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July 17, 2024

Archive for October 27, 2014

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.

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