I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Rabbi and Doctor of Cybernetics Michael Laitman, who is also a spiritual leader and above all one of the world’s most renowned kabbalists. He is the founder of the Bnei Baruch Institute and ARI, has written 30 books and has been interviewed by Larry King, among other things.
Dr. Laitman is not a traditional religionist, but rather a scientist. His knowledge is quite profound and yet can be understood by anyone who sets his mind to it, for the message of the Kabbalah must be understood by those who seek it from the heart, even though it has within its wisdom different levels of understanding.
Dr. Laitman also learned from the “Rabash”, as Rabbi Baruch Ashlag, a great connoisseur of Torah and Talmud and Kabbalist, is known. Rabbi Ashlag, in turn, was the son of the “Baal HaSulam” (“the owner of the ladder”), i.e. Yehuda Leib Ha-Levi Ashlag, who wrote the important commentary of “The Ladder” (HaSulam) on the holy book of the Zohar (The Book of Splendour).
The Baal HaSulam is considered to be the most important and profound kabbalist of his generation. And, so it is, for he brought down as if on a “spiritual ladder” the ancient knowledge of kabbalah for anyone who wishes to enter this amazing world of knowledge, learning and splendour. Moreover, he was an enlightened man who had read the thinkers of the time, such as Hegel, Marx, Spinoza, Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, etc.
The book of Zohar was written by Shimon bar Yochai “Rashbi” in the 2nd century AD, while he was living in hiding from the Romans. Although the knowledge of the Kabbalah was revealed to the patriarch Abraham, and the “Book of Creation” (Sefer Yetzirah) is considered to have been written by him. Also, Moses, author of the Pentateuch and deliverer of Israel, was a great kabbalist.
It is clear that new versions are beginning to appear over time, by authors who, of course, cannot be left aside, such as: Moshe ben Shem Tob de Leon, Rabbi Akiva ben Joseph, Moses Cordovero “Ramak”, Isaac Luria “Arizal hakadosh” (the holy lion, of blessed memory), his pupil, Chaim Vital and Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, among others.
There are those who have dedicated themselves to analysing the Kabbalah from an academic perspective, most notably Professor Gershom Scholem and now Professor Moshe Idel.
Consequently, the interview with Dr Laitman was both enlightening and revealing. For Dr. Laitman, human development is vital and humanity must understand that it is one in order to face the tribulations that are and will come. Likewise, understanding the meaning of the creation of this world is key to its continuation. We need good and just human relationships, away from negative forces and selfishness. A global and integral nature is needed. We must come to the concept of “love thy neighbour as thyself”. The pandemic will not cease in Dr. Laitman’s words, and it is so because its purpose is to “wear us down” in order to achieve the necessary unity and evolve as humanity. He does not rule out a third and even a fourth world war.