Baal HaSulam, “Introduction to the Book of Zohar,” p. 57: If the worshipers of the Creator had at least engaged in the internality of the Torah and extended a complete Light from Ein Sof, the whole generation would have followed them. And everyone would be certain of their way that they would not fall. But if even the servants of the Creator have distanced themselves from this wisdom, it is no wonder the whole generation is failing because of them. And because of my great sorrow, I cannot elaborate on that!
If the masses studying the Torah understood what the true teaching is… That is how they call the wisdom of Kabbalah, but they do not want to learn it. And yet, if they had taken up this science, of course, we could have made great corrections, both quantitative and qualitative. And then our situation today would be different.
Who is more aware of this gap between the desired and reality than Baal HaSulam, when instead of internality we are preoccupied with externality? The end of the 19th century, when the return to the land of Israel was allowed, was the latest milestone. In general this period lasts from the time of the Ari, the Messiah, son of Joseph.
Rabbi Abraham Ben Mordechai Azulai writes in the “Introduction to the book, Ohr HaChama [Light of the Sun]” 81:
The prohibition from Above to refrain from open study of the wisdom of truth was for a limited period, until the end of 1490. Thereafter is considered the last generation, in which the prohibition was lifted and permission has been granted to engage in The Book of Zohar. And since the year 1540, it has been a great Mitzva (precept) for the masses to study, old and young. And since the Messiah is bound to come as a result, and for no other reason, it is inappropriate to be negligent.
From here, we can understand at least a bit how much we lose because we still neglect the science of Kabbalah, and what harm it carried to the people then and to this day. In essence, we make a great offense.
Question: Baal HaSulam writes that: “The entire generation would have followed us.” Does this mean that everyone should learn the wisdom of Kabbalah?
Answer: It is not accustomed to speak in the subjunctive mood, and yet: If the religious people in those generations had studied Kabbalah and added the hidden part—the writings of the Ari and the teaching of Baal Shem Tov—to the explicit part, then over time, we would have corrected ourselves. First of all, we would have felt reality correctly. People would not have abandoned the religion; the time of the “Haskalah” (the Age of Enlightenment), caused by separation from the right direction in human development, would not have arrived.
After completing a period of spiritual exile, in the 15th century, the Jewish people would have continued towards salvation and ascent.
It was from that time that “the era of the last generation” has begun. Even then we had to become engaged in Kabbalah, that is, the method of correction that carries the Light that Reforms everyone, and all of us together. Then the nations of the world would have received illumination through us, which would have changed their attitude.
However, we did not engage into the internal part of the Torah, the science of Kabbalah, and thus, we did not have connection with the Light. It affected us in its own way, according to the new epoch, and this made our path more difficult. Instead of the Light, the world grew dark because we were not able to accept It. Darkness is the same Light that we cannot discern in our corrupted desires. If we had corrected ourselves, we would have felt Its approach as something desirable. However, everything went to the contrary; we don’t want the Light, and It turns into darkness for us, terrible suffering.
That’s the problem: So far, people were engaged in the Torah only externally, in the studies. “Externally” means not in order to correct the soul. The exile in which we are was caused by the fact that we don’t correct ourselves, but study without advancement. Once, we had to act that way, but chronologically this period ended in the 15th century. We are 500 years behind.
Question: Today, it turns out that the secular part of the population is closer to the Kabbalah.
Answer: Right. Let’s hope that situation will change. In the meantime, the religious part is going through the stage of the awareness of evil in themselves and in the contemporary events. Little by little, in different forms, it begins to realize that. And this will happen in a couple of years.
In any case, we are not going to correct anyone but ourselves. Anyone who wants to join the process of correction is welcome. In the total system, we are all interconnected; so let’s hope that this will affect everyone.
If the religious audience had begun to study Kabbalah, of course, we would have quickly come to general correction. However, such are the conditions, such are the properties inherent in the receiving desire.
In addition, we must understand that what we face is a consequence of the breaking and exile. This part of the people should behave in this way. Indeed, we are all driven by nature, and nothing is beyond its scope. During the exile, a person is in the nature of the desire to receive; he does not feel his connection with the Creator. The upper Light and the Creator are not revealed to him and there is no connection. On the other hand, he is content by studying the Torah and the Commandments in their current form. And that is why, tied by the left line, he just cannot get out of this state.
This is the result of the path we have traversed, and we cannot accuse anyone of anything. We look at these social events as researchers, objectively, remembering that there is none else besides Him. So it had to happen.
As for the practical corrections, we need to understand that now everything depends on us. We demand nothing from anyone but ourselves. This is our approach to every part of human society and to everyone: We must give him the best explanation, and then it is his free choice.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 8/01/12, “Introduction to The Book of Zohar”