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What is God?

Bestselling novelist Edward Topol interviews Rav Laitman on topics ranging “What is God?”, the Bible code, smoking, human evolution, judgment, body and soul, freedom of choice, and Rav Laitman’s personal life...
October 15, 2006

Rav Michael Laitman: My name is Michael Laitman and I know that you are Edward Topol.

Edward Topol: Hello. First of all I have a question. How should I refer to you, as Rabi, Michael, or Mr. Laitman?

M.L.: No, no, just Michael.

E.T.: That is wonderful. Honestly speaking, I was coming to this meeting with only two questions. Since I saw you, there immediately appeared a third question. How can such a Rabi, a Tzadik, a person who is closer to the Creator than all the rest of us put together, be a smoker? What does the Creator say about the cigarette in your hand? I don’t understand this. So please, this is the first question.

M.L.: There is a simple excuse for this. I had two great teachers, actually one, my great teacher Rav Baruch Ashlag. He smoked until the age of 85. I did along with him. He smoked the kind of cigarettes that were ironclad, sort of like “Belomore.” His father was a true smoker who didn’t need anything in life except for coffee and a cigarette, in order to write his works. He wrote a tremendous collection of work on Kabbalah: a 21 volume Commentary to The Zohar, a six volume The Teaching of the Ten Sefirot, and many other books. All of this is thanks to cigarettes and coffee. I will tell you that everyone forbids me to smoke and argues with me; however, it helps me concentrate. It’s just that it’s very difficult for me without a cigarette.

How does this relate to a person’s spiritual level? It doesn’t. A person’s spiritual level reveals itself so deep inside a person that it isn’t apparent at all in his external actions in our world. To those around him, nothing is noticeable at all. The students have a slight idea that they are near a person who has some understanding about the spiritual world. This is because they already know a little bit about what the spiritual world is. They guess, they understand, they have objectives, and specific inner impressions. They participate with me in our studies, in our research, and that’s why they can evaluate this. Externally however, it doesn’t show. I am a regular simple person.

E.T.: We’ll dedicate another couple of minutes to it because I’m a warlike fighter with smoking. I’m familiar with everything you’re saying. I wrote my first five or six books, as well as all of my previous scripts, while working with two ash trays along both sides of the typewriter. One was burning along with the other and I grabbed them and so on. I thought that it would be impossible to work without them. How will I write? I tried to quit smoking 20 times.

When my daughter was born I knew that I couldn’t smoke in front of a child and since I worked out of my house, I had to run out. Every ten minutes I had to run out to smoke. It was torture. I made 20 attempts at trying everything, including acupuncture. It was all useless until a wonderful extrasensory individual in Boston, Sasha Tetelboym, took me off this drug in the matter of a minute. Since then, I wrote 20 books without a single cigarette.

Looking at you I honestly feel pain, physical pain. My question wasn’t about the excuses, great teachers who smoked, and so on. I asked what the Creator thinks about this, about you, one of the closest people to Him, to the Light of the Creator, and in general regarding all the flaws, shortcomings or passions. Aren’t we born without the liking for cigarettes or alcohol? Isn’t that correct? He sends us into the world. Forgive me for teaching you, but that is the question I have.

M.L.: A person has to think about health because he has to fulfill his specific mission in this world. This is true, but how much of an affect does it have on the health? Maybe in some things it does. I don’t know. There isn’t an open or a serious restriction on it. For this reason, many religious people smoke. It’s only now that all of the sudden this issue has been raised by these companies. I don’t even know what to answer. This isn’t really connected to the spiritual. Basically you’re right. Maybe this needs to be put in front of me as a very important goal. Then naturally, like with any other important goal for which you put forth the effort and reach, this has to be ended in the same way.

E.T.: Here is Tetelboym’s information, when you come to the States, let him take you off this drug. And I’m sure that you’ll live 15 years longer and that you’ll work without any cigarettes.

M.L.: Agreed. As soon as I happen to be near by, I’ll take advantage of this invitation.

E.T.: I had inner resistance towards having an interview with you because it is the same as if I would go into a discussion with Einstein about quantum physics or something else, without having the slightest idea what “quantum” is, and a vague idea about “physics.”

Honestly speaking, I don’t like engaging in a discussion with an educated person while showing complete lack of knowledge and looking like a boor. I didn’t quite understand why you would need this. For me it’s okay. What if a person came to me to discuss the poetry of Pasternak and this person didn’t even know the alphabet? So approximately in this correlation, I feel very uncomfortable.

Right before I was leaving there was this person who said to me: “What’s the problem? Why are you so closed? You are given a chance. There is light and information coming your way, so open yourself, and go ask anything.” Then I relaxed and came down a little. Really, if a knowledgeable person, a Rebbe, a Tzadik was sent to me, then why don’t I ask him the most ignorant questions? So I will begin. I’ll tell you honestly. I’m not at all prepared. You are on one level and I’m somewhere there. My questions are simple, from the very first lower level.

What is God?

M.L.: The general law of the universe which surrounds us, and in relation to us reveals itself as absolute and total love, is called God. This is felt on all of the inanimate, animal, and vegetative levels in the capacity of the universe. We don’t feel this because our nature is opposite to that of the Creator.

The Creator is the quality of bestowal, the quality of love, a totally altruistic quality which surrounds us. This quality is invariable and constant, like the tremendous love of a mother towards her child. The child feels it to the degree of either its corruption or its correction. This is the relationship we are in with the Creator.

In Hebrew, the Creator and nature are described by the same word Elokim, the same word. The Creator and nature are one. There isn’t anything outside of our surrounding nature, the nature we perceive as well as the part of nature which we don’t perceive. There are higher layers of nature which are concealed from us, but are still within our scope. All of them together are called “nature” or “Creator.”

E.T.: If the Creator is love, if the Creator is something that surrounds us, then why do I have to move towards Him? He’s already right here, inside of me, and around me. Why do I need to study Kabbalah or other methods of attaining or comprehending the Creator?

M.L.: We are created differently from the inanimate, vegetative, and animal nature. We are created with free will: the opportunity to act against nature. We do not live by the source and the natural laws which appear from within us because we are given the freedom to invent our own rules of etiquette. We come up with ways to act, ways to create relationships: social, family, etc. As a rule this brings us tearful results. We don’t know what the surrounding nature wants from us, so we are always in opposition with it. We don’t know the law of nature which exerts influence over the human society and as a result we are always suffering.

A person’s goal is to attain this law of nature and achieve complete correspondence with it. For example, by studying the laws of physics or chemistry we can interact with nature and receive certain benefits from it. It is the same for the human society as well as for individuals; if they knew the correct way of organizing themselves, they would come to a comfortable, confident and happy existence. Until we reach this point where we get to know the Creator or this general law of nature, we will continue to suffer.

Unlike other parts of nature, we are developing. Human development is different from that of an animal because we develop from generation to generation. Depending on our development, we become more and more opposite to nature, to this law of bestowal and love, opposite to the Creator. We suffer to the degree of this opposition. That is why getting to know the Creator means to understand how to properly conduct yourself so that you could attain happiness, the absolute sensation of eternity and perfection. We perceive our world as small and narrow because our qualities are opposite to the Creator’s. We feel small, mortal etc.

E.T.: So from birth we are closer to the Creator, to the laws of nature, than we are with age. Did I understand correctly?

M.L.: That’s right.

E.T.: From the moment of birth I was closer to the laws of nature, to the Creator, to the universe, than I am today. Is it my mission to return to that state? Do I understand correctly?

M.L.: No, it is our mission to develop. This development is given to us by nature. We are forced to develop.

Look at how with each generation people are becoming greedier, more egoistic. People are becoming smarter. They understand more about how to connect themselves with nature. They create their own, increasingly more refined, artificial world. Our mission doesn’t consist of regressing or returning to caves and our primitive nature.

Our mission is precisely on the level of our enormous egoism, where, despite all this, it has reached its height. We’ve come to a complete realization of the fact that egoism is our enemy, that it is the cause of constant problems, and that there is a giant crisis in all of human spheres of action.

Our mission is to become equal to the Creator. Then, we will truly become equal with all of nature. We will sense eternity, infinity, perfection, and happiness in our existence; in our earthly existence as well as unearthly. We won’t even feel the difference between life and death of our animal body.

E.T.: Please tell me, when did you leave Russia?

M.L.: I left in 1974.

E.T.: That was before me. Did you leave as a Kabbalist?

M.L.: No, I was involved in biocybernetics. I was interested in life, in its purpose, and its goal. Why do protein bodies exist? That is why I went into this profession. Naturally my questions weren’t answered. I moved to Israel in 1974 and continued my search until I found Kabbalah in1979.

E.T.: You made a switch. You left physics?

M.L.: Yes, after moving to Israel I abandoned my profession completely.

E.T.: I left in 1978. I wouldn’t say I was an atheist but I was totally unenlightened and unprepared. The first book I read in Rome. It was by Buver, translated into Russian. I extracted a couple of thoughts from it. Most importantly I read that at birth, God, or nature, or the Creator, besides awarding us with a soul, awards us with a certain talent. When we are summoned up there, when we return to the Creator, we won’t be asked about all our small sins: the number of times we lied or the times we cheated, or inflicted harm upon someone. The first question God will ask will be, “When I sent you to earth I gave you a certain talent, what did you do with it; how did you realize it?” In reality, this gave me a great deal of comfort. Everyone is a sinner and the number of my sins probably isn’t small. I think after all, if I stand before Him, I will put 25 books on the table, three of which are on a Jewish theme, and through this I will receive some sort of forgiveness.

Now I think that I have a direct way of finding out if it is or isn’t so. I need to prepare.

M.L.: I think that you’ll find the answer disappointing because there isn’t going to be this sort of a date with the Creator. A date with the Creator has to happen in this life and not after the death of the body. After leaving the body, you don’t receive anything other than what you earned while still in the body. You are left with what you have attained. In order to continue your perfection in this world, until the point of reaching total similarity to the Creator, the soul clothes into an animal body over and over so it can continue its earthly path, from generation to generation. Each generation consist of practically the same souls as the past generation. The souls return and clothe into new bodies. There is no such thing as a meeting with the Creator beyond the grave. In your existence, you have to achieve total similarity to the altruistic and absolute force, called the Creator.

E.T.: So the soul does exist? Doesn’t the soul meet the Creator?

M.L.: The soul is our inner concealed motive to bestow, to achieve perfection, to attain and merge with the highest root from which we originate. There’s no difference between your earthly life now and the supposed existence after death. After death, you are left with no more than what your soul attained during your earthly existence.

E.T.: So he made it all up and he’s wrong? There’s no meeting, no judgment and no judgment day? No one is judging us?

M.L.: None of these things exists. You die completely. As the materialists say, you die, that’s all. If before the moment of your death you’ve created an additional sensory organ, an additional altruistic quality above your egoistic nature, if you’ve risen above all the qualities which arise in you and were able to equalize to the Creator with the help of these qualities, then the quality which you have attained in the course of this life is called the soul and it remains with you. In the course of this life you begin to feel a similarity, a connection, and a correspondence to this absolute force which surrounds us. This quality is called the soul. You remain with this quality after death because you’ve earned it. It doesn’t cease to exist like your body.

E.T.: Does the soul perfect itself? Do the qualities which I’ve acquired in my soul during my life time pass on to the next generation or, does the soul go on once again like a blank sheet of paper?

M.L.: No, it’s not like a blank sheet of paper. It happens precisely from generation to generation.

Let’s say that you’ve already existed in our world in different bodies, 30 or 40 times. All these metamorphoses you’ve undergone during all these lives accumulate and gradually bring you to the moment when you start asking about the purpose of your existence. This question will not be in a simple form, questions about earthly problems and why I can’t solve them, “I’m not lucky, or I need to earn something, or why do I always loose, etc?” What you begin asking is, “Why don’t I sense something higher than this world?” Inside of us, inside our experiences and conclusions which we’ve accumulated during all of our lives, there appears a question regarding a higher existence, an embryo of our soul. From this moment on, if you will develop along with this question, you will begin to feel answers inside this question as well as new qualities which are called the soul.

E.T.: We are talking about the positive side; however, there are biographies where the soul may be burdened with crimes or other flaws in a course of its lifetime. This burdened state is passed on to the next physical body and you pay with your unfortunate destiny for a completely different life. Is that so?

M.L.: No, no. All calculations occur only regarding the soul and its goal. The degree of the soul’s aspiration towards its goal; the degree to which you try to rise above all the earthly matters without disregarding them but rather still participating in all of life: wife, work, kids, profession, even personal interests. Above all this, you simultaneously develop your eternal point, which is either within you or not. If you don’t develop it, then this point doesn’t contain the soul. It is a point which is simply hidden somewhere inside of you. If this point slightly reveals itself in you then you begin to feel it. You begin to feel the question, “What is the purpose for my existence?” All children ask this question. Later, they forget. If they don’t forget and begin to further develop this question and search for an answer, then the soul will develop from this.

All of the problems created by you in the course of your life, when you sin or act in an unseemly fashion are relative. These shouldn’t be compared with what we image according to our earthly moral code, but rather they should be compared with the idea of absolute altruism and absolute love which nature represents. We can’t judge people since we don’t understand this law of absolute altruism. If we think about what motivates a person’s actions and why he does certain things, then we will see that he basically has no free will. He didn’t choose to whom he would be born, in which time, to which family. He didn’t choose the kind of upbringing he would get or under the influence of which type of society he would be formed. For this reason, when he grows up his actions will be determined by everything that was installed in him. Why should we punish him for acting a certain way if this is not him but the society and the qualities which were installed in him from the start?

That is why a person has to be approached in a way that will reveal whether it was he who chose the motive for his action and the action itself. If we look at people from this perspective, then we’ll see that they’re not free. In our normal state, to say that a killer a thief or a rapist actually committed these actions would be questionable. Was it they who committed these actions? Today genetics prove that there are genes responsible for theft, murder etc., so what can we demand from an animal body which performs the internal commands of the genes?

We have to go outside of the person and begin to evaluate him from the perspective of his interrelation with his goal, with the Creator. Then we will discover where this freedom of will is and what it consists of? Do people have the freedom of will? We will see that the freedom of will consists only of the soul’s development and not the earthly life. In earthly life we are complete robots. I am the way I was baked, the way I was born, and the way I was raised; however, when it comes to the soul, a person is totally free. This is our only quality that we can develop which doesn’t come from any preliminary or socially imposed qualities.

E.T.: While you were talking I was thinking, “Is there an Upper spiritual judgment?”

M.L.: No there is not. You judge your own self. When you begin to reveal yourself, your qualities, the qualities of this point of the soul in relation to the Creator, in relation to the absolute altruism and love, you begin to feel totally opposite to it. This vision, this evaluation is your judgment. You judge yourself. In Hebrew the word prayer “Leitpalel” in its full meaning means, “to judge ones own self.” A prayer is when you judge yourself.

E.T.: Only my question is, how can my physical body and my physical brain have the right to judge my eternal soul?

M.L.: They have no right.

E.T.: I am asking about the spiritual judgment. The souls gather and judge. The souls gather and the soul is judged according to what it has done or according to the good deeds it couldn’t force the physical body to do. Ultimately, according to logic and as you’ve said, my physical body has to obey the will and the orders of my soul because the soul is higher.

M.L.: Our physical body has absolutely no relation to the soul. The soul develops without any connection to our body. It develops according to totally different laws and that’s what they’re called: the laws of the spiritual world. That’s why it makes absolutely no difference for the soul whether or not the animal body exists. We need our animal body so that we can use it as a jumping base for our soul’s development. However if we rise slightly above the initial state in which we supposedly exist (where we have absolutely no freedom as we mentioned earlier) and begin to develop our soul, then we will begin to develop this specific quality independently. We will rise above this entire physical existence which is predetermined, has absolutely no freedom of will, and which we can’t influence in any way.

We see that from generation to generation we always want to somehow change things but the outcome isn’t right. If there is anything that can be changed in our world, it can only be done through the soul, through developing it and through attaining similarity to the Upper Force or the Creator. Our state and our sensations will change to the degree of our similarity to the Creator. We can’t change the physical world itself. It exists and moves forward according to its own laws.

E.T.: Alright, here is my next question. Excuse me Rebe but I’m trying to understand the simple things because the difficult ones are hard for me. How can I develop my soul with the help of my physical apparatus such as my brain? Let’s say for example that I’ll be reading Laitman. The physical apparatus is engaged, the eyes are following the lines. The soul is totally different. How can this be happening?

M.L.: You’re correct. This is a very good question. This is what you’re saying: “I came to the lesson for the first time. I’m sitting there. I have my physical body, my sight, hearing and my earthly brain with the help of which I’ll develop my soul. On the other hand you’re saying that the soul has absolutely no relation to all of our physical attributes. Where am I supposed to start if I don’t have anything else?”

You will begin exactly there, but what is it that you’ll begin doing? With the help of your eyes, hearing and your mental abilities, you will begin to read and to hear the laws of the soul’s development. These laws of the soul’s development will begin to influence you through your hearing and vision as well as all the various mental perceptions. They will begin to influence and develop this point, this embryo of the soul which exists inside of us.

With its development, this point begins to swell up and broaden into a small sphere. This small sphere will become your spiritual universe. In it, you’ll feel and understand your spiritual existence. Your spiritual sensations and your spiritual mind will begin to develop but they will be totally different from your earthly mind and earthly sensations. This is how the existence of a separate spiritual sphere called the soul will come to simultaneously exist with your physical world which is perceived through the five sensory organs.

You will become a possessor of a soul. Within this soul, to the degree of its development, you will begin to feel the extent of your similarity to the Creator as well your dissimilarity to Him. It will always be this gradual step by step development where you will feel your present state and a certain threshold of dissimilarity to the Creator. You will feel how much greater He is than you. This threshold between your spiritual state and the Creator will be the trampoline which will compel you to constantly ascend to Him. Each time, He will present Himself a bit higher than you, but just a little bit. Just like we give a child tasks in certain portions. Through accomplishing them, he becomes smarter and begins to grow. The same thing happens between the soul and the Creator. You will participate in this so called spiritual ascension.

E.T.: I have a more candid and intimate question which I rarely voice or mention to anyone. I was present at the birth of my son. When he came out, they held him and said, “Hiros, Mr. Topol.” He opened his eyes, although they say that babies can’t see anything. I was standing over him and as he looked me in the eyes, for a split second, my father was looking at me. It was his look, his eyes, and I know that for sure because I felt it with my entire physical and nonphysical body. He’s eight years old now and I haven’t seen this look since. In such a case my question is as follows. What is this? Did the soul of my father look at me in that moment through my son’s eyes? Was he there for a moment or is it something else?

M.L.: That is entirely possible. It is possible that what occurred was the so called “Gilgul Neshamot” from your father to your son.

E.T.: The methods of upbringing through which I’m trying to influence my son are less effective, is that right? This is due to the fact that he has my father’s soul. From this, the next question arises. You are saying that the soul develops. I can develop the soul or not. Suppose that right now I dedicate myself to Kabbalah or something else and develop my soul. Will my soul be passed on to my grandson in a developed form or will it pass on to him once again as a point from which he will have to develop it anew?

M.L.: No, this is incorrect. The soul always passes on from one body to another in its maximum developed state, the state it was in when it ended its development in the previous body; however, the soul will remain a point until it will begin to widen itself through the study of Kabbalah, through attracting the Upper force or the Creator and His Higher qualities which cause it to swell up. This point develops constantly in a person throughout all generations. We exist for 30 or 40 thousand years in our earthly reincarnations. Let’s say that in this circulation, today, we’ve come to the point where we begin to develop our soul. Today this point exists in us. Until the moment when we begin to develop this point it will remain a point, however, inside this point there exists a full potential for spiritual development. For the sake of this, we had to live let’s say 300-400 lives.

E.T.: Does the choice occur as to whom the soul, which is currently in my body, will pass on to?

M.L.: This is a tremendous science, there’s a whole section in Kabbalah which is called “the circulation of the souls.” It contains various difficult calculations and concepts. This is a serious study which within a couple of years will possibly give you the opportunity to understand how it occurs. There exists an interpenetration and interaction of the souls. This originates from the extent of your soul’s desire to do it right now as opposed to a couple of years from now. This is a whole system since all the souls represent a general system of a single universal soul called “Adam.” There is no calculation regarding each one of us individually, but rather the calculation occurs in regard to our function concerning this general soul. As soon as you begin to feel that you have a mission concerning this general soul, in that very instant, you’ll begin a completely new spiritual career. That’s why right now it’s impossible to simply explain it; however, if you get the opportunity, then you’ll gradually begin to see it.

E.T.: I’ll relieve you from the need to read enlightening lectures to a boor and from reading elementary lectures to me, a simply uneducated person. I understand that your time is important; however, I have a question of a different sort. After my fifth or so novel, The Red Square, or The Journalist for Brezhnev, I understood that I can lift this weight and I began to write Lubozhid. While working on my books (Lubozhid, Russian Diva, and Moscow Flight) about our immigration, how we went through customs, how we prepared for the road, what the moral and the domestic reasons were for leaving, the KGB, and the entire complex which you, I and thousands of people went through, especially while working on “Lubozhid”, I felt as though someone was moving my pen. It was as though I was dictated what to write. The open letter I wrote to Boris Abramovich Berezovky, which was published here in the newspaper, Aif, right after the default of our Jewish responsibility before God and the nation among which we live, it was as though it wasn’t me at all that wrote it. These moments seem as though you’ve locked into some sort of higher power and it’s dictating the words to you. You can’t even edit them. They lay down ready like a stamp. It is as if I’m reading off of something with my insight and the only thing I need is the physical strength to keep up with this dictation. Do you experience such moments or am I inventing this as an excuse for what I’m doing?

M.L.: Well of course I experience similar states on a spiritual level which we call the revelation of the Creator. A Kabbalist lives in such a state constantly. He senses the general universe, his own state in it and the eternal flow of energy, matter, and information. He senses the interaction between all parts of the creation. He is an integral part of it and also a participant. This is why even when his body dies, he doesn’t feel that he’s parting with his life. He identifies himself with a higher existence, higher than his body. I believe that the level you are talking about is called a muse. It’s when you feel that you’re being lead by some inner force or energy. As I’ve mentioned, all people can constantly be in such a state and to come to this level of existence. This happens to be the goal for each one of us. All the problems and the enormous crises which the humanity faces today are there only for the purpose of pushing people to solve these problems and to see that the purpose of their existence isn’t in feeding the body, giving it a drink, putting it to sleep, or filling it with whatever it desires. You have to exist for the sake of ascending through the body to the point where you are no longer an animal. Our body is simply an animal. You have to rise above it to an eternal and perfect state where a human is called a human.

I hope that you and I exist in such a wonderful time where our society and our civilization reveal this opportunity to us. The return of the Jews to Israel, the revelation of Kabbalah to the world, the problems that the entire world faces, this anti-Semitism which is growing quickly and steadily. All of the above are the forces which will force us to turn to our higher purpose, while not crossing out this world and continuing to exist in it with all that is required.

E.T.: Why anti-Semitism? We have an agreement with the Creator. The anti-Semitism which exists for centuries, thousands of years, is it a part of the agreement? What is it? Is it a punishment?

M.L.: There is no punishment, no judgment. All of it is a Christian fable and none of it exists. You live each moment in a state which you create yourself. The Creator relates to us with absolute love. If we don’t bring ourselves to similarity to Him; we perceive His treatment towards us as being the opposite. There is no other force which governs the world but the Creator. He does it all. All this anti-Semitism, all these holocausts along with everything else; all of it is due to our opposition to Him. There’s no reason to blame the gentiles for doing something to the Jews. The states we are in, the blows and catastrophes which we receive are all our own doing.

E.T.: The other nations do not do it? Why don’t they have…?

M.L.: They don’t do anything. We already spoke about the fact that in our world a person is a total puppet without any freedom of will. His actions are influenced by the same laws of nature. The Jews have the opportunity to rise to a level where they are abreast with their soul, to become the light for the nations of the world, and to present the same technology, the same methodology of self correction and elevation to the rest of the nations. That’s why we are being punished for not fulfilling our function.

We are not the chosen people simply because He chose us beforehand but we are the chosen people for the appointed work as messengers in this world. Based on today, where do we stand as messengers? We are carrying out totally different work towards which egoism pushes us. In such a case, it is natural for us to be receiving the biggest blows. Also, in the future, there is a threat of no lesser catastrophes if only we don’t wake up and realize what our mission as the chosen people consists of and what we have to accomplish.

E.T.: I wrote about this to the Russian oligarchs of Jewish descent and about what awaits us. There is a book called The Bible Code, a best seller. About eight years ago, two Israeli scientists, one of them is a cybernetic of a Russian descent and the other is an erudite Rebe, unlocked a code in the Bible and foretold everything. You know all of this, right?

M.L.: Yes I do.

E.T.: What do you think about the Bible code? Does it exist? And what about those terrible predictions which were hidden there from us?

M.L.: First of all these are not Kabbalists; these are mathematicians who search among the letters and words of the Bible for various correlations and formulas which they’ve invented. The things they uncover are absolutely inauthentic. The fact that they can’t foretell anything is clear: however, it is possible to find correlations between past events. Naturally, everything is encoded in the Torah, in the Bible. It is really so but it isn’t encoded by their code. They don’t have a code or a formula by which they operate. They search here and there based on some sort of intuition. I know these people.

Kabbalah has no consideration for such things. According to Kabbalah, all of these things are toys for amusement which distract a person from making real and serious actions of self correction. You have to correct yourself. You have to develop your soul and enter the Upper World with it. There you will see all these codes and how to carry out actions in this world. The above mentioned is simply intellectual curiosity on the people’s or the mathematician’s part, who wish to see some sort of miracles and so what? It is written clearly, “Do not tell fortunes.” This prohibition is clear because a person has to work on himself instead of foretelling the future which totally depends on his work.

E.T.: Is that all?

M.L.: Yes.

E.T.: Please tell me whether the path of development is programmed for the humanity, for the Jews, and for the other nations? What does Kabbalah tell us? Do we have the freedom of choice or is everything predetermined?

M.L.: The freedom of choice came about for the humanity somewhere in the early 20th century, when the so called prenatal period of development ended and the preparation period for the humanity’s insight began. For this, the entire Kabalistic history has to be told the way the way Kabbalah sees the history of humanity’s development, from the development of egoism in a person, throughout the course of all the formations egoism evokes in itself while it’s developing the humanity’s movement towards various new cultural, scientific, economic, agricultural developments and so on.

So, in the beginning of the 20th century, the humanity came to the point where it was practically ready to realize its spiritual mission. That’s why the return of the Jews to Israel began. During the course of the 20th century or from the beginning of it, we the Jewish nation have had the opportunity to start carrying out our spiritual mission, our function; however, this hasn’t happened yet.

Besides this, it has been predicted in Kabbalah that the year 1995, humanity will enter a totally new and final turn in its development. This will clearly indicate either the path to the third world war and to strict Nazism in absolutely all of the developed countries, or the opposite if the Jewish nation reveals Kabbalah for the entire world, reveals the picture, the developmental path of the entire humanity, the true laws of the universe, the manner in which we exist, why we exist and how we have to develop, and shows it in a reasonable way. The Gaon from Vilinsk wrote about this and also my teacher Yehuda Ashlag has pointed this out. Yehuda Ashlag was the son of Baal HaSulam and the author of the commentary to the entire book of Zohar as well as the commentary to all the books by Ari.

There is no such thing as faith here. In Kabbalah there is no faith in anything. You have to see what you have and act accordingly. If we will be able to show this to the Jewish nation first and then to the entire humanity, as it was stated in The Preface to the Book of Zohar many years ago, we will then realize our mission. Then we, along with the rest of humanity, will walk a different path, not the path to Nazism and world war but the path to mankind’s development, to becoming similar to the Creator, to the Higher Power. In such a case we will enter into a comfortable, eternal and perfect existence. Right now we are standing before this opportunity. I hope that we will be successful. I’m also hopping for the support from such known and great people such as yourself, who as you’ve said: “a pen can be guided by providence.” You can do more here than me.

E.T.: I have a last question. I understand that we’re out of time. My most simple question is as follows; why us? Not us the Jews, that is understood, but in general, why us?

M.L.: It’s so that we can independently, through our own free choice, reach the Creator and become like Him, become absolutely equal to Him, reach a state that’s higher than our birth, than our conception. Allegorically speaking, the Creator has created the heavens and the earth: however, we have to rise from the earth to the heavens and beyond, to the level of Creator. For this reason He created everything in a way that the creation which He created below Himself would rise out of its state and become the same as Him. This is the reason for our universe with all its laws, all our reincarnations, you, me, and everything else. Specifically, we the Jewish nation must bring this idea to the world. This is the reason for our existence. Until we begin to do so, the world will treat us with anti-Semitism because it will subconsciously feel that the Jews rule the world and that they hold the key to happiness. We will also subconsciously feel that we really are guilty of something.

E.T.: I asked you in the beginning of our discussion what the Creator or God was. You said that God is love. So in the end, do we exist in order to become love?

M.L.: Yes that is absolutely correct, the entire humanity as one soul.

E.T.: Thank you very much.

M.L.: I hope that we’ll see each other again on different continents and we’ll have more wonderful discussions. Thank you very much. I respect you very much for your books. If somewhere, somehow, you’ll be able to develop this thought, even a little bit, I will be very happy and always ready to help. Goodbye Edward, be well!

E.T.: I will give you a book and in it I’ll write all my coordinates. If you’ll be in Moscow or in America I would very much like to have a cup of coffee with you and talk you out of smoking.

M.L.: Agreed!

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