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November 13, 2019

Archive for June, 2019

Korah Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

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Numbers 16:1 – 18:32
This Week’s Torah Portion | Jun 30 – Jul 6, 2019 – 27 Sivan – 3 Tammuz, 5779

In A Nutshell

The portion begins with the story of Dathan and Abiram, and 250 of the presidents of the congregation who rebelled against Moses and Aaron with what seemed like a just argument: Since the entire nation is holy, Moses and Aaron should have the same status as the rest of the people. The reply they received was that although they are all equal, Moses and Aaron are the leaders that can be in contact with the Creator. Following the mutiny, the ground swallowed the 250 presidents of the congregation, as well as Korah and his company, and the people suffered from a plague until Moses asked the Creator to end it.

The end of the portion debates the question of leadership in the nation. A test was held between all the staffs (rods) of all the leaders, and the only one that blossomed was Aaron’s staff, which signaled his unequivocal leadership.

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Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

We can interpret the explanation of the Torah (Pentateuch) on two levels—the level of this world and the level of the hidden, spiritual world. On the level of our world, the story of Korah is very relevant even today.

For thousands of years, our world has been developing through our egos. 3,800 years ago we lived in what is now known as Ancient Babylon. This is when Abraham—the quality of Hesed (mercy)—rose, as well as the priests that followed him, who are also from the quality of BinaHassadim.

Abraham discovered that the whole world must develop and achieve a state of unity and connection, and shared his revelation with the Babylonians. While many followed him, they were only a handful compared to the majority that rejected his ideas. Abraham had to flee from Babylon, chased by Nimrod, the king of Babylon.

Abraham established a method for correcting human nature. Today we call that method, “the wisdom of Kabbalah,” whose purpose is to elevate man from the depth of egoism to the level of bestowal and love.

This ascent is in fact the goal of our development—to rise from the level of this world to the level of the spiritual world. Spirituality is bestowal and the love of others, by which we acquire eternity and wholeness. This is the meaning of the text in this portion, as well as in The Book of Zohar, which talks about freedom from the angel of death.

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VaYishlach (And Jacob Sent) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

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Genesis, 32:4-36:43
This Week’s Torah Portion |Jun 23 – Jun 29, 2019 – 20 Sivan – 26 Sivan, 5779

In A Nutshell

In the portion, VaYishlach (And Jacob Sent), Jacob wants to make peace with Esau after running away from him and being with Laban for many years. Esau sends angels to Jacob, and they inform him that Esau is headed toward him with four hundred men.

Jacob is alarmed by the looming encounter, and at night, an angel appears before him. Jacob struggles with it and defeats it, but is hurt in the thigh sinew. The angels alert Jacob that his name has changed as of that moment from Jacob to Israel. When Esau comes, they embrace and make peace, and Jacob moves to the area of Shechem.

Later, the portion speaks of Dinah, Jacob’s daughter, who is abducted by Shechem—the son of Hamor, the Hivite—who wants to marry her. Jacob’s sons allow the marriage on condition that all the men in the city perform circumcision. Once they perform the circumcision, Jacob’s sons kill all the men, bring Dinah back, and loot the city.

The Creator instructs Jacob to move to Beit El, where the Creator blesses Jacob with many descendants and the inheritance of the land. At the end of the portion Rachel dies when she delivers her second son, Benjamin. Isaac also dies and is buried by his sons, Esau and Jacob.

 Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

This portion deals with very deep scrutinies that one makes within the soul in order to correct it from the intention to receive, from its egotistical form. We need these scrutinies for the soul because it was broken in a process known as “the breaking of the vessels,” the ruin.

Once a person achieves the degree of Jacob, which is still a degree of Katnut (infancy), a person discovers that it is impossible to move forward. Having risen above the ego, above the will to receive, and having reached a state of Katnut, called Galgalta and Eynaim, leaves one nothing with which to advance. In order to advance, one must find within oneself additional inclinations, additional broken Kelim (vessels). Upon their correction, the person will be able to rise along with them. In other words, whenever we are in a certain state, we must first descend, mingle with the negative, and only then rise to the positive.

The portion speaks of precisely that state. That is, a person who reaches Jacob’s state and cannot advance further must reconnect with the Esau within—the evil inclination that is still not corrected. Such a person heads toward it despite fearing that the egotistical desire might suddenly overpower, that perhaps he or she will not be able to come out of that state.

This calls for a special preparation. The text narrates that Jacob divides everything, the women, the children, and all the people with him. In other words, one sets one’s desires straight, arranging all of one’s qualities in an internal preparation for the disclosure of the flaws within, in order to properly cope with them.

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BeHa’alotcha (When You Raise the Candles) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

BeHaalotcha

Numbers 8:1-12:16

This Week’s Torah Portion | Jun 16 – Jun 22, 2019 – 13 Sivan – 19 Sivan, 5779

In A Nutshell

The portion, BeHa’alotcha (When You Raise the Candles), takes place a year after the reception of the Torah. The people of Israel is getting ready to journey and holds a special ceremony for the inauguration of the altar. The portion details the laws concerning making the offering of Second Passover for those who were far and could take part in Passover.

The portion speaks of the tabernacle, on which there was constantly a cloud. It is an indication to the children of Israel when they must rise and journey, and when they must settle down. The portion also tells of the two silver trumpets that were used to assemble the people at times of war, when making an offerings, on Sabbaths, festivals, and special occasions.

Toward the end of the portion, several events take place that point to the heightening of the ego. The wicked in the nation complain about Moses and the Creator, and a consuming fire is sent to the wicked at the camp’s edge. The rabble, who is a group of proselytes that joined the children of Israel upon their exit from Egypt, complains about their condition, and the Creator showers quails on the camp. Anyone who jumps on the quails voluptuously is put to death. This is why the place is called “the graves of voluptuousness.”

The end of the portion talks about Miriam—Moses’ and Aaron’s sister—slandering Moses. She says to Aaron, “The Creator appeared to me, as well as to you, so why is Moses the leader? Why are we listening only to him?” She is punished for it with leprosy, and the nation waits for seven days until she returns.

 Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

All the events are spiritual states within us. Each person needs to correct him or her self and achieve equivalence of form with the Creator, as it is written, “Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God” (Hosea 14:2). The text speaks only about correction. It is not about having to cross the desert and reach the Jordan River, cross it, and reach the land of Israel. Rather, it is about ascending, as in BeHaalotcha (When You Raise).

Ascending refers to building the soul. Each of us builds his or her soul. We gradually build the soul—called “a portion of God from above” (Job 31:2). One begins the spiritual work, wanting to build oneself and achieve bestowal and love of others, connection with everyone, because by these acts one becomes similar to the Creator, as it is written, “From the love of man to the love of God,”[1] from loving of people to loving the Creator.

We achieve the love in stages, although we hate it because we are the complete opposite of it. These are the stages described in all the portions. To begin with, the Torah speaks only about a person receiving the spark called the “point in the heart.” With that spark we begin to correct ourselves. The Torah describes the way we go until the end of correction, through what is called “in the sight of all Israel” (Deuteronomy 34:12), through the end of the Torah (Pentateuch).

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Shlach Lecha (Send Forth) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

Shlach Lecha

Numbers 13:1-15:41

This Week’s Torah Portion | Jun 14 – Jun 20, 2020 – 22 Sivan 14 – 28 Sivan, 5780

In A Nutshell

The portion begins with Moses sending the twelve heads of the tribes to spy in the land of Israel, to examine it and prepare to enter it. The spies return and describe a land flowing with milk and honey, but occupied by giants that will make it impossible to enter the land, conquer it, and rule it. Their words spread fear in the people, except for Joshua Ben Nun, and Caleb Ben Yephunneh. This angers the Creator and He wants to destroy the entire people. Moses prays and asks for mercy on the people. As a result, only the ten spies that slandered the land die in a plague. The other two, Joshua Ben Nun and Caleb Ben Yephunneh continue to accompany the people. Later in the portion, the children of Israel trip once more and seek to run back to Egypt. In the end they repent and abort their decision. Afterward Israel make another mistake: they try to fight and conquer the land without instructions to do so, and therefore fail. The portion ends with the instruction to wander another forty years in the desert until the entire generation of the spies passes away, except for Joshua Ben Nun, who is to lead the people into the land of Israel. 

 Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

We have to develop from our will to receive, from our ego, into a state in which we come to be “the people of Israel,” when we are all Yashar El (straight to God), having the quality of the Creator: bestowal and love. We will all be in “love your neighbor as yourself,”[1] in love of others, because we have no other choice. We must not go by our own reason, which alternates between dictations to advance and retreat. Rather, we must fight while examining if we are doing what is right, and if the way is right. The portion explains that we cannot know what to do or even where to start. It is a problem because we are accustomed to work by the mode of “A judge has only what his eyes see.”[2] It seems as though we must advance by following our essence, according to our Kelim (vessels/tools), using our minds and hearts. The Creator demands that we develop and do something. But how can we do something if we cannot tell between right and wrong, if we do not know whether to move forward into war or run back to Egypt? We can see that there are giants in the land of Israel. And while there are also fruits there, we cannot tell who rules there, which desires, or how big they are. Read the rest of this entry »

  

Nasso (Take) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

Naso

Numbers 4:21-7:89

This Week’s Torah Portion | Jun 9 – Jun 15, 2019 – 6 Sivan – 12 Sivan, 5779

In A Nutshell

The portion describes the children of Israel’s preparations to set out on a journey from Mount Sinai to the land of Israel. The bulk of the work revolves around the tabernacle. The census in the tribe of Levi continues, and there is a description of the distribution of duties between the families of Levi, Gershon, Kohat, and Merari. The Creator gives an order to send the impure people outside the camp as preparation for the inauguration of the tabernacle.

Afterward the portion narrates different situations in which the people need the help of the priests and the tabernacle. The incidents are connected to negative acts such as stealing, a person swearing in the name of the Creator in vain and must offer a sacrifice, and a woman who strayed and is suspected of committing adultery and is therefore brought to the priest. There are also positive incidents, such as the story of the hermit, detailing the laws that a person who makes a vow takes upon himself, and the blessing of the priests, the blessing that the priests bless the people.

The end of the portion discusses the gifts of the presidents and the great celebration—the inauguration of the tabernacle. The portion ends with the conclusion of the preparations, when the people of Israel can set out to the land of Israel.

 Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

The Torah speaks only about our soul and how we should correct it. We do not correct the body because the body is an animal and acts according to its nature. We must reinstate the “portion of God from above” (Job 31:2); this is the soul.

We do it as it is written, “I have created the evil inclination; I have created for it the Torah as a spice”[1] because “the light in it reforms.”[2] When we begin to connect to others under the condition, “love your neighbor as yourself,”[3] we find how repelling we find this act. We do not want to see anyone, only use them for our own benefit.

This is our nature, as the Creator said, “I have created the evil inclination.” However, the more we study and try to draw closer to each other, and discover how utterly impossible it is, the more we feel our nature as bad, as ill will, evil inclination. Then we need a means to correct it, and this is the light that reforms.

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