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Michael Laitman, PhD

A Chain of Souls

So we’re all sharing life, just like cells in a body, where each cell depends on the life of the whole organism. If the other souls think about you, you will live. If they don’t think about you, you will die. That law is the condition for spiritual, as well as physical life.

Today we are considered spiritually dead; the souls we have today are called “animate souls.” The animate soul refers to our lives in this world, in a state of detachment from the Creator. Everything we feel and experience in this life, as long as we don’t acquire a screen and develop the first spiritual Kli, is considered part of the animate soul. It exists for as long as we exist in this world, and disappears when we die. But these are far from the soul that Kabbalists refer to when they write about souls in The Zohar and other books. To have such a soul, we have to first decide that we want our soul, that we want eternal life, and that we want to be like the Creator.

Rav Yehuda Ashlag writes that all people throughout history are actually one long chain of souls. To see and experience this oneness of humanity, you must have an eternal soul that is connected to the eternal, to the Creator. That’s the kind of soul that Kabbalists are talking about.

Now you see why your personal correction is so tightly connected to everybody else’s correction. All souls are linked as one.

But here it’s our own responsibility to choose. We have to decide that we want our souls, and we have to build our souls by ourselves, along with other souls.

In the language of Kabbalah, we say that souls are connected and integrated in a single body. For each soul to provide all the souls with what they need, all souls have to understand one another and realize that they are integrated in the others’ desires. In other words, in your soul, you have to be incorporated with all the other desires, of all people, so you can provide them with what they want. Each cell in the body does just that; it feels what the body requires of it.


Off Course

In Kabbalah, there is a difference between what people want and what they need. What they want is what their egos tell them they want. What they need is a desire for spirituality because this is a desire for giving, the only lasting desire that can be fulfilled endlessly. By having a desire for spirituality, you feel eternal satisfaction because you sense both the desire and its satisfaction simultaneously.


On a personal level, you must know what others need from you and provide what they need. In this way, you become like a complete body. You contain the desire of others within you because of your love for them, and you want what they need.

When you work with others in that way, you feel that you, personally, have grown tremendously. Then you can give them what they need, and you become one unique and unified great creature, standing opposite the Creator.

Through His Eyes

When you want to give others what they need, you have become like the Creator. When you give someone else what he or she needs, you instill a part of yourself in the other person. As the other person receives, it begins to build in the other the understanding that giving to others is good, valuable, and—most importantly—pleasurable. In time, the giver begins to feel that it is not the giving to others that is pleasurable but the giving itself, the state of being a giver.

If you think about it for a moment, you’ll see that nothing, even in our physical world, is created without giving. How can creatures be born without their parents’ giving? Newborns are born because their parents love them and want to give to them, even before they come into existence.

This brings home one point: if this world exists, it means that its Creator loves it. If we, too, want to love our world, we have to learn to see it through His eyes, beyond our self-centered egos. If you want to give people what they need, you begin to see the world through the Creator’s eyes, and thus, gradually, achieve the purpose of creation: acquiring the Creator’s mind.

When you give because giving has merit in your eyes, without any direct or indirect benefits from the giving, it’s considered that your actions are of your own free will. The giving is not for yourself, but for the sake of giving.

Of course, no act goes unrewarded because, as we’ve just explained, the Creator wants to give to us. But the reward for liking to give is seemingly detached from the giving itself. It’s the revelation of the giver, the Creator. In other words, the reward for acting like the Creator is discovering the Creator and why He does what He does. By that you achieve the final correction, and the purpose of your creation.


Off Course

Love thy friend, or neighbor, as thyself, taught by the great Kabbalist Rabbi Akiva, is a maxim that virtually all religions and teachings have adopted. But this is a very dangerous maxim if lived without its final goal—reaching the Creator. Baal HaSulam writes that this is exactly what happened with Russia’s communism. It was doomed to fail because it used nature’s law of altruism without its final purpose: reaching the Creator through equivalence of form with Him.


The key to the whole process is a shift in thought and awareness. You need not change anything in the whole world except your own attitude to all the other souls, all the other people. This is why the saying “Love thy friend as thyself” is enough to correct the whole world. There is no other way to influence and change the world.

My Egoism Is My Own Bane

In the previous chapter we said that egoism is the engine of change. The greater your desires, the more evolved you are because when you want more, you can also receive more. You can achieve more because your will to receive drives you and gives you the strength to get what you want. Such a person is stronger because of his stronger willpower.

Because desires are egoistic by nature, they are initially ill-willed. In the end, that’s bad for you, too. If you care only for yourself, you become detached from others and then can’t fulfill yourself. The sensation of self-fulfillment depends on the existence of others. Thus, if I’m an egoist, I can’t connect to others, and if I can’t connect to others, I can’t enjoy. My egoism has become my own bane. This leaves me poor, deficient and suffering. Because I have a big will to receive, I’m constantly chasing pleasures, yet I’m constantly empty.

This is the state that, as we have said, leads to a spiritual crisis. You realize that you can’t go on living like that and understand that you have to change something in your life. Your point in the heart awakens, and in that state, all the evil in you can be turned into good.

All Grown Up

As a result, the great desire leads to a choice that is, really, no choice. If we’re so dependent on others, we have to care for them and watch over them, even if we hate them.

To survive and correct, we must tend to those we hate. If we don’t, we will suffer.

So what should we do? Become true grownups. If we’re that connected, we’re also that responsible for one another. Just as grownups take responsibility for everything around them—their environment, their children, their employees, their friends, their cities and towns and countries. Everything and everyone. The Creator wouldn’t want it any other way. It’s His plan.


On Course

What greater pleasure is there for parents than to see their children grow up to become mature and successful adults? Similarly, the purpose for which the Creator created us is to be like Him. As a result, the goal of our lives in this world is to learn the Creator’s ways of giving, learn His thoughts, and become like Him.


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