A question I received: Baal HaSulam wrote that the nations of the world “stole” the wisdom from Kabbalists. What does this mean?
My Answer: To “steal” means to use one’s egoistic desire. It is written that Adam HaRishon stole from the Creator, which means that he wanted to receive the Light of Hochma without clothing it in the Light of Hassadim. To steal means to receive for oneself, without the intention to bestow.
In the past, before the destruction of the Second Temple, the Jews did not conceal the wisdom of Kabbalah. They shared it openly with the nations of the world, which is what gave rise to all the earthly sciences that study Nature (the Creator’s hidden form), as well as philosophy (a system that uses the egoistic mind to make guesses about the Creator, who is concealed from the mind). Rav Kook wrote about the fact that philosophy originated from Kabbalah, as did Johann Reuchlin, a great philosopher of the 16th century, and many others.
When did Kabbalah become concealed? This happened after the nation of Israel fell from the high level of love for the fellow man into unfounded hatred. This, in turn, led to the destruction of the Second Temple. Rashbi, the author of The Book of Zohar, expressed great sorrow because from that point on, Kabbalah would have to be written in a form that concealed it from people, and this concealment would last until the 20th century. At that time, it would be revealed to the entire world, in order to benefit all the people.
Before the Second Temple was destroyed, there was no need to write about Kabbalah because people felt the Creator directly and the science of Kabbalah was simply their means of communication. However, if Kabbalah had not been “stolen,” humanity could not have developed. In order for humanity to develop, the egoistic desire has to contain a spark of Light that revives and sustains it. So, this spark of Light is what enabled humanity’s egoistic desires to develop from one generation to the next, causing progress in technology, culture, education and other social institutions.
Today, however, everything that the spark of Light had to give us has been realized. The ego has grown into one unified structure or system. It turned out that when egoistic individuals reached a connection among one another, they are no longer able to evolve egoistically, but can only degrade. This becomes expressed as a universal crisis in all areas man delves in, including culture, upbringing, science, trade and the economy.
From this moment on, we can use the science of Kabbalah to correct ourselves and our participation in the global system, until it will reach complete harmony.
Laitman.com Post: It Takes Just One Spark of the Upper Light to Correct the World
Laitman.com Post: The Physics of the Upper Light
Article: “Kabbalah as a Modern Teaching”
TV Program: Ask the Kabbalist (April 3, 2008)