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October 23, 2018

Archive for July, 2018

Ekev (Because) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

Ekev (Because) Parsha

Deuteronomy, 7:12-11:25
This Week’s Torah Portion | 22 Jul – 28 Jul, 2018 – 10 Av – 6 Av, 5778

In A Nutshell

In the portion, Ekev (Because), Moses continues his speech to the people of Israel. He reiterates that if Israel keep the laws and the ordinances that the Creator commanded them, they will be awarded happiness, health, and triumphs over their enemies. But if they do not, the Creator will not keep them and they will be lost among the nations.

The portion also describes the virtues of the land of Israel, the seven species. Finally, the people are commanded to teach these things to their children and to carve the Mezuzah[1] on their doorsteps.

Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

Moses warns the people to keep the laws of Nature because the Creator is Elokim (God), and in Gematria (numeric values ascribed to Hebrew letters) it is “The Nature.”

The Creator gave us the Torah (Pentateuch), the laws of the world. The Torah is like a physics book, except that the laws in it are absolute, and totally precise. Only Israel received them. If we act according to these laws we will be above everything. We received a promise in advance, and this is truly what is happening. If we keep the laws before us we will receive anything we want—happiness, respect, security, health, eternity, wholeness, this world and the next world.

These laws come down to one: “love your neighbor as yourself; it is a great rule in the Torah.” All we need is to keep that law—love of others. The whole Torah speaks of nothing but that.

The problems begin with keeping that law. We cannot do it alone. It is only possible in an environment that sustains us, along with all the members of that environment. Only through mutual support can we truly keep that law. Baal HaSulam (Rav Yehuda Ashlag) mentioned in that regard a story about two friends sailing in a boat. When one of them began to drill under him, his friend asked, “What are you doing?” the other replied, “It is none of your concern, I am drilling only under me.”

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VaEtchanan (And I Besought) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

vaetchanan_450x100

Deuteronomy, 3:23-7:11
This Week’s Torah Portion | 22 Jul – 28 Jul, 2018 – 10 Av – 6 Av, 5778

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.

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

Devarim Parsha
Deuteronomy, 1:1-3:22
This Week’s Torah Portion | 15 Jul – 21 Jul, 2018 – 3 Av – 9 Av, 5778

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.

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Is There Life After Death?

What Happens When You Die? - Infographic

People who have survived clinical death have described a number of different experiences, among them being sensations of nothingness, peacefulness, seeing loved ones, out-of-body experiences where they see what’s going on around them, and either entering or heading toward a bright light. According to the wisdom of Kabbalah, such experiences are psychological and don’t point out what really happens after we die. Near-death experiences do have a commonality that we can learn from, which is that we experience a certain sensation of freedom from our corporeal-material body. However, such freedom is temporary and limited compared to the sensation of freedom we can attain by freeing ourselves from the control of our egoistic desires that hold tightly onto us our entire lives. Kabbalah considers the latter true freedom, and that it is synonymous with the attainment of the soul. In other words, the soul is not something we are simply given upon our death, or even in our lives without any effort on our behalf. It is a new desire that we can develop and grow during our lives, with the help of the method of Kabbalah, where we discover our freedom from the hold of our egoistic desires.

We have created a page dedicated to answering common questions about what happens when we die: Do we enter an afterlife? Do we reincarnate? Do we merge with pure consciousness, or nothingness? What are near-death experiences and clinical death? Also, what is a soul, and how do we attain a soul? Follow the link in the above image in order to delve deeper into this topic.

  

Masaei (Journeys) – Weekly Torah Portion

Masaei Parsha - Weekly Torah Portion

Numbers, 33:1-36:13
This Week’s Torah Portion | 8 Jul – 14 Jul, 2018 -25 Tammus – 2 Av, 5778

In A Nutshell

The portion, Masaei (Journeys) describes the journeys of the children of Israel, the stops where they parked in the desert, and their final preparations to enter the land of Israel. The portion details several commandments, such as the obliteration of idol worship, cities of refuge, the rules regarding involuntary manslaughter, appointing presidents to the tribes under the leadership of Joshua, son of Nun, and Elazar the Priest, dedicating cities for the people of the tribe of Levi, and a description of the boundaries of the land.

The portion ends with the continuation of the story of the daughters of Zelophehad, the fear of the tribe of Menashe that they would marry men from other tribes, thus causing the tribe of Menashe to lose its lots. In consequence, Moses issues a warrant prohibiting the daughters of Zelophehad from marrying men of other tribes, as well as other prohibitions that concern marriages of people from different tribes.

Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

The portion is a preparation to enter the land of Israel. At this stage we begin the inner work, rising to a degree where our will to receive connects with the upper force. Here we discover the upper force because we are living inside that desire.

It is written that the land of Israel is the land where the Creator is present from the beginning of the year to its end. That is, He is always in the land of Israel—in a desire that is aiming entirely to bestow, Yashar El (straight to God). A person discovers the upper force within that desire and is in Dvekut (adhesion) with it. This is the intention of the land of Israel.

From this we can learn to what extent we are not in the spiritual land of Israel, but in the corporeal one. Kabbalists tell us that we have been given the opportunity to return to the corporeal (physical) land of Israel so as to rise to the spiritual one. For this purpose, we must all be together, united as a family, “as one man with one heart,” as in “All of Israel are friends” and as in “love your neighbor as yourself.” We have connected on the stipulation of mutual guarantee, and only if we meet this criterion will we enter the land of Israel.

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