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Michael Laitman, PhD

The Attitude of a Disciple toward his Rabbi

Q: In one of your tapes, I heard that there are times when the student might hate his teacher. How can that be? Right now I feel your kindness and your desire to help. Why should that change?

A: Generally speaking, the attitude of disciple toward rabbi is identical to the disciple’s relationship towards the Creator. When the disciple doesn’t feel the Creator and His Dominion completely, the challenges (trials, unpleasant feelings, disturbances, conflicts about the way, and continuous disappointments) that come from Above lead one to protest to the rabbi.

The individual actually thinks that the rabbi is the source of these ordeals. In fact, one becomes so angry with the rabbi that one believes the rabbi’s demise or disappearance would end all the bad feelings, the void and the obstacles on the way to the Creator. You will learn the rest yourself as you continue along the way.

Q: You write: “Soon you will begin to discover a growing egoism within you. You will begin to criticize your rabbi and see more and more shortcomings in him…” If that is the case, how should a student work on the ego in order to get through this phase as quickly as possible?

A: Everything is predetermined for us. Inside us there are all the Reshimot (reminiscence), the instructions on our gradual ascent, from our world to the purpose of creation. Those Reshimot are like a contracted spiral inside us, which opens progressively. Each moment we feel a certain desire, which is an expression of the surfacing Reshimo.

When we enter the right group, the right environment and read the right books, we enhance the influence of the Upper Light on ourselves. That Light illuminates the spiral of Reshimot, thus accelerating their appearance in us. We always discover the weakest Reshimo from the ones we can realize.

Our freedom of choice is only in our choice of environment. All we can do is accelerate our progress. This is only possible with the influence of an appropriate environment. In other words, we are free to choose between accelerating the process and not accelerating it.

If you listen to people who object to Kabbalah, and is urged away from it, you will still come to the purpose, but much later. Baal HaSulam (Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag) writes in his essay, "The Freedom", that only by choosing our environment (books, friends and teachers) do we express our freedom to choose our way.

The more correct the choice of the environmental factor is, the greater the acceleration. Indeed, we can make the journey last only a few years instead hundreds of years. This is no exaggeration.

Regarding nullification before the rabbi: when Baal HaSulam was told that unlike other great rabbis, his disciples were not the least bit afraid of him, he answered, “They’d be better off fearing the Creator and not me.”

And when he was told that he had only five or six disciples after decades of work, he replied, “The Creator doesn’t even have that many.”

You cannot direct your thoughts and desires by yourself, as you see fit. Their direction is derived from your inner situation and dictated by the Reshimo that is currently being activated, which leaves the sensation and experience from your current situation.

Look at yourself from the side – it is worthwhile to examine yourself and remember how you were a month ago, or five years ago, and begin conversing with your past and present images. It helps to better understand the changes that occur in you. It helps you to relate to yourself as a factor of changing emotions, and not as an individual who thinks and feels independently.

You have to examine yourself from the outside and see what the Creator does with you. Follow His Work – it is the exact meaning of the words – “the Work of God,” His Work on you.

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