Question: Did the Jews remain as people of Israel in the spiritual sense of the word after the destruction of the First Temple?
Answer: They were aware of their inability to resist the egoism that controlled them. This fact is documented in historical books and chronicles.
There are lots of materials that cover this topic. They were written in the remote past by immediate participants of the events, not by contemporary researchers.
The Jews were a highly literate nation. They conveyed their knowledge from generation to generation. Their writings were preserved, systematized, and classified. Thus, they were well-kept for centuries.
Hence, the people clearly realized: “There is no Creator among us!”
Question: Still, what did they take to the exile? What did they carry with them? Previously, they observed Abraham’s principles, but what did they have after the collapse took place?
Answer: They remembered their history quite well. It’s not that they were totally unaware of it, as if they were hit on the head. Moreover, the fall never happens immediately; it unfolds gradually; people slowly cool down, leave their prior states behind, and continue making unsuccessful attempts to return back to their previous states.
We exert holding on to our past, but we are unable to do so. At the same time, by making attempts to return back to it, even if we don’t achieve results, we still continue exploring and revising our prior states, thus retaining them in our memory.
It is similar to the distribution of the Light in a Partzuf and its further exit out of it—TANTA. At the very last stage, when everything else is already gone, all is left are recollections (Reshimot). However, at this stage, they are quite fresh and are called vessels (Kelim). These kind of vessels are correct. They reflect the right sensations, the definitions of what’s going on inside us, only at this point, one realizes what state one was in before. At the time we were in that state, we didn’t understand what it actually meant for us.
It happens in everyday life as well. Often, we tell someone: “You’ll remember this situation and understand it differently later.” So, something always stays when we lose our past situations and when it’s not in our power to discontinue the tendency of losses.
From KabTV’s “Babylon Yesterday and Today,” 9/3/2014