Question: Why did Kabbalists keep Kabbalah hidden from the people of Israel for thousands of years, while they did reveal its secrets to the Greek philosophers?
Answer: It had occurred long before, hundreds of years before the fall of the Second Temple. At that time, many scientists and philosophers of the nations of the world (not only the Greeks) used to come to study with Kabbalists. They were studying the people of Israel, attempting to understand them.
As an example, Alexander the Great, who started with the goal of expanding civilization throughout the world, used to surround himself with scientists and philosophers who studied the life of the people of Israel at that time. That is why he treated them so benevolently.
Scientists strived to comprehend the wisdom practiced among the ancient people of Israel who lived according to spiritual laws. This wisdom was visible to the naked eye, and based on how the government and society were arranged, it was evident that these people’s lives were founded on unique traditions.
There was an enormous difference in how the people of Israel lived compared to other nations, considering we are speaking about barbaric times. In Israel, the system of social relations was perfect in that a person was completely secured, more than by today’s medical insurance or unemployment benefits.
The Talmud describes those times in the following way: There was no child who didn’t know how to read and write or how the world was arranged. The educational system (Levites) included every person. This was first established by Moses while in the desert after the exodus from Egypt.
There was no lawlessness since it is written, “Anyone who buys a Hebrew slave, it is as though he buys a master for himself.” There was no division into upper and lower classes in the society. Never were people recognized for their wealth, unlike in the other nations. Rather, it was the sages who were honored.
People who came to visit from other places were surprised and couldn’t understand how it was done. It might work if such rules were established in a small community, but to have such laws govern the whole nation? After all, no less than three million people departed from Egypt, who later multiplied. In those times, it was a large nation.
There was such a bond between people, such a system of justice, special events and holidays, and an accurate calendar that the people followed so that everything was organized like in a fine clock mechanism in sync with the upper clock. This clock ruled over the entire public life since it was an absolutely perfect system, identical to the spiritual one.
Everybody knew what he or she was supposed to do; they knew it internally! There was no need for a ruler who would have to enforce order by military force and police that would control and punish. Every person innately felt how they should act, and this was a society of integral equality.
A king would serve the people, rather than abuse his power. It was a totally reversed pyramid. The one who had a more exalted position felt even greater responsibility for the others.
It was radically different from how other peoples lived, and this is why their sages came to study. It was an era of prophets from whom many scientists of other nations gained their knowledge. Naturally, just like Abraham wished to transform all of Ancient Babylon, the prophets never rejected those who desired to learn the laws of the universe.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 1/10/2011, “The Wisdom of Kabbalah and Philosophy”