+ 470 Some photographers take reality... and impose the domination of their own thought and spirit. Others come before reality more tenderly and a photograph to them is an instrument of love and revelation. Ansel Adams
+ 443 There are worlds of experience beyond the world of the aggressive man, beyond history, and beyond science. The moods and qualities of nature and the revelations of great art are equally difficult to define; we can grasp them only in the depths of our perceptive spirit. Ansel Adams
+ 542 The world needs new moral impulses which, I'm afraid, won't come from the churches, heavily compromised as they have been throughout the centuries. Perhaps those impulses must come from scientists in the tradition of Galileo, Kepler and Newton. In spite of failures and persecutions, these men devoted their lives to proving that the universe is a single entity, in which, I believe, a humanized God has no place. The genuine scientist is not moved by praise or blame, nor does he preach. He unveils the universe and people come eagerly, without being pushed, to behold a new revelation: the order, the harmony, the magnificence of creation! And as man becomes conscious of the stupendous laws that govern the universe in perfect harmony, he begins to realize how small he is. He sees the pettiness of human existence, with its ambitions and intrigues, its 'I am better than thou' creed. This is the beginning of cosmic religion within him; fellowship and human service become his moral code. And without such moral foundations, we are hopelessly doomed. Albert Einstein
+ 361 In Hebrew, the word shmonah (eight) has the same exact letters as hashemen (the oil), and neshama (soul). The number eight is also associated with the revelation of Mashiach – the Messiah. This is reflected in the Talmud which states, “the harp of the era of Mashiach will be of eight strands.”
+ 410 I'd like to share a revelation that I've had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you're not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops an equilibrium with the surrounding environment, but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed. The only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet; you are a plague and we are the cure. Agent Smith
+ 289 Who Is a Kabbalist? The Kabbalist is a researcher who studies his nature using a proven, time-tested and accurate method. He studies the essence of his existence using tools we can all utilize feelings, intellect and heart. A Kabbalist looks like an ordinary person. He need not have any special skills, talents, or occupation. He need not be a wise man or wear a holy expression. At some point in his life, this ordinary person decided to look for a way in which he would find credible answers to the questions that were troubling him. By utilizing a distinct method of learning, he was successful in acquiring an extra sense a sixth sense which is the spiritual sense. Through this sense, the Kabbalist feels the spiritual spheres as a clear reality, just as we feel our reality here; he receives knowledge about the spiritual spheres, the upper worlds, and the revelation of higher forces. These worlds are called upper worlds, since they are higher than and beyond our world. The Kabbalist ascends from his current spiritual level to the next one. This movement brings him from one upper world to the next. He sees the roots from which everything that exists here has developed, everything that fills our world, including ourselves. The Kabbalist is simultaneously in our world, and in the upper worlds. This quality is shared by all Kabbalists. Kabbalists receive the real information that surrounds us, and feel this reality. Therefore, they can study it, be familiar with it, and teach us about it. They provide a new method through which we can meet the source of our lives, leading us to spirituality. They use books that are written in a special language. We must read these books in a special way, so they become a Vessel for discovering the truth for us as well. In the books they have written, the Kabbalists inform us about the techniques based on mans personal experiences. From their all-encompassing point of view, they have found the way to help those who would follow, and then climb the same ladder as they did. Their method is called the wisdom of Kabbalah. Rav Michael Laitman
+ 177 Make the Torah Greater
“Learn Torah for its own sake.” Learn for the sake of the Torah.
God desires that wisdom be made actual. This wisdom is more desirable and uplifted than we can ever understand. Any lack comes from us. Because we are immersed in a physical body, we cannot recognize [wisdom’s] greatness, its strength and uplifted nature.
The wisdom of the Torah is the divine revelation that, in accordance with God’s will, results from our worship and learning. When we learn Torah, we bring its wisdom from potential to actual—as it relates to our spirit. There can be no comparison between the light that is renewed when the Torah is connected to one person’s spirit and when the Torah is connected to another person’s spirit.
So when we learn Torah, we literally make it greater. Since the Holy One, blessed be He, wishes to make the Torah greater, we should learn out of love for the great light that God wishes to be revealed, [in our own desire that it] grow greater and greater.
Even more, we should create Torah thoughts, for this certainly makes the Torah greater—literally, with a double measure of light.
Orot Hatorah 2:1
+ 218 Torah for its Own Sake
What is the essence of learning Torah for its own sake?
In spiritual teachings, this is self-understood. Such teachings are openly concerned with coming close to God and elevation in sanctity. We are uplifted by these teachings.
But what about Torah texts on practical matters?
We must understand that these are all branches and garments of the light of divine honesty and justice. Within their details, we may find the divine soul of the perfection of the world: in life, in physicality and in spirit, in community and in the individual. Once we realize this, light gleams and descends into every detail. Once the feeling of our inner heart and mind is dedicated to the divine and inclusive illumination hidden in the multitude of these practical teachings, we come to an inner revelation within every detail, which shines in accordance with the capability of our individual spirit.
At times, our thought broadens and takes such clear form that we may even express and explicate the spark of divine light that we have understood in some of those details. And in this elevated state, we uplift all the details.
At other times, the matter is revealed only as a subtle glimmer in the chambers of our heart. Even then, however, this lifts our soul to an elevated state, through which all of life is rarified.
In regard to this latter manifestation, our sages stated: “Whoever learns Torah for its own sake merits many things.” And regarding the former inclusive illumination, they added: “And not only that, but the whole world is considered worthwhile for his sake.”
Orot Hatorah 2:2
+ 236 The Plain of Halachah and Aggadah
When we begin to take steps upon the plain of halachah and aggadah, a multitude beyond number of unions and harmonies beyond number is drawn out. The universes of heaven and earth, humanity of the flesh and humanity of ideas, with all the wealth hidden in each of them, are then unified. They bring each other to the wished?for action that leads toward complete growth and perfection.
This connection is nothing less than the revelation of the unity that had been hidden within them from the very beginning.
Whoever has not tasted the flavor of halachah has not tasted the flavor of Torah. And whoever has not tasted the flavor of aggadah has not tasted the flavor of fear of sin.
Torah and fear of sin must always accompany one another. The service of Torah learning must be methodically revealed, in an active form, upon this unifying basis—one whose results are very great.
In truth, aggadah always contains a halachic essence. Similarly, halachah contains an inner agaddic content. In the main, the content of aggadah is found in the qualitative form of halachah. And the content of halachah is found in the quantitative form of aggadah. Even without any particular search or awareness, when we learn halachah, we are touched by its hidden content of aggadah; and, when we learn aggadah, we are touched by the pulse of halachah that is folded into the content of the aggadah.
However, not everyone has a properly keen awareness of these two streams—each of which is constantly filled with the content of the other. An alienation between these worlds, which are in essence so joined and twinned together, leads to an unhealthy separation in the nature of deep study and its broadening. It constricts these two areas—halachic and the aggadic—to a narrow arena.
We must clearly bring forth the meeting of these two forces in a rectified form, when each will make the other_s content exceedingly fragrant. Each will profoundly aid the other to bring forth its details and to shine a more brilliant light upon its own general appearance and upon the depth of its own internal logic and what that embraces. The scent of aggadah must make halachah fragrant, in a measure that is well?reasoned and fitting. And aggadah must be given its worth within a framework, with set laws and a clear, defined logic—like the form of a strengthened halachah. With this, the power and freshness of both will be multiplied.
The need that brought the masters of pilpul in previous generations to at times attempt to integrate aggadah and halachah welled forth from this demand for a unification of these forces, which so much act in unison.
We are already called upon to gather together talents and knowledge in order to clarify our learning and all the paths of our lives. In particular, the essence of halachic learning must be broad, composed of the various approaches of the early and later authorities who have grown to be so many over the generations—we very much need that depth and breadth. And we must approach with complete breadth the unity of the contents of halachah and aggadah—which includes the categories of logic and history, ethics and faith, feeling and civility.
And resting upon all of them is a pure phenomenon, one soaked with the dew of the life of the totality of the light of Torah, ready to rest like a beautiful ornament upon all those who learn Torah for its own sake, giving them a special sensitivity and satisfaction of the heart?inspiring joy of Torah.
Orot Hakodesh I, pp. 26?27
+ 191 The Words of the Scribes
The oral Torah exists in the essential character of the Jewish people, which acquired its blessing with the revelation from heaven of the written Torah.
In its revealed state, the oral Torah is lower than the written Torah. The chief means of finding its path is the written Torah, which is the supernal relationship of the Jewish people with supernal divinity, with the goal of goals, with victory and splendor in the universes and higher than them all.
But in the inner form, is it not the case that the Torah is given to Israel for the sake of our inner, supernal unique being? It is this divine, hidden, unique being that caused the Torah to be revealed to us from heaven.
And so in its root the oral Torah is higher than the root of the hidden Torah.
“The words of the scribes are more beloved than the words of the Torah.”
Orot Hatorah 1:2
+ 196 The Words of the Sages
The oral Torah exists within the essence of the nature of the Jewish people. And received our blessing with the heavenly revelation of the written Torah.
As it appears, the oral Torah is lesser than the written Torah. It is the written Torah that provides the chief method of discerning the path of the oral Torah. That path consists of the supernal relationship of the Jewish people with supernal divinity, with the goal of goals, with the might and glory in the worlds, and higher than their totality.
But on an inner level, the Torah was given to the Jewish people precisely due to our inner, supernal special quality [which is identified with the Oral Torah]. This divine, hidden special quality caused the [written] Torah to be revealed to us from heaven.
And so, the oral Torah is more exalted in its root than the root of the written Torah.
“The words of the sages are more beloved than the words of Torah.”
+ 84 All intimacy is rare - that is what makes it precious. And it involves the revelation of one's self and the loving gaze upon another's true self (no makeup, no fancy car, no defensive charm, no seduction) -- that's what makes it so damn hard. Intimacy requires honesty and kindness in almost equal measure (a little more kindness, I think), trust and trustworthiness, forgiveness and the capacity to be forgiven . . . It's more than worth it - just do not let them tell you it is bliss. Amy Bloom
+ 21 The ideal of man is to be a revelation himself, clearly to recognize himself as a manifestation of God. Baal Shem Tov