Baal HaSulam, “Exile and Redemption”: And because they did that, the powers of the nation disintegrated: Some followed the kings and the selfish officers, and some followed the prophets. And that separation continued until the ruin.
They created communities of this corrupt kind and became a great sect called “Tzdokim,” who were the rich and the officers, pursuing selfish desires unlike the path of Torah. And they fought the Prushim and brought the Roman kingdom’s rule over Israel. They are the ones who would not make peace with the imperious, as our sages advised by the Torah, until the house was ruined and the glory of Israel was exiled.
A Kabbalist doesn’t study history at the university. His view encompasses the whole system by rising above the limitations of time. For him “time” is a sequence of events. He sees the spiritual causes of the corruption and their fulfillment in the branches of this world; he sees how the process flows.
According to our perception, history is a collection of assumptions and theories based on different resources and archeological findings. Kabbalists speak about the nation of Israel that was created by Abraham’s disciples who left ancient Babel and attained the Kabbalistic method, while a philosopher may claim: “No way, the wisdom of Kabbalah began in the Middle Ages.” What can we do? Everyone is limited by the depth of their world perspective.
We have to account for not knowing the process of the spiritual descent, long and painful. People tried to resist it; there were many problems. There were wars, and each war was in order to hold onto the altruistic intention. People understood what was at stake: You are either near the Creator, which means that you are a human being, or you are just an animal that exists for a certain predetermined number of years, just like the donkey that carries you.
The deterioration was difficult for everyone, including the rich and the high officers who left Kabbalah. They understood what was going on, but couldn’t overcome their ego; they couldn’t resist it. A person was drawn downwards, just like a rabbit that is hypnotized by the snake’s eyes, walking straight into its mouth.
When there is such a descent, you see how your ego operates on you. You understand that you are weak and powerless, you see yourself deteriorate, and you cannot do anything about it. Only the environment can help you, only the Light that goes through it.
So the time of the nation’s spiritual descent was not simple. The point here is not the complete evil who did not want to exert themselves. It was a general deterioration that included the Kabbalists who also descended but still held on to the intention to bestow.
The purpose of this process was to define for ourselves exactly what the altruistic intention of Lishma means and to truly hold on to it. The whole point is that I study for my correction and not for any other reason. So accordingly, the “commandments” are a correction of my desire that is made of 613 parts. The Torah is essentially the Light that comes and fulfills these corrections. I only prepare myself for them, and the Creator completes them for me. Then by my corrected desires, I discover the Creator, the one unique force.
The essence of my attitude to the study, my correct intention, is the main thing. This is what the war between the two parties was about.
Today we need to rise from the collapse. This whole ascent is fulfilled only by the clarification, by checking what Lishma means, what a person’s role is, the goal of his life, its meaning. This is where the difference lies: I either study in order to know more and to pass exams, or I constantly exert myself in order to summon the Light that Reforms.
From the 3rd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 8/28/12, “Exile and Redemption”