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May 24, 2019

Archive for January, 2019

Mishpatim (Ordinances) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

Mishpatim

Exodus, 21:1-24:18

This Week’s Torah Portion | 4 Feb – 10 Feb, 2018 – 19 Shevat – 25 Shevat, 5778

In A Nutshell

In the portion, Mishpatim (Ordinances), the Creator gives to Moses a collection of laws and judgments pertaining to various topics: between man and man, Hebrew slaves, Hebrew maidservant, murdertheft, lending money, and others. The Creator also dictates laws concerning man and God, meat and dairy foods, the Sabbath, Shmita (year of omission, refraining from growing crops), etc.

Moses conveys to the children of Israel the message that the Creator will help them enter the land of Israel, and warns them about practicing idolatry. Moses reads before them from the book of covenant, and the people reply, “We will do and we will hear” (Exodus, 24:7). Moses builds an altar and offers sacrifices to the Creator, and a covenant is signed between the people and the Creator. Moses carries out the Creator’s command, ascends Mount Sinai to receive the tablets of the covenant, accompanied by his servant, Joshua, and stays there forty days and forty nights.

 Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

In the portion, Mishpatim (Ordinances), Moses ascends Mount Sinai although he had already received all the laws and ordinances and the children of Israel had already kept the Torah and the laws regarding the offerings. This tells us that laws and ordinances are one thing, and the Torah is another.

The portion details all the laws of the spiritual world, everything a person needs to do. In order to be able to do it we must receive the Torah. The Torah was given because “I have created the evil inclination, I have created for it the Torah as a spice.”[1] That is, one is shown who one is compared to what one should be at the degree of “man,” in a state of loving others and connection among everyone, a state of correction of all the egoistic desires.

This is why the laws come first. One who begins to study the wisdom of Kabbalah understands that first one must correct oneself, one’s attitude toward the group, toward the people, and toward the world. There are many internal corrections of the evil inclination that one must perform. When one understands what one must do is when the time of reception of the Torah arrives. A person learns to receive the light that corrects one during the study.

This is how we gradually obtain the upper world, the Creator, the upper force that fills the upper world. This is why it was said, “We will do and we will hear”: first we must do, and then—in the corrected Kelim (vessels) that we build—we discover the Creator filling those Kelim.

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Jethro Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

Jethro

Exodus, 18:1-20:22

This Week’s Torah Portion | 28 Jan – 3 Feb, 2018 – 12 Shevat – 18 Shevat, 5778

In A Nutshell

The portion, Jethro, starts with Jethro, priest of Midian, coming out with Zipporah and Moses’ two sons to meet Moses and the nation, which has come out of Egypt. Jethro gives to Moses some organizational tips regarding how to judge the people, explaining that he should divide them into ministers of thousands, ministers of hundreds, ministers of fifty, and ministers of ten.

The children of Israel arrive at Sinai Desert on the third month of their exodus from Egypt, as it is written, “And Israel camped there, before the mountain” (Exodus, 19:2). Moses climbs Mount Sinai and the Creator tells him, “And now, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be to Me a Segula (chosen/virtue/remedy) out of all the nations, for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the children of Israel” (Exodus, 19:5-6).

Moses informs the elders of the people about the words of the Creator, and they say, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do” (Exodus 19:8). The Creator commands the people through Moses to sanctify themselves for two days, and be ready on the third day, for this is when the Creator will appear before the whole nation.

On the third day, the children of Israel stand at the bottom of the mountain, but they do not want to meet the Creator face to face, so Moses and Aaron climb Mount Sinai and Moses brings down the Ten Commandments.

The children of Israel ask Moses to speak to them instead of the Creator because they are afraid to die. Moses explains to them that they need not fear because the Creator is coming down in order to test them, and to set the fear of Him in them so they will not sin.

The Creator instructs Moses to tell the children of Israel that because they saw Him speaking with them they are forbidden to make gods of silver and gold. Instead, they must build an altar on the ground and sacrifice on it.

 Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

Jethro, priest of Midian, is not from Israel. He is from the will to receive in order to receive, a Klipa (shell/peel) that has been mitigated by Moses. Jethro rises and connects to Moses through his Nukva (female), his daughter Zipporah, with whom Moses has two sons. This is the big and broken will to receive that the Moses in us is gradually correcting.

When Moses comes to Jethro after he has fled, a connection is made between the point in the heart, Moses, and the ego. Thus, a correction is made so that afterward it will be easier for a person to make corrections on the more advanced stages.

The correction helps one begin to divide oneself into tens, fifties, hundreds, and thousands, meaning to build the structure of the soul. The whole Torah deals with the construction of our soul and how we turn our egoistic desire into a desire with the aim to bestow. When the desire acquires the aim to bestow, it is called a “soul.”

The force of reception is called the “self,” “this world.” Everything I see and everything I feel is the force of reception. The force of bestowal is exit from reception. When I work in order to bestow, in “love your neighbor as yourself,”[1] I obtain my soul. My inner Moses is pulling away from the quality of reception toward the quality of bestowal, bringing me out of myself, and allowing me to see the upper world and begin to feel the Creator.

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BeShalach (When Pharaoh Sent) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

BeShalach

Exodus, 10:17-17:16

This Week’s Torah Portion | Jan 13 – Jan 19, 2019 – 7 Shevat – 13 Shevat, 5779

In A Nutshell

In the portion, BeShalach (When Pharaoh Sent), Pharaoh sends the children of Israel from Egypt following the ten plagues that he and the Egyptians suffered. The Creator does not lead the children of Israel directly to the land of Israel because it means they will have to go through the land of the Philistines and the Creator does not want the children of Israel to fear war and escape back to Egypt. Instead, He sends them through the desert.

Moses takes Joseph’s bones. The Creator walks before the people, lighting the way for them with a pillar of cloud—during the day, and a pillar of fire during the night.

When Pharaoh learns that the children of Israel really did escape from Egypt he changes his mind and decides to chase them. He assembles 600 chosen chariots that chase the children of Israel all the way to the Red Sea.

The children of Israel find themselves with the sea before them and Pharaoh behind them. This is when the first miracle takes place: Moses strikes the sea, it is cut in two, and the children of Israel pass through dry land. When the Egyptians try to pass, the water closes on them and they all drown. In gratitude to the Creator for the miracle, the children of Israel sing the Song of the Sea (Exodus, 15).

Moses leads the children of Israel through the desert on the road to Shur. When the people grow thirsty they arrive at Marah, a place where the water is bitter so they cannot drink. Here another miracle occurs and the water becomes fresh (the Torah writes “sweet”). Moses and the people continue to advance toward Eilam where they discover twelve springs of water and seventy dates. They park there then continue toward the desert of Sin.

The people complain that they have run out of supplies and the Creator performs two miracles: in the first, manna comes down from the sky. In the second, quails came over the camp of Israel so they will have meat in the evening.

The children of Israel receive the first commandment—to observe the Sabbath. They are told that on Sabbath, no manna will come down from the sky and that on the sixth day they must collect supplies for two days. The children of Israel continue from the desert of Sin and arrive at Rephidim. Once again there is no water and the Creator performs another miracle: Moses strikes a rock and water gushes out of it.

Toward the arrival at Mount Sinai, Amalek appears and fights against Israel. When Moses raises his hands, Israel win; when he lowers them, Amalek wins. Finally, Israel defeat Amalek and the Creator tells Moses to write in a book of remembrance that the memory of Amalek must be blotted out from under the heaven.

 Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

Man is born with an inherently egoistic desire to receive. However, when ascending over it, one’s perspective changes and he no longer thinks only of himself. From the moment we are born we want to use the whole world for our own benefit. This is the Amalek in us. AMALEK is an acronym for Al Menat LeKabel (in order to receive). We turn the will to receive into a spiritual quality that aims toward bestowal through a process in which each of us works on his or her self using the light that reforms.[1] The light that reforms is a force that awakens in a person who studies Kabbalah correctly, together with a group. That force awakens and a person feel the changes constantly happening within.

These are the changes that the Torah describes in this portion. Pharaoh really does send the people of Israel. That is, our ego is under stress, suffering, in a conflict between the forces operating on it to the point that it “allows” us, throws us away from itself.

In fact, we are only observing the unfolding—the Creator’s war against Amalek (Exodus, 17:16), the Creator’s war against Pharaoh, and the entire process (Exodus, 10) of hardening Pharaoh’s heart, “go on to Pharaoh,” and “come to Pharaoh.”

When the children of Israel escape from Egypt with all the Kelim, meaning desires, a person rises above the ego, but the egoistic intentions remain. In the process of development, one gradually rids oneself of them through the numerous changes one goes through in the process of exiting Pharaoh’s rule and coming under the rule of the quality of the Creator—the reign of the quality of bestowal and love of others.

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Bo (Come) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

Bo

Exodus, 10:1-13:16

This Week’s Torah Portion | Jan 6 – Jan 12, 2019 – 29 Tevet – 6 Shevat, 5779

In A Nutshell

In the portion, Bo (Come), the Creator—through Moses—tells defiant Pharaoh he must let the people of Israel go. The Creator casts two more plagues over Pharaoh, Locust and Darkness, and Pharaoh says to Moses, “Go away from me! Beware; do not see my face again for in the day you see my face you shall die” (Exodus, 10:28). Moses replies, “You are right; I shall never see your face again” (Exodus, 10:29). Indeed, Moses keeps his word.

The Creator tells Moses that after the final plague Pharaoh will let the children of Israel go. The children of Israel begin to prepare for the tenth plague, the plague of the first-born, and borrow from the Egyptians silver and gold vessels, as well as garments, preparing for their release.

The Creator outlines to Moses the rules of the Passover offering that the children of Israel will need to meet: slaughter a lamb in the twilight, spread its blood on the doorposts (Mezuzot) and on crossbars, and eat the lamb that same night together with Matzot (unleavened bread) and Maror (horse-radish). The children of Israel follow suit.

At midnight, when a great cry rises in Egypt at the strike of the Plague of the First-Born, Pharaoh urges the children of Israel to leave Egypt in haste. The children of Israel leave taking the mixed multitude along with them, and flocks and cattle in great numbers.

 Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

The exodus from Egypt described in this portion is both very significant and dramatic. Each moment in our lives is a remembrance to the exodus from Egypt. This is the point at which the human in us is born, when we come out of our egos, of the will to receive.

We all begin selfish, as it is written, “I have created the evil inclination.”[1] The evil inclination grows within us and causes us to be increasingly egoistic. Throughout human history we have been developing in this manner until we have come to a state where we feel that our entire nature is evil and we must exit it, get rid of it, and so we look for a solution. It is a process that unfolds in both individuals and in the entire human society.

When the Pharaoh in us grows, meaning our evil inclination, it does not let us live. The point in the heart, Moses in us, escapes from the ego in order to gain strength, then returns in order to fight it. Only once we understand how this “game” unfolds in us do we return to fight against the ego, much like Moses returns to Egypt to fight against Pharaoh.

When a person begins to discover the upper force, even a little bit, he or she discovers that everything happens from above, that “there is none else besides Him” (Deuteronomy, 4:35), and that includes Pharaoh, the Creator, and Moses who is between them. In this struggle, our inner Moses must decide who will rule over him, Pharaoh or the Creator.

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