The wisdom of Kabbalah has no dealings with this world, but deals with the roots of everything in the spiritual world. As such, Kabbalist Michael Laitman, PhD takes us through a tour of not the city of Jerusalem, but through the Jerusalem that lies within each and every person – the Jerusalem of the heart.
“Mashiach sits at the gate of Jerusalem and awaits
the people to be worthy of redemption.
He is chained with handcuffs
and needs whole people to unchain him.
He has had enough of Hasidim,
he has had enough of width, now he demands
the depth in people of truth”.
– Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotz
Rav Michael Laitman: Jerusalem of the Heart – Part 1
Rav Michael Laitman: Jerusalem of the Heart – Part 2
Rav Michael Laitman: Jerusalem of the Heart – Part 3
Jerusalem of the Heart
A Journey with Rav Laitman
Into the Mysteries of the Soul of the World
People regard Jerusalem as the spiritual capital of the world, and indeed it is a holy place for all religions. It is definitely the holiest place in the world. It is the center of the world because there is a special force here, which is felt differently by different people.
What is this force that a man suddenly feels within him, operating on him, drawing him towards Jerusalem? A person starts feeling the spiritual root that exists in this city. This exists within us, close to us. It has spiritual eternal life. It’s the force of love. There are stones, there are streets, but we don’t feel the city itself. The real Jerusalem can only be felt within a corrected heart.
Everything we have in this world, descends from Above downward, hence there is a Jerusalem of Above and a Jerusalem of below. There is a heart, which is Malchut (kingdom) of Above, and then man’s heart below. If we wish that the city of Jerusalem be built, we must first build our heart, we must be corrected.
What is the heart? In spirituality a heart is man’s desire. If the desire is limited by man’s settling for this world-for food, sex and honor-with only the things that he has in this world, he wants to be known, famous, then this is simply an egoistic heart. So man is satisfied with this world and he doesn’t need the spiritual Jerusalem.
If this world is not enough for him and he searches and feels that he lacks something, then he desires to rise above this world, to feel the spiritual world. Then his heart yearns for correction. It yearns to be free of the egoistic desires. This does not happen all at once. First, a man builds a wall dividing all his desires between clean and unclean, egoistic and altruistic desires, just like the city wall.
The wall around the city guards it. When a person corrects his heart to be as Jerusalem, he has to differentiate within his heart between good thoughts with which he wishes to advance towards holiness, and bad thoughts which are not yet directed to holiness; and to separate them one from the other and to build a wall that will guard the desires for holiness from being harmed by the desires that are not yet corrected. And once he has this wall, behind it the city will be built.
It’s hard work to divide and differentiate the desires because our ego is constantly pressuring and tricking us. It makes a person restless, evoking within him increasingly greater desires. So the main thing here is not to break. One must guard the great desire for spirituality like guarding a special flower. One must be as blind, not to see, not to listen to the logical egoistic advice.
If despite everything one really wishes to exit his egoistic world and enter Jerusalem of Above, what can he do? He must search for the gate that will lead him into the city.
The City Gates
‘The city gates’ means a place where if one does his correction against an attribute called ‘the gate,’ then he achieves equivalence of form, with a special attribute that is found throughout the wall; and the gates opens up and he enters. The truth is there should be no gate, but a wall. I reach the wall which is a condition that if I fulfill it, the entry opens up and I pass through. But nonetheless, since there are many conditions around the city because the city is a collection of many desires, so there are points, special attributes, and if a person equalizes to them, achieves their height, then he enters. Thus there are special places in the wall that show the main attributes which once acquired, a person has the right to enter, he has the purity. He gets a Masach (screen) according to the wall, because a wall is a Masach and he moves into the city.
The attribute must be the attribute of bestowal, the attribute of giving. Inside the city, bestowal is in complete control; and outside the city the attribute is of receiving, egoism. So in order to pass through the wall, a person has to take this leap, an inner change of his heart from egoism to altruism.
The road by which you approach the spiritual Jerusalem is made of mistakes, confusions, feelings of despair, helplessness. These are all states where you feel that you advance and then leap; and still you are going through it, becoming corrected. This is what is called approaching and nearing Jerusalem. Therefore, it’s good that there are mistakes and disturbances that deflect you from the road. It actually gives you an ability to suddenly stand and check yourself. And from this position of yours, aim yourself more accurately towards Jerusalem of Above. Each time Jerusalem looks different to you and your states are different. But precisely by all the different forms of situations, the Upper City opens to a person.
Today, there is a ruin in our heart. Take a look at this world. It’s broken to pieces and it’s rocked by wars and suffering. Every individual in this world is like a cancerous cell living only for itself, consuming others. It’s the same with Jerusalem. We are tearing it to pieces. How could it be that in such a state the attributes of Jerusalem will suddenly awaken? The capital of unity and love-Jerusalem of adhesion-when there is no unity among its residents. There will be great battles over Jerusalem in the future and especially the spiritual battles.
This is because the forces of Klipa (shells), and the forces of Kedusha (holiness) always try to get hold of the place where the Upper Light should come. This struggle will not stop until Gmar Tikkun (end of correction), when the greatest battle will take place, the completion of the Gog and Magog war, which at this very moment is at its climax.
The name Jerusalem holds all the secrets. Jerusalem means the highest, corrected and perfect awe. The awe of whether I am corrected to the extent, to the height where I am afraid whether I will be able to give all my love to the others. Then, on top of this fear that I feel, the understanding of the method opens up the system of the Lights and forces and then one sees the forces of Mashiach, from the word Limshoch (to draw), drawing him from egoism to altruism, from hate to love, from Jerusalem below to Jerusalem Above-to the temple.
The temple is a place where the spiritual forces are concentrated. This place was a symbol of the attributes of holiness. Man used to have these forces, which operate spirituality, which controlled him according to his desires. And people wished to come there in order to connect corporeally with spirituality, so that on the corporeal level also they would perform the same thing that they did in their hearts in the temple, in man’s heart.
Man used to bring fruit, donations and tithes to the stones. Everything a person created, everything he did, was brought here in order to sanctify his work. This was as a symbol of the spiritual inclination within his heart. There were no prayer books at that time. People used to come there and speak straight from their hearts, from the bottom of their hearts. Whatever they felt they spoke to the Upper Force, and they did not mean many words.
The priests were the people who served in the temple, those who were absolutely clean of the worldly ego and transcended all desires to bestow perfect love.
They were the only ones allowed to receive the donations and tithes because none of them could take it themselves, so they passed on everything they received to the temple. The priests are the desires within man that want only one thing: to bring the knowledge of the Upper Force to this world. These great exalted desires exist in each of us and then there will come the time when the priests awaken within us.
The ruin of the temple became a place of ruin for Kedusha (sanctity),. thus allowing the Klipot, the forces of impurity, the egoistic forces to grow stronger. Since then, they surround this place wanting to suck the abundance and the power from it. Indeed, that’s what they do, and they grow stronger. We on the other hand, do not feel strengthened by it, but rather we feel weakness, emptiness and misery, since it is not the Klipot but us that have to start the correction and draw everyone else to correction, to the spiritual ascension so that the Klipot will also have no choice but to ascend to spirituality and disappear. Then there will be a house, as it is written My house will be called the ‘house of prayer for all nations, one temple for all humanity.’
Once, when I was in the US, I stayed for Shabbat in a small town called Jackson, in the northern part of the US. I was staying in a hotel and I sat on the lawn with a person staying next to me, who was a simple working class German, as I could tell by his hands. He realized immediately that I was Jewish and he asked me where I was from. I told him that I was from Israel. He only had one question, which was really a serious question: he asked it painfully: Why aren’t you building the temple. So I told him ‘how is it possible to build a temple if there is ruin in our heart?’ And he understood this and he said, ‘so let’s start from that.’
Let’s start from the heart, ask for corrections. Asking for corrections is called ‘prayer.’ It isn’t what is written in the Sidur (prayer book), it’s what is written in a person’s heart-a request for the Force.
To ask for the Force is what will elevate us above this world to the spiritual world, from egoistic desires to altruistic qualities, to bestowal, to love. If they come to that, they must receive an answer. The wall, the Kotel (Western Wall) must give them a Masach, the wall is a Masach. If there is a Masach then the third temple will be built in one’s heart. And only if it is built in one’s heart can a person describe it and write about it to the smallest detail. Each and every detail of the temple is a person’s connection with the Upper Force.
There is only one prayer. A prayer for the sake of all, that a person will connect with the whole, with all of the others as one body, as one man, in one heart, one big heart in which all of humanity will unite. Only one prayer can reach the Upper temple and it’s from there that the answer comes. It’s a prayer that we shall all unite and ascend in holiness, meaning that we attain the spiritual forces and live on the spiritual level. Let’s hope that we will gain a state where Jerusalem is being rebuilt; and above these walls there will be a city, which will be a true holy city, that its pattern will perfectly match its Upper spiritual root in the world of Atzilut (nobility). That is the real Jerusalem.