Michael Laitman Edit
Michael Laitman, a Professor of Ontology and the Theory of Knowledge, Ph.D. in Philosophy and Kabbalah, and M.Sc in Medical Bio-Cybernetics, founder and director of Bnei Baruch Kabbalah Education & Research Institute. Laitman was the student and personal assistant of Rav Baruch Ashlag, the eldest son of renowned 20th Century Kabbalist, Rav Yehuda Ashlag, author of the authoritative Sulam (Ladder) Commentary on The Book of Zohar.
In 1991 Dr Michael Laitman established Bnei Baruch, a group of Kabbalah students that implements the legacy of Rabash (Rav Baruch Shalom Ashlag) on a day-to-day basis. Today, the members of Bnei Baruch research, study, and circulate the wisdom of Kabbalah.
Michael Laitman was born on August 31st, 1946, in Vitebsk (Belarus).
- In 1970, he completed his studies in biological and medical cybernetics. Laitman conducted specialized research involving the electromagnetic regulation of blood supplies to the heart and brain at the Kronshtadt's Laboratories Military Medical Academy.
- In 1974, Laitman moved to Israel where he served in the Israeli Air Force and worked as a technician on the electronic components and navigating systems of F-16 jet fighters.
- In 1975, growing frustrated with science’s inability to explain the source of life, Laitman began seeking answers to his questions in Kabbalah.
- In 1978, Laitman began to seriously study Kabbalah. He became the prime student and personal assistant to Rav Baruch Ashlag, son of Rav Yehuda Ashlag, author of the Sulam (Ladder) Commentary on The Book of Zohar.
- In 1991, Laitman founded Bnei Baruch Kabbalah Education & Research Institute.
- In 1996, the now popular www.kabbalah.info was launched. In 2000, Encyclopedia Britannica named kabbalah.info as one of the largest sites on the Internet based on the quantity and quality of educational and informative material on Kabbalah.
- In 2005, Laitman became a member of the World Wisdom Council, a coalition of leading scientists and
Search for Kabbalah Edit
From an early age, Michael Laitman’s interests focused around the meaning of life. In his words, "I continuously struggled with the question about the meaning of life. I tried to find a reason that would make life worth living.” (M. Laitman, Attaining the Worlds Beyond, Laitman Kabbalah Publishers: 2003, p. 436) In 1976, Laitman was introduced to Kabbalah and began to search for teachers throughout Israel. However, for several years, he could not find anyone who truly answered his questions. Abandoning all of his teachers, he and a friend of his began to study together, going through all the books they could find on the subject. This continued for months until Laitman decided to seek a teacher in the town of Bnei Brak. One night, Laitman and his friend drove to Bnei Brak where they were directed to a yeshiva after questioning a man in the area. In the yeshiva, Laitman would find his teacher—Rav Baruch Ashlag— sitting among five bearded men. At first, turned off by the sight of the quiet old men, Laitman reluctantly returned to the yeshiva the following evening at the request of his friend; it was then that Laitman finally found what he was looking for. Ashlag began the study that evening with an article entitled "Preface to the Wisdom of Kabbalah." Laitman and his friend had long struggled over this text so as they read the article paragraph by paragraph with Ashlag’s commentary, Laitman became convinced that he found something unable to be found anywhere else.
Life with Rav Baruch Ashlag Edit
Laitman continued to study at the Yeshiva and attend regular lessons. Ashlag held lessons in the morning from 3:30 until 6:00 AM and then in the evening from 5:00 to 8:30 PM. In the beginning, Laitman attended Rav Ashlag’s classes twice a week, then every evening, and eventually, he came to every lesson and meal. After several months, Ashlag developed many physical problems so Laitman would often drive him to the doctor. During one period, Ashlag had to go to the hospital for a month due to an ear infection. Laitman would climb a fence into the hospital at four o’clock every morning to continue his studies with his teacher. It was from this time on that Laitman considered Baruch Shalom Halevi Ashlag to be his Rav. Upon his release from the hospital, Laitman and Ashlag would frequently go for three to four hour walks in the park where Laitman wrote down everything he heard from his teacher. Through these morning lessons, walks in the park, evening lessons, meals, and by assisting his teacher, Laitman said that what began as daily Kabbalah morning and evening lessons eventually turned into one continuous twelve year lesson with Rav Ashlag. Laitman moved to Bnei Brak after two years of study and started bringing more people to Ashlag’s lessons. For years, the daily schedule remained fixed. In addition, Laitman and Ashlag started going to the beach together from 9:00 AM until noon everyday. Here, Laitman recalls the relentless attitude of his teacher: "For him, a decision became a law where the schedule and timetable were followed strictly regardless of fatigue or illness. Sometimes collapsing from exhaustion, he would carry out all that was planned for the day to the last detail, never diminishing the task that he took upon himself. Breathless from fatigue, suffering from shortness of breath, he never cancelled even one appointment or class; he never shifted any of his responsibilities to another person. I would lose confidence in myself and in my own possible success by observing his behavior though I understood that this supernatural strength emanated from the realization of the immense task before him and from the help from Above." During their last five years together, Ashlag invited Laitman to accompany him on trips to Tiberias. These meetings were very emotional for Laitman because they developed in him a deeper understanding of the spiritual gap between him and his teacher. Ashlag exposed Laitman to secret Kabbalistic study materials and in-depth commentaries on: Rav Yehuda Ashlag’s, Talmud Eser Sefirot (The Study of the Ten Sefirot), Bet Shaar HaKavanot (The Gates of Intentions), The Zohar and other texts written by Kabbalists. In 1991, Rav Baruch Ashlag passed away and Laitman was left to continue on his own.
Bnei Baruch Edit
In 1991, after his teacher’s death, Laitman founded his own Kabbalah study group called “Bnei Baruch” (lit. “The Sons of Baruch”), named in honor and memory of his teacher. In its early years, Bnei Baruch contained a handful of students but since then, it has developed into a worldwide Kabbalah educational institute. Bnei Baruch is now a global, non-profit organization that welcomes people of all ages and lifestyles to study Kabbalah. Bnei Baruch broadcasts daily, live Kabbalah lessons on TV, the Internet, and they produce programs throughout the world in over thirty languages. The organization established and sustains the largest website for free Kabbalah materials and services, www.kabbalah.info offering Kabbalah texts, videos, courses, music, and lessons in over thirty languages.
- Attaining the Worlds Beyond (PDF) (AUDIO BOOK) (BOOK )
- Awakening to Kabbalah: The Guiding Light of Spiritual Fulfillment (BOOK )
- A Guide to the Hidden Wisdom of Kabbalah (PDF ) (BOOK )
- Bail Yourself Out: How to Emerge Strong from the World Crisis (PDF ) (BOOK )
- Basic Concepts in Kabbalah (PDF ) (AUDIO BOOK ) (BOOK )
- The Complete Idiots Guide to Kabbalah (BOOK )
- From Chaos to Harmony: The Solution to the Global Crisis According to the Wisdom of Kabbalah (PDF ) (BOOK )
- Interview with the Future (PDF ) (BOOK)
- Introduction to the Book of Zohar: Volume 1—The Science of Kabbalah (Pticha) (PDF ) (BOOK )
- Introduction to the Book of Zohar: Volume 2—Introduction to the Book of Zohar (PDF ) (BOOK )
- The Kabbalah Experience: The Definitive Q&A Guide to the Wisdom of Kabbalah (PDF ) (BOOK )
- Kabbalah for Beginners (PDF ) (BOOK )
- Kabbalah, Science and the Meaning of Life: Because Your Life Makes Sense (PDF ) (AUDIO BOOK ) (BOOK )
- Kabbalah Revealed: A Guide to a More Peaceful Life (BOOK )
- The Open Book (HTML ) (BOOK)
- The Path of Kabbalah (PDF ) (BOOK )
- The Point in the Heart (BOOK )
- Together Forever: The Story about the Magician who didn’t want to be Alone (PDF ) (BOOK )
- The Zohar: Annotations to the Ashlag Commentary (PDF ) (BOOK )
- Laitman, M. 2003. Attaining the Worlds Beyond. Canada: Laitman Kabbalah Publishers; pp. 436—7.
- Laitman, M. 2003. Attaining the Worlds Beyond. Canada: Laitman Kabbalah Publishers; pp. 442—3.
- Bnei Baruch Kabbalah Education and Research Institute official web site.
- Kabbalah Channel
- Kabbalah TV - Daily Live Lessons with Michael Laitman
- Michael Laitman's Personal Blog