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July 16, 2024

Kabbalah: The Answer to All of Your End of the World Predictions

Kabbalah: The Answer to All of Your End of the World Predictions

Getting to the Bottom of the “Keeping Up With the Joneses” Phenomenon

We can see just how much we always want what others have in Item 38 of Kabbalist Yehuda Ashlag’s “Introduction to The Book of Zohar,” stating that “Man [Stage four], who can feel others, becomes needy of everything that others have, …and is thus filled with envy to acquire everything that others have. When he has a hundred, he wants two hundred, thus his needs forever multiply until he wishes to devour all that there is in the whole world.”

But earlier in the introduction (Item 25), Ashlag writes, “Since the Thought [of Creation—the Creator’s goal] was to delight His creatures, He had to create an overwhelmingly exaggerated desire to receive all that bounty, which is in the Thought of Creation [to give us unbounded pleasure].” And he continues, “If the exaggerated will to receive perished from the world, the Thought of Creation would not be realized—meaning the reception of all the great pleasures that He thought to bestow upon His creatures—for the great will to receive and the great pleasure go hand in hand. And to the extent that the desire to receive it diminishes, so diminish the delight and pleasure from receiving.”

Hence, if we want to become Creator-like, we must not diminish our desires. But if we do not diminish our desires, then our ability to eliminate self-centeredness and become Creator- like will fail if all we have in our medicine cabinet are the old remedies of religious fanaticism, oppression, tyranny or any other of the old means of discipline. Those methods were good for “taming” the desire to receive in its earlier stages, but they will not suffice for today’s level of desire to receive.

A new method, a fresh code of action is required, something that will not try to suppress the insuppressible, but will harness the new powers that extreme egoism evokes to improve life, instead of destroying both humankind and our pathogenic egocentricity.


Competition or Cooperation? The Need to Choose Wisely

In Stage Three of the evolution of desires, our envy has created an interconnected and interdependent world where we compete against, yet depend on each other for sustenance. Again we can quote Ashlag, who wrote, “Because each person in the world draws his life’s marrow and his livelihood from all the people in the world, he is coerced to serve and to care for the well-being of the whole world.”

We can also quote McGrew’s statement: “This [single global system] defines a far more complex condition, one in which patterns of human interaction, interconnectedness, and awareness are reconstituting the world as a single social space.” These quotes accurately reflect our situation at the start of the 21st century: we are tied together, and hateful of each other.

This state of simultaneous interdependence and competitiveness has brought us to a situation in which we are neither willing to negotiate with each other—as Sahtouris explains we must—nor capable of separating from each other, as did Abraham when he departed Babel. Yet, despite our self-centeredness, our interdependence dictates that we somehow find a way to collaborate. Thus, it seems that the only way out of this deadlock is to—as Ashlag put it—learn how to “Serve and to care for the well-being of the whole world.”


Why Being a Member of “The Last Generation” Is Actually a Good Thing, Really

As we said before, the recent rise of narcissism is not a coincidence, but the result of the emergence of Stage Four in the evolution of desires. In Kabbalah, this stage is also called “the last generation.” The term, “last generation,” does not mean that this generation will see all of humanity become extinct. On the contrary, in the last generation, humanity should begin to truly live by discovering its actual vocation—becoming Creator- like. The term, “last generation,” means that it is to be the last generation before the beginning of the general correction, when all of humanity discovers life’s driving force—the Creator. The Book of Zohar, as we said in Chapter 8, describes this generation in the following way: “At the end of days, in the last generation, when your composition [The Zohar] appears below [in our world], because of it, you will set the land free [liberate the desire from egoism, correct it].”

Descriptions of the events that will unfold in the last generation abound, the majority of them predicting humanity’s doom, offering a plethora of explanations as to why we are to become extinct. Back in 1992, Chick Publications published a cartoon gospel titled, “The Last Generation.” I believe that the spirit of the cartoon is best reflected in the words of one of its characters: “We may be moving to our mansions in heaven soon.”

Another website offers “Ten Signs of the End Times.” Its author states, “I believe we are the last generation.” The title of the book, The Last Generation: How Nature Will Take Her Revenge for Climate Change, by science author and journalist, fred Pearce, speaks for itself.

Kabbalists, too, designate these times as “the last generation.” In fact, they refer to the end of the 20th century as the end of the last generation, and imply that henceforth enters the state of the Age of Correction. Hillel Shklover, disciple of the great 18th century Kabbalist, The Vilna Gaon (GRA), wrote in the preface to his book, Kol haTor (Voice of the Turtledove), “from the year 1241 through the year 1990 is the period of the beginning of redemption…”

Also, Shklover, writes, “[regarding] the last generation, the author [Vilna Gaon] explains that the last generation in the verse, ‘That you may tell it to the last generation’ (Psalms, 48:14), refers to the period beginning in 1740 through the year 1990”

Likewise, in 1945, my teacher, Baruch Ashlag, told me that his father, Baal HaSulam, had commented that in fifty years, meaning in 1995, the wisdom of Kabbalah would begin its debut and people would want to study it because it would be time for it to become known. In Kabbalah, periods such as years and days often depict the passage of stages of correction, rather than the passage of physical time. Hence, when Ashlag’s students asked if he was referring to physical years or to stages of correction, he replied that he was referring to physical years.


Doomsday or a World of Love and Bestowal? Kabbalah Writes

Indeed, unlike most of today’s doomsday prophesies, Kabbalah predicts an entirely different scenario. Since the late Middle Ages, Kabbalists have been predicting that by using The Book of Zohar, people will study the law of bestowal and thus humanity will rise from despair to bliss. “Now the time dictates acquiring much possessions in the inner Torah [Kabbalah]. The Book of Zohar breaks new paths, sets lanes, makes a highway in the desert, …and all its crops are ready to open the doors of redemption,” wrote The Rav Kook in Orot (Lights, 1921). Also, “If my people heeded me in the time of the Messiah, when evil [egoism] and heresy [oblivion to the Creator—bestowal] increase, they would delve in the study of The Book of Zohar and the Tikkunim [“Corrections,” part of The Zohar] and the writings of the Ari all their days,” wrote Rav Yitzhak Yehudah Sarfin of Komarno (1804-1976) in Notzer Hesed (Keeping Mercy).

But above all else was Ashlag’s momentous achievement of composing a complete translation of The Zohar (from Aramaic, the original language of the book, into Hebrew), a commentary of the entire book, and no fewer than four introductions to make it accessible to our generation.


What You Don’t Know about Self-Interest and Disconnection from Nature

We already showed how Stage four entails a fundamentally different desire compared to the preceding stages. This stage encourages us to not only enjoy life, but to become omniscient and omnipotent like the Creator. We also explained why a new modus operandi is required to correct it. And by “correction,” Kabbalists do not imply prohibition, oppression, or suppression of any trait, attribute, or quality of any individual. That would be repression, which would only burst twice as forcefully at the first opportunity.

As mentioned earlier, in Stage four, the correction must be voluntary. By now, we have become so remote from Nature, so detached from the sense of life’s integrity, that we simply act for ourselves, think for ourselves, and want only for ourselves. And worst of all, we do not know that another way is even conceivable. We have no awareness that living this way cannot yield a wholesome life. If this were not so, the lyrics in Little Jackie’s song (which we mentioned in the Introduction), “Yes, siree, the whole world should revolve around me,” would never have resonated in anyone’s heart and she would never have succeeded.

In every realm of life, each of us, and indeed the entire global society are striving to obtain the utmost possible, regardless of the consequences. In our personal lives, many of us succumb to what Prof. Christopher Lasch refers to as “a culture of narcissism”: we promote ourselves on Facebook and on MySpace, we divorce our spouses more readily than ever, and we seek increasingly original ways to express ourselves.

And because we are so narcissistic and detached from Nature, we feel that we are not subordinate to its rules and can do whatever we want (albeit natural disasters of recent years have begun to change that view). As a result, the only way we will ever come to know how Nature works is if we make a conscious, voluntary effort to study it. The knowledge of how to operate within the system and yield self-interest before the interest of the system, thus receiving the support, and even cognizance of the system, is hidden behind of a veil of self-centeredness, and removing that veil is precisely the role of Kabbalah.


Here Is a Method that Is Helping People Discover the Hidden Spiritual Reality

Kabbalists such as Rabash explain how we can imitate the Creator, imitate true altruism, and thus usher ourselves into the currently imperceptible level, and make it as tangible as the Nature we see before us. Without seeing and knowing the other half of reality, we will keep erring until we inflict such pain on ourselves that we will be forced to study it.

To understand how crucial this information is to our lives, consider the following scenario: You are a caveman standing in front of a white, dry, hard-as-a-rock wall inside a home. out of the wall protrudes what appears to be a shiny gray branch made of solid rock, its trunk nowhere in sight. Then, as you stand there and gaze in bewilderment at the odd exhibit, a woman casually approaches the branch, twists it with her hand as though it were a fresh twig, and, behold! out gushes abundant water! You would probably think, “She must be a God!”

But if you could speak her language and ask her how she did it, she would explain that the “branch” is something called a “faucet,” which connects to a tube that is in turn connected to a bigger tube that connects all the tubes from all the neighboring homes and continues all the way to the river. At the river, there is a big machine that pumps out the water and sends it through the tubes to all the homes in the neighborhood.

Without understanding the entire system, we are like that caveman gazing at the visible world in bewilderment, trying to figure out how it all works. And without learning from those who already know, the Kabbalists, we have about as much of a chance to figure out the system as that caveman had of figuring out that the water traveled in hoses from the river to the homes.

However, and this is important, all the above does not mean that we must all study Kabbalah or The Zohar. It only means that we will have to know the basic laws of life in our world today, which is a connected world. Similarly, we do not need a PhD in physics to know that we cannot stay in midair because there is force that pulls everything to the ground, which makes jumping off high places extremely dangerous.

However, just as it is good to know where we can learn more about the law that pulls us down because there might be useful things that we can do with it, it is good to know where we can learn more about the hidden part of reality, because knowing it might hold some benefits for us.

Self Interest vs. Altruism in the Global Era: How Society Can Turn Self Interests into Mutual Benefit“Kabbalah: The Answer to All of Your End of the World Predictions” is based on the book, Self Interest vs. Altruism in the Global Era: How Society Can Turn Self Interests into Mutual Benefit by Dr. Michael Laitman.

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