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Michael Laitman, PhD

A Rabbi and Disciple in Spirituality

Q: What does the disciple mean to the rabbi, and what does the rabbi mean to the disciple?

A: We think that a rabbi and his disciple are simply two people, one of them teaching the other, meaning a teacher and a student. But a rabbi and a disciple are really two degrees: the disciple is at a certain level of attainment, and the rabbi is on a higher level. The disciple has a connection and a special relation to that rabbi. Thanks to that connection, the disciple can gradually resemble the rabbi and ultimately become a rabbi on his own.

A disciple is a person who can learn from a higher degree, or “Rabbi,” and be like him. If, for example, you want to learn how to be a construction worker, you’ll turn to a builder to teach you. If man’s primary desire is to learn to be like someone else, you can call him a disciple, and the person from whom he studies is called a “rabbi.”

These things can change because during the spiritual maturing of man, while in the midst of studies, there are spiritual ups and downs. At one time, the student considers self a disciple, another time a friend, and sometimes even a rabbi from whom others should learn.

Being a disciple is harder than being a rabbi because the disciple is at a lower degree. The disciple must realize who the rabbi is and what should be learned from him. If the information is already known, the student has already grasped the higher degree and has nothing to learn. If the student understands what the rabbi has that the student lacks, that is fine, for after some time the student will acquire it, too.

To be a disciple means to see external vessels that are in the possession of the rabbi, realize that one does not have them, and reach the conclusion that those attributes can be acquired only through cleaving to that higher degree.

The disciple needs to cleave in the full sense of the word: physically – to become a part of the body, to be a supporting organ – and spiritually – to try to think, experience, and aspire to live as the rabbi does.

If the disciple cleaves like that to the rabbi, then only through the desires and ideas that they have in common can that person attain the inner attainment of the rabbi.

Q: If “rabbi” and “disciple” designate spiritual degrees, how are the Sefirot of the disciple linked with those of his teacher?

A: When the vessels of bestowal (GEGalgalta ve Eynaim) of the student are ready, the rabbi brings his vessels of reception (AHPAwzen, Hotem, Peh) down to him. We can always use the vessels of AHP of the rabbi because it is impossible to use the vessels of reception of the disciple.

Then the disciple builds ten complete Sefirot from his own GE and the AHP of the rabbi, and begins to attain the Upper Degree through the AHP of the rabbi, provided that his GE correspond to their attributes.

In this process, the disciple nullifies his vessels of reception at first, as though he does not exist. Once the AHP of the rabbi links with that of the disciple, he sees how the AHP of the Upper One relates to his GE, and becomes a disciple. Thus, to be a disciple is a state that one attains after a certain amount of inclusion.

Q: And what happens once the student has become a disciple?

A: After the disciple has grown accustomed to working with his GE, he begins to get used to working with his AHP. His AHP should resemble that of the rabbi, meaning that he should give to the rabbi just as the rabbi gives to him. Then he will climb to the higher degree through the AHP of the rabbi, and ask of him the strength to raise his AHP to that degree, and become as great as he is.

As soon as the disciple rises to the degree of the rabbi, he sees that the rabbi is above him. And why did he not see it before? Because he was incapable of estimating the rabbi as higher than his own GE. Only once he has corrected his AHP to the higher degree is he capable of seeing the rabbi and appreciating him, and so the process goes, higher and higher.

You have to believe that the rabbi exists, and that his AHP is always in your GE. As soon as your GE are fixed, you will feel how he transcends you and how his AHP works like an elevator for his disciples. Everyone is linked to the Upper One independently. You only have to nourish the desire to rise.

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