What do you know about Kabbalah
Mr. Laitman, who is the wisdom of Kabbalah aimed at?
It belongs not only to the Jews, but to the whole world. This wisdom originated in ancient Babylon. At that time there was a
A major crisis similar to the one we are experiencing today. The former civilization also had a global connection and was characterized by mutual hatred. And one of the great spiritual fathers of the Babylonians, Avraham, stated that this is a natural evolution to bring humanity to a higher level. That they have to move from mutual hatred to connecting with one another. He made this public. And, it is written, he left Babylon with a few thousand people. And from this group came the so-called people of Israel. But it is not a people in the strict sense of the word, but a group of people who have joined together for ideological reasons. They have taken on a very simple mitzvah: You should love your neighbor as yourself.
And what about the other mitzvot?
The basic principle applies: Instead of serving the ego, the connection with one another should be achieved. That was how they overcame the crisis at the time. And, as all Kabbalists have written, humanity will experience the same crisis 3,700 years later, at the end of the 20th century. And indeed we are in this global crisis. We are interdependent, but our ego does not allow us to connect with each other. And again the wisdom of Kabbalah reveals the possibility of doing the Tikkun, the correction. This tikkun is very simple: going from hate to love. The 613 mitzvot have to do with the 613 desires that man carries within himself. These are all selfish, they need to be corrected to the contrary. After completing these corrections, one arrives at charity. That is the true Torah.
It is said that before one can even understand the hidden Torah, one should learn the revealed Torah. Is that wrong?
Kabbalists themselves pushed people back from the wisdom of Kabbalah for 3,700 years. First of all, the evil urge had to reveal itself. But as early as the 16th century, the Kabbalists say exactly the opposite. One has to reveal the wisdom of Kabbalah.
Do you think Kabbalah works without a mitzvot?
Kabbalah speaks of correcting the inner nature of man. Compliance with physical customs has nothing to do with it. They have nothing to do with correcting man's inner nature. Maybe on the contrary? When you keep the mitzvot, you calm yourself that you have already done everything. The most important thing is the correction of the inside. In my opinion, and this corresponds to the wisdom of Kabbalah, these are all customs, it is a cultural matter.
You mean the mitzvot are just Jewish customs, and regardless of religion, anyone can learn Kabbalah?
Any Goy can learn the wisdom of Kabbalah and become a great Kabbalist. To do this, he does not have to obey any external commandments. Ultimately, all of humanity will come to the correction of their nature. And everyone, this is also written in the Kabbalistic books, can remain in their religion. Because religion is culture. And it has absolutely nothing to do with internal correction. I personally keep the mitzvot. For they are the customs and culture of my people, and I want to belong to my people. But I have students who are Catholics or Muslims - we don't mind. Why also? You can eat pork with cream sauce and understand Kabbalah. It has nothing to do with our physical body.
How can someone who does not speak Hebrew and barely knows the basics of the Jewish religion learn Kabbalah?
We have more than two million students in almost 70 countries, we work in 43 languages. My books have been translated into 17 languages. I think that origins or language make absolutely no difference in receiving the wisdom of Kabbalah.
Is »Bnei Baruch« an institute, an organization or rather a movement?
This is an academy of Kabbalah, it's about university learning. Our offers are free for everyone, all material is free in all languages. You don't have to register. And we organize congresses like the one in Berlin, all over the world. Seven to ten a year. And many Arabs, including Israeli Palestinians, take part in it. They are like brothers and sisters to us.
How is your academy financed?
We don't sell anything. Our organization doesn't get a cent from anyone. That is our principle. Even if someone wants to give us a donation, we do not accept it. Our activities are financed exclusively from the "Maaser", the tithe, from everyone who belongs to our organization. So if you study properly with us, you pay a tenth of your income into the general fund.
How many employees does »Bnei Baruch« have?
I think there are around 170. But there are also thousands who volunteer. In Israel alone we have two television channels with 24 hour programs every day. We have a large studio in which many employees process the video and audio material. We send our information, lectures and lessons all over the world via the Internet.
You are not an ordained rabbi, why do you have the title "Raw"?
I have a PhD in Kabbalah, I am a professor of ontology. But it's true, I'm not a raw rabbi. And I'm not so happy to be called that either. But what should I do about it? Raw means translated "great", but nowadays it is more of a title for those who explain to people how to observe customs, who know how to do something kosher. It's not really a great honor to be named Raw today.
What do you think of the criticism of rabbis who believe that the way you teach Kabbalah is inconsistent with true teaching?
I have been studying the wisdom of Kabbalah for 35 years. I got my knowledge from the last great Kabbalist. In terms of knowledge of Kabbalah, I am ready to speak to each individual. Bring me 20 or 30 of them and later tell me who the Kabbalist is. I do not think that criticism of me is justified. Our activity is there to connect the whole world. And that is the job of the people of Israel. And the world can only be connected if one does not impose actions on people, such as those called mitzvot. We are active in this sense. We work in a very different area than the rabbis. If a devout Jew comes to us who wants to learn from us, we will not accept him. The separation is clear.
The interview was conducted by Detlef David Kauschke.
Michael Laitman was born in Vitebsk / Belarus in 1946 and has lived in Israel since 1974. In 1980 he began his Kabbalistic studies with Rabbi Baruch Ashlag. In 1991 he founded Bnei Baruch, the »Kabbalah Education and Research Center«. The scientist (professor of ontology, diploma in biological medical cybernetics, doctor of philosophy and Kabbalah) is described in an information from his center as the "most important authority of authentic Kabbalah".
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