Question: Why did Kabbalists keep the wisdom of Kabbalah secret for so many years if someone who isn’t ready for it can’t use it?
Answer: The science of Kabbalah was open to anyone who wanted to study it until the ruin of the Temple. The destruction of the Temple was the destruction of the spiritual sensation in the people of Israel.
Just as it is dangerous to reveal regular science to egoists who lack the correct vision of the world and its purpose since disclosing the knowledge would arm them with weapons that can hurt them and others, similarly, people who fell from the spiritual degree of brotherly love into the unfounded hatred were banned from studying the science of Kabbalah. After all, they could have used it incorrectly and become confused.
They were unable to use it once they fell into the egoistic desire which was beginning to develop. They first had to become entangled in the desires of this world, to plunge into the darkness, to mingle with the desires of all the peoples; in fact, this was the purpose of the nation of Israel going into exile.
How would it have been possible to give people the wisdom of Kabbalah at that time; it would have been contrary to the purpose. The people fell from the spiritual degree and lost that knowledge precisely in order to live on the same level as all the other nations. Up until the end of the Middle Ages, the people of Israel and all other nations led a very simple and primitive life. It was a time for their mutual inclusion.
But despite the fact that the people of Israel lost their spiritual degree, the high, inner spirit persisted in them, and there were many sages (Kabbalists) and people who understood the purpose of creation. It wasn’t like today’s state of complete lack of understanding of the purpose of existence.
This decline happened in the past 100-150 years, but before that, there wasn’t a person among the people of Israel who didn’t know what he was living for. That allowed them to endure all the years of exile and preserve themselves despite all the persecution, inquisition, and pogroms. After all, it wasn’t just blind faith: They felt and knew that there was a purpose.
However, the wisdom of Kabbalah had to be kept secret from the people of Israel precisely because they had to mix with the desires of other nations and to complete the period of exile. That was the reason why Kabbalists concealed it, alienated the people from it, and intimidated them so as not to confuse them and to give them time to correct what needed to be corrected.
This was the form in which they were performing the correction at that time. After all, we can’t see the inner development that was going on inside. For billions of years, all matter has been evolving unconsciously, but we can’t grasp the process in its entirety with our limited mind. If we maintain this view of reality, we can’t justify anything in it. If we want to understand anything, we first need to reveal the entire picture.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 2/16/2011, “Introduction to the Book, Panim Meirot uMasbirot”