You are here: Kabbalah Library Home / Michael Laitman / Interviews / Society’s Approval is the Greatest Reward

Society’s Approval is the Greatest Reward

Michael Laitman, PhD interviewed by writer, journalist, and popular Russian TV anchor, Lev Novozhenov
September 5, 2006

L. Novozhenov: In Moscow, Kabbalah is a very popular subject. There are groups that study Kabbalah. It’s also a coincidence that Madonna is coming here in the next several days; people say that she is also into Kabbalah. However, when speaking about it with people that are traditionally or through culture related to this study, people like Rabbis, we learn that it is impossible to approach Kabbalistic sources without the knowledge of Aramaic, the study loses its meaning. In texts of this kind everything has meaning, down to the tracing and the graphic outline of the letters.

I do not have the basis for disbelieving such statements. Could you clarify this matter? Should people that are not very familiar with religious topics, who do not have special knowledge of the Bible, the Torah, the Old Testament, approach this topic?

M. Laitman: These arguments are far from truth just like the gossip that Madonna seriously studies Kabbalah. This is advertisement. But I can tell you about the reasons for its origins.

The science of Kabbalah arose 5000 years ago in Mesopotamia. Its founder is Abraham. He wrote Sefer Yetsira—The Book of Creation. It was written in Hebrew, and not in Aramaic (it’s the same Hebrew spoken today in Israel.)

Abraham lived in ancient Babylon, in Ur of the Chaldees [1]. It says that he wanted to turn all the people into followers of his study, because Kabbalah explains the nature of our world, the fact that all of us are egoists. Moreover, the level of egoism in people continues to grow. Abraham warned us that if humanity will not work with egoism, will not restrain it when necessary, will not follow the laws of life of a single organism, then egoism will bring us all to a sad ending. Today we are discovering this outcome in this enormous egoistic world.

In the first book of Torah, these events are described allegorically as a tale about the building of the Tower of Babel [2]. People did not agree with Abraham, a sage and a contemporary, and motivated by egoism they started “building the Tower of Babel”—they desired to attain the world through the use of egoistic aspirations. This has laid the foundation for the scientific-technical revolution and the modern civilization. Ever since this science has been concealed.

Abraham retired to the territory of modern Israel, taking with him a small group of students that were ancient Babylonians [3]. Then this group, as it was multiplying, became a nation; today we call them the descendants of the Jewish people. Genetically they are the ancient Babylonians—the most ancient civilization of Mesopotamia.

L. Novozhenov: Why did Abraham conceal this science?

M. Laitman: Simply, people did not want to use the method of Kabbalah. There is a book called Midrash Raba; it was written in the ancient Babylon and it tells how Abraham invited people, treated them, and gave lessons. This is how the first Kabbalistic group was created. Abraham told people that human civilization is beginning to develop because of the growth of egoism. Until then humanity was on the zero level of egoistic development, people perceived their unity.

As egoism developed, they stopped understanding each other. The first level of egoistic development is called the Babel. Until then people did not experience the Babel, constant clashes with one another, they did not feel that they bothered each other. People understood each other, and all of a sudden misunderstanding appeared—the mixing of languages. The problem is not the mixing of languages, but the misunderstanding. These relationships between people were begotten by egoism, which has suddenly jumped up.

Kabbalah speaks about how one can in spite of the growing egoism use that same egoism, but with an opposite sign, find the proper connection with one another, begin to perceive nature as one sole organism, experience the corrected functioning of this organism, the way it must be and the way it was created.

The ancient Babylonians chose not to use this alternative. They have pushed away this study and began egoistic development. Since then the Kabbalistic study existed for an approximate period of fifteen hundred years amongst a small group of people. Later, this group of Kabbalists was forced to move to Egypt. [4] At that time, size wise this was already a nation. Afterwards, once they came out of Egypt, the Fist Temple and the Second Temple were built in the land of Israel. This was a Kabbalistic period, when the entire nation was studying Kabbalah and perceived the common laws of nature and the structure of the Universe.

And then the First Temple had “fallen,” it was destroyed by the Greeks. Of course, the war was not the reason for the destruction, but the real reason was Jews’ willingness to accept a foreign culture [5]. The egoism of this group of people had grown, and the people fell spiritually. The second spiritual fall was marked by the war with the Romans; at that time the Kabbalistic group had completely lost the spiritual level that they were on, and their entire perception of the spiritual world. Egoism has prevailed. It is said [6] about it that they have fallen from the level of “Love thy neighbor as thyself” into groundless hatred of one another. This is the destruction of the Temple—the temple in man’s heart.

Since then the Kabbalistic study was concealed. One of the last Kabbalists, who belonged to that period in time, was Rabbi Shimon, who wrote the Book of Zohar. In it he conveys the Kabbalistic knowledge in writing, and he says that this study will be concealed until year 1995. Rabbi Shimon lived in the 2nd century AD.

The concealment caused multiple speculations and suppositions, which have risen around Kabbalah the way they have never risen around anything else. There is Christian Kabbalah, there is Islamic Kabbalah, and there is another great number of different sorts of Kabbalistic studies. People think that Kabbalah is astrology, fortune-telling, invocation of spirits, drawing of letters, some special prayers or spells. People think anything except for one thing, and that is that this science is about the interconnection of forces in the world, the forces that govern our world.

Around our world, around our Universe, in and around the still, vegetative, animal, and human natures there are forces that govern all of this. It is precisely about these forces that Kabbalah speaks to us. But the main direction of Kabbalistic research is the study of the forces that govern over man, because man is the highest form of existence of matter in the Universe. Kabbalah is the continuation of natural sciences.

Why do Rabbi Shimon and Abraham say in their books that Kabbalah will be concealed until 1995? The thing is that the unwillingness of the ancient Babylonians to correct their worldview, which is based on the growth of egoism, has brought on the pressure of natural forces, which push man and societies towards progress and development from generation to generation. Such development does not exist on any level but the human level; neither on the vegetative, nor on the animal level. We do not see egoism develop there. But its growth occurs in the human society over the period of one lifetime, as well as over the course of all of history.

L. Novozhenov: Humanity must “mature” enough for the Kabbalistic knowledge to be revealed? Did I understand this right?

M. Laitman: Yes, you are right. Kabbalistic sources say that until the development of egoism goes through all of the stages of its development, and until man realizes for sure that he has come to a dead end, until then Kabbalistic study will be concealed. Only when an alternative to the egoistic development is needed, the revelation will be possible. According to all the forecasts of Kabbalists, this time has come.

L. Novozhenov: Is there proof or signs that it is precisely beginning with the year 1995 of the previous century, not earlier and not later, that the time of revelation of Kabbalistic knowledge has come? Feelings of hopelessness existed before that in human history: in the beginning and the middle of the past century, after Hiroshima, and also as the result of many other historic events during different historic periods.

M. Laitman: I started studying in 1976. Really, one could see that somewhere until 1995 there was no interest in Kabbalah amongst people, but starting with 1995 and on, the interest has suddenly grown.

This points to the fact that humanity is ready to see and understand the inappropriateness of future egoistic development, and is ready to take a different path. There are two signs of this. First of all, globalization and interdependence are being revealed in the world like in a single organism. Kabbalists say that just like in a human body, different organs and cells are interconnected and represent an integrated organism. It is the same in a human society, which represents a sole integrated organism.

Many people understand that such is the structure of nature; there is nothing secret or supernatural in this. But the interesting thing is that humanity has reached such a state. On the other hand, that they feel empty, they do not believe that tomorrow will be better. We are realizing that our egoism will not bring us any good. We start hating each other, regardless of the fact that we depend on one another. Lack of tolerance has grown to such an extent that humanity does not know how to deal with it. On one hand we need each other, on the other, we are ready to destroy everyone around.

Humanity is so empty that people wish to lose themselves in drugs. Depression as illness is becoming number one amongst illnesses around the world. We cannot live with ourselves; we cannot live in a family. The number of divorces is enormous, and it continues to grow; children are trying to leave their parents as early as possible. Egoism is becoming an obvious enemy. Terror is the manifestation of emptiness, expression of hopelessness; hopelessness, which is not yet obvious, but yet it is hopelessness. But humanity does not know where all these manifestations come from and how to deal with them.

L. Novozhenov: I understand that Kabbalah is an entire science, and that it cannot be told in two words. But still, which recipes does it provide for ridding oneself of spiritual emptiness?

M. Laitman: Kabbalah says that we will not be able to come out of this feeling of emptiness while holding on to the previous natural path of development. But the thing is that suffering still will force us to change the worldview of the society. We will need to unite as one sole organism, take care of each other, and establish a proper connection with one another. How can this be accomplished? For this we need to study Kabbalah, because it speaks about the common structure of the world, and how and in what way the corrections are made so that humanity becomes different.

L. Novozhenov: You are saying that Kabbalah can become accessible to somebody, who does not know Hebrew? Does one need to know anything else?

M. Laitman: Just like one can study physics in different languages, one can study Kabbalah. My books have been translated to eleven languages, and the readers perceive them extremely well. There are students from approximately forty countries around the world listening to our lessons, and they also communicate with us, and of course all of this happens through interpreters and translators. This takes place at the exact same time that I give lessons in Israel, in Hebrew, every day for three hours. The same lessons are being transmitted through interpreters to approximately forty countries around the world. All of the material is perceived precisely, evenly, and without losses.

L. Novozhenov: Are primary sources being translated? The book of Abraham?

M. Laitman: Yes, of course. I have translated the book of Abraham, Sefer Yetzira, to Russian, but it is very difficult to understand. I have also translated the Book of Zohar, it exists in Russian as well, and it has around 700 pages. There are translations of many other books. The books that are most necessary today are the books of my teacher, who is the last greatest Kabbalist in the history of humanity. He lived during our time, and he expressed everything in the modern language, which is close to us. I have also translated his books to Russian. There are translations in English, Spanish, German, Turkish, and many other languages.

L. Novozhenov: Those things that you speak about: emptiness, depression, loss of the meaning of life, are especially perceived in Russia. It is enough to come out on the street. Just now I was in this so-called “Brown's movement,” where no one lets others go before them. When speaking of the growth of egoism, I have a feeling that it has reached the end of its development. I just said “the end of its development,” but I have a feeling that this is not it yet, and that this “Brown’s movement” will continue to exist.

It is interesting to hear the point of view of a person who thinks about problems of the universe when it comes to Russia’s destiny. All of those that live here ask the question: Where is Russia heading? What is the meaning of all those things that have happened during the course of its history? What is the meaning of the politics lead by its leaders, which to many seems to be very contradictory? What is the significance of the crisis that Russia experienced in the nineties, which people expected to lead to a heavenly future that never happened, and which brought us to another dead end? Many see the movement regressing somewhere back to the eighties or the seventies.

How do you see the circle of these problems, which you have probably heard about and thought about?

M. Laitman: I can only say one thing about all the countries including Russia, without exceptions. Current development of any country will either lead to Nazism or to the attainment of the science of Kabbalah and the change in the worldview of the society. One or the other, there is no other choice. I am not an oracle, but I have spoken of Nazism in Russia many years ago.

According to Kabbalah everything is very simple. We do not experience unpredictable states; we are under the influence of natural forces. Here everything is predetermined; in nature everything exists in the form of laws. If we do not know the laws, it does not mean that they do not exist. It’s strange, but we are trying to invent them. We model a society, like little children we do everything that comes to our mind, and then we discover that it didn’t work out the way we expected. It didn’t work because we did not know the laws of nature; we did not act in accordance with them.

Those laws of nature that we are familiar with: mechanical, electrical, we do follow. Humanity studies them and adjusts them to our needs. As a rule we do not make mistakes here, and if we do make mistakes, then we can see why and how it happens. But on the level of laws of human society we do anything that comes to our mind. In reality humanity is one of nature’s elements, but it simply does not know the laws of its existence. This is why we do everything kind of exactly the other way around.

Human society exists in accordance with those laws, which are the subject of study of the science of Kabbalah. They exist outside of our world and they govern our world and also our society. According to these laws, humanity has reached the last stage of its development, this period is coming into force, it still continues to develop, but this is not the end yet, though this is the last stage of development. Our objective now is to urgently change ourselves, correct ourselves in accordance with nature, bring ourselves to harmony with it. You know, it’s like correspondence of temperatures, like correspondence of changes in pressure; in these instances people always feel good, if there is no reaction between them and the surrounding forces; then the law of balance comes into force.

If we would learn what Kabbalistic sources say, and we would create a society in correspondence to the existing laws, then we would be comfortable. Besides, we would also feel that we are in an eternal flow of life, we would feel like we are perfect. But otherwise, the same Kabbalistic sources say that opposing the laws of the universe on the last stage of egoistic development will bring any country to Nazism.

For the laws to function it does not matter where in the world this is happening—Nazism will manifest. If today we see Nazism in South America and in Russia, then a little later we will see its manifestation in China, Korea, America, Western Europe, Asia—it makes no difference where, in any country. These are all the same laws of existence of human society; the only difference is in its external form of manifestation, the culture. Regardless, it will be Nazism.

L. Novozhenov: How can one use this knowledge? How can one advise Putin [The President of Russia 2000-2008] to study Kabbalistic sources? What can be done?

M. Laitman: I think that the name “Kabbalah” should not be used when circulating this knowledge. You see the way this name is being used, Kabbalah’s mysterious image, the things that are being passed off and offered under its name. This is why this name cannot be used. I am already known as a Kabbalist, there is nothing that can be done about this.

It is necessary to circulate simply the knowledge about the universe and nature, it is necessary to discover the basic laws of nature, the basic laws of human society, it is not necessary to call these things Kabbalistic knowledge.

Humanity can learn the laws of nature of the still, vegetative, and animal levels of the development of nature, but on our level, the human level, we cannot discover them. Why is Kabbalah called the secret science? Kabbalah reveals the laws that function on the level of development called the human level. We always discover the laws on a level beneath us, from up-down; it is impossible to discover them on our level through regular methods. But as soon as you start using this science, you develop instruments so you can continue to examine nature and see how to change yourself to suit it scientifically, logically, and rationally. Man will not be able to get nature to submit, it won’t work. All we can do is change.

L. Novozhenov: If I understand you correctly, so Russia, for example, would not fall into Nazism, it is necessary for the Kabbalistic ideas, which are the knowledge of the structure of the world and life of humanity in accordance to the laws of the universe, to possess everyone, both the powerful government and the people? Otherwise we cannot escape fascism? How can it be done practically so everyone would possess this knowledge?

M. Laitman: Honestly, I do not know how this knowledge can reach everyone; I am neither a sociologist, nor a political analyst. I do not intervene, and I do not try to change social and public processes. I speak about that, which is to take place according to the objective laws of nature. There is nothing forced here.

Egoism develops from generation to generation, in every person and in every society. Fascism is where the development of egoism brings us to the last stage, where correction is already required. Today we have reached the fourth stage of its development, the very last one. Egoism started developing in ancient Babylon:

If we do not start doing something about the correction of our universe, then the next social formation will necessarily and very rapidly form around the world; in every country there will arise their own individual national fascism.

How will it happen in Russia? Russia is looking for its own path, its goal, its national idea. What idea can be personal, exceptional, and national in our integrated and interconnected world? How can one separate from others? You understand how contradicting this is to all those things that are objectively happening in the world.

An idea should not be national; it simply should be normal. What does an idea mean in general: “Let’s invent something?” How can one invent something when there is nature, and there are laws in it? You know these laws to such extent that you, without inventing anything, understand what you must be like on the following stage?

If aliens are to appear in our world, come from some other planet, then to them every occurrence that takes place will be unexpected: “Wow, a baby came out of a woman! It started developing! Wonderful things are happening.” But to man the way things happen in our world and its laws are natural things.

It turns out that we ourselves are trying to create laws of nature. It looks so naive. I think we need to find a way to reach people at least with the understanding that the laws of development and functioning of the society exist. I try to do this as much as I can. Let’s study these laws, let’s see what Kabbalah speaks about.

The science of Kabbalah—the most ancient study in the world, which came from the cradle of humanity—ancient Babylon, where the most ancient people for the first time became a human society, that is an egoistic society. From there people have spread around the entire earth. What has such society come to? The same state as in the ancient Babylon. On one hand it is Babylonish, there is incomprehension of one another, lack of desire to regain a community, oneness, a connection. On the other hand—what can be done now? Before, when the first stage of egoism was developing, people could settle around the world, and today there is nowhere to go, we don’t have another Earth.

It appears that we have come to the initial point. Kabbalistic sources from those distant times describe in a very interesting manner that which humanity discovers only 5,000 years after. It is astounding how simple is the language that these events are described with and the way they are presented to us! They tell us: “You will come to the same point!” Just like we tell a child: “You don’t believe me? You don’t want to? All right. Try it, do it yourself. See for yourself!” This is a five thousand year experiment.

L. Novozhenov: Today the world resembles a class in school; besides, it is not a very good school. And in this class there are children with different levels of development: there are those who have stayed back for one year, there are those who have stayed back for two years, and there are also talented students. And there is also a punk, who has been stuck here for four years in a row. One can easily see this looking at the countries of the Middle East. Israel is one culture, and 200 kilometers aside there are people of a completely different culture, of different views. Neighbors regard Israel and its existence differently. There is also America, which represents the top of the class, the pupil that tries to pull some apart, and punish others. Thank God there are different forces in the world. So far they balance each other.

How do you see the perspectives of this balance? Until which point will this situation remain the same? It is obvious that the balance of forces is very shaky. The last Israel-Lebanese conflict has demonstrated how fragile it is. There was a feeling (and many still have it) that world war three was to begin in the Middle East.

M. Laitman: If world war three begins, it will begin in the Middle East, and this will be a world war with the use of atomic weapons.

The development of natural forces allows for another two world wars: world war three and world war four, after which there will literally be a small number of people left. Still, they will be forced to agree with the demands of natural forces, and on their own, through their free desire, they will achieve the corrected state.

Who does the mission to prevent the world wars, which are mass extermination that hangs over humanity and constantly threatens it, rest upon? This is a task of the God chosen people. These people are special because they have an ancient study; they possess a method of attainment of absolute happiness for humanity. It is necessary to bring it to the nations of the entire world. This is what it means to be God chosen. It is not because Jews are better than others, or smarter, or higher than others, but it is because they have this instrument.

And all the representatives of this nation subconsciously feel that they are guilty of something before humanity. And humanity feels that the Jews have something that they don’t have, something that they are hiding. This is where the root of anti-Semitism lies. Anti-Semitism will continue to exist until the Jews fulfill their mission: present humanity with the method of advancement through the most correct and the fastest path towards the corrected state, the only state appropriate for us, where humanity will be in harmony with the highest laws of the Universe. Humanity will begin to feel like they are above the level of life and death; it will really reach the human level.

In reality, today people are on the stage of development called “the animal level of development,” and not the human level. Such arrangement of ours in the common system of the universe means that we do not correspond to the laws of human coexistence, we do not follow the laws of nature, which exist on the human level of development. Currently humanity corresponds to the animal level.

The mission of the Jewish people, what makes them God chosen, is to lift humanity to the next level, the human level. We must do this. And if we don’t do this, then we will keep receiving even stronger blows.

L. Novozhenov: What do Kabbalistic sources say about the end of man’s physical existence? How is this problem interpreted? Maybe the human “I” continues to exist in some other forms? Or life ends together with the end of one’s path on earth? This is “the question of all questions,” and it is the one that has to do with egoism. As a rule, the less one believes into life after death, the more egoistic he is. It turns out that one strives to receive as much as possible from corporal life, even though everything is meaningless, since man dies.

M. Laitman: You are asking very good questions, so consistent and logical. It pleases me a lot to hear them.

After death man returns into this world. Kabbalah reveals to us this reincarnation of life and death. It turns out to be a very simple picture. The entire humanity, beginning with the first generation and through the last generation is like a line of soldiers: people live their life, they die, their bodies rot. Bodies are born again, souls incarnate in them again. And again—the next generation. Souls return into bodies and continue their path until humanity corrects the souls. Bodies do not need correcting. What is there to correct? It is an animal structure.

All those that live today have also existed in previous generations, and they will live in following generations, until they complete their mission. And it is the same with every one that exists or has existed before. You can ask: “Why is the number of living people different in every generation?” This is a consequence of the development of egoism, of its growth. To ease the correction of egoism it is necessary to divide its density into a larger number of bodies. If one body is to be loaded with an enormous egoism, then the person will not be able to manage such a difficult task.

This is why Kabbalah explains that population changes proportionally to the development of egoism in every generation. There are periods of growth of the level of egoistic development, and on the contrary—a decline. For example the origin of epidemics in the Middle Ages is also explained through this connection. There was a decline in population because epidemics caused a decline in egoistic aspirations. Demographics directly depend on the level of egoism of the human society.

L. Novozhenov: Did I understand this right? The same people are born all the time?

M. Laitman: Yes, that’s right. The same people are born all the time, which of course differ in their appearance.

Why do newer generations keep being born? After one’s death, all of the knowledge and experience that he has acquired become personality attributes. And this is why in every new generation even the children are better adept to life than adults. Children of today are proficient in computers, mobile phones. And these things are not as simple for the older generation. Knowledge has turned into attributes in the new generation.

L. Novozhenov: I have a feeling that children are smarter than we are, that my ten months old granddaughter is smarter than I am and all others. Even because in some mysterious way she knows how to control the adults. You can say that she manipulates us. You and I cannot get as comfortable as she is: the baby gets her food brought to her and taken away from her, same with the pot, they take her for walks. We must serve our own needs ourselves. And she is many times wiser that we are, even just through the facts that surround her birth. I think that smart children know how to be born to a family where they will be taken better care of.

But that thing that you said about reincarnation of souls, one’s progression, slightly resembles Buddhism, the theory of reincarnation.

M. Laitman: Yes, that’s true.

Abraham had many students. They formed a Kabbalistic group. Abraham, together with a part of his students, has relocated to the land, which today is called Israel. And his sons, those who Abraham sent to the East have laid the foundation for the future eastern beliefs and religions. Besides his first wife, Sarah, Abraham also had another wife and several concubines. One of his concubines was Keturah. The sons of Keturah he sent to the East [7]. This is described in the ancient Midrash—Midrash Raba. This is why eastern beliefs and religions partly are very close to Kabbalah.

L. Novozhenov: Tell me, is it necessary for a Kabbalist to be a religious Jew?

M. Laitman: Kabbalah is a science and does not relate to faith in any way. Different faiths and religions, including the Jewish religion, and then the Christian and Muslim religions, have appeared after the fall of this Kabbalistic group, which has grown to the size of a nation, from the spiritual level to the egoistic level. The destruction of the second Temple in the beginning of our era has marked this fall. The Jewish religion appeared with all of its ceremonies and commandments, which regulate the daily life of a religious person. This is the culture of “the exile,” which does not relate to the Jewish people of the period in history before the destruction of the Temples of Jerusalem, when Jewish people were still united with a spiritual idea, and they lived in the land of Israel.

Religions have nothing to do with Kabbalistic study. Religions have been invented by man for purely psychological justification of his existence, for moral support, not more than that. According to Kabbalistic study, in accordance with rational, scientific, and sane approach, religions do not have any basis.

L. Novozhenov: A Kabbalist neither needs to be religious nor Jewish; did I understand this right?

M. Laitman: Yes, it is not necessary at all, and there is more. All of this is written in Kabbalistic sources. It will be the same in the future, man will study Kabbalah, he’ll be changing his views of the world in accordance with the laws of the universe, and at the same time he will be able to

remain Christian, or Muslim, or Jewish in a way.

L. Novozhenov: In your opinion, religion is a tribute to tradition?

M. Laitman: It’s a culture.

L. Novozhenov: Do you negate the existence of God? Or do you think that such existence is possible?

M. Laitman: The thing is that in Kabbalistic science there is a subdivision of people, which in their turn divide into those people that believe that God exists, and those that believe that God does not exist. They are the believers! It is still faith, both one and the other. But Kabbalah is a science; it discovers and studies the laws of the Universe. A Kabbalist’s attitude towards the world is the same as of a scientist—the main law of Kabbalah states: “Man does not have a more accurate proof than that which his eyes see.” This science has a realistic basis for the attainment of the world, not believing anyone or anything, but testing everything on experience.

L. Novozhenov: You have touched upon an interesting issue. We forget that it is the word “faith,” and not knowledge that lies in the basis of religion. We simply believe that God exists. Some believe that Christ exists; others believe that Buddha exists, but they do not know for sure. Even though it may not be exactly like this.

And what do people in Israel think about such views? I think that this commonwealth cannot be called fundamentalist, but it can neither be called secular. In Israel, Orthodox spirituality has sufficient force and power. What is the attitude of the Israeli confessional community towards Kabbalah and the interest that is being expressed towards Kabbalah? You are not being persecuted? Do you have problems?

M. Laitman: Of course, it is difficult to use one specific term to name Israel according to some characteristic of. what this nation is.

The people that govern Israel collectively are people that are interested in power and profits. It does not matter whether these people are religious or not. These people basically have one goal: power, which may even bring money. It makes no difference whether the money is needed to maintain power, or power is needed to have more money. Besides, everyone pursues some goals of their own. They bring their own understanding, their own philosophical ideas about what society should be like. These views were plied in them from childhood: by religious parents in one case, and nonreligious parents in the other case. This makes no difference. To them Kabbalah is remote.

Today we are only beginning to make changes in Israel. It is very difficult to work with our brother the Jew. It is not for no avail that these people are called stiff-necked [8]. A stubborn donkey otherwise. And it is really so. It seems this way to us, and for some reason we are considered to be smart. But it isn’t so. Based on the things that are happening here, in the land of Israel, this fact becomes doubtful.

In Israel, the attitude towards Kabbalah is the same as anywhere else in the world: it’s negative, biased. This attitude gradually needs to be changed. Kabbalists are being persecuted. My teachers were persecuted, and also Kabbalists in the Middle Ages; furthermore, even the forefathers were persecuted. There are very interesting documentary proofs of this. Let’s say that Ramhal—a famous Spanish Kabbalist of fifteenth century, was banished from the city behind the city wall, the city gates closed; at that time this was equal to murder. My teacher Rav Yehuda Ashlag was vanished from Jerusalem, his newspaper was closed, his grave stamped out. I am not speaking about little daily dirt.

Kabbalists speak the truth when they say that human society chose an incorrect path of development. This is unpleasant to hear; everyone is against this sort of statement.

Genuine Kabbalah is very difficult to present to people. Primarily it exposes man’s illness. The egoistic illness is like a cancer cell of society, it consumes everything around it, and at the end it dies. Such is the nature of a cancer cells. And in order to be healthy, one needs to nullify himself in relation to the entire organism, just like a cell nullifies itself in any living organism. The law of a living organism is based on every cell performing the functions that the entire organism needs. The cell itself only receives what is necessary for its existence to continue to provide the entire organism with whatever it can, without interruption. This is the law of life. It is carried out on the animal level of existence of matter, vegetative, and still. It is only on the human level where it is not carried out. This birthed such a horrible world, such “ugly” people. Each one of us is simply a cancerous cell.

Kabbalah explains the mechanism of the functionality of this system; it demonstrates how we can become a normal and healthy organism. Humanity must understand the design of nature, the purpose of its creation. This will enable the human society to ascend to a different level, to the level of perception of eternity.

L. Novozhenov: A cell on its own can be cured, but it will merely be one healthy cell, it will not be able to change all the cells. First of all, what can be done about this? Secondarily, the things you are saying are bringing back memories of our recent past—the Soviet times. The classics of Marxism-Leninism, who also wanted to destroy egoism in society. Equality was being promoted, public property; they were trying to destroy individuality.

Maybe they were right? I, as many others, was also dreaming of life in a capitalistic society. At this time everyone doubts: do we need all those things that we see on the streets today?

M. Laitman: The idea itself is a wonderful idea. But only when it is not forced, but taught without coercion. No one can be forced. Only when one ripens on the inside, one begins to understand the laws of nature, begins to see them, and then carries them out.

It’s like a person will not jump just like that from tenth floor, he knows that he will crash. By knowing a law of nature you follow it, regardless of whether you like it or not. What needs to be done is for man to use the true laws of the human society just like he uses the physical laws. There is nothing that can be done about this: if one follows the law, it will be good, if one doesn’t follow the law, there will be Nazism, there will be destruction. The science of Kabbalah enables one to see with his own eyes the outcome of every situation. These are the same laws of nature. When people see it for themselves, they do not need convincing: “If you want to have a better life—let’s do something good.”

It would have been something else if communists, besides for revealing the idea to their people, also were to reveal the science. And of course not the scientific communism invented by them. If the knowledge of Kabbalistic science was to become accessible to them, like physics, then one learns the laws of nature through his own experience. Understanding comes—it is not a choice. “So what can be done?” Kabbalistic sources provide a very simple recipe: “If society has ripened, there is only one thing to be done—start praising the importance of altruistic ideas; they need to become the most desired reward.” It is revealed before man that in the end he does not need anything; he only needs the approval of the society.

Man is made in such a way that his “I” demands the approval of society. If the children and the grandchildren say: “Grandpa, people speak awful things about you!” Or your wife will be ashamed of those things that people say about you, because you are not an integrated and proper member of society. Then you will do everything to become one.

The most important thing is to show the society what it must be like in order to be saved. If the entire society accepts this idea, then every member of this society will have to submit to it whether he likes it or not. There is a law of nature: we desire society’s approval—it’s the greatest reward for us.

And it is the other way around when society shames us. When one’s family, relatives, children, grandchildren, or the social opinion works against us, it equals the nullification of man’s “I.” And he cannot allow this to happen; man is willing to die just to preserve his “I.” Man’s “I” is above our animal state, it belongs to the level called “man” in humans. This is what the Kabbalistic sources say. In reality, if we are able to make these ideas at least slightly accessible, spread them around, then people will see how real and how rational they are. And then we will realize that everything else is very easy.

L. Novozhenov: Today it is clear that part of humanity needs to restrict itself. What bothers people? The level of comfort, well-being, health. All of these things are being unevenly distributed around the world; some have a lot, others have very little. Such distribution of material goods causes dissatisfaction and conflicts.

How can a person understand how much he needs to receive? When is one able to see that a certain amount is normal, and anything above it is too much?

M. Laitman: There is no recipe. For as long as every person, and the entire society, and separate countries will remain egoistic, it will be impossible to distribute the material goods evenly.

This problem is already obvious today. Why does Russia have such wealth, when African countries or, for example, Indonesia, suffer from lack of those things that Russia has too much of? Everything that earth has must be distributed evenly: all the wealth, all the natural resources, all the human resources, otherwise there will always be a problem.

Kabbalah speaks about the fact that humanity must come to equal distribution of goods in society. We will be forced to come to this, but “with the help of a stick.” There is no way out of this. We will suffer until we understand the need for correction, but under no circumstance through forceful methods, but only through dissemination of this knowledge in society.

You can say: “How many people around the world will want to study? Nobody wants to hear about studying, about a science.” The thing is that when man is in pain, he will be glad to hear and to learn about his illness and how to rid himself of it. When man will feel that his life, and the lives of his children depend on this, and otherwise it’s death, he will gladly study. Man will know what he needs. Humanity must learn that there is preventive medicine for the blows, which follow them.

L. Novozhenov: It seems that the roots of Fascism, which we spoke about, are precisely in the fact that justice is the basis of Fascism, but only for a specific nation. When in Russia we touch upon matter of ownership of oil resources, then it is a custom to say that our great forefathers, Yermak and others, have conquered Siberia for us. Russians are so brave, undertakers; they have conquered grounds, found oil. And those that don’t have oil, let them cry, too bad for them that their forefathers weren’t opportunistic. It’s like in everyday life: one’s father is a professor, and another’s is a shoemaker. This person didn’t get lucky. It’s the same with nations and people.

But it must be that some unexpected events will take place. On one hand they are unexpected; on the other, they are expected. Everyone is expecting that in the 21st century an alternative source of energy will be discovered, and oil will prove to be unimportant, just like all of the engines of internal combustion.

You know, when driving in Moscow, there are so many cars that there is “no space to drive or walk.” Everyone is rushing somewhere. Where is everyone rushing? And what special things do they have to do so urgently? The results of this rushing are not really visible, for the exception of newer and newer “boxes,” which are higher, and higher, and higher. All of this births the sensation of pointlessness. Could you elaborate on this?

M. Laitman: If society is developing egoistically, then pointlessness of existence is a natural process. Our egoism creates these circumstances. And one can’t get away from this until we start perceiving egoism as evil so clearly that we will even see, perceive, understand that all the evil in the world, even on the level of tsunamis, earthquakes, different ecological cataclysms is the consequence of our incorrect behavior. On our level of human behavior, on the “human” level in man, we are connected with each other incorrectly—egoistically, and this affects all of nature. Our thoughts, the energy of thoughts, our attitude towards each other is the most horrible weapon, it has the greatest affect on the entire surrounding nature.

Why was one person lucky to be born in a good family, and another wasn’t. And why does one country have a huge quantity of natural recourses, and another one doesn’t? This is a complicated matter related to the Kabbalistic geography and the common governance of nature over the level of our world. At this moment we will not be able to examine it well. But at the end, the one that uses that which must be used collectively by the entire humanity does not win.

I don’t think that there can be positive changes from the ownership of oil, gas and gold resources. There is everything in Russia, everything necessary and even more than that. These riches do not and will not bring society any happiness, anything good. Maybe arms will rattle, or the world once again will hear loud allegations. This money will not bring happiness; it will not turn into inner riches. That what government has, which is against the laws of nature, such as the ownership of riches, is put to work only to benefit itself, conquest of others, dictatorship over others. And this is against the law of nature.

L. Novozhenov: Maybe you’ve heard that new sources of energy have been invented and they are being purposefully concealed? If these sources were to be revealed to the world, then the entire economy, all of the power of the rich would collapse. Do you think that if humanity were to end this universal oil related psychosis connected to airplanes, engines of internal combustion, catastrophes, this would be a great blessing for humanity?

M. Laitman: Oil civilization has already ended in the 20th century. You are right, there are many alternative sources of energy in the world, but these facts are being concealed by the people that have a great revenue, power, and money from the ownership of oil resources.

Arosa is a Swiss resort located on the opposite side of the mountain where the famous Davos is located. At the same time, when there was an international economic convention in Davos, there was an international philosophical altruistic hearing in Arosa. Of course I was amongst the philosophers and the altruists. But the interesting thing is that the economists (we somewhat communicated) have presented very interesting studies about the global warming, the melting of the icecaps in the Arctic and the Antarctic. From this lecture one can draw an astounding conclusion: new regions and possibilities arise for the production of oil. The fact that at the same time there is a catastrophe threatening us does not matter, all that matters is that there will be other several sources of oil. This is the result of natural egoistic development.

Of course the world won’t go anywhere, nothing will happen to it. The only problem is by which means we will achieve proper interaction with nature, since this is the final goal of existence of nature—to bring us to harmony with it. Either the laws push us through negative impressions, suffering, and sensations of lack of harmony or, if we study the laws of nature, and discover the cause of our illness, we will be able to attain harmony, we will carry out the laws of human society the same way as we carry out any laws that we have learned, and at the end we will have a good result.

L. Novozhenov: Another question, possibly the last one. I think I have received enough food for thought.

How should a person treat the decrease of the level of comfort? Or the fact that he cannot reach the desired level of comfort: he suffers, worries, and cannot find a place for himself because of this?

M. Laitman: I have experienced a lot in my life, and overall I have traveled a lot. I have been to different countries, I have spoken to different people, representatives of different civilizations, and I came to a solution that comfort is man’s inner perception. One can live in a golden cage and feel like he is in prison. And one can feel that “with one’s beloved, even a hut is heaven.” So, whether one has comfort or not, does not matter on its own.

For a modern person the state of comfort is the state of inner harmony, safety, equilibrium, knowledge, peace, mutual feelings, and warmth in relationships. This is the comfort that we strive to achieve. It does not matter what’s on the outside. At the end of one’s experience one understands that material attributes of existence do not mean anything.

And the main thing—I am sure of it, I just know it—is the sensation of being needed by society, receiving support, approval, goodwill, and inspiration from society, one’s family, relatives. When one is sure that he will always be supported by friendly and loving hands, it is the most comfortable state, one doesn’t need anything else. When man is in balance with the laws of nature, he doesn’t fear anything. Man does not get sick; he does not experience discomfort or depression. All our problems only come from lack of harmony. Humanity will not achieve any other comfortable state, only when following the laws of balance with nature that Kabbalistic sources speak about.

And besides, the countries with the highest level of existence have the highest rate of cancer, depression, suicides, and divorces amongst all the countries.

External well-being is not the basis for real inner comfort.

L. Novozhenov: You have said that a person, who is in balance with the laws of nature, does not get sick. This person doesn’t die either? If one doesn’t get sick, means that one doesn’t die?

M. Laitman: Death is not the consequence of an illness. Death is a natural period of time that exists for the purpose of limiting the carrying out of man’s mission on a certain stage of his egoistic development. There are different periods and types of death. Someday we will be able to speak about these states in more detail. But these periods do not depend on illnesses. One can be healthy, but gradually animalistic egoism burns out. Why does a person die? He exhausts his egoism. Man no longer wishes to keep fulfilling it.

L. Novozhenov: If you want to live a long life—be an egoist!

M. Laitman: Let’s say so. Old age comes when egoism burns out, it wants less and less. But why? It is a mistake to think that in order to continue to live it is necessary to have a large egoism. Man’s disappointment and decay happen because he no longer can fulfill himself egoistically and naturally. Egoistic desires cannot be satisfied through natural means. A person buys a car, an apartment, it doesn’t matter what—at most one week later his pleasure from the things that he has acquired disappears, everything becomes plain. Or a person was hungry, he finally reaches food, he swallows several pieces, and that’s it, his pleasure disappears. In order to extend the pleasure, man must switch to something else.

When pleasure enters the desire egoistically, it nullifies it, and pleasure stops being perceived as pleasure. Egoism deadens itself. This is the secret and the cause of our death. If, when acting this way, we would not draw death near, then we would experience immortality.

What does “immortality” mean? We would not perceive the death of our biological body as the death of our own “I.” Man would have a sensation of the eternal flow of information, matter, his own “I.” Even before the death of the body we would stop relating ourselves to it. Because “I” is not a biological body. “I” is a different, spiritual one. One can replace all of the organs of the body, but my “I” will remain my “I.” A body is nothing but a jacket, a machine. Once we used to think that the “I” is a person’s heart. Now we think that maybe it’s the mind, the consciousness. Soon we will be able to replace people’s heads, and it will be the same, we will not discover anything new. The person’s “I” remains.

When the desire becomes altruistic it will not fade away under the influence of the pleasure that is being received, and man will be able to perceive immortality. One who studies Kabbalah attains this state, he ascends to the level of the eternal flow of information, relates his “I” to this eternal flow. And the death of the body is like a change of shirt.

L. Novozhenov: How many years did Abraham live? It seems to me that he lived around two hundred years? [9]

M. Laitman: When in the Bible or other sacred books it speaks about the years that one lives, it is not secular years that it speaks about, but the stage that a person has attained in his spiritual development. It allegorically speaks about the inner work and the level of changes attained. In the ancient Babylon egoism has ignited in everyone: in Abraham, just like in the entire society. But Abraham managed to ascend several steps in spiritual development with the help of this egoism.

L. Novozhenov: Thank you very much! I am very pleased to speak with you and to meet you personally, and not just through your books.

M. Laitman: I hope that you and I will see the future of the new humanity, and the happy lives of our grandchildren.

L. Novozhenov: We will believe in it. Good luck to you!

[1] The book of Beresheet; a weekly section of Noah. Chapter 11:27-28; 31

27. Now these are the generations of Terah: Terah begot Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran begot Lot. 28. And Haran died in the presence of his father Terah in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldees.

31. And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot, the son of Haran, his grandson, and Sarai, his daughter-in-law, his son Abram's wife; and together they left the Ur of the Chaldees to go into the land of Canaan; and they arrived at Haran, and settled there.

[2] The book of Beresheet; a weekly section of Noah. Chapter 11:1-9

1. And there was one language and one speech on all of earth. 2. And it came to pass, as they journeyed east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they settled there. 3. And they said to one another: “Let us make brick and burn them in a heating stove!” And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar. 4. And they said: “Let us build us a city and a tower, with its top in heaven, and let us make us a name; lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.” 5. And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men were building. 6. And the LORD said: “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language; and these are the things they started doing. And now nothing will be withheld from them, which they intend to do. 7. Let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may no longer understand the speech of one another.” 8. So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth; and they seized the building of the city. 9. Therefore Babel was the name given to it; because it was there where the LORD confounded the language of all the earth; and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.

[3] The book of Beresheet; a weekly section of Lech Lecha. Chapter 12:1

1. Now the LORD said to Abraham: “Leave thy country, and thy birth land, and thy father's house, unto the land that I will show thee.”

[4] The book of Beresheet; a weekly section of Lech Lecha. Chapter 12:10

10. And there was famine in that land; and Abraham went down into Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was sore in the land.

[5] Profits Ezekiel 12:19

(19) “And you shall say to the people of this land,” so said the Lord God about the dwellers of Jerusalem, of the land of Israel, “their bread they will eat with anxiety, and their water they will drink in desolation, since their land will become desolate of its fullness because of the violence of all who dwell therein.”

[6] Profits Isaiah 1:21-23

(21) How is the faithful city, full of justice, become a harlot! Righteousness lodged in it, but now murderers. (22) Thy silver has become dross, thy wine mixed with water. (23) Thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves; every one loves bribes, and follows after rewards; they judge not the fatherless (fairly,) neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them.

[7] The book of Beresheet; a weekly section of Hayee Sarah; chapter 25:1-6

1. And Abraham took another wife, and her name was Keturah. 2. And she bore him Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah. 3. And Jokshan begot Sheba, and Dedan. And the sons of Dedan were Asshurim, and Letushim, and Leummim. 4. And the sons of Midian: Ephah, and Epher, and Hanoch, and Abida, and Eldaah. All these were the sons of Keturah. 5. And Abraham gave all that he had to Isaac. 6. But unto the sons of the concubines that Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts; and he sent them away from Isaac, his son, while he yet lived, eastward, unto the east land.

[8] The book of Devarim; a weekly section of Reeh 9:6-7

6. Know therefore that it is not for thy righteousness that the LORD thy God gives thee this good land to possess it, for thou are stiff-necked people. 7. Remember, forget thou not, how thou made the LORD thy God wroth in the desert; from the day that thou came out of the land of Egypt, until ye came unto this place, ye have been rebellious against the LORD.

[9] The book of Beresheet; a weekly section of Hayee Sarah; chapter 25:7-8

7. And these are the days of the years of Abraham's life, which he lived: one hundred and seventy years and five years. 8. And Abraham has passed, and died in a good old age, an old man, and content; and he was gathered to his people.

Back to top
Site location tree