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Question: I sent you a table covering the time of Queen Esther. I would like to know your opinion on the correctness of these dates.
Answer: There are almost no dates of certain events in the Kabbalistic sources. Otherwise, we would not have doubts and would have something to rely on.
The fact is that the sages do not tie themselves to earthly dates, and everything that happens in Kabbalah refers to the spiritual world, that is, a person’s inner world. Therefore, I was never interested in historical facts and dates and have not seen them in Kabbalistic books.
The Zohar, “Shlach Lecha” (Send Forth), Item 83: Israel are happier than all the nations in the world for the Creator wanted them, called His name by them, and was glorified in them, for the world was created only for Israel, so they may engage in Torah. It is so because one connects to one, ZA and Malchut, and Israel below, in this world, are His existence, whereby their good deeds they raise MAN for their Zivug, and they are the existence of all the other nations, who exist for Israel, who do their Master’s will.
The general soul was divided into two parts: GE and AHP. The desires that belong to GE received the sparks of bestowal during the shattering, and are therefore attracted to the Creator. They live in this world and ask about the meaning of this life, about their goal, and about the purpose of our existence here.
These questions don’t stem from a practical useful benefit but from an inner instinctive aspiration to discover the Creator, the source of our life. Such desires are called Israel, which means Yashar-El (straight to the Creator), and therefore, when the Light operates on the desires, it is this type of desire that emerges first before all the others.
There for the first time began to appear these desires feeling the urge to reveal the Creator, while all the other desires yearned for the revelation of their ego. Thus, they drew apart in different directions, according to their vector. Some went to one way and the others to another.
Israel were those who discovered the method of correction and fulfilled it. This entire method is about attaining “Love thy neighbor as thyself” with the help of the Light that Reforms. Thus, a person resembles the Creator and wants to delight Him by all these actions.
All the other desires didn’t yearn for that at the time but only wanted to fill their ego and began to develop in a capitalistic manner. They lived a simple life in groups, as one nation, as one community in ancient Babylon before the ego erupted in them. They cared only about their simple wellbeing and about how to provide their bread and the basic necessities for human existence.
However, when the egoistic desire to enjoy grew in them, and some of the people began to aspire for the revelation of the Creator, the other part continued to develop its desire to enjoy, the ego. This ego pushed them to acquire more than they needed. This is where the evolution of human society begins in the form that it has evolved until this very day in order to acquire greater wealth beyond a person’s basic needs.
This determined an entirely different lifestyle and goal of life, compared to the goal of life of those who yearn for the Creator, of Israel, and, so, the two groups drew further and further apart. The Babylonians who called themselves Israel focused straight to the Creator and began to fulfill this work and thus drew further away from the others.
With time, newer parts of the Babylonians began to join Israel to the extent that the Light operated on them and clarified the desires from one generation to the next. Thus, more and more people began to feel the yearning for the Creator according to the correction of the desire to “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”
From the Preparation to the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 5/29/14
Because we don’t feel any connection to the upper force yet, its control over us and governance, we don’t feel any need or yearning to turn to it with a request and all the more so with thankfulness. Our desire to receive may allow us to ask but to be thankful is something that we certainly forget.
We can be thankful when the gratitude promises us some reward for our ego and it reminds us about it. Many in the world do so. But in order to be grateful, we have to advance to conditions that are not beneficial for our ego but to our spiritual advancement, and there is a need for a lot of preparation in order to do so. This is why it doesn’t really work.
We should not think that the feeling of gratitude stems from a good feeling. Gratitude is a result of the recognition that the Creator leads me through the dark and helps me struggle and win, finding all my impure desires (Klipot) and rising above them.
A prayer of gratitude is born in this state, above the darkness, the evil, and the great unpleasant corrections of my ego. To the extent that I can ascend above my desire to receive and attribute myself to bestowal, to the soul instead of the body, to the force of bestowal instead of the force of receiving, to raise myself above the earth, I can be grateful.
All this happens simultaneously: I feel the darkness in the desire to receive and above the darkness I feel the Light in my desire to bestow. One cannot exist without the other.
Therefore, we have to gradually reach this combination internally, when you have a desire to bestow, an unpleasant feeling in it, darkness, and above it restriction, a Masach (screen), and the Returning Light above the Masach. This is how we establish the attitude towards the Creator called faith above reason.
Reason is what we feel inside the desire to receive. There is nothing in it but disappointments and thoughts against the spiritual path, but we ascend above them and despite all the evil according to our corporeal mind and feelings we establish our attitude above the darkness.
Thus we arrive at the right form and establish the middle line between the two lines that negate one another. They try to erase each other until the third partner arrives and makes peace between them.
We have to try to agree to this kind of work more and to stick to it. It is very important. Then we arrive at a solution, which is the right structure when the desire to receive below is felt as darkness. After all, Egypt, Pharaoh, and Haman are all inside me. The shell stands against holiness and the soul is between them.
When I see my state this way I begin to work on the structure of my soul and to put it together and shape its form.
We have to clarify all the stages, to be more sensitive to what happens inside us, to keep the darkness, the Light that is above it, and the relationship between them. We have to live in this conflict and not simply fall because I feel bad and don’t see anything, or start floating in the clouds like a hot air balloon the moment I feel good.
I have to keep these two states and to understand that this is how I feel my desire to receive, the shattering, above which I have to gradually establish my love and concern for others by adding a new attitude each time that is correct and continuous and aimed at bestowal. It is through these states that I establish my attitude towards the general force of bestowal called the Creator and reach the feeling of gratitude to the extent that I can keep myself above the darkness thanks to it.
From the Preparation to the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 5/23/14
Psalms 61:1- 61:7: For the Leader; with string-music. [A Psalm] of David. Hearken, O God, to my request, listen to my prayer. From the end of the earth I call out to You when my heart becomes faint; on the rock that is higher than I, You lead me. For You were a shelter for me, a tower of strength in the face of the enemy. I will dwell in Your Tent to eternity; I will take shelter in the in the covert of Your wings forever. For You, God, have hearkened to my vows; You have given the heritage of those who fear Your name. Add days to the days of the king, his years as every generation.
The struggle is for unity of man so that a person will understand that all of his feelings come directly from the Creator, and this is even though everything that is happening is in concealment and the opposite of what would be expected from the good that does good. However, it seems to be the opposite because it is perceived through the opposite desires of a person who has not yet undergone correction.
This shows a person where he needs to correct himself to feel that the Creator is good and benevolent, even to the wicked, until, for him, everything is integrated into a single source. All expressions and manifestations of evil—encountering enemies, the wicked, all of these things—happen at the “end of the earth (Haaretz),” in other words, at the extremities of desires that are still uncorrected.
He must try to turn from there to the Creator, in other words, specifically to connect with the Creator from those desires at the ends of the earth, for, as it is written, “There is none else besides Him.” He does this until he attains full adhesion in the given situation and prepares himself for the next state, and that is what happens until the completion of correction.
If a person thinks about the present and prepares himself for the future, he is in a prayer, a request, thanking the Creator, which is to say that he always expresses his desire to connect with Him, to be in adhesion, and that is how he succeeds. The Creator lengthens his days and years from generation to generation.
In the beginning, it seems to a person that he has haters, enemies. He must struggle and defend himself against them, and indeed there are circumstances where we need to go to war.
However, after the person attributes everything to the Creator, no enemies and haters remain for him, in other words, that there is no other control than that of the Creator. Everything comes only from the Creator, either from His front or His backside, which shows a person that he must build two types of relationships and differentiate between the power of bestowal that comes from above and the power of reception that comes from below, from the person. That is how he can see that his true enemy is found inside of him.
When this enemy is awakened and rises up against him, it seems to a person that the Creator has gone away from him and disappeared. However, when the person attributes all of this to the Creator, then for him there is no difference between darkness and Light. He no longer depends on his mood and doesn’t attribute what is happening to all kinds of other forces or to himself. He understands that he has no control either. Rather, everything comes from the Creator.
The moment that a person directs himself in this way, he sees that even before then he was in a revised, balanced and correct state, and never left the sacred. However, he attained this only now, and the entire difference is in that.
From the Preparation to the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 5/19/14
Chapter 3: Corrections Through the Ages
The Evolution of the Correction Method
Now, All Together
The latest stage in the evolution of the correction method began in the early 1900s and is only now picking up pace. Because we are part of that stage, it is the one that holds the greatest meaning to us.
As discussed in the Introduction, when Abraham first discovered that one force governs and leads the world, he began to spread his knowledge. His aim was to circulate it to all the people, none excluded. However, Nimrod, king of Babylon, prevented him from achieving his objective, and Abraham had to leave, finally arriving at the land of Canaan, which he turned into Israel (after the desire to reach Yashar El, straight for the Creator).
That objective has not changed throughout the centuries. “Noah was created to correct the world in the state that it was at that time …and they [his contemporaries] will also receive correction from him,” writes Ramchal.[i] Also, in his commentary on the Torah, the Ramchal writes, “Moses wished to complete the correction of the world at that time. This is why he took the mixed multitude, as he thought that thus would be the correction of the world that will be done at the end of correction … However, he did not succeed because of the corruptions that occurred along the way.”[ii]
After the ruin of the Second Temple, Kabbalists chose to hide the wisdom from everyone, Jews and non-Jews alike, until the time of the ARI, when they began to feel that the time was ripe to reveal it to all. At that point, they began to teach and circulate the wisdom in a manner that grew more direct and explicit with each generation.
By the start of the 20th century, all inhibitions were off, and Kabbalists openly called for spreading the wisdom and teaching it to all the nations. Rav Kook expressed this mindset very clearly in one of his letters: “I have agreed to disclose all the secrets of the world, since it is time to do unto the Creator, as it is required at this time. Greater and better than I have suffered nationwide slander for such matters, as their pure spirits pressured them for the sake of correcting the generation to speak new words and to reveal the concealed, to which the intellect of the masses was not accustomed.”[iii]
During World War I, Rav Kook felt compelled to outline the connection he saw between the world’s troubles and the rekindling of the spiritual force of Israel through unity. In his book, Orot (Lights), he wrote, “The construction of the world, which is currently crumpled by the dreadful storms of a blood-filled sword, requires the construction of the Israeli nation. The construction of the nation and the revealing of its spirit are one and the same, and it is one with the construction of the world, which is crumpling in anticipation for a force full of unity and sublimity, and all that is in the soul of the Assembly of Israel.”[iv]
His contemporary, Baal HaSulam, wrote profusely, and often blatantly, about the need to disclose the wisdom of Kabbalah to everyone, especially today. In his essay, “Messiah’s Shofar,” he wrote, “Know that this is what it means that the children of Israel are redeemed only after the wisdom of the hidden is revealed to a great extent, as it is written in The Zohar, ‘With this composition, the children of Israel are redeemed from exile.’
“…In my assessment, we are in a generation that is standing at the very threshold of redemption, if we only know how to spread the wisdom of the hidden to the masses.
“…There is another reason for it: We have accepted that there is a precondition for the redemption—that all the nations of the world will acknowledge Israel’s law [of bestowal], as it is written, ‘And the land shall be full of the knowledge.’ It is as in the example of the exodus from Egypt, where there was a precondition that Pharaoh, too, would acknowledge the true God and His laws, and would allow them to leave.
“…You must understand from where the nations of the world would come by such a notion and desire. Know that it is through the dissemination of the true wisdom, so they will evidently see the true God and the true law [of bestowal]. And the dissemination of the wisdom in the masses is called ‘a Shofar [a clarion, or a festive ram’s horn].’ Like the Shofar, whose voice travels a great distance, the echo of the wisdom will spread throughout the world.”[v]
Indeed, the legacy of those spiritual titans has been fulfilled, and today any person who wishes it can study “the wisdom of the hidden” regardless of religion, age, or gender, as it is no longer hidden. As Abraham envisioned, our global Babylon can now study the fundamental law of life that creates it and sustains it, and there are no limitations whatsoever.
But if everything is all right, why is there so much wrong with the world? Why are so many people still suffering, and why does the number of people in plight seem to be growing? If life’s fundamental law can be known to all, how come so few know it, especially now that we are at a loss as to how to handle the multiple crises engulfing human society? If that law is the Creator, and can therefore fix everything, why is everyone not rushing to learn it?
To answer these questions we need to understand the routes by which the wisdom spreads, and specifically the role of the Jewish people in the spreading of Kabbalah, and what it means to be a light to the nations. Accordingly, the next chapter will discuss the role of the Jewish people through the eyes of Kabbalah.
[i] Rav Moshe Chaim Lozzatto (Ramchal), Adir BaMarom [The Mighty One On High], “Explanation of Daniel’s Dream” (Warsaw, 1885).
[ii] Rav Moshe Chaim Lozzatto (Ramchal), The Commentary of Ramchal on the Torah, BaMidbar [Numbers].
[iii] Rav Yitzhak HaCohen Kook (the Raiah), Letters the Raiah vol. 2, 34.
[iv] Rav Yitzhak HaCohen Kook (the Raiah), Orot [Lights], 16.
[v] Rav Yehuda Leib HaLevi Ashlag (Baal HaSulam), The Writings of Baal HaSulam, “Messiah’s Shofar” (Ashlag Research Institute, Israel, 2009), 457.
Selected Excerpts for Purim
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The Book of Zohar, Selected Excerpts for Purim,” Item 22
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Writings of Baal HaSulam, “Introduction to The Book of Zohar,” Item 13
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