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Enlightenment of Humanity

Interview of Rav Michael Laitman, PhD, to the Russian magazine Itogi
February 14, 2006

Question: I’ve read in one of your recent interviews, that the knowledge about the wisdom of Kabbalah was permitted to be revealed only at the end of the 20th century and at the beginning of the 21st century. Why is this happening at this time in history?

M. Laitman: This is because humanity has evolved to such a state where, without the exact knowledge about our world and its causes, the goal, and the entire process, it can destroy itself.

Human egoism has evolved to such a degree that it transformed the entire humanity into one small village. On the one hand, people today, are sensing that they greatly depend upon one another. This concerns all the countries in the world, and despite the fact that people don’t see it clearly, it is starting to reveal itself today, and in the full measure, but in the future this inter-dependence will be strengthened. On the other hand, people’s egoism has evolved such that they can’t stand each other and can’t live in peace with each other, not even within a family.

Why do families break up? Why does a person become a drug addict? What is the reason for depressions and terror? The degree of egoism is such that people can’t stand others. As a result, they have to live as if they are in one room, but at the same time they can’t exist together. This state, however, is the best one, because it forces a person to get a sense of where he is and what he can do.

For this reason, The Book of Zohar, which was written in the 1st century CE, was hidden for 20 centuries. This book says that at the end of the 20th century, precisely since the year of 1995, humanity will reach such state of development when the real need will emerge, and it will be possible to reveal Kabbalah. It will become possible, not in order to sell red strings, for example, or to be successful, because this isn’t Kabbalah. The revelation will be in order to enable a person to realize what happens to him and to his world; to realize whether freedom of will exists and whether it’s possible, somehow, to influence the surrounding world, and his destiny.

Question: You mentioned the date: the year of 1995. Do you really consider that humanity is ready to attain life’s purpose?

M. Laitman: Yes, because both the inner and external nature of a person mutually act upon him and reach maximal pressure in our time. A person becomes the largest egoist from inside. During its entire history, human egoism has been evolving very slowly, and the development, the change of socio-political patterns and changes in the society were determined by it. Today, humanity doesn’t know which direction to take to further its evolution, since neither communism nor capitalism has helped. This is on the one hand.

On the other hand, there are ecological problems; nature oppresses people to such an extent that they aren’t able to endure anymore. They have already passed the critical point and endanger themselves to physical destruction. The danger is that humans have become self-destructive and can even explode themselves. According to the laws of nature, this movement is unavoidable.

On the whole, judging by all the inner and exterior characteristics, people have already reached such pressure upon themselves that a serious question arises before humanity, “What is to be done?” Such a distinct question hasn’t been raised before. In the past, only philosophers and great thinkers asked this question. Today, however, every person sees that his life is quite meaningless and develops a helpless and hopeless state.

The fact is that depression has become the world’s primary illness with increasing suicide rates, people are turning to drugs as the only means to escape from reality, and terror is the only way out when a person doesn’t see an optional one. All these phenomena are consequences of this state.

Question: Do I get it right: Kabbalah will save the world?

M. Laitman: Kabbalah is a science which emerged in the Ancient Mesopotamia about five thousand years ago. It was at this time that human egoism revealed itself for the first time, when the so called “sin of the tower of Babel” was committed. The people desired to attain the Upper Force, and the entire universe, for themselves. They wished to possess this and to become equal to this. As a result, they got something opposite: they stopped understanding each other and dispersed in different directions on earth. Within the next five thousand years, egoism progressively grew, and today, people have already reached the point of its maximal development.

According to the wisdom of Kabbalah, the time will come when meaninglessness of the path, by which humanity has been enduring, will be revealed. This will occur at the end of the egoistic development of humanity, when it will understand that such a development process was wrong, and a dead-end, but also necessary so as to reveal that it’s essential to go by another path, which is above egoism. It is at this time that the Science of Kabbalah has to show a person what is the essence of his nature, and the nature of the surrounding world, and how to utilize this knowledge in order to rise above our world into another dimension.

The wisdom of Kabbalah enables a person to come out of the boundaries of time and space by elevating one to another level.

Question: It’s clear that there should be an individual approach to every person. This should be very difficult.

M. Laitman: A person studies Kabbalah and creates this individual approach by himself. Science remains science, but its application by each person is individual. Every person is created as an individual personality since every person has an inherent set of inner and external attributes. There is no person, however, who isn’t able to apply this science to himself.

Question: Did people ever tell you, “Guys, it’s impossible. You are striving to overturn the whole world, but look around and see how much aggression, violence, and cruelty there is”?

M. Laitman: We perceive this in a positive way. We don’t idealize. On the contrary, we see the forthcoming enlightenment of humanity in all manifestations of evil forces in the world. We consider all the positive and negative forces as mutually necessary and complementing one other. One only needs to unite and combine them correctly. There is nothing in the world which has to be avoided or eliminated, and for this reason there is no disappointment.

On the contrary, I have been studying Kabbalah for about thirty years and during all this time, I see that humanity is finally realizing the state in which it exists. Humanity becomes completely disappointed with “animate” life and starts understanding that it has to rise above it, and that in our world, a person is absolutely helpless in that he doesn’t have freedom of will.

A person is born with various attributes which are defined in advance. He is educated in kindergarten, then in school, and then in the university, but he doesn’t choose all this. He enters the society which commands him, and dictates all his values. As a result, a person, just like a machine, collects data inside of himself, and carries them out according to the demand of his environment. Who is a person, himself? He is an operational unit. People start realizing this only now.

Question: Kabbalah is often called “the science of how to manage one’s destiny.” To which extent is this true?

M. Laitman: It is absolutely true. Kabbalah enables a person to create such concentration of thoughts and forces, that he starts influencing the world, and by this, causes the world to act upon us in a good, positive, and right way. It is revealed both inside us, via genes and attributes, and outside of us—via the still, vegetative, and animate nature.

Question: Is it true to say that destinies of all people and of each particular person are encoded or encrypted?

M. Laitman: Yes, destiny is encrypted and encoded in Torah, which means in Kabbalah, the inner part of the Torah. It is possible, however, that a person can change this, but what does “to change” mean?” It means that he can correct this in order to go to the intended goal. Each person has to come to this goal either by the path of good, or by the path of evil. In other words, a person has to go either with the help of coercive forces, or with the help of consciousness: the path which is rapid and desirable.

Question: Kabbalah often speaks about gradual development of the sixth sense in each person. What is “the sixth sense”?

M. Laitman: When a person studies the animal world, he learns that birds, bees, snakes, monkeys, and so on, all sense the world differently, although they are at the animate level, seemingly close to people. Their world view consists either of color, acoustics, or tactile images. People’s world view is made up mainly of visual images. In other words, each living being senses this world in its own way, to say nothing about how it realizes the world inside itself.

What is the world in reality? What images does it consist of? Why does one person perceive it in one way, and another person, in another way? If one person perceives the world correctly, then does the other person perceive it differently? What is the world like in reality, outside of people? To see this picture one has to come out of his body. He has to hear and see this not through his eyes and ears, that is, not within the narrow frames of a very limited range of his senses. He has to come out of them and enter into an absolutely unlimited perception.

This unlimited perception, which is singular, and not divided into particular senses, is called “the sixth sense” or “the soul.” This isn’t what people imagine. “The soul” is an enormous sense which helps a person to perceive reality outside of his egoism, without bringing into it any distortions, limitations, or disorders by his corporeal senses. A person senses that he is in a huge field of forces which govern the whole universe: the Upper and the lower worlds, movements of souls, bodies, and people.

When a person enters this sensation, then he obtains a full and evident possibility to act upon himself, and upon others, but, naturally, to act upon them in a good way, because if he has any egoistic intentions to damage others, then he simply won’t be able to enter this dimension. Kabbalah develops the sixth sense in a person, by which he starts sensing the universe and learns to act upon it. At the same time, a person enters such a sphere, where he senses himself to be eternal, boundless, and existing outside of the limits of movement, space, and time. This can be compared with what happens to speeds above the light, according to the theory of Einstein.

Comment: It’s a very complicated process…

M. Laitman: If a person studies seriously, it usually takes him from three to five years.

Question: I’ve heard that a Kabbalist has to come through one hundred and twenty-five stages in order to get a foretaste of the full volume of the universe.

M. Laitman: Yes, this is true.

Question: So, does a person acquire the sixth sense only when he passes these stages?

M. Laitman: No, a person starts forming the sixth sense in himself from the first stage. The sixth sense is completely formed, however, throughout these one hundred and twenty-five stages. In other words, levels of development of the sixth sense are one hundred and twenty-five stages, at which time this sense becomes expanded, and, according to this, a person attains the genuine world to a greater degree.

Then it becomes possible to see our state as well: what a tiny volume of the universe we perceive in our corporeal senses. People, who come out of their bodies or have a near-death experience, sense absolutely different volumes of the universe. However, the sixth sense is to be developed while living in our world.

Question: By the way, speaking of “dying”. I’ve heard that Kabbalists quite often identify themselves with eternity. How should one understand this?

M. Laitman: It is because they sense the universe this way.

Question: Is it eternal and boundless?

M. Laitman: Yes, it is.

Question: Can a person be eternal and boundless as well?

M. Laitman: He can, if he senses himself this way. This is not referring to his body, but his “I.” People already sense this. For example: people experience a corporeal death, but they don’t sense that they die. A person senses that there is something eternal in him. The only thing a person needs to do is to develop this point into such a state, where he’d live in reality, and then existence, which is limited by a narrow range of hearing, sight, tactile, and other sensations, will seem to be negligible and will not determine our life. Powerful sensations, which a person receives via his sixth sense, subdue these small sensations in our world.

Additionally, a person sees forces, which stand behind items and objects of our world. He sees how everything is governed, and thus, doesn’t emphasize the objects themselves. He already interacts with forces, which are behind them, and which determine everything.

Question: According to Kabbalists, is the meaning of life found precisely in this?

M. Laitman: Every person has to enter this space, either in this life-time or in the next one, but, regardless, he has to do this. Kabbalah is being revealed to the world so that everyone can attain the highest point of his existence. In order to carry this out in a more rapid, easy, happy, and more attractive way, Kabbalists in our time, reveal Kabbalah to the world. They do this because people are already sensing that this is the only escape from temporality, vanity, and despair.

Question: Is it possible to say that the fundamental achievements of natural science coincide in many ways with what was written in the ancient Kabbalistic books long ago?

M. Laitman: Yes, it is. I pursue science all the time. My first profession was in the field of biological cybernetics, which I studied in Leningrad. Additionally, I participate in congresses with scientists: physicists, biologists and philosophers. I also write books in collaboration with them. Gradually, both Kabbalists and scientists, perceive Kabbalah as a continuation of all the sciences into the sphere which is explored without the help of five senses (which is available to science as well), but, rather, with the help of the sixth sense.

What is the basis of all the sciences? A person perceives the world around him via five sensors and explores what he senses. With the help of Kabbalah, a person develops the sixth sense within himself, which is already in him, but in an embryonic state. A person studies the world which he senses in this sensor and learns to develop it. Exploration of the world via the sixth sense is carried out according to the same laws and accepted rules (proof, repetition of an experiment, reproducing it by the others) as in all the other sciences. Information transfer via formulas, tables, and diagrams, are all used in Kabbalah.

But there is one condition: only those who have developed their sixth sense, even minimally, can study this sphere of knowledge. Kabbalah is called “the sacred science” in relation to all the other sciences, because it is open only to the one who has developed the sixth sense. But everyone is invited to do this.

The sciences today are in crisis, and scientists are gradually starting to approach the boundary where they sense something they aren’t able to reveal. On the other hand, Kabbalah becomes revealed and descends, and slightly approaches this boundary, this dividing line between our world and the Upper World. Thus, the earthy sciences and the Upper science come in contact, creating a certain transition—a bridge between two worlds. This transition is logical, comprehensive, and scientific.

Presently, I’m collaborating with several great scientists, working on books. They, as well as many people nowadays, perceive Kabbalah as the science of the future.

Question: By the way, do you carry out any research work in collaboration with scientists, or perhaps with a scientific-research institute?

M. Laitman: We issue collected works via the Russian Philosophical Society (the Kabbalah department of the Russian Academy of Sciences) and via the Moscow State University. I wrote a book in collaboration with the Russian philosopher Vladimir Rozin, called, Kabbalah in Context of History and Modernity, which is a discourse about Kabbalah and philosophy. Very soon, we’ll be working on a book with a group of philosophers from the RussianAcademy of Sciences. But, presently, we are working as a team in Russia, to write a book with Professor Ervin Laszlo, the Nobel prizewinner and the President of the World Wisdom Council, of which I’m a member.

This is a book about the world’s crisis and the ways in which to overcome it. Professor László wrote the first part of the book, which is devoted to the crisis of the contemporary world. I worked on the second part of the book, which is devoted to the solution which Kabbalah recommends for overcoming this crisis.

We also carry out works in collaboration with the U.S. scientists, devoted to the subject of attainment of the universe: how a person perceives the world and how he can make his world-view genuine and correct. Books written in collaboration with psychologists and social scientists on the topic of “freedom of will” are coming out. The subject of these books is whether freedom of will exists, and if so, then under which conditions does it appear in a person.

Additionally, I stay in contact with various scientists, physicists, and biologists, participating in scientific conferences nearly every month. Most participants of these congresses are scientists who are specialists in the natural sciences such as physicists, biologists and chemists, while philosophers and social scientists are the minority.

We carry out meetings, establish contacts, work on mutual reports and exchange of opinions, all the time. We also maintain contacts via correspondence and make plans for future collaboration and are currently looking for a method of comprehensive explanation to humanity of what state our world is in, which forces act upon it, what is the reason of the world’s crisis, and what are the ways in which to change this.

We see the solution (not only me as a Kabbalist, but everyone) and are now developing the method of global education, and are creating an international TV-channel which will broadcast this education. The scientists participating in this project are mainly of international significance.

Question: Suppose there can be only two forces which act upon the world, the good and the evil one. In your opinion, which forces prevail in the world, good or evil?

M. Laitman: This depends upon a person’s behavior. Naturally, the world is full of evil forces today, and this evokes in a person a need for correction, which means to change the world by one’s thoughts, desires, and one’s attitude towards it.

If mass media and their influence on a person are changed significantly, then people will be able to change themselves, because a person is dependent upon the society. A person will have to change himself, and with the help of his thoughts he’ll start developing the sixth sense and begin changing the situation around him in such a way that he’ll sense himself in an absolutely different world.

Question: Why are journalists to blame?

M. Laitman: Because, unfortunately, they don’t know what a person needs in reality. They only know what their editor needs in order to improve the position of his magazine, egoistically.

Question: Do only Kabbalists know this? Or do philosophers and mathematicians know this as well?

M. Laitman: Numerous people all over the world are occupied with these questions, and in my opinion, about 1 billion people refer themselves to the movement called “conscious change of the world.” There are a variety of groups including followers of the theory of Vernadsky’s noosphere and of similar ideas and various altruistic organizations.

In my optimistic view, in the nearest future (not years, but months, because the world today, is changing every month), this movement be become more well-known, and people will hear the message and begin to change themselves after all.

Question: Will we be on time? They say that the third world war may start in the nearest future.

M. Laitman: The third world war, flooding of the world, problems with the Sun, ozone holes…

Comment: Asteroids…

M. Laitman: All this is prepared for people in order to accelerate development. People themselves will determine whether they will come to the same state reasonably and consciously. This is the only difference.

I’m very optimistic about this. Judging by the search of scientists, social activists, social scientists and philosophers, the number of people today, who understand the problem and even its solution suggested by Kabbalah, is growing. These social groups will start influencing government and society correctly, and, perhaps, they will even start influencing journalists.

Comment: Probably.

M. Laitman: My report at the congress in Arosa gives a better explanation of the current prospect of humanity, and of what Kabbalah suggests in this connection. The way out of the situation is quite simple: people just have to pay more attention to the state they are in.

Question: It’s good to hear that you are optimistic. Probably the situation isn’t really so bad. What is written about our future in the ancient books?

M. Laitman: This is essentially a question about freedom of will, so you have asked the correct question. I’m optimistic about our future because I see humanity becoming more clever, more quickly, than the threats that draw nearer, including ecological, social, military threat, and so on. First of all, scientists are earnestly searching in the right direction, and recently, there have been serious shifts in society’s realization of the fact that it’s necessary to look for a solution.

Secondly, it is written in The Book of Zohar and in other Kabbalistic books, that if a person doesn’t take his destiny into his hands, consciously, then humanity will have to undergo two more nuclear world wars. This just may happen. In theory, four world wars can take place, and we have already undergone two of them, so this just may happen. Two more wars are possible. As a result, a very small group of people will remain, and those who do will be representatives of all the souls in the world, and generally, in the universe. They’ll carry out the program of creation anyway, which means that they’ll attain eternity and perfection.

Thus, if humanity has already become adult, then starting from this point, and beyond, the issue is only of how to advance further. People have evolved out of necessity, with the help of various egoistic impulses, and until now, in the 21st century, people didn't have free will. But freedom of will is beginning to emerge in people regarding their egoistic nature.

The goal is to live in the full volume of the universe, eternally and perfectly, and if people manage themselves correctly, then they’ll attain this goal by a direct path. Otherwise, nature’s program will be carried out, as it has been carried out till present. But it will be carried out by very severe methods; nature has no compassion or forgiveness.

Question: Is there any need for a human being on our planet at all? Perhaps, our planet can exist perfectly fine without humanity?

M. Laitman: People are the issue, not the planet. People are the only conscious living beings in the universe, and they are given a task. Everything was created for them, and only they have the possibility to enter this dimension in which they exist, between life and death, without remembering, nor knowing about it. However, now humanity has to attain this by themselves in a practical way.

People have a very serious task and an amazing goal, and humanity is actually in a good state, because it forces people to start searching. For this reason, I treat it not with horror, but with hope.

Question: But humanity probably has to become more clever to carry this out, doesn’t it?

M. Laitman: It will become more clever.

Question: Does this apply to a particular nation, or to everyone?

M. Laitman: Today, everyone will become more clever. What purpose would it serve a person to exist in the world in an unconscious, irrational state for thousands of years? What is the purpose of life, if not for the sensation of eternity and perfection, understanding of the whole nature, and existence in another consciousness? For this reason, I think that we are not at the end of the path, but, on the contrary, at the beginning.

Question: For me, it’s difficult to understand that terrorism is an increase of human intelligence.

M. Laitman: It’s a search.

Question: Are they searching for themselves?

M. Laitman: They are searching for themselves, and they make other people search as well.

Question: How long will they search for themselves?

M. Laitman: You ask about only one particular problem, and don’t take into account the global situation.

Comment: It is considered to be global.

M. Laitman: Perhaps it is people who cause this problem. If this phenomenon takes place in history, in our life, then one should comprehend the whole problem, but not discuss terrorists in one or another country. Perhaps, after that, people will see that they are guilty, while terrorists are just acting mechanisms. Who are terrorists? They act absolutely fanatically, under the influence of forces which cause this. Who actually evokes these forces? Perhaps people draw them upon themselves.

This concerns both Jews and Europeans. Kabbalah teaches that people, themselves, draw all the evil forces to themselves. People should change their behavior and attitude, otherwise nothing can be done about terrorists. If people change themselves, then all terrorists will disappear, and the situation will be like this all over the world. They will become everyone's friend and brother.

The Book of Zohar predicts that it is precisely during this crucial moment that the sons of Yishmael (Yishmael is the forefather of Arabs) will rule in the world. It is written, “His hand is on everyone, hands of everyone are on him.” Meaning, on the descendants of Yishmael. This is occurring in reality. At first I thought that this was an allegory about oil, but it's not. It's speaking about authority, power, fear, and arms. The evolution will be like this until people correct this state.

I don’t consider this as any conscious force, but, rather, a force of nature which has to compel the part of humanity, which has already matured to the state where it is able to realize life, its meaning, and to act. The U.S.A., Europe, Russia and Israel have to do something, because they draw these forces upon themselves.

Question: Recently Russian President Vladimir Putin invited representatives of Hamas to Moscow. Is it possible that he tries to understand the nature of these forces?

M. Laitman: I don’t think so.

Question: Does he act like a Kabbalist in this case?

M. Laitman: Certainly, it’s always possible to justify such policy, but I don’t think that he acts like a Kabbalist. I say this not because I’m a Jew and live in Israel, but because this isn’t the method of correction. If Putin wants to improve Russia, then he has to become engaged in educating the people. Nothing else will change the country. What will be the position of the country which, within this time, will get accustomed to live only due to sale of power recourses? Oil will become a thing of the past in about ten or twelve years, and perhaps there will be no need for gas. While education, unfortunately…

What’s the use of establishing relations with Hamas? Does Russia need this? Do political leaders, just like boys in the backyard, flex their muscles showing who is stronger? Rather than looking for a way to determine fate of humanity, people demonstrate to each other whose fists are stronger! Unfortunately, I don’t consider these methods to be reasonable, and it doesn’t matter which country it is. In their turn Americans act the same way. People in the world today are at such level that they can communicate with each other reasonably, can’t they? Humanity will have to become adult.

Question: What exactly do you mean by saying that the President should be engaged in the education of the country?

M. Laitman: Education is a priority.

Question: What do you mean by “education”? Is this increase of the level of culture?

M. Laitman: It is education of all strata of society, starting from an early age.

Culture can be different. Nazi Germany also had its own culture, and philosophy and science were developed in Germany more than in any other country. One can say that it was the most developed and the most cultural country of all.

Culture of the population means realization of life’s values, and, unfortunately, Russia lacks this. This contradicts the huge potentiality of the people who sense and search for truth inside themselves. This is suppressed in the nation, and the situation is quite the opposite today.

But let’s hope that people will correct themselves and not have to go through very painful stages, under the influence of terrible natural calamities.

Question: Once you said that Kabbalists allocate Russia to be one of the leading positions in the future of humanity.

M. Laitman: Yes, it is written so.

Comment: Some renewal may start precisely in the territory of Russia.

M. Laitman: I’ll give you an example: if a child has good capacities, then it depends on how he will apply them. If he carries out his capacities in a wrong way, then he’d better not to carry out them at all.

Comment: Sometimes parents should help a child to develop his capacities.

M. Laitman: True. A special role is prepared for Russia, and the need of its own path and its own idea is instilled in the people’s subconscious. But what is it? Everyone suggests his own solution to this issue, his own answer to this inner message, but the issue is solved at an absolutely different level.

I hope that the spiritual elevation, which the ancient science of Kabbalah suggests to carry out, will finally be understood and disseminated in Russia to awaken an echo in people’s hearts.

In the book The Essence of the Science of Kabbalah I quoted great philosophers, mathematicians, and astronomers of the past, on the subject that, all the sciences originate from Kabbalah. Among them are such scientists as Leibnitz, Descartes, Newton, and many others. Scientists from various nations write about this, including Christian scientists who lived in the Middle Ages, etc. They too, saw and understood this. People of today need to reveal the Science of Kabbalah in order to escape.

Question: Let’s come back to a person, in particular. Why do people start studying Kabbalah? What attracts a person? Is it the enigma or the mystery, or does he want to develop himself and attain something higher, perhaps, to receive higher knowledge?

M. Laitman: A person comes to Kabbalah not because he wants to receive knowledge of how to manage his own destiny, or of how to manage others. Nor does he study in order to master any mystical forces. People don’t come to real Kabbalah for such knowledge, as this way is possible by studying various physiological methods or Tarot cards.

Kabbalah is studied only by those who have a need for a distinct realization of the world in which they exist, by those who ask questions, “What I am?” and “What is the world I live in now?” Actually, everyone today asks this question, and we are living in a time when the whole of humanity is potentially ready to study Kabbalah.

Our main Kabbalistic book, Talmud Eser Sefirot (The Study of Ten Sefirot) includes six volumes of very serious text. It is organized like a university manual, with questions and answers. In the introduction to this book it is written that if a person studies the Science of Kabbalah correctly, then within three to five years he reveals the upper, eternal world for himself. He stops paying attention to the transition between life and death because he is already in the Upper World. For him the Universe merges into an integral unity, and then he really starts managing his destiny.

Question: Only his own destiny?

M. Laitman: Not only his own destiny. He acts in a good way upon other people as well, and at the same time he advances, he draws them to the realization of the level he has reached. People have different physical bodies, but the spiritual body is one. For this reason, everyone who makes this kind of contribution according to his abilities, naturally acts upon others.

Question: How many Kabbalists are in the world today?

M. Laitman: There are several dozens of serious Kabbalists.

Question: And how many people study Kabbalah?

M. Laitman: About 1 million or at least 700,000-800,000 people study within our organization. There are, however, other groups of Kabbalists besides our organization. They aren’t as large—about 20-30 people.

Question: I can't help but ask, are famous people among them?

M. Laitman: Not as famous as, Madonna, for example (she’s far from our organization and has other interests), but there are a lot of scientists among those who study Kabbalah, and the number of artists is less. However, Kabbalah is mainly studied by average people. Strange though it may seem, these are people who have not achieved a lot in their lives. They are average people who suddenly reveal spiritual potential in themselves. They come to us, and we reveal to them the opportunity, the ability to enter another dimension, and to live in two worlds. This person may be an average workman from a petrol station.

Question: Does this mean that it is impossible to perceive if a person is a Kabbalist by some external features?

M. Laitman: It’s impossible to judge.

There are scientists and professors who study Kabbalah, but the bulk of the people, about 80 per cent, are ordinary people. The point is that interest in the sciences is very limited and has no relation to the development of sensation, because it has no relation to the necessity of knowing the truth about oneself and about the world. While it is informative, a person who studies Kabbalah has a more sensitive perception which is more connected with the needs of life.

Question: There are lots of legends and rumors about Kabbalah.

M. Laitman: Yes, that's because Kabbalah was concealed for five thousand years, and everyone tried to guess what it was!

Question: What are the most absurd rumors which you’ve heard?

M. Laitman: The most absurd rumors are that, with the help of Kabbalah, it’s possible to cast spells, make signs of fortune and talismans, or to immediately change something in the world. But Kabbalah doesn't deal with anything which is directly connected to our world and with our body.

Kabbalah reveals in a person the possibility to enter the Upper World. When he rises to the Upper World, then he sees how to manage himself correctly, and then he becomes kind and reasonable. He actively enters the system of management and acts upon our world by good, and only in this way is it possible to carry something out; it’s impossible to carry anything out directly. A person can come to me, ask, beseech or compel, and no good will come of it. For this reason Kabbalists don’t receive money, which may, or may not be a good thing.

Question: Do you react to such publications anyhow?

M. Laitman: No. Humanity has to become adult. Do you remember what happened twenty years ago, when all this excitement over Kabbalah started? Kabbalah has become cleared of misconceptions, because people are disappointed in these things and understand where the truth is.

A person always comes to truth through falsehood. Falsehood attracts as it’s quick, gleaming, and sparkling, but truth stands behind it. Truth is serious and very mature, since it requires a profound approach to itself and forces a person to grow up.

During its development humanity has to go through all these games and to see that all this is just means of psychological support which perhaps play an important part in a person’s life, but not more than this. It’s similar to the placebo effect, where a pill contains nothing, but the curative effect is provided by self-induced hypnotism. This can make a person healthier, and awaken great inner power in him, but not more than this. As distinct from all other methods, however, Kabbalah leads a person to the level which is above our world.

Question: Sometimes publications are quite offensive. For example, one or two months ago, the world press broadcasted that Kabbalists are guilty of what happened to Sharon.

M. Laitman: When there is a desire to threaten, any person can put on a black or white cloak and start making various gestures or whatever. In reality, Kabbalists don’t have such powers to influence in such a way, nor to do harm to anybody. It’s only necessary to change reasons but not the consequences.

One can’t simply do harm to any person or kill anyone because a person is a messenger and representative of the Upper forces in this world, and the forces which stand behind him determine everything. One has to change the world view, to change influence of the Upper forces upon this person, and then he will change his behavior in our world.

Murdering each other won’t lead to anything. This isn’t a solution of the problem. One can see that the winners are the defeated ones. There isn’t another solution besides upbringing, education, and elevation to the higher degree.

Question: Do Kabbalists practice any rituals?

M. Laitman: No, they don’t. Suppose a person has neither legs, nor arms, nor a tongue, which means that he can neither speak, nor catch any passes, nor sit in a lotus position. Does his “I”, which he wants to transform to the higher level, depend upon this? Kabbalists don’t have any customs or traditions.

Question: Do you celebrate the New Year?

M. Laitman: It’s a part of the culture or identifying with society but it has no relation to Kabbalah. People of every sort come to my classes. They can be, for example, Greeks or Arabs, and every nation has its own culture.

Representatives of not less than forty nations study with us from all around the world. Students from 27 countries gather at our congresses. We held a congress in Israel at the end of April and it was attended by 1,500 people. Translations to five or six languages were simultaneously carried out. Shortly before this, meetings in Tallinn and Vienna were held. Congresses in Odessa and Moscow are held on regularly basis. We all study together, know each other, and during our meetings we feel like one enormous family.

Question: Can both men and women study Kabbalah?

M. Laitman: Yes.

Question: Do women and men perceive Kabbalah identically or differently?

M. Laitman: Absolutely differently: just as men and women perceive our world in an absolutely different way. Men and women are completely different creatures. This doesn’t mean that anyone is better and anyone is worse; but women really perceive the world in a way which is different from that of men. In reality, men and women don’t understand each other but only smooth over this misunderstanding.

The method of entering the Upper World is different for men and women because they have different souls, and, consequently, different bodies. Their “I” is different. The sixth sense is very distinctly oriented according to the male and female principle.

Question: At what age is it possible to start studying Kabbalah?

M. Laitman: From the age of six or seven years, since this is precisely the age when for the first time a person starts asking the following questions: “Who am I and where do I come from?” “What is the world around me?” “What is the meaning of life?” This is also the age when the education or upbringing of a child is to begin.

When I started studying Kabbalah, my son was eight or nine years old. I repeated what I heard in classes at home, studying the material together with my son, and he perceived it perfectly. The average age of my students is 35-40, and their children often come to our study center, where they have their own classes. They evolve and then continue studying at universities.

Today, Kabbalah is studied at 1,700 faculties. One of my daughters is a doctor of biology, and my second daughter is doing her doctorate thesis on philosophy/ Kabbalah. The son of one of my students maintains his doctorate thesis from the same faculty. I also have delivered lectures to students who study Kabbalah at the American universities.

Question: Are there people in Russia who maintained thesis works on Kabbalah or who are preparing to do this?

M. Laitman: There may be someone who is working on this but isn’t in contact with me. I’m the only person who has maintained a thesis work on Kabbalah in the Russian Academy of Science.

Question: Is this process more active in the other countries?

M. Laitman: From generation to generation, Kabbalah has been studied in the other countries for centuries. Kabbalists lived in various countries during various times, and there were Kabbalists of the Middle Ages (both the early and the late Middle Ages), Kabbalists of the Renaissance, etc.

Kabbalah was seriously studied not only by Jews and not only in Israel, but also in Europe and in other places. Newton knew Aramaic and Hebrew perfectly. Most researchers of Kabbalah intentionally studied the language in which it is described. Aramaic is the language of the ancient Babel, and it is almost similar to Hebrew. Thus, a serious approach to Kabbalah study persisted in many countries. This doesn’t refer to those countries which were isolated till recent time, such as China or Japan. But today, people study Kabbalah at many faculties both in Europe and in America.

Question: Can you tell a bit about how you started studying Kabbalah and why?

M. Laitman: I started studying Kabbalah in 1975 because I was searching.

Question: Where did you live that time?

M. Laitman: I lived in Rehovot, Israel. I was searching for an answer to the question about the meaning of life. It’s a simple question, but I couldn’t reveal it. I had no desire to search for wealth, power, or knowledge. I wanted to know what I was living for, for which purpose this life was given to me, if it is worth it, and how I should live. This was an enormous and serious internal need for which I searched, and didn’t know where the answer was. I was told to ask religious people, but I couldn’t do that, because I don’t believe in God in the way that humanity does. I don’t sense any need in this, and even today, I’m an absolute atheist.

Several years had passed before I found Kabbalah. It was the time (the years of 1975-1977) when Kabbalah was concealed still yet, I had already read various books, and started reading in Hebrew. But, at that time it was very difficult to find someone. It was only in 1971 that I found my teacher, the great Kabbalist Baruch Ashlag, “the last of the Mohicans.”

I studied with him until 1991 and was his personal assistant and student for twelve years. I organized a large group of students when he was alive, but when he passed away I started being occupied with the dissemination of Kabbalah, and not with self-education, as I used to do when I was by his side.

Around this time (the year of 1991), Kabbalah started awakening in people, in humanity in general, and even in the people of Israel, so I started disseminating. I wrote my first three books in 1983, when my teacher was alive, and in 1991 I published them in Russia. Since that time these books have been republished, and new books have also come out.

Today, the International Academy of Kabbalah is a huge, renown organization, which includes the Research Institute, the Academy, and the enterprise of Kabbalah dissemination. Great scientists, philosophers and Kabbalists write reviews of our books.

It was questions about the meaning of life that led me to Kabbalah. The studies were very intense: classes were held daily, from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. and from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. People worked between classes, and this was how our day was organized. Such a schedule is not possible for everyone today. There are various groups and circles, and some people study more, some people less. We broadcast lessons day and night from our center—in Russian, Hebrew, and English. The lessons are also translated to Spanish, German and Italian languages, so any person, from any part of the world can connect to them via the Internet.

Comment: Many thanks!

M. Laitman: Thank you!

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