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October 21, 2018

Archive for September, 2018

Beresheet (In the Beginning) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

Bereshit2

Genesis, 1:1 – 6:85 This Week’s Torah Portion | 30 Sep – 6 Oct, 2018 – 21 Tishrei – 27 Tishrei, 5779

In A Nutshell

Beresheet (In the Beginning) is the first portion in the Torah (Pentateuch). It tells the story of the creation of the world in six days, and the rest on the seventh day. It talks about the creation of the man, his arrival at the Garden of Eden, and the creation of the woman. The portion also narrates the story of the sin of the tree of knowledge, Cain and Abel, the generations from Cain to Lamech, the ten generations from Adam to Noah, the corruption that engulfed their generations, and the renewed hope that emerged with the birth of Noah.

 Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

Beresheet contains more stories than any other portion in the Torah. In many ways it is also the deepest of the portions, as it discusses the basis of our being—the creation of the soul.

The common soul was created out of the will to receive delight and pleasure, or simply, “the will to receive.” That will is the soul’s core, and it’s affected by six qualities: HesedGevuraTifferetNetzahHod, and Yesod. These qualities penetrated the substance—the will to receive—and designed it in synchrony with the upper force, the Creator. The reason why man is called Adam is that the word Adam comes from the word Adamah, from the verse, Adameh la Elyon (“I will be like the most high,” Isaiah, 14:14), since he is similar to the Creator, the sublime bestowal, sublime love, to that upper force that gave birth to it.

Adam is the structure of the soul that is equal in form to the Creator and is in Dvekut [adhesion] with Him in the Garden of Eden. A garden means “desire.” The garden is the part of the creature, Adam’s substance—the will to receive. Eden marks the degree of bestowal, degree of Bina. Adam, who is on the degree of Bina, is in the Garden of Eden.

This does not pertain to our world or to the universe we know, but rather to the common soul that the Creator created. From the very beginning, the common soul undergoes a special preparation, the sin, because at its inception it was adhered to the upper force, which means that it had no authority of its own, nothing to its name, or any sense of independent existence. In a sense it is like an embryo in its mother’s womb—on the one hand it exists, on the other hand it is part of its mother, and each of its actions is ruled by its superior.

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Haazinu (Give Ear) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

Haazinu

Deuteronomy, 32:1-32:52
This Week’s Torah Portion | 16 Sep – 22 Sep, 2018 – 7 Tishrei – 13 Tishrei, 5779

In A Nutshell

The portion, Haazinu (Give Ear), deals with the entrance to the land of Israel. Moses begins with a song that serves as a reminder to the people when they abandon the work of the Creator in the future. The song praises the guidance of the Creator and His choice of the people of Israel, and presents the people of Israel as stiff-necked and one that has turned to idol worship.

Afterward there is an explanation of the punishment in the case of committing idolatry, and a statement that the Creator will not help Israel against their enemies in such a case. However, to the extent that Israel repents, the Creator will save them from all their enemies.

When Moses concludes reading his song, the Creator commands him to climb up Mount Nevo and look from there at the land of Israel. He tells Moses that he will die and will not be awarded entrance to the land of Israel.

 Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

The Torah contains all the secrets of the world. The Torah means instruction; it guides us on how we should conduct ourselves in order to advance. The Torah speaks of the whole of creation; it helps us cope with difficulties and shows us what to do.

The big question is why the Torah ends before the entrance to the land of Israel. In truth, the struggles, problems, the great dilemmas, and the difficulties of coping with all that awaits the people henceforth— especially in this portion,—are already in us.

The people has reached a state where it is ready to advance and enter the land of Israel, to cope with all the problems, and to rise above them. It is precisely through this war that the people acquires the land of Israel. The story speaks of our desires, our forces, which have become corrected through the light, through everything that we have done and went through in the desert in order to be ready to enter the land of Israel.

The song, Haazinu, praises the Creator, the force of bestowal. It stresses that we must always remember to interpret what is happening accurately, and extol the force of bestowal, the value of love of others, which is the great rule of the Torah, and for which we do all that we do. “Love your neighbor as yourself” is more just than a maxim; it is the purpose of each and every action, a rule that includes all our efforts. Read the rest of this entry »

  

Nitzavim-VaYelech (Standing-Moses Went) – Weekly Torah Portion

Nitzavim-VaYelech2

Deuteronomy, 29:9-30:20; 31:1-31:30
This Week’s Torah Portion | 2 Sep – 8 Sep, 2018 – 22 Elul – 28 Elul, 5778 | 9 Sep – 15 Sep, 2018 – 29 Elul 5778 – 6 Tishrei, 5779

In A Nutshell

The portion, Nitzavim (Standing), deals with Moses’ speech regarding the covenant between Israel and the Creator. Moses makes it clear that the Torah applies to the whole of the people of Israel, to every single one, and was given to posterity. Moses stresses the principle of choice: should a person worship other gods, he will be exiled from the land. But if he wishes to be reformed, the path is through repentance. The Creator allows the people to choose between life and death, but commands them, “Therefore choose life” (Deuteronomy, 30:19).

In the portion, VaYelech (Moses Went), Moses gives his final speech before the people’s entrance to the land of Israel. He reinforces the people so they will not fear fighting for the land because the Creator is with them, and he officially hands over the leadership to Joshua, son of Nun. Moses writes the Torah and instructs the people of Israel to assemble once every seven years to read the Torah. The Creator reveals to Moses that in the future, the people of Israel will sin, and commands him to write a song through which the people will remember the Creator.

Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

It may seem as though portions repeat themselves, but any repetition is at a new degree. The whole Torah deals only with the correction of the soul. It is as if the soul is cut into slices according to the degrees of the great will to receive, which is why it appears to be the same.

Similarly, each day in our lives seems to resemble the next, yet each day feels different, and life consists of many days joined together. The special thing about this process is that it is not about the people of Israel or the desert, but about an individual going through the stages of one’s spiritual development.

The spiritual development is done in two stages. The first is the preparation in Babylon, in the Bilbul (confusion). The second stage is in Egypt. In this world, a person tries to do as one sees fit, but gives up because this world is leading us into a state where we are not achieving good results in life. The result is a crisis, similar to the one the world is in today.

And yet, we do not seek the meaning of life, but money, power, respect, pleasures, freedom, vacations, and we are beginning to understand that it is impossible to have them. Whether due to personal crises or because of the global crisis, we finally come to the fundamental question, “What is the meaning of my life?” We seek satisfaction in life but we cannot find it anywhere, and without satisfaction we feel like Prophet Jonah, who said, “It is better for me to die than to live” (Jonah, 4:3).

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