Baal HaSulam, “Introduction to The Book of Zohar,” Item 67: When a person from Israel enhances and dignifies one’s internality, which is the Israel in that person, over the externality, which are the nations of the world in him, that is, when one dedicates the majority of one’s efforts to enhance and exalt one’s internality, to benefit one’s soul, and gives minor efforts, the mere necessity, to sustain the nations of the world in him, meaning the bodily needs, as it is written (Avot, 1), “Make your Torah permanent and your labor temporary,” by so doing, one makes the children of Israel soar upwards in the internality and externality of the world as well, and the nations of the world, which are the externality, to recognize and acknowledge the value of the children of Israel.
Question: There is internality and there is externality. It’s clear to me. Yet, I don’t understand what to prefer one over another means.
Answer: There is a soul and there is a body. Here “body” is not used in the physical sense of the word. At the speaking level, a body is a will to receive. What is a human being in the first place?
It’s not a physical body. Even a monkey has hands and a rooster has legs. Human beings stay above the animate level because they have the ability to attain the Creator. Even though human beings belong to the animate level, they still have an additional potential: a desire to search for the Creator.
We are “strange monkeys” who have unlimited developmental horizons.
“What are you looking for in our forest?” monkeys ask; “Have you lost something?”
“I am looking for my brothers. I want to find father.”
“Here is your father, don’t you see?”
“No. I am looking for the source of life. There is something missing in my life. I want to know why I live. Is there anything besides bananas out there? It’s hard for me to abide without searching.”
“I don’t know myself yet, but I have to find a sense in life. My existence is insipid and flavorless.”
“Try these wonderful bananas!”
“That won’t do! I still have a desire that is beyond just having daily bread.”
This additional desire is called “a Man” (Adam). Our internal quest addresses an aspiration to become similar (Domeh) to the Creator, to His properties and nature.
A monkey begins searching without having any clue about anything at all. So far, the search is cloaked in egoistic development.
The development is rigidly oriented to earn more money, have more success, and to build more. This process has been going on for hundreds of thousands of years: There was agriculture, then industry emerge, complicated social interactions, countless human achievements, and still the monkey is never completely happy or satisfied.
In the tangle of monkeys’ desires, inside lurks a rush to sense the Creator. But this aspiration is unarticulated, implicit, as if hidden under several layers of clothes, other desires. New unexplored lands and continents seem so attractive to monkeys! Monkeys strive to explore the world and its laws: “What’s there in the skies? What’s in the depth of the Earth? What is on our friends’ minds and in their hearts?” Monkeys develop sciences and technologies that represent evolutional milestones in the language that monkeys understand.
In essence, in the very depth of their minds, behind all feasible efforts in science, philosophy, and the latest technologies, monkeys aspire to the revelation of the source of reality.
With time, monkeys become much stranger and begin calling themselves “human beings.” This situation continues until a once hidden desire begins manifesting itself more vividly. Then, monkeys start searching for certain natural powers; they engage in mysticism and astrology, start looking for sacraments, noticing “signs” that are around and inside them. They ascribe mysterious properties to various things and phenomena and create innumerable theories. As a result, they still find nothing.
Yet, the monkeys’ deepest desire gradually emerges and emerges even more. Suddenly, among thousands of highly developed monkeys shows up one by the name “Adam.” It’s not an accident that his parents gave him this particular name. This newly established enormous desire finally divulges the upper force that launched the entire reality with everything that ever existed.
This man is called “the first man” (Adam Ha-Rishon) since he is the one who acquired a human appearance: similarity with the upper force. Thus, he revealed the Creator.
He was followed by many others throughout twenty generations before Abraham. Some of them managed to attain a human level.
Consequently, a thirst to reveal the upper force is built into this type of monkey. So far, their egoism was only accompanying them towards this force. They are trying to build a better life and they try various remedies since their internal appeal is still hidden.
Similarly, we “trick” our children to engage them in beneficial activities by placing things that are good for them in attractive wrappings so that they gradually move in the desired direction. The same applies to monkeys, they slowly approach the question about the purpose of their lives driven by numerous challenges, disappointments, and goadings. This is how any advancement happens.
In ancient Babylon, there were huge arguments among people. They had no idea how to resolve them. The situation became so acute that they began screaming: “We want to know our King!” These were very advanced thinking, progressive monkeys. It took them hundreds of thousands of years before they proclaimed their desire to get “acquainted” with the upper force. They were no mere primitive idolaters, they built ziggurat. With their tower reaching for the heavens, in essence, they were engaged in spiritual actions working with the forces of nature, although egoistically.
In short, this is the time when monkeys’ desire to reveal the upper force began. However, they didn’t know how to reach it. They had a multi-millennia long tendency of technical and social progress behind them so they decided to continue on this path but encountered a crisis since it is impossible to attain the Creator this way.
We have to understand they lived pretty modestly, they had enough to eat, and all their efforts were directed to attainment of the upper force.
At the time of Babylon, monkeys approached the human state to a certain degree. Something changed in them. They started to aspire to the source, to the upper force.
Since then, a development of a new methodology of attainment was launched. This methodology discloses the truth to us. It doesn’t matter whether the truth is pleasant or comfortable. I am not looking for comfort; rather, I want to know.
We can continue this path of attainment only by acquiring an even bigger degree of egoism. It means that we have to move on to the next step.
Babylonian “additional” egoism allowed a small part (approximately five thousand people out of three million) to prevail, rise above their selfishness, become Galgalta ve Eynaim and join Abraham’s group. The majority was not able to cope with their egoism and they forgot about the purpose of their lives, the “tower to the heavens,” i.e., about the search for the upper force. They fell under the burden of self-love and were spread around the world and continued establishing their material existence.
Amplified egoism divided them into two parts: internal and external. This process continues until now: a small part, the house of Abraham, Israel, develops and corrects itself, whereas the bigger part (AHP) should only gain the willingness to correct, but it is unable to do so on its own and is corrected solely through Galgalta ve Eynaim. This explains why the entire world also has to go through a big crisis and many disappointments so that in the end they connect with Galgalta ve Eynaim and support it.
As prophet Yeshayahu (Isaiah) said, “nations of the world” will carry “the sons of Israel” on their shoulders to the Temple. They are capable of doing it although they are unable to correct themselves on their own. Galgalta ve Eynaim is a transitional point between AHP, the “nations of the world,” and the upper force.
Hence, together both parts will attain complete correction.
Why do monkeys prefer internality to externality? They ask themselves a question about the purpose of life: “Why do I do anything at all? What do I live for? Why do I develop industry, sciences, culture, education, and political systems? Why do I discover new lands? Why do I conquer the cosmos?”
Nowadays, at least half of the world goes through various stages of disparity. A huge number of people are taking anti-depressants, light drugs or alcohol. These are signs of weakness and helplessness. Nobody has an answer to the deepest question ever: “Why am I here?”
People do not realize it, but they feel emptiness and devastation. If they will be deprived of television or other types of mass media that confuse them even more, if they are freed of everything they are forcefully “fed” by from dawn till night, what will they be left with?
People are forced to work hard, but it is unnecessary. By working hard, they are purposely distracted from the major question evoked by nature. Today, this question becomes very dangerous. It’s like a match that can ignite a worldwide fire.
Nobody wants to listen to this question. People are afraid of the pain that they carry inside. When one asks oneself this question, one’s entire life turns into a big painful spasm. Who wants it? People are trying to find some joy; they don’t want to be submerged in a total despair.
People are ready to kill when questions about the meaning of their life bring up pain that cannot be cured by any known medication.
Humankind does everything it can to avoid aching: tourism, fashion, cinema, TV, entertainment; there is no end to the “alternatives.” Do whatever you want, but do not wake up anguish that has no solution.
Nevertheless, a question about the sense of life wakes up irrespective of politicians or other professionals who know how to turn this question upside down. Their efforts are not successful since they contradict the purpose of creation.
However, people need to “cook” and “ripen” internally. By all means this process depends on the opportunity to have wide access to the methodology of correction that carries a ready-made remedy, a beautiful life saturated with a sense of eternity and perfection as well as an endless ascent for everybody instead of diseases or the absurdity of our current existence.
On one hand, the methodology of correction presents a clear explanation of the situation we are in at this time. It explains why this situation happened to us and how to correct it. On the other hand, it provides a strong practical technique of correction that shows immediate positive results.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 3/3/14, Writings of Baal HaSulam