Question: The wisdom of Kabbalah has always been a science, an esoteric doctrine. You always say in your lectures that the time has come to bring the wisdom of Kabbalah to the masses. Specifically why is this so now?
Answer: For 1,500 years, the wisdom of Kabbalah was the lot of all the people of Israel, beginning from the period when Abraham began to disseminate the wisdom of Kabbalah and popularized it in Babylon.
As Maimonides (Rambam) writes, he organized a large group of tens of thousands of people there and led them to the land of Israel. For 1,500 years, the people of Israel lived according to Kabbalistic laws and customs. Then they fell from this level because the wisdom of Kabbalah places difficult demands on people.
We try to climb up the spiritual ladder, but we ascend and descend, ascend and descend, on the way. Descent from the level of spiritual attainment is expressed by “going into exile” from the attainment of the spiritual world.
The wisdom of Kabbalah is not a religion but a system of knowledge about the inner structure of the world that manages our world.
For 2,000 years after the descent from the level of spiritual attainment they had been in, the people of Israel were completely disconnected from spirituality. Physical exile is the result of internal, spiritual exile.
In the 15th century, a giant Kabbalist appeared, the Ari, whom everyone recognized as a special force that was sent to our level. His student Chaim Vital wrote that beginning from this time, it had become possible to study the wisdom of Kabbalah and that everyone was obligated to study it because thanks to it, humanity would begin to ascend from the period of the Middle Ages and develop correctly.
The Baal Shem Tov was trying to do this when he began to be involved with the popularization of the wisdom of Kabbalah among the wider masses. There were very many opponents to this, which is what led to the separation between the Hasidic religious Jews who were going in his way and those who opposed him. Such a division has been felt to this very day.
The giant Kabbalist Rav Yehudah Ashlag, Baal HaSulam, appeared in the beginning of the 20th century. He wrote a commentary on The Book of Zohar and wrote a very serious work The Study of the Ten Sefirot, which consists of six volumes. In this way, a new push was given to the dissemination of the wisdom of Kabbalah. All of the followers of the Ari, and there have been thousands, wrote that the time had come when it was necessary to publicize, disseminate, and teach the wisdom of Kabbalah to the masses.
From a Webinar “The Year in Review” 12/26/16