a second Holocaust was unthinkable. Today it is a concern that people are beginning to express openly.

In the early 1950s, Rav Yehuda Ashlag wrote The Writings of the Last Generation, in which he describes the progression he saw for the world’s political development, especially in the Western world. “The world erroneously considers Nazism a particular offshoot of Germany,” he wrote. “In truth, it is the offshoot of a democracy and socialism that were left without … manners, and justice. Thus, all the nations are equal in that; there is no hope at all that Nazism will perish with the victory of the allies, for tomorrow the Anglo-Saxons will adopt Nazism, since they, too, live in a world of democracy and Nazism.”

By Debra Lynn

  

How to Recognize True Love

A true act of love is when I do something good for someone I love only because I want to delight that person. [Tweet This]

“Love” in our world is just a feeling of attraction to something that fulfills you. True love is when you fulfill the desires of another as if they are your own. “Love” in our world is when something awakens a feeling in me that I might get pleasure from it. I then aspire to this thing, to this spark of light. I want to get closer to this light and connect to it, so it will fulfill me.
“Love for your neighbor” does not mean that you like someone’s face, personality, or status. It is when you work with and fulfill his desire. This means that you love your neighbor rather than yourself.

  
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