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Michael Laitman, PhD

Ask the Kabbalist (April 10, 2008)

TV Program, Israel

Question: In June, there’ll be the European football Championships and then the Olympics. Why are people so interested in sports? What is this thing about competition among individuals or groups and in general, what is good competition?

Michael Laitman: Competition stands at the base of nature. Our material, the will to receive, wants to realize itself. The question is does it to benefit itself and to harm others or is it to benefit others? That’s the difference between good and bad. Good sports, ideally, when correct, is when, it’s true that we are competing, but with good spirits.

Moderator: What is competition with good spirits? Competition is either I take the gold medal or you don't.

M. Laitman: But if we are doing it in truth, properly, everyone will be satisfied with it. Everyone gets to what he merits and he has no demands of others. Competition with others helps him become the best he can be; he settles for it and he’s, actually, rewarded with his own glory.

Even if I were to run at my age with everyone, you know what place I would get to, while they would have already eaten and slept after the competition….

Moderator: By the time you would be crossing the finishing line.

M. Laitman: That is if I would finish at all. But I would be satisfied that I did my bit, as much as I could. And the fact that I competed with them stimulated me.

I would be grateful to them for it and I would be confirmed in what I achieved because these are the conditions: there’s my age and that’s me.

So that’s the good spirit in sports, when everyone achieves what he should achieve and he has no demands of others. But he’s thankful to others who in this competition helped him to produce the best that he could out of himself. And that is how we have to be in society and everywhere, where even though I am always in competition with others, the competition should be good. It should help me to realize myself, to bring the best out of me.

Moderator: But in this good competition that you describe, can there be a motive of harming others?

M. Laitman: No, that’s the problem. I don’t want to harm others; I don’t want to get in their way. On the contrary, I want to give others the same opportunity to make the best of themselves. And then it is as if we find the common ground. Everyone wins and realizes their potential.

This is why, we are all aware of it; we’re thankful to each other and that’s the end of the competition, in a good way. If we do that in life, we will be like a society of people who help each other and there will never be bad competition. On the contrary, because we truly are, as part of a civilization, as part of our society, we can see how we are all connected to each other. And if we help each other realize our potential, we will all be gaining and no one will use the performance enhancing drugs and all that. No one will want his partner, his competitor to suffer something bad, because a good result indicates something.

I remember myself; I used to be a distance runner. It was about forty years ago. I ran five thousand about 14:40, 14:30 minutes in competition. And today, I see how much it has advanced. People are stronger; they have the right props. They have the right instruments; everything is different now in the running.

Look at high jumps, for instance. They would jump two meters and ten then. Today, they do two meters and forty, so thirty centimeters in forty years. I enjoy seeing people achieve these climaxes; it indicates the ability of the human body. When it’s done in the right spirit, I think there are beautiful and good things about it. Besides, I can see that with respect to sports, if you don’t use it in the right spirit, it is as you sometimes see: struggle and riots like in England or Europe. We can see the harm that can come out of it. But if the individual and people enjoy it, in the end, it’s a blessed thing.

Moderator: What about sports? Why are people attracted to sports? Maybe it’s one of the most popular hobbies.

M. Laitman: First of all, more men are attracted to sports than women because sport is a result of games that we play as children.

Moderator: So, why men?

M. Laitman: Because men remain children even as grown-ups. They continue to play; they don’t go through the process of delivery and nurturing of children. They don’t feel they go through an internal revolution like a woman, who experiences it, so she usually stays away from playing with dolls.

Moderator: She plays with real children.

M. Laitman: But much of a man’s life is a game; a game is a serious thing. Our whole lives are really a game; any kind of process is a game, we learn through games. In men it remains as something that really fills their lives. We’ll talk about games one day.

A game is anything when we want to get to from one degree to the next, to a higher state; we have to play at it. Because I try to imagine what it would be like, how do I cross over, go up there—that’s all games. So for men, a sport as game remains very attractive.

Moderator: And sports in general? We talked about men being more attracted than women but in general, why are people attracted to sports? What does that give them?

M. Laitman: I am talking about the proper, natural sports when people want to see how far they can go.

Moderator: Is there a limit to it?

M. Laitman: Well, of course there is.

Moderator: You gave an example of a high jump from 2:10m to 2:40m.

M. Laitman: Let us say maybe another 20 centimeters

Moderator: Is there a limit to the ability of the human body?

M. Laitman: Of course, it’s limited because in the end, we are animals. But the concept of sports, for it’s a concept, is where a person wants to see, how much he can achieve and there is nothing wrong with that.

Moderator: But there’s a connection here between ambition and the human body. There is ambition in many realms: I will have a career and thereby be more achieving; I will study, thereby being more accomplished. Is that the special connection of sport?

M. Laitman: You have to distinguish between the real sports and what sports have turned into nowadays, which is a lot of politics, money and gambling.

Our ego has turned clean sports into something that is very dirty, not nice. But in principle, it’s a way for a person to develop himself and wants to see how far his body can reach and this is good.

Moderator: Are you doing sports today?

M. Laitman: I like it, as much as I can; I don’t run like I did before but I still walk five thousand meters in the morning. Plus in the summer and winter, I swim in the sea; that’s enough for me.

When I was next to Rabash, my teacher, Rav Baruch Shalom ha Levi Ashlag, with him too, we would walk every day in the park; we would walk on the beach, and also swim all through the year.

Baal HaSulam too, liked to walk fast. He would, actually, swim up to the ships; he would swim very deep and I heard that Kabbalists, in general, like it. The body uses internal energy, because the spiritual force needs also physical strength, so they take care of it. As much as I’ve heard about Kabbalists, they were very much in favor of a strong body.

Question: I know that there is a prophecy about a war called Gog and Magog. From life, I can feel that this war is happening within me, all the time. Can you explain more about these two forces Gog and Magog? What happens to them in this internal war and where is it leading?

M. Laitman: First of all, I’m very happy that she is talking about internal things. Gog and Magog is an internal war; it is like the strife between Moses and Pharaoh. We, specifically Jews, are opposed by alien forces that are threatening us. Within us, too, we are in the same war. In the people of Israel too, with its ego that had vanquished us, after the ruin of the Temple and within each and every one of us, is that perpetual war.

But now, especially, we have completed the period of the exile and we have to rise from that level of exile to redemption; we are pretty much behind already. We should have started this spiritual ascension in accordance with our return to our land, Israel, about one hundred years ago. That is what the Kabbalists say.

Then begins this war of Gog and Magog, which is the last war between the good forces in us that want to achieve bestowal, love of others, brotherly love, “love thy friend as thyself,” and those forces that still keep us in exile and don’t let us out; the internal forces, in each of us and the forces in the nation. There are bodies that still think that we should remain in exile and also the whole world thinks so.

This war is, indeed, as you say; a perpetual war that now exists in each of us. And in the end, the whole world, with the globalization and today’s crisis in ecology, education and security, it’s all in this Gog and Magog war campaign. Let’s hope that we will succeed in it, without an eruption of physical war, but we will complete it and finish it and succeed at the spiritual level.

This is why the wisdom of Kabbalah is emerging today out of seclusion. It is presenting itself to everyone and through it, we can succeed with the forces of bestowal and love, with the Upper Light that will correct all of us, so we will succeed in this campaign.

Moderator: You said that if we win this war at the spiritual level, then it won’t come to the corporeal level. Can you explain it? It sounds a little revolutionary. First of all, when we are talking about Gog and Magog, we are talking about prophecies in the end of days; we’re talking about terrible wars, right?

M. Laitman: They will happen but at which level, the spiritual or the corporeal? Everything that happens in this world, if we could receive it within us, then wage this war and complete it, as an internal struggle between the good and evil forces within us, these egoistic forces opposite the forces of giving and love.

How can we succeed? Only through studying Kabbalah, because it’s the only means that brings us the Light that Reforms, a spiritual force by which we can succeed and by which we can defeat our ego. Then we would complete this campaign at the spiritual level, emotional, thinking level with our concentration, with our desire. We would end it there.

But if we’re failing and where we are not succeeding at the spiritual level, we have to descend to the corporeal level. We don’t have a choice; these forces come down and come down. If we succeed at a certain level, that’s where we end the war. But if we fail, it comes lower and lower down to matter until a war breaks out, G-d forbid, in the physical world. And then we end up in a war just like the Israeli war campaigns we’ve had in the last sixty years and there is no choice. Why there is no choice is because we failed to wage this war in the spiritual state.

Baal HaSulam wrote around 1920 that he came to the land of Israel to change the situation here because he predicted a Holocaust in Europe. He was already thinking about it, he knew it, he could see it happening. If we don’t rise to a level where we can there defeat this evil, it will burst out as, regrettably, it did happen. That is also how it was with all the war campaigns in Israel. If we could have succeeded in handling them at the spiritual level, then of course, at the corporeal level, our neighbors wouldn’t attack us. They would even treat us well; all of a sudden, they would become our actual cousins. And why not, why not the whole world be like that.

Baal HaSulam writes at the end of the Introduction to the Book of Zohar that if we can defeat this war internally, through studying Kabbalah, when we draw the Light that reforms and defeat the evil within us, then present the correction method to the whole world, where everyone as it says, “All the nations shall flow onto Him.” They would respect Israel and sustain us. It is the opposite of what is happening today.

Moderator: That’s very interesting what you are saying, especially that now, in the political state, we’re in a mess. Today, I heard on the news that the arrangement with Palestinians, because they’ve come to all kinds of issues they can’t resolve, then the Americans want to postpone it for five years, so as not to decide now, whether to divide Jerusalem or not, as well as other things about which there is disagreement. There’s a feeling that everything is going into a new dead end and tension. The happening we had in Israel this week, points to sounds of war on the horizon. What is this realm that you’re suggesting?

M. Laitman: It’s not me. The wisdom of Kabbalah talks about it and the greatest Kabbalists all through the generations talked about it. They were also talking about today; that it should happen today. Every time Israel is in some corporeal plight, it’s because we could not prevent it and correct it at the spiritual level.

Moderator: The beautiful thing about what you’re suggesting is that no one should wait for anyone else. You don’t have to be the Minister of Defense or chief of staff or the Prime Minister to adopt this spiritual policy, spiritual solution. I can listen to the program now and fight within me and end this war.

M. Laitman: Everyone should say that ‘he weights the world to a scale of merit;’ every single person does a great thing by that.

Moderator: And what, if more and more people are like that, does that decide the scale, even in corporeality?

M. Laitman: Yes, and not many people, because the world is built as a pyramid. The mass of people that exist in the world is a mass that’s considered inanimate, they don’t know why and what for and they’re very far from these things. But specifically Jews and even if only a small part of the Jews, understood that and joined this process of struggling with the inner evil, then we would succeed in corporeality, too; in the external world, we would reach success.

Question: What is the spiritual root of envy that a woman feels to her man who loves women? What’s the correction she should do to get rid of this terrible feeling?

M. Laitman: The truth is, there’s a very high spiritual root here. Because we learn that it exists in ZON de Atzilut (Zeir Anpin and Nukvah of the world of Atzilut) and is happening on a very high level. How each soul, when it’s integrated in the Holy Divinity, feels that the deficiency that it brings there is its own unique deficiency. She expects she will have an answer, and a fulfillment all her own, and hence, the special relationship a woman has to her husband.

Moderator: These words were a little difficult; I’m sure some of the viewers are not with us anymore.

M. Laitman: I said them only to emphasize that the root of this phenomenon is very high. I don’t think that you can get rid of it, that you can just let go and somehow silence it or calm it down. Unless you break the connection between the man and the woman which is undesirable and it doesn’t help.

Moderator: But why, why is it so? Why is a woman jealous? She writes that a woman feels jealousy towards her man who loves women. It’s a huge power; it’s a very strong power.

M. Laitman: Let us say it more simply . At a simpler level it’s because a woman feels that the man belongs to her and that he has to fill her as a female towards a male in the spiritual world, as a lack towards its filling.

The woman is the lack and the man is the means to fulfill that lack. That’s how it is in spirituality, in our souls. The Kli (vessel) of the soul is called a woman and the Masach (the screen) the means by which the vessel is filled is called a man.

If her man doesn’t belong to her vessel, but to another vessel, of course she feels she’s losing everything. Hence, this kind of attitude in our world, which is very important for a woman, that her husband, her children and her house will be her own and she can’t agree to have anything outside her. Even though, when there used to be a different culture, and even today there are different cultures that a man has several women, but they nevertheless feel together.

Moderator: But it’s the standard, it’s okay?

M. Laitman: Yes, but they feel like they’re one Kli.

Moderator: That’s how it used to be in Yemen.

M. Laitman: Yes, a man had at least two [wives]; couldn’t he have had a hundred or a thousand? But they feel like they belong to one man and he fills them and they are as one. Then it’s not a problem, they can accept it. But she has to feel that it’s mine too and that it belongs to me.

If women are connected to each other, then they have no problem with having one man. It used to be previously our culture as well. I would say it’s more of a psychological problem in our world but it stems from a very high root.

Moderator: And concerning the other part of what she said. What is the correction that she should do to get rid of that terrible feeling? Can you get rid of it? Should you correct it? Should it be corrected in the first place?

M. Laitman: I think that if nothing can be done about it. A person who is asking is probably watching us already and studying with us, she will be helped to rise above this problem, this trouble. She’ll understand that there is more she can relate herself to—the Upper Force, the only One for everyone. Then she’ll feel that she has a whole world and that she can, with her own strength, achieve spiritual fulfillment that will fill all of her wishes. And she’ll have a good life and she’ll enjoy life even without a dedicated man next to her.

Regrettably, we see that it’s happening. We see how many families are being ruined today and divorce etc. So today, if a woman comes to study Kabbalah, and she relates herself to the Upper Light, to spirituality that can fill her, I think that this can bring her a lot of satisfaction.

Question: How can you give not in order to receive?

M. Laitman: It’s impossible to explain, truly impossible. How do I give without any thought of myself? Because automatically, naturally, I have to give myself a formula—I do this to receive that. It’s subconscious even if I’m not aware of it; that’s the way it is. It’s below my conscious level and it’s just what happens. Nature works this way.

Electrons, molecules, proteins, everything runs in us in this way; that’s how we’re built. Only the Upper Light that comes to us from Above can correct us and if it makes that correction we’ll succeed. We’ll rise above our egos, above even the most natural, simple and automatic calculation, what will I get out of it? And we’ll start calculating how can I give in order to fill others? That formula will be in the whole of my nature. Only the Upper Light can come and change my ability so as to make such calculations.

It’s a wonder; it’s a spiritual revolution when we rise from a corporeal level, egoistic one, to another level of thinking, to another vision. I begin to see outside of me eternity and perfection. Only the Light can do that.

Question: I’m a very skeptical person. Hearing the expression the ‘Creator’ or anything that has to do with religion drives me away and deters me. On the other hand, the reason, the techniques of the science of Kabbalah direct me to be a better person. Since this is the goal, it does speak to me and there, I know that I’m really working and progressing. Can these two qualities go hand in hand?

M. Laitman: I would recommend for you to open Baal HaSulam article, The Peace. There, he explains that talking about the Creator, “The holy One, blessed be He,” God, all kinds of names that you withdraw from and do not like very much.

Moderator: Yes, it deters and drives him away. It is so for many people, not just him. He represents the greater part of the people

M. Laitman: Correct, I understand. Kabbalah talks about the Creator as being nature. So talking about Mitzvot (commandments), God, or natural laws are the same thing, they are synonymous. God in Gimatria is nature; it’s the numeric formula. So when we talk about the whole of nature, the comprehensive Upper force (Upper meaning the greatest, highest that contains all the laws and forces that we know and still don’t know), all of that together is called God. That’s it.

So we’re talking about a law, about a force and that’s what we’re relating to: to discover God, come closer to God. Come closer is to understand and to feel to understand this overall power. To be integrated in it means to come to feel and understand this common force. To be integrated in it means you understand that you are inside of that force, that you feel these qualities that you’re in it.

That’s what Kabbalah talks about. It’s called the wisdom, a science. You can read Baal HaSulam’s articles about Kabbalah like Kabbalah as a Modern Science, Kabbalah and Philosophy, Body and Soul—there are many articles that talk about the science. I remain a scientist in the wisdom of Kabbalah, as I was before. And I continue, along with Kabbalah, to engage in some sort of science. It’s more of things that are related to Kabbalah but there’s no gap or difference.

But when we talk about research, study through our five senses; using our instruments, the instruments that we create, we research this world. We have another ability to research but under the same scientific laws, the nature outside of our world and this is called the wisdom of Kabbalah.

So Kabbalah is the same wisdom of this world, except about a broader world, which we simply and naturally don’t feel. But once we come out of our senses into a broader realm, a more external dimension, there we research nature and we call that nature, God.

Question: How does a person achieve spiritual attainment? How can he convince others that he has achieved it? How can you know that a person really achieved spiritual attainment?

M. Laitman: If a person doesn’t disclose himself, you cannot know if he achieved spiritual attainment or not. A person can shut himself from others and others will not know about it. I’m just telling you from experience.

When I saw several Kabbalists with my teacher, sometimes he would talk to them and he would say this Kabbalist is this and that and compared to him I’m this and that. Sometimes, he would say, “This person is hidden and he didn’t want to open himself. So I didn’t understand and I don’t know what is and where it is.”

Just like in this world, we can talk to each one and you can speak like a very common person and not show me how much you understand and know and I’ll never know who you are, what you are. Or it can be different when you open everything you have. In spirituality you can show instantaneously the degree you’re in and then the other will understand if he’s in spirituality, too. He’ll understand your degree and who you are.

As far as convincing others of his achievements, people don’t understand. Let’s say, you came to a tribe in Australia, somewhere. They don’t know anything and you tell them, “You know, I have a radio, I have television and I have this and that.” They don’t understand what you’re talking about; they’ve never seen these instruments. You explain to them, “Well, it’s a box and if I turn a little knob, you’ll see suddenly a picture. There’s a box when I press something I listen to something.” They don’t understand what you’re talking about.

So, a person has to be at certain level of development and he has to know what you’re talking about. You can’t prove to others, who didn’t cross the border from our world to the spiritual world and to those who are in the spiritual world to some extent that you are there, too. The easiest way to explain it is this way. Let’s say, we’re all below the water level. And some people took their heads out of the water. So the people who have their heads above water, if you bring your head above water you see them above water. But if your head is still under water, then you don’t see who’s out there.

This is why people in our world think about certain kinds of people that they are Kabbalists, that they have achieved the spiritual world. There are things here that you want to or don’t want to say, but for us, those who don’t achieve the spiritual world by themselves, never know who’s out there, too. Even if you are there, if people are open to all, you’ll see them; if they’re not open to you, you won’t see them.

Moderator: Say, when you bring your head above water, are there surprises there? Is he surprised by what he’s discovered? I’m asking about it in terms of who’s out there, too?

M. Laitman: It says, “I will see an opposite world.” In other words, those that you think are not there you might find them there. Normally, except the known Kabbalists that we’ve known for generations, besides them, there are others that you wouldn’t expect to be there, the hidden ones. But they’re all there because they’ve done a lot of internal hard work and they’ve changed their nature from receiving, from evil, to good, to bestowal and to love.

Moderator: Why do they remain hidden, by the way?

M. Laitman: Because it’s not time yet.

Moderator: Yet it is the time for Kabbalah to be revealed now.

M. Laitman: Yes, but there is no need for it as they’re all doing their own work. They’re preparing all the souls. The seven billion people here in this world, they’re preparing them, behind the scenes, for the revelation of Godliness so everyone will rise. It says, “They shall all know Me from the least of them to the greatest of them,” so all have to rise.

Moderator: What does it mean ‘prepare them behind the scenes’?

M. Laitman: To build the system, as much as possible, the connection among people in such a way that either they feel that lack of connection is bad or when they feel that having connection is good.

Moderator: But how can they do it if they don’t teach, they don’t talk? Say, the Minister of Internal Affairs can arrange connections between people. How do the Kabbalists make connections?

M. Laitman: The minister, besides making the connections between you and the phone company, he can’t do anything [laughing].

Moderator: But how does a Kabbalist do it? How does he prepare a connection among people?

M. Laitman: Because these connections, there’s a network of contacts among the souls. So by participating in it, because they, too, take part in this connection as all the souls are in that network, they’re all connected and with their work they enliven that connection. They awaken us to see the defects in our connection and what we can gain by having contact. Through the work and the network, they evoke it.

To some extent it’s similar to our Internet network. Look at this man from that village; he came to us and he studies and asks and cares, he understands. So, there are people in this network, on the Internet, who are connecting us, who are helping us to connect. That’s what Kabbalists are and that’s what their work is in spirituality—Internet people.

Moderator: They are the moderators of the souls.

M. Laitman: Yes, exactly.

Question: Michael Laitman said that souls divide and unite and when people multiply in certain generations it’s because of a big desire. Does that mean, perhaps there is someone in the world, who in a previous life that person and I were in the same body? I’m curious.

M. Laitman: I wouldn’t enter into all these details because it is a whole teaching here about reincarnation and its study is not simple. The Ari wrote a book, The Gate to Reincarnation. You need to study it after you have studied The Preface and study The Ten Sefirot, The Gate of Intentions and the Gatehouse of Intentions, only then the Gate to Reincarnation. But I will say this, the multiplication that we have in this world came from really two souls. One soul of Adam was divided into Adam and Eve and then the division is a multiplication of souls.

Why is there a multiplication of souls? It’s because the power of the work, the heaviness that we have to correct. That one soul needed to correct, to move itself from in order to receive (egoism), to in order to bestow (altruism). This work cannot be done all at once in one blow. So, this work was split into a multitude of souls. The more the ego increases in that soul, these souls continue to increase in quantity and increase in quality, too; in each of them there’s more egoism.

So then we see that there are more people in quantity, since a hundred years ago we were half the population than we are today. We were three billion and now we’re almost seven. Why? It is because the will to receive increased. But besides spreading into twice as many parts, look at how the ego increased, in each of the parts, as opposed to a hundred years ago. Look at movies from fifty years ago; they were so primitive, they were so simple. It’s because of the simple egos that people had.

Moderator: It’s as if everything is in slow motion.

M. Laitman: Yes, today they want to kill each other. People are incapable without drugs, divorce, despair; it’s a general crisis. It indicates that this common soul has to spread into many, many more souls and in each of them, even so, the ego will still grow to a point where they can’t stand it. They get depressed and use drugs and commit suicide, etc. So it is to the contrary, it’s not that two souls were in one person but a life or two ago; what was in one person, today is in three or four people.

Moderator: That’s exactly what she’s asking. First, she’s saying perhaps now there’s someone in our world that in a previous life that person and I were in the same body.

M. Laitman: Yes, true, so what? The soul was split; a part of the work was taken by one part and another part of the work was taken by another part, so you have two people

Moderator: What if they meet? Will they feel it?

M. Laitman: They wouldn’t feel it because in the end, we are all one soul, the soul of Adam ha Rishon, so we’re connected nevertheless. The fact that we think that we’re disconnected; is what she thinks.

Let’s say, a hundred years ago, she and I were one soul, one person, so what? Shouldn’t we now achieve correction that we become as one soul? Why are you looking at me like that? Maybe its better, maybe it’s easier the way she is saying. Let’s accept that an incarnation ago we were as one soul, all of us, everyone. So how can we harm each other? Let’s reunite; that’s a correction and that’s all that the Torah asks for.

Question: What does the revered wonderful Michael Laitman mean when he says that our corporeal form is a copy of our spiritual form? Can you give an example?

M. Laitman: This copy perhaps, it is not to our benefit.

All the spiritual qualities that exist in the soul, which was as one soul and then split, and everyone received instead of the good qualities, opposite qualities, bad ones—the soul broke. And instead of giving and loving others, favorably bestowing on others, feeling as one man in one heart as we were before, we declined and we are now in unfounded hatred, we’re just hateful to each other. Look at what’s happening on the road and everywhere, watch television. What’s happening to us, in the government, among people every day? We feel so alienated from each other.

So as a result of our internal state, it projects to our external states. What does it mean external states? It means in our behavior, our characters and our corporeal qualities.

Moderator: I have a feeling she was referring to something else, to our physical form. Can you give an example that our physical form is a copy of our spiritual form?

M. Laitman: No, not at all, the body has nothing to tell us. Let’s put it this way, you cannot look at someone’s face and tell if he’s corporeal or a spiritual person. A person who let’s say at forty, begins to study Kabbalah in five years he becomes a Kabbalist. He feels the spiritual world, he’s got contact with the Creator and he feels eternity and perfection, to some extent. He might not have it completely but he passed five years. You may feel, according to his behavior, that he’s become maybe more intelligent, maybe he’s become softer, maybe he’s drawn to something beyond this life. Yet, “you fault according to your own defects,” so you see in others what you feel in you.

The person does not change. If you take him to the doctor and he’ll examine him with the same tests; his blood and everything and x-ray him now and you x-rayed him five years ago, you see a person who has grown five years older. You see nothing on the outside.

I have met many Kabbalists in life; today, they are all deceased. On the outside, you would never guess that they are anything special. People say that he was something special, that next to that person you feel you’re shivering. Who are you that you can feel the other’s internal qualities? No one can feel it. That’s why Kabbalists are completely ordinary people and there are people next to you on the street and you were, probably, close to them at one point in life but you can’t detect that he is special.

Moderator: I want to ask about a person’s body. We have our heads, eyes, noses—the human physiology, the shape of our body.

M. Laitman: It’s a copy of spirituality. The combination of spiritual forces in the soul, they’re like electric vectors on the television screen. They build a picture but they come to the screen through wires, or through electric waves in the air but they’re forces. Afterwards, they appear on the screen as forces and you see their expression as a picture. Similarly, you see, as I see in my eyes, an expression of forces that appear as you.

Behind physical forces there are Higher forces, spiritual ones, and that’s how I see the world. This world is like a picture on a TV, or computer screen—all there is are forces. There are combinations that build a picture of this world in front of us. It is thus I see colors, objects. Various inanimate, vegetative, animate, and their movements, these are all forces that depict these.

You don’t get into my eye but I see forces and they affect me, so I see something outside of me. Scientists know that and physiologists know that. I studied it back at the university, when I was studying bio-cybernetics.

Moderator: Does that have anything to do with spiritual forces?

M. Laitman: Yes, of course, because our worldly sciences are a result of the wisdom of Kabbalah, it’s a result of spiritual forces that in matter are expressed in this way to us.

In spirituality, there are two forces: the receiving force and the giving force. The receiving force is called the soul and the giving force is called the Creator or Light. That’s all there is, two forces. Let us say, plus and minus.

Moderator: How, in the end of the process, do I see a person the way he is now: two hands, two legs, two eyes?

M. Laitman: These two forces are spreading into 613 forces, 613 Lights of the Torah, 613 ways of the Torah—opposite them are 613 desires in the soul. They become arranged among them, in such a way that creates an image called man. It’s still in spirituality. This image is called Adam because it’s similar (Domeh) to the Light, to the Upper One. Adam comes from the word Domeh (similar) to the Upper One.

Moderator: Does it have hands or legs?

M. Laitman: It doesn’t have anything but it’s a combination of forces that afterwards, when they materialize from the spiritual world, the spiritual image, the combination of forces—when it descends to the physical level, it builds from our matter, from the corporeal matter, it builds a shape. And we see this shape as in Adam, as a person. Why is it built this way, from the flesh and blood and everything? That’s the arrangement of the forces in them that built us: a person in this way at this lowest corporeal level. So a person in this world is like a copy of his soul in the spiritual world.

Moderator: Why are men’s and women’s bodies different?

M. Laitman: Because it’s a different soul—the root of the soul is different.

The soul, the general soul is divided into two parts called Adam and Eve or man and woman, but these are forces; the two genders are two kinds of forces.

Moderator: And are all the objects of the world seen in this way, animals, flowers, everything?

M. Laitman: Our world is a replication or projection of the spiritual world; there’s nothing in our world that doesn’t come down from the spiritual world. Besides, everything that is happening here is a result of the spiritual world. So, if we want to change anything here, we have to change it Above and then it’ll trickle down. In our world we see that we can’t change a thing—nothing. We can argue with the Parliament, we can do whatever we want; it’s not going to change a bit. Our world is inanimate: it’s run entirely by the forces that descend from Above. And we, especially Jews, can affect the Higher forces at the spiritual level to come down into this world and here, materialize beneficially.

Moderator: Why are there people whose form is handsome and others whose form is not so handsome or even ugly?

M. Laitman: It’s a question of social consensus, social conventions; its how we consider them. If we look at them superficially and that’s completely the wrong way to look at people. You have to see people not the way they’re built, not because you have a special appearance that way. You look at a black person, you think this; you look at a Chinese person, he seems different to you. You have to look inside.

When you look inside beyond the superficial, then you see the real person. Why is the superficial appearance like that? Because there are so many roots to the seventy nations of the world, so these seventy nations are replicated in this world. But if you look at the right internality, the unique, beautiful internality of each person, then you will love every external appearance of every person because you will see how they fit internally externally—one to one, to create harmony.

Question: What is the hint the Torah gives us about the extraordinary age of many personas in the book of Genesis?

M. Laitman: It implies the level, the degree of these forces that gradually, come down from the spiritual level and come closer to the physical level.

It has nothing to do with ages the way we think of them. The whole of the Torah, the Bible, the process that we read about in Genesis, the way it’s told about: the seven days of creation and the creation of Adam and the age he was created at. He was created at which age? Thirty, forty, one hundred and thirty, what age was that? All of a sudden, you have a grown-up person and Eve came out of him at a certain age; she already came out as a woman. We have to understand that the book of Torah talks about internal spiritual forces, about everything we experience spiritually, in spiritual correction.

So the attitude towards it should be just that. It’s not history, geography and it’s not making an educational book out of it. Sometimes, I read what people do with the Torah and its images, what they want to tell us about the patriarchs. All of these things are spiritual forces that come down from Above. We have them in our world and have to reach their level. It’s not about a person living nine hundred years more or less. On the contrary, people lived even less than they do today.

Moderator: So what does it mean, it says nine hundred or something years?

M. Laitman: These are spiritual degrees, not worldly years. A year comes from the word Shanen, in Hebrew meaning it duplicates itself. It talks about incarnations of forces, which are on High and incarnate until they get to the barrier and in this world they are then replicated.

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