The Peace of the World by Rabbi Yehudah Ashlag (Ba’al ha-Sullam)

by tillerofthesoil

Kindness and truth נִפְגָּשׁוּ (nifggashu)have struck, justice and peace, [each has] נִשְׁקוֹ (nishqo), his weapon (Psalms 85:11, cf. Bereshit Rabbah 8:5–6).

Any matter is evaluated not according to its appearance at a certain moment, but rather by its stage of development 

Any matter in reality, good or bad—even the most harmful in the world—has a right to exist and it is forbidden for it to be destroyed or eradicated from the world [see e.g., Proverbs 16:4; M Avot 4:3]. Rather it is on us only לְתַקְּנוֹ (le-taqqeno), to arrange its [proper place], and bring it over to the good [in psychological terms “to sublimate.” The semantic range of the verbal stem תקן (tqn) is: mending, improvement, correction, perfection, restoration, alignment, preparation, order, arrangement, array, adornment, equipment, enhancement, configuration]. For any contemplation of the Workings of Creation is enough to teach us of the greatness and perfection of its Agent and its Fashioner. And thus, it is on us to understand and be cautious when casting an aspersion on a particular element of Creation, saying it is excess or unnecessary, since this is, perish the thought, slander of its Agent.

Indeed, it is known to all that the Creator, blessed be He, did not complete Creation when He created it [see e.g., Zohar 2:155b]. And thus we see in any corner of reality, in the general and in the particular, that it is subject to fixed laws of gradual development, from a stage of absence until the completion of its growth. For this reason, when we taste a bitter taste in the fruit at the beginning of its growth it is not rejected by us as having found a blemish in the fruit. Since we all know the reason, that the fruit has yet to complete its entire development.

And so it is with any particular element of reality: When a particular element seems bad and harmful to us, look, it is only the self-attestation of that particular element; it is still undergoing the process of its development. Thus, we cannot decide that it is bad and it is unwise to cast an aspersion on it.

The weakness of מִתְקְנֵי עוֹלָם (mitqnei olam), “improvers of the world”

This is the key to understanding the weakness of “improvers of the world” throughout the generations. They looked on man as a machine that does not function properly and is [merely] in need of perfecting, meaning to remove the bad parts and replace them with good ones.

And that is the tendency of all “improvers of the world,” to eradicate any harmful and bad [or: evil] in humanity. And it is true that if the Creator, blessed be He, had not stood up against them, they would certainly have sifted man entirely by now as with a sieve, leaving only the good and useful.

But because the Creator guards meticulously over every particular element in His Creation, allowing none to destroy a single thing under His reign but only to restore it and make it useful and good, all the “improvers” of the aforementioned kind will vanish from the face of the earth before evil impulses [ever] will. Rather, they live on and number the rungs they have yet to climb until they complete their ripening.

At that time, the bad [or: evil] qualities themselves will invert to good qualities, as the Creator, blessed be He, had initially devised them, like the fruit on the tree that sits and waits, counting the days and months until the completion of its ripeness, when its taste and sweetness become apparent to anyone.

I will hasten it—if they are worthy; if not, in its due time

We should know that the aforementioned fixed law of development, which is spread over the whole of reality, is sure to restore all evil to good and useful through the power of the governance of Heaven above, meaning without asking permission of the inhabitants of earth. However, the Creator placed knowledge and authority in the hands of man and allowed him to accept the aforementioned fixed law of development under his own control and governance, and handed over to him the capacity to hasten the process of development as he wishes—totally free and independent of the bonds of time.

It turns out that there are two authorities here which function according to the aforementioned conduct of development: One is the authority of Heaven, which is sure to restore all that is harmful and bad to good and useful, only in its due time, according to its own sluggish way. Then there is the authority of earth. And when the thing under development is a feeling animal, it is found to suffer terrible pain and torment while under the steamroller of development, which levels its way mercilessly.

The authority of the earth, however, is comprised of people who have taken this aforementioned fixed law of development under their own control. They are capable of freeing themselves from the bonds of time entirely. Indeed they greatly accelerate time, completing the ripening and perfection of the matter—the end of its development.

These are the words of our Sages, of blessed memory, on the future redemption and restoration of Israel. They elucidate I, YHWH, in its due time I will hasten it (Isaiah 60:22). “I will hasten it—if they are worthy; if not, in its due time” (BT Sanhedrin 98a) [cf. Zohar 1:116a–118b].

And so if Israel are rewarded and take the fixed law of development that their bad qualities must undergo, inverting them to good, they bring [that development] under their own control. In other words, they set their hearts and minds לְתַקֵּן (le-taqqen), to arrange [a proper place for], all the bad qualities and restore themselves to good. Then, I will hasten it—they will be totally free of the bonds of time. And from now on, this end depends on their own desire, meaning only by the greatness of the deed and the attention of the heart. In this way they are found to hasten the end [i.e., the promised and concealed date for the redemption and restoration of Israel].

But if they are not rewarded with developing their bad qualities under their own control, and leave it under the authority of Heaven, they are still sure to attain the end—their redemption and restoration—since there is absolute surety in the governance of Heaven, which acts according to the fixed law of gradual development, rung by rung, until it restores any evil and harmful to good and useful, like the fruit on a tree. The [promised] end is sure, but in its due time, meaning it is absolutely dependent on time.

According to that fixed law of gradual development, one must undergo many rungs, which tend to come sluggishly, stretching over a very long period of time before one finally reaches the end. And because we are discussing evolving, sensing, living beings, they, too, must suffer great agony and pains in those states of development. This is because the driving force, which exists in order to raise man from a lower rung to a higher rung, is but a pressing force of pain and torment that has accumulated in the lower rung and that can be tolerated no longer. Therefore, we must leave that rung and rise to a higher one. It is as our Sages said, “The blessed Holy One will set up a king over them, whose decrees will be as harsh as Haman’s, whereby Israel will do repentance, and he will restore them back to better [ways]” (BT Sanhedrin 97b) [cf. BT Megillah 14a].

Therefore, the [promised] end is sure to come for Israel by the aforementioned fixed law of gradual development, called in its due time, meaning tied to the bonds of time. And Israel’s sure [and good] end, by taking the development of their qualities under their own control is called, I will hasten it, meaning independent of time.

Good and bad are evaluated by the actions of the individual toward society

Before we delve into תִּקּוּן (tiqqun), the [proper] configuration, of evil in humanity, we must first determine the value of those abstract terms, “good” and “bad” [or: “evil”]. When we define a deed or a quality as “good” or “bad,” we should clarify whom that quality or deed benefits. To understand this, we must know thoroughly the proportional value between the particular and the whole, between the individual and the society which he lives in and nourishes of, both in matter and in spirit.

Reality demonstrates that an isolated individual without a sufficient number of people around him to serve him and help him provide for his needs has no chance of survival. Hence, a person is born to lead a social life from the outset. And each and every individual in society is like a wheel set within several other wheels in a machine [cf. Ezekiel 1:16]. Now this single wheel has no freedom of movement in and of itself, only it continues with the motion of the rest of the wheels in a given direction, enabling the machine to perform its general purpose. And if there is some breakdown of the wheel, the breakdown is not judged with concern to that wheel itself, but according to its function in the entire machine.

Now in our subject, the benefit of each and every person within his society is evaluated not according to his own goodness, but according to his service to the public. And vice-versa, we appreciate the quality of bad [or: evil] of each and every individual only according to the harm one inflicts upon the public in general, and not by one’s value as an individual.

These things are crystal clear both from the perspective of the truth in them, and from the perspective of the good in them. This is because what is found in society is only what is found in the individual. And the good of society is the good of each and every individual: He who harms society takes his share in the harm, and he who benefits society takes his share in the benefit, since individuals are part of the whole, and the whole is not worth more than the sum of its individuals in any way.

Therefore it turns out that society and the individual are one and the same. And the individual is not harmed because of his servitude to society, since the freedom of society and the freedom of the individual are one and the same, too. And as they share the good, they also share the freedom. Thus, good qualities and bad qualities, good deeds and bad deeds are evaluated only according to the benefit of the public.

Of course, the above applies if all individuals perform their duty to the public to the fullest and receive no more than they deserve, and take no more than their fellow’s share. But if a part of society does not behave accordingly, it turns out that not only do they harm society but they are also harmed.

We should discuss no further something that is known by all, and the aforementioned is only to show the drawback, the place which demands תִּקּוּנוֹ (tiqquno), its mending, and that is that each and every individual will understand that his own benefit and the benefit of society are one and the same thing. In that, the world will come to its complete perfection.

The four qualities, Kindness, Truth, Justice, and Peace in the individual and society 

Once we know full well the desired quality of goodness, we should examine the things and the means at our disposal, in order to hasten that delight and happiness. Four qualities are provided for that purpose: Kindness, Truth, Justice, and Peace. Those qualities have been used by all “improvers of the world” thus far. It is more correct to say that it is with those four qualities that human development has advanced thus far through the governance of Heaven, on a gradual path, until it brought humanity to its current state.

It has already been written that it would be better for us to take the fixed law of development under our own hands and governance, for then we will rid ourselves of any torment that the developmental history has in store for us from this day forth. Thus, we should scrutinize and examine those four qualities in order to thoroughly understand what we have been given thus far and by them we will know what aid we should hope to get from them in the future.

Practical difficulties in determining Truth 

When we discuss good qualities, in theory, there is certainly no better quality than the quality of Truth. This is because all the goodness that we have defined above in the relationship between the individual and society is when the individual gives and fully plays his part toward society, and also takes his share from society justly and honestly. All that is but the truth, but the drawback is that in fact, society does not accept this condition whatsoever. Thus, the practical difficulty in the aforementioned truth is proven from itself: there is some drawback and a cause here that makes it unacceptable to society. And we must examine what that drawback is.

When you closely examine the aforementioned truth from the perspective of its practical feasibility, you will necessarily find it vague and complicated, and it is impossible for the human eye to scrutinize it. That is, Truth necessitates us to equalize all the individuals in society, to receive their share according to their labor, no more and no less. And this is the one true basis, which cannot be doubted, for it is certain that anyone who wishes to enjoy the labor of his fellow, his acts are against the aforementioned reason and clear truth.

But how do we think that we can scrutinize that truth in a way that it is acceptable to society? For example, if we evaluate something according to the apparent labor, meaning according to the number of hours, and we force each and everyone to work an equal number of hours, we will still not discover the quality of Truth whatsoever. Moreover, there is an evident lie here for two reasons: The first is the physical aspect and the second is the mental aspect of the worker. That is because by nature, the power to work is not equal with each and every person. One person in the society labors in one hour of work, due to his weakness, much more than his fellow who works two hours or more.

And there is also a psychological matter here, because he who is very lazy by nature exhausts himself in one hour more than his fellow in two hours or more. And according to the perspective of the evident truth, we should not force one part of society to labor more than the other part for the fulfillment of the needs of their lives. In fact, the naturally strong and industrious in society benefit from the labor of others and exploit them maliciously against the quality of Truth, because they labor very little compared to the weak and the lazy in society.

And if we also consider the natural law, Follow the many (Exodus 23:2) [cf. BT Bava Metsi’a 59b], then such a truth that takes the number of hours of apparent work as a basis is totally unfeasible, since the weak and the lazy are always the vast majority in society, and they will not allow the industrious and strong minority to exploit their strength and labor. Thus, you see that the aforementioned basis, which is the labor of the individual on the condition of the evident truth, and with it the majority in the society, is totally unfeasible, since it cannot be examined and evaluated in any way. Thus you find that the quality of Truth has no practical capability to organize the path of the individual and the path of society in an absolute and satisfactory way. Also, it is totally insufficient for organizing life at the end of the perfection of the world.

Furthermore, there are even greater difficulties here because there is no clearer truth than nature itself. And it is natural that each and every individual feels himself in the world of the Creator, as a sole ruler, that all the others were created only to ease and improve his life, without him feeling any obligation whatsoever to give anything in return. And put simply we shall say, that the nature of each and every person is to exploit the lives of all other people of the world for his own benefit. And all that he gives to another is only out of necessity; and even then there is exploitation of others in it, but it is done cunningly, so that his fellow will not notice it and concede willingly.

The reason for it is that the nature of every branch is close to its root. And because man’s soul emanates from the Creator, who is One, singular, and everything is His, so too man, who emanates from Him, feels that all the people of the world should be under his own control and for his own private use. And this is an unbreakable law. The only difference is in people’s choices: One chooses to exploit people by attaining lower desires, and one by attaining government, while the third by attaining respect. Furthermore, if one could do it without much effort, he would agree to exploit the world with all three together—wealth, government and respect. However, he is forced to choose according to his possibilities and capabilities.

This law can be called “the fixed law of singularity in man’s heart.” No person escapes it, and each and every one takes his share in that law: the great according to his size, and the small according to his size. Thus, that fixed law of singularity in the nature of every person is neither condemned nor praised, as it is a natural reality and has a right to exist like all parts of reality. And there is no hope to eradicate it from the world or even blur its form a little, just as there is no hope to eradicate humanity from the face of the earth. Therefore, we will not be lying whatsoever if we said about this law that it is the absolute truth. And since it is undoubtedly so, how can we even try to ease one’s mind by promising him equality with all the people of society? For nothing is further from human nature than that, while one’s sole inclination is to soar higher, above the whole collective.

Thus we have thoroughly clarified that there is no real possibility to bring good and joyful conducts to the life of the individual and the lives of society by following the quality of Truth in a way that it will ease the mind of each and every individual, so that he may entirely agree with it, as it should be at the end of the perfection [of the world].

For lack of the ability to establish the quality of Truth, they tried to establish the noble qualities

Now let us turn to the remaining three qualities: Kindness, Justice, and Peace. It seems that to begin with, they were created only to be used as support for the weak quality of Truth in our world. And here, developmental history began to sluggishly climb the rungs in its progress toward ordering the lives of society.

In theory, everyone willingly agreed and took it upon themselves to not deviate in any way from the truth. Yet, in fact, they conducted themselves totally opposite to the truth. And since then, it has been the fate of truth to always be in the hands of the most deceitful and never in the hands of the weak and the righteous, so they could even be somewhat assisted by the quality of Truth.

When they could not establish the quality of Truth in the life of society, the exploited and the weak increased within society and from here emerged the qualities of Kindness and Justice and enacted their actions in the conduct of society, because the existence of the whole society forced the successful among them to support the weak, so as to not harm the society in general. Therefore, they behaved with them indulgently, meaning with Kindness and Justice.

But it is only natural that under such conditions the weak and the exploited proliferate, until there are enough of them to protest against the successful and start quarrels and fights. And from here emerged the quality of Peace in the world. Thus, all those qualities—Kindness, Justice, and Peace—emerged and were born from the weakness of Truth. This is what caused society to divide into parties. Some adopted the qualities of Kindness and Justice, giving of their own possessions to others, and some adopted the quality of Truth, meaning “What’s mine is mine, and what’s yours is yours” (M Avot 5:10).

Put simply, we can divide the two parties into בַּעֲלֵי בִּנְיָן (ba’alei binyan), masters of building, and בַּעֲלֵי חֻרְבָּן (ba’alei ḥurbban), masters of ruin. Masters of building are those who desire binyan, structure, the benefit of society, for which they are often willing to give of their own possessions to others. But those who are naturally inclined to ruin and depravity were more at ease clinging to the quality of Truth, meaning, “What’s mine is mine, and what’s yours is yours,” for their own gain, and would never want to give up a thing of their own to others without taking into consideration jeopardizing the well-being of society, for by nature they are masters of ruin.

Hope for peace

Once those conditions brought society a great deal of strife and risked the well-being of society, the “peacemakers” appeared in society. They have assumed control and power and renewed the social life based on new conditions, which they considered true, to suffice for the peaceful existence of society.

Yet, the majority of those peacemakers, which spring up after every dispute, naturally come from among the masters of ruin, meaning from the seekers of truth, by way of “What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is yours.” This is because they are the powerful and courageous ones in society, called “heroes,” for they are always willing to renounce their own lives and the lives of the whole collective, if society disagrees with their view.

But the masters of building in society, who are the men of Kindness and Justice, who care for their own lives and for the life of society, refuse to risk themselves or the public in order to impose their opinion on society. Hence, they are always on the weak side in society, called “faint-hearted” or “cowardly.”

It is hence obvious that the hand of the courageous depraved one will always be on top, and it is natural that the peacemakers will come from among the masters of ruin and not from the masters of building. Thus we see how the hope for peace, which our generation so yearns for, is futile both from the perspective of the subject and the perspective of the predicate.

For the subjects, who are the peace-makers of our time and in any generation, meaning those who have the power to make peace in the world, are forever made of the human substance we call “masters of ruin,” for they are seekers of truth, meaning to establish the world on the quality of “What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is yours.”

It is natural that those people defend their opinions firmly, to the point of risking their own lives and the life of the entire collective. And that is what gives them the power to always prevail over the human substance called, “masters of building,” the seekers of Kindness and Justice, who are willing to give up of their own for the good of others, in order to save the world, because they are the faint-hearted and the coward.

It turns out that seeking truth and the ruin of the world are one and the same, and the desire for Kindness and building the world are one and the same, too. Therefore, we should not hope from the masters of ruin to establish peace. And it is hopeless to hope for peace from the predicate, meaning by the conditions of peace itself. This is so because the proper conditions for the well-being of the individual and the well-being of society, according to the criterion of truth that these peacemakers so desire, have not yet been established. And it is a must that there will always be a large minority in society who are unsatisfied by the conditions offered to them, as we have shown the weakness of the truth above. This minority will therefore always remain a ready and willing fuel for the new quarrelsome people and the new peacemakers that will always follow.

The well-being of a particular society and the well-being of the whole world

Do not be surprised if I mix the well-being of a particular society together with the well-being of the whole world. Indeed, we have really come to such a rung whereby the whole world is thought to be one collective, one society. Which is to say that every individual suckles the marrow of his livelihood and sustenance from all the people of the world, thus he is forced to serve and care for the well-being of the whole world.

We have thus proven that the total subordination of the individual to society is as with a small wheel in a machine. For he takes his life and his happiness from society, and therefore the well-being of society and his own well-being are one and the same, and vice-versa. Therefore, to the degree that an individual is enslaved to himself, he necessarily becomes enslaved to society, as we have already spoken of at length.

And what is the extent of that collective? That is determined by the perimeter of the drawing of the individual from them. For example, in historic times, that perimeter was only the perimeter of one family, meaning the individual needed aid only from his own family members. At that time, he had to be subordinated only to his own family.

In later times, families gathered into towns and counties, and the individual became enslaved to his town. Later, when the towns and counties were joined into states, the individual was supported by all his countrymen for the happiness of his life. Thus, he became enslaved to all the people of the country. Therefore, in our generation, when each person is aided for his happiness by all the countries in the world, it is necessary that to that extent, the individual becomes enslaved to the whole world, like a wheel in a machine.

Therefore, the possibility of making good, happy, and peaceful conducts in one state is inconceivable when it is not so in all the countries in the world, and vice versa. In our time, the countries are all linked in the satisfaction of their needs of life, as individuals were in their families in earlier times. Therefore, we can no longer speak or deal with just conducts that guarantee the well-being of one country or one nation, but only with the well-being of the whole world because the benefit or harm of each and every person in the world depends and is measured by the benefit of all the people of the world.

And although this is, in fact, known and felt, still people of the world have not yet grasped it properly. And why? Because such is the conduct of the development in nature, that the act comes before the understanding, and only actions will prove and press humanity forward.

In practical life, the four qualities contradict one another 

If the aforementioned practical difficulties, which disturb us helpless people on our way, are not enough, we have in addition a further mix-up and great battle of the psychological predispositions, meaning the qualities themselves within each and everyone of us individually, which are unique and contradictory to one another. For the four qualities, Kindness, Truth, Justice, and Peace, which were divided in the nature of people, whether by development or by rearing, are in and of themselves contradictory to one another. If we take, for example, the quality of Kindness in its abstract form, we find that its governance contradicts all other qualities, meaning that by the laws of the rule of Kindness, there is no place for the appearance of the other qualities in our world.

What is the quality of חֶסֶד (ḥesed), Kindness? Our Sages define it, “What’s mine is yours and what’s yours is yours—חָסִיד (ḥasid), devout [or: pious]” (M Avot 5:10). And if all the people of the world were to behave with this quality, it would annul all the glory of the quality of Truth and judgment, because if each and every one were naturally willing to give everything he had to others, and take nothing from another, then the whole interest in lying to one another would disappear. Also, it would be irrelevant to discuss the quality of Truth, since truth and falsehood are relative to one another. If there were no falsehood in the world, there would be no idea of truth. Needless to say, all the other qualities, which came only to strengthen the quality of Truth because of its weakness, would be annulled.

Truth is defined in the words: “What’s mine is mine, and what’s yours is yours.” That contradicts the quality of Kindness and cannot tolerate it whatsoever, since in truth it is unjust to labor and strain for another, because besides failing his fellow and accustoming him to exploit others, truth dictates that every person should treasure his own assets for a time of need, so he will not have to be a burden on his fellow man. Moreover, there is not a person without relatives and heirs that, in fact, should come before others, because so nature dictates that he who gives his property to others lies to his relatives and natural heirs by not leaving them anything.

And Peace also contradicts Justice because to make peace in the public, there must be conditions that by content promise the industrious and the clever, which invest their energy and wisdom, to become rich, and those who are negligent and naive, to be poor. Hence, he who is more energetic takes his own share and the share of his negligent fellow and enjoys such a good life that there is not enough left for the negligent and naive to merely provide for their necessary livelihood. Therefore they remain totally bare and impoverished in many ways.

It is certainly unjust to punish the negligent and the naive so harshly for no evil, for what is their offence and what is the crime of those wretched people, if providence did not grant them agility and acumen that they should be punished with torments harsher than death? Therefore, there is no justice whatsoever in the conditions of peace. Peace contradicts Justice and Justice contradicts Peace, because if we arrange the division of property justly, meaning give the negligent and naive a substantial portion of the part that the industrious and the driven have, then these powerful and driven people will certainly not rest until they overthrow the government that enslaves the great, the energetic, and exploits them in favor of the weak. Therefore there is no hope for the peace of society. Thus, Justice contradicts Peace.

The quality of singularity in egoism causes ruin and destruction 

Thus you see how our qualities collide and fight one another; and not only between parties, but within each person, the four qualities dominate him all at once or one at a time and fight within him until it is impossible for common sense to organize them and bring them to complete consent. The truth is that the root of this whole disorder within us is no more than the aforementioned quality of singularity, which exists within each of us, whether more or less.

And although we have clarified that it comes from a sublime reason, that this quality emanates to us directly from the Creator, blessed be He, who is single in the world and the root of all creatures, still, out of the sensation of singularity, when it sits within our narrow egoism, it causes ruin and destruction until it became the source of all the ruin that was and will be in the world.

And indeed, there is not a single person in the world who is free from it, and all the differences are only in the way it is used—for the desires of the heart, for ruling, or for honor—and this is what separates people from one another.

But the equal aspect in all the people of the world is that each of us stands ready to abuse and exploit all the people for his own private benefit with every means possible, without taking into any consideration that he is going to build himself on the ruin of his fellow. And it is inconsequential what allowance each of us gives himself, according to his chosen direction, since the desire is the root of the mind and not the mind the root of desire. In truth, the greater and more outstanding the person, precisely so is his quality of singularity greater and outstanding.

Using the nature of singularity as a subject of evolution in society and in the individual

Now we shall penetrate into the understanding of the direct conditions that will finally be accepted by humanity at the time of the appearance of world peace, and learn how its conditions are good to bring a life of happiness to the individual and to society, and the willingness in humanity to want to finally burden themselves with those special conditions.

Let us return to the matter of singularity in the heart of every person, which stands to swallow the whole wide world for his own pleasure. Its root emanates directly from the singular One to the people, who are His branches. Here there is a question demanding an answer: “How can it be that such a corrupt form would appear in us so as to become the father of all harm and ruin in the world, and how from the source of all building emanates the source of all ruin?” We cannot leave such a question unanswered.

Indeed, there are two sides to the coin of the aforementioned singularity. If we examine it from its upper side, from the side of its parity with the singular One, it works only in the form of giving upon others, for the Creator, blessed be He, is all giving and has nothing of the form of reception, because He lacks nothing and needs to receive nothing from the creatures He has created. Therefore, the singularity that emanates to us from Him must also act only in forms of giving to others, and to receive nothing for ourselves.

On the other side of that coin, meaning how it actually works in us, we find that it acts in the totally opposite direction, because it acts only in forms of receiving for one’s self, such as the desire to be the only great and rich man in the whole world. Thus, the above two sides are as far apart from one another as the east from the west.

That gives us the solution to our question: “How is it possible that within the same singularity, which emanates to us from He who is singular in the world, who is the source of all building, serves in us as the source of all ruin?” This has come to us because we use that precious tool in the opposite way, which is קַבָּלָה עַצְמִית (qabbalah atsmit), self-reception. And I am not saying that the singularity in us will never act in us in a form of giving, because you cannot deny that amongst us are people whose singularity acts in them in the form of giving upon others, too, such as those who spend all their money for the common good, and those who dedicate all their efforts to the common good, etc.

But those two sides of the coin that I have described speak only of the two points of the development of Creation, which brings everything to completion, beginning in absence, and gradually climbing the rungs of development, one rung to the next, and from there to the higher still, until it comes to the summit, which is its preordained measure of perfection. And there it will remain forever.

The order of development of those two points is, first: the starting point, the lowest rung, which is nearly total absence. It is described as the second side of the coin. Second: the summit, where it rests and exists forever. And that is described in the first side of the coin. But this era that we are in has already developed to a great extent and has already risen many a rung. It has already risen above its lowest rung, which is the aforementioned second side, and has come significantly closer to the first side. Therefore, there are already people among us who use their singularity in forms of giving to others. But they are still few, as we are still in the midst of the path of development. When we come to the highest point of the rungs, we will all be using our singularity only in a form of giving to others, and there will never be any case of any person using it in a form of self-reception.

By those words, we find the opportunity to examine the conditions of life in the future generation [or: the last generation]—the time of world peace, when the whole of humanity attains the rung of the first side and will use their singularity only in the form of giving to others, and not in the form of receiving for one’s self whatsoever. And it is good to copy here the aforementioned form of life so it will serve to us as a lesson and as a role model to settle our minds under the flood of the waves of our lives. Perhaps it is worthwhile and possible in our generation, too, to experiment in resembling this above form of life.

The condition of life in the future generation 

First, everyone must thoroughly understand and explain to his surroundings that the well-being of society, which is the well-being of the state and the well-being of the world, are totally interdependent. As long as the laws of society are not satisfactory to each and every individual in the state, and leave a minority that is unsatisfied with the governance of the state, this minority conspires under the governance of the state and seeks to overthrow it. And if its power is not sufficient to fight the governance of the state face to face, it will want to overthrow it indirectly, such as to incite countries against each other and bring them to war, because it is natural that at war time there will be a lot more unsatisfied people with which they will have hope of achieving the critical mass to overthrow the government and establish a new leadership that is convenient for them. Thus, peace of the individual is a direct cause for peace of the state.

Furthermore, if we take into consideration that that part in the state whose craftsmanship is war, which the state always has, and their every hope of success, such as the scholars of war and those who live by supplying the ammunition, that as far as the social quality is concerned, they are always a very significant minority, and if we add them to the unsatisfied minority from the current rules, at every given moment you have a vast amount of people who crave war and bloodshed.

Thus, peace of the world and peace of the state are interdependent. Hence, we necessarily find that even that part of the state which is currently satisfied with its life, which are the industrious and the clever, still have a lot to be concerned about for the safety of their lives, due to the tensions with those who strive to overthrow them. And if they understood the value of peace, they would be happy to adopt the way of life of the future generation, for A man will give all he has for his own life (Job 2:4).

Pain versus pleasure in self-reception

Thus, when we examine and thoroughly grasp the above plan, we will see that the whole difficulty lies in changing our nature from a desire to receive for ourselves, to a desire to give to others, since those two things deny one another. At first glance, the plan seems a fantasy, as something that is above human nature. But when we delve deeply into it, we will find that the contradiction from receiving for one’s self to giving others is nothing but a psychological matter, because in fact we do give to others without benefiting ourselves. This is so because although self-reception manifests in us in various ways, such as property, possessions for pleasure of the heart, the eye, the pallet, etc., all those are defined by one name, “pleasure.” Thus, the very essence of receiving for one’s self that a person desires is nothing but the desire for pleasure.

And now, imagine that if we were to gather up all the pleasures one feels during his seventy years of life and set them to one side, and gather up all the pain and sorrow one feels set on the other side, if we could see the outcome, we would prefer not to have been born at all. And if this is so, then what does one receive during one’s life? If we assume that one obtains twenty percent pleasure during his lifetime and eighty percent pain, then if we put them one opposite the other, there would still remain sixty percent suffering unrewarded.

However this is all a private calculation, as when one works for one’s self. But with a global calculation, the individual produces more than he takes for his own pleasure and sustenance. Thus, if the direction were to change from self-reception to giving, the individual would enjoy the entire produce he produces with none too much trouble.