What Does It Mean To Be Jewish Today? Course – Lesson 8: Q&A Session

 Lesson 8: Question & Answer Session

[ With participation of Chaim and Gilad]


Chaim: Hello Gilad. And how are you guys?

We are today in lesson number eight in What Does It Mean to Be Jewish Today based on the book Like a Bundle of Reeds: Why Unity and Mutual Guarantee Are Today’s Call of the Hour.

Gilad: As usual we are very happy to be here. Although today we’re going to have a Q&A session, you’re still welcome to add in your live questions on the chat and we’ll be happy to refer to them as well.

Before we begin we would like to do a recap on last week’s lesson. We talked about the mingling of the Jews throughout the world. Let’s go back to the beginning and quickly run through this development until today.

So we have this guy named Abraham and he lives in Babylon, Mesopotamia, in the fertile crescent somewhere, Haran. He starts thinking about his townspeople and what’s going on with them. He’s dissatisfied with their situation. He feels that the mood is changing. He is a very well-known individual. His father is a spiritual leader in this big town. He starts asking questions, this Abraham, and he discovers that there is only one force to reality, one power—the power that gives life to everything—and he discovers that it is a power of giving, of bestowal.

He realized that this is the missing element in his townsfolk, in the world actually, that we’re all working to receive instead of to give. He begins to explain that if we only add that spice to our lives—the spice of giving which we do through unity—then everything will be okay, our lives will be back in balance. Some people listen to him; others don’t. His father disagrees with him and sends him to the king, Nimrod, they have a famous dispute, and he ends up fleeing his city.

Wherever he goes he explains what he learned, he and his wife Sarah, and they gather more and more students. They become a group. They end up in the land of Caanan. They have children and the group grows, and they eventually become what we now know as the people of Israel.

The people of Israel also experienced ups and downs as a result of intensification of the ego, of the desire to receive. But they always balanced it out eventually with the desire to give through unity. So their struggles are struggles to enhance their unity. They go through the development we know—Egypt, Moses, then another exile in Babylon with the story of Haman and Esther—and eventually there are only a few of them left in the land of Israel. They are chased out when they completely lose their ability to unite.

But by now they have a history of about fifteen hundred years of having practiced unity over obstacles, over egoism. So it is well-rooted within them, this trait of unity, and they don’t know the method by which to unite anymore because they can’t use it, they are too self-centered now. But it’s hidden inside, dormant. Because they are not united they lose the land, and they are dispersed all over the world. And that’s how they’ve been for the past two thousand years or so.

Throughout those years they spread all over the world, and wherever they go they plant seeds of an understanding that unity is good. Not only that, two religions branch out from Judaism, which by now is an ordinary religion—Christianity and later Islam—and those two religions inherit two key concepts. One is ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’ They interpret it differently, true. We had questions about that, and it’s true they interpret it differently, but they do inherit this concept of love your neighbor as yourself. The other is that there is only one force, one God.

This is very important, because that prepares the world for understanding that you only need to look for one force for all your troubles. To solve all your troubles you need only focus on that one force—not on the sun, not on the moon, not on the trees, not on anything else—but on this one force that creates everything. And that the way toward it—I’m not sure if it’s explained this way—but at least there is this basis of understanding that the way to come in contact with that one force is through implementing ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’ This is very important.

Beginning from about the Renaissance—the sixteenth century—there is a Kabbalist named Isaac Luria, the Ari. From his time onward Kabbalists begin to talk about the opening up of the wisdom [of Kabbalah] to the entire world. They sense that the world is getting more and more ready for it. They warn that the more we are delayed with opening up the wisdom, this understanding of reality… Another point that I forgot to mention. From the time when Israel loses its ability to unite, it’s contact with the Creator, the only ones who do maintain it are the Kabbalists. And they do it in concealment because people aren’t ready for it, they wouldn’t understand them. So they continue to develop the method for the time when people are prepared, and they sensed that people are becoming ready from about the Renaissance.

So they warned that the more delayed we are the worse off people will be, and especially the Jews. Beginning with the twentieth century, Kabbalists are to warn that disaster will come unless we re-unite and re-kindle that brotherly love that we had as a means for attaining the Creator. And that it is now time to do our duty which is to be a light to the nations in the sense that we spread this unity to the rest of the world and as long as we don’t, anti-Semitism will not cease and it will be worsened.

Of course the highlight of that trend of that growing anti-Semitism is the Holocaust. Baal HaSulam—Rav Yehuda Ashlag, author of the Sulam commentary on The Book of Zohar—warned that because the correction hasn’t been made and Jews haven’t united and haven’t spread it that the danger of such fierce, violent anti-Semitism is still very much alive and that we can expect Nazism to return if we don’t do what we [once] did. He also talks about its return specifically in Western countries.

Within a few weeks we will release The Writings of The Last Generation where he talks about it very openly, including warnings that Anglo-Saxon countries will become Nazi countries, Fascists—he actually calls them Nazi countries—but not only them. He talks about other countries as well. He wrote this in the early 1950s because he talks about atom bombs and hydrogen bombs and about a third world  war and a fourth world war. So it’s after the second world war. He died in 1954, so it was written sometime between the end of WWII and 1954.

So that’s where we stand today, at a point where we have to unite, at a point where we are experiencing the coming true of his prophecies. Of course, not nearly as severe as he predicts it could become, but the trajectory is very negative. So this is what prompted Dr. Michal Liatman’s teacher, who was Baal HaSulam’s first-born son and successor, Rav Baruch Ashlag… So Dr. Laitman is very well immersed. He has all the original manuscripts of Baal HaSulam. He is well versed in all of his writings and he understands them like no one else does.

So he is very concerned about where the world is going, and today he’s not the only one. Many people are talking about the return of the Holocaust, the trajectory of current anti-Semitism, how the current situation for the time being in Europe, but it’s getting worse quickly elsewhere as well, including in the U.S. Many people are saying that it’s becoming reminiscent of pre-WWII anti-Semitism, and this is certainly not a good sign.

So here we are talking about what we can do about it, because now we have the means. We can spread the message and we know what message we should spread so we should do everything we can to spread it.

We’re now going to talk about your questions, which pretty much relate to that, and try to get deeper into it as we go. Also if you tried the homework we gave you during lesson 6, to do the workshop, if you have any experiences on that that you haven’t told us about, please share it with us.

Before we get going, let’s look at some of the slides I’ve prepared. They all come from Chapter 8. The first three slides will be on the topic of unity, the heart and soul of Israel. Why am I reading those? Because I want you to see that there were many sages—Rabbis and Kabbalists—who were talking about the topic of unity as being the heart of Israel, as being the salvation of Israel, and of being Israel’s duty to spread throughout the world.

Slide # 1. Yehuda Leib Arie Altar, the ADMOR of Gur, wrote this.

Meaning they are in contact with the Creator.

Slide # 2. This is by Rabbi David Solomon Eibenschutz.

Meaning that if they unite below, they unite their souls. Below meaning in the material world they unite their souls above and come in contact with the Creator. It may sound a little abstruse, but we can see he is stressing the importance of unity.

Slide # 3. This is from The Book of Zohar itself.

We see how unity is the core of Judaism and today it has to be the core of our social life in order for us to be able to build a sustainable, happy society.

Let’s move on to questions. I put them in random order.

Question sent prior to lesson: How can we achieve that Jews around the world fulfill their role within humanity since they are the ones to initiate the corrections? In other words, how can Jews around the world unite and thus fulfill their role because they have to start the correction? How can we do it?

That’s exactly what we’re doing here while we’re talking to you guys. The reason I read this one first is that I would like very much to encourage you to do the same wherever you are. This is why we gave you this homework, because it’s very important that people experience unity firsthand, and once they have this feeling of warmth and friendship at a level that they didn’t feel before, then you can talk about where this is coming from. You can tell them about this course. You can tell them about the site bundleofreeds.com andd have them experience it. If you make them join us, then you will have friendships at levels that you’ve never experienced.

Question: Why do Jews refuse to understand their role?

Basically the role of the Jews is to be the wet blanket in the party. Everybody wants to work for themselves, to succeed alone, or better yet to succeed in company where they are at the top of the heap. In short, everybody wants to be the best and to be self-centered and succeed in that and get away with it.

We jews have to come to the world and say, ‘Hey look guys, this is great, but this is not going to work. We’ve somehow managed to come this far, but look around you. It’s falling apart. It’s like the tower of Babylon crumbling into pieces. Soon we’ll be standing on a pile of bricks, those of us who are left standing. So we’ve got to change. What’s the way to change? Listen to Abraham. He is tellin us that if we only unite things will be okay. There’s no need to lose anything. There’s no need to give away your monehy, your property, your savings. Nothing. It’s just a question of how we treat each other from now on. We don’t have to change anything about the past, but we have to change everything in the future in terms of our approach to one another, our attitudes.’

That’s the role of the Jews. It’s very unpleasant. Jews themselves are now selfish, possibly more selfish than anyone else. There’s an explanation that the higher you climb, the lower you fall. So because Jews were once in unity, now they are the most diunited nation. That’s why they’re blamed by anti-Semites for causing all the troubles in the world. It’s unpleasant both in the sense that Jews feel that this is not what the world wants. And it’s unpleasant in the sense that Jews themselves don’t want that because they are also selfish, like the rest of the world, if not worse.

This is why they refuse to understand their role. It’s not a conscious process and those of us who understand need to keep banging on this point, constantly insisting on it, until it becomes clear that this is the way. You want to create a two-way force, because reality is forcing unity on us in every sense of the world. Gilad gave us those beautiful examples about the inter-connectedness of the world and as a result of that interconnectedness and our unwillingness to live accordingly, we feel a worsening crisis.

So the pressure is growing, and the worse off people become, the more anti-Semitic they will become, because they feel subconsciously, instinctively where the solution is found. And since it’s not coming from there, they become more angry at the source of the solution. That’s from the negative trajectory. From the positive trajectory, you want to give them the message, so that once they start asking: what’s going on here, why is the world against us even worse than every before, then they will find the answer. It will be available. So we need to make it available before a disaster happens.

So that’s why we’re doing everything, and this I suppose is the only way to make Jews stop refusing to understand their role. It’s not a conscious process, they just need to be brought into the awareness by pressures, from the positive side, and apparently until they get it, from the negative side.

Question from the audience: Without even considering the other points in the hearts that are either Jew or Israel, the religious Jews in Israel and in the diaspora seem to be so non-inclusive. Is there some accessible and understandable tool besides the workshop that will enable them to unify and to become a light unto the nations?

It sounds like he’s talking about the Orthodox Jews.

I think Jews in general. I think he’s basically asking if the workshop is one thing, but are there other tools as well to reach out to the Jews in Israel and abroad.

First of all, regarding the Orthodox Jews. At this point in time it is pretty much pointless to approach them. I know that Dr. Laitman does not approach them. Of course, he speaks to everyone. It’s on the internet, it’s live and recorded, and you can download it and it’s all free. So anyone can approach it, and some orthodox Jews do. But he is not directing his words to orthodox Jews because we need to understand that they have a very solid method of their own, not for achieving unity, but a way of life. It’s well established. They’ve been living in the same way, more or less, for the past two thousand years or so, and they believe firmly that this is the right way. So when you have a situation like that, you don’t touch a person.

The same goes for devout Christians and Muslims. Don’t touch them. Don’t touch anyone who is devout about his religion. It can do damage. You can have them do a workshop. Why not? It’s great. They can feel warmth and friendliness and that can’t hurt. But any word about the source of this idea of a workshop and unity and Israel and Abraham and all that, that can do harm. So I would avoid doing that. We need to leave religious people to come to unity on their own terms. It’s not time yet.

But then there’s the rest of humanity to deal with. We’ve got plenty of people. As for the non-orthodox Jews… [question repeated]. First of all I’m not sure how many Jews you know or if you are Jewish. Not all the Jews are like that. Many Jews, actually I think most non-orthodox Jews, are very open to the world. On the contrary, they want to mingle with the world, so they are very inclusive, very embracing. It’s the world that rejects them, precisely because they’re not doing their role. They don’t understand it. As a result, they’re always apologetic. So anyone who’s willing to embrace them, they’ll join him, pretty much. So this may be more of a personal impression, what you’re describing.

However, talking about other means, that’s a good question, a good opportunity. First of all, if we’re talking about how this method of unity was kept among Kabbalists since the time when the Jews lost their ability to unite, then today this is open to everyone. You can to go kabbalah.info and there you will find a link to the Education Center where we give free courses. You can register and get free courses on Kabbalah; this is specifically about Kabbalah and more for people with points in the heart and in that case we’re not talking about Jews, non-Jews, we’re talking about everyone. But you never know if you do have a point in the heart until you try it out, so you’re welcome to go ahead and register and join the courses. It’s all free. Just like we’re doing it here, it’s live and recorded, and you can download it later. There are books that go with it. So that could be interesting. And that will definitely teach you about the importance of unity.

You have the workshops, as you said. There is tons of written material. If you go to ariresearch.org or to michaellaitman.com, you will find tons of written material about unity, about the roots of the method, and that in itself can be very educating. It’s good to know where this is all coming from. Other practical methods, I don’t really think you need any. As I said before, we have a team—Gilad is one of its leaders—working on creating an on-line environment for people who want to unite. It’s going to take some time, but it will happen.

We don’t have to wait. We mustn’t actually wait. It doesn’t take much. Workshopping is a great tool. It’s not a one-time thing you do. It’s a development… it’s a process. As you do it you will experience all kinds of situations and you’ll need to overcome them. You can try them out with different people. You can try it with the same people, and then you go through a whole process. That’s basically all you need, because the key is to change our attitudes. You don’t really need that much instruments to change an attitude, to understand that living for yourself only, is a bad idea. There’s so much science supporting this now that it’s absurd. The only thing that’s missing, with all the scientific theories that talk about how we have to live interconnectedly because the universe is interconnected, the only thing that’s missing there is that we ourselves have to change our nature in order for us to be able to do it.

That’s exactly what we are adding—the ability to change our nature. Let’s not even call it to change our nature, to add something to our nature, a missing element. It’s the missing link between humanity and the universe. Once we add that link to ourselves, then we become a channel through which the light flows. We become connected with reality as it truly functions, with the law of unity with reality, with the Creator, in a single word.

Question: Why isn’t unity happening now? By this I mean many Jews and non-Jews worship and work together in many aspects of the secular world—medically, scientifically, etc. So why isn’t the world changing already because Jews and non-Jews are collaborating?

Yes they are collaborating, but are they trying to unite at heart? Are they trying to use unity in order to discover the force of life that Abraham discovered? If not, then it’s like you are given a piece of candy that you just love, and it’s given to you, and the minute you try to put it into your mouth it’s taken away from you. How do you feel about the person that took it away from you? This is what the nations feel about Jews, because the Jews don’t understand the role of unity, what it’s for and that unity isn’t just happening at work and with friendship and what-not. Unity is not collaboration. It’s joining of the hearts into one. ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Think about it.

Ultimately, it’s absolute altruism. As much as you love yourself now, you have to love all other people, so you end up loving because currently we love only ourselves, so eventually we will love only other people. So what? We’ll just forget about ourselves and die? No. Because everyone else will be in that situation caring for us. So instead of us having to take care of ourselves, we’ll have the whole world taking care of us. So it’s a very good deal. It’s a steal, really. In addition to that, you discover the Creator, what Abraham discovered. So that’s the goal. When people work toward unity with that in mind, then they can succeed.

We talked about Henry Ford and his quotes and how he said that Jews if they only knew what they had to do, people wouldn’t hate them. So there’s this question.

Question: Why should Jewish people feel ashamed for the hateful philosophy of Henry Ford?

Jews don’t need to feel ashamed about anything. Henry Ford was indeed hateful. The thing is though that what he said then reflects the views of many millions of people throughout the world today. So you cannot busy your head in the hand and say he [wasn’t an anti-Semite,?] he was an extremist. A lot of people feel the same way, but not only that he was also pointing out the way toward correction. Even as one who hated the Jews, he felt where correction could come from, how the Jews could correct the situation. He said that it is up to them, and in that he is right. It is up to the Jews to correct the situation.

So forget about whether or not he hated the Jews, but look at what he pointed out, that the Jews at some point in their history, had this amazing gift and lived in this perfect society that they maintained, and then they lost it. He says the only trouble with the Jews today is that they are not practicing what they practiced then. Of course he doesn’t know about the development of the will to receive and how we grow more egoistic over time, so he doesn’t understand why the Jews aren’t doing it. That’s up to us to understand it and implement it, but the general direction where he’s pointing is correct.

It’s up to us to implement it, to find the way to re-unite, and this time spread it out. Now that’s what everyone needs because the reason for the global crisis we’re seeing today is our disunity. Since the Jews have this miraculous method to unite—miraculous because they’re using the power of unity, the power of bestowal, the Creator—the Jews have to implement it. They have it in their genes. They used it for fifteen hundred years; now they have to re-use it. Of course, give it away right away.

Question: Judaism may be all about unity, but Jewish law seems obsessed with separation, separating the impure from the pure and the Jewish from the non-Jewish. [He says that] he is Jewish according to Jewish law but his son isn’t. So how can we seek unity when Judaism creates a division between him and his own flesh, his own son?

Purity and impurity need to be understood on a deeper level. We’re talking about a change of attitude here, and we’re talking about how a change of attitude is what the Jews need to give to the world today—from disunity to unity. So let’s take one Jewish law of purity and impurity as an example.

Jews are forbidden to eat pork because it’s impure; that’s what the Scriptures say. They’re allowed to eat beef because it’s pure; that’s what the Scriptures say. Now you answer the question yourself. Does eating pork change your attitude to anything—forget about to anything, to other people—or does eating beef? If you eat a cow, are you more generous, more loving? Do you discover the Creator by eating a cow instead of a pig? The laws of purity and impurity represent an internal process of turning from self-centeredness to altruism, giving—a process of changing this attitude—but they were written many centuries ago, and today we don’t understand the symbolism.

None of what’s written in Jewish Scriptures relates to the physical, material carbon and protein world. The observing Jews observe it in this world, and it’s fine. It doesn’t hurt. If it connects you to Judaism in some way, let it be. But does it change your attitude to other people? It doesn’t. No one says it does and that’s a very important point. If as a result of observing these rules in the material world you think you are better than other people, because you’re not eating pork but only cow, then it’s a problem. Then it becomes a cause for separation, and then it’s detrimental.

So you need to look at it from that direction. Try to have a workshop with your son, leaving aside everything that has to do with the physical world. Just come as two human beings and choose a topic—and other people too, not just the two of you, that would be too intense—that’s very general, not something too painful for the both of you. Do a workshop, sticking to the rules of the workshop—only adding; not negating what the other one is saying; not disagreeing even if internally you do, what you say cannot come out as disagreement, but as an addition to what the other is saying; speaking one at a time and if it’s difficult, and it usually is, use an attention object.

I was once in a circle where we were given the rules of the workshop and the host of the circle said, ‘This is the attention object; the person holding it gets all the attention and everybody listens to it.’ It was a circle of Jews. So a guy from the circle asks, Can we have a few more of those attention objects?

So it’s a difficult rule to keep, but you can have only one in the circle, and that person gets all the attention. But do not speak for too long. Keep it to one minute, tops. Have a person with a stopwatch, if need be. And you will see what happens. We’ve done these experiments in Israel and everywhere else in the world—in the U.S., in Germany, in Russia, everywhere. We’ve done it with enemies—Arabs and Jews, orthodox and secular, and neighbors who have been fighting for years. Not once did it fail. Not once. We call it the round table. So just try it out. Don’t give up hope. You will find ways that you can connect to your son on a level that transcends the protein world that we live in. I’m sure you’ll re-kindle the unity.

I want to add to that, to share my experience of a round table session. A few weeks ago I was in Eilat. We had a big campaign there of doing round table discussions, workshops, like Chaim was saying. And we did it on the boardwalk, right on the beach. We were there every evening and it was a huge success. We had hundreds of people joining every day. We also had circles for tourists. There were a lot of tourists there, English-speakers from all around the world.

The circle started and people joined at different times. The first couple joined in and we had to wait for others. It was a bit chilly outside and it kind of started off not so great. And then another couple joined—the guy was from Israel, the girl was from Singapore, and then two girls from the Netherlands joined in as well and two guys from America. Anyway, it started building up.

We had this amazing workshop. I won’t go into the details now because that would take us an hour. But at the end we did a round, asking: What was your experience of the workshop? It was unbelievable! The girl from Singapore said it was the first time she had ever felt like that, that she’s never opened up in the way she did, that she’s never experienced such a powerful connection with other people, that she felt there’s a huge potential in creating this connection between human beings and that it brought out deep thoughts she’s never had before and she didn’t think she could have these thoughts.

Then her boyfriend who was with her was amazed. He said she had never seen her like that. They’d been together for about six months. It was amazing to see how people, in a session of one hour, actually changed. What people tried to do for years—they tried going to psychologists, the tried this and that, they tried to change, but in one hour in a powerful moderated session between different people, a person actually goes through this change.

Eilat is a good example. It’s a resort city in Israel and a lot of tourists come there, but also a lot of Israelis and Arab-Israelies—Arabs who live in Israel—and although there is no war between Israeli Arabs and Israeli Jews…

There almost was a few weeks ago…

There almost was, yes, but there’s a lot of tension. You should see what happens there. First of all we’ve been invited, after every circle, to do those circles in Arab villages and towns. We have invitations for months ahead. Second, on a personal level, Jews and Arabs who truly resented one another—they could hardly sit one next to the other at the beginning of the circle—an hour later they walk out hugging. They exchange phone numbers. They create What’s APP? groups.

They connect and they want to keep that connection. They feel like friends after an hour. It’s amazing! Where did this come from? It’s a power that we need to harness to our benefit. That’s what it’s there for. And we have to tap into it because today it can really change the world quickly. We can see, as these examples testify, that we need to spread it out.

Question: Who is to blame for anti-Semitism, the Jews who are not doing what they are supposed to be doing?

It’s not about blaming really. If you come to a person and tell them it’s your fault, there’s very little chance he’ll listen to you. It’s not like the Jews are doing this on purpose. They’re unaware. We need to make everyone aware. The discussion around being a light for the nations exists among Jews. It’s there. Most Jews are aware of the concept, some are talking about it, and they’re asking What does it mean to be a light for the nations? They have many different answers. We just need to come and present our own, softly, gently, not in any coercive manner—that would invoke only antagonism—and suggest a workshop. Let’s workshop on it. Explain how, in what way. Even if not, just give them a link. Go to bundleofreeds.com. Go to ariresearch.org. Go to michaellaitman.com. And that’s it.

So don’t look for any culprits or any person to point the finger at. It’s not helpful. The idea is to make people aware. Most Jews have this inherent feeling that there’s a reason why so many people hate them. They’re searching within. You’ve just got to gently tap into it. That’s all. Be friendly or people won’t listen.

Question: I wonder… why are you so sure about being the center of the spiritual world?

Well, I’m not. But what does it matter? Israel and Jews are, and have been, the focal point of so much animosity and violence, and so many questions in books about why there is Judaism, why there are Jews, why do they survive? Every nation that has tried to destroy the Jews is already gone into the dust of history—the Romans, the Greeks, the Babylonians. Spain is nothing like it was before. Nazi Germany was not like it was before—there’s no Nazi Germany any more—but Germany today is not like during Hitler’s time. But Jews are still around.

So they are the center of attention—forget about the spiritual world—in this world. Look at the press, at what’s being written. So it’s not about being sure or not sure. There’s a certain situation and people are asking questions why this is so. And Dr. Laitman has the answers and we believe that he is right. So we are here to help spread out these answers, and even his answers are not his. It’s answers that knowledgeable people have had for centuries and which should now be known to all and that’s what we’re trying to do. For all we care, we could be way out of the limelight, if only the message is spread out.

Question: It sounds almost like a kibbutz or a commune. But they didn’t work. Why not?

Maybe those who aren’t familiar with the kibbutzim, it’s basically a commune where people live in a close are, they work together, have a common funding model, they share their income, they eat in a common dining room. Maybe not today, but the concept of a kibbutz was like that in recent times.

I can tell you first hand…

Oh, that’s right. You’re a kibbutznik!

I was born and grew up in a kibbutz. Let me tell you. It’s unnatural. It’s against human nature. People are egoists. So what happens is you take a bunch of egoists and you put them all together and you expect them to live in an altruistic way. Baal HaSulam explains it very well in the writings of The Last Generation. He says that there are people who are naturally altruistic, in the sense that they feel that being good to people and being in unity with people is a good thing to do. They’re not looking for the Creator in that sense or anything else, but they feel that this is the right way to be.

So they created Communism, and they created the Kibbutzim, but he wrote back in the early 50s or late 40s that this will not hold. What happens is that the first generation are altruists, naturally altruists, but the second generation, the children, are born egoists. The kibbutzim are a great example. He says that about ten percent of the world are born with this natural altruism. So what happens is that these people get together and establish a settlement. They live together. One hundred percent of them are altruists, ideally, and they live together and everything is fine. Then they have kids, but those kids, ninety percent of them, are egoists, because that’s nature.

So the second generation, by default, destroy what the parents built. It doesn’t last. Russia is even worse, because there were a few, a bunch of altruists, who got together and said: People aren’t altruists but that’s the way they need to be. So we’re going to force them to be altruists. So they forced communism on hundreds of millions of people who were not into it, who were egoists, and of course it didn’t work. It ended up in a disaster.

Question: Why do we call ourselves to set ourselves apart when our goal is unity? After all there were twelve tribes. Who knows who belongs to the other eleven tribes?

First of all, today we’re not disseminating to the other tribes. We’re disseminating to everyone and anyone. Anyone who is interested is welcome aboard. Second, why do we call ourselves Jews to set ourselves apart? The word Jew means two things. The Hebrew word for Jew is Yehudi meaning Yehudi from unique, and Yehudi from Yachad, united.

So first of all unity is at the core of the term Jew. And second, the unique in the Yehudi, refers to the unique force that runs the world, in which when we unite, we come in contact. That’s where there’s the term Jews; that’s what it symbolizes. That’s why there’s the term Yehudi, that’s what it symbolizes. I’m not sure where this interpretation came from, but Tehudi entails within it our mission and the final purpose of our mission.

Question [follow-up to kibbutz discussion]: So won’t our efforts be in vain as well?

What we are doing is very different from what they were doing. We are giving away, for the ninety percent—for the one hundred percent actually because those altruists are at the end of the day egoists, as we can see what happened in Russia. And even those altruists in the kibbutzim were not that altruistic because they took care of each other very well, but they often did it at the expense of other kibbutzim and other cities in Israel. But that’s a different story. This altruism is just another form of egoism.

What we’re offering here is a fundamental change in the nature of every single person on earth. It’s an unbelievably simple method for adding a spice that’s so needed today to our lives. Nothing needs to change in our lives. We don’t have to change New York City into a huge commune. But when people understand what needs to be added into their lives, the New Yorkers will find the right way to live together. And the same applies to everywhere. We will be living with the understanding that you cannot be content and happy with your life unless everybody is. And you will feel that connectedness through these very simple means, workshops, or the Education Center if you want. That’s all it takes—connectedness. And of course, reading a few books about it, getting more information always helps to solidify this new direction. You can get them at ariresearch.org.

Question: Can you explain by a few examples what it means as a Kabbalist to unite below in order to achieve heaven above?

I think it’s too late in the lesson to get into that, but that’s a great question for a point in the heart. So do register for the Education Center. I’m sure you will get plenty of information about that. That’s exactly the topic of the lessons.

There were quite a few questions about Kabbalah, so that comment Chaim mentioned is relevant for all of you students.

Yes, any Kabbalah-related question, please go to the EC, register, and [watch the lessons]. If now, you can download the lessons and watch them.

That’s at Kabbalah.info.

There you will find the Education Center. You can download the lessons. It’s free. But if you want to attend a live lesson, you can actually post questions just like we do here. Just register and join the course. It’s also free.

Question: Do male/female differences play any role in how we should unite? For example, is it better to do workshops with men and women together or in separate groups?

Play it by ear. Whatever feels comfortable. If you feel comfortable being with only men or only women in a circle because you get distracted, you know human nature, the separate circles. If you feel comfortable doing it in mixed circles, do it this way. If it’s a family circle what are you going to do, separate them? The important point is to feel comfortable about it, to be able to focus on connecting the hearts and not connecting the bodies. That’s what you want to focus on. If you can connect the hearts you are in the right kind of circle. If not, make some adjustments.

On this amusing note, we will end our lesson today.

[Announcements regarding next week’s lesson, Bundle of Reeds FB page, asking questions, testimonials on workshops]



  1. Great lesson, thank you very much! But I have one burning question:

    Doesn’t אַהֲבָה love, begin with one’s private circle of family and friends first, and not all of humanity? That seems unrealistic. Perhaps after one achieves love of friends it can then it be expanded to the town, city, and nation. Jesus taught love of enemies not Rabbi Akiva. No doubt, ultimately it should be shared with all of humanity. Leviticus 19:17-18, where the command to “love your fellow” appears, uses the following words: אָחִיךָ your brother; עֲמִיתֶךָ your colleague; בְּנֵי עַמֶּךָ sons of your people i.e. common folk; רֵעֲךָ your fellow. Therefore if we are going to be honest שָׁכֵן neighbor, is not included precisely in the language of the Torah.

    Although there is this passage: “Hillel said: Be among the disciples of Aaron, loving peace and pursuing peace loving בְּרִיוֹת people [lit., creatures], and drawing them close to Torah” (Mishnah Avot 1:12).

  2. “One of what have been called the ideal demands of civilized society may put us on the right track. It runs: ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.’ It is famous the world over, and certainly older than Christianity, which puts it forward as its proudest claim… [Yet I say my neighbor] deserves it if he is so much more perfect than myself that I can love in him an ideal image of myself… What is the point of such a portentous precept if its fulfillment cannot commend itself as reasonable?… There is another commandment that I find even more unintelligible and that causes me to rebel even more fiercely. It runs: ‘Love thine enemies.’ But on reflection I see that I am wrong to reject it as a still greater presumption. Essentially it is no different. But now I seem to hear a dignified voice admonishing me: ‘It is precisely because your neighbor is not lovable, but on the contrary your enemy, that you must love him as yourself.’ I then understand this to be another instance of Credo quia absurdum (‘I believe because it is absurd’)” [p.46-7]…

    After St Paul had made universal brotherly love the foundation of his Christian community, the extreme intolerance of Christianity towards those left outside it was an inevitable consequence” (Sigmund Freud, Civilization and its Discontents, p.51 Modern Classics Penguin edition).

  3. Might I suggest an answer to your very valid concerns over credo quia absurdum of religion and the model of intolerance of religion to outsiders–today’s extreme not being Christianity anymore but certainly being radical Islam–ISIS par excellence.

    This extreme is very “useful” because it defines for us clearly what the problem is–fascism, more to the point of internal nation cohesion, national socialism; hatred of difference: nationalism, us_vs._them breaking of all connection, over love of similarity: socialism, a complete homogeneous connection (ideally) within that nation. We must note too, the religious symbolism in all totalitarian movements–the state being the national “god” with the right of absolute authority. This, whether as a Teutonic Christianity about Hitler, “the messiah’s” return to the past glory of Paganism, or the highest present communist state of being in the upper chaos in the evolution of dialectic materialism. [The missing link to fascism is nationalism–add Lenin and Stalin to Marxism, and you have the Russian nationalistic model as opposed, but equivalent, to the German nationalistic model.] Indeed, there is an Atheistic mystique that is part and parcel of the general religious mystique. Egoism at the group level leads to exclusive totalitarianism–Nazism being the historic model par excellence. [It is important here to to recognize the fundamental influence of German Nazism on Syrian (and Iraqi) Baathism, and this likely upon Radical Islam–particularly ISIS.]

    Now, the development of all this depends upon religious philosophy–theology (including, again, atheistic theology). Per testimony of classical philosophers (brought down in Bundle of Reeds), philosophy is a direct offshoot of Kabbalah. The crucial difference being the removal of the requirement of attainment. That is, one extends what has already been perceived by oneself out to infinity (“Truth”) through human reason. This, in place of actual perception and the use of the mind only to organize what has been perceived and through that education, use logic to speculate the most fruitful direction to continue upon.

    Naturally this leads to credo quia absurdum.

    One cannot create information through logic, only generate new statements that cannot be proven true or false–i.e., logically random statements. Like guessing the flip of a coin, you are right half the time, degrading exponentially with the length of sequence that must be completely correct to be right. [In the language of mathematics (algorithmic information theory), per Gregory Chaitin: “You can’t prove a 10 pound theorem from a 5 pound set of axioms.”]

    This being so, there comes the great paradox to our sense and mind of finite in the infinite. Not seeing the limit with us, but Him, we come to either belief in ultimate absurdity. This might be an unapproachable Freewill, chaos (effectively the same thing), an absolute finite (a final theory of everything (TOE)—which is not true even for pure mathematics (see Gregory Chaitin’s “Omega and why maths has no TOEs,” at: http://plus.maths.org/issue37/features/omega/%5D), or infinity of finite repetition (infinite return—as the plane of the Karma cycle and its influence on Hitler’s derived concept of the cyclical rise of the Aryan to dominance; this “infinity” also mapping to the absolute finite and suffering the same issue). However, seeing this with us, we are open to seeing “unapproachable Freewill” or “chaos” as “Omega Point” (terminology of Frank Tipler) corresponding to an infinite unbounded chain of cause and effect, or deterministic chaos.

    This openness to the problem being ours, brings the first step from Philosophy/Theology back to Kabbalah—the emphasis on perception over “reason.” Per Stephen Hawking (per Roger Penrose, “The Road to Reality, 2004), approx..: “Reality? I have no idea what Reality is. I only know what I measure.” In short—while facts without theory (mental organization) is trivia, theory without facts (perception) is totally worthless. This first step is modern science. The next step is the realization that the ultimate limit to science is the limit of our perception and mind (Bertram Russell already pointed this out about 100 years ago). The stages to follow, which bring full circle, are emphasis on perception. That man-made instruments themselves are ultimately just part of the perception problem (in particular, see Robert Lanza’s “Biocentrism”), is an important discovery of quantum mechanics. Further, there is the fundamental flaw that the human observer is part of this system—this is most acute in psychology, because while animal psychology can be understood by a human, human psychology could really only be understood by a still higher level. Could Freud’s psychology really study his own motivations for studying psychology without entering an infinite loop of trying to catch his own tail? What corruptions might there have been in those motivations that could distort his findings away from objective truth?

    The key to greater perception and mind is to connect with other perceivers and minds to unify to a greater whole, and this can be exercised in a workshop or round table format. This brings to the realization that everything is reached through unity—including purpose itself. And this takes one to G-d: “Hear O’Israel, the L-rd Our G-d, the L-rd is Echad”—Unity (Immanent), Unique (there is none besides this Unity, “ain od m’lavdo”), Transcendent. There is nothing beyond It for which we could have a name. This is the “Ein Sof” (Without End) where even Kabbalah stops, for the name is the measure and absolute Unity is the ultimate that we could have. [Note too that in the mathematical model of infinity (transfinites sets of Cantor’s Set Theory), names can’t exist beyond the infinity of the real numbers.]

    Now, with Unity as your G-d, purpose, and method—religion in terms of Kabbalah is a wholly different matter than Freud’s concept to which you speak. To understand this one must see two dictums together, that of Rabbi Akiva which you mentioned, and the earlier one of Hillel that you didn’t mention, “What is hateful to you, do not to your friend.” These two are critical, because Hillel calls this “the whole of the Torah,” and Rabbi Akiva, general principle of Torah. Friend, Aramaic in the Gemarah where the incident with Hillel is recorded, from the Hebrew “Chaver,” of the root, Chibur—connection, is closer than “fellow” which appears to be somewhere between neighbor and friend—let us say, just outside your inner circle. As such, we are told to love the wider range—seek the more general similarity, and respect difference in the inner circle. This is crucial, it is love above hatred—it is the light of unity extended ever outward and the respect of difference—the healthy component specialization of a system—guarding individuality inwards. In short, it is the opposite of hatred above love of the egoistic group which darkens the outer, hating it to death; and homogenizes the inside, loving it to death. In short, while the egoistic group tends to national socialism, the ideal of Israel is to be a social nationalism—a Light of unity to the nations, a role model to their benefit—as students or younger siblings, not slaves (in the Western sense) or worse.

    The difference between these, and how Israel and the Jews are doing in that regard, is the difference between the night of Antisemitism, and the day of Philosemitism. Note in particular this point which comes from Bundle of Reeds itself:

    Consider in Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf. – “The Jew is only united when a common danger forces him to be or a common booty entices him; if these two grounds are lacking, the qualities of the crassest egoism come into their own, and in the twinkling of an eye the united people turns into a horde of rats, fighting bloodily among themselves.” It is particularly noteworthy that Hitler’s accusation was not that we weren’t loyal to Germany or other host countries, or that we only cared about ourselves. Rather he complained that our unity was only egoistic.

    [This observation is further backed by the following: “… Hans Frank, one of Hitler’s top aides, quotes him as saying: ‘I am an innocent lamb compared to revelations by Jews about Jews. But they are important these disclosures of Jew’s most secret, always totally hidden qualities, instincts, and character traits. It isn’t I who say this, it is the Jews themselves who say it about themselves, about their greed for money, their fraudulent ways, their immorality, and their sexual perversions.’ …” [“Moral Emptiness of Holocaust Survivors Who Took on Israel—The True Face Behind a New York Times Ad” – Alvin H. Rosenfeld, http://forward.com, Fall 2014 issue of TOGETHER—The American Gathering of Jewish Survivors & Their Descendants, Vol. 28, Number 2, p.1,17.]]

    Now, compare this with British historian Martin Gilbert’s interview with Winston Churchill, in his CHURCHILL AND THE JEWS: A LIFELONG FRIENDSHIP: “‘The Jews were a lucky community because they had that corporate spirit, the spirit of their race and faith. [Churchill] would not … ask them to use that spirit in any narrow or clannish sense, to shut themselves off from others … far from their mood and intention, far from the counsels that were given them by those most entitled to advise. That personal and special power which they possessed would enable them to bring vitality into their institutions, which nothing else would ever give.” [Churchill believed without disrespect that a Jew cannot be a good Englishman unless he is a good Jew.]’

    Non-egoistic unity, love above hatred, is the very foundation of scientifically perceived nature from the quantum (unity) mechanics that makes a stable system of the atom without annihilation of electron or proton. This continues into the vast association of fractal communities in nature into higher being by using the deterministic chaos of crisis to new levels of inter-scale communication (unity); and environmental perception, analysis and action into homeostasis. This proceeds all the way to the global Gaia, and the entire system of the cosmos and laws uniquely tuned to life and intelligent development. This is as far as our present senses and individual minds (even the greatest) with all possible instrumentation and computational facility, can take us. But it is enough to know that this call to “love your fellow as yourself” is not unreal—it is the foundation of everything but the one cancer cell of the universe—human ego. It is precisely at that, and particularly regarding the central role in this of Israel and the Jews, that this Bundle of Reed series appears to be aimed.

    Now again let’s look to Freud’s general analysis on religion in Civilization and its Discontents (I’m using the Standard Edition–translator/editor James Strachey, publisher W. W. Norton & Company). At the very beginning (in Freud’s first two pages), he admits to the following reply from a respected friend to whom he sent his, The Future of an Illusion, which treats religion as illusion.

    “…and he answered that he entirely agreed with my judgment upon religion, but that he was sorry that I had not properly appreciated the true source of religious sentiments. This, he says, consists in a particular feeling, which he himself is never without, which he finds confirmed by many others, and which he may suppose is present in millions of people. It is a feeling which he would like to call a sensation of ‘eternity’, a feeling as of something limitless, unbounded—as it were,’oceanic’. This feeling, he adds, is purely subjective fact, not an article of faith; it brings with it no assurance of personal immortality, but it is the source of religious energy which is seized upon by the various Churches and religious systems, directed by them into particular channels, and doubtless also exhausted by them. One may, he thinks, rightly call oneself religious on the ground of this oceanic thinking alone, even if one rejects every belief and every illusion.

    The views expressed by the friend whom I so much honored…caused me no small difficulty. I cannot discover this ‘oceanic’ feeling in myself. It is not easy to deal scientifically with feelings. …”

    As Freud further develops this, he theorizes such feelings to come from an innate subconscious sense of security in believing that there is direct connection with the environment. This feeling is unlearned as a baby comes from its mother and discovers that food and comfort are no automatic or under direct control of the will, but can only be requested. In this, one forms the sense of the separate self away from this ‘oceanic’ feeling.

    But what Freud could not consider, where development beginning to develop in physics as he wrote his words which would not come to fruition for a number of decades, that there was a reality at least on one measurable level, of unity between objects in the physical world which were impossible in terms of physical communication in space and time (spukhafte Fernwirkung , “spooky actions at a distance” is what Einstein called it). He further could not know of the concept of communication between scale implied by deterministic chaos. And what he had no contact at all with, was the idea that there could be a science of such feelings, developing their precision, and verifiable by either prediction of events at a very high level, or at least common sensation.

    As such, in his Moses and Monotheism, he could not even allow himself the possibility that the description at Mount Sinai was a perception far beyond its description “in the human language” of the physical, and actually took place due to the connection of the people as “one man with one heart” (Rashi). Further, he did not account for the unique requirements of Israel’s prophets to “prove themselves” in prediction—which Moses dare not have introduced if he hadn’t already in the only way possible—by the whole of the people attaining prophecy (that is, perceive something of what he did—share the dream, as it were—or rather, escape our after-effect reality with him). The “miracles” of Egypt and the desert wanderings would have been insufficient.

    Later prophets correlated with each other, but proven to the common people only by complete accuracy of a multitude of predictions immediately verifiable (we only have their long term ones recorded in the Bible).

    As we left the age of prophecy in the Second Temple Era, there remained lower levels of reception by Kabbalists, which their groups of students and colleagues could verify by their own developed perceptions.

    The long term predictions along these lines include both exiles, the queer focus on Jews through history; the universal history-long disdain or acceptance proportional to their own unity; the unique growth of anti-Semitism resulting from major attempts at assimilation, the survival of the Jews through all this (with a world population that never grew beyond about 20 million, and had been cut down at one point in the Middle Ages to mere thousands); a return to a land that would be wasteland, barely inhabited, and never independent till this return (as verified by a true historic review of the period, not present revisionist propaganda). Further, there is the opposition to their return, specifically from “Ishmael” (who, per the Yalkut Shimoni written before the birth of Mohammed, would have a new religion and argue regarding religious possession of the Temple Mount), that there would be conflict rising throughout the world in this period, and that eventually the world as a whole would seek the removal of the Jews from the land—most particularly Jerusalem.

    Finally, there is the prediction that the negative stages could be bypassed if the people repented—that is, returned wholeheartedly to their mission of bringing unity to the world by the model of their own unity. So we return to the purpose of this Bundle of Reeds series…

  4. Thank you SeedToGrowFrom very interesting! Please contact me if you would like to continue our discussion by following the link embedded in my username. Best wishes.

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