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Question: People who survived the Holocaust ask how such a thing could have happened if “There is none else besides Him.”
Answer: It is impossible to answer this question on the corporeal level. A person asks simply: “if the Creator is good, He has to do what I think is good, but if I feel bad, it is sign that He is bad or that He doesn’t exist at all.” Then he reaches the conclusion: “Well then, the Creator doesn’t exist.”
In order to give a different answer, we need to explain that Israel has to manage the world and because they cannot manage it properly the world suffers, and of course the first to suffer are those who brought the world to this condition.
There is no other reason for the sufferings. The ball is always in your hands, from the days of Abraham onwards. And don’t say that you couldn’t and that you didn’t know, you have always known and always could. It is all very straight forward.
But if I say that to people, they may think that I blame them and that I am against them. It is like a child who is told that he did something wrong and he cries that daddy is bad. Why is daddy bad if I explain to you and show you your mistake so that you will not go wrong again? No, daddy is bad in any case! This is what he feels in his ego.
It says: “He has given a law that cannot be broken.” This is the reason that the Creator is called nature. Can nature change? If a volcano erupts, is it that the lava destroys someone and someone else is spared? would it hit someone and spare someone else? If it rains, everyone gets wet. Here there are no questions.
If the nation of Israel does not begin to do what they have to do, all the atrocities will repeat, and even more than once. If during your lifetime you repeat the same mistake over and over again because of your weak character you receive blows each time. The same thing happens with the world.
The atrocities of the Nazis we underwent during WWII can be repeated as many times as necessary until you will realize what you must do and do it. If you don’t, then Nazism will never end. We are facing this state right now and nothing can be done. Only our internal unity and our dissemination outward can prevent the adversity, not only for the Jews but for the whole world.
From the 5th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 4/28/14, Topic: Holocaust Memorial Day
Question: Why does Baal HaSulam write that after democracy and socialism comes a fascist regime?
Answer: Because democracy is incapable of satisfying the desire for pleasure. The desire for pleasure grows and demands progress. The person himself wants to be more connected, and democracy brings him to this. Yet what kind of benefit does he get from connection; how do we realize it?
The realization of unity can only be either for the sake of our personal benefit or for the sake of the Creator. One of the two, there is no third. If we advance in a simple and natural way, then the connection comes about for the sake of our benefit. And this means that we are connected against everyone else and we try to turn them into our slaves, subjugating them.
An approach like this can be seen all over the world, more or less following every democratic government. After people get at least a little freedom, they immediately begin to feel that they lack connection. Yet they don’t know how to use it: “So we got connected, and what’s next?”
We are compelled to exploit this connection for the sake of someone or something. Ultimately it is realized in fighting against the others and showing how strong, unified, and consolidated we are among all of the people. This emerges naturally and inevitably. Today this tendency can already be seen in the world. From month to month the world approaches Nazism more and more.
It is enough to look at what is generally happening in the common European market, their decision-making, events happening in the United States, in Russia, and in many nations. It could be that you don’t feel this very much, yet I see that Nazism is becoming acceptable in society.
We are beginning to talk about it as something legitimate. We begin from a distance with the fact the we must discuss it so that it won’t return. But in the meantime, until we begin the discussions, we arrange conventions and printed material and people get used to the subject. This is the first stage.
Although it is said that Nazism is a negative phenomenon, but researchers and historians supposedly should discuss it. After that philosophers and futurists join this discussion, they investigate and examine how and why this happened. As a result of this, they reach the conclusion that this behavior is inherent in human nature and the Nazi regime was a natural and valid stage in the development of humanity. That is, it is embedded in our nature and cannot be avoided. And so the legitimization of fascism is made.
After that begin the speeches about the necessity of the unity of the people, the need for sanctions against immigrants, the necessity of uniting against enemies because we are weak and losing. It would be like talking about steps necessary for survival. The idea gradually spreads. For this purpose there exists a special technology with whose help in a few years it will be possible to sell people anything.
Hitler didn’t immediately come to power either. Many years passed from World War I until World War II. He had some kind of a base upon which to stand; he was truly elected by the majority. Today it is even easier to do this because connection in our day is even more in demand, an even more sensitive topic. There is even greater disappointment in our development.
We as humanity have stopped developing. A new mobile phone every half-year doesn’t testify to technological advancement. These technologies are already old; there is nothing new, just a change in the external shape to sell the product. We have reached the limit of development of technical thinking and soon the same thing will happen in biology and everything else.
So there are many reasons for the development of Nazism. These trends are continuing to grow in all nations: France, Ukraine, United States, Russia, and it would be worthwhile to think about this before it is too late.
From the 5th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 4/28/14, Topic: Holocaust Memorial Day
Baal HaSulam, Shamati 159, “And It Came To Pass In The Course Of Those Many Days:” This is the meaning of “the king of Egypt died,” that all the dominations of the king of Egypt, which he was providing for and nourishing, had died.
The king of Egypt died inside us and the control of the ego upon us disappeared. Therefore, we were not able to work anymore. We were always working in order to receive and then to bestow in order to receive. And suddenly there is no one to work for since the desire to receive disappeared. And if there is no desire, then there is nothing to do, no desire to bestow or receive. The ego disappears, we come to despair and don’t know where to go.
We don’t have a reason to move; we feel disconnected from life, which suddenly becomes in vain. But, clearly this is exactly the passage to the next degree. If at this moment we are powerless, it precisely indicates our dependency on the force of desire and how it held us in its complete control.
“The king of Egypt died,” that is, our ego stopped being important to us. We no longer try to fulfill it as before, nor do we feel that there is any vitality in this fulfillment.
In ordinary life it is clear to us that if I we are fed up with a game, it is not as important as before, that is, that the king of Egypt, the ego, that was part of the game and fulfilled us, does not fulfill us anymore. Therefore, we look for another game, changing our place of work or lifestyle.
But, in spiritual work we don’t know how to change a problem. In regular life we have TV, the Internet, advertisements, and we constantly choose where else we can find enjoyment and what else can be experienced. We enter the supermarket and see endless varieties of wine, cheese, and meat on the shelves. If you don’t want one thing, take another one. This confuses people and creates an illusion of a variety of pleasures, and this calms people by showing them that there is always something to fulfill them. Nevertheless, we see that with all the sufferings, a large percentage of people suffer from depression, complete despair, and drug use.
Because we progress toward mutual spiritual work, today in our world people do not understand where the king of Egypt disappeared to. Before he provided aspiration for work from which we received different fulfillments. But today, everything has disappeared and this is a problem in our lives.
We understand that we cannot change jobs anymore; there is no place to where we can escape, and we will need to concentrate on finding a new king. Meaning, we must receive the control of the force to bestow without any reward, to receive force from above and perform actions that are directed upward and toward people outside of us.
We only need to request to disconnect from any self-benefit, from our future, from fulfillment, and from good or bad feelings within us.
And afterward, when they walked in the desert and came to a state of Katnut, (smallness), they craved the servitude that they had had prior to the death of the king of Egypt.
When man had previously disconnected from working for his ego and had risen above it, he again is brought back to the feeling of the desires, intentions, pleasures, and fulfillments he had in the past! This is done so that above his feeling of disconnection, he will build the same state on a spiritual level.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 4/18/14, Shamati #159
Before the Exodus from Egypt a person passes through “49 gates of impurity.” That is, he no longer believes in anything; he doesn’t expect anything; he sees that he just about doesn’t have any connection with the upper force and that it is impossible to change anything in his life. Where is this upper force found, which is “There is none else beside Him”? Everything is under the control of Pharaoh and it is impossible to do anything against the ego that controls him.
A person doesn’t understand and doesn’t believe in the “good that does good.” Only a thin thread connecting him to spirituality remains; it is so fragile that he no longer believes that something will come from it. The despair is so great, and the thread that holds him is the patience that is beyond the intellect and logic.
This situation gradually accumulates, and if the person truly reaches the 49 gates of impurity, then the upper power acts against them, acquiring redemption for him.
Here it should be mentioned that “every action leaves an impression,” time after time, a bit further and further, and so we count the 400 years during the period a person accumulates clarifications, efforts, even weaknesses, and over comings, which he succeeds in doing by himself or with the help of the Creator.
Our entire struggle to leave Egypt is under the control of the Creator, There is none else beside Him and He is the good that does good. And the Klipa (the egoistic force) denies the higher providence of There is none else beside Him in every possible way.
The servitude, the exile (in Hebrew, Galut) differs from the redemption (Geula) basically because of the letter “Aleph,” which is the Lord of the World. One must concentrate on this point constantly and not on anything else. Specifically it is necessary to constantly sharpen our clarification, fight against our nature, against Pharaoh, because there is none else beside Him, the good and that does good.
We don’t ask for someone to change anything; we don’t appeal our fate. Instead we only turn to the Creator with our requests. This is what there is none else beside Him, means, because everything that happens we connect only to Him. Only He performing every action, preparing them so that from within the struggle against all the disturbances in which He has wrapped Himself, we discover Him and turn to Him.
Exile means that we are still not ready, but we very much yearn to discover the source of everything that is happening, as it is said, “I and not a messenger.” This is a very important moment. This is our only work, and it is up to us to be ready for it.
It is very important to remain at this point like a ship or an airplane that we must constantly navigate to remain on the right track despite the wind and various disturbances. This is possible only with a good crew.
Everything is constructed so that a person is not prepared to maintain his position by himself. Problems fall on him, and then pity is taken upon him and he is given another opportunity. But this chance is specifically to build the right team for himself so that together with them he will maintain his direction.
It must always be remembered that all of the disturbances come from the Creator and not from Pharaoh or his army and that there are no accidents and no messengers. Instead everything comes directly from the Creator. Our task is to discover the Creator instead of all the sources of power and other actions. Through this, our servitude, the blows, and all of the events of the story of the exodus from Egypt are revealed. All of this is a struggle to locate the Creator through all of the disturbances that are found between the Creator and us.
In the beginning there is no connection between the Creator and us because we are opposites. And the disturbances come precisely so that we will use them to build a connection with the Creator. So we see that Pharaoh brings us closer to the Creator; the evil inclination is help against us (Genesis 2:18) and we transform that into a connection with the Creator.
If we consistently work this way and try to build connection, then gradually we rise to a stronger and stronger connection, like the rungs of a ladder, and we fall into even greater disturbances, into a greater lack of connection. And again we try to build Pithom and Ramses and again fall, losing the connection, tearing, and becoming confused, denying any control by the Creator.
As a result of our efforts we pass through 49 gates of impurity. If we reach the 49th gate, it means that we have made a multitude of corrections on our connection with the Creator. But this is hidden from us. For a fraction of a moment we discover something and fall immediately. In this way we must discover all of the disturbances that are contrary to the fact that there is none else beside Him.
And the discovery is made according to the principle of “I and not a messenger” if we are ready to depict the upper force in spite of all the disturbances. The exile is given to us so that we can feel the Creator, locate Him within “out of nothing.” That is how we reach redemption.
So it is impossible to forget that all of the work towards redemption is to determine the fact that there is none else beside Him when faced with all of the disturbances that of course come from the Creator.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 4/01/14, Shamati #190
Baal HaSulam, Shamati #159 “And It Came to Pass in the Course of Those Many Days”: The thing is that, indeed, they were very fond of the work in Egypt. This is the meaning of “But mingled themselves with the nations, and learned their works.”
It means that if Israel are under the dominion of a certain nation, that nation controls them and they cannot retire from their dominion. Thus, they tasted sufficient flavor in that work and could not be redeemed.
At first a person is in his desire to enjoy and sees that he works for the sake of his ego. He learns and acquires knowledge and feels that he is above others since he understands and feels more than them.
The wisdom of Kabbalah opens before him the whole essence of life in this world and he looks down with contempt at all the other people who lie around on this planet and don’t understand anything. He feels that he is higher, more important and superior to them and his ego is filled with pride.
He receives explanations about good and evil and turns everything in his favor in order to calm himself. Now he has a tempting goal. He sees the wisdom of Kabbalah as his redemption and the answer to all the troubles since he arrived to this wisdom quite depressed having been beaten by life. Here he suddenly finds all the answers and comfort. He is glad that he isn’t guilty of all the evil he has done and expects things to be better than in the past. In short, he is very satisfied.
This is intentional, just like with small children who receive from the Creator energy to run around, to learn everything, and not to sit still and be lazy so that they can quickly learn about the world and develop. The same thing happens to a person when he begins to study, as it is written: “The thing is that, indeed, they were very fond of the work in Egypt, this is the meaning of ‘But mingled themselves with the nations, and learned their works.'”
The nations of the world are the states in which only the desire to enjoy rules, and Israel under the domination of Egypt is a state in which the desire to bestow that awakens in me works for the benefit of the egoistic desire. It turns out that I can be more successful than others. I calm myself; I understand and feel more as if I am getting more opportunities and therefore feel that I am better.
These are the onions, the garlic, and the squash that we ate in Egypt. At this initial state I can turn all the evil that is revealed for the benefit of my ego. This means that I am Pharaoh’s slave. Everything serves the egoistic desire, even the small desire to bestow in me that I have thanks to the study and my connection with the group.
This is how I use this method up to a certain point until there is suddenly a change in my feeling. This is called: “and the king of Egypt [who was good to me] died.” Then it is as if a new domination emerges. I don’t feel that I am so successful anymore and that this business is so simple. I cannot use the wisdom of Kabbalah to improve my ordinary, corporeal egoistic life anymore.
Here I begin to feel my slavery. The desire remains the same desire, the same king, but it is dead for me! The new phase begins: “and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage” What are we working for if it isn’t for our sake? And what will become of us?
We connected with the hope to discover the upper force because we thought that it is good for our ego, but now we suddenly discover that it isn’t the good we were waiting for and not the connection we thought it would be. We begin to understand the good and the connection in their real sense, which means that we are aware that the fruit will not be revealed in the desire to enjoy but only in the desire to bestow.
We still don’t understand the meaning of receiving a payment in the desire to bestow, but it will be revealed to us. We hope to feel good, but what is good in bestowal? We have to change our perception with regard to the coming change.
This is the meaning of “the king of Egypt died,” that all the dominations of the king of Egypt—he gave them food and livelihood—had died. This is why they had room for prayer. And they were immediately salvaged. And then when they walked in the desert and came to a state of Katnut (smallness), they craved the servitude that they had had prior to the death of the king of Egypt. Which means that they left the domination of Pharaoh.
From the 2nd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 3/30/14, Shamati #159
Chapter 10: Living In an Integrated World
An Integrated World Requires Integral Education
In the previous chapter, we quoted Baal HaSulam’s words from his essay, “The Freedom,” stating that we are “compelled to think and examine as they [social environment] suggest,” and we are “denied of any strength to criticize or change.”[i] Baal HaSulam concluded that to avoid a predetermined fate, we can change the environment, which will in turn change us and our fates. In his words, “One who strives to continually choose a better environment is worthy of praise and reward … not because of one’s good thoughts and deeds …but because of one’s efforts to acquire a good environment, which brings … good thoughts.”[ii]
To put it in a more contemporary context, in order to channel our lives and the lives of our children in a positive direction, we need to foster social values that promote the positive direction we wish to instill. We need to educate ourselves, our children, and society at large toward mutual guarantee, mutual responsibility, and eventually toward unity and cohesion. As has been demonstrated throughout the book, it is our vocation as Jews.
We need not conceive any new means of education to achieve this goal. All we need is to shift the means we already use—mass media, the internet, the education system, and our social and familial ties—toward promoting kinship and mutual responsibility, instead of the prevailing narrative of separation and alienation.
Although more often than not, the traits of unity and kinship—and most of all, of mutual responsibility—are dormant within us Jews, it is our duty, indeed our vocation to awaken them and offer them as our gift to the world. As has been shown repeatedly in this book, unity is the gift of the Jews, the quality that makes us unique, and the quality we must bestow upon the rest of the world. It is this quality that the world needs today, and it is we who are obliged to nurture it within, and then hand it over to the world.
There are two ways to convey mutual guarantee and the quality of bestowal. The first, intended for those with “points in the heart,” as mentioned earlier in the book, is a straightforward study of Kabbalah. According to one’s level of interest, it can be done at varying levels of intensity, from watching TV shows to studying intently (and intensely) with a group and a teacher. The other way is a method of unity-oriented education intended to induce cohesion and a sense of mutual responsibility within the society. I will elaborate on these ways one at a time.
[i] Rav Yehuda Leib HaLevi Ashlag (Baal HaSulam), The Writings of Baal HaSulam, “The Freedom,” 419.