What Does It Mean To Be Jewish Today? Course – Lesson 10: Living in an Integrated World

Lesson 10 Transcript:Lesson 10: Living in An Integrated World

With Chaim  and  Gilad

 

Chaim: Hello and welcome to our tenth and last session of What Does It Mean to Be Jewish Today. Hello Gilad.

Gilad : Hello Chaim!

Gilad made a special effort to be with us tonight. He wasn’t well and until the last minute we didn’t know if he could make.

You’re ruining my act.

I want our friends to appreciate it because you really made a big effort.

We have a special session tonight. It’s going to be very crowded with lots of content points, so I’m not sure how much time we’ll have to answer questions, but we will do our best to fit everything in.

We also have announcements. We have questions as usual on the question and answer chat. Even if we don’t get to them now, maybe we can get to them later in an email.

Now we’re basically only going to focus on the practical aspects on implementing rules that make society unified. We talked about how unity is the key to everything. It’s the key today to the salvation or sustainability of humanity in general. We talked about how it’s always been the key to the salvation of the Jews. That is, whenever Jews are united, they are strong. And there’s either no or less animosity toward them.

We’re going to talk only about how we can make a difference, because if we change society from the self-interest mode that it’s working in today to a society-interest mode that it should be working in, just like everything else in nature, and doing it consciously, then not only will anti-Semitism be extinguished, all hatred will be extinguished. But for that we need to, and allow me to use a big word, change human nature. Change ourselves. How do we do it?

There are two ways to go about. We started talking about it in the previous session. There are people with points in the heart, meaning people who ask themselves about the meaning of life. They want to know why we’re here, what’s it all about, why there is suffering. All of those questions basically emerge from the point in the heart. Not everyone is having these thoughts, but all of us need unity in order for society to be sustainable and hospitable for all of us, and in order for our societies to allow us to truly fulfill who we are, and yet make it positive, and not at the expense of other people.

So let me just jump right in and talk about the two ways. We said that there is a point-in-the-heart way and a non-point-in-the-heart way. The point-in-the-heart-way is pretty straightforward. These people basically need Kabbalah because Kabbalah answers the question: What is the meaning of my life, of life in general. It does that by explaining the structure of reality and by putting people in groups where they practice unity and they study the principles of Kabbalah. They tap into the power of unity that is at the most fundamental level of our world, of reality—the creative force of life. These people need it. Not everyone wants to go so deep, but some people do, and it’s ready and available for the.

So for these people the road is pretty straightforward. They can to into www.kabbalah.info and read. They have access to all the material there. There is tons of material. It’s probably one of the biggest content sites on the web. I wouldn’t be surprised if that were the case. It’s huge, in any case. There you will also find the Education Center, the EC, where you can take a free introductory course on Kabbalah and understand everything on a deeper level, or you can jump right in to watch Dr. Laitman’s daily lessons on www.kab.tv in any language you want. The broadcast is simultaneously interpreted into Hebrew, English, Russian, Spanish, French, German, Turkish, Italian. So most everyone is covered. Everything I’ve mentioned so far is free. So you can also purchase hard copies of books, any books, which are less expensive. But even the hard copies of the books are not expensive. This also, by the way, helps us cover the costs. But other than that, everything is free.

Let’s watch a clip that shows the type of experience that people get when they come and study at the Education Center.

Clip titled Kabbalah Courses.

Testimonials

“I found something that gives me answers to all my questions, and good answers. I can criticize them. I can develop it. It’s all there.”

“It’s indescribable because I’ve never had this camaraderie before with other people.”

“It’s a wonderful class.”

“I didn’t have to pay for it. It’s all free.”

“I can’t put it into words. I just can’t put it into words.”

“I came in really trying to find, okay, what are they trying to sell here? I was so skeptical, and immediately in the first lesson there was this warmth, there was this clarity in the instructors and I just knew that there was some authentic wisdom.”

“I’m coming to understand me as a person a lot better than I did three years ago.”

“I felt great. I felt at home. That was the most important thing. I felt at home and I had a lot of confidence in the teachers. They made the material as understandable as you can possibly make it.”

“I just wanted to know why? What’s going on with the whole world?”

“I felt that I was getting the real answer for all my questions.”

“It’s made life richer, and bigger.”

“I live in Japan. I know about Eastern philosophy. I’m actually surrounded by Shintoism and Buddhism and all these ideas, and I see how it affects society. I’ve come from my background, but this is so outside of anything I’ve ever imagined before.”

“I’d say challenging and inspiring and comforting really.”

“I’d connected with people on line before in forums and chat rooms, people I didn’t know all across the world, but this had a different meaning to it.”

“It’s actually quite amazing, and I’m so happy that I found out about this.”

“A life-changing experience. That would be it.”

You got to see some of the impressions that people have when they come to study at the Education Center where they take these courses and really discover why they live.

That’s one way. The other way is for those who simply understand that unity is necessary today. They have no, or fewer, questions about the meaning of life and have less of a drive to find out what it’s all about. But everybody needs unity today; it’s the key to our survival.

First of all we need to explain why we need unity, how it fares compared to today’s thinking paradigm, to today’s society. What can be different. How it can change our lives. Then we need to exercise it. This path is a lot less paved than the point-in-the-heart way because it’s only just emerging. Those of you who will take it are pioneers, because today is a special time. Until recently it wasn’t necessary for the whole world to understand about unity, about life’s fundamental force, because we could somehow manage. Now we’re at a point where we’re so interconnected that without understanding it, without understanding what to do about it, we are in serious trouble.

Let me read you something. [Read and Showed Slide # 1].

In  other words, as we’ve explained before—by the way, Dr. Laitman’s book Self Interest vs Altruism explains in great detail—we have this clash between the interconnectedness of our world and our own inclination to disconnection because of our growing egos. But we have to compensate for it with conscous efforts, because the interconnectedness is a fact, and it’s going to get even moreso. We’re moving toward greater, not lesser, interconnectedness. So we need to find out how we can become connected instead of trying to change reality which doesn’t work. If we don’t change it, eventually at some point the string is going to tear, and when it does it’s anyone’s guess what happens.

What we need to do is establish education toward mutual guarantee, toward understanding that we are all respoonsible for one another and that taking care of my own needs doesn’t cut it any more. We have to start cring for each other’s needs. It doesn’t mean that I have to neglect my own needs. Absolutely not! It means that we have to help build a society that caters to the needs of everyone and that we cannot allow tto have people who have nothing to eat, because now, these days, it reflects directly on our own lives. If not financially, then socially. If not socially, then in the security we feel as we go out to the street. Just looking around and seeing the escalating violence all around us, we can see that if we don’t deal with educating the entire society, the entire society will be an inhospitable place for all of us.

One of the most, if not the most, impactful elements on our societies is the mass media. We’re talking about television, the internet, news agencies, papers, any mass media outlet. Let’s read a few slides so we understand the impact of media on our lives.

Slide # 2. [Read and showed Slide 2]

Meaning what? That we do not change the way we live. We do not need to give up any of our amenities. We just need to change our general approach so that we think socially instead of individually, that everyone has at least a minimun level standard of living and from there on it’s personal development for the benefit of society.

Slide # 4. [Read and Showed Slide 4]

We can see that expecting… Last week we had a question about gun violence and what we can do about it. We cannot expect gun violence to be mitigated, to decline any time soon, as long as we perpetuate the amount of violence we show on media today. We are simply influencing everyone, adult minds and of course young minds.

Here’s another piece specifically on gun violence.

Slide # 5 [Read and Showed Slide 5]

Clearly, when you show that much violence on TV, and not just on TV, in computer games, on the internet you have so much of it. In the news. News shows so much violence, and so much of it is unnecessary, that it cannot but influence us. If we remember that we all have mirror neurons that experience what we are seeing, then we are basically, just by watching, conditioning ourselves to become violent people. We are teaching ourselves violent behaviors, violent attitudes, a violent approach to life, a violent mode of communicating with people. We are turning ourselves into more violent individuals just by watching. Even if you disagree with what you’re seeing, just watching it makes you more of what you are seeing.

We need to take that into consideration and think about how we can change it. It can be through what we allow our kids and ourselves to watch, the kind of rating we give to these types of shows. It’s considered entertainment. If we as a societybegin to move elsewhere, then the media will change, because it needs the ratings. If we think we can’t do anything—who am I? I’m just one person—remember last week’s clip, the funny one with the dancing guy? Enough said.

Comment from the audience: I stopped watching the news several years ago because most of it is about negative and violent situations.

I want to add it’s the news, but it’s actually everything we encounter. Our entire daily schedule, we’re going out to the streets and being exposed. If we’re looking at best case scenario it’s just consumerism and narcissism. But worst case scenario, it’s thousands of violent acts and that’s what defines our thoughts. It’s actually brainwashing us. It’s defining our social norms. Suddenly that’s what’s become standard for us—seeing people murdered every second, seeing violence.

Just imagine, assuming you are grown-up viewers watching this course, just reflect on your school days. Did you ever imagine that you would need that much security in the schools? Police officers in the schools when you were kids? This is a necessity today to protect our own kids. It may seem bad, but normal, today to us. But if you reflect for a minute on how you felt twenty years ago or so, or thirty years ago, or even fifteen years ago, the beginning of this millennium, this was inconceivable. You would think a place like that? I’m out of here! But there’s nowhere else to go now. Everywhere is like that.

We need to understand that just the fact that we’ve grown accustomed to it is an indication not that’s okay, but that we have changed for the worst and we’ve become more violent. We accept more violence as something normal. It isn’t. We don’t have to live in such a society. We condition ourselves into being like that simply by seeing violence, even if it’s not real, even if it’s on TV, and it’s not even in the news. It’s in the films. It doesn’t matter. Our brains cannot tell the difference and they condition us. They re-wire themselves according to what we are seeing.

That’s exactly what an audience member is asking now. Is there any remedy for previous, willful brainwashing? Is a true turn-around possible for someone so indoctrinated?

Yes, of course. Otherwise we wouldn’t be here; there would be no point. First of all you need awareness and that’s all we’re doing here. Next you need to vote with your remote into what you’re seeing. You can talk to friends. And only just by thinking this way you’re already making a difference, because remember we are all interconnected in our minds.

Remember the three degrees, the book we talked about, how we influence each other. If you quite smoking, then people three degrees apart from you who you don’t know are influenced and it is ten percent more likely that they will quit smoking too. So just by thinking these thoughts you are already making a difference around you on people you don’t know. This is very important. Keep focusing on these thoughts.

Let me get into some more practical implementations of what can be done. We’re talked about the workshops before and we gave you some rules and said try it out here, try it out here. We have prepared a little gift for you. It is two complete line-ups for workshops. One is a workshop if you want to work specifically with Jews and talk to them about the role of the Jewish people. Why did we do this? Because in many cases Jews are reluctant to talk about their role. It is very committing. Naturally we don’t want to feel responsible, we don’t want to be held responsible, much less accountable. So we tend to avoid unpleasantness. This brings it in a pleasant, positive way. And that’s how it should be really.

The other is just a general workshop for everyone that you can implement in whatever social setting you are in. It can be a work if the situation merits. It can be in a bar with friends, at home, in a family get-together, whenever you think it’s appropriate. I’m going to read them to you and we will also send them to you by email. If you’re not on our email list. If not and you watch this video, you’re welcome to go to bundleofreeds.com and give us your email and ask for these lineups and we will send them to you.

Let’s start with the general workshop. The Jewish workshop is basically the same with a twist.

Let’s start by defining the purpose of the entire workshop.

We’ll show the round table clip first.

Before we get into the workshops, one implementation of the workshop is a discussion method called the round table. You will see what it does and it will give you the basics of it in the clip. We’ve learned to use workshops not just to bring people closer, but to actually resolve serious conflicts that couldn’t be resolved in any other way. Using the workshop rules, people discuss in such a way that creates such warmth, such closeness between them, that they no longer need to resolve the conflicts. The conflicts simply dissolve… miraculously. Sounds funny. It’s one of those things where we say you had to be there. But really you have to experience it because people change and it’s a lasting change. We’re talking about a one-evening event that changes people’s lives, perception, sometimes for the rest of their lives.

Round table clip:

The round table is a platform where people from diverse backgrounds and different layers of society sit together to talk about how to build a more correct egalitarian and more ethical society.

In this platform there can be Israeli Jews, Muslims, men, women, young and old. In short, everyone is participating together for one goal. We’re all one family, citizens of one nation, one country, who sit around the round table—which is round for the purpose of sitting as equals—to talk about how we can build a better, more correct, more equal and more ethical society.

It is of great significance to me that priorities be changed at all levels. I think the main thing we’re lacking today is a defined set of rules for moral education, to promote the value of a moral citizenship.

This started out from a real need for people to talk and we in recent protests that this tremendous need for people to talk to each other was created. The best way to deal with the existential threat is to create solidarity, a sense of responsibility toward each other, responsibility for the country you live in, and responsibility towards the people we grow up with.

Then we started this move toward solidarity. Actually, we started on Rothschild Blvd. and it was a huge success. In a very short time dozens and hundreds of people gathered around the table, those who wanted to participate. Then people from the audience itself took part.

In the last four decades, dear friends, this country was divided and fragmented. Israel’s political language since the early eighties is the language of me, me. It’s all about me. It’s all about myself, myself, myself. The protest restored the new language of solidarity among citizens of Israel. This is a tremendous achievement. This is the first time we have a chance—everyone has an opinion. He expresses it, others listen and respond to it, and this is how a joint social dialogue is created.

Each one, with his own opinion—everyone is walking around with their own agenda—and both nations both nations, both feel they ____. He’s for that, he’s for this, he wants that. Everyone wants something. I want with all my heart to really respect other people. I don’t know how to make a change without taking the responsibility, first of all, upon myself.

Valentina is an artist and a sculptor, resident of ____. Her house burned down in the great fire. “With all the problems after the fire, what helped us was the people. People sent us letters, phone calls. People brought us everything. I believe in the people of Israel, in the mutual responsibility of our nation.”

You talk about the loss of values. I think you’re bringing back, big time, the values of what we’ve been brought up on in the past. I say this with great excitement and I wish that every morning we would wake up to that feeling that we are together.

I think that every mayor in Israel should rejoice in such initiative that encourages social community activities that are also civilian education activities. I really want to congratulate this wonderful idea of the round table. In short, produces high quality social, cultural dialogue that connects people.

Just a couple of words about this clip. It was produced by the Arvut Movement. Arvut in Hebrew means mutual guarantee, or mutual responsibility. It’s a movement that does exactly that, promotes mutual responsibility within Israel. This method has also been tried elsewhere in the world, in many places in North America and Europe and in Eastern Europe and Russia and the Ukraine, and it’s all worked with the same resounding success. The people you watched here on the clip come from all walks of  life. There are Jews there, Arabs, people from more affluent neighborhood, more disadvantaged neighborhoods, and everyone responds the same.

The Arvut Movement held events in the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, with members of parliament, with politicians. Imagine that! They speak warmly to each other. Finally the climax was an event of one thousand round tables, where they had one thousand round tables all over Israel, and the main round table in the president’s residence.

I was at the event and it was really something that was incredible, and I can just say that you just take people who are leading their regular lives, and you sit them down together in a circle, and if you have a thousand circles it’s even more powerful, and just like you said before, you have to be there. You have to experience it in order to believe it. Because it’s an immediate kind of mind-shift from that regular kind of old self-interest state of mind to a state of mind that you begin to realize that the other person’s well-being and your well-being are interdependent and that if you want to make our society a better society, if you want to make our world a better world, then you must take that into account and act accordingly. So it’s really an unbelievable experience.

This brings to my mind an idea. If you guys have a situation in your neighborhood or some kind of unresolvable conflict and you would like to try a round table event to resolve this problem, and you would like our help, please write to us, and we will help you as best we can to facilitate such an event at no cost. We’ll give you all the guidance, the questions, the line-ups, how eveything should work, how to build it, how to produce it, how to set up the tables, how to bring in the guests, how to manage the discussion, everything. We have so much experience that we can help anyone easily; you just need to ask. If you’re looking for a way to resolve conflict and you haven’t found one yet, contact us and we’ll help out.

Let’s get to the personal level of holding your own workshops. How can you do that? Let’s go over the lineup; this is the general workshop line-up.

Let’s talk about the purpose of the workshop and how it is used. Basically this is a line-up that’s suitable to use anyplace that there are other people with you. It can be an evening dinner that you’ve organized, a fun day that you have at work that you know in advance and can implement the workshop. Basically it’s an activity of about forty five minutes to an hour and it boosts the level of connectivity, of unity, of warmth, of mutual guarantee for each other, mutual care, and positivity. It’s a boost of all those things; that’s what it does in about an hour.

You need at least four people, four and up. If you have more than ten you can divide into two circles.

Don’t go way over ten, twelve maximum. After that it becomes a little…

…per circle. If you have fifty people, then you can ask the participats to divide into five to eight circles. The people in the circle are about six to ten people per circle, ten is the maximum, six  is the minimum. But if you have less, it’s okay. You can do it with four people. It’ll still work. In other words, you can do it with your family. If you have a few kids, even from age two or three and up, and they’re able to speak. It’s a great experience.

Here’s the line-up. In the beginning we want to erase everything we came with, meaning I might have had a bad day at work, or a fight with my boss, or… each person has his daily routine and when we start this circle we want to clear that out and get everyone on the same page. To do that, we have this short and fun activity. It can be any warm-up game; if you have other ideas, that’s great too. We have two options here.     

One option is to sit in a circle and everyone fcloses their eyes and  reaches out to the middle with their index finger [Gilad and Chaim demonstrate with eyes open]. You have to reach the same point, but you do it with your eyes closed. It’s funny, it’s fun, and it usually takes a few times to do it.

Another option is count from one to ten, and you do it without predetermining the order of the people counting. So let’s say you have five people in the circle. One person starts and says one. The next person who’s going to say two is unknown. It can be anyone. We’ll try it here with two people, but let’s say you have six sitting here. [Gilad and Chaim demonstrate.] If two people say the number at the same time, you have to start over again. It’s game that’s fun and funny and also requires a certain level of sensitivity to one another. You can’t just take anyone else into account and count however you feel. You really have to fiond that sensitivity frequency in order to succeed in that game. It’s a great game and gets everyone in the same kind of mode.

If you get really good at it, or if you find yourself unable to hold yourself back and you start hinting at everyone, when are you going to say the number, then do it again, with your eyes closed.

And if you get good at that as well, you can even do it, instead of counting to ten, you can do it with letters, saying a,b,c, but instead of just a,b,c, thinking of words, like apple, banana. And if that gets too easy, you can try to build a sentence that makes sense. And that guarantees a laugh. That’s the warm-up section. Warm up, get everyone on the same page, get everyone kind of forgetting what they’ve had throughout the day, and all ready for this activity of connection.

Next, introducing the round table method. Basically these are the [guidelines mentioned earlier], that whoever speaks holds an object and everyone listens to him in an open way, not thinking of our own answers or judging, or whether the person is right or wrong in my opinion, listening to one another, something that is not normal—we’re used to listening to someone and automatically thinking how we should respond to that, what our opinion on the matter is—and trying to listen in an open way and be completely non-judgmental, not even judging if a person’s right or wrong, just accepting whatever he’s saying. That’s already a great change.

Here’s where we have to work on not disagreeing. Even if we think that a poerson’s wrong, we find a way to add our own opinion, without negating the other’s opinion. There’s an Indian fire—it’s a famous thing. I’m not sure it’s true, but I’ve heard that the Native Americans have this tradition where they sit around the fire and each of them describes the fire that he sees in front of him. So they all end up describing the fire differently, but they’re describing the same fire. In other words, it’s a lesson for us to understand that we are seeing the same thing but through different eyes and they’re equally true. So that’s why there’s a rule of the workshop that you do not negate someone else. You only add your own opinion and you create something that’s neither your opinion or the other’s opinion, but something you’fe made together.

And that’s exactly what science today has found, and it’s called “collective inteligence.’ It’s an intelligence that’s developed by how wmart the people in the group are, it’s not determined by what we would think by motivation or something like that, but it’s determined by social sensitivity of people to one another. So if you have a group of people that are socially sensitive… It’s basically what these rules of the round table do.

They create sensivity. It might be difficult at the beginning, like we had that comment a few lessons back where someone said she tried it and the rules went out the window. That’s good, because then you realize how much you need these rules and how much you need practice in them. It’s okay if it doesn’t work the first time; you’ve got to practice a little bit.

Next we don’t interrupt or argue; we don’t want to criticize another’s opinion; we want to exercise that muscle of social sensitivity. Very simple. We do our best to speak emotionally and not intellectually. We want everyone to have their own time, for about one minute each, so in a very short way we can create a circle of this wisdom of the crowd.

Just a word about the previous item—not talking intellectually. Again, everyone is different. We can’t have everyone being the same, i.e., being emotional people. Some people are more naturally intellectual. It really is fine, but it needs to be… You need to bring yourself into the circle. If you express yourself truly, if you have a tendency to do it in a more intellectual way, this is who you are. The rest of the people will accept you for who you are. It’s difficult for emotional people to accept intellectual people sometimes, and the other way around. It’s exactly the work we have to do. So the idea is to speak from the heart, but if it comes out intellectually because this is how you speak, fine. Be yourself, be true and be positive about your peers in the circle.

I want to speak about the rule to speak about one minute each and not more. That was actually the second factor of collective intelligence, that people have more or less an even distribution of speech. You can imagine, in a circle if one person speaks for ten minutes, everyone is bored and want the circle to end. So you basically have to be sensitive to the others and you have to try to treat them like your very close member of your family that you care deeply about. These are the main guidelines for this entire session. If you treat a person like that, then obviously he will act the right way. It’s like a mother who naturally acts like she should to her child.

Those are the rules of the round table and it’s important, when you do this session, to present them to the participants so they know how to work accordingly. Probably the most practical thing here is you have the object you hold and you pass it around. Everything else is… as Chaim said, if someone speaks a bit intellectually, fine that’s him, if someone speaks for a minute and ten seconds, it’s okay. You have to aim to create a very warm and positive atmosphere.

Let’s give an example of the content of the workshop. Usually what happens is that the host of the workshop gives a statement, meaning presents a situation, and the people talk about it. Here’s an example: Nothing in our world is created by just one person. Every product or service we use is built by many people, and we ourselves need friends and family. So the questions are:

1) What would people feel toward others if they understood that their personal happiness and success are completely dependent on them?  Notice the question. It’s not just a question. It’s a question that’s built in such a way that makes people think. “I understand and everybody understands that our happiness depends on everyone else, so how do we feel about it? What do we do about it?” Just by asking the right question, you bring people up to a level of connectedness. Instead of asking them “Do you feel that we are all connected?” Naturally, many of them, if not most, would say no. Or they’ll say: Yes, through social media, something like that. But here you are bringing them into a frame of mind of connectedness and when they speak from that level, they begin to feel from that level, and it changes a great deal.

2) In a society where all acknowledge their interdependence [and now a connection to the first question], how to people behave toward one another? Not just how they feel, but how do they behave. It’s okay if people use the same answer to both questions. The important thing is not what people say, but what they think about, how they relate to one another, and what they bring into the circle. So it might be the same answer to all the questions. That’s fine. This is all they have to say. We are creating something new together. It’s not about the content or our words, it’s about the emotion, the state of being, that’s emerging among all of us.

3) Describe your life as if you are living [a leading question] in a world where everyone implements mutual responsibility. So you’re already conditioning people’s minds into seeing such a reality. An audience member asked before if we can change people’s minds because we’ve been brainwashed. This is how you create a new paradigm in people’s minds. Just by seeing so much violence, so much antisocial attitudes everywhere around you, you are being conditioned into that frame of mind.

It’s far worse than asking these questions. Here these questions just make you bring things out of yourself, that exist in you, but are dormant. They’re suppressed under all that violence we’ve been seeing, all that negativity we’ve been seeing. This reawakens. It’s not brainwashing, because you’re not telling people anything, you are allowing them to see another option for reality, so now they’ll be able to compare. Which do they want? They will be able to choose. Right now most people don’t have the choice. They are conditioned to think negatively. We are trying to offer an alternative, a positive one, so people can really choose between the types of societies they want to live in.

Now you can bring in another piece of information; I’m going to read. The reason we are reading out the whole lineup is so that people who don’t have the text can still know what the lineup is.

And also, once you get the text sent to you, you can go back to this lesson and watch it again to get guidance about how to conduct it.

Exactly, and if you’re watching and you want the text and don’t have it, please go to bundleofreeds.com, write to us, give us your email, and we’ll send it to you. So I’m continuing [reading].

This positive point of view isn’t just a utopian dream. Positive psychology is a recent branch of psychology founded by psychologists. Basically what positive psychology seeks is to make life more fulfilling rather than merely treating mental illness. Over the last twenty years of researching what makes people happy, this is our Dr. Martin Seligman (one of the founders of positive psychology] summarizing the study. “There is only one characteristic that distinguished the happiest ten percent from everybody else—the strength of their social relationships.” This is very important. This is what makes people happy—good relationships.

4) What strengthens our social relationships? If we said here that strong social relations make people happy, so what creates strong social relation? Again notice the question. It’s not asking: Do you agree with this statement? Do you agree that people’s strong relations will make them happy? Because many people are conditioned already by the media, by the society around us, to say no. To say that what makes me happy is being rich, or being powerful. And here we’re stating otherwise. We’re stating that it’s been discovered—and it has; we’re not lying here; it’s true; the research was done at Penn University—that’s the situation. So how can we develop strong relationships? Here you have again people talking about it from a positive attitude. It increases the warmth even more, and then you continue.

5) Why is a positive and supportive social environment so important to strengthening social relationships? So you’re basically enhancing on the research. You’re saying, okay that’s the situation. Why is it like that? So you get people thinking about it and developing a positive attitude toward it.

By now you will have an amazing atmosphere. Everybody’s already thinking positively and understanding that through good, strong relations, positive relations, we create happiness for ourselves. So we have an interest in developing and maintaining positive relations.

So now we get to the conclusion of the workshop, and this is important. Don’t skip it, because it puts people in the mind-set of continuing afterwards. This is not a one-time experience, I want to keep it going.

6) What do I wish for myself and for all of us here for the new year [the rest of the day, the rest of the week, whatever]? Now they’ll be speaking from this positive approach and they’ll be wishing good things. You will be, because you’ll be a part of it. This will not just enhance even more the warmth, but will create a trajectory toward the future that’s positive.

As you can see, a lot of this is based on positive psychology, but not only from recent years. It’s really based on an ancient method that we were talking about. It’s the same force of unity that Abraham discovered when he was working in the idol store. And it’s the same sense of unity and the same method of unity that he taught people who wanted to come, when it was the time of Babylon, and there were these bursts of ego, and people couldn’t get by any more. They wanted to come and learn a method of unity. Really, this is taking us back to our sources, It’s just speaking about if we unite, if we create this positive atmosphere among us, then we’re becoming like the force of nature. And that’s really what it’s all about.

The last question is very important. Don’t leave without it—reflection. In other words, you get feedback on how it was. This is a good learning experience for you as a host and now, in a positive atmosphere, it increases people’s mind-set toward the future.

7) What do I take with me from this circle today—what thoughts, what emotions, what did I learn? Anything that they can add. Remember, stick to the rules of the workshop. You take with you only positive things. You speak only positively, not negatively. If you have criticism, which is fine, say it in a positive way. For example, I have learned a lot about who I am. Some of the things about me I would like to change. I learned about how much I listen or don’t listen to other people and I know I have a ways to go and I have a way to do it. If there is criticism, it’s only about yourself. Don’t criticize other people. Don’t let other people in the circle criticize other people, because then you lose everything you’ve built. You stick to the rules of the workshop all the way, so people will leave with a great feeling—of warmth, of having learned something about self, about friends here, and about how to live life.

We’ll quickly go into the other lineup, which is basically the same, the same warmup games, but here we will focus more on the Jewish element. Let’s see the statement and the questions quickly.

So this would probably be more suitable for an event that either related to that topic in some way, maybe in a Jewish community or in a school or any event that is somewhat related to that topic. It could be something about anti-Semitism or anything that’s related to that topic obviously.

Here there is no statement. There is a quote.

“Our strength was always in the connection between us. As Rabbi ____ said, ‘The only shield against calamity is love and unity, and when love, unity and friendship between one another exists in Israel, no calamity can befall them.’ The question is:

  1. What is the love and unity Rabbi ____ is talking about and how is it related to the foundation of the Jewish nation? You are already conditioning them to think that love and unity are the foundation of the Jewish nation. If you had asked, is love and unity the foundation of the Jewish nation, they would probably tell you no, The foundation of the Jewish nation is… They’ll give you ten thousand other reasons. Here you’re making people think in this direction and as we’ve seen throughout the course, that is the foundation, ‘love your neighbor as yourself,’ and it invokes that feeling in them. It already exists in every Jew, but you need to bring it out.

Next statement:

It was established at Mt. Sinai, as the children of Israel became one nation. This is why it was written, I, in singular form, according to the extent of the unity between them.

  1. What do I especially love about the Jewish people? Again, you can see how the questions are leading in one direction, toward building and enhancing unity and oneness.

If needed, it says here in the lineup, remind about the rules of the workshop. This was not written in the general workshop. It’s also true for any workshop. If needed, don’t be shy. Politely, and try not to cut people’s words midstream, but as soon as possible, if people are deviating, remind about the rules of the workshop.

Next quote:

Humanity deserves to be united into a single family. At that time, al the quarrels and ill will that stem from divisions of nations and their boundaries shall cease. However, the world requires mitigation, whereby humanity will be perfected through each nation’s unique characteristics. This deficiency is what the assembly is Israel will complement.

This was written by Rav Kook. Again he’s talking about not just unity being imperative to the Jewish nation, but how Jewish unification is imperative to the world and how it’s our role to spread this unity throughout the world for the benefit of the world.

  1. What do you think is this mitigation that the world requires? Again you end up talking about how unity mitigates alienation, animosity, etc.
  2. 4) How are the Jews connected to this mitigation? Again the role of the Jewish people. How can they help in mitigating the world’s problems, meaning how can connectedness help in mitigating the world’s problems.

One last quote. Rav Yehuda Ashlag wrote: It is upon the Israeli nation to qualify itself in all the people of the world to develop until they take upon themselves that sublime work of love of others which is the ladder to the purpose of creation.

  1. How can we implement Rav Ashlag’s words and qualify ourselves and the world to the sublime work of love of others. So you see here again, we’re directing people toward unity and connection.

Now again the concluding question is the same:

  1. What do I wish for myself and for all of us here for the next year [for the next whatever].
  2. What do I take with me from this circle—what thoughts, what emotions? What have I learned?

If you do these lineups a few times, then you’ll find that it has a certain structure to it, both the Jewish one and the general one. Then you’ll realize you can adapt it yourself. So if you have something at work, you’re having these incidents that are recurring, that create a negative atmosphere, then you’ll be able to take this same lineup and maybe change one of the questions to make it suitable to address what’s happening in the work situation, to improve it. After doing this maybe three, four, five times, you’ll pick up the general structure of it and you’ll be able to suit it to any kind of audience, to any kind of event. If you have an evening with friends and you want it to be fun, and you’ll add a fun game in the middle, and so on. So it’s basically just a simple structure to create unity in a matter of forty-five minutes to an hour, starting off with a warmup, taking and delving deeper into the rules of the workshop, then gong deeper into  understanding how it works and how it works, then concluding with the peak—what I wish for myself and others and the reflection. That’s really the peak but you don’t start with that. You have to go through the entire process to reach that.

We’re approaching the end of our lesson…

…and the end of the course…

…and we really want to thank you for allowing us to do this. It was an amazing experience…

…and it was great to have people constantly scrutinizing the messages and asking questions and responding to emails and sending in impressions throughout the week from the workshops and so on. So it really was a great experience.

You’re welcome to keep sending questions or if you’re conducting these events, let us know how they went. Stay in touch.

Announcements about sending questions, like on FB, ask family and friends to like as well.

We will see you at our next event. We’ll let you know; we are working up things. We are preparing a special e-book for you guys. We’ll send it to you as a gift and stay in touch. We’ll be in touch with you for sure.

Questions or Comments

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