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.