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April 24, 2017

Archive for Torah Portion

Tazria—Metzorah (When a Woman Delivers—The Leper) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

Tazria—Metzorah

Leviticus, 12:1-13:59 – 14:1-15:33

This Week’s Torah Portion | April 23 – April 29, 2017 – 27 Nissan – 3 Lyar, 5777

In A Nutshell

In the portion, Tazria (When a Woman Delivers), we learn about laws related to a woman who has delivered. If she delivers a boy, she is considered impure for seven days. On the eighth day the boy is circumcised and the woman begins a 33 day purification period. If the woman delivers a girl she is considered impure for fourteen days, and the purification period lasts 66 days.

The portion also details rules concerning afflictions. A person who is infected with something must come to the priest, who diagnoses the sore and knows the rules concerning each of them.

The portion, Metzorah (The Leper), is dedicated to the rules concerning leprosy, and what to do when one has been infected with it. A leper who has healed must be examined by the priest, then bring two birds. The priest slaughters one bird and dips the other in clean water.

The end of the portion discusses the impurity of nocturnal ejaculation and the rules concerning a woman in menstruation—anyone who touches her is impure until the evening.

 Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

Why are the rules in the portions described in such detail?

The whole Torah is an instruction by which to correct our nature. Man was deliberately created with an egoistic desire; this is why we want everything for our own good, as it is written, “For the inclination of a man’s heart is evil from his youth” (Genesis, 8:21). Creation itself is the evil inclination, the sum of our negative qualities. The inanimate nature, the vegetative, and the animate around us are completely neutral—neither good nor bad. It is managed by the laws of nature that act instinctively on all its elements.

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Shmini (On the Eighth Day) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

Shmini

Leviticus, 9:1-11:47

This Week’s Torah Portion | April 16 – April 22, 2017 – 20 Nissan – 26 Nissan, 5777

In A Nutshell

The portion, Shmini (On the Eighth Day), deals with the events of the eighth day after the seven days of filling.[1] This is the inauguration day of the tabernacle. Aaron and his sons offer special sacrifices on this day. Moses and Aaron go to bless the people, and finally, the Creator appears to the people of Israel.

Aaron’s sons, Nadav and Avihu sin with offering on a foreign fire, and the fire consumes them. Aaron and the remaining sons receive special instructions how to conduct themselves in the situation, and among others orders, they are forbidden to mourn.

The portion tells of another misunderstanding between Moses and Aaron and his sons concerning eating the sin offering. The portion ends with the rules concerning forbidden food, detailing the animals, beasts, poultry, and fish that are forbidden to eat. Rules of Tuma’a (impurity) and Taharah (purity) are also briefly explained.

 Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

The portion mentions many details concerning the tabernacle and offering sacrifices, what is forbidden and what is permitted. How should we understand it internally?

We need to examine which of our 613 desires we need to correct, and how. It was said about man, “I have created the evil inclination; I have created for it the Torah as a spice,”[2] so we may correct our evil inclination—the egoistic desires—in which we think only of ourselves and cannot perform a single act of giving and love of others.

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Tzav (Command) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

Tzav

Leviticus, 6:1-8:36

This Week’s Torah Portion | April 02 – April 08, 2017 – 6 Nissan- 5 Nissan, 5777

In A Nutshell

The portion, Tzav (Command), deals with rules of sacrificing, especially those related to priests. The portion mentions the commandment to donate the fertilizer, the gift offering, sin offering, guilt offering, peace offering, and the prohibition to eat animal fat.

Tzav also mentions punishments for those who eat non-kosher meat, as it is written, “The soul that eats from it shall bear iniquity (Leviticus, 7:18). One who eats fat from the offerings, “The soul that eats shall be cut off from its people” (Leviticus, 7:25), and one who eats the offerings’ blood, “That soul shall be cut off from its people” (Leviticus, 7:20).

Subsequently, the portion deals with the seven days of filling, and the inauguration of the tabernacle. The Creator commands Moses to assemble Aaron and his sons the priests, and the whole congregation at the door of the tent of meeting. Moses washes Aaron and his sons and dresses them with the clothes of priesthood. Moses puts the anointing oil over the tabernacle and all that is in it, and sanctifies Aaron and his sons, showing the priests—following the Creator’s command—what to do with the various organs of the offerings.

 Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

The Korban (offering/sacrifice, from the word, Karov [near]) is the way to draw near the Creator. There is nothing but the offerings. Today we are in the worst state. There is nothing worse than this world and our current state. We must come out of that state and advance toward the Boreh (Creator), from the words Bo Re’eh (come and see). We will discover the Creator according to the changes and corrections in us because the upper force, namely the upper light, is in complete rest, and all the changes occur in us, as it is written, “I the Lord do not change” (Malachi, 3:6).

Nearing the Creator depends on our qualities. Therefore, we must all change ourselves and correct all the negative and egoistic desires in us, according to the order the Torah narrates. The word Torah comes from the word Horaa (instruction) how to correct our egoistic desires, turn them into aiming toward bestowal and love, and shift from unfounded hatred to absolute love.

The bad global crisis is happening due to unfounded hatred among everyone. There is abundance in the world, but we cannot share it among us. We cannot establish social justice, connection, unity, and arrange ourselves and our lives better because of our characters, as it is written, “The inclination of a man’s heart is evil from his youth” (Genesis, 8:21). To correct the heart, which symbolizes our 613 egoistic, corrupted desires, we need the Torah.

The Torah is the “light that reforms.”[1] One who treats the Torah properly discovers one’s wickedness, as it is written, “The world was created only for the complete wicked or the complete righteous.”[2] That is, we must discover that we are completely wicked, created with an evil inclination. Then, “I have created for it the Torah as a spice”[3] because “the light in it reforms them.”[4] Then we come to a state of complete righteous. This is how we must see it.

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VaYikra (The Lord Called) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

VaYikra

Leviticus, 1:1-5:26

This Week’s Torah Portion | March 26 – April 01, 2017 – 28 Adar – 5 Nissan, 5777

In A Nutshell

The portion, VaYikra (The Lord Called), deals with rules of sacrificing and the priests serving in the tabernacle. Some offerings are optional; some are mandatory. Some of the offerings are burnt to ashes on the altar, and some remain for the priests and the giver of the offering.

The rules of offerings speak of a “burnt offering” that a person brings voluntarily from the cattle, flock, and poultry. There is also a “gift offering,” which a person brings voluntarily from the flora. Also, there is the “peace offering,” which is an offering that a person brings from the cattle, sheep, and goats. The “sin offering” is an offering brought by one who sinned by mistake. That person makes an offering to atone for the sin.

 Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

The portion, VaYikra (The Lord Called), teaches us about the work of the offerings, which are also the main topic in the Talmud. We learn all the works from the works of the Temple.

People are nearing the purpose of creation and Dvekut (adhesion) with the Creator, to the human level, a life in a totally blissful world, and experiencing all the worlds and the sensation of nature as complete and eternal, as it was prepared for us. That nearing is called Korban (offering/sacrifice) from the word Karov (near).

We are approaching it step by step by correcting our nature. There are 613 desires in us, which we must correct one at a time, each desire with all of its parts. Our desires divide into four levels: still, vegetative, animate, and speaking. The work of the offerings teaches us how to sacrifice and correct them so they are in bestowal and love. The rule in our work is to correct our nature and achieve the state, “love your neighbor as yourself; it is a great rule in the Torah.”[1] By that, we become similar to the Creator and achieve Dvekut with Him.

The correction of the egoistic desire from receiving for myself into bestowal upon others is called an “offering” that a person offers. The offering may come from several sources. It may be from the still, as it is written, “On all your offerings you shall offer salt” (Leviticus, 2:13), or water or oil. It can also be from the vegetative or processed plants, such as the showbread. From the animate, only a certain kind is offered. The priests’ and the Levites’ daily work in the Temple is to sacrifice the flock and the cattle.

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VaYakhel (And Moses Assembled)-Pekudei (Accounts) Parsha – Weekly Torah Portion

VaYakhel

Exodus, 35:1-38:20, 38:21-40:38

This Week’s Torah Portion | March 19 – March 25, 2017 – 21 Adar – 27 Adar, 5777

In A Nutshell

The portion, VaYakhel (And Moses Assembled), begins with the commandment, “Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you a holy day” (Exodus, 35:2). The portion also deals with the donation of the people. The donation is in gold, silver, copper, precious fabrics, and so forth. Moses determines that Bezalel and Ahaliav will be the ones performing the holy work because they were wisehearted and would collect the donation that came from the entire nation, including the women.

Bezalel and Ahaliav tell Moses that the donations are so voluminous that there is surplus and no need for more. Moses declares this to the people.

The portion elaborates on the building of the tabernacle by the wisehearted: the garments, boards, bolts, and Bezalel’s work preparing the Ark (of the Covenant), the table, and the menorah.

The portion, Pekudei (Accounts), mentions the names of the people who took part in building the tabernacle, Itamar, son of Aaron the priest, Bezalel, son of Uri, and Ahaliav, son of Ahisemech.

As the building of the tabernacle concluded, the children of Israel brought it to Moses, who made sure it was done according to the Creator’s commandment. The Creator tells Moses on which day to establish the tabernacle, and by which order to sanctify each of its elements. He also commands Moses to anoint Aaron and his sons as priests.

The end of the portion tells of the cloud that covers the tent of meeting. Each time the cloud rose above the tabernacle the children of Israel traveled, and each time it descended on the tabernacle they parked.

 Commentary by Dr. Michael Laitman

Both portions present a sequence of one topic. The Torah begins with “I have created the evil inclination; I have created for it the Torah as a spice.”[1] The evil inclination is our entire nature manifesting in our hatred for one another. First we must discover it, hence the first revelation of the evil inclination takes place with Abraham in the Tower of Babylon. Subsequently, we discover it in the hard labor in Egypt, then at the foot of Mount Sinai, where hatred prevailed between everyone, as it is written, “Hatred descended to the nations of the world.”[2] This is the recognition of evil.

It is no simple task to know the evil. It does not concern discovering that one is lazy or deceitful, thieving, or exploitive. Rather, the evil appears only when a person wants to unite with others. It happens only among those who are drawn to connection, to “love your neighbor as yourself.”[3] When they try, nature does not let them bond.

According to the Torah, which is the upper force, if one truly wishes to achieve love of others, and through it the love of the Creator—which is the comprehensive love—and wants to discover the common, benevolent force that prevails in the world, all that one needs is the Torah.

Today it may seem to us that the world is terrible because we are examining it through our evil inclination, through our corrupted qualities. But “All who cast fault, cast fault in his own defect.”[4] As we correct ourselves we become righteous and justify the Creator and His creation. Then we begin to see the world as good. Baal HaSulam describes it in his essay, “Concealment and Revelation of the Creator’s Face.”[5]

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