Dr. Laitman received his PhD In philosophy and Kabbalah from the Moscow Institute of Philosophy at the Russian Academy of Sciences, and his MSc in Medical Cybernetics from the St. Petersburg State Polytechnic University, in the faculty of Biological Medical Cybernetics. In addition to being a scientist and a researcher, Dr. Laitman has been extensively engaged in Kabbalah for the past thirty years. He has published thirty books on Kabbalah and numerous publications on Kabbalah and Science.
Dr. Laitman was the disciple and personal assistant to Rabbi Baruch Ashlag, son of Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag, author of the authoritative Sulam (Ladder) Commentary on The ZOHAR. Dr. Laitman follows in the footsteps of his mentor's mission in life - promoting the dissemination of the wisdom of Kabbalah throughout the world. Laitman's scientific method provides individuals of all faiths, religions and cultures the precise tools necessary for embarking on an inspiring path of self-discovery and spiritual elevation focusing primarily on inner processes that individuals experience at their own pace.
In 1991, after his mentor's demise, he founded the Bnei Baruch Kabbalah Education & Research Institute. Bnei Baruch is a non-profit organization that welcomes people of all ages and lifestyles to engage in the rewarding process of studying Kabbalah. The organization charges no fee for any of its diverse activities.
Bnei Baruch produces daily live TV broadcasts of Kabbalah lessons and programs for various channels throughout the world. Bnei Baruch also broadcasts live daily video and audio Kabbalah lessons over the Internet with simultaneous translations from Hebrew to English, Russian, and Spanish.
The organization established and sustains the largest, most extensive content site on Kabbalah, hosting more than half a million unique visitors, with more than 2.5 million page views a month, as well as a Newsletter in five languages with 28,000 subscribers. Available on the site are authentic Kabbalah texts in twenty-two languages, and a comprehensive web-based media and text archive, all of which is provided gratis.
Today, Dr. Laitman's thirty years of research into the science of Kabbalah is recognized among renowned scientists and researchers in hard science that adhere to the classical scientific paradigms. In the framework of his scientific and educational program, Laitman participates in international conferences alongside scientists from the world over. He is the founder and the president of the Ashlag Research Institute (ARI), established to research interconnections between the sciences of our world and the science of Kabbalah.
Dr Laitman is a member of the World Wisdom Council, a think tank organization headed by Prof. Ervin Laszlo in conjunction of the Club of Budapest. Prof. Laszlo was one of the first representatives in the area of systems philosophy and general theory of evolution, and published nearly 70 books translated into as many as 18 languages.
*Note: The title "Rav" was given to Dr. Laitman by his students in respect for his teachings and his dedication to spreading the wisdom of Kabbalah throughout the world. Rav Laitman was not ordained as a rabbi by a rabbinical school and does not serve as an orthodox rabbi.
Question: What are the basic precepts of Kabbalah?
Michael Laitman: The wisdom of Kabbalah originated in ancient Babylon, where people discovered it for the first time. It talks about the foundations of the universe of the world. And thus far, only very few people have engaged in it through the generations, but it’s been around for four and half thousand years.
But now, it is evolving and emerging because, now, we need this wisdom. And because it was hidden and closed all those years, around it, all kinds of beliefs and incorrect rumors were made about it, all kinds of misconceptions, like the wisdom of Kabbalah is a science about our lives, about the universe, about the world.
And because it was hidden for so many years, people thought that it was about mysticism, magic, misconceptions.
In the wisdom of Kabbalah, there is knowledge about the whole universe, as I said. Currently, it is taught in 1,800 faculties worldwide, in universities. I, myself, did my PhD in Philosophy in Kabbalah and have been with students who study in universities who’re also doing PhDs in that.
It is not the red bracelet or holy water Kabbalah, type of Kabbalah, or the celebrity type. It’s totally not that, it is incorrect.
Kabbalah is a very serious, vigorous science. And in our organization, we have many scientists from all fields of science, Psychology, Physics, Medicine, etcetera, and as of late politicians too and economists. Because the recent crisis, actually, demands of us to provide an answer why this is happening from the Kabbalah perspective and how it can be resolved.
Question: What is ego in Kabbalah?
Michael Laitman: Kabbalah says that we are in an enclosed nature. We are under one law and the whole of humanity is like one family. And we need to get along as members of the same family.
And the current crisis is revealing that picture to us. And Kabbalah, therefore, explains how we should build ourselves, our relationships. It explains about the laws that exist in the whole of nature, how we can implement them, how we can achieve harmony among ourselves and with the whole of nature.
And the wisdom of Kabbalah explains that human evolution comes through augmentation of ego from one generation to generation, and still vegetative inanimate inanimate in nature. Their egos don’t increase, don’t augment overtime.
But human beings from generation to generation, constantly… their egos constantly grow even through one’s personal life. Hence, or changing our technologies or societies. We’re changing the world around us and it’s all because your augmentation of the ego.
But now, we’re in a situation that our ego has become so overblown, that it’s become global, integral. And that forces us to understand that we have this reciprocal relation between us and we have to find a new kind of order between us. Not based solely on competitive and exploitation but also how to connect correctly with each other. Otherwise, we’ll destroy the world.
Question: Is Kabbalah monotheistic?
Michael Laitman: And as for the conception of God in the wisdom of Kabbalah, by engaging in Kabbalah, we begin to see matter as transparent. We begin to see the forces that exist around our universe, how they governed the universe, how they manage it.
It’s a lot like an embroidery; a picture of an embroidery, where on the one side of it, you see the picture itself and on the other side, you see the threads that create the picture. So what Kabbalah does is enables us to see those threads, those forces that create a picture of the world and how we can, using this knowledge, tie the picture in the correct way.
Because what’s happening today is that we touch certain places in the world but we don’t know why we get the wrong kind of feedback in other places. That’s why when Kabbalah reveals the picture of the world to us, it positions opposite nature in a very realistic manner and helps us maintain our correct sort of life.
If people knew today what Kabbalah suggests, we would not be in this current crisis or in previous crises. We have a crisis in education and culture and family life. There are divorce rates that are soaring; children leaving home. Depression rates are soaring too; drug abuse; terrorism and global terrorism. All these problems are because we don’t feel the world. In other words, what nature wants of us.
That’s why, today, Kabbalah is emerging as a means to explain that so we can conduct a life of harmony among ourselves.
Recorded on: May 7, 2009.