Michael Laitman, M.S., Ph.D., Kabbalist, Professor of Ontology and the Theory of Knowledge, Founder and Director for the Bnei Baruch World Center for Kabbalah Studies and the ARI—Ashlag Research Institute, non-profit organizations for research and didactic activities in the field of Kabbalah.
Laitman was the student and personal assistant of Rabbi Baruch Ashlag, son of Rabbi Ashlag, author of the Sulam (Ladder) Commentary on Zohar.
He received his MS in biocybernetics from Saint Petersburg Polytechnical University and PhD in philosophy from Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow.
Michael Laitman was born on August, 31st, 1946, in Vitebsk (Belarus).
In 1970 he completed his studies at the Leningrad Polytechnical Institute - faculty of biological and medical cybernetics. Within the limits of training carried out research work in institute of research of blood, specialized in electromagnetic regulation of blood supply of heart and a brain. After the termination of institute worked in Kronshtadt's Laboratories Military-medicine Academy, then in Sevastopol, in academy of delphinariums. Under direction of professor Ahutina he worked on a theme - "space medicine".
In 1974 it was repatriated to Israel, served in the Israeli Air Forces where he worked as a technician checking electronic parts of navigating systems of F-16 bombers. Has borrowed in business in medical area.
In 1975, having become disappointed in the ability of science to offer an explanation for the source of a life, he began to visit rabbis, and Kabbalists, attempting to get answers from them.
In 1978 scientific researches have resulted Dr. Laitman in studying an ancient science the Kabbalah. He became 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 thus continues the transfer knowledge of Kabbalah to the modern generation.
In 1991 Founded Bnei Baruch Kabbalah Education & Research Institute
In 1996 created one of the most popular Internet sites on Kabbalah - http://www.kabbalah.info on 22 different languages .
In 2000 this site was noted by Encyclopædia Britannica ,as one of the largest sites of the Internet, according to the number of visitors, and in a quantity of training- educational and informative material in the kabbala.
In 2001 he opened the World Academy of Kabbalah . The departments of academy are opened in more than 25-s countries all ower the world.
In 2004 M.Laytman,with the resolution of the council of the institute of the philosophy, Russian Academy of Sciences appropriated degree the doctor of philosophy (Ph.D) .
In 2005 Dr. Laitman became a member of the World Advice of Wise men (World Wisdom Council) - assemblies of leading scientists and the public figures, global problems of a modern civilization engaged by the decision.
The last 30 years are occupied by a teaching and studing of kabbalah. He lives in Israel, is married and has three children.
* The Person of Year in medical cybernetics, Israel, 1995,
* Who are Who in History of the Society ",
* Who is Who Among Professionals ",
* For outstanding professional and public achievements " (2001-2002).
Search for Kabbalah
Born in 1946, Michael Laitman graduated from the St. Petersburg State Polytechnic University, in the faculty of Biological Medical Cybernetics, with an MS in Medical Cybernetics.
In 1974, Laitman immigrated to Israel. During these times, Laitman’s main concerns were not his material welfare, but the questions behind these, as he recalls:
"I continued to struggle with the same question about the meaning of life; I tried to find a reason that would be worth living for. Having rehashed the previous possibilities at my disposal (politics, business, etc.) to be like everyone else, I still was not able to terminate the persistent question, 'For what reason do I continue to do all this?' 'What do I gain by being similar to everyone else?'"
In 1978, Laitman came across a flyer for a Kabbalah course and signed up for it. His interest for the subject immediately flourished as he believed that this teaching held the answers to his questions. He bought piles of books on the subject, and began to delve into them to find answers.
He began to search for real teachers throughout all of Israel, and he took many lessons. During this entire period, Laitman believed he never encountered the real Kabbalah. He sought something that spoke of himself, but all he came across were different versions discussing abstract issues.
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, and through questioning a local religious-looking man, they were directed to a yeshiva. It was in this yeshiva, where five bearded men sat, that Laitman would find his teacher—Rabbi Baruch Ashlag—although he would not know it yet.
Turned off by the sight of the quiet old men at first, Laitman reluctantly returned to the yeshiva the following evening at the request of his friend; and it was then that Laitman, after a long search, finally found what he was looking for all that time.
Ashlag recommended beginning the study that evening with an article entitled "Preface to the Wisdom of Kabbalah"—an article that Laitman and his friend had long struggled over—and from reading the article, paragraph by paragraph, with Ashlag giving explanations of each, Laitman became convinced that he found something unable to be found anywhere else.
Life with Rabbi Baruch Ashlag
Laitman continued to study at the yeshiva, and regularly attended lessons. Ashlag held lessons in the morning between 3:30am and 6:00am, and then in the evening between 5:00pm and 8:30pm. In the beginning, Laitman attended Rabbi Ashlag’s classes twice a week, then every evening, and eventually, started coming to all the lessons and meals on offer.
After several months, Ashlag developed many physical problems, and Laitman would often drive him to the doctor. At one time, Ashlag had to go to hospital for a month due to an ear infection, and Laitman would climb the fence into the hospital, at four o’clock every morning, to continue his studies with Ashlag. It was from this time that Laitman considered Baruch Shalom Halevi Ashlag to be his Rabbi.
Upon his release from hospital, Laitman and Ashlag frequently went for long walks in parks together, lasting for three to four hours at a time. Laitman feverishly wrote down all that he heard from Ashlag immediately after these walks. Through morning lessons, the walks in the park, evening lessons, meals, and by assisting Rabbi Ashlag, Laitman said that, what began as one Kabbalah lesson followed by the next, and the next, etc., turned into one continuous Kabbalah lesson with Rabbi Ashlag that lasted twelve years.
After two years, Laitman moved to Bnei Brak, and started bringing more people to the lessons of Ashlag. For years, the daily schedule remained fixed, and Laitman and Ashlag would also go to the beach between 9:00am and midday everyday. Laitman recalls the relentless attitude of his teacher:
"For him, a reached conclusion became law, where the schedule and the timetable were followed strictly, irrespective of fatigue or illness. Almost 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. Constantly observing his behavior, I would lose confidence in myself and in my own possible success, even though I understood that this supernatural strength emanated from the realization of the grandiose task before him, and from the help from Above."
In their last five years together, Ashlag invited Laitman to accompany him to fortnightly trips to Tiberias. These meetings had a very emotional impact upon Laitman. In them, he developed a deeper impression of the spiritual gap between him and his teacher. Ashlag exposed Laitman to secret Kabbalistic study materials (which Laitman still does not disclose) and to in-depth commentaries of such texts as Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag’s Talmud Eser Sefirot (The Study of the Ten Sefirot) and Bet Shaar HaKavanot (The Gates of Intentions), as well as The Zohar and texts written by other Kabbalists. The year 1991 saw the death of Rabbi Baruch Ashlag, and Laitman was left to continue on his own.
edit Bnei Baruch
In 1991, after his mentor’s demise, Laitman founded his own Kabbalistic study group, which he called “Bnei Baruch” (lit. “The Sons of Baruch”), in honor and memory of his teacher. In its early years, Bnei Baruch only contained a handful of students, but has since developed into a worldwide educational institution on the science of Kabbalah.
Bnei Baruch is now a non-profit organization welcoming people of all ages and lifestyles to engage in the process of studying Kabbalah. The organization charges no fee for its vast variety of activities.
Bnei Baruch produces daily live TV broadcasts of Kabbalah lessons and programs for various channels throughout the world. The organization established and sustains the largest, most extensive content site on Kabbalah, hosting 140,000 visitors, with over 1.5 million page views per 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 all for free download. Bnei Baruch broadcasts live daily video and audio Kabbalah lessons over the Internet with simultaneous translations from Hebrew to English, Russian, and Spanish. The Bnei Baruch website also hosts a comprehensive media and text archive.
Kabbalah as a Modern Science
Today, Michael Laitman’s thirty years of research into the science of Kabbalah is finding recognition among leading scientists engaging into deep research of the surrounding world according to classical scientific paradigms. In the framework of his scientific and educational program, Laitman participates in international conferences alongside scientists from all around the world. He is the founder and the president of the ARI (Ashlag Research Institute), established to research interconnections between the sciences of our world and the science of Kabbalah.
The classification of Kabbalah as a science is problematic due to its actual area of research: While all the sciences we are familiar with are in some way connected to our world, the science of Kabbalah is a science of the Upper worlds. Furthermore, it can only be investigated with an additional property that is acquired during the process of study, and not with our inborn properties.
Sciences that we are familiar with are regarded as a research of the surrounding reality, which can be registered, repeated, and reproduced. Research—in such sciences as physics, biology, astronomy, and chemistry—is conducted in our five senses, and with the help of devices that broaden the range of their sensitivity.
Laitman maintains that studying according to the method of Kabbalah allows one to acquire the sixth additional sense (called the “screen” or “soul”). This additional sense allows Kabbalists to explore perceived disturbances, as we do, using our five basic senses. Kabbalists register, analyze, and summarize these perceptions into a single system. These observations, as well as the observations in natural sciences, have been conducted over many centuries and have been confirmed by hundreds of researchers-Kabbalists. The difference between the Kabbalist and non-Kabbalist researchers lies in the fact that the Kabbalists research reality in the additional sense, which can be acquired by anyone who desires it.
On the other hand, scientists have lately discovered that the picture of the world is completely subjective, is fully determined by the observer. According to the famous postulate of Niels Bohr, a researcher does not observe the surrounding world, only his or her own reactions to it. If this is so, all the natural sciences can be defined as the knowledge that the person attains in his or her innate five senses. Laitman maintains that Kabbalah is a “supernatural” science, because it can only be comprehended after the person acquires this additional sense.
It is somewhat unusual to suddenly find out about a potential opportunity to acquire an additional sense and to receive in it some complementary information about the world—which one is normally used to feeling through the five senses. However, Laitman maintains that as soon as a person is ready to accept this supposition, all the rest looks quite natural and the research of the world in the additional sense will certainly be called a science.
Laitman asserts that the Kabbalist’s attainments are real, repeatable and reproducible both by the Kabbalist and by others. He goes on to say that, in actual fact, all Kabbalistic books represent the means of tuning the sense of perception and describe the perceived information. It is similar to an account given by a physicist or a chemist. Anyone can repeat the same experiment and receive similar results.
It is for this reason that Laitman posits Kabbalah to be a much more real science than other sciences, because it initially takes into consideration the fact that a person’s attainment completely depends upon a person’s senses.
Mastering a sense that perceives the surrounding reality in accordance with its own properties is absolutely new for a person. This elevates one to a higher level of attainment and turns one into a researcher, because by changing one’s properties one perceives absolutely new pictures. All of them are real, and only the gradual adjustment of this sense reveals the differences between them.
Laitman says that due to a common misunderstanding of what Kabbalists feel and attain, people erroneously attribute to them various miracles, sorcery, manipulation with supernatural forces, the use of red bracelets, exorcisms, “holy water” and other kinds of witchery. From this misunderstanding, Laitman claims that it is a mistake to associate Kabbalah (the science of the surrounding reality) with religion, mysticism or any sphere of human activity other than science.
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