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June 24, 2018

Archive for Torah Portion

Balak Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

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Numbers, 22:2-25:9
This Week’s Torah Portion | 24 Jun – 30 Jun, 2018 – 11 Tammus – 17 Tammus, 5778

In A Nutshell

The portion, Balak, begins with the people of Israel conquering the land of the Amorites. Balak, king of Moab, understands that the children of Israel are nearing him, and prepares to face the nation that came out of Egypt. He sends messengers to Balaam, son of Beor—who was famous for his great wisdom and power of his curses—and asks him to curse the people of Israel.

Balaam leaves for the land of Moab having accepted the harsh stipulation to say only what the Creator will permit him to. Along the way his mare stops. Balaam beats her but the mare won’t move. Balaam cannot see the angel stopping the mare. The mare opens her mouth and speaks to him, and instead of cursing Israel he blesses them.

Balak is furious with Balaam. As a compensation, Balaam tips him that Israel has a weak spot: the daughters of Moab. Balak sends the daughters of Moab and the people of Israel fornicate with them so much that even Zimri, son of Salu, one of the presidents of the tribe of Shimon, takes a Midianite woman.

This situation leaves Pinhas, son of Elazar, with no choice. He takes a spear and stabs them to death, thus stopping the plague that has spread in the nation claiming twenty-four thousand lives.

Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

This story does not happen on the corporeal level. It is not about a process unfolding between two nations, but rather an internal correction process that one experiences. The story itself comes to show us how to correct the evil inclination. It is not a tale about children or grownups, nor is it a story about nations, countries, wars, prostitutes, or mares. All it describes is the correction of the evil inclination. It is the only thing that the Torah (Pentateuch) describes from the very beginning, from Adam—who began the correction—to the end.

The text speaks of a person who went through this path as Adam HaRishon (Adam), as Abraham, and as Moses, and who went through the whole process in Egypt and in the desert. During the gradual correction of the desire, a person gradually nears the land of Israel until one is faced with the “conquest” of the land.

The “desert” is a desire that a person still cannot use correctly, and therefore cannot see the fruits of the work with it. These corrections precede the ones known as the “land of Israel.”

The spies discovered that the land of Israel is a desire that, if aimed entirely at the Creator, yields beautiful fruits [Israel means Yashar El (straight to God)]. A person who approaches that correction initially acquires the land of the Amorites followed by the land of Moab, which is a higher degree. Man’s egoistic desire known as “the king of Moab,” Balak, begins to seemingly rebel against him because it does not want the corrections.

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Hukat (The Statute) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

Hukat Parsha

Numbers 19:1-22:1
This Week’s Torah Portion | 17 Jun – 23 Jun, 2018 – 4 Tammus – 10 Tammus, 5778

In A Nutshell

The portion, Hukat (The Statute), deals with Israel’s continuing journey, with the Mitzva (commandment) of the red cow (heifer), the laws of the impurity of the dead, and the episode known as Mei Meriva (waters of Meribah [Heb: quarrelling]). In the episode, the children of Israel complain about the lack of water, and the Creator commands Moses to speak to the rock. However, instead of speaking, he strikes the rock. Moses and Aaron are punished for this act by being banned from entering the land of Israel. The people of Israel reach the land of Edom, and the king of Edom forbids them to pass through his territory.

Aaron dies, and Elazar, his son, succeeds him as the high priest. The people of Israel continue to complain about the difficulties along the way, and the Creator sends snakes to bite the people. Moses makes a copper snake and shows it to the people, and anyone who sees the copper snake is healed.

The people of Israel reach the boundary of the land of Moab and sing “the song of the well.” The people fight Sihon, King of the Amorites, and Og, King of the Bashan. Israel wins and inherits their land.

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Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

This story details the primary correction in the corrections of the souls. Because our souls are initially the desire to receive, to enjoy, in order to correct it we must invert the intention of that desire toward bestowal. We must correct our souls to have the aim to bestow, to love others, by which will resemble the Creator. This will endow Dvekut (adhesion) with the Creator—which is the purpose of creation—to each and everyone in the nation. This is why we need to mingle and become integrated with the force of bestowal, called Bina, and with the force of reception, called Malchut.

Connecting the two forces—the two Sefirot just mentioned—results in four options: Malchut in MalchutMalchut in BinaBina in Bina, and Bina in Malchut. When Bina is inside Malchut, it is the evil force because Malchut governs Bina, and when that happens, all the evil forces emerge.

While these forces may occasionally appear as good, they appear so only to lure and entice a person, leading toward the evil. It is a special Klipa (shell/peel), cunning and shrewd, which is in Malchut. This is how Malchut acquires Bina and uses it. This is also why it was said that evil can exist in the world only if it initially appears as good.

At first, the only forces that exist in man are the still, vegetative, and animate, meaning Malchut at the degree of still, vegetative, and animate. This is a straightforward will to receive. A person who possesses the power of Bina within the will to receive becomes very clever and very shrewd. Such a person knows how to appear as giving to others, as serving them, while in fact that person takes from others and uses them as much as possible. This is how the negative forces operate when the force of bestowal is “taken captive” by the force of reception.

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Korah Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

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Numbers 16:1 – 18:32
This Week’s Torah Portion | 10 Jun – 16 Jun, 2018 – 27 Sivan – 3 Tammus, 5778

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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Shlach Lecha (Send Forth) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

Shlach Lecha

Numbers 13:1-15:41

This Week’s Torah Portion | 3 Jun – 9 Jun, 2018 – 20 Sivan – 26 Sivan, 5778

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 »

  

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

BeHaalotcha

Numbers 8:1-12:16

This Week’s Torah Portion | 27 May – 2 Jun, 2018 – 13 Sivan – 19 Sivan, 5778

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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