home email us! feed
December 11, 2017

Archive for July, 2017

VaEtchanan (And I Besought) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

vaetchanan_450x100

Deuteronomy, 3:23-7:11
This Week’s Torah Portion | July 30 – August 05, 2017 – 7 Av – 13 Av, 5777

In A Nutshell

The portion, VaEtchanan (And I Besought), repeats the prohibition that Moses was prohibited—to enter the land of Israel—and that Joshua is to succeed him and lead the people to the land of Israel. The portion deals with the commandment to keep the Torah and remember the standing at the foot of Mount Sinai, as well as with the concept of repentance, which appears here for the first time. Here appears the known text of Shema Ysrael (Here, O Israel).

Moses makes another speech, where he repeats the Ten Commandments. He also distinguishes three cities of refuge on the Eastern side of the Jordan River, warns of idol worship in the land of Israel, and instructs the destruction of the statues. He also reminds the people that the Creator is the one who led them into the land of Israel, the good land that they are destined to inherit.

Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

The portion, VaEtchanan (And I Besought), contains all the conditions for the dwelling of the people of Israel in the land of Israel. The people of Israel began its history with Abraham, who established in Babylon a group. That group distinguished itself from the rest of the Babylonians, who did not wish to unite “as one man with one heart,” meaning to be in the quality of Hesed (mercy), which is Abraham’s quality.

That group of people agreed to live in Arvut (mutual guarantee), and actually began the formation process of the people of Israel. Following the exodus from Egypt, the group took upon itself the commitment to be as one nation despite the problems and the egos of its people.

The formation of a single nation was conditioned upon a successful “passage” of the ordeal at the foot of Mount Sinai, which is a mountain of Sinaa (hate). On Mount Sinai, the people assumed the preparatory stipulation for climbing over that mountain—being “as one man with one heart.” Only by adhering to this condition is it possible to receive the Torah, the upper force that can unite everyone. That condition is met through the point in the heart of each person, a point named Moses, which draws the people onward into the desert and subsequently to the land of Israel. This is the point where everyone must unite.

Read the rest of this entry »

  

Devarim (These Are the Words) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

Devarim Parsha
Deuteronomy, 1:1-3:22
This Week’s Torah Portion | July 23 – July 29, 2017 – 29 Tammuz – 6 Av, 5777

The portion, Devarim (These Are the Words) begins with a long speech that Moses makes before the people of Israel just before his death. The portion contains a historic review of the forty years in the desert, which Moses describes to the people of Israel.

The portion also deals with appointing the presidents of the tribes and the judges, the sin of the spies and the punishment, the relationships between Israel and Edom, Israel and Moab, and Israel and Amon, as well as the wars with Sihon and Og. Moses reinforces Joshua, son of Nun, as the next leader of the people of Israel, who is to lead them into the land of Israel.

Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

From the cascading of the spiritual degrees and what we learn about the perception of reality, we know there is no world outside of us. All that exists are the spiritual states we go through, states that are depicted within us. Everything is within us, as it is said, “man is a small world.”

We move from state to state. Each state emerges out of its predecessor and is included in it. This is called a Partzuf (face). Each state contains what exists in the previous one, the Reshimot (recollections), impressions, and memories out of which it is born, and which it must now implement. Nothing comes out of thin air; everything relies on what precedes it.

These are the stages by which one ascends from the degree of the desert to the degree of the land of Israel. The degree of the land of Israel contains all the previous degrees, from Adam HaRishon (the first man, Adam), with whom the Torah begins. This is why we find that the Torah always repeats states described in previous books and extends them to the next, higher degree.

Read the rest of this entry »

  

Matot (Tribes) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

matot-parsha_450

Numbers, 30:2-32:42
This Week’s Torah Portion | July 16 – July 22, 2017 – 22 Tammuz – 28 Tammuz, 5777

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

  

Pinhas Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

pinhas-parsha_450x300

Numbers, 25:10-30:1
This Week’s Torah Portion | July 09 – July 15, 2017 – 15 Tammuz – 21 Tammuz, 5777

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.

blue-line

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 »

  

Independence?

On the 4th of July holiday, I found myself reflecting on its meaning. So I Googled the holiday and discovered that the Second Continental Congress voted to declare independence from British rule two days earlier, on July 2nd. The Declaration of Independence, representing a formal statement of explanation, was approved on July 4th, and it is this day that we celebrate a national day of independence.

If you look up the definition of the word “independence,” you are likely to find something like this from synonym.com: “Freedom from control or influence of another or others.” Sorry, but now I have to laugh. (I have enough years on me to know better!)

Let’s try an experiment: Next time it rains, leave your umbrella behind and take with you a large, black plastic garbage bag. When’s it time to go out in the rain, put the bag on your head, tear out two holes for your eyes, and then go where you need to go. It works, at least to keep your hair dry. I know because I tried it.

Recently in a Panera Bread restaurant, I found myself without an umbrella as I needed to return to my car. So I did just that: I used a garbage bag as an umbrella. What reaction did I get? Can you guess? Several patrons laughed derisively while pointing their fingers at me, and subsequently my family became a tad bit mortified.

The point of this exercise is to highlight what you already know: Like it or not, we are all controlled by our environment. There are other factors, such as upbringing, but all in all, society largely determines what acceptable conduct is and isn’t. How, then, could we ever say we are independent, free from the control of another or others?

Ah, but what if you were at the top of the heap, so to speak, and therefore really could control others—through bribery, manipulation, influence peddling, whatever. Would you be free then? Think about it. Wouldn’t the desire to control others in and of itself be a taskmaster, in the same way that any desire of ours pressures for fulfillment? (I don’t think you have to be super rich to experience this, just a good egoist—or, at least to know one, and we all know at least one, right?)

There is a way to be truly free, but it’s not at all what you might guess or think. Kabbalah teaches us that it requires that we willingly give that control to another or others, relinquishing our own desires in favor of theirs. By doing this, we give no room for our own desires to enslave us by demanding fulfillment. Only then will we feel free from our personal ego, personal demands, and limitations.

The catch is that no one individual has the power to do this alone. The ego won’t allow it. But when we connect with others and practice doing this together, we awaken a special force that envelops us in a blanket of love. And from those feelings of warmth and love, we begin to feel that true freedom lies in connecting above our ego.

I was told that sharing a BBQ with friends is a good way to begin. I agree. Please, take your pick of the fixings, and have a happy 4th of July!

By Brenda Jones

  
Next entries »




Copyright © 2017