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June 19, 2019

What Does ‘Envy, Lust and Honor Bring a Man Out of the World’ Mean?

What Does Envy, Lust and Honor Bring a Man Out of the World Mean?

If we could turn this outbreak of desires into an outbreak of desires for spirituality, then these desires would be the best thing that ever happened to humanity. Since we are currently not doing it, they are the worst thing that ever happened to us.

When the Mishnah sages (first and second centuries CE) declare that “Envy, lust, and honor bring a man out of the world” (Mishnah, Avot 4:21), Kabbalah explains that they don’t mean it in a bad way. On the contrary, it means that if you know how to work with these desires, they will elevate you beyond your present reality, your present world, and let you into the spiritual world.

In the last several years, it has become increasingly evident that human society isn’t becoming more united. Instead, we are showing, and even nurturing, alienation, animosity among nations, among different factions of the same nation, and even among members of the same family. At the same time, globalization is forcing us to increase and tighten our level of cooperation on all the levels we just mentioned. This tension is now culminating, and humanity is on the verge of exploding.

We are at constant competition with each other, even to the point that we have made competition a praiseworthy value. Thus, envy has become a key element in any successful person’s personality.

Pursuit of honor and power has grown to levels we have never experienced, in sports, career, politics, science and practically every realm of life.

Lust merits its own paragraph, no doubt, but the increase of licentiousness in society has become so evident that talking about it would be stating the obvious.

Are these things bad? They are, but they don’t have to be. Everything in our world is here to be used as a means for spiritual elevation. If we had a means to turn this outbreak of desires into an outbreak of desires for spirituality, then these desires would be the best thing that ever happened to humanity. Since we are currently not doing it, they are the exact opposite — the worst thing that ever happened to us.

And the means that turn them from destructive desires to constructive ones is the wisdom of Kabbalah. Kabbalah, as a method of transformation from egoism to altruism, provides a failsafe method to avert desires from negative to positive. Note, Kabbalah doesn’t suppress desires, it nurtures them, and at the same time redirects them toward constructive routes for the individual and for society. Kabbalah has emerged only in recent years, since only now has it become needed as a method of inducing positive transformation.

Until recently, Kabbalah had been kept hidden among those who knew it would be needed when human desires defeated humanity’s capability to cope with them. When this happened — and it only happened toward the end of the 20th century — Kabbalah made itself available for all who feel the need to implement it as a means to cope with their (otherwise) unruly nature.

When a person applies the wisdom of Kabbalah to his or her life, that person’s perception of reality changes. The individual is admitted into a realm of forces, where the making of the physical reality occurs. This grants one the power to control one’s destiny, shape it as he or she pleases, and synchronize it with the whole of nature. A Kabbalah student discovers that desires are like electricity: raw power. It is for us to learn how to use them properly, for our own, and for everybody else’s benefit.

Image: "O QUE AS PALAVRAS NÃO DIZEM OS OLHOS FALAM - What the words not say, her eyes speak..." by Jônatas Cunha.

  

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