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Michael Laitman, PhD

To Do, or to Study?

Q: When is a physical act more beneficial than pure study? Is it when a person still does not understand the purpose of the study? How is there progress, if the physical act is “below reason?”

A: Physical actions for the benefit of the group, organizing lectures and Kabbalah study groups, are more beneficial than the study itself. Serving the rabbi is also more beneficial than studying with him.

In his “Speech for the Completion of the Zohar,” Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag writes the following: “Make for yourself a rabbi and buy yourself a friend.”

In other words, choose a man that you think is important and make a rabbi of him, meaning your teacher, and try to please him because he is important to you. That way, you’ll get used to doing for others, and by the force of habit you’ll be able to do for the Creator. By being spiritually close to your rabbi, you’ll receive the degree by which the rabbi appreciates the Creator, and that will give you a chance to do at least something for the Creator, and enter the spiritual world this way.

At the same time, you will acquire the sensation of the greatness of the Creator and you’ll be able to advance to complete adhesion with Him.

Observing the rabbi’s requests with the aim to please him allows you to attain spiritual resemblance with him. You’ll be able to receive his thoughts and knowledge, and above all, attain his love and attraction for the Creator, which would give you the ability to develop and progress spiritually.

The study with the rabbi itself, however, is always motivated by the desire to attain personal knowledge for yourself. As a result, the study does not bring with it spiritual nearness with the Creator. In other words, by doing things for the rabbi, you attain his thoughts and through the study you only attain his words.

But this occurs only if the motivation to serve the rabbi stems from the desire to please the rabbi, and not the student. In the opposite situation, when the motivation is the will to serve for self-gratification, the study is the goal and becomes more important than serving the rabbi.

If the environment around a person does not praise the glory of the Creator, as it should, a person will never be able to attain a spiritual degree. Therefore, it is always recommended that the disciple regard self as the lowest (spiritually) compared to one’s group. In this way, the student can adopt the state of mind of the collective. The environment is necessary to attain the purpose of creation, which is why you should “buy yourself a friend.”

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